Posted by: travelrat | January 16, 2012

The Numbers Game

I’ve always been in two minds about personalised car number plates, sometimes called ‘vanity plates’. They’re all right in places like Australia and the US, where I believe they can be bought quite cheaply, and can be anything, provided it contains at least one number, and is not obscene.

But, here in the UK, registration numbers must conform to a formula, and there are, it has to be admitted, some ingenious ways of getting round it … if you’re prepared to pay the often extortionate price. Therefore, they’re often seen as the mark of the person with more money than sense.

For instance, some years ago, I was offered the number plate K31THK. I declined, because I could think of much better things to spend £450 on.  I also remembered Mrs Woolf, my primary school teacher, smacking my fingers for writing Es like 3s.

And, a friend pointed out, if I wanted a personalised plate, it would be much cheaper to change my name to HG51XJE. (Don’t wave if you see this, by the way … I traded it in 5 years ago!)

I remember once buying a car with the registration letters ROB. I thought the number of people who know my name isn’t Rob must be infinitesimal compared with those who don’t know.

‘My thoughts exactly!’ said the guy who sold it to me ‘My name is Alastair!’

Nevertheless, I had to smile when I saw these two recently. The one on the bus is purely accidental … it’s one of a sequential block issued to the buses on our Park and Ride service. And, I’d hazard a guess that the owner of the other one is a cat lover.

You can see my latest at



  1. Hi Keith,
    It’s unreal the price of private number plates there, it seems a bit ridiculous.
    There are some good ones around here as well. It’s amazing what people can come up with. 🙂

    What a fantastic article about Kenya (from your link) I thought you did a brilliant job writing that one, I very much enjoyed the read, and I loved the photos.

    • If you want to see more African wildlife pix, have a look at my ‘Kenya’ page.

  2. Almost as bad as Vicki driving RON!!!

    • True! Don’t think she’s going to get mistaken for a Ron! 😀

  3. It’s personalised number plate central around here. A lot of them are indecipherable. I think I need to learn to speak ‘NumberPlate’ in order to understand them. Hahaha.

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