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Here is the stanza :

But all that's left is a place dark and lonely
A terraced house in a mean street back of town
Becomes a shrine when I think of you only
Just two up two down.

My question is : what does the line in bold mean ?
I would be most grateful if someone could explain it !
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Right, here you are, from a fellow Brit to Hermon and his little Hermits.

The singer is not the milkman. He is the man who lives in the house.

In the past milkmen would deliver milk in glass bottles and leave them on your doorstep very early in the morning. You would put the empty bottles back out again for them to collect. If you wanted to leave the milkman a message, you would write it on paper, roll it up, and leave it sticking up out of one of the milk bottles. 'No milk today' was a pretty standard note, meaning please don't leave a delivery today. Or you might say '2 pints today' or 'a loaf of bread' (as they sold a few other things, bread and eggs come to mind). You'd have a regular order and leave a note if you wanted to change it for this day.

So...it is dawn. There is a milk bottle on the doorstep with a note 'no milk today'. The song talks about how to everyone else seeing it, it is just a normal milk bottle note, but of course he no longer needs his usual delivery because his love has just left him, and there's now only one person living there, not two. So it symbolises the end of the relationship to him.

A two-up-two-down is a type of terraced house with two downstairs rooms and two upstairs rooms. They were built in their thousands for working people.
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Can you give more context? Is this the milkman speaking? (two bottles?)

Did they live in the same appartment?

Is (he) talking about two different appartments in the same terraced house, one now deserted?

Was (hers) two up, two down from his?

"Two up, two down" usually refers to two chances, either both disposed of or both lost.
(As in baseball: two batters up, both now out.)
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It's a song by Herman's Hermits. Here are the lyrics and I added my personal interpretation right after :

LYRICS :

No milk today, my love has gone away
The bottle stands forlorn, a symbol of the dawn
No milk today, it seems a common sight
But people passing by don't know the reason why

How could they know just what this message means
The end of my hopes, the end of all my dreams
How could they know the palace there had been
Behind the door where my love reigned as queen

No milk today, it wasn't always so
The company was gay, we'd turn night into day

But all that's left is a place dark and lonely
A terraced house in a mean street back of town
Becomes a shrine when I think of you only
Just two up two down

No milk today, it wasn't always so
The company was gay, we'd turn night into day
As music played the faster did we dance
We felt it both at once, the start of our romance

How could they know just what this message means
The end of my hopes, the end of all my dreams
How could they know a palace there had been
Behind the door where my love reigned as queen

No milk today, my love has gone away
The bottle stands forlorn, a symbol of the dawn

But all that's left is a place dark and lonely
A terraced house in a mean street back of town
Becomes a shrine when I think of you only
Just two up two down

No milk today, my love has gone away
The bottle stands forlorn, a symbol of the dawn
No milk today, it seems a common sight
But people passing by don't know the reason why

How could they know just what this message means
The end of my hopes, the end of all my dreams
How could they know a palace there had been
Behind the door where my love reigned as queen

No milk today, it wasn't always so
The company was gay, we'd turn night into day

But all that's left is a place dark and lonely
A terraced house in a mean street back of town
Oh all that's left is a place dark and lonely
A terraced house in a mean street back of town
Oh all that's left is a place dark and lonely
A terraced house in a mean street back of town

Interpretation :

The narrator is a milkman, who used to deliver milk at the girl's house. They used to have a love affair, and drink milk together. Yet, one day, he finds the girl has left the house (either because she moved out or because she died --> possible interpretation due to the word "shrine" ???), so he is no longer drinking milk with her as he delivers the milk and the bottles are left unopened.

I still can't figure out what "two up two down" means in that context.... Thanks for your interest, though !
Is the interpretation yours? When I suggested the milkman, I was half joking, but it makes sense. When you deliver a route, you try to remember what your customers have ordered. If there's an upstairs apartment and a downstairs apartment, it would mean each apartment normally took two bottles. It's what you say to yourself to help you remember. So it's a little strange putting it in the singular, "The bottle stands forlorn." He says people don't know the reason why. Perhaps there used to be two bottles, but now he leaves only one. But why wouldn't he have taken them inside?? Maybe he did, and people now see the single bottle, where before there were none.

The milkman was always famous for surreptitious love affairs.
Yes, it was my interpretation - the only one I could think of... But I'm sure there are other readings..
Maybe "just two up two down" means that he goes up the stairs to the 2nd floor (where the girl lived) and then he goes down again (2 floors down), without having his ritual breakfast break with the girl ? So the emphasis should be on the "just" : he stayed at the apartment only for the delivery (he took the time only for the delivery), so it went very quickly : just two up two down, no long conversations with the girl... In that case, the singular "bottle" would make more sense, because he focuses only on what he is bringing to her ?
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Hi,
'Two up, two down' refers to a small house with two rooms downstairs and two bedrooms upstairs.

Look here http://www.diclib.com/cgi-bin/d1.cgi?l=en&base=coed&page=showid&id=68708

eg Tom and Mary live in a two up, two down.

Best wishes, Clive
Yey !
Thank you Emotion: big smile That was really helpful !
Clive eg Tom and Mary live in a two up, two down.
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 nona the brit's reply was promoted to an answer.
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