Thursday, March 16, 2006

Flatulism will get you everywhere

Beanfeast by Jacob Jordaens 1593-1678

Ows is waxing lyrical again about orgies which he refers to as "beanos". Beanos are of course short for beanfeasts. But Ows doesn't tell his loyal readers what a beano actually is...and what have beans got to do with it anyway?

Actually the old feast of beans theory doesn't stack up. The expression harks from the days of peasants holding land from a feudal overlord which was paid for in the labour service of the tenant. Frankly I've had my time with my feudal overlords and they can fuck right off. However...

Every holding owed a certain number of days work a week (say three) - plus extra days at haysel (nothing to do with Juventus, everything to do with haymaking), harvest and sowing - as many as were needed to get the job done. So it would appear that your average serf worked more than half his time on the lord's desmesne, and so was seldom free to cultivate his own holding.

This was not as bad as it sounds though.

A holding owed the work of one man only. When the serf's son was old enough he could work in his father's stead. Mrs Serf and the younger children would work the holding in the meantime and between them they could do more than a single man (Good old Mrs S!!). By custom the 'days's work' ended at dinner time, leaving the afternoon free. For the extra days at periods of special pressure your serf must work until sunset, but the bailiff must give him his dinner. At harvest time the whole village turns out to reap, from toddlers to old women - because until the harvest has been gathered no-one can be sure of food for the winter.

The recurring days of work every week were known as weekworks, and the extra days at times of special pressure as benefica, or in English as beneworks. The modern beanfeast or beano, still given by some firms to their employees, is really the benefeast, held at the end of the harvest benework.

So a beano is nothing to do with beans or orgies, however a post title with a flatulent pun is too good to miss...

Category: English Language_


Blogger Span Ows said...

I was meaning the English colloquial term for a binge drinking session although this was indeed from the specific occasion when serfs would be offered a meal by the lord of the manor once a year...or later a dinner offered by ones employer...'binge' is still better to receive for nothing!...but the beneficia...I like that...also I will link you back when I add another bit later, thanks...:-)

Thu Mar 16, 05:25:00 PM GMT  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

Ah an agri-binge!!!!!!!!!! Span..I challenge you to eat and drink me under the table (Easy E-Z E-Z!)

Thu Mar 16, 05:32:00 PM GMT  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

No you are bigger than me. I may die trying................


Thu Mar 16, 06:14:00 PM GMT  
Blogger Lightning said...

This looks like a normal weekend binge to me, plus the flatulance factor.

Thu Mar 16, 08:09:00 PM GMT  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

Mmmmn parp!

Thu Mar 16, 09:20:00 PM GMT  
Blogger flyingfinn said...

Gavin. Is that offer of a challenge open to everyone? I'll eat and drink both Span and you, under the table.;-)

Fri Mar 17, 12:21:00 AM GMT  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

Absolutely Finn, my man! What fine competitive spirit!

Fri Mar 17, 08:55:00 AM GMT  

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