Saturday, January 02, 2010

Just floating an idea...

Milking it: leaflet celebrates continuous tradition of home deliveries

I’ve been studying a promotional leaflet from a company called milk&more. It shows a street in which there are four milkmen – each celebrating a different era from the profession’s proud history. To the left, in scratchy sepia, we see a Victorian tradesman, complete with churn. To his right, there’s a wartime milko and also a chirpy chappie from the 1970s, who looks as if he might qualify for a lead role in a low-budget erotic movie. In glorious colour on the far right of the leaflet, we meet the modern-day delivery man, who is dressed in green and holding a milk&more branded crate. As you’d expect, this has more than just milk in it. There’s bread, Weetabix, Tropicana and all kinds.

Today’s milkman has no hat, whereas all his predecessors believed professional headgear to be an important part of their image. This seems to me to be a depressing decline in standards over the years, but I’ll let it go.

The thing that’s really confusing me is the copy which suggests the 1940s milkman continued his deliveries despite the disruption of the Second World War. Can this really be true? As ARP wardens pushed and cajoled the public into the relative safety of shelters and tube stations, Mr Milk was going his own sweet way. Never mind the 1,000lb bombs exploding all around, courtesy of the German Luftwaffe. He’d defy the blackout, clutching a torch and pulling a wheelbarrow full of bottles. Cor luvaduck! Old Ethel wants three pintas today rather than her usual two and that’s the truth and no mistake.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure milk was rationed during World War II and quite hard to come by unless you were pregnant or had young kids. Didn’t most people actually have to put up with some powdered muck that you mixed with water? I’m sure there’s a social historian among the Washed and Ready readers who can shed some light on this matter.

One thing we can all agree on though: you couldn’t get Tropicana or Innocent Smoothies during the Blitz for love nor money. Jerry had a lot to answer for.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:31 PM

    As it happens my own maternal grandfather, who at 44 was exempt from conscription (not least because he'd already done the last war already, thanks) was a Co-Op milkman in Musselburgh througout WW2.