Edited and Compiled by Paul Nix
Before World War ll, my father worked for the Co-op delivering bread with a horse and cart. At Christmas, each team would set forth to the outer estates of Nottingham, piled high with bread. They carried double rations for the horse. At midnight, they would be parked up waiting for a further delivery of bread from Nottingham and more food for the horse. They usually finished by 01:30hrs in the morning. When they arrived back at base, each horse was examimed by the ostler for signs of sweating and if there was any, the team was in a lot of trouble. A hundred yards or so from base, you would see all of the horses being rubbed down, before the ostler could see them.
If men were put on a round which they did not know, it didn’t matter. The horse knew the round. Sit tight and when the horse stops, give everybody a loaf of bread!
So, the horse stops. The man and boy get off the cart with their baskets of bread and go up the entry and deliver to the back door of each house. The horse, meanwhile, moves on it’s own to the next stop. Except, that is for one point, where the horse mounts the pavement and puts it’s head through an open window, where it receives an apple from the lady there.
One day, the team had a new horse. It was harder work, as the horse had to be driven everywhere. When it stopped at the apple point, the lady came out of the house and the horse got it’s apple. All went well for a few days as the horse learned the round.
One day the team delivered the bread and returned to the cart. It had gone. They found it further down the road. The horse had gone to get it’s apple. The shafts of the cart were up against the door! Retrieving the cart was not to difficult, but getting the horse out of the ladies front room was a little bit harder.
The lady never complained and nothing was ever said about it. She did keep her door shut and the window open after this.
How long did it take to drive this electric delivery van from Nottingham to Skegness, I wonder, how many times did they have to charge the batteries.