Lletty's Blog

Croeso! Welcome to Lletty Cottage a lovely five star holiday cottage for two in Carmarthenshire. www.llettycottage.co.uk

February 9 Walk Around Dinefwr and Coffee at The Works Vintage Cafe Llandeilo February 9, 2018

Woke up this morning  and looked out  the window over our garden  towards the   snow clad Carmarthenshire Fans  and saw  and heard the  …  wind, rain, sleet and noisy hail. After  a phone call from a walking pal  we were undecided whether to attempt our Walking Well walk around Dinefwr Park as everywhere looked bleak. My pal lives a few miles up the hill  from us where it’s  colder and  in her garden there was lying snow and potentially more to come. With black clouds overhead and dressed in full waterproofs I decided to have a go and see what it was like at Dinefwr Park and whether Philip’s remarkable run of ‘good’ walking weather would hold true today!

Honestly, how does he do it? Cold and damp it may have been but the sun came out, the blue sky appeared   and off we went! DSC05979

We all set off  from the carpark at a steady pace getting warmer by the second. It was noticeable as we went though the woodland area how may trees had recently been uprooted.

After climbing up a number of steps  it was lovely to see a mat  of snowdrops ( not enough to call it a carpet) flowering amongst the curled autumn leaves. Even some daffodils  were peeping through too.   Taking a photo of anything interesting is always handy and a great excuse to catch one’s breath!

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As we emerged from the woodland we saw Newton House in the distance. We followed the pathway over the fields towards the castle and kept up our steady walking speed. I think we were all loving the walk, the views and the company but were mindful of the fact that all that horrid weather wasn’t far away!

DSC05997DSC05987DSC05999DSC06002We overtook a group of nordic walkers…to be fair…they were standing still and doing their pre-walk warm ups. We decided that although it is good to have a warm up before any exercise to get joints and muscles moving, doing warm ups  as well as a walk  might just  be too much exercise for us!

Hope these tree roots are strong and hold these wonderful trees in place for many more years

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Stopping to take photos of Newton House, Paxton’s Tower on the hill  and the deer meant that I fell behind the group so I had a bit of a jog to add to my exercise to catch up with the others!

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Carefully avoiding a tractor carrying a load of turnips I caught up with everyone just in time to see the White Cattle being fed in their winter quarters.

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You could  hear them nomnomming  away and  see them enjoying their treat with their head and horns buried in their hay.

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The kites and buzzards were also enjoying the sunny spell and were heard calling in the blue sky above.  The black spot is a kite not a fly on my lens!
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Following the potholed muddy track …well it wouldn’t be a proper walk without some mud… we  made our way back  to ours cars. A  3 mile walk …well nearly…in dry conditions…don’t know how you do it Philip but thank you again. DSC06026DSC06027DSC06031DSC06032The Vintage Cafe, next  to the garden centre in Llandeilo was todays choice for our  after walk refreshments. The coffee and cake were all delicious  and the icing on the cake was enjoying seeing all the beautiful  plants that are  for sale in The Works Garden Centre.

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January 26 Botanic Garden of Wales Walk…Again! January 26, 2018

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One can never have too many visits to the Botanic Garden of Wales,  especially in January, when entrance is free during the week!  Weekend entry in January is only £4 and tomorrow 27th and Sunday 28th  there is an Antiques Fair to enjoy too!

Anyway back to my visit today with the Walking Well group led by Philip. Somehow or other he manages to arrange these walks when it is dry and sunny! The weather over the last week has seen our garden flooded!  Today, however,  with the sun shining brightly a large group assembled in the Botanic Garden carpark to begin a figure of eight walk around the parkland.

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The track led us around the perimeter of  the first lake with the Great Glasshouse,

The largest single-span great glasshouse in the world houses the largest collection of Mediterranean plants in the Northern Hemisphere

looking like something from Stars Wars ( I enjoyed The Last of the Jedi..last week!)  set  up high on the opposite bank.  Wonderful reflections of the trees in the water- good enough to paint!

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Brilliant coloured cornus bushes  shone in the sunshine and the aroma from the fountain of green Sarcococca confuse bushes filled the air…everyone stopped  to catch a closer sniff!

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Passing a desolate farmhouse we walked up quite a steep incline until we reached the top. Here  Philip explained there was a spring  hidden behind a locked door and a pump room.

It was well worth carrying on up the hill as looking back we had the most marvellous view over the beautiful Carmarthenshire countryside, including Paxton’s Tower.

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We walked along the ridge of the hill until we dropped down again  from the Parkland towards the Gardens.  We didn’t take a detour into the woods as we were uncertain what we’d find there!

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It wouldn’t be one of Philip’s walks if it didn’t entail some mud walking and some nature spotting. There’s an excellent exhibition on at the present in the Gardens by Julie Sheridan of the Last Gallery, Llangadog . Her  series of paintings depict the symbiotic nature and pattern of lichen.  She may have been able to identify some of our findings!

 

The Ghost Forest was our next stop!

‘This display of tropical tree roots is one of the most significant environmental art installations to come to Wales

The Ghost Forest has come from the tropical rainforests of Ghana .The oldest tree root is 300 years old, the heaviest weighs 19 tonnes

They’re the inspiration of UK based artist Angela Palmer. She was horrified to learn that a tropical forest the size of a rugby pitch is destroyed every four seconds. Just think how much is lost every minute, every hour………every year.
Apart from the huge loss of species, rainforest loss is contributing to climate change.

Angela Palmer made world ambassadors out of these tree roots. She chose Ghana as it now sustainably manages its rainforests. She brought the tree roots to Trafalgar Square, to the Earth Summit in Copenhagen, to Oxford University and now here, their final resting place.’

Lots of photos as they were amazing  especially against the blue, blue sky!

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Time for coffee and cake in the Glasshouse surrounded by exotic  and some recognisable lovely flowers.

 

Also to view were the antiques. The Rupert annual…one of my favourites  as a child… now classed as an antique!! Help!

The view going down the Broadwalk back to the carpark was  far different from last week when everywhere was coated with shiny icy crystals- this week shiny bright sunshine. I do love our changeable Carmarthenshire climate!!

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Thank you Philip for another happy, enjoyable walk.

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January 12th 2018 Hair Ice and Bubble Doughnuts on Walk around Botanic Garden of Wales January 13, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — lletty @ 4:34 pm

Today,  all the elements  pulled together to make our walk  a really happy, successful and exciting one!  A larger number than usual joined the group today- it must have been the sunshine- to enjoy a walk  around the Botanic Garden of Wales. Although the sun was out it was jolly cold as we set off up the Broadwalk  towards the Great Glasshouse .DSC05490It was rather icy and slippery underfoot but the fountain wasn’t frozen…wish it had been  as it would make a lovely photo!

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Following the footpath around the Glasshouse we entered the Fairy Wood. Sadly. it was too cold for any fairies to be around but they had left some of their belongings  behind.

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It’s exciting times in the Gardens as there is a huge restoration project taking place. A grant from the Lottery Fund has made it possible for work to begin on  restoring a Regency waterpark. There will be seven lakes, cascades, falls and weirs   recreating the Garden as it was in the 19th century.  Work  has already taken place  and large areas are revealed where the lakes will be.

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Many of the trees alongside the path were ominously marked with red paint!

 

What a surprise to see areas of white on some of the tree branches up ahead! I earned top Brownie marks for knowing what they were! Thanks to another blogger that I follow, who sees the same on his walks…it was hair ice! Not seen in these parts before!

 

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The path followed  by the side of the river and  led us through some muddy patches ( it wouldn’t be a walk with Philip if we didn’t get a bit muddy!). We    saw some   interesting steps leading down… to a sluice maybe!

 

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Taking a photo of a bridge from another bridge before we headed back up the other side of the river to the waterfall,

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At the waterfall we spied the next phenomena …the bubble doughnut!

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The waterfall with the doughnut  swirling at its base!DSC05542

After so much excitement for the day we headed back towards the Glasshouse. Paxton’s Tower in the distance on one hill and the Glasshouse on the opposite side.

 

Passing across the bridge over the established  lakes  the ‘new’ lakes that are being recreated  could be seen   on the other side.

 

 

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A visit to  the Gardens isn’t complete without a visit to the Butterfly House- Plas Pilipala.

 

So hot and steamy today it misted all the lens up!

On the way to get our sugar intake for the day  we  saw the birds of prey flying free- a wonderful sight!

 

 

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Drifts of white seen through the trees turned out to be beautiful snowdrops and not more hair ice!

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The mallards put on an excellent display of synchronised diving to end our walk.

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Back home  a quick look round the garden to photo a flock of long tailed tits on the feeder but Holly get there first! I’m sure she’s laughing!

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It’s great to see lots of colour returning to the borders now- spring is arriving…slowly but surely!

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How can one top an excellent day which had a wonderful walk, with lovely people,  many interesting finds…well..you have a double yolk in your egg  for your tea!

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December 30 Cwmdu Walk Talk and Eat December 30, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — lletty @ 1:19 pm
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A lovely walk,organised by Philip, through the back lanes of Cwmdu and ending with a superb Christmas lunch in the pub is a great way to prolong the Christmas celebrations.

We set off from outside the pub, where there was an amazing willow reindeer and through the village over the little bridge admiring some of the lovely houses along the way.

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As it’s Christmas I want to be kind to Philip and not mention the muddy lane and deep puddles…but there were a few! After the mud we headed up a farm  track into the very bright morning sunshine. Again one shouldn’t complain about the sun after the miserable weather we’ve had but boy was it bright?!

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It was worth the climb to see the views that were being lit up by the blue skies and sunshine.

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After another fairly long climb we ‘dived’ back down into the valley  through  very wet fields passing some very wet sheep!

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It’s amazing how a blue sky cheers everyone up. It might have been the thought of the delicious spread that awaited us at the pub that made  everyone speed up on their way back!

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Back at the cosy pub we settled down and enjoyed the tastiest  bowl of lamb cawl (veggie option too!) and  home baked  flavourful sour dough  and crusty bread rolls. No photos of the cawl I ate it all up before I remembered!

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The desserts were equally scrumptious:    blackcurrant and vanilla bakewell tart  topped with banana ice-cream..(Lewis is a star baker!)  and   fairy tale meringue (Biddy baker!)

To finish the gourmet lunch off Bundt cake was served- totally yummy!

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We all had a brilliant time and Pip, the dog enjoyed herself too, keeping warm in front of the fire!

Thank you all!

Christmas at home is colourful ! It has been shared with the family and cats, Rufus is not usually allowed on the table but he enjoys having his photo taken!

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As we have only just discovered the joys of visiting Cynghordy viaduct we returned on Boxing Day with the family for another look!

Pooh sticks was played off the bridge and stones thrown into the ford…all good games for a boy!

We continued our trip out to the Sugar Loaf,  one of the many hills given that name  in Wales! It’s a short drive from the viaduct.

A short hike up a steep slope and one reaches the summit! Better views when the rain isn’t approaching!

Heading for home the rain, sleet and cold arrived so it was  declared we’d had  a great Boxing Day outing.  Sitting in front of the kitchen fire eating more mince pies  brought our day to an end  and another family Christmas over.

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Best wishes and Happy New Year everyone!

Thank you for reading, liking  and commenting through 2017. Roll on 2018!

 

 

December 22 Walk to Cynghordy Viaduct December 22, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — lletty @ 6:04 pm

As the Winter Solstice has now been, come and gone and the evenings will now start getting lighter ( I know it’s  very early days but I’m an optimist at heart!)  an afternoon walk in the countryside to test the extra milli seconds of light available  was arranged! Just 15 minutes drive from home is the little village of Cynghordy. We had never visited  the place  before  in the car or on foot but we have passed over it many times! The Heart of Wales railway line runs from Swansea to Shrewsbury  crossing over the village via a Viaduct!

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We parked in front of the railway station and headed off down the lane.

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I follow a very interesting blogger who captures wonderful photos of his landscape  every day of the year. He also loves the tops of fence posts  with their huge variety of lichen and life! He’s started me looking now! 

Further along the windy road we passed a large manor house with a perimeter wall and a lovely secret gate!

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The road cut through the very middle of a farm. Very interesting machinery, lovely old barns, animal noises  and a huge pile of turnips   got my attention – so we moved swiftly on!

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We crossed a  bridge over a racing river and continued  along the road.

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At last, there in the distance we spied the viaduct!

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We quickened our pace   but stopped to admire a little farm nestling away in the trees.

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Rounding another corner  a further glimpse of the ….viaduct loomed through the mist and the woodland. (I hope I’m building  up the suspense for you!)

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Then…gasp…there it was in full view and a truly magnificent sight it was too!  Cwtched down underneath the arches is an old chapel  and graveyard- just amazing!

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Can you spot Jim at the bottom ?

 

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We walked under the arches and looked back towards the chapel from the other side.

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Heading back to the car we met a  flock of sheep  coming along the road!

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We had made full use of our extra daylight  and vow to return later next year when the trees are in leaf to  enjoy the sight of the viaduct once more.

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November 26 Christmas at Dinefwr and Pumsaint November 26, 2017

Another weekend  so  more expeditions to see Christmas Fayres! Every notice board  one sees there are adverts for fairs, fayres,  festivals, market  and galas  all with the obligatory free mulled wine and mince pie thrown in! Not sure why we have visited a couple this year maybe it’s something to do with the weather! Waking up to sunny, bright, dry, freezing cold days and going out to a venue decked out in Christmas jollifications with the offer of a hot toddy seems  to be  a good way to spend  a couple of hours.

First stop was Pumsaint, a village just 20 minutes drive away and home to a  lovely pub and wonderful  Coronation hall and just round the corner from Dolaucothi Gold mines.

A Christmas Craft Fair in aid of Breast Cancer Wales was being held in the hall which is a corrugated iron village hall dating from 1903 when it  was  built to commemorate the coronation  of Edward VII.

The railings and archway in front date from 1925 and were erected as a war memorial. They are  both  grade II listed.

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There were many lovely and interesting stalls to enjoy.  On the wall hung a splendid portrait of James Hills- Johnes who gained the Victoria Cross for gallantry in 1857.DSC04416

Also commemorative photo and medal of a local resident.

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After enjoying a tasty coffee and mince pie we set off on a circular walk through the Dolaucothi estate. As we hadn’t any ponies with us to tie up  we had no need for this rail.

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We kept our eyes open for red squirrels  which we were informed where in the woods but sadly didn’t see any.

We passed some very interested  and nosy customers on our path!

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Arriving back at the carpark just in time before the sun set over the hills.

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Another day dawned bright and beautiful and  a visit to Llandovery in the morning  where they were holding an amnesty  for rubbish! The powers that be have closed our fantastic Recycling Centre in Llangadog!! The council have decided to have these ‘amnesty’ mornings so electrical goods,  etc can be recycled  using all the dustbin lorries. There was a long line of these lorries, in the cattle market,  lined up ready to devour all the gubbins that everyone brought!

The afternoon was still cold and dry when we drove to Dinefwr for their Christmas Fayre. We are very fortunate to have the park, castle and house very near to home.

 

Newton House looked  very special with all the stalls inside the rooms.

The piano had been moved to make way for the exhibits  and we found it hidden  under the ornate staircase.

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The famous White Cattle of Dinefwr were not allowed entry into the house but this one didn’t want to miss the fun!

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Outside in the gathering dusk the deer could be seen and heard! Clashing of antlers filled the air.

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It was definitely time to go home  and we’d saved the best till last…mulled wine and mince pie to see us safely on the road!

 

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Today a rather cold, damp and dreary one  brightened up by my weekly visit to Aberglasney, where the plants in the Ninfarium were stars of colour.

Outside the gunneras are all wrapped up against the cold and snuggled warmly under their covering of leaves. DSC04543

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I wish I could include smelly vision  as the perfume from this tiny flower filled the woods..aah!

 

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Next weekend another Winter Fair  this time  at Aberglasney! I’m  helping in the Grotto with Santa…poor thing! I’ll still slip away from my duties though to have a wander around the gardens .

 

 

November 19 Christmas atPicton Castle Aberglasney and Home November 19, 2017

I know! I know! There are still five weeks to go before Christmas but I do so enjoy visiting a good Christmas Fair, especially when they are held in glorious castles and mansions! This weekend the first of the BIG fairs was held in Picton Castle. Now this is a wonderful place to visit at any time of year but Christmas it is truly special. Every room downstairs is beautifully decorated with a Christmas tree and garlands galore.

 

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The dining room table was laid out in preparation for dinner using beautiful Swansea pottery. Sadly we  had not received an invitation to dine!

The roaring fire in the fireplace had a wonderful marble surround and everyone sat on comfy sofas  enjoying the chamber orchestra playing sweet Christmas melodies. Also in the room was the much talked about Renoir painting which had been featured on ‘Fake or Fortune’ .

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Round every corner there were surprise decorations and displays.

Places to post your letters.

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Places to hide your secrets.
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Outside in the courtyard more melodies were being played by the Salvation Army brass band and very good they were too.

After a walk around the rest of the Victorian Fair  and visiting my cousin John Dooner,   who was exhibiting his wonderful art at the Fair, we decided to return home as it was pouring with rain! On the way out we said farewell to this European Owl (I think) who was at the exit.
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Today  dawned bright and dry with a stunning red sky at 7am. This heralded some low mist over the valley which meant a quick photo through the windscreen of the car when I went to collect the Sunday newspapers! I did stop the car to take the photos! Honest!

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Later in the day at Aberglasney the sun continued to shine and visitors arrived to enjoy a  Sunday roast dinner in the most beautiful of settings ever.

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Even the daffodils were lifting their heads to the sunshine!

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Back at home during the week we have had some very frosty mornings . All the annuals which have given of their best through the summer and filled the garden with colour and joy are now on top of the enormous compost heap! The sun has shone through some of the frost and rain and brought more pleasing sights around the garden. A garden gives pleasure whatever the weather to birds, animals and people alike.

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Frosty, bright mornings are a great way to start any day! Let’s hope we have some more!

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