15 minutes in the airport lounge

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Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

So, there I was, Cape Town airport lounge. Glass of bubbles emptied. Cranberries and cheese and a tiny brownie consumed. Now to wait. What to do?

TV has cricket on. BORING 101. Wondering how to switch to the WWE channel without being noticed. Quick check out of the immediate surroundings and no remote to be seen. Damn it. Now I can’t infuriate my fellow travellers with some overacting, angry faces, ripped bodies and terrible storylines, and a little bit of wrestling every now and again. Heavy sigh.

grayscale photography of wrestler on field
Photo by Mike González on Pexels.com

Instead, I find myself interested in fellow travellers. To my left and slightly behind there are a group of young people – probs about 6. Am I awful for hoping they aren’t on my flight? Nothing against them personally, only they are very happy and chatty when they could do with putting a sock in it – when sleep is calling that is.

Just behind them is a gent who filled his plate with grub, a bit like a squirrel prepping for winter. To the right is a slightly older couple, both plugged into their phones, an array of empty glasses close by.

Directly in front of me, a young gent is almost horizontal on his chair. To be fair he is quite tall, legs like an octopus, feet as large as an elephant. The chair is far too small for him, he needs a lounger. He too is plugged into a phone. He had a friend who has gone awol.

To my left, there is a gent clearly in the process of immigrating from South Africa. His phone is attached to his ear and his mouth is working ninety to the dozen trying to explain how he needs to sell his house and needs his original matric certificate and how he still thinks SA is for retirement, but can still go 50-50 in a property deal in SA if need be. He also shared a bit about somebody who is welcome to visit but not with somebody else. Now he is on ex-pat tax. Sell and invest apparently is the way to go. He is a thirsty chap, pouring tumblers of something down his gullet. Not surprising with all the chatter he is doing. For the love of all chatter, now he is advising on doing AirBnB. I think I need to check out what he is drinking. Oh no, he tells me, err sorry his caller, he is a family with no cousins – pass me a tissue I’m about to weep and sob my way onto my flight.

Flipping heck waiting for a flight is boring.  Not even people-watching is making it enjoyable. One thing that is evidently clear is the mobile phone/Cellphone has taken over life.

Mini rant – put the phone down and pick up a book. Because quite frankly I don’t give a flying hoot about your personal life. Keep it to yourself. Let’s go back to the old landline.

What do you do while waiting for a flight?

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

15 minutes with Cape Town

So today, my ninth day in Cape Town, it is time to say farewell – for now. I’ll be back. You can’t keep me away.

Despite knowing my return will be soon, my heart is sore and it will be a tough one. Time to man-up, or should that be woman-up, and enjoy my family and diarise my arrival date once more. That’s the best way to deal with the goodbye, have a date of arrival up and ready.

Time here has been superb. Been out to a few nice places and ate far too much. The heat generally is a bit of a no-no, even when living here, but this visit it was a little too much too soon, no doubt after spending a LOT of time in the chilly old UK. Sweating, flipping heck, you’d think there was no liquid left in my body.

Went to Boschendal for lunch – love this place, can’t come here without going there. Stunning day, simple yet delicious food – baby marrow griddle cakes, poached egg, whipped goats cheese and a green salad with a tangy-sweet dressing, courtesy of The Deli. I did have a photo, but it’s crap. And of course a perfect, chilled glass of wine.

Went to the Mount Nelson for morning High Tea – oh my goodness, amazing food, amazing place, another favourite to visit when here. Here is a photo taken from The Nellies web – thank you Nellie. And yes, it is just like this image, if only you could scratch it and smell it.

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Went to Protege in Franschhoek. Again, superb food, brilliantly hot day. We did the Reduced menu (4 courses), which was in all honesty too much for such a hot day, but you know what, if you are there, you’ve just got to do it! Had a nice glass of bubbles there too. Actually, I digress slightly, was with my daughter who was having her nails done at 10am at the Waterfront, Battery Park, when a lady came in, jeans, cap, long tresses, made up to the nines. “Would you like a drink,” the receptionist asked.

“Yes, please,” she said.

“Sparkling or still water,” the receptionist said.

“Oh,” the glam gal said. “Sparkling. Sparkling wine.”

A little chuckle to myself, but you know what if you’re offered, why not have it. Needless to say she enjoyed that glass of sparkling wine while being pampered, and quite honestly I would have taken the sparkling wine too.

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photo borrowed from Protege – thank you Protege

Back to Protege. The reduced menu started with a plate of snacks, which were almost enough to not need another morsel to pass my lips. Again, I wish there was a photo of the food, but go look at the site to get an idea. Here is the menu:

SNACKS

Sourdough, chicken butter, biltong, olives, confit garlic

Edamame beans, sriracha and sesame

Korean fried chicken, coriander, buttermilk

STARTERS

 Miso seared Tuna, Spiced squid, crisp jalapeno, avocado

OR

Beetroot Tart, smoked olive, semi-dried tomato, capers, sage, goats cheese

OR

Kerala style Kingklip, labneh, pickles, curried sultana

OR

Confit Pork roti, kimchi, miso aubergine, Ponzu mayonnaise, pickled cucumber

MAINS

 Cauliflower risotto, chermoula, dukkah

OR

Springbok loin, red cabbage, baby spinach, smoked pomme puree, stone fruit

OR

Linefish, salsa verde, sweetcorn, Cape Malay relish

Or

Karoo lamb rump, caponata, Jerusalem artichoke, herb soubise, Peri peri

DESSERT

 Cheese selection and homemade preserves

OR

Dark chocolate cocoa bean, peanut, pistachio and raspberry

OR

Mango, pineapple, coconut and meringue

One last stop to eat too much, La Belle for breakers at the Alphen. Last meal of indulgence before steamed fish and veggies becomes the norm for a few weeks.

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Photo borrowed from La Belle at The Alphen– Constantia – thank you La Belle

So there you are, loads of food, there were other places too only these were the highlights.

What else is good while here? Well I feel healthier, happier and more creative. Hmm, so how can I get around all that back in the UK? Good question, and one to ponder. Only not today. Nope, noppity-no, today is about enjoying and being with the people I love.

Au Revoir Cape Town . . . see you again soon.

 

 

15 minutes snoring, talking, flying

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Photo by Donald Tong on Pexels.com

It took an economy class, twelve-hour flight, no frills attached and supplied bum squashing seat to get me to Cape Town. British Airways, thank you so much for having a direct flight. Leaving me free of frantic stopovers where you end up running like a loon for a flight only to arrive at the gate flushed to the hilt, sweat pouring from places it should never pour from, begging for oxygen. Done that before. With the hubster. A stopover in Dubai. During that mad time when the fog was playing havoc – who knew Dubai had fog? – certainly not me. On our approach, the pilot and head flight attendant had announced words to the effect of.

“Tough lot you lot, chances are you’ll miss your connecting flights, but don’t worry you’ll get a free food voucher that will cover a big mac and some fries that with luck will plug your sobbing gob while waiting twenty-four hours for a next flight. As to me, well hey-ho, I’m heading home for feet up, glass of wine – is that allowed? – and a healthy meal that won’t leave my arteries straining. Hope you have enjoyed your flight, and hope to see you soon. Oh yes, to claim said voucher, keep your eyes open for the longest queue on the planet, and you’ll be in the right place.” And all in the sweetest, corporate tone that does nothing to satisfy a frazzled flyer. No, rather it’s more about gnawing the inflight magazine and wondering if you could get away with ankle tapping the cabin assistant when they next pass with a laden tray of plastic cups of juice and water.

Restraint in place, suffice to say we made our flight, along with with probs twenty others. We launched ourselves from the stationary plane, en masse, cabin luggage flaying as our feet hit the ground and the sprint for the gate begun. I swear it was like Moses with the sea as those waiting in the departure lounge parted with haste, if not from fear of the stampede as sweaty, day-old clad folk of all ages, belted like the clappers, eyes wide with panic, caring little of odd shoes and socks and underpants being dropped as we surged forward and descended on our respective departure gates.

Hubster and I, barely able to speak, slammed into our seats and hoped of all hope that oxygen masks would release, only to be told there would be a forty-five minute delay due to . . . FOG. Restraint, Ruth. Restraint.

Back to BA, while I am eternally grateful for said direct flight, sadly you haven’t banned snoring passengers. Just saying, but you really should add a snoring capacity to your booking process.

It could be a simple tick box, with an algorithm along the lines of:

Do you snore?

Yes. I don’t know. No

If NO, go to ‘continue with your booking’

ELSE IF, I don’t know, go to

‘Good try, however, YOU HAVE BEEN BLACKLISTED FROM OUR BOOKING SYSTEM. THINK ABOUT GETTING YOUR BIG FAT SNORTING NOSE FIXED.’

ELSE IF, YES, go to

“WE’RE NOT WASTING OUR TIME ON EXPLAINING THIS. NO SEATS AVAILABLE. TODAY, TOMORROW, EVER.’

Suffice to say the traveller to my left, a nice, polite, reasonable young man until he fell asleep was a mild snorer. Now, when said seat occupant is not your spouse, partner or whatever, you can hardly thump them and whisper loudly to shut the flucking shells up.

However, what you can do is tell people to shut the flucking shells up.

Being roused from sleep and having attempted to cover my ear with the thin, oh so very thin and itchy blanket, and even bunched my fist and pushed it in my ear, there was no blocking a LOUD American chap sharing his political views to an elderly English couple, who being English were politely agreeing and not managing to get a word in edgewise.

Breaking cover of my blanket I twisted my neck and settled eyes on the three of them. There they were standing in the spare area up by the toilets. I gave them a few minutes to shut the flipping heck up, and then that was it. Blanket flung, fight with the seatbelt to free myself, earphones untangled – how the heck do they manage to get around everything – neck cushion still in situ, up I get, march to them and ask them very politely to “tone it down a bit.”

The elderly lady offers a genuine apology and after my loo break – well I was in the area after all – I head back to my seat.

I should add, that on arrival and heading towards immigration I spied the elderly couple ahead. Their pace was gradual yet sufficient to allow a blue tog bag to gain momentum and gently swing. Hmmm, should I take this moment to increase my pace, reach them and offer an apology? For, to be honest, I was feeling much like a grumpy old cow. My heart said yes, go for it and I closed in, a little like a leopard stalking, waiting for the moment to leap. Edging in, just as my hand was about to raise and the words were on my tongue, I dropped back.

Suddenly I was aware of how sometimes you just have to let things go. But more so. Yes, more so, if said elders were tired and irritable, chances were the mild swinging of luggage could pick up momentum to warp speed and flatten me.

Oh the joys of flying.

 

 

NB this one took a bit longer than 15 mins.

This blog has no theme other than to allow me a place to write for 15 minutes. Thank you for popping by

15 minutes without my Valentine

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Flipping heck, in the 25 years of being together, the hubster and I have never, and I mean never missed spending Valentines together. Not that we go all out mushy or anything, we just share a nice meal and enjoy being together. This bloody year though, I will be working on Valentines night. The graveyard shift 2.30pm – 10.30pm. WHAT! And I mean WHAT! the flaming heck am I going to do, eating my leftovers from a plastic container in the company dining room, amongst many, and I mean many other folk who are no doubt lovely, but not who I want to be with.

I look at the hubster now, snoozing at my side, in front of the TV and feel positive the same will occur tomorrow, with or without me here. But you know what, I don’t give a flying hoot, because I’d rather be next to my man, snoozing and snoring his way through Valentines, than sitting in front of a computer screen and eating leftover risotto any day.

Groaning and moaning and feeling sorry for myself over.

Happy Valentines good people

#Valentine #Valentines #Hubster

 

If you have come across my blog, welcome. It’s here for me to type for 15 minutes and then post. No great theme to the blog, other than keeping me writing

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 minutes with deaf ears, colleagues, M25, M1 and a breathing duvet

I should have had loads of 15-minute blogs by now. I’ve worked many through my mind all eager to hit the old keyboard and then nothing.

So trying to do a recap of a few:

  1. One was about a colleague who rents a room in a house with several others. Colleague explained that on walking into a room where her housemates are they burst out laughing at her. Are these people not miserable examples of human beings?
  2. Another was about the same colleague who was told it would not be possible to attend college in the UK as her English was not good enough, and this despite holding a full-on hour or more conversation in English and handing over English coursework etc.  I give this young person much credit, for at the end she said something along the lines of “well let’s see if you understand this then. Please call your supervisor I’d like to speak to them instead.” Suffice to say she was accepted by said supervisor immediately
  3. Sat on the M25 and M1 today for so long I might as well have got out, hitched a bag over my shoulder and strolled home. Jeepers, what a way to spend a day off. Stuck in traffic no matter the route chosen. Took me 2 3/4 hrs to do a 1 1/2 hr trip.  Good job there were rhubarb and custard sweets in a little box at hand to work my way through. Mind you, they did leave my mouth all claggy like. Note to self, take water with next time you travel
  4. Have completed 2 online hearing tests recently – as you do. One just now. The first one told me I had some hearing loss and a proper test would be good. I scoffed because the hubster is the one with the hearing problems. There be no-wax build up in his lug-holes, it’s just good old going blooming deaf. And how do I know? Holy smokes, the homeowners 3 streets away have taken to treating our house as podcasts. As in taking up seat in their lounge, flinging open the windows and just listening to our TV. OK, a slight exaggeration. OK, OK, a complete exaggeration! Truth is the volume on the TV breaks the sound barrier whenever he has the control. Second hearing test tells me no problem with my hearing, get on with your life and get the hubster to the test rather
  5. Much chatter on the radio today about switching the central heating on this weekend. I don’t know what the fuss is all about, ours has hardly been off. We will be inching it up though 🙂
  6. Hubster is away for the weekend. Doing some gardening and stuffs with his sister. I will be watching the TV at a low level. Working the graveyard shift Saturday and Sunday and with luck getting some yoga in
  7. Hubster and I are fed up with our duvet. It be cuddly, it be soft. And it be bloody boiling hot. Much googling later and it seems not so much the tog, rather it is not a breathable one. Who would have thought to ask if a duvet breathes or not? John Lewis here we come. Yep, we’re going all out, to heck with the cost, give us a duvet that breathes.

Photo credit: I am not sure and I apologise but had to use it because it is so darn cute and cheery

NB I do my utmost to use photos flagged for free reuse.

robin on fence

What the heck is this blog all about?

Should you have fallen onto this blog, the purpose it serves is to ignite my love of writing once more by simply typing whatever is on my mind for 15 minutes and stopping

Fifteen minutes – day trip with the colleagues

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Odney – photo –  mine

Funny how the idea of a work road trip brings up such mixed emotions. Elation at a day out and leaving the desk, and familiar mouse to gather a few hours of dust. Panic – shit, who will I sit with on the bus? I don’t know them all that well. I’m not a great small talker, will I by virtue be bored shitless? Clothes, can we ditch the uniform for civies? How joyous to not wear my Business Dress shirt that likens me to a member of a local ten-pin bowling team. As in too big, in need of darts all over, and how can I forget the official shade of blue.

As it was the bus was OK. All official with its logo. Instructions to buckle up before we drive off, and even stronger instruction for no moonies on the motorway – jeepers who do I work with?! Everybody took up position, rabble in the back, graduating to the quieter ones and our leader up front with the driver.

We were off to the company Heritage Site, about an hour and a half away. Our leader having been there before, relayed how deciding to not leave her doggie at home, booked her into a local doggie day-care – at great expense. Lovely dog was provided with paw massages and facial, and our leader was provided throughout the day photo updates to her mobile of lovely doggie running freely amongst fields and orchards.

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Heritage site – photo mine

Along the road, newly married and about to be married colleagues shared how they were/would be ovulating during respective Honeymoons completely unaware of how their voices were travelling across the bus.  Needless to say, much laughter and blushes when I turned back and said, “Thanks for sharing, Ladies.”

“Members Only,” the signage said at this beautiful place we arrived at.

Heritage site, though small, holds a wealth of information along with an extensive fabric library, items conserved in various methods, physical and digital.  And if you were looking for bedtime reading, they have copies of the company magazine that’s been going for over 100 years and is the longest running in-house magazine – I stand corrected but think our lovely Archivist said in the world.

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Like a little boat trip – photo mine

As you enter there is a memory of the Oxford Street branch, bombed during WW11 – a small tin mangled, chared, with coins melted to the bottom. Very poignant.

We saw print blocks used for fabrics. An example piece called Tree of Life is on the wall. This beauty required over 300 blocks to produce and needed well over 3 years to complete. As you can expect these were pricey items, not for the regular man in the street. Jeepers one of the blocks I could hold was so heavy. Apparently, the printers knew exactly which block to use in sequence. Any mistakes, well the fabric was discarded at huge cost.

The entire place, not only the Heritage Site, for it is on a private members only estate, is idyllic. There are walks along the Thames, footbridges to take you across to further lush and extensive grounds, rowing boats available, accommodation, spa, the lot. You can even take your dog, and indeed we saw a furry friend swimming in the Thames, the ducks oblivious.

Back to the Heritage site, our Archivist – Hannah – was wonderful, sharing great snippets of company founder’s links to the Zoological Society and how after taking on a pair of gibbons to assist with breeding, founder managed to create quite an upset with his local villagers.  Apparently while he believed gibbons do not swim, he’d overlooked how they do wade, and in fact did so, deciding to take a pleasant stroll through the village.

We also saw some items pertaining to Queen Victoria, one being a rather solemn black, bejewelled funeral bonnet. The other was far more romantic. When she was sent a fabric print to agree to for Balmoral, Vicky added the silhouette of herself gazing across the printed forget-me-nots towards a silhouette of Albert. When the example was returned, these were incorporated into the print run, and yes, there they were, feint, but there.

We left in glorious sunshine, all keen to return. Let’s hope we do.

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Time to say farewell – photo mine

 

 

 

Might have cheated here a bit, this was written on the bus and needed a bit more than 15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pants on fire

Hubster and I are staying in a great little place called The Old Stone Barn in Warrington for a few weeks. Set on a working farm, you can only imagine how beautiful it is here. Call me biased, but for me the home counties of Bedfordshire/Buckinghamshire/Hertfordshire are really special. See the photos further on and you’ll maybe understand why I feel that way.

Well we’ve been pretty busy the last 4 months, house hunting, furniture shopping, paperwork chasing, and occasionally arguing over whether my right is hubsters right, and whether our TomTom has an altogether other right than either of us, or mankind for that matter. So when we can, we take a break from hitting our heads against the same wall and walk.

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Hello, who are you? – photo RuthBH2Day

This evening on our stroll then, I spotted some wild rabbits, which hubster is refusing to believe exist until he sees them himself. (Hang on, does that mean he is toying with liar, liar, pants on fire? Hmpf!)  While yesterday’s leg exercising had us come across  a lama amongst a field of sheep – hoping to get a photo tomorrow. Oh yes, and also today, hubster swears some noisy flappy things who crossed our paths were Guinea Fowl – will also try to photograph them. Not sure on that one, but to be fair, if all I can come up with is flappy things, then who am I to argue.

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One of many wonky stiles we used – Photo RuthBH2Day

Anyway, one of the great things to do in the countryside is to follow the public footpaths and bridle ways that can take you in every direction imaginable, over and through fields and farmland, until you end up hopefully where you intended.

Lavendon then. Another village. That was our destination as we headed in the direction where Fiona (the proprietor) had pointed and shared. “30 minute walk, straight down there.”

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Wonderful walking across this field – photo RuthBH2Day

Straight down there then took us over wobbly stiles, through fields, past feasting sheep who didn’t seem to care a hoot we were in their space, past several farms, had us engaging in conversation with a local couple who confirmed, “yes straight down there, across the bridge, to the left.” Fiona never mentioned a bridge, or a left? 2.5kms later, parched to say the least we arrived and headed straight to The Green Man for alcohol, err um, refreshment.

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photo – RuthBH2Day

Sufficed we headed back. Followed the same route, took a wrong turn and ended up walking another 3.4kms to get home again.  We were pooped, but my goodness we enjoyed every minute of it.

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Ah, refreshment at The Green Man Lavendon – photo – RuthBH2Day

#lavendon #olney #Theoldstonebarn #holiday #homecounties

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highlight of 2015 retaking our vows

#greatmoment

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Picking up our buttonholes

Hubster and I have been married for close to 18 years. I say close, because for the life of both of us, neither can ever blooming well remember the year. Although funny story, we lived next door to a couple who were married the same day, same year as us, and thankfully they are on hand to remind us.

During these years I’ve tested him, mostly as he’s been about to hit the slumber button, or better still, arm and knee dip in the garden – no pressure you see 🙂 –  with a “do you think we should get married again?”

It’s a bit of joke for us, and when he is more alert than I realise he says NO! Mostly I get the YES though. Regardless, we have a laugh and move on.

At some point this year after asking and receiving the YES, I said WHEN.

“When we go to the UK in May,” he said.

“Really?”

“Yes.”

So we did. The only conditions being, nobody was to know, and only the two of us would be going to church. It was our moment.

I’d set my heart on doing this at The All Saints Church in Leighton Buzzard, where I’d spent most of my childhood.  I sent them an email, and my goodness, they could not have been more accommodating if they had tried. Excitement grew.

All Saints Church that morning

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Leaving for the UK then, we had a new frock for me, and a smart suit for Hubster in our cases. We needed only to pick up some buttonholes, and we would be sorted.

Arriving early for our 11am service, we were directed to the church tea room to have a cuppa while we waited. There we sat in our finery, with other tea and cake drinking folk – actually I think there were a fair few fried egg sandwiches, or at least toast happening there – who neither cared, or were intrigued by us and our buttonholes.

Then we were called. Up we went to the chapel, where only Hubster, I and Canon Grant, the delightful, ruddy cheeked, resident Vicar took care of business.

That moment was quite the most special moment I had experienced in a long, long time. There we stood, facing each other, holding hands, taking the plunge once again.

Done and dusted

2015 was a lot of things for me, good, bad and challenging. And yet asked to pick one moment that will mark the year for me, I can honestly say that renewing our vows was the best of the best.

And just in case you were wondering if we went on to celebrate. Well yes we did. Here at The Stag in Mentmore. Prawns, salmon and Bubbles. Perfect in oh so many ways

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Lovely view of the village of Mentmore

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I think he looks pretty dapper, waiting on the bubbles

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All photos mine 🙂

 

 

 

 

Have a great one

This time of the year I tend to run out of energy, both physically and mentally, leaving me to wonder where the year has gone.

And what doesn’t help all that much is reading  yesterday.

“Life is a one way journey, there is no going back.”

Astute maybe, but symbolic none the less.

Without finding myself in a quagmire of reflection then, would I want to take back 2015?  Probably not.

Are there things I wish I’d done differently, not at all, or done anyway? No doubt the answer is YES.

Will I let it bother me?

NO I will not 🙂

If you are celebrating Christmas and New Year, may you have a blast. If you are not celebrating, may you too have a blast.

Catch up with you all in 2016. Until then though, relax, take a seat and enjoy every moment you are given

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