Sunday, 20 December 2015

Watching the milkman's horse make a getaway down Lausanne Road .......

I can’t now remember if I have imagined the day the milkman’s horse made a dash for it on Lausanne Road.

If it happened it will have been sometime in the mid 1950s and the horse, the orange and white UD float and a lot of pints were across Queens Road and on down Pomeroy Street before our milkman had got out of number 28.

But that is the trouble with memories.

Most have an element of truth but with the passage of time have been overlaid with other events equally fragmentary and a lot which are just wishful thinking or surrounded with shame like the challenge to walk along the parapet of a bridge over a disused railway line.

I suppose with some old maps and a bit of time I should be able to find the railway line which must have been somewhere between Lausanne Road and Nunhead.

But given that we could have been no more than ten I doubt I will ever be able to peel back much else of the memory.

I suspect I was with Jimmy and John Cox and there will have been a few others whose names and faces are now lost to me but I was too wimpy to walk the walk and instead I chose to watch.

But that railway line does feature in other adventures which started out with the promise of so much excitement and proceeded with a long walk along a railway cutting with no opportunity to get back to street level and ended with a tedious tramp back to where we started.

And that highlights that other thing about childhood memories that we tend as always to remember the fun events.

So I doubt that Jimmy or John will ever think back to the day we got trapped in Thames mud down at the unfashionable end of Greenwich pier or standing in long lines in the hall at Samuel Pepys during countless assemblies wishing I had done my Maths homework and pondering on the excuse to offer Mr Gubby at the start of period 1.

Of course as we head towards that “Day” memories of the run up to Christmas are slowly making their way to the surface after a lifetime of being buried underneath the busy round of work, bringing up the children and worrying about the leaking tap.

And so now with all but of the lads launched, a retirement which will soon clock a decade and a dislike of the Christmas markets I am spending more time thinking back to that milk float.

That said so many half remembered things have been corroborated by new friends, like the cocoa factory on Kender Street, that old wooden archway on the corner of Pepys Road and Banfield’s the coach company which whisked us off once a week to Ewell to play sports.

Which just leaves me to go looking for a news report on the runaway milk float.

Pictures, toy milk float from the internet, source unknown and from the collection of Andrew Simpson

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