At Christmas 1969 I was recruited by the Post Office as one of a vast student temporary workforce to help with the Christmas mail. Dutifully, I reported on my first day to a special sorting office set up in Bishop Hannington Church Hall in Holmes Avenue, and helped – first with sorting the post, then with deliveries in Hangleton.
I was on ‘spare duty’, and could be given deliveries anywhere in the area. I recall flats where the postman had to deliver to flats on each floor in the order 7, 5, 3, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8 – difficult to get the right post in the right letterbox! And houses on the very edge of the estate, facing open fields and north-east winds, where the letterboxes were heavily sprung and stuffed with carpet to prevent draughts – an impossible battle for a student’s frozen fingers!
My worst moment came in Holmes Avenue, however. When bending down to a low-set letterbox I split my trousers and had to retire rapidly!