Isn’t it funny the things that cause a torrent of memory?
Yesterday I drank a sip of warm milk and a door opened which transported me back to the farm I visited when I was very young. We regularly went on family holidays to Dorset and rented a cottage owned by the farmer, occasionally in the early mornings we would be roused and taken to see the cows being milked. The milking was done by hand into a bucket, there were only three cows. The milk was warm and creamy, deliciously animal in flavour, if that makes any sense. The milk that I drink now comes from a local farm and is not treated in any way. The farm ships off the bulk of the milk it produces to be turned into the white liquid which has had all its beneficial enzymes destroyed by heating, homogenised to stop what’s left of the cream from separating out, and some process to remove any last vestiges of flavour, but they retain some to be sold to the rapidly growing army of discriminating people who know a good thing when they taste it. It is annoying to wait while someone fills ten or more of the two-litre bottles which they freeze, make into kefir, extract cream from and make butter, or even just drink, but it is comforting knowing that their support will maintain the flow of the good stuff for me and my kids. Raw milk contains lots of good stuff, read about it, find a farm (they’re diminishing in number), and enjoy something that tastes like fifty years ago.
A few days ago I was walking very slowly through the park when to my delight I saw a game of cricket being played. Two teams of sub-continent chaps, Indian or Pakistani were going through the motions, so I stopped to watch a few overs. The bowling was not good, the batsmen were having a lovely time hitting many boundaries, making the fielding team run around all over. Very enjoyable for all concerned. They, both teams, were laughing and making jokes, and having a great time, even when, eventually, a wicket fell, there was much raucous amusement. I have never been very good at cricket, couldn’t understand it properly when I was young, as is the case with most matters that I have encountered, but used to like to watch it on the telly when I still watched TV. Once, when I was at school, aged twelve or thirteen, we were doing cricket in a games lesson. Becoming bored I decided to pretend to need the toilet and approached the teacher to ask to be excused. He was standing about twenty yards behind the batting wicket, and, as I was talking to him, my back to the game, the batsman hooked a full toss which hit me on the back of the head and knocked me out cold. The person who did it was Gavin Parker, one of the naughtiest kids in the school, who you’d have bet would be in jail within weeks of leaving school, but who went on to start a very successful company and become very wealthy and respected in his community. That’s probably because I attended a grammar school and even naughty kids do well at grammars.
Yes, it’s funny what emerges from the murky past