With the wonders of modern communication technology I do seem to spend a fair bit of time wandering the ‘net’. On one of the internet groups to which I belong there has, over the last few days, been a lot of discussion and memories of free school milk. Remember that? It came in one third of a pint bottles and was usually warm by the time we kids had it. I mentioned in the forum that i had a number of crates for this size bottle, but sadly had no bottles to go with them; of course, you are wondering why I should have a collection of galvanised wire milk crates?

It all started with a photograph from within an album a friend of mine had rescued from a skip. It was a wonderful album of old photographs of industrial trucks manufactured by R A Lister & Co of Dursley, Gloucestershire, but it was one picture in particular which fascinated me and that was of a milk float variant. At this time I already had a number of Lister Autotrucks and decided to use one of them and fit a replica body. The one I selected for this task was affectionately known as ‘Stinkerbell’ and was ideal as it was roughly of the right period as the one in the photograph.

A chat to the local milkman soon discovered he had a large number of wire crates out his back yard, apparently they kept them as a source for reinforcing concrete. He also promised to find a source of old bottles to fill them but unfortunately I never followed that up and now, thirty years later, I can hardly go back and ask where the bottles are that were promised!

As a milk delivery machine the Autotruck would have been very unsuitable, especially on solid tyres like the one in the photo. Stinkerbell was on inflatables but another of my trucks was fitted with solids and even on the smoothest of roads was extremely rough-riding. The project never got beyond the design stage and my Autotruck collection is now but a memory.

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