Notes in a Bottle.

July 28, 2014

milkman 1

There exists amongst us an ever growing group of people who will never know the glorious days before technology took over and blighted our lives. For the rest of us it is possible to look back with a tearful eye and mourn a slower pace and a life much quieter than it is now.

We have always been able to tell the time of day, not necessarily to the exact minute, or in some cases, even the exact hour, but way back then it was not really all that important. You got up when there was enough useful light to see by and you went to bed when it got too dark to do anything useful.

Not until the coming of the Railways was it even necessary to have the standardised time we have today. Until then, the fact that the sun rose and set at different times, depending upon which side of the country you were, never entered anyone’s mind.

Back in those early days of industrialisation and mass production mills, the average worker could not afford a time piece of any sort, especially an alarm clock, so the mill owner would employer “Knocker’s Up,” a man with a long stick and a loud voice who would walk the streets knocking on upstairs windows to rouse the workers.

This, of course, was in the day’s pre steam and the invention of the factory whistle, which could be heard all over the town.

Other services from those days that we took very much for granted there was the Postman delivering mail, sometimes up to three times a day. Or how out the man who delivered the milk to our doorsteps ?


When I was a child, living in a big city, our street was like a deep valley with huge four storey tenement buildings on both sides of the street. Our milk was delivered on a horse and cart where the horse was so used to the milk round that it would move on a few paces every few minutes, without command. Except on Fridays that is, Friday was collection day which obviously took the man longer per building and every now and again he would find his horse and cart( called a milk float) in the next street.

It was remembering those happy days of yore that reminded me about something else and that was the many notes that were found stuffed into the necks of the empty bottles.

As lovers of the English language, like me, I feel sure you will find some, if not all, of these amusing.

Milkman, please close the gate behind you because the birds keep pecking the tops off the milk.

Dear milkman: I’ve just had a baby, please leave another one.

Sorry not to have paid your bill before, but my wife had a baby and I’ve been carrying it around in my pocket for weeks.

Please leave an extra pint of paralysed milk.

No milk today. Please do not leave milk at No. 14 either as he is dead until further notice.
From now on please leave two pints every other day and one pint on the days in between, except Wednesdays and Saturdays when I don’t want any milk.

Please don’t leave any more milk. All they do is drink it.

Milkman, please could I have a loaf but not bread today.

Please cancel milk. I have nothing coming into the house but two sons on the dole.

Sorry about yesterday’s note. I didn’t mean one egg and a dozen pints, but the other way round.

When you leave my milk please knock on my bedroom window and wake me because I want you to give me a hand to turn the mattress.

Please knock. My TV’s broken down and I missed last night’s football match. If you saw it, will you tell me what happened over a cup of tea?

My daughter says she wants a milkshake. Do you do it before you deliver or do I have to shake the bottle?

Please send me details about cheap milk as I am stagnant.

Please send me a form for cheap milk, for I have a baby two months old and did not know about it until a neighbour told me.

Milk is needed for the baby. Father is unable to supply it.

My back door is open. Please put milk in ‘fridge, get money out of cup in drawer and leave change on kitchen table in pence, because we want to play bingo tonight.

Please leave no milk today. When I say today, I mean tomorrow, for I wrote this note yesterday.

Milkman please put the coal on the boiler, let dog out and put newspaper inside the screen door. P.S. Don’t leave any milk.

Cancel one pint after the day after today.

There is no longer a need to place a brick on top of the bottles the cat that was ripping off the tops was run over yesterday.

And Finally: Just in case you still don’t understand why we loved our Milk Roundsman……

4 Responses to “Notes in a Bottle.”

  1. Raani York Says:

    Oh Merlin. this is such a GREAT post. – And I love the video and song at the end. 🙂 So cute!!
    Thanks for inviting us to travel back Into the past with you!! 🙂

  2. merlinfraser Says:

    Thanks Raani, but do you notice I am still struggling for readers. Is it purely a game of ” I’ll read yours if you read mine” out there ? Am I truly wasting my time ?

  3. laurie27wsmith Says:

    Thanks for the trip back in time Merlin. Loved the notes for the milkman and who doesn’t like Benny Hill? To a certain extent I think this blogging business is a game of tag. It took me quite a while to build a following and they turn up if I miss post or two. I have about 320 followers yet I’ll pull in about 30 views for a post on a good day. The rest usually come from people looking at tags. Mate, I’ll miss your posts if you throw it in.

  4. merlinfraser Says:

    Thanks for the support Laurie, really is appreciated. I have tried being a writer for nearly fifteen years now and as this digital thing took off I followed all the advice, Get Blogging, get a FaceBook account get Tweeting, Join social sites like Hub Pages and Linkedin get a serious following.

    OK…. Maybe if I was to retry the 3 loaves and five fishes trick I might get more attention….

    I stopped HubPages a couple of years back, I didn’t like their total lack of humour or their rule making management style which appeared to come from the Holier Than Thou Book of Rules.

    As for FaceBook that was a serious waste of drinking time and I have to admit I never did understand Twitter…. still don’t.

    Linkedin… Com se com sa…. I have met a lot of great people there, learned a lot from them as well and I hope I have managed to steer some Wannabes in the right direction but as for improving me as an author with fans beating my door down….. Have to say its been a bit of a disappointment.

    I’ve been interviewed and reviewed more times than the Queen and those who do read the books seem to like them and there it ends….

    Think I’ll go and eat some worms….

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