Damn you Richard Herring, damn your eyes! I swore I wouldn’t do it, but now, thanks to the fat one off the telly, I am now a Consecutive Number Plate Spotter. I took one look at it, decided it would be the saddest thing in Sadshire in the Kingdom of Sad, and promply went out looking for car number plates. I couldn’t help it. It grows on you. And once you’ve started, you can’t stop. And let's be perfectly clear about this, it's only one step removed from writing down train numbers.
Y’see, when I was a kid, and regularly travelling a good hundred miles to visit my grandparents, my dad used to pay us a penny per plate if the numbers added up to nineteen. Ever since then, I’ve been adding up plates, and this is its illogical conclusion.
I’m up to ten already, having seen six, seven and eight all in the same traffic jam, was nearly knocked off my bike by nine and was still calling him a wanker when I saw ten. "Wanker!" I shouted, "oooh!" - that's how it went.
Here’s a couple of tips though: Don’t try CNPS when you’re driving, not unless you want to lose your no claims bonus and regularly witness the sad old faces of pedestrians as they slide across the bonnet of your car. And for God’s sake, don’t tell your wife, girlfriend or significant other what you’re up to - you’ll be labelled a saddo for life in front of family and whatever few friends you have left.
Eleven. God send me one tiny little eleven and I'll be pleased. It's not an obsession. I can stop anytime I want to. Honest. Just as soon as I've got my eleven.
Interesting car number plate fact to emphasise my sadness: In the US, you can pay a few extra dollars and get a plate with virtually anything you want on it (within reason), just like JR Ewing. Over here, you’ve got to be imaginitive and group together letters and numbers and hope that they’ll make a word. A Sikh friend of mine splashed out a small fortune on D 51NGH, and our local slum landlord has BED 51T on his maintenance van. For obvious reasons, the likes of J3SUS and J1HAD have never been issued, but one of my neighbours paid a shedload of ackers for K9 0RGY, the manky old spunker.