Wednesday, 2 August 2017
Who calls you baby?
I was thinking the other day about old traditions which are no longer with us and have been confined to history.
Just to name a few, I remember in Olden Tymes we used to have milk delivered on our doorstep. Early in the morning the battery-operated milk van used to come down the hill with its engine whirring and the sound of glass bottles clinking in their crates. The milkman often whistled out of tune as he delivered bottles full of milk at each doorstep and collected empty ones to be cleaned and re-filled at the factory. The milkman also delivered butter, yogurt, and cream if you needed it too.
We also had a bakery delivering bread to your home every day. Each day the loaves were wrapped in foil with the day written on it to certify its freshness: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and so on.
The greengrocer used to call every other day with a van full of fruits and vegetables. Oh ... and the coal man too! He called round every week with sacks of coal which we stored in the coal room in the back garden and used it to heat the house. Some people also used paraffin heaters at home and the paraffin man used to call for weekly deliveries. If I recall well, a fishmonger used to come round once a week, on Fridays, and at weekends, an ice cream van used to call with its musical chimes playing nursery rhymes to attract young customers.
And ... dare I say ... the priest used to call round every so often on his parishioners for a cup of tea and a friendly word or two.
All these traditions now seem to have disappeared and confined to history. All except for the postman who still calls round every now and then when he has a letter or packet to deliver. I wonder how long he will continue to do that.
Personally, I like to see the postman walking down the street and calling on me every now and then. I know his deliveries are not as fast as an e-mail or text message but at least they are crumpled when shoved in the letter box, and often wet when it's raining and quite often late beyond imagination.
I remember years ago friends of ours, living ten miles away, sent us an invitation to their daughter's christening. By the time the letter arrived we went to that daughter's wedding.
Quite often the mail was so slow that when it arrived it was half-eaten by snails. Admittedly, it came from France.
Once I received a letter which made me cry. It was written on an onion. That too came from France.
I remember many times the postman used to miss-deliver items to the wrong address. One time he delivered a package from Australia which was not addressed to me. I returned it to sender. It contained a boomerang!
Another time he rang the bell and asked, "Is this letter for you? The name's obliterated!"
I told him my name is Victor, not Obliterated!
I wonder why dogs have a habit of attacking and biting postmen. They don't seem to do it to other visitors. To discourage our dog I now buy him "Woof Woof" dog food. It's the only dog food that tastes of a postman's leg!
The other day the postman accidentally dropped his hat and our dog grabbed it and chewed it up. The postman complained to me and I smiled meekly. He said, "I don't like your attitude!"
I replied, "It's not my 'at 'e chewed. It's your 'at 'e chewed!" (An old one ... but still a goodie!)
Anyway, I should stop poking fun about the postman and pay tribute and gratitude to someone who, come rain or snow, come hot weather and drought, he always comes round our street, even though he does not always have something to deliver for me, and cheers me up as he goes along doing his daily work.
I just wish he would shut the garden gate after him when he comes round.
On reflection, I just remembered. Another person who calls on us weekly is the garbage collector. He, or they to be more precise because there are three of them, call once a week. One drives this huge lorry, and the other two collect the wheelie bins which we all have to leave on the edge of the pavement (sidewalk).
Such vegetable matter should go in the black wheelie bin where you also put other household rubbish like the contents of your vacuum cleaner, and the dog poo you have collected when you took your dog for a walk, or the cat poo when your neighbour's cat visits your garden.
But don't you dare put newspapers, magazines, empty cans of beans and other foods, cardboard boxes such a cereal packets, plastic bottles of milk, shampoo, washing-up soaps or any other such things in the black bins. The Four Horsemen will visit again with four more of their friends. All such materials must go in the orange bins which are used for re-cycling materials.
And don't put glass, bottles, jars, wood, computers, monitors, small electric appliances like toasters, radios, phones, batteries and so on and on in the black bins. All these items must be collected by you and you have to drive miles to the re-cycling centre and put them there yourself.
Actually, of all the people that used to call on us in the past, and still do today, the rubbish men are the most feared because of the power they yield. If your bin is over full, or contains the wrong materials in the wrong coloured bin they just don't empty it. And when your bin is emptied in their large truck they usually leave your empty bin at least twenty yards away from your house rather than in the spot by your garden gate where you originally left it. And if you don't take your empty bin in your house quickly enough you can be fined!
Excuse me ... I hear the bin men calling right now. I need to ask them which bin to put the elastoplast from my boils.