Archive for the ‘crowds’ Tag

08-08-2016 Journal – August in Maine!   Leave a comment

I have to say that the last week of weather has been as good as it can get for Maine in August.  Temperatures during the day have been in the mid-80’s and dropping into the mid-50’s at night. Just perfect.  Since it’s been so nice we decided to take our visitors for a day trip to Portland.  A hot and sunny Sunday in August means lots of tourist and thousands of people to watch.  Finding parking is usually a problem but we got lucky, parked the car, and headed down Commercial Street into the Old Port.

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Commercial Street runs right along the length of the harbor and always has some nice shots available of the boats.

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The ladies were in and out of a dozen shops and buying, buying, and buying. I spent most of that time people watching and taking a few pictures for future use.

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We returned home tired and hungry and began the preparation of our dinner. Shish-kabobs, salads, pies, cakes, and a growler full of Goat Island Light beer. Since it was my birthday my better-half bought me the only beer I like. and it was wonderful.  After dinner we made our way to the beach located in Scarborough, Maine. A cool breeze was blowing and the water was perfect for wading and relaxing.

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The clouds just kept getting darker and darker but it never rained.

It didn’t take long to tire us all out and we returned home to relax for the rest of the night.  Another great day and an even better birthday.

 

 

 

03-21-201 Journal–A Day in the White Mountains!   Leave a comment

I’d just like to send out to Mother Nature a big huge kick in the butt. I awoke this morning to her latest gift . . . 6 inches of snow with more expected. I think it’s just her way of letting us know who’s really in charge around here.  So I spent this morning getting the snowblower out of storage, gassing it up one more time, and clearing the driveway again. Dammit!!

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I much prefer to talk about our day trip yesterday which was much nicer than all this crappy snow today. We took a ride west into New Hampshire to the foothills of Mt. Washington.  It was a cold and sunny day which made for  a great drive.  We were headed once again to North Conway, NH known for it’s many cool little shops and outlet stores. Here a photo looking down Maine Street towards Mt. Washington.

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The town was packed full of visitors and every store and shop was crowded. A little sunshine goes a long way in helping to open purses and wallets. I actually opened mine for a change and did my part to help the local economy.

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After walking a few miles and looking at damn near everything we decided to stop for lunch at a restaurant called Horsefeathers.

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Their menu had a lot to offer but I always lean towards seafood whenever possible.  The better half had a great crab and cheese sandwich and loved it. I ordered some super garlicky mussels and this was all that was left a short time later.

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The food and drinks were terrific and we returned to the car fat, dumb, and happy.  All of our purchases were loaded up and as we drove down Main Street towards home this was what I saw in my rearview mirror. Just a beautiful area.

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I can’t wait to return later in the summer to make the trek to the summit of Mt. Washington. We’ve done it before because the view will take your breath away. If I remember correctly on a clear day you can see five states from up there and parts of Canada as well.

JUST A GREAT DAY TO SHAKE OFF THE WINTER DOLDRUMS

12-16-2015 Journal – The Christmas Ho–Hums!   Leave a comment

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I think the arrival of Christmas Day may be just a bit anticlimactic this year. Maybe not for you (if you have kids) but for me I’m afraid it could be. I bought my first presents back in July of this year in my lame attempt to get as much of the preparation done as early as possible. I accomplished that easily enough but little did I know there’d be a huge downside to it as well.

So today is the sixteenth of December and in about an hour I’ll be mailing off four Christmas cards to my family members.  For all intents and purpose Christmas is already over for me, I’m just sitting around waiting for the day to get here. Then I can move on to the next holiday, then the next one after that, and on and on and on it goes. 

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‘And a merry little Christmas to you all.’

My attempt to do all of my shopping online this year was only 85% successful. Hopefully by next year I’ll have figured out a better way to do things. I purchased a number of gift cards this year from different business and will hand them out as needed but next year I’ll order them on line and have them mailed direct. Thank you ever so much Amazon. I can even get my regular gifts ordered online, have them gift wrapped, and sent on their way with a card. Easy peasy, right?

I know some of you out there will accuse me of having no real Christmas spirit. That I’m losing that personal touch by not elbowing my way through throngs of idiots to make my purchases.  I’ll be forced to miss out on parking problems, arrogant store employees, and the many fine citizens who insist on being a-holes or even worse. I’ll certainly miss all of those high pressure sales people who love getting in my face to annoy and irritate me as I stroll through the mall. How can I possibly choose not to smell the body odor of hundreds of overdressed and sweaty shoppers. If that doesn’t get you into the Christmas spirit nothing will.

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As you can plainly see, I’m bored out of my effing skull waiting for the day to finally arrive.  Am I excited? Yes! Will the day meet and exceed my expectations? I can only hope.  The only saving grace will be the grand children. A couple of excited smiles from them will make up for all the BS that seems to be more of a requirement these days than ever before.

EIGHT SHOPPING DAYS LEFT

And coming all too soon:

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11-24-2015 Journal– Computers, Crowds & Shopping!   Leave a comment

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The electric blanket remains at level six this morning as I lounge here and try to decide what this day will bring.  The better-half works only a half day today which I fear means more Christmas shopping in my immediate future. Fortunately I recharged my Kindle and my Surface last night and feel I’m ready for almost anything.

I suspect I’ll end up sitting in front of the computer for the afternoon as I’ve been doing for most of the last week. I’m preparing and editing some of the  blog postings from the last year that will be included in a blog book I’m having made.  I do this each year and have collected quite the library. It does take an investment of time but I love having the ability to go back to my library to insure I’m not repeating things over and over again and boring my readers.

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Once that little project is completed I can return to the sorting and indexing of my archive of photographs. I currently have almost twenty thousand pics which need reviewing. I’m determined to eliminate everything that isn’t just perfect which will take a great deal of time. Since I have most of those pictures already backed up on my personal cloud, I’ll be able to recover a great deal of hard drive space on my desktop which is badly needed.  I’ll also need to stock up on more extra strength Tylenol to help me with the headaches I anticipate are to come.  It doesn’t take much screen time to put a severe strain on my eyes.

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With Thanksgiving just two days away I’m in no rush to accomplish much. The better-half and I can relax for a few days after enjoying our laid back holiday celebration.  She’s already mentally preparing herself for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all of the other shopping days that have been created to allow retailers to pelt us with junk mail, TV ads, and spam.  I like spending time with her but any shopping done in and around Thanksgiving is not all that enjoyable for me. I get a little claustrophobic in large crowds and prefer to avoid them whenever possible.

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I’m about to spring into action but every time I try to get up the bed and that damn electric blanket keep calling me back.  The coffee is starting to kick-in which will eventually force me to my feet and to get ready for the day.

ENJOY YOUR HOLIDAY

10-05-2015 Journal – Fryeburg Fair Day!   Leave a comment

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The annual Fryeburg Fair began yesterday in southern Maine. It’s what amounts to a week long farm show as similarly held in many other states. My better-half and I usually visit the event mid-week in an attempt to avoid huge crowds.  We’ve never attended the opening day festivities because that would be crazy. Unfortunately this year we lost our minds and got a little crazy.

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Fryeburg is a community with an average population of approximately 3500 people.   It’s listed as the 102nd largest town in the state of Maine making it no more than a small black dot on the map.  The week of the Fair brings between 350,000-400,000 visitors to town and yesterday it felt like they all arrived at the same time. It made for a rather uncomfortable day for those of us with claustrophobia issues.

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‘Jumbo Donuts appear to be very popular.’

At 10 am the crowds were so so thick it was difficult to move around.  The entire fairgrounds was packed solid with people and the lines at almost every food vendor were unbelievably long.

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One of the most annoying problem for me was the number of people riding around on electric carts. I hate to use a broad-brush approach to people on those carts because some actually do need them but I saw quite a few that looked in a lot better shape than me cruising around, talking on their phones, and wolfing down Jumbo Donuts.  It just gives me pause.

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I avoided entering most of the buildings due to the large crowds but it was even difficult to take photographs outside.  In years past we’ve spent as much as eight hours at the fair but yesterday we left after just three and a half hours. 

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If we never learn anything else we now know that opening day should be avoided at all costs. Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying.  It was nice to get out and enjoy a beautiful sunny Fall day and the Fair food was greasy and delicious as always.  We’re actually considering a second visit later in the week when the crowds thin out a little and we can really enjoy ourselves. You can be sure of one thing, we’ll never be there again on opening day.

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‘Gridlock traffic in town as well.’

10-03-2015 Journal–A Really Early Holiday Message!   Leave a comment

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‘This is written with my tongue lodged firmly in my cheek.’

Where did our Summer go?  It seems like just a short time ago we were complaining about the heat and humidity and WHAM, all of a sudden we’re rolling into October and looking down the tunnel at that proverbial bright light approaching at seventy miles an hour. That light is the damn holiday season quietly sneaking up on us. It’s October for God’s sake. Doesn’t anyone care that it just too damn early to be worrying about the holidays.  Stop the madness people. 

I was in Lowe’s yesterday visiting my better-half who was tied up with a number of other employees doing their Christmas reset. Just shoot me now, please. What the hell are they thinking.

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These retailers claim they start their seasonal BS  early because of the huge demand for their holiday products.  Honestly, when was the last time you ever heard anyone . . . that’s ANYONE say they were happy about seeing the Christmas season starting in early October.  Never!!  The truth of the matter is that the demand is created by the retailers themselves who lower their prices just enough to entice customers to the store.  They can be so disingenuous at times it makes me crazy. It just goes to show you how stupid they think we the shopping public are.  And sadly they’re right!

I refuse to be manipulated anymore.  No early holiday nonsense for me, no Black Friday idiocy, and no paying attention to the thousands of emails that will be clogging my mailbox over the next ten weeks.  I’m done with it. 

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I plan on spending exactly fifteen minutes on Christmas shopping this year  and thank God for Amazon. A five minute walk-in at Toys R Us for two gift cards, a five minute walk-in at Home Depot for one gift card, and finally five minutes to order seven additional gift cards from Amazon. That leaves just a few gifts I need to purchase for my better-half which will be ordered on-line as well and shipped directly to our house.

Stick those gift cards in an envelope with a Christmas card and a short note and you’re DONE.  No more stress, no more purchases of gifts that no one really wants or appreciates. Get your gift cards in the mail, buy what you want, and leave  me alone.  I never intend to spend more than an hour on Christmas preparations ever again. 

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I’m only asking Santa Clause for Amazon or Kindle gift cards this year since I’ve been very, very good. I’ve spent too many years getting clothing I hate and would never dare to wear, smiling and lying about how much I liked that fruit cake I received, and all of the required traveling around the countryside in terrible weather to visit people. I’m sorry folks, it’s nothing personal, but in my opinion if you’ve seen one Christmas tree you’ve seen them.  So here is my collective seasons greetings for most of you in case I forget later.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

HAPPY HANUKKAH

HAPPY STUPID KWANSA

HAPPY SEINFELD FESTIVAS

MERRY CHRISTMAS

HAPPY NEW YEAR

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I’m exhausted already from just listing all of this foolishness.  I wish I could just go find a cave and hibernate until February 15.  It would make for one of the best holiday seasons ever if I could.

BAH HUMBUG

07-29-2015 Journal–A Night in South Canada!   Leave a comment

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I’m only making a joke about South Canada.  My better-half and I spent our evening yesterday enjoying some of the crowds and nightlife in Old Orchard Beach, Maine.  I call it south Canada because the majority of people I mingled with last night were speaking French.  Does anyone but me think that the French language is sexy?

I’ve had a fantasy since age eleven that had me moving to France, meeting a beautiful French women, and having her whisper sweet nothings in my ear forever.  Last night will probably be as close as I ever get to fulfilling that fantasy.  I sat next to a rather attractive women who spoke to the bartender in French to order a drink.  I have no idea what she ordered but that sexy voice speaking French really got me going.  Am I a bad man?  If I am, I don’t think I care that I am.

We started out in the Strike Zone Bar with drinks and a great baked haddock dinner. Then it was a nice walk to the Pier and the beach in the center of town where a concert was in progress. The Salvation Army was out in force, had erected a rather cool stage, and the group “Unbound” was rocking the house.

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After their final set we set off to the amusement park to throw away some of our hard earned money on those normally hokey carnival style games.  I dropped five bucks throwing ten stupid whiffle balls into holes trying to win a stuffed animal. Fortunately I didn’t win, thank God.  The last thing we need is more stuffed animals in our house.  I already feel like I’m living with Jim Henson as it is.

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Here are a few snaps I  took as we walked around.

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It’s a requirement of my better-half to make the obligatory trip to the arcade to rub elbows and everything else we have with the crowds of people and to play a few games of Skee Ball.  It allows her to reminisce for a few minutes about bringing her kids here when they were growing up.  Since they’ve grown up and gone I get to be their stand-in.

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Our last stop for the night was at DQ for ice cream and I went a little overboard. I’ve been dreaming about a big disgustingly unhealthy banana split since last summer. I violated every eating rule established by my healthcare experts and pigged out.  It was freaking orgasmic to say the least.

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And so ended another night in South Canada where fun was being had by all. We’ll be returning soon on a future weekend to spend the afternoon on the beach and the night cruising around and enjoying the beautiful weather.  I may be forced to sign up for a night school course to bone up on my French language skills. I need to know how to order a Jack Daniels and Pepsi like they do in Quebec.

07-25-2015 Journal– Is Betty Boop Really Catholic?   Leave a comment

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It’s a Saturday morning in Maine in July. It’s rained through the night and everything is wet and bright green as you’d might expect.  The downside is that it’s 6:00 am and my better-half has awakened me because of our planned trip to a nearby church festival. I was informed that it’s critically important that we arrive before 8:00 am before all of the good stuff is gone at the Flea Market.  Just as a point of information the “Flea Market” is nothing more than the basement of the church filled to the rafters with crap.  If I chose to be politically correct it could be called antique, vintage or  preowned but that would be stretching the meaning of those words to the limit. Imagine thousands and thousands of objects discarded by hundreds and hundreds of people scattered across forty of fifty tables, in side rooms, and even outside in tents. The great majority of the items are priced at a dollar or less and even then it’s a rip-off (in my humble opinion). I understand it’s money raised for a church charity so overcharging for crap is accepted and expected.

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It was so crowded with crazy people I could barely move around.  I felt pressured and obligated to buy something because this flea market was being run by a friend and former co-worker.  I dug down deep into my moth infested pocket where I found two one dollar bills.  I decided on a purchase which I would present to my better-half on her birthday.  I imagine every women in the world wants, needs, and desires a beautiful yet tacky Betty Boop toilet paper roller.

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After that purchase I fled the scene and returned to the fair for some greasy and unhealthy fair food.  There was plenty to go around.

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‘Salted, greasy, unhealthy, and almost delicious.’

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‘Hot sausage sandwich, peppers, onions, and a butt load of cholesterol.’ 

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‘Chicken anyone?’

With my belly full I made a bee line for the tent where the books were being sold.  I try to buy a sufficient number to carry me through the upcoming winter but the selection wasn’t as good as in previous years.  I purchased a few but disappointed there weren’t more.

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No real fair or festival fails to have the obligatory Disney presence with Mickey and Minnie posing for pictures with the kids.  I asked cute little Minnie to sit on my lap for a picture but she adamantly refused.  Nobody likes a prudish and fake mouse and she was  really mean too!

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My better-half made a number of trips to the car with her arms loaded with just about everything.  She bought food, toys, raffle tickets, and enough other crap to fill my trunk and backseat.  I was more than a little happy to see that church in my rear view mirror as we pulled away. 

Another three and a half hours of my life I’ll never get back.

2-03-2014 Journal–Have a Capitalistic Christmas!   Leave a comment

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Finally Black November, Black Friday Week, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday are over. Cyber Week will continue for three more days but OMFG.  This has been the worst year I’ve ever experienced with the constant drumbeat of commercials, sales, bait and switch schemes, and alleged price drops.  I’m beginning to believe that the majority of people in this country are just as stupid as I once suspected.

Working with and for retailers for years gives me an excellent perspective on things and it’s depressing as hell.  Not only did retailers start earlier than ever with their push, the sales and price reductions were ridiculous. Did it ever occur to people that if they can sell most of their goods at these Black Friday prices, just how much their actual markup really is.  They reduce prices by thirty percent and still seem to be making money.  All that tells me is that for 51 weeks every year we are being criminally overcharged for just about everything.  Does that stop the crowds from becoming near riots so they can purchase a certain doll or a certain electronic gadget? Hell no!  It’s a form of insanity that brings out the absolute worst in some people as well as  the constant and unrelenting pandering by the retailers.  It’s maddening.

The retailers seem desperate to one-up all of their competitors to grab a little more market share.  One of the commercials I can mention is the one that got me thinking along these lines.  How bad does it have to be for the Kleenex company to start a competition where consumers are asked to relate an uplifting story of a personal interaction with a Kleenex tissue.  Who in their right mind is going to invest their time to write a heart rendering nose-wiping story.  Just unbelievable.

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I harken back to the Y2K fiasco.  That was the tipping point for me.  I saw retailers and businesses panic millions of citizens and other businesses into spending billions of dollars for a trumped up emergency that never happened.  It appears that we haven’t gotten any smarter in the intervening years.

I needed to rant a little today because this kind of idiocy makes me even crazier than usual. I see no end to it and there seems to be no concern by the buying public about how much they’re being manipulated.  What more can I say? Not much that will be listened to for sure. Here’s my last word on the subject for this year so listen closely.

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(Sarcasm on)

Merry Christmas – HO! HO! HO! 

Santa has requested that I help him out this year by collecting funds needed for the ever increasing costs for reindeer feed, new uniforms, and elf shoes. Just have all of your friends immediately send $10.00 to me and I’ll make sure you’re all moved directly to the top of his gift giving list. The sooner you act the better because the funds are badly needed to help Santa deal with the many holiday stresses for him and his helpers, of which I am one.  I’ll be able to spend a week in Tahiti for Christmas with my family so I can be ready for next years duties. All of this holiday stress has become a dangerous health issue for us and it doesn’t seem to be covered by Obamacare. Help us out, who can’t afford a $10.00 donation for such a good cause. Santa will love you forever and you just might get that special gift you’ve always wanted next year.  I should also mention that we have a payment plan in effect where your ten dollar donation can be deducted monthly from your account and delivered DIRECTLY to Santa for his expenses during the off season.  Get your kids involved, they love Santa too.  Santa stickers are also available for just $7.00 and can be shipped directly to your home.  Just add $8.00 for shipping and handling.

HAVE A HAPPY AND GENEROUS HOLIDAY SEASON

(Sarcasm off)

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P.S. I only marked the last paragraph as Sarcasm due to MY fear that certain people would read it, react, and immediately rush to send me their $10.00. I’m just cynical enough to believe that could happen so please,  DON’T SEND ANY MONEY.

11-29-2014 Journal–The Day After BF!   Leave a comment

Well, it’s the day after Black Friday which in fact started almost a week ago and I assume by next year will almost certainly become Black November.  That way they can begin their annoying Christmas push the day after Halloween.  I chose this year to not leave the house on Black Friday.  I try to miss it as often as I possibly can.  After more than twenty-five years of working for retail corporations and being forced to work Black Friday every year, I refuse to ever do it again.

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This morning my better-half hit the ground running when she arrived in the bedroom to wake me up well before I was ready.  If it isn’t the cat it’s her. She was on her third cup of coffee and talking ninety miles an hour and rattling off the list of stores we’d be visiting on our planned shopping trip.  There just wasn’t enough coffee in the house to get me out of that bed quickly but eventually I stumbled to the kitchen and tried to wake up.

An hour or so later we were on our way.  I really wasn’t into the shopping but I made sure I drove us through areas where good photographs might be found. It was a bright and clear sunny day and I didn’t want to waste any of it.  Here are a few photo’s to help you appreciate Maine a little.

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We had a great day together where my better-half wandered around looking and touching everything she saw and was able to fill the car rather easily with all sorts of treasures.  We’ve just arrived home and hopefully I can settle in and relax for a few hours before the nonsense starts again tomorrow.  I can expect another early wakeup call and I need a little time to come up with a reason or two why I can’t be dragged shopping once again. It’s never worked before but I can only keep trying.

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‘Say hello to the horses.’