Friday, June 24, 2016

How to Swim, 1587

 “The times which the temperature of this our climate affords as good to swimme in, is comprehended in foure monethes, May, Iune, Iuly, and August... thence commeth a more vehement heate, which dooth temperate the water, and make wholesome the ayre... In the place is two things especially to be respected, first, that the bancks bee not ouergrowen with ranck thicke grasse, where oft-times, doe lie and lurke many stinging Serpents, and poisoned Toades: not full of thornes, bryers, stubbes, or thistles, which may offend the bare feete... Next that the water it selfe bee cleare, not troubled with any kinde of slymie filth, which is very infectious to the skin... Also that there be not in the bottome of the Riuer any olde stakes or sharpe stones, which may greatly indaunger the Swimmer... let him associate himselfe with some one that is taller and stronger then himself, which may both comfort him, and helpe to sustaine him, for that at the first enterance, the chilnes of the water will greatly discomfort him.” 
Everard Digby, A Short Introduction for to Learne to Swimme
 A few rules for summer swimming fun: avoid poisoned toads, and don't forget to bring a muscular friend to comfort you in case the water is cold.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

How to Have a Healthy Summer, 1656

June calendar page, 16th c.
J. Paul Getty Museum, MS Ludwig IX 16, f. 6r
 "The regiment for the time of Summer, June, July, and August. The shepheards in summer been clothed with light gowns and single, their shirts and sheets that they ly in be linnen, for of all cloath it is the coldest... and they eat light meats, as Chickens with veriuyce, young Hares, Rabbets, Lettise, Purselain, Melons, Gowrds, Cucumbers, Peares, Plumbs... They drink oft fresh water when they be thirsty, save only at dinner and supper time, and then they do drink feebl green Wine, single Beer, or small Ale. Also they keep them from over great travell, or over forcing themselves, for in this time is nothing grievouser than chafing. In this season they eschue the company of women, and they bathe them oft in cold water to asswage the heat of their bodies enforced by labours. Alway they have with them sugarcandy or other Sugar whereof they take little and often." 
The Shepheards Kalender
Ah, summer: season of cool linen, refreshing vegetables, and &#$*% chafing.