Here we are in May!!!

This year is flying by. Pleased to say all wheels have now gone to new homes and recipients happy with their wheels. Big relief for us as now we can turn our minds to other things. The house is now decorated how we wanted it and and also tidy at last (after the whole house being a workshop for 7 years) thanks to our long time friend Janet, who assisted with taking me to the tip  a few times to save paying for a tip permit. (all vans taking private household items to our tip have to pay to get  a permit otherwise!!)

We are both starting to relax a little now. House at long last has gone up on the market and now the waiting game begins. Patience is a virtue!! Hopefully not too long before we are rewarded with a buyer coming forward but realise it could be months. Still lots to do, I actually had a little go on my Haldane Orkney wheel this morning, got to keep up the practise lol! Tell everyone else often enough!

Clive is doing a couple of woodwork projects …got to keep him busy lol!

I am still clearing out a bit more stuff. You look and thing oh I’ll keep that and then think again … no …. surplus to requirements 🙂

So back again once we are a bit further along the adventure.

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The Repair Shop BBC1 ‘Spinning Wheel’

Just a quick short update to the blog to say that The Repair Shop is currently on BBC1 Monday to Friday 4.30-5.15pm. I know some of you are already watching the Repair Shop which this year has been upgraded to BBC1 (last year it was on BBC2) We believe ‘our’ episode with the spinning wheel will be on Friday 12th April, we could of course have ended up on the cutting room floor! We shall have to wait and see!

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We entered February with some snow……

Well both been busy during January and now entered February with about 2″ (50mm) snow nothing too bad but Star did enjoy it. He liked it on Thursday evening when just before bed time he went out on patio  and discovered just enough snow so that he could eat some!!!

Then on Friday morning managed to take the camera out with me and took a photos of the garden and of him as he discover all the snow .. not a lot but when you are not very high off the ground it was just enough to be real fun.


Today sun is shining but with the freezing wind a lot of snow still around but it is thawing and patio and pavements now drying too.

Busy reconditioning the last of the wheels I have to do and Clive is having a break from making the last wheel and busy working his way through the bobbins etc ordered, back in  the Autumn, before then going back to finish off the last wheel that he is doing.

The kitchen and living room are gradually getting back to being rooms rather than workshops!! Paper and paint purchased for last room to be decorated…we are progressing! Right off to get on again 🙂

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2018 was a year of mixed feelings…

Time to reflect over the last year….

We made the decision at the beginning of the year that this would probably be our last year of doing shows as Clive’s health was not improving. His spinal problem (crumbling disc) has made it very difficult for him to walk although he has no  problem sitting or laying and the only problem standing is he becomes a little ‘wobbly’ and can’t hold his balance after a while so has to sit down. By April we then decided that we would retire at the end of the shows etc in November so the search started for a new owner of Timbertop Wheels. However the search was difficult to find just the right person who was prepared to keep the wheels as they were and not tinker with the way they worked No problem if they were to enhance them in some way but using the old adage ‘if it ain’t broke don’t try to mend it!!’ we didn’t want anyone who was not going to abide by that standard. More of this later.

Having announced our pending retirement, it was wonderful to see so many customers go out of their way to visit us one last time at the Tynedale Spinners Gathering, Kennet Valley Guild, Fibre East, Bakewell Wool Gathering, Kendal Wool Gathering and the York Guild. Many bought from us, many reminisced and a number gave us lovely retirement cards and the York Guild decided as it was out last event to give us a cake too. We felt humbled and honoured by so much attention and affection.

2018 also held another surprise for us. In late spring we had a phone call from a company called Ricochet who make a program for BBC TV called The Repair Shop which has been on BBC2 although we had not actually seen it up until then.  They take much loved items and restore them for members of the public, which brings back many loving memories.

Well they had spinning wheel that needed restoring and they wondered if we could do it. Unfortunately by then we had actually stopped repairing/restoring wheels that were damaged as we were limited on our time with our pending retirement. However they have a very good antique furniture restorer ‘Will’ who is part of the team and with guidance from us we felt he could probably repair the wheel. we were invited down to Chichester to the Repair Shop to meet Will and the team and give our advice as to how it should be repaired. So on our way to Fibre East we detoured to Chichester and spent an enjoyable afternoon in ‘The Repair Shop going over a number of points that had to be done to repair the wheel and ensure it would be a working model (as they required). Later in September we were asked if we would return to the  workshop to see how Will had got on with the wheel and if necessary work on it to ensure it was working. We went along and had a lovely couple of days staying in a hotel nearby and spending a day and a half in the Repair Shop.  I will let you know when it is to be shown so you see what happened next and then watch the reveal We felt quite honoured to have added The Repair Shop to our list of happy customers. The program should be going out during 2019, how much of us will be shown we don’t know as we could end up on the cutting room floor!

A couple of photos taken  during our visit



Going back to the proposed sale of the business, as many of you know I progressed through the year spending many hours on the phone or writing emails to various interested parties, we thought in October we really had found the right folk and again I spent hours on the phone and many hours preparing a lot of paper work, as they were not only proposing to buy Timbertop Wheels but also the remaining stock of Woodland Turnery and also some of our machinery and equipment. However when we got to December, as we thought we were about to complete the deal they backed out!  At that stage we decided enough was enough, we had done all that we could to keep Timbertop Wheels going and we needed to concentrate on our own life!

The remaining stock was put up onto our Folksy shop and then after a couple of weeks the small amount that was left has then been sold onto a Craft shop in  Lincolnshire, who expressed interest and is about to go off to them this week as it is all parceled up.  The machinery that Clive wasn’t keeping was sorted, cleaned up and then went off to a nearby Auction house with all the spare timber and was all  sold yesterday!!

The demo wheels have all been allocated new homes and are in the process of being prepared for dispatch/delivery. With Clive busy finishing off the last Timbertop wheel and some extra bobbins and flyers for the ‘demo’ wheels and also preparing to do the spare bobbins and bits that were ordered earlier in the year.

Just before we finished the year I am pleased to say I had my second cataract operation on 28th November and on 28th December after a post op check up with the optician am surprised and pleased to say that I find that after 59 years of wearing glasses all the time I have been told I only need them for reading now and it is most strange finding I don’t have to wear them from the moment I get up in the morning.

Over the Christmas / New year period. apart from preparing the stuff for Auction, we set to and have now converted the Office back to a bedroom and we have managed to decorate it and lay a carpet between us, with a lot of laughter and Clive promising NOT to do a Bruce Forsythe /Norman Wisdom impression whilst we were wallpapering.

I just have to sort all the stuff that moved out of the office now but even that is progressing with it being either returned to its rightful place in a craft box in bedroom 3 or  going to it’s rightful home somewhere else in the house, or into the Pile to got to one or other of our Daughters or  Charity shop box or ready to got to the tip.

So what with the sale at the  Auction and the subsequent tidy up of the wood shed, my old workshop and Clive’s workshop and the conversion of the office back to a bedroom etc. I can honestly say the next few steps of the new adventure have begun!!!

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Today, 26th August 2018, is a special day

Today’s blog is a bit different. It is a celebration of my Dad’s life as he died in 2007 but he would have been 100 years old today.

Nan & Grandad

He was very special to us all,  but to Clive and I especially, as it was him that kept telling us to ‘live our dreams’ . Every new challenging step we take, we think of him. It is the driving force of what we do today.  When we set up Woodland Turnery others said ‘get a proper job’ but my Dad’s answer was ‘Go for it!’

He grew up in North London. In the early years, spending many weekends helping the local car mechanic, he eventually went to work in a furriers in Conduit Street, near Regent Street London as an apprentice fur cutter and eventually working up to a fully qualified mink fur cutter (frowned upon these days but a very skilled job in its day). He met my Mother here (he was 16 she was 14) and she was an apprentice fur machinist  later qualifying as a mink fur machinist. Mink has the closest individual strands of fur on its pelt of any animal and  both the cutter and machinist must not cut or machine the strands of fur but only the pelt, so they were both highly skilled.  With War starting Dad went into the Army as a Tank Driver and was complimented on his very good skills as a driver. He married Mum on the 13th August 1940 before going overseas. He fought in North Africa, before being taken  a prisoner of war at Torbruk (the first time it fell) first with the Italians and then the Germans. He got moved across countries and was in Poland for quite some time. He was a resilient man. luckily,  and as the Russians approached the POW camps he was forced by the Germans to take part in the ‘long March’ westwards  see

Amazingly he survived this and was luckily repatriated by the Americans, arriving home  in May 1945, at 5ft 10 ins tall and weighing just 6 stone (just over 38kg). With help from my Mother he slowly regained most of his health, bearing in mind a full meal to him in the early days of recovery was 1/2  a boiled egg. It took many months before he gained the weight back properly. He then went on to be a Civil Servant working up the grades and at the same time became a Special Constable in the Metropolitan Police, eventually a Sergeant. After retirement he took up gardening, machine knitting ( knitting many a pullover for all members of the family)  and then also learning Lacemaking and demonstrating at  the craft Saturdays with us at the National Museum of Wales.

He took great joy in watching our progression with our gift ware and lace making supplies but unfortunately died before we had progressed far with our Spinning wheels and accessories.

In the later years he and Mum would love to got to visit Linz and Tam in Scotland and their favourite place was Luss at Loch Lomond. So on 30th December 2007 we spread their ashes there.

Many fond memories…………..


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Time is flying by…….

Well here we are on the 1st July, Hard to believe two months since I wrote the last blog. Well we traveled north (with Star) on the 18th May to stayed with our friends Denise and Tim (Willo Fibres) then got up early next day and went off to the Tynedale Spinners Gathering with them which was lovely. We met up with a lot of friends and customers, some having traveled some distance to actually see US as they wouldn’t be able to get to the other events we are attending before we retire, which was a lovely gesture. Star really was a little star during the day and spent much of the day ‘people watching’ from his playpen. We then returned to Denise and Tim’s and spent a wonderful weekend there before returning home on the Monday. Star also had a wonderful time and did not disgrace himself this year with any Alpaca fibre Lol!

A fortnight after returning from Our trip north we made another but this time, dropping Star off at the kennels for a little holiday and then travelling up the western side. Stopping off at the Days Inn at Annandale Water for an overnight stay in a lovely room with a balcony


Then we went on our way again to stay in an apartment in Alloa and visit the family in their new house which was really lovely. On the Sunday we also managed to fit in a trip to the Kelpies

It was a short but lovely visit to Scotland and we returned home on the Monday and collected Star from his short holiday too

Having arrived home and apart from getting on with work we also managed to roughly clear the front garden. We have a neighbour who let brambles, buttercups and bindweed run riot in his garden and as we only had a picket fence between the two gardens and with Clive having had health problems over this last few years and me trying to keep everything up and running, the brambles etc had seriously invaded our garden. (Luckily whilst we were away our Neighbour had someone clear some of the brambles etc away form his garden. 🙂 ) Clive cleverly found a new way of doing Armchair gardening. He carefully went out the front garden and once out on the garden then sat on a folding chair and used the hedge cutter to sweep around in an arc and clear a way through then I raked that bit out of the way and he progressed onto the next part. Gradually we cleared everything down to virtually ground level. Then it was all attacked with ‘Roundup’ being careful to not spray near the pond. Also the same time we had a local jobbing builder come and take down the picket fence and build us a nice new solid fence (which I then creosoted). Then he put some cladding up for us on the front of the house and also painted the side and back walls of the house with Sandtex, which has made it look so much cleaner and made us feel better too! We then decided to do sills and doorsteps ourselves.  I have now moved onto actually digging and clearing the front garden: A small area a day ready to rebuild the rockery and put in lots of ground cover plants and a few heather so with the new fence it will help to protect against next doors garden invasion. Really chuffed now.

Yesterday apart from my quota of digging, I also managed to wash three Ryeland fleeces and they mostly got dry too just finishing them of this morning and watching the weather in case of the threatened thunderstorms. Another quota of digging this morning and then this afternoon I have to start doing some sock blockers and  more blending boards, using the last of the carding cloth as we are off to the Kennet Valley Guild next weekend and then Fibre East at the end of the month. Clive is out working in the workshop with lots of cups of tea and sit downs to keep him going. Luckily he can sit, stand and lay without pain but does find it difficult walking, so we are juggling with his painkillers  but getting there gradually. So onwards and upwards!!

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Wonderwool and our retirement at the end of 2018

Well here we are the first of May. This year is flying by but still oh so cold!! (Although this morning the sun is shining.)

April was eventful as I was due to have a cataract operation in May and the hospital phoned with a date at beginning of April (Easter Tuesday) which I gratefully accepted. This left a slight dilemma as having had the Operation I was not to bend forwards  or carry anything more than 7Kg in weight for a few weeks. Clive’s psoriasis was much improved however he is still finding it difficult to walk as his back is causing problems  although he can sit, or stand ok. This made preparing stock for Wonderwool Wales unexpectedly interesting but between us we got there.  When the day came for set up, the Wonderwool Team were very  supportive and allowed to drive in to unload which made things a lot easier. We set up with help from our friends Denise and Tim (Willo Fibres) who kindly assisted with helping to put up banners and tables. We had a wonderful Wonderwool and met lots of lovely friends and customers old and new.

Now back so have to do a stock take to see what I need to prepare for the next show. Clive is busy with a few duplicate bobbins and concentrating on finishing some Timbertops Wheel orders.

Now for our main announcement as we have already told a number of folk at Wonderwool and this obvious sends out rumours.
As many of you know we bought Timbertops Spinning Wheels on 8th December 2008 (10½ years ago now) and despite various setbacks with the workshop fire and Clive having two hip operations and a AAA and me having concussion and also a cataract operation, we have enjoyed the time.
However, we have decided that once our latest batch of deposit paid orders, (which are all partially made and these will have priority with Clive’s time) are completed by October/November of this year that Timbertops Spinning wheels will hopefully have found a new owner. So we are beginning our search for a suitable new Owner now. If you are interested yourself or know anyone that may like to keep the wonderful name of Timbertops Spinning Wheels alive, let us know or get them to contact us as soon as possible or if you have any suggestions as to who we should contact, please let us know.
The person needs to be a good wood turner with an eye for precision, have preferably made a spinning wheel and know how they work. Also know how to spin or know someone that spins so that they can assist in ‘test spinning’ to ensure completed wheels work well.
The person buying the business will get as much assistance as we can give to help them on their way. We feel it is important and a wonderful opportunity to find someone who will move the business forward and who can fulfil the dreams of the folk who are already waiting for the order list for a Timbertops Wheel to be re-opened. It would be such a shame to see it dwindle away.
We will continue making spinning and weaving accessories stock throughout this year but running it down as the year progresses. You can either catch up with us at the shows or order on folksy or on the phone. We are still planning on attending Fibre East, Bakewell and Kendal Wool Gatherings, the Kennet Valley (July) and the York (November) Guilds However have now had to cancel the proposed visit to the Wiltshire Guild in February 2019. Last orders for replica bobbins etc will be taken in September/October 2018 for completion by November.
We plan to have closed the workshop doors for the final time in November/December and (God willing) be heading for pastures new in spring/summer 2019 in Scotland to be nearer to our two Daughters and their families in Scotland and Yorkshire.
So watch this space and I will update as we go along……………………………….


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Think spring has sprung at last

Well its a while since I last wrote the blog, quite shocked when I saw it was January but we have still been busy despite how cold it has been.

We both decided that if this winter was too cold to work in the workshop then we would get some decorating done, so that is what we have been doing. It is so long since we last decorated  so much has been going on illness/ operation wise etc. that we were getting a bit depressed with the house. so bit by bit, room by room we have been doing a lot of the house. Lots of rests in between and me helping Clive a lot more. As a former Painter and Decorator he normally likes to just get on with it, but this time he was grateful of help and I was there by the side of him, helping and  trying to make sure he didn’t do the Bruce Forsyth/ Normal Wisdom equivalent with the pasting of the paper. Although I wouldn’t have put it past him to try as he has a wicked sense of humour sometimes but we were both just pleased to get it done. Just two rooms to go but we feel lots better now looking at nice fresh rooms. The last two can wait until later in the year. In between all this we had a lovely day in February with the Dorset Guild where we were made most welcome with our sales table, wheel surgery and talk and a good day was had by all.

We then planned to get straight on in the workshop as soon as it warmed up, but the cold weather has been hanging on a bit. Clive is plodding on steadily and gradually getting stronger and less wobbly with his walking now he is getting the hang of his exercises.  and been making some bobbins etc in short visits out to the workshop when a bit warmer.  I have been busy but was waiting for a cataract operation and had two appointments to see the  consultant cancelled. Eventually got to see him on 13th March and he put my name forward for the operation on my right eye and I was told this would probably be in early May. Then suddenly got a call to say it would be done Easter Tuesday, lovely surprise but  it put us on edge all over the Easter weekend in case they cancelled it.

So to relieve our frustration on Easter Thursday I took Star to be groomed in the morning and then in the afternoon we visited our friend in Bridgend with the other Star (Welsh Terrier). We arrived at the house Lynne opened the door and admire how smart Star looked and he promptly started playing with the other Star. Great fun was being had and Lynne opened the back door for them to go outside……… ten minutes later they both appeared and we just sat that looking at our pristine Star, who had been having a whale of a time…..


Of course he is lower to the ground than the Welsh Terrier and he then got a lot muddier lol! Luckily Lynne just laughed and as it dried  on Star and on the carpet etc. it became easy to hoover off (thank goodness!!!!) But he was so proud of himself and they had both had a lot of fun. It certainly lightened the mood of the day!

Anyway on Easter Tuesday, pleased to say had the operation in the afternoon and things seem to be going OK. Clive is now looking after me putting the drops in and making sure I am not lifting things or bending.

We will not be attending Woolfest or Yarndale as we have decided for a number of reasons to not apply and give them a miss. Both of these are shows that we have to carry everything in quite a distance to our stand and also Yarndale put their stand fees up last year ( £40 increase on our double stand) and then this year they have registered for vat and that of course has added an additional 20% to the stand fee. As we are not registered for vat we cannot claim it back and it has made the stand fee almost £400, which with cost of accommodation and fuel to travel to show, just too much.

However pleased to say that we are now looking forward to Wonderwool Wales and we have also been accepted for Fibre East, Bakewell Wool Gathering and Kendal Gathering and also been invited back to the Tynedale Spinners Gathering (May) and we have two more visits to Guilds booked, Kennet Valley (July) York (November) for 2018.

So moving forwards gently, gradually doing a bit more every day. Looking forward to seeing everyone coming to Wonderwool and we will have some extra goodies on the stand…….

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The start of a New Year and ……. an open mind opens doors to great opportunities

Well we said goodbye to 2017. it was a strange and worrying year, a lot of nice things happened which unfortunately got over shadowed by the not so nice things. But despite quite high odds we both survived it to see a New Year  Dawn breaking  So hence the heading.

We entered the New Year pleased to both be there together awaiting with an open mind to see whatever opportunities lay around the corner for us.  We hope we will get the opportunity this year to finish off some long awaited orders for Timbertops spinning wheels, however, we make no promises at this stage.

Clive is getting on well but still recovering his balance (with the help of a physio at local hospital) after the ‘op’ in August. Also now his Psoriasis outbreak (brought on by the stress) is gradually getting under control thanks to a very understanding Doctor and our friends Denise and Tim who helped us sort out some homeopathic cream to combine with the Doctors treatment, Unfortunately the Prescribed medication has to include steroids as it is the only thing to clear up the outbreak for Clive but this weakens the skin so it is like paper. So with the Doctors permission we are combining it with a Homeopathic cream mixture in the evenings that is gradually bringing the skin back to normal thickness, such a relief! The Doctor is also very pleased with the results. Back in October/ November we were all very worried as the skin on Clive’s leg was weeping plasma and he was changing his sock 2 or 3 times a day.

We now have an Advocate helping us with the case against the Health Board and they have also been advised how the stress has affected Clive’s leg. We will not let this rest as the fact is it was not followed up in 2015 and  it could have cost Clive his life and we must try to make sure it does not happen to someone else … as they may not be so lucky!

So onward and upwards we must now clear our minds for our journey through 2018.

We are looking forwards to Wonderwool Wales and hopefully we will be accepted for Fibre East, Bakewell and Kendal Wool Gatherings. We will not be attending Woolfest and may well not apply for Yarndale we will see! We also have two Guilds to attend Dorset – February  (where we should have been on 30th Sept 2017)  and Kennet Vale who have asked us to go in July. Also just been invited back to Tynedale Spinners Gathering so looking forward to that too.

Star is well and  has a new little friend  (just a month or two older, also called Star but she is a Welsh Terrier,

we are hoping we can meet up more now as they loved each others company so much and it was wonderful to watch them play. They played for almost 3 1/2 hours non stop around our friend’s house and the Garden.

More blogs this year hopefully……….. watch this space lol!


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Incredible Progress!!

Well Clive has now been home for four weeks and every day is a little stronger. His tenacity has been incredible and from day one made sure that little by little he was going to get stronger. He knows his limits and rests when necessary. Some days a nap after lunch and some days off to bed an hour earlier than normal, some days just taking it steady all day but it is working.

The workshop keys stayed hidden for a while but not long. Work started with a few 10 minute sessions and has gradually increased. Only doing small things that do not mean picking up large planks of wood. But all of it is progress!

Many folk told me that after an AAA op sometimes folk didn’t feel like doing anything for 3 or 4 months and as Clive had had such a major op not to expect too much for even up to 6 months! Well this September Clive and I have been married for 43 years and over the last 15-20 years Clive has turned from being a very negative person to a very positive person. It didn’t happen overnight but it has happened.   After the initial thought of can he actually survive the operation (which even the Consultant warned me could go wrong as they were dealing with an aneurysm that could rupture at any moment – even on the operating table)  I knew that if op went well Clive would make every effort to get back on his feet and into his beloved workshop as soon as was possible. He is never happier than when tinkering with something in there!

The consultant allowed him home 4 days after the op after asking me could I cope with him being home lol! My answer was well I have coped with him for 43 years lol!

The first few days we both rested as I knew the stress had taken a lot out of me too. Although I was looking after Clive at least I was not rushing off to the hospital every day. Clive slept a lot the first few days as was expected then he started getting up and it wasn’t long before he was walking round the house looking for things to do!! After another couple of days he would go out workshop for short 10 minute sessions.

We went to see our doctor a week after Clive came out of hospital, he couldn’t believe how good Clive was and said he has a new nickname now. Felix, cos he must have 9 lives.

It was wonderful to see the Doctors face when we walked in the surgery, as seriously, I think the Doctor had doubted that he would ever see him again after calling the hospital to get him admitted, it was that serious. He was so pleased to see him.
Doctor went on holiday immediately after getting Clive admitted and we had sent the Doctor a card thanking him for saving Clive’s life, which was on his desk on his return from holiday. He said as he opened the card, it brought a BIG smile to his face and he couldn’t stop thanking us for the card as he appreciated it so much. (Not half as much as how we appreciated his actions!)
The outside is healing well but it was a long incision so he knows the inside will take longer to heal. Also Clive is starting to get cheeky now so I know we are on the road to recovery!
Now he has to keep progressing and we will see consultant on 18th October.  We will be guided by him as to what Clive can and can’t do!

We have made the decision that we need a break away and to still go to Kendal Wool Gathering (they had held a space for us to see how Clive progressed).  I will man the stand (just one stand instead of two, so no Timbertops  wheels on display but just about everything else)  and Clive will be there but only doing what he can do AND resting! We will be spending the weekend in a cottage with our friends Denise and Tim from Willo Fibres and it will be lovely to enjoy a change of scenery and good company. Then we shall head off for the rest of the week in Scotland near Stirling in a cottage, resting but close enough to visit family and them to visit us  too. They can also meet Star who will be accompanying us on the trip



Looking forward to seeing anyone that can get to Kendal, do come and say hello and see some new items on our table too. We will have a few  reconditioned wheels too that may interest those that have missed out on seeing us at Yarndale and Bakewell.

Lastly, thank you to all who have sent Clive their best wishes, prayers and Reiki blessings over the last 5 weeks or so. It has been much appreciated





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