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Disappearing milkmen a sad sign of the times

Does anyone remember Mr Reid? He was our milkman when I was a child in the 1940s.

We lived in Ballynafeigh and every day milk was delivered to all the houses in our street. It came in glass bottles, which when empty were washed and returned (this was recycling at its most effective).

We children loved to see the big float turn into the street. It wasn't because we loved Mr Reid - nice man that he was. No, the float was pulled by a horse. It was an extraordinary horse. It knew exactly where to stop and how long it should take for the delivery. Sometimes, it would became impatient.

Mr Reid was always ready to help anyone in difficulty. He would have changed light bulbs, or, indeed, given a hand to anyone in trouble.

This sometimes delayed him, and any delay to its schedule was not welcomed by the horse. If its master spent too long at any stop, it just moved on without him. We children loved it. We offered titbits like carrots, or a bit of (stale) bread.

The milkman has disappeared from our streets and we now pick up plastic containers in supermarkets.

They may be convenient and inexpensive, but - like the horse-drawn milk float - will no doubt in time become obsolete.

Will they be remembered with such pleasure and affection? I don't think so.


London SW16

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