It is a truth universally acknowledged that if you declare your intention to be a milkman growing up, you will be packed off to naughty school faster than you can deliver a pint of semi-skimmed. Oh yes. Milkmen are naughty. Loose cannons with loose mouths and the general demeanor of “heckity pie, I’m round the bend and do not give a damn“.
The last one I employed to have bring fresh milk in lovely glass bottles daily, took the opportunity while I was paying him to reach out a hand and ask if he could touch my hair. Because apparently he just couldn’t resist. Well excuse me, but no. Touching me on my own doorstep just will not do Mr. Milkman.
So I cancelled him. And went back to many years of supermarket milk. And then we moved here and a new milkman came a knocking, a tiny cheeky little chappy in his sixties who didn’t look like he was going to be any trouble at all, and he said why yes, of course I do skimmed milk in glass bottles and and arrangement was made to have one pint delivered daily and two at weekends and my tea tasted lovely again and I was awfully happy shuffling out to fetch the milk in my dressing gown each morning, scaring passing lorry drivers and pigeons alike, and then it all went wrong.
The milkman couldn’t hold his naughtiness in.
The other day he knocked and I answered in a floral pinny, and he took one look at me and boomed in a voice much bigger than his person, YOU LOVE THIS HOUSE DON’T YOU?
And while this struck me as a rather random statement from a stranger, I nodded and agreed that yes, I do love this house and paid him £12.50 and waited for him to stop writing whatever milkmen write in their little leather books and go away, and when he didn’t I shuffled awkwardly and fiddled about in the pocket of my apron where bizarrely I seemed to be storing a selection of conkers, and then he looked up and boomed “NOW TELL ME DO YOU RENT OR HAVE YOU BOUGHT IT?”
And I felt mildly appalled and muttered I rent it, and he shouted “BLOODY STUPID! – A WASTE OF BLOODY MONEY! I DO HOPE YOU HAVE GOT MONEY PUT AWAY. YOU HAVE GOT MONEY PUT AWAY HAVEN’T YOU?”
And for a moment I stood there debating explaining myself. The reasons why I sold my lovely little house and the thought process behind renting at this stage in my life, when it struck me that it had nothing at all to do with the little toad standing in front of me and I went to say goodbye, but sadly he wasn’t finished. No Siree! He wanted to clinch the cancellation of his service right there and then!
“WHAT DOES YOUR MAN THINK OF THIS STATE OF AFFAIRS? YOU HAVE GOT A MAN HAVEN’T YOU? YOU AREN’T ONE OF THESE BLOODY SINGLE MOTHERS ARE YOU??”
Oh my word. Tears popped in to my eyes. I considered giving his face a good shake. And instead I said thank-you with something pretending to be a weepy kind of dignity and shut the door, determined to both spike the tyres of his noisy milk wagon and buy my milk in Tesco.
Because frankly, right now, I do believe I would have preferred it if he had asked to grope my hair.
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