It's a widely known fact that I'm a loser.
I have strong, empirical evidence for this. I just don't win things. Nothing that matters, anyway. I am fiercely, violently competitive - Cluedo is a non-game in our house after my now legendary explosion of rage in 2005 - and I absolutely play to win at all times. At anything where I can fight to win, I'm in first place.
In games of chance, I'm hopeless. I've never won anything on the lottery, not even a tenner. I've had a premium bond since I was Christened in 1977, and it has yet to make me even enough money to buy a pint. I've entered various sweepstakes, on subjects from the Grand National to Strictly Come Dancing, and the most common outcome is that my horse has to be taken round the back and shot after the first fence, or my celebrity develops rickets after one paso doble and has to drop out.
But I am happy to report, I've won something. Actually, really, won a competition. Last month's Modern Railways magazine had a large feature on Merseyrail, so naturally I bought it - I am nothing if not obsessed. (I bought it in Lime Street too, just to compound the geek factor). There was a competition to win a copy of Lost Lines: Liverpool and Mersey, by Nigel Welbourn: a book tracing the paths of railway lines th
at had disappeared from Merseyside's map over the years, with dozens of photos. I answered the question - I can't remember what it was now, but the answer was Chat Moss; it was something along the lines of "What was the name of the bog the Liverpool to Manchester railway was built over the top of?" and e-mailed my answer. And when I came home this evening, there was a nice padded envelope with my book inside.
I'm extremely excited. Not just because it looks like a good book (I've had a flick, and all I can say is: be glad I got it after the last blog entry, because if you thought I was boring then, I'd have been even more dull after reading all the factoids in that) but because I've actually won something. A nationally held competition, in a magazine read by literally hundreds of people (possibly even thousands - I don't know) and I won!
Of course, about five minutes after I'd opened the parcel and bounced happily around the room, I was filled with self-doubt and dodgy self-esteem as I wondered if I'd only won because no-one else had entered. I should also point out that there was more than one winner. But I will be buying the next edition of the magazine, to see if my name has been printed in the winners. I'm easily pleased.
And yes, this definitely proves that I am a complete Merseyrail geek. The fact that I'm going to put it on the shelf next to my copy of Merseyrail Electrics: The Inside Story doubly proves it. Even when I'm a winner I am, in effect, a loser. I don't care. I'm bloody chuffed, and if that makes me a geek, an anorak, a nerd, a gricer, or any one of a thousand other insults... so what? I'm pleased!