Posted by: eppingstrider | 08/07/2011

6a: The zeppelin and the milk-horse

In the very beginning I refer to my babyhood almost, and it struck me the other day that the earliest thing I can remember was being in my mother’s arms and being pointed down what to me was subsequently the east and being told that was a searchlight. In point of fact now I recall that it was the searchlight showing up the zeppelin which raided the Thames estuary in 1915 or 16, but I was very small, I was in my mother’s arms and I was wrapped up in a blanket, and she was holding me out in the front of the house that we lived in in Preston Avenue.  I remember that very clearly.

The other thing, memory of Preston Avenue, was on one occasion when the milkman was delivering milk, and the milkman’s float was horse-drawn, he used to come along with great big churns of milk and mother used to put a jug out for a pint of milk or some milk, and he used to take the jug and open the valve on the churn, and measure out the milk that mother wanted and that was it.  But while this was going on, he was bringing the milk to house that mother wanted, but the maroon went off!  Now the maroon was a great big signal that was shot up into the air and there was an enormous bang!  And that indicated that there was a fire.  Now in those days the fire engine was horse-drawn and the volunteers were volunteers living in their own place.  So when the maroon went off, everyone that had to dashed off down to the fire station and collected the horses as they went and buckled them on to the fire engine and off they went to wherever the fire was.  But on this particular occasion which I remember, the milk cart suddenly disappeared up the road onto the main London road and it went off.  And I remember being told that the horse was one of the horses that was fastened onto the fire engine, and although the milkman was in our house, because the maroon went off, the horse dashed off dragging the milk float and went all the way down to the fire station, which was (by road) a good two and half miles from where he was at the time in Preston Avenue. But he got there apparently, and everything worked according to plan.  I’ve no more information on that one, but to me it was just a fantastic thing, that a horse knew when the maroon went off he had to get to the fire station, and not only that, but because he was a horse that did this sort of journey week after week after week delivering milk, he knew how to get down there at the right time!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: