MILK MARKETING BOARD
CREDITON TRANSPORT DEPOT
COVERING THE YEARS 1965- 2000
View information on RWT EDWORTHY
View information on A K Bedford
My name is Jimmy Wills.
I was born near Bow Station
in January 1945. I have always had a great interest in transport. I admit
I even drove lorry’s before I had the full licence to do it, in
lanes and private roads. When 21 I used to go to Bristol and load home
with various products fertilizer, cattle feed being some. Aged 23 I joined
the Milk Marketing Board as a driver. Lorry licence at this time was “Grandfathers
rites” when you were 21 you automatically got your HGV. In 1978
I took a test to drive articulated lorries and obtained a class 1 but
I rarely need to use this licence, I was happy driving 4 wheelers and
I worked as a churn
lorry driver initially at the Crediton transport depot from 1968 until
1978 when I finished on churn collection and churn collection ceased in
July 1979. After the churns finished I became a bulk milk tanker driver
for the 22 years until I retired in Jan 2000.
Some of the information I have gathered is from some of my old workmates
those include Brian Ponsford,
Victor Matthews, Alan Packer and Byron Cousins.
I went to see Mr Les Rich who gave me a brief history
of his part in milk collection. Les tells me his father started the dairy
by the church in Crediton at with an associate
Mr A Stoyle sometime around 1943 The dairy at this time was called Miloko.
They then collected milk for the Milk Marketing Board until the board
took over the milk collection on their own August 1965.
One day I was building a wall at the end of Mill Street
when Denny Dance stopped by and told me there was a job going on the milk
lorries as a chap called Jack Broomfield had been taken ill and would
be leaving the job. I told him at the time I had so much work on I was
not interested. However the Foreman Bill Tucker on his way home to dinner
called up around and said you can have the job, start Sunday.
I told Bill no way as I had lots of work in advance but Bill said there
is a good pension scheme and pretty regular employment so in the end he
sort of persuaded me to give it a go for a couple weeks and see how it
Well 32 years 5 months later I took early retirement at age 55, just prior
to the Crediton depot closing .
Our working day at this time 1968 would be 7am, until
you finished. I always used to get in a little bit earlier to check over
the lorry before we went out on the road. The general idea was you would
leave the lorry ready for the next day.
With the exception of a couple bouts of “cideritis” I can’t
say I was ever late in all the 32 years I worked there.
My boss at this time was Jack Goss as we were at this time a sub depot
of Wellington MMB depot.
Our depot was situated behind the railway station in Crediton in Hoskins
Yard. I worked here for a while but the depot moved down to Lords Meadow
industrial estate at a depot now owned by Daffyd Steel. Our stay here
was not long before we moved to Marsh Lane Transport depot.
By this time Ambrosia factory at Lapford closed and we took over the running
of the transport making our depot a lot bigger. We also took over the
Ambrosia drivers too.
some of the drivers from the early days
George Trickey Alan Jewell ,Russel Lashbrook
Bill Edwards, Reg Hill
Brian Ponsford, Byron Cousins, Denny Dance,
Ron Knight, Herbie Hammett, Victor Matthews
Bert Call, Ivor Parker, Ron Reed, Alan Packer ,Bill Way
Idwall Evans, Trevor Evans, Percy Bennett
Frank Hookway Then later---
Derek Sandercock, Bob Bradford, Bill Saunders,
Roger Yates Bill Glavville Tommy Glanville, Ron Lewis
Mike Roberts Jack Butt, Ern Shobrooke Brian Rowe
Victor Watts, Dudley Palmer then a little later --------
Kelvin Heath, Edward Southcott, Chris Endacott
Phil Clarke, Bert Sandford, Gordon Weeks, John Odgers
Arthur Cooper, George Bryant, Bill Davidson,
Bill Alford, Alf Greenslade, Birdman, Rodney Hale
Les Cheriton, John Pearn, Ron Rooke, Graham Rookes
John Snell, Gordon Gatting, Michael May
Chris Smith, Dennis Bolt Phil Clarke Mike Winkworth
Tony Venton, Rodney Hale, Mike Tickner Frank/Cherie Curtis, Alan Lane
Not to forget the mechanics too
Sid Matten Cyril Holland, Gerry Denford,
Dennis Webber, Rex Harris, Alan Parrish
By now Fred Wren had taken over the management of the
depot, this for me was a lovely time to work at the depot.
Fred was a good and fair boss. I remember a few incidents around this
time, I ran away with a loaded lorry on Jockey Hill in Crediton I lost
the brakes completely and had to ditch the loaded churn lorry into the
wall and rub it along until I brought it to a stop (Not recommended)
Another was in the town of Tiverton my gearstick broke off right in the
high street, a traffic warden came up shouting his mouth off about move
this vehicle, I was so peed off I handed the gear stick out the cab window
to him and said here you are you move it, the look on his face was worth
the hassle. Another time on a Sunday morning I was slipping along at Morchard
Road when I was tailed by a speed cop,
when stopped the cop said what is the hurry fella, I said
I am afraid the milk will go off . I used this excuse for
the remainder of my working days as we all used to slip along.
I will admit we used to have a burn up on our way back to the dairies,
Vic Matthews was the one to beat, his lorry
was a real go’er The farmers asked me one day “How long have
the fire engines been BLUE” I have to admit I was only ever stopped
that once in 32 years. I was occasionally pulled onto the Ministry of
transport weighbridge near Junction 27 of the North Devon link road, but
I would never overload, so I was always alright. I was encouraged sometimes
to overload but I would have none of it. Once the computer on the tanker
said full that was it.
Having some experience in building work I was asked by
Foreman Bill Tucker if I would do some repairs to things our lorries may
have hit or damaged. I remember one incident it was at Upton Pyne one
of our lorries had hit a stone/brick pillar, leading to a big estate,
I got out there and started dismantling the stones and bricks when someone
came along and said morning, I said morning mate, he said I must ask you
to call me “MY LORD“, I said afraid I only know one lord and
that isn't you. He them ordered me off his land, so that got me out of
that job. Repaired loads of milk stands too. A milk stand was a concrete
block or wooden platform at the end of farm lanes.
My first route as a churn driver took me around Cadbury Thorverton and
Shoebrooke my first ever pickup was Commander Bell at Coffintree cross
on the Cheriton Fitzpaine road 32 years later I can remember my last farm
I collected it was Mr Chugg at Chulmleigh.
However my second churn round took me around Dunsford, Moretonhampstead,
Cheriton Bishop. This round ended up a road called Woodbrook Lane, this
was one of the narrowest roads we had at the time that is why a Ford Thames
Trader had to be on this round as the wheel base was a bit narrower than
the Ford D series lorry’s that were replacing the Traders.
I can remember it was near Xmas 1969 I was still on these rounds when
I went into a farm at the bottom of this Woodbrooke Lane it was called
Wallen Barton and the farmer was called Mr Kilford, my daughter was about
to be born and I asked him if I could use the phone, to see if my little
girl had been born yet, he said of course. I remember he could play the
piano and after I made the phone call he played a piece of music, I remember
thinking how brilliant that was.
Around this time I was asked if I would become a relief driver which meant
I would do other drivers routes when they were day off. At this time you
could work 7 days a week and for the first 6 months I hardly had a day
off. Health and safety would have a baby today if drivers did that.
The description of the job was “job and finish” so you could
go home when you had done. I was once loaned out to Wellington depot I
did Seven Crosses round for a month. The churns were the steel ones, a
lot heavier .
Over the years I used job and finish to great advantage building myself
firstly a house in Crediton and later a bungalow at North Tawton.
Being a churn lorry driver was a brilliant job I wouldn’t
have changed it for the world we had some great fun and at this time we
had great comradeship but as the firm got bigger some of this seemed to
disappear but I remained great friends with most of the drivers.
One day Denny Dance took an empty lorry by mistake to do a churn round
with no empty churns, he got to Newton St Cyres before he realised he
had no empties and had to come back and get the spare lorry that had been
loaded with his churns after he had gone home, as his regular lorry had
to be in the garage for repairs, guess he never looked.
Churn milk collection finished on 31 August 1978
Around 1972 Ambrosia Lapford closed and we then took over
their lorries and drivers. Bulk collection was already being used by Ambrosia
so we inherited their Tankers so it was around this time that bulk collection
began to gather pace. The method for loading this was by vacuum pump
creating suction within the tank on the back of the lorry
you would measure the milk with a dipstick and use a chart to compare
the dipstick reading then would leave the farmer a ticket receipt.
This method lasted for a few years, in the early 80s flow meters were
introduced that was to be the pioneer of what we have today but it has
now become computerised.
I was always a relief driver on the bulk collection I used to cover a
section of four drivers on a eleven day rota
After me being say a weekend off, I would come back covering Vic Matthews
on the Monday, Alf Greenslade on the Tuesday and Wednesday, Tommy Glavville
on the Thursday and Bob Bradford on the Friday Saturday Sunday
then it would be my day off Monday and so it went around like that. Sections
changed over the years but the rota stayed the same until the change to
Milk Marque in1994.
My section had changed then to still Vic Matthews then Bill Alford, Brian
Ponsford and Derek Saunders I stayed covering those four drivers until
Milk Marque finished.
The areas we cover changed from time to time as dairy’s closed.
I started covering from Northlew in the west to Bovey Tracy in the south
Tallaton in the east East Ansty in the north. Milk fields as they were
called changed a lot over the years we ended up around Taunton as far
as Budleigh Salterton, Ilfracombe as the farms gave up others got bigger
and from an average of say 20-25 farms per load it is probably now 5-6.
Tiverton also featured a lot in our collection areas Exeter & Exmouth
too. Some of my favourite routes over the years was Butterleigh, Stoodleigh,
Way Village, Spreyton, Monkokehampton. I made some good friends with farmers
in these areas.
After Jack Goss and his side kick Harold Warren returned
to running their own depot at Wellington, we became a depot in our own
right. The boss at this time was Fred Wren with Bill Tucker as foreman
other foreman we had was Jack Snell, Ken Jordan, Reg Edworthy. After this
era Fred moved on and Ted Staite took over the running of the depot, this
lasted until the formation of Milk Marque.
Milk Marque was formed as a result of the break up of
the Milk Marketing Board, Margaret Thatcher sanctioned the break up and
I can remember at the time some farmer were worried about their livelyhoods
and I do believe they now have good reason but it’s too late for
When I started there was close to a thousand producers I dread to think
what that is today.
In the years leading up to the end of the Milk Board we
had a wonderful social club. The social club was formed in the front room
of Denny Dance’s home when I joined the firm it was already up and
running. We used to have some brilliant nights out. I can remember some
laughable incidents at one party at Clapps Cafe at Tiverton ,Bill Tucker
told me to hold back when the food was called, we then sat at a table
with 4 chicken in the basket with just 2 of us to eat it.
Bill was reputed once to have eat a whole goose and a loaf of bread for
a bet. At a party in the Rougemont hotel one Xmas Bill grabbed a wig off
of a gatecrasher woman and danced around the rest of the party with this
wig on. Priceless.
Every year there was Xmas party’s for the children and the wives
organized and contributed the food. We had some BBQs too and some coach
trips to shows at Torquay
Some of the most stressful times being a milk tanker driver was the winter
when we had to collect milk all times of the day and sometimes night.
The worst winter I can remember was February 21/22 nd 1978 when a blizzard
was so bad a lot of our lorries were trapped out in the countryside unable
to return to the depot. I remember it was a Wednesday or a Thursday and
Derek Saunders and myself was sent to the Moretonhampstead area we collected
a load of milk but it was a real struggle.
When we got back to Whiddon Down the road to North Tawton was closed,
so we had to go around Okehampton
I was driving an Albion four wheeler and the old lorry seemed to go along
alright once in Okehampton we turned right to head for North Tawton when
we got to Appledore Hill the snow was so bad it was a white out.
Derek was with me, we had our nose pressed against the windscreen just
to see a few foot in front.
Eventually we got to our destination but the snow was so bad we had to
leave the lorry at the Cheese factory .Derek could not get home so for
a day or two he stayed with us, in North Tawton. I have to admit with
the snow being so deep I knew in my heart we would not be able to go very
far the next day so I said to Derek would you like to go to the Fountain
pub for a bevvy or two. We all went over, my wife too, my wife went home
at 12 oclock (midnight) but I was in playing dart mode and cider mode
so we stayed until 4 am.
I was right we couldn’t go far the next day but the headache was
inhuman, guess it serves me right.
Derek stayed with us for almost a week before snow was cleared enough
for things to move. We went down to the factory on the second day where
some local farmers had loaded their milk in emergency containers and had
made it to the factory with their tractors. relationships with farmers
was very important to the smooth working for all concerned. I used to
take farmers out a newspaper on many of the rounds. We were often offered
a cup of tea I used to have a tea and a bit of breakfast at a few farms.
Courtney Pring at Exton was one of the first he used to cook me a Walls
sausage or two that was brilliant Later, on the bulk lorrys I had a bit
of breakfast at Gerald and Vera Mills near Witheridge they were lovely
people. I always went in for a cuppa with Fred Baulch near North Tawton
he treated every driver the same, he is still my friend today. In fact
there are too many to remember them all.
As well as snow and ice we used to have to travel through terrible floods,
two places were to prove tricky down by Bickleigh castle and Stoke Cannon
area. I have gone through it so deep it would come in the cab and that
was scary. I recall the hurricanes of 1987 and 1990 after a very rough
night like those I used to take my chainsaw with me in the cab and many
is the time I cut limbs off trees to get through.
I also remember the drought of 1976 the ground became so dry any little
thing would cause a fire to start.
Milk production fell away as farmers had very little grass and I recall
farmers feeding animals in the summertime when there should have been
enough in the fields.
Snow remained the biggest problem with hard day after day frosts you just
had to grit your teeth and get on with it.
Once I had to light a fire under the lorry to thaw out the diesel, that
is some cold.
I remember temperatures could get as low as -17c it was a bone biter and
it stayed like this for some time.
Even after the snow had melted some of the back roads were so bad it was
treacherous. I know for sure there is climate change, in the 70s you would
get really cold weather from mid November until at least the end of February.
I have known farmers dairies frozen up for maybe a month at a time no
running water, now it’s as rare as a honest politician.
The milk was taken to several different dairies, Express Dairy Pinhoe
Exeter was one of my favourite the unloading was good Johno and Gordon
Tootell were right on the job and also the canteen was brilliant. You
would never be able to beat their breakfast’s if you got in late
someone would always put you up something
Other dairies were Lapford Ambrosia, Crediton Dairy, Quickes
Newton St Cyres, Coushe at Tedburn
Courtlands of Exmouth, Youngs of Brixham, and latterly Cheese factory
Sometimes milk would be diverted to Honiton, Chard, Torrington, and in
recent times Cullompton reload. Jersey
milk was collected separately took to Highbridge in Somerset. I am going
to put some lorry pictures on here of some of the makes of lorry we drove.
I have a few pictures of Torrington lorries later, on this site.
The transport had many names Milk Marketing Board, Dairy
Crest Transport, Dairy Products Transport, more recently Milk Marque and
present day Milk Link.
When Milk Marque came to fruition the running of the transport was taken
over by GDL transport North Tawton.
We were issued with a new uniform and I must admit it was smart but one
drawback was the fact we had to wear a tie summer and winter. It was ok
in the winter but the summer it was much too hot around your neck.
I put out my temperature gauge on a hot day and it went up to 100f degrees
in the cab, I had the chance to talk to a Mr Alford of Sticklepath about
this and he said he would bring it up at a Milk Marque meeting, later
we were allocated polo shirts brilliant.
Sampling for milk quality when on churns was done by the
receiving dairy but it was the drivers responsibility when things went
bulk collection. To start with we sampled farms once a week on a random
basis, but latterly every farm every day I would imagine this would improve
a lot. Dairies got a lot more fussy about the milk temperature, if the
milk was over 4c you had to ring back for instruction, this was a problem
in the early days but when cab phones was introduced it was much easier.
Some of the roads we had to travel on was very narrow
and some farm lanes poor quality. There was one road on the edge of Dartmoor
so narrow you would be lucky to get down through this road without scraping
some part of the lorry.
Bridges too could be tight to cross over, one near Bellever on Dartmoor
you scraped the wheelnuts every time you went over it. North Bovey in
churn days was narrow, Bondleigh and Seven Crosses were also very tight.
Bill Alford had the worst rounds on milk collection for 14 years he did
Dartmoor round. Summer, he had the holiday makers and in the winter he
had to cope with adverse conditions. Bill was a really good driver. I
was his relief driver for a year or two, considering his territory he
didn’t have many scrapes. He did have one though, Miss James in
Manaton he knocked down a wall.
Another little job for me, took me a week to repair, could only do a bit
a day “wink” Tony Beard (BBC Radio Devon) used to send a churn
or two, his milk would have been on a milk stand in this area.
North Tawton cheese factory held some great memories.
Following a messy divorce, I had to get out of a house I finished building
myself in Crediton. These were hard times for me. I went overnight in
1974 from a lovely 3 bedroom house to a mobile home I parked at Bow Station,
near where I was born. In 1975 I met my now wife Margaret in the cheese
factory canteen where she worked. She offered me lodgings as the mobile
home was so cold in the winter and I was able to help Margaret repair
her cottage that needed some serious attention. We became good friends
and guess we fell in love, she changed my life for ever. I lived there
until we married in 1982, she has always been my best friend, I could
never picture a day without her.
Made some good pals in the cheese factory, the unloading
staff were good Trev Rounsley John Leahey Peter Fewings Mike Ball other
staff Chris Lewis in the lab, I was brought up in Bow where Chris lived
and we are still in touch today.
Arthur West was the manager I knew Arthur from delivering in Crediton
Dairy he was also management in there. Some nice chaps were managers there
too Ron Isles, Roy Pickard
Great girls in the canteen too Jean Hopkins, Betty Endacott, Margaret
Arscott, Christine Reed, Frances Brookes
Marion Hooper, Annie Barber, my wife Margaret too.
I remember us drivers used to go to the canteen most afternoons
while our lorries were washing out (inside the tank) first one in the
queue would buy the teas I recall one driver in particular would hang
back so he never bought a tea, what some people will do.
At this time we were able to use the canteen facilities and toilet area
but today I don’t think drivers are allowed in the canteen how times
Some of the best laughs in the canteen was around banter
to each other. Graham Rookes was a great sport, he could micky take and
you could have a laugh at his expense.
Once he came in and I casually said to him I gave someone you number last
night, he said oh! yeah why, I said I was in a second hand shop when someone
came in looking for a “dictaphone” so I gave him your number.
Job description when I joined the firm was job and finish
I used to get finished on churns about 2 pm and on bulk tankers 3pm give
or take an hour or so. This was a great help to me as I bought a house
half finished in Crediton and finished it off but only lived there 18
months before being kicked out. Then built myself a bungalow with Margaret’s
help in North Tawton in 1982.
When my ex wife decided to sell the old matrimonial I received a third
share £7000 and with this bought a building site at Gostwyck Close
in North Tawton and with the value of Margarets home we together built
We lived here for 15 years and eventually sold and moved to Crediton part
of the plan to take early retirement.
Margaret bought me some great birthday and Xmas presents
I left my former home devoid of anything whatsoever . Bitterness was rife
and all my personal possessions were destroyed, My best present from Margaret
was a video camera which I used to take around with me in the lorries.
I have lots of video some I have never watched hope to get to that very
I keep in touch with a few of my old work mates, some
of them have helped me put together this story of Crediton milk depot,
input has been by Brian Ponsford, Derek Saunders, Alan Packer, Byron Cousins,
Victor Matthews and I went to see Mr Les Rich who was the milk collectors
before the MMB.
I can recall some more sadder times in my years on the
one was the death of Bert Call in an accident by the Imperial Hotel Exeter,
another the death in service of Dave Grey, he was a quiet chap but we
used to meet at the Kings Arms Crediton for a game of darts and a drink.
Gerry Denford , Alan Parish, Len Quick also died
Roger Yeates, Chris Smith, too.
Darts and social side of the Milk Board was real good.
I once organised a dart competition held at the Burston Bow
Taking into account I played regular for teams in several leagues I might
have been perceived as a likely winner but I had an off night and was
knocked out in an early round by an American tourist who had to ask what
he had to do, still you cant win them all. I played for quite a few teams
one being Thelbridge Inn, I used to go in to the Gillbards at Bishops
Leigh for a cuppa and a snack when the son Colin asked me if I would play
for them that night. Well he finally persuaded me to play against a team
from South Molton. I did very well and won for him that night and played
for the next 7 seasons and won a lot of trophies with the team.
In all I won more than 220 trophies in my dart playing days, I am glad
I played while I could my joints have gone a bit now, I recon I would
now be useless.
We used to organise Bingo around local village halls and party’s
too and we had a BBQ or two, good times.
In the early days when I was spare driver I used to work
in the garage servicing lorries and repairing side rails and floor boards
on the churn lorries. Sid Matten and Cyril Holland were the fitters at
the time, other mechanics that came on after this era were Steve Parker,
Alan Parrish, Gerry Denford, Ben Cartwright, (not the one out of bonanza)
Dennis Webber, Rex Harris, Ron Rooke he later went out driving Byron Cousins,
went driving also.
I recall one incident with Rex he was set out to go collecting milk but
poor old Rex didn’t quite make it 4, lorries were having a “tare
up” in other words a burn up but down by Ashley rubbish tip near
Tiverton Rex bit the dust in fact he cleared the hedge and when I came
along the wheels were in the air and still going around, at least Rex
Few others bit the dust I believe one if the first was Victor Matthews
he came to grief in Pascoe lane near Bow.
I have a picture if this which I hope to put in here.
I have to admit I had one or two bad accidents once I was hit by a tractor
and silage trailer near Rackenford, then one day a Marina pickup hit me
head on near Shoebrooke park. It was a farmer called Cuthbert Burrington
he seemed to be looking into a field and not at the road, next thing I
knew he had hit my lorry and gone flying through the air. Well when I
got out he was bleeding so much it ran down the road. I never thought
the human body contained so much blood, however the old chap survived.
The thing I remember most about the accident was his loaf of bread went
about 20 foot in the aid and landed on the hedge as well as serious it
looked comical too.
My last boss was Mr Ian Wyatt, I have to admit I got on very well with
Ian. I used to work around the depot towards the end of my working days
on the milk.
From churn days I did a lot of repairs with my old pal
Phil Clarke. We even did a few jobs for farmers in the transition from
churns to bulk, plastering out a few dairies getting ready for bulk collection.
Biggest building job I undertook for the Milk Board was the reconstruction
of the drainage system in the depot, previous drains having collapsed
The depot had a letter from South West Water that too much oil and residue
was making its way to the sewer works the fiberglass underground tank
split with the constant weight of the lorries. Ted Staite manager of the
time asked me if I would help out and rebuild the underground tanks.
I agreed to do this and me and Phil Clarke and Malcolm Brown undertook
the job. Chris Endacott dug out the old tank and we were left with a hole
24ft long 14ft wide and 15ft deep I took a trip over to the engineering
department of the local council, and a right nice chap gave me some advice
on how to do the job to there specification. We then started the job 4
compartments each filtering into each other and the water came out pretty
clean , well it passed the SWW tests.
I remember we made up a sign and put near the site
The makes of lorry varied over the years, churn lorries would have been
Ford Thames Traders and Ford D Series
Some inherited Bedford TK
Bulk milk tankers were AEC, Albions, Leylands.
Leyland Clydesdales, Leyland Freighters.
I remember one KM Bedford , Dodge.
A couple Volvo some older type Scania
some Mercedes and new type Scania.
and now today in 2008 artic collection vehicles and draw bar trailers,
how times have changed.
I recall the Dodges causing the most trouble in breaking down but all
types had there day, vacuum pumps were the most likely to play up. I have
known myself have 3 different lorries to complete my day
While I had a good relationship with almost all farmers
there were a handful that was really awful .
I could never get my head around why some farmers and some vets parked
their cars and tractors right in front of the dairy door knowing the lorry
would soon be about.
This sort of thing caused no end of grief for the drivers as management
would never support drivers on this issue or many other petty things,
which was a shame and it led to poor relationships all round.
The Milk Board took part in a scheme run by
This was to encourage you to be a safer driver.
If you completed a year blameworthy accident free
You were presented with either a certificate or a medal.
My most favourite lorry of all was the little 4 wheeler
Leyland Daff that was the last lorry I drove on the Jersey milk run. Jersey
milk was collected separate from farms in Devon and Somerset and was taken
by long tom tankers up the country and used in the manufacture of products
At this time milk collection had become every other day collection the
farmers vats being ice cold, milk would still keep in good condition.
The rounds were in two areas Budleigh Salterton, Wiggaton, Newton Poppleford
Next day, Stockleigh Pomeroy, Witheridge, Blackmoor Gate,
Illfracombe, South Molton.
Some funny incidents occurred in my days on the milk,
once I had a pickup hose (the hose that loads the milk) jump off the tray
on the side of the lorry and unknown to me manage to wrap itself around
my back wheels and dragged the lorry to a standstill, when we unravelled
it, the pipe was twice as long as before more than 30ft. I laughed for
some time about that.
Another of our drivers had done a round for years but in the dark and
in the fog managed to go up a lane leading to a field and got stuck and
bogged down and had to have a crane to get him out, he has not yet lived
that down.(no names but he is still working there)
Snow created some hectic moments. I was almost to the top of a icy hill,
just couldn’t make that last little few feet. I came to a stop so
I got out and got my shovel from the box on the back of the lorry hoping
to dig out the hedge just to get away from the little patch of ice, when
all of a sudden the lorry started sliding back the hill and with the road
being so narrow the lorry chased me backwards down the road. The lorry
went about 30 yards and smacked into a tree, not nice.
Black ice was the worst, you never knew where it was.
I had a pretty good relationship with my bosses, I used
to get on fairly well with the managers but I found some of the supervisors
tended to be creepers just to impress the boss, I was not impressed with
that, still it happens almost any firm.
I was so proud to work for the Milk Marketing Board in
the early years. The comradeship was brilliant., There were loads of hardship
in my personal life at this time. After my divorce from my first wife
in 1974 I never saw my 2 children again, it took some getting used to,
but sticking to my job and great support from some of my workmates saw
me through. I never lost sight of the fact I was entitled to a life as
well, so you just get on with it.
In my time on the milk I saw a lot of lovely things most
of it the wild life. I was bitten by a few dogs, one in particular I swear
he had more teeth than a circular saw. It was at Gerald Burrows farm at
Morchard Bishop the old dog wasn’t supposed to be out but someone
forgot the gate, it was a nasty old bite, had to go doctors and get a
Other things I saw was a fair few stags, they were mostly Rackenford way,
saw some at Spreyton too.
Most lovely thing I saw on the wildlife front was a brood of 8 little
ducks on a stream at Washfield nr Tiverton. When I remembered I used to
take them some little pieces of bread.
I saw a grass snake about a metre long at the top of Robin Bendings lane
near Hittisleigh. Without doubt it was the biggest snake outside of a
zoo I had ever seen. When I was on Dartmoor rounds on sultry days in August/September
you would sometimes see an adder basking in the sun on top of hedges but
it was rare. I was talking to a farmer out near Cawsand Beacon Sticklepath
and he told me the road from his farm to the village was sometimes referred
to as snake alley as summer evenings some were even lying in the road.
There are too many farmers I thought a lot of, too many
to remember all but some special ones were
Fred Baulch, Arthur and Richard Heywood, Ken Toms,
Ben Lippiatt, Gerald and Vera Mills, Peter Morrish.