Byline: Lynne Ewart
SUPERSTITION is a strange thing. How many people would happily sit in row 13 on an aircraft?
Okay, there are bound to be folk who would, but the majority won't which is why you never see a row 13 anyway.
And house numbers are often turned into 12a and 12b rather than 13, although I once lived at number 13.
It wasn't my permanent address, but the home of my then in-laws.
Their marriage ended in divorce, as did my teenage marriage, which might tie in with the planetary connection of Uranus to the number four (in numerology, 1+3=4). It is associated with chaos and separation - but also with great excitement and adventure.
My late and much loved ex-father-in law, and grandfather to my son, was a film producer and the partner of Gerry Anderson of Thunderbirds fame. Together with two other people, they built a thriving business which was sold to ATV, leaving them all rather well off at that time.
There followed a number of successful enterprises. So number 13 may not have been good for marital bliss, but business boomed for many years. Oh and, yes, I have handled those puppets personally.
The number 13 is perhaps a good one for matters associated with Uranus, such as TV, radio and media.
It could also be good for scientific breakthroughs, but having managed to stay wed for nearly 25 years, I prefer not to live at that number. Not that I am superstitious you understand, touch wood.
Friday 13 never troubles me, but the superstition about 13 around a table scares me. It's all about the 13 at the Last Supper ... one was destined to die soon afterwards, but that dinner table superstition extends the time factor to within the year, which is a bit dodgy.
Those of you with common sense will tell me, quite rightly, that of course with that number of folk around your table there's bound to be a chance of something happening to someone.
But you can surely see that such a superstition unnerves a host who wouldn't want to take the risk, imaginary or otherwise.
Superstitions are rife all over the world, but what worries some people is a good luck symbol for others.
I guess what we really deal with is the power of our own minds which, once convinced that something is unlucky, will never quite shake that thought off.
Yet some things do defy explanation.
Opals are a focus of superstition. It is said that there once lived an emperor who wanted a grand, flowing cloak made with thousands of the gemstones.
He commissioned someone to make the garment, but the price of opals was very high and the crafty tailor hatched a cunning plot to get them at a knockdown price and then to sell the cloak for a fortune to the emperor.
He started a rumour, some distance away, that opals had been found to bring terrible bad luck …