confessions of a… milk float (9/May/18)

no, this isn’t a new follow-up script for the tacky, sexist, libido-driven 1970’s so-called comedy movie franchise which had to be up there (or down there) with one of the worst sequels of movies ever, cringe-worthy to say the least though some apologists will argue they were “of their time”… they were and they should stay in their time… anyway, again, where was I?…. oh yes, sorry dear reader I do have the tangent-habit…… I remember the milkman of old, “back in the day” as they say, up and about even before the postmen and women and that’s saying something, no slacker was the milkman, and they were mostly men as it happened so I’m not being exclusive here…… scooting around on their, what must have been the first battery-charged electric vehicles, milk floats, ‘float’ being a general word for any delivery vehicle and were originally horse-drawn though that was before my day being even more way back in the day…… every day you could reliably wake up knowing if you’d run out of milk, or indeed bread, for breakfast there it’d be delivered too and sitting on your doorstep, hoping of course the blue tits hadn’t got to the foil top first for a peck at the cream, but this was no big deal… they even delivered newspapers and latterly were bringing cartons of juices and even some groceries… so they were more than milk floats really, they were breakfast floats able to bring almost your entire breakfast… and you never had to nip out to the shop bleary-eyed before breakfast or even your first cup of tea as all necessaries were lovingly deposited and perched on your doorstep… “them were the days”, as they say… and in this case they were…… one things I mostly miss is their sound, a soft motorised almost imperceptible whirr and soft chinking of glass against glass as each two-seater, open-backed almost silent godsend scooted about the streets before most anyone else was even batting an eyelid at what was at best a top speed of around 20 mph… though I did know of one milkie, another affectionate term for the driver, to reach the heady speed of 34 mph, unladen of course, though still pretty dangerous as stable as they were breaching corners at such a speed was liable to come to grief…… once a week they’d come a-knockin’ with a smile and wearing a waist apron full of change should you need on paying him, and it was then you could customise your order if and as needed, face-to-face, or at any time during the week leave a note in one of the empties, the empty milk bottles you’d leave on the doorstep which he also collected during his shift for sending back to suppliers who would sterilise and re-use them, amending you order for the next day… voila!….. a perfect system all round and even environmentally-friendly before the term environmentally-friendly became de rigeur.
© 2018 robert greig

across the bridge and back (7/May/18)

you never really know a bridge until you’ve walked across it… and back… both sides of its personality, above the below, bridging the gap, nothing spiritual, just A to B, B to A, and perhaps the occasional “wow”…… I have my favourite packhorse bridge in Cumbria where I used to live, one which I crossed almost every day, there and back, over its little hump, slowing down for the bend on the approach and the bend out, while underneath the river almost a mirror, of the road… a crossing that from above might look almost like a ‘X’… sometimes crossing it more than once in a day as there was only one road into the valley and one road out… usually by car but on my day-off often on foot when I’d make a point of aiming for the bridge which was like crossing it was when I’d left the valley proper even though I was still in the valley though heading down and down alongside the rough and tumble of an almost strangulated river so narrow it was, not quite a single leaps-worth narrow, maybe two or three, or fours at its widest…… the bridge forced you to slow down in any vehicle being a squirmy shape, bending on, bending off, making damn sure you knew you were crossing a bridge and don’t take it for granted…… but walking is the best way, to experience it as it’s meant to be, underfoot… raised above the hubbub below in winter and in high summer, akin to a whisper, telling its stories over and over like a record on repeat and if you listen hard enough, stop and listen like you’ve never listened before, you might, just might, maybe, perhaps, but not likely hear what they’re saying…. or you might but… it’s not for your ears, my ears, we aren’t so organically-tuned to its finery of words but… but… you may just about get the sense of what might be being mumbled and muttered in far-a-gone tones…… I live near a new bridge now, not new exactly, it’s been here for years, so have I though not as long as the bridge as that would make me older than older, nor is the bridge older than the packhorse one which is so old it came to look like it had grown there and not been built, but a new one nevertheless that I regularly walk across and back… and its much huger than the other, hugely so and not quite as modest…. it also talks, has lots of voices, things to say, but that’s enough for now and a story for another time……… …

© 2018 robert greig

taxing time (18/April/18)

so many words over so many years and every day writing ever more and more, for who, who knows, for me, maybe, for the sake of it, well, make of it what you will I’m just here to rearrange the alphabet by throwing them at the fridge door and seeing what magnetises and what doesn’t and falls to the floor making yet more and more words to write and maybe bring to life… or death… for those allergic to death may wish to look away now lest it be too late….
… to think that one day everyone I know  will be dead… now I know what you’re thinking, there he goes again being a morbid sod… quite possibly, if all you see in being dead is morbid, I suppose it can’t be fun, but what do I know having not quite got there yet, touch wood… it’s true nonetheless, not to mention some I’ve known will already have died and I don’t even know it, stymying any chance I’ll ever by chance or design bump onto them ever again…… and by the way, I haven’t forgot the obvious that includes me in all this, and I’m still here, just, though I hope is saying so hasn’t jinxed me……
… imagine how many close shaves you had, maybe you haven’t, I have… and I’m not talking shaving hair, though I give my chin one of those every day, albeit not overly close… maybe I should grow some facial hair… don’t know if I’m brave enough or can be bothered… when I was younger and went unshaven I could, at a stretch, look rugged, but now being not younger when I go unshaven I simply look like a vagrant…. it can’t be healthy, can it?… all this pondering on not existing… it’s hard to imagine it but then again it’s bound to be hard imagining anything you can’t directly experience, if you know what I mean… in that, one can’t experience not being here for obvious reasons… you’re here and not not
… when I wonder, where are they now?, those I’ve known dead or still alive, I get mixed emotions… do I want to go back, back to those days?… after all some of ‘those days’ were horrendous and best consigned to the behind-me time… time, that other inevitable, alongside death and taxes…

© 2018 robert greig