Who hasn't at one time or another had a passing fantasy as to what they might do if they suddenly came into a lot of money by winning the lottery? Give up work, get that new car, house, holiday, boat - hey perhaps even a 'plane. It's the dream of millions perhaps and then "bam" welcome back to reality.
Of course many lottery winners continue to lead "regular" lives, they invest sensibly and live comfortably off a monthly income with just a dash of madness thrown in for good measure.
There are plenty of feel good stories out there of what happened to former big winners.
But there are also those that, perhaps through little fault of their own, end up penniless or at least threatened with bankruptcy. And such is the tale of one man whose plight hit the headlines here in France at the beginning of the week.
His story was revealed in the national daily Le Parisien, and for the moment he's not being referred to directly by name, but simply as "Jacques".
Back in 2001, this family man in his forties won the handsome total of €900,000 and not being used to such a grand lump sum (who would be?) he went to the local branch of his bank for some solid financial advice.
A wise move by anyone's standards. And the manager encouraged him to invest €780,000 of his winnings variously on a savings account based on the performance of shares, life insurance and some stocks.
Then six months later after Jacques was fired from his job, his bank advised him to open another account to play the stock market on the Net - what the French call the "Boursicoter" - and provided him with a €100,000 overdraft limit. Even though he had little or nor previous experience of speculating, Jacques turned out to do reasonably well, "winning" nearly €100,000 over the next three years.
He reportedly seemed to have a pretty good relationship with his branch manager, backed up to a great extent by the fact that he was then allowed another loan in 2005 of €200,000 even though he was officially unemployed and didn't have a regular fixed income.
Fair game. After all remember Jacques still had assets of several hundreds of thousands of euros and he was being advised by his branch manager.
The game started to hot up and Jacques began speculating with serious amounts of money - up to €1 million a month at one point - always with the approval of his manager and even, so he now claims, with the manager stepping in and making those investments for him. In 2006 alone more than €10.6 milion was "played".
You know where this is going don't you?
Fortunes changed and Jacques started to lose money - BIG sackfulls of the stuff with an ever expanding overdraft being granted into the bargain. And then in September 2007 the bank manager - his financial advisor - was moved to another branch
His replacement took one look at the debts Jacques had accrued and immediately slapped a ban on him borrowing any more to play the bourse.
The bank didn't stop there though. Jacques was first requested and now has been taken to court to repay the outstanding €600,000 debt immediately otherwise face repossession of his house, and his other stocks, investments and life insurance policies.
For his part, Jacques has launched a counter claim of €700,000 in damages saying the bank failed in its duty "to offer advice and information".
And the bank in question? Well here's the rub to the whole tale. It's none other than the one, which in its advertising here in France says "On est là pour vous aider" or "We're there to help you."
Yes you've guessed it, the very same Société Générale, which earlier in the year hit the international headlines when one of its futures traders, Jerome Kerviel, managed to lose it a whopping €5 billion - give or take the odd centime. But that's quite a different story.
For the moment, over Jacques' case, it has made that most illuminating of statements "no comment".
Ussat-les-Bains – Avenue de la Gare - Another postcard from the small village of Ussat-les-Bains in the Ariège department of France. I have already posted one postcard of the village and mo...