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    • GreyQueen
    • By GreyQueen 18th May 17, 6:45 AM
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    GreyQueen
    You can fit a sight on a straight bow.
    Originally posted by Bedsit Bob
    Don't need one - I've two functional eyes and am just as accurate as those shooting alongside me using sights on recurves and compounds.

    We've had a lot of rain late evening and overnight, am totally thrilled as it's been parched here and the farmers had the irrigatiors out but were still worried about the crops. I'm pleased for my allotment but will have to have the hoe out imminenetly as the weed seeds will come up like cress after this rain; have been having an easy time of it thus far because the drought has stopped many of them from germinating.

    Well, it hasn't stopped horsetail from sprouting but, then again, something with roots six foot deep isn't fretted by a little drought. Dadblasted stuff, I'm carrying out a mini experiment drying it out for burning later, thinking the silicate bound up in it might be a soil improver.

    Any thoughts on that from gardening wallahs?

    ETA; Just had the first email of 2017 from Blightwatch and it was talking about 'Hutton' periods instead of Smith periods, so a quick bit if internetting has revealed that the term has been replaced late in 2016 after further research revealed that late potato blight wasn't being adequately predicted by the Smith criteria (min temp 10 c, relative humidity at least 90% for 11 hours for two consecutive days) and now the criteria is the same but for 6 hours not 11).

    Interestingly, a convo a few weeks ago with a fellow allotmenteer whose plot is not 100 yards from mine as the wood pigeon flies, revealed that he'd lost a lot of his 2016 spuds to blight. I'd had second earlies and main crop lifted on 14/08/16 and no sign of blight whatsoever. Astonishing, it normally travels like plague - oh, hang on, I'm downwind of him in terms of prevailing wind direction, maybe that might explain it?!
    Last edited by GreyQueen; 18-05-2017 at 7:49 AM. Reason: To add a bit.
    Every increased possession loads us with a new weariness.
    John Ruskin
    Veni, vidi, eradici
    (I came, I saw, I kondo'd)

    • Witless
    • By Witless 18th May 17, 8:00 AM
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    Witless
    Astonishing, it normally travels like plague - oh, hang on, I'm downwind of him in terms of prevailing wind direction, maybe that might explain it?!
    Originally posted by GreyQueen
    Would that not increase the risk?
    • GreyQueen
    • By GreyQueen 18th May 17, 8:06 AM
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    GreyQueen
    Would that not increase the risk?
    Originally posted by Witless
    Posting at speed whilst eating brekkie; my thought was that the blight might have come in from the non-prevailing wind direction in that instance, thus making me less vulnerable in that incidence, sorry for not making that clear - I know what I mean, everyone else should, yes?!

    On further reflection, considering the placing of our plots and the compass points vs the usual approach of blight (from the south-west, I think) I would be in harm's way before this other plot-holder.

    So, I guess I just got lucky and my 7.5 kg of seed spuds turned into 130 kg + of harvest. My old Dad last saw a harvest like that in 1966.
    Every increased possession loads us with a new weariness.
    John Ruskin
    Veni, vidi, eradici
    (I came, I saw, I kondo'd)

    • Cappella
    • By Cappella 18th May 17, 8:29 AM
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    Cappella
    Greyqueen
    That's a good pull! I've never shot an American flatbow. In fact I haven't shot properly for many years though I do still go to the club from time to time. My bow's a recurve, but it's not one of the very technical ones, it's light and easy to assemble and I love it. I used to shoot classic bare longbow when we were in a medieval reenactment group in the 1980s - doubt if I could pull one now and certainly wouldn't get any golds. Your post really brought back memories.

    I don't know about adding horsetail ashes to the ground, nothing in MrCs organic gardening Bible either but surely the extra minerals would improve the soil - it makes sense? It's horrible stuff (though it does make great scouring pads for cleaning plot mugs and plates) and in 40 years we've seen in spread ever nearer to our plot. When we first took it on it was only on the allotments right on the furthest away edge of our site, now it's only 3 plots away!

    Blights always a problem here, last year we bit the bullet and grew sarpo varieties (mira and una) and although we were dubious about them being blight resistant they really seemed to be! They cropped well and kept well too. Not slug resistant though sadly Maybe your varieties stronger than your neighbours? That can make a difference.

    Off to the bees in in a minute. I've gone from having no computer time at all to suddenly having a free hour early in the morning again I'm making the most of it this week - can't see it lasting
    • kittie
    • By kittie 18th May 17, 10:51 AM
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    kittie
    I had a blightwatch e mail and quickly put two of my bucket-grown tomato plants into my wall greenhouse. I can only get two in with some space in between. Lol, part of my prepping is to grow less, I used to have 19 tomatoes in patio buckets, with the tomato rings, now only three. I am itching to get on the lottie today, this afternoon as washing is on. Went up yesterday late as it rained for 24 hours and pesky slugsand snails are at it, two celeriacs are eaten. I used nematodes earlier and my cabbages look a lot better than my neighbours but it only kills small slugs and not those horrible big ones, or any snails. I am going to do hands and knees weeding later, no point hoeing here as more rain is forecast this week and the soil is now so moist that weeds are just growing more roots as soon as the hoe cuts them. However I like the quietness of hands and knees weeding, I easily tackle one bed at a time so its not too daunting

    I have a hm wooden planter in the front and it is relatively difficult. I think I will get rid and order another big plastic one, to match one I bought last week. Its very nice and big enough for a small tree but I`ll be putting a drought mix in, lavender, pinks, semperviviums. The big troughs in the back have them and they are already stunning. It will mean minimal future care, I`ll just start collecting plastic shapes as I half fill with them first, then top with weed fabric, then put a soil mix in
    • Karmacat
    • By Karmacat 18th May 17, 11:00 AM
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    Karmacat
    My dads funeral yesterday all went well especially different parts of family not arguing , ashes are being interred in a couple of weeks in his local church where he was quite active..
    Originally posted by daz378
    daz, I'm glad it was okay and people weren't arguing. Good to think his ashes will be in a spot where he contributed so much.
    Retired August 2016
    • Cappella
    • By Cappella 18th May 17, 1:04 PM
    • 398 Posts
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    Cappella
    Daz- I'm so sorry I missed your post. Glad the funeral was argument free, it's a stressful time for you. X
    Last edited by Cappella; 18-05-2017 at 4:40 PM.
    • GreyQueen
    • By GreyQueen 18th May 17, 4:27 PM
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    GreyQueen
    Afternoon all.

    (((daz))) I'm glad the funeral went off as well as could be expected, these difficult occasions can cause ructions among the family. Thinking of you at this difficult time.

    I've dragged myself indoors and opened my post and, beggar me, but for the first time in the 10+ years I have dwelt in Shoebox Towers, a council block in one of the most deprived wards in England, I've been sent personally addressed electoral bumph from the T*%£s!

    Never before have they darkened my door with so much as a leaflet, never mind a canvasser. They're either hopelessly optimistic or are blanket-mailing every registered voter. I ripped out my address and the rest is going unread into the recycling bin any minute now.

    I'd like to see a tory canvasser down here, actually - just to see how fast they can run these days..........

    Cappella, 36lb doesn't feel like very much to me, although you can't hold the bow at full draw for many seconds I tend to point & shoot much faster than the recurve archers. Well, I have to get ready for the zombies or the re-invasion of La France; Azincourt v. 2.0 or Crecy Redux.

    What did you think of the Sarpo spuds in terms of flavour? I recall reading that some people loathed the earliest Sarpo cultivars and said they'd not bother with them again, the taste was so bad.

    This year I'm growing Rocket and Rooster, last year it was Desiree and Maris Peer. I don't have a particular plan, it's whatever I can buy (hi Wilk0!) without too much trouble or saddling the pushbike and riding miles and miles up hill and down dale.
    Every increased possession loads us with a new weariness.
    John Ruskin
    Veni, vidi, eradici
    (I came, I saw, I kondo'd)

    • MrsLurcherwalker
    • By MrsLurcherwalker 18th May 17, 8:50 PM
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    MrsLurcherwalker
    Talk about overthinking things, I had just taken supper out of the oven and went to turn it off when the knob I used just went round instead of turning it off! He Who Knows instantly said we'd have to turn off the power and disconnect the cooker (not a plug but a cable through the wall) and this meant taking the oven out of its housing, lifting it out and undoing nuts, screws etc. we did this, power back on, fridge back in place beside cooker unit and then.....he looked at the knob and a tiny bit of plastic inside has snapped and that's why it wouldn't turn the oven off and we could have just used a pair of pliers to turn the metal bar manually BOOHOO!!!!!
    Go forward with the vision even if no one else can see it!

    No amount of regretting can change the past, and no amount of worrying can change the future!
    • kittie
    • By kittie 19th May 17, 6:59 AM
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    kittie
    That made me chuckle MrsLW, honestly I am glad it was a minor problem but I could imagine all that heaving when all you needed was one small tool

    GQ, I grew sarpo a couple of years ago, they were trouble free and grew strongly but were horrible, turned to watery mush when cooked. I crowd funded those people a few years ago because they are doing something important but I would not grow those varieties again

    I have just been out to the front of the house and dealt with 6 big black slugs and one snail and the allotment beds are full of slime trails. I hand weeded a lot yesterday but also got the hoe out and did a bit of digging where the raspberries used to be, must be something wrong with that patch as the raspberries have all walked away.

    I am awful twitchy about the world economy at the moment, just gut feeling, last time was when I started the tough thread in 2006. My pension is a sipp inherited when my husband died and I have managed that since 2006. Yesterday I sold 2/3 of it, shares and funds. The sipp has got to last me a lifetime and just now I feel safer to have most in cash, so be it if the market keeps going upwards, at least I have drawn the drawbridge up
    • GreyQueen
    • By GreyQueen 19th May 17, 7:26 AM
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    GreyQueen
    Good morning.

    Very interesting about your decision, kittie, and I hope that your hunch is the correct one. These things are hard to judge but sometimes all you can do is observe the omens and act with instinct. By the time the answer is out there, it'll be a fire sale and too late to get a good price.

    I do feel that we're in the last stages of the bubble-of-all-bubbles in terms of the ridiculous valuations given to companies which have never, ever, come within a country mile of turning a profit and probably never will do so. The eventual reversal is likely to be something people will tell their grandchildren about with shock and awe.

    Plus, the prices of most assets are inflated beyond all reason. I think it will end badly and that an awful lot of people will get hurt as a lot of notational wealth will evaporate like dew on a summer's morning. I have a copy of Galbraith's The Great Crash 1929 sitting on the shelf in front of me, must get around to reading that soon.

    Well, I was just saying to my Dad yestereve that I may or may not get up to the allotment today at some point, it has been raining for about 14 hours now, very gently at present. I haven't seen very many slugs at all since my slug-a-geddon in 2013 but my plot was rife with those monsters the size of your thumb, I killed them by the hundred each day I was up there. I cultivate the soil by hand and usually have a robin accomplice snatching up any grubs and (hopefully) slug and snail eggs as I turn them up.

    I don't like to walk on my soil when it's very wet as I aim to keep it as fluffy as possible. A fellow plot-holder, who is from a farming family in another part of the county, was marvelling over the soil on our site, it has properties he has never encountered before. I did explain about it being a riverbed in ancient times, and that the silty elements cause both crusting in dry weather and slickness in wet, so the surface needs regular gentle tickling with a hoe or similar to break up the shell which forms.

    If you don't, water will bead and roll off any raised bits, quite remarkable to observe. Still, the waterbutts on the shed were getting low and will now both be brimming over, which is a happy sight.

    Interesting about the Sarpo spuds. I have long been fearful of the consequences for an uncontainable potato blight as this one plant is such a staple part of our diets. The Sarpos were the great white hopes, weren't they, but their palatability and cooking qualities have put a lot of people off.

    Hokay, onwards and upwards, mes amies. Have a good day.
    Every increased possession loads us with a new weariness.
    John Ruskin
    Veni, vidi, eradici
    (I came, I saw, I kondo'd)

    • Cappella
    • By Cappella 19th May 17, 8:14 AM
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    Cappella
    Kittie and GQ Our sarpos were ok. Una was nicer than Mira. Not great flavour wise but no worse than some supermarket varieties and although a little floury certainly didn't turn to mush when steamed. Hard to mash though, seemed to resist the masher, but fine when finally crushed. The plus point for us is that they genuinely resisted blight and kept well, and as we'd lost our whole crops of Desiree, Aran pilot, kestrel and Maris piper to the horrible disease three years running that was a huge plus for u. Weirdly has though pink fir apple which we grow in huge blue fruit pulp barrels (thank you here to the now demolished Robertsons jam factory) have never been touched by blight even when at its worst so, happily bcause we love the flavour, we can still grow those.

    Mrslurcherwalker Your post made me chuckle. Hope it's reparable though.

    kittie I've not done in the past, before, but now I always have emergency cash in the house. Despite Lloyds apparent return from the dead I just don't trust banks at all and I worry about our pensions a lot (job related). We opted to take the maximum amount we could as a lump sum, but even that's mostly in banks. My pantry is my most valuable bank, the last four weeks have made me realise that but I still DONT want to restock it to the extent that I used to. Zombies notwithstanding it's hard to know what to do for the best.

    Ah well, no point worrying, que sera sera! Better get the French beans put in and coffee grounds round the asparagus to keep the slugs at bay. MrC has never bought a coffee at Star***ks in his life, but he relieves them of tons of coffee grounds every month
    • mardatha
    • By mardatha 19th May 17, 8:18 AM
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    mardatha
    I think the same kittie, even if nothing happens in the near future I think everything has got a lot rockier. We're hingin on a shoogly peg !!
    • MrsLurcherwalker
    • By MrsLurcherwalker 19th May 17, 8:36 AM
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    MrsLurcherwalker
    Keep on doing what you're doing NOW! up the anti in all ways to make sure you've enough wood and food growing in the plots, keep those bees happy and producing honey and squirrel away as much processed preserves as it's possible to make. Make sure you've the house and stove in good order, make sure you've cool for hot weather, warm and also waterproof foorware and clothing, learn how to make what you need to live well if you don't know how now (soap would be useful), learn how to grow and use herbs for medicines (better than nothing if the NHS isn't there), learn first aid for yourselves (others too if needed), learn to sew, knit and weave and if you have the inclination how to spin wool for yarn, learn how to deal with whole animals/birds/fish in the fur/feather etc. and learn how to make the absolute most of everything you get, feathers for duvets and mattresses and pillows, fur for warm slippers, gloves, hats, even clothing and bed coverings (rabbit or sheepskin) and leather for shoes, clothes, bags, belts, harness, straps and all manner of useful things, learn WHO you are and what your personal skills are so also learn WHAT you are and those skills could be anything from growing food to story telling, from weaving to nursing the sick, from processing skins to making glue. The whole practical ways our forebears had passed down through the generations that we've almost lost in this instant push button, buy everything in and 'must have it all' needy world we have today.

    If society changes enough with the crash to end all crashes the money you've saved, the pots of cash for rainy days and the pensions will be of very little use to anyone BUT viable skills will be invaluable in making you a useful member of any society and will be worth far more than coinage in a barter society won't they?
    Go forward with the vision even if no one else can see it!

    No amount of regretting can change the past, and no amount of worrying can change the future!
    • MrsLurcherwalker
    • By MrsLurcherwalker 19th May 17, 10:56 AM
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    MrsLurcherwalker
    I should also throw into the pot ... if you're convinced that things WILL change and convinced that our lifestyles will have to adapt to what will be a poorer and less comfortable and cossetted way of living then NOW is the time to start to live as you can perceive the future to be, live as if the crash HAS already happened and become used to a much different lifestyle BEFORE it's forced upon you by circumstances beyond anyone's control. We do the scrounging for wood thing in fact this morning He Who Knows has collected 3 trailers full of oak branches, some big enough for us both to have to lift them, they were offered on freecycle last night and a tree surgeon who is taking them down has logged them up into moveable pieces. Our conviction that we don't use the central heating is part of being prepared to live in a cooler house before we either can't afford to use the heating or the electricity supply becomes erratic enough to not let it function or the gas supply is limited, erratic or too expensive as well. I think the impact of change is far less if you have time and the means to make the changes you can foresee before they are here with no alternative but to live them, it's a different mind set if you get there first! As part of a 'different' future too I'm planning to put several vegan main meals into the menu plan each week as I know we can produce enough to see us fed most of the time, we've cracked saving and drying our own beans now, done it often enough that I know what I'm doing and last years are still soaking and cooking up perfectly well to eat as are all the dehydrated fruit and veg I did last autumn, particularly the apples which are reconstituting better than bought ones do. If it's NOT a conviction then wait and see, we might ALL be on totally the wrong track but I'd much rather be there already if it DOES happen than playing catch up with the rest of the world!
    Go forward with the vision even if no one else can see it!

    No amount of regretting can change the past, and no amount of worrying can change the future!
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 19th May 17, 12:39 PM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    Each to their own on that - ie living at a lower standard voluntarily in case one is forced to subsequently.

    To me - it makes more sense to live at a normal standard and with the intention of carrying on doing so - whilst knowing how to "shift down a gear" if it should prove necessary at any point. My normal standard admittedly doesnt include having a car/satellite tv/smoking/eating meat anyway and is pretty modest.

    So I shall go on using central heating as normal and eating as I want etc unless/until "forced" to "shift down". It doesnt make sense to me to deprive oneself if there is no need - and so I don't. As I am a single person that has only ever had a poor income I've had to economise for decades anyway and I'm conscious that I've got a permanent reminder of that fact with the house I live in being a very different one to that I would have chosen if I had got married (ie 2 incomes coming in to pay for it).

    Not a fan of voluntary deprivation here...
    If there's "4 tendencies" type of people (Gretchen Rubin) = yep....Questioner type here
    - Meets an expectation only if they believe it's justified and resists anything arbitrary or ineffective
    • MrsLurcherwalker
    • By MrsLurcherwalker 19th May 17, 1:07 PM
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    MrsLurcherwalker
    How rude! it's our choice and our business and our take on life! I'm not advocating living in poverty in any case but IF and only IF it makes any kind of sense to anyone on a PERSONAL level to take a small step back from life as most people know it in 2017 and live a simpler and more sustainable lifestyle with what you have available it might make sense. I hope no one pictures us huddled round our candle flame with no lights on cooking a sausage to split between us on a jam jar lid!!!
    Go forward with the vision even if no one else can see it!

    No amount of regretting can change the past, and no amount of worrying can change the future!
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 19th May 17, 1:22 PM
    • 13,435 Posts
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    Each to their own on that
    Originally posted by moneyistooshorttomention
    *************
    If there's "4 tendencies" type of people (Gretchen Rubin) = yep....Questioner type here
    - Meets an expectation only if they believe it's justified and resists anything arbitrary or ineffective
    • Cappella
    • By Cappella 19th May 17, 1:24 PM
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    Cappella
    Mardatha what a brilliant and appropriate saying!!! (once MrC who comes from Carlisle had translated it for me and I understood it properly)

    MrsLW said
    up the anti in all ways to make sure you've enough wood and food growing in the plots, keep those bees happy and producing honey and squirrel away as much processed preserves as it's possible to make. Make sure you've the house and stove in good order, make sure you've cool for hot weather, warm and also waterproof foorware and clothing, learn how to make what you need to live well
    Those were two inspirational andexcellent posts MrsLW, thank you
    I was born and brought up on a smallholding in Lincolnshire, and we've tried very hard to keep the old skills my parents taught me alive in Manchester: they've stood us in good stead in the past when 'grow your own' and allotments were very unfashionable, and I wholeheartedly agree that they are still as valuable today.
    Economically things in this country are not getting better (and I notice that my basic shopping bills area up again this week.) I'm still planning to be as prepared as I can for whatever the future holds, but in a slightly different way. My cupboards will be restocked slowly, but I'm not stock piling in the SAME way I have done in the past. No more huge tubs of rice and pasta. I'll buy it whilst it's still in the shops, but if I can manage without it I will.
    MrsLW also said
    if you're convinced that things WILL change and convinced that our lifestyles will have to adapt to what will be a poorer and less comfortable and cossetted way of living then NOW is the time to start to live as you can perceive the future to be, live as if the crash HAS already happened and become used to a much different lifestyle BEFORE it's forced upon you by circumstances beyond anyone's control.
    I'm decided to do this by concentrating on making the most of what we can grow and produce ourselves, and that's meant switching to a much more seasonally based traditional(ish) British diet. My friend has a farm in Mottram, and gives us hive space and lamb in return for beeswax candles honey, jams and pickles; and we eat very little other meat. It's been interesting how very useful my older cookery books have become over the past months, and how many newer ones have ended up at oxfam because the recipes either just aren't sustainable longer term, or require up to 20 ingredients to create some dishes Just had a very good lamb (bartered), potato (bought) and spinach (well it was our own perpetual spinach and leaf beet really but still fine) made with our own frozen tomatoes so it's more than doable. It's keeping my brain active too and I'm really enjoying the challenge. Still buying fruit, but looking at ways to use things like orange and lemon peel (makes a reasonable marmalade with grated carrot) and trying Not to feed the chickens and dog anything we could eat ourselves. This is hard, because the heart problem means I'm on a low fat/sugar diet so a lot of 'leftover' options aren't good ones, and I'm not completely succeeding but the ginger ninja is definitely getting far fewer doggy meat treats and isn't thrilled ) Asparagus quiche for tea, with cold greenhouse grown new spuds and a green salad so no one can say it's boring - well, except MrC who isn't fond of asparagus.
    To be honest it's how we used to live when the family was growing up, I've always cooked fresh food from scratch, but it's good to be going back to it after a difficult few years, and hopefully it will be well worth the time I've put in recently on the allotment. I just tell myself we're lucky to be able to gyo still, so many of my friends have serious health issues and for them the price rises are really frightening.

    Good grief!! I've written a short book. Off to hoe and acquire artichoke plants - they're growing like mad on an unused plot near ours and it would be a crime to waste them
    Last edited by Cappella; 19-05-2017 at 4:08 PM.
    • maryb
    • By maryb 19th May 17, 2:22 PM
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    maryb
    I'm genuinely torn. I also don't like the way the world is looking and yet I have a feeling that the prepping I did back in 2008 isn't necessary any more. My cynical side tells me I could be the last bear capitulating which would guarantee a crash, lol

    In practice I can't go back to how I was and I'm still pretty well stocked. But I seem to be balancing thriftiness and prudence at a day to day level with splurging a bit more on having experiences while we can. Part of that is a feeling of how the years are advancing and we simply won't have the oomph in our 70s

    I do hope house prices start to fall soon. I keep thinking they must but all that seems to be happening is that people are holding off putting their properties on the market. I don't want to see people wiped out the way they were in the early 90s but it's not good when so many people can't afford the decencies of life like a place to live
    It doesn't matter if you are a glass half full or half empty sort of person. Keep it topped up! Cheers!
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