Evidence that I have now had dealings with at least two milkmen in my life

I am very excited.  I don't think I've ever been anyone's first ever follower before, but have just signed up to follow Martin Lower's new blog 'A View from the Dark Side'.  Martin is a UK milkman (which, for anyone whose nation does not have milkmen, means he delivers milk to people's doorsteps day by day and is part of a tragic breed of workers which is slowly dying because of the greedy-guts supermarkets). Martin hasn't even written anything yet - just posted up an introductory hello - but I am intrigued to see what follows, because my husband was a milkman for 5 years and, while he was working as one, I learned some stuff.

Here is some of that stuff.

1. Saying to people, 'My third child was fathered by the milkman' can be used as a conversation starter at parties and soon sorts out the snobs from the interesting people.  Snobs walk off, pretending to go and find a bit of unidentifiable fish paste on a cracker, and good luck to them, I say, with the salmonella.  Interesting people say 'Really?  The milkman?! Tell all!  Here, let me top up your wine,' and are worth talking to.

2. Getting a lift to the shops on your husband's milk float is an original way to travel, but only enjoyable in the summer months, or if you're fed up of your 'small hair' and fancy being restyled by an Arctic gale, or if you are undergoing the menopause and can synchronise the experience with the hot flushes.

Even more reasons to find bus travel attractive ...

3. Milkmen get tips from customers at Christmas. Counting those tips is a great family activity which brings parents and children together in a common goal around the kitchen table.  This can lead straight into the family meal, which is the only way I've ever found of having everyone at the table all at once at the right time ready for dinner.

4. Having a husband as a milkman is a great excuse for not getting out of bed in the night if the children wake up.  'You're getting up in half an hour anyway so you can go and clear up the sick,' worked really well for those five years he had to be up at 4.30am for his milk round.  'You're getting up in three hours anyway,' didn't work quite so well, but was always worth a try, especially if converted into 'You've been in bed since 8.30 so you've had plenty of sleep.  Move your butt into the nursery.'

5. A milk float reverses at the same speed as it goes forward, so the milkmen get very practised at reversing.  If your husband is a milkman, therefore, you never have to back down a narrow street again with everyone looking at you as though you are Useless Dork of the Year for edging backwards at one millimetre per hour while a queue of traffic the size of the Wall of China builds up.

Come on, Martin.  Tell us what it's like from your side ....


  1. Why did you allow your husband to give up being a milkman when there are so many bonuses? Or maybe he went on to become a fireman and you're going to provide evidence of your dealings with hot men?? *Sitting back with glass of wine, waiting eagerly.* (Hmm, that * stuff is quite annoying really, but don't let it put you off telling us.)

  2. I still get milk delivered to my doorstep, people don't believe me when I tell them. Support your local milkman.

  3. I get fruits and vegetables delivered to my porch. No kids these days, so we don't do enough dairy to make the delivery worthwhile.

  4. Best of all is getting to know Sue, who lives "all alone in Liddley Lane at number 22"... you got to be the fastest milk float driver in the west, though, to catch her eye... and indeed her currant buns.

  5. Years ago when I was swotting for some hideous exams I promised myself that if I failed I wouldn't resit but would become a milk lady. Sadly I passed.

  6. Chris - I love the * thing. Don't apologise. And why did I let him stop? He got made redundant, but it did pay for a new carpet. Swings and roundabouts.

    Eliza - I don't buy milk from a milkman, but if I ever see one having trouble walking, I will support him then with the kind offer of my arm.

    Linda - There's only us two and we do loads of dairy. Mind you, I am addicted to custard, which goes some way to explaining this.

    Steve - you're showing your age again ....

  7. Wow Fran - pretty good redundancy if you got not only a carpet, but an entire set of play equipment out of it!

    I'm going to try that line at parties, although the 'I used to be a magician's assistant' works quite well too.

  8. Anonymous23/2/11 11:18

    Thanks for the pointer to Martin's blog - I've signed up.
    We don't drink much milk so buy it as we need it. Never seen a milkman around here. Anyway a milk float wouldn't cope with the potholes and would get stuck in the mud.
    Lovely milkman called Harry on The Archers. I have great hopes of Martin....

  9. I've signed up to follow Martin too - poor Martin - he'll have a bonkers following! Our garden overlooks meadows on which the local dairy farm grazes their cattle - magic!

  10. My conversations with Alan (our milkman) are an absolute delight, he is a fount of knowledge about Nottingham, trains, walks around Derbyshire and many other interesting subjects.

    It also means that I don't have to have plastic cartons and can be smugly eco friendly: recycled bottles and electric transport, who could ask for more.

  11. Broken Biro - ho ho about the play equipment. And I like your magician's assistant opening gambit. 'Do you too suffer from excess wind?' also sorts out the sheep from the goats, I find.

    Christine - I listen to the Archers and I haven't noticed Harry yet. I will listen more carefully. (Mind you, I only started listening again after the roof incident ...)

    Vintage - I can't wait to hear Martin's reaction to his sudden following of crazy females.

    Charlotte - You are a saint. Take a merit.

  12. I feel really left out. Milkmen don't deliver to my village (as least I don't think they do), so I don't have anyone to potentially boff and then attribute to my second child.

    The countryside is rubbish.

  13. A milkman! How fun! I was in England for 3 years and I knew people who had milk delivered to them. I thought it was awesome.

  14. Annie - Presumably you have guys who thatch cottages. They're always pretty hunky.

    WW - It is awesome. It also costs twice what supermarket milk does. Hence the problem.

  15. Loved this post! I can even remember the milkman delivering milk and I believe there is somewhat of a revival around, although I think the deliveries include fruit and veg and meat too these days. I never know how much milk we will need from one day to the next so its useless to have it delivered.

  16. A milk float sounds to me like a beverage.
    Like a root beer float: root beer with ice cream in it.
    I gather, however, that a milk float is a vehicle, and not milk with ice cream in it.

  17. This Martin was a milkman for three years, too, 1974-77. It was one of the least boring jobs I ever had. The stories I could tell...well, perhaps not here.

  18. I did not know that there were still milkman out delivering. Your blog is a fount of information that I don't find elsewhere :)

  19. 1. I miss my milkman! He drove a truck painted to look like a giant cow.
    2. My favorite has always been "I used to perform singing telegrams" but nothing can top "...excess wind".
    3. Perhaps you should warn Martin.
    4. Do you enjoy being a fount?

  20. We had a nutter of a milkman. He hacked down some shrubs along my path. I thought the builders we had in had done it but they swore blind it wasn't them, " Not us misses we just drink all your tea & eat all your biscuits "

    My brother was a milkman for a while and used to take one of his daughters on the round when she couldn't sleep .

  21. Another nutter ( yes we have a few in this village ) took her shoes off and put them on the milk float & started dancing along the road...the milk float drove off with her dancing along behind it. It was quite a spectacle !
    Actually, thinking about it, it's something I might do for the sheer entertainment value of seeing the look on my kids' faces !!!

  22. Ca88andra (your blog name causes my touch-typist's fingers unusual hassle ...!) - A revival! Yay! Let us sing hymn no 31 - 'God bless the milkman in his firmament'

    June - the words 'milk float' will, I reckon, be obsolete in the current meaning in years hence, and then we can invent a drink called 'milk float' and no one will misunderstand.

    Martin H - go on, you know you want to ..... not even just a little poem?...

    The Merry - cancel your subscription to your daily newspaper. All you need is right here.

    I'm Crayon - are you sure it WASN'T a giant cow? What a superb way of delivering milk in the mornings.

    bad penny - where is it you live again? Perhaps you could charge and we'll all come and gawp at your selection of neighbours ...

  23. You didn't need to follow the blog in order to get warning of when it will be updated : you will be able to hear that old-familiar rattle of glass bottles as your milkman-blogger goes about his businness.

  24. My grandparents were married and childless for 13 years and then had three children within 5 years. I often wonder if I have milkman ancestry. (Though I don't think your husband is old enough to be the culprit, Fran.)

  25. I now have a few new questions for my milkman's wife when she comes round for the money.

  26. Alan - And I love the whine of the milk-float going up the street at 4am. And I love even more the knowledge that someone is out there before dawn, and it isn't me.

    Isabelle - I'll ask him for you. I'm sure he's been lying about his age all this time anyway.

    The Coffee Lady - he sends his wife? Coward!!! Thanks for your comment.

  27. I don't know what to say! I never expected anyone would want to read anything I wrote, and now I find I have a public!! Fran, thank you so much. Now to see whether I can cope with the expectation.........

  28. Oh, it's been ages since I've seen a milkman. I think they should do central London deliveries, you know? I'm sure it would boost my spirits.

  29. Must go and see Martin, I hope he has written about his floating days.

    As for you, trust you to throw your hard working milkman husband out of bed even earlier than he needs to get up anyway.
    How did he manage with the tin foil nappies?

  30. Martin - you have a public, but don't celebrate too soon. Everyone's completely loopy. I know you don't sleep much as it is, but you might as well give up now on ever having a peaceful night's sleep again.

    Talli - I agree, but can you imagine a poor milk float competing with the rest of the crazy London traffic? It would cause a jam that would snake half way to Yorkshire.

    Friko - I have to say, he never got the hang of changing those nappies quietly. In the end, I had to wear ear plugs. And stop slandering me on Martin Milko's blog, you traitor.

  31. I've signed up to follow Fran - it look like just the sort of odd thing that will appeal to me! I have my milk delivered and also cheese, eggs and the occasional bird box (!) delivered by a mysterious man who we succinctly call the "cheese-man". Ahhhhh the excitement of village life....


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