There are three pints of milk in the fridge right now – and they’re in proper glass bottles. Here’s one of them.
100 Years On The Doorstep? Cue some joke about finding it’s turned into cheese. Only I wouldn’t tell it because it would be too…. cheesy.
Still, it’s pretty amazing to have a Milkman these days, they must be a dying breed. If you’re of a certain vintage like me you may remember waking to that whining of a milk float coming down your street, and the rather pleasingly comfortable clinking of bottles. In the cool mist of a dark early morning the sound of Mr Unigate’s footsteps seemed to echo around the houses, as did his quiet cough. He always coughed. Must’ve been the damp.
You probably also recall a Benny Hill single that you knew was a little bit rude but you didn’t know quite why, and the compulsory drinking from miniature bottles at school when you were five. That school milk was, of course, warm and tasted of sick in Summer, but almost knocked your (milk) teeth out and gave you an ice cream headache in Winter. Mind you, at least I found out from my one week of being a Milk Monitor that I was never going to be cut out for a managerial role. I would’ve poured mine – and my friend’s – down the sink if I hadn’t been scared of some unspeakable punishment for such lawlessness. You HAD to drink your milk.
Later there were Humphreys. 'Watch Out, Watch Out, There’s A Humphrey About'. I can’t really remember what that was all about now, yet still that bloody catchphrase has lodged itself in my brain amongst all the other useless items that store themselves there without my conscious intervention. (Like, our very first telephone number - 4260. Only four digits! - and the German word for 'bra' and, well, there are loads of other things too but of course now that I want to think of them, I can’t.) Anyway, yes, you had to watch out as there were Humphreys about trying to steal your milk, and yet bluetits still got the blame for pinching the cream from the tops of the bottles on your doorstep.
After a gap of several decades, we’ve got a Milkman again. I still like waking to that sound of clinking bottles, along with his quiet footsteps, although I don’t think I’ve ever heard him cough and his float doesn’t whine. We’ve had him for some time now but I’ve yet to see him; however, I know his name is Dan because he leaves us a Christmas card every year. He comes in all weathers too, like some invisible superhero. It's hard not to picture him as more Milk Tray Man than Milkman, grasping that bottle of semi-skimmed so provocatively in his black leather gloves, but I suspect he’s a bit of an Ernie in reality. The fastest Milkman in the... East.
Too bad then that in the last few weeks I seem to have developed a bloody lactose intolerance! I'm right off the stuff....
The Nomads: Milk Cow Blues