Milk and Less

We have had our milk delivered to the doorstep every day for the last forty years. A reliable faithful service provided without any fuss or hesitation. Also trust that you would pay at the end of the week. A socially distanced service before anyone had heard of Coronapop. A short handwritten note left in the evening could amend the order and have it on your doorstep, before you are awake the next day. Even better than Amazon Prime and no flurry of Emails or extra delivery costs !

Of course the middle of the night deliverers have changed over the years. Mr. Robinson – our original milkman – retired after a long career never seeing his customers, but trusted and valued by all of them. Since then we have had a steady succession of milkmen still with the same everyday service. A few things have changed – Mr Robinson’s silent, electric milk float was ahead of its time, tip- toeing through the night with no carbon footprint, later it was replaced by a diesel version. We didn’t know about climate change back then, but the cows have a lot to answer for.
The service was enhanced with orange juice and eggs …. and bottled water……….and bread ….. and even more things at Christmas. Every house got a Christmas card and the milkman got a tip.
Sadly it’s a fairytale without a happy ending. Along came a corporate business with great ambitions – Why not take over all the small milkmen? – and create a UK-wide milk empire. Call it “ Milk and More”. Economies of scale; bulk purchase of goods; widen the product offer; centralise the back office administration. I’m not sure Mr. Robinson ever had a back office.
It all went well for a while – there were printed colour glossy brochures of the enhanced product range; the occasional free gift to introduce new lines and even TV adverts ! The administration of all this became more complex and much less personal. The back office was a long way from the front line.

The somebody in the back office had an idea of how to simplify the payment system and get rid of all the small change and notes on the door step. Go on-line with orders a get customers to pay by direct debit. Just one problem – the back office staff had never ever met any customers, so they didn’t know that lots of them were elderly and didn’t trust computers, even if they were on-line in the first place; nor did they like the remoteness of direct debits.
Cancel the milk today was the final note on the doorstep.

That is how “Milk and More” became “Milk and Less”.

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4 Responses to Milk and Less

  1. God and tamborines??
    Remember those days of yore as a youngster? Who saw who? who talked to whom? In days past someday’s coming home from school, other days with mum off school listening to the radio, and ”listen with mother” . then a knock on the door! postie with a parcel or letter to be signed for, or the telegragph boy with that dreaded telegram? Or There again ‘GOD’ in all his wisdom, a couple of players from the local Jehovia Witnesses, or there again a couple of young american gentlemen from the Christain scientist church, delivering words of wisdom form MORMON? Mum had great delight in listening to their many and varied discussion points; then declaring the local catholic priest was on his way to talk about Jesus and GOD!
    IN the morning we had Mr. harrison, with his electric cart delivering milk and eggs, then the paper boys from ‘TEALES’ our local newsagent, or Mr Clark- my sister’s {Pussy] friend {Pauline fall out of the push chair- one of a family of 5 kids] on a Sunday. Saturday was the day of reckoning and all monies and future orders were exchanged. Not forgetting on our way to school passing the end of the road telephone box was Bobby Jay, waiting for that telephone call from the local police station, to sign on or off duty, sometimes in the morning, midday or evening.. Then not forgetting friday night the tamborines and god loves you songs, the delivery of the ;WAR Cry’ and those Bonnets on the ladies, and the brass band of the ‘SALLY ARMY’ these days the streets were alive, not like now and COCOron POPS, empty? Very sad?
    These were the deliveries to the street and people: I cannot remember a grocery delivery service door to door like todays super markets; but then hey we had Mr Clark with his green vegatables and fruit van service tolling a school bell on week days in the street encouraging the ladies to come and buy from the back of his van {papers were a sunday job only/ the van was daily], or one had Mr Towers with his dry grocery van selling door to door. So it was all there?
    If Mum wished a gossip besides the neighbours there was the local Abbey Stores or the Co-Op for her weekly shop.
    Like John at 75+ I feel something is missing from life, and they are called people?? The web may have contact, but is it with the ”SOUL”’ I ask politely???

  2. people and importance?
    Today for a run out Molly and I went to the Grand Union Canal village of Stoke Bruene, the site of the Canal Society Museum, run by British Waterways, as I once knew them.
    At the canal side are or is PUBS, shops, Restuarant, cafe, and the Waterways Museum, In the canal basin on the top lock, just before the stoke bruene canal tunnel, are various barges, some historical working barges , bargee run barge shops selling waterway artifacts, and one of my old memories the passenger barge names ”Charlie” run by some enthusiasts of canal travel. All there to fill ones curiosity, and me many a happy memory.
    ”Charlie” was built in Daventry; by a boat company, the owner of which rode a ‘penny farthing’ bike for enjoyment
    However this is not the full story at the time in the mid 70’s I was a government ship surveyor, inspecting and recommending passenger carrying water bound craft, sea going and river/canal craft for a legal passenger certificate. I was instructed as it was within the district of my office to meet the builders -HANCOCK and Lane-, and the owners and guide the legal requirements for a passenger carrying certificate { over 12 souls on board}- the minimum number allowed on a ship, boat, without a passenger certificate, was less than 12 souls- {child or adult}. The owners were Linda and Charles Crossley [related to the Halifax Carpet Empire of Crossleys Carpets].
    They all ready operated a passenger barge on the Grand Union at Cosgrove, called ”LINDA’
    That is Mrs Crossley to me and you!!!. During the build of ”Charlie” named after mr, Crossley, and I was with them and the builders to do an inclining test at their station in Cosgrove, a full days inspections. Linda, Mrs Crossley was a lady of certain Character, and Charles an absolute pussy in her arms. We came across a problem? The barge Charlie was laid out as it would be in service, and the persons require for the inclining test assembled-[on this occasion weights sacks of potatoes, not real persons?] positioned as per as the real adult passengers would be in each seat,! So far so good: Then I enquired what was the weight of each of this sacks/persons {85 Kg each -i believe-[memory]
    They had no way of weighing these people: My day was wasted. then Charles Mr. Crossley had a bright idea, wait Linda has a set of bathroom scales with an upper limit over 85 kg. So we checked the scales with a known weight, and then Charles brought out the bathroom scales to the Boat /Barge Charlie Linda saw them and went ‘bananas’ However I expressed a wish to conclude the day, Mrs Crossley ‘Linda; reluctantly agreed. The test was completed as per the regulations, and submitted for approval.
    At the end of this visit i undid and removed my boiler suit {appropriate attire required for a full ship inspection} Alas with the bending and stretching, and personal movements so that the test was conducted correctly, my boiler suit off, however my trousers were rent asunder, Linda just Laughed, Charlie just stated that was my reward for utalising the bathroom scales of LINDA.
    Then LINDA shouted @TAKE EM OFF@???? I stood now not now full of piss and importance, but in my undies trouserless while Linda sewed up the torn trousers. Molly when i retold the story just laughed and said thank you to Linda, and called me names?
    So Charlie started off life at Cosgrove, with its passenger certificate limits, and then later at the request By the WATERWAYS Museum to Linda and Charlie Crossleys transfered with new passenger sailing limits to Stoke Bruene.
    So today ”Charlie” and I share a memory or two!!!

  3. milk more milk, please sir/miss?
    I lay in bed reading John’s billy do! on mr Robinson and his milk round in sunny warwickshire, and I gently drift back over my life, and that commodity milk!
    AS a youngster growing up in wartime britain, and as an evacuee to upper wensleydale, my morning duties were to take mums milk container ( 2 pinter-metal with a carring handle) daily up to metcalfs farm and have them fill our milk can, I would then return home safely with the milk.
    I often sat in Metcalfs byer and watch tom, ken metcalf milk the cows at milking time, by hand and filling the milking buckets- They would then take the buckets to the dairy and there was a framework of a large tank/bowl on top, underneath was a cooling condenser- where the milk would flow down the outside, and within the frame there would be cold water circulating, so we had warm/fresh milk
    from the cows, flowing down over a condenser/cooler into a collection funnel, and finally into a large milk churn, all nice and cool. Ken, Tom and Mr Metcalf would then by Horse and cart take the full churns down to the village collection point for ‘EXPRESS DAIRIES’ who would collect the Milk churns and take then to the wholesale dairy in Hawes. Where the milk was forwarded on by rail after being treated (pasturised- skimmed and other treatments-modern red top) to the London distribution centres, for sale. The railway in then wensleydale ran from Northallerton, through wensleydale to Hawes and Gale- on the Carlislie to Leeds railway LMS To London.
    We then in 47 went to Hamburg to live as a family ( Control Commission German BAOR). Here our food stuffs could only be bought/obtained from the NAFFI and our milk was tins of evaporated milk, or tins of condensed milk-everything was tinned- no fresh milk, even on porriage?I cannot remember a cornflakes cereal of any kind?.
    We then came back to blightly and London, back to Express Dairies and the milk I knew delivered this time in pint bottle with carboard caps (at grannies). WE then came to Leeds and Mr Harrison with his milk float, and daily deliveries from Halifax Dairies, again all in pint bottles with a foil top.
    At school Halifax dairies delivered ( I was a milk monitor-for my sins) in 1/3 pint bottles crated 24 bottles per crate to the school gate, and each child would be treated to a bottle of milk, with a straw to suck up the milk. Then Halifax Dairies was taken over by ‘Craven Dairies; later on by ‘Associated Dairies’ or as we all know now ‘ASDA; and later ‘WALMART’.
    Now I buy my milk at the supermarket and enjoys a litre plastic container of ‘ASLA: Cravendale MILK” so the story has an ending, I am back to my yorkshire dales of my childhood, all though a pint, but this time maybe on occasions ‘Taddy ales or John Smiths; shandy bitter with ‘Busfields’ lemonade? Memories

  4. Milk and less? What Honey?? Love? Over 75+ years of age??
    The elephant is within the room again. This mornings Saturdays Daily Mail page 25, a full page article on the DUKE OF Edinburgh, and his quiet exit from this mortal world?? Do we all discuss it, or quote the wrongs of Dr. Shipman, those many moons ago, and the alternative of a trip to the clinic in Switzerland?
    Are we the Zoo Keeper? or does one kill the elephant??
    Smiles and Grumbles has been here before?? Check the reading lists?

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