Monday, 30 July 2012

Will you buy any milk today, Mistress?

I know I'm old but I'm not old enough to have heard any of the old cries of London like the one in the title.  I do remember the milkmen having little electric carts they pulled behind them and steered with a long shaft at the front.  The milk, in those days, was in pint and half-pint bottles which were sealed with cardboard discs.  At school, each pupil was given a third of a pint every day, drunk straight from the special-size bottle with or without the intervention of a straw.  I cold weather the bottles would be placed on the heating pipes running round the classroom to warm up the milk.  I was never that keen on milk but the warm stuff was horrible!

It is still possible to have milk delivered to the door - usually on three days a week - but most people buy their milk at the supermarket.  Even my cousin does that now.  When they first took over the farm 25+ years ago they bought two Jersey cows for their milk.  The cows were milked twice a day by hand and the milk was placed in the farm dairy to settle.  After a while the cream could be skimmed off the top.  This was churned into butter: I spent what seemed like many hours turning the handle on that churn!  The remaining milk was thick and rich and our "silver top" always seemed thin and watery after a stay on the farm.

So nowadays we have whole milk with blue bottle tops, semi-skimmed with green and skimmed with (I think) red tops.  There are a few other options like organic.  But in France it is all different.  Most French people buy UHT milk.  In their supermarkets there is very little shelf space in the chiller cabinet given over to fresh milk but there will be a complete aisle of the UHT.  And just to add to the confusion, whole fresh milk has red bottle tops.


The view from the bedroom was good again this morning when I woke, though the sky was a paler, more English blue.  This time I did have the camera.


Buck said...

You have the most magnificent view from your bedroom. How do you ever manage to get to breakfast?

Buck said...

Oh. Forgot. We had our milk delivered during our three years in England. It was hard to go back to buying it in the stores when we got home.

Brighton Pensioner said...

Familiarity plays its part, Buck.