His milky deposits were all over the place. He had to go.

It’s official – I have finally dumped the milkman.

Before those of you born before the 1970s start mentally stockpiling a host of ‘lonely housewives’ jokes, I must point out that nothing untoward ever happened between the milkman and I: chance would be a fine thing; he always turned up about two hours after I’d gone to work.

Not my milkman. Not by a long fucking shot

Not my milkman. Not by a long fucking shot

And therein lies the problem. Like ships that passed in the night we suffered a largely unsatisfying, long-distance relationship: he visited my house at about 9.30am, I was unable to deal with his milky deposits until around 4pm. I don’t regret our liaison, I just wish things hadn’t turned so sour between us.

My flirtation with milk delivery was borne from a desire to lessen the family’s carbon footprint by off-setting the huge volume of party bag/pound shop plastic tat which makes a short stop-off at my house on its way to landfill sites by purchasing milk in recyclable glass bottles.

It was also a result of the milkman knocking on my door and practically begging me to support his round by hinting that if I didn’t, countless old people would end up mummifying in their under-heated homes, bereft of all human company because I’d been too selfish to have my dairy products delivered.

Im not saying anything bad will happen if you cancel your milk order. But it so will.

I'm not saying anything bad will happen if you cancel your milk order. Equally, I'm not saying that it won't.

Or, as the Dairy UK website puts it: “You would be amazed at the important role milkmen and ladies play in the local community, from rendering help and assistance to customers to preventing fires and serious crime.”

And all that at around 10 mph in a large-scale toy car.

Don’t get me wrong, there were some good times, times when milk was delivered before mid-morning and when it was rescued from the front door before it was unacceptably warm or knocked over by ‘Borrowed Time’, the street’s feral yet puny 89-year-old stray cat.

Additionally, my family had grown accustomed to the idiosyncrasies of having our milk delivered; in other words we were used to having either a fridge overflowing with the white stuff or having absolutely no milk whatsoever.

While our rank inefficiency to create some kind of easy-to-operate system of using milk bottles in the order they were delivered was to blame for the majority of the milk waterfall tumbling into the sewage system, it wasn’t the only factor conspiring against the success of our thrice-weekly deliveries.

Nine times out of ten in a British summer, you can guarantee that your doorstep is going to be colder, and definitely wetter, than your fridge.
On the one day in ten that it isn’t, however, you can guarantee that the milkman will be delivering, leaving your pints to slowly roast in the full glare of the sun. You’ve heard of doorstep bread – we had doorstep cheese.

On one occasion, the milk I took in from outside my front door had turned so badly that I had to poke offending lumps of it down the plughole with a Star Wars Lego light sabre. For this time and planet-saving gesture, I was paying around a third more than when I’d just gone to the supermarket and bought milk that could actually be consumed. It was like a form of expensive, milky masochism.

It was at this point that I decided that something had to be done. Quickly.

Four months later, and after many tortured dreams about little old ladies rotting in their hallways because their milkman had been forced to abandon his ill-subscribed delivery round and could no longer check they were still alive, I decided to take action.

A month after that, and unwilling to deliver the cutting blow in person, I wrote a desperately middle-class note to the milkman about how I was dreadfully sorry, but I didn’t think I could have my milk delivered any longer on account of the fact that I’d like to go back to the days when I could eat my cereal without holding my nose.

I apologised, profusely and somewhat creepily, and waited like a nervous lover for his response.

I knew that just one hastily manufactured sob story, one sad tale about lost livelihoods, mouldy pensioners, soaring crime rates and flaming buildings and I’d have relented, reinstated my order and probably added a few pints of orange juice and the Dairy Diary, too.

A week later, I received a terse bill, with the words “BY WEDNESDAY” written on it, despite the fact that I had already wrestled with the firm’s woefully inept call centre and paid in full by debit card (a  process which aged me by around five years).

The milkman then visited on three more occasions, refusing to believe that I’d paid up, his face stony and cold, like fury itself coated in overly-tanned and leathery skin. Harsh words were spoken. He accused me of theft. I accused him of harassment. Breaking up is so very hard to do.

I can’t say I don’t still feel a little bit guilty, but I figure that while there’s no point crying over spilt milk, there’s equally no point vomiting over sour milk you’ve just paid over-the-odds for, either.

*** This dairy-inspired post is dedicated to The Food Here Convenience Store. Hither ye to my blogroll to appreciate the milky deposits of Ram, a true Milk Man ***


10 Responses to “His milky deposits were all over the place. He had to go.”

  1. February 18, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    Not to worry, the displaced milkman can always find gainful employment as a chimney sweep, telegraph operator, or horse-drawn trolley conductor for the local coal merchant.

  2. February 18, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    I don’t know why people insist on using unauthorized photo’s of me on their websites. Sure, it’s probably my awesome good looks. Still, a lot of work went into me being me and I feel ripped off. However, for you, I will allow this travesty to continue.

    (By the way, the left side of my face has cleared up greatly since that photo was taken. The ear? Not so much).

  3. 3 okathleen
    February 18, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    Ernie was only fifty-two, he didn’t want to die
    Now he’s gone to make deliveries
    In that milkround in the sky
    Where the customers are angels
    And ferocious dogs are banned
    And a milkman’s life is full of fun
    In that fairy dairy land
    But a woman’s needs are many fold
    And Sue she married Ted
    But strange things happened on their wedding night
    As they lay in their bed
    Was that the trees a rustling
    Or the hinges of the gate
    Or Ernie’s ghostly goldtop a rattling in their crate
    They won’t forget Ernie (Ernie)
    And he drove the fastest milkcart in the west


  4. 4 Ram Venkatararam
    February 19, 2009 at 12:41 am

    Thank you WIB for the dedication. I’m quite touched.

    It is my hope that someday my name will be synonymous with spoiled, lumpy, yellowing milk. Thank you for helping to make my dream come true.

  5. February 19, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Wow, I didn’t even know there were still milkmen let alone they were such harassers!

  6. February 20, 2009 at 4:58 am

    Milk delivery in the states ended around the time they quit making glass bottles and went to cartons and plastic cartons.

  7. February 20, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Oh, I forgot to mention. Congrats on having the top position for the tag, “ooh lots of thinly veiled semen gags”. That is a very competitive tag and to be the sole owner must feel very rewarding. (Not to mention it must drive your hits like crazy).

  8. 8 brucehood
    February 20, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    Sorry to read that things have gone sour

    I can recommend this milkman.

    You wont care what state he leaves your milk in and it will feel like being a student again!


  9. February 20, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    Thank you all for your comments, as ever hugely appreciated, apart from if they’re cleverer than my own post in which case, you know, they’re a bit bittersweet.

    Michael – as you say, there are never enough people in Britain sweeping chimneys, operating telegraphs or conducting trolleys. My milkman is not worthy of any of these jobs. He is qualified only to deliver milk badly, threaten customers and, possibly, test for poisonous gas down mines. I shall leave these suggestions on the doorstep forthwith.

    Tannerleah – trust you to notice the tag. Filthy mind. I like it.

    OKathleen – Ernie was number one in the year I was born. I feel affinity to it – perhaps that’s why I wanted milk delivered in the first place. The record that was actually number one when I was born was T-Rex, Hot Love. Now there was a man that could have driven a milk float.

    Ram – a man who brings milk to the world’s attention for all the right reasons. Some of the right reasons. A reason. Maybe.

    Bruce – now THAT is a milk man. And a dream boat, to boot. I like the idea of leaving a note: “Two pints today, please, some orange juice, a dozen eggs and a half of your smoothest Moroccan”. Sweet.
    Ahmnodt Heare – I think the US had the right idea. If it wasn’t for our cotton picking recycling ethic, we too could have disposed of milk men many years ago.

    Senseless Jewels – oh yeah, milk men exist. Damn them. Damn them all.

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