Moreidlethoughts Weblog

humour,art,gardens, books and whatever idle thoughts float through my mind (it's a very draughty mind.)



In my in-box this morning…I thought readers may be amused.

Manure.  An interesting fact.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, everything had to be transported by
ship and it was also before the invention of commercial fertilizers, so
large shipments of manure were quite common.

It was shipped dry, because in dry form it weighed a lot less than when
wet, but once water (at sea) hit it, not only did it become heavier,
but the process of fermentation began again, of which a by product is
methane gas of course. As the stuff was stored below decks in bundles,
you can see what could (and did) happen.
Methane began to build up below decks and the first time anyone came
below decks at night with a lantern, BOOOOOOOM!

Several ships were destroyed in this manner before it was determined
just what was happening .
After that, the bundles of manure were always stamped with the
instruction ‘ Stow high in transit ‘ on them, wh ich meant for the
sailors to stow it high enough off the lower decks so that any water
that came into the hold would not touch this volatile cargo and start
the production of methane.

Thus evolved the term ‘ S.H.I.T ‘  (Stow High In Transit) which has
come down through the centuries and is in use to this very day.
Bet you didn’t know that !   😉

Here’s Florian Primbs again. Who knew his artwork would be such a handy illustrative device?


Author: dinahmow

A New Zealander, currently living in tropical Queensland,Australia (with 2 cats and one Main Man).Old enough to remember George VI, white tennis balls and life-before-television.You want more? Read the blog!


  1. As my dad says, “You’ve got to be shittin’ me!” lol. I’m going to want to tell this to everyone I know now…


    • m…go for it! It’s almost as good as the “horses’ arse” post of a few years back.

      And I’ve been reading “notebooks” just haven’t found time to comment on each post.But I’m definitely going to try that squashatoni!


  2. Must say, the cow dung didn’t do it for me. I’m really enjoying your photos of the exhibitions we saw, wish I was as organised as you are; I can’t find the catalogues so I’m not sure what or who I’m looking at in my pics. I’m taking off again in a few hours so won’t be even remotely near a computer for a few days. See you later…


  3. really? Is that really true? (checks date for the 01/04) – hmmm – I may just believe you.


  4. The stuff you don’t learn in school! I’m teaching my kids this next time they scold me for letting loose a barrage of colourful language. Which only happens rarely (ahem).

    And that isn’t the first poo art I’ve seen, which just makes me say, what the shit???


  5. I will tell my children this fascinating fact at the next possible opportunity

    thank you!

    veyr educational



  6. No shit? I love this.


  7. linda…(yes, I know who you are!) I suspect it may have been “tweaked” a little, but it’s a good tale.

    ellen and iltv…so pleased I can contribute to the education of your children!


  8. andrea…yes, it’s the off-key stuff that pushes my buttons, too.


  9. As delightful as this story is, it has been debunked on snopes:

    Makes for a good tale however.

    Am also fascinated (and occasionally mystified) by your previous ‘art’ posts. Some things I just so… don’t get….


  10. tara…yes, I thought it was a bit of a stretch.Why? Well, for one thing, sailors couldn’t (most anyway) read and manure was not generally shipped until the 19th century when guano’s effects were realised.
    But it’s a good laugh! 😉


  11. Oh it’s so sad when these things are debunked! I am SOooooo gullible!
    Just wanted to let you know that there is a little something for you over on my latest blog post. If you aren’t into these things, that’s fine – I won’t take it personally.
    Have a great time at the Libris Awards – and please blog about it!!
    Best Wishes,


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