Local Heart, Global Soul

November 1, 2014

An Unexpected Roast And I Avoid A Drenching More Than Once…

Filed under: Cornwall,England,photography,South Coast — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

If you are touring the south coast of England, then Cornwall is  beautiful place to head to… and we join a huge stream of holiday makers heading in this direction.

Our next campsite is the  “Seaview International Camp Site”, where we arrive late on a cool day and after checking in and parking the camper go in search of some groceries for dinner.

As luck would have it, they have a roast dinner on this evening at the little Cafe next to the shop so we forgo buying pasta we came in for and decide to take the easy option of a ready made  roast dinner instead.

Outside the weather turns unexpectedly dark and there is a sudden cloudburst, the torrential rain also helps make the decision not to attempt the walk back to the camper, and as luck would have it we came in just minutes before the rain started and the rain stopped just as we were finishing our meal… perfect timing. Kiwi Daughter was unimpressed by the roast on offer so opted for a pizza and Little Mr went for rice and his guilty pleasure: chicken nuggets. Later, since daylight lasted deep into the evening, the kids found some other children to play with and amused themselves by filling one hundred and fifty-six water balloons… yes they were all counted. I allowed it on the proviso that none were thrown inside campers or tents and that all the kids involved got their swimming costumes on and  helped pick up the burst rubber pieces afterwards.

Deal done, they started a massive water fight and their squeals attracted other kids who joined in with gusto. A few Euros for a packet of five hundred water balloons… enough to last a summer and cheap entertainment. As night fell our kids were herded to the shower block to clean up before bed and there were lots of excited stories about who chased who, who got , and took, direct hits and how wet everyone got. Who need electronics?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One hundred and fifty-six  water balloons look like this…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

Seaview International Holiday Park
Boswinger
Gorran
St Austell
Cornwall
PL26 6LL

T: 01726 843425
F: 01726 843358
E: holidays@seaviewinternational.com

October 31, 2014

The Last Bridge I Took Was in Reality A Bridge Too Far…

Filed under: Cornwall,England,photography,South Coast,The Eden Project — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In my last post from the Eden Project in Cornwall, England, I take you back to the main entrance building via the elevated walkway, rather than via the hillside path that Himself, Kiwi Daughter and Little Mr choose to take.

I could have taken the motorised transport back up the hill, or approached the staff and asked for wheelchair assistance but although my foot was hurting a lot I assumed it was just because of the extra exercise, and since I had just taken some pain relief pills that I just needed to wait for them to start taking effect.

It was only when I got a lift from the main entrance building back to the camper that I realised that the pain relief should have been working by then (and wasn’t) so I must have over done things quite a bit.

My stubbornness stemmed partly from the fact that I was sick and tired of being on crutches and thought that extra extra exercise would speed up my recovery and partly because I didn’t want to let the pain “win”,  but that turned out to be a bad idea because the pain quickly became unbearable and I spent most of the night up and in tears.

Since this trip took place in the summer of 2013 and I now have the benefit of hindsight, I now know that doing as much walking as I did around the Eden Project actually did damage rather than good to my foot, but of course I didn’t know that at the time.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The moral of the story is that it doesn’t always pay to try and be “brave”, sometimes you should accept help and most of all you should listen to the messages your body is trying to tell you ,and stop when you feel too much pain.

I’d had a rest in the “Core”building and left Himself and the kids to take the more physical route up the hill.

I made my way to a lift that took me up to the bridge that connected the Core area with the main entrance building on the top of the hill.

From high up on the walkway/bridge I get excellent views of the Biomes, the roof of the Core and all of the outside hillside area (I had already sensibly realised that it was beyond my physical capabilities to go there, so once my foot is better I will need a return trip to see the bits I missed).

Once back in the main entrance building I met up with Himself and the kids and then together we took advantage of the motorised transport for those who are mobility impaired back to where the camper was parked.I regret not using a wheelchair, but we had such an amazing experience here I certainly don’t regret our day here… it’s been fabulous…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 30, 2014

The Core Of Eden Is More Than The Core…

Filed under: Cornwall,England,photography,South Coast,The Eden Project — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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There are so many things to see around the Eden Project in Cornwall, England,  inside the  building called the “Core” there are even more exhibits and displays. Let’s take a photographic tour…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Bottle Palms…

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Walkway at the top of the Biome…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another zip-wire  adrenaline junkie…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Inside the Core…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Heath-Robinson style mechanics…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

 

October 29, 2014

Post possibly bouble…testing new WP page

Filed under: Cornwall,England,photography,South Coast,The Eden Project — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In the summer of 2013 Family Kiwidutch headed off to the south coast of England on holiday and during our trip we visited The Eden Project in Cornwall.

Like many people we have little idea of what some thing look like growing, I for instance have travelled in the tropics and seen lots of tobacco, banana, papaya and banana plants but I had for instance no clue how cashew nuts grew.

Here at the Eden Project’s rainforest biome we get to see a wide range of crops and especially for my children even the humble banana was an eye opener.

They hadn’t believed me when I’d told then before  this visit that the ‘hands” of bananas grow upside down on large stalks, and that there are lots of bunches on one stalk, but here they could see them for themselves and they were more than a little bit impressed.

I also grab their attention when I spot a tiny green gecko, a beautiful little creature who froze long enough for me to get a photograph but which scurried away at speed as soon as someone moved. There were informational boards explaining local legends of  how the Baobab tree  got it’s shape, (apparently a giant came along and uprooted it, replanting it with the roots facing skywards) and a milky drink made from the Baobab which we tried but none of us particularly liked. Nothing ventured nothing gained, we at least gave it a go.

Baobab the African tree of life …

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

bambara groundnut …

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

cashew nuts…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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cocoa and chocolate …

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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coffee…

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tobacco…

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bananas…

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Papaya…

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 28, 2014

If You Blink Too Long It Will All Be Gone…

Filed under: Cornwall,England,photography,South Coast,The Eden Project — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

From The Gambia to South America to the Malaysian forest Kampongs, people have lived and worked for centuries in the world’s rainforests.

They made use of the materials at hand and built for the high temperatures and humility.

My parents lived in the tropics for a number of years and my father used to  describe the rainfall as “less of a case of raining cats and dogs and more of a case of raining swimming pools” and when I visited them for the first time I was shocked to see the deep trench that surrounded their house fill up  to the top with rainwater in less than ten minutes.

It’s no surprise to see that around the world the idea of raising up houses on stilts was popular, it kept the floor away from torrents of rainwater and allowed cool air to circulate under the house, thus solving two problems with one ingenious building technique.

Even today many of the houses, their construction, people’s possessions and tools are rudimentary  when compared to the average house in most western societies. It’s certainly an eye-opener for our children… we learn a lot about each new “area” in the Rainforest Biome here at the Eden Project in England and even though we visited during the summer of 2013, both children remember a significant amount about what they saw here. It’s a pity that Himself is afraid of heights, I think that photographs of these buildings from the high walkway would have been amazing. I’m still debating if the hot air balloon was of the passenger variety or a weather balloon, the sort that scientists send up into the atmosphere to take measurements, but either way it was also impressive. Then it was on to the butterfly enclosure, where we could newly hatched butterflies as well as ones still in their cocoons: they ticked my funny bone:, so neat and tidy like little bundles of laundry hanging out to dry. We also saw a piece of “burned”rainforest, here to demonstrate the destruction and threat of extinction our rainforests are under. If we all blink too long it will be gone…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

October 27, 2014

Not Raining In The Rainforest, But Very Steamy…

Filed under: Cornwall,England,photography,South Coast,The Eden Project — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One of the biggest biomes at the Eden Project in Cornwell, England,  is the Rainforest Biome.

Containing many tropical rainforest plants from around the world, the biome uses the topography of the old china clay quarry it stands in to best effect because from the outside it looks quite small but once inside it stretches up and up.

At every turn there are surprises: waterfalls and streams, a huge hot air balloon stands inside,there is densely forested  rainforest vegetation, we round one corner to discover an aerial walkway (beyond my capabilities on crutches and the kids and Himself chickened out because of the height).

The temperature inside is sweltering, we are quickly peeling off layers as we go, but luckily later on. just when the humidity is really kicking in and tiring us out, we discover a little  temperature relief  “hut” that is a cool room where visitors can take a break from the heat and humidity in a room that’s considerably cooler.All around the paths are information boards that give information about the plants, here we can see how coffee is grown, and cocoa, bananas, cassava, peanuts, cashews, rubber trees and palms for palm oil. There are plant selections representing the Malaysian rainforest, complete with buildings, and different plants that are found in the African rainforest, and the South American ones. There are typical local houses made from bamboo or wood, all designed to give an idea of how people in these areas of the world live and work. We learn about  Colombia’s secret energy bar: Panela and we see more colourful flowers than we knew existed…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

October 26, 2014

Major and Minor Miracles Of Engineering…

Filed under: Art,Cornwall,England,photography,South Coast,Statues,The Eden Project — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I love sculpture and it’s always amazing to discover the creativity that human beings can display in so many  unexpected ways.

New twists on old ideas, brilliant ideas from found materials, natural or recycled materials or with new technologies.

One huge sculpture at the Eden Project in Cornwall, England is called “WEEE Man” with the WEEE  part of it’s name standing for “Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment”.

The idea behind the sculpture is to raise awareness about the amount of waste the average human being in the western world typically uses in a lifetime.

Therefore WEEE Man is made entirely from old things that would be found any family home:  old television set, toaster, kettle, computer, keyboard, radiator, iron, refrigerator parts, electrical wiring etc and the idea is to make people think about just how much they consume and how much landfill they generate per person.

With six billion people on the planet, the idea of even replicating just this say, two billion times is a scary thought and a frightening reality.

Creativity comes in many forms, old pots have been repainted in bright colours and stacked on a central rod in the centre of picnic tables… there is information written on their sides (which I forgot to write down) and the pots spin round… so yesterdays junked pots are today’s kid amusement toys. I definitely approve.

Not all of the sculptural things on display started life as man made objects: nature also provides some sculptural exhibits of it’s own in plant form.

One of them I will liken to a dandelion flower because of it’s ball shape but being botanically challenged I can’t tell you the name. It is a purple ball of tiny flowers on a main stalk and to me it represents a minor miracle of miniature engineering, and then there are (what I think are) thistles, all spiky and rather prehistoric looking. Outside there is gigantic bee, luckily it’s  a man-made one that won’t be giving me any trouble, and inside I found a lovely leaf gate forged out of recycled materials. People may lay claim to creative genius, but we still have a long way to go before we can beat Mother Nature when it comes to engineering some of the best works of art.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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October 25, 2014

A Difficult Stand-Off, And Not Just With The Bees…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family Kiwidutch spent some time during the summer of 2013 exploring England’s south coast and on entering Cornwall, found ourselves visiting the Eden Project… where both the concept and the reality are blowing us away and leaving a more than favourable impression.

We are loving it here, the genius of the vision, the dedication to making the entire project as eco-friendly as possible, and how their Green principles flow through to the tiniest details. We learn that all of the eateries here use fruit and vegetables grown in hidden and less hidden parts of the site, from fruit from the tropical biome to lettuces and herbs.

Considering how many visitors this place attracts, and how many eateries there are,  that is no mean feat. We find ourselves wanting lunch (and me a decent sit down and a rest ) so head to the Mediterranean biome and the café there.

The place was crowded and we had to stand in a corner for a while searching for a free table… when one finally came up it was right next to a heavily flowing shrub that came with it’s own swarm of bees. O.K. maybe “swarm” is a little too strong a word, but there were at least a dozen of them, which is a dozen too many when you are severely allergic to them as I am.

I didn’t get my usual photographs of the food because I was constantly keeping as far away from the wee beasties as possible, and whilst Himself stood in a massive queue for the food, I tried to get my unwilling kids to be on the lookout for another free table that didn’t include encroaching foliage full of potentially life threatening wildlife.

I evacuated to the other side of the pathway between the tables, and squeezed into a little space by a low wall that some people with a baby were using to store their buggy (sans baby).

Even when I apologised for standing next to their buggy  and explained that I was severely allergic to bees and needed to keep a safe distance as much as possible from the only table we could find, they were still clearly annoyed that the space their buggy was taking up might be reduced.Apparently the fact that it was self explanatory that I was on crutches and might value the low wall to sit on was also not appreciated so they managed to make me feel rather uncomfortable for struggling to stand close by. It wasn’t like I was close enough to invade their personal space, or that their baby was in the buggy (the lady  had the baby on her lap and was feeding him/her  purée from a jar) it was just that they clearly thought that their buggy should take all of the spare space available and they didn’t think I had the right to stand there.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It made for an uncomfortable situation: Himself was up in the queue, I didn’t want to be too far from my kids, there were so many people waiting for a table that any indication from those seated that they might be moving, prompted a rush from one of the waiting crowd, who hovered over the table as the occupants packed up and then almost snapped their seats out from under them as they stood up.

I can understand that my kids were not brave enough to take on stampeding adults in that situation so resigned myself to making the best of the table we had.

Lunch was a nervous affair, with Himself trying to guide bees away from me without swatting at them and making them angry and the kids fussing about the meal.

Needless to say it wasn’t one of our finest dining moments… the kids then pleaded for an ice-cream for which there was a ridiculously long queue and since the couple with the buggy had now deposited a changing bag and a coat to the floor space I had previously occupied, I was left with no other sitting place whilst Himself and the kids waited in the ice-cream queue. I sat as far away from the bees as I could manage and tried not to think about the consequences of being stung. (I swell up so fast that I have three minutes to get medical attention for my airways if stung above the shoulders). Kiwi Daughter also has allergies so we carry epi-pens aplenty but had stupidly left them with our luggage in the camper.

I tried not to be nervous and thought that photographing the bees might be a good idea… the photos aren’t brilliant but at least I stayed calm sitting next to them. When we left the food queue had cleared enough for me to get the Cafe photographs. Only later did we discover several other outside picnic areas, and other food outlets all of which would have been a better alternative had we realised they were there earlier.

We were interrupted periodically in the Mediterranean Biome by a strange whizzing sound, and outside, discovered that the noise was generated by people coming down a zip-wire that went right over the Biome…  this started our kids off on a “spot the zip-wire person” competition because they had more often than not already zipped past and were out of sight by the time we looked up. We are happy to leave the lunch spot …Some moments are about salvaging the positive points…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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October 24, 2014

The Mediterranean Biome… Spicy Gets My Kids Attention, Until…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The first of the  “Biomes” we decide to visit at Cornwell’s Eden Project is called the Mediterranean Biome.

This is where a warm dry climate can be made within the dome so that plants from places like California, Australia and South Africa can be grown and displayed.

The shapes and colours of the plants are amazing, there are Greek  olive trees here, and lots of information boards, but in amongst everything there are also many statues dotted around, and the paths take you though many levels and landscapes where there are interesting interactive for the kids to enjoy too.

Our children liked the strangest of things, one like a spiky plant, the other a colourful one, both loved a hut made of grasses where you could peep out though little windows … in fact there was a constant stream of kids waiting to go inside and thus a constant stream of little faces in all of the windows. Our kids also had a giggle at the real front piece of motorcycle positioned so that it looked like it was attached to the rest of the bike shown in a large photographic billboard…a rather ingenious use of some handlebars and a front wheel. We learn that everything here in the Eden Project is sourced in as environmentally friendly manner as possible: as much of the material as possible is from the local area, all of the wood is either local or reclaimed or both.

Run-off rain water is collected from the biomes for use within the Project and they have a “reduce, recycle, reuse” policy so there is not a Styrofoam cup in sight. We make our way around and for unusually for our children who have non-spicy tastes, one of the biggest hits were the chilli peppers and the signs depicting their heat as measured on the Schoville Scale… then of course came the shrieks as they discovered the sculpture spider lurking close by…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 23, 2014

From A Doodle On A Paper Napkin… And The Bubble Doesn’t Burst!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Imagine sitting in a pub and sketching out an idea on a paper napkin… you are with friends and you expand on your doodle and talk about the idea, and slowly it dawns on you that maybe this is a plan that could be put into action.

The year of the napkin doodle was 1995 and Tim Schmit’s idea was to showcase the world’s most important plants, but to do it in an ecologically friendly and sustainably  manner.

A massive space would be needed, but there was a working china clay quarry nearby that was nearing the end of it’s economic life  and so when the possibility of the location and the idea came together the “Eden Project” was born.

The climate in the UK, even in the southern area of Devon would clearly not be suitable for many of the world’s plants,  so the problem arose:  What sort of building are you going to put them in?

Inspiration came from the design of  the London terminus of the Eurostar train service:  Waterloo International railway station had been rebuilt in 1994, but getting a similar,  seriously large structure into the confines of the lumpy terrain of an old quarry  was another matter, so the building evolved into one that looked like a giant bubble, and then a series of bubbles because this was a form that could accommodate the difficulties that the terrain posed.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The base of the quarry sits 15 meters below the water table, so a special drainage system had to be devised.

The “bubbles” now called “Biomes” would require 230 miles of scaffolding, earning them an entry into the Guinness Book of Records.

The abseilers who help install the massive panels in the domes earn themselves the nickname of “sky monkeys” and then the plants start to arrive.

The are over one thousand plants in the Rainforest dome alone, grown from seed in the projects nursery, from  botanic gardens, research stations and supporters.

The doors open for the first time on the 17 March 2001… the Eden Project has gone from a doodle on a pub paper napkin to reality.

There is a large car park outside the quarry, people are encouraged to take the eco-friendly option and walk down into the quarry. The parking area for campers and buses however is further along and since I’m on crutches there is a staff member driving a little golf cart like vehicle to take us down to the main entrance point. From the main entrance building there is a second, far larger land train to take car and bus passengers to the bottom of the quarry if they choose not to walk down. I have to ration my walking time so we take this one too… We, like millions of visitors before us have arrived at the Eden Project!…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

 

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