Reflections Blog

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Pasta had not been invented.

“Kebab” was not even a word, never mind a food.

A take-away was a mathematical problem.

A pizza was something to do with a leaning tower.

Oil was for lubricating your bike chain not for cooking.

Olive oil was kept in the medicine cabinet.

Spice went in Christmas Cakes (and so did peel).

Herbs were used to make medicine - I think!

All crisps were plain.

All soft drinks were called pop.

Rice was a milk pudding, and never, ever, part of our dinner.

A Big Mac was what we wore when it was raining.

Figs and Dates appeared every Christmas, but no one ever ate them.

Coconuts only appeared when the fair came to town.

Dinner consisted of what we were given and not negotiable.

Leftovers went in the dog.

Only Heinz made Baked Beans.

Sauce was only brown or red.

Eating raw fish was called madness, not Sushi.

The only ready meals came from the fish and chip shop.

Frozen food was called ice cream.

None of us had ever heard of yoghurt.

Brunch was not a meal.

Cheese only ever came in a hard lump. 

Eating outside was called a picnic not Al Fresco.

Seaweed was not a recognised food.

Eggs were not called ‘free range’ they just were, and the shells were white.

Pancakes were only eaten on Pancake Tuesday - it was compulsory.

The term ‘oven chips’ would not have made sense at all.

Prunes were purely medicinal.

Pineapples only came in chunks in a tin.

Garlic was used to ward off vampires in films, but never to be eaten.

When I read the above it made me smile and brought back other memories from that era.  It also made me realise how far we have come in so many ways......

Clare Reid

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Progress continues to plan with the heating pipework for our future heating system installed.  Our thanks to Stuart Mc Donnell for his knowledge in designing the system and for him and his team for the installation.  Again, ably supported by some members of our community who can now add assistant heating engineers as well as Kango hammer operators to their cv’s!

We prepared the form work with thanks to Damien Bernard for his thoughtful help and we then welcomed a rather oversized Limecrete mixer lorry that ended up in the church field.  The team of 5 guys from The Limecrete Company did a great job to give us a level screed as a base for our tiles.  We now await the screed to cure before we take the next big step but in the meantime our handmade Norfolk Pammett tiles have arrived.

                                                                                         Paul Harding

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Bible Study Group


Bible Study Group meetings will take place on Wednesdays 1st, 15th and 29th June.  We meet at 2.30pm. at Oakhurst (behind Kingshott School) home of Margaret Edmonds.  We will be starting a new study of the First Book of Samuel.  Refreshments are served after the meeting.  Come and join us - all welcome.

For further information please contact Margaret Edmonds (01462-452340) or Clare Larsen (01462-453541).

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LOOKING BACK - LOOKING FORWARD, A Thought from Revd Paul Lanham


I shall refrain from writing directly about the Jubilee, albeit with reluctance.  Since it takes place at the start of the month it will be in the past after a few days and we will look back on it rather than forward towards it.  June for me means summer and my favourite month - apart from those irritating examinations at school and university that were the bane of my life.  And in June we start those endless Sundays after Trinity.

>Someone once came up with the idea of replacing Sundays after Trinity with Sundays after Pentecost but fortunately it never caught on.  In a sense it was a good idea.  Pentecost speaks of power and life, of creation and re-creation.  Trinity speaks of incomprehensible theology and deadness ('Firmly I believe and truly God is Three and God is One' - try working that out and weep at its impossibility).  And yet there is something timeless about it.  Once Trinity Sunday is over there are these twenty plus weeks that go through the summer and into autumn until the first frosts start to encroach.  Trinity reminds me less of theology and more of my boyhood in the village near Gloucester where my father was Rector.  I was brought up in the vast ancient rectory, walking the dog in the fields, sitting under trees, watching the farm at the end of our lane or wandering for miles in neighbouring villages on my bicycle - summer seemed never ending.  Then there was Geoff Green the organist playing Bach after the services as though he were playing to thousands in a great concert hall rather than to the forty or fifty in a village - it began my love of that music that will never die.  Quedgeley is now a vast housing estate but in those days it seemed an enormous rural playground (we left in 1961 and I have vowed never to return to see how it is now).  All that remains of those heady days is memories and a road named after my father long after we had gone and the developers had wrecked the area. 

Some of us may look back in this vein in the past with similar nostalgia, especially about the Church as it once was.  It may also leave us with a certain apprehension about how organised religion is developing and how it is viewed.  The past 70 years have seen enormous changes in the Church of England.  A lot of it has been positive but I am not sure that it has all been gain.  We are constantly being told of the threats that confront us. Yet there is so much energy, so much positiveness in Church life today, in spite of these threats and especially the decline in numbers.  We must be positive and remain positive.


When I was appointed in 1974 to my first Vicarage in darkest Accrington (of Stanley fame - the place exists beyond a football team!) my Rural Dean gave me two pieces of advice which apply not only to individual clergy but to anyone who cares about the Church and its members.  The first was to pray at the start of each day that I should have my priorities right.  The other was that faithfulness was more important than results.  I have never forgotten and have tried to live by them throughout my ministry.  But the advice is as timeless as it was when a young queen ascended to the throne 71 years ago and when so many of us were young - and innocent! 

                                                                                          Paul Lanham

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FLOWER FESTIVAL - 27th 28th and 29th August


FLOWER FESTIVAL - 27th   28th and 29th August

A Flower Festival is planned for the August Bank Holiday weekend with a theme of illustrating the names of pubs using flowers and props.  The pubs can be local, one that you have visited or one that has an unusual name. We also wish to involve our parish community groups and to offer them publicity at the festival.  You do not have to be an excellent flower arranger, just keen to be involved and to create a fun and interesting display.  If you would like to participate, the fund raising group has lots of ideas if you are unsure of what to do.

To for more information, or to offer help, please contact Mary Hooper (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). 

                                                                                    Mary Hooper

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At the home of Audrey and John Burr

15 Grange Close, Hitchin SG4 9HD

10.00am. - 12 noon on Thursday 26th May

In aid of Send a Cow

Please come - and bring your friends and help rural 

families in Africa to grow their own futures

       Audrey Burr

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Sunday 15th May - 2.00pm. - 4.00pm.

As you know we are no longer doing a door-to-door collection for Christian Aid in St. Ippolyts so I thought I would have a “Tea and Cakes” afternoon.

Everyone is invited to 1 Ash Drive to enjoy a slice of cake, a cuppa and (hopefully) some sunshine in the garden to raise some money for this very worthwhile charity.

Donations of cakes or raffle prizes would be very welcome, just let me know what to expect!  I look forward to seeing everyone.

       Barbara Thomas

        This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  (07443-228468)

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In 2005, after many years wondering about it, I decided at last that I wanted to volunteer abroad.  So I started looking into it.  Eventually I found a company where you could go for 1 month or 3 months.  I decided on 3 months as I thought that one month would not be long enough to contribute anything.

They had placements in various parts of the World and all looked tempting but eventually I chose Ghana and the start date was January 2006.  I set off with a mixture of excitement and terror!  I arrived in Accra and was met by a driver.  Besides myself and two others from the UK the other volunteers were all from America.

I had chosen to go to a small fishing village called Woe.  We were taken by local bus to the school where I was volunteering with 3-4 year olds.  The children were great and all happy to come to school - they usually arrived at school before the local bus got me there and ran to meet me and drag me into the classroom.  Depending on what they were learning, we were either in the classroom, or if they were being read to, outside under a large tree for shade, usually after lunch.  They were taught in a mixture of English and their local dialect.

The way of life was simple - no television, usually not enough signal for a mobile phone, no internet access so I couldn’t send or receive emails and it was total bliss!

Five of us decided to take the last two plus weeks off and hire a van and driver to take us round Ghana.  This was amazing - seeing so many different aspects of Ghana from region to region, punctures galore from going down potholes, different dishes, staying at a game reserve where one elephant would come every morning to drink from the fresh water swimming pool, the monkeys who stole all my washing off the line and strewed it all around the camp, hearing the local folklore handed down from generation to generation but never written down, the vibrant colours of their dresses and outfits and above all, their innate friendliness, kindness and interest in us.

A remarkable 3 months and if it hadn’t been for my two lovely dogs and obvious commitments back home, I would have been very happy to stay far longer!

                                                                                          Clare Reid

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The next Bible Study Group meetings will take place on Wednesdays 4th and 18th May.  We meet at 2.30pm. at Oakhurst (behind Kingshott School) home of Margaret Edmonds.  We will be continuing our study of the Letter of Paul to the Galatians.  Refreshments are served after the meeting.  Do come and join us - all welcome.

For further information please contact Margaret Edmonds (01462-452340) or Clare Larsen (01462-453541). 

                                                                                 Clare Larsen

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EVENSONG WITH SUPPER - Sunday 15th May at 6.30pm


We thought it might be a nice idea to follow on from our Evensong service at St. Ippolyts Church with a light supper to give people a chance to chat and catch-up with one another.  If you haven't been before then Evensong is a sung service using traditional language and lasting around 45 minutes.

Supper following our service on Sunday 15th May at 6.30pm. will be quiche and salad and a dessert.  It would help to know numbers so please either sign up on the sheet in church or let Reverend Ginni know by email or phone.  There is no charge for supper.

                                                                                    Reverend Ginni

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ASCENSION ? A thought from Revd Paul Lanham.



Writing this at Eastertide reminds me of a scene in the film 'The Greatest Story Ever Told' (the one where John Wayne as the centurion at the crucifixion immortally drawls the words 'Truly this was the Son of God' as only he could).  The disciples have fled from the crucifixion and stand beside the Sea of Galilee.  A stone is thrown into the water and the ripples flow silently outwards in circles, graphically showing their sense of helpless despair and confusion.  It is memorable in its understatement.

May 2022 marks part of this six week period where the disciples seem to be in limbo.  Jesus was still alive but His ministry with them is clearly in transition;  we know so little of what happened in those days, but then at the Ascension Jesus parts from them (we mark it this year on Thursday 26th May).  The way is then set for the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost and the start of all that follows.

We speak of Jesus in terms of ascending into heaven, just as we speak of Him rising again from the dead.  We use the word because we have no alternative.  Going up is the alternative to going downwards or sideways;  they are as much about the spirit of their direction as their physicality, the direction as much of why it took place as how it took place.  Just as Jesus physically died and rose again, so He left this earth physically in some way that we do not understand.  In both cases the meaning of the events speaks as well as what actually happened.

For us this represents a problem, summed up by the first astronaut, the good Communist Yuri Gagarin.  When he reached orbit it is said that he radioed that now he could prove that God did not exist because he had gone up and there was no heaven to be seen.  One of the problems lies in the conflict between religion and the way we are trained to think.  Everything today has to add up, to be rationalised, to be logical.  Religion however speaks of faith.  So we must convince the world of something that we cannot prove and cannot understand.  How could Christ (as God made man) physically die and physically rise again?  How could He leave this earth alive into that state which we call heaven (whatever that is)? April and May seem full of confusion and mystery and while it is arguably the most beautiful month of the year it is also perplexing for those who believe (or try to believe).


Or is it?  During these warm summer months I may be found on our swing seat on a dark evening, gazing up into the sky - and pondering.  What lies beyond what I can see?  Does space go on for ever and if not what lies beyond it?  This to me is the start of an exploration into faith.  Because I cannot understand what lies beyond what I am looking at, it does not mean that it does not exist;  it tells me that my mind has human limitations.  It recognises that fact is not the answer to everything and we have to accept that such limitations exist.  My favourite passage of the Bible is the closing chapters of the Book of Job.  Job has been seeking answers to what has happened to Him with ever growing intensity.  Suddenly the Lord answers Job out of a whirlwind, claiming the right to be mysterious and not to answer Job's questions.  The book closes with Job finding peace in not having answers, that he must love and believe. 

                                                            With my very best wishes - Paul

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Please would anyone who would like to remember a loved one at Easter make a small donation towards the cost of our Easter lilies.  Donations can be placed in the envelopes provided at the back of the church.  Print the name on the envelope and Reverend Ginni will read out all the names on Easter Day. 

Please give your envelope to Jane Veasey either at church or deliver to Gosmore Cross, Newlands Lane.  Or deliver to Carol Scott, Bow Cottage, Gosmore.  Thank you all!

             Frances Williams

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Decorate the church for Easter on Saturday 16th April from 9.30am


Come and help us decorate the church for Easter on Saturday 16th April from 9.30am.  Everyone welcome to bring flowers to arrange in the church and pre-arranged baskets will also be appreciated.  Please don’t forget to come and remove your arrangements and containers when the flowers have faded.

                                                                                     Frances Williams

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The next Bible Study Group meeting will take place on Wednesday 20th April.  We meet at 2.30pm. at Oakhurst (behind Kingshott School) home of Margaret Edmonds.  We will be continuing our study of the Letter of Paul to the Galatians.  Refreshments are served after the meeting.  Do come and join us - all welcome.


For further information please contact Margaret Edmonds (01462-452340) or Clare Larsen (01462-453541).

                                                                                       Clare Larsen


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MUSICAL MEDITATION IN LENT - The Jubilate Choir 6th April


A remarkable piece of music, written over 260 years ago

to accompany the solemn services in Lent in Cadiz Cathedral, is to be performed in St. Ippolyts Church as part of our own Lenten celebrations.

Joseph Haydn’s “PASSION”, based on the SEVEN LAST WORDS of Christ on the cross, is a poignant and emotional piece which will be performed, not as a concert but, in the form of an hour-long musical vigil. 

The Jubilate! Singers, directed by John Edwards, will be performing this beautiful cantata on Wednesday 6th April at 7.00pm.  Please join us for this unique service of music and silent reflection.

It is sure to be a very special evening and NO TICKETS REQUIRED.  There will be a retiring collection in support of those affected by the war in Ukraine.

                                                                                             Ginni Dear

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April Services and Events




9.15am.           Holy Communion           St. Ippolyts Church

11.00am.         Holy Communion           Great Wymondley Village Hall


6.00pm.           Compline                          St. Ippolyts Church 

     (also live-streamed to Facebook)


6.00pm.           Compline                          St. Mary’s, Little Wymondley 

     (also live-streamed to Facebook)


6.00pm.           Compline                          St. Ippolyts Church

     (also live-streamed to Facebook)


11.00am.         Chrism Eucharist                              St. Albans Cathedral

6.30pm.           Holy Communion with Washing of Feet

                                                                                 St. Ippolyts Church


2.00pm.           Good Friday Meditation                   St. Ippolyts Church

This service will last approximately one hour and include a mix of Bible readings, poetry and music.  It will be led by The Reverend Paul Lanham.


10.00am. - 11.00am.   Children's Easter Workshop    St. Ippolyts Church

2.00pm. - 3.00pm.      Children’s Easter Workshop and Easter Egg hunt

    Great Wymondley Community Garden

7.30pm.                       Easter Vigil            Great Wymondley Churchyard

Wrap up warm and bring a chair as we gather in the churchyard around the fire to hear the story of Easter.



8.00am.           Holy Communion (BCP)         St. Mary’s Church,

     Little Wymondley

9.15am.           Easter Holy Communion         St. Ippolyts Church

Join us for this joyful service of celebration, which will be followed by fizz, cake and an Easter Egg hunt for the young and the young at heart!!  There will also be an Easter Bonnet parade with a prize for the winner - get making those bonnets!!

MONDAY 18th APRIL - Bank Holiday

11.00am. - 1.00pm.     St. Mary’s Church Café and Easter Egg Hunt

         St. Mary’s Church, Little Wymondley

Come along and join us for tea/coffee and cake, catch up with friends and neighbours.  There will be an Easter Egg hunt for the youngsters.


9.15am.           Holy Communion                           St. Ippolyts Church

11.00am.         Parish Praise    Great Wymondley Community Orchard

Bring our own chair.  There’ll be cake!!



4.00pm.                Annual Parochial Church Meeting

         St. Mary’s Church, Little Wymondley


7.30pm.           Annual Parochial Church Meeting

              St. Ippolyts Church


6.30pm.           Annual Parochial Church Meeting

       Great Wymondley Village Hall

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LIGHT CONQUERS DARKNESS - A thought from Revd Paul Lanham


Whenever I read St. John's account of the Last Supper I am struck by those words as Judas Iscariot leaves the room to betray Christ - 'And it was night'.  There can be so few words with so much meaning.  The darkness is physical but it is full of tragedy and menace.  There is the darkness of the disciples who feel the atmosphere of impending tragedy but cannot understand what is going on.  Then there is the darkness of Jesus facing Gethsemane - the realization of what lies ahead and how He can resist that ultimate temptation there before the final journey to Calvary.  Then there is the darkness of Judas Iscariot who I am sure is a far more complex figure than he appears in the Gospels.  'And it was night';  you can feel the dark evening air as the figure hurries out of the room, a robe around him, the moonlight casting eerie shadows.

If I am fascinated by Judas then I am also fascinated by the crowd in the days before the crucifixion.  We see them crying out for Jesus as King when He enters Jerusalem on a donkey - yet within a week they are baying for His blood.  If ever there were an example of mass hysteria this is it, but there is also evil reflected in their change of heart.  The priests achieve their evil ends by manipulating the mob but they need the mob - and the mob plays a part with the priests by forcing Pilate to condemn Christ.  They surely represent a hypocrisy that is breath-taking.  I know that this is an over-simplification of the events that week but it stares us in the face and makes the crowd as guilty as the priests and Pilate in what happened at Golgotha.  So to look at that period is to see both a tragedy but also a reflection of so much darkness, so much evil, so much of the image of fallen man.  The cumulative darkness and the cumulative evil become focussed on an innocent Man hanging from a cross, God made man.  It is indeed night in those 24 terrible hours.

And yet darkness is only darkness if it is seen in the context of light, for without darkness there cannot be light.  This is what April means in 2022.  For death is followed by resurrection and without resurrection there cannot first be crucifixion.  This theme is in the first few words of the Bible as light emerges from darkness, just as in the physical sense the dawn follows the night, and winter changes to spring.  At the heart of Christ's death and resurrection is the contrast between the two themes and the victory of the one over the other.  Light conquers darkness.  Healing binds up wounds.  Love overcomes hatred.  Life conquers death.  These things, what's more, are eternal, that love, light and life are all conquering, they will always reign.  This is what this month is all about.  This lies at the heart of the Easter message of hope. 

                                                Wishing you all a Happy Easter - Paul Lanham

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St Ippolyts Parish Hall The 24th Annual General Meeting - Wednesday 23 March 2022

St Ippolyts Parish Hall The 24th Annual General Meeting of the 1998 St Ippolyts Parish Hall Charity to be held on Wednesday 23 March 2022 at 7.30pm in the Committee Rooms. AGENDA 1. Apologies for absence. 2. Approval of the minutes of last AGM held on Tuesday 23 March 2021 on Zoom. 3. Matters arising. 4. Chairman’s Annual Report. 5. Trustees’ Report & Financial Statement for year ended 31 December 2021. 6. Appointment and election of management committee: a. Election of Charity Trustees (4 positions). b. Appointment of Charity Trustees (2 positions). c. Co-option of Charity Trustees (2 positions optional). 7. Appointment of Independent Examiner. 8. Hire charges. 9. To consider any other business raised by user group representatives. 10 Date of next AGM. Diary dates: Management Meeting on Wednesday 15 June 2022 at 7.30pm. Management Meeting in September date to be arranged. Christmas Fair with User Groups on Saturday 26 November from 2pm to 4.30pm. For enquiries, please contact Sam Kelly, Bookings Secretary, on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 07389-891417 or visit and/or Facebook.

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Daffodils, a thought from the Revd Paul Lanham

DAFFODILS I've always especially loved daffodils. For a start they are the symbols of spring and after the winter that is as good a reason as any. They have a kind of golden dignity and they quietly keep on going, year after year. They also don't take any maintenance - while I annually toil on the second Tuesday of March pruning the roses (a ritual, weather permitting) the daffodils just stand up and glow at me. Somehow March looks forward in a way that doesn't happen at any other time of the year. Daffodils also remind me of the Lake District and William Wordsworth. 'I wandered lonely as a cloud that floats on high o'er vales and hills, while all at once I saw a crowd, a host of golden daffodils'. When we lived in industrial Lancashire in the mid-1970’s we often drove sixty miles, walked ten miles over the fells and returned in the evening, with petrol costing three gallons for £1 (remember that?!). One particular walk will never leave me, during a post Easter break about 45 years ago. We escaped the crowds on a brilliantly sunny Sunday, leaving Buttermere to the Scarth Gap and Haystacks. We worked our way round towards the Honister Pass and set between two ranges of hills and at our feet there was a breathtaking view to Buttermere, Crummock Water and Loweswater. Behind us was the Scafell range, the highest peaks in England. The silence was almost deafening. Nobody else was in sight and I could feel God around us in a way that I have never felt since then. Of course there had to be a let down because the crowds had gathered at the foot of the pass on our return. I wonder why I felt so smug when one yelling child slipped and fell fully clothed into a pool. Very unchristian no doubt but I am sure that God had mischief in His eyes that day. Happy memories. We are tempted to confuse solitude with loneliness. Loneliness is a curse of our times. There are countless people who just want a voice, someone knocking at the door - someone to care about them, to matter to them. Loneliness is brutal, it speaks of nobody caring about them. Solitude is about pausing and listening to our inner selves and what is spiritually around us. It is about tuning into the world around us, into God. 'What is life if full of care we have no time to stand and stare?' wrote the poet W. H. Davies. 2   As spring makes its welcome appearance after winter and we can look ahead to the summer with its warmth and long evenings we may remind ourselves of the importance of solitude and be willing to listen to silence and to listen perhaps too to God. For silence is arguably the most life affirming sound there can be, the most revealing one, the most peaceful one. To end a thought from a book I have just read telling of how the tomb of the Unknown Warrior was created. There was a quotation by one of my spiritual heroes, the Great War padre Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy. He wrote this: 'Love is eternal, death does not touch it. Morning gleams through the dark. Today - with me - paradise'. I used it recently when conducting the funeral of a dear friend; I leave it especially with you as the days start to lengthen and the air warms - but it applies to any day of any year. My very best wishes, Paul Lanham
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MUSICAL MEDITATION IN LENT - by the Jubilate Choir 6th April 2022

MUSICAL MEDITATION IN LENT A remarkable piece of music, written over 260 years ago to accompany the solemn services in Lent in Cadiz Cathedral, is to be performed in St. Ippolyts Church as part of our own Lenten celebrations. Joseph Haydn’s “PASSION”, based on the SEVEN LAST WORDS of Christ on the cross, is a poignant and emotional piece which will be performed, not as a concert but, in the form of an hour-long musical vigil. The Jubilate! Singers, directed by John Edwards, will be performing this beautiful cantata on Wednesday 6th April at 7.00pm. Please join us for this unique service of music and silent reflection. Ginni Dear
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