Michael Houston would like to meet J.S.Bach (whose second missus would have had big feet)

J.S.Bach ... composer and foot-enlarger.

J.S.Bach … composer and foot-enlarger.

Your hard-working member happened to be tuned in to the National station this afternoon when he heard classical pianist Michael Houston chatting about the people he would like to take with him on a voyage to Marsh.

Johann Sebastian Bach was on his list.

Alf can’t imagine the great composer being a great conversationalist, other than to ask his missus if she was in the mood tonight, something that presumably happened fairly often because he had heaps of kids.

The tally is recorded here.

Of the seven children that Johann Sebastian Bach had with his first wife only three survived him. Two of these had musical careers of their own: Wilhelm Friedemann and the aforementioned Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach.

After his first wife died, Johann Sebastian Bach then married Anna Magdalena Wilcken, herself a gifted soprano and daughter of the court trumpeter of Prince Saxe-Weissenfels. They had 13 children, of whom Gottfried Heinrich, Johann Christoph Friedrich and Johann Christian became significant musicians.

This information, when combined with information gleaned only today from the Daily Mail (see here) is instructive about the size of the Bach spouses’ feet.

The second Mrs Bach likely had bigger feet than the first Mrs Bach.

That’s because –

Women’s feet really can increase in size when they are expecting – and the change can be permanent, a study has shown.

Researchers were testing the claim often made by women that they rise a shoe size during pregnancy, when flat feet are a common problem.

It seems an actress by name of Denise Van Outen revealed two years ago that during her pregnancy with daughter Betsy her feet grew from size five to six – and stayed that way.

It further seems she would not be alone in being lumbered with bigger feet after bearing a child.

Doctors believe the arch of the foot flattens out, possibly due to the extra weight and increased looseness of the joints associated with pregnancy.

And the new study, published in the March issue of the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, suggests this loss of arch height is permanent.

The University of Iowa study followed 49 pregnant women and collected arch measurements, both at rest and when walking, during the first trimester of pregnancy, and again five months after childbirth.

And the results?

The researchers found that 60 to 70 per cent of the women in the study saw arch height and measures of arch rigidity decrease significantly from early pregnancy to five months after childbirth, causing corresponding increases in foot length – between 2mm and 10mm – and arch drop.

The Grumbles’ thirst for knowledge knows no bounds, of course, and Mrs G. set out to find out which one woman has borne the most sprogs.

The answer (here) is that the record for most babies born to one woman is 69.

She was the first wife of Feodor Vassilyev, a peasant from Shuya, Russia who lived from 1707-1782. We can only speculate how many fire safety ordinances he violated by housing all his progeny in his little peasant sized hovel.

And how did she manage this feat, given most women only have about 30-ish years of baby making ability?

She gave birth to sixteen pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets, and four sets of quadruplets; so basically a veritable baby making factory who scoffs at “one at a timing” it. Amazingly, 67 of her children survived infancy, which was a remarkable rate for the day.

The mind boggles.

But to what extent did the same thing happen to Mrs Vassilyev’s feet?


One Response to Michael Houston would like to meet J.S.Bach (whose second missus would have had big feet)

  1. anniversary Quotes for friends

    Michael Houston would like to meet J.S.Bach (whose second missus would have had big feet) | Alf Grumble

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