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Clifford's Tower

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    • Day131

      An interlude in York

      December 7, 2021 in England ⋅ 🌬 5 °C

      This morning was cold and rather bleak…I went in the bus with Amr to the pool where he swims in Wavertree, and we planned to walk back which we did yesterday and then have coffee at Childwall where Omnia lives. Well it was very cold and windy and rainy when we started to walk so we relented and caught a bus back - a bit of a defeat, but there is a limit to discomfort!!

      We also were going to get a bus to the station for the train to York at about 3pm. But Omnia, who is still not 100%, but getting a bit better, offered to drive us to Lime Street and we accepted…we were very early for our train and were able to catch the earlier one which arrived at just after 4pm. The train was the Transalpine Express, not all that express, but it did go over the Pennines and the scenery was just beautiful. During the 2 hour journey we saw such varied weather - from grey and cloudy, sun peeping through, a rainbow and pouring rain just before we arrived at York. By 4 o’clock it is almost dark, the sun sets now at 3.45…so weird as you feel it is much later than it is. But miraculously it wasn’t actually raining when we arrived, and we walked the 9 minutes walk from the station to the hotel in relative comfort!!

      Checked in and relaxed, had our complimentary drink 🍷 while we watched Pointless on TV in the bar! A good wind down. Then we rugged up and ventured out to have a first look at this town. We are just outside the walls and the old city, perfectly placed. We look forward to seeing it all properly in daylight, but it looks wonderful and with Christmas lights and decorations. Ended up having a fab dinner at an Indian restaurant near the hotel. Indian food in the UK is SO good. And it was quite a cheffy place, just delicious.

      Funny thing is that here in the north it is often quite difficult to understand what people are saying…I catch snatches of conversations and while I know they are speaking English, can’t work out what they are saying… just can make out the odd word, not the whole sentence. I even thought some were German tourists, till Amr said no…! Funny.

      Anyway, now off to bed, and a proper discovery of York tomorrow. We are all set for our departure on Monday. We have gone through the ordeal of filling in the Oz government form for returning to Australia…requires much concentration and info…but they are done and submitted successfully!!
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      Traveler

      Enjoy York - a beautiful city

      12/7/21Reply
      Traveler

      Glorious Christmas Lights.

      12/9/21Reply
      Traveler

      How beautiful! Glad the return forms are all sorted

      12/9/21Reply
       
    • Day132

      A day in York

      December 8, 2021 in England ⋅ ⛅ 3 °C

      An excellent day, despite adverse weather - this is December in northern England - so not complaining! We started well..just cold and cloudy, and we found a great serious coffee shop that makes Amr standard coffee…and wonderful bagels. After that, we walked along the walls, which are intact in several sections, and had a lovely view of the city as we walked. By the end it was a bit drizzly, but we had reached an end of the wall where we crossed the river - the Ouse - but it must be a different Ouse from the little trickle of the Ouse that had seen everywhere in Olney, as the map showed it did not go near there, and this was a wide strong flowing river! And having crossed the river it led straight to the York Minster. We spent a long and wonderful time exploring this amazing building, now beautifully restored and immaculate looking. It has wonderful medieval stained glass and structures, with Roman ruins underneath as there is also a strong Roman history here.

      When we emerged finally from the Minster it was properly raining, not just drizzling. We persevered for a while but retreated into a cafe and had coffee/chocolate and an almond croissant, then went on through the small quaint and picturesque streets, the Shambles, markets. The rain eased, though it still felt really cold. We had a final coffee at Amr’s favourite coffee place and retreated to the hotel, having booked movie tickets for 5 pm, cinema just opposite the hotel, and by 5 it is dark, cold and wet and too early for dinner! So a good compromise. But the movie C’mon C’mon which Amr said was highly recommended (with Joachin Phoenix) I found terribly self indulgent and didn’t think was great at all…but they had very comfortable chairs and it was warm, so not complaining! (Have to mention that Amr did like the movie..)

      Then at 7.30 went to an Italian restaurant just nearby which looked (and was) good, and had a lovely dinner. Now back and cosy and warm!
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      Traveler

      That is a stunning little town isn’t it?!!

      12/9/21Reply
      Traveler

      What a great spread.

      12/9/21Reply
      Traveler

      Wonderful light filled space.

      12/9/21Reply
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    • Day28

      York

      August 7 in England ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

      Goedemorgen York!

      Vandaag vertrekken Tabea en Naila helaas al weer :(
      Voordat zij vertrekken brengen we samen nog de ochtend door.
      We drinken thee, halen ontbijt de supermarkt en eten dit op in een parkje.
      Hier kletsen we de rest van de ochtend tot 12:00.
      Ik neem afscheid van de meiden (wat zijn het een schatten) en ga vervolgens de rest van de dag alleen verder.

      Ik wandel naar een koffieshop om hier koffie te drinken en een scone te eten.
      Dat moet je toch minstens een keer doen wanneer je in Engeland bent?
      Dit was heerlijk.
      Hier neem ik een brownie to-go mee. Een meisje uit het hostel had deze gister uitgedeeld, en dit was de lekkerste brownie ooit!

      Naast de koffieshop was er een marktje, hier heb ik onder het genot van mijn luisterboek rustig over gelopen.

      Vandaag is echt een chill dag, ik ga vervolgens namelijk op een bankje op een pleintje zitten.
      Hier wordt vervolgens een straatact uitgevoerd. (Nee ik heb geen geld gedoneerd haha)

      Vrijwel direct na de eerste straatact begint de volgende. En drie keer raden, dit was exact de zelfde act!
      Wat blijkt, er waren drie verschillende mannen roterend de zelfde act op het plein aan het uitvoeren.
      Dan gaat de magie er toch al wel snel af.

      Vervolgens loop ik de rest van de dag door de stad heen. Ik bezoek kleine winkeltjes en bewonder de architectuur.

      Onderweg kom ik een parkje tegen. Hier stonden verschillende ruïnes.
      Aan het eind van het parkje kom ik uit bij het water, hier was opnieuw een marktje, erg leuk om tussen de spulletjes te snuffelen.

      Om 17:00 vertrek ik terug naar het hostel.
      Hier doe ik voordat ik ga koken wat saaie bezigheden als de was.

      Tijdens het eten ontmoet ik Nathalie (uit Duitsland) en Anthon (uit Australië) en klets hier de rest van de avond mee.
      De gemeenschappelijke ruimte sluit om 10:00 en we besluiten het dan ook voor gezien te houden.

      Aangekomen op de kamer kleed ik mij om en wil ik naar het toilet gaan. Alleen is deze bezet. Dat wordt dus wachten.
      Na 45 minuten is de badkamer nog bezet, en komt er geen gehoor uit de badkamer.
      Samen met twee kamergenoten kloppen we meermaals op de deur en roepen met de vraag of alles oké is.
      Na 20 minuten komen we er achter dat de deur klem zat en iemand het licht aan had laten staan. Dit vonden we uiterst hilarisch.

      Op de kamer klets ik wat met kamer genoten, totdat het licht met veel kabaal uit gaat.
      Een van onze kamergenoten heeft de lampenbol er uit gedraaid en houdt deze opstandig vast. Hierbij schreeuwt hij “Ik wil gewoon slapen!! Jullie krijgen deze lamp nooit meer terug en ik neem hem mee naar huis!!!”

      Twee avonden eerder had deze meneer (30+) de lampenbol los gedraaid, maar in de lamp laten zitten. Hierbij had ik hem verteld dat dit gevaarlijk is aangezien deze er uit valt en gevraagd of hij in het vervolg de lichtknop wilt gebruiken.

      Na een hoop kabaal kregen wij de lamp terug en gingen wij allemaal slapen.

      Later op de avond moest ik hoesten. Ik pakte mijn waterfles uit de la en ging weer liggen. De jonge man boven mij was weer erg aan het zuchten en zei “stop moving” (hij lag boven mij).
      Vervolgens draaide ik me om, en drie keer raden; ik kreeg een verlengsnoer tegen mijn hoofd een gegooid! Bizar.

      Ik trok hard aan zijn arm welke over de bed rand heen lag en ben vervolgens vredig gaan slapen.

      Morgen staat Lake District op het progamma!
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      Traveler

      The farewell was really very bad

      8/9/22Reply
      Traveler

      Yes!😔🫶🏼 Like a farewell from the movies

      8/9/22Reply
      Traveler

      ziet er lekker uit

      8/9/22Reply
      5 more comments
       
    • Day16

      The Day of Rest

      September 11 in England ⋅ 🌧 16 °C

      Waking up this morning took some time. We did not rush it. In fact, today we did not rush anything.

      Having an extra day in York that wasn't on the original itinerary was absolutely liberating. There was no pressure to "do Yorkminster," or "do Jorvik" or "do the Shambles." We could just live.

      Moving from a hotel to our Walmgate AirBnB felt like really moving up in the world. The slick white lines and wide open spaces of the AirBnB with its view of a duck-patrolled canal were nothing like the mouldy peach storage box of the Pavilion Hotel. In fact, once we had undergone the tribulations of getting keys and navigating the car park, we realised that we had hit the jackpot with this AirBnB. It is so central, so large, so well appointed in a way that Vauxhall was not.

      We went for morning coffee and anything-but-a-Bap in the old part of town. Then came back home for a shower and a nap. We were unconscious for quite some time.

      When the evening came, we rushed to Waitrose for some achingly perfect comestibles, then we walked back down into the old part of town for some tapas and beer. I had an Estrella which I learned from the waitress is pronounced "estreya" and that sounds exactly to me like "austraya." Dinner was arancini balls, pomegranate salad, and squid. We toasted to Betty Edser on the anniversary of her death (this is the new meaning of 9/11 for us now) and strolled home.

      Tonight we watched the first episode of Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power because our AirBnB has all the streaming services available to guests. It was hard to watch because our building is directly facing the student accommodation's windows and I felt like Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window, hurty leg and all. (That makes Stuart Grace Kelly, not Barbara Bel Geddes) When a shirtless guy closed his blinds I was determined to pay attention to the TV, and I'm glad I did because Lord of the Rings is the best looking TV fantasy I've ever seen. And I already loved Morfydd Clark after seeing "Love and Friendship," "The Personal History of David Copperfield" and "Saint Joan," but I'll be damned if she didn't equal Cate Blanchett for superb narration and unmatched pronunciation of the Tolkienian language.

      I caught up on some writing while I supped on Fentiman's Rose Lemonade and some white chocolate morsels I bought at Hotel Chocolat in Nottingham. Life is peaceful. And York is being very nice to me indeed.
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      Traveler

      A beautiful day, so restorative.

      Traveler

      Me too!

      Traveler

      Stunning

       
    • Day15

      Retreat to York

      September 10 in England ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

      After my Nottingham full-on freak out (which had its bright spots, for example, I saw a red squirrel), we retreated north to York, 2 hours away with a quick stop at Woodall Services for the world's most disappointing Breakfast Bap (even the name promises underwhelm). If someone tells you they ordered the Bap, just leave them in peace, don't ask for details.

      It was clear even such a short distance from Nottingham that we had suddenly crossed the accent meridian. The dolorous Billie-Eilish-of-the-North who assembled Stuart's Bap was absolutely indecipherable. I wondered if my Babel Fish were broken but realised that indecipherability was merely a prerequisite for teenage girls working in takeaway all around the world. I certainly can't understand Jenny from Henny Penny back home.

      We were so tired by the time we reached York. Stu was tired from worry, and I was tired from walking off my panic episode, and all we wanted to do was rest. But the girl at the York Pavilion would not let us into our room early. Her eyes were large and brown and pretty like a Disney mammal, so we did not use The Assertiveness Skills. We decided instead to go for a light stroll and look at the big churchy thing on the horizon in the old part of town.

      The first place we went to was the Walmgate Bar, and were immediately seduced up onto the Roman Wall. Stuart had remembered his Alice Roberts and told me that it wasn't actually Roman. I walked behind him and furtively checked Wikipedia. I learned that Stuart was right, so I did the only thing a husband can do: I informed him of a fact he had just taught me as if I was the keeper of the knowledge all along. Husband goals achieved.

      We went for coffee at the Gatehouse Cafe, a precipitous medieval themed stack of rooms and incorporated into the stone. The place was quiet. A girl with a Rosamund Pike accent was reading "Where the Crawdads Sing" quietly. I doodled beneath a tudor window and enjoyed a Gingerbread Latte. It was too perfect to handle. I already can't wait to go back.

      A walk through The Shambles of York was mindblowing. In terms of crowd density, yes, it was a theme park. In terms of retail opportunities, yes, it was Covent Garden. But the architecture and structure of the place was invincible; and the fact that the place was so activated actually brought me closer to that numinous sense of ancestry: people have been having fun and shopping here for centuries. This is continuity, not defacement. The authenticity of it caught me off guard. How can I be anti-capitalist when there's so much great stuff to buy?

      Dinner at The Lighthorse (Italian food served by a handsome chef) and a takeaway beer from Tesco Express while watching a biographical documentary of Queen Elizabeth ended the night.

      We slept like discarded dolls.
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    • Day26

      Cat Statues of York

      June 18 in England ⋅ ☁️ 52 °F

      Since the late 1890s-1900s cat statues have been put up on rooftops, eaves, doorways, and windowsills. The tradition may have started to scare rats, but no one knows for sure. In York, cats are considered lucky. There are over 20 of them, and I was lucky enough to spot a few, although I had a map of where to look.

      Then in the evening, we went to an Evensong at York Minster. The singing was beautiful. Usually the singers are all male, but in this one there were 2 young ladies.

      Here are some pictures around York Minster. I couldn't take any photos inside.
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    • Day27

      York

      August 6 in England ⋅ ☁️ 20 °C

      Goedemorgen York!

      Voor vandaag heb ik veel ste veel foto’s.

      Om 08:00 gaat de wekker! Ik heb met Jennifer afgesproken om 08:30 te vertrekken uit het hostel om zo veel mogelijk uit onze dag te halen.

      We beginnen de dag met de van Gogh experience. De wandeling hier heen duurt 30 minuten. Tijdens deze wandeling krijgen we een mooi voorproefje van wat het prachtige York te bieden heeft.

      De van Gogh experience is een “dia voorstelling” met werken van van Gogh.
      Hierbij krijgen we op een indrukwekkende manier werken van hem te zien.
      (Naast mij was een vrouw aan het huilen, denk dat dit genoeg zegt?)
      De experience duurde iets meer dan een uur.

      Vervolgens gaan we naar de ghost merchants shop! Een winkel waar ze spoken verkopen! Hoe exiting?!
      Toen Jennifer en ik bij de winkel aankwamen zagen we de verwachtte rij. Deze was zoals verwacht erg lang.
      In deze rij spotte wij twee kamer genootjes, Tabea en Naila (uit Duitsland). Ze vertelden day ze al ongeveer 40 minuten in de rij stonden te wachten.
      Jennifer besloot geen zin te hebben om te wachten dus maakte haar eigen plan, en ik sloot mij stiekem bij Naila en Tabea aan.

      In het hostel had ik nog niet zo veel met de meiden gepraat, maar in de rij leerde ik hen wat beter kennen. Ik kwam er achter dat het hele leuke meiden zijn! We kletste voor ongeveer 1 uur. Toen konden we eindelijk de winkel in!

      De winkel was erg klein, maar prachtig gemeubileerd en gedecoreerd. Onder andere door middel van de interactieve touch welke ze aan de winkel hebben gegeven was het het wachten absoluut waard!

      Na de ghost shop sturen wij Jennifer een berichtje. Zij is naar de minster gegaan.
      We besluiten om wat door het stadje te lopen en wachten vervolgens op Jennifer in een parkje.

      Inmiddels is het lunch tijd! We lunchen bij de Mac Donalds.
      Na de lunch nemen we tijdelijk even afscheid van Tabea en Naila. Zij gaan namelijk het de van Gogh experience
      In deze tijd gaan ik en Jenifer samen de stad in naar wat kleding winkels. (Aangezien ik thuis meer dan genoeg kleding heb, heb ik helaas niets gekocht)

      Vervolgens meeten we weer met Naila en Tabea! Altijd weer een fijn weerzien ;)

      Jennifer wilt graag naar het kasteel, en hier gaan we dan ook naartoe.
      Een plek wat een grootte teleurstelling is als je het mij vraagt! Haha
      We gaan dan ook weer vrij snel verder.

      We lopen over de stadsmuur weer terug naar het hostel, waar we onderweg boodschappen doen.

      Samen met Tabea en Naila kook eet ik vanavond! Op het menu; pasta carbonara.

      De rest van de avond doen we rustig aan. We kletsen samen en we raken niet uitgepraat.
      Op onze kamer drinken we stiekem wat “water” uit onze waterflessen

      Om 00:00 houden we het voor gezien en ga ik slapen.
      Vandaag was een geslaagde dag!
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      Traveler

      That was really one of the most beautiful days 🫶🏻☺️

      8/9/22Reply
      Traveler

      💓🦗

      8/9/22Reply
       
    • Day17

      The Grand Old Town of York

      September 12 in England ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

      We came to York a day earlier than expected. The trip up was uneventful apart from a gastronomic disaster at a Services stop, where I ordered for breakfast, a bacon, pork sausage and egg bap. Never having eaten a bap before, not knowing what a bap was, I plunged into the delights of 'try something new' only to discover that cardboard would have tasted better than this bap and the only thing it didn't come with was a cardiologist. Never again. No more baps for this boy. I'm bapped out.

      Our apartment would not be available for a day, so Chris booked us into a quaint old hotel, the Pavilion, nice enough, but you had to walk through the bar to get to your room. Not ideal, especally on Saturday night. We then walked down into the old city of York.

      I am sorry, but I have to use this phrase yet again. "What can I say?" The city, which was founded by the Romans in 71 CE, has a medieval wall around it, still surviving, with a few special gates leading in and out dotted along its perimeter. One of them, Walmgate, the area where we are staying, has a cafe in it with multiple rooms and battlements on which to plonk your tired self down and enjoy a coffee and maybe a pastry. Which is exactly what we did. So nice.

      We walked through Coppergate, a series of streets that are narrow, ramshackle and have tiny boutique stores on both sides. There was 14th century architecture and Tudor architecture everywhere. They did not believe in straight lines in those days (not really), but most of these have bent and wobbled and curved and twisted over the centuries to present as they do today; a an architectural delight to the eyes. That night, we went to a local pub, The Lighthorsemen, for a an Italian meal, made and served by a very suave chef, whose wait person was away that night.

      On the following day, we moved into our apartment on the canal, which has green mossy weed growing on it, ducks and geese and swans swimming in it, and minnows and larger fish swimming in it. The canals are part of the two rivers here, the confluence of the Ouse and the Foss. That night, we ate out at a tapas bar called trio on Whip-Ma Whip-Ma gate. It was the 5th anniversary of Mum's passing, so we raised a glass and toasted Mum's love, wit and steadfastness in our lives.

      Today again, we walked through Coppergate and this time, into the Shambles, an even smaller street, rightfully famous, for there is nothing I have seen like it. It's tiny from side to side with medieval and 18th century shops up to the street, no straight lines, and the whle thing looking like Diagon Alley from Harry Potter. In fact, some shops traded on this cinematic reference, with a potion shop, and a shop called the Imaginarium at which I bought a tapestry wall-hanging of a cat.

      Today too, we had pre-purchased tickets to the Jorvik Viking Museum. Jorvik was what York was called after the Vikings conquered it around the 900s. The Museum was an absolute delight. Lining up with others for our 10,20am timeslot, we did not realise that we would walk over some glassed panels covering a did and then sit in viking ship shaped gondolas to be taken through an animatronic version of the town of Jorvik. As you well know, animatronics can be done very badly, but this was not one of those occasions. It was absolutely brilliant; from the men, women and children, to the pigs and hens, to the priest delivering the last rites (yes, the Vikings converted to Christianity here), to the various artisans and tradesfolk plying their trades and wares. It was lots of fun and truly remarkable. The commentary in our gondola was well-researched and first class.

      Finally today, we had our last sightseeing experience in York. We went to Yorkminster, the most marvellous and impressive cathedral I have ever seen. Yorkminster is a monster. It is a 13th century cathedral, originally Catholic but now Anglican, the seat of the Archbishop of York, who is we understand, is the 3rd in the Anglican hierarchy after the monarch and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

      The outside of Yorkminster is a true wonder of architecture. Light coloured stone, flying buttresses right along it and its doors, OMG, its doors are soemthing to behold. The transepts are almost as massive as the nave itself. Due to the death of the Queen, the interior of the Cathedral was closed for tourism, but you were still allowed in if you wanted to go in to to pray, or light a candle or for reflection. I had not come all the way rom Australia to York only to miss the interior of Yorkminster. I simply stepped up and told the girl I was going in for reflection.

      I did not stay long, but walked along the back of the church and looked down its huge central aisle as far as the choir screen, and down each of the outside aisles, almost as wide as the central itself. The ceiling is a wonder to behold. Light airy, so high. A glorious sight. Of course, due to the solemnity of the occasion, I did not take any photographs inside. I am so glad I got to see this gothic masterpiece. I will never forget it.

      Once outside, come midday, the Yorkminster bell started to chime. It chimed every 30 seconds or so for a full hour. It was a deep sonorous bell that felt mournful and, Republican though I may be, I found it deeply moving.

      A rest back at our digs, and then an Italian meal in Fossgate, we have returned on our final evening in York, greatly enriched to have visited such a place as this. We will relax tonight and watch the second episode of Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power which we started last night. Tomorrow, we head for a side tour to Durham on way to Newcastle upon Tyne. York, we will never forget you.
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    • Day17

      On the tourist trail in York

      September 12 in England ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

      Today we were unabashed tourists. We went to a gift shop for morning coffee; thence to the Jorvik Viking Centre for a theme park ride through an animatronic recreation of tenth century Coppergate; then to the Shambles to buy fresh fudge; then to Yorkminister (aka York Cathedral) to visit Emperor Constantine and to hear the bells tolling for the passing of Elizabeth II. After that, beer and chips in Harkers and a spot of gift shopping.

      I think we could've dressed a little more touristy: maybe puffy jackets with koalas printed on them, and matching caps. There's still time.

      York is just irresistible. I could stay here a lot longer. I'm definitely feeling more myself after being nuts in Nottingham. And Stuart has a readier smile.

      We've already passed the accent meridian some time around Milton Keynes, so I don't think I'll have trouble understanding people in Newcastle or Edinburgh. I mean, it's still the English language, right? It can't be harder to understand than Australian English... can it?
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    • Day20

      National Railway Museum, York

      June 12 in England ⋅ ☁️ 61 °F

      We arrived at our second house sit on Saturday, 6/11 to get acquainted. We don't actually start until Monday, when Sue leaves for her holiday, so we were free to explore today. We went to the National Railway Museum in York.

      The Railway Museum opened in 1975, in a huge space that was Engine Shed No. 4 at the train station. It was bombed during WWII air raids, but has been restored and used since then. The turntable and working area are surrounded by beautifully restored engines and railroad cars of all types, telling the history of British railways.

      On display is Robert Stephenson's steam engine, Rocket, built in 1830. Its top speed was 30 mph, but paved the way for very rapid development. Stephenson is known for the engineering paradigm shift in the design of steam boilers, and to honor him, he is buried in Westminster Abbey.

      There was also a Bullet, the only one outside of Japan.
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      What a nice museum. Great looking engines. The streamlining of the engines must have made it a nightmare to maintain them. [Del & Nancy]

      6/14/22Reply
       

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