They get up at the most unthinkable hour, go out in all weathers, trundle along at the speed of a tricycle - and they still manage to smile.
The UK's 10,000 milkmen and women are little short of a national institution, a cultural practice that has been unique to this country for many years. They were the first green road users with their quiet electric driven milk 'floats'
But with the growth of supermarkets, and their price wars, the sound of milkmen clunking and trundling their way round our streets in the small hours has become increasingly rare.
A pint of milk in superstores averages 25p-30p, but delivered to your doorstep it's at least 10p dearer. Only just over a quarter of all milk bought is from the milkman; the bulk is from the shop.
The number of milkmen and women have been falling by 8% a year. And now, a threatened consolidation of dairy produce giants could put a further squeeze on the nation's milkmen.
Predictions of the end of the milkman have been made for some time.
But now the milkmen are beginning to fight back, thanks to a combination of new technology and sheer inventiveness. Around the country, milkmen - either employed by dairies or running their own franchises - have realised the way forward is to diversify their range and provide better services.
Many now offer deliveries not just of milk, but also eggs, fruit juice, bread and potatoes. In some cases, the range even extends to nappies, potatoes, Cornflakes, flowers and boxes of chocolates.
Milkmen have often raised the alarm for housebound people in trouble, they notice when the curtains are drawn and there is milk from the previous day on the door step.
Locally we still have at least two dairies that deliver and I am proud to say that I support one of these, Braziers dairies. These are truly local, supplying locally produced milk. I personally think its worth the extra money to get up to fresh milk every day. My Milkman knows everyone and everything!! A very useful attribute!
Children at school still get milk supplied at school until they go into the juniors (7 years old) When I was at school it arrived in mini bottles with a waxed straw and was always 'warm' Now our school keeps the cartons in the fridge, ice cold milk is a lot nicer!
I believe that the milkman is one of those strange 'English' customs not in too much evidence in other parts of the world!