Well, just maybe - a little bit.
A few days ago I told my Californian friend that I would keep my fingers crossed for him. People might infer from this that I am superstitious. I would always have denied being so, but it's just possible that I am being slightly economical with the truth. You see, I swear that I will never again go back to Torquay. I have been to the famous Devon riviera town three times in my life, and each time I have suffered bad luck either in the town or soon after leaving it.
My first visit was back in 1954 (yes, I know I'm ancient). I had been seriously ill with pneumonia and the doctor recommended a month's recuperation in the south of France. That was out of the question - the family finances just weren't up to it - so Torquay was suggested as an alternative. We had a very good time, except that one day I fell in the lake in the park.
The second time I visited Torquay was on my honeymoon. We were actually staying in a small village in the middle of Exmoor, which is in the north of Devon. One day the weather on the north coast was not up to much, so the Young Bat and I decided to drive to the south. We called in at Torquay, then drove west to Dartmouth from where we intended heading back north across Dartmoor and finally to Exmoor. Having sold my own car to buy a three piece suite, we were in a hire car, a Mini Minor.
All went well until we were in a narrow country lane on the approach to Dartmoor. I rounded a bend to see a lorry coming towards me. Naturally, I pulled in to the side of the road, and so did the lorry driver. Unfortunately, the back of the lorry touched the high bank at the side of the road and swung back across the road, which was slippery after rain, hitting the front of the Mini. We left it there and had to thumb a lift back to our hotel. Several lifts, in fact, as there was no direct route.
My third visit to Torquay was with the Old Bat (the Young Bat had aged a bit by then) and the three children. We were staying on a farm further along the coast and I can't remember why we decided to go to Torquay on that occasion. Driving back to the farm, the gear box seized on the Exeter bypass. The car - which had only 3500 miles on the clock - had to be towed into a garage. But at least I was lucky enough to find somebody to drive us the 20 miles or so back to farm - completely free of charge - thanks to my connection with the Scouts.
Nowadays I refuse to go to Torquay: maybe I am superstitious after all.