Why bother with milk delivery? It's more expensive, someone might nick it (or the bluetits might eat it) before you put it on your cereal and you'll forget to cancel it when you go to Spain for two weeks. Well - here are some reasons!
PRICE. Ok, so in May 2011, a pint of organic milk from Milkandmore (Oxford's primary doorstep milk delivery service) retails at 76p per pint - as opposed to 58p for the same at Tesco. BUT: you haven't had to get dressed and go out in the rain to get it. And you get green points (see below). Wouldn't you pay 18p for that?! (We certainly would, anyway.)
GREEN POINTS.Yup: getting milk in a glass bottle, which you put back outside your front door when empty so the milkman can take them away, wash them and then bring them back full again, beats the plastic bottle hands down. Sure, you can recycle those plastic bottles (click here for info on Oxford plastic and glass recycling) - but hey, it's far better not to make them in the first place. (And you can stick the aluminium bottle tops from the glass bottles in the recycling too.)
CONVENIENCE (again). Going on hols? Choose between leaving a last-minute note out in the bottle saying 'no milk today please, milkperson!' or some such (yes, this archaic form of paper-based communication actually still works), or changing your order online (perhaps from Spain) - up until 9pm the night before. While you're there, you may be tempted by the wide range of groceries (loo roll, cleaning products, croissants, eggs, fresh veg) that you can order to arrive with your milk. The quality isn't likely to be amazing, but if you're actually stuck at home for some reason, it sure is handy.
OTHER INFO. My milkman turns up around midnight. Delivery mornings are Tues, Thurs and Sat or Mon, Wed and Fri, depending on where you live. Only a handful of times has the milk not arrived (and who knows, it could have been those pesky bluetits); when I called up to mention this, I didn't get charged for the absent milk. If you're a late riser, you may wish to consider getting one of those insulated milkholder thingies for summer, as your milk will warm up in the sun. My milkman responds well to notes and gives me a Christmas card. (Come to think of it, I really owe him a tip.)
Don't change your order around too much; the milkperson is a creature of habit, the depot gets confused and it can make things difficult. Sticking to the same order each week once you've worked out how much milk you actually need makes things straightforward for everyone. There's nothing like the magic of running out of milk on a Monday night, then opening the door to a fresh, dew-speckled pint on Tuesday morning; it's like a tiny Christmas every time.
OTHER DELIVERY SERVICES. Some of Oxford's veg box delivery schemes also do milk. Click here for info in our Oxford Food Shopping section.
MISC. If you happen to need a LOT of butter, you might also be interested in sourcing Jersey cream and butter (they don't do milk) from Upper Norton Jersey Cream Co. (the cows are Jerseys - the farm's near Witney). They cater mainly for trade and colleges, but are worth considering if you're holding an event that requires seriously large amounts of dairy produce.
Milkfloats, if you meet them in the middle of the night, may be amenable to selling you a pint on a 'stop-me-and-buy-one' basis. (We haven't checked this in a while, so you might want to be tentative when accosting your local milkman.)