Archive for the ‘general life’ Category

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Da da da da Click Click

October 15, 2017

The view from the Grand Circle of the King’s Theatre in Glasgow last night. We were there to see the stage production of The Addams Family. At first I wasn’t sure about it but it was great. The cast were amazing and my daughter really loved it. Unfortunately it was way too hot in the auditorium and my boy felt sick so we missed the last 20 minutes of the show. We could hear it though from the hall outside the Circle where we were cooling off. After a glass of water the boy felt better.

Verdict of show: great.

 

 

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Lego, Goldman and a Deep Deep Trench

August 31, 2017

Forgive me readers for I have been bad. I have not written this blog for some time and the only two excuses I can give are: The Gilmore Girls and work beginning in my garden. The former because I recently bought Netflix and have been glued to the Gilmore Girls, all seven series of it and the winter special. Finally finished it last night after around two-and-a-half weeks of watching it in between mum and housework stuff. There were loads of episodes so I blame the tv company that produced it for a) making so many episodes and b) making it so compelling that I quickly became addicted. Am now feeling bereft because not only is Gilmore Girls watched all the way through, but Game of Thrones has finished for this year. Sigh. My tv watching has suddenly gotten very dull. The second excuse is because we’re getting an extension and I’ve been moving things around in the garden. I removed the old metal swingset, laid a new patio in its place (hark me laying a patio and it actually turned out) and then, with my lovely friends (you know who you are, thank you so much for your help, it was much appreciated) moved the potting shed over so that when the extension is up it doesn’t shade out the potting shed. It was a lot of heavy work, but I am so pleased I managed to do it. Been taking on a lot more things this year, things my beloved hubby would have normally done, including cutting our hedge which is a heavy, tiring job. Feeling that I can do most DIY things now (God help us!) and  quite proud of myself. Watch this space for more makes.

Talking of Game of Thrones. Oh. My. God. Was that not the best series EVER or what? If you don’t watch it, you are so missing out on one of the most fabulous telly experiences ever. Do you remember when it first began and no-one (except me, it felt) watched it and I was bemoaning the fact that I had no one to talk to about? Then it was repeated and  loads more folk started watching it and it grew from there. Can’t wait til next year and the final series.

Right, so apart from shunting things around the garden, I’ve also been doing the odd wee escapade with the kids over the summer holidays. Apart from visiting the Riverside Museum in Glasgow (which we Glaswegians will still call the Transport Museum until we die cos that’s what the old museum used to be called), we also popped into Clydebank Town Hall to see the Lego exhibition. It cost me £13 to get the three of us in and, although it was quite cheap, I still don’t think it was worth the money. Don’t get me wrong, the models were great, but there wasn’t that many of them, I expected a bit more. Anyway, here are some of the models…

There was also a massive castle which for some reason I never took a picture of which is a pity because it was really good.

Anyway, I have also been reading a lot over the summer and most recently finished William Goldman’s Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood. I love reading about writing and am currently going through a screenwriters’ books phase. Goldman is famous for a number of film scripts and books including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Marathon Man, the Princess Bride and Which Lie Did I Tell?  The book is well written and full of great anecdotes and musings on how Hollywood works (or worked when he wrote the book…it was published in 1982). If you’re looking for an up-to-date book on Hollywood this isn’t the book for you. Instead it talks about the golden age and how things used to work comparing it to when things changed as tv became more prominent and how studio management changed in the 70s (ie how they were managed). Goldman is bluntly honest and self deprecating throughout. He takes a very measured look at Hollywood and is often funny. He’s the type of guy I think would be a great raconteur at a dinner party. Yup, liked this book. Looking forward to reading Which Lie Did I Tell?

What else have I been doing? You won’t want to hear about the boring stuff, the futile attempts I’ve been making to keep the mud out of my house brought in on the little clippy cloppy paws of the dogs. Our pug, Bonya, had to undergo an operation last week to remove a tumour from her leg. The vet doesn’t think it’s cancerous, but we’re going to keep a wee eye on her. She’s made a great recovery and is, as I write, lying at my feet snoring at the same level of decibels as a full grown man. Delicate pugs ain’t.

Obligatory cute pic of Bonya making herself at home on my bed.

 

You leave your phone down and before you know it one of the kids has decorated a pic.

I have a confession. I have not been writing. Again because of the aforementioned reasons, but also cos I’m a bit stuck about how to end the book I am currently writing. I’ve also been writing up ideas for two more books which I will start writing once I have the other book’s story down. I’ve printed off the 65,000 words I have written so far to re-read in the hope that inspiration will smack me in the face and get me back to the laptop. I do have a strong hope that this will happen. I mean, look at me…I’m actually writing my blog again so that’s a good sign! Right?

Okay, I am going to end this blog here. I have three wee dogs to take out for another walk. Because the back garden is off limits and now open to the street,  I cannot let them run about the way I used to. Apart from the fact one of them will definitely make a break for the street (Millie), I fear one or all three of them will end up the trench that was dug for the foundations. This has already happened. It was my fault, I stupidly drank some wine and then late at night fancied surveying the back garden from the kitchen door. I opened it and before I could stop her Millie (our white Jack Chi cross) ran past me and sailed into fresh air. Luckily she didn’t hurt herself and my daughter managed to coax her into jumping (that dog has springs in her heels). The girl caught her and dragged her out much to my relief as I didn’t fancy climbing into the trench. Apart from the fact it was dark and muddy, I didn’t fancy my chances of getting back out having consumed some wine. I had visions of me getting stuck and having to suffer the humiliation of having the fire service come out to rescue me. Luckily that did not happen. The back door is now kept firmly shut and I haven’t touched a drop since! Damn you wine! Millie lost her lovely pristine appearance that night and it was a brown, mud caked dog that I put into the bath that night to shower down. Thankfully she was not injured and was quickly back to her bossy ways. 🙂

Millie – none the worse for her impromptu flight.

Anyway, on that note, I’ll say adieu. Til next time.

Dawn xxx

 

 

 

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Writing lists and getting things done!

June 11, 2017

It’s amazing what writing a check list does for how much I actually achieve in a day. If I don’t write a list, a few things get done. If I do write a list, I get oh so much more done. It’s like that list has sorted out my head and my memory and makes me do all the jobs I have to do around the house, with the kids and, equally importantly, with my writing. I wrote a long list yesterday and laid out times next to the tasks and do you know what? I managed to achieve it all. Today I am steadily making my way through a new list and I’m doing stuff…such as this blog and I wrote more than 1000 words today, plus did a bit of yoga and cut the grass in the front garden. So, it’s nearly 5pm and I’m feeling mightily chuffed with myself for actually achieving a number of things today instead of sprawling out in from the telly drinking copious amounts of tea!

Yesterday, my list included ironing (regular readers will know how much I hate ironing, but I stuck it out and completed it), walking the dogs (which I do daily anyway) and taking the kids to the school Gala Day. Regarding the Gala Day, it was really good. A lot of time and effort had been put in by the PTA and it was a huge success. The theme was on cowboys and cowgirls so there were a lot of kids and adults dressed up. A local line dancing club did a demo for the crowd. The club consisted of older men and women, dressed up in cowboy-ish clothes line dancing. There was also some ‘gunslingers’ having a ‘fight’ which also consisted of older men and women dressed in cowboy-ish clothes pretending to shoot each other. There were loads of stalls (I got a lovely Toffee the Heilan Coo brooch from my friend Sharon’s…aka Sew Silly Lily…stall

and lovely honey bread biscuits from my friend Zuzka’s…aka Honeybread Cottage…stall. I have such talented friends!).

There were bouncy castles and a dog competition and throw sponges at the teachers and a saloon and tonnes of things for everyone to do. I helped out at the cactus hoopla stall and bash the rat game….both of which were a big hit with parents and kids (see the simple things really are the best). I also had a good old chat to lots of other mums I hadn’t seen in a while. It was a great afternoon (had to drag the boy away from it cos he wanted to stay longer) and well done to the organisers for creating it.

What else have I been doing? Well my neighbours must be thinking I’m doing an online business because quite a number of parcels arrived over the last few days. Do not worry, dear friends, I am not doing an online business merely buying up presents for Father’s Day and some birthdays that are coming up in July and September. I like to be organised because if I’m not it’s always a mad panic to buy stuff in time. My memory is not good, it never was, but has been much worse over this last year, so if I buy up cards and presents now at least I have them in for the correct dates of the aforementioned birthdays and Father’s Day. Okay, so after promising myself I would stop buying books, I did indulge in a little book buying spree for myself and the kids too. What can I say? I am a book addict! It’s my only vice (she says with an innocent look on her face!).

Regarding books, following last week’s confession of being totally gripped by The Dog Whisperer’s programme I went out and ordered his book (Cesar’s Way by Cesar Milan) from Amazon. I started reading it a couple of days ago and it’s fab. I am also reading Leap In: A Woman, Some Waves and the Will to Swim by Alexandra Heminsley about her bid to do wild water swimming, something I’ve always wanted to (okay so I have swam in a loch and at the seaside when I was younger and more stupid cos I didn’t have a wetsuit, but I want to go out deeper and really swim in the wild). Anyway, am enjoying reading about her trials and tribulations as she overcomes her terror of swimming in the sea.

Right, I need to go. I have some hungry weans hovering whining about being hungry and ‘when’s dinner ready?’. Apparently they are both about to fade away through lack of food. The chilli is on, but it’s not yet ready. The house smells amazing thanks to the spices and it’s sending the kids crazy…a bit like the Bisto kids of the adverts of old! Til next time.

Dawn xx

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June 6, 2017

I did not pooh in the Girl’s bedroom. Nope, wasn’t me. What do you mean you saw me do it?

 

What a bloody awful day it is outside. It is pouring. Of course there are far worse things happening in this world – the terrible losses of life in Manchester, London and Syria etc (where there are far more atrocities, but we never seem to hear about them…what’s that about?) – but I don’t want to dwell on those in this post. It’s not that I don’t want to mark them, it’s just there are so many news stories and articles and blog posts about them all over the world that I wanted to write something to take my mind and your mind off it all.

Right, so, as I was saying, the weather is awful today. Bloody awful is how I actually put it and the mutts and I have been forced to stay in. They are not even keen to go out in the garden today, not even Millie who is our resident furry water baby. So we’re indoors and they were snoozing until I put on a recording of the Dog Whisperer. Have you seen this programme? It’s about a very well groomed Mexican gentleman called Cesar Millan (above) who teaches humans how to properly train their dogs and, well, he’s quite frankly a miracle worker. And he also has the loveliest eyes, but that’s a by the by. Anyway, it’s a hoot when I put it on because my three just love watching it and having a wee bark at the dogs too. I enjoy it because it gives me useful tips on dogs – let’s face it Millie needs to be a bit better behaved what with her not coming when she’s called – plus I go away thinking ‘no problem, I can do that’. Then I try it on the dogs and they give me a look like ‘who does she think she is?’ and refuse to perform. I think I need to get Cesar over here to sort out my three…well actually, again it’s just Millie. Casper and Bonya are very well behaved on the whole although Bonya got caught short this morning in the Girl’s room and did a big pooh. Cue: lots of screaming and shouts of ‘naughty girl’. Am I a bad mother for thinking it was all highly amusing?? AND I made her clean it up…heee hee heeee!! (whaaaat? it’s all payback for the times she’s refused to clean out HER guinea pig and for all the times she’s messed up the living room, en suite and other rooms in the house).

So. How have you been since the last blog? It’s been nearly two weeks and that’s my fault because I have been so busy cleaning out cupboards and the garage and other places that have been totally neglected over the past couple of years that the blog went out of my mind. Anyway, I’m here now. I’me generally good, although I’ve not been sleeping all that well recently. I am not sure of the reason. Millie keeps waking me at 2am to let her out (we’re working on that…I am now putting down dog matts so she has that option, but am not getting up to let her out. It sounds harsh, but isn’t. She needs to learn to sleep through the night like she used to. Also, this morning, when I opened the back door to let the dogs out to relieve themselves, guess who didn’t go? Yup, Millie. I supposed the urgent 2am need for outside wasn’t so urgent after all!). Anyway, am finding it difficult to drop off, so I need to get back to my Mindful Meditation which always sorts that out. Apart from that, the kids and I are good. The dogs are full of health except Bonya who is shedding like crazy all over the place…the amount of hair she is losing would stuff a pillow!!

Over the weekend we went up to the westend of Glasgow to meet my friend AJ and her daughters for lunch. We went to a wee pizza place on the corner of Great Western Road and Otago Street – I forget it’s name – and it was lovely. I knew the place when it was a bank and then a coffee shop and was pleasantly surprised at the change in decor which went from Starbucks (or the other one) to a little piece of Italy! The menu also surprised me. I’ve never seen such a small one…not physically but in the few thing you could buy on it. They had options for about eight different pizzas and about five puddings. You could also get wine and fizzy drinks, but that was essentially it. We all ordered. The pizzas arrived really quickly and were lovely (all crisp and delicious from their pizza oven). It was fab to see AJ who is one of my oldest friends and catch up. We had intended to walk up Great Western Road and go down Byres Road and look in the shops (they have lots of fab charity shops for treasure hunting in!), but it was pouring down, literally stoating off the ground, and we were reluctantly forced to call a halt to the afternoon.

Martha Gellhorn.

 

On Sunday, I made myself breakfast in bed and spent far too much time looking at Facebook before reading some more of my book, Martha Gellhorn: A Life by Caroline Moorehead. I am close to finishing this book, one chapter left, and I’ve really enjoyed it. Martha was a very well known American journalist and writer who covered a large number of stories including the Great Depression, the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War and wars in the Far East. She was also Ernest Hemingway’s second wife. She led a really interesting, exciting, often dangerous life that took her all over the world. However, she also seemed to have often been a very difficult person to be with, someone who was selfish, who went off and did her own thing no matter the cost to other people, but who was passionate about justice for others, about telling their stories and how the great event (war, depression etc) affected them and what the Governments should do about it. She was strong. She was a restless spirit. She didn’t take any crap from anyone. I’m not sure she and I would have gotten on, but I’ve greatly enjoyed reading about her. The book is really well written and goes at a good pace. I shall be sad when it’s finished, but this book will stay in my collection (as opposed to being donated to our local library as something I’ll never read again).

I’m not sure what my next read will be, but I have quite a few to choose from, which is both vexing and exciting at the same time. Vexing because it takes me ages to decide. Exciting because I love jumping into and being immersed in a new story and going places I’ve never been before.

Right, on that note, I am going to finish up here. The rain has just gone off and I am toying with the idea of getting the dogs out for a quick walk before I need to collect the boy from school.

Til next time!

Dawn xxx

 

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Barcelona!

May 17, 2017

Oh my God! What can I say about Barcelona that would do this city any justice? It’s an amazing place with the most stunning architecture…I’ve included some pictures of a tiny fraction of the buildings above, but there are far bigger, better and stunning buildings in this city. We just didn’t have the time to see them all.

How we got there…the ship docked in the early hours that Friday morning at Barcelona’s port. We took a taxi to the airport, dumped our suitcases with Left Luggage (because we were flying home later that day) and then took a bus from the airport to the Plaza Espanya near the city centre.  Look how amazing this square is…

And here’s what else is near there…

It’s the Museum of Catalunya. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to go and see it. Instead we headed down a wide tree filled street (stopping at a really nice wee pizza place for lunch first) to find the Sagrada Familia (pictured at the start of this post) which is something I’ve always wanted to see. The place was hoaching with tourists, but it was well worth having a look at…the cathedral is truly inspiring and amazing to look at. Every nook and cranny is filled with exquisitely carved modern art. As you can see from the cranes, the building is still not finished more than 100 years after it was first begun. I loved it.

After that we headed for the city’s beach area which my mother assured us wasn’t that far to walk. It took us about an hour with a stop off for some drinks because the weather was so hot. Because it was Good Friday, there was a right festival atmosphere about the city and the place was jumping with locals and tourists. There were a range of street stalls and myself and the kids spent the rest of our holiday money on bits and pieces to take home – I bought two lovely fans painted in a modern style. I was really hot on holiday, but I knew I’d use them again back home…being a right Northerner, I get hot in muggy weather and stuffy offices, so the fans will come in handy. Plus we do get the odd hot day in Scotland. There are also some cheeky folk who would point out that I am a lady of a certain age who is hurtling towards 50 and therefore menopause, but as I am still only 25 (in my head) and will be forever, this will never happen!

Anyway, after the beach we walked up the packed Ramblas. It was uncomfortably busy, but didn’t put me off the city…in fact I’d love to return there for a long weekend at some point in the near future. We caught a bus at the Placa de Catalunya to get back to the airport in time for dinner and then our flight home. We only had a few hours in Barcelona, but I loved it. Verdict on Barcelona: fab. Will definitely go back. Only issue: I had the song ‘Barcelona’ by Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe ringing through my head the entire time I was there and every time I think of the word ‘Barcelona’. It’s a great song, but really annoying if you can’t get it out of your head!

Anyway, that’s the holiday. We arrived back home around midnight that night and it was great being back in Scotland, but I really loved the holiday. We all loved the holiday.

Right, so back to real life. This week is the first full week I’ve had since leaving work and it’s already Wednesday and I don’t know where my time is going? Okay so this week, I have walked the dogs every day (and got soaked on Monday), I have had lunch with a friend (down at Ardardan today) and visited my father-in-law yesterday who is very old and frail. On Monday morning I also went to a pilates class with another friend. These events took up a few hours each day, so that’s my excuse for not achieving a huge amount over the last three days. The big news is that I have gone back to writing my book for adults…the one I started last year. I can’t say it’s been easy getting back into the swing of things, but I have written up my workplan and I intend to stick to it.

The rest of the week will be spent doing the bits and pieces around the house that need doing and assembling my new bike. I have great plans to take the kids out cycling more over the summer. There are some great routes around here plus I have a cycle carrier which we can use for further afield.

Over to books and I am currently reading: Caroline Moorhead’s ‘Martha Gellhorn: A Life’, which is a great read. On holiday, I got through several books:

The first three were fantastic. You cannot beat a Pratchett for humour and a good read, and Joanna’s books are just so funny and a great beach/poolside read. I had hoped to enjoy McIlvanney’s book more because he so revered as a writer, but it was alright. I doubt I’d read it again.

Right, I think I will finish up here and say adieu until next time! See you then.

Dawn xxx

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All Aboard! Bermuda, Madeira and Malaga

May 12, 2017

Hello, how’s things? How are you? What’s been happening with you? Am back to relate the next part of our epic journey across the Atlantic. Last week, I shared our days in the Magic Kingdom and Universal Studios. Today, it’s Bermuda, Madeira and Malaga.

Firstly, though here’s a quick view of the ship. As you can see, unlike the pic above, the sun was splitting the sky. We had about three days of overcast, but still warm enough to sit out weather and the rest was glorious. Our ship was the Norwegian Epic and it was excellent. The food was excellent, the evening entertainment was good, the bars and restaurants were good and the cabins comfortable. We went to see the Broadway show of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, which was brilliant, a dance show and a magician. The kids had their own clubs to attend and spent a lot of time at the ship’s waterpark (pools, flumes etc). They had a ball.

Now for Bermuda. What can I say about it? It’s incredibly flat, incredibly expensive and there’s not much to see there. We spent some time in Hamilton, which is a nice town with very expensive, exclusive shops and not much else. I don’t have any pics because I accidentally locked myself out of my phone around about then and couldn’t take any. The biggest thing the kids had about Bermuda is that they were nervous about crossing the scary Bermuda Triangle (thanks to Scooby Doo for that one!), but we reassured them and they were fine. Verdict on Bermuda: meh!

Now Madeira is a totally different kettle of fish: a beautiful, cultured, historic island with lots to see and do and where you don’t feel like you are getting the Mickey taken out of you every time you take your purse out.

 

Here’s me on the cable car at Funchal. The view was fantastic and the kids loved being on the cable car. We had a drink at the top, a wee walk around (we didn’t do the lovely park there because the kids were champing at the bit to go back down and spend their holiday money) and then back down.

Funchal is a beautiful old town with lots of stunning buildings and things to see.

It has stunning parks one of which has a great view of the harbour where our ship (left) was docked. We all spent our holiday money buying gifts and things for ourselves. My mum – a near professional shopper – and my girl – also a near professional shopper – spent a happy hour in a large international clothes shop there and came out armed with bags and happy smiles. The boy, myself, my dad and my niece waited for them at the nearby park where the boy spent his time hunting out and watching, with a fascination on his face that I haven’t seen since he was tiny, the little lizards that lived in the rocks there. If he could have, I’m sure he would have taken one home! Verdict on Madeira: loved it! Would definitely go back. Shame we couldn’t have stayed longer.

Now to another place I love. I’ve been before and was really happy to be back…Malaga in southern Spain.

It’s a stunning city with some wonderful architecture…

It also has stunning castle, Castilla de Gibralfaro, which dates back to the 10th century and includes some of the best views of the city. Recommend this as a tourist destination: not only is it very reasonable to get into (don’t buy an organised trip! just go), but it’s got a museum, café and you can wander all round the ramparts. If, like me, you love exploring castles, you’ll enjoy this one. NB while we dafties walked up the flagstoned (and extremely steep) road up to the castle, doing our knees in and almost needing leg transplants when we arrived, you can actually get to the castle by a normal road around the back. In saying that, I actually enjoyed the ascent and descent.

The ramparts and the views…

The museum…

One of the stunning buildings at the foot of the castle. This is their awe inspiring town hall…

Although I’ve shown you the images in this order, I actually took them the other way round. We did the castle first and then went into the city to enjoy the beautiful and ancient architecture. We stopped off at a little bar down a side street for beer, enjoyed the ambiance and, quite frankly, I could have just stayed there. I love the city. Verdict on Malaga: love it for its architecture, history, friendly people, lots of things to do and see. Will definitely go back.

Right, am going to finish up here now. Next week, it’s the end of the holiday and what a way to spend it: Good Friday in Barcelona a city I’ve been dying to go to for years. Til next time!

Dawn xxx

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Holidays and it’s a pug’s life

April 27, 2017

Okay so I sort of haven’t been around that much recently. Basically, me, the kids, my niece and my parents flew out to Orlando at the end of March, had three full days in Florida before joining a cruise ship at Port Canaveral for a trans Atlantic cruise back to Europe. It was a fantastic holiday, thoroughly enjoyed it and I would have told you all about it last week (we came back mid April) except I wasn’t well…I had a stinking cold for the entire holiday (not that it stopped me enjoying myself – see pic above of me on the upper deck enjoying my daily Bahama Mama cocktail!) and it got worse when we got back. Had to go on antibiotics to get shot of it. I don’t like taking tablets, but I had had this flamin’ cold on and off for five or six weeks. The antibiotics finally cleared the cold at the beginning of this week.

Anyway, regarding the holiday, I have lots to show you and talk about so I’m planning to do it over the next couple of weeks rather than doing a ginormous blog about it.

The other exciting news is that we’ve welcomed a new furry family member. Her name is Bonya (she was previously owned by a Russian lady) and she’s just adorable.

Unfortunately her previous owner had to rehome her, but I’m glad we’ve got her cos she’s a lovely wee dog. My other two dogs were a bit scared of her at first (although she’s the least scariest dog I’ve ever met), but are coming round now. She’s a terrible snorer, loves to give you big face licks (ew…I hate dogs licking me on the face and it’s a fight to keep her from doing it…she’s very determined!) and is very cuddly.

In other news, I took a major leap of faith and gave up my job this week. I feel that life is too short and I want to write for a living, so I’m going to give it a go. I made the decision months ago and it really feels right. I don’t really feel I’ve stopped work yet because I never work on Thursdays, but I think it will start to sink in next week when I don’t have to go. Just want to thank all my friends and colleagues at work for their generous gifts and see you all next week! People keep asking me what I’m going to do with my ‘retirement’, but I don’t view it as that…I am going to WRITE!! I am taking a couple of weeks off to get the house and garden in order and to chill out. Then I’ll start back writing again. Can’t wait.

Anyway, it’s getting late so I’m going to finish here. Til next time…and all the holiday tales to come!

Dawn xx

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