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Archive for the ‘Views’ Category

Today’s guest picture, from my ex-colleague Ada, shows a passing traveller whom she ran into (but not over)  on the road.

frog

The forecast said that it would start to rain at 3pm today and it was absolutely spot on which made it lucky that I had managed to get my day organised on that basis.

I am still struggling to persuade my back muscles to relax on a full time basis so I went for a gentle 20 mile circuit of Canonbie on my bike after a leisurely breakfast.  I had time while I was getting mentally and spiritually prepared to pedal to walk round the garden admiring Mrs Tootlepedal’s packets of poppy seeds in action.

shirley poppies

Although she had to re-sow because of the poor weather and thus had to buy a second set of packets of seed, it still looks like good value for £15 (and quite a bit of gardening time) to me.

This was one of the few days when Dr Velo didn’t have a cure for feeling a bit old and tired so I let the wind and the hill discourage me for the first five miles but once I had first gravity and then the breeze helping me, I perked up a bit and got home safely.

I stopped three times, all on the first section of the ride, to take pictures.  The flowers on the rosebay willowherb beside the Wauchope road are going over but its red stems still give it a lot of colour.

rosebay willowherb

I stopped half way up the hill past the Bloch to admire the view….

Wauchope valley

…and the picture reflects the alternating sunshine and clouds that accompanied me on the rest of the trip.

I stopped again at the top of the hill when a mixture of heather and young trees in a replanted wood caught my eye.

heather and young trees

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal agreed that it might be worthwhile to take the car up on to the Langholm Moor to see if we could see birds or goats.

I had a shower and a light lunch and off we went.

We saw lots of birds but no goats.  I had my new lens with me and although the light was quite poor by this time, I made an effort to record a bird we saw hunting near the road.

hen harrier

It was too quick for my trembling hand and the autofocus

hen harrier

I did a bit better when it hovered.

We are not very knowledgeable bird watchers but we think this is a female hen harrier.

After watching the bird for some time, we  drove on up to the county boundary….

County boundary

…which is marked by a fence at this point, in the hope of seeing some goats but there were none to be seen so we turned for home.

We stopped here  and there on the way back for me to enjoy the views and Mrs Tootlepedal to watch raptors through binoculars.

I like the bubbling little burn that runs down the hill beside the road.

Langholm Moor burn

Even though it was a bit gloomy, I could see the Lake District mountains, which I had visited not so long ago, across the other side of the Solway plain.

Skiddaw

Nearer to hand, there was plenty of heather in bloom.

heather

And it is always a pleasure to up on the moor.

Whita

Especially when there is a nice bridge to be seen on the way.

Tarras Bridge

We stopped to look at gulls on the Kilngreen when we got back to the town…

black headed gull

…and got home shortly before the forecast rain started.

I had time for a quick garden wander.

rambler roses

The very last of the rambler roses on top of the arch

sweet pea

A sweet pea in the cage that is necessary to keep it safe from the sparrows when it is young

two cosmos

The only cosmos in flower yet

I tried to take a picture of one of the cornflowers among the poppies but I got distracted…

Heliophilus pendulas

…by a Heliophilus pendulus, one of the many hoverflies.  It really enjoyed the flower.

Heliophilus pendulus

For once I am fairly sure about the identification (so I am probably wrong).

It didn’t rain very hard and occasionally even gave up in a half hearted sort of way but the afternoon remained dark and gloomy enough to persuade us to find things to do indoors.

Sandy dropped in and kindly collected my entry form and fees to take down to the Canonbie Flower Show secretary.  He has been tiling in his new house and will be pleased when he has finished the job.

The flower of the day is a dahlia with its own internal illumination….

dahlia

…and the official flying bird of the day is one of the three black headed gulls that we saw on the Kilngreen.

black headed gull

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who was visiting the Derby Silk Mill when he found that it was an absolutely windless day.

Derby Silk Mill

It was a pretty good day here today too and after I had made a lamb stew for the slow cooker, I went out to see the poppies.

poppies

Not a drop of rain to be seen on them!  Mrs Tootlepedal has got a very good variety of specimens from her packet of mixed seeds.

The bees were exceedingly happy…

poppy with bees

…and were lining up to visit this well stocked larder.

poppy with bees

This poppy was just as beautiful but was less popular, having less to offer.

Poppy with insect

A late Fuchsia is waiting to deliver.

fuchsiaIt was difficult to walk round the garden without being buffeted by white butterflies.  They were everywhere.

white butterflies

As were sparrows.

sparrow

I went upsatirs to get my cycling gear on and when I looked out of the window, blackbirds were taking in the rays down below…

blackbirds

…in a rather anguished way.

I got on my bike fairly gingerly as I didn’t know how things would go but in spite of the odd twinge, I was able to pedal at a gentle pace without any great trouble.

John, the purveyor of all things useful from his corner shop, had suggested that I should look at an arboreal dog near Hagg-on-Esk so I did.

dog tree

I have cycled past this spot many times without seeing the poodle in the trees before.

I chose a very flat route (650 ft of elevation in 27 miles) so I was able to turn my legs over gently without putting any pressure on my back and thanks to a gentle wind, I managed a reasonable speed.

I didn’t want to get off and on the bike more than necessary but it was such a nice day that I stopped for a few photo ops.

Woodhouselees

I lied the sheep marching along below the ha-ha at Woodhouselees.

Penton road

The trees near Longtown definitely seem to be getting an autumn tinge

Monkey Puzzle

A monkey puzzle tree commands the view over the Knottyholm

Hollows Tower

The roof of Hollows Tower rising above the trees

I took another look at the ‘poodle tree’ on my way back.

prancing horse

More like a prancing horse with rider perhaps from this angle

I got home in time for a late lunch.  I looked at a poppy before I went in.

poppy with crocosmia

The crocosmia is trying its hardest join in.

I had made some more baps yesterday with the help of the breadmaker and they were just as good as the first lot.  I had one with lettuce and marmite for my meal.

After that, it was back out into the garden for an afternoon of useful, gently paced work.

I strimmed the clippings of the rambler rose which Attila the Gardener was attacking with her new secateurs, I mowed the green house grass, I sieved a couple of buckets of compost, I mowed the green house grass and I emptied the strimming receptacle into compost bin A twice.   In all, this was about half to three quarters of an hour’s work spread over three hours so it wasn’t quite the hard labour that it might seem.

Then I had a last walk round with a camera.

Michaelmas daisies

Michaelmas daisies arriving well before Michaelmas

The evening sun was catching the poppies…

poppies in the sun

…but it caught this one the best, I thought.

poppies in the sun

The lamb stew turned out very well after Mrs Tootlepedal had worked a little magic on some last minute flavouring.

The breadmaker makes dough for more baps than we can eat at one go so I had saved half the dough from yesterday and kept it in the fridge  over night.   I knocked it back and made another set today and we were pleasantly surprised at how well they turned out.  They went very well with the stew in place of potatoes.

Sadly, the very good weather of the day had clouded over by the time that I wrote this so our chance to watch the meteor shower had gone.  I did wake up at three o’clock last night when there was a clear sky but I couldn’t make myself get up and go out and just rolled over and went back to sleep.  I am sorry about that now.

Tomorrow, it says, it is going to rain all day so I am glad that I made good use of today.

No flying bird but I did catch a flying butterfly as it passed a nasturtium.

flying butterfly

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from a walk on The Edge in Derbyshire which my brother Andrew shared with his walking group….and some cows….and some very nice weather.

The Edge

Our weather improved today but it was still pretty damp in the morning. I didn’t go out to take a flower picture until nearly midday.

poppies

Oddly, many of the poppies were facing the wrong way and I had to go out into the road and look into the garden from over the hedge to see these two pairs.

poppies

Yellow crocosmia have just started to come out and they should blend with the poppies if we get some warmth.  The dahlias also need warmth but the nasturtiums are doing very well in the cool and damp.

crocosmia, nasturtium and dahlia

Along with the weather, my back was quite a lot better too and I was able to trim a box ball and prune the espalier apples…

box and apples

…which are cropping well this year.

After lunch I did a bit more work in the garden and admired a hosta and an indefatigable Icelandic poppy which will keep flowering as long as I keep dead heading it.

hosta and poppy

Mrs Tootlepedal spent as much as time in the garden as she could but I went in to give my back a rest and watched a bit of the World Athletic Championships.  I was joined by Mrs Tootlepedal when it started to rain but the rain didn’t last so I went off for a walk to see how my back would hold up.

It held up well as I pottered down to Skippers Bridge and back, a distance of two miles which took me exactly an hour.

It wasn’t sunny but at least I could see the hills today.

Whita

There was plenty more to see on the way.

fruit

Fruits

flowers

Flowers present and past

Garden escapes by the river

Garden escapes by the river

Himalayan balsam

Himalayan balsam

Skippers Bridge was looking as good as ever….

skippers bridge

The recent repair is holding up well at the moment.

I thought that the trees were starting to get an autumnal tint when I looked through the bridge.

skippers bridge

There was enough water coming down the river….

River esk

…to keep me well back from the edge.

On the way back there was more to see.

swallows

I hope that it not time for the swallows to leave already

leaf problems

Problems on the leafs of trees

fly on ragwort

A ragwort with visitors

It was almost sunny as I walked back…

Castle Hill

…and it was a very pleasant evening to be out walking.

I tried a black and white shot of the walnut tree when I got back to the garden….

Walnut tree

…as I liked the pattern of the trunks.

We are promised some sunshine tomorrow and that will be very welcome.  If we get it, I will try my back out on a short bike ride.

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Today’s guest picture is another from our son Tony, who took this view of the old and the new Forth road bridges.  The new one, in the background, opens at the end of this month.

Forth bridges

Thanks to our visitors we had a untypical breakfast today as the vote went for bacon and egg baps instead of our normal porridge.  It was a good decision and our visitors, after an inspection of the garden with the gardener….

sara janet and ally

A completely spontaneous unposed shot

…went on their way in good spirits.  They had two more gardens to visit on their schedule and it was fortunate that the weather forecast was better than it has been lately.

After they left, we had a cup of coffee and a look round the garden…

the moss roses are the last of our roses still in flower

The moss roses are the last of our roses still in flower

…and then I got the fairly speedy bike out, armed myself with a couple of bananas and some raisins and set off to see where my legs would go.

After some pretty breezy days, it was good to find that the winds were much lighter today but I still took the precaution of heading down to the flat lands of the Solway plain to give myself an easy ride.

To make sure that I was eating and drinking properly (refuelling as the real athletes say), I stopped every ten miles for a minute or two to take on half a banana, some raisins, a morsel of guava jelly and a drink of water.  I also took a picture.

The Esk at Longtown

This is the Esk near Longtown

I circled round the quiet lanes of North Cumbria and my second stop was at Scaleby.  It has impressive bull rushes…

bull rushes

…a church with a tower….

Scaleby Church

…and some very fine lichen on the churchyard wall.

lichen

My next stop was at a church with a spire at Blackdyke.

Blackdyke church

It is a very small spire, I agree.

Keeping to the flat lands, I headed across to Rockliffe and as I left the village, there was willowherb on my left and Himalayan balsam on my right…

willowherb and balsam

…which made for a very pretty stretch of road.

Rockcliffe

The forecast had said that there might be some rain at three o’clock and it was bang on.  As three o’clock arrived so did a sharp rain shower.  Luckily I was protected by nature…

tree tunnel

…and by the fact that I had prudently packed a rain jacket for the trip.  The rain didn’t last for long and after a few miles, I was able to pack the rain jacket away again.  While I was doing this this, I noticed a small bridge nearby.

old railway bridge

This is an old railway bridge on the abandoned line between Longtown and Carlisle and in a better ordered world, I might have been cycling under it on a well constructed bike track rather than over it on a narrow road.

Still, the narrow road took me to my third church of the trip, the fine building of the parish church at Arthuret.

Arthuret Church

It has to be said that if you go round to the front of the church, it doesn’t look quite so impressive.

Arthuret Church

It is certainly not as wide as it is long.

Across the road from the church,  the corn was high…

corn

It is grown for animal feed.

…though perhaps not as high as an elephant’s eye.

As I pedalled back up the hill towards Langholm, I left the cereal fields behind and found myself among the heather on the hills.

cereal and heather

Thanks to the benign conditions and the flat route, I managed to keep my average speed up to 15 mph for the first 45 miles and only just slipped back to 14.8 mph in the last eight miles, where I was heading into what wind there was.

My knees were feeling a bit creaky when I stopped so before going in for a cup of tea, I walked round the garden to ease them off and enjoyed the first stargazer lily of the season which has come out to brighten things up. It’s a very handsome flower…

stargazer lily

…whichever way you look at it.

stargazer lily

The flying bird of the day is a little squirrel which held me up as it decided which way to go this afternoon.

squirrel

Those interested can find details of the bike ride by clicking on the map below.  You can see how flat the route was.

garrmin route 8 Aug 2017

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This is yesterday’s post today.  I didn’t get home until nearly midnight last night and I had many pictures to look through this morning.  The result is a post with too many pictures but I have tried to keep the commentary to a minimum to spare those long suffering souls who politely read to the very end of posts.

I had received a very kind invitation from an old friend to have a meal in Keswick and then go to see a performance of As You Like It at the Theatre by the Lake.  I was happy in three ways as I hadn’t seen the friend for a couple of years, I like a bit of Shakespeare and it is always a treat to visit the Lake District.

A check on the weather forecast revealed that there might be some dry weather about so after a long talk to BT customer services about why their WiFi app wouldn’t work on my phone and a quick quick look at the garden….

cornflower, honeysuckle and poppy

…I set off south at midday.

The drive was uneventful and I caught my first glimpse of the Lake District’s hills when I could see Blencathra as I drove down the A66.

Blencathra

The traffic wasn’t as heavy as I feared for a Saturday in August and I soon drove through Keswick and parked by the side of Derwent Water.

Derwent Water

It looks very peaceful in that shot but I was far from the only person enjoying the views and the lake.

Derwent Water

Other means of transport were available.

Derwent water

There was plenty of water in the lake.

Derwent water

I had driven through a heavy shower on my way and the weather couldn’t quite make up its mind to be a fine day but there were several sunny spells and no more rain as I walked about.

I walked along the waterside first and looked about.

Derwent water

Derwent Isle

It is hard to stop taking pictures when you are in the Lake District. I went as far as Friars Crag.

Derwent Water

A neatly accommodated tree

Derwent Water

The view across the lake

Derwent Water

They love a literary connection in the Lakes if they can find one

Derwent Water

A view from the Crag

Derwent Water

Looking down to the bottom of the lake from the crag.  It was rather gloomy down there.

Derwent Water

A sheep.  They are mostly responsible for the bare hills round the lake. Some see them as preservers of the landscape, others as vandals responsible for a eco wilderness.  Take your pick.

I wasn’t wandering lonely as a cloud.

Derwent Water

Customers for the next boat tour of the lake

I had made a sandwich for lunch before I left home but as I had left it at home, I had lunch in a cafe near the lake instead and then walked through Hope Park….

Hope Park Keswick

It has a nice mixture of free…..

Hope Park Keswick

…and formal planting

…and into the town of Keswick.

It is a tourist hotspot and in spite of all the lovely hills waiting to be tramped over, the streets were crammed with visitors.

Keswick

There was a market in the centre of town..

Keswick

…and many other temptations for tourists

I crossed the River Greta on a fine iron bridge….

Greta Bridge

…and headed for the hills behind the town, crossing the park and cricket ground on my way.

Keswick

Skiddaw, a 3000ft peak looms over the town

Keswick

I walked up a back road through through woods and fields

Keswick

A lull in the traffic on the main road between visitors coming and going

Keswick

I got high enough for a good view back over the town

Keswick

The view away from the lake was also very beautiful

Keswick

Clouds sped across the sky

Keswick

Half farmhouse and half castle

Keswick

I think that this is the wonderfully named hill, Catbells

Keswick

The downside of being a popular walking destination – eroded tracks. I can count about 18 people on that path.

I walked back through the town and Hope Park.

Keswick

A typical slate building, now a guest house of course

Keswick

The slates come in smooth and rough

Keswick

I thought the pencil museum might be too exciting for me so I passed it by

Keswick

Lovely planting in the Park garden

I had time for a last look at the lake….

Derwent water

…in the sun.   Behind me, Blencathra….

Blencathra

…and Skiddaw looked most inviting.

Skiddaw

A well worn track led to the summit….

skiddaw

I took part in the Skiddaw Fell race in my younger days but we didn’t use that track.  It was memorable for the horrendous blisters I got from running back down the hill on a stony path.

It was time now to cease from contemplating the beauties of nature and turn to the pleasures of fine dining, interesting conversation and high culture.  They were all very good too so this was definitely a day firmly inked in on the credit side of the great ledger of life.

The flying bird of the day is a very haughty ram which was taking part in a sheep demonstration near the lake.

ram

 

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Today’s guest picture is the second from my brother’s visit to churches in Hull. I liked this colourful ceiling in Hull’s cathedral.

Hull ceiling

It took me some time to really believe that it wasn’t going to rain today.  I had a bit of Archive business after breakfast to take my mind off the question and then a crossword and a cup of coffee and a walk round the garden.

The dahlias are doing their best but something has been eating them…

dahlias

…and they are looking a little ragged.  The bees don’t mind though.

bee on dahlia

I found some blue berries on the tropaeolum.  They always look slightly improbable to me, as though someone has been out and painted them.

tropaeolum berries

The buddleias are going to be over before any butterfly arrives to enjoy them.  The bees are having fun meanwhile.

bees on buddleia

The poppies continue to delight me.

poppy

In the end, I became convinced about the weather and got my fairly speedy bike out and gave it a good wash and brush up, cleaned and oiled the chain and set off for a ride.

It was still breezy so I kept the distance down to a gentle 34 mile circle with no big hills and a good tailwind to blow me home.  There has been a lot of resurfacing and patching lately and with many less potholes to look out for, it was a relaxing ride.  I stopped for pictures from time to time.

hawkbit and clover

A cheery combination of hawkbit and clover on the Wauchope road

great burnet

Another pleasing combination on the Gair road, great burnet and what I think is willowherb

I think the the pink plant is willowherb but it is not the common sort.  I took a picture of another bunch of it nearby.

willowherb

The pattern of the plant growth doesn’t look quite right.  It might be something else entirely.

My new mirror has settled in and is working well.

bike mirror

It needs a tweak every now and again after a bumpy piece of road but the old one did too so that is no surprise.

I always enjoy the wild flowers on the banks of the Canonbie by-pass.  I still tend to think of this as a new road as one of my pupils cut the tape when it was officially opened but it has been here for about thirty five years now and has bedded in.

Canonbie by-pass

Not the busiest of main roads. The ‘snow’ on the far bank is a big bunch of daisies.

And of course there were cows.

cows at Irvine House

The ride did perk me up and I was full of energy when I got home so I trimmed a hedge and mowed both lawns and edged them too.  Considering how soggy it has been, they lawns are holding up well  I will give them a last feed soon and hope for a dry autumn to leave them in good condition to survive the winter.

I did some garden tidying up and took a few pictures while I was at it.

There are a lot of large white butterflies about at the moment and one stopped for a while.

white butterfly

Large White butterfly

I discovered a little poppy hiding behind some leaves.  I had not noticed it before….

poppy

…and it was obviously attractive to that hovering bee as well.

bee on poppy

I have said it before but I will say it again, it is really encouraging to see bees in the garden when there has been so much worry about bee numbers.

There are poppies all over the garden from the veg patch to the front hedge.  These four are beside the middle lawn.

poppies

Beside the front lawn, phlox is the main attraction.

phlox

…with added astilbe

I slowed down in the end, picked some beetroot and went inside for tea and toast and a shower.

I have been picking the sweet peas regularly and they brighten up the kitchen windowsill.

sweet peas

This is the fourth batch since Mrs Tootlepedal went away.

I cooked the beetroot and had it with my tea.  Fresh beetroot is so sweet that it is probably taking me well over my sugar limit for the day but I don’t care.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and Alison and I enjoyed some music making where quite often we were both playing the right notes at the right time.  This had a very pleasing affect on the ear and we were easily able to ignore the moments when things didn’t go quite so harmoniously.

When we finished playing, we joined Mike in front of the telly and watched Mo Farah do what he does so well for one last time in the 10,000m at the World Athletic Championships.

The flying bird of the day is a frog which I disturbed while trying unavailing to get a good picture of a water lily.

frog

 

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Today’s guest picture is of a rather stuck up group of august personages which my brother Andrew found in a church in Hull on a recent visit.

Close up of the church hierarchy

I think that the permanently changeable weather is beginning to get to me and I am currently feeling rather short of beans to be full of.  As a result I was still sleeping soundly this morning when Dropscone rang to ask if some scones could find a cup of coffee to go with.

It was a rush for me to get my breakfast finished before coffee time but I managed.

The scones were very good.

It was another day of sunshine and showers and Dropscone cycled round in the sun, drank his coffee while it rained and cycled home again in the sun.

Since it was dry when he left, I had a look round the garden.  It was a day for the birds and the bees…

bees

blackbird

 

…and berries.

tropaeolum

Tropaeolum. They should go blue soon.

As it looked to stay dry for a bit, I was emboldened to walk up to the town with my parcel and I was rewarded when I not only found the post office open but also the river bank full of thirteen goosanders.

goosanders

They were preferring to wait until the river had gone down a bit before doing any swimming.

Some just sat about reflecting on life….

goosanders

…while others took a keen interest in the passing water.

goosanders

I enjoyed a bright crocosmia beside the dam as I came home.

crocosmia

I did a little light gardening, had lunch and watched the rain until Sandy rang up and suggested a walk.  I said that I would be pleased to go if the rain stopped and it did obligingly stop shortly afterwards so I went.

Sandy and I walked across the Duchess Bridge, round the pheasant hatchery, back down to the Sawmill Bridge and then home by way of the Kilngreen and Elizabeth Street, a distance of about two and a half miles.

When we were not watching out for puddles and muddy bits, we looked around. There was quite a bit of fungus to be seen in various places.

castleholm fungus

…much of it in dark corners under trees.  There is a huge amount of fungus round the stumps of the felled trees along the Lodge walks and you can see one small part of it in the bottom left panel above.

There were growing things to see too.

self heal, conkers and white flower

I don’t know what the white flower on the right is but it was attracting a lot of bees.  The plant is quite big but the white flowers are very small.  Once again, a brisk breeze made taking flower pictures tricky.

nettle, burr and rosebay willowherb

It started to rain as we passed these three wild flowers, a nettle, a burr and some willowherb, just at the furthest point from home on our walk but it soon stopped again and we continued on in the direction that the willowherb suggested.

We had passed some cows on our way out….

cows

My only attempt at a black and white picture today

I liked a mossy tree on our way back.  Outdoor people say that you can tell the direction of east and west by looking at where the moss grows on tree trunks.  This tree would have you going round in circles.

mossy tree

After what has been a cool and generally dry year since early spring, the recent heavy rain showers are making the ground quite wet and we had to stop and find an alternative route when we found this long and deep puddle blocking our way near the lodge.

lodge puddle

At the Kilngreen, we stopped to say hello to Mr Grumpy….

Kilngreen ducks

…and we were impressed by the number of friends he had sitting nearby.

Duck

This one was not quite fully dressed yet

As well as Mr Grumpy, we saw a robin, a dipper and a wagtail on our travels….

wagtail, robin, dipper and heron

…not to mention a very new duckling.

duckling

The rivers were all quite full and lively….

River esk in spate

…but there was no threat of a flood.

I always like this view from the Langholm Bridge….

View from the bridge

…but the Common Riding bunting and the sun glinting on the tops of the hills made it particularly good today, I thought.

We had a cup of Darjeeling and a slice of bread with wild raspberry jam when we got back and then Sandy walked home while I sank into semi snoozing mode.

I roused myself enough to prepare the charity regulator’s return for the Archive Group and catch upon my correspondence and after that I did some more relaxing.  The weather looks as though it may be suitable for cycling tomorrow so that will perk me up again.  I will choose a route so that the brisk wind will blow me back home.

The flying bird of the day had flown up onto a fence when I caught it.

blackbird

Note:  I see that Sandy has posted his view of our walk.  You can see it here

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