Drinka Pinta Milka Day

johnmilkmanYoungsters will not remember this slogan, produced by the Dairy Council many years ago to promote its products. Some of the ancient ones will even remember the horse-drawn milk float stopping at every house, in the days before we could buy our milk from the supermarket.

Milk is nutritious and versatile and comes in the original recycled bottle. We are the only country in the world lucky enough to have it delivered to our doorstep. Our milkman, John Millington, has been delivering milk for over 30 years. He was born in Market Harborough, but has lived in Witney for 25 years. He had various food-related jobs before he joined the dairy business around 30 years ago.

In the Wychwoods you may get to know John, but many of his customers may never have seen him because his working hours do not coincide with the nine-to-fivers. His working day starts at midnight when he sets off to fetch his stock. Until six years ago, there was a Dairy Crest depot in Witney, but now he has to travel to Oxford in his milk float to get stocked up, adding an extra hour.

Milton is John’s last call, and he is back at the Oxford depot around 08:30. Would you believe as well as the Wychwoods, he serves Ducklington, a bit of Witney, Curbridge, Worsham, Lyneham, Field Assarts, Swinbrook and Leafield. He gets Sundays off – I think.

John has seen big changes. The keeping quality of pasteurised milk has improved so much that we no longer need daily deliveries to each house. And he now carries groceries, vegetables and fruit, drinks, even gardening supplies. He says the best change has been the introduction of the electronic book which records his round, which does the sums and calculates the stock required; and we can order online now – no more billets doux stuffed into the empties.

John says the best bit of his job is being out on his own in the countryside watching the wildlife – he is a knowledgeable observer – and the worst is coping with snow; he has been stuck up to 5 hours in snowdrifts waiting for rescue.

If you have not met John in person you may just have seen his photo in the Gazette about three years ago, surrounded by 100 pint bottles, celebrating his 100th donation – of pints of blood!

Just think of the advantages of home delivery: convenience, reliability, and you do not have to find a parking space! Why not sign up for the ultimate convenience, milk in recycled bottles, food, and more, brought straight to your home by a reliable friendly milkman.

For more information Google milkandmore.

Heather Shute

October – November 2018