Eric Lambert (77) suspended the Milk Tour at Tilt and Joaquin after 55 years

Eric Lambert (77) said goodbye to his clients in Tilt and Joaquin. For 55 years, he’s braved all kinds of weather to bring dairy into their homes. “And always with pleasure and on time. But now is the time to take care of my wife. But we will also continue to be active here on our farm,” it seems persevering.

Eric Lambert lives with his wife Maria Knode in Drongensveldweg in Meulebeke. “We moved here in 1970. Part of our farmland is in the Tielt district, and the house is in Meulebeke. But from here you can have a nice view of Tielt. We have to go to Meulebeke to work at the town hall, but I always felt Tiltener,” says Eric .

He grew up on what he himself calls “the strangest farm” in Tilt. “Keda. My parents owned more than ten hectares of land, but lost three initially due to the construction of Ringbaan and another five later on their planned green area. Where now GB (Current Carrefour, editor) This was our country. Until then I had to move the milk every now and then.”

The horse runs to the café

But on his twenty-second day, Eric ended up in the milk business. Rather coincidental. “Marcel Willy was not far from us and had a milking ride with a horse and a cart. One day that horse ran away and ended up with Marcel at the Café des Hesbes. The animal had to be slaughtered and I was told to walk the right path with Marcel from now on with a tractor. But when Had to drop out after a while, I ended up in his lap. The tractor without a cab, which was very cold in the winter, quickly replaced a truck.”

Eric Lambert in his last truck that he still cherishes.

But Eric could not without a fight take his place in the scene of the milkman in Tilt. “There was quite a bit of competition at the time and most of them were from a family of dairy farmers. I was the odd one out there, but you later found out you got opposition because of it. My predecessor Marcel Willy was celibate and someone who liked to stay for a while. He had nine penises. On his tour, but after a while I lost it all because I delivered, but did not drink anything myself … But soon I was able to find new customers.”

“I did not belong to a family of milk, so I had to fight for my place.”

Eric has largely purchased products from Inex. But he also regularly took with him something he had grown on the farm. “And one day the Inex boss gave me a tip. At Wakken there was a run to dominate and there was no competition. I just jumped on it and it was an instant hit. I liked it right there, it was a great run.”

hard work life

Eric and Magda, who have two daughters, Ann and Els, used to get up early every day. We used to raise pigs on our farm here, but we still raise cattle. We also planted vegetables that I took to the auction. After the milk tour, I immediately returned to work here on the court. And for 27 years, I’ve also driven a pickaxe for a contractor during the season. We’ve greatly expanded our farm here ourselves, and if anyone needs help, they know where to find me.”

As well as customers on the milk tour. “I didn’t get involved in anything, so people knew when I was going to pass. But some already had a job ready. I would often go put milk in the basement, sometimes I had to take out trash cans or help move a table for people who had difficulty walking. And eventually I was also a moving service. Contact with my clients has always been very good. I continued working full time until I was 65, after which I continued doing my rounds and didn’t meet any new clients.”

These customers can always count on him. “I sometimes ended up in the hospital, but they didn’t have to miss me for more than 14 days. And snow, wind or rain: I was never afraid to start my lap.”

accident with a nun

In the 55 years that Eric has been on track at Tielt and later Wakken, he has had three delivery trucks. “And there was no key there. The Toyota I drove until recently is still a unique example. I’ve never had any real accidents, but in Waken I had a nun once. But the damage wasn’t too bad.”

A picture from the old days, when dim pictures were still popular: Eric with a milk cart pulled by a dog.
A picture from the old days, when dim pictures were still popular: Eric with a milk cart pulled by a dog.

In Tilt, few dairy farmers are still active. “But of course it is a dying breed. When I started, they sold everything along the street: from mussels to the ice cream truck. I will stop now, because I can no longer leave my wife at home because of her health. Yes, with some regret in my heart, but my place is now here He looks lovingly at his wife.

But it’s not that Eric is still sitting there now. We get a little tour of his company in Drongensveldweg and he talks proudly about the animals he breeds with. “Caves twice and then fatten up,” he reveals his trick. After a life of hard work, Eric and Magda have their rest. But sitting still is very difficult.

It was daughter Anne who informed us of this article. She also assures that clients who wish to send a card to her father or pay him a visit are most welcome at 12 Drongensveldweg in Meulebeke.

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