Photo Credit Svitlana
I recently had a chat you a fascinating gentleman about rush lights. Rush lights were commonly used throughout the latter part of the sixteenth century and beyond as a form of lighting. They were made by collecting reeds from ponds and rivers, processed and dried out. Then inside the houses of the more wealthy folk, as the fire was burning brightly and the meat was cooking being constantly turned on the spit, the fat would be collected. The reeds would be run through the fat left to dry and the process continued until you had built up the fatty layers. Poorer families used this method of lighting a lot and collected any spare fat they had, largely bacon fat. The rush light would then be placed in a metal holder and could be lit from either one end, giving a burn time or approximately 20 minutes and then lit from the other end for approximately another 20 minutes. I’m a bit of sucker for where sayings have originated, so If you were feeling particularly extravagant that evening you could get twice the amount of light by lighting both ends of the rush light at once for approximately 20 minutes of burn time, this is where the saying “burning your candle at both ends” comes from. Rush lights were produced as bees wax was extremely expensive and even in the more wealthy of houses such candles were used on more special occassions. It made me appreciate how such a simple thing to us these days, lighting my candle I bought from a shop that I was able to choose not only the colour and size (anything from a tealight up to a pillar candle), but also that I’m able to choose from a gazzilion scents to suit not only my decor but my mood to.
I was particularly interested in this as I’m currently looking at essential oils in candles rather than manufactured scents and it was just a revelation to how different the world is now. It was a gentle reminder to not take things for granted no matter how simple, small or insignificant they may seem.
If only Charles could see us now. I wonder what scent he would choose?
Love and Light