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Retired in retirement.
Life's ups and downs.
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ELCBK
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@Retired -

I know you've changed your strings. 

Did you change one at a time, or all at once? 

There are warnings against changing them all at once, because you'll run into problems if your bridge is not exactly in the right place for your sound post and your violin's harmonics.  The bridge works with the sound post and the sound post can move or fall down if the violin is moved around without some pressure from the strings. 

About bowing on the D & G strings - you may need to find out where they sound best between the bridge and the fingerboard (a little different than the E & A strings), but more importantly you probably need to use a little more pressure/weight from your hand to get the best tone.  Maybe adjust your bow speed, too. 

You can't just let the bow skim across the strings and slide all over the place.  Your hand needs to be in control - relaxed, springy and responsive to the needs of each string.  Keep trying - just takes time. 🎃

I think visualizing, closing your eyes is a good thing, but remember you are shooting for your whole bow stroke stay in one spot on the string.  Also, took me a while to learn that the amount of weight/pressure I needed with my bowing hand was NOT the same needed on the strings with my left hand - that was a challenge, because both my hands wanted to do the same thing! (lol) 

 

Listening is VERY important, but you have no music background, so no pressure about using fingering tapes - depends on how lofty your goals are. 

...you may not ever need to get out of 1st position for the music you want to play. 

- Emily

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Gordon Shumway
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ELCBK said
You can't just let the bow skim across the strings and slide all over the place.

In other words, we know nothing of your bowing technique, Colin.

The basic idea is that whatever your bow speed, you try to use the maximum pressure on the string. Also the bow speed must be constant.

One of the video channels you could watch profitably is Back to Basics by Nicola Benedetti.

Andrew

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BillyG
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October 20, 2021 - 3:24 pm
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Good points made there by both of you ( @Gordon Shumway and @ELCBK )

It is *such* an individual thing (although, yes, there are many "right", and some "just plain wrong" ways to approach your own bow techniques)

I have what I would consider a very "light touch" on the bow - and that was with me from day one - to the extent that REPEATEDLY and I mean "repeatedly....." my e-string would whistle (regardless of string type - and - for reasons thanks to "Mr. Jim" dancing selling off several lightly used string sets I had the opportunity to try out a good number of different strings!  They ALL whistled on the E - so THAT told me something LOL)

Oddly enough, my whistling-e was virtually always on a down-bow transition (which you MIGHT expect to have more "weight" to it) from some note on the A onto the E - an open or stopped E seemed to make no difference (although more often I guess on the open, now I think back)

Now - it is NOT that I ever thought, or felt I was being tentative with the bow - not that at all, it was just my "approach" to the string.  It took a few weeks, and I understood in some way to "treat that E differently, on approach", and (for me, with a generally light touch) give it a tad more welly - weight or speed - and the torsional vibration (which I understand is where the squeal/whistle originates) is overcome, and the string enters its expected lateral-vibration mode.

I have seen questions about this from many beginners, and just as many saying they have no problem !!!!   

So, it really IS all about individual bowing technique, and *understanding* the needs of different strings.

In the early days, the D and A were always "easy" (for me) to play.  The E - as I described, had issues.  G had largely been left alone for the first few weeks other than occasional "trying out" and getting my LH wrist and fingers "used" to the feel of getting there....  But the G, similar to the E gaveme issues - (well, no whistle, but just a poor, sort of hollow, uninspiring tone) - and again (much more quickly this time) I came to understand that the much heavier string (a bit like the much lighter E) required some "special attention"

A few years on, these things (approach to both E and G strings) has become automatic, and my "touch" is as light as it has ever been ( but as heavy when needed ) and I am very, very pleased with the dynamic range I can extract from the instrument without it being driven to the point of "crunch" or SO light the bow glides (almost) over the strings.

I'll never play classical (other than short, well known themes/extracts) - so - I'm just a fiddler - but I love the feeling of "being at one" with the instrument and it gives me the scope to experiment with tunes that, perhaps, were never really intended to be played on a violin !!!!

I appreciate this is a slight digression from the discussion, but, I thought it related, and worth sharing my own personal experience on your blog @Retired

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Gordon Shumway
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October 20, 2021 - 4:40 pm
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BillyG said

Oddly enough, my whistling-e was virtually always on a down-bow transition (which you MIGHT expect to have more "weight" to it)  

Or just more speed. If I'm playing fast in a passsage that makes rapid transitions between the A and E strings, then I can get my E string to whistle, but it's due to excessive use of the bow (i.e. excessive sweep/travel) and thus excessive bow speed (i.e. too much for the pressure).

Andrew

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Hi,

Thanks Andrew. I've been bogged down getting ready to make a violin and today I finally made an aluminium template after three days of total frustration.

I've just enjoyed a practice session and am making friends with the D string at last on both my violins; a long way to go yet but I can now use all four fingers on all strings. I watched Fiddlerman's excellent video showing how to get my elbow in the correct position and it sure works; I'm still practicing without shoulder rest just resting the violin on a microfiber cloth draped over my shoulder but ideally I want to sort out a shoulder rest in order to free up my left hand more.

I'm so new to violins I don't yet know what tones I'm playing but whatever they are I'm doing OK so far; as the late Eric Morecabe said he was playing the right notes on the piano but not necessarily in the right order; brilliant sketch.

Thanks for the suggestion regarding trying Tonicas I'll have a look; having two violins I can compare a bit.

I've so much I want to learn but time always gets away from me; I don't know how I ever coped when I worked full time and did heavy jobs around home after a long hard shift at work in a very stressful job.

Kind regards, Colin.

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Hi,

Backtracking because I got ahead of myself.

Thanks Emily; before changing strings I watched YouTube videos first so knew to only change one string at a time but I appreciate you mentioning it. I do keep practicing but as yet not trying to play any particular tune just concentrating on getting used to handling the instrument and bow; yes the bow tended to scate across the D string so I've done as you kindly suggested and played around with bow weight and bow stroke; the D string is now making friends with me so I'm now able to use four fingers on all four strings; I'm getting there slowly but as you know I'm also heavily involved with making a violin on my other thread; so many demands on my time I fid it difficult to keep up hence I'm now backtracking. I'm not overly ambitious just wanting to play the violin as a hobby but once I grasp the basics I might progress further than I expect at the moment.

Thanks @BillyG for sharing your interesting experiences; I'm actually doing well with the E string but then I've practiced more on this string; I'm making progress on the other strings too but my practice time is still rather limited.

Thanks Andrew for adding the video; I've watched lots of tutorial videos on YouTube and benefitted from them; I'n not doing badly regarding my bow speed but I find on the E string even a light pressure gets it singing; I've not tried heavier pressure on the E string but the other three strings being thicker I find do need extra pressure; I keep having a go time permitting but make a point of half an hours practice each evening after teatime.

I did have a look on eBay regarding the Tonica strings but am rather puzzled by the huge variation in prices £18.99 to £57.00? Am I missing something?

Thanks everyone for your interesting replies and apologies if I'm late to respond.

Kind regards, Colin.

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BillyG
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October 24, 2021 - 8:08 am
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Gordon Shumway said

BillyG said

Oddly enough, my whistling-e was virtually always on a down-bow transition (which you MIGHT expect to have more "weight" to it)  

Or just more speed. If I'm playing fast in a passsage that makes rapid transitions between the A and E strings, then I can get my E string to whistle, but it's due to excessive use of the bow (i.e. excessive sweep/travel) and thus excessive bow speed (i.e. too much for the pressure).  

Thanks Alf @Gordon Shumway - at the time, I probably never associated the two (speed/pressure) directly although I had read about it. 

You make a good point and I guess that's quite a concise description of the primary cause and worth sharing. 

Thankfully, as I say, I've now adapted to my issues with the E, and, although sort of automatic now, in the early days I consciously made sure that the bow fully ( - or let's say "properly") engaged with the string.  Interestingly enough, back in the day a number of members here as green-as-me at the time, simply had no apparent problem!  

ROFL @Retired -

"the D string is now making friends with me"

... exactly, that's what we want - happy strings, happy player!  From my early issues with the E I know precisely what you mean by that!  Well done Colin, it's all good progress! 

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Hi,

Thanks @BillyG 

I've just enjoyed a practice session and amazed myself; self praise is no recommendation but WOW I managed to use all four fingers on one full stroke of the bow over the E string and not just one way but both ways; up and down a few times; no shoulder rest just using a microfiber cloth on my shoulder to rest the violin on and no strangle hold on the neck either. I'll do lots more practice like this then move onto the other strings doing the same. I've no set pattern for learning still just getrting the hang of the bow and violin both of which I'm starting to feel more comfortable with; I've had a number of poor practices but the ones that worked well encourage me to stick with it; each practice is more experience. If I could play the violin the way I ramble on I'd be delighted.

I've been busy working on the violin template and wooden mould today so I'm stiff and like this it's not ideal for practicing playing but whatever I feel like I'm maintaining my evening practice after tea each day and look forward to it.

Yesterday afternoon I managed to read the first ten pages of my Stradivarius book finding them highly interesting but then had to break off for a former neighbour who paid us a welcome visit; this morning I was nicely set up working on the violin template at peace with the world when the phone rang; it was another friend wanting advice on how I created our wildflower meadow; this brought me up to dinnertime; after dinner I was in the workshop; I do a standard 48 hour day and it's not long enough; I've just knocked off wanting to spend quality time with my lovely Bron before bedtime.

I'm seriously getting into violins and enjoying myself.

I've so many hobbies and jobs to do but not enough time; our gardens are high maintenance as seen here; we live on a very steep valley side; I created the meadow three years ago at the top of our mountain; our detached bungalow is further down the garden.

Our-meadow..JPGImage Enlarger

Kind regards, Colin.

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Hi,

Yesterday's evening practice playing the violins was the worst yet; I'd been busy as usual all day and was tired; I was tense and all my joints were stiff so I couldn't relax and it showed; after forty minutes I decided I ached enough.

I'm sticking to my practice routine though each evening; when I ease off in the workshop I'll settle down better; we alter the clocks this weekend so it will be dark an hour earlier each day making it gloomy in the workshop so I hope to spend more time in the new well lit studio; I don't think using hacksaw and engineers files tiring my arms is conductive to good violin practice.

Kind regards, Colin.

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Gordon Shumway
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Yehudi Menuhin swore by yoga, Colin.

Perhaps you should start the day with very gentle stretching and then some very gentle violin playing.

Andrew

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Fiddlerman
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October 28, 2021 - 2:41 pm
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Retired said
Hi, Thanks @BillyG
I've just enjoyed a practice session and amazed myself; self praise is no recommendation but WOW.......

Retired said
Hi, Yesterday's evening practice playing the violins was the worst yet; I'd been busy as usual all day and was tired; I was tense and all my joints were stiff so I couldn't relax and it showed; after forty minutes I decided I ached enough..........

You have no idea how common that is. And, by the way, after using your hands intensively, you will be stiff on the violin.

Keep up the routine though, it will pay off.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Hi,

Thanks Andrew. I'm a bit different from Yehudi Menuhin; my day started at 6 o'clock this morning; out of bed; breakfast; visit three local supermarkets; Morrisons; Aldi & Home Bargains home by 8:30.

I lost my email yesterday afternoon; we're on cable Virgin Media; reCaptcha is blocking me meaning playing computer games with silly pictures but still no email this morning. Visit YouTube in order to learn how to dump reCpatcha; lots of videos but as yet still no email; try phoning Virgin Media and now aged 74 I don't think I'll live long enough to be connected to an actual human being so leave it alone before I explode with frustration.

Now I wanted to log onto this wonderful forum; here's roughly the route involving reCaptcha;

Enter user name and password

Error

I'm not a robot

Pictures of crosswalks involving 8 clicks

Next pictures of bicycles involving 7 clicks

Error

User name and password

Log in

Verification expired

Palm trees 3 clicks

Verify

Here I am at last logged in; oh how I detest reCaptcha I even tried my gmail email but still blocked.

I'm not complaining because this is a normal start to my day but it's sure time consuming and making me not wanting to log on because of this constant hassle; I'm not complaining in any way about this forum which I like a great deal or even Virgin Media but my life is a corkscrew with a wall in front of me every way I turn so I'm constantly wasting lots of precious time; I'm not alone by looking at YouTube videos showing the same problem.

Many thanks Fiddlerman for your encouragement it's very much appreciated. I enjoyed three practice sessions yesterday with mixed results; I'm always tense due to demands on my time and of course what I get up to with so much physical exercise in the workshop; around the bungalow and in the gardens; there's no let up at all. I'm now stuck with no email and unable to contact Virgin Media without sitting here with refreshments hoping I don't die first. I could arrange a call back from Virgin Media but I don't use a mobile phone being a dinosaur with better things to do. In spite of all these silly problems my lovely wife makes my day so I'm still smiling.

Kind regards, Colin.

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Hi,

Email back on at 3:30pm; after spending time following YouTube videos regarding getting rid of reCaptcha without success. I'm not one for continuing to bang my head against a wall so gave up and tried something else; it took quite a while but of course I was supposed to know to change my Virgin Media password even though I was successfully logged on to Virgin Media using my password but my emails were blocked; as I say my life is a corkscrew and I take nothing for granted or on face value; suspect absolutely everything and expect the unexpected. Just a frustrating day but tomorrow will be another problem; sorry if I sound to be moaning but all I want is to be left in peace in retirement to enjoy my violin project but I can dream on; thanks a lot Virgin Media for messing up my day much appreciated.

I've just had a hot soak in the bath so I think I'll be as relaxed as I'll ever be when I practice playing the violins this evening after tea; in the meantime I've just brought one of the bows to the computer monitor and I'll watch YouTube videos on how to correctly hold the bow; it's one thing watching a video on TV but another thing to carry the information into the studio; life can keep throwing silly problems at me and I'll solve them one by one but in the end I'll learn to play and to make a violin; I just dig in a bit deeper; today has just been another learning curve.

Kind regards, Colin.

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ELCBK
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@Retired -

I just posted this for another new member - think it might be helpful for you, also. 

 

Now, what you really want is to remember what A, E and F, etc... sound like. 

...keep this in mind from the start - you'll be way ahead. 

 

Here's a little 'Music Theory' for you.

  • 'Pitch' is the frequency we hear = a note. 
  • 'Interval' is the distance between the notes = basically 'half steps' (aka. Semitone) or 'whole steps' (aka. Whole Tones). 

This is one of my favorite videos that can help you see the bigger picture. 

How to Achieve Perfect Intonation on the Violin - Part 1 - Prof. William Fitzpatrick

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/d4/c6/28/d4c628e64168de3e18e2f663a50b998c.jpg

 

Do you have a tuner?  It's not only good for tuning your 4 strings - can tell you what notes you are playing.

- Emily

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Hi,

Thanks for the information Emily as always I very much appreciate your generous help.

I've just popped on for a minute but I'll certainly play the video in its entirety tomorrow. I had my Covid booster jab this morning then spent time in the workshop this afternon; this evening after tea I wandered into the studio for a bit of violin practice but the top of my left arm quickly let me know it was there with a dull ache where the jab was administered; I felt fine after tea but the violin practice must have triggered the ache again; I'm sure by tomorrow morning I'll be fine and heading towards the workshop.

Now for some quality time with Bron watching a movie before bedtime; another day has slipped quietly by.

Kind regards, Colin.

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Hi,

Thanks again Emily for the Intonation video which I've just watched full length; I'm still so new to violins that I don't fully understand the details but I've got a vague idea what is being discussed. Since starting to practice playing my violins I've been concentrating on using the bow and trying to get everything aligned which I'm making progress with; I still don't fully understand scales but I can use all four fingers in turn on each of the strings each finger giving a different note. I can use all four fingers within one bow stroke which I find very interesting listening to the different notes on each string and I'm finding it fun just using my fingers at random; I'm settling down and when I feel I'm ready I'll start learning what notes I'm playing.

I'm feeling more at home practicing too; the violin; bow and holds aren't as strange as they first were; I'm better playing the E & A strings because obviously these are easist to reach for a raw novice but having watched Fiddlerman's excellent tutorial video I now get my elbow well under bringing the D & G strings within reach; I've still got a long way to go but considering I only started with violins a couple of months ago I've created the new studio this taking a week and a half and I'm making steady progress with wanting to make a violin from scratch; I've spent the day in the workshop today without interruption.

I've not practiced playing the violins tonight because last night I was in a lot of discomfort after my Covid booster jab then spending time in the workshop followed by half an hours practice; I think I overdid things being too eager and hurt my arm which at last is now much better. I don't want a repeat of the severe aching I suffered last night and as I say I've already spent today in the workshop so I'd better back off just a bit before I really do hurt myself.

I think I can squeeze a workshop session in tomorrow morning but the afternoon is fully booked; I've enjoyed today making violin clamps which are coming along nicely but it's amazing how the time slips by so quickly. When my arm stops aching I'll resume evenings practice which I enjoy.

I''m balancing my violin on a few microfiber cloths at the moment and my left thumb; I still need to sort a shoulder rest out and I've tried cutting sponges but find it difficult to get it just right; however I watched Fiddlerman's excellent tutorial on a shoulder rest he sorted out for a guy and the shoulder rest shown I think would really suit me but as ever I'm trying too hard to cram everything into the time I have; being fully retired doesn't mean full time to enjoy myself but I'll stick with it. I got out of bed early this morning; blinked and now it's 7:15pm; I'm sure days are shorter in retirement.

Kind regards, Colin.

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Hi,

Sorry Emily I missed answering your question; yes I actually have two electronic tuners; a cheap one through eBay and a more expensive one; the cheap one is pretty good and for a violin novice like me is certainly better than guessing with the risk of breakng strings.

I'm still heading towards making a violin but as ever I struggle for time and other things keep getting in the way. My arm ache has finally receded so I hope to resume violin practice this evening.

I hit the ground running this morning at 5 o'clock when I got out of bed and was at Rufforth Auto Jumble near our ancient capital York (UK) before 7 o'clock it still dark and cold in the breeze. I visited outside stalls first then into the big old aircraft hanger where it felt colder inside than it did outside.

The guy who takes about three stalls selling files and drill bits etc was on site much to my delight; he's quite a bit richer now but I've stocked up on Aerospace very high quality files. On a stall outside I bought 14 brand new (cheaper) files these at two for £1.50; on this stall were a set of six old used gouges for £18 but I let them go after all I can now make my own gouges from the files in due course. I've now got an impressive stock of new files to play around with this coming winter. Rufforth is excatly one hour from home 45 miles distant much of it motorway but the narrow winding unlit country lanes are a challenge and I've never liked night driving.

http://www.rufforthautojumble.com/

So many local companies have closed over the years if I want anything I have to travel or buy online both of which take even more precious time; it won't stop me but it sure slows me down.

I'm currently negotiating buying a violin it's a Willibald Wilfer, Erlangen; I don't yet know if I'll end up buying it because as usual when I want to buy something it's the other end of the country; the seller is happy to ship it to me but informs me he doesn't use PayPal although he would be happy to accept a bank transfer; I've just replied thanking him but politely declined paying by bank transfer because there's no buyer protection; I have suggested I'd be happy to pay by PayPal if he has a trusted friend with a PayPal account; trust no one these days which is sad but I'd rather let the violin go than risk losing money to a stranger.

Kind regards, Colin.

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Sorry, I have somehow missed a lot of this thread.

As to recaptcha, yes, it irks me, and I'm not sure what's happening. I assumed it was because my logon ID and my forum name are different.

Tuners - I don't worry about them much. I've got Snarks and generic snarks and two of the special violin ones, the second because I noticed how foolishly expensive they were getting, so I bought a spare when the price dipped temporarily.

But I don't believe any tuner deserves much heed - once you start fingering notes, they will be less accurate than the tuner, so a perfect tuner that cost £1000 would be a total waste of money. Besides, even if your fingering is "perfect", there's an element of subjectivity or context in the tuning, and the tuner can't help there. And heat from your body or an orchestra around you makes all instruments drift flat (in theory the wind instruments should warm up first).

Mostly for ukulele I use a cheap Chinese tuning fork in C and tune the uke to itself. Instruments without perfect intonation have to be tuned to themselves.

As to intonation, since you are an engineer, Colin, I suggest discovering all the notes that generate sympathetic resonance in other strings and practise listening* out for that. The easiest are E, G and A on the D string, D and E on the A string, G and A on the E string. There's also B on the E string (generates a resonance in the G string). Those are from memory. I'm not sure if there are others.

*the concept of listening is not straightforward. My first piano teacher began by telling me to listen, but listening to your violin playing is not identical to listening to your piano playing. You have to be able to hear how the violin sounds in the room, not just against you ear, since it's about tone production, which piano isn't.

Andrew

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Retired said
I'm currently negotiating buying a violin it's a Willibald Wilfer, Erlangen; I don't yet know if I'll end up buying it because as usual when I want to buy something it's the other end of the country 

Find local luthiers who refurbish and sell instruments and borrow some and listen to them. Choose one, then pay for it by bank transfer.

ESTA (European String Teachers Association) may help you find some if you email them.

My teacher is from Bradford. Tell me where you are and maybe she'll know someone.

Andrew

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Hello Colin, is that fiddle you mention on gum tree?

As for tuning, I tune the A with a tuning fork, and then tune the other strings from the A, its good practice for the ears, I only have one fine tuner on my fiddle which is on the E string.

Dont know if you know this or not, but having a strong engineer backgroud you may find it interesting to hear that pythagorus, tuning is used on fiddle depending on which other instruments you are playing along with, by the way thoroughly enjoying your build progress still.

Was down my luthiers in Liverpool today, his shop was shut and he has moved to one in north wales, so thats handy(not)

Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×[email protected]?#[email protected]

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