But sometimes she FORGETS to bring her OWN pinta HOME.

"I'll get halfway there and have to go back for my own milk," admits Diane, the only milkwoman working for Sheldon's in Knutsford.

But she has no such problems when it comes to delivering to her customers. For after six years, Diane is a familiar face to those on her round - particularly the elderly.

"I think they can relate to me a bit more because many are women on their own," said Diane, 45, of Newton Hall Lane, Mobberley.

"If someone is ill they know they can leave me a note or knock on their window and I will call. If they can't get to the shops I can supply enough food from the float to make a meal.

"We are all going to get old sometime or other, so if I can be there to help now. I hope someone will be there when I get old."

Diane believes she and her colleagues play an important part in community life.

"You get to know who should and shouldn't be around," she said.

"I once challenged three youths who I saw climbing over a fence, knowing they didn't live there."

Diane, who delivers around Chelford Road and Mobberley Road, even reunited the owner of a gold watch with her jewellery after she found it in the street.

"The doorstep delivery is a tradition which must not stop.

"Business has been hit by cheaper milk in the supermarkets but there is still a big demand for delivery."

The job's only downside, says the mum-of-one, are the early mornings.

"My husband Graham usually has to wake me up at 3.30am so I can be at the dairy before it opens at 4.15am.

"He normally comes to work with me and helps me load up my float, then he comes on the round before getting a lift to work himself.

"It's very quiet at that time of day but I really enjoy it - especially in the summer when it's light and warm.

"I don't mind the cold or the snow but the rain really slows you down because you have to wear your waterproofs."

Icy weather can cause a few problems, too.

"Middle Walk is on my round and when it's icy I don't take my float down there - the junction's so steep it's impossible to get out again and the float slides around."

But the camaraderie makes it worthwhile.

"Being the only milkwoman is no problem. They are a great bunch of men and I don't feel left out."

AS well as all the milk, bread and eggs, Diane Povall keeps a few essentials on her float.

A personal alarm, something to mop up any spilt milk and chocolate.

"I have two Kit Kats every morning at about 7am," said Diane, who gets home for a proper breakfast and a nap at 10am.

The early mornings don't stop her going out or playing dominoes or bowling at the local pubs, or spending time with her three-year-old grandson.

And the gruelling delivery rota - 28 days delivering milk followed by a week off - has not put her off the job.

"I like it too much, and being outside suits me. I'll carry on doing it as long as I can," Diane added.

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