Modernity is here – we have acquired a milkman and glass bottles

And, why David Hasselhoff is the perfect reader for bedtime stories

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The Independent Online

My father has never changed his style. Single-breasted jacket, tie, white shirt, short back and sides. If you wear the same things long enough, they will come back round into fashion is his mantra. He’s got a point. My children have been crying with joy about the latest trends which seem to me, simply the Seventies revisited. Bikes with no gears. Groceries delivered to your door. Platform shoes. Vinyl records.

The latest chapter in this real time rendition of Time’s Arrow is the arrival of a living, breathing milkman to our home. Not your bog standard Unigate Bernie. This one has the amazing name of Paul Bravo. He turned up outside our front door last Saturday, and said would we like him to provide us with a selection of dairy produce, three days a week, from next Monday. All right, I say, you’re on. Four pints of milk and half a dozen eggs, each time. The children are beside themselves. A milkman! In Islington! Delivering – wait for it – milk! In Glass Bottles. Each containing one Imperial pint. “Wow!” says my youngest son. “Wot time will you arrive with our milk?” “5am,” pronounces Bravo dourly. “I’m going to get up early, and see you!” shouts my child, who has never heard of anything so amazing as milk in a Glass Bottle.

“You jolly well won’t”, mutters Mr Millard, with feeling. Then he sighs, “I bet it’s going to be more expensive than the Co-op.” On the contrary. I feel Bravo will save us thousands, since his deliveries will stop the need for those irritating journeys when you just pop out for a pint of milk but seem to come back with a bag full of random items and a £20 bill.

The children troop off to bed. “Can’t wait for the milkman,” they say to each other. “I’m going to ask if I can drive his float,” says my eldest son. “Its the only thing you can drive legally without a licence. Or a test. They only go 7mph.”

Honestly, I wish I had thought about providing Bravo as a special Christmas treat. Come Monday morning, Mr Millard and I have completely forgotten about Milk-O.

Not so the children. They dash onto the step, then pause, in questing mode. Where is the milk? Have we been conned? “It’s behind the box,” I yell, remembering the arrangement. Because, of course, milk, like everything else now, is a nickable commodity.

Rescued from its hiding place, milk and eggs are ceremoniously borne aloft into the house. I feel like we are enacting a nursery rhyme. Is this the end of the fun? Not at all. After decanting the first bottle into a milk jug (yes, I have standards), the youngest takes such pains to clean it that he might have been impersonating a barman at Claridge’s cocktail lounge.

Deck the halls with bells and the Hoff

I’m not at all surprised that David Hasselhoff has been booked by CBeebies to join the likes of Sir Derek Jacobi on the bedtime story roster. The Hoff, who has recently added a role in SpongeBob SquarePants The Movie to his CV, has a natural affinity with children.

Invited to cycle alongside him in the Virgin London Triathlon this year, I was allowed to bring the Junior Millards to the event. Were they interested in seeing their mother compete in this gruelling activity? Were they hell. All they cared about was seeing the Hoff. Who was completely delightful, signing, chatting, and posing for photographs. The cheesiest one (naturally) has become our Christmas card. “You are so VAIN, Mummy,” says my eldest daughter. “Showing OFF that you are friends with the HOFF!” Well, only a little.