Sunday 15 September 2019

Superstitious? Not me. But when a black cat raced across the road in front of my car at Halloween, I just had to do the Lotto

Bairbre Power. Photo: Kieran Harnett
Bairbre Power. Photo: Kieran Harnett
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

I'm a great believer in making your own luck in life. I subscribe to a mixture of hard work, being curious about the world, and then there's the two 'K's - kindness and karma.

I'm totally into the karma concept of cause and effect and the notion of 'what comes around goes around'.

As my dear friend Karen warned me on the eve of an impending romance, "if it's for you, it won't pass you by".

The romance didn't last more than a year but it was a lucky, life enriching encounter and so what if it ultimately wasn't to be - life's lucky moments can be just that, moments.

And then they can occasionally be something a bit more. The Powers had an unusual lucky streak for a while thanks to my father's aunt, Dottie Disney.

She was one of the Shaw sisters in Clonmel and when she died, she left money to all her extended family, including her many nieces and nephews. Far from being a legacy, it was a small amount, around £50 if I recall correctly, and my mother dutifully went off and invested it in Prize Bonds.

Oh how I remember the day we came home from holidays and there, in that depressing mountain of bills that always greet you when you return after two weeks away, was an unusual envelope.

My Mum went racing up the stairs and the old tan leather brief case with the one big clip at the front was pulled down from on top of the wardrobe. The moment of revelation.

The numbers matched. We had won the princely sum of £50! My mother bought me a Raleigh bike for £30 from Paddy Walsh in Harold's Cross.

I used to cycle it up and down the road after school but was refused permission to cycle to school. Damp squib really.

And then the impossible happened. Another letter from the Prize Bonds. We had won again and this time, the prize was a very manageable £100.

My ever-sensible mother went off and judiciously bought a wardrobe and put the rest away for a rainy day.

Sadly, the wardrobe was not some art nouveau armoire with glorious rich patina, like the ones I would covet later in life. It was a hideous, beige melamine monstrosity that served its time storing the Christmas decorations in the guest bedroom.

The unfortunate piece of furniture remained a running joke between myself and my Mum for years.

As I write this, I'm also sending a note to myself to check out if it was the same Prize Bond that came up twice.

I have a feeling that it was, and the storyteller in me that believes in omens would like to think it was double luck from Dottie Disney.

But I've always been a bit superstitious. Last weekend, nothing would do me on the bank holiday but to get up in the dark, bring the dog for a walk and then head to work at 6.30am.

And it was then it happened.

A black cat, straight from central casting on the Hocus Pocus movie which we had been watching the previous night, raced at speed in front of my car, agile like an athlete diving across the winning tape.

And yes, it was travelling in the all important direction - from left to right.

It seemed the perfect eve of Halloween coincidence and so I immediately bought a Lotto ticket.

Does everyone believe in the lucky black cat like I do? Apparently across Europe and Asia, there are plenty of countries where they're associated with good fortune, but the Americans don't always share this.

I was curious to see what lucky habits and charms people actually carry with them.

Heidi Klum is reported to carry a bag of her own baby teeth for good luck. Jennifer Aniston, my Friends favourite, has a thing about flights and reportedly steps on to the plane with her right foot after tapping the outside of the plane.

I don't carry a lucky four leaf clover or rabbit's foot but I do have a few 'habits'. I bless myself as the plane takes off.

I tug my forelock if I see only one magpie and I don't walk under ladders - and that's because, as a child, I had paint dropped on me from the top of a ladder outside Dockerells on George's Street which caused me to miss Penelope Kenny's party.

If I see a rainbow on the way to doing the Lotto (my numbers are an assortment of birthdays) then all the better. With a Friday the 13th looming in two weeks' time, I'm definitely going to play the Lotto that night because 13 is my daughter's lucky number - that is, if I don't win this Saturday.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Don't Miss