Thursday, 15 March 2012
The milkman comes on Thursday. I hear the chinking of the bottles as he stomps up the stairs and across the carpet, dreadlocks swinging and a smile on his face. Six litres of creamy, raw, organic milk, straight from a long-lashed Jersey cow grazing in the green fields to our fridge, in the hands of the farmer himself. Last weeks' rinsed bottles stand by the door, waiting to be washed, sterilised and used again. The new bottles are lined up in the fridge, full of promise. They will be poured over porridge, stirred into coffee and cake batters, and transformed into pots of thick, tangy yoghurt.
My very first job was delivering milk from the back of a rusty old truck. I would leap from the side of the vehicle as it slowed, bottles tucked under my arm, and lope to the front door of each house with their order. I used to know the suburb's deliveries by heart and could hang ten empty milk bottles from my fingers without dropping them. When we reached my grandparents' house I would run straight inside and tuck a litre into their fridge, stopping to kiss them both before I jogged back to the kerb. I would hold on tight to the metal hand rail, swinging out into the darkness as we careened around corners. Sometimes we would run short and have to duck out to the servo for an extra litre or two. Once we were on the highway we had to climb inside the truck, so we would tuck our bottoms inside empty milk crates and slide around the tray laughing like mad things in the diesel scented city night.
You can't buy milk in glass bottles anymore. But it makes so much more sense. There is no waste, the bottle can be reused over and over again. And it tastes better. We store our leftover pancake mix in an empty bottle, ready to pour straight into the pan for an after school snack or a special weekday breakfast.
We found out this week that we will be becoming part owners of our milking cow - the paperwork is on its way. The herd share scheme will help our farmer and his family extend their milking operation and we will get our portion of each week's production. We even get visiting rights. I can't wait to meet her.