Toasted Cake 261! In which we sing.

At 0600 hours, Aurora brews coffee, intensifies the lights to 800 lumens, and heats the ship to an optimal 70.2 degrees, all according to protocol.

This story first appeared right here in Fireside.

Jenn Reese writes speculative fiction for readers of all ages. Her middle grade books include A Game of Fox & Squirrels (Henry Holt, April 2020) and Above World (Candlewick), a finalist for the 2012 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

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PS: AND WITH THAT, we come to the last episode of the RUN OF HOPE season. Thanks for listening, and be safe and well until next time! <3

Toasted Cake 260! In which maybe we procrastinate? Just a little?

Jen's final sociology paper was due tomorrow, so she was procrastinating.

This story first appeared in Galaxy's Edge, and a slightly longer version is available to read on Curious Fictions.

Effie Seiberg is a fantasy and science fiction writer. Her stories can be found in the "Women Destroy Science Fiction!" special edition of Lightspeed Magazine (winner of the 2015 British Fantasy Award for Best Anthology), "The Best of Galaxy's Edge 2015-2017", Analog, Fireside Fiction, and PodCastle, amongst others. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she likes to make sculpted cakes and bad puns. You can find more of her work at effieseiberg.com, or follow her on twitter at @effies. Effie would like you to stay the eff at home, and if you can't, to at least wear a mask when you're out. 


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Toasted Cake 259! In which we skate the spell.

I fell the first time I tried the spell. The magic broke, snapping a crack into the ice and getting me a three-day ban from the rink by the angry ex-almost-pro who drove the Zamboni.

This story is original to Toasted Cake.

Kristen Koopman is a graduate student, writer, and nerd.  Her interests include blatant escapism, overanalyzing anything and everything, playing with her dog, and enough garlic to kill vampires at twenty paces.  Other stories of hers can be found at Kaleidotrope and forthcoming in GlitterShip.  She is definitely not two smaller Kristen Koopmans in a trenchcoat.


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Toasted Cake 258! In which we arrange our features in a neutral expression.

"I am experiencing an unpleasant digestive reaction to something I ingested this morning and my primary spousal relationship is suffering a breakdown which is causing me emotional distress."

This story first appeared on Darusha's Patreon.

M. Darusha Wehm is the Nebula Award-nominated and Sir Julius Vogel Award winning author of the interactive fiction game The Martian Job, as well as the science fiction novels Beautiful Red, Children of Arkadia, The Voyage of the White Cloud, and the Andersson Dexter cyberpunk detective series. Their mainstream books include the Devi Jones' Locker YA series and the humorous coming-of-age novel The Home for Wayward Parrots. Darusha's short fiction and poetry have appeared in many venues, including Terraform and Nature. Originally from Canada, Darusha lives in Wellington, New Zealand after spending several years sailing the Pacific.



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Toasted Cake #257! In which we attempt the parallel parking maneuver.

360-degree camera coverage. Radar, inertial compass, GPS. Independent all-wheel drive, nanoceramic brakes. 5G, sat-phone, and UHF communications. Air bags everywhere. And the worst student driver in the history of the automobile.

This story is original to Toasted Cake.

Laurence Raphael Brothers is a writer and a technologist. He has published around 30 short stories in magazines such as Nature, PodCastle, the New Haven Review, and Galaxy's Edge. His WWI-era fantasy novel Twilight Patrol and his romantic noir urban fantasy novella The Demons of Wall Street were both just recently published. Follow him on twitter: @lbrothers or visit laurencebrothers.com for more stories that can be read or listened to online.

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Toasted Cake 256! In which we ride.

Araana picked a sticky seedpod off his coat and stepped out of the brambles, onto the surface of the wide and flat road left over by an empire long past.

This story first appeared on Bogi's patreon.

You can find Bogi at Bogi reads the world, dot com! Bogi is also bogiperson on a variety of social media.

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Toasted Cake #255! In which we make breathable air.

It wasn't a new idea. But as soon as mother said out loud "we should wrap the Moon"--so close, so dead, but with resources hidden under dust and rock--father and his scientists started figuring out how to do it.

This story is original to Toasted Cake.

Once a Silicon Valley software engineer, Curtis C. Chen now writes speculative fiction and runs puzzle games near Portland, Oregon. His debut novel Waypoint Kangaroo (a 2017 Locus Awards Finalist) is a science fiction spy thriller about a superpowered secret agent facing his toughest mission yet: vacation. Curtis' short stories have appeared in Playboy Magazine, Daily Science Fiction, and Oregon Reads Aloud. He is a graduate of the Clarion West and Viable Paradise writers' workshops. Visit him online at: curtiscchen.com .


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Toasted Cake Podcast #254! In which we hold our breath.

When we rounded everybody up for the register, Maude and Julie were sheepish. They only wanted this one thing, this battered white box of . . . craft parts?

This story first appeared in Sabr Literary.

Christi Nogle's short stories have been produced on podcasts such as PseudoPod, Escape Pod, The Wicked Library, and Tales to Terrify. Christi teaches college composition and lives in Boise, Idaho with her partner Jim and their dogs and cats. Follow her at christinogle.com or on Twitter @christinogle .

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Toasted Cake Podcast #253! in which we try to raise fully functioning adults.

Whether you are adopting by chance because you found the smoking crater on your property or whether you volunteered for the Zeptonian Childcare Service, congratulations and thank you!

This story first appeared in Podcastle.

David Steffen is a writer, publisher, editor, and software developer. He is the editor of Diabolical Plots and the Long List Anthology series, and he runs The Submission Grinder, a donation-supported website to help writers find publishers for their work. You can find him on twitter @diabolicalplots.

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Toasted Cake #252! In which we connect.

When I got to Mario Reyes's dorm room, I heard him scuffling around, opening and closing drawers as if he had a girl coming over.

This story first appeared in Factor Four Magazine.

Katherine Quevedo was born and raised just outside of Portland, OR, where she works as an analysis manager and lives with her husband and two sons. Her fiction has appeared in Short Édition's Short Circuit, Harbinger Press Flash Fiction Fridays, Thrilling Words, 87 Bedford, and elsewhere. When she isn't writing, she enjoys watching movies, singing, playing old-school video games, belly dancing, and making spreadsheets. Find her at katherinequevedo.com.

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Toasted Cake #251! In which we get out the hard-boiled egg.

This one November my mom went missing and me and Andy and his other friend Meg tried to fill in for her because my mom is the moon.

This story is original to Toasted Cake.

Megan Lee Beals is fostering mason bees in her modest city garden, sewing things which attempt to defy physics, and forgetting to pull the bread out of the oven. She lives in Tacoma Washington with her husband and one formerly feral cat. You can read more of her stories at meganleebeals.com.

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Toasted Cake #250! In which we celebrate.

Tommy's sixth birthday was ruined due to a mix-up at the bakery.

This story is original to Toasted Cake.

Liam Hogan is an award winning short story writer, with stories in Best of British Science Fiction 2016, and Best of British Fantasy 2018 (NewCon Press). He's been published by Analog, Daily Science Fiction, and Flametree Press, among others. He helps host Liars' League London, volunteers at the creative writing charity Ministry of Stories, and lives and avoids work in London. More details at happyendingnotguaranteed.blogspot.co.uk


Toasted Cake 249! In which we feed the printer. 

Everyone in the office called the supply room printer a "giant plastic sack of crap that deserved to rot in the underworld for all eternity."

This story is original to Toasted Cake. 

Diane Callahan strives to capture her sliver of the universe through writing fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. As a developmental editor and ghostplotter, she spends her days shaping stories. Her YouTube channel, Quotidian Writer, provides practical tips for aspiring authors. You can read her work in Translunar Travelers Lounge, Short Édition, and Riddled with Arrows, among others.

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Toasted Cake 248! In which we mend the tear in the fabric.

You pieced it together decades ago; so far back that you don't remember not knowing.

This story first appeared in Daily SF.

José Pablo Iriarte is a Cuban-American writer, high school math teacher, and parent of two. Jose's fiction has been nominated for the Nebula Award and long-listed for the James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award, and can be found in magazines such as Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, and Fireside Fiction. Learn more at labyrinthrat.com, or look for José on twitter @labyrinthrat.




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Toasted Cake 247! In which we use the unicorn-mane thread.

The day before my wedding, my dress is a pile of birch leaves.

This story first appeared in Daily SF.

Caroline M. Yoachim is a prolific author of short stories, appearing in Asimov's, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Uncanny, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Clarkesworld, and Lightspeed, among other places. She has been a finalist for the Hugo, World Fantasy, Locus, and multiple Nebula Awards. Yoachim's debut short story collection, Seven Wonders of a Once and Future World & Other Stories, came out with Fairwood Press in 2016.


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Toasted Cake 246! In which we contemplate the ineffable beauty of impermanent things.

If you are consulting this guide, you live alone in the house at the end of the lane, and a sphinx has been haunting your overgrown garden.

This story first appeared right here in Flash Fiction Online.

Alexei Collier was born in sunny Southern California, grew up in a house his family moved into on his very first Halloween, and went to school in a creepy old mansion. Many years later, powerful forces flung him deep into the heart of the Midwest, where he now lives across the street from Chicago with his wife and their cat. His short fiction has appeared in Flash Fiction Online, Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores, Cicada, and Ideomancer. You can find out more about Alexei at his oft-neglected website, alexeicollier.com.


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Toasted Cake 245! In which we try to fix things.

First Human Trial: August 12th, 2023. Well, today's the day. 

This story first appeared in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine.

Edward Ashton lives in Rochester, NY with his wife, a variable number of daughters, and an adorably mopey dog named Max. He is the author of the novels Three Days in April and The End of Ordinary, as well as of short stories which have appeared in venues ranging from the newsletter of an Italian sausage company to Escape Pod, Analog, and Fireside Fiction. You can find him on Twitter @edashtonwriting or online at edwardashton.com.


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Toasted Cake 244! In which the story pours out like honey.

For some girls it was lustrous hair, twice as long and twice as thick every time it was cut.

This story is original to Toasted Cake.

Kristiana Willsey is a writer and an academic living in Los Angeles. She has a PhD in Folklore, teaches at the University of Southern California, and has published research on folk narrative in various academic journals and edited volumes. She is a 2019 graduate of Clarion West.


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Toasted Cake #243! In which we clean the nunchucks.

"Saviour Ltd.  How may I help you?"

This story is original to Toasted Cake.

Annie Percik lives in London with her husband, Dave, where she writes novels and short stories, whilst working as a University Complaints Officer. She writes a blog about writing and posts short fiction on her website, which is where all her current publications are listed. She also makes a media review podcast with her husband at @loveittomorrow and publishes a photo-story blog, recording the adventures of her teddy bear. He is much more popular online than she is. She likes to run away from zombies in her spare time.


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Toasted Cake 242! In which we had to start being all whimsical.

"Aardvark says moo," says the clown, handing over the balloon animal.

This story first appeared on Cat's Patreon.

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov's, Clarkesworld Magazine, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. She is an Endeavour, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award nominee. Her most recent work is Nebula-nominated CARPE GLITTER (fiction, Meerkat Press). Forthcoming are Exiles of Tabat (Wordfire Press, 2020), You Sexy Thing (Tor Macmillan, 2021) and the conclusion to the Tabat Quartet, Gods of Tabat (Wordfire Press, 2021). For more about her, as well as links to her fiction and her popular online school, The Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers, see her website

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Toasted Cake 241! In which we win the diapers.

It's not the usual thing nowadays, but when I was born my fairy godmother gave me a blessing. 

This story is original to Toasted Cake.

Elizabeth Walker lives in sunny Southern California with her family and the neediest housecat on the planet. You can find her online at www.edwalkerauthor.com and on Twitter at @AuthorEDW.



Toasted Cake 240! In which we toss fistfuls of crumpled paper.

What apocalypse am I creating today?

This story first appeared right here in Nature.

Karlo Yeager Rodríguez's fiction has appeared in Nature, Uncanny, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. He hails from the enchanted isle of Puerto Rico but moved to Baltimore some years ago. He lives quite happily with his wife and one very odd dog. Find him at karlo-yeager-rodriguez.com and on Twitter @kjy1066.


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Toasted Cake 239! In which we knit the booties.

Jordan recognised the griffin waiting outside the chicken cage as she stepped out, holding three dead hens by the neck; his chest had that unmistakeable stripe of velvet-black feathers among the russet.

This story is original to Toasted Cake. You can also read it right here on Matt Dovey's website!

Matt Dovey is very tall, very British, and most likely drinking a cup of tea right now. He has a scar on his arm from a gap year working a Megafauna Sanctuary in the Pacific Northwest; he'd like to pretend it was from calming a raging beast and saving the day, but really it was an infected scratch from rusted chickenwire. He now lives in a quiet market town in rural England with his wife and three children, and still struggles to express his delight in this wonderful arrangement. Although his surname rhymes with "Dopey", any other similarities to the dwarf are purely coincidental. He has fiction out and forthcoming all over the place: you can keep up with it at mattdovey.com, or find him timewasting on Twitter as @mattdoveywriter.



Toasted Cake 238! In which we are not in sight.

The giant spruce trees behind Grandma's house had the best climbing branches, despite the pine needles.

This story is original to Toasted Cake.

Lyndsie Manusos's work has appeared or is forthcoming in Apex Magazine, Apparition Lit, F&SF, Okay Donkey, and other publications. She lives in Indianapolis with her family and writes for Book Riot and Publishers Weekly.



Toasted Cake #237! In which we check out Goblin's stash.

"That's one more shambling patchwork monstrosity which won't be terrorizing our fair city any longer." 

This story is original to Toasted Cake.

Michael M. Jones lives in southwest Virginia with too many books, just enough cats, and a wife who stole the television remote in 1998 and has yet to give it back. He's been published in places such as Constellary Tales, F is for Fairy, and Mad Scientist Magazine. He's the editor of Scheherazade's Facade, and Schoolbooks & Sorcery. For more, visit him at michaelmjones.com.


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Toasted Cake 236! In which we pick up a chisel.

So, on paper the project was called the Supersimulation, but privately, we called it "The Nine Bajillion Names of God". 

This story first appeared right here in Daily SF.

Aimee Ogden is a former science teacher and software tester; now she writes stories about sad astronauts, angry princesses and dead gods. Her stories also appear in Fireside, Analog, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and her novella "Sun-daughters, Sea-daughters" is forthcoming from Tor.com. With Bennett North, she co-edits Translunar Travelers Lounge, a magazine of fun and optimistic speculative fiction.

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Toasted Cake 235! In which things get a little messy.

The taco beach was a mistake.

This story is original to Toasted Cake.

Kate Ristau is a folklorist, an author, and the Executive Director of Willamette Writers. You can find her essays in the New York Times and the Washington Post, and her young adult and middle grade books online. She lives in a house in Oregon where they found fairies in the garden and a sword behind the water heater. You can find out more about her at kateristau.com.



Toasted Cake #234! In which we find the daffodils.

A witch's garden. Agnes had read about them in fairy stories. 

This story is original to Toasted Cake.

Samuel Poots is a writer from N. Ireland who communicates primarily by means of Pratchett quotes. His story The Glass-Eyed Girl was awarded Kraxon Magazine's Short Story of the Year Award for 2018 and he was recently given the Support for Individual Artists Award by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. When not writing, or procrastinating, he can usually be seen clambering around the north coast muttering stuff about dragons. If found, please give him a cup of tea and send him home via the nearest post office. You can find Sam on Twitter as @pootsidoodle.

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Toasted Cake 233! In which we finally come up with the perfect doom, no really this time. 

The Terrible installed a conveyor belt exclusively for her.

This story first appeared right here in Daily SF.

John (@wiswell) is a disabled writer who lives where New York keeps all its trees. He has published in Uncanny Magazine, Nature Magazine, and Fireside Magazine.


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Toasted Cake #232! In which we aren't sure what kind of a bird we are.

Justin is ten feet tall, so I give myself a pair of wings with which to reach him.

This story is original to Toasted Cake.

Avra Margariti is a queer Social Work undergrad from Greece. She enjoys storytelling in all its forms and writes about diverse identities and experiences. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Flash Fiction Online, The Forge Literary, SmokeLong Quarterly, and other venues. You can find her on twitter at @avramargariti.


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Toasted Cake 231! In which we discuss certain economic systems.

Honored guests, thank you for attending this seminar on the Tucabal-Gor, colloquially known as alien sharks.

This story first appeared right here in Fireside.

Beth Goder works as an archivist, processing the papers of economists, scientists, and other interesting folks. Her fiction has appeared in venues such as Escape Pod, Fireside, and Flash Fiction Online. You can find her online at http://www.bethgoder.com.

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Toasted Cake 230! In which we end up becoming one of those portal mothers.

I held my newborn in the hospital delivery room, and I saw fluffy cumulus clouds billow across Ivanova's eyes.

First appeared right here in Daily SF.


Nebula Award-nominated Beth Cato is the author of the Clockwork Dagger duology and the Blood of Earth Trilogy from Harper Voyager. She's a Hanford, California native transplanted to the Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband, son, and requisite cats. Follow her at BethCato.com and on Twitter at @BethCato.

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Toasted Cake 229! In which we ruin our favorite blouse, but maybe we have good reasons.

Melba had thought she was too old to be possessed by a demon. . . .

A shorter version of this story, entitled "How Melba Got Her Groove Back," first appeared right here in Bending Genres.

Tara Campbell is a writer, teacher, Kimbilio Fellow, and fiction editor at Barrelhouse. Prior publication credits in addition to Toasted Cake include SmokeLong Quarterly, Masters Review, Monkeybicycle, Jellyfish Review, Booth, Strange Horizons, and Escape Pod/Artemis Rising. She's the author of a novel, TreeVolution, a hybrid fiction/poetry collection, Circe's Bicycle, and a short story collection, Midnight at the Organporium. She received her MFA from American University in 2019.


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Toasted Cake 228! In which we consider all the possibilities.

It was two weeks until the ship landed back on earth, and Trisha figured that meant now or never. She had to tell Jazz how she felt.

First appeared right here on Daily SF.

Kelly Sandoval's fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Uncanny, and Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy. She lives in Seattle, where the weather is always happy to make staying in and writing seem like a good idea. Her family includes a patient husband, an anarchist tortoise, and a put-upon cat. You can find her online at kellysandovalfiction.com.  


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Toasted Cake 227! In which we had hoped to be working on other problems.

The video conferencing at the United Nations was finally at a level where they could take supervillains' calls without having to consult with three different secretaries to make the picture appear.

This story first appeared right here in Natures Futures.

Marissa Lingen lives in the Minneapolis area with two large men and one small dog. She writes lots of science fiction and fantasy short stories and has recently branched out into essays and poetry as well.
So we had stopped, but here we are again. In the last week, a couple of friends made posts about looking for more hopeful stories right now, and I thought, that is a small thing I can do to help.

Open for submissions of stories that fall somewhere on the hopeful end of the spectrum, from now until the end of March. Podcast will resume March 23rd and continue for at least a few months. Find the details on the submissions page right here:  http://toastedcake.com/submissions.html 

<3 <3 <3
All right, kids, it's that time again.

I'm sorry to say that Toasted Cake is going on hiatus for a year.

(Because I am behind on writing my books.)

(Did I mention I have two small children? I do. So from time to time I run out of time. If you have a way to invent me more time I would take it.)

I hope to be back in Fall 2020. Next submissions window will probably be August 2020. Check back in May 2020 or so for updates.

Yes, I will miss you. I like all of you very much.

Thank you for being here and toasting the cake with me.

<3 <3 <3
Toasted Cake #226! In which we are really truly a fully law-abiding publication please do not think otherwise

Thank you for your interest in submitting to the re-opened Fairyland Gazette. Please take careful note of our new guidelines.

This story first appeared in Stupefying Stories.

Effie Seiberg is a fantasy and science fiction writer. Her stories can be found in the "Women Destroy Science Fiction!" special edition of Lightspeed Magazine (winner of the 2015 British Fantasy Award for Best Anthology), Galaxy's Edge, Analog, Fireside Fiction, and PodCastle, amongst others. Her stories include a finalist in the AnLab Awards 2016, as well as an honorable mention in the Year's Best YA Speculative Fiction 2015. Effie lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where she works as a consultant for tech startups. She likes to make sculpted cakes and bad puns.





Toasted Cake 225! In which we quit.

After jumping through 57 portals under your command, it's time to say goodbye.

This story is original to Toasted Cake.

Aimee Picchi is a journalist and SFF writer who lives in Burlington, Vermont. Her short fiction has appeared in publications including Intergalactic Medicine Show, Daily Science Fiction, and Flash Fiction Online. A classical musician by training, she's a graduate of Juilliard Pre-College and University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music. Find her at aimeepicchi.com or on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.




Toasted Cake 224! In which we try to score points, sometimes violently.

On Monday evening, my sister got decapitated by a tube on the Northern Line at King's Cross

This story first appeared in Outlook Springs.

This story has a content warning for a darkly humorous discussion of very many different kinds of death.

Michelle Ann King was born in East London and now lives in Essex. She has published stories of fantasy, science fiction, and horror in over ninety different magazines and anthologies, including Interzone, Strange Horizons, and Black Static. Her favourite author is Stephen King (sadly, no relation), and she also loves zombies, Las Vegas, and good Scotch whisky. Her first two short story collections are available in ebook and paperback from Amazon and other online retailers. See transientcactus.co.uk for details.



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