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The origins of popular English sayings -


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Interesting History

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families

used to all pee in a pot & then once a day it was taken &

Sold to the tannery... if you had to do this to survive

you were "Piss Poor"

But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn't

even afford to buy a pot... they "didn't have a pot to

piss in" & were the lowest of the low

The next time you are washing your hands and complain

because the water temperature isn't just how you like it,

think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about

the 1500s:

Most people got married in June because they took their

yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by

June.. However, since they were starting to smell...

Brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor.

Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting


Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man

of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then

all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the

children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so

dirty you could actually lose someone in it..

Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water!"

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no

wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get

warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs)

lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and

sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof...

Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the

house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs

and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top

afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into


The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other

than dirt. Hence the saying, "Dirt poor." The wealthy had

slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet,

so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their

footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping

outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way.

Hence: a thresh hold.

(Getting quite an education, aren't you?)

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big

kettle that always hung over the fire.. Every day they lit

the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly

vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the

stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold

overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew

had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence

the rhyme: Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas

porridge in the pot nine days old. Sometimes they could

obtain pork, which made them feel quite special.

When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, "bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat.

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the upper crust.

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination

would Sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days.

Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a wake.

England is old and small and the local folks started running

out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins

and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the

grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins

were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they

realized they had been burying people alive...

So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell.

Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night

(the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus, someone

could be, saved by the bell or was considered a dead ringer.

And that's the truth....Now, whoever said History was boring

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