Last weekend I took part in a charity quiz in aid of the Stars Appeal here in Salisbury. The Stars Appeal raises funds for Salisbury District Hospital so it was one of those ‘good fun for a good cause’ type evenings.

            This isn’t a column about doing my small bit for ‘charidee’ (though the Stars Appeal is an extremely worthwhile recipient of donations). Nor is it a column about quizzes (though the team I was in, much to my amazement, did scoop first prize). Instead, even more remarkably than the quiz win was winning the raffle.

            Now, if you’re like me, you’ll be someone who has spent most of their adult life buying raffle tickets and failing to win anything. The only previous time I won a raffle prize was back when I was running the Salisbury Literary Festival. My ‘trophy’ was to have a character named after me in a book. The writer in question, Andy Maslen, took great delight in murdering me on page one.

            This time, there were no murders for charity. Instead, having come first, we got first pick from the prizes on offer. I say we – at precisely this moment, my girlfriend had gone to the loo, leaving me to select the prize.

            As I walked up to the table of goodies, I suddenly found myself unsure of which prize to select. For rather than there being an obvious first prize, there were a selection of alternatives: bottles of wine, foodstuffs, and so on. In the middle of the table was a beautiful cellophane wrapped basket of goodies – specifically prosecco and an assortment of chocolates. To its right, with a solitary ribbon around its neck was a glass vase. On closer inspection, I could see it was Dartington Crystal.

            As I stood there, time stood still. I was torn between the exciting crinkle of cellophane and the glistening of the vase under the lights. I probably should have come up with a better system of making choices by my time of life, but I found myself, not for the first time, of reaching for the wisdom of 1980s Hollywood movies.

            At the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, our hero, together with assorted Nazis, makes his way to the cave where the holy grail resides. The holy grail is in a room full of cups. The Nazis choose a shiny one and are killed. Indiana Jones chooses the dull one in the corner, which turns out to be the real thing.

            So I went ‘Indy’ and chose the vase, though my straw poll afterwards suggested most people would have gone for the chocolate and prosecco. I wonder which prize would you have taken?