Tuesday, 10 February 2009

You've got milk!

I don't know whether it was just coincidence that Mrs K. was given a lovely vintage milk bottle for her birthday, just as the kids have taken to guzzling milk by the gallon. There seems to be no known reason for this, is it cool now to drink milk? We can't seem to keep up with this newly acquired habit, so Mrs. K, rather amusingly, has turned to the Internet in a desperate search for a milkman, her brief online activities led her to this site, which made me laugh out loud when I saw what it was called.

When I were a lad, my mum gave me milk and gingerbread for a bedtime snack, or was that hot chocolate? At school we were force fed milk at break time, it came in a crate of jingling little glass milk bottles. Puncturing the silver foil top with a straw, to access the drink which was usually warm, had an inch thick head of cream and nearly always tasted like it was on the turn. I think this daily dose of dairy abuse was part of some Government initiative to improve the health of the Nation's kids. "Good for the bones", we were told.

As a result of this I treated milk with a great deal of suspicion, rather like it was some kind of ghastly tasting medicine. In an unrelated memory I can remember my mum giving me vitamin B12 tablets to take while on a family holiday in Austria. We were staying in one of those traditional mountain chalets that you often find pictured on chocolate bar wrappers or biscuit tin lids. Below the hotel window was an impossibly green field, with a herd of cows that would gather expectantly every morning for their daily supply of vitamin B12.

From the ridiculous to the utmost sublime. It was on a trip up to Vermont in New England that I rediscovered the joy of milk. Just outside the college town of Burlington, not long after seeing an Indigo Bunting, a cartoon bird propped against a cloudless sky, I ordered a large glass of milk in a roadside cafe. A stones throw away is the birth place and world headquarters of
Ben & Jerry's ice cream, so it would have been rude not to. Condensation ran down the outside of an ice cold, brilliant white glass of Vermont's finest. Brain freeze! Juicy green grass, black and white cows, crystal clear mountain streams, bell jar air, bird song....

Finally, on our journey through milk, we end up with a little musical interlude. My father in- law told me a story about a guy who was killed by a runaway milkfloat, which is a tragic yet comical story that might just be the same incident that inspired a group of guys from Hull to name their band 'Death by Milkfloat'. And let's not forget Billy Bragg's
'Milkman of Human Kindness', from his ' Life's a Riot with Spy vs Spy' album, released in 1983. So, our first doorstep delivery is this Friday, hopefully 6 pints a week will slake the the thirst of my progeny and not break the bank. It would probably have been cheaper to buy a cow, tether it up in the back garden and get the kids to squeeze their own. I am looking forward to the sound of a battery operated milkfloat and the clinking of empty milk bottles, oooh!, I've come over all nostalgic.

P.S The word milk was used 16 times in this post.

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