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Sunday, 11 November 2012

Of Mice And Men

 
Dear readers,
 Sixteen of us, spanning four generations, gathered to celebrate my father's ninetieth birthday last Saturday in Tunbridge Wells.  There was much laughter, fabulous champagne, and a few tears of pride too.  We all savoured every hour of that special, intense, day together and revelled in our shared pride of this wonderful man who almost lost his life in Brac, Yugoslavia on June 6th 1944 (D-day in Normandy). 

A week on, the excitement having died down, I look back on last Saturday and feel compelled to celebrate quietly our good fortune.  One of my favourite moments was, once the small children were in bed, sipping a glass of 1934 Port, poured by my father in his book-lined study, and chatting warmly together.  My parents, four siblings, three husbands, and a few of my sisters' eldest children all discussing freely in English and French as we have done for decades.  We recalled with wonder the speech made by my twenty-one year old nephew and marvelled at how well our children had demonstrated their love for their grand-father.
This picture, taken by Tristan, shows the place cards he created with Héloïse for this special birthday party. Mushrooms, delicate leaves, intricate trees, and hearts, all cut out from handmade paper, represent their love for their grand-father.
Angélique, the youngest member of our extended family, behaved almost perfectly and seemed determined never to let my father out of her sight the whole day through.  I was lucky to have just enough time before we departed to knit this little tunic for the party in the rich autumnal hues of Madelinetosh Sock yarn in Amber Trinket (swoon).  Paulette, is a new pattern by the very gifted Nadia Crétin-Léchenne.  I have been an avid reader of her blog, Ittybitty, for a few months now.  I think her six children fuel her knitting creativity and I cannot help but feel a little in awe of her ability to channel her energy around those six little beings.  Goodness me...
You can find my Ravery notes here.  It has suddenly dawned upon me that I need to knit two more sweaters before the end of the year to  successfully complete the 12 Sweaters In 2012 Ravelry Challenge.  Um, alright then.
Now, just look at this adorable little lady dangling in the tree!  Her name is Miss Autumn and she is the creation of lovely, lovely Vivienne from Green Rabbit Designs.  I am certain that you all know Vivienne.  I really wish I could meet her some day.  The next best thing was owning one of her rabbits.  Of course, Angélique is the rightful owner and I must say Miss Autumn never leaves her side.  She was the only toy to accompany her on our travels to England and, as you can see, this beautiful rabbit had some fun too!  (Can some kind soul please tell me what this beautiful tree is, please?)  One of the pleasures of Vivienne's rabbits is their size and weight.  They are a joy to hold and sit perfectly in little hands.  If you are tempted I think a Christmas rabbit is in the making but keep your eye open for the last one, Miss Holly, was snapped up very quickly indeed. 

Now I have a little whiskered-somebody to show you. Please do not all crowd around her for she is very timid indeed (despite the fact she is showing a bit of leg).
Her name is Mademoiselle Poppy and she has been made for a lady who wishes to commemorate her mother whose name was Poppy, of course.  She has requested an heirloom to pass on to her children who loved their grandmother dearly.  What a lovely commission this has been for me, don't you agree? She is my first mouse and hopefully not my last.  What do you think of her?
Judging from appearances this mouse has a very sweet tooth! I feel she has one foot in the summer meadows but is looking ahead to Christmas. She has translucent sequins on her antique lace-trimmed pantaloons and pearly whiskers. Of course the red, white, and green remind me of the Festive Season too.
I am fully aware of the seeming lack of respect of revealing a poppy-clad mouse on Armistice Day. I have mulled over this for hours and I hope you will forgive me for I have promised Mademoiselle Poppy's future owner to reveal her today.  I'm very sorry.
I really ought to stop rabbiting on and let you get on with something more important!  Thank you all so much for stopping by.  Your kindness and thoughtful comments make me smile from ear to ear.  I hope you are all well and I wish you a happy week full of peace and hope.
 
A bientôt dear friends,
 
Stephanie
 


57 comments:

  1. Bonjour ma chère AMIE!

    I AM LOVING LITTLE MISS POPPY HERE! Dearest, I am sitting here on a deliciously gray day, feeling as if I am there with you, enjoying this fine celebration. Your precious little Angélique is an angel indeed, and has the strong features of a Breton princess. What can I say, I am gushing over your talents, your beautiful way of expression and Miss POPPY! How I wish I could have one RIGHT NOW!

    Hugs to you sweet Stéphanie! Anita

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  2. I just adored all of this loveliness ~ what a fantastic party! I was hoping for a tiny peek of you, sometime during the holiday season can we see a family pic maybe pretty please?? I'm such a nosy nelly! It's such a treat for me to 'see' my bloggy friends who have become so dear to me :)

    Speaking of fathers, guess where I am right now -- IN HAWAII, visiting my own father, who recently had heart surgery, so I am having a short visit with him, just me, for a few days. Andrew and Julia are doing great, going out for sushi, took in a live children's show at a local bookstore and today they are going to see a film with grandma. My dad is doing really well! He finished his 6 week heart recovery protocol in 2 weeks, he's an endurance athlete and this has been a walk in the park for him, but still a daunting experience nonetheless.

    Make sure to visit me on MONDAY, I have posts lined up in absence, and you are going to loooove (I hope!) some autumn pictures I took :)

    Love that you are making mice, as well as bunnies! I am still ruminating about Julia's doll that I would love to have you do for her birthday in February (or Easter if time gets short for you) -- we should email about it soon!

    Do you realize the the holidays are nearly upon us?? I feel so NO READY!

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    1. "NOT ready" that should have been - my typing is not my strong point :)

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  3. Dear Stephanie it would be an absolute pleasure to meet you too, one day maybe, you just never know.
    I'm so glad your father had a wonderful family birthday and I couldn't think of a better day than Armistice Day to tell us about a brave war veteran.
    Well done to your children on their brilliant artwork and Angélique looks lovely in her new tunic. :)
    Mademoiselle Poppy is so beautiful, I'm sure you will have orders for many more mice!
    Thank you so much for the mention and for your kind words about Autumn, I am so glad she has become such a good friend to Angélique!
    Vivienne x

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  4. what a nice cute poppy mouse like the newcommer ists not a rabbit but rabbits can have little friends too and this pretty little sweet mademoiselle mouse is lovely and pretty have a nice evening leon10

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  5. What a joyful post. The birthday party sounds very special and Poppy mouse is such a delight.

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  6. What a wonderful occasion your Dad's birthday sounded, what lovely memories for you all to remember, the place settings are so precious.

    The tunic you made is lovely, as ever your knits are...

    The poppy mouse is lovely, what a great commission, you did an excellent job, such a lovely heirloom for that family.

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  7. oh i LOVE mademoiselle poppy!!! She's just perfect! I am jealous of whoever owns her!

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  8. I adore Mlle Poppy and don't think it's at all inappropriate to reveal her today. She is really something - I love the bright red!

    Your father's birthday sounds like the most perfect of family gatherings, and I am so glad that it went smoothly.

    Gillian x

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  9. What a sweet post... Best wishes to your father!

    Miss Poppy is such a beautiful little lady. :)

    Have a great week!

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  10. The tree is a crab apple - could be Malus 'John Downie'(?) What a wonderful family occasion.

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    1. Oh thank you for putting me out of my ignorant misery! I was pretty certain it was some sort of crab apple but there were three different varieties, all quite different, side by side so I was a little flummoxed!

      Stephanie

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  11. My neighbour has one of those trees and the birds LOVE it in winter, especially the fieldfare who devour every single one. I may have to go and knock on their door and ask them what it is. It has the most prettiest peach coloured blossom in spring. Mademoiselle Poppy is just beautiful and it seems perfect to me to introduce her on a day such as today. Congratulations to your dad on his special day and grateful thanks to a brave man. Such a lovely uplifting post Stephanie. You always deliver. Thank you.

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  12. Dear Stephanie,

    I am happynto hear your father's birthday party was such a great success. I enjoyed seeing your family on the photographs. Angelique looks very pretty in her new tunic. She is lucky to have such a creative mother :-)! The placecards and mademoiselle Poppy look lovely too! So does Vivienne's rabbit!

    Wish you a lovely new week!

    Madelief x

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  13. What a lovely tribute to your father, I miss mine such a lot, especially at this time of year, he loved Christmas!
    Those soft toys are just adorable! :)

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  14. Dearest Stephanie, from start to end another lovely post. I have been thinking about you over there in jolly old England and wondering how the festivities went. I'm so happy your family was able to get together and celebrate your Dad. I love the mouse...love her! She is so sweet. Angelique looks so pretty in her amber trinket, I just love that color, don't you!? I have that very same sweater on my list for Heather...we have such similar taste m'dear.

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  15. What a wonderful and happy occasion for you all to celebrate your father's 90th birthday, a delightful family time. The day was obviously much thought about with the handmade place names, and everyone making the effort to be there.
    I see nothing wrong with showing Mademoiselle Poppy today, totally appropriate that she should be wearing a beautiful poppy in line with everyone else.
    I can picture where your dear father nearly lost his life. We visited there last year, it is an island in what is now Croatia, and I visited the war memorial on its highest peak, Mount St. Vid.

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    1. Oh my goodness! This has brought a tear to my eye, thank you! My father, like so many others, is living history. We insisted a few years ago he put down in writing his experiences as a commando, which he did.

      Stephanie

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  16. what an amazing family gathering! all those grand children! Your Mademoiselle poppy is very sweet, with her lacey knickerbockers! Heather x

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  17. Looks like your Father had a fantastic birthday. There is nothing better than family gatherings.

    Mademoiselle Poppy is a beautiful mouse.

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  18. What a wonderful way to celebrate such a special birthday and one you will all remember with fondness and joy. Your mouse is delightful, it's sad it already has a home to go to.
    Sarah x

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  19. Such a wonderful way to celebrate a momentous birthday :)

    I see someone has already identified that glorious crab apple tree ... perfect fruit for making jelly! And Miss Autumn looks very happy perched on that bow.

    As for Poppy Mouse, she is lovely ... another triumph Stephanie :D

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  20. It sounds like you had a wonderful day for your father. I'm sure you will always remember it. The place cards are lovely, the children did very well.
    Mlle Poppy is so pretty and I don't think it at all inappropriate to show her today, as long as we remember Armistice Day and respect it, then showing such a beautiful little mouse in clad in poppy is just right. Juliex

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  21. It looks like a crabapple tree, as I bet some of your readers have already told you. A wonderful party for your father, how lucky you are! But you know that I can see very clearly~
    xx
    julie

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    1. Julie, it's great to see you here! I've missed reading you on your blog. I hope you are well and happy.

      Stephanie

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  22. Dear Stephanie, I love to see posts such as this one, milestone family celebrations honouring and celebrating lives of our loved ones with all of their loved ones in attendance !.....the last of my father's siblings, my Aunt Micki we lost this September at age 91, it saddened me very much...I extend your dear father continued good health and the best wishes....little Poppy couldn't be any sweeter as is adorable Angelique! N.xo

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  23. Wow, what a post filled to the brim with beautiful emotion and celebrations of your father's life and then to top it all a poppy mouse for our pleasure! I love that Angelique wouldn't allow your father to disappear out of her sight, our little ones are some times the most insightful. I too love her pretty tunic, MT yarn is the bees knees. Have a wonderful, cosy week ahead dearest Stephanie xox Penelope

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  24. Dear Stephanie,

    So lovely that you could gather with the family to celebrate your Fathers 90th birthday. Times like this are so special and I loved seeing the photos.
    The name tags are lovely and isn't it great that our children can love and respect their dear Grandparents.
    Angelique looks beautiful in her new tunic and can see how she must love, her cute Miss Autumn. Mademoiselle Poppy is a darling too.

    Have a happy week
    hugs
    Carolyn

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  25. It must have been a very special and moving celebration for your fathers ninetieth birthday. It's so good you all came together as a family to celebrate. It must have been very heartwarming for your father.
    Miss Poppy is gorgeous! As are the name tags, so beautifully made, with love, I can tell.
    Bye,
    Marian

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  26. Best wishes to your father for his birthday.. I do very much love the Poppy mouse, she is very sweet. I would love one of these mice, so I do hope you put some in your Etsy shop.

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  27. How lovely to hear this special recognition as Armistice Day. I believe the US moved away from that many years ago in favor of Veterans Day. However it is called though we must gather to remember. And the gathering for your Father sounds so wonderful We spent Veterans Day today together with my own Mom and Dad. He is 95 and is a retired career Navy veteran. He served on the USS Yorktown and survived the attack at the Battle of Midway. Our Fathers are so much a part of history and yet have moved through it in such a quiet, humble way. We are both blessed to have them in our lives, aren't we!!

    Mademoiselle Poppy is precious as are all your creations...the attention to detail is amazing. As for Miss Autumn - she is a very classy lady indeed!

    Wishing you a beautiful week of creativity.

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  28. you rabbit is really beautiful and I love the embroidery on her right leg!!!!
    happy belated birthday to your father!
    xxxx Alessandra

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  29. How lovely to be able share you fathers 90th birthday with home sound like a wonderful day, looks like you have been busy, very cute.

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  30. Ah, such a beautiful, beautiful post. My dad is getting close to his 90th birthday, I just hope he is still here to celebrate. I just love the place cards, your sweet little girl. Everything about this post is just beautiful.
    xox Sandi

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  31. How fortunate you are to have such a large, loving, creative family!!!! A very happy (belated) birthday to Dad, who I'm sure is very very proud of each and every one of you all!!!!

    Miss Poppy is adorable!

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  32. Good evening Stephanie...Such a lovely read full of all good things! How wonderful for your father to have his family together to celebrate such a very special milestone. Little Angélique looks beautiful in her new tunic and I see she has the perfect partner there too...Miss Autumn who has already had a return visit to England!...Vivienne's crochet bunnies are adorable.
    Miss Poppy is a true delight..I love the fact that I get a preview on Facebook too!...Especially considering the sentiments behind your commission Stephanie, I think it was the perfect day to present her to the world...
    Have a lovely week Madame Millefeuilles!
    Susan x

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  33. What a beautiful la hanau party your father had. I loved the placecards; they're so pretty and creative. What an interesting story your dad has. The lil' one is a cutie as is her bunny. The commissioned mouse is wonderful. What a great heirloom to pass down.

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  34. Happy Birthday to your dear father. The placecards are beyond praise - so very, very beautiful. And Angélique's tunic is delicious. (Re: 12 sweaters in 2012 - do hare sweaters count? If so I am sure you have already passed the mark.)

    What an adorable crochet bunny you have there!

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  35. Dearest Stephanie, many happy returns to your dear father. What a wonderful celebration! The placecards are lovely. The room in which your extended family have gathered, although in Tunbridge Wells, looks particularly French too - with those wonderful shutters at the window. It must have been inspiring growing up in a bilingual home and of course for the younger generation too.

    My thoughts turned to my late father on Remembrance Day too and the part he played in the war. He was just 18 when he joined the RAF and thankfully came through unscathed albeit older and infinitely wiser....

    I love Mademoiselle Poppy mouse - a great addition to your collection and as for Angelique's tunic - absolute gorgeousness! and worn by a most beautiful little girl:-)

    Jeanne
    xx

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  36. Hello Stephanie, and thank you for visiting........this is such a lovely post, families are precious indeed and your little girls tunic is a delight.

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  37. happy birthday wishes to your father-he sounds like he's had an amazing life !

    your little bunnies and mice are so sweet :)

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  38. Memories to cherish. Lovely post.

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  39. Stephanie,
    What an amazing occasion to celebrate, so many generations, such lovely memories to hold on to.
    That looks like 'Hotel du Vin' is it by any chance?
    As a new follower, I would like to express my admiration for your beautiful hares too,
    Best wishes and so lovely to have found you too,
    Daisy J.

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    1. Yes, yes, clever lady! It is the Hotel du Vin! How did you know?

      Lovely to have you on board.

      Stephanie

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  40. A wonderful gathering with the most precious place names! I love Vivienne's rabbits and I have a little French one! Mademoiselle Poppy will be a lovely heirloom for some very lucky children.x

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  41. Oh Stephanie - what a wonderful thing to celebrate. You must all be so proud of your dad and he in return of his family - to think what could of been. He sounds like such a strong character - here's to many more years and celebration...such lovely memories.

    Nina x

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  42. What a lovely post. What a special celebration x And I love the autumnal tones of Angelique's jumper.

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  43. Such a lovely and wonderful celebration - family is the very best thing to have in this world. Poppy mouse is so darling and lovely, thank you for sharing, Maggie.

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  44. Dear Stephanie,

    What a truly lovely post. Happy belated birthday to your father, such a wonderful and full life you describe! And to be able to create even more beautiful family memories in the celebration of it is wonderful.

    I'm simply in love with Miss Poppy, I'm sure her company will be in high demand! Your knitting and sewing are inspiration to me.

    Have a wonderful week!

    Janine xo

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  45. Oh Stephanie,
    What a wonderful post. Your father's birthday party sounds absolutely wonderful. Darling Angelique in her tunic, what a sweetheart. And, the place cards... they are amazing, they have given me an idea, thank you!
    Miss Poppy is wonderful... what a great what to commemorate someone, I love it.
    Much love

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  46. Hello Stephanie
    What a lovely family get together, your little ones tunic is wonderful she looks adorable, Poppy is so special I am sure the lady will be thrilled
    Thank you for your sweet words
    Thea x

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  47. Thank you for showing us behind the scenes at your family gathering. I am sure your father enjoyed having his family around him on such a special day. I am very envious of your ability to speak two languages fluently, having struggled with French and Italian without success.

    What an adorable little girl and such a sweet garment. Your posts always inspire me to pick up my needles and thread.

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  48. Your father's birthday looks like it was a wonderful celebration, full of love. Your projects, as always, are charmingly beautiful.

    -Karen

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  49. dear stephanie, i can not describe what a gift your posts are. reading through this tribute of family, craft and love is so moving and so lovely. happy happy birthday to your dad, ninety! and he looks fabulous. your entire family looks gorgeous, i love the first photo with the golden light and beautiful people (in a beautiful place).
    i love your sweater on your wee girl, it's adorable, well done. the place cards are among the most creative and lovely i've ever seen, i imagine you saved your families...
    and your mouse. sigh. love her too. thank you for sharing in this space.
    xxx lori

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  50. Oh my goodness, so much to comment on, i have been missing so much lately.

    What a wonderful family celebration, a day to remember by all x

    Thank you so much for entering my giveaway and letting me know about yours, I have not entered simply because i have read the snow child and it has become one of my all-time favourite reads, i think you will LOVE Stephanie, i am so excited for you to read it. I have added a link on my blog though

    Miss Poppy is divine and what a wonderful way to commemorate somebody special, your work is just perefect.

    I am off to have a look at the other two books that you mentioned, i think they may be right up my street

    have a lovely week
    love jooles x

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  51. Dearest Stephanie, Your dear father's 90th birthday celebration sounds so beautiful and memorable. The place cards your children made are wonderful and so artistic! I know their grandfather was very touched. Angelique is a sweetie pie and the tunic you knitted for her is beautiful! I love the color, so perfect for her, and the pattern. You are an amazing knitter my friend! Miss Autumn is adorable and a perfect companion for Angelique! Oh, Mademoiselle Poppy is beautiful! What stunning work you do my friend, and what a meaningful gift for your customers's mother! I think she is beautiful and delightful. I would never have known that was your first mouse! Wishing you a beautiful and happy week full of peace and hope as well. Much love, Paula

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  52. Happy birthday to you and your father. My father was a veteran of the second world war and also charmed his grandchildren in the same way. How fun for you all. And does Mlle ciel's little sweater count? I think it should!

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