In London, barring some of the more exclusive areas, it is now over 20 years since the milkman has whistled and clinked his way down the street each morning, standing in the yard stinking of baby puke and reading “I'll pay you next week” scrawled angrily on the back of a losing betting ticket. So why Mr Bartholemew still shuffles out at six each morning and stands there shivering away in his dressing robe as if waiting for him is a mystery. The Garbo Tranny too. The pair of them, almost opposite, flashing each other their morning erections in a very informal, neighbourly kind of way.

I looked at Bartholemew through a brittle layer of cold that had built up on the window. After a moment he stepped forward, opened the gate and let Marlowe slink out, his nose to the ground following a scent that never brings him this way anymore.

For a while I followed Marlowe. His beautiful black and white markings so perfect for the winter. He looked so young, and the tiniest sprouts of life seemed to attract his joy and attention as he hoovered around trees and licked and sniffed at unknown and strange things. 'Dogs can't be mean' I thought 'Marlowe didn't mean to get me into trouble... was just following the scent of food, was all... wanted his belly full and a loving touch like the rest of us.'

I first knew I was smiling because I felt warm. And then because a yellowish dayglow seemed to light up the frosted morning. Somewhere I could see a small me, a child, all padded up and running around happy in the cold. I remembered the dew on the grass and how it was frozen and cracked as I ran. Even mother and father seemed happy that day, the only time I can ever recall a glimmer of love existing between them. Something had happened. The family had received good news. But I never found out what. Years later when I asked no-one remembered, even said I never had a padded winter coat like the one I described. But I remember that day. I remember it vividly and it always serves me well. Things were going to be fine. The future is a good place full hope. And it was on that thought, that tiny flicker of happiness, that a car pulled up and Little Dick Tracy stepped out....


  1. He always has to show up, doesn't he?

  2. I had no idea that the capital is now without the cheerful milko - and
    has been for two decades. What a terrible shame - they were always
    courteous and helpful people. I never met a surly milkman: their loss
    is an indication of the general brutishness of modern London life, I

    I suspect that dear Tristy is in denial, and that something ghastly is
    soon to befall him. Poor love.

  3. Simon: He does but this time not quite as it maybe first appears... X

    Gurney: Because of the price of fresh milk in supermarkets (even local stores) the milk man has been put out of business. he was always a little more expensive but one paid for the convenience. Now he is a lot more expensive and is not much more convenient than popping off to the local shop. So he still exists but in a very limited (or exclusive) capacity.

    When I was young he was a common feature of the day. The last time I saw a milkman???? I can't even remember. X


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