Posts Tagged ‘photography’

This is a piece I’m sharing from another blogger. Its incredibly poignant and shares a glimpse into the lives of people during this awful pandemic. I’d recommend clicking through to her blog to see the whole piece it’s so beautiful, albeit really emotional.

I left this comment onthe writers article…..”Wow, what an incredible piece, so poignant and emotional. I’m in tears. As a Granny myself, the image of the grandmother hugging her granddaughter really tugged at my heart. I’d have been devastated if unable to see my grandson. As it is I didn’t see him for 7 weeks during the 1st lockdown. I also so felt for the young man watching his grandmother’s funeral.”

I have previously written an article to talk about an exhibition depicting lockdown experiences in Britian. These pictures from the online Hold Still exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery provide a very touching narrative of the lockdown. I wrote an article setting out my favourite pictures from the exhibition. In this article, I have selected […]

The Narratives Behind the Pictures

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My favourite times of the year are autumn and winter. Although I do love spring…and there’s a lot to be said about summer 😉

I’m an autumn person – I love the rich golden patchwork of colours, the misty mornings, the chill in the air, the crunch of crispy leaves underfoot, the smell of bonfires, that extra hour in bed as the clocks go back, and the lateness of sunrise.

Golden Autumn colours

In fact autumn and winter are pretty much the only time I get to see the sunrise – for no other reason than that I love my first cup of tea in bed with a biscuit. I’m not an early riser.

Between assignments I’ve been staying at the new guest house I’ve found, a mere 3 minute walk from the cliff tops above the sea….and facing east.

I love sunrise and I love walking, so I’ve been getting up early to make the most of the free time available (except for the last few days when I’ve been poorly and just didn’t have the energy to get dressed, never mind drag myself out the door).

But last week, before the shock of losing my pending assignment (due to the absolute dishonesty and sneakyness of the current carer), jumped up and smacked me in the head and laid me low, I got up early for 3 days in a row and went out for a sunrise walk.

Here are some of the images….is there anything more privileged than being alive to watch the sun come up? Except perhaps still being alive to watch the sun go down

Sunrise – Ramsgate Beach
Sunset – Pegwell Bay
Sunrise – Ramsgate Beach
Sunset – Ramsgate Harbour
Sunrise – Ramsgate Beach
Sunset – Ramsgate Harbour

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Today I’m grateful for my laptop. It seems like a fairly trivial thing to be grateful for, and yes I realise it’s not only a non-essential for life, but it’s also a staple of a consumer society.

However, my laptop has been invaluable to me. I remember when I got my very first one…about 14 years ago. I was living in London, working as a Carer then as now, and between my sister and I we decided I needed a laptop rather than going into internet cafes all the time.

I’d started blogging by then and it was a pain having to download my blog to an external hard-drive, then walk to the internet cafe during my break, then login and download over an insecure connection and finalise the blog. Time consuming and not very secure.

So the decision was made to buy a laptop. My sister suggested a Dell and since I had nothing to compare it to, and had no knowledge of laptops and how they worked, I said go ahead. In due course they delivered the laptop, and boy was it heavy….it still is.

And then the fun began…..first I had to learn ‘how to do set up’ ergo charging the battery, setting up the account, and going through the set up process….this I had to be talked through by my brother-in-law from Ireland. That is how much of a novice I was. I used it for 3 years till it began to go so slowly it may as well have gone backwards. Since then I’ve come leaps and bounds.  Once I decided to get a new computer I took out a contract with my network provider and I’ve upgraded my computer contract twice in the intervening 10 years. I try to make them last till they collapse (which is what happened to the last one 3 years ago). My current model has lasted well over 3 years……touch wood.

The reason I’m grateful for my laptop is that it has allowed me to reach into the wonderful and sometimes scary world of the internet. I’ve since learned to build a website, download, edit and upload photos and videos, create videos from images and progress to the various photo-sharing apps. I’ve learned how to use Google to find out just about anything I set my mind to, even sometimes incredibly obscure questions…I use my laptop to plan my Caminos by using Google Maps and accessing relevant websites.

My laptop has allowed me to create a 2nd website (which is where you are reading this article) and yesterday I managed to ‘crack a code’. If you look at the top right hand side you’ll see a button for the SA Blog Awards…well, when I tried to paste their code into the wordpress ‘widget’ it kept telling me that there were 6 errors I had to fix first before it could save. I was like ‘wtf’ ..seriously!!!

Anyway after about 15 minutes of stress, I hopped onto google and within 30 minutes I had fixed the errors and voila the badge was up.  I was well pleased 🙂

I have learned so much since those early days when I lifted the lid on my Dell in 2003, I have travelled vicariously through reading other peoples blogs, created relationships on Facebook, Tweet for China, loaded images via instagram, flickr and pinterest and as a result of this one of my images was chosen to feature in a book about the Queens of England. 🙂

I’ve learned how to create spreadsheets (I’m the spreadsheet queen) LOL, how to edit images in powerpoint, how to create videos using movie maker, I’ve written and created 3 books on Bookwright and so much else it’s staggering.

Having my laptop has stopped me from going crazy when I’m in a stressful position at work by allowing me to be creative, to write and to communicate. I am able to keep up with world affairs, with latest trends in politics and travel and investments. It’s allowed me to share my stories and photos of far-flung places and taken me on the road to Project 101.

I am grateful for my laptop. It is my most ‘prized possession’

31 Days of Gratitude – Day 1

31 Days of Gratitude – Day 2

31 Days of Gratitude – Day 3


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It’s normal at this time of the year to think about and consider what, if any, resolutions you may want to make. Hundreds of articles are written each year on the ‘how to’, ‘ the why’, ‘the when’ etc etc, only for many of them to fall by the wayside when real life takes over.

Personally I stopped making resolutions decades ago (urgh, that word ‘decades’ ages me LOL). I seldom kept to them. I am a procrastinator, something I’ve recently named and shamed, and my philosophy in life has always been ‘if it can be done tomorrow….’ And so my resolutions usually fell by the wayside. I’m also fairly lazy…especially if my resolution doesn’t match my values. Ergo…..the “I want to lose weight” resolution simply doesn’t work well if you love food! And chocolate. And cake. And ice-cream. And Vogels bread with latherings of butter and Robertson’s Lime jelly…….and so on and so on; you get my drift. So I’ve pretty much given up on making any resolutions that have anything to do with dieting – besides being unhealthy for my psyche, as soon as I decide to cut something out…I start to crave it.

So no, resolutions don’t work for me. Goals….hmmm, there are so many goals I would like to set and I went through a stage of trying to learn how to set goals but I find it incredibly difficult to make a goal only for my circumstances to change and the goal disappears (my personal development journey that didn’t work too well for me…) and so we get down to plans and intentions.

Plans I can do!! I love lists. I love spreadsheets. So plans I can do. I find it a thrill to make plans to do something. It’s like Dr John Demartini says “find someone’s highest values and they will be more likely to succeed”.

quote# “Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising, which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.’’  Ralph Waldo Emerson – Poet and Essayist

So what are my plans and intentions for 2017?

  1. To walk more – dead easy…I love walking. I would walk for miles every day if I could.
  2. To travel more – I love travelling. The thrill of going somewhere new. Visiting a new place for me is like discovering a closed door….open the door and all manner of delights await.
  3. I intend to spend more quality time with my daughter. Again this is just so easy!! I will be moving to new accommodation at the end of January, so we will be able to plan to get together 🙂
  4. To start saving for my daughter’s 2018 June wedding – I intend to work a few extra days each month to achieve this.
  5. To visit at least 2 islands I haven’t been to yet.
  6. To visit at least 4 new cities in England – I can ask the agency to send me to different locations and while I’m there I can explore the area.
  7. To visit my brother and his family in Budapest.
  8. To improve my photographs and learn more about what makes a great photo. I love taking photos…in fact I take way too many, but I enjoy keeping a record of where I was when and photographing everything I see 😉
  9. To explore healthier options in the food line. While I was working at my last job I discovered the joy of experimenting with recipes. This however could lead to a bit of a challenge…..if there’s more than 3 ingredients…I get bored. hahaha. Also many of my clients prefer plain simple English cooking….
  10. To read more books. To that end I’ve listed a few books on my Amazon wish list that I plan to buy.
  11.  To reduce my debt. This is still a very sore point with me. Thanks to the personal development journey in 2007/2008, and the said guru’s advice on OPM I am still struggling to pay off my debt. But I’ve reduced it from £50k in 2008 to just over £15k in 2017. eish. 10 years on. Anyway that issue still irks me so best to leave it alone. Suffice to say, I am slowly getting there…paying the credit cards off while still having a life.
  12. And the biggie for me this year…..to walk the Camino de Santiago. I had planned to walk the Portuguese route last year in September, but the UK Customs & Excise taxes on my SA shipment put paid to that. New Year = New Intention!!
  13. To see more sunrises or sunsets…depending on where I am in the world. “The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” Eden Phillpots
  14. To blog more often……hence this blog 😉
  15. To walk the Worcestershire Way.
  16. To book to watch the 2018 London fireworks….they are amazing.

    plans, goals, intentions and resolutions

    Happy New Year 2017 – London

Where and when to start? Needless to say the easiest plan to start with is the walking. It is my intention to walk the Camino this year. To do that I must at least have achieved a certain level of fitness to make the walk pleasant….I do not want blisters and sore feet!

So with that in mind, and despite it being a perfectly vile day; wet and cold and windy….typical New Year’s Day weather in the UK, I set off on the first of my intentions; to walk more.  Bundled up in my winter woollies and raincoat I set off along the coast and walked to just past Dumpton Gap and back – 1 hour; 5.1 kms; 7282 steps; yes!!!

goals, plans, intentions and resolutions

New Year’s Day – Camino practice walk

Happy New Year folks…..I’d love to hear what your Plans, Goals, Intentions and Resolutions might be….



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On the cusp of my Naturalisation as a British Citizen I have stopped to take stock of the places I have been in my life as a Carer since 2007.

IMG-20160213-WA0014 IMG-20160213-WA0015

The places have been as varied as the clients. I have travelled far and wide in the UK; the places shown here do not include the many many other countries, cities, towns and places where I have been on holiday, since I arrived in 2001.

One of the benefits of my job as I’ve mentioned before is that I get to travel around the country…not just in England but Scotland and occasionally Wales too. Since 2007 I’ve travelled east, south, north and west of the UK with the current agency.

z cities

Cities I have worked in

In that time I’ve pretty much been to nearly every county in England (21 at last count), and 3 in Scotland and over the border, then out again, but never yet worked in Wales. I’ve yet to work in Northern Ireland although I have been on holiday. I haven’t included in my list the countries/counties/places I’ve been to on holiday that would just be too long…..but those listed below are all the places I have been since 2007. I’ve created a video out of some of the photos I’ve captured in the last 8 years+, albeit not all the places I’ve been to; I’ve worked for almost 300 clients, so that would be a tad too much!!

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London! I always jump at the chance to work in my favourite city

At my current assignment I’m working in East Sussex, not for the first time, but in a new place. I was chatting to my client just yesterday while we were sharing travel stories (she’s also quite well travelled), and just for fun I had a look at the map of Britain and listed all the counties I had either worked in, or travelled to during the course of my job…..i.e. some clients enjoys driving so we get to travel far and wide. Needless to say I do the driving 😉

z seaside towns  2

seaside towns I have been to and worked in

I’ve worked on farms and been to villages so small that they don’t even have a Post Office never mind a traffic light or stop street, where the evening traffic jam is sheep going home! I’ve worked in numerous towns, and quite a few cities…namely London of course…I always jump at the chance to work in London although I’m not sure why since my breaks are so short I seldom get time to do much exploring…but still it’s a constant thrill to me to wake up in the city that never sleeps. (most areas I’ve worked in London were with the first agency I worked for).

z farms

farms I have worked on…as a Carer 😉

So, heading round the country, these are the counties I have worked in and travelled to:
Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Devon, Cornwall, Dorset, Hampshire Oxfordshire, Surrey, West Sussex, East Sussex, Kent and Greater London
Inverness-shire, Fife and Ross-shire and Cromartyshire

z scotland

working in Scotland

On studying the map, I have noticed that there are still quite a few counties to go, particularly in the Midlands…I’m guessing I need to ask for more assignments up that way!! Perhaps I’ll see you there 😉

z seaside towns 1

seaside towns I have worked in or visited while working

One of the most advantageous aspects of this job of mine is that I go to places I would probably never have considered, simply because they’re not on the ‘Visit England’ tourist trail so to speak. However, these places invariably have a fascinating history and if you visit the one thing you will find in every hamlet, village, town or city…..the church!


deceassed the 12 of May 1570 – Grinstead

Reading the epitaphs and headstones, you gain a fascinating insight to the history of the area. I’ve even been into a church where there are marks on the entrance where knights of yore used to sharpen their swords!!! Mind-blowing. You will learn the often times extraordinary history of the area…sometimes stretching back as far as pre-Norman times.

z castles

castles I have seen on my travels

It is my goal to buy a motor-home within the next few years…by my 65th birthday in fact, and I plan to travel the width and breadth, and length of this country…visiting outlying islands, historic cathedrals, ancient villages, quirky pubs and the furtherest points of the island; north, south, east and west.motor home
Initially I had planned on buying a campervan…those cute little symbols of the 60’s, but since I will be spending a lot of time travelling and living in the motor, I prefer something I can actually stand up in…so the search is on.
caravan Once I find what I am looking for, I shall be off. I plan to travel and work, work and travel. Mostly in the spring, summer and autumn months and in winter I shall head to Europe. What a plan!!!  🙂 Why not come along with me and see all the wonderful things I shall see.
If you have any suggestions of quirky traditions or places you think I should add to my list, then please leave a comment and I’ll add them to my itinerary.

As mentioned earlier I have been to almost 300 different places in the UK. Since that would be way too many to upload, I’ve made a short video of some of the lovely villages and places I have been.

Have a fab day.

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Friday 6.30pm finally arrived after 5 long days of waiting! Skipping out the office door I headed to the station, loving the classical music that greets me there every night (the music is apparently a ‘yob’ deterrent!).  The train was not as full as usual so I managed to get a seat and someone had kindly left their Evening Standard behind for me to read.  Reading the papers on my daily journey has become an enjoyable pastime and I am learning more about politics, the Olympics, the shenanigans of our City officials, what’s on in London and from the Metro I am increasing my stock of ‘very interesting things I read in the papers’ ….one day when I die, they are going to come into my house and have to search me out amongst the paper cut-outs! 🙂 It’s a real compulsion and has become a bit of an addiction.  I have always been an ‘accummulator’ and all through my life I have collected all sorts of things…wish I had been as diligent about collecting money…but I digress.

Back to the weekend; once home we, my girl and I had a yummy meal, watched a bit of telly and worked like demons on our respective businesses.   Late to bed again at about 1am.

Saturday it was up early and not too bright and headed off to Russell Square for the Immerse Event – #StepAhead where my daughter was to be one of the speakers.  I was so excited, to attend one of her trainings and looking forward to hearing from the other speakers too.  I met some fab people at the event and thoroughly enjoyed the day’s talks.    I especially enjoyed hearing from Elliot Kay, the Coach with the Hat; a real live wire speaker.  My daughter was a delight and I have to say that I am so exceptionally proud of her achievements and how much she has developed as a speaker of note; a resounding applause followed her talk.  We headed to the bar after and had a wonderfully funny and interesting conversation that ranged back and forth across a wide range of subjects.

Heading for home we relaxed over tea and more chat.  I had planned on doing a self-guided Dickens tour on Sunday so did a bit of research to prepare me for the walk.  We were also waiting with bated breath for news from South Africa to say my sister had delivered her baby.  Finally after a very long labour, she had a fine and lovely bouncing boy; Luca.

my little nephew...Luca. 🙂 how gorgeous he is!

What a lovely day I woke to…..sunny, blue skies. Just what I had ordered for my walkabout….except I didn’t get that far as it turned out!!! I had promised to help my daughter with some transcribing, video to word!! Urgh! Not fun.  It took hours and thankfully had a useful outcome in that I have now realised that I no longer want to be a transcriber.  It was so very tedious. But finally after about 2 hours of typing we decided to down tools and head to the river for a walk.  The day was so incredibly beautiful and we enjoyed a bracing stroll to Richmond Lock, along the Thames Path towards Kew and back again.  CJ has a new camera lens and I got papped!!! repeatedly 🙂 🙂 She is so funny and I eventually gave up and posed and smiled and did my duty as a photographic subject! hahaha.

Actually her photos are amazing and she could be a professional photographer I am sure. Tea and cake followed when we got home and then back to the drawing board. I am now seriously into pinterest and had to chuckle when I read a blog about how addictive pinterest has become and that in the near future there will be ‘Pinterest Anonymous’!! I’ll probably be it’s first customer.  I am loving it and especially love all the fabulous travel photos of some of the most amazing places.  A great weekend, albeit way too short.  Plus I didnt get to do my walk afterall…..instead I now look forward to doing it next weekend. 🙂

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So there’s a new kid on the block….pinterest!  I joined 5 days ago and already I am addicted! 🙂 What I love about it most of all is that unlike twitter or facebook where if you want to see a photo you have to follow a link…with pinterest when you log on all your ‘friends’ photos appear on the from page….a smorgasbord of exotic travel destinations, recipes, cute animals, funky interior design, fashions, yummy food dishes, flowers and much much more.  You can scroll through all these marvellous photographic exhibits and like or comment on a favourite or repin the photo to one of your own boards.  The variety of boards is amazing and the amount of creativity that abounds in the world of photography is amazing.  I am loving it…..not sure when I’ll get to blog again…but if you dont see me here….you can find me on pinterest 🙂 http://pinterest.com/3daysinlondon/

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Super Moon

I nicked this off facebook tonight. I love stats (being an Credit Controller in my previous life, why wouldn’t I?) whee, look at the figures.  I love that I get to see things like this.  Living history.  One day I will be able to tell my grandchildren about the Super Moon and show them the photos.

updated: 19:25 my photo of the moon rising in London

Super Moon over London March 19 2011 at 19:10 GMT

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a vintage model.....1955 VW Campervan

Ok, so a couple of days ago I posted a blog and therein made mention that currently I am working at my ‘day job’ not my ‘dream job’.  So what is my dream job?  This has been incredibly difficult to pin down….until I came to live in the UK…..

When I was just 17 years old (lordy but that does seem like such a long time ago)….I wanted to be a Nursery School Teacher (I loved little children and babies…still do)…. but my Mother said NO! you go get an office job, you will earn more money! (and what Mother said…you did).  So I did, and she was right.   But was I happy….NO!   I hated working in an office, but as the years went by and I progressed from being a typist who could not type… (the guy gave me a job coz I burst into tears in his office and told him my Mother had said I should not come home till I had a job, and it was 4pm by then)…. to being a Credit Manager; managing a staff contingent of 10 for a group of 5 Companies…. this took the best part of 30 years by the way.  In between there were many positions, not just a few companies, and a whole lot of crappy bosses 😦

However, along the way I learned to enjoy working in an office and to love what I did….phoning people and asking for money.  Just a shame it wasn’t for myself 🙂

Anyways, when I arrived in the UK, which was by default; I came on holiday and never went back (well only briefly to get my Ancestral visa) and I have never looked back…..quite literally – no looking in the rear-view mirror.  So when I first arrived in the UK, what was the job I applied for…..?  Why of course…. I applied to be a Nanny :).     However as fate would have it…. I did not have current experience DUH! and I did not have an NVQ in child management… double DUH!!  So that idea was scotched and went out the window, and anyhow by all accounts being a Nanny in the UK is akin to being one up from a slave.    Not to be deterred I continued to look for a ‘job’ and again by default managed to find a position as a Care Assistant for the Elderly….which I initially hated and then without warning I found that I actually enjoyed it and so I have and have been for the last 8.5 years (except for a 1 year stint in an offfice which nearly drove me to the brink of a nervous breakdown!).

So here I am….. working as a Carer…..but is this my dream job? Nope!   

Since living in the UK I have developed a passion for travelling.  This came as quite a surprise to me since I had never really thought about actually travelling around the world.  Sure I had the odd dream about going to the Maldives (not got there yet) or visiting Venice (been there 🙂 ), going to Paris (been there 🙂 ) and New York (been there 🙂 ).  But besides the odd daydream it was certainly never something I seriously considered I would actually get to do.

Till now!  So UNIVERSE, here is what my DREAM JOB would be…… to travel first around the UK (coz it is so fantastically gorgeous) then round Europe and then the US of A, and then if I am still alive and able to….spread my wings further afield. (ooh that has a double meaning!) LOL.   I would however like to spend at least 4 months a year in London!

So here is my message to the Universe….hello!!!! : My ‘DREAM JOB’  is to travel around the world in VW Campervan that has ‘NotJustaGranny’ with the funky logo emblazoned on the sides…. taking photos of everywhere I go, blogging about the places I am visiting and tweeting! and getting PAID to do it!  I would quite enjoy writing a book too…if that’s ok with you.

So dear Universe, if perchance you are actually listening, as the Guru’s in the Personal Development world maintain that you do…. Hello!!!!

Oh, and just a little p.s. The Guru’s say that when you ‘state’ what it is you want, you have to be specific; so just that there is no confusion about this…..

the VW Campervan should be a 1955 model (nothing but vintage is good enough for me)… you know what I mean 😉

It should be yellow with white trimmings (yellow is my favourite colour)

It should have 2 beds at least….1 for me (of course, and one for my daughter to join me from time to time, or for a friend to come along occassionally…and also for when my grandchildren arrive…have to have enough space for them to travel with me)

It should be fully re-furbished and reliable; preferrably with modern accessories and equipment…like an up-to-date engine. 1955 is all very well but it is a bit long in the tooth!

It should be modified to be eco-friendly….no fumes please.

I would appreciate it if there is enough space for my laptop and camera equipment (oh and I would need sockets for the chargers).

Don’t worry too much about wardrobe space….I don’t have much clothing… LOL

and it would be awesome if it had a lift-up roof-top for air circulation

oh, and a tent attachment would be brilliant for when I am stopped alongside a lake somewhere in the UK or Europe or the US of A, so that I can sit outside and enjoy the scenery and the night stars while I sip a sherry (or two).

If you need any further specifications….contact me via this blog and I will be happy to give you more details.

and just a final p.s.s. (sorry to be so picky, but…) when I talk about being paid to do this…I am happy to earn the money….. but please note that I would require at least £5,000 per month. For travel expenses and so on. ta

by the way….this is a 1955 model (the one on the right) please be sure to send a yellow one 🙂

1955 VW Campervan

and just in case you are wondering….. I put the picture twice so that you are clear on what it is I am looking for!

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Hi James,

I just read your website bio, wanted to reply and had more to say than twitter allows!    So, just to say that I loved your story and what a fabulous adventure you are on.  I am quite envious; my dream is to travel the UK and the world in a VW campervan.  Shame you had such a bad experience with the movie industry…yeah, Hollywood – I can so imagine exactly what you’re talking about, it’s all so commerical.   But brilliant that you have turned your knowledge and skills to something that you are evidently passionate about.

I also watched the Griff Rhys-Jones programme you mentioned and quite agree; the UK is splendid.   I love this country with a passion and esp love London (I blog on http://www.3daysinlondon.info)    Originally from South Africa, I visited the UK in 2001 and never went back home, now very settled here.

I will be exploring your site more thoroughly once I have finished my current project and look forward to seeing the photos and to reading more about your journey across Australia.   I have also developed a real enjoyment of photography in recent years; how could I not – with all the fabulous places I have visited since living in the UK.

I am now following you on twitter via @notjustagranny. Have a great day

Regards, Cindy

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