Is good fortune contagious? A couple of weeks ago, on the way out of Tesco, I stopped and bought a lottery scratchcard. A few minutes later, sitting in the car, I scratched the card and found out that I had won £4.
Nice, but not exactly enough to start alerting the tabloids lobbing fireworks into the air. In fact, I was so underwhelmed that I put the winning card in the space underneath the car stereo and forgot about it. A week or so later, I was back in the supermarket and, yet again, I detoured to the lottery desk and bought two more tickets. I should say at this point that I rarely, if ever, buy Lotto scratchcards.
Forgive me if this sounds a touch Daily Mail, but I always feel there's something of the wild-eyed Jeremy Kyle guest about your average scratcher.
Anyway, I pocketed the two tickets and headed home. I gave one of the tickets to my wife and proceeded to start scratching to see if I had won another four quid. This particular card featured three different games and, on the very first one, whichever number was hiding under the waxy silver covering was the amount you won. With a sweep of my hand, I revealed a little icon which read £200. I stared at it for a few seconds. Two hundred quid! Beautiful!
I called my wife through and showed it to her. She squealed, enveloped me in a hug and immediately ran through to the kitchen to scratch her own card. She came back into the lounge, holding her card in front of her like a Roman legionnaire's standard. "Did you win? How much?" I laughed. Her smiled morphed into a Charlie Brown squiggly mouth and she said: "Four pounds." I tried to convince her that this was still a good result, but she had already seen what was possible with a few scratches and wasn't going to be appeased by four measly quid.
However, in the wider world, some people evidently feel differently. A lady who works with my wife, on hearing of our recent £208 accumulator, said she would like us to buy her lottery tickets from now on.
Who knows? Maybe we are lucky. Of course, if I do happen to win the lottery, you'll be the first to know. Because this space will be a crossword.