Li’l Rascal, Masterfully Done!

When you hear the word masterpiece, what do you think of? Maybe you remember a sculpture, portrait, or a painter’s landscape you saw in a museum. Or possibly you think of a poem, a stunning photograph, an amazing quilt, or rare architecture within a skyline. These things can all be called masterpieces.

My first thought goes straight to my brother-in-law and all his spectacular wooden watercraft. It’s been an honor and a pleasure being a part of his creative creations through the years.

Dave Vasher began this boatbuilding journey over a decade ago with the dream of handcrafting his own wooden strip canoe and once that came to life, there was no stopping him. His talent and skills are amazing, but what is even more so, is that he finished all of these watercraft as winter garage projects in his own backyard. He worked evenings after his day job, weekends, and any other free time he had. Dave built these crafts bit by bit with mostly overtime money.

He has a man-cave like no other, surrounded by previous boats, tools, and always the scent of fresh-cut wood. There are mahogany pieces, cedars, ash and more. I won’t make you wait any longer.

Dave’s five brilliant masterpieces began with . . .

His first, an impressive Wabanaki strip canoe – Dave learned to weave, and even created the seats himself.

      

Second, and third, he built two wooden kayaks because it’s more fun to kayak with someone.

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Fourth, a fishing boat called a Dory.

   

Fifth  . . .  are you ready for this … it’s a flippin’ speed boat. He named her the Li’l Rascal, a design by Ken Bassett. What began as a cardboard tube filled with the instructions and pattern has become Dave’s present masterpiece.

  

It’s everything and anything except Li’l. This true masterpiece is fifteen feet long and created of all the best woods available. Vertical grain fir makes up the frame and the overlay is mahogany. The Merlot vinyl seats were custom-made locally. A detailed wood steering wheel and control council was chosen to accent the interior while 24k Gold leaf filled numbers and letters highlight both sides of the exterior. The Mercury sixty horse motor attached to its rear-end or for real boaters (the transom) can, and certainly will create waves for many years to come.

         

This latest craft with all its intricacies has taken Dave the longest, almost three years. He says, “Through patience, love, blood, sweat, and tears, it was all worth it.” He had many special critiques from buddies. Some appreciated, some not. He admitted to using a few.

Li’l Rascal’s maiden voyage took place on July 27, 2017 with plenty of family, friends, and few stray admirers.

The first ride was dedicated to Dave’s wife, of course, and if it wasn’t he may have ended up in an emergency room somewhere. Haha!  I may have to write another blog of her version of the last two and half years. Although, patience, love, blood, sweat and tears may actually sum it up for Mandy as well. She can let us know at the end of the boating season if it was all worth it or not? I think we may already know the answer.

The Li’l Rascal has yet another exceptional sentimental feature. The H-27 on both sides carries the memory of his wife’s father who also had a passioniate love of boats and the water.

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I couldn’t have been more delighted or surprised when Dave said, “Your turn Mel, hop in.” Shhhhh! I may have peed a little with all the excitement.

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Dave’s nerves at the very beginning were doing a bit of an anxious dance. But in the end, there were no worries and everyone was bustin’ a move. The launch was pure perfection. The first voyages can only be described as heaven on the water! What a ride!

Dave is several years from retiring from his day job as a machinist. Gee, I wonder what he’ll do with all his spare time.

More links to articles about Dave’s watercraft.

School, Canoe and a Dream Come True

A Christmas Gift Comes to Life

My Boat Building Brother-in-Law

Some Assembly Required

I’m continullay grateful you have given me this opportunity once again to do what I love and write. Thank you for reading my words and sharing my articles. I’m honored!

Love and Light

Meline Scheidel

 

 

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The Turtle & Plan B

If it’s not the bees, or crazy cardinals, or whacko fishing stories, it’s those darn turtles. I truly love and learn something from all my visitors, critters or otherwise.

I’m not sure who scared who the most, although I fared a bit better. I jumped back and watched as the poor turtle panicked and flung herself off my dock. I couldn’t help but laugh when her plans didn’t work out so well. My thought was, I can so relate. But like most ladies, turtles or humans, we always have a plan B.

The Spiny Soft-shelled Turtle had climbed the hill about six feet from the water. She was sunning herself or maybe scoping for a place to lay eggs. She was crouched even with the ground close to the steps and I didn’t see her.

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The turtle was near the round stone near the post on the left. (Not in photo)

When I approached, she, not so gracefully zipped down two steps and flung herself right into the lake, or so she thought. At one point she looked like a flying turtle.

After being airborne, she landed in my paddle boat. Thankfully, it was almost overflowing with rainwater after the last few days of storms. She struggled to get out, but her nails slid on the plastic. She would dip under when she saw me watching, but I was able to get this picture.

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Next project, bail paddle boat! Hoping there are no more surprises.

As I went for my evening walk I tried to figure out a way for her to escape without anymore stress for either of us. My best plan was to lay a piece of wood across the boat for something (not plastic) for her to grab onto and climb out.

Forty five minutes later when I returned from my walk, the turtle was gone. We had both obviously had a plan B.

Here’s a DNR link if interested in knowing more about the popular Spiny Softshell Turtle.

Has any crazy creature incidences happened to you? I would love to read about your adventures in the comments.

Thanks as always for reading and sharing my blogs. I’m so grateful.

 

 

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Mel’s Bee and Bee

Not all my visitors to the lake house are of the human kind, but I must say, human or not, I enjoy and end up loving them all.

There was the Crazy fish story. and  C.C. the Crazy Cardinal

Update on C.C. – He has returned several times for a quick peek in the window. He seems better balanced and no longer suicidal.

This past summer, 2016

My least favorite insect visited. One I have feared since I was a child. It brought the whole dang family too. Well, in this case it’s called a colony.

My visitors were honey bees, but any bee will send me running, flaying, and shrieking like a sissy girl into the house. (Please note: I’m usually a brave-like warrior woman, just saying!)

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photo by M.M.S.

I had thousands of honey bees interrupt my magazine reading on the deck one afternoon. Such audacity! First came the intense sound. I raised my eyes to find the air-filled with black buzzing dots. The shadow was headed my way. The chair flipped over as I exited. My reading material and I luckily escaped into the cottage without a single sting.

From behind the sun room windows about two feet away, I safely observed the bees. They chose to make my bird bath their destination. As I watched, the hanging group grew larger in size as each bee clung to one another. The entire dark triangular shape seemed to sway, and pulse, almost as if it was a single breathing entity. I was fascinated!

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Photo by M.M.S.

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Photo by M.M.S.

How would I get rid of them? I was alone on this trip. Thoughts of my husbands torch and Raid in the shed crossed my mind.

I had read somewhere recently that bees were dying off and needed to be protected. My next thought was, maybe there’s a nearby beekeeper who would be happy to come and rescue me. Oh, I mean rescue them. I found several keepers on the Internet.

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Local Bee Keeper

“A bunch of bees landed in my front yard. Would you be interested in them?”

“Please don’t destroy them,” She quickly said. “The swarm will leave on their own in a few hours, as little as two, and a maximum of thirty. They are only resting.”

I insisted that they seemed settled and comfortable. She assured me that they will leave soon.”

The bee keeper was excited to hear about the new colony and repeated how fortunate I was to witness such an extraordinary event. Lucky me!

The Bee Keeper Explains

When a colony separates the queen can’t fly long distances, so when she tires and lands, all the bees surround and protect her. Once a swarm containing hundreds to thousands of bees are settled, the scout bees are sent out to locate a new permanent home for its queen and the young colony.

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The Next Day

I recognized the chaotic buzz  while preparing a meal. I rushed to the window while the bees took their leave the same way they’d came. They dispersed layer by layer from the bird bath once again dotting the air and moving toward the west. Their visit lasted about twenty-two hours.

The swarm left before several of their scout bees had returned from their explorations.They appeared to be lost souls for a few days as they clung to my bird bath. I hope they found their new home.

The more I’ve learned about the complex life of honey bees, the more respect I have, and less fear.

One Fact

If a honey bee stings you, it will die soon after. This isn’t true with other bees.

If you want to read more about honey bees, check out this site and article,  MAARC. I think all states should follow Maryland‘s laws.

Teasers -Next blog

My backyard boat building brother-in-law, Dave, is about to unveil his latest all wooden speedboat masterpiece. You wont want to miss this.

 

 

 

 

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World Peace Prayer Service

What an amazing way to begin a New Year!

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World Peace Prayer Service

I’ve prayed my own short prayers nightly for world peace as I’m sure you all have, but I had never attended an entire Sunday service dedicated to the world’s peace.

A song written by Gwen Girvin called, God Bless the Whole Wide World, was lovingly performed by her and her husband George. She was inspired to write this song when she was only eight and realized as a child that God blesses more than just America.

People from many cultures came to say a prayer for peace, mostly prayers that are practiced in their birth countries and religion. They’d recite in their language, (Then repeat in English).

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I knew this service would be interesting, but had no idea of the immense intensity of emotion these prayers, chants and words would invoke within me. I have no doubt people of all cultures, located all over the entire world felt our love, prayers, chants, and songs as they were so purposely expressed.

I can only describe this service as one of the most powerful I’ve ever attended. My body tingled from head to toe, beginning to the end.

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Some people brought instruments such as, Native American drums, tambourines, flutes, maracas, and wore authentic clothing to match. We heard Buddhist chats, one in Thai, two Baha’i Prayers, one (Farsi – Persian Language) Chinese, Japanese, and Sanskrit chants, along with prayers in, Mandarin, a Hawaiian and a Hungarian prayer. Amazing and Wow! I am so grateful to have been a part of this experience.

There was a strong united connection present, no matter the color of skin, language, or appearances, and it was obvious even though we’re all so unique in our different ways that we still have one amazing thing in common, our great love of God and a genuine hope for peace in our magnificent world.

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I was invited and able to contribute my own prayer, titled, We Can, and was humbled and honored to do so.

WE CAN

by, M. M. Scheidel

We can

Pray

May the wounds of all earthly battles remain only on the temporary body, never finding home in the soul.

Please  God

Wash away all hatred and anger that impedes the mind, cleansing, healing, and make every one anew.

Energize us to do our part.

We can

Create an effort each day to begin with peace on our own soul.

We can

Share amongst anyone who is willing to experience, and hear

and those who are not. . . we can utilize our God-given artillery.

We can

Surround them with our weapons of love, swathe them with our compassion, and caress them with our empathy. Reminding, and encouraging all encountered to know of their own divineness within.

We can…

Do all of this daily in our mind, body, and souls… for we and our world craves peace

Because we have the divine within us we already know

Peace begins with me, Peace begins in our families, and Peace begins with each and every one of you!

We can

All unite to do our part… and so it is – Amen

 

 

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A Crazy Fish Story

There’s more than one way to catch a fish, or two!

Here are the fish!

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Here is the Story that appeared on the front page of the  Owosso Independent

Hope you are as entertained by this world’s tasty oddities as I am.

Thank you for sharing my blogs.

Writing Naturally,

Meline

 

 

 

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The Old Christmas Station

Love to eat out? In the mood for authentic German/European style foods? You’ll want to make a note of this restaurant. It’s in Frankenmuth, Michigan but, this place isn’t about the chicken dinners. It’s about so much more. Can you say, Schnitzel?

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At The Old Christmas Station everything is made fresh to order from scratch with no processed ingredients and can be served with a wide variety of German beers and or perfectly matched European wines.

If your palette tingles for full-bodied authentic flavors, a nice cocktail, and good service after a long day of shopping and sight-seeing, Chef Barbara truly puts her heart and pride into the preparation and presentation of her authentic dishes.

We had an excellent, knowledgeable waiter Ryan, who answered all our questions with ease and offered me a fabulous suggestion for a medium dry red wine. It was delightful, smooth, and a suitable match with my meal. It is now one of my new favorites, the wine and The Old Christmas Station!

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With its inviting train station historic ambiance and extensive menu, it has something for everyone. Last weeks meal began with fresh, crisp, perfectly sized salads with a homemade taste-bud popping house dressing, and an appetizer of the most flavor-filled fabulous bruschetta any of us had ever tasted.

The Wiener Schnitzel I had was created with breaded veal and my cousin who was here from New Jersey had one with breaded pork, both served with generous portions of spaetzle topped with a rich fresh cream mushroom sauce. We all sampled another entree of extraordinary beef goulash with spaetzle. All of the flavors in every dish were rich, amazing, and unique.

Then, when we thought the food experience couldn’t get any better, this beautiful amazing dessert with edible flowers and a cherry on top was delivered to our table!

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Homemade Tiramisu

The Old Christmas Station is located at, 100 S. Main Street. It’s at the opposite end of town as Bronner’s in Frankenmuth, Michigan. I discovered this food-lovers treasure near the end of July and have been twice since, with seven different people. Everyone has been blown away with flavors, textures, the service, and the over-the-top attention to detail to everything edible.

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Happy Full Tummy’s and memories to go!

After our meal was complete, the sweet congenial chef/owner Barbara from Switzerland and sou chef, Anthony took the time to visit our table. They introduced themselves and asked for our opinions, complaints, or even suggestions on the recipes that were served.

Our party of four agreed that perfection is difficult to improve upon.

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I have a funny feeling it won’t be long before I crave the best schnitzel or beef goulash in Frankenmuth.

Thank you to all that served us at The Old Christmas Station and added to a delightful memorable meal experience with my out of town guests on two occassions-so far.

(My apologies Ryan for not snapping your picture too.)

Yelp and Tripadvisor reviews

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Shipshewana Silliness

My July 4th began in the car, listening to a half of a very good book while I drove to Shipshewana, Indiana for our annual ladies retreat with some family and friends.

I thought it was crazy that I bought cinnamon bread in Indiana and when I sliced it, it was shaped like Michigan.Lotta love in that loaf.

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The flea market celebrated the holiday opening on Monday, along with their usual Tuesday and Wednesday. Who doesn’t love an extra day to shop?

Besides the famous flea market with bargains beyond ones imagination, there are many store-front shops that line the main street and side streets.

We stayed at the Farmstead Inn, ate fresh locally farmed Amish food, found wonderful bargains every day, had our very own auction one night, (everyone contributes a donation or more) and played card B I N G O the next. The auction purchases and bingo prizes were fun, some practical, others, well, maybe not so much.

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The musical, The Home Game, playing at the Blue Gate Theater and Restaurant,  was raved about by those who attended.

But as always – –  the very best part for me was all the laughter, and just being together with family and friends and I can’t forget my mother’s wonderful silly sisters.

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At one point I truly thought someone in the hotel may complain. We all laughed so loud and hard, it hurt. Truly the best kind of pain! That’s me below with the happy tears at the bottom right.

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Our Shipshee Faces! Photo- Jersey Cookie Girl

Here are some of our best finds this trip!

If you love – better than Grandma’s comfort food, shopping, and great flea market bargains, you will adore Shipshewana. I highly recommend a visit.

Until next time, wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!

Love Mel

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Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Not only is Grand Rapids the second largest city in Michigan, but it has numerous extraordinary entertaining things to do, and amazing places to visit. My husband and I found two of them last Monday.

A peek at our day trip to Meijer Gardens.

It was the perfect weather, overcast and not to crowded. There were fields of wild flowers, woodlands and wetlands along with perfectly manicured grounds through our entire journey on the walking paths. We spent about four hours and I wished we had at least that many more. It was so tranquil to take in the kaleidoscope of color, shapes, scents and spectacular sculpture exhibits by some extremely impressive artists.

We didn’t make it to the children’s gardens. Although we saw a few children in swim suits and joyous sounds emanating from the area as we passed by.

There was some amazing music that could be heard throughout the grounds from a band that was rehearsing for a later concert at the amphitheater.

The pillars, flowers, and vines were breathtaking.

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The Japanese Gardens  opened in 2015. As we enjoyed the journey through the curved paths, it felt as though you were being bathed in a blanket of calm. There were several waterfalls ranging from a trickle to a cascading rush. The blossoms blew their fragrance as if sending gentle kisses through the air. I never wanted to leave, but they closed at five.

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In one of the indoor exhibits I recognized a saguaro cactus, but this one was under fifty years old…no arms yet. Earlier blog post about these unique cacti.

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Sculptures

The sculpture gardens are filled with unique and famous pieces by many artists.

I enjoyed this equine masterpiece that measures 288 x 91 x 339 inches. The American Horse, was created by Nina Akamu in 1999.

He’s Majestic… I’m about 5 1/2 feet tall and to him I must feel like a horse fly on his front leg.

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The Long Island Buddha-made from steel and copper by artist Zhang Huan.

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I bet you can guess why I could hardly take my eyes from this stainless steel and stone sculpture. I, you, she or he . . .by Jaume Plensa, known for using ideas about language and communication in his sculptures.  It was so wonderful to walk among these figures and imagine their silent conversations. I have no doubt their conversation included the words, “This artist is brilliant!”

Here’s the link for Frederik Meijer Gardens. We would highly recommend this park be on everyone’s itinerary when visiting the area.

Afterwards to end our adventure, we discovered a well-known brewery in Grand Rapids. Founders Brewing. 

Just a small appetizer. (enough to feed four, I think) Absolutely the most umami (my new favorite word) hummus and olive tapenade spread I’ve had anywhere. The beer wasn’t bad either. (tee-hee) Five star brewery for sure.

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If you’ve been on any day trips that were fun, please share in comment section!

As always, thanks for reading and sharing my blog.

Enjoy your summer.

Mel

 

 

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Clowns! Virtuous or Iniquitous?

My husband and I have had an ongoing discussion for years about clowns. He shares the opinion of many others that believe they are all evil. There has never been a doubt in his mind of their wickedness since he was a young boy.

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I, on the other hand have always used Bozo the Clown as my argument. He would never cause anyone any harm. Bozo told me once when I was on his show that he liked my drawing of fireworks the best, even though the audience voted another the winner.

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What about the clowns in parades? They’re dressed in those vivid colors, bright smiles, full of laughter, funny horns, and they give-away candy. They were not ever scary to me. (Hmm, until now!)

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My clown belief changed for me the other night. I think I’m a convert!

I had my first evil clown experience. I rarely dream or at least I don’t remember if I do, and have had only a few nightmares over the years.

My husband is up before daybreak, work day or not. He heard my very clear panicked scream, Help me, a long moan and another loud help me . . .  pleeeeze! The poor guy’s heart stopped for a beat or two, he dropped his coffee, and rushed to the bedroom, his thoughts consumed with fear  of something being radically wrong with me.

Oh no!

Oh no!

 

 

 

 

 

 

As he entered the room, he knew at once I was having a nightmare and calmly talked me awake telling me it was okay, and that I was safe.

I shared the nightmare of the horrific painted white-faced, fuzzy-green haired clown that had a hold of my leg.  I kicked and tried to get away before he murdered me with a Tootsie Roll machine gun. It was so real. My husband never laughed and never once said, “See, I told you so, they are all evil, even the ones with candy.”

I have a terrific husband. He’s my hero!

How do you feel about clowns? Good, Evil, or Indifferent? Leave a comment!

I hope to never see these under a bathroom stall. UGH!

Seriously . . . RUN!

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The Sonoran Desert, Part 2

Mission San Xavier Del Bac – Tucson, Arizona

This national historical landmark is the only remaining mission in Arizona, that’s intact. Native Americans sell their bread and wares beneath shelters outside the church.425 (640x346)

The mission is a working parish for the Tohono O’odham people, that still live nearby. There are several masses a week.

This structure was begun in 1783. Construction of the mission continued for fourteen years before the money ran out. This caused the dismissal of artists and master artisans.The east tower was left bare with no dome or lantern. Inside, the baptistry and choir loft along with paintings were left unfinished.

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The Baptismal font, all original and still standing. The church is being restored by The Patronato San Xavier group. More than ten million dollars has been raised and spent to repair and stabilize the original adobe brick.

Desert Animal’s and some Fire ants. No Rattlers this trip, thank goodness.

I never thought I would think a desert would have such beauty. It’s gorgeous surrounded by the ever-changing mountains. As the sun rises and sets, it touches each peak with its brilliance, not missing any of the ranges. As the day progresses it creates shadows and color changes. It’s absolutely magnificent to observe. Most of the cacti were beginning to bud, and there was much more green than I expected to ever see in a desert. I’m so grateful to have had this spring experience.

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Did you know this? I didn’t.

The tree above appears to have maybe large nests in it. When I asked about the bird or animal that made their homes in these trees, I was astonished to find out, these weren’t nests at all. The large clumps are mistletoe plants, and if they aren’t harvested they can cause damage to the trees and possibly kill them.

Mistletoe grows in the desert, who would have thought?

New Mexico-I couldn’t leave without having at least one famed Margarita. Check-out the pink Chihuahua on the side of the glass. You can’t get much more authentic than that! Our meal was fantastic too.

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Cheers 

As always, thanks for stopping by my blog. See you again next month.

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