One morning, just after I had Miss B, I was sat by my bedroom window, feeding a tiny baby in the soft light of dawn. When I heard a familiar...almost iconic...buzzzzzzz-clink-clink-buzzzzzzzzz!
Someone on my road still had a milkman.
Did Milk Men....Women (?)...persons, still exist?
I was thrilled by all the childhood memories such a simple sound brought back.
One winter so cold it left the tops of the milk frozen, milk slushies; watching a blue tit pecking its way through the top of a neighbour's gold top; the feeling of bottles so cold they made your hands ache and your heart a little anxious that you might not make it to the table, with your heavy glass burden;
the yearning to drive the float...and then the envy when Jim'll Fix It, fixed it for some lad to do it (and some girl danced with Shakin' Stevens....but thats another pipe dream....?!)
As a grown up, I wanted the bottles...much more aesthetically pleasing!
The ease and simple joy of opening the door and finding pints of Fresh Milk (Mr B and I frequently half joke about our need for a cow!). Putting an end to the mountain of plastic bottles we accumulate in the B household. And truthfully, I wanted my children to have these same memories, tradition, to have a part in keeping 'Milk Persons' buzzing about in their floats!
So yesterday we got one!
What a revelation! You can now email these lovely people(click for link to milkandmore site); change your order right up to nine o'clock the night before; order everything from eggs to dog food, fruit to fresh juice...! It is only pennies more expensive and in my mind worth it for every one of the above reasons!
Master B was as excited as when "Farmer Christmas" came...(don't know why either, but we can't make him say anything else!!) He was tangibly disappointed that he wouldn't be seeing the milk float and burst into the bedroom at 6.45 this morning, yelling: "quick, the milk man, we have to get the milk"...
Down we all ran in our PJs to marvel at the delivery!
Are we all silly and city like?!
You know, I really don't mind! It does make me feel settled having a milkman, just as I feel settled because I know my postman, who gives a cheery hello when I pass him; because I know the man at the corner shop by his first name; because the lady in the knitting shop who is grumpy to strangers is friendly to me and adores my children, whom she has known since they were both 'bumps'; because I know my neighbours....I've even borrowed a Rug Doctor off them...not just the infamous cup of sugar!
I heard a lady on Five Live, yesterday morning, fiercely defending why she felt no need or desire to know her neighbours or community. 'Why would I?' It made me feel sad and a little bemused...?
And then on came the Neighbourhood Watch lady....groan...?! Well no, she was charming, warm, friendly, caring...why would you not want to know her? The first woman was so aggressive in her stance of isolated distance.
Now don't get me wrong I like my privacy as much as the next lady and frequently need alone time - but really? What happened to make us all so insular, so anxious, shy or lazy that we no longer want to spend just five minutes, making the effort to introduce ourselves to the people around us?
Master B, going to school has definitely opened up and introduced me to the community around me. Perhaps because my routines are now similar to others, so I bump into folk more. But is it also that I make more of an effort now, for him, for Miss B. So they can grow up knowing what it is to be surrounded by familiar faces, a sense of community, the now 'old fashioned' simple pleasures...milk bottles, a cheery hello from the postman, sweeties from Jim and Shona at the corner shop....?
What do you all think about this 'community' debate? Would you rather get on, on your own? Do you like the idea, but find it doesnt seem to exist? Do you go to groups that make you feel part of something outside yourself?
(all this from the humble milk bottle?!)