Sunday, 23 May 2010

It's "Piss Poor !" and "I am Dirt Poor."

How many times did I hear that as a boy, or when a teenager the expression,  "Piss Poor". Where did the saying come from?

Here are some facts starting about  1500 AD.

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot and; then once a day it was taken and 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" and were the lowest of the low.

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 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.

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

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

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 whiskey. 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 coffinswere 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...


OK, you may thing it's a piss poor attempt but I tried.

Now, whoever said History was boring ! ! !

11 comments:

Marja said...

That was very interesting Bob.Enjoyed it a lot. No wonder It takes me such a long time to learn all the english expressions. In modern time they don't make sense anymore. Feel sorry for the poor souls who have been buried alive. Amazing that we keep on having rituals without even thinking about where it is coming from.
When I worked with the kids someone explained that "Ring around the rosy cam from the time of the Plague,
A rosy ring on the cheek and sneesing were symptoms of the plague and "we all fall down" means fall down dead
"Nice kids song"

Bob McKerrow said...

Thanks Marja and i am pleased you enjoyed it. Yes, learning the nuiances of English is not easy.

Have a good week.

bob

智能 said...

A friend to everybody is a friend to nobody..............................................

Bob McKerrow said...

But a friend in need, is a friend indeed !

Anonymous said...

Dit is de eerste keer dat ik "It's "Piss Poor !
" and "I am Dirt Poor."" open en ik ben fijn verrast door het
verband welke het artikel bezit met betrekking tot 10 kilo afvallen in een maand.
My site ; dieten afvallen

Anonymous said...

purchase a legging with a good fabric, thin fabrics tear easily
Also see my webpage - faux leather patch leggings

Anonymous said...

Just what are those cheap plastic outdoor lounge chairs
called?
My web-site ... gazeebo

oakleyses said...

tory burch outlet, polo ralph lauren, prada handbags, louis vuitton outlet online, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton outlet, coach outlet, gucci handbags, christian louboutin outlet, nike air max, cheap oakley sunglasses, jordan shoes, michael kors outlet online, nike shoes, longchamp outlet online, nike free, coach outlet store online, christian louboutin shoes, longchamp handbags, michael kors outlet, louis vuitton handbags, nike air max, true religion outlet, burberry outlet online, longchamp outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, michael kors outlet online, red bottom shoes, prada outlet, coach purses, tiffany and co jewelry, ray ban outlet, louis vuitton, tiffany jewelry, oakley vault, kate spade handbags, oakley sunglasses, kate spade outlet online, louis vuitton outlet, true religion, michael kors outlet store, burberry outlet online, chanel handbags, coach outlet, michael kors outlet online, ray ban sunglasses, christian louboutin

oakleyses said...

hermes pas cher, sac michael kors, timberland, lululemon, scarpe hogan, barbour, nike air max, nike roshe, true religion jeans, louis vuitton uk, tn pas cher, ray ban pas cher, longchamp pas cher, nike blazer pas cher, burberry pas cher, louis vuitton pas cher, new balance pas cher, lacoste pas cher, north face, hollister, michael kors canada, air max, louis vuitton, vans pas cher, nike air max, ralph lauren pas cher, michael kors uk, nike free, oakley pas cher, nike roshe run, air max pas cher, air jordan, chaussure louboutin, hollister, converse pas cher, ralph lauren, true religion outlet, sac vanessa bruno, abercrombie and fitch, ray ban uk, north face pas cher, longchamp, nike free pas cher, nike air force, mulberry, guess pas cher, sac louis vuitton

oakleyses said...

lululemon outlet, nfl jerseys, babyliss pro, ugg, valentino shoes, mcm handbags, north face jackets, nike huarache, instyler ionic styler, nike trainers, canada goose outlet, ferragamo shoes, roshe run, soccer jerseys, giuseppe zanotti, canada goose, chi flat iron, mac cosmetics, soccer shoes, ugg outlet, ugg soldes, canada goose outlet, herve leger, new balance outlet, birkin bag, wedding dresses, insanity workout, beats headphones, north face outlet, celine handbags, reebok shoes, vans outlet, rolex watches, hollister, abercrombie and fitch, uggs on sale, canada goose outlet, marc jacobs outlet, mont blanc pens, p90x workout, jimmy choo shoes, uggs outlet, ghd, bottega veneta, longchamp, asics shoes, ugg boots

oakleyses said...

wedding dress, iphone 6 case, converse shoes, moncler, pandora jewelry, hollister canada, parajumpers outlet, moncler, moncler, canada goose pas cher, moncler, oakley, moncler outlet, vans, coach outlet, pandora uk, canada goose, supra shoes, hollister clothing, ugg, uggs canada, ray ban, canada goose, lancel, pandora charms, moncler, juicy couture outlet, links of london uk, juicy couture outlet, gucci, ralph lauren, hollister, thomas sabo uk, louboutin, karen millen, moncler, montre femme, swarovski jewelry, toms outlet, replica watches, air max, converse, nike air max, canada goose uk, timberland shoes, baseball bats, louis vuitton canada, swarovski uk