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#352140 - 25th Sep 2009 8:25pm Bidston hill
Petal Offline
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Registered: 14th Nov 2008
Posts: 195
Loc: Birkenhead
Movements in favour of public acquisition of Bidston Hill were made in 1883 and 1897 – the latter being in connection with Queen Victoria's jubilee; however, it was not until 1893 that the project was taken in hand. The Hill formed part of the estate of Mr Robert Charles de Grey Vyner who conducted negotiations in a handsome manner by taking the lowest of three valuations, making his own contribution to the fund.

In 1907 steps were made to secure another portion of the Hill, which was “on the market”. It was feared that the land might be used for building purposes. The area in question was an area of 22 acres on the south-eastern slope of the Hill, known as the “Pine Woods”. It was acquired as a memorial to the late Mr Edmund Taylor whose hard work and influence made it all possible. The cost was £10,500 in 1907.

Other acquisitions were:

1893-94: the summit of the Hill – 24 acres £5,800
1897: A further portion of 38 acres £11,750
1900 Several smaller pieces, amounting to about about 4 ½ acres £2,260
In all 88½ acres were acquired at a cost of £30,310 (1914). The corporation contributed £14,625 and the rest was raised by public subscription,

On 8 th December 1933, Mr Royden (Chairman of the Bidston Hill Committee) considered the Rhododendron Gardens would be ‘a grand addition' to the Hill.


Text of the inscription on the Windmill

“This land, including the woods surrounding this windmill, containing, with the adjacent piece of land known as Thermopylae, about 90 acres was purchased from R C de Grey Vyner during the years 1894 – 1905 at a cost of £30,310. Of this sum the corporation of Birkenhead contributed £14,625 and £15,655 was raised by public subscription.

A portion of the land, viz the eastern wood containing 22 acres was purchased as a memorial to the late Edmund Taylor, of Oxton, in recognition of his great services in connection with the acquisition of Bidston Hill for the benefit of the public.

The land belongs to and is maintained at the expense of the corporation of Birkenhead, but, according to the deeds of conveyance, it must always be used as an open space and a place of public recreation and must be preserved and maintained as far as is possible in its present wild and natural condition., special care being given to the preservation of the trees, gorse, heath and heather, and also of this windmill. Bye laws have been made and a keeper and assistant appointed to see that they are observed.

The public, for whose enjoyment alone the land was secured, are invited to aid in preserving it from fire and damage.





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#352143 - 25th Sep 2009 8:29pm Re: Bidston hill [Re: Petal]
Petal Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 14th Nov 2008
Posts: 195
Loc: Birkenhead
King George's Way

King George's Way is the path onto the Hill from the corner of Upton Road and Boundary Road by the traffic lights. King George's Way was opened by King George V and Queen Mary on Wednesday 25th March 1914.

On that day their Majesties arrived at Huyton Station at 11.20 am. From there, they proceeded to Chester arriving at 12.15 p.m. His majesty then pressed an electric button that opened the doors of a new wing at the local infirmary. The train left at 1.00 for Hooton Siding where luncheon was taken. Forty-five minutes later they arrived at the station where they were met by the local dignitaries and then proceeded to Port Sunlight arriving at 2.00 p.m. to be greeted by Sir William Lever.

After a tour round the works, they travelled by motor to Hulme Hall, where the King pressed another electric button to lay a foundation stone to the memory of Lady Lever.

Their majesties then proceeded to Birkenhead arriving at 3.56 p.m. and were received by the Chairman of Cammell Lairds, another quick tour round and then on to Birkenhead Town Hall where a low dais had been erected in front of the Municipal Building. In front of thousands of school children (who had been given a day off) waving Union Jacks the King pressed an electric button and declared the new extension to Bidston Hill open. After completion of the ceremonies everyone sang the National Anthem.

Re-entering their cars, the King and Queen proceeded via Hamilton Square, Argyle Street, Conway Street, Park Road North, Upton Road (brief pause maybe, as his aides told him why he pressed the electric button for the new King George's Way), Boundary Road, Upper Flaybrick, Tollemache Road and on to Wallasey. There a stand had been erected and yet another electric button was pressed to lay the foundation stone of Wallasey Town Hall.
From there to Seacombe Ferry, across to Liverpool and then to the Riverside Station arriving at their starting point, Huyton Station at 5.50 p.m.

Does this represent the record for electric buttons pressed in one day? On the Royal Train did he say to his Mrs “my finger's killing me?”

A tree was planted by Mr A.W. Willmer (president of the Birkenhead Chamber of Commerce and an ex mayor) to commemorate the event.

In 1920 the British Women's Temperance Association asked permission to erect a coffee stall on King George's Way. At first permission was not granted but the Bidston Hill Management Committee relented and a stall was there for many years selling tea, coffee and hot water. This saved people taking spirit lamps onto the Hill (which were banned) and reduced the risk of fire. The stall was finally sold, due to lack of interest, to Eastham Cricket Club in 1939.
yomama


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#352145 - 25th Sep 2009 8:30pm Re: Bidston hill [Re: Petal]
Petal Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 14th Nov 2008
Posts: 195
Loc: Birkenhead

Taylors Wood
Movements in favour of public acquisition of Bidston Hill were made in 1883 and 1897 – the latter being in connection with Queen Victoria's jubilee; however, it was not until 1893 that the project was taken in hand. The Hill formed part of the estate of Mr Robert Charles de Grey Vyner who conducted negotiations in a handsome manner by taking the lowest of three valuations, making his own contribution to the fund.

In 1907 steps were made to secure another portion of the Hill, which was “on the market”. It was feared that the land might be used for building purposes. The area in question was an area of 22 acres on the south-eastern slope of the Hill, known as the “Pine Woods”. It was acquired as a memorial to the late Mr Edmund Taylor whose hard work and influence made it all possible. The cost was £10,500 in 1907. The wood was later named Taylors Wood, in his honour and memory. The wood now appears as a large area of Scots pines with some Corsican Pines, Oaks and a large number of feral Holly bushes.

Other acquisitions were:

1893-94: the summit of the Hill – 24 acres £5,800
1897: A further portion of 38 acres £11,750
1900 Several smaller pieces, amounting to about about 4 ½ acres £2,260
In all 88½ acres were acquired at a cost of £30,310 (1914). The corporation contributed £14,625 and the rest was raised by public subscription,

On 8 th December 1933, Mr Royden (Chairman of the Bidston Hill Committee) considered the Rhododendron Gardens would be ‘a grand addition' to the Hill.


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Edited by Petal (25th Sep 2009 8:37pm)

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#352149 - 25th Sep 2009 8:33pm Re: Bidston hill [Re: Petal]
Petal Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 14th Nov 2008
Posts: 195
Loc: Birkenhead
Toll Cottage

“The keeper's cottage stood to one's right and contained, as far as I can remember, only one living room and a sort of cockloft above. It was lime washed, and stood flush against the roadway, while the long white five-barred gate stretched across the whole road from the doorway. At one end of the cottage was a little pond shaded by willows”.

Not far away from Dr Stoop's Stone, on what is now Vyner Road North, stood a ‘toll bar cottage', mentioned in “Auld Lang Syne” 1935.

The willows are still there with remnants of the pond.

Did it look something like this?



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Edited by Petal (25th Sep 2009 8:34pm)

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#352151 - 25th Sep 2009 8:36pm Re: Bidston hill [Re: Petal]
Petal Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 14th Nov 2008
Posts: 195
Loc: Birkenhead
Dr Stoops' Stone
In the latter part of the 18th Century, Wirral was a very wild and desolate place. When dusk descended it was also a dangerous place and strangers would soon get lost.

A medical man, Dr Haughton, had patients in the parishes of West Kirby, Woodchurch, Tranmere, Wallasey, Birkenhead and Bidston. He had to make numerous journeys by night and day, often getting lost especially during night-time or when it was misty. For guidance he erected a stone gatepost, called in country dialect a “stoop” and thus originated a nickname for himself “Dr Stoop”.

The stone can still be found today on Upton Road nearly opposite “Thermopylae Pass”.


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#352152 - 25th Sep 2009 8:38pm Re: Bidston hill [Re: Petal]
Petal Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 14th Nov 2008
Posts: 195
Loc: Birkenhead
Tad, the Great Dane
On the south east side of the mill, towards the road, carved in the rock is a Latin verse. About 1800 the vicar of St James' Church was heartbroken when his beloved Great Dane “Tad” died. In his grief he had a Latin verse inscribed, the translation of which is as follows:

“FOR THEE TAD, GREAT DOG, BOTH THE BREEZE AND THE ROCKS OF THIS WORN HILL MOURN TOGETHER; TO THEE LET THE HILL BE DEDICATED FOR EVER FROM HENCEFORTH THOU SHALT RUN EVERYWHERE ON SIX FEET”

Six feet is apparently a reference to the Latin hexameter, a line of verse in six measures or feet.

thumbsup

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#352154 - 25th Sep 2009 8:40pm Re: Bidston hill [Re: Petal]
Petal Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 14th Nov 2008
Posts: 195
Loc: Birkenhead
Joining the Friends of Bidston Hill

Membership is open to any interested person. We have members in all parts of the UK and several countries abroad.

Membership costs the modest sum of £5 per family per year and falls due on January 1 st each year
The completed membership form and cheque for £5 should be posted or delivered directly to the address below:

Friends of Bidston Hill
Tam O'Shanter Urban Farm
Boundary Road
Bidston
Wirral
CH43 7PD

Please do not send cash in the post….. the Rangers at Tam O'Shanter will be pleased to accept this on our behalf. A receipt will be issued.

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#352161 - 25th Sep 2009 8:44pm Re: Bidston hill [Re: Petal]
Petal Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 14th Nov 2008
Posts: 195
Loc: Birkenhead
The Bidston Observatory
Bidston Observatory was originally built in 1866, with its distinctive white domes each housing a telescope (these can now be seen in Liverpool Museum). The building has a long and fascinating History involving work of groundbreaking international importance, as well as of local significance - for many years the observatory was connected by telegraphic line to the "One o'clock Gun", situated at Morpeth Dock in Birkenhead, which fired every day at 1:00pm to indicate the exact time to the citizens of Liverpool and Wirral.
As well as astronomical observation, equipment was installed to measure seismic activity as early as 1897, when seismology was a relatively new science, followed by the arrival in the 1920's of the Liverpool Tidal Institute. The expertise of the the Institute grew to receive worldwide acclaim for its expertise in analysing and predicting tides.

Now known as the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, you can find out a great deal more about their work at the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory website. In 2004/2005, POL moved to new purpose built premises on the main Liverpool University campus. At the moment, the observatory building is unused - we await News of any future developments with interest!


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#352163 - 25th Sep 2009 8:46pm Re: Bidston hill [Re: Petal]
Petal Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 14th Nov 2008
Posts: 195
Loc: Birkenhead
The History of Tam O'Shanter Urban Farm
The cottage
Tam O'Shanter Cottage, which was probably built about 300 years ago by a heath squatter, is situated at the edge of Bidston Hill near to the rear entrance to Flaybrick Cemetery. As far as we know it had no particular claim to fame until 1837 when Richard Lea the occupier at that time embellished the building with a carved stone slab depicting the Robert Burns poem "Tam O'Shanter" in which Tam pursued by witches sought to reach the bridge in the belief that the witches would not dare to cross running water. Tam indeed escaped but his mare poor Maggie lost her tail.

In a book "Auld Lang Syne", by Harry B. Neilson, printed in 1935, mention is made that the date 1837 can be seen on a stone garden wall of Tam O'Shanter cottage. It is stated that Richard Lea cut the date on the wall and carved the Tam O'Shanter stone and also the weather vane with its animals heads, lion, dog etc. It is said he made them in his spare time to decorate his cottage. Part of the cottage is roofed with thick stone flags, which in past times was a common method of covering buildings in Bidston, where stone was plentiful.

The book lists other farms which were on the Bidston Hill heathland in the year 1840. At the time the size of the farm was 6 acres.

We know that in 1841 Richard Lea was a master stonemason. At that time, there was a great deal of building going on in Birkenhead. Hamilton Square, the Town Hall, Cammell Lairds, Bidston Observatory, Bidston Lighthouse and many churches were being built in the 19th century and there would have been plenty of work for Richard Lea in Birkenhead. So we might imagine Richard Lea shaping stone for these buildings, as well as working on the Tam O'Shanter farm, looking after hens, pigs, cows and growing crops.

Thus the cottage became known as Tam O'Shanter Cottage and became a favourite subject for artists and visitors alike.

In 1950 the then Minister of Town & Country Planning graded the building as one of special interest, which warranted every effort being made to preserve it.

Fire!
Sadly most of the building was destroyed by fire in 1954. The Council considered demolishing it, but it was saved by public protest. In 'Wirral Peninsular' by Norman Ellison printed in 1955, he states that Tam O'Shanter cottage was being re-thatched after a recent fire. The carved stone set in the gable of an outhouse was not damaged. In 1965 the corporation re-thatched the roof at a cost of £600, as it had been attacked by vermin, and the damp was also feared to be endangering it.

In December, 1970 the property was advertised for Sale and considerable interest was shown.

It was again destroyed by fire in 1975, and was subsequently vandalised. The council then decided to demolish the building completely. The Birkenhead History Society stepped in to try and save the building, because it represented a period before the area became industrialised. In June 1975 they were given 30 days to submit their suggestions.

Restoration
In August 1975, the Birkenhead History Society won permission from Wirral Borough Council for the cottage to be rebuilt and restored to its former glory. Rather than return the cottage to residential use the Society felt that the townspeople would be better served by having a field study centre which could be used by local school children. A Charitable Trust was formed in conjunction with Wirral District Council and a grant was obtained from the Manpower Services Commission, under the Job Creation Programme.

In December, 1976 a historic package containing a copy of "News", "Times" and some coins, a History of Birkenhead and in particular the restoration project was laid behind stones at the Cottage by the Mayor of Wirral, Councillor John Evans and his wife the Mayoress.

The cottage was open for schools from May 1977.

The urban farm is born
In 1986 a voluntary organisation called the Wirral Urban Farm Association together with the Tam O'Shanter Cottage Trust began to develop the 4 acres around the cottage as a city farm.

The construction of farm buildings, paths and fencing was soon followed by a collection of farm animals.

The aim of the new trust was to make this varied collection of farm animals accessible to many people, especially children. By fundraising, grants, donations, support from the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral the farm is able to maintain itself without an admission charge while being open every day (9.30am - 4.30pm).

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#352165 - 25th Sep 2009 8:49pm Re: Bidston hill [Re: Petal]
Petal Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 14th Nov 2008
Posts: 195
Loc: Birkenhead
Map


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#352168 - 25th Sep 2009 8:51pm Re: Bidston hill [Re: Petal]
Petal Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 14th Nov 2008
Posts: 195
Loc: Birkenhead
Map of Bidston Village

1. THE TOLL HOUSE 2. THE TWEED SHOP (Became a grocery shop) 3. THE SWEET SHOP
4. YEW TREE FARM 4A. BARNS 5. W.W.1 WAR MEMORIAL 6. THE PARISH HALL (long gone)
7. IVY FARM 7A. BARNS 8. CHURCH FARM 8A. BARNS 9. THE VILLAGE SCHOOL
10. HILLCOTE 11. TWO ALMS HOUSES 12. STONE FARM (in earlier days THE RING 0'BELLS)
12A. BARNS 13. 9 & 11 School Lane 14. THE WHITE THATCHED COTTAGE. (demolished years ago)
15. THE VICARAGE at 19 School Lane 16. BIDSTON STATION 17. SCHOOL LANE FARM.
17A. BARNS. I believe this is the farm in the painting with the little girl. It has gone through several renovations since.
18. St. OSWALDS CHURCH 19. THE LILACS FARM 19A. BARNS *** BUNGALOWS. There may only be two


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#352170 - 25th Sep 2009 8:53pm Re: Bidston hill [Re: Petal]
Petal Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 14th Nov 2008
Posts: 195
Loc: Birkenhead
Yew Tree Farm

The above images are in the possession of Bill Hislop. Two of the children are blurred, indicating the time exposure!



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Edited by Petal (25th Sep 2009 8:56pm)

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#352175 - 25th Sep 2009 9:01pm Re: Bidston hill [Re: Petal]
Petal Offline
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Registered: 14th Nov 2008
Posts: 195
Loc: Birkenhead
One o'clock Gun


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#352180 - 25th Sep 2009 9:11pm Re: Bidston hill [Re: Petal]
Petal Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 14th Nov 2008
Posts: 195
Loc: Birkenhead
Flaybrick Memorial Gardens

Rapid growth in Birkenhead's population made it necessary for the provision of a municipal cemetery. Originally planned in the 1840s, Joseph Paxton was approached for a design. Due to the recession and subsequent decrease in population the plan went no further. By the 1860s a boom made a municipal cemetery a priority. A competition was held for the design which Edward Kemp, Curator of Birkenhead Park won. The site chosen was Flaybrick Hill, a prominent location outside of Birkenhead overlooked by Bidston Hill. 16.5 acres were purchased but this was extended to 26 acres in the 1890s. Kemp was assisted by Edward Mills, a prominent Birkenhead surveyor from Hamilton Square, and Messrs Lucy and Littler, architects of Liverpool. The general contractor was William Rimmer of Bidston Hall, with John Miller of St. Helens the contractor for buildings.



Many stunning examples of Victorian memorial architecture can be seen on the Crosses, Statues, Angels and large Vaults. Inscriptions can give fascinating insights on the people buried there or at times relate to incidents, disasters and accidents both locally and from around the world.

Contributing greatly to the appearance of Flaybrick is its landscaped design. With Holly-lined paths, Irish and Common Yew trees and the evergreen Holm Oak giving it a somewhat sombre appearance at first glance. This is countered by the fine mature specimen trees in prime locations around the cemetery. Cut Leaf Beech, Silver Pendant Lime, London Plane and Monkey Puzzle to name just a few all give Flaybrick a mature and pleasant outlook. The lower and newer area of the cemetery is built on top of a sandstone quarry and is not part of Kemp's original design. This area has a more open aspect and is the busiest part of the cemetery. Stone from the quarry was used in the construction of Birkenhead Docks, St. James' Church and for Flaybrick's boundary walls. Most of the memorials in this section date from the early 1900s and it is also the location of Flaybrick's largest War Memorial. Two of Flaybrick's public graves are also in this section, some of them are thirty feet deep and hold 70 people.

The cemetery was officially opened 30th May 1864 and named Birkenhead Cemetery. Three Chaples were provided. The Roman Catholic Chapel was demolished in 1971 and a Memorial Wall erected on its site. The two other Chapels for the Non-conformists and the Church of England were last used in 1975. The Registrar's office and Sexton's Lodge are now in private hands.

The Gardens are open every day until 6pm, for pedestrian access only. Visitors are welcome to use the ajacent Tam O'Shanter complex for car parking, Cafeteria and toilet facilities.

Guided walks and other event details may be found on the notice board by the main gates. Copies of the leaflet, self guide trails and further information are available from the Ranger's Office at Tam O Shanter Farm.

Telephone 0151 653 9332

The Gardens are situated on Tollemache Road, Birkenhead, Wirral, Merseyside, England, close to Junction 1 M53.

With many mature trees and shrubs, Flaybrick supports a wide variety of wildlife. As well as the various Finches and Tits etc. the Nuthatch, Green Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk and Great Spotted Woodpecker can also be seen. The familiar Grey Squirrel is the only mammal likely to be seen in the daytime but Voles, Fieldmice, Hedgehogs, Foxes and Bats are all present. The many species of wildflowers which are now left uncut have attracted even more colourful and interesting butterflies and insects. Lichens have found the various headstone materials very much to their liking, making them easily viewed.

Flaybrick Memorial Gardens has a Friend's group who are committed to helping to look after and promote the Gardens. They hold regular meetings, give illustrated talks and have work in days for those who like the practical side of things. If you are interested in joining the Friends or require further information please contact the secretary 0151 512 3676. The subscription rates are £5.00 and £2.50 unwaged.

Flaybrick the DVD - 13.6.07

This week the Friends of Flaybrick release a dvd which tells the story of Birkenhead and explains how plans for the cemetery caused riots in the town. The dvd also brings to life the drama of the Loc Ah Tam murders and the Vittoria Dock Disaster. Of particular interest to local History buffs will be the interview with Pastor Robb Jeffs, who tells the story of the remarkable Charles Thompson Children’s Mission.

The dvd shows the Friends at work in Flaybrick on the MI Project and outlines their plans for a new free leisure facility for Birkenhead – the £2 million Flaybrick Bat Study Centre. The dvd also tells how the Friends managed to bring the AGM of the Association of Significant Cemeteries in Europe to Birkenhead – the first time it has been hosted in the UK.

The Friends have made the dvd themselves, directed by Angus Tilston, who has been with the Friends for over 10 years. Angus is also the founder of Swan Movie Makers who are the dvd’s producers. Over 30 hours of filming were required to make the 51 minute dvd and the project took over a year to complete.

The dvd, which contains specially composed music by Martin Pleass, is available at £5 to society members, but you will need to forward a prepaid envelope. Apply to John Moffat, 76 St Johns Road, Eastham, Wirral CH62 OBW. Tel. no. 0151 512 3676.





ASCE Guide to the Cemeteries of Europe

This book was published in June and Flaybrick has a six page entry which emphasises how Edward Kemp’s landscaping skills give the Gardens such a high status. The entry was compiled by the friends at considerable effort as the standard of this publication is very high. Once again, although we are a relatively small voluntary group, we have placed Birkenhead alongside Rome, Copenhagen, London, Athens, Berlin, Zagreb, Vienna Hamburg , Oslo, Naples, Bergen, Granada and Gothenberg in a European wide publication in 5 languages.




National Bat Study Centre

This dynamic and original concept has been developed by Nick Harding, ranger for Flaybrick. The architects Ainsley Gommon have bid for the restoration of the Flaybrick Chapels and together with Curtins Engineering, (Principal Contractor for the Albert Dock) and Redfern Morrison and Thomas, (quantity surveyors), have produced an 11 page tender for a £14,000 feasibility study. Alf Plant, director, Ainsley Gommon Architects, has said that the project is an exiting one and that their plan would compliment the existing architecture and incorporate innovative modern design.

The total cost of the new centre is £1.25 million and we are currently exploring funding options. However the primary concern is to raise £7000, which together with match funding from Wirral Borough Council will enable the feasibility study to go ahead before it becomes time expired.


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#352182 - 25th Sep 2009 9:18pm Re: Bidston hill [Re: Petal]
RUDEBOX Offline

Wiki Master

Registered: 29th Aug 2008
Posts: 18996
Loc: Bob Land
Thanks petal. Really enjoyed reading that.
_________________________
Mia Mabel


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