An Unexpected Win
When I see the sign of crossed fingers and the slogan “It could be you” I am reminded of how lucky I used to be with competitions and games of chance.
Winning books, pens and magazines' subscriptions were a fairly regular occurrence.
Prize of £10 or £20 came my way for solving cryptic crosswords and I seemed to have developed the knack of finding the winner of the Derby and the Grand National horse races.
I seemed to have had the Midas touch. Even when I wasn't taking part directly, awards would be presented to me: at a school fete, my daughter approached me and said “Dad, I got you a prize at the Tombola but you have to come and collect it”.
She had bought a ticket and won a bottle of wine but because she was a minor she was told that she wasn't allowed to have it but that I could retrieve it.
Who else but me could be the prizewinner of free rail travel for 500 kilometres?
A share contest in the Daily Mail produced a cool £1000, partly due to skill but also to a big slice of luck.
The list goes on on and on. At the end of our social club's dinner and dance there was a raffle and the two lucky tickets for a bottle of malt whisky and a big bottle of perfume were mine and my wife's.
All these attempts at chasing material rewards relied purely on luck but had been entered into consciously in the hope of a favourable outcome.
Sometimes things can go awry and on one particular occasion, having been awarded second place for two stories in a literary competition, the organising magazine folded up before I could claim my bounty.
What never entered my mind was an unexpected victory that didn't involve my participation.
At the time, my company had developed a disposable camera in common with other competitors. One of the intended use was for these miniature devices to be left on tables at wedding receptions for the guests to take snaps.
A certain numbers were given to employees to try out. I duly complied.
When my film was developed, the first frame was that of a white sheet of paper with the writing 'YOU are a winner' or words to that effect. On enquiring what that meant I was informed that my name would be entered in a draw for a big prize.
I was quite blasé about it and as I was going on holiday I didn't give a second thought.
I should have known that, given my past record, Fortune would be on my side.
“You lucky dog!” was the chorus I heard on my return.
A weekend near Stratford-upon-Avon in a manor hotel plus a £500 spending mine was waiting for me.