The bottom of the barrel being scraped.

by C.C.Hamilton

 

There has been a surge I support for the Conservative Party in Scotland and it got me thinking why?

There has been a lot of pointless thrashing about on Social Media about it from supporters of the other parties. I think it is a perfect storm of Ruth being the darling of her former colleagues in the media, disgruntled Labour Supporters looking for a new home and a general malaise once again in Scottish politics. Which is, of course what the Conservatives thrive on. They know that older, wealthier people are more likely to vote than young, working class. So they have made it a war of attrition, helped by their friends in the right wing media, where there is no actual policies discussed in any detail. Just a platform of screaming “No 2nd Independence Referendum!” That catch all phrase pulls in EU Leave Voters, No voters, Fed Up voters as well as their core support.

However, the last couple of weeks have been quite an eye opener and I would urge everyone being seduced by the No referendum rhetoric to read on and see just what is going on in the background of this party. Behind the glossy smiles and positive headlines, it has become clear that there is a lack of competency, lack of decency in some senior positions and lack of any ambition for Scotland as we move forward. So I have pulled together some examples, in the absence of any real scrutiny from the Scottish Press.

-Glasgow MSP Annie Wells tied herself in all sorts of knots last week on TV trying to defend immigration policy. It is very clear that the Scottish Conservatives are all over the place on this issue and it is an important one. Many people voting for them,voted for BREXIT and fora lot Immigration was central to that vote. While the UK Government want to reduce Immigration the Scottish Tories are critcising the Scottish Government for not attracting MORE immigrants to Scotland. So if you are voting Tory for LESS immigration in Scotland, it might be worth having another look.

-The Prime Minister, the actual Prime Minister, went on TV last week and accused the SNP of being fined for a breach of Election Spending Limits. Credit to the Chris Musson at the Sun for clearing up that this was a lie, and getting quotes from the proper authorites to prove that. It is surely a worry that the Prime Minister can,just about, get away with such a smear on a political rival.

-The Prime Minister, in the absence of any real plan it seems, on Brexit has called a General Election AFTER triggering Article 50 at a time when she has told the Scottish Government they cant have a special deal on BREXIT. Also that the Scottish people will not be allowed to vote on the BREXIT deal, despite 62% voting to remain in the EU and the Scottish Parliament having a majority for another vote once the terms of BREXIT are known.This is PM who is touring the UK hiding from actual voters, preselecting questions from journalists and refusing to debate live on TV. I am willing to bet we will all look back on this campaign and be very disappointed at the behaviour of not only the PM but the media, who should be holding this behaviour to account. Whatever your thoughts on the constiutional question you surely can see the rank hypocricy of this.

-In all the excitement in the media, trying to play down the SNP’s victory in the Council election a worring trend of New Conservative elected representative emerged.

Cllr Alistair Majury was found to be the man behind influential Unionist Twitter account Mulder 1981 which  frequently used Sectarian and Racist terms, called supported of self determination for Scotland Nazis and hilariously used a website bragging about the size of his penis, giving rise to the boabygate hashtag. Cllr Majury has since been asked to step back from his role in the Boys Brigade and over the weekend featured on the cover of Scottish Catholic Observer, who condemned his language and offered support from the Nil By Mouth group. The Conservative party, while condemning his language, apparently talked him OUT of resigning his position on the council.

-Councillor Robert Davies elected on the same night to the same council has been reported for racist language used on photographs appearing on his twitter feed. Apparently it is joking to link Coloured people to Cannibalism. The photos are online,you can make up your own mind.

-Councillor Eric Holford elected for Airdrie and Shotts has been criticised for his comments on the NHS.  Appearing to claim that Fleming would have been better to have not discovered penicillin and wishing to deny people life prolonging drugs due to the burdon the NHS. Cllr Holford appeared on this weeks Question Time, was chosen for questions and was asked to come back on reponses from the panel. Did he declare his position to the BBC team? It is worth seeing just to note his nods to the panel when the camera comes on him. Very telling.

-Newly elected councillor to Argyll and Bute Alistair Redman is a pretty devisive figure. A serial letter writer to the local papers, after his election he wrote the standard thank you letter but took time to highlight the “Separatists” who said he wouldnt be elected. In a letter where he claimed to be accessable to all it was surely a bit odd to use that terminology. So much for bringing the people together.

-John W. Buchan, (not to be confused with the many other Buchans in the fishin industry!) was pictured in his capacity as head of one of the fishing organisations courting the support of Scottish Conservatives with Ruth Davidson. It emerged later that his Social Media presence was pretty awful frankly. Racist, Sectarian, Homophobic language used frequently alongside some disgusting name calling towards the First Minister. Even seeming to call for Holyrood to be blown up and for physical harm to come to the First Minister. Mr Buchan is a prominent member of the fishing community in the North East, an activist for Scotland In Union and was featured in a video produced by No Borders during the Referendum campaign. Are we really to believe that his fishing colleagues, in particular the very influential and darling of the Scottish Media Bertie Armstrong, the local prospective MP (also pictured) nor the Conservative Party who set up the visit new nothing of his aggressive views? The thing about this is, most Scots, regardless of the costitutional question, are hugely sympathetic to the fishing situation. We are very proud of our fisherman and most of us agree that the CFP which the Tories signed  up for is no longer fit for purpose. In an independent Scotland fishing (and farming) would be a huge part of our economy but in the much bigger UK it is as the Tories said in their briefing paper “expendable.” If this was about the future of fishing they would be engaging with all political parties, not just the ones like UKIP and the Scottish Conservatives who suit their POLITICAL and, some would argue their religious, agenda. That is very sad. But if the views of Mr Buchan is representative of the wider fishing community, they will find theselves losing the huge support they have for their cause, particularly those who wish for an Independent Scotland.

-Follow on from that then the use of terms like WATP (We are the people) by prominent Conservative MSP’s Professor Adam Tomkins and Murdo Fraser on social media. In light of the recent emegence of Sectarian language used by councillors and activists, it is very telling that Professor Tomkins has been given “puff” pieces in the Sunday Herald and the Scottish Catholic Observer this week. It is to the shame of both of these publications that neither confronted him with his use of this term and others. As a young person growing up my friends and I were frequently intimidated by poeople sreaming “We arra peepil!” in our faces. Usually around marching season or after old Firm Games. Please don’t tell me it’s about football as it was usually screamed at me by people who knew me and that knew I had no interest in either side of the Old Firm. Now I dont believe either of the MSPs are using it to intimidate, but it is playing to a particular audience and an attempt to troll another and is frankly distatesful and unbecoming of elected officials.

-Why just today, Ruth Davidson seems to be wading in to accuse Jeremy Corbyn of “wanting the IRA to win.” Now if that is NOT trying to antagonise and motivate a certain type of Scot then I do not know what is. People should be very careful of supporting this woman at this time. She is emboldened and gallus and very, very shouty. There is real concern here that the rhetoric is a return to the Scotland of old. Intemperate language is ill advised.

-No piece on the current crop of Conservatives would be complete without talking about the Family Cap and the Rape Clause. It was very telling in Ruth’s recent cringworthy interview on Radio 5 live with Emma Barnett that she is uncomfortable defending it. She could not at any time say the word “rape” and skirted around the issue several times. They have told us that it is a matter of ticking a box, getting a third party support worker to fill it in for you. They are all over the place on it.The idea of a cap on child benefit is disgusting, the idea that women who have been raped have to apply for an excemption is abhorrant. To have to re-live the ordeal, name the child, discuss intimate, personal detals with a health worker to get £13 is a damn disgace and shames everyone of us that allows it to happen. Add that to the NHS data hack and are we really sure this most private and personal information would be safe? In the same interview Ruth got into a terrible mess trying to defend the PM’s plans to reduce immigration to tens of thousands while still trying to square that with her assertion that Scotland should take more immigrants. Have a listen, it’s out there, she really isn’t very good.

-Footage emerged this week of Ross Thomson MSP trying to defend the Bedroom Tax, a policy which the Scottish Government has mitigated here. He says it is “great” but when pressed on how many of his constiuents it would affect, he couldnt answer. Out of touch and out of his depth, he rambled on and said NOTHING.

-Douglas Ross, desperate to unseat Angus Robertson in Moray, took to the papers last week complaining that he had to turn down running the line in a Champions League match because people were complaining when he missed important Holyrood business for football. However, should he take his place in the House of Commons he still plans to officaite at football as its his hobby. A hobby that bring him in substatial earnings. So it’ll be London Mon-Thursday, running the line on a Saturday and I hope the SFA do not show any favouritism in his travelling and training through the week. All that and surgeries/committees to get through. The good people of Moray should choose wisely on that one.

-Not confined to Scotland though, Tory Somerset hopeful James Heappey told a schoolgirl to “Fuck Off back to Scotland!” during a recent visit to her school.The discussion apparently got onto the prospect of Scottish independence and when she said she would vote yes, he came up with THAT considered reply. Blood and Soil Nationalism anyone? His response?? He apologised for any offence and it was a joke.

-We also had Tory Councillor Nick Harrington during the Eurovision having a bizarre rant at the Irish and Gypsies.

Now compare all of that with Professor Tom Divines fine piece in the Scotsman last week saying that the SNP had actually been a barrier to blood and soil nationalism in Scotland and in some ways commending Pro Indy Scots for NOT being affected by the big numbers of English voters who voted NO in the referendum. No pats on the backs though, we have our fair share of crazies and they should be called out and shamed at every turn. There is no place for intolerence in our country, we can disagree on the constitution and direction but we all have to do better and that has to be led by elected officials.

Compare Conservative policies like the Family Cap, Rape Clause, Bedroom Tax, Benefit sanctions with SNP policies like Free School meals for P1-3, Free Prescriptions, No Bridge Tolls, Free Bus Travel, Road Equivelent tariffs on Ferries and mitigating the Bedroom Tax. Compare performance of the NHS in Scotland with that of the rest of the UK. Of course it’s not all great. There is work do be done on Education, the Health Service and in supporting industry. In eradicating child poverty and homelessness.But these are not unique to Scotland. These are challenges faced by the whole UK. And actually in a General Election campaign where no one is talking about policy have no real bearing. But I think underline the different priorities and the fact that the SNP have to try to minimise the impact of the worst Tory policies on Scots. That is not healthy.

In closing I would ask you to compare the coverage of Neil Hay’s comments in the lead up to the last general election and the coverage of Pete Wisharts link to a chewing the fat joke at the council elections to the LACK of coverage of the racist and sectarian messages I have detailed above and ask yourself WHY is there no balance and what else are you not being told.  Make an informed decision at this General Election, who will stand up for your constituency and Scotland? Will it be a back bench Tory MP whipped into line or an SNP MP driving them nuts fighting for the best deal for Scotland.? It has been a long time since Scotland had such a hard working group of MP’s in the House of Commons, so I urge you to give them another tilt at it. Lets see if they can get a deal to keep us in the Single Market yet and if there is another referendum you can always just vote no again.

 

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Armed with Paper [Poem…of sorts]

Armed with Paper

 

Strong prisons can have paper bars

Creating books with empty memoirs

And blackout ceilings of Latin Decrees

Where only the poor are cut off at the knees

 

Exempting only inmates of bloodied Titles

Conversations translated with bias subtitles

On a malleable foundation of benefit hate

Privilege redefining the disabled sick fate

 

Knowledge is power so they increase the security

Plunging Internet light into controlled dark obscurity

Foreshadowed by brandings breathing in an enclosure

Ninety Nine will fall when One controls the exposure

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It’s ok to ask for help

I had been crying for two/three days. With thoughts wildly varying from taking over the world to curling up into a ball and dying. Sometimes I was ok. And then suddenly I wasn’t. In-between the crying I was getting those headaches you get and then once I was feeling better it would start all over again.

I ended up calling my GP surgery and arranging a call back. My thoughts were getting darker and darker. The bright colours that make up how I see the world were getting darker and greyer. Comments online that usually just glide off were like tipped arrow hitting with deadly precision.

And I was becoming ugly and twisted like the world was around me.  I couldn’t feel anything positive, couldn’t laugh and couldn’t breathe properly.

Even my own thoughts and worries became weaponised against me with only the odd moments of sardonic wit whispering “You don’t get to be happy”.

It’s stress. I know it is stress. I love my home. I’ve loved it for 12yrs since the moment I moved in. And being ignored by the Council and people I believed in; MPs, MSPs, Councillors that I wasted time campaigning for…believed in – it’s just too much.

I could cope with pain. Chronic pain. And poverty. And being alone. And illness. But it turns out that my home…I don’t want to lose it. And I can’t stop it.  I don’t have any power.

I called Breathing Space and they talked it through.  Just verbalising it helped calm me down a little bit.

The Crisis Team are sending someone out.

I’m writing this all down. I don’t know if I’ll post it online or not but I want people to know that it’s ok to need help and ask for help.

http://breathingspace.scot/  – 0800 83 85 87

Weekdays: Monday-Thursday 6pm to 2am
Weekend: Friday 6pm-Monday 6am

The Samaritans is also available pretty much 24hr and although I didn’t call them, perhaps the information might help someone else. –

116 123 (UK)

116 123 (ROI)

 

And I called the NHS Crisis Team in my area.

I think pain was also a massive factor. I’ve had a few good months this year and have struggled this week in particular. I suspect I’m adapting to the new painkillers that were doing so well and it’s hard losing the independence and hope that was building. I was genuinely thinking that if my pain was managed then I could start to build a life again.

 

My biggest problem with the homelessness thing is the lack of power and support out there. Everyone; Homeless Team, Council, Politicians have used the words ‘probably’, ‘maybe’ and ‘possibly’. No one has actually offered wording or sentences that actually offer any tangible value.  And I know this is to cover people’s backs. I understand that. But what type do we live in when the best we can give to a chronically ill person who is going to end up on the streets is a ‘maybe’.

 

It all feels down to luck and in case anybody hasn’t noticed – I’ve not had a glimmer of luck in three years.   Everything I worked for, the degrees I put myself through, the decade I worked at the jobs I loved and the people I cared about were gone faster than you can say the word ‘illness’.

 

It’s a very lonely life. I’m useless at most social media things but Twitter allows for 140 character bursts which I why I like it. I probably don’t have the energy beyond 140 characters.

 

It’s a lovely community online. Yes, I’ve had Trolls and yes there are always going to be people that enjoy the misery of others but mostly I’ve had a good experience. I’ve met people I wouldn’t have met any other way and done things that I could only ever dream about – paintings, doing cute drawings and creating unicorns (the latter is a surprisingly divisive thing).

 

Don’t get me wrong – I’ll never understand people who come onto my account just to criticise the cheerfulness or a rainbow. I’ve never sought out someone just to let them know how shit they are.  I think they must be even more miserable than me to do so.

 

But most of all I really want folk to know that it’s ok to need help. I tend to ask when it’s far too late or not at all. This is the first time in my history that I’ve asked for help before the ship sailed.  And it was ok. Nothing has actually tangibly changed in my circumstances– except that people know I need help and it’s out there.

 

Don’t get me wrong – we could have all done without a Twitter-meltdown. But people were kind and wanted to help and wanted to speak because, and I say this despite still feeling darker, people are mostly good.

 

You are not alone. Even when it feels that way.

 

http://breathingspace.scot/  – 0800 83 85 87

Weekdays: Monday-Thursday 6pm to 2am
Weekend: Friday 6pm-Monday 6am

 

Samaritans (24 hour)

116 123 (UK)

116 123 (ROI)

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My Surgery

There is a Notice on the wall in my GP’s (General Practitioners) Surgery stating that if a patient talks about the surgery in a negative way on Social Media then this will be interpreted as “a breakdown in the relationship” and patients will be discharged. So effectively the Surgery has threatened all the patients by removing their care if they speak about the Surgery online.  It specifically mentioned Facebook (a medium that I avoid) but it was changed a week later to ‘ALL’ Social Media.

I did not think much of it, at the time, but it did make me realise that the Practice was becoming more and more threatening towards patients.

Every time I phoned the surgery (for an appointment) the secretary on the line was more and more hostile, varying from complete disinterest (in a horrible ‘I think you’re worthless’ way) to a stranger wanting to discuss your in-depth medical issues (despite having no qualifications to do so).  It became so erratic and often distressing that I started to feel sick about calling.

My Doctor is a good person who tries hard (despite how complex my condition is) so I do not want to leave my Surgery.

Today I walked in and there was a Notice saying that On-the-Day Appointments would no longer be given. Instead, over an unspecific length of time, a charge nurse (who will have no context or understanding of your case) would phone back the patient and access whether you had a right or need to get an appointment at all.  You will NOT be allowed to walk in and make an on-the-day appointment. Then those appointments offered (if you were deemed worthy) might not occur on the same day in either case.

I queried the receptionist about it (unfortunately it was the ‘I think you’re worthless’ one) who said “We need to think about the Doctors”

And I asked her “Shouldn’t you be thinking of the Patients?”

She shrugging, looking utterly bored.

So effectively there are no One-the-Day Appointments for people in my Town.

As someone who is chronically sick, during flare-ups, it is traumatic enough without having to beg a nurse for a mere appointment.  At a time when disabled people are being discriminated against by DWP, Tory Government and NHS cuts – you would expect some humanity from the NHS in Scotland. I see no benefit to restricting access to NHS services.

Am I wrong? Is it ok to threaten patients’ freedom of speech on Social Media? Is it ok to restrict access to on-the-day appointments and leave it in the hands of a nurse rather than a doctor?

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Homelessness

So I’ve spent the last three months begging Councillors & MPs for help. Discovered today that the Local Housing Office isn’t even looking to find me a new home.

I have spoken to the Homelessness Team (repeatidly) but they apparently have managed to promise me a solution WITHOUT speaking to the local Housing Office. That’s right – today I phoned the local Housing Office and they had never heard of me from the Homelessness Team. So they have not even been remotely looking for a home for me for the past three months.

Advocacy has, so far, been useless. All Shelter and CHAP care about is paperwork. They have zero regard for the person about to become homeless.

The Homelessness Team did manage to bully my Landlord into letting me stay for a few extra months so now I have an unhappy Landlord and no timescale.

Health hasn’t been good. Another burst ulcer when I totally blame on the Housing crisis.

Update: New holes opened up in stomach, acid been found in surrounding areas. Consultant asked me “Have you been under any stress?”……… I’ve never been under MORE stress. -_-

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Ombudsman

Just found out today that The Ombudsman has upheld my complaint against NHS Ayrshire and Arran. Finally I feel like there’s a possibility of being heard regarding the need to improve staff training and attitudes regarding complex medical problems. Soon as I have more info I’ll keep you posted.

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I don’t understand

I don’t understand why the Council won’t help me. For Short Assured Tenancy’s (which I have & an AT5) the procedure is a Section 33. This is outlined on Shelter’s website and, indeed, across all sites that deal with homeless. However North Ayrshire Council refuses to accept my Section 33.

 

Policy is clear as setup in Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 as amended

 

“The duties include a statutory responsibility to anyone threatened with or experiencing homelessness. By law, local authorities must offer a minimum of temporary accommodation, advice and assistance to all homeless households and those at risk of homelessness.”

 

Due to illness I am categorised as being c) a person who is vulnerable as a result of (v) (vi)

 

1

Amendment of section 25 of the 1987 Act

(2)

In subsection (1)—

(a) for paragraph (c) substitute—

“(c) a person who is vulnerable as a result of—

(i)

old age;

(ii) mental illness;

(iii) personality disorder;

(iv) learning disability;

(v) physical disability;

(vi) chronic ill health;

(vii) having suffered a miscarriage or undergone an abortion;

(viii) having been discharged from a hospital, a prison or any part of the

regular armed forces of the Crown; or

(ix) other special reason;”,

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bureaucracy

So where am I on the Homelessness issue.

Well I wrote to my Councillor Ruth Maguire and MP Patricia Gibson. Both were really polite. Ruth came out to visit. The Council still refuses to do anything. They keep sending out the same letter

I managed to get a Section 33 and the original AT5 from the landlord but the Council still refused to acknowledge my upcoming homelessness. I begged my landlord for more time which I got up until the 1/6/16.

North Ayrshire Council, Homelessness Team and the Charity CHAP (based in Ardrossan) would not tell myself or the landlord what the correct paperwork is because apparently that ‘promotes homelessness’. Shelter was beyond useless. My local CAB has a waiting list to see an advisor that runs into mid July (well after I would be evicted).

People on Twitter have been mixed. On one hand I have really supportive people and on the other folk trying to persuade to stay in the Private Rent market (that I cannot afford now letalone in the future).

I was not surviving well in any case. I can no longer afford heating. I have already sold my jewellery, my tv, any collectables I had, my PlayStation…there’s nothing left to make up rent with in the private market.  Except the PC itself and without any connection to the outside world I would be truly shitted.

People suggested I see what benefits I’m entitled to but please allow me to tell you a secret – the reason people who are sick live in Absolute Poverty is because those benefits barely cover gas (let alone electricity). Housing Benefit – does not cover an entire private rent. And DLA makes it vaguely possible to get to Hospitals, GP appointments and afford special dietary requirements. It does not pay for anything beyond that. DLA is also completely unstable as an income due to the Government constantly changing the rules. PIP is coming and it terrifies me.

Being disabled I need a house that can modified (Private Landlord’s do not like it when you drill holes into their walls for safety rails). My condition is degenerative (the real irony is that i only need a house for a couple of years because that’s how long they reckon I have if my neuropathy and immune system keeps going the direction they are going).

I feel like an idiot for supporting the SNP as well. Their Councillors, MPs are just watching this happen. I’ve wasted the last few years of my life fighting in the wrong team. Not that I’m sure who the right team is. I had no idea there was so little support for Homelessness. I knew that there was little support for disabled people but I had no idea how hard they have made it to declare homelessness.

There must be other people like me:- About to become/or are Homeless but Invisible to the Government and the Public.

I’m starting to have really dark thoughts along the lines of suicide. There’s no place in the world for me and I have no value to society. And I’m looking around, after realising how much I’ve lost, wondering why do I keep fighting. I’m not wanted or needed in this world and my illness makes it hard to have any meaningful contribution.

Fear is becoming my companion. All I’m after is some security. What I am being offered is Rent Deposit Schemes for Homes I can’t afford and are in the middle of nowhere (away from the support I do have – friends, GP, Consultant etc.). People don’t seem to realise – if I move too far away I could lose my GP surgery once I’m out width my area. And that is the ONLY thing I cannot afford to lose.

I always thought my immune system would take me out but now I think it is this situation that will.  My health has deteriorated so damn quickly since this started. Pains out of control. My hands are even shaking as I type.

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A little bit about myself

Today I woke up curled in pain, rolled over and threw up into a waste bin. A mixture of bile and bloody; it was grim and disgusting and I wish I could say it was rare. But this is my life now.

A life cut short at 25 by gross medical mistakes, delays and a body that is now failing with Crohns (from stomach to tail end punching holes and pockets everywhere), neuropathy (I can no long feel my hands and feet or wiggle my toes and it is degenerative), autoimmune disease (my immune system attacking my own organs), heart damage etc. There are labradoodles out there with a higher life expectancy. But I take comfort that I am not alone.

Currently my biggest problem is not my life expectancy (>insert LOL<) – it is in fact Homelessness.

At the end of May I will not have a home. And despite writing to all the Councillors, MSPs, Homelessness Team and Advocacy services in my area – the best response I have received so far is “You probably won’t end up on the streets” with no solutions or offers of help.

It has been harrowing and terrifying.

I tried all the usual avenues charities, Shelter etc. but without the correct paperwork (that only my landlord can issue) I am facing illegal eviction and homelessness. Agency’s have advised ‘Just call the Police if it’s illegal’ without any regard for my own state of health and physical resilience. Even Homeless charities have no concept of how debilitating Chronic Pain is on trying to find a home with zero income.

Feeling low one night I even called the Samaritans. You see my own sense of self-preservation is not high but I worry for my ginger cats.

I received good advice from twitter (once I weeded out the Trolls, one of which advised suicide – what a beautiful world we live in) but without my local Council doing anything – there are limited options. So I thought I should start a blog before I go because if this ends badly – I would like people to know what actually happened.

The personal side of this site will sort of show you the bleakness but also the happy times and I remain determined to stay cheerful even in the face of whatever comes.

 

xx

 

 

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