I’ve had a few people tell me my fortune, one was while I was legging it out of Balham Woolworth’s when I was a kid.
However, I have sought more professional routes: when I was seventeen, an industrial psychologist told me I should seek a career in hotel & catering. As I assumed all hotels were on the coast, I feared it would bring back an attack of the ague (and other diseases prevalent in the 17th Century) plus I can’t cook; my guests would soon become disillusioned with nothing to eat but toast (my piece de la resistance) and an array of broken biscuits on one of my home-made doilies.
As a kid I often bought fortune fishes to tell me my destiny. While they didn’t show me which career path to take, they did tell me whether I’d be jealous; indifferent; in love; fickle; false; tired or passionate. As a nine-year-old I’d had to look up half the words, so tired it was, regardless of the position of the fish.
Most fortune fishes are made in Taiwan – it took me three sets to realise this and became even more tired translating the instructions from its original from Cantonese.
I tried it with real fish once (I’d lost my Mandarin/English phrase book) – after a while it remained motionless (it was dead rather than tired, as the explanatory chart said) – it curled up more than the fortune fishes.
These days, if I want my fortune told, I go to the Derby and buy as much lucky heather as I can until I hear what I want to hear: “in the future you’ll be less tired”.