Luck Under the Bridge

I was brought up to be superstitious. I was also taught not to believe everything I was taught, which leaves me in the fortunate position of being able to pick and choose my charms. Such as blowing an eyelash and making a wish, or seeing the joy in two magpies. However, leaving a dropped knife for someone else to retrieve (or there will be bad luck) is generally impractical and/or dangerous (sorry, Mum).

Not long ago I found a lucky penny. I washed it three times in the dishwasher (to make it corona-clean), and I gave it to my son, a sceptic, who doesn’t believe in luck – good or bad. He teased me and threw it up in the air. It fell on the floor, and there it remained.

luck, superstition, fortune, chance, running, train, Kent, England, uk, new year

So, yesterday I was running and feeling a bit glum. It was a dull start to a damp day in a subdued new year. Smashed glass and deflated balloons lay on the pavement, cars splashed past, and people avoided me.

I decided to make my own luck. I have no idea where it comes from, but I’ve always believed that if you are underneath a railway bridge when a train passes overhead, you can make a dream come true – if you think about it hard enough.

My town is a commuter town with hills and many bridges, so this should be easy, I thought – even with a Tier 4 timetable. I deviated from my route and ran under my first bridge. Nothing. Sunday timetable plus COVID-19, I guessed.

I kept going, did a loop, and then ran under the same bridge. Still nothing.

I tried a different bridge, and this time I stood a chance: a train had come to a standstill. I closed in, thinking I’d better think of a dream. The train started to move, gently at first, and then it gained speed. So did I – but not enough. By the time I reached the bridge, the train had gone.

luck, superstition, fortune, chance, running, train, Kent, England, uk, new year

Luck deserved one last shot, so I approached my favourite bridge – the nearer I got, the slower I ran, until I realised there was no hope. No train. Zilch, niente, nada.

Who cares, said I, aloud. And I listened to the echo thrown back by the arch. I took a photo to record my futile search for good fortune, and got lost in the beauty of the brickwork. And then there it was – a train, rumbling right over my head and off and away.

luck, superstition, fortune, chance, running, train, Kent, England, uk, new year

Later, I was berating my (sceptic) son for the state of his room. I kept quiet about his desk, though, for there I spied my penny: lucky and shiny, and looking as good as new.


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