When I was growing up, everyone seemed to have their milk delivered in glass bottles, with foil tops, by the milk-man who drove a funny little milk float around.
The milk-man would normally leave your required number of bottles in a milk caddy outside your front door. It was then up to you to bring the milk in before the birds started pecking at the top to see if they could reach the cream.
I remember with great pride that one day the milk-man knocked on our front door and asked if he could borrow me. His milk-float had broken down and he wanted me to sit in the milk-float to make sure nobody tampered with it, while he walked down to the nearest telephone box. I was so excited sitting in the front of the milk-float while all the other children were jealously looking on.
I know what you are thinking – Caramel is old! Well, I am not that old. I was born in the eighties, and back then hardly anyone had a landline telephone in our street, nevermind a mobile device. If you wanted to use the telephone, you would walk down to the nearest little parade of shops with your bag of ten pence coins. The world has just started to move at a super-fast pace. All the developments in technology make me look old, when I start to talk about they way things were when I was a lass.
Many of us have fond memories of the milk-man. However, in the area I grew up in, the milk-float disappeared from our streets at one stage, which I think was around the time that new 24-hour supermarkets and budget supermarkets were appearing. People now had their own car and would go down to the supermarket and spend over £100 on the family shopping and stock up on large plastic containers of milk. I have never had to do a big family shop, but I have seen people in front of me at the supermarket with a full trolley of food for their family spend between £200-£300 at a time.
I was pleased to find that in this little pocket of London, there was a very lovely milk-man when I moved here, driving round in a sweet milk float and delivering foiled topped glass bottles of milk (and even groceries if you put in an order). There is a little milk caddy outside my landlady’s front door and she sets the dial to say if she wants one pint, two pints if she has guests, or nothing if she is going away on holiday. She always has semi-skimmed milk.
I don’t drink milk – I seem to have a bit of a lactose intolerance or something. I buy soya milk, cashew milk, almond milk and occasionally lacto-free milk at the big supermarket instead. But nonetheless, I did love seeing the milk-man in his milk-float! Those who have their milk delivered by the milk-man like to support a much loved traditional part of the community – the local milk-man.
He was a chirpy chappy who always had a jolly greeting for you. He was faithful and reliable. The milk was always there, rain, hail, and shine (I don’t think he came when it snowed…I cannot remember to be honest). But you get the point, we all thought he was wonderful!
Then one day the milk stopped coming. No milk for two weeks. Just empty milk bottles sitting outside the front door waiting to be collected. We found the contact details for the milk suppliers and called them. Apparently there was an outstanding amount owed on the account. This seemed strange because normally the milk-man would leave a note to say how much was due and my landlady promptly left a cheque for him.
It turned out, we had a new milk-man. Nobody knows what happened to our old milk-man. We have asked all the neighbours. It appears nobody knows what what happened to him. It is a mystery. The mystery of the missing milk-man.
Now you may think I should put this mystery out of my mind, however, there is more, much more. I am going to continue this mysterious puzzle in other posts. I have to go out to work now and will not be back at the little nest until midnight.
I have been observing and making deductions and I have several theories to explain the disappearance of our old milk-man. I am eager to share with you my investigative conclusions in another post. The finger of suspicious is pointing straight at…THE NEW MILK-MAN!!!