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[Travel] Grocery Shopping

A selection of food and drink souvenirs from Austria.

One of the things I love to do when we travel is to hit up the local grocery store even if we’re not self-catering. On our recent day trip to Rotterdam, I went into a grocery store and purchased a bunch of foods to try, but my pic of everything turned out too blurry to use for anything (sorry!)

Going to a local grocery store first of all can cut down on food costs while travelling. Even if you’re not self-catered, you can pick up snacks for your visit or in your room – a box of cereal bars that will last for 5 days is going to be cheaper than buying them in singles from the corner shop. Same with a bag of apples. Buying beer or other alcohol to drink in your room can cut down on your bar bills tremendously, and if your room has a kettle, you can stock up on tea, cups of soup, etc. And if you packed a spork and a set of nesting plastic boxes, you can even pack up your own lunches to take with you when you’re on the go.

Second, you get a better feel for the language if you’re in a foreign country and don’t have knowledge of the native language. Everything in a grocery store is labelled and sometimes there are even pictures of the item. For example, with a pile of lemons in Germany, you will see the word “Zitrone”. Now you know when you go out to a restaurant and see the word “Zitrone” on a menu the dish contains lemon.

I bought zitrone wafer cookies in Austria, and other flavours.

Third, it can help to get a flavour for local food. Check out the bakery section to see what breads and pastries the locals buy. Head to the deli section and see what meat (if you’re a meat eater) is popular. Look at the local beer options if you’re a drinker. And check out the chocolate aisle! Don’t forget buying chocolate at the grocery store will be a lot cheaper than buying it at a convenience store.

Our chocolate haul from Austria

Fourth, as you can see from my photos, bringing back food as souvenirs is fun! Feeling glum in the middle of Winter knowing your next holiday is months away? Break into some chocolate or make a bowl of soup. Giving food to friends and family is great too – everyone loves cookies and chocolate! Need a gift for a beer drinker? How about a few bottles of a local brew (space permitting, of course!)?

Fifth, if you’re really feeling homesick, or are travelling with children who might need a dose of “home”, you can always head to the grocery store and look to see if they stock a similar product or if they have an import aisle. Imported items will be expensive, but sometimes, you just need it. As an American now living in the UK, I can vouch for sometimes just needing a dose of “home” and yes, I have paid £2 for a single can of Root Beer.

And lastly, shopping in a grocery store can be fun! Check out this short video I made while Tim and I were shopping in a Billa store in Gmünd and at a MPREIS in Werfen.

Follow along on our Austria trip: http://www.blog.beccajanestclair.com/2016/08/travel-austrian-road-trip-summer-2016/

Watch the rest of the videos here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDUaor7uXZQfPu6Un77YGHRkLMlPgKFp-

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Disclaimer: I received no compensation from products pictured in my photos or video, nor did I receive compensation from the shops visited.

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

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Turkey Hill Orange Iced Tea Copy Cat for PA ExPats

orange-tea-iced-tea I am from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Well, sort of. In that Lancaster Co was the last place I lived before I moved to the UK. I actually grew up in NJ, and now my mom lives in York, PA (where she grew up), so I don’t really go back to visit Lancaster except to hit up tourist places with Tim, but one thing Tim and I both love about visiting is getting to have Turkey Hill Orange Iced Tea. Turkey Hill started out over 85 years ago as a side business for a local farmer to sell his excess milk. Soon, it turned into a business of his own and his children added ice cream to the business, and then iced tea, lemonade, and other fruit-based soft drinks. Turkey Hill used to only be available in Eastern PA, and it was always a favourite. Soon it spread out and now I think Turkey Hill (at least their ice cream) is available in many of the larger markets in the USA. However, they have no plans to expand internationally (I’ve asked!) and no plans on creating a powdered form of their tea or creating concentrated drops (again, I asked!).

When my husband (at the time, only my boyfriend) came to visit me in Lancaster County in 2009, I introduced him to drinking iced tea. He thought it was a bit odd, but he soon found it refreshing on a hot day, especially when I then introduced him to the flavoured teas of Turkey Hill! The last time I visited the US without Tim, I brought him home a small bottle, and when we were last in the US in May 2015, Tim asked me if I thought I could re-create the flavour. AFter all, I had made a pretty good stab at re-creating favourite restaurant meals, so why not give flavoured tea a go? I told him I would try after we got home, and then I forgot and it soon became too cold in the UK to want iced tea.

Enter the current heatwave. ABout a week beofre we went away on holiday, I decided to do an experiment. There isn’t room in our fridge for a proper pitcher (excuse me, jug) of tea, but I wanted to have cold tea and not left out on the counter room temperature tea. Spying the squash bottle, I got the idea to make a “tea concentrate” and then add a bit of it to a glass to top up with tap water. It worked, and then my brain kind of went into overdrive and I managed to create the exact same flavour of Turkey Hill Orange Tea.

You Will Need:

10 regular tea bags (I used Tetley)
10 sweetener tablets (optional. You also could probably use sugar or skip the sweetener)
500ml boiling water (kettle)
500ml cold water
100ml Orange squash (I used Robinsons not double concentrate)
A heat proof measuring jug at least able to hold 500ml
A 700ml (approximately. ours might be 750) water bottle

1. Place 10 tea bags into your heatproof jug and fill to the 500ml line with boiling water from the kettle. Add in your sweetener tablets and let the tea steep for about 10 minutes.
2. Remove tea bags after 10 minutes and allow the tea to cool before putting it into the fridge (I transferred it into a 500ml bottle from Lakeland).
3. Leave the tea concentrate to cool in the fridge for several hours.
4. using your 700ml water bottle, add 100ml of tea concentrate, 100ml of Orange squash, and top up with water, giving it a shake or stir.
5. Enjoy the sweet taste of Lancaster County.

And if you follow Slimming World, this drink has 0 syns!

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DISCLAIMER: I do not work for Slimming World, I am not affiliated with Slimming World beyond being a paying customer/member, I get no personal benefit from writing this post other than the joy of sharing.

Please note: Syn values are based on my exact ingredients using the online calculator. Your Syn value may vary based on your ingredients and the size of your baking containers and portions, so use this number as a guide only. Syn values also frequently change, but these values are correct at the time of publication.

Turkey Hill image at the top of this post copyright Turkey Hill.

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

For full Copyright and Disclaimer, please read http://www.blog.beccajanestclair.com/copyright/

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Lincolnshire Sausage Festival

A few weeks back, Tim and I attended the Lincolnshire Sausage Festival, held on the castle grounds, sponsored by Tastes of Lincolnshire. I get a lot of comments from my friends living in other parts of the UK about how jealous they are that we have all these food festivals and they don’t, but well….that’s what Lincolnshire exports! We’ve got loads of farmland and lots of farm animals, so having lots of festivals makes sense.

Anyway. We didn’t really know what to expect at the Sausage Festival, other than some sausages, and we were really surprised at the number of stands, including our friends at Lymn Bank Farm and many of the other stalls I usually see on market day. In addition, there were many food stalls selling all sorts of local fare – sausage (naturally), Lincolnshire beef burgers, Lincolnshire lamb burgers, locally made candy and beverages…if it got made in Lincolnshire, I’m sure there was a stand for it!

We had a great time. There also was a cooking demonstration set up, where I met a fellow American volunteering. She has been in Lincoln for 5 years and tells me there are more of us around. And even funnier? This month’s Good Taste features Whoopie Pies, a PA Dutch treat! How ironic!

We tried several sausages and Tim wanted to try the Hog Roast – they had an entire pig on a spit. Tim said it was good, but I think he liked the Guinness sausage more.

I’m hoping we can make it to the Christmas Food and Drink Show at the end of the month.

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Are Organic Food Deliveries Worth It?

Recently, we started ordering organic vegetables from nearby Woodlands Farm. It seemed like such a great idea – having vegetables delivered, especially when we’re trying to lose some weight.

However, I’m starting to run into problems. We pay (well, as of next week when the new rate kicks in) £13 for a “Small Mixed Box”, which is a box with both fruit & veg. They have a section where you can state your dislikes (in my case, allergies), and if a dislike is on the list for that week, they will substitute with something else. Two weeks ago, both Leeks and Onions were on the list and as substitutes, we were given celeriac and cabbage. Neither of which I really have a use for, and so I’ve spent the week looking up ideas. I still haven’t found one for the celeriac.

We also received loads of potatoes, jerusalem artichokes, carrots, and parsnips. We use those veg all the time, but that week, not so much. Now that the second box has arrived (on Wed), I have even MORE carrots and parsnips than I know what to do with.

This week also brought a huge bunch (is it called a bunch?) of celary, bok choy (other than stir fry, no clue what to do with this, either), and TWO heads of broccoli (as subs for onions). Which is great, except that we had to throw out last week’s broccoli because we didn’t use it in time and it got fuzzy.

We do seem to go through the fruit in the boxes, though. And anything that’s made for going into a salad gets eaten.

So I’m at a conundrum. Do we…

– cancel the orders all together
– switch to a fruit box
– switch to a smaller mixed box
– switch to a “salad box”

The small fruit box costs £9. Next week’s box contains: mandarins, oranges, bananas, grapefruit, pears, apples, kiwi. With the exception of the grapefruit, all fruits I like, and fruits that would make my aunt’s fruit salad recipe.

The large salad box ( £13) will have: onions, apples, kiwi, celery, carrots, celeriac, lettuce, fennel, broccoli, and tomatoes.

The basic mix box (£9.95), which is smaller than the small mixed will have: potatoes, apples, pears, aubergine (eggplant), carrots, leeks, broccoli, onions, lettuce, bananas, and celeriac.

And I just can’t decide what to do. On one hand, the prices do seem a bit high. They claim to be competitive with getting organics at the grocery store, but if we’re getting veg at the grocery store, we don’t usually seek out the organics. On the other hand….we really want to support small local business!

If anyone has any suggestions on what we should do, I welcome the input.

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To Market, to Market

Several times a month there is an outdoor farmer’s market in Lincoln. Tim and I managed to go once last year while I was visiting, but many of the stalls had already closed for the day, so this time we made sure we got in by noon. There were about nine stalls. I don’t know if this is a normal amount or not, but I suppose I’ll find out as it gets warmer out. I did notice the windmill stall (sold bread & organic flour) was missing, so hopefully they will be there on a different day.

I’ve managed to misplace all the business cards, so apologies to the businesses if I skip links. I will be sure to post some links next time! (I also neglected to pull my camera out. Whoops!). There were three stalls devoted to meat, two to cheese, one for bread, one for fudge, one for jams/jellies, and one for organic veg. Oh, and there also was a stall selling ostrich burgers, so that actually makes ten stalls, not nine.

We were on a mission. Tim’s younger brother and his girlfriend were coming over for dinner this past Sunday, and a request had been put in for “giant Yorkshire puddings filled with bangers and mash”. We thought since market was on Friday, we’d scope it out and check out what options for fresh (and possibly bizzare/unique) sausage there was. I let Tim pick, since he and his brother (B) would be eating it. Brother’s girlfriend (M) and I decided we were going to have chicken, as bangers and mash just didn’t appeal to us. At the pork stall, Tim found some apple sausage as well as ale sausage. Reports are both were good…..I could smell the apples in the apple sausage while I was cooking them!

My second mission was to speak directly to the people at Woodlands Farm about their organic fruit and vegetable delivery service. I saw on their website that would deliver to our village on Tuesdays, and I wanted more information and needed to ask them about what to do in relation to my food allergies. The man we spoke with was really helpful and he had examples of the sizes of the boxes with him as well, so you could figure out what size box you wanted. We’re getting our first box today, along with a dozen organic free-range eggs. If we like it, we’ll be putting in a standing order.

Of course, we had to buy from the two cheese stalls. Our first stop was the Lymn Bank Farm stall. They had loads of tasty cheeses and offered you toothpicks to taste. If we had stayed any longer at their stand, we’d have eaten all their samples! We settled on three – Apple Smoked, Cranberries, and Double Barrel. We intend on working our way through the rest of their cheeses at some point. What we’ve had so far was super tasty! The other cheese stall was the stall for Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese, a regional speciality. They also made several varieties and let us sample each before deciding on their Barrel Poacher (a strong, sharp cheese). According to their website, they even sell in the US (at Zingerman’s of all places and a few places in Philadelphia, too) and you can mail-order it. I highly recommend it!

Just around the corner from the organic vegetable stall was a jam and jelly stall. Unfortunately, I can’t remember their name other than it had the word sin or sinful in their name. I’ll get a link next time. We chatted a bit with the two ladies who ran the stall, and it turns out the one was married to an American and she knew exactly which jar I was headed to (pickles!). We also picked up a cranberry and orange marmalade, and something called Banofee Jam. Ah, they’re called Saints and Sinners. Helps if you check the labels of the jars you bought!

The last stall we gave our business to was a stall selling Lincolnshire Plum Bread, another regional favourite. I hope I’ve got the link right, as I’ve thrown out the paper from the loaf! The bread is quite tasty, but it’s more of a dessert or snack bread than something I’d want to eat a sandwich off of.

Oh, no, I lie. We also stopped at the ostrich burger stall. Tim tried it last time and thought it was tasty, so that became Lunch. We also discovered they sell kangaroo meat, so we might have to try it out.

After the market, we happened to be walking past the Corn Exchange market and I suggested checking out the meat stand in there. Turns out, it was a great idea, as they were selling 3 packs of bacon for £5. It’s turned out that each pack has had 12 slices, so that’s a lot of bacon for very little money!

If you’re ever in Lincoln, be sure to check out the farmer’s market:

Lincoln Farmers’ Market 1
Where: City Square [This is the area right outside of Wilkinson’s as you walk along the river]
When: 1st Friday of every month, 9am–4pm

Lincoln Farmers’ Market 2
Where: High Street [Usually the stands are set up in the open space near Barclays Bank]
When: 2nd Wednesday of every month, 9am–4pm

Lincoln Farmers’ Market 3
Where: Castle Hill [I haven’t been here yet, but I imagine it is in the area between the castle and cathedral]
When: 3rd Saturday of every month, 9am–4pm

[information taken from the Times Online]

Here’s a picture of our haul:
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Tim’s uncle passed away yesterday, and before I get back to blogging about trips and things, I wanted to post about meeting him. We stopped by “on our way” to Liverpool and Blackpool to see him. We were expecting to stay for maybe a half hour before he got too tired for visitors, but he managed two and a half hours before we bowed out to leave. I had never met him before, and I think Tim was a little nervous for me meeting his uncle while he was so ill, but I’m glad I got the chance to. While we were there, he pulled out all his old 45s and showed them to us and played a few…at eardrum breaking volume! He had pretty much every single 45 the Beatles released….in original mint condition. It was absolutely amazing to look at his collection and hear him tell us about it and ask his wife (Aunt C) to put on a few records for us.

I’m glad Tim got the opportunity to see his uncle, and I’m glad I got to meet him. Tim’s dad told us he really enjoyed our visit, and that’s what counts.

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English Breakfast

I made an English Breakfast the other day. It started out as me wanting eggs and offering to make some for Tim, and then Tim suggested we make sausage (and veggie sausage). We needed more bread and by the time Tim got dressed and went to the store, it was late in the morning and we had things we wanted to do for the day, so he suggested we turn it into brunch and “pad it out” a bit with some baked beans (which is part of a traditional English Breakfast) and then I suggested we add in the grilled tomato as well.

Thus, I cooked an English Breakfast:



Tim has half a veggie sausage on his plate…he liked it better than I did!

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Restaurant Review – Boston Pizza

Today as I was going through the sales fliers figuring out food for the next 9 days a coupon for Pizza Hut fell out, and of course, that made me want pizza.  Pizza is probably my favourite food, and when I was in college I practically lived off of Pizza and Subway.  Since Pizza Hut is a US company, I vetoed the idea, but I looked up a menu for Boston Pizza to see what they offered and to see if I could afford it.  I had about $20 in my paypal account that I was willing to use part of, so I headed across the street to get an individual pizza at Boston Pizza.

I got a few strange looks when I told her I was by myself, but I was seated after a few minutes wait at a very prominent small table for “two” at the front of the restaurant.  I’m used to US restaurants where you get immediately asked what you’d like to drink, so I was surprised when the hostess walked away from me.  I glanced at the menu even though I had checked it out online, and pulled out my book to read.  About five minutes later the waitress came by and took my order. Another five minutes passed before I was brought my beverage, and another ten before I received my pizza. It was about the size of a large dinner plate, larger than a Personal Pan pizza at Pizza Hut (but more than twice as much! My pizza cost $9)…but it was awful. The crust was sickeningly sweet, there was barely any sauce on it, and the cheese tasted funny, but that’s something I’ve actually noticed with all cheese around here – even regular kinds like Mozzarella or Cheddar taste different here. I coated the pizza with fresh Parmesan cheese and dipped the crusts into ketchup to make it tolerable.

I ate two pieces, and figured I’d take the rest and eat it as leftovers once I doctor it up a bit. It took me another 10 minutes, including me starting to read again before the waitress came back to see if I needed anything (like a box?). When I told her I needed a box, she picked up my plate to box it for me and asked me if I needed anything else. I told her no, so she also took my half full glass of iced tea! She quickly returned with my boxed up pizza and bill, and told me she’d “meet me at the front” when I was ready. Problem was, I was ready immediately, and she had gone over to take the order of another table while I walked up to the counter to pay. I had to wait another six or seven minutes before she finally was able to meet me at the front, despite there being several other employees hanging around who saw me. I’m not sure if it’s policy that your server has to be the one to cash you out or if it was just laziness on the other people’s part.

If I was grading Boston Pizza, I think I’d give them a D on food, and perhaps a B- on service. I kind of wish I had just gone to Pizza Hut because now I’m disappointed and still want good pizza! but ‘I won’t go over there, as I really don’t have the money to do it…I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to stretch my cash to include food for 9 days plus cab fares on the day I leave!

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Johnny Appleseed

J IMed me this afternoon and asked me if I wanted to help C pick apples at her grandmother’s. Apparently C went over to pick apples while her grandmother is out of town and there was a whole bunch as well as loads of string beans and cucumbers, so she wanted some help. I agreed, so she came and picked me up.

Her grandmother’s apple tree is HUGE and a ton of apples had already fallen to the ground from the windy storm we had on Friday, but there were still so many left to pick that when we got back to C’s house to cut them up, we filled 2 gallon sized ziplock bags and one quart sized bag before we gave up for the night…and we still had a huge bagful of apples we didn’t cut, AND there was probably the same amount of apples that we picked on the ground around the tree!



The apple tree

Our Haul:

Not pictured: a giant tubfull of cucumbers and a quart sized bag of string beans.

Our hands are stained brown from all the apple cutting we did tonight, too.

Tomorrow is a BBQ over at C and J’s…should be loads of fun! 😀

*edit* I was telling my mom about how chilly it’s been and how all the cats keep sleeping on the bed in such a way that I can’t get in with them, and she asked for a picture:


And last night, Hobbes decided getting stuck ontop of the fridge was a good idea:

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Farmer’s Market? Sure, if you’re rich

This afternoon, C and I went to the “Farmer’s Market”. The first weird thing about this market is that it’s only open from 5PM to 8PM on Friday’s, and it’s in the Rotary Club building. But…okay. I figured it was later in the evening so more people could get to it. This is a small town, and probably most people work 9-5, so having market in the evening made sense.

Market, if you could call it that, was a joke. I think there were maybe 8 stands total, and at least three of those had or were baked goods stands, one was crafts, and one was used books (where, ironically, I spotted two Karen Kingsbury books!). The first stand had “Peaches and Cream” (white and yellow kernel) corn…$6/dozen. At home? I think the last time we were at market it was 12/$2.25. So right away, I knew this wasn’t going to be the type of market where I go with $10 and bring back a week’s worth of veggies. C and I did manage to get a bag of tomatoes for $5 that had about 20 small-to-medium tomatoes in it, and I bought some raisin bread and some cheese buns.

The best buy, though, was a Saskatoon Berry pie. C insisted that I had to try saskatoon berries since they are a local berry, so she bought a pie for us to have for dessert tonight. So good! Saskatoon berries sort of taste like a cross between a blueberry and a cranberry…actually, it reminded me a lot of the lingonberry. Apparently there’s a saskatoon berry farm near Dauphin, so C is going to check and see if it’s still saskatoon season and if we can go to get some fresh saskatoons. I’m just sad I won’t be able to bring any home to share with mom, but fruit can’t be taken into the Us :(.

I’m glad the raisin bread was only $2. There’s hardly *any* raisins in the bread at all, so really I might as well have purchased a loaf of white bread. The cheese buns are good though. I had to sample one tonight when I got home along with a slice of tomato on it. The tomatoes are alright, but not as tomatoey as local tomatoes. Being away for the summer, I missed out on my aunt’s “tomato man” (her neighbour) giving her tomatoes that she always passed on to us.

C had never been to market before, either, so we both came away disappointed, but glad we had checked it out.

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City Girl* on the Prairie

I spent this evening outside with the killer mosquitoes, assisting my new friend C with her vegetable garden. I braved the prickly raspberry bushes and picked a pretty decent bowlful of raspberries while she picked carrots, pea pods, and purple string beans. Then, I helped to shell peas. I really don’t think I’ve ever done something like that before, unless it was when I was really small. I had a good time, and I told C i’d help her out more if she wanted. She said she had weeding that needed to be done, and I told her that probably wouldn’t be a good idea, as I might not know what was plant and what was weed!

I came away with some fresh raspberries, cucumbers, apples, and carrots. And I really think the raspberries taste better than even the raspberries I bought at the farmer’s stand…..of course, this may have more to do with the fact that I picked them over anything else.

Oh, and purple string beans? Taste just like green ones. C told me they turn green when you cook them, and I was a little disappointed to find that out. I mean, how cool would it be to serve up a dish of purple beans at your next dinner party?

*I’m not really a city girl. But where I grew up, there wasn’t really room to have a garden. I think my mom had a rose bush for a while, but that’s about it. Oh, and my dad and I planted wildflowers when I was 8 or so. Now that mom and I live in a place where we have our own yard to grow stuff in, neither one of us really knows what to do to start a garden.

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You Can Take the Girl out of Lancaster County…

…but you can’t take Lancaster County out of the girl!

I wanted snack food. For the past few days I’d be watching TV or something around 10PM and just wish I had a handful of pretzels or chips to munch on, so today I decided to go get something to munch on in the evenings. There’s no Gibbles, no Utz, no Hanover….not even Snyder! The only pretzels I could find looked…not very good, so I settled for some salt and vinegar chips…and I bought the brand closest-sounding to home:


Old Dutch.

Oh, and how cool is it that the potato chips are in a box?

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