Monday, 7 March 2011

Bonio, Bonio, wherefore art thou Bonio?

Back to work last week I'm afraid. I spend my time doing other people's rounds, to cover for holidays and sickness. So, I found myself doing a round near Lewes (East Sussex), so the regular milkman (Mick) could have a week off. Mick's been doing the same round for over thirty years, and as you can imagine he's very well known in the local area. Especially by the dogs, who quickly got used to Mick having a supply of dog biscuits with him. Unfortunately for me, he must have run out........

Still, I managed to last the week without being bitten, although one or two enthusiastic dogs tried to get inside the cab and help themselves! And an elderly collie tried every trick in the book, the big brown eyes, the gentle whining, the shifting from foot to foot. If he'd been able to speak, he couldn't have asked any harder!

A former (now retired), colleague told me that when he first did a milk round (in London in the fifties), he used a horse and cart. Apparently, the horses knew the rounds better than the milkmen, so it was almost impossible to 'miss' a call. If a customer went away for a while, the milkman still had to walk up and down the path, because the horse wouldn't move until he had!

Another colleague used to give his sandwiches to the seagulls. His wife made them for him, and he wasn't brave enough to tell her he didn't like them! So, at a certain point on his round, he'd reach out of the window and throw them onto the roof of his float, so the gulls could take them. I was working with him one day, when he happened to mention that he'd forgotten his sandwiches. When we reached the usual 'feeding point', there were several loud thuds, as a gull landed on the roof of the float and hopped around as it discovered the table was bare. It then landed on the road and glared at us! If you don't believe a seagull can glare, you should have been there that day....

You can see all sorts of wildlife early in the morning. Foxes and rabbits are the most common, but I occasionally see deer, badgers, llamas and the odd horse or cow that may have escaped from it's field. A couple of months ago, I saw an owl, caught in the headlights as it flew low across a road. Fantastic! Oh, and increasingly common (particularly at weekends), lesser-spotted drunks.........


  1. Love the tale of the naughty husband flinging wifey's sarnies - what did he eat?! And re the wildlife, deer and foxes, ok - ?llamas? Actually there are quite a few llama farms about now I know. Do you ever get milk nicked from your float? (I only ask, because we used to do that as students, many years ago ;) )

  2. You are a very entertaining writer, Martin Milko. I really enjoyed this post. My husband used to be a 'rounds supervisor' like you, too. He used to find out all kinds of things about what happened on the rounds he covered .... And in answer to Vintage Tea Time, he used to get milk pinched from the float all the time.

  3. What, no ladies of the night in a state of undress?

  4. Nice interesting tales! Thanks.

  5. Vintage Tea Time - I've no idea what he used to eat - it certainly wasn't his sarnies! His wife is a lovely lady, but much bigger than him! And Fran's right, we do get milk stolen, although usually off the doorstep not off the float.

    Fran - Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it. If it's half as good as yours, then I'll be more than happy.

    Friko - Alas, this is Eastbourne. This is where ladies of the night come to retire. So no state of undress (and probably no teeth either)!

    I'm Crayon - Glad you liked them. I'll try and think of some more.......

    Frances - When I remember some more I'll put them on here. Assuming they're not slanderous of course....

  6. Yes, the rounds supervisor gets all the 'fun' jobs. Once, when covering for a colleague, I opened a back gate (in the dark) and started off down the garden path, when my foot met with a cluster of 'empties'. I thought the kind-hearted customer had placed them there, to save me the long walk to the door. Wrong! Out of the gloom, a dirty great German Shepherd came at me. The 'empties' were about a foot further on from the end of his chain. I dropped the milk and ran, while the dog was snapping and snarling.

  7. Great post Martin, you are obviously a natural. I love that you have seen a badger, I would love to see one that wasn't roadkill!

  8. I enjoyed your first 2 posts Martin, but I am getting weary of checking every day ( as one does) for more and finding none! Hope all is well with you. I shall try again in a week, and then give up if nothing new. X


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