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Banburyshire Family History

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Winnie would appear first. Plodding round the street corner for a few yards and then stopping in a dejected manner. She pulled a two-wheeled wooden trailer on which sat five or six tall silver milk churns. Alongside walked her business partner, Mr Bird, who served the customers. This was our daily milk delivery, before technological advancement and health restrictions.

Mr Bird, (obviously there was a first name, but no-one in the street ever called him anything but Mr Bird) used a pint container to scoop out the required amount of milk and empty it into whatever receptacle was provided by the customer. The customer of course had to run out and intercept this rolling enterprise. The delivered amount was then entered into a hard-backed book by Mr Bird, with the shortest length of pencil I have ever seen.

There was no doubt who was the senior partner in this relationship. Should Mr Bird indulge in any unnecessary discussion with a customer ("Me mam says can you put a pint in this?") then after the obligatory delay Winnie would resume her hard-wired program and walk on. Mr Bird would need to scurry after her. He had never been heard to issue any commands to this reliable animal. Our game of Queenio must stop, else Winnie would just walk through us. Should Winnie forget herself, there would be a race between numbers 35 and 16 to voluntarily clean up the street with shovel and bucket. Civic pride I expect.

On Friday nights Mr Bird re-appeared on his old black bicycle (both chain guard and bicycle clips) with his book, seeking payment. This was not a simple matter, and many houses had a double account, showing weeks behind ("Me mam's not in she only left me ten shillings").

Rumour had it that Winnie was named in honour of Mrs Churchill. With shame, I can't remember this service ending... I just became aware that I hadn't seen Mr Bird for some time. Milk was now collected from the corner shop, in a bottle. It was white, not frothy, and didn't taste the same.

Written by Smokey