By Katherine Carroll
There are certain things running out of will involve a late-night visit or an early morning dash to the shop. This wasn’t the case growing up in the suburbs of Dublin in the 1970s. If the fridge was bereft of milk at bedtime, no body needed to leave home.
A familiar early morning ‘chinking’ announced the arrival of milk to our doorstep. Given, that this was long before 24/7 supermarkets, an emergency carton of dried milk always graced the kitchen press. Something that none, relished using.
Peeling back the coloured foil lid on the small glass milk bottle revealed the best part, that is, unless the birds up before you had pecked their way in. The ‘top of the bottle’, was thick, creamy and delicious, a perfect accompaniment to the homemade desserts my mother served up nightly. The reason, I am sure that to this day no meal feels complete unless it finishes with ‘sweet’.
Friday evening, on the doorstep, baggy white coat, peaked cap and with a leather satchel hanging across his middle, the milkman stood with his bill. We loved the thrill of hopping onto the electric milk float as it journeyed on up the estate.
The milk bottles, unlike other glassware that made its way into the house, couldn’t be recycled as vases, candle holders or storage containers. Rather the great feat was in remembering nightly, to put them on the doorstep.
If the milk bottles were given pens, novels could be written with the information gathered as they sat silently on kitchen counters and tables, listening to conversations, secrets revealed, arguments and news of every sort.