General Questions, meet Major Issues (the 2019 random questions thread)

TrudyTrudy Heaven Host
If it doesn't fit neatly into any other category, yet you know that the collective wisdom of your Shipmates will be able to help you find the answer, please post your general questions here and wait for the collective wisdom of Heaven to enlighten you.
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Comments

  • Help tea drinkers. What is your method for getting tea stains out of pot and cups. Plain wash up does not seem to do the trick.
  • Lily PadLily Pad Shipmate
    A little bit of baking soda will take it right off. Just sprinkle some inside a damp cup or sprinkle it onto a damp sponge and give it a rub.
  • Thanks Lily Pad, I knew there must be a better way then trying bleach.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Thanks indeed, LP (and thanks GI for asking the question) - I'd been wondering that too as we've got a few china mugs we're very fond of that have got quite badly stained. Will invest in baking soda forthwith.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    edited January 16
    Baking soda and vinegar and vinegar are the two most useful cleaning (and cheap) agents around the house. I use them both to clean drains, first the soda then the vinegar.
  • We don't use any form of fabric softener either when washing or frying laundry, so I know that is not the answer to this question.

    Why is it that T-shirts and towels are soft and pleasant if tumble dried in a clothes drier, but kind of rough and even almost a little stiff when hung up to dry? Is it magic? because that's all I've got for an answer.
  • > frying laundry <
    We don't fry the laundry, we dry it. :open_mouth:
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    I don't use a dryer NP, but I find that the stiffness of line-dried things can be related to how long they have been drying. I don't use fabric softener, but instead I put a small amount of vinegar in the fabric softener cup - to be released at the time fabric softener would be.
  • I would imagine it s to do with the fact that when line drying or on a clothes horse or (even worse) on a radiator the clothing is pretty much stuck in one position when drying, so it stiffens, but in a tumble drier (a piece of equipment I have NEVER had) it is moved around while drying, so the fibres bend into different positions giving a softer result. Its like the difference between a shampoo and set, and a blow dry I suppose!
  • LothlorienLothlorien All Saints Host
    I and my sons all prefer line dried to soft and fluffy. Much to annoyance of sons’ partners.
  • Lucky you if you are able to line dry. Some of us don't always have that option.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host
    I love the smell of fresh air from line drying.
  • edited January 17
    Thanks for the answers.

    We really can't dry things outside in the winter. That's putting the laundry out to freeze. We dry about ⅔ of things inside on a drying rack. But things like dress shirts are much better in a drier, i.e, ironing not required, I'm a shirt and tie wearer, feeling undressed without. The new drier of 5 years age has "wrinkle care", which means it runs for 10 secs every 2 minutes for not sure how long to prevent wrinkles. Genius who ever thought that up.
  • fineline wrote: »
    I love the smell of fresh air from line drying.

    Seconded. There's nothing that can replicate the feeling and smell of a bed with sheets dried outside in a breeze. Fabric softeners always smell a bit too artificial for my liking.
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    Hardy New Englander here, well-acquainted with freeze-dried sheets and towels line-hung through below-zero Fahrenheit winter weather. It's surprisingly effective, as long as you can hit one of those dry cold snaps. Folding them in that condition is kind of fun, but you want plenty of warm-up time between putting them on the bed and hitting the sack.
  • MMMMMM Shipmate
    Do you put them straight back on the bed? Aren’t they still a bit damp? I tend to put everything (i.e., not just sheets) in the airing cupboard at least overnight before using.

    Or am I being overly careful?

    MMM
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    edited January 18
    On fabric softener, just learnt it contains animal fat (#8).
  • MooMoo Kerygmania Host
    Climacus wrote: »
    On fabric softener, just learnt it contains animal fat (#8).

    It also makes the fabric less absorbent. If you wear cotton because you sweat, fabric softener is a bad idea. I use those special balls you put in the dryer. They work without affecting the absorbency of the fabric.

  • Moo wrote: »
    Climacus wrote: »
    On fabric softener, just learnt it contains animal fat (#8).

    It also makes the fabric less absorbent. If you wear cotton because you sweat, fabric softener is a bad idea. I use those special balls you put in the dryer. They work without affecting the absorbency of the fabric.

    Fabric softener is the work of the devil.

    Apart from anything else, it is the enemy of anyone with eczema or prone to non-specific itchy skin. And the way it furs up the pipes from a washing machine should give anyone pause for thought.

    [BTW the animal fat is the reason why the fabric softener compartment gets mouldy - just saying... :grimace: ]
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Ohher wrote: »
    Hardy New Englander here, well-acquainted with freeze-dried sheets and towels line-hung through below-zero Fahrenheit winter weather. It's surprisingly effective, as long as you can hit one of those dry cold snaps. Folding them in that condition is kind of fun, but you want plenty of warm-up time between putting them on the bed and hitting the sack.
    I must admit I'm a bit puzzled by that. The washing is wet. You hang it on the line out of doors. It freezes like a board. It therefore remains wet. As the air in winter is usually pretty damp, it probably gets even wetter. You bring it in and unfreeze it. It's still wet.

    Because the damp has become ice, it doesn't in some mysterious way fall off the washing, or at least, not in my experience.
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    When we get severe cold snaps around here (-20 to -30 C), that dries out the air. Don't ask me how it works; it just does. We call this too-cold-to-snow weather. The wet sheets do indeed freeze, but the breeze (read: knife-through-your-ribs wind-chill-enhanced gale) seems to blow the ice right out of them. Again, IF you hang things out as soon as it's light and leave them out until dusk (about 4:30-5 p.m. in January where I live) when it's BOTH cold and also very dry, you'll have dry but freezing sheets to bring in and fold.
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    Fabric softener is the work of the devil.

    Apart from anything else, it is the enemy of anyone with eczema or prone to non-specific itchy skin. And the way it furs up the pipes from a washing machine should give anyone pause for thought.

    [BTW the animal fat is the reason why the fabric softener compartment gets mouldy - just saying... :grimace: ]

    Indeed it is. I didn't know that about the animal fat and the fabric softener compartment <vom> but my dermatitis has been much better (read: absent for considerable stretches of time) since I stopped using it. For such conditions, using non-biological washing powder or liquid is also key.

    On the subject of washing, our machine has died and we await delivery of a new one next week. Meanwhile, kind friends are providing Laundry Service.

    Regarding vinegar as a cleaning agent, I may be using it wrong as I don't find it very effective. It also makes the house smell like a fish and chip shop.
  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    edited January 19
    Vinegar works window cleaning, for example, to cut through the grease on the glass. I use a slosh in the water I'm using to wash the windows, then scrunched up newspaper to dry and shine them. For cleaning surfaces, bicarbonate of soda often works better as you can use it neat on the sponge to remove greasy bits - like the splashes around stoves or the ring on the bath. I'm also wondering about rethinking buying cleaning agents as they run out, as I'm not convinced that they are 1) green, 2) necessary, 3) any good for my asthmatic lungs.

    I have never used fabric conditioner. I have had more than enough dermatitis and/or urticaria from washing powders changing formulation to think better of ever starting to use a fabric conditioner. Given the choice I'd air dry outside, but someone in the flats near the whirligig drier is smoking weed, so it doesn't come in smelling fresh, but of cannabis. Not what I am hoping for.
  • MooMoo Kerygmania Host
    Enoch wrote: »
    The washing is wet. You hang it on the line out of doors. It freezes like a board. It therefore remains wet.

    Ice evaporates. It does it much more slowly than liquid water, but it does evaporate.

  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Piglet wrote: »
    Thanks indeed, LP (and thanks GI for asking the question) - I'd been wondering that too as we've got a few china mugs we're very fond of that have got quite badly stained. Will invest in baking soda forthwith.

    The tablets used for soaking false teeth work on tea/coffee stains too ☕️

  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Ohher wrote: »
    When we get severe cold snaps around here (-20 to -30 C), that dries out the air. Don't ask me how it works; it just does. We call this too-cold-to-snow weather. The wet sheets do indeed freeze, but the breeze (read: knife-through-your-ribs wind-chill-enhanced gale) seems to blow the ice right out of them. Again, IF you hang things out as soon as it's light and leave them out until dusk (about 4:30-5 p.m. in January where I live) when it's BOTH cold and also very dry, you'll have dry but freezing sheets to bring in and fold.
    Your climate is definitely very different from ours. That is colder than it ever normally goes here. Temperatures as low as -20°C are markedly low, and nowhere has ever reached -30°C. And our winters are very damp. It's the damp that produces visibly heavy frosts.
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    -30 C (-22 F) temps are not common here (and due to climate change, becoming even less so), just occasional. -20 C (-4 F) isn't unusual, though. And it seldom stays this cold for long -- these tend to be wee-hour low readings, with the rest of the day being warmer. For whatever reason, these cold snaps tend to coincide with stretches of dry weather.
  • Sublimation is the term for ice going into the air. We've got the same climate as you it appears. It is commonly said "it's a dry cold". The problem is actually hanging out the laundry at -35°C and then they tell us that the windchill is -48 (that was yesterday). We do hang things inside in winter.

    Windchill: how cold it actually feels due to combination of actual temp and the wind. Somewhere in the -30s they start saying "dangerous" and tell us that we'll freeze skin in less that a few minutes. Which is rather annoying catastrophic thinking in my view. There's no such thing as too cold weather, there's just wrong clothing.
  • Do not use vinegar on granite counter tops I was told. Over time it will etch it, just as sucking a lot of lemons over time will etch your teeth.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    We hang inside a lot of the year - rain rain rain. But I have an electric drying rack, which uses tiny amounts of electricity. It’s great for airing the clothes once they are dry/nearly dry.

    :smile:
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    . . . Somewhere in the -30s they start saying "dangerous" and tell us that we'll freeze skin in less that a few minutes. Which is rather annoying catastrophic thinking in my view. There's no such thing as too cold weather, there's just wrong clothing.

    AMEN to that, brother.

  • Nenya wrote: »
    Regarding vinegar as a cleaning agent, I may be using it wrong as I don't find it very effective. It also makes the house smell like a fish and chip shop.

    Use white vinegar, not the brown stuff, and not in the final rinse.
    Vinegar works window cleaning, for example, to cut through the grease on the glass.

    And if you add a little vinegar to the water in your screenwash tank it helps get rid of the smears there too.
    Boogie wrote: »
    Piglet wrote: »
    Thanks indeed, LP (and thanks GI for asking the question) - I'd been wondering that too as we've got a few china mugs we're very fond of that have got quite badly stained. Will invest in baking soda forthwith.

    The tablets used for soaking false teeth work on tea/coffee stains too ☕️

    More to the point, the teeth cleaning tablets work brilliantly on loos...

  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host
    A very sharp turn away from cleaning questions ...

    This is a bit of a "homework thread" question, but I thought it might be an area in which some Shipmates had expertise and could direct me to good resources (books, online, or otherwise) as I'm having trouble getting Google to lead me in the specific direction I want to go.

    I am trying to find out some details about Anglican forms of worship in the early 17th century (1610's involving characters from Bristol, if you want to be really specific). I'm wondering about things like -- do we have an idea of how long sermons would normally be? (I know Puritans were famed for incredibly long sermons). How often would Communion be taken? And any other details about worship services at that time. I assume services would follow the Book of Common Prayer?

    Essentially I am trying to avoid the historical-novelist pitfall of setting a scene during a church service and having the pedants howl, "Oh, but they wouldn't have done it like that in Bristol in 1610 because ...!!!!" I am trying to pre-seek-out the pedants, so if you know of any good pedantic sources that I should be looking at, please toss titles and links my way. Thanks for any help anyone can give.
  • Trudy wrote: »
    I assume services would follow the Book of Common Prayer?

    Don't forget that 1610 is before 1662, so the BCP in use would have been that of 1559. The text is available online.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    You might also want to show an awareness of the new King’s Bible introduced in 1611, though I don’t know how rapid take-up would have been.

    Biographies of people like John Donne and George Herbert might be helpful, also Richard Gough’s History of Myddle and Parson James Woodforde’s diaries - though they are both later and the Civil War intervenes. There might be something useful in Pepys (again late) or John Evelyn.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Interesting. That's an era for which it would be difficult to find out the answers. @Peter Owen is right that it would be the 1559 Prayer Book, but it isn't that different from the 1662 one.

    1610 is in James I's reign and before Laud. So none of his innovations would have happened yet. There were still a few people around who would have remembered the short lived attempt to re-catholicise in Mary's reign, but all that most people would have known was Elizabethan religion, which was firmly Protestant. Controversy, though would mainly have been about how Calvinist doctrine should be and arguments about church structure. It is difficult to know what actually happened on a Sunday morning.

    I suspect the service would have been by the book, probably by our standards pretty dull, psalms and canticles read, not sung, with the only music unaccompanied Sternhold and Hopkins psalms before and after the service. I don't know how slowly they sang them in 1610. By 1680 it was very slow, and rather like Gaelic psalms but in English. There might have been an anthem, but I don't think most of those were written until the eighteenth century, and the bands that accompanied them didn't get going until about 1690.

    The sermon would have been long, and regarded as the main reason people came to church. If the preacher was not licensed to preach, he would have been required to read from the Book of Homilies.

    When Communion took place, the table would have probably been placed lengthways, with a plain white cloth on it, no candles unless required for illumination, and the celebrant probably standing on one of the long sides. There might by then have been quite good silverware to fit the new Protestant way of doing things, particularly in a prosperous city. I don't know how often Communion was celebrated at that time.

    There might have still been more stained glass about, as a lot of that was not knocked out until the Civil War and its aftermath. Images etc though were all purged in the 1540-50s.

    @Trudy how well do you know central Bristol? Because Bristol was fairly prosperous in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and then several churches got bombed in the 1940s, there's not much that gives much of an impression of what a church might have been like in 1610. St John on the Wall is possibly the best bet. From memory, it has a Jacobean holy table (though I don't know whether original or repro). It's under the Churches Conservation Trust and you need to check when it is open (usually about lunchtimes). When it was still a working church, it was 'low and dry'. I think it was one of the last black gown churches in the country. So although it's got some Victorian 'improvements' there are fewer than elsewhere.

    There's a very fine tomb from that era in St Stephen's but the rest of what you now see there is much more recent. Even the tomb isn't where it originally was.

    Although the Authorised Version was promulgated by James VI and I - hence people referring to it sometimes these days as the King James Version - it didn't really become that prevalent until after the Civil War. The normal Bible until then for most people remained the Geneva Version.

    Is that any help?
  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    Thomas Tallis survived through the changes of the Reformation, starting out at Waltham Abbey as a catholic monk, dying in 1585. His music changed to reflect the political and ecclesiological climates of his age.
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host
    All of this is very helpful, thanks! Enoch, I visited St. John on the Wall as well as St. Stephens when I was in Bristol last summer. I would love to have been able to spend more time in Bristol and am hoping to make a trip back (although only a very small portion of my book is actually set in Bristol, all my characters come from there originally so I've spent a lot of time reading up on Bristol in that era). That is an interesting detail about the Book of Homilies. In the first two years of the English colony here in Newfoundland there was, as far as I know, no actual clergyman out here, so I'm wondering if they would have just had a layman conducting a Sunday service and perhaps reading a sermon from that?

    Another thing I'm wondering about is the practice of marking time (in everyday conversation, not formally) by various feasts and saints' days -- would that have fallen by the wayside in the early 17th century if most of the feasts were not actually observed by the church anymore? Or would people still do it out of long habit, the way here in Canada we still say "I've five feet ten inches tall" even though we've allegedly been on the metric system for 40 years? I'm thinking of the Nurse in Romeo & Juliet indicating Juliet's age by saying "On Lammas Eve at night shall she be fourteen" (of course, this was supposedly taking place in a Catholic country, but Shakespeare wasn't known for getting details of setting accurate, so I'm wondering if the fact that he says that indicates that in his time English people were still using the liturgical calendar to mark time).

    The specific context for that question is that I have a midwife estimating when someone's child is likely to be born and I'm wondering whether she would be more likely to have said "around Lady Day" or "late in March."
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host
    Although, thinking further about my example above, as Lady Day was still considered the start of the new year at that time, and the Feast of the Annunciation is in the 1549 prayer book, so probably it would still have been used. Not sure about other commemorative/feast days as markers of time, though.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Glad to hear about your visit to Bristol, but I hadn't registered that you normally live so far away.

    The Red Letter saints days survived the Reformation. If you have got a 1662 Prayer Book, they are listed in it and have collects etc. Banks and some other places still closed on 33 of them until 1834. I get the impression that to a considerable extent they would still have marked out time in peoples' heads and speech at least until 1649 and possibly long after. Midsummer was still frequently referred to as St John's Eve in the mid nineteenth century.

    Lady Day is still one of the four quarter days on which rent is traditionally paid if other days are not expressly provided. Michaelmas is another. Lady Day also remained New Year's Day in England until the calendar changed in 1752. That is the reason why the tax year runs from April 6th to April 5th. That was when 12 months had elapsed from the previous Lady Day the year after the 11 days were omitted. Theoretically it should have changed again in 1800 and 1900, but not 2000, but it didn't.

    As you'll probably already know, John Evelyn commented in the late seventeenth century that it was the disruption of the Civil War and the Commonwealth that broke a lot of the folk memories and superstitions that people had lived by before then.

    I think it's quite likely that people in Newfoundland without a clergyman might have arranged for one of them to read a service and a sermon from the Book of Homilies. They also may well have had daily prayers. There's some evidence that such things might have been fairly normal on ships in that period and in the first 'factories' (houses where traders lived together) in India.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    The quarter days (Lady Day (25 March), Midsummer Day (also John the Baptist- 24 June), Michaelmas (29 September) andChristmas (25 December)) remained in use well into the twentieth century. Easter and Ascension and Whitsunday were prominent dates as well.

    Then there’s the challenge of reckoning the year as beginning on Lady Day (not 1st January) which was still current at that time.
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host
    Thanks, that's all very helpful! Yes, it's quite an epic journey for me to get over to Bristol to do research -- managed it for 11 days last summer and am hoping to get back at least once more while this project is ongoing, but most of my research has to be done remotely.

    You'll all get a thank-you in the Acknowledgements, I promise!
  • Interesting, I have to wonder if it has anything to do with why US taxes are due in April.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    Yes it does. Two things combine: the fact that the new year began at Lady Day, together with the effect of the ten day adjustment to the Gregorian calendar in the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. The difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars is also the reason for the different dates for Western and Orthodox Christmas,
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    Has anyone taken any resilience courses, either through work or in your own time?

    It is something I struggle with. I go downhill fast after failures, perceived or real. Work is offering a course... Just wondering about Shipmates' experiences. Thanks.
  • I don’t know if it’s exactly the same, but a few years ago I took a course at work about sustainable stress management. I found it really interesting – a large part of it was about learning to analyse, understand and therefore manage your emotional reactions to stressful events and situations. In particular I remember a questionnaire with questions to fill in like “When I am stressed, I…” This helped me a lot in pinpointing unhelpful behaviours and finding alternatives. For example, when I am stressed, I don’t want to eat. This doesn’t actually help me, and putting it on paper like this helped me find strategies for continuing to eat healthily when under stress.

    I would recommend it, and not just for the workplace.

    I would have thought you have nothing to lose by taking the course. At worst, you’ll have wasted a bit of time.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    edited January 23
    On Bristol: Mary Redcliffe is a medieval building, as is I think the choir and transept of the Cathedral (though not the nave and towers). I believe there was some rivalry between them in the medieval period: the Cathedral was an Abbey church until made into a cathedral at the Reformation, while Mary Redcliffe was the town church.

    I think it should be possible to find John Donne's sermons online for an example of what an Anglican preacher was doing at the time. (He was Dean of St Paul's and had to preach to the court from time to time, so he's maybe not entirely representative of what happened in an ordinary parish.)
  • Actually I have been using vinegar as a fabric softener for a while
    Trudy wrote: »
    Or would people still do it out of long habit, the way here in Canada we still say "I've five feet ten inches tall" even though we've allegedly been on the metric system for 40 years? I'm thinking of the Nurse in Romeo & Juliet indicating Juliet's age by saying "On Lammas Eve at night shall she be fourteen" (of course, this was supposedly taking place in a Catholic country, but Shakespeare wasn't known for getting details of setting accurate, so I'm wondering if the fact that he says that indicates that in his time English people were still using the liturgical calendar to mark time).

    Not quite as simple, the Scottish quarter days when rents were due were Martinmas, Candlemass, Whitsun and Lammas. So Lammas is not simply in the church calendar but in the financial one as well. The English ones are Michaelmas, Christmas, Lady Day and Midsummer. I think while most saints observance became localised when kept up, I suspect from what I hear devotion to Mary continued if underground. Having looked at an article of 17th Century Marian Devotion I would guess that Lady's Day would be still kept if only for paying your rent.

  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Jengie Jon wrote: »
    Having looked at an article of 17th Century Marian Devotion I would guess that Lady's Day would be still kept if only for paying your rent.
    I'm sorry @Jengie Jon. I don't know who William L Lahey is, but knowing a bit about the period, I think either his paper is wishful thinking or he neither knows nor has much of a feel for English history of the period. There are also some quite bad errors in it.

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