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Days out

2020 Bank Holidays in Cornwall

January 10, 2020 No Comments
Children and a dog running through the woods at the Calamansac Estate in Cornwall on the Helford River near Falmouth.

We’re all back into the swing of things after the Christmas holidays and coming around to the idea of it being a whole new decade. One of the lovely things about early January (when our New Year’s resolutions are still clear in our minds) is looking forward to what the year ahead will bring. Spring lies just around the corner and 2020 is set to be one very exciting year!

For many of us filling in our new calendars, we’ll be jotting down dates and starting to get excited about the many bank holidays coming up in the New Year. There are eight bank holidays in England and Wales this year, and those planning a holiday to Cornwall might want to think about booking over a bank holiday weekend to take advantage of an extra day without taking away from their annual leave.

In Cornwall, the bank holidays often mean getting outdoors and a day on the beach might be just the thing we need.

During the Easter weekend we can start to see Cornwall beginning to blossom, and in May the two bank holidays serve as a taste of the long summer holidays that lie ahead. Our bank holidays offer precious time to wind down with loved ones and enjoy some adventure time.

Visitors to Cornwall for the early May Bank Holiday, which takes place on a Friday this year, will enjoy the fact that it falls on Helston Flora Day. This dancing festival dates to pre-Christian times as a way to welcome in the summer. Dancers line the streets and even dance in and out of houses!

Falmouth’s Fal River Festival falls this year upon the late May Spring Bank Holiday. This ten-day celebration is a community festival with over 150 events varying from the Arts to gig racing.

See below a list of UK Bank Holidays for 2020, and start planning your holiday in Cornwall!

  • 1st January 2020 – New Years Day
  • 10th April 2020 – Good Friday
  • 13th April 2020 – Easter Monday
  • 8th May 2020 – Early May Bank Holiday (VE Day)
  • 25th May 2020 – Spring Bank Holiday
  • 31st August 2020 – Summer Bank Holiday
  • 25th December 2020 – Christmas Day
  • 28th December 2020 – Boxing Day (substitute day)

Whilst you have your calendars and diaries are open, make a note of these other key dates in the Cornish Calendar, and plan your holiday accordingly!

  • Valentine’s Day: Thursday 14 February 
  • St Piran’s Day: Thursday 5 March
  • St Patrick’s Day: Sunday 17 March
  • Mothering Sunday: Sunday 31 March
  • St George’s Day: Tuesday 23 April
  • Father’s Day: Sunday 16 June
  • Halloween: Thursday 31 October 
  • Bonfire Night: Tuesday 5 November

Things to do in Cornwall this Winter

December 14, 2019 No Comments
An early morning scene from Swanpool Beach of people walking. Pendennis Castle and St Anthony lighthouse appear in the background through sea-mist.
A winter walk in Falmouth.

Oh Cornwall! Famed for sandy beaches and temperate climate. We’re all familiar with visions and memories of Cornwall during the summer, but in winter when the crowds disperse there’s a magic to the landscape. We’re in love with Cornwall whatever the weather, so read on below for our list of the very best things to do in Cornwall this winter.

1.Walks

Cornish folk spend a lot of their time on their feet during the winter, and with the South-West coast path offering over 300 miles of coastline to explore it’s no wonder why! Hike some clifftop walks on the north coast, or visit the calm and sheltered banks of the Helford River.

2. Tate St Ives

Wandering around the newly refurbished Tate St Ives will allow you to look at the Cornish landscape with fresh eyes. The perfect day out for a rainy day in Cornwall. Drink a hot chocolate on the top floor and enjoy wintry views of the sea over the rooftops stretching out towards Godrevy.

3. The Eden Project

Make use of the ice-skating rink at The Eden Project before warming up in the sub-tropical biome. There are few better ways to escape the chill in Cornwall this winter!

4. National Maritime Museum Cornwall

Explore Cornwall from the comfort of this incredible museum in Falmouth, with exhibits on all things maritime certain to delight anyone with even a passing interest in boats.

5. Visit a famous Cornish garden

The famous Cornish Gardens of Trebah, and the Lost Gardens of Heligan are wonderful for crisp winter walks in Cornwall. Get lost among the plant life and wonder at what can grow in Cornwall during the winter months.

6. Go storm watching at Porthleven

Images of Portleven make the news at least once each winter, as storms roll in and batter the harbour side in the most dramatic fashion. Watching the waves from the safety of one of the cosy pubs is a firm favourite pastime of ours during the winter, one of our favourite things to do in Cornwall just gets even better when the weather is really wet and windy.

7. Visit the Minack Theatre

Sitting outside in the winter to watch a play might not sound like one of the best things to do in Cornwall this winter, but The Minack is not your normal theatre! Hewn from the cliffs above Porthcurno especially for a performance of ‘The Tempest’, it’s worth a visit even if there’s nothing playing.

8. Have a hot chocolate taste test

With a thriving coffee and cafe scene, we’ve set ourselves the challenge of tasting every hot chocolate in the county. Whilst our final verdict is not yet in, we can say that they always seem to taste better with a great view! Try Gylly Beach Cafe in Falmouth, or The Unicorn in Porthtowan.

9. Go swimming

Whilst swimming in the sea might be out, Ships and Castles in Falmouth offer a great fun way to get into the water.

10. Watch a film at an independent cinema

The Poly in Falmouth plays a range of movies from old classics to new ones. Visit the Newlyn Film House on your way home after an afternoon in Mousehole.

11. Take a scenic drive

When it’s a bit too windy for a clifftop walk, seeing the dramatic scenery from the road is the second-best thing. Journey from St Ives to St Just along the B3306, stopping off at the Gurnard’s Head for lunch.

12. Visit a country house

Often decked out for Christmas, step into a vision of Cornwall past by visiting a country house. Trelissick and Godolphin are two of the best, looked after by the National Trust. A visit to St Michael’s Mount is an unforgettable experience at any time of year.

Ideas for dog friendly days out in Cornwall

June 21, 2019 No Comments

The Falmouth and Helford River area of Cornwall is the perfect place for a day out with your dog and these tips are bound to get tails wagging. In celebration of today being ‘bring your dog to work day’, we’re championing everyday as bring your dog on holiday day! With over 50 dog-friendly properties in the portfolio of Cornish Holiday Cottages and with our resident doggy experts on duty, we’re well qualified to advise you on the very best days out with you and your beloved pet in Cornwall!

Beaches

We are spoilt for choice with beautiful beaches in Cornwall. Long stretches of golden sand with clear waters line the coast. But come the summer, many of them become off limits to our hairy companions.

Luckily, the waters of the Helford are full of little coves and beaches which are dog-friendly all year round. You and your dog can scamper to your hearts content along the 2,000 foot long stretch of sand at Prisk Cove, or the sheltered cove of Port Saxon. Grebe Beach near Mawnan Smith is perfect for a spot of sunbathing, and for a swim with your pet.

Pubs

We Cornish folk have a soft spot for our dogs and our pubs, so we love being able to combine the two with the welcoming dog-friendly places to eat and drink in Cornwall. We love the Pandora Inn outside Mylor near Falmouth, where dogs are welcome to sit outside with owners on a pontoon stretching out onto the water.
The Ferryboat on the banks of the River Helford in the village of Helford Passage is another marvelous option for drinking and dining with your dog in tow. Dogs are allowed inside and outside of the restaurant.
If looking out onto the ocean and the beautiful Gyllyngvase beach in Falmouth at sunset appeals, dinner on the terrace at the award winning Gylly Beach café is an absolute must. With outdoor heating and blankets on standby, it’s cosy for everyone even as dusk settles and the moon rises over the ocean.

Walks

The South West coast path. Need we say a single word more? So much of beautiful Cornwall is accessible to walkers via the footpath that hugs the coastline, taking in all of what makes this part of the world truly magic. Walk with your dog along the Roseland Heritage Coast for wonderful views of the sea, or along the Lizard peninsular for dramatic cliffs. The Penwith Heritage Coast provides all the drama and mystery of Poldark country. Not to mention the gentle lanes and pretty paths that criss-cross all along the Helford and Falmouth area. You and your dog will find that there is so much scenery to explore, you’ll simply have to come back year after year to see it all!

Shopping

Sometimes we just need a bit of retail therapy. Here is where the harbourside market town of Falmouth comes into its own. A farmers market on Falmouth Moor every Tuesday, and a market on a Saturday provide ample opportunity. Browse for music at Jam in Falmouth, or search through tomes for a ‘tail’ to read at the dog-friendly Beerwolf Books.

On the Water

Visitors come from far and wide to Cornwall in order to delight in being on the water. With ferries to get from A to B in leisurely style or for a scenic sightseeing trip with your dog, catch one of the many boats departing from Falmouth pier. Perhaps you’ll be bound for a beautiful trip up the Helford river, or set for a lovely day out in beautiful St Mawes for ice cream and fish and chips.

Attractions

Trelissick House and Garden is a dream day out for dogs and owners. Whilst our four-legged friends might not be permitted within the main House and Gardens of this spectacular historical estate on the banks of the River Fal just outside of Falmouth, there are dog walking opportunities aplenty in the acres and acres of historical woodland and meadows. After a scamper around, the wonderful courtyard café has sheltered seating outdoors for you and your best friend to enjoy a cream tea.
The Cornish Seal Sanctuary on the Helford in Gweek allows dogs on leads, so curious pooches can finally get a glimpse of the marine life within the blue waters of the Cornish coast.
Pendennis Castle in Falmouth is run by English Heritage, and allows dogs on leads both indoors and outdoors. With exhibitions on the Tudor history of Cornwall, along with fascinating insights into our maritime past. Great views are to be found from over the battlements to Falmouth bay and the mouth of the river Fal (smaller dogs might need to be picked up to appreciate the views!)

We hope this gives you some idea of just a few wonderful things you and your dog can get up to on your holiday in Cornwall. Don’t forget to browse our pet friendly properties to find a place to snuggle up after your busy days out!

Visit the real Poldark country

June 6, 2018 No Comments

The popular BBC1 show, Poldark, returns to our screens this Sunday, 10th June at 9pm.  The series showcases some of Cornwall’s most spectacular rugged landscapes, stunning beaches and historic buildings.

If it’s just too tempting and you feel the yearn to follow in Ross and Demelza’s footsteps, firstly call our friendly team to help you find the perfect base for your break, then read on for our handy list of beautiful filming locations and must-see attractions to visit during your holiday.

 

Botallack Mine – Wheal Owles, on the Tin Coast, near St Just

The abandoned buildings, owned by the National Trust, were the perfect location for the Poldark family mines. The ruined engines houses, part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage site, are set on the side on the cliff with breath-taking views.

Read more at the National Trust website/Botallack.

 

Charlestown Harbour, St Austell

Built in 1792 by Charles Rashleigh, Charlestown is still a working harbour for china clay exports. Now privately owned the port has been used in well over one hundred shows and films. It’s just like stepping back in time as you walk along the flagstones and explore the 1939 Tall Ship “Kajsamaoor”.

Read more at Charlestown Port

 

 

Wheal Coates, St Agnes Head

Wheal Coates Engine House is perched on the side of the cliff at St Agnes over looking Chapel Porth. This is Poldark country at its best with purple heather, yellow gorse and miles of ocean.

Visit Wheal Coates’ National Trust website

 

Bodmin Moor

A great place to stop on your way to Falmouth. Used as the location for Ross Poldark’s cottage, Nampara, and the dramatic horseback scenes.

Read all the Poldark filming locations at the BBC website.

 

 

 

Poldark Tin Mine, Wendron, Helston

Although the Poldark Mine has not featured in the current series it was seen by millions all over the world when it featured in in the original BBC drama in 1970s. The only complete tin mine open for underground guided tours for a real atmosphere of times gone by.

Opening times and prices are available on the Poldark Mine website.

 

Posted in: Days out, Romance

A windy day in St Ives

March 6, 2017 No Comments

A beautiful sunny day here in Cornwall – just a bit windy!  Nothing better than dressing up warm and getting yourself to the coastline to watch those powerful waves crash over the rocks.   Certainly blows the cobwebs away!

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Posted in: Days out

A Winter Picnic with Cornish Maid

February 9, 2017 No Comments

Whether it’s the weekend or you are on holiday, nothing beats that feeling of not having to get up at the crack of dawn! After a lazy morning, it’s time to head out the door for some much-needed time in the great outdoors…

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Falmouth is close to the beaches and the countryside and offers endless things for a family to do whatever the weather. Today it’s time to go walking in one of our favourite spots: the Helford river.

 

Just a short drive from Falmouth is Mawnan Smith: a quiet, friendly village, complete with all the amenities you might need. Nestled within the heart of the village is a lovely, friendly cafe called ‘Cornish Maid’. It’s the perfect spot to sit and relax with a hot brew and piece of cake while watching the village comings and goings. They also make ready-to-go picnic hampers, which suited us perfectly today. We love nothing more than a hearty picnic, especially one that’s been lovingly prepared for us. A picnic in winter you might say? As long as you’re wrapped up with appropriate weather gear, you can enjoy it whatever the weather. Somehow food always seems to taste better al fresco and after a long walk, feels very much deserved!

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A short hop down the road by car, we park at Bosveal, ‘The National Trust’ car park.

We tog up: hats, scarves, gloves, baby slings and raincoats (always prepare for every weather eventuality in Cornwall!). Daddy has the picnic, I have the baby and the eldest little nipper has disappeared off into the woods to search for bears!

 

Off we stomp – through the woods, past the cows, down a well-trodden path until we reach our favourite destination: Grebe beach!  We timed it just right – low tide – so there was plenty of space to run around, throw stones, build a sand-castle and find a good spot to set up camp for the afternoon. The ten minute walk is perfect for little legs.

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After our beach fun it was time to re-fuel and tuck into our picnic: a delicious hamper full of tasty and satisfying treats! The family hamper, for 2 adults and 2 children, more than filled us up with its delicious selection of fresh vegetarian sandwiches, tasty homemade cakes and Cornish biscuits. It took away the hassle of having to pack a picnic and the kids loved the surprise of not knowing what was in the hamper!

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After our filling picnic, it was time to sit back and relax while the kids occupied themselves. It is such a wonderful place to just stop and totally immerse ourselves in nature; the rugged tree-lined coastline running parallel to fields of cows, the gentle lapping of water, seaweed-covered rock pools and hundreds of pretty shells and pebbles along the shoreline to keep the kids occupied. “Treasure Mummy!’”, my four-year-old excitedly exclaims, when he discovers some glistening sea glass by his feet.

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We had a lovely afternoon spent in a beautiful place. That’s the beauty of Cornwall – no matter what time of year, if you go exploring, you can always find a peaceful spot to escape to. Each season brings its own, unique sights, smells and sounds. During the summer the stunning beaches would have you believe you’re in the mediterranean. Come the quieter winter months, the rugged beauty of steel-grey seas and deserted wind-swept beaches never fail to impress!

 

 

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Helford River Wildwatch: June

May 27, 2016 No Comments

Helford River Wildwatch: June with Hetty Wildblood,

Koru Kayaking & Helford River Cruises (business supporters of Cornwall Wildlife Trust)

 

At long last summer really feels like it is on its way. The trees are in full bloom bright green ancient brightening up the banks of the Helford River and creeks. The wildlife is blooming too here’s what to look out for on the Helford River and Creeks in June:

Heron, Polwheveral Creek - Koru Kayaking & Helford River Cruises

Herons:

The heron colony on Polwheveral Creek. Herons sit up in the tree tops of Merthwn Woods, just before Polpenwith Creek, scrawking at eachother as they fly between the branches. They can also been seen on the ancient oak tree lined banks of Frenchman’s Creek made infamous by Daphne du Marier’s novel of the same name.

Little Egret on the banks of Frenchman's Creek - Koru Kayaking

Egrets:

Little egrets, their bright white feathers so clean despite living on the creeks which become mud flats at low tide have been quite scarce earlier in the year, but with the wamer weather more can be sighted on the banks and in the trees along Port Navas and Frenchman’s Creek.

Cuttlefish and Mussels on the banks of the Helford River - Koru Kayaking

Cuttlefish:

A growing number of cuttlefish, glamped to the mylor slate that form the banks of the Helford River are proving very popular with the Herring Gulls.

 

Mussels:

As the tide ebbs the exposed mylor slate shows the hundreds of fat mussels that line the banks of the Helford River. Completely natural, they grow lovely blue / black clumps, safe for another year as old folklore states that can only be picked on Good Friday!

 

Duckings:

Always lovely sight to see the mallards followed by a long line of their little ducklings a regular sight in June on Frenchman’s Creek

Cormorant on buoy, Helford River - Koru Kayaking & Helford River Cruises

Cormorants:

Their jet black oily wings can be seen stretching their wings and drying them out on the buoys in the river before they drive down again to catch if. Fun to watch these amaing birds who can swim to depths of () and for distances of upto (). A fun sight to see them dive under and watch where they pop up on a Helford River Cruise or Frenchman’s Creek Koru Kayak Adventure.

Kestrel, Helford River & Creeks - Koru Kayaking & Helford River Cruises

Kestrals:

An all year round treat, but they can bee see gracefully gliding over the Helford River and creeks. It is amazing watching nature in action from the water as Kestrals dive down attacking crow’s nests and the crows gather round this majestic bird to protect their young – a real David Attenborough moment!

Dolphin fins, Helford River, Helford River Cruises taken by our customer Peter Skeggs

Dolphins:

Speaking of David Attenborough moments we had a real treat at the end of April when our Helford River Cruise was joined by a pod of frolicking Risso Dolpins in the Helford River just in the bay between Helford and Trebah Gardens.

Happy Wildlife watching in June!

You can follow our wildlife sightings on our social media: facebook, twitter and Instagram

www.helfordrivercruises.co.uk – 1 ½ hour cruises along the Helford River and Creeks – bring your cameras and binoculars! From Budock Vean Hotel, TR11 5LG

www.korukayaking.co.uk – 2 hour Guided Kayak Adventures – Frenchman’s Creek Kayak Adventures from the Budock Vean Hotel, TR11 5LG. North Coast Kayak Adventures from Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes are also available.

Tregothnan Gardens – Open day 2016

May 19, 2016 No Comments

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Lord Falmouth opened his beautiful gardens at Tregothnan to the public a few weekends ago, proceeds raised went to “Cornwall Carer’s Service”.

 

The sun shone as we were allowed to enjoy the delights of this normally private estate.

 

We were treated to magnificent specimens of Camellias, Rhododenrons, Magnolias, Azaleas, grasslands with sweeping areas of bluebells and primroses.  We also enjoyed a refreshing cup of tea from Tregothnan’s very own tea plantation.

 

A wonderful day out.

Cornish Crabbing

April 4, 2016 No Comments

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Crabs are bizarre little creatures. Their hard shells and snippy pincers should instill a sense of fear in children, but instead they’re endlessly fascinating, funny little things. From their rock pool habitats to their sideways crab walk, they are the main event when rock pooling and the star of coastal exploration.

Crabbing is a truly British Seaside activity that keeps the children occupied and is surprisingly addictive for the adults. It’s the stuff of childhood nostalgia: fun, daring and occasionally hair raising.

It’s more fun in the sun, but crabs can be caught all day long and all year round. All you need is a bucket, a line, something to weight it and some bait: we have it on good authority that crabs are bacon fiends, so a try tying some to the end of your line.

There are loads of great crabbing spot around our Cornish Holiday Cottages. The most well known spot is down at the Pandora Inn, at the end of their pontoon. Sit down and have a pint while the children occupy themselves with the crustaceans.
Crabs like to hide and they tend to live in places where there is plenty of cover from rocks, seaweed or other structures. Favourite hideouts include around piers and harbour walls, and on beaches with larger rocks and stones. So if you are anywhere that meets these conditions grab your bucket and bacon and start crabbing.

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Cornish Holiday Cottages’ Top Crabbing Locations

1.    The Harbour! There are many quays in Falmouth with perfect spots for doing a bit of crabbing.

2.    The Pandora Inn at Mylor, enjoy delicious food on the pontoon and you can crab while you wait. Crabbing lines and bait are sold inside.

3.    Castle Beach, get your hands dirty at low tide and enjoy some rock pooling.

4.    Flushing Quay, enjoy the views of Falmouth from Flushing.

5.    Mylor Quay, the perfect spot for sitting and relaxing by the quay.

6.    Helford Passage, the rocky beach is the perfect spot for crab hunting.

The most important thing to consider when crabbing is the safety and happiness of the crabs themselves. These handy tips from the good people at gonecrabbing.co.uk have created a great guide to crabbing aimed at children and this handy dos and don’ts list:

Don’t …. put too many crabs in one bucket. Stick to 10 per pail
Do …. add rocks and seaweed to the bucket to help replicate the crab’s natural environment and reduce stress
Don’t …. keep them all day long – return them to sea
Do …. change the water every 10 minutes to avoid asphyxiation. Only keep the crabs in sea water.
Don’t …. store your bucket in the sun
Don’t …. use a line with a hook on. Either tie your bacon on or use an old pair of tights/bit of net to hold your bacon in.
Do …. hold your crab correctly – gently hold it either side of its shell or pick it up with one finger on top of the shell and one finger underneath – avoiding the claws though!
Do …. remove any crabs which are fighting – male crabs tend to be more aggressive than the ladies.
Do …. remember to take all your equipment and rubbish home with you.
Do … go crabbing. When done responsibly, crabbing is an excellent way to introduce children to the marine ecology.

Porthtowan Minehouses

March 14, 2016 No Comments

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You might find it hard to believe, but spring is just around the corner. Despite the mild chill that’s still in the air, we’ve already been taking advantage of the bright sunny days that are being sent our way. Last weekend, when the grey clouds lifted we took ourselves to Porthtowan, a small town nestled within some of the most stunning coastline that our fine county has to offer.

The remains of the mining industry dot the landscape as you drive towards Porthtowan. Like scars on the landscape, chimneys stand like bare trees on the hillsides. It’s an area steeped in mining heritage.

 

Porthtowan itself fighting against the tumbling dunes that continually blow through the town. As we got closer to the car park we found half the road and pavement completely covered with sand. It’s all part of its charm.

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On the beach families and dog walkers stretched their legs and splashed around in the sand.
But our mission wasn’t to stroll on the beach. We we’re heading East, up the steep assent from the beach and onto the coastal path.

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As we came to the brow of the next headland and stood high above Chapel Porth beach, the reason for our visit made itself known above.
The remains of Wheal Coates, or more accurately Towanroath engine house, will be familiar as the image that graces a thousand postcards, but nothing beats the real thing.
Wheal Coates mine was opened in 1802 and miners worked in its tunnels up to 1889. Towanroath Engine House was built in 1872 to drain the seeping sea water from the 600 feet deep mine shaft.
What if this was the view from your work window?
In reality, the 138 men of the mine were working in tough conditions. The fragile mineshafts extended far beyond the shore line. As storms raged, miners could hear huge boulders being dragged across the seabed which was only feet above their heads.

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Next, we took a short scramble up the hill to two more engine houses: the Stamps and Whim engine houses. They were used to hoist and crush tin ore from the shaft below. As you walk around this site the remains of an old boiler pond can be seen. There’s also a calciner, where the ore was roasted at hight temperatures to drive out impurities – in this case arsenic.
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As we turned around to head back to Porthtowan we caught sight of the ocean spray rising over the coastline (and met a friendly dog bounding towards us.
On our return we tumbled into Porthtowan’s famous Blue Bar for a much needed refreshment. Roll on the rest of spring!

 

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