There are no Number 13 buses on Blackpool Transport’s network. There are very few No 13’s in the Fylde’s network of streets and avenues - with house builders and street planners leapfrogging potential selling or renting issues with 12a’s instead.
There’s one Twelve locally - the award winning restaurant at Thornton’s Marsh Mill - but no Thirteen. Although business and life partners Caroline Upton and Paul Moss plan to celebrate Twelve’s 13th birthday in style this year. The name derives from its address of 12 Marsh Mill Village. Luck doesn’t enter into the equation. The Michelin Bib Gourmand status and two AA rosettes is down to hard work.
But just as seven is considered a lucky number 13 is widely held to be the unluckiest.
Oddly the resort’s leading Romany fortune teller Sarah Petulengro flies in the face of that superstition. She maintains 2013 is going to be one of the best for Blackpool.
“Thirteen is my lucky number, always has been,” says Sarah, of Marton. “It may be unlucky for some but not for me. And 2013 has already got off to an outstanding start with Showzam! I predict a bumper summer season with lots of new ideas and exciting projects so watch this space.”
Zak Jackson, 13 on Friday, December 13, 2013, also likes the date. “Who wouldn’t like the number 13 if that’s the date you were born?” says the Bispham schoolboy- who’s also a whizz at maths. “It would have been nice to have born a day earlier, and turned 12 on 12/12/12 but this is the next best thing. If you like numbers, as I do, you love this kind of thing.”
For the record there are only two Friday the Thirteenths this year. Staff at Blackpool Dungeon even urged visitors to defy the superstition by opening brollies indoors, and walking beneath ladders, and crossing black cats.
Such is the level of superstition within showbusiness theatres once ran rows of seats in alphabetical rather than numerical order. And very few rows used to include the number 13 - although Phil Harrison, deputy manager of the Grand Theatre, says such days have gone.
“We’re really not that superstitious today. We have seats numbered 13 - and we have a number 13 dressing room too.”
The sports world runs showbiz a close second in terms of superstitious stars. Olympic champion swimmer Rebecca Adlington has just retired, at 23, from competitive swimming in order to coach youngsters. She owns up to having a thing about even numbers. “I can only set my alarm on two, four or six. I can’t even set it on a five or a seven. Otherwise I think the worst is going to happen. It’s the same with the TV volume or radio – I have to have it on an even number.”
Even more bizarrely some feared that new car sales would be hit by the number on registration plates from next Friday - although a straw poll of local car dealers well and truly refutes that claim. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority came under some flak after confirming that all cars registered between March 1 and August 31 will bear the 13 series number plate.
New series of registration numbers are issued every six months - a more convoluted system than the old one of issuing new plates every August but with the aim of encouraging new car sales. For many it simply complicated the kudos of the once a year car plates.
Car loan companies and some dealers have urged superstitious customers to opt for the current 62 series rather than wait for the 63 series in September.
But local motor traders say superstition has done little to slow sales. If anything the reverse has happened. “Some really like the novelty value of the number,” says Trevor Sharples, sales team leader at Chorley Group Kia and Fiat on Blackpool Business Park, off Squires Gate Lane. The new Fiats on display there already sport an eye catching My13 plate and the retro-styled range is already proving popular with first time buyers and regulars trading up for a new car.
Mr Sharples says: “I can honestly say I haven’t had one customer yet who didn’t want the 13 plate. None have expressed any reservations or concerns about the number. If anything they like it. It’s a talking point. Most still trade in on a three year cycle.”
However, Harry Jackson, 69, of St Annes, who hopes to trade in his 4x4 for one of the model Nissan Notes at Chorley Group’s neighbouring Nissan/Hyundai base, says he’s opted out of trading in every three years since he retired as a builder. “I needed a 4x4 for the mileage and the building sites but it doesn’t make a good runabout for the missus today - and she now does most of the driving,” he explains.
“It used to be a big deal for me to buy a new car. I used to trade in when the warranty and service arrangement ended.
“I think the six month system takes the fun and status symbol element out of it although a brand new 13 plate may get a few flashes from passing motorist.”
n For more see our NuReg Lucky Numbers special inside Motors Today