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Posts Tagged ‘poppies’

Today’s guest picture is another from my brother’s visit to Wirksworth.  As well as the train to the museum, there was another connection to Derby and Sheffield by the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway.

Wirksworth

We had been expecting a very rainy day today but it was surprisingly dry if rather chilly when we got up.

The day continued dry and got quite warm and although the sun was mostly absent and a few individual drops of rain fell from time to time, it ranks as one of the better days of the summer.  It would have been a great day for a good long pedal but I had been so adjusted to the possibility of rain and a day indoors that it took me ages to realise that I should be outside.

In the end, I had a look round the garden.

A lot of the dahlias are very spiky this year.

dahlias

The poppies are not.

poppies with no pollen

Many poppies had been visited by bees and abandoned.

poppies with bees

And bees were flying around looking for fresh pollen

Occasionally a poppy was to be found with pollen but no bees.  This was my favourite.

poppy

There were butterflies to be seen too.  We have two buddleias and both were in the butterfly business today.

peacock butterfly

Red Admiral butterfly

I did get my act together in the end and after coffee, I went off down to Canonbie on my customary 20 mile route.  There was only a light wind today and my legs felt quite cheerful so I applied myself to bicycling and only stopped for one cow…

horn cow

…which was too busy chewing to pose for a proper picture.

I got back at a good speed and had a quick look for butterflies on the Michaelmas daises….

bee on Michaelmas daisy

…but there was only a bee

I noticed that the Virginia creeper has some little flowers…

fox and cubs virginia creeper

…and the cubs have come to join the fox in the orange hawkweed.

Mrs Tootlepedal was hosting a committee meeting of her Embroiderers’ Guild group in the afternoon so after a quick lunch and a shower, I packed myself and my new lens into the car and went up to the Laverock Hide at the Moorland Project bird feeders to see what I could see, although the day had got a bit gloomy by this time.

The first thing that I saw was two other other enthusiasts already ensconced in the hide with big lenses at the ready.  I filled an empty feeder and sat down beside them as they clicked away furiously.

There were a lot of small birds to see…

chaffinch

Chaffinch

Great tit

Great tit

Siskin

Siskin

Coal tit

Coal tit

Blue tit

Blue tit

…and some bigger ones too.

Greenfinches

Greenfinches looking as fierce as ever

pheasant

A pheasant not in full feather yet

woodpecker

And a greater spotted woodpecker

The other two bird watchers had left before the woodpeckers came so I sat quietly and enjoyed three woodpeckers chasing each other about the trees.

I had thought of a walk while I was up there but a spell of very light rain for a while persuaded me that a cup of tea at home would be the best thing.

It had got quite warm enough by this time to make it feel quite like summer so Mrs Tootlepedal and I went out into the garden.  She did some heavy tidying up and mulching while I sieved some compost and trimmed one more of the box balls…and admired the combination of crocosmia, cornflower and poppies which the gardener had planned and which has finally arrived.  The camera can’t do it justice.

poppies, crocosmia and cornflower

I’ll try again if we get some sunshine.

I had a look for late butterflies or bees on the daisies again but there were none to be seen. The daisies were quite attractive in their own right though.

Michaelmas Daisies

I have pulled a muscle (even though I didn’t know that I had any) in my left arm and that combined with a nagging back is making me feel my age a bit at the moment so I went in and had a sit down before my flute pupil Luke came.

He tells me that he has passed his Higher music exam which involved  playing two instruments  and written work.  He didn’t get any help from me with his exam pieces so I can’t take any credit for this. He just worked very hard with his grandad and the teachers at the school.  I am very proud of him.

I tried very hard to get a flying bird this afternoon but the light wasn’t good enough so a head and shoulders of a woodpecker will have to do instead.

greater spotted woodpecker

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from a visit my brother paid to Wirksworth last month.  It is an ancient lead mining and quarrying town in Derbyshire which has a steam train and guard’s van shuttle to the Quarry museum up the hill.

Wirksworth train

It didn’t rain today.  It didn’t rain today.  I have said that twice because it is a bit unbelievable.  It wasn’t very warm and the sun didn’t put in much work but it didn’t rain so that made it a very good day.

I made use of it by cycling down to Canonbie on my regular 20 mile route while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir.

Before I left, I had a quick look in the garden.  The bees were setting about the poppies with great enthusiasm and it was hard to find one to photograph without a bee or two on it…

bees on poppies

…though they could be found.

poppies

Once I got going, I found that the wind was in a helpful place, not too bad on the way down and very useful on the way back.  I only stopped for one picture….

Belted galloway bull

…but I thought that this belted Galloway bull was too handsome to leave unrecorded.

I had no time to waste when I got home as I was hoping to get up onto Castle Hill to take pictures of a charity ride which was setting off just after midday.  I packed a sandwich and a date, picked up a camera or two and got a lift from Mrs Tootlepedal to the bottom of the track up the hill.

I didn’t have to use the stile over the wall as the gate was opened for the riders to come.

Catle Hill stile and gate

The track up Castle Hill was steep enough for me to be quite happy to find things to stop and look at on the way up.

nettle. hawthorn and purple flower

There is going to be a bumper crop of haws this year by the look of it.

ragwort, hawkbit and daisy like thing

The little flowers on the right are sneezewort (ID courtesy of Mike Tinker)

At one point the hillside was almost like a meadow.

Castle Hill

And of course, there were splendid views that needed to be looked at too.

Langholm

An early look back at the town

I got a very expansive view of the three river valleys that meet in Langholm and the one that leaves it.  (Click on the picture for an enlargement.)

Panorama from Castle hill

When I got to the top of the hill, I had time to sit on a handy rock and eat a honey sandwich and admire the view to the north.

Esk valley

The course of the Esk snakes up the valley, outlined by trees

While I was eating my sandwich, I was passed by Laura who was going ahead of the riders to open a gate further along the ridge.

Laura

The wind had dropped and even on a coolish day, it was warm work for her as she strode across the heavy ground.

I had time for a last look over the edge of the hill…

Milnholm and Potholm

A sea of green

…before the first riders appeared over the crest…

Macmillan riders

…and cantered towards…..

Macmillan riders

…and then past me.

Macmillan riders

More sedate groups followed on.

Macmillan riders

It was a sociable ride.

Macmillan riders

There was a good number of riders out and I hope that they raise a lot of money for Macmillan Nurses.

I didn’t count the riders as I was too busy clicking away and by the time that the last riders had past me…

Macmillan riders

…the leaders were well ahead.  The last I saw of them was when they were waiting for the rest to catch at the top of Potholm Hill.

Macmillan riders

I left them to descend to the Ewes valley and turned back down the hill to the town.

One of the penalties of increasing age and creaky joints is that going down a steep and stony track is a lot worse than going up one but I arrived safely on the Castleholm and gave my legs a break as I watched a few overs of cricket.

Cricket on the castleholm

Bowlers bowled and batsmen batted.

Cricket on the castleholm

When I got home, I finished off my picnic lunch and then went out into the garden.  Mrs Tootlepedal was busy cutting down comfrey to add to  compost bin A so I took the hint and sieved a bucket of two of compost from Compost Bin D.  Mrs Tootlepedal took away the rough discards which hadn’t gone through the sieve and used them for a mulch for the hedge.

Since I had already taken far too many pictures, I heroically abstained from taking any more garden flowers pictures….

fuchsia

….well, I nearly abstained.

Then I went in  to watch some athletics on the telly as I thought it was probably all right after a busy time to let someone else take the exercise for me.

I did go out and mow the drying green when the athletics finished and by this time, the wind had dropped and it was a lovely evening in the garden, even if it was still a bit cooler than it should be for the time of year.  It was so nice that I summoned Mrs Tootlepedal out to enjoy it too as the forecast is for more rain tomorrow and it seemed a pity to waste such a good moment.

We have three weeks of the Vuelta (the cycling tour of Spain) to entertain us in the coming evenings so that is something to look forward to as the rain beats against the windows.

No flying bird today but an interestingly coloured dahlia instead.

dahlia

 

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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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A wet welcome home

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan who tells me that she recently went to hear a performance of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, all 30 of them. They were played on this magnificent instrument.  She said that it sounded as good as it looked.

harpsichord

This is today’s post today.  (Mercifully few pictures after the glut from Keswick.)

I had a quiet day, partly put of choice and partly because it rained a lot.

I had to get ready for the return of Mrs Tootlepedal from the deep south so I made a sauce for a spaghetti in the slow cooker, prepared a loaf of bread in the breadmaker, did a load of washing and tidied up the kitchen a bit.

I went out into the garden and sieved some compost, dead headed anything I could see and hoped that I hadn’t killed too much in  the greenhouse.

I meant to take some pictures of poppies while it was still dry but I left it too late and things were a bit depressed by a rain shower by the time that I got the camera out.

white poppy

This poppy had looked beautiful an hour earlier.

white poppy

Battered but unbowed

white poppy

There was one still able to attract a friend.

poppy

This one was sheltered by other plants

The dahlias are not doing well which is a pity as they were very good last year and we were hoping for another good show.

dahlias

Mrs Tootlepedal was a bit gloomy when she saw how little they had progressed while she was away.

Even the Japanese anemones, which are well sheltered by the walnut tree, are looking rather less than joyous.

Japanese anemones

We could really do with a spell of dry and warm weather or the summer flowers will just give up altogether.

In spite of the rain, my personal sunshine arrived on the train safely at Carlisle and I picked her up and drove her home.

The garden looked in a sad state and although it was more the fault of the weather than mine, I couldn’t help feeling rather guilty about the whole thing.

Still, the spaghetti sauce was very tasty so it wasn’t all doom and gloom, even if I had managed to deal the Sweet William seedlings in the greenhouse a mortal blow.

 

 

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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 comes from Mrs Tootlepedal.  She found a very prominent fairy ring on her brother’s lawn.

fairy ring

Mrs Tootlepedal is still away visiting her mother, whose hundred and first birthday is imminent.  This means that I am having to make up my mind for myself here with no assistance and this is quite wearing.  On top of this, I am getting rather fat because every time I wander into the kitchen to share an interesting thought with Mrs Tootlepedal, she isn’t there and I eat something instead.  Luckily she will be back next week and all will be well.

The forecast offered a dry morning and a wet afternoon so in an ideal world, I would get up promptly and go for a cycle ride and then do useful things indoors in the afternoon.

It turned out to be an ideal world.

I didn’t waste any time in the garden but got on the bike after breakfast and did thirty miles.  I stopped for one picture….

Esk at Hollows

…just to prove that I had been out.  The wind was lighter than of late but the sky was grey so it was not a day for views.

I did notice when I got home that I had a serious outbreak of helmet hair which I have decided to share.  Nervous readers should look away now.

helmet hair

I flattened my hair down and mowed the greenhouse grass, did some poppy dead heading, cut down some plants which were beyond their sell by date and had a walk round the garden.

The poppies had appreciated the dry morning.

poppies

This was my favourite poppy of the day.

poppy

The should be a mixture of poppies and cornflowers growing round the front lawn but they are both taking their time thanks to the cool weather. Still, there are a few cornflowers about.

cornflower

As I walked between the flowers and the compost bins during my tidying up, I couldn’t help but enjoy the jumble of white clematis and red rose on the arch through to the veg garden…

clematis and rose

…and the clematis growing along the fence too.

clematis

If every flower has the same number of petals, there must be three different clematis growing there as I can see flowers with six, five and four petals in the picture.

I am always interested in fruits and berries and so are the birds.  I am keeping an eye on the plums and the blackbirds are keeping an eye on the rowan berries.

plum and rowan

Those rowan berries are in a neighbour’s garden.  Ours aren’t quite as ripe yet.

My neighbour Liz kindly took a surplus turnip off my hands and I picked some more carrots and beetroot. I am eating the beetroot at golf ball size and they are absolutely delicious as snacks.

After lunch, the forecasters’ predictions arrived in the form of a persistent spell of rain which lasted several hours.   I caught up on my correspondence and packed up the camera lens which I am trading in, having been offered a very fair price by the company which will sell me my new lens.  I then braved the rain and took the parcel up to the post office only to find the that post office was closed.

I brought the parcel home again and did some muttering.

Then I did some ironing …and a bit more muttering until getting a bit of advice from the ‘Call Mrs Tootlepedal Hotline’.

I had corned beef hash for my tea and was pleasantly surprised to find that our new potatoes taste very good when mashed and fried.

Recently I have had a choir to go to on a Wednesday night but that has finished now so finding that the rain had stopped, I filled in the time by wandering aimlessly about.

The bed at the end of the drive gave me a cheerful farewell as I left the garden.

pot marigolds and nasturtiums

For some reason, the rather grey light seem to suit the church so I stopped being aimless and pointed the camera at it as I passed.

Langholm Parish Church

Our usual mallards have been joined by several darker ducks with bright white breasts this summer.

darker duck

A little research tells me that they are probably mallard hybrids rather than anything more exotic.

I exchanged a few words with Mr Grumpy as I walked down to the Kilngeen…

heron

…and thought that a bunch of ragwort on the bank of the Esk just above the Meeting of the Waters added a nice touch to the scene.

ragwort

I was pleased to find that there was still a banded snail or two on the stump of one of felled trees along the Lodge Walks.

snail

Although the evening was fundamentally grey and it looked as though it might well rain, every now and again a shaft of sunshine illuminated the scene….but always a little bit away from where I was.

sunshine behind trees

Like behind a tree….

sunshine on the Esk

…or round a bend in the river…

monument

…or on top of a hill.

But I got round dry and saw a most unusual thing on my way.

ragwort

A ragwort plant with no insects on it.

It was nearly seven o’clock by this time so perhaps all the insects had gone home to bed.

My last picture was a pleasing tangle of grasses.

grasses

No flying bird of the day but there is a very badly painted blackbird and a splashy sparrow.

blackbird

sparrow splashing

There were plenty of puddles to choose from.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce who was struck by the elegant simplicity of this device for opening all the windows of a glasshouse near Denholm in one fell swoop.

glasshouse window opener

The forecasters tend to look on the gloomy side of things and although we were promised a morning of rain,  thunder and lightning, in the end we got nothing more shocking than another heavy shower and the arrival of Dropscone for coffee.

Dropscone was due to play in a golf tournament near Denholm in the afternoon so he was a bit apprehensive but unless he was very unlucky, he should have been all right because the rest of our day here was fine, often sunny and quite pleasantly warm for once too.

This let me get out into the garden to pick some of Mrs Tootlepedal’s carrots.  We are plagued by carrot root fly so Mrs Tootlepedal has been taking extra precautions this year and they seem to have paid off.  Carrots have joined the beetroot and wild raspberry jam in the home produce section of our kitchen.

carrots, jam and beetroot

The wild raspberries produce a rather ‘pippy’ jam but it does have a very good flavour.

The scientific rain gauge shows just how heavy our brief showers have been…

rain gauge

…but I was able to get out into the garden to do some dead heading and tidying up.  The last of the delphiniums are now assisting the compost.

By early afternoon, not only was the washing hanging out and drying quickly but the poppies were holding their heads up in a very satisfactory way.  I didn’t photograph the washing but I did snap a poppy or two.

 

poppypoppypoppypoppy

Once again the bees had not been discouraged….

bees on poppy and cornflower

…and I was particularly pleased to see a small tortoiseshell as well as the more common large white.

white and tortoiseshell butterflies

The tortoiseshell was hiding in a box ball but I should be able to get a better picture in a few days if it keeps coming to the garden.

I had received an unexpected letter from Germany a few days ago and in it, a lady who has started to read the blog fairly recently introduced herself and told me that she would be coming to Canonbie.  She added that she would be happy to share a cup of tea, a biscuit and some conversation with me.  We had a mutual friend in a colleague who taught across the landing from me in Langholm Primary School some forty years ago.

A cup of tea alone is a considerable inducement but when a biscuit is added, who can resist so I got on the fairly speedy bike, readjusted my new mirror and set off to cycle down to Canonbie by my usual route.

Instead of looking for wild flowers today, I thought that I would look at views on my way.

There was no shortage.

Whita Hill seen from Chapelhills

Whita Hill seen from Chapelhills

Looking down over the Esk valley from Tarcoon

Looking down over the Esk valley from Tarcoon

Cows at Mossknowe

Cows at Mossknowe

Cows at Mossknowe

Cows at Mossknowe: taking the longer view

View through my favourite trees at Grainstonehead

View through my favourite trees at Grainstonehead

Liddle Viaduct at Riddings

Testing the zoom: The Liddle Viaduct at Riddings seen from Grainstonehead about a mile away.

The old road passes Woodhouselees

The old road passes Woodhouselees

As you can see, it was a beautiful afternoon with the added bonus of not being too hot so that when I got to the house that I was visiting, I was in good order to pay a social call.

My welcome was very warm and the tea was refreshing, the biscuit nourishing and the conversation interesting.  It was useful to get a view of Brexit and Britain as seen from abroad as our press is generally very insular and we don’t have much of a view of what is going on over the Channel.  I was pleased that my blog had lead to such a sociable and informative occasion.

I stayed an hour and then cycled on home and took one last view on my way.

Whita seen from the old A7 near Irvine House

Whita seen from the old A7 near Irvine House

I thought that the completed silage and the puddle gave a good reflection of our changeable weather.

The wind was very brisk again and I was happy to find it pushing me back up the hill into Langholm.  We should be grateful for the brisk wind, as it has been helpful in getting things dry after the heavy rain showers.

When I got back home, I had enough energy left from talking and cycling to mow the greenhouse grass and trim back the climbing hydrangea so that it no longer threatens to block our gutter.

hydrangea

I see when I look at the picture, that the trim might need straightening up a bit.

I also had time for a look at two flowers, a nicotiana, a favourite of Mrs Tootlepedal who loves the scent in the evening and a red astrantia, which has waited until the paler varieties are dying back before making an appearance.  As regular readers will know, I dearly love an astrantia so I was very pleased to see this one finally coming out.

astrantia and nocotiana

I was also pleased to see a water lily in flower.  Often when rain fills up the pond, the water lilies get drowned.

Whita seen from the old A7 near Irvine House

It has started to rain again as I write this. We have several more days of sunshine and showers to come but if the balance between the rain and shine is the same as it was today, we won’t complain too much.

 

 

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