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Archive for the ‘seaside towns of Britain’ Category

I had to concede defeat today and had my first Covid vaccine jab. I’m not happy about it, but when you start hearing things like “have you had a test recently, or when will you be having your innoculation?” from prospective clients et al, along with talk of vaccine passports, you know the writing is on the wall. We are but a commodity.

So I just said, to hell with it  and booked an appointment. So many people are still totally ignorant of Covid and its transmission. Having the vaccine is not going to stop me from inadvertently passing it on to someone else in the event I come into contact with it. Its seems that some folk think it’s a magic wand, and once you have the jab you’re safe. You’re not. You’re just less likely to get really ill, and even then it’s no guarantee. Even the scientists are not wholly in agreement about the efficacy and what it means. Ugh. Anyway, it’s done. I can’t afford to not work.

The process itself was painless in all respects, and the system was smooth and flowed easily. Because of previous negative responses to a flu vaccine, I stayed institu for 25 minutes after the jab, just to make sure I didn’t just keel over and die ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช and then I was away…the staff were friendly and well organised and I was impressed with the efficiency of it all. I still, 9 hours later have had no ill-effects. In case you’re wondering, I had the Astra-Zeneca vaccine. ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”

The good thing that came out of it is that I had an unexpected trip to Deal. After the jab, I set off for a walk to Walmer Castle. Its amazing how close the 2 castles are to each other…25 minutes brisk walk. But first I had a most delicious curried vegetable pie from Al’s Bakery on the High Street…totally recommended. If I’d known it would be so yummy, I’d have bought 2.

A quick walk along the pier as well, then back on the train…which remarkably, considering the delays caused by the land slip near Folkestone, arrived at Deal and stopped at exactly 14:32 (I was watching the clock) – even a Swiss train would be hard put to match that!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

It’s a very long pier

Oh, and see that arrow pointing to the land in the distance in the next image… that’s the White Cliffs of Dover and last year I walked from Walmer to Dover via the cliffs…awesome walk and really beautiful

Deal Castle
Walmer Castle

Deal is an incredibly historic town with some amazing old houses

Carter House

Although it was wet, cold and blustery, I really enjoyed my walk and as usual could have just kept going….as soon as lockdown lifts, that’s exactly what I’m going to do…

I love these cycle path signs….tempted to follow them one day ๐Ÿšดโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšดโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšดโ€โ™€๏ธ

I love this little square

And of course, you can’t visit a seaside town and not stop to look at the boats

A pretty fishing boat

And finally, one of my favourite signs

The Acorn – symbol of the National Trails – England Coastal Path

And today’s walk added another 8kms to my Mt. Everest virtual challenge and takes me to nearly half way through the challenge ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

Both Deal and Walmer are mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book :

Deal was a settlement in Domesday Book, listed as Addelam, in the hundred ofย Corniloย and the county ofย Kent. It had a recorded population of 31 households in 1086, putting it in the largest 40% of settlements recorded in Domesday, and is listed under 5 owners in Domesday Book.

Julius Caesarย reputedly landedย on the beach at Walmer in 55 BC and 54 BC. It is only one possible landing place, proposed judging from the distances given in his account of the landings in hisย Gallic Wars.ย However, recent archaeological research and digs have found that he landed at Pegwell Bay. Walmer is probably the settlement Wealemere listed in the Domesday Book.

As I mentioned….loads of history, and both castles are well worth a visit

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I have essentially been homeless for nearly 18 months now, staying in b&bs and guest houses between bookings since September 2019, with the occasional sleepover on my daughter’s couch.

My belongings have been in storage for much of that time. Some of the many boxes filled with stuff I’ve accumulated since I arrived in the UK and much of it brought over from South Africa in 2016 after I obtained my British citizenship.
Settling under the weight of my belongings has been tough. Walking the Camino taught me about just how little we really need to get by, but real life is not a Camino and so I find it hard to give up on ‘stuff’.

But on Monday I moved into a new place which I shall call home for the next 6 months at least. ‘Move in’ is a bit of a stretch of course since atm its just me and my suitcase ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ Due to the snow I’ve been unable to get to the storage unit anyway even though I want to, and was supposed to on Monday afternoon.

So meanwhile I’ve had to borrow teabags, blankets and a pillow from my daughter, and a blanket, water-bottle, heater and kettle from the landlord, who also kindly bought me some milk last night when went out to Waitrose. I already have my own tea mug to hand that I take to bookings because I loathe using the client’s mugs…some of which are just manky.

Today I’m having a pj day and staying in bed till after midday…I think I deserve it after 5 weeks of getting up at 6.45 every day ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿฅฑ๐Ÿฅฑ๐Ÿฅฑ although I suspect my stomach may well get me out sooner….

But, since the ‘new place’ is essentially just a big room in a shared house, with separate, shared facilities, I will only be bringing over the essentials like my backpack and some extra clothes and my groceries plus bedlinen of course, and a towel. Its going to be so good to have some of my travel books as well…just to make it look homely. Of course pride of place goes to a framed photo of my grandson that travels around the country with me. That it always next to my bedside so that he’s the first thing I see each day ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ

But the best of all is that once I’ve got all the stuff I want, to make life a bit more pleasant, I can just leave it all here when I leave for my next booking, and not have to stress about getting to the storage unit to leave or collect anything.

Its been really stressful and quite expensive having to look for a place to stay between bookings, but this place is a very reasonable rent and as I say, quite spacious. I’ve viewed so many rooms in the last 18 months and they’re all very small and expensive. My heartfelt thanks to my son-in-law who spotted the advert and alerted me to view.

So here it is…unadorned with my belongings as yet, except for a few odds and ends…the desk sold the place really…somewhere I can set up my computer – most important!!

There’s a little, unused, fireplace behind where I’m standing which I’ll fill with something decorative, and 2 small cupboards with hanging space and shelves.

So in all, and in comparison to what millions of other people around the world have to live in….its a palace…. albeit a feking cold palace atm ๐Ÿฅถ๐Ÿฅถ๐Ÿฅถ even with the heater on, its cold, which is why I’m having a pj day…with a hotwater-bottle under my feet. Roll on summer ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

Welcome home Cindy ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„

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I recently (December 2020) walked from Ramsgate to Margate, and Herne Bay to Whitstable. Yes, I know, crazy. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ but it was a fantastic walk.

So passing through Margate, I saw these amazing paintings on the walls near the Tate.

I love how topical street art can be whereas some of it is just plain weird.

Very topical

And further up the coast

Herne Bay
Swalecliffe

One of the best things about walking, are the discoveries you make.

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One of the benefits and downfalls of being hooked up to the matrix is that you know where you’ve been, but ‘they‘ know where you are at all times, especially if you have your gps switched on, on your ever so ‘smart’ phone. Or have the various walking apps like mapmywalk turned on.๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

Personally I think our phones have been sneakily hooked up to all those big brother cameras dotted around every street corner, in every city, town and village….its creepy.

Its also quite useful for when your memory starts fading and you think “where was I?” Imagine how useful it would be if you’re one day considered to be a suspect of ‘foul play’!! If the arresting officer asks you “where were you at 1.30pm on Saturday 13th December 10 years ago. Wtaf!! They actually expect me to remember ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค” But, if you had Google you could protest your innocence and say “Uh uh, Officer, I wasn’t there….here look at mapmywalk, that’ll tell you exactly where I was”. Of course that wouldn’t be useful if in fact you did commit a foul deed, and were as guilty as sin!!! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคญ then you’d want to lose that app pdq ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช

But, be that as it may, one of the benefits is that from time to time Google photos sends me a notification to remind me of where I was either 2 years ago or three!! A bit like Facebook memories, which I don’t use. I’m not a fan of Facebook ๐Ÿคซ๐Ÿคซ๐Ÿคซ

So anywayyyy, yesterday I got a pop up to say “this is where you were”

2 years ago : Broadstairs looking towards Stone Bay
2 years ago: Heading towards Margate
3 years ago: Margate harbour

How cool is that!!

Seems I walk this route quite frequently ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ Lucky me, it is a gorgeous section of the English coast.

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Following on from my recent walk from Margate to Whitstable via Reculver, researching the Roman fort uncovered the information that Reculver too had been mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ Roculf: Archbishop of Canterbury. Church, mill, 5 salthouses, fishery.

To say I was delighted would be an understatement. Updating my Project 101 page brought the tally to the grand total of 150!! Hoorah. https://notjustagranny.co.uk/project-101/project-101-domesday-book-towns-villages/

By no means a huge number, and considering that 13,418 (settlements) : cities, towns, villages and hamlets are mentioned….150 is not that many, but it’s way more than most have visited.

It’s still astounding to discover that many English people who have grown up in the country, have no idea of its existence.

1086 is only one of the most significant dates in English history following on from the 1066 Battle of Hastings, and yet…..

My original intention was to visit 101, but it seems that my travels and my job will take me to many more than I anticipated.

I’ve wanted to walk to Reculver from Broadstairs ever since we first visited the place some years ago, but never seemed to find the time, it also did not seem doable. But now with my crazy decision to walk the entire English coast over the next 5 years, it became doable ….๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ and in comparison to the distances I’ve since covered on my various walks, it was easy peasy

When I set off from Margate last week I could see the ruins of the church farrrrr away in the mists of time and remember thinking ” oh gosh, it’s so far, will I be able to do it ?” But it was easier than expected, and voila

St. Mary’s Church, Reculver

St Mary’s Church, Reculver, was founded in the 7th century as either a minster or a monastery on the site of a Roman fort at Reculver, which was then at the north-eastern extremity of Kent in south-eastern England. In 669, the site of the fort was given for this purpose by King Ecgberht of Kent to a priest named Bassa, beginning a connection with Kentish kings that led to King Eadberht II of Kent being buried there in the 760s, and the church becoming very wealthy by the beginning of the 9th century. Ref wikipedia

Will this too be eaten by the ever encroaching sea
A Roman fort, now long gone
The remains of the Roman wall, and where the fort once stood

It’s a fascinating place and I’m certainly going to follow up on more of the history and I feel another visit is warranted. I noticed on my way to Reculver that there is a walk along the River Wantsum; which once cut off the Isle of Thanet from the mainland.

The River Wantsum

I ๐Ÿ”ฎ another walk in the future ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„ except it will not be in winter!! And I’m not walking across any mudflats….more of that later ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช

Can you see my folly?

More about Project 101 https://notjustagranny.co.uk/project-101/

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I’ve started reading the book my daughter gave me for Christmas; ‘Walking Home – Clare Balding.’

In the very early pages Clare talks about how she was taught to ‘walk mindfully’; to feel her feet hitting the ground, to hear the birds or background sounds, to feel the wind on her face. So today on my daily perambulation, instead of rehashing the same self-talk that goes over and over around my head (mostly coz its unresolved), today I practised mindful walking….

I felt how my feet scrunched on the beach, I observed how my poles felt as they supported me over the rocks or sank in the sand, I really listened to the seagulls, felt how the wind ruffled my hair and sneaked down my collar (I forgot my scarf at the b&b๐Ÿคจ๐Ÿคจ), and in particular I listened to the songs of the sea…it changed my whole mindset. I felt uplifted,  invigorated and tingled from the cold icy air, and barely noticed that I was soaked from the softly falling rain. What a difference.

My issues are still unresolved, but I can breathe…and I got in 10.26 kms by the time of the real downpour, which spoilt my plan to sit on the bench in Broadstairs to eat my croissants… instead I ran for the bus (the driver kindly waited for me ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ) and took the quick way back.

It was dark when I left the b&b, the streets were quite deserted and I only saw 4 people enroute. I got to the harbour just before 7am.

Town centre at 06:55
Still and quiet at 7am

It had started raining but I barely noticed it until looking at the lights shining on the rain.

Oh…its raining ๐Ÿ˜„

By then I was quite wet, so I sat under the shelter at the Royal Victoria Pavilion and watched the sky lighten…

A blue sky
My view from under the pavilion

Debating a return to the b&b to dry out, instead, as soon as the rain eased off, I meandered down to the waters edge and collected some more sea glass – found some lovely pieces.

Sea glass and pottery pieces

Then turning my head north for Broadstairs watching the sunrise while I listened to the seagulls and the incoming tide I walked…..as I walked the colours of the sky changed and depending on which way I was facing, was either that early morning cold blue or the golden colours of the sun cracking through the clouds…

Passing through Broadstairs I phoned ahead to order my almond croissants from The Old Bakehouse and stopped to photograph the boats in the little harbour – I never tire of seeing them

Pretty wee boats in the harbour

A few dog walkers and early morning strollers passed me by and suddenly, or so it seemed, I reached my turning point at Stone Bay.

A good place as any to turn around

How far I’ve come….

Looking back across Stone Bay

One last photo of Viking Bay

Viking Bay, Broadstairs

Having phoned ahead earlier, The Old Bakehouse kept 2 almond croissants aside for me ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿฅ๐Ÿฅ. As I left, the rain I’d seen crossing the channel reached our shores and the heavens opened…๐ŸŒง๐ŸŒง๐ŸŒง

There comes the rain…

I drank my coffee, then made my way quickly up the High Street towards the bus stop. Suddenly down the road…the bus approached. I ran – fast!! The driver (bless his heart) waited for me. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Then it was back to the b&b for tea.

Brilliant walk: 10.26kms. And thus ends my holiday/Christmas/New Year break. Back to work tomorrow and limited time to walk for the next 2 weeks. ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค” I’m hoping the area I’ll be working in has some interesting walks. Meanwhile, I’ve reached 20% of the Alps to Ocean NZ virtual challenge and got my 3rd postcard of the route.

I’ve started uploading the Mt. Fuji postcards and information and will post those asap and then I’ll get the Alps to Ocean postcards uploaded and share those too. The organisers have done an outstanding job of creating the postcards and the relevant information. It’s totally impressive

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Well, would you just look at that!! Just over 24 hours to go (UK time) and we say goodbye to 2020. I can hardly believe it.

Not that the new year, 2021 is going to start off very well at all with now 8 in 10 people in the UK going into tier 4 and virtual lockdown. Although 2020 didn’t do too well at all, 2021 is not going to get off to a very good start.

To say I’m peeved at our useless government would be an understatement because tomorrow brings the double whammy of the final twist of the Brexit knife and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic to really give this year a bad name. And do I believe our feckless PM when he spouts out his nonsense about having got a good deal?? No. I do not.

Meanwhile I, like millions of others, am trying desperately to keep my head and not fall into the pit of despair at the way life seems to be spiralling out of control. To that end I’m not watching the news nor reading the papers and still off Facebook. I am however spending quality time with my family and walking….walking and walking. I’m also grateful to still have work.

Although I only started in April, having the Conqueror virtual challenges has been a bit of a life saver really because keeping up with my targets gets me out, and the walking, which I love, keeps me sane.

I’m nearly at the end of the 2020 challenge and yesterday I completed the Mt. Fuji challenge after a fantastic walk from Margate to Herne Bay 22.18 kms. Although it was bloody freezing, I thoroughly enjoyed the walk and was not only surprised at how quickly I walked the distance, but also at how easy it was.

I’ve long wanted to walk from Broadstairs to Reculver after visiting the Roman site a few years ago, so it was absolutely thrilling to finally make the journey, albeit only from Margate. Except for one very short section, there is a promenade/footpath and the sea the whole way. The final section to Herne Bay was a breeze…literally and figuratively. I nearly froze ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ it was so darn cold – at one stage I was sucking my thumb just to get some warmth back into it.

Fortunately the cafeteria at Reculver was open so I stopped for 15 minutes to rest my feet and warm up with a hot chocolate and a yummy caramel fudge brownie…delicious.

Herne Bay is a fascinating place with so much history, not all of it good. But they do have some fantastic fish and chips shops….๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ I have to give a shout out to Gary of EKS Office Equipment in Herne Bay for not only agreeing to charge my phone (for free) but also allowed me to sit in a corner of the showroom to eat my chips while I waited. It was very much appreciated.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed the walk, despite the cold, the saddest sight was the vast amount of plastic pollution that quite literally lined the whole 22kms….I could have filled 50 black bags and still not cleared it all. Its terribly painful to see all that pollution.

So as the year comes to an end, I have one final day of walking to do to finish my 2020 km challenge. Its been a most satisfying pastime and I must thank my daughter for introducing me to the Conqueror Virtual Challenges….thanks to that I have improved my fitness levels, walked extensively in areas I would likely have not except for wanting to meet the challenge of the challenges ๐Ÿ˜‰ and I’ve inadvertently accumulated way more medals than I had planned. Its been a fairly expensive hobby, but so much fun.

I’ve started on the Alps to Ocean, NZ challenge and hopefully tomorrow I’ll complete another decent distance as my final walk for 2020.

Other than that, I have finally found a suitable place to rent. Went to look at a room last night….and as Goldilocks said “it’s just right ” and I’m saying “It’ll do Pooh” ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ It’s not a huge room, but it’s on the top floor, its spacious, it has cupboards, and a bed, and a skylight for summer nights, and a desk for my books and computer and MOST importantly, the landlord said Jamie can visit. So HOORAH!!! after 18months I’ll have a place to go ‘home’ to. I’m feeling quite emotional. It means I can get my clothes out of storage, and my books and Jamie’s toys and my amazing South African mattress. I can brighten it up with my own bed linen and pictures and bits and bobs.

Today we had a photoshoot done. The fab photographer of @createdwithlightphotography on Instagram did the shoot for me with my gorgeous grandson. We had lots of fun and then had hot chocolate to warm up, because of course it was freezing on the beach. โ˜ƒ๏ธโ˜ƒ๏ธโ˜ƒ๏ธโ˜ƒ๏ธ

Me and my boobee ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ

Tomorrow, weather depending I’ll walk from Ramsgate to Margate one last time before I tackle the next section of my own challenge….to walk the whole of the English coast within next 5 years.

Cheers folks, thanks for reading along with me. In case I don’t get to write a post tomorrow, although I probably will, I wish you all a VERY safe, healthy and wonderful New Year.

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Got in a very respectable 15.9kms this morning. Starting off with a fantastic sunrise….red sky in the morning and all that

I headed up the coast to Stone Bay via Broadstairs where I stopped off at my favourite tearoom The Old Bakehouse for almond croissants (best ever) with a cup of coffee, which I enjoyed on the promenade, and fed the sparrows some toasted almond crumbs.

Almond croissant from The Old Bake House, Broadstairs
Ever so cute…

Enroute I strolled past the Dickens Museum – although he didn’t actually live here, it was the home of one of his characters in David Copperfield; Betsy Trotwood.

By the time I reached the end of Stone Bay the wind had come up and that promised storm blew in…with a vengeance.

Blowing up a storm
I wondered why….

Before heading back to Ramsgate, I bought some bird seed and scattered it amongst the bushes for the wee sparrows.

The wind was so strong along the foreshore that my walking poles were blown backwards and I had to plow into the wind.

Despite the wind and cold and rain, I had a fantastic walk. The harbour looked very different when I got back from when I left just after 7am

7:20am
11:14am

And tomorrow I’m back to work. I don’t feel as if I’ve had a proper break.

But I did have a most wonderful afternoon with my lovely family…Christmas tree decorating. I’ll write about that tomorrow..

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I really miss watching the sunrise on the coast. Sunrise is always lovely but when you’re living in a town or city, the view could be obstructed. I’m usually based in towns in the countryside and my routine doesn’t allow me to get out, so when I’m back at my base I try to get out every day.

I’m hoping there’s good weather on Sunday and I get a repeat of this โ˜บโ˜บ

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Oh my goddess I’ve found a new long distance walk to do!! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ I was doing some research on distances between towns for my ongoing quest to walk the whole England coast over the next 5 years (I blame it on the moon) and found the whole route for the Saxon Shore Way.

I’ve touched on the route during some of my previous excursions, but I didn’t realise just how long it was and how far it extended. Sigh..you just know I’m going to have to walk it ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

The 160 mile / 257 km route starts in Gravesend on the banks of the River Thames in North Kent and ends in the colourful seaside town of Hastings in East Sussex. The route goes inland somewhere near Reculver and bypasses Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate and again from Folkestone to Rye/Camber but the rest of the route offers some of the finest coastal walking in England.

The reason the route bypasses Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate is due to the fact that they’re all on what was, and is still referred to as the Isle of Thanet, which used to be separated from the mainland by the Wantsum Channel up until 1550, by which time the river had silted up and was no longer navigable. And of course the Saxons were here from mid 5th century, so the route they created would have followed the then mainland coast.

According to wikipedia: The River Wantsum is a tributary of the River Stour, in Kent, England. Formerly, the River Wantsum and the River Stour together formed the Wantsum Channel, which separated the Isle of Thanet from the mainland of Kent. Now the River Wantsum is little more than a drainage ditch starting at Reculver, and ending where it joins the Stour.

I’ve walked small sections of the Saxon Shore Way when I followed Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales route to Canterbury via Sittingbourne and Faversham, again when I followed St Augustine’s Way from Ramsgate to Canterbury and again more recently when I walked from Sandwich to Dover.

Saxon Shore Way, Sandwich

I’m gonna have to stop working so I can do all these walks ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿคญ๐Ÿคญ

The header image is of Gravesend on the Thames from when I walked Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales from Southwark Cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral…my very first long-distance walks, along which I learned some really good lessons – like to never walk in wet socks ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐Ÿงฆ๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐Ÿงฆ

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