Back at the base of operations, it was time to review the mission. Luckily, we had achieved most of the mission objectives with no casualties and only minor damage to the bank balance. Checking back over the list of primary objectives, though, we did discover that – for some reason – we’d managed to miss picking up any milk.
A quick inventory of our logistic supply base did reveal that we were very low on milk. Consequently, it would severely compromise the big push towards Sunday lunch, especially the planned secondary objective of a good pudding. In particular, when going into battle against the apple crumble without any custard to back us up. One of the junior officers suggested we replace the custard with ice cream from the tactical reserve, but the wife also wanted cheese sauce for the cauliflower in the main course. This would mean, of course, resupplying our tactical milk reserves.
Bravely I stepped forward to propose a quick commando raid, early on the Sunday morning. If I moved quickly, I could get in, get the milk and get out again before the massive Sunday newspaper rush turned such a sortie into a suicide mission. In particular, if him from number 56 was in there and he began talking about his gardening exploits again. Last time he’d cornered me by the magazine rack and was pounding my defensive position with his rhododendron anecdotes. I barely escaped without any damage to my sanity. After all, there is only so much one man can know about rhododendrons – except him from number 56, obviously.
However, the wife was concerned that a visit to the corner shop would cause severe damage to our – now somewhat depleted – cash reserves. Furthermore, she argued, the price of their milk could be too high a price to pay, even for cheese sauce and/or custard.
‘Of course, this wouldn’t have happened back in my day,’ the old General wisely counselled. ‘Back then we had milk deliveries every day.’
I remembered those convoys of brave deliverymen, risking all to bring milk, groceries, even at one point fresh fish to the door. But the treacherous underhand secret warfare of the governments tax and regulation war had torpedoed too many of those brave men. Many had chosen to go down with their milk floats, deep into the depths of history and nostalgic TV programming, never to be seen again.
However, I knew what I had to do. I donned my battle gear, checked that my debit card was loaded, kissed my wife and children and once more headed out to do battle with the overwhelming forces of the supermarket.