Walking past Baxter’s, the former printing works in the twitten behind Sussex Stationers, I remembered that I worked there, briefly, in the late 1970s. I was a courier. The idea was that I would go to London on the train, and pick up documents, and take them back to Lewes. One afternoon I was sent up in a hurry, to pick up some documents containing financial information. There were two large brown envelopes. I had to turn around and come back straight away, so they could reproduce the documents overnight.

My big mistake, in retrospect, was thinking that nobody would mind if I had a couple of drinks. Then I met some people in a pub. The evening was a blur. I remember making a joke about how the overtime I was earning was just about keeping pace with the drinks I was buying. These days, the works manager would have called me. But this was before mobiles, before texts and emails. The email, in effect, was me. I made the train in the end. The problem was that I had lost one of the brown paper envelopes. The important one, as it turned out. I remember coming up the twitten, terrified, wanting to get it over with. I walked into the building, the one they’re demolishing at the moment. The worst thing was the look on the guy’s face. It was a look of pure relief. He said, ‘thank God you’re here! Thank God!’ Then he said, ‘Where’s the other one?’ Like I said: I worked there, briefly.


Out of Print: how our columnist lost his job at Baxters