Six months in a chateau


It was pure chance that led us to this place, both geographic and internal. Pure unadulterated chance, and a healthy portion of what can only be described as incredibly good luck. France had been on our horizon for over six months, an ever expanding focal point whose direction we soon realised was the only one we wanted to head in. And so we gamely steered ourselves towards it, confident in our chosen next step.

Our original plan was to rent a house for six months. We researched specific areas, and earmarked the rolling green hills of the Midi-Pyrénées, somewhere between the pink city of Toulouse, and the famed wine capital of Bordeaux. We browsed online listings for rental cottages from our homestay in Bali, longing to once again enjoy the changing seasons of Europe, and life lived at a more relaxed pace.

It was only when returning home to England to visit family, mere weeks before our intended arrival in France, that the idea of house sitting first crossed our minds. Surprised that we hadn’t thought of it sooner, we quickly registered with two agencies, Trusted Housesitters and Mind My House, and devoured the advice given in an invaluable eBook we purchased from fellow bloggers and experienced house sitters, Hecktic Travels.

There was an abundance of short-term places available across France, but we were looking for a stay of six months, and as we quickly realised, it was rather late in the day to find such a thing. With little left available to us, we searched for houses suitable in our chosen area, and started submitting applications to anything loosely fitting the bill. It was with one such listing, no photographs included, that everything changed.

Though the description was vague, the location was perfect, and so too was the time frame; a delicious six months from November to April. Despite not knowing exactly what we were applying for, something about the advertisement just sounded right. There was even a cat to look after, which anyone who knows me will tell you was reason enough for me to apply.

We felt a rush of excitement when we made it past the first stage of the application process, and were told we had been shortlisted for consideration. Things got even more promising when we were invited for an interview via Skype with the owner’s personal assistant. It was at this stage that we were emailed a link to the house we could possibly be looking after for the next six months, though the word house barely does it justice.

After successfully passing the initial Skype test, we were put through to the final round: a Skype call with the owner herself. We were as giddy as school children, and so nervous that we both dressed up for the occasion, Lee’s unkempt locks neatly tied back, and my face baring make-up for the first time in months.

But our nerves were soon assuaged, and we found ourselves chatting freely with the owner, Lizzie, as though old friends; our conversation peppered with laughter and discoveries of numerous shared interests. Things went so well in fact, that at the end of the call, and much to our delight, we were offered the house sit on the spot.

Or should I say, chateau sit.

Set proudly atop a hill amidst 22 acres of beautifully maintained grounds, Chateau Dumas boasts an impeccably restored 18th century interior, featuring trompe l’oeil walls and original stone flooring, vintage furnishings, and stunning artwork. Topiary bushes and cypress trees stand proudly in the courtyard, their roots awash with swathes of fragrant lavender.

An artist’s haven, the chateau holds seasonal workshops, where guests can participate in a wide variety of arts and crafts. I can’t imagine a more idyllic setting, and our arrival here has triggered a wave of creativity for me, one I hope to ride for the long winter months ahead. Wandering though the many rooms, past walls decorated with vintage gowns and arrangements of luggage from the early 1900’s, the travelling artist in me is filled with such an overwhelming sense of joy, I can hardly wait to get back to our newly appointed office, draw out my pencils, and start sketching the stunning views that sit just beyond our window.

We’ve been living here for two weeks now, and our awe has not yet dissipated. I doubt it ever will. We feel honoured to have been entrusted with such a magnificent home, and can’t wait to see what these precious six months have in store for us. Though this is not our home forever, it is our home for now, a gift of chance that elegantly holds the key to all that we have been longing for in recent months.

It’s a place where we can slow down, and focus on creative pursuits. A place where we can rekindle that which was lost out on the open road. I can’t help thinking that maybe it wasn’t luck that brought us here after all, but more a case of fate leading us right to where we needed to be.





















{ 103 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather November 14, 2013 at 21:51

Just wow. That’s all there is to say.
Heather recently posted..All-Inclusive Resorts: They Have a Place in my Heart


Hannah November 15, 2013 at 08:56

I say that here every day!


Rosemarie November 14, 2013 at 21:53

What a beautiful home!! It must be so surreal to wake up every morning in such beauty … Not to mention it’s surroundings too!
Rosemarie recently posted..Walking Down Curetes Street – Ephesus


Hannah November 15, 2013 at 09:07

It has been so wonderful waking up here every morning, we actually feel very at home here, and have been enjoying getting out in the beautiful countryside, and simple things like cooking and doing laundry. It’s amazing how much I missed doing these things while we were on the road!


Cheryl @ Mid-Life Cruising! November 14, 2013 at 21:55

Wow, what an incredible place! Goes to show that anything is possible … who would have guessed that one can live in such a beautiful place for 6 months without being wealthy?! When we get tired of our boat and need a change for a while, we’ll definitely have to look into house sitting. Enjoy your stay!
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Hannah November 15, 2013 at 09:13

We certainly never would have guessed we would end up in such an incredible place. I can definitely recommend giving house sitting a go, who knows where you’ll end up!


Molly Yonderblog November 14, 2013 at 22:12

OH MY GOODNESS! Beautiful! What a magical place!


Hannah November 15, 2013 at 09:05

I say that to myself every day!


Katie November 14, 2013 at 22:36

Oh my!! I am in awe of your much deserved luck! It looks like the perfect place for the two of you to snuggle up over winter. Enjoy!


Hannah November 15, 2013 at 09:04

Thank you my dear, we are still in awe too!


Patti November 14, 2013 at 23:34

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Hannah November 15, 2013 at 08:57

Major score!


Dalene November 15, 2013 at 00:28

That might just be the best house-sit I’ve ever seen! So glad we could be of help. 🙂
Dalene recently posted..Oh, the Glorious Food!


Hannah November 15, 2013 at 09:00

We still can’t believe how lucky we are! And thank you again for all your help, your eBook was such a wonderful resource to turn to, and well worth anyone else investing in.


Claire November 15, 2013 at 01:11

That house is gorgeous, as is the view! I’m so glad this experience has worked out for you. I always thought house sitting would be much more difficult to set up, and maybe it is, but you certainly lucked into something beautiful!
Claire recently posted..Bangkok, Thailand: First Reactions, Magical Happenings


Hannah November 15, 2013 at 09:03

We certainly did! The application process is actually a lot easier then you would expect, and the eBook I mentioned above helped us immensely. The only thing we struggled with was the fact that we left it so late to start looking, so if you ever decide to give it a go, I would recommend starting your search several months in advance.


Kim November 15, 2013 at 07:04

What a lovely place!!!! Stunning. And how perfect that it holds retreats. I want to write my next book there!
Kim recently posted..My morning run in Cabra, Spain


Hannah November 15, 2013 at 08:54

I know! I want to write my first one here!!!


CurlyTraveller November 15, 2013 at 08:21

This is amazing! I’m sure that these are gonna be wonderful months! But what happened to living in Goa? Having a home there and pets n all?


Hannah November 15, 2013 at 08:50

Living in Goa was only ever intended to be for six months, and our plan has always been to continue to travel the world widely, and slowly. The beautiful stray cats we looked after while we were there were taken in by our landlord when we left.


Huw Loaring November 15, 2013 at 09:09

Fantastic place Hannah ! I think a visit is in order 🙂 xxxx


Hannah November 15, 2013 at 11:13

Isn’t it?! A visit from my big brother would be warmly welcomed any time xxx


Carmel November 15, 2013 at 10:42

Even prettier than I imagined it to be! I’m excited for you to have a cat, too. 🙂
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Hannah November 15, 2013 at 11:21

Me too! I’ll share lots more photos in the coming months. Hope you guys are enjoying Thailand x


Beatriz November 15, 2013 at 11:38

Hannah, what a gorgeous place! Enjoy your time in France, I’m sure it will be amazing! 🙂
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Hannah November 15, 2013 at 12:20

Thank you Beatriz, we’re loving it so far!


VeeraBianca November 15, 2013 at 14:04

Hey! First of all, I am in love with your blog <3 Second: how did you put the Pinterest option to your photos? It is fantastic and would love to use this on my travel blog as well 🙂
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Hannah November 16, 2013 at 12:00

Thank you so much! The Pinterest button is through a great little plugin called “Pinterest Pin It Button For Images”. We then customised the button display, but the standard one it comes with is fine.


Brandon November 15, 2013 at 15:26

The shoes on the stairway picture is fantastic! What a cool place to live.
Brandon recently posted..Top 5 things to do in Buenos Aires


Hannah November 16, 2013 at 12:03

Thank you Brandon, I’m so glad you like it. The stairway is the original 18th century stone, and is truly stunning. It’s definitely my favourite feature in the whole chateau.


Rika | Cubicle Throwdown November 15, 2013 at 17:17

Holy holy holy cow. That is AWESOME!! What a stunning place. I lucked out once too on a rental property in a similar situation…no photo, barely a description on the ad…still no idea why we bothered calling, but we ended up living in a restored banquet hall for sailors from the 1940s, waterfront, dance floor, over 3000 sq ft (a master suite bigger than our previous apartment itself), chandeliers and a 30ft long dining table. It was ridiculous…I think I still have footage somewhere of me rollerblading and riding my bike inside. Sometimes it’s worth it to take a little chance 🙂
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Hannah November 16, 2013 at 12:08

Wow, what a great story – I’d love to see that video footage! It definitely proves that it’s worth taking a chance sometimes. I also think the universe has a funny knack of providing for us when we are at our most open, and ready to accept whatever comes our way.


Rhonda November 15, 2013 at 22:39

WOW… so, some people do really live like that and it’s NOT just in movies???? What a blessing this worked out for you. A lovely place to renew your creative spirit and revive your soul. Enjoy!
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Hannah November 16, 2013 at 12:11

I know, it’s crazy, huh?! I seriously do feel like we are living on a film set. In fact, a nearby village is currently being used by Steven Spielberg as the setting for his latest movie, titled “The Hundred-Foot Journey”, which he is producing alongside Oprah Winfrey!


Amber November 16, 2013 at 17:01

Simply stunning! I wish you well in this house sit and am happy you are back to blogging!! Enjoy your chateau.
Amber recently posted..Housesitting in Singapore for Two Fun Pups


Hannah November 17, 2013 at 14:31

Thank you so much, it’s lovely to hear from you Amber. It’s so nice to be back, and to share our wonderful temporary home. Your housesit looks wonderful too – those dogs are so adorable!


Maddie November 16, 2013 at 18:06

Wow Hannah, almost speechless! Aside from being absolutely stunning and a dream come true, it looks like the most perfect place to get those creative juices flowing. Enjoy the next 6 months 🙂
Maddie recently posted..So what happens now?


Hannah November 17, 2013 at 14:40

It really is a dream come true, and definitely a place to just relax and let the creative juices flow. I feel so blessed to be here every single day!


Liz | Two Weeks to Travel November 16, 2013 at 18:31

All I have to say is WOW!! That is incredible, have an amazing time!!! (and send more pictures)
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Hannah November 17, 2013 at 20:39

Fear not, there will definitely be lots more photos in the future!


Erin at The World Wanderer November 16, 2013 at 21:35

Absolutely beautiful place. I love your photos!
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Hannah November 17, 2013 at 14:03

Thank you, Erin!


Colleen Brynn November 17, 2013 at 02:44

Yes, this is an incredible place, and I can totally see how it has stoked your creativity. I feel the same just from looking at the photos.
Once, I was supposed to stay at a hostel in Venice which ended up being overbooked… so we got moved to another “hostel”, run by the owners’ friends or something. It was a small palace. We had our own room with a chandelier and our windows looked right over the winding canals. Couldn’t believe our luck.
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Hannah November 17, 2013 at 13:59

That sounds amazing Colleen – it’s wonderful when fate brings these opportunities our way so unexpectedly.


Ellen November 17, 2013 at 03:05

This is a gorgeous house and I love your photos, they are so atmospheric. It must be like living in a National Trust property! It will be wonderful to see how your lives and creativity are shaped by your new environment.
Ellen recently posted..8 top tips on…improving your decision-making


Hannah November 17, 2013 at 09:06

Thanks Ellen, it’s certainly an incredibly photogenic place, and is indeed like living in a National Trust property! I’m looking forward to seeing how our lives and creativity develop too 🙂


Janey November 17, 2013 at 04:13

Wow…you may remember me I was neighbour of Karine and Pem last year living opposite you…anyway wow inspiring Hannah…who’s doing the cleaning 😉 xx


Hannah November 17, 2013 at 09:04

Janey, how lovely to hear from you! I hope you are well… are you back in Colomb again this year? And that’s a very good question about the cleaning. So far we’ve both really enjoyed keeping the place spotless – it’s amazing how we’ve missed doing this sort of thing over the past year – so that hasn’t been too much of a problem yet… we’ll see what happens over the next six months!


Melanie Murrish November 17, 2013 at 16:25

Ah yes, the small matter of cleaning!


Hannah November 17, 2013 at 20:46

A small price to pay 🙂


Edna November 17, 2013 at 10:50

Incredible. What a wonderful place to create six months of memories! By the way, I absolutely love that shot of the white dress hanging against the wall.
Edna recently posted..The 5 best things I ate in Paris: Extended Edition


Hannah November 17, 2013 at 12:22

Isn’t that a great idea?! I love the way Lizzie uses vintage gowns as decorative elements throughout the chateau – they truly are works of art and it’s wonderful to see them used in this way.


Melanie Murrish November 17, 2013 at 16:23

Oh wow-that dining room!


Hannah November 17, 2013 at 20:46

Isn’t it beautiful?!


Marisol November 17, 2013 at 17:15

Hi Hannah, oh my god!!! You must have greatly pleased the travel gods to give such a magnificent home when you can create beautiful works and memories in six months. I’m happy for you.
P.s. Don”t be surprise if I drop by unannounced 🙂
Marisol recently posted..My Philippines, the Beautiful


Hannah November 17, 2013 at 20:58

I think it must be good karma for all the shitholes we’ve slept in over the past year!


Laura {Babb Photo} November 17, 2013 at 18:37

What a beautiful house. Have a wonderful, wonderful time.
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Hannah November 17, 2013 at 20:59

Thank you, Laura!


Jessica November 18, 2013 at 20:53

Oh wow, it’s like living on the set of an Anthropologie photo shoot! Love all the antiques. Beautiful.
Jessica recently posted..Falling in love with an elephant in India


Hannah November 18, 2013 at 21:55

It really is! There are so many incredible details, but the best thing about it is that it still feels very comfortable and homely. It’s certainly going to be tough to leave…


Sarah Somewhere November 19, 2013 at 03:28

One word -Score! Absolutely stunning, AND YOU HAVE A CAT! Simply beautiful!
Sarah Somewhere recently posted..Finding home in Oaxaca City


Hannah November 19, 2013 at 10:01

I know!!! It’s a total home run 🙂


TammyOnTheMove November 20, 2013 at 06:44

My goodness, this place is stunning. You lucky thing! I am not jealous at all. Not at all! :-p
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Hannah November 20, 2013 at 07:54

I know, we seriously hit the jackpot! We just feel so blessed and grateful to be here every day.


Elisa Choi November 20, 2013 at 07:06

Breathless hannah! an artist haven! your pictures itself prompts me to paint. Great words and photos. I’m happy for you. One question.. do you get to clean this huge home? 🙂


Hannah November 20, 2013 at 08:21

It really is an artist’s haven, and I can quite see why so many people clamour to attend the wonderful creative courses on offer during the summer here. It’s lovely the hear the photos inspire you to paint – there are so many views here I am longing to capture myself. And keeping the place clean is a surprising pleasure – after a year away from domesticity out on the road, the simplest of tasks have become a source of relaxation, and it’s such a joy to see everything looking spotless!


Kristine November 20, 2013 at 16:47

This place is amazing!! I had never really considered house sitting as a travel options, but now I can’t stop looking. I mean who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to stay in a 400 year old homestead for 3 weeks, or watch a B&B in Greece while its owners are away for a month?! Enjoy- it looks super relazing, and so beautiful with the changing fall colours!


Hannah November 20, 2013 at 17:20

I had never really considered house sitting before either, but now that we are doing it, I can’t believe we waited so long. We are already thinking about what to do when our six months here are up (besides cry!), and we will definitely be hoping to secure another home to look after!


Lance | Trips By Lance November 20, 2013 at 20:41

What a beautiful home. It looks like a wonderful place to be creative. You’re reinforcing the positive things I’ve read lately about house sitting on travels.
Lance | Trips By Lance recently posted..Red Cat House: A Haven in the Heart of Taos


Hannah November 21, 2013 at 08:39

I’m so glad to hear that, Lance. Our experience with house sitting so far so been nothing but positive. The original application process was made easily navigable via the eBook I mentioned above, and both of the sites we registered with were great. We will definitely be looking to house sit again next year (when they drag us kicking and screaming from this one!).


Hogga November 21, 2013 at 18:32

crazy gorgeous
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Hannah November 21, 2013 at 21:43

It really is! We feel so very lucky to experience this for a little while.


Amanda - A Crafty Traveler November 23, 2013 at 13:13

I think it’s pretty safe to say you’re livin’ the dream, well my dream anyways! We’re off to France soon as well and I can only dream that we will find something as amazing as you have at the end of our two month rental ends. Fingers crossed!

I can’t wait to read about all your french adventures!
Amanda – A Crafty Traveler recently posted..Friday Photos: Getting geometric at the Eden Project


Hannah November 23, 2013 at 15:53

You should definitely look at the house sitting opportunities available – you can find placements for short and long stays, and I can definitely recommend both of the agencies we registered with. If you happen to pass by Auty let me know!


Victoria November 25, 2013 at 17:08

Oh my! I really hope we find the time to visit! It’s gorgeous.
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Hannah November 25, 2013 at 18:45

I really hope so too!!! You are welcome any time at all, so if you find yourselves with a few spare days, feel free to pop over and see us. Lots of love to you both xxx


Jeremy November 27, 2013 at 04:51

A true beauty of a spot there old friend. May you create freely, joyfully, and overall continue to enjoy the experiences of life and what it has presented you !
Jeremy recently posted..Meeting At Parallels


Hannah November 28, 2013 at 09:56

Thank you so much Jeremy, I shall certainly try my best 🙂


Hazel December 1, 2013 at 16:25

I have had the privilege and pleasure to have stayed at the chateau a couple of times over the last few years – what a joy to be able to live there for 6 months. It is a truly beautiful setting and Lizzie has just made it even more special.
I loved looking through your photos – you have captured it so well in just those few shots.
I look forward to seeing the changing scenery over the next few months.
Enjoy your stay!!


Hannah December 2, 2013 at 14:36

Hello Hazel, it’s lovely to hear from one of Lizzie’s guests – thank you so much for taking the time to visit my blog. She has indeed done a superb job of making what is an already magical setting all the more special with her impeccable eye for detail. As a creative, I am so inspired by both the chateau, and Lizzie herself, and truly feel so blessed to have been given this wonderful opportunity. I know it is a time in our lives I will treasure forever.


Joanne Joseph December 2, 2013 at 00:31

I have had the thought of house sitting in the back of my mind for our 9 months in Europe next year – a month here, a month there. I think you have now convinced me that YES, I want to look into that option more closely. What an amazing place you found!
Joanne Joseph recently posted..Whistle Blowing and Cooking School


Hannah December 2, 2013 at 13:56

You should definitely look into house sitting! I truly can’t speak more highly of our experience so far, and it has definitely opened our eyes to a whole new way of travelling. I would recommend getting the eBook I mentioned above, which really helped us shape our applications, and both of the agencies we registered with were great. I hope you manage to find somewhere wonderful!


Stephen December 18, 2013 at 03:44

Wow that is seriously amazing! Have fun, can’t wait to read and see more about it!
Stephen recently posted..What Makes The Similans So Special?


Hannah December 18, 2013 at 11:11

Thanks Stephen! I can’t wait to share more of it too 🙂


Charlie February 12, 2014 at 12:03

What a stunning home; congratulations on your house-sitting job! We’ve been looking into house-sitting but it really is a game of chance and luck as well, what with so many people trying to find a place. Would love to hear more about your experience with getting a place!
Charlie recently posted..Exploring England: Is it really grim up north?


Hannah February 13, 2014 at 12:28

Thanks Charlie – we really did hit the jackpot with this place, especially as we had no idea what we were originally applying for! I will definitely write more about our experiences, but one tip would be to start your search as early as possible, especially if you are looking for a longer term house-sit. Also, don’t be afraid to apply for places with minimal descriptions and no photos – that’s what happened to us with this place, and as you can see, it worked out pretty well!


Rebecca February 20, 2014 at 13:03

Oh my, it’s perfect! I’m quite jealous! 🙂
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Hannah February 20, 2014 at 19:30

Yes, it’s hard to find anything to complain about – apart from the fact that we have to leave!


Kadri March 16, 2014 at 16:54

Wow wow, it looks so perfect!
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Hannah March 16, 2014 at 17:07

I have to admit, it kind of is – apart from the fact that we have to leave soon!


Alejandra May 30, 2014 at 08:01

This is overwhelmingly beautiful!! By now you must be out of the Chateau, although it would be hard to beat a home like this, the beauty of traveling is that every place holds its magic – from what I read I assume this is the magic you both needed.
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Hannah May 30, 2014 at 12:39

We were actually fortunate enough to be asked to stay on a little longer by the owner, so we are still here! We start our next house-sit in Spain in a couple of weeks though, and it will be hard to say goodbye to the incredible place. As much as we will miss it though, the lure of new adventures certainly helps to soften the blow…


Katie Featherstone June 2, 2014 at 01:28

Wow, that’s quite some house-sitting win! You mush be pretty sad to leave?
Katie Featherstone recently posted..Sun, smiles and coconut trees?


Hannah June 2, 2014 at 11:42

Yes, we really lucked out! We will be very sad to leave, but are planning to return in the not too distant future… stay tuned!


Wendy Greene June 16, 2014 at 16:06

Hello there, I just found your site and absolutely love your writing style!
I enjoyed this post – the chateau is beautiful and you even had the honour of looking after a Siamese cat at that! How perfect.
Wendy Greene recently posted..The Best Place to See a Sunset in Samara, Costa Rica


Hannah June 17, 2014 at 12:38

Hi Wendy, thank you so much for your kind words! Our time at the chateau has been an absolute gift – and the best bit is that the owner has asked us to house-sit for her again from November 🙂


Montecristo Travels (Sonja) August 5, 2014 at 21:05

WOW!! THAT is one LUCKY house sit!! Well done! And Hope you enjoyed it to the max!


Hannah August 12, 2014 at 10:02

Thank you, we certainly did! And we’ve been asked to look after the chateau again, so we’ll be back in November 🙂


Fabiana January 9, 2015 at 01:26

I have done some house sitting assignments before and loved it. I have stayed at great homes but WOW you hit the jackpot here!


Leigh February 9, 2015 at 22:42

What an incredible opportunity!
Leigh recently posted..Christmas on the Equator! Galapagos Islands Adventure Sailing


Milica May 27, 2015 at 04:12

I miss your posts a lot!


K August 3, 2015 at 16:58

How horrendously beautiful! 🙂 So very jealous.
K recently posted..A few things you should know about MY country: Wales.


Ed Phelan September 17, 2015 at 14:29

This is incredible!

Where was this? I was born in Périgueux but moved to Brighton when I was a child, I have loved reading your blog recently. I will be making regular return trips.



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