La Montagne (Brive) - - Corrèze -

I had the chance to ac­com­pa­ny our re­gio­nal beau­ty queen this wee­kend in her last pu­blic ap­pea­rance be­fore flying off to the ‘States’. We vi­si­ted the va­rious ‘confre­rie’ or guild stands out­side the ‘Foire du Livre’ in Brive, de­ligh­ting in tas­ting the wares on dis­play, from veal to mush­rooms, chest­nuts to apples and of course lo­cal wine re­cent­ly re­war­ded for it’s su­perb qua­li­ty. Our guide, the Pres’ him­self, re­ga­led us with his in­ti­mate know­ledge of lo­cal pro­duce. Af­ter sa­vou­ring a pho­to­gra­phi­cal­ly filled vi­sit in­side the fair we tra­vel­led to ano­ther an­ni­ver­sa­ry event in the eve­ning held in a neigh­bou­ring de­part­ment. The ve­nue is unique in the Li­mou­sin region and ad­mits on­ly those that have at­tai­ned the ma­gi­cal age of 18. I am of course tal­king about a casino where the much re­gu­la­ted pas­time of gam­bling takes place. This ac­ti­vi­ty in­volves wa­ge­ring our hard ear­ned mo­ney on an event or the out­come of as lit­tle as the spin of a wheel. Dice are po­pu­lar and the first mo­dern form date back as far as 3000 BC and were ba­sed on the ani­mal bones used to tell for­tunes. The Chi­nese lo­ved to play do­mi­noes and cards as ear­ly as the 10th cen­tu­ry. The first casino was es­ta­bli­shed in Ve­nice in the six­teen hun­dreds and the Wes­tern World has not loo­ked back since. In En­gland we have book­ma­kers in our high streets that will take a bet on any­thing from the name of the new Prince to the co­lour of his eyes! On the ra­ce­course ‘boo­kies’ va­ry their odds in func­tion of the mo­ney pla­ced on a par­ti­cu­lar horse and then com­mu­ni­cate them to their col­leagues using an ela­bo­rate si­gn lan­guage. Here in France, contra­ry to what we think, there is a le­gal obli­ga­tion to re­dis­tri­bute over 85% of the mo­ney played in ma­chines and table games. Why do I al­ways end up in the 15%?

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