Bringing Back Memories – And They Aren’t All Good !!

Isn’t strange how the smallest of things can trigger a whole load of forgotten memories ? Photographs are the obvious memory trigger, sometimes to the point of not knowing if you really remember that childhood photograph being taken or if that photograph is so familiar that you feel like you remember it when you couldn’t possibly !

I’ve been picking up bits and pieces recently to use as additional props/styling for my food and still life photography. I stumbled across these cute little 1/3 rd pint milk bottles the other week and boy did they stir up some not so pleasant memories !

Maybe I shouldn’t admit this but I’m old enough to remember the days of compulsory free school milk. Its hard to believe these days that milk could be compulsory, but it was. Unfortunately I was born with a severe dislike of milk, and try as I might I have NEVER learned to like it.

School milk was a trauma for me, once it was established that I really couldn’t physically bring myself to drink it I still couldn’t be excused without a note from mum. So the note was produced and I was duly excused from being forced to drink it, I was made a milk monitor instead.

At least I didn’t need to drink it but being milk monitor brought its own traumas, thirty odd little bottles of milk that needed their foil lids piercing with a straw before they were handed out. Thirty odd little bottles of milk in a crate that had been left out in the sun for too long, then brought in and kept in a hot classroom for too long. That smell !! There was nothing worse for a milk hater, buying these little bottles brought that long forgotten memory back and as I’m typing now that smell hits me all over again and I actually feel queasy !

Winter was better, there wasn’t the smell, instead of leaving the crate out in the sun too long it used to be left out in the cold for too long and the milk would start to freeze and burst through the foil tops.

I think free milk may have ended whilst I was small, I only have these memories from one particular classroom when I would be around six – perhaps it was soon recognised as being a health hazard.

Do you have an object that triggers childhood memories ?

Other than writing this post I’ve managed to put those memories behind me and am happily using the bottle as a quirky mini flower vase !!

(All images ©J Broughton Photography


PS – What happened to milk with cream on top like school milk had – I can’t remember the last time I saw it.



  • Victoria

    Beautiful photographs and beautiful memories! They still provide milk at school but sadly in plastic bottles. I can’t imagine there being anything nostalgic about that in years to come! x

  • Gilly

    Oh, Janet, this post brings it all back to me. I hail from the days of compulsory school milk too, and like you, I loathed milk. There was no way for me to get out of it, so I had to down the horrible stuff every day and then feel sick and queasy for hours afterwards. The only time it was tolerable was when the milk had frozen, because it effectively removed the cream from the top of it – I guess, turning it into skimmed milk – and at least that didn’t leave the inside of your mouth coated in disgusting fatty oiliness.

    There were also the school dinners – we were forced to eat absolutely everything, and even now I feel quite sick when I remember having to force down the skin on the custard, lumpy sauces, gristly meat, and slimy tapioca, among other things. I longed to be an adult and able to choose what I ate. I truly hope they don’t still do this to children!

    PS: the bottles are cute, though!

    • Janet Broughton

      I’d wondered if I’d misremembered that it tasted better when it had been frozen but I obviously hadn’t !

      I have a terrible prunes & custard related school dinner memory that I won’t share or we will probably spend all day feeling ill !

  • mykidlovesbroccoli

    Oh Janet, I too remember those days of warm milk! The only pleasure for me was piercing the foil tops. I still can’t drink or tolerate the smell of warm milk. Ew!!

  • RockstarVanity

    Oh my goodness, I totally tasted the horror of full-cream school milk when I read this! I’m glad you’ve found something super cute to use those little bottles for 🙂