On Saturday 23 July 2005, in the B&Q car park in Weymouth - a red Ford Mondeo S 999 KRS. My quest is complete. Thank fuck for that.
When we were kids, car journeys would be made more bearable by my father paying us 1p for every car number plate we spotted that added up to a certain figure. He routinely chose 19, because our own car - FLM 685 J gave us one for free. Oh, how those pennies rolled in. I could have turned pro, y'know. I one went on a journey in a friend's car. They played "How many red cars can you spot?" Hardly much of a challenge there, I think you'll agree.
Some time in early 2003, celebrity blogger Richard Herring mentioned Consecutive Number Plate Spotting, a rather sad game where you attempt to spot car number plates with the numbers 1 - 999. In order. After my previous experience, I vowed not to get involved.
I made a point not to notice the bus with the number plate MRD 1. Then the number 2... I got stuck on 17 for weeks, which belongs to the chip shop at the top of our road.
Undoubtedly, the switch from train to car speeded things up a bit, and I soon developed a driving style that allowed me to glance at oncoming number plates without crashing into them. Not without its risks, though - spotting 998 on the A35 near Dorchester resulted in the locking of brakes and skidmarks left both on the road and in the trousers.
And now. After two-and-a-half years (which I'd rather like to have back, thank you Mr Herring), it is over. I'm left rather at a loose end now that I am no longer looking at number plates. Can anyone suggest what I can do now?
I know: "Get a life".