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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

Yes, I’m back, I am not 100% but feeling a whole lot better.  Thank you to all those lovely people who sent their best wishes!

2019-05-17 11.24.07Well, I always say that if you are feeling a little down, buy clothes or better still a new handbag!  And, that’s exactly what I did on Thursday.  My man felt sorry for me and offered to drive me across to Barberino val D’Elsa and my favourite atelier Colleregio Firenze.  I have mentioned this place before; for me it is the ultimate shop for all types of bag, purses, belts and hats.  However, I must fill you in with the run-up to buying this, my latest bag, and the importance of understanding how these specialist shops operate.  Or don’t as the case may be.  Two weeks ago I did the round trip to Barberino and arrived at the shop during opening hours, to find it closed!  OK, well things happen, so I decided to ring and check that they were open before going for a second time, this time with my man, and yes the nice lady said she would be there.  Guess what, they were closed!  So late afternoon I ring again only to find that the nice lady had been waiting at their other shop in Castellina in Chianti; apparently the telephone number goes through to her wherever she is!  But no worries, the shop in Barberino would open for us that evening.  We arrived and yes the nice owner Francesco, had come up from Florence to open it for us!  Thank heavens they had the bag I wanted, otherwise, I would have sunk into a bout of despair.  The moral to this story is ‘be very precise.’  If you ring a shop, make sure they know which shop you want to go to, as they may have more than one, If you turn up on spec you may be disappointed.   It was all worthwhile, I love my new bag!

2019-05-17 09.13.57Anyway, Last weekend was a pink one.  Yes, pink or Rosa in Italiano.  Montespertoli and Certaldo were bedecked in pink balloons and flags as it was the first time that the big cycle road race, Giro D’Italia, had passed through in sixteen years.  Pink is the colour for this very popular event, the winning cyclist ended up being presented with, yes you guessed it, a pink shirt!  There was a lot of excitement being generated in our local village of Fiano, which is half way between the two towns!  The Tuscans love a festa and especially if it involves cyclists!

STREET_FOOD_web.jpgAnd, this weekend was another celebration, that of Street Food!  Certaldo hosted a street food festa over a long weekend in Piazza Boccaccia, which is normally the central carpark.  I walked through it on Friday evening and it was heaving with people and children enjoying the fairground type rides.  I couldn’t help but notice two tourists who had obviously arrived by train, pulling their cases through the crowd heading for the funiculare, the little cable train which would take them up to the safety of Certaldo Alto, the historical centre.  They both looked scared to death!  There had also been a train strike that day, which only ended in the early evening!  Poor things.  But they will love Certaldo Alto!

My other reason for being in Certaldo was the need to get a lawyer to certify a copy of my passport and identity card for forwarding by email to London.  I won’t bore you with the whys and wherefores, but it turned out to be another Italian learning curve.  Never expect anything to be straight forward.  The very nice lady avvocato explained that whilst she was a lawyer, there were different types.  In Italy, one type could do certifications, another could not.  She finally agreed to do it as we explained it did not matter to the London lawyer which type she was, just her signature would do nicely.  Two hours later, we emerged having had her very obliging assistant do all the necessary scanning and emailing, so let’s hope the London guys are happy.

2019-05-07 09.11.00But enough of that.  Life eeez good, life eeez now!  back in Fiano and reading the papers over coffee, I notice that a new film is about to be launched simply called Leonardo.  You may think that there have been enough films and documentaries made about the great man, but apparently this is not the case.  I really enjoyed the Medici films so I will look out for this one too.

2019-05-13 09.09.18OK, where are we?  Oh yes, just a little cautionary story.  Italy is a very welcoming country and particularly Tuscany.  But down in Rome, some not very nice eatery charged two tourists 81 euros for two hamburgers and coffees, which is totally unacceptable.  So just beware of the tourist traps!

And, to end on a much brighter note, the sun has just broken through the rain clouds and my man is taking me out to lunch at C’era Una Volta in Lucardo.  I went to the manicurist yesterday, so will be flashing my bright orange fingernails!

Have a great week, I certainly will!

Salute June x  Visit my website at my site

PS  Great to see Mick jagger almost back to normal.  Rock on that man!  I will be performing ‘Paint it Black’ at my concert on 21 June!  Email me at june.finnigan@virgin.net for an invite.

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

2019-05-04 17.30.23Well, who’d have thought it.  The first week in May and we have been swamped with rain and thunder storms.  Una bomba d’aqua!  If you are visiting, do not be dismayed; when the sun comes out even briefly, you will see the how the light will change and once again everything becomes an artist’s dream.  Just stand still in the countryside, no electronic equipment please, hear the rain dripping off the trees, soak up the lush view of many shades of green and the glut of white Acaccia and Elderflower blossoms, oh and the bright yellow Broom.  The perfumes will intoxicate you, and then you will see that 3D effect as the sunlight picks up every hill and valley, every row of trees and vines, it will take your breath away!  Close your eyes for a second, open again and you will see that you overlooked the steam rising from the valleys as the hot sun starts to dry things out.  Then there is the birdsong, the Cuckoo, newly arrived Bee Eaters, the Hoopoe and all the other beautiful regulars.  Well, enough said.

2june_2007_367.jpgThe bad weather prevented us from going down to Certaldo on Sunday morning for the annual parade of I Bersaglieri (Marksmen) who are the wonderful running infantry soldiers who wear plumed hats.  We watched them arrive in town last year, running and playing their brass instruments at the same time.  They are so impressive to watch and I must say the leader was a bit of a hunk.  Do go on to Youtube where there is some great footage.  Also visit Wikipedia to read about their fascinating history.

20190504_165739Meanwhile, back in our local village of Fiano we are all delighted to welcome the lovely Gabriella Carbini and her Ceramic showroom and studio, Ceramiche D’Arte Carbini.  The ‘shop’ is in the main street, Via Firenze, and is full of beautiful traditional ceramics for you to drool over.  Your problem will be what not to buy!  In addition to the ceramics, Gabriella (on the right in picture) will be pleased to welcome small groups to demonstrations of her work in her studio.  You can telephone her on (0039) 346 418 8211 or email ceramichecarbini@gmail.com  We attended the opening yesterday evening and can’t wait to go back and start buying things!

2019-05-05 10.18.16Still in Fiano and enjoying coffee at La Dispensa, I read an article about the dark side of Italy, that being the Italian Mafia.  Of course they have always been around but more predominantly in the south.  We do not see much evidence of their existence here in Tuscany, but then we are not really looking for it either!  Anyway, this article was about a new film release called Il Traditore, The Traitor.  The Plot is about revenge and betrayal revolving around Tommaso Buscetta, “boss of the two worlds”  It is directed by that great master of film, Marco Bellocchio and will be released on 23rd May.  Watch this space!

2019-05-04 09.45.20And, on a much brighter side, the lovely Fiorentine Iris has once again survived the winter and is standing proud in the garden.  I had promised to post pictures of our new potted plants but due to the heavy rain most remain under cover and will be planted as soon as we have a rain free day.  So I hope you enjoy seeing the Iris!

Anyway, enough already, time to get this blog finished and off to you.  I love to hear from you so do drop me a line.  Oh and visit my website at my site

Salute June x

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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

2018-12-01 22.44.56For the first time ever, last Saturday we went to a show at the Old Cinema in Fiano.  Not a lot happens there.  It is used by the local primary school for gymnastics and the occasional concert.  We were really surprised to find it newly refurbished inside and settled into our third row seat to wait for the start of a Comic Opera.  This being Italy the start time of 9pm stretched to 10pm as it takes that long for old friends and family chatting away in groups, to finally take their seats.  The set was very good and the characters funny and singing excellent.  Whilst my man and I did not understand all of it (regional dialects abounded) we did laugh in the right places and thoroughly enjoyed it.

a2c31a4d4bf2ea98d303c19ff3fa8a65Then at the second break, I reached for my bag, which had been carefully wedged between our seats, and my purse was gone!   To cut a long story short, the strange looking couple who had been sitting behind us, had gone too!  They were the only strangers in the place, everyone else was known to us and they were all horrified that this should happen to the English lady who had been made so welcome in the village.  The villagers hunted high and low, but it had obviously been stolen.  So I hastily cancelled my plastic cards then drove down to Certaldo at fifteen minutes past midnight to report the theft to the Carabiniere.  A sign outside said to return at 9am unless our visit was very serious and urgent.  We decided to go back on Sunday morning.  The lovely police officers were very helpful and as my purse/wallet had included all my documentation and driving licence, I had to make a written statement and apply for the police to issue a new licence!  Foto pinInterest – I make no excuses.

Through all this, I remained strangly optimistic and I said to my man “Lets check the waste bins outside the Cinema in case the theft was an unsoffisticated one and they were only interested in the cash.”  So we did, nothing.  Concerned locals asked if I had found my ‘portfolio’ and expressed their sorrow.  My man said he would take me out for a nice sunday lunch, so late morning I got ready to go, then the phone rang.  It was a signora from Fiano and her young son had found my purse on the road outside the closed bakery!  Hurrah, we stopped off at her house and were greeted at the door by a very excited boy called Giacomo, who turned out to be the young hero.  His lovely mother, Elisabetta spoke some English as she was a high school teacher.  All my documentation was intact, but the cash was gone……  For me, that was a small price to pay for getting everything else back.  The hassle of getting a new Carta Identica, driving licence etc, need I say more, this is Italy.  So, I now have a new friend called Giacomo and he has a signed book from me and a little something to spend.  We returned to the Carabiniere just in time to stop them proceeding with the driving licence application.  I doubt if they will be able to do much about the loss of cash, but they do have the names of the strangers sat behind us, assuming they are not false, as the theatre layout needed names for all the seats.  But hey ho, life eeez good, life eeez now!

2018-12-02 08.49.16And so to lighter things and I read in the paper that the amazing Italian singer Patty Pravo, now aged seventy, is still performing!  She of the amazing gravelly yet sexey voice, and without an ounce of fat, is still wowing her audiences.  If David Bowie had wanted a female look-a-like, Patty would have been perfect.  A big hit in sixties Italy, she reinvented herself in the mid-nineties and hit the charts again.  If you would like to listen to an italian female singer with attitude, Patty is for you.  Patty’s site

2018-12-01 09.07.52And now for something completely different.  All you lovers of Tuscany may not be aware that we have a thriving grain industry.  No, it’s not all vines and olives!  Wheat, Barley and Corn and other crops I cannot recall, are all grown here.  Also, of course, big fields of sunflowers for their seeds.  Italy does have a growing beer industry, so that’s one route some of these grains might take.  And, of course, Tuscany’s very own pasta made from local wheat.

2018-11-29 09.09.33This then leads us on to the other Italian drink, so very popular with the men as a digestivo, yes you are right Grappa.  Grappa is a fragrant, grape-based pomace brandy of Italian origin that contains 35 to 60 percent alcohol by volume.  I’m not too keen on it, we more northern europeans would more likely choose a port after dinner.  Mind you, after my purse theft experience, I might just drink anything!

Anyway, enough about alcohol, time to think about lunch.  The sun is shining and I took ten minutes out this morning to soak up some vitimin D in the garden.  How I miss doing that!  But it’s the run up to Christmas, which is so exciting!  So we don’t care about that.  I’ve bought us a joint present of a new record player for all our old LPs, better known as vinyls these days…….  I’ll send you a foto after Christmas!

Do drop me a line, I love to hear from you.  And visit my author site at June’s site

Have a great week and a big thank you again to Giacomo, my little star.

Salute June xx

 

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Welcome and Benvenuto to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

Yet another beautiful day in Tuscany!

2018-09-16 09.51.05Well, last Sunday morning was busy at coffee time at La Dispensa, in our local village of Fiano, with lots of locals wearing their team Calambur T-shirts, in readiness for the exciting contest due to start at two-thirty.  This was going to be a hard-fought contest for the coveted victor’s banner, which the team can keep displayed in their zone for the next twelve months.  Our Fiano team is called La Fonte, and our colours are red and white.  The village was festooned with flags as was Certaldo, where the big event was to be held.  The event is a bit like the ‘It’s a Knockout’ contest we used to have in the UK and is very entertaining to watch, but taken very seriously indeed by the contestants.

2018-09-17 09.31.21At the end of the day it was La Canonica team from Certaldo who came out victors, despite our team putting in a superb effort.  La Fonte did win two years ago and I remember the beautifully embroidered banner being displayed in La Dispensa.  Oh well, there’s always next year!

41632253_2158631247686062_3080309205630976000_nMeanwhile, there has been a lot of busy preparation for the Truffle (tartufo) Hunting Season, which starts on 22nd September.  Lots of tourists include this rather exciting event in their holiday itinerary and if you visit EnvyItaly on-line you will find an article all about it.  Click on ‘Magazine’ then ‘Best Experiences in Italy’.  There are also hunts available locally to us; I can put you in touch with the right people.  Foto Envy Italy.

As I have just mentioned the magazine Envy Italy, I should also tell you that it is a new publication co-published by my very clever daughter and her friend from Ireland.  As a writer, I have been very impressed with the articles and professional way the magazine has been put together.  This is one for you if you like the very best that Italy can offer.  I love it!  Go to the website

2018-09-16 09.50.26And, so to my other love, Italian Autumn Fashion.  The papers and magazines here are filling up with gorgeous Autumn colours, my favourite time of the year.  I noticed that Burberry in England has taken on a new look, but believe me, Italian designers do have the edge when it comes to style.  I just adore this fringed coat, couldn’t you just snuggle up in it?  MaxMara’a models are not the most cheerful lot, but I have let this fact pass for once.

2018-09-16 09.36.51The other advert I found, was for a pair of comfy shoes!  Arrrgh, I hear you say, fashion and comfort just don’t go together!  I have spent a lot of years trying to combine both, and yes it’s difficult.  However, what do you think of these shoes?  Are they stylish enough or too clumpy?  I’m almost tempted to buy some, but I’m not sure…..

2018-09-14 09.37.50#1And back in the real world, yesterday, Monday, was back to school day.  Lots of nervous children and students were starting the new term and some, like my 13 nearly 14-year-old granddaughter, a new senior school in Siena!  The Italian school holidays, particularly the summer one, is very long, almost three months in fact, so parents and grandparents alike are sighing with relief.

Anyway, enough already.  Oh, in case you were wondering I am still on the hunt for September’s Italian Hunk of the Month.  So if you spot a candidate send me a pic! My email

Have a great week wherever you are in the world.

Salute June x

PS If you did not manage to download my free short story, The Man in Black, you can now purchase it for just 99p or the equivalent $ or Euro.  Go to my website at June’s Site

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Welcome and Auguri to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

2018-08-14 10.12.12Only in Italy will the front page of a national newspaper show the Prime Minister and other political big wigs splashing around in or by the sea!  You see, tomorrow is Ferragosta and If you are Italian you know exactly what that means.  You down tools, pack your extended family into a car, get into a crazy queue of traffic stretching for hundreds of miles, eat your way through hampers of food and wine on the journey and if you are lucky arrive at the coast or mountains by night fall!  If you are a foreign resident like us, you stock up with food and wine, batten down the hatches against the heat and stay at home.  Meanwhile, the unfortunate tourists arriving in Pisa this week, will find themselves in an endless queue trying to pick up a hire car, then another one trying to get on the FiPiLi dual carriageway, the caffes and pit stops are closed, because it’s the annual holiday and the petrol stations are only geared up for self-service cash only pumps!  When they finally arrive at their destination after endless stops in the overheated traffic queues, they find that local shops and restaurants are also closed!  So they all fall into the swimming pools, cool off and compete over who gets bitten the most by the zanzari (mosquitos) as no-one thought to pack any insect repellent.  By day three, the tourists will have discovered how best to deal with things.  The towns and villages are like ghost towns, so they eventually find which supermarkets are open, that hot pizzas are only sold in the evenings, the few available restaurants, only open in the evening as it is too hot to eat outside for lunch, and that cities like Florence are cauldrons this time of year and are best avoided.  Despite all these things they will leave after their week or two here, totally in love with Tuscany and wax lyrical to all their envious friends!  Foto La Nazione.

2018-08-14 10.17.02#1However, Ferragosta is also a week of fantastic music and theatre, if you know where to go, like Follonica over on the Tuscan coast.  For the Follonica Summer Festival go to their website

Locally, there will be firework displays and private parties to go to.  Art galleries and museums are mostly open, some with limited hours due to the skeleton staffing.  San Gimignano is a good place to go for these, if you can manage to park, or better to get a bus from Certaldo, Poggibonsi or Siena.  Expect big crowds though!  Foto La Nazione.

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On the subject of our local town, Certaldo, a recent addition to the curious things to see is a statue opposite Jam Caffe near the station.  Foto J Finnigan.  Whilst the mediterranean diet is supposed to be the healthiest in the world, this may remind you of the dangers of overindulging in pasta and pastries!  And on the subject of pasta, we met a lovely young English couple at Osteria La Gramola in Tavernelle websitewho were wading through a tasting menu of nine pasta dishes!  Now, this was their own fault as they had just finished a pasta making course that morning and had no choice but to try every one.  They only had a small taste of each dish, but they were definitely struggling with the last few servings!  If you are reading this; nice to meet you guys and we hope you organised a portavia!

2018-08-12 08.56.46#1Meanwhile, down in Roma the traditional pilgrimage to visit Pope Francis is at full throttle, this year seventy thousand fans filled the Vatican City on greet the masses days.  The heat has been horrendous, so I hope there was a good supply of chilled water and holy wine.  This man has a huge following, whether you are religious or not.  It is no doubt his likeable personality and charisma combined.

Back at the ranch, or rather our lovely former monastery farmhouse home, our daughter and grandchildren arrived for an overnight stay as their house had been invaded by hornets and the spray used to rid them was toxic to say the least.  “Come on over” we had said, “We have no hornets or wasps here!”  Then the next morning my daughter found a puppy racing around our garden, obviously stuck inside the fence and unable to find its way out again.  So my man opened the rarely used lower exit gate to let it out and promptly found a wasp’s nest inside it! The puppy raced back to its owners, parked just down the lane, whilst my man got himself stung three times!  Hey ho!  But we don’t care about that, life eeez good, life eeez now.  And now it’s raining praise the gods, so no need to water for a few days!

2018-08-14 10.25.36And finally, to say brava to Manuela who has been drafted in from her house next door to La Dispensa in Fiano, to man the bar for two weeks whilst Rosella goes off for a hard-earned holiday on the south coast with her amore.  As you can see in the foto and after several days of practice, she can now make perfect coffee even with her eyes closed!  Bless her.

OK, over to you.  Do drop me a line and/or visit my official author site at My site for your summer reading.

Have a great week.

Salute June x

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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers

“Arrgh, I’ve broken a fingernail!” I wail.  My man is driving us towards our local village of Fiano for coffee and only a few days before I had enjoyed a manicure and had my nails painted a permanent & glorious metallic red!  The car stops.  “Do you want to go back home?”  He asked, not batting an eyelid.  He understands how important my hands, feet and hair are.  “No, no,” I groan, “but I do feel the need to lie down….”

Deep Purple on tour in Italy. La Reppublica.

We arrive in Fiano, and I have carefully removed the bit of broken nail, but keep my left hand in my pocket.  Then I am cheered to see that the papers are talking about two of my favourite bands, Deep Purple and The Patti Smith Band.  Now they are both in the ageing rocker club of course, but the Italians just love them.  Deep Purple are doing their ‘final’ tour, but they all say that then turn up a few years later on a reunion one!

The great Patti Smith on tour. La Repubblica.

Patty, who at the age of seventy-one is back here on a world tour, is just amazing.  Never one of the pretty girls of rock, but her voice makes up for it.  I have performed cover versions of her songs with my own band over the years.  I particularly love ‘Because the Night’ (belongs to lovers).  She will be here between 6th and 13th May, starting in Parma and finishing in Roma.  There are just a few tickets left for Cremona, Bologna and Rome.  Rush to http://www.viagogo.com

Charles and Camilla in Italy. La Repubblica.

Meanwhile, Charles & Camilla have been doing a grand tour of Italy, Charlie visiting earthquake sites and Camilla her grandmother’s old home in Florence.  I can honestly say that I have never seen Charlie smiling so much as he is in just about all the photos in the papers.  This is the effect this wonderful country has on everyone, of course, myself included.

The former soft orange lighting and the new white horror lights in Roma. La Repubblica.

However, down in Roma, the Romans are feeling very depressed about the new white street lighting.  The gentle orange lights that washed the city in a romantic glow have been replaced by horrible things that have turned the city into a creepy looking black and white horror movie.  People are scurrying home as if they are scared to stay long, and you can see why in the picture!

Back here in our lovely bit of Chianti, I am gearing up for a Book Promotion Tour in the South West of England.  I will be at The Oddfellows , 60 New North Road, Exeter between 5 pm & 8.30pm on the 27th April, and The Oddfellows, High Street, Exmouth between 5 pm & 8.30pm on 28th April.  I would love to see you at one of these events.

‘The Italian Connection’ is now available in paperback and E-book.  However, the official launch will be on 1st May.  If you can’t wait to read it, visit My author site or any Worldwide Amazon site of your choice.

OK, enough already.  Must get the photos uploaded and get this off to you.  Then I shall pour myself a nice glass of Pinot Grigio and go down to our lovely lower garden and sit under the ash tree.

Salute and do drop me a line; I love to hear from you.

Salute June x

My current Books.
Foto J Finnigan

 

 

 

 

 

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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers (A little late in the week, mi dispiace)

Sunrise casting a golden glow over the Chianti Hills.
Photo J Finnigan

On Sunday morning I was overwhelmed with emotion as my man and I set off down a white track, and into the centre of the wilder side of the Chianti countryside.  I was particularly pleased because walking any distance has recently been a problem for me.  But that morning, I put on my determined hat and was rewarded with the wonderful smell of spring and fabulous vistas that I had not even seen before!  Looking back towards our home rather than from it, was exhilarating.  You may think you know the Chianti countryside; Vineyards and Olive groves, you think.  However, you may not realise that there is a massive amount of wild mixed woodland on the steeper slopes and my man, being an ex-Commando, was able to identify a number of footprints including Cinghale, deer and porcupine.  So thank you once again to my man and the beautiful Tuscan countryside.

Easter Display at La Dispensa in Fiano. Foto J Finnigan

Meanwhile, back in our local village of Fiano, our local caffè bar and Alimentare had been busy preparing a lovely Easter (Pasquale) table for us all to enjoy.  I’m not sure when Easter actually is, but my grandchildren will remind me very soon.  The Italians are, of course, very big on Easter.

The new ‘People Mover’ shuttle train between Pisa airport and Pisa Centrale railway station.
La Nazione

Anyway, what else.  Oh, yes, at last Pisa has a new link from the central railway station to the airport.  My man tried it out on Monday morning and commented that the bus was just as easy.   Previously, there was a long walk to the bus and then a bumpy ride to the airport!  However, let’s hope it makes things a little easier and less confusing for the tourists, who will start arriving soon.

In case you are wondering, the final hard copy of ‘The Italian Connection’ will be with me on Friday, following which, assuming it looks OK, I will give the thumbs up for publication.  Then the hard work of publicising and marketing will begin in earnest.  I will be doing a book promotions visit to the West Country in England between the 24th and 28th April.  Let me know if you would like a book signing event or talk in your own area.

Addio to rock legend Chuck Berry. La Repubblica

Now, I know this is not a Tuscan thing, but I would like to mention the passing of Chuck Berry, that great Rock and Roller from the sixties.  He has just died at the age of 90, so when I saw him on stage in 1964, he was already fifty-three!  Hard to believe!  My absolute favourite song was No Particular Place to go;  ‘Driving along in my automobile, my baby beside me at the wheel….’   So addio lovely man.

Have a great week and keep rocking on.

Salute June x

Visit my author site at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

My current Books.
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