Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Garderobe-the castles way of meeting an every day need

For residents of a castle, when nature called, the garderobe was the place to go...the curved structure is the exit hole of the garderobe and the small arrow loop above doubled as source of fresh air for the users. 

Even centuries after its last use the stain and erosion caused by countless numbers of humans reliving themselves multiple times a day for more than five hundred years is clearly evident.

The advantage of relieving oneself behind the protective walls of a castle were obvious.  The problem that arose was where the waste ended up, piled up on the side of the exterior wall (as in the case of the above garderobe where the exit was angled to direct the waste further away from the wall), or in the moat.  In the former case the human waste was most often collected by peasants to use as fertilize in the local crop lands.  Some lords even charged their peasants for the use of the waste. In the latter case, having your waste entering the water table was a danger the residents of a castle were probably unaware. Besides, at that time period drinking ale/beer was safer, gave need calories and was probably more enjoyable.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Great War-End of the Old World

Upon learning of the German declaration of war upon France one of the most prophetic statements of that time was made: "The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime," Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey, August 3, 1914. Later the next day the British Empire would join the folly that would redraw the map of Europe, destroy four empires, kill more than ten million men and lay the ground work for the greatest war in human history a generation later. The lights of the old Victorian/Edwardian World would never be lit again

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Great War-Begins in the West


August 2, 1914, Luxembourg and the opening moves of the soon to be called the Great War begins as Imperial German cavalry crosses the border. The German Schlieffen plan is about to run head on into the French Plan XVII. To the Germans this was "Der Tag" where they would gain their true place as the leaders of Europe. To the French this was the day of "Revanche" where their loss in the 1870 Franco-Prussian War would be avenged. The great Battle of the Frontiers will start in days and determine if this will be a short or long war.