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A Real Devon Holiday

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It’s amazing, and distressing at the time, to discover in the western world you can feel desperately removed and wanting the comforts of domestic heating, lighting, and something, anything that reminds you of being in a house. Deciding to go to Devon by train on a camping holiday in mid march was easy. It was doing it that proved difficult. Arriving the first night, I found myself inside a tent, while outside was nothing but a howling gale. The idea that I would be here for four more days terrified me. I really, really wanted to not be there.

The inclement weather was unrelenting in the morning. There was no car to warm myself in. I hobbled out of the tent in the clothes I had slept in – it was too cold to change. Although I was with three friends who repeatedly told me they loved and cared about me, I felt the need to leave for civilisation immediately. My train booking was unalterable; my mobile phone was out of signal. I did have next months rent in my bank account that I briefly considered spending on a taxi home.

Amidst biting rain and driving winds I staggered out of the forlorn looking campsite to a payphone and meekly called my sister. ‘Please text me as much information as possible to do with getting out of Devon,’ were the essence of my demands.

A series of woeful texts ensued, all with sad and miserable news about £200 flights, cancelled trains, and flooded roads. I felt stranded. Utterly and miserably alone. The final text was simple: ‘Find a pub, get drunk, crawl into tent and sleep.’

No. I was going to fight for my salvation; not give in to the false promise of alcohol. Unlike my attitude to the weather forecast, the idea of topping all this crap with a hangover was enough for me to continue in my quest to get the hell out of Devon.

Yes, I was going to improve my situation and find some Devon hotels
to escape the elements and enjoy my time here. Devon accommodation should be plentiful and easy to find. It’s where people go on holidays; the weather was appalling so there should be plenty of rooms available.

The trouble was I was already in the middle of nowhere, and barely had the energy to get anywhere or do anything because I was already consumed with rage at my stupid decision to be here in the first place.

I walked for a couple of hours before realising finding a Devon hotel and then paying for it would be difficult and regrettable. An hour later I arrived at a pub. It was warm and the beer tasted good. I felt good. My Devon accommodation in the form of a tent felt good. As I tipsily walked out into the softening winds, I remembered my friends back at the campsite. My sister’s kindly advice was beginning to make sense.

Devon holidays are wide and varied with many Devon hotels offering very affordable accommodation during your stay in Devon.

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Travelling around Scotland

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Scotland is an incredibly beautiful country, which is rich in both history and culture. If you are planning to travel through Scotland in the near future there are plenty of things that you should put on your itinerary. Charming villages, monster myths and world famous castles are just the beginning of what Scotland has to offer. Whether you are traveling solo or with a group, Scotland has something for everyone.
As an added bonus, the train system is Scotland is very convenient and reliable. Take advantage of the mass transit, it may take a little more time, but you will save tons of money and meet really interesting people.

For either the history buff or wannabe princess in your group, check out some of Scotland’s many famous castles. Palace of Holyroodhouse which has a rich history and a humble beginning, founded as a monastery in 1128. This was also the home of Mary Queen of Scots for a short period in the mid sixteenth century. If you are looking for a fairy-tale take in Crathes Castle which has everything that is expected of a castle including a turrets and walled garden. And of course Edinburgh Castle which has been home to numerous Scottish Kings and Queens. This is where the Scottish crown jewels are housed. Be sure to take in some of the most breathtaking view of the city from the Castle. If your travel plans only allow you to visit one castle, make it this one.

If you are more interested in Cathedrals and Abby’s than Scotland is sure to please. Include Glasgow Cathedral in your travel plans though Glasgow. There is little doubt that this medieval cathedral will not only please the history buffs in your family, but everyone.
For the freemason in your group or for anyone who has read The Da Vinci Code, The Rosslyn Chapel is a must see. If the sorted history and myths that surrounds the chapel are not enough to excite you, the architecture should be more than enough to lure you.
Don’t pass up the opportunity to visit Loch Ness. Not only will you be able to visit a charming town, but you may even catch a glimpse of Nessie.
If you have a couple of shoppers in travel your travel group, plan a couple of days in the capital city of Edinburgh. With world class shopping and eatery’s it is a great place to wrap up your perfect Scotland vacation.

With a little planning you will be able to make your trip to Scotland, the vacation of a lifetime.

This article was written on behalf of Turnberry Holiday Park

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Newquay Holiday Cottages – Feeling the winds of change

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Anyone who has been to Newquay lately will have noticed a distinct change in the air. Of course if you look out to sea, the glorious Atlantic rollers and acres of pristine sand that continue to make Newquay the surfing Mecca for which it is so famous, are still there. But I invite you to take a second and look – behind you this time, and take in a sky line that may not be quite what you would expect.

In the place of crumbling concrete and pebble dash soars a new breed of construction with towering cranes and steel and glass. Newquay has begun a Renaissance that strikes deeper than just a pretty face-lift; it is a town entering the world of Million pound penthouses, celebrity restaurants and luxury lifestyles – so what are the prospects of owning a holiday cottage in Newquay?

Well, there is and will always be a place for the traditional holiday cottages in Newquay, and many can still be found alongside their shiny new neighbours, and further back from the seafront where land is at less of a premium. Just as there is a place for the hostels and surf shacks to accommodate the purists that visit Newquay under no pretence other than to surf.

But at the other end of the rental spectrum are the luxury apartments with all mod cons and views to die for. Increasingly investors in rental property are looking to a new breed of self-catering accommodation in Newquay – to suit a new breed of visitor. Anyone looking to invest in property with holiday rental potential has to look at the market they are hoping to attract, and take into account the other changes taking place in and around Newquay, and they may find themselves moving away from holiday cottages as we think of them – and looking up.

Amongst all this optimism do lie some concerns – much of this development seems to be built on the “if you build it: they will come” principle, but will they? To what can this massive alteration and investment by attributed, and is it good news for the would-be holiday rental owner? Well after the initial interest in developing Newquay was established, it seems to have been self perpetuating ñ investment invites more investment, and success breeds success.

Newquay seems to have made a conscious decision to move onwards and upwards, literally. The development of residential buildings has been matched by the development of infrastructure, town centre and shopping quarter, communications and the aspirational lifestyle that Newquay exudes.

Newquay has cleverly made the most of the growing trend of UK residents looking for short breaks and last minute getaways. Vastly improved road, rail and even airport links have made Newquay far more accessible and opened it up to a much wider audience ñ one who wants to leave the office on Friday afternoon and catch a wave before dinner.

The draw of the celebrity chef should also not be underestimated – just look at Rick Stein’s influence in Padstow or ‘Padstein’ as it has been dubbed by some. Houses in this tiny fishing village are now far in excess of the average for the area, and rental property can command a sizeable premium. The pattern can be seen repeated again and again: Damien Hirst’s influence in the North Devon town of Ilfracombe; and Ludlow with its fleet of Michelin Star Restaurants have both enjoyed booms in popularity and prosperity due to the celebrity chef influence and Newquay it seems, is no exception. Jamie Oliver has established the fantastically popular restaurant ‘Fifteen’ just down the road in Watergate Bay, and Rick Stein (again) looks set to take over ‘Fistral Blu’ on Fistral beach. The impact on the number and type of visitors that the ‘Food Factor’ will attract is sure to be significant.

Critics of the changes in Newquay’s architecture and demographics may be justified in feeling that even the lower end of the market is becoming unobtainable, but perhaps would do well to remember the devastation to hit British coastal – including Newquay itself – when the Costas of Spain were opened up to the British holiday maker in the 1960’s. With budget airlines still operating at full capacity despite a shaky economy, sky high oil prices and the ever present threat of air born terrorism looming, Britain’s coastal resorts have to make themselves noticed and desirable something that Newquay is managing to do in spades. In fact it is even turning the low cost flight phenomenon to its advantage, with the major developments at Newquay Cornwall Airport.

All in all, things are looking pretty rosy if you can afford to invest in one of these new luxury apartments, but what if your funds don’t quite stretch to their luxury pricetags? Well, all may not be lost just yet. Yes: a penthouse in the Pearl Development will set you back over £1 million, but more modest options are available. Apartments in the Zinc Development start from £275,000 and a ‘Surfpod’ one bedroom apartment can be picked up from as little as £141,000.

Another option is to look slightly further back from the sea front where prices are more reasonable, but those with holiday rental in mind will have to consider that rental premiums will also be reduced. Polar extremes of luxury and budget look set to be getting further apart, and yet there does remain room for some middle ground. Essentially the range of markets for Newquay holiday homes is still wide open. The most significant changes being that the top end of the market is being maximised where previously it has been virtually non-existent.

There will still be call for the bargain basement accommodation – the hostels and surf-shacks will survive, because while there is surf at Newquay, there is still a significant market for them. Beneath the gloss and fashion and flashy restaurants are the fundamental reasons for Newquay’s popularity: the sea, the surf, the beaches and the spectacular natural scenery and they are here to stay.

By Cam Winston, holiday investment guru who recommends Newquay and the investment potential of holiday cottages in Newquay.

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Holiday in Newquay UK

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Today, Newquay has become a major tourist resort area in Cornwall. The primary reason for its success as a tourist town is it exceptionally beautiful coastline. The clean white soft and sandy beaches and the clear waters attract a lot of tourists in the summer. The town has everything that a tourist can possibly want. Along the beaches, there are accommodations of all types, from the simple bed and breakfast to the bungalows and luxury hotels.

Once on the beach, there are water activities which can range from simple tanning, sailing, fishing, and yes even surfing. Newquay is the surfing capital of Britain. The occurrence of powerful tall hollow waves and the sleek coastline have made it a surfer’s paradise. Fistral Beach is now a common place where international surfing competitions are frequently held.

Newquay also has something for the children and teenagers. There are horse rides, swimming pools, bowling arenas, tennis, power kiting, and a variety of indoor activities.

For those who want to explore the land, the coast of Newquay offers some of the most spectacular views of the beaches. The water in some areas is turquoise blue and crystal clear. Along the north side, there are tall cliffs with rugged edges. Inland, there are parks and well manicured gardens.

In the summer, music festivals are common and the entire town is packed.

For the individual who can’t sleep, Newquay has a terrific night life. Nightclubs, bars and discos are plentiful. Over the years, the town has built a reputation as the party town of the south, most famous for holding stag and hen parties. In the summer, all over town the music is loud, the people are friendly and the beer is readily available.

Getting to Newquay is relatively easy; one can come via train, bus or air. Newquay may be a small town but when it comes to holidays, you will be pleasantly surprised at what it can deliver.

Sky Bus – Helicopter to Newquay, Cornwall

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Things to see and do in Oxford

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There is more to Oxford than just a world renowned centre of learning. The city is awash with culture, architecture, shopping, entertainment and sport. Its situation is also ideal with London is just about an hours drive away and the beautiful Oxfordshire country side just on your doorstep.

Enjoy lazy summers days by punting along the river Isis. The hugely popular past time of punting along the river is the perfect way to relax and let the stress and strains of the day slip away as you float gently down the river. Reminiscent of gondola rides through Venice, it’s also one of the best ways to explore the city.

Oxford is fast becoming as famous for its literary creations and scenic film locations as its University. J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S Lewis were both university lecturers and were living in Oxford when they wrote there most famous works. A tour is available which will take you through the city to see the locations where they lived, spent their free time and visit the location that inspired them most. Film and TV fans will also find plenty to keep them busy. Scenes from the Harry Potter films where filmed throughout the city, the Universities ancient halls and colleges were used to recreate the wizerding school Hogwarts. The long running TV series Inspector Morse was filmed in the city. Tours are now available so that you can walk in the footprints of Morse and see the sights that have become so familiar to millions of us.

Oxford is a shopper’s haven. All the very best of the high street and department stores can be found in the main shopping streets of Oxford and its two shopping centres. Oxford also has a wealth of independent and boutique shops. Try exploring some of the smaller streets where you will find one-of gift shops jewelers, silversmiths and a whole host of shops selling most things you could ever think of. Some streets of note to explore include Gloucester Green with is open air markets and Golden Cross, the former square of a medieval inn where Shakespeare Players often performed en route from London to Stratford-upon-Avon.

The cosmopolitan city of Oxford can also boast great museums like the Ashmolean Museum, fantastic theater, Opera, live music and stand up shows, including spotting the stars of the future at a student production. There are also many bars and clubs to guarantee a good night out is had by all. It’s easy to see why oxford is one of the only areas in the country where house prices continue to rise.

This article was written on behalf of Martin&Co Letting Agent Oxford who deal with property letting in Oxford

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Discover Yorkshire

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Yorkshire is a land of contrast, from the miles and miles of stunning countryside, vibrant cities and market towns, magnificent stately homes and historic sites. Indulge your self with some shopping at some of the best shopping destination in the country; immerse yourself in a rich history with many fascinating historical sites or discover the adventurer in you with many walks, climbs and other sports on offer.

Cultural life in Yorkshire is blooming like never before. Take in a film at the Bradford International Film Festival showing some of the finest movies from across the world, marvel at the spectacular dance productions from the Northern Ballet Theatre and visit the fascinating David Hockney 1853 Gallery at Salts Mills. We even have some world class Opera to entertain from Opera North.

Throughout Yorkshire there are plenty of local fairs and festivals each with their own individual charm. Villages, towns and cities are transformed by colourful celebrations of events such as Chinese New Year, Festival of Food & Drink, which is nationally renowned, and a Roman festival celebrating the areas past where battles are reenacted and even chariot racing can be seen. Plenty more festivals are found throughout the region during the year, so keep your eyes peeled as there is always a festival just around the corner.

Get away from the daily grind of the rat race by heading to over 100 miles of stunning Yorkshire coast line. The varied coastline means that whether you are looking for golden sandy beaches, quite coves, rugged cliffs or picturesque fishing villages, you will find it hard to choose where to go first. Look for fossils on the Dinosaur Coast, take up surfing at a Scarborough surf school or take a relaxing fishing trip from one of the many fishing towns and villages along the coats.

Walk in Dracula’s foot steps when you visit Whitby. Famously Whitby was a location in Bram Stokers Dracula where the count first set foot on English soil. When you visit the town it’s easy to see why Bram Stocker was so inspired and wrote a majority of his book at a local hotel.

There is so much more to do in Yorkshire that you will have to keep coming back just to try and experience it all.

This article was written on behalf of Raven Hall North Yorkshire Hotel who are a country house hotel Yorkshire

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How to survive a rainy week in Cornwall with the family

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This year my family and I decided to take our annual holiday in England. When I say ‘my family and I’ I of course mean my wife who typically makes all the decisions in the house. My wife grew up in Cornwall and she has always loved the West Country, although I am sure she has grown fond of the Yorkshire Dales and the great shopping that Leeds offers her heart has always remained in the valleys and beaches of her childhood home.

I was happy to go with the decision as I think that ones home country can often be overlooked when it comes to holidays. There are plenty of gorgeous places to visit around Britain that residents of this country have never laid eyes on, and with cheap flights aplenty it’s not just about lack of cash that persuades people to stay ‘at home’ for the holidays.

Resorts around Britain have had to become increasingly competitive to survive the temptation of cheap flights abroad. 5 star hotels, spas and B&B’s in the English countryside have never looked so good and with the ‘green’ glamorisation of camping even roughing it has become a coveted experience. What with bespoke Cath Kidston tents and ‘eco friendly’ lanterns, camping’s gone chic.

I insisted on not camping because I have a bad back and so we rented a cottage instead. We ended up being very glad of this because from the day we got to Cornwall until the day we left it rained like God was trying to launch another Ark.

Yes reader I can hear you now, telling me what did I expect in dear England in summer but do you know what? I had an amazing time! I didn’t have to endure strap lines and sunburn and those ghastly flip flops that would make my back pain even worse, instead I got to spend some quality time with my family and really appreciate my time off from the daily grind of work.

The cottage we stayed in was lovely with a large fireplace and big windows that amplified the sound of the rain making it seem very cosy. We found lots of indoor activities that were great for the kids on Classic Guide’s website and we had some great nights out in the countryside by the open fire when the kids were in bed. You can’t get more romantic than that in my opinion.

In between showers we took fresh walks in the sand dunes at Gwithian Towans and along the cliffs to take in the sea air. We went out for lovely lunches and Cornish Cream Tea’s and spent the evenings playing cards and board games with the kids, something we rarely have time for at home.

I had the best sleep I have had in a long time and didn’t miss the sticky sandy sheets or the urge to have a shower every couple of hours to cool down. I really want to go back next year but obviously dear reader I’ll have to run that past the Mrs.

Sarah Maple. Tourist Information Cornwall when on Holiday Cornwall see Classic Guide.

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Why a holiday cottage is the best choice for you

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You can have a beautiful rental in the holiday destination of your choice. It will be in excellent condition, well-maintained for your comfort and enjoyment; and it will be at a reasonably affordable price.

If all of this sounds too good to be true, it is only because you have not yet heard about holiday rentals. These lovely rentals are owned by individual property owners, assuring you of both the finest quality and value. You could not possibly find a better choice for your holiday vacation.

If you are new to the concept of a self catering holiday, you may be wondering if renting one is a complicated process. Whether you are a seasoned traveler or whether this is to be your first major vacation, you will be glad to know that finding exactly what you are looking for is quite simple.

As soon as you have your destination in mind, you are ready to choose your holiday cottage. There are rentals to choose from; from a cottage in Scotland, Southern Ireland, New Forest, Cornwall, to a villa in Italy, and others. No matter where you plan to travel, it is likely that you will find the rental you want.

Self catering holiday rentals offer many options. First, as you probably know, having the accommodation that is right for your own particular needs is a very important part of ensuring that your vacation is a success. You have the option of selecting the specific type of property that you like the most, as well as the number of bedrooms suitable to you and your family.

As many people appreciate certain amenities as part of their vacation package, you will also have options such as swimming pools, golf and other activities, rentals which cater to smokers, and those which will accept pets. You can also find a holiday rental that is wheelchair accessible, if you or a family member has this special need.

You may love the thought of vacationing in a lovely cottage in Scotland, with the breathtaking views and atmosphere of a unique coastal village. Your taste may be for a villa in Italy, in a quiet setting where you can relax, yet fully accessible to all of the wonderful restaurants and shops. These are only a couple of the possibilities awaiting you when you opt for a self catering holiday rental. After you have tried this unique style of vacationing, you will never want to settle for a hotel again.

Lynne Kemmish is Managing Director of Holi-lets an Internationally renowned holiday property booking service for owners and holiday makers. Properties include self catering villas Sala Comacinato aself catering holiday cottage Isle of Skye Scotland and all types in between.

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50 essential items every Cornish girl should have

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Reading the paper this weekend I came across a funny little article in one of the magazine supplements. The article was entitles ’50 things that every British girl should have’. Thinking that I may uncover some useful information I began to read the feature. I quickly began to realise that this article was not completely accurate. It may have been better off titled ’50 things nearly every British girl should have’.

You see, I am an English girl living in Cornwall but I would never dream of buying some of the things on the list simply because of where I live. This does not make me less English or less of a ‘girl’, it’s just because we Cornish girls just go by a different set of rules.

Read any information on ‘things to do in Cornwall’ and you will see what I mean. Every Cornwall holiday tourist information website gives you the advice to ‘bring sensible footwear’ and there is a reason for that, believe it or not!

When I read one particular item on the list was ‘brightly coloured stilettos’ I nearly fell from my seat. Brightly coloured stilettos? With all the cobbles and steep hills I would only buy these if I had a death wish or a bunion fetish. What if you get invited to a boat party or a spontaneous cliff-top rave? You won’t want to go in heels if you want to come back in one piece! I own just two pair of heels and they have to go with nearly every dressy outfit I own.

The emphasis in Cornwall is more about having fun than looking polished. It is better to be able to be spontaneous and adventurous than trapped inside your clothes all night. This is why I have devised my own list of 50 things every Cornish girl should own because there is no way we can let ourselves be lumped into one boring category!

A cool waterproof coat with a hood would be first on the list. Sea winds have the power to ruin any hairdo, even if it has been Elnet sprayed and Kirby gripped into oblivion. Number two would be flat or low heeled leather boots. Ankle or knee length you can where them into town, to a garden party, the cinema and even out to dinner. There you are, weatherproof and perfectly on trend.

This would be closely followed by sun glasses. Bright sun in the middle of winter is a common occurrence and there is no way you could survive a Cornish summer without them. They must be made by a well known durable company, fiddly nose bits that get stuck in your surf hair every time you push them off your face whilst driving through shady country lane is a big no thank you.

A car vacuum for sand is also high on my list. Whilst you live in Cornwall your car will never be free of sand. Ever! Even if you don’t set foot on a beach all year.

I have not quite finished the full list yet because there is so much to add. When I do I am going to publish it on my own blog page to be used as a real Cornish girls guide to their 50 essential items.

Sarah Maple is interested in Cornwall tourist information and things to do in Cornwall.

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Where to go when you already live in a holiday destination

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I recently returned from a holiday in Somerset. I have a friend who comes from the area and when he asked me how I found it and what I got up to, I smiled and cut straight to the chase, ‘the caves at Chedder Gorge are fantastic!’ At this point he began to smile. ‘Is it really?’ He replied. ‘I’ve never been, it’s for the tourists really.’

Consequently, this got me thinking. I’ve lived in Cornwall for 6 years now and I really haven’t made the most of the county being the prime holiday destination that it is. Take the Eden Project for example; it wasn’t until 2007 that I ventured the 20 miles to the eighth wonder of the world. And even then I have to admit that the draw for me was less than honourable.

I went for the ice skating.

My reasons for this are hard to pin down. One could presume that I am some kind of tourist-related anthropophobe, who simply can’t bear to mingle with those out-of-towners, all dawdling about, licking our ice-creams, and fuelling our economy with reckless zeal. Of course, this is not true. In fact, I believe the reason for mine – and my Somerset pal’s – inability to view our locality through a tourist’s eyes is due to two factors. One is quite simply to do with association, or familiarity to be precise. We associate the surrounding area with what we know well, and so there is a very little inherent excitement at the thought of playing in our own backyard.

But there are plenty of things to do in Cornwall. I know full well that the differences between a Somerset holiday and a Cornwall holiday are so slight (maybe the air temperature’s a little cooler?) yet I’m still subconsciously drawn to such aspects as the different place-names, the higher population, and the unmistakeable feeling of being a visitor.

Maybe my experiences of family holidays as a child have some bearing on this too? When I was nine I visited Disneyworld and wondered what it would be like to live next door. I could come here everyday, I thought to myself as we drove through Miami spilling pretzel crumbs onto the floor of our rented RV. But of course, once you’ve been on the Jaws ride four times it doesn’t take the novelty does begin to wear off.

Therefore I have decided to rediscover my own county. Even a quick browse of Cornwall tourist information highlights some starting points such as Tate St Ives, the National Maritime Museum at Falmouth and The Lost Gardens of Heligan. Cornwall deserves this old-friend status, like a schoolmate who reminds you of how you were the wittiest in Geography class. After all, what could be better than being surprised by what’s on your very own doorstep?

Sarah Maple is interested in Devon tourist information and things to do in Cornwall.

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