It’s time to confess. I’ve always hated supermarket shopping. Now I hate internet shopping, too. I know, how lazy can one woman get? But it’s true. There are so many pitfalls to internet shopping – there was the time when I got six kilos of bananas delivered, instead of just six actual bananas, and had to run down the street in bare feet after the departing Tesco pantechnicon, waving great hands of bananas over my head. There was the massive jar of Branston pickle so large I couldn’t get it in the fridge. And there was the vat of nasty vanilla essence which I bought by accident instead of a tiny phial of vanilla extract… plus I always discover after the delivery person has gone that all the eggs are broken, or the tomato cans are dented, or the bag containing the presents also contains the split flour …. And I can never be bothered to ring the call centre to complain.
I dimly remember the days when my parents got milk delivered. Sometimes I would get it from the step to find a bluetit had punctured a neat hole in the top to drink the cream. As far as I was concerned, they were welcome to it. Cream – and milk – were definitely for the birds. I went to school before Margaret Thatcher, Milk Snatcher had done her worst, and break times were always punctuated by a hellish moment when the teachers made us line up for milk. It came in small glass bottles, which were invariably left on the windowsill. Fine in winter, vile in summer, when the milk, warm and buttery-golden, to my mind, was the most disgusting thing on the planet. I still avoid neat milk now and have not drunk a glass of it since those days, though I have a little tiny drop of it in tea. It’s got to be skimmed, though. And cream still makes me shudder.
But as well as the dreaded milk, the milkman also brought other, more welcome offerings to our doorstep – bread and eggs – though this was strictly only in emergencies as it was considered frightfully louche to rely on deliveries when you still had legs to get to the shops.
Nowadays, I sort of thought milkmen had died out, like bluetits themselves (at least I can’t remember when I last saw one of either around these parts) until I went to visit a friend who had real live empty milk bottles on her step. Even then, I thought it was just part of her retro look until she took an actual full milk bottle out of the fridge. And then she went on to confess that she got nearly all her food shopping from the milkman, including veg boxes for £12.99 which looked pretty reasonable to me.
Now I am being paid for this piece – by serendipitous chance I was contacted after seeing my friend – but I genuinely think it’s such a good idea that I might sign up myself. We get through a lot of milk, ranging from full fat for the smallies (my stepchildren who are 5 and 7), super-skimmed for the senior teen and skimmed for me, TL and Child Two. But there are 250 other items available, from Kelloggs cereals and Tropicana juices to Cathedral City cheese and veg boxes. You can order online up to 9pm before your next order and it’ll all be brought to you bright and early. And now that I’m too lazy even to tackle the Waitrose website (seriously, people, can you not make it even just a tiny bit more user-friendly?) getting the milkman to do the hard work seems extremely appealing. Make mine a pinta, please.