After the Mass in Taize this morning via the local cafe/bar for a coffee and a quick skim of the Sunday paper - we'll probably read it tomorrow! - we got ready to go to the annual Cortambert lotto. This is a fund raiser for our local village hall which is supported by the communities of Cortambert, Varanges and Toury. The hall is used quite a bit and back in October we went to play badminton there on several evenings and also on a couple of Saturdays to do basket weaving. This afternoon the tables and chairs were set out in long rows, in one corner the gauffre machine was at work (waffle maker!) and the bar was set up as usual. You buy a card - or more than one if you are particularly good at recognising the numbers in French and you wait for Pascal to turn the handle and pick up the ball that drops down and read it out. We were greatly helped by a man who showed what number had been called by removing a magnetic patch covering it on a big board on the stage. There were 15 rounds and it took about 4 hours. It was really important to concentrate! I was waiting for someone to cry "lotto" or even "bingo" or "house"!!! but it was a kind of banshee cry that went up. The numbers were checked and in each round there were 3 chances at least to win something - once the first card had been verified we played on untilall the prizes for that round had been won. We were not very lucky at our end of the table - out of the 7 of us playing (and 4 played 3 cards, 1 played 2 cards and we had one each) there were only 2 prizes won between us. On some tables prizes piled up as the afternoon wore on - it seemed amazing to us that some people won again and again. The prizes were all food, drink or vouchers for meals in a restaurant in Cluny. You can see the concentration needed!
But it was a lovely surprise when Joe won a round and proudly collected a piece of jambon sec, a pot of apricot, orange and walnut jam and a cheese with peppers!