Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Milkman Memories - Jockie Stafford

Auld Earlston  is grateful to blog reader Trish Grierson for these memories of milkman Jockie Stafford.

Jockie is driving and the young man beside him is Alan Douglas (Stammy)


John (Jockie) Stafford was our milkman as far back as I can remember, delivering milk from Rae's dairy farm at East Morriston.

First of all, it was in the traditional bottles. But then (in the 1960's I think)  in an 'innovatory' move, it came in pint sized plastic bags, at huge expense to John Rae - saving glass but adding the dreaded plastic to landfill, though there was probably less awareness of the dangers and difficulties then.

Each household was provided with a blue plastic jug to put the milk bag in to stabilise everything. Instructions were given to cut one corner of the bag to allow the milk to be poured and then to pull the cut corner down through a slit where the pouring lip would normally be on a jug, thereby sealing the bag. What a palaver! No one really approved of the bags since the milk seemed to go off more quickly and the cream stuck to the sides of the bag. 

The Milk Shop,  as it was always known.  holds lovely memories for me. Just one small room in Betty and Jockie's house.  which is the house left of the Butchers Close. In my head the room was mainly white/cream and filled with jungly green plants. A counter halved the room from one side to the other with Betty, in her white overall and rubber thimble, at the business side. It seems to me that Betty always wore a strikingly orange lipstick,  which I loved because it was so different from the more usual reds of the day. 

The biggest, most official, and important book I have ever seen took up most of the counter and Betty with her thimble flicked efficiently through the top right corner of each page, bent over with this frequent action, until she found your family name. There was an overlay page on every account of, sometimes pink, blue or yellow,  perforated oblongs about the size of a commemorative stamp, (with hindsight I suppose the colour changed with the year and that there may have been 52 'stamps' per page.). A well used square of blue carbon paper was inserted under the perforated square for the current week and with some quick mental arithmetic,  the sum owed was written down, torn out and given as a receipt for your weekly payment of your milk bill. 

Jockie's Mini car ended its days in the Museum in Edinburgh. It was pale blue, reg LS 7717, He purchased it new from Purves' s garage in Galashiels and then the garage bought it back and kept the registration number which we still see frequently around our area in Gattonside. 

Jockie sadly died many years ago and Betty moved to live in Skirling to be near their only daughter, Marlene. She is now in her very late nineties. 


But the Milk Shop and Jockie's Mini remain a kind of magical memory of mine which I can picture very vividly today. 

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                          Do you hold similar memories of  Earlston  in decades past?  
                                    If so we would be delighted to hear from you.
                                    Contact Auld Earlston on e-mail:    auldearlston@aol.com

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