When A Winner Loses: Here’s What I Have Learnt Today…

“Every loser wins, once the dream begins. In time you’ll see; fate holds the key.” Not my words but the words of former Eastenders barman and Yorkshire Moors police officer from the 60s, Nick Berry.

However, what “Wicksy” failed to note was that some winners also lose.

A few weeks ago I won a prize in a raffle. There were some excellent prizes to be won and I for one was curious about the all over chocolate body massage that was being offered. Not that it was the prize I wanted to win. No, of course not; I was merely curious. The tickets were soon all gone and everyone enjoyed the rest of the evening which was held to raise money for The Brain Tumour Charity and Macmillan Cancer Support. My friend and I were co-hosting the night  and there was some amazing talent on in the form of upcoming music star Natalie Robinson.

After the hosting came the mingling at the bar; safe in the knowledge that everyone had played a part in raising lots of money and creating such a positive evening. A truly beautiful night. It was around the time that my friend was attacking a piñata with a vigour previous only witnessed on The Crime Channel, that the call went out for a remaining raffle ticket. My friends and I had bought some earlier by way of making a donation than a wish to actually win.

I would like to point out at this stage that I am not a fan of people who say, “Ooh, I’ve never won anything.” It is often the result of having won something that the person uttering this very sentence is being questioned in a way that results in them uttering this very sentence.  I think most people have won things before. Whether it’s a McNugget from McDonald’s (or other fast food equivalent) or on one of those free scratchcards they give away in magazines where you spend £100 on a phone call to win a £5 voucher at a greengrocer’s. Everyone has won a little something. Whether a bet with a friend or the heart of another; everyone has won something.

I, myself, once won £2000 on the National Lottery. At the time I was very happy with this. It paid the rent and I believe I went on a date with some of the winnings (a twentieth, to be honest. There weren’t any private jets involved). However, as I sit typing now, I don’t consider it a good thing that I once won two grand. If I have already won on the lottery, it’s unlikely that I will win again isn’t it? I jest, of course. I was very lucky to win that amount and at I had a good date at the time (I recall tapas was involved at some point of the evening..).

So, on the night of the charity event my friends and I checked our numbers. The last one to be called out belonged to me. I honestly didn’t expect to win. I mean, I never win anything.

So, with the image of a full on chocolate massage both making me hungry and, frankly, hot under the collar, I was presented with my prize. I wasn’t going to become a human Twix after all. Instead, I had won a stay for two, including breakfast, at a hotel in Nottingham with views that look out across the city.

What a fantastic evening. Not only had we raised thousands for charity, not only had I worked alongside some of my closest friends and not only had I a wine in my hand; I’d won a hotel stay for me and my partner looking across the creative city I love.

Of course, at the time of winning, I didn’t have a partner. Still, that wasn’t a problem. The prize could be taken at any time in 2013 and there were several months left for all that “getting a girlfriend” malarky that seemed to be a major concern of all the make characters of Friends. Or Masterchef (it’s less obvious but it is there).

Skip forward mere weeks and here I am, heading back to Nottingham for a weekend. My friend is producing the Professionals On Ice skating spectacular with the star skaters from Dancing On Ice. It is her first major foray into producing and I am extremely proud of her; I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

The only thing to tinge what was going to be an otherwise perfect weekend with people I love in a place I love was that it meant using the hotel voucher. Don’t get me wrong, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have won a free room at a plush hotel; it just felt a bit early to have met that second person I could be sharing breakfast with. As I was booking the hotel at the start of the week, it definitely was too soon. In as much as there was going to be one very cold breakfast (if it was cooked; cereal is cold anyway. I do know that. I was trying to do some sort of imagery scenario. Oh, you knew that, didn’t you?).

Thinking positively about the hotel situation, it got me feeling that maybe this would be a great opportunity to actually start dating someone I like. Instantly, I knew who I wanted to be with that night. It was obvious; it had been for some time. She was the one I wanted to introduce to my friends; the one who I’d want to spend this evening with; the one I’d be honoured to share a plush hotel room with. The one who I would even let pilfer my sausage the next morning.

After years of singledom, I decided there was only one person I wanted to be with.

Unfortunately, that person is currently in a relationship.

With Ashton Kutcher.


Undeterred, I started thinking who else I might just happen to have a little crush on. Unfortunately for me, that person is also in a relationship. Except she’s with Lewis Hamilton. The third is filming the Entourage movie in Hollywood and the fourth is dating a rugby player and is apparently shooting her calendar entitled “Kelly Brook 2014”. Ah, then I thought of the fifth. Actually… there isn’t a fifth. In fact, I need to move everyone else back one. How could I forget?  The person I would most like to take in first place is someone I first set eyes on when I was at school. Catherine Zeta Jones. Meh.

See, this is why I am unlucky in love. Five women  – FIVE – who I would willingly ask out and none of them can make it because they’re international superstars and in relationships. Story of my life. (If my life story had started about a paragraph ago.)

So it looked like I’d be booking this hotel for one. That’s fine. I’m getting to hang out with close friends and, anyway, who doesn’t love the luxury of starfishing across a bed of fresh sheets and being able to wake, sprawled across the mattress with twice as many free coffee sachets as you’d otherwise get? Plus, nobody would be stealing my streaky bacon first thing.

I sent an email to confirm the room. I quickly received a reply back. They were fully booked. I can’t be sure but I’m pretty convinced that Kutcher had got in there first to show Mila Kunis just how much of a man he is. Well played, Kutcher. Well played.

Although that meant I was without a hotel room for Saturday night. I looked around. The good thing about Nottingham being a mecca for tourists – on account of it being the home of Robin Hood, lace and Hooters in the UK – is that there are lots of places for these tourists to stay. As I was looking around, something caught my eye.

So it is that I have managed to bag an apartment for Saturday night. An actual, proper apartment. Not just a place to spread eagle on the bed; a place to prepare for an evening whilst listening to cool, chilled sounds (by which you do know I mean dancing around every room to 90s pop, don’t you?). Fair enough, free coffee sachets aren’t provided but it’s an entire apartment. Plus, there was over a hundred pounds off. A hundred pounds, if you recall, is the price of a really good date if you’ve won a modest amount on the National Lottery.

So Here’s What I Have Learnt Today… Sometimes lady luck chooses to help you along in more ways than are purely financial. Today I have managed to ensure a future romantic break for two which I can share as a result of going on a successful date with the money I have saved on the apartment I have booked as a result of not being able to book the room that I won in a raffle.

So, Nick-so-called-Berry, every loser may indeed win as you claimed in your 1986 hit which I remember hearing on the car radio as a small child. However, in the words of a song which has yet to be written, “It’s Good To Look At Things Positively Because Then You Get To Share A Hotel Room With Someone Who Likes Tapas.”

That, by the way, would have a far better video.

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