Spire University of the Third Age


   ISSUE No 57               www.salisburyu3a.org.uk                        JANUARY 2008

 A Happy New Year To All The Members of SPIRE U3A

The decorations are down and our homes are starting to return to normal and the first U3A Coffee Morning of the year is underway.  The committee hope that you continue to enjoy your membership in this, our 10th Anniversary Year.

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*The Science & Technology Group Meetings

The four meetings shown below will take us to the end of the season.  There are more details on the U3A web site.

 Jan 28th 2008 ‘Meningococcal disease and the road to effective Vaccines’
                            by Andy Gorringe

February 25th 2008   'Voyage to the Planets' by Brian Ford.
                                    A talk on the Astronomy of our nearest neighbours.

March 31st 2008  ‘Mary Rose, 25 Years On’ by Dr Ken Collins.
                              Come and hear what has happened in the last 25 years.

April 28th 2008    ‘Blacksmithing’ by Linda Baker  

* Spire organises these meetings but members from the other Salisbury U3As are invited. There is no need to have your name down to attend.  Just turn up on the day, usually in the Memorial Hall, Harnham unless otherwise stated*

Shortage of news from members has forced the Editor to fall back on ‘silly things to say’ It’s up to you all or she will find ‘silly things to do’ and there will be no newsletter in March!


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 still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, 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. 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 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 entranceway. Hence the saying a thresh hold.

Getting quite an education, aren't you?

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

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

Tricky Questions
Q1. A murderer is condemned to death. He has to choose between three rooms: The first is full of raging fires, the second is full of assassins with loaded guns, and the third is full of lions that haven't eaten in 3 years. Which room is safest for him?
Q2. A woman shoots her husband. Then she holds him under water for over 5 minutes. Finally, she hangs him. But 5 minutes later they both go out together and enjoy a wonderful dinner together. How can this be?
Q3. A magician was boasting one day at how long he could hold his breath under water. His record was 6 minutes. A kid that was listening said, "that's nothing, I can stay under water for 10 minutes using no type of equipment or air pockets!" The magician told the kid if he could do that, he'd give him $10,000. The kid did it and won the money. Can you figure out how?
Q4. There are two plastic jugs filled with water. How could you put all of this water into a barrel, without using the jugs or any dividers, and still tell which water came from which jug?
Q5. What is black when you buy it, red when you use it, and grey when you throw it away?
Q6. Can you name three consecutive days without using the words Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday?
Q7. This is an unusual paragraph. I'm curious how quickly you can find out what is so unusual about it? It looks so plain you would think nothing was wrong with it! In fact, nothing is wrong with it! It is unusual though. Study it, and think about it, but you still may not find anything odd. But if you work at it a bit, you might find out! Try to do so without any coaching!
Q8. You are participating in a race. You overtake the second person. What position are you in?
Q9. If you overtake the last person, then you are...?
Q10. (In your head!) Take 1000 and add 40 to it. Now add another 1000. Now add 30. Add another 1000. Now add 20. Now add another 1000. Now add 10. What is the total?
Q11. Mary's father has five daughters: 1 Nana, 2 Nene, 3 Nini, 4 Nono.  What is the name of the fifth daughter?
Answers:  See at the bottom of this page---No Cheating---At least try to do them all first!



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Articles for Issue 58 please, by March 1st. 2008
 Sheila Read, 12 Chiselbury Grove, Salisbury. SP2 8EP
Email:  s.read.frps@ntlworld.com

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Text Box: A1. The third. Lions that haven't eaten in three years are dead.    A2. The woman was a photographer. She shot a picture of her husband, developed it, and hung it up to dry.    A3. The kid filled a glass of water and held it over his head for 10 minutes.    A4. Colour and Freeze them first. Take them out of the jugs and put the ice in the barrel. You will be able to tell which water came from which jug.    A5. The answer is Charcoal. In Homer Simpson's words: hmmmm... Barbecue.    A6. Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.    A7. The letter 'e', which is the most common letter in the English language, does not appear once in the long paragraph    A8. If you answer that you are first, then you are absolutely wrong! If you overtake the second person and you take his place, you are second!    A9. If you answered that you are second to last, then you are wrong again. Tell me, how can you overtake the LAST person?!    A10. Did you get 5000? The correct answer is actually 4100. Don't believe it? Check with your calculator!    A11. Nunu? NO! Of course not. The fifth daughter is Mary. Read the question again.