Thursday, 24 February 2011

A View From Behind The Wheel

So what's it like being a milkman? To start with, you have to be the sort of person who can joyfully leap out of bed at 1.30am. Or, if not joyfully, at least be the sort who doesn't mind too much. I have also become expert at getting dressed in the dark, this being an essential skill if you have any sort of partner. An ability to move quietly, and to leave the house without slamming the front door, is also much appreciated.

Driving an electric float is an experience not to be missed! It's basically the same as an automatic car, only harder work. No brake servo or power steering, I'm afraid. Oh, and no stereo, heater, windscreen washer, proper windows, comfy seat, proper doors, carpet or acceleration either. They must have brakes, (I've never yet had to put my foot through the floor Fred Flintstone style), but you wouldn't know it! They are also heavy and built like tanks, and although they don't look much, they will go straight through any car. So, to any of you that may have been stuck behind one; yes we really do own the road!

The rest of it is pretty much as you may expect. Just delivering milk and various goods to customer's doorsteps. And occasionally getting wet. And cold. And bitten. I suppose it must suit me on some level - I've been doing it for fifteen years! It was great when the kids were small, I used to have every afternoon with them. Now they are old enough to have a key, we only see them when they want something; usually a shower, food or clean clothes. But that's a story for another time.........

And we have computers! Oh yes. Only the hand held sort, (I've been mistaken for a meter reader on several occasions), but a computer none the less. And you can order stuff on the interweb thingy, and have it delivered the next day! We've been dragged kicking and screaming into the twentieth century. Now, if we could only manage to cope with the twenty-first......


  1. They didn't have computer thingies when my husband was a milkman. He had a quill and a piece of parchment, if I remember rightly. Good post, Martin. Keep it up.

  2. Seriously Martin, a prom queen has more shelter! Is that why it's called a "float"?

  3. I had no idea they are built like a tank - they always look so vulnerable.
    I used to love hearing the chinking sound of the milk bottles being delivered around five am....sadly our dog started to bark loudly & wake not only the household up but all the neighbours too !

  4. Hi Martin, nice to meet you....I too found you via Fran! It's the first time I have read a "new" blog"....looking forward to hearing about your life in milk!

  5. Right, off you float . . .

    Computer thingies? what are they? Can you order a pint with them?
    And what's going to happen on the 21st? Or am I just thick?

    Good luck with the blog, you'll get the hang of it; all we ever do is waffle. And most of us are friendly. But watch that Fran, I'm not so sure about her . . . .

  6. Don't listen to a word Friko says. That kind lady persona in her photo .... hah!

  7. This is great - fell over this blog via Fran's (thank you) and no, of course it won't be dire, we just won't let you, lol!

  8. Your post takes me back, Martin, 1974-76. I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Welcome to blogland!

  9. Fran - I remember the parchment and quill! Well, books anyway. Guess whose job is was to write out the new set? Thank you for your encouragement, you may live to regret it!

    I'm Crayon - I've no idea why they are called floats, but if anybody out there knows don't keep it to yourself.

    bad penny - The chinking sound is probably the milkman dropping an empty bottle or two. Your dog is barking at the swearing.....

    Frances - Thank you for your welcome, I hope I don't disappoint!

    Friko - You can indeed order a pint with them! And, you may even get it if the battery holds out.....

    Gillie - I'm used to threats from women, I'm married after all!

    Martin H. - Welcome comrade! 1974 was the Confessions of a Milkman era wasn't it? Of course, we're all focused and professional now.....

    Thank you all for your encouragement!


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