Monday, November 30, 2009

Register this

There is something about number/registration/licence plates that has always seemed to catch my attention. We used to make up words or sentences from them on long family journeys and eagerly looked for the first new car whenever the year letters changed. I can remember my Dad's old cars (CBM130T and FTM252Y spring immediately to mind), ones that made me laugh when we were out as a family (BOO36T had us in hysterics for no real reason) or other prominent vehicles (ADX1 is the first Ipswich motor bus, now in the Ipswich transport museum).

Maybe it was Lady Penelope's FAB1 in Thunderbirds that grabbed me early on, but I seem to spend half my life scanning plates as I pass them or they overtake me (usually the latter as I have this annoying habit of keeping within the speed limit). I used to judge whether I was early or late for work by where on the road into Ipswich I would see L15ETT coming the other way - never considering that she might have been the one not running to time - and could pick out other members of staff in the car park from their plates rather than the type of car (well, there were always duplicates of model and colour).

So when I stumbled across Richard Herring's Consecutive Number Plate Spotting (where you look for 1-999 in order) I had no choice but to give it a go.

After over a year of looking, last week I finally passed the 100 milestone (which was becoming something of a Millstone). I'd been dedicated enough not to count the new style 02, 03, 04... and 53, 53, 54... seeking instead older plates with those digits, but that didn't really slow me down. In fact both runs that could have been got through "cheating" actually fell to me each within a single day when I reached them numerically. No, I don't believe it either, but it is the truth. No point playing this game if you can't be honest about it.

The scrappage scheme which is taking older cars off the road has made me wonder if I will ever get to 999 (there are at least three 999 cars in Felixstowe that I know of, but they can't be counted until their time) but I am aware of myself enough to know that I will never give up.

Oh, the picture was one I saw in Canada two years ago, and one day I might post my American States plates collection...