The Milk Snatcher

Back in the school days, and I’m thinking right the way back to reception class now, aged four, I remember every break time we would get a small carton of milk. It was the nicest milk I ever remember drinking, and it was at least something to look forward to. I remember hearing the phrase “Maggie Thatcher, Milk Snatcher” at the time and wondering why anyone would want to take the glorious milk away. When I look back now, I note that that phrase was invented in 1971 – way before when I was born. But then again, my parents did hate Maggie with a passion.

But this must have been in 1989/early 1990, when Thatcher was still in power. But she was so immensely unpopular by that time, particularly in the city I lived in, that even children had their own playground taunts. I remember vividly that one kid would draw a big black mark on the palm of their hand with a pen, and then proceed with the following rhyme:

Here’s Maggie Thatcher – i.e. the black spot
Throw her up and catch her – while making a gesture of throwing and catching
Squishy squashy, squishy squashy – while rubbing hands together
There’s Maggie Thatcher – then demonstrating the hands, now with black ink smudged all over them

Very bizarre, I know, but these things stick with you. But there is a tangential reason for this story.

My housemate has very unpredictable eating habits, the worst of these being his propensity to not eat breakfast cereal for days, then suddenly have an enormous quantity using massive amounts of milk. This makes it very difficult for me to gauge the exact point at which to buy some milk because I never know when it’s going to run out, since he uses about four times the amount of milk I do on my breakfast. So I generally err on the side of caution, which often means we end up with milk going out of date.

I estimate he will pour a giant bowl of Coco Pops and then use about 1.5litres of milk so that even the very generous quantity of Coco Pops he has are still drowning in floods of milk. Then he will proceed to spend the next two minutes dunking all of the Coco Pops so that they have had a good coating of milk. I could never do this – since by the time the two minutes are up, you’d have stupidly soggy cereal, and there is nothing worse than soggy cereal. But each to their own.

This astonishing use of milk led me to recall the term “milk snatcher” from my childhood, which brought back the memories quoted above. It is now my new nickname for my Current-But-Soon-To-Be-Ex Housemate. I think it is deserved, because I just cannot get my head around the way he uses milk. But then, his entire diet is generally appalling. I have noticed how he is getting fatter. This will be down to the chocolate, crisps, microwave burgers and jelly sweets diet he has recently taken up.

Coming up next time, an anniversary. How exciting.

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