x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

For some people, thirteen is a lucky number

To supersitious people some numbers are seen as unlucky. To others, the same numbers bring good fortune. But that's not superstition, it's experience.

The number 13, while unlucky for some, has always been one of my favourites.

Many moons ago in a far away land, I was born on May 13, which also happened to be a Friday. My mother, to this day, refuses to draw parallels between the superstitions of the date and my being two weeks overdue, plus weighing a rather impressive, if not record-breaking, 10lb.

As a child, my birthday parties were always fun affairs, with no shortage of costumes, cake and comedy capers. As the years rolled by and the family moved abroad with siblings flying the nest, birthday celebrations were often shifted to the 13th of any month we could all be reunited in one country or another.

Conveniently for me, this year's family get together was in Dubai this past June. After enjoying a banquet that would have put Henry VIII's top table to shame, it was time for presents.

Now, a couple of years ago my family came to a radical decision about the giving of gifts. No more would we have to feign smiles and gush about how much we loved our new electric sandwich toaster, monstrous bronze figurine or questionable plaid handbag. Instead, to guarantee everyone's happiness, we decided to buy each other "experiences". Some brilliant things happened as a result. Languages were learnt, scuba diving courses were taken and then came the gift that, for me, topped them all.

My experience this year was supposedly to have been ballet lessons. It having been many years since I donned my satin slippers, I was excited at the prospect and instantly began to channel my inner Dame Margot Fonteyn. However, the promise of perfecting my pirouette was, in fact, a ruse.

Having received a huge spray of powder pink roses on my actual birthday, I had presumed this was a lovely surprise from my mother and I was right. But it was not to be. Instead, I opened my front door on June 13, then July 13, and again on August 13, to be greeted by the Bliss Flowers delivery man with yet more flowers.

Fragments of a conversation from earlier in the year came back to me. At a social gathering, the question of "what little luxury would make you smile every day?" came up. Some said crisp, fresh bed linen each morning; others desired a personal chauffeur and I mused about always having fresh flowers in the house. Sure enough, my wish was granted.

From now on, and on the 13th of every month for an entire year, I get to celebrate my birthday anew and perfume my humble abode with more flowers than I have vases for. This morning's bouquet was especially fresh.

Now that's what I call lucky.