The Man From The Pru.

Mr Leonard  would come around on a Friday evening

With the groceries that Mum had ordered.

A man of gentle humour and polite manner.

He sat at the table notebook in hand,

Where Mum paid what was owed,

And gave next week’s order.

Then take his leave with a cheery wave,

And a “See you next week”.


Twice a week, or maybe three,

The baker would knock at the door.

Stood there with his basket

Full of fresh bread and rolls,

And this new-fangled sliced bread already wrapped.

The quote of “Best thing since sliced bread”

Is so wrong, sliced bread is not good

Compared to a fresh baked loaf.

One day he came and nobody answered,

So he went around the back.

I went out to see why the dog was barking;

And there was the baker

Pinned in a corner. with Prince, our boxer,

Licking his face!


The Corona man used to come,

Where Mum would buy pop

For my brother and me,

Enough to last the week,

Until the man returned with some more.


There on the steps every morning

Stood the milk in bottles with silver tops;

There without fail,

It appeared as if by magic.

But occasionally if I was up early

I would see him,

This man in a silent van,

Creeping towards our door.

A crate in his hand,

And a cheery smile on his face.

Then on a Friday he would come

To collect his money.

These men who knew all in the street,

And knew when something was wrong.

Many a time it has been known

That they have saved lives,

As the milk was not taken in.    **

A breed of man that has now been lost.


The last regular caller of course

Was the man from the Pru.

Collecting money in case of death,

And my brother and I would be cared for,

If Mum and Dad passed away.



All these regular callers,

So polite, seemingly so benevolent,

To us kids.

They would chat to us,

Make us laugh and smile,

Never a word in anger or remorse.

A time no longer with us,

A sadness of people no longer

Communicating with each other.



**I have experience of this, a friend of my mother-in-law was unwell and her milk was not taken off the step so the milkman raised the alarm – she was saved because of the milkman.  When was the last time you saw a milkman?



  • orchidee

    A fine write Gold.
    I was a sort of Milkman's Assistant, even before my teenage days. I looked out for the milk float. They let me deliver milk to some homes, and I had rides on the float. All have to be checked out these day of course - Criminal Records Bureau, etc.
    We wish that was the only corona around these days too.

    • Goldfinch60

      Thanks Orchi. Yes things are so different nowadays.


    • orchidee

      Seen one - a milkman! In a 1970's comedy show.
      My question is - When was the last time you saw a comedy show? My answer - the 1970's or thereabouts.
      Or - when we saw Parliament on the telly? Doh!

    • dusk arising

      Evocative of those 50's days indeed. Your words took me back to the smell of the baker's presence and the rattle of crates on the milk float in the days of metal crates.
      How they were a part of the glue of society, of community. They are gone and along with them are gone the society and community we all shared.... and look what we have replaced it with.....

      A great piece from you Goldfinch and into my favourites for sure.

      • Goldfinch60

        So true d a, they were wonderful times when all helped each other and the back doors of friends houses were always open.


      • Michael Edwards

        Memories - the milk cart drawn by a horse, the rag and bone man.
        Actually although not on a personal level as in times of yore but we have now resorted to home deliveries in view of my wife's vulnerability - one from Sainsburys due tonight.

        • Goldfinch60

          Yes those memories bring back wonderful times.
          Hope the Sainsburys delivery arrived OK.


        • L. B. Mek

          the only part of your memories I can directly relate to is the milk bottles, your mention of their silver caps - just sent me back whirling, within what I had assumed were lost monuments to hindsight's idyllic childhood scenes, specifically: preparing the Christmas time presents or the annual bonus tip or penning that 'will be away for a bit - note' starting by addressing our Milk Lady by name - then asking how her family was doing (the small things) as a contrast to today's time when most written communications barely start by addressing the recipient's/addressee's name or we use that arctic greeting of 'Dear Sir or Madam'...
          what a wonderfully immersive and nostalgic write you have penned, Brilliant!

          • Goldfinch60

            Thank you LB. I agree with you about the milk delivery, the note in the top of the empty milk bottle giving messages to the milkman brings back more memories.


          • The Uneducated O.A.P

            Yes, I remember the man from the Pru well, the neighbours had an early warning system in place when he was on his way, mother would call the children in and we would play the, Hiding behind the sofa game, strange game, there were no prizes.
            Thanks for the memories.

            • Goldfinch60

              Thanks Bill, memories of childhood are so precious.


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