What did they ever do?

Being a child in England gave me an ongoing interest in medieval times…a somewhat romanticized interest, to be sure–but I think that’s true of many of us. After all, no one ever says that they would love to have lived as a peasant (or perhaps even lived in a previous life that way). No, they’re always princesses or queens, kings or princes–or at the very least, some member of the aristocracy.

But even living that way has made me wonder recently (especially since I apparently ate something that at least mildly disagreed with me)… What did they ever do without bathrooms?

I know–I’ve seen the “in-house outhouses” in the castles…felt the breezes coming up. I’ve felt the wind blowing through the windows and shuddered to think what it must have felt like in winter.

I’ve used outhouses before–when I went to church with my grandparents in a rural area of Iowa. Not too bad in the summer, but such an incentive to “hold it” in the winter!

But what about when you absolutely can’t “hold it”? when your body says “Go now!” and doesn’t give you any choice?

Or what about when your body is trying to empty itself of a problem at the other end? and you have to find somewhere to throw up?

These prosaic bits of life are rarely if ever discussed in novels (or even histories) of the time. And they certainly don’t seem to figure into any of the romanticized versions we hold of the Middle Ages. Normally that’s okay. It’s perhaps more information than I really want to know…except when I’m dealing with those issues myself in this day and time–appreciating the indoor (and warm!) facilities in my home…and I wonder.

What did they ever do?

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