Do you have the Monday morning blues?
Just say to yourself...it could be worse!
Monday mornings are always tough especially when there are still two more months of winter left.
This young man is in a melancholy mood. He knows all about the Monday morning blues.
He stares at us over time and distance. What could have made him so weary? or is he quite bored with the whole process?
He knows that his photograph is being taken and he is wearing his best clothes. See his favourite blue bow tie?
"Monday Morning Blues", vintage series. I uploaded an image of a painting I completed and used various apps on the Ipad to modify the colours. The original painting is at the end of this post.
Below are some jobs you might not have wanted to face on a Monday morning during the Victorian Era.
Victorian Era jobs that have that ICK factor...
- Collecting leeches: Imagine wading into filthy ponds with the only purpose of attracting leeches to your legs so that you can then sell them to doctors and pharmacies.
- Dog feces collector: You think I exaggerate? In the 1800s, dog feces helped to soften leather. Similar methods are still used in some countries today.
In Fez, Morocco, first, cow urine is one of the ingredients that is used to soften leather along with quicklime, water and salt.
I visited an outdoor leather factory when I was in Morocco in 2014. Pigeon poop is involved in another part of the process that allows the leather to absorb the dye. The pungent stench made our eyes water and permeated our clothing. Incredibly, people's apartments, presumably the workers' homes, faced the factory. Clothes were hung out to dry as though the air was as sweet as spring daffodils. Bare legged workers stomped on the skins in huge acrid smelling vats. I felt as though I had been transported to another century indeed!
- Chimney sweep: After the last two jobs, you might think being a chimney sweep was a breeze. The chimney sweeps in Mary Poppins sure made it look that way as they danced on the London rooftops.
Chimney sweeps suffered scraped elbows and knees and their lungs were damaged by the smoke and dust. Little boys were in demand for this job and were sometimes underfed in order to keep them small.
- Rat catcher: Queen Victoria had her own rat catcher who said that he trapped rats and stored them in a cage that could hold up to 1000 rats. Rats could be sold to "ratters", men who organized fights between rats and dogs. People would place bets on the time it would take for the dog to kill the rats or vice-versa.
- Grave protector: Families of the recently deceased hired a grave protector to ensure that no one would dig up the cadaver and then sell it to medical schools and anatomists who paid generously for a cadaver when there were shortages.
Living as the Victorians did...
There is, however, another more genteel Victorian side for all of you who love this historical period.
An interesting article by Sarah A. Chrisman, describes living her daily life in 2015 as though she and her husband are in the 1880s and 90s.
I can't imagine sewing my own mattress (by hand) and stuffing it with feathers as she did...this would only cause me to lose more sleep than I do now.
But I do like the idea of hunting for all the period items such as they collect and use in their home. I would not want to wear a corset yet the author claims it isn't so difficult. And I do agree that a simpler life would keep them more "in touch with the natural seasons."
For whatever the reason, the man I painted for my vintage series this week looks a tad dejected.
Is he thinking of a sleepless night on his feather mattress?
Or perhaps he knows that after the photo is taken, he must go back to his wretched job, whatever it might be.
If you feel those Monday morning blues today, just tell yourself that you have a comfy mattress waiting for your weary body tonight.
And once the day is done, you are that much closer to the weekend!
Have a great week everyone.