This seems a genuine milestone in life, if rather slower in coming than I'd originally anticipated. A momentous day, if not a momentous cheque. I was thinking of similar moments, and it occurred to me that I must have got my very first pay packet about this time 30 years ago.
I'm talking about my first ever weekly pay packet from my first proper, permanent, full-time job – as opposed to cash-in-hand young people stuff. It came Friday lunchtime at the Harvester, April 1984. I'd worked 78 hours the week before and, inside the tiny brown envelope, alongside a small white slip showing my hourly wage and overtime and deductions, was a roll of notes and a handful of change, which came to a rather neat, if somewhat meagre, £78 and somepence.
I also remember three weeks later taking my third pay packet directly across the road to Harry Birkett's betting shop, where I put it all on a horse which Reggie, (or maybe Ron) - one of the gangsters who ran the “amusement” shops in South East London, and fixed the dogs at Catford when chance allowed - had said couldn't be beaten.
Of course, at this point the narrative demands that this becomes a moment of humility within a parable on moral rectitude setting me firmly on the road to redemption, but the reality was that the horse won easily from the front under Steve Cauthen at 11/10 which, after tax, meant I'd effectively doubled my money. Frankly, this seemed a much better way of going about things.
Given that my royalty cheque isn't even as much as my first ever pay packet 30 years ago, I suppose the only sensible route open to me is to put it all on a horse in the National...