Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The full eight hours

If ever there was a time to be appreciative of the benefits of a good night's sleep, it would be today - because I haven't had one.

Do you know the feeling?  Groggy.  Tired but not sleepy. I actually feel a little sick - and it's all because I didn't get enough shuteye.  

This year I've been trying to give more attention to quality sleep. I'm naturally a night owl and would happily stay up half the night and deal with a little groggyness in the morning if I could read a few more chapters of my book or enjoy another episode of Game of Thrones.  But after reading a few articles about how much we need our sleep and what happens to us when we don't get it (there is a good one here), I've been trying to focus on shutting down Facebook, creating a good sleep environment, and going to bed just a little earlier to build up a proper bank of sleep.  

And the results have been amazing.  After the first week or so I found that I was waking more refreshed in the morning and that my body clock seemed to just work better.  I slept when I was tired and I woke when I'd had enough sleep.  My brain felt clearer, it was easier to juggle different tasks and thoughts at the one time.  I was able to focus better. And I started dreaming the way I hadn't done since I was a child. Who knew that snuggling under the doona and doing nothing but sleep could be so great?

I don't really know why I couldn't sleep last night but I think it was just that my brain didn't shut down for the night.  I was lying in bed yawning and my body was tired but my brain was jumping around like an energiser bunny.  I tried all the usual tricks: glass of milk and some almonds, turning on the light and reading, remaking the bed, brushing my hair and changing PJs, relaxation exercises, watching TV, but the hours ticked by and sleep just didn't come.  I'd feel myself sliding towards it sometimes and then just before I'd tip over the beautiful precipice into slumber, I'd think of something I had to do or jerk awake after hearing some sound.  So frustrating!

Luckily a night or two of decent sleep will redress the balance and I'll be back on track. But feeling like I do today really reminds me of how much I need to continue focusing on getting enough sleep.  

What are your tips for getting a good nights rest?

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Jacaranda blue

Or is it Jacaranda purple? 

Whatever it is, it's Jacaranda season in Brisbane!

I love Jacaranda time.  Trees burst out into a froth of purple blooms that sway and move in the breeze like a couture gown . 

Each blossom ranges from lilac to deep purple and as they float down from the tree, they coat the ground in a soft purple carpet.

During the season I love to drive the streets, drinking in splashes of Jacaranda goodness. They are beautiful en mass when they gently line a street or path and they are stunning when they stand alone against the sky, their boughs dripping in purple beauty. 

I also love the elusiveness of these delightful trees in that they are soooo difficult to photograph.  It's hard to capture the feeling that a glimpse of a tree in bloom can give. 

They demand admiration, but they are really quite camera shy.  Each year I try again to capture an image that shows them in their true beauty. Maybe one day I'll manage it, but until then I'll keep trying and I'll always admire them.


Thursday, 6 November 2014

Give me Asian chicken any day

You can learn a lot about people by sitting in a crowded food court in the city.

Today I took a bus into the Mall to run a few errands and soak up the atmosphere. I spent an hour browsing around Dymocks (I really miss big bookstores) and then crossed the street to the Myer Centre for lunch. 

As I rode up the escalator to the food court I was met with a cacophony of noise and movement and the aromas of a hundred meals. I stood for a minute savouring the mass of choice and then headed straight for the Asian section. Sure, a salad is healthy, chips are delicious and a sandwich is filling - but for my money, I will always choose Asian.

I ordered my soy steamed chicken with Asian greens on rice, got a stash of chilli oil, some chopsticks and a bottle of water and settled myself on a high bench seat, looking out into the food court. 

After the first few hungry bites I slowed down and started to watch the people around me while I savoured the flavours. Office workers dashed through lunches while talking on their phones, a tourist wandered past, holding a video camera aloft [Item - why would anyone want to see a holiday video of a food court?] Families looked for tables to rest their feet while the kids chowed down on chips.

A girl sat down across from me on the bench. She had a plain roast meat sandwich - brown bread, no salad - and a can of Fanta. I was amazed at the blandness of her choice. With a world of different food options around you, how could that be your decision?  
I dribbled some more chilli oil on my lunch, forked up some more fragrent chicken and tried to tell myself that everyone was different and that different was good.

"Excus me," said a voice. We both looked up to see an Asian man standing next to us with his wife and mother-in-law in tow.

"Iz there a McDonalds or Hungry Jacks sozewhere close?" he said.

I told him that I had just passed a McDonalds at the bottom of the escalator. He asked if I knew where the Hungry Jacks was and I said I didn't know. He thanked me degectedly and they walked away. The girl and I looked at each other in amazement and she said what I was thinking: with all this choice, how could you possibly want that?!
Diversity makes the world go round....

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

My own Charlotte's Web

A few weeks ago I was taking a shower and I turned around and looked up in the corner of the room and saw a spider looking down on me. 

It wasn't very big, but I'm not keen on spiders so I planned to go and get the flyspray as soon as I got out of the shower.  But I forgot all about it.

The next day I took another shower (I'm good like that) and out came the spider to sit on the wall to look down on me.  Again, I planned to get rid of it and again I forgot.

This went on for several days.  Occasionally while cleaning my teeth or brushing my hair, I would remember the spider and look up in the corner - but I never saw any sight of it. I don't know where it was hiding and I never saw it unless I was actually in the shower.

Eventually there came a day when I realised why the spider was hiding and why it came out every time I had a shower.  She'd laid a nest of eggs. And they'd hatched into dozens of tiny little speck-sized baby spiders.

"Well now it's really time to get rid of them!" I thought. 

But something held me back.

Each day when I showered, the mother spider would climb out on the web over her babies, looking down on them (and me) and making sure that everything was ok.  She was never aggressive and she never came anywhere near me.  The baby spiders would sprawl out across the window sill, no doubt picking up tiny drops of water and mist from the shower and maybe having their own little baths.  It was kind of endearing and I couldn't make up my mind to take any action on them while they were so small.

In true Charlotte's Web fashion, the mother spider died yesterday, still protectively hanging over her web. 

I think I'll wait for the babies to grow a little bit bigger and then I'll find a way to get them safely out into the garden.  It's the least I can do for her.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Sunday breakfast

One of the great pleasures of Sunday mornings is taking your brekkie back to bed to enjoy a few hours of unfettered laziness.

While bacon and eggs are always delicious, it puts a bit too much work into what is meant to be a lazy day, so for my money you can't go past some delicious avocado on toast.

I make my avo and toast a little special with grainy, crunchy toast and then a generous slathering of creamy avocado.  Drench the whole thing with a big squeeze of lime juice (a lovely change from lemon), a good grind of pepper and a sprinkling of chilli salt. I love the sharp taste of the lime and the heat of the chilli to offset the smooth avocado. I get my chilli salt from Gewurzhaus in Melbourne (they deliver). No MSG or nasties and the chilli is spicy but not too burny.

Top it off with a giant mug of coffee and a good book and you have the perfect start to a happy day.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Bad blogging, a new look and moving on

Ok, I'm a bad blogger.  If you knew how often I think, 'oh I should put that on the blog', you'd probably be surprised. But lately those thoughts have been followed by - 'noooo - I can't do anything till I post about Ireland!' And with one thing and another, it just seemed to be too big a mountain to pass over. 

So I'm not going to. If you are on Facebook you'll have cobbled together snatches of my trip around the beautiful Emerald Isle from my occasional posts.  And if you weren't - well here's the short version: A patchwork of green, lovely people and beautiful sights everywhere.  The food was nice, but having just come from France, nothing could really compete.  Highlights were the Aran Islands, Galway, Sneem, Dingle, and a day spent in Dublin with a dear friend. It's beautiful, visit it one day.

Gosh, that feels so much better! Now onwards and upwards to other things. 

Have you noticed how beautiful my blog is looking now?  If you are looking at it through a reader, jump across to the web version and admire it. I engaged the very talented Rita from the CoffeeShop Designs to do some much needed tweaking and design and I'm so happy with the outcome. I've followed Rita's CoffeShop Blog for years (and if you are into photography and design you should be a fan as well) and it was a great partnership. I love the way the web brings everyone together. We live on different continents and different time zones, but it was a super easy process and now my little blog really looks like a blog! Perhaps I should actually feed it some posts and make it even happier :-)

This year has really been one of change and evolution for me.  But for all the stress and angst that has come from pulling life up by the roots and transplanting it into something new, there has been a strange exhilaration that has come with the process.  I don't know quite where my life is headed at the moment, but it's moving on - not standing still and that is a really good thing. Maybe once things have settled a little more I'll write something about it. So thank you dear readers for sticking around (if you are still out there) and let's see where this wind takes us.  Right now it's sending wafts of the prawn bisque that is simmering on the stove to me so I'm going to have some dinner. Hope you are having a lovely night. xxx

Every doorway leads somewhere.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014


It's been a long time since posts - sorry about that!
Internet access in Ireland was complete rubbish intermittent at best. I think there was only one hotel where it worked consistently and everywhere else was either down for maintenance or just not connecting.  Ironically there was excellent mobile Wi-Fi on our coach, but I get highly sick if I do anything but look out a window on a bus so it was just too difficult to do more than a quick Facebook update.  I got sick on the way home and then spent a few weeks completely laid up by illness so I'll be playing catch-up for a bit. Bare with me!

I arrived in Belfast at 10.30pm into a cool, drizzly haze. After more than 16 hours travel including a car, two high speed trains, the metro, tube, regional train, a severely delayed flight that had no air-conditioning till we actually took off and a taxi - all through a European heat wave - I was so grateful to crawl into a shower to wash away several layers of grime and flop into bed.

Saturday morning was grey and threatened rain, but it held off while I walked into town and caught one of the open top bus tours that circle the city.  The whole tour took more than two hours and I went past the Titanic experience, through the Catholic and Protestent areas, past the Peace walls, the Cathederal quarter, parliament buildings and a number of other areas.  A guide talked us through 'the troubles' and it was interesting to hear about a piece of history I have only ever seen on the news.  

As the tour ended it started to rain and became steadily heavier over the rest of the afternoon so I spent the rest of the day walking around the city centre, dipping in and out of the shops and attractions and soaking up the scenery (and quite a bit of rain). The shops were busy, but not crowded and it was a nice way to spend some time.

On Sunday I had a lazy day and slept in and then dawlded until late checkout.  My next hotel was only about 20mins walk away so I set off down the road with my suitcase.  Along the way I found an open laundrette so I stopped and washed everything in my bag so I could start the tour with fresh clothes.  After five weeks of the same things, I expected to be sick of my clothes, but its amazing how you turn off your mind to silly things like choice of shirts to wear when there are so many other interesting things to focus on.  This is possibly a good thing to remember the next time I browse my way through a dress shop! 

I found an Italian restaurant and had lunch and a coffee and by the time I arrived at the hotel, people on the tour had started to arrive and we had a chat and a coffee before the welcome meeting.  There are 11 people on the tour (not including our guide) and they are all women so the poor guy is going to be kept on his toes I suspect!

Monday was the first day of the tour proper and we started it with a guided tour of the peace wall.  Our tour guides picked us up in cabs and drove us to the wall, talking about "the troubles" and some of the more salubrious events in Belfast's recent history.

It was disturbing and enthralling and shocking all at once.  But while I walked through housing estates and high streets in both the Catholic and Protestant area, I was torn in my feelings about it all.  I don't want to diminish the decades of destruction and death that this internal war has wrought.  And there's no doubt that it will leave its stain on the populace for generations to come as people seek to move beyond the labels they have given one another.

But I got the distinct feeling that much of the commentary was being played up for us tourists and I didn't like the feeling.  I struggled with it for much of the tour, trying to find a way through feelings that wanted to be respectful to the city's history and issues that are relevant to residents - but also true to what I was seeing and hearing.  Not one conversation I had with anyone in Belfast - or anywhere else in Ireland - tied in with the picture that was painted on that tour.  But then people also didn't talk about Belfast's long and glorious history where it was once one of the richest cities in Europe either so there's that to consider. 

I'll leave the bigger issues for those more equipped than I to grapple with and leave you with a few photos from around Belfast. But I will say that everyone I met was friendly and welcoming and ready for a chat - Irish 'craic' is certainly alive and well!

My first glimpse of Northern Island homes from my hotel's window.

The Peace Wall - taken from a moving bus - hence the blur.

That's a lot of beer barrels for a tiny pub!

Protest wall.   The images are updated every few months depending on current issues.

There are images like this all over Belfast to depict various scenes in its history.

First glimpse of the Irish countryside. A patchwork of green!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

A day in Provence

Visiting the south of France in mid July hadn't ever really been part of my plan.  I'm much more a cool weather kind of girl rather than a seeker of mid-30's baking heat.  But as this was the only time I could travel, I decided to take advantage of the fact that the lavender would be in full bloom and do some photo trekking through the Provence region and see if I could capture some of the mythical purple hues on camera.

Provence is a pretty big region and in order to find lavender fields, I was going to have to travel a bit.  I first tried to join a camera tour that was going through the region but they were full. Then I considered doing a day tour - but I risked being taken to lots of places that I didn't want to see and not having enough time at the ones I did. I dithered for awhile on hiring a private guide, but then manned up and booked a car.  How hard could it be?  

The day after Bastille day I headed back to Avignon and picked up a car at the train station.  I've never driven in a foreign country and never driven on the other side of the road, so I was pretty nervous. I paid for extra insurance and a GPS, took a deep breath and hit the road.  

The first 15 mins were pretty scary.  Driving on the other side of the road was fine, but a strange car, different distances to judge, never having used a GPS, traffic, and unfamiliar territory all had to be negotiated.  Luckily it was only about half an hour to my hotel in a distant suburb of Avignon. I was a long way from the walled city, but in hindsite this was a good thing as it didn't have parking problems and it gave me space to practice.  

The next day I slept late and had a leisurly breakfast on the terrace to avoid the morning traffic and took a deep breath, programmed the GPS and set off into the hills.  First stop was Gourds.  I've been to this little town before so I had a sense of where I was as I drove the narrow winding roads.  The French have very lax ideas when it comes to driving speed and keeping to your side of the road. I kept to the speed limit and everyone just overtook me casually around hairpin turns when the mood took them.  The web page I read about driving in France talked about fines for talking on your mobile phone, but I don't think anyone here has read that page because EVERYONE was chatting away with a phone in one hand and a cigarette in the other as they drove at high speed.  Crazy!

My next stop was the Abbay Notre-Dame de Senanque.  The abbey has been in operation since the 1100's and has a small lavender farm around the buildings.  It's postcard pretty with creamy stone buildings, grey stone walls and millions of hazy purpose blossoms that scent the air deliciously.  Warm fresh lavendar is the best smell in the world and I sat among the long lines of purple with the cicadas chirping and bees that were flying from flower to flower and soaked it all in.  I couldn't stop smiling.

I decided to try for another village and set off for Fontane de Vaucluse.  Luckily the GPS gave me pretty good directions and I was more accustomed to the road.  I stopped by the side of the road a few times to photograph cypress trees in long lines and interesting vistas - this is why I got the car!

Halfway to Vaucluse I got hungry so I stopped in a little town called Dieder for luch at a roadside cafe.  The woman serving had no English and my French is poor so I pointed at an item on the salad menu and got a delicious chickpea salad drenched in tangy dressing and olive oil, served with a sardine pate on toasted baguette - yum! And the perfet meal for a hot day (it was mid 30's by this time).  A quick Noisette to end the meal and I was good to go again.

The sun blazed down as I drove along country roads.  There wasn't much traffic thankfully and the classical music on the radio was the perfect accompaniment to the day.  I arrived in Vaucluse and found a cafe where I could get an ice cream by the river and sat and cooled down until I was ready to wander the town.  I visited there last year so I didn't walk up to the waterhole, but wandered amongst the trees, enjoying the shade and the sound of rushing water.

The were still hours of daylight and I didn't want to head back to Avignon too early so I set off into the alps to see if I could find more lavender. An hour later, I came around a bend and found a field of sunflowers!  I pulled off the road immedietly, ignorning the GPS instructions to 'do a u-turn'. I wasn't missing this!

The field stretched along the road and up a slope to a house. I didn't like to step onto someone else's land so I couldn't get to the front of the flowers, but I still got some nice pics of the blaze of yellow and I was happy.  I set off again and was rewarded by a few small lavender farms with scenic backgrops.

Another hour later, I still had another 30kms to my destination and I was starting to droop so I gave up and headed back to Avignon.  I reset the GPS and turned around, hoping the return journey would be a little quicker.  It was - one turn of the wheel and I was suddenly on a tollway!  Woops - not part of the plan.  

Luckily I had read about them so I knew that I had to pick up a ticket on the way in and pay on the way out.  I followed the highway for half an hour and then got off, luckily having enough cash to mean I didn't have to use my credit card (I've read that sometimes foreign cards can be a bit tricky).  I kept off the tollways for the rest of the trip and crawled back to my hotel at 9.45pm.  It was a big day, but I'm so glad I did it - another fear faced and conquered and some nice photos to boot!

Bastille Day

The French Revolution started over breakfast.

Well actually I don't know if that's true. but if any of the revolutionaries had been in the breakfast room of our hotel this morning and seen what we saw, I suspect that it would have.

Some of us arranged to meet at 8am for breakfast so we could see off the people who were leaving before we went out to join celebrations for France's national day.  I arrived in the breakfast room at 8.05am to watch a busload of Eastern European tourists literally tearing the place apart to get breakfast.  People were taking handfulls of breadrolls and croissants at a time and filling their pockets.  Within minutes the entire breakfast bar was picked clean and there was nothing. No. food. left.

We sat down and waited and a girl bought out another basket of bread.  Same deal.  

I got some coffee and we waited again and thankfully found that most of the maurding hoards had eaten their fill, packed their picnic basket for the rest of the week and left.  We felt as though we should apologise on behalf of tourists everywhere for such a spectacle.  

Farewells to Maria and Laura - how ever will we do without you!  Suz and I went to do some laundry and then joined Carly on the walk down to the beach to see what was happening for Bastille Day.  

At first there didn't seem to be anything going on at all so we sat on the beach for an hour or two and soaked up the warm sun, cool breeze, blue, blue ocean and pebbly seats.  When our butts were numb, we walked along the esplanade until we found a  nice cafe for lunch.  It was owned by an expressive Italian who wandered between the tables greeting friends, singing and pronouncing his love for the female sex.  I shared a bowl of mussells and then had grilled salmon and veggies with a very welcome cold beer. At the end of the meal we were approached by the man who had been sitting at the next table, and American from Miami who had apparently been enjoying our conversation.  He was a big, gruff guy who was covered in tattoos and he looked like he'd be at home at a meavy metal gig but he informed us that he was in town to compete in a choral competition.  I do love the people you meet on holidays!

We wandered further down the esplanade, stopping for ice cream and again for coffee before settling in a bar with a bottle of chablis.  At 6pm we walked back to the esplanade to watch the parade of police, soldiers, sailors and other military types.  It wasn't the most exciting parade ever held, but we enjoyed it and the lady standing next to me enjoyed our enthusasism.  When we told her we were 'Australiee' (Australian), she got quite excited and clasped my hand and smiled.

After the parade, we went back to the bar and happened to order the most perfect bottle of rose ever. It was so nice, we had to order another one to check that the first one wasn't a fluke - it wasn't.  We had pizza to soak up the wine and were about to order our third bottle when the waiter said that it was time for the fireworks and that we had to leave now to see them.  We were a little reluctant but he insisted, telling us he would have more wine ready for us when we returned.

He was so right!  The fireworks were amongst the most beautiful I have ever seen.  Set off on boats out in the ocean, the display lit up the night sky with a million twinkling lights.  The soundtrack was beautiful and the gasps and cries of the audience made a fabulous accompaniment.  It was the perfect end to a fabulous day.  

At 11pm we returned to the bar where our bottle of rose was produced.  The streets were pumping and everyone was out enjoying their holiday.  Music played, people danced and chatted and we enjoyed our wine and soaked it all in. It was well after midnight before we finally set off back to the hotel.  

If you ever get the chance to spend Bastille Day in France, I can recommend Nice as the place to do it - just don't go out too early!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014


It's festival time in Avignon.

That means that everywhere you walk you will be approached by a woman in angel wings or a man in drag, or a trio of showgirls or jazz playing quartet - all entreating you to take one of their flyers and come to their evening show.  

In the afternoon things kick up a notch as they close off the Main Street of the walled city and the performers come out in force.  On every corner or spare bit of space you'll find classical guitarists, jazz bands, jugglers, pianists, trumpeters, vaudville performers, schoolgirl choirs.  Its as exciting as it is bewildering.  

Our hotel is across the Rhone river and away from the madness, but close enough to see the giant ferris wheel on the opposite bank and head into town whever we like.  It was quite warm when we arrived, but the Mistral was blowing so strongly that you didn't notice the heat and instead concentrated on keeping your possessions strapped securely and your hair out of your eyes.

We walked into town to get some lunch and took our picnic to a little park to eat in a sheltered corner.  Our picnics have become a favourite group activity.  We head out together to the supermarket and trawl the aisles looking for delicious treats.  People call out as they consider purchases: "shall we get cherries or blueberries?"  "Do you want brie or some of that washed rind?"  "OMG I just found Lindt rasberry ganash - it will go perfectly with a red, can someone pick up a bottle of pinot?"  Lunch isn't a quick snack on the run, its an epic event where everyone sits around companionably, passing cheese and baguettes and pouring bottles of wine.  Between us, we have a packet of serviettes, multipack of wine glasses, a bottle opener and knife for cheese and salami.

Next we walked down to the river to walk out onto the famous Avignon bridge.  I wrote about it on my last visit last year so I won't go into it now except to say that it was WINDY! I was very glad to be wearing trousers.  

Then we climbed up one of the towers to the gardens above. These were closed due to rain last year so I was glad to see them.  The wind was even stronger on the outer edges of the park, but reasonably sheltered once you got in among the trees. We wandered around for a bit and then made our way down the other side of the hill to the Pope's Palace where the group seperated to do our own thing.  Some of us went into the Pope's Palace (see last year's notes) before finding a cafe for a coffee and a sit down.  Then we wandered the streets and watched the street performers till it was time for dinner.  

We ate at a little sidestreet cafe and enjoyed creamy pasta with truffles.  The food was very simple, but absolutely amazing and it was the best truffle pasta I've ever had.  Finished up with Creme Brulle, and a jug of wine and we were all very happy and tired.

Avignon is a charming city and its great to be back. 

It was a bit windy!

Come to my show!


Nice and Monaco

Welcome to the Cote d'Azur.  We've arrived in Nice which is one of the citiies that circle the southern coast next to the Mediterrian. 

The beaches along the coastline are so different to those back home.  There is very little shoreline and most are made up of rocks and pebbles.  The waves don't really crash, but lap and splat against the shore.  People bring yoga mats and beach shoes so they can sit comfortably and although the sun is very hot, it doesn't have the intense bite of southern sun.  

We bid a sad farewell to Avignon this morning and hopped on a train to travel down to the coast.  The wind had dropped off and the temperature picked up - it's definitely summer now!  We arrived just before lunchtime and walked down the Main Street in search of food; ending up at a kebab shop.  

Florian had very kindly offered to share his afternoon off with us so instead of exploring Nice, we headed back to the station to jump on a train to Monaco.  I'd considered staying an extra day in Nice to go there but had decided against it so I was super excited for the chance to see this tiny principality that is so well known.  

The train only took about 20 mins to arrive and we set off into town to explore.  You need to be seriously wealthy to be able to live in Monaco proper and even the basic homes and flats are worth millions.  The streets were filled with every kind of luxury car you can imagine and everything was very cool and quiet - and very clean.  No cigarette butts in the street, no lurking cats, no flyers advertiing festival entertainment.  We walked down the hill and out into the square where the casino is located and stopped to look.  A selection of the best cars in the world were parked out the front. A selection of the most expensive stores in the world were grouped around the outside and the whole thing reeked of  privilege and wealth. We didn't actually see any of the said wealthy or privileged - they must have been inside spending their inheritance.  Everyone outside seemed to be a tourist who was looking for someone famous.

We walked down to the harbour and caught a boat to the other side and then walked around the cliffs to see the palace.  Then we caught a series of lifts to the top to look out on the view of the harbour.  It really is a spectacular city!

The group enjoyed our farewell dinner that night at a restaurant down at the harbour in Nice.  It's been a terrific tour and everyone has got along so well that we were very sad to say godbye.  We lingered as long as we could over dinner and then found a cafe for post dinner drinks where we watched Germany win the World Cup and people celebrating or commiserating in an exuberant and noisy fashion.  We wanted to stay as long as we could before we had to say goodbye but exhausion was taking hold and eventually the group broke up and we headed back to the hotel and bed.

 Casino in Monaco.

Monaco harbour.

 Nice beaches.

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