It's been a good week-end for my gambling friends: those that take a mild flutter once a year 'at the races'. Actually, no-one goes to the racecourse any more - it's become too expensive, but at the library the staff had a modest sweepstake and my friend, M, and her husband went to the local casino and did their betting there. The chief librarian was thrilled to win their sweep - about R40 (which would buy perhaps 3 cups of coffee here). She immediately offered to buy a cake for the staff with her bounty. My friend and her husband had a really good day; they took two trifectors at a cost of R48 each - my friend fancying a real outsider to win - and guess what, it did! They scored a terrific R10 000 between them. This would buy for example, a return plane ticket to England from Cape Town at today's money value. We don't gamble any more in our old age, finding better ways to spend our spare cash but more because my husband says I stand behind him radiating bad vibes at the casino so that he always loses. True. I heard another good luck story at the library today: my colleague's sister ten years ago bought a packet of tea and found a gold coin inside and won R50,000 from Five Roses. A lot of money then - it would have bought a small car. (I'm glad to know that not all these prizes are a scam). She was allocated a personal shopper and taken to the local mall to spend her money. She bought a computer and office equipment for her husband and other stuff, including ten packs of high-quality towels for her work colleagues. When only R300 remained the personal shopper insisted she buy something for herself. At work the next day, one of the staff was overheard to say, "she wins all that money and we only get some towels".