Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Karate and delivering milk did not mix

I had a friend who worked in the bottling plant and he was a brown belt in Karate. After I had finished my milk round one day he suggested that I should join him that evening at the karate club. I decided to give it a go and arranged to meet him there. Very close to the club there was a decent pub so I called in for a couple of pints before going for my first lesson. Big mistake, I had not reckoned on just how hard the training was, even for a newcomer, and came very close to spewing up everything. Being a milkman I was not unfit and I thought I would carry on with the lessons. I went twice a week and also had private lessons from my brown belt friend. Often, the next day after training I would have trouble lifting my legs to get in and out of the milk float because they ached so much. The instructor knew I was getting private tuition and when the beginners did a Kata I was always put in the front because I was supposed to know all the moves and the rest of the class would follow me. Some chance of that, I would get the moves all muddled up and the rest of the class would follow.

I persevered for a couple of months and eventually the training made me a lot fitter and the milk round became easier but I could never do the exercises that involved the body being supple. The one I had big problems with involving doing the splits, leaning forward and putting your hands on the ground and then gently letting yourself down onto your backside. I always went down with a bump and would often have bruises on my bum. At this stage I got Dot involved with the exercises at home and while I sat on the floor, legs apart I would try to get my head to touch the floor. Dot used to try and help me by gently pushing my shoulders in the hope that I would achieve this. It never happened, one day as Dot gently pushed there was a loud crack and my back went. I have never had much trouble with my back but the pain I experienced that day I never want to experience again. At that stage I decided to give Karate up and just concentrate on being a milkman.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Milkman at Christmas Time

Christmas time always seemed special when I was a milkman. Without a doubt it was a very tiring and difficult time. Extra cream, milk, bread, and even hampers were sold and delivered and the milk floats used to be stacked high with all the extra goods. Of course you would see all the Christmas festivities in each and every house and if I had accepted all the alcoholic drinks I was offered I would never have got the milk float back to the dairy. There have been cases of milkmen being done for driving their milk floats over the limit at Christmas. Many of my old girl customers had discovered that I liked ginger wine and I had come close to being pissed in charge of a milk float.. Because the milkman is in constant contact with his customer will always get good Christmas tips. Some of the miserable old milkman that I knew would suddenly cheer up at Christmas and try to be their customer’s best friend. Most times this did not work as I would often hear them complaining about the lack of good tips after the Christmas period.
Dot my second wife would often help me on my rounds and Christmas was no exception. I remember taking her with me very early (3am) on the day before Christmas. On one of the first calls she came back with a 50 pence piece that had been left as a tip, a lot of money in those days, she thought this was fantastic. I said that come the end of the day (about 7 pm) she would be so tired and weighed down my money that she would lose all interest in the tips. She did until the day after when she could counted it all.

When I first started I would even work very early on Christmas day. I would double up as much as possible on milk deliveries the day before but it would still leave some customers who wanted a daily delivery of milk. This was part of Christmas, my brothers, relations and even friends would help me so that I could get home in time for a Christmas breakfast. This had always been part of life at Christmas and even as a boy I had gone out Christmas morning to help my father. In a strange sort of way it made Christmas because it was a time the family truly got together and on that day delivering milk was fun.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

I could have been a TV star

I used to go about my daily work and I was always very happy. Back at the dairy we used to have an area manager and his secretary visit occasionally and I never took much notice of them. One day after I had finished my round the secretary approached me and asked if I would be interested in an audition for a TV advert promoting job vacancies as Unigate milkmen. She thought I was the most photogenic milkman in the dairy and that it would be a good idea to have a go. Maybe she fancied me, I never really found out. A few weeks later I went up to Paddington for the audition, met a load more milkman from all over the South East and spoke to a panel of TV advert makers. I though it went quite well, The Irish in me has never stopped me from talking and some say that I kissed the Blarney stone and I returned back to Dairy knowing I had done my best. A few weeks later I was notified that I was not suitable for the Adverts because I was too pretty to be a milkman. I could have accepted anything for failing an audition but being told that I was too *ucking pretty was big insult. Can you imagine the names I was called by the other milkmen when they found out? My masculinity was in doubt but I had three children to prove that I was not some of the names they called me.

It was all in good humour and I could always hold my own ground. These days you are not allowed to take the Mick out of your fellow workers and all sorts of harassment charges can be made if you do. Times are a changing and it is not for the best