Saturday, 30 June 2018

Pesticides in beer

The French consumer group "60 million de consommateurs" tested 48 varieties of beer and found that only 11 brands showed no traces of pesticides, all the others having traces of widely used chemicals, including the herbicide glyphosate. Strangely beers often criticised as being too "chemical" such as Heineken were pesticide free.
The quantities were very small, but did surpass the limits prescribed for water. As the report pointed out beer is not usually consumed in the same quantities as water and it would take 2000 litres per day to constitute a health risk from the pesticide residues. But it is an indication of the omnipresence of the chemicals used in agriculture.
With the shortage of carbon dioxide threatening beer supplies and what there is contaminated with chemicals, it is clear that we will need to "consume with moderation" even more than usual. Nice glass of rosé please!
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Friday, 29 June 2018

Missing dog at Parisot

Jet has gone missing this morning (Friday 29th June) in the woods near to the hameau of Causseviel, near Parisot 82160.  He went chasing rabbits and while Merlin came back, Jet didn't.  He is 3.5 years old, all black apart from a flash of white on his chest. Short coat, he is a crossbreed of a collie with a pointer/dachshund.  He looks like a labrador with very short legs.  He is always very good on his recall and has never done this before so I am worried that he is injured.

If anyone finds him please phone me on 05 63 31 13 24 or Thanks Val - I have mistyped my mobile number it should be 06 04 03 29 39

Sorry - in a bit of a panic

Anne Grose

Supporting Via Sahel in Mali

One of the charities Taglines has supported for many years is Via Sahel, Enfants d'Afrique. This is run by inspirational people in Castanet, near Parisot in Tarn and Garonne. For nearly 40 years Jean Marie Nosal and his wife Winnie have been raising funds to support street children in Bamako, the capital of Mali. This has lead to them building and operating a hospital, funding a medical laboratory, building schools and providing food for scores of children.
Now a new war between tribes has meant the dangerous situation has made it necessary to close the hospital and laboratory to protect the staff, but the work of the school and feeding the children goes on.
A popular event started here at Mas del Sol has been the "Picnic in the Park", animated by the Dixieland musicians in Martins Jazz Band and with the enthousiastic vocal support of the late John Taylor. This year's event will be on Thursday  26th July around the swimming pool of the Domaine de Sautou in Castanet. Entry 15 euros, bring your picnic and enjoy the ambiance. Book your places now!

Happy memories

Strange I thought last night as I was in a different part of the grounds last night at 9 pm looking back at our house.
Normally we are on the gite side by the pool.
The evening  light was good and I now have another  memory of here, looking over what we laughingly call the croquet lawn.
Many happy games of croquet played here. 
Behind the house is the area for the band when we held “ picnics in the park” raising money for the children of Mali. What great nights they were with Martins Jazz Band who came from Toulouse.

At St. Antonin

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Little Molly and all these other local dogs need homes

Des Truffes et des Moustaches.
40 Chemin de Santou
St. Antonin
Contact is French speaking Katy Gabu but myself or Linda Walsh will help you arrange a rendezvous to view the dogs.
Katy and Maeva work from St. Antonin saving dogs from going into the refugees. They try to place dogs in welcome families ready for adoption.

Molly still needs a home

Sad news Molly is up for adption again.
Paul and Mark wanted to take her but they are in the process of moving house. Renting a property with an unfenced garden until they buy there own place. Little Molly keeps escaping. Does anyone know Roberta Lyle who was interested in adoption?
It is once again quite urgent that she is found a home foster or adoptive before tonight.

Art for sale in Varen, Clench originals

France-Argentina: not just football

Photo: Sebastien Langloys
On Saturday 30th June les Blues of France will meet the might of Messi and co in the last 16 of the World Cup. But in Toulouse another transatlantic link will be celebrated when the statue of Carlos Gradel will be unveiled. Those lovers of dance among our readers will know that Senor Gradel is the undisputed "king of the Argentine tango". But not a lot of people know that he was born in Toulouse as plain Charles Guardes in1890 and died in an air crash in 1935.
He achieved worldwide fame as a dancer and singer before his untimely death. Toulouse city council commissioned local sculptor Sebastien Langloys to make the statue, which will be unveiled by chance it would appear on the day France meet Argentina.
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Learning to help others

Macron is bringing in a public service year for 16 year old boys and girls. An interesting link.

Water quality at Parisot

Hi Val
Does anyone know if the Parisot water supply is drinkable yet? The problem seems to have been going on for a very long time. We have friends with a baby who are visiting very soon and are concerned about the situation.
Thanks in anticipation that someone knows the answer.
Apparently it is still not drinkable Elizabeth

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Having fun caring

Mains Tendues 82 works for anyone in need in the local community. We help the old, young people in need, the local school, local refugees young men and now families.
We do not need mens suits or winter clothes at the moment but happily welcome other good quality clothes.
friday afternoon at the old town hall in Varen which is opposite the hall we will be there 15 h to 17 h taking in all sorts of donations, things for the kitchen, household items, anything infact of good quality.
Then Saturday morning we have a two hour frantic selling period as people shop in the market and come and check out our bargains.
We aim to sell a lot to the elderly French villagers and we do. So prices reflect our aims to help all and make things affordable.
If you need advice on anything you are wishing to donate I can be contacted 
Val Johnstone President Mains Tendues 82
Tel.     0618781032
Thank you and you can join us.

at Verfeil

Vide Grenier à St. Antonin

Watch your cats in the hot weather

Apparently one of the more unexpected results of hot weather is an increase in the number of cats falling from window ledges. People are inclined to leave windows open and cats which live indoors love to climb out and may be locked out inadvertently, or simply fall. Not too desperate for readers' cats who live in bungalows, but an apartment overlooking a paved street could be fatal.
So one more thing to add to your list: hat; factor 50; water plants; keep dogs in shade; watch for cats...Who said hot weather is for relaxing with beer and barbecues?
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Losing a treasure?

A few days ago our maire wrote to tell us that henceforth our water bills should be paid to the tresor public in St Antonin instead of the local mairie. The St Antonin branch of the tresor has always been useful for paying taxes or querying those bills we receive from time to time and probably especially useful in the bigger transactions such as house deposits. But now the branch is scheduled to be closed. Presumably those people used to going there will now be forced to go to some other larger town such as Caussade.
Obviously the increasing use of electronic payments will have diminished the demands on smaller branches, but as the maires pointed out at their demonstration on Monday, it is the rural nature of the community of communes (QRGA) which demands a local presence.
Currently the ministry of finance is determined to close the branch, but the support of local MP and senator has been solicited.
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Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Lost a little one?

Hi Val,
Hope you & Malcolm are well.
We had a dog left on our doorstep last night.
Would you mind putting it on TAG, to see if any body recognises it please.
He is male and Jack Russell sized.
Thank you.
Mimi x

Nothing but blue skies, all the way

Well we have waited long enough for it, but the sun has arrived and raised our spirits, so wonderful. I am not going to complain it is too hot.
A busy day gardening and swimming !!

Watch your dog on the banks of Varen

I do hope all is going OK for you both.
Just a warning that might be worth going on Tag.I was at the river in Varen a couple of nights ago for my dogs to swim and a woman warned me to be careful as one of her dogs had been poisoned there recently , it survived but a warning to all of us .The same thing happened last year !!!!
Some crazy people out there
Jo x

Monday, 25 June 2018

John Sheridan Evans who recently died had Molly the dog who we now know has been rehomed but he also had four cats, one who has been adopted by Andrea White, that still leaves three of his cats to be rehomed.
So we need homes for three cats or a donation to the Association Truffes et Moustaches who can with Andrea’s help buy food for the cats till they can be rehomed.

Dear Val
 I have, as you know been a  'half-way house' for years  rescuing  cats and kittens until they can be re-homed, and have been honoured to have raised 'tinies' that have been orphaned by 3-hour  bottle-feeding on a regular is a passion of mine!  
       Local people have been  super over the years in finding homes - John, of course was among those.  Kathi has  brought me numerous tinies and not-so-tinies  to raise and care for as she knows I have an "open door" policy.     There have been several other  unpleasant occasions when people have dumped kittens in bags either in my garden or outside my door knowing the 'mad English cat-woman' will oblige!        I would far rather that than the poor little souls were chucked into the Aveyron which seems to be the other option. The Mairie in St Antonin/SPA  are  very good about helping financially with the sterilisation process of cats that have been abandoned for lots of reasons, so we are lucky.
     With 'Bandit', John's lovely old cat,  I am up to  9 residents  - and  as Bandit  has been  local to me for years and is happy to be an 'out-side gentleman'  he is more than welcome to join the family. 
      However, I have to draw the line somewhere.... my other rescue-ees   get stressed when trying to integrate someone they don't know  into their midst.  This means that there are at present 3 of John cats being fed and watered  in his house by kind  neighbours - and this is a work-in progress for trying to find homes for them all .   They will require food, litter  and care for a while until this is achieved,  and of course this is being donated at the moment.
      The thought of having some financial help for  caring for cats who are abandoned   or homeless  in the town is very welcome and would be appreciated. 'Caring' for these little souls includes socialising and  spending time with them  plus  regular  anti-flea and vermifuge treatments -and  veterinary advice  should they need that.   They need not just to be ALIVE but to THRIVE. 
       It occurred to me that we could ask the Mairie if we could install small wooden cat-cottages where they can be safe and warm and away from harm. There are plenty of quiet corners in the town where they could be installed on sunny walls .  So if we could attract the attention of a handy chippie who could make some little cat-cottages for them  - and get some reclaimed wood it would save the cats hiding under cars and starving in the winter.  
        When I lived in Rome I was delighted to know  that their stray  city- cats are deemed Roman citizens and are under protection, and there are small  armies of people  who are glad to feed them on every street corner. They also have an amazing cat-rescue centre - called the "TORRE ARGENTINA SANCTUARY"   ( Google it - it is fascinating!)  housed in some ancient sunken Roman ruins   that has become a world-wide tourist attraction - so it CAN be done it isn't just a pipe dream!   Food for thought!
       It is really hard to try to re-home a half-starved frightened creature when, with some time and attention, they can be properly cared for and  have a better quality of life.  There are people around here  who help  when they can - winter and summer -  and are unsung heroes  for abandonees - John was one of these...and now we are doing our bit for him.
       I am not very adept at  technology but  I will send three photos and a description .and once I am driving again I will be happy to help out at the 'Frip'. Many thanks again, Andrea x
donation for the cats food 
Marked somewhere for John Sheridan Evans’s cats
des Truffes et des  Moustaches
40 Chemin de Santou
St. Antonin

A morning visitor

An early morning visitor, what a beautiful bird.
Delighted to report one of our little foxes escaped the hunters the other day. I do wish he would stay hidden instead of playing around the lanes.
Shhsh, tell no one he survived

Sunday, 24 June 2018

We are all “ In Limbo”

Dear Val and Malcolm,

Hope you are both doing well and that Malc is regaining some of his strength and you are not overdoing it. 

I am still reeling from the wonderful experience of the march yesterdqy. Police estimate 500.000 people. It just was a never ending stream of amazing people and children. Babes in arms, toddlers, teens, young people, middle aged people and an enormous amount of older and really old people, who all had a wish to #StopBrexit or at least have a People’s  Vote on it. A joyful and uplifting experience.

Getting home I found InLimboToo on my doorstep. This is the second book of Brexit testimonies collected and edited by Elena Remigi and her team and has just come out. This time it is filled with testimonies from UK citizens in Europe, i.e. the likes of you and Malc and most if our British friends in France. I cannot wait to read it,  but then thought, I should send it, as well as some leaflets about it, to you. You might be willing to display it at Mains Tendus on Saturday. I realize you may not have time to read these moving stories at the moment, but maybe one of your UK co-workers might want to browse it and order some copies on All I can promise you is that many of you won’t stay dry-eyed. 

Please let me know whether you would like me to send it tomorrow with the leaflets (two sided, one  side about the first book and the blue side about the second book, which is  mainly written by Brits or spouses and/or children of Brits in Europe.

Looking forward to your answer.



PS, there is also a crowd funder so that, as with the first book,  we can send a copy to politicians, lawyers, decision makers and some activists to show them the human side of Brexit and hopefully make them think.

Bad year for plums

Tarn and Garonne produces over 80% of France's plums and this year the early varieties have been badly hit by frost in February. Some producers reckon that yields are down by almost 90%. 2017 had been a bumper year, as we at Mas del Sol can confirm, as our two ancient pruniers were heavily overloaded.
Older, traditional varieties may fare better but meanwhile producers want the government to declare a natural catastrophe. Production overall is estimated at 15000 tonnes, compared with 45000 tonnes last year.
Sellers say they will import plums from Spain and Italy so there should be no shortage, but buying local may be dearer this year.
One of the things we lost in the lightning strike was a freezer full of frozen plums - perhaps we need to up-date our insurance claim!
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Help needed for young people

We need two small sofas, a kitchen table and chairs and any small storage boxes. A double bed also needed
I have requests from a refugee setting up home and another young person in need.

Please contact me,
Working for Mains Tendues 82

Thanks Elly

Elly Wright local lady, artist and good friend was there on the march at London, marching to keep us in Europe.
Over100,000 people were reported to be marching,
We were all there in spirit Elly.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Two little girls, nice if they could be rehomed together/ HOME BEING OFFERED TOGETHER

2 adorable female kittens (born 10th April) desperately in need of a new home - hopefully together.  They've had their injections.

Please contact Roger (in Varen) on 0563 02 75 70.

That's how to start the day

This beautiful morning and Mas del Sol seen from a Montgolfier (hot air balloon) must be a sight for sore eyes. Here is said balloon above the little Baye valley, with Verfeil church in the background.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Celebrating a life

Une célébration de la vie de John aura lieu au temple protestant à St Antonin le mercredi 27 juin 2018 à 15h00
La mairie de Saint-Antonin ayant attribué à John une place dans le nouveau cimetière de la ville (de l'autre côté du pont) la célébration sera donc suivie par l'inhumation, menée par le pasteur, à 16h15 

A celebration of John's life will take place at the protestant temple in St Antonin on Wednesday 27th June 2018 at 3pm 
The mairie of St Antonin have given John a plot in the new town cemetery (over the bridge) so the celebration will be followed by a burial conducted by the pastor at 4.15pm

Little Molly has a canine fan

UPDATE.   Molly has been adopted by MarK, Paul and their dog Toby


More on little Molly
Sent to me by Molly’s best friend Toby
Woof, woof, I can vouch for Molly as the most lovable and happy young dog who will make a wonderful loyal and friendly pet, woof woof and a “here, here well said “from Paul and Mark who know Molly well.
Molly is about a year old chipped but is ready to be sterilised.
The contact number for rehoming is
Katy.  0563682493. Or Maeva Vayron 0677352830 si kathy n'est pas joignable
If an English speaker let me know and I will help along the way.

Gentle socialised Molly needs a home

Today we heard some very sad news, John Sheridan Evans
a resident  of St. Antonin, a very well liked, respected and I can even add loved man had a heart attack last night and died in  Montauban  hospital.
I was touched when I read a post a few days earlier where he had his first heart attack and took the time to say au revoir
to his new dog Molly.
He had barely had Molly more than a few months but he was besotted, a dog who needed someone found John
John who needed a dog 
Sadly  now sweet Molly needs a new owner.
The photo is of her playmate  in St. Antonin, Toby, she is the younger dog in the photo.
Molly is being cared for by the association Des Truffes et des Moustaches based in St, Antonin.
She will need a caring foster home or a real home.
One thing you know for sure is she has been trained, socialised and loved by John.
Katy dog rehomer can be contacted on0563682493. Or Maeva 0677352830 si kathy n'est pas joignable
If you cannot rehome you can perhaps give a donation to des Truffes et des Moustaches to help with the upkeep of Molly till she is rehomed.
John would have liked that
Des Truffes et des Moustaches
40 Chemin de Santou
St. antonin
In memory of John Sheridan Evans

Happy donkeys

My donkeys Rosie and Lucy happy in their new home in the Gers.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

RIP John Sheridan Evans

For those who aren't linked to Alan Lile on facebook, our lovely friend John Sheridan Evans died this morning of a massive heart attack. 
Whilst trying to resuscitate him it was found he had a large cancerous growth at the base of his neck, so as Alan said it is of 
small comfort but at least he didn't have to suffer.
Nicola Wright
Val says. So sad John was a well known and well liked man living in St. Antonin. He had two cats and after the death  of his loved dog adopted Molly.
A black labrador type puppy whom he adored.
RIP John

Does France have a wolf problem?

A reader sent a link to the BBC news site suggesting that France may have a problem with wolves. So much so that a maire had advised parents not to send children out alone at night.
There has been much discussion in local (ie Aveyron) media in recent years about the policy of re-introducing predators such as wolves (and bears in the Pyrenees) in sheep rearing areas. The Aubrac region has many of its "transhumance" ceremonies at this time, when sheep are taken out to the higher pastures for the summer, where they face more risks.
There are said to be about 52 packs of wolves, counting 360 individuals and shepherds claim that since 2006 about 12000 sheep have been lost. There is little definitive evidence that wolves are responsible, dogs often being as likely to be the culprits. There are no reports of humans being attacked by wolves.
An association of interested groups; farmers, scientists and elected officials has been created to defend the pastoral way of life and will be launched this weekend with the transhumance of 2400 sheep in Lozere.
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Wednesday, 20 June 2018

The Weatherman at FET

Bright splashes of colour everywhere

I love the colours and vibrancy of  geraniums. Every year at the end of autumn I cut off the flowers and trim them back and then carry them into the dependance. Here there is no heating but it is frost free with light and there I leave them till the spring.
They are in their 5 th year some of them and they always give us a bright display, cost ... nothing.

I have just counted and as I have in the past taken cuttings ( not for a couple of years) we have over 20

The world is slipping into chaos

A sleepless night last night again but this time after hearing the childrens screams and cries in cages in America, snatched from their parents.
What is the world coming to when a great country ( in the past great) does not rise up condemn their President and over throw him.
Trump calls on his religion Christianity to explain and justify his actions.
We do not know the same God.

Monday, 18 June 2018

A bargain extending table SOLD

Hello Val,
I do enjoy and empathise with your reflections on the pleasure you get from living where you do, even if you will move to Varen one day.
I have another item I was wondering if you could post for me, please?
It is an extendable leaf dining table made of oak or some other similar durable hardwood and needing a small amount of refurbishment but generally looks to be in a good state. The size is 100W x 170L x75 cm H. It extends 50 cm each end so 270 cm long extended. I am happy for you to set a price and the money to be used as you see fit. The only proviso is that the buyer must supply all the muscle to remove it from our house (3 doorways and 1 flight of stairs to be negotiated) as I have a bad back at present.
Thankyou and Best wishes from Bob and Pauline Bishop.

Another kind reader
How about 20 euros donation to Mains Tendues 82 and the table is in Varen

Speed limited to 80 kph

Approval has been given to reduce speed limits from 90 kph on many major roads to 80 kph. This measure will take effect from 1st July on principal roads without central separation. Studies have shown that most fatal accidents take place on just a few major routes. Even though the carriageways are well maintained and the verges kept clear, in the Lot for example 51% of fatal injuries occur on only 10 main roads.
It is being argued that these dangerous roads should be prioritised rather than a wider limit on National and Departmental roads. But proponents point out that speeding is the obvious main cause of these accidents, there often being no other impediment. It is hoped these measures will reduce fatal accidents by some 200 deaths per annum.
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Amazing nature

Photo taken by Gilberte Blosse, wonderful creature.
We share the countryside with him

Worth a visit

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Summer at Vaour

Last night, last light

Not a fire on the distant hill but the last  light of the sun setting.
A late walk along the lanes with Malc at last with me and the dogs.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

The photo of the stallholder with vegetables for sale taken by 
Terence Harker
The Maire’s bulletin municipal was out this week and as Mains Tendues 82 had a bit of publicity we had lots of new villagers in who have now discovered us.
Sales were fast and furious, as were donations coming in.
A really fabulous morning and lots of money taken for our local good causes.
Thank you everyone who is involved, be it buying or donating or carry boxes in and out and tidying up at the end of the session.
Super troopers of Varen, that’s us.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Another little kitten

OK so I feel like I am begging but I seriously need some help !
Today a neighbour presented me with a tiny kitten  about 3 weeks I would say . I dont want nor cant have any more cats but ............. cant say no to a kitten in need , is there anyone out there who could take him on or who knows of a refuge to rear and re home him .
Thank you 
Jo x

Folk'n'Jazz John Taylor Charity Concert

Folk'n'Jazz now does a three part summer tour in outdoor venues, but this one at La Vigérie is very much associated with John because it was he who first had the idea of a themed concert there, in 2014.  All proceeds go to Médecins sans frontières, and of course thanks to Jeremy and Iga for the superb venue, which even has a very attractive indoor alternative.   Very important:

Please bring a folding (or otherwise portable) chair.

Kittens in Najac (English version)

Bonjour dear Val,

Is it possible to put this on tag-on-line?!
It is a tame stray cat living in the streets of Najac. The little red kitten is adopted!
Mother cat will be spayed!

Thank you so much,
wishing you both all the best,
warm greetings,

The contact details are as in the poster below.

Kittens in Najac

4 magnifiques chatons à donner sur Najac. Ils ont 2 mois passés, nés le 9 avril exactement. Ils sont sevrés, propres, et cherchent de gentilles familles à câliner.

Le petit roux est un mâle, ainsi qu’un des 2 noirs angora, la tigrée une femelle et le 2è angora surprise. (à déterminer)

Vous pouvez nous contacter ou venir les voir au 8, Rue Basse à Najac.

Téléphone : Pierre : 06 76 60 35 17

MERCI !!!!!!! 

Pierre et Charlotte 

World cup; Depardieu; vodka

Of course we are all sitting down to watch the football World Cup from Russia. Famous Frenchman Gerard Depardieu is now a resident of that country (sometimes) and may well be present at France's opening match tomorrow (Saturday) against Australia. This is a midday fixture and French supporters will be asking GG to share one of his passions - alcohol. Their latest terrace chant is "Gerard Depardieu, sors nous ta vodka, on va gagner chez toi". Surprisingly what has attracted criticism is the reference to alcohol. The originators of the chant say it's just for a laugh. So listen out for the great man's hommage, sung no doubt in moderation.
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So much to learn about the world

In this normally sunny corner of SW France who would have thought Malc and I would at our age learn so much more about the wider world.
Having Muslim friends and learning about Islam and what a peaceful religion it is. The radical Islamists are not true Muslims.
All our Muslims here at Parisot now, boys and families have spent a month fasting to show their strength in their beliefs and they say it is not hard to do, it is a joy to fast to show their love. Now they will all be celebrating and feasting together. A religion that teaches peace and love and quite different from the Daily Mail's images of Muslims. 
We have got to know some super boys who many now have jobs or who are studying at University or colleges, against the odds they find work, they want to work. 
To all our Muslim friends here and around the world we wish you joy, peace and love.

Enjoy the day enjoy the weekends celebrations

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Relaxing at home

I never tire of the views at our place, rain or shine it is a beautiful place to be. We walked around the grounds yesterday, so much to see.
We gave our caravan and awning yesterday to one of the refugees who now has asylum. When we moved the awning box from the outside open barn we found a mouse nest. It was lovely to see the little mice scurry to another safe place. I do hope they made it before our cats went prowling about.
As we do not have kestrels the magpies have nested in some bushes behind the donkey hut. Little magpies are about,  not our favourite birds.
Lots of poppies around the edges and the donkeys' field is now a wild flower meadow which we will have cut after all the flowers have seeded.
Apples, plums, figs, peaches are not so plentifully this year, they seem to have a two year cycle, also lots of blossom was blown off in the early storms.
Conversely the grapes are prolific.
Something else missing are the moles. Where are they this year?
Enjoy being outside on another sunny day.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Fork handles, four candles, no... 4 chairs. SOLD

4 chairs in excellent  condition 30 euros the four
4 cushions 2 euros each 8 euros
Mains Tendues 82
Contact Val