24 January 2011

Herb flavoured milk

Anyone of my generation will remember the bottles of milk which were provided to primary school children during the 1950s, 60s and early 70s. I believe the free milk scheme ended in 1973. The government obviously thought it would be good for the health of us baby-boomers to have a drink of milk every day, but in fact all it achieved was to turn thousands of children (including me) off milk for the rest of their lives. The milk would be delivered in small glass bottles and left sitting in the sunshine until morning playtime/recess. Of course, by this time, the cream at the top of the milk had curdled and the milk was disgusting. On some days, the local magpies had been attracted by the silver foil tops, had pecked holes in them and had a good slurp. Nevertheless we were forced to drink our milk because it was considered "good for us" and we weren't allowed to go off to play until our bottles had been finished. I can still remember how I used to dread morning playtime, especially in the summer and lived in the forlorn hope that the magpies had managed to drain all the bottles.

When I first found these six little milk bottles tied together with string (exactly the same size as our school milk bottles) my first reaction was to gag as those awful memories of curdled milk came flooding back.

My second reaction was to imagine them filled with flowers and to think how good they would look. As I currently don't have many flowers in the garden which are worth picking because of the heat, I decided to fill up my bottles with herbs instead and they are now sitting on my kitchen windowsill.

All in all a much better use for a milk bottle and I am pleased to say that I have managed to overcome my gag reflex whenever I look at them.

Of course if today's government decided, in its generosity, to provide free milk for school children, it would immediately be refrigerated on delivery; it would come in six different flavours; there would be a choice of full-cream, low fat, skim, goat or soy; and no-one would be forced to drink it. How times have changed.

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