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Old 09 April 2008, 05:55 PM
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Andrew of Ware Andrew of Ware is offline
Join Date: 22 April 2003
Location: Ware, Hertfordshire, England
Posts: 8,017

Not sure about the explanation of 'To get hold of the wrong end of the stick' as referring to to the sticks in Roman latrines. At Housesteads Fort on Hadrian's Wall in the north of England a latrine block still exists, complete with gutters and bowls. The sticks used to wipe your bottom had a sponge on the end and after use were washed in the gutter (which had flowing water from a tank seen at the far end of the photo) and then placed, sponge down, in the bowls which also contained water. Thus the stick would be picked up from the bowls (and so it would be hard to get hold of ther wrong end of the stick) and not passed as the article suggests.

'Brewer's' favours the getting hold of the muddy end of a walking stick as the likely origin.

Last edited by Andrew of Ware; 09 April 2008 at 06:02 PM.
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