A bit of history..!


YEARS ago in school I made a huge mistake in opting for Algebra instead of History, I spent a year trying to figure out how x plus y is equal to z and finally when I couldn’t, rushed back to History. I then made history interesting for myself by allowing it to come alive, the people, events and places. So if you’ll permit me, I’m going to spend some of your time today on a history lesson:
Ladies and gentlemen your first lecture; life in the year 1500: Most people those days got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were beginning to stink a bit, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odour. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married!
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. That’s how people started 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. That’s how people started saying, ‘It’s raining cats and dogs!’
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 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!’
Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Often they would be taken for dead and prepared 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. So came about the custom of holding a wake!
England was old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins, 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’d been burying people alive.
So a string was tied on the wrist of the corpse, strung through the coffin and up to the ground to a bell. Someone would 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, would you ever go in for Algebra?