paros day 15: the curtain unveiled!


I’ve finally finished the curtain!

I’m so pleased with it. I’ve wanted one of these since I first saw one on Pinterest years ago.


In the end, I decided a pocket would do, no rings, no tabs, no bows. Just a simple pocket. Partly cause I was too lazy to make tabs or bows, but mainly cause it would hang too low if I added those things.


The couch sits under the window. Its not ideal, but its a small place and I have an L shaped lounge suite, part of which sits on that wall, under the window. I love having a big corner lounge suite, but getting to the window to open, shut or clean it can be a total pain in the butt, having to climb onto the couch to do anything.


But I love my new curtain.

The house is still a mess, but the curtain looks darn good!

So, remember this cute little tap?


Mystery solved. Its my curtain tieback.  Well, actually I can simply toss the curtain over the tap to hold it back, or I can use the hemp string tassle I made back in Tasmania to hold it back. I’m going with the tassle for now.


I also did a few bits and pieces today – while the couch was out of the way so I could sort out the curtain, I took the opportunity to drill holes to put up my rustic chalkboard (which you can see on my porch in Tasmania here) and the fish mobile Wayne made me. I love that corner now. Its me!


The cubbies are almost finished. I still have to find the patience to make another 16 little boxes, then I need to find some kind of knobs for them so I can get them out! Its not easy making little cardboard boxes… I’ll get there.

Today has been a good day. I got up at 8am as I said I would. I did morning wake-up yoga, then was out the door by 10am. I did the first coat of paint on the sewing table and the second coat of varnish on the top. Its getting there.

I also asked the guys at the transport company just down the road if I could have a couple of pallets. They said no…

Then Lainee and I walked all the way into town cause it was a nice day. I collected some plant cuttings along the way and put them in some soil when I got home. Fingers crossed on those.

The seeds I planted are apparently doing well. I spoke to my friend who’s been babysitting them since I went to Athens. I haven’t seen her to pick them up due to quarantine, but I got a photo of the lavatera which is going great.

If all goes well we’ll have your lavatera growing on a greek island Ginny!


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social commentary and a lamp

I’m currently reading a book where the main character made a comment about manners… like how it was so important for a man to treat a woman like she was a precious gem… holding doors open, being polite, buying flowers, etc. But, she said, his mama would have taught him all that…

It struck me as funny in a sad “that’s how it might be in the south (of the USA) but this is Greece” way…

The difference being that southern mothers do/did instill in their sons a code of chivalrous behavior towards women. By contrast, all most greek mothers seem to do is spoil their sons and raise entitled spoilt brats who expect some woman to treat them like their mother did…

Okay… not all greek mothers are like that, nor all greek men.

Just the majority.

And I’m allowed to ‘greek-bash’ cause I’m greek.

So there.

It reminded me of a story mom told me. She said that, when we first moved back to Greece eons ago, my father would help her wash the clothes when we were on Paros. Back then there was no running water to the house (let alone a washing machine!) so washing was done by hand at the well on the side of a hill. In full view of the entire countryside. Buckets of water would be poured into wash tubs in the morning and left in the sun to heat up so clothes could be washed in warm water in the afternoon. Buckets of cold water would be brought up to rinse them and they would be hung on the dry stone walks to dry. Dad always helped mom. It was a hard job – ever washed sheets or towels by hand? Even with running water you didn’t have to pull up from a well yourself?

Anyway, dad’s mother was shocked. And embarrassed. What would people think – my mom had dad doing the washing! It was a disgrace.

Anyway, enough about greek men and how we spent years ‘showering’ by bucket in our bathers in full view of the neighbours…

I wanted to share a small project of mine. I saw a floor lamp advertised on the local buy/swap/sell Facebook page and jumped at it. The shade was broken but the base was sturdy and since when has a broken thing ever stopped me before?

Photo of the lamp shade, broken.

Same photo panned out a bit so you can see Lainee overseeing the project. Just goes to show how effective cropping can be. LOL

Anyway, I collected the lamp and thought about how I could fix it, change the shade etc. There were tons of possibilities but the easiest was to simply mend the existing shade and use rope to update it. I had the rope after all… and the hot glue…

So that’s what I did. I used a wide old ribbon to reconnect the shade to the wire support and make it secure. Then I simply hot glued the rope to the shade. Instant update. Instant gratification. New lamp for reading or crafting on the couch.

Excellent way to spend an afternoon.


the blind – a win and a fail


I really hated the blinds the house had when we bought it. They were all like this above: cheap and salmon. Eek.

I made curtains for the other windows but never got around to doing it for this small window in the corner of the living room. Not only was it ugly and cold in winter, but to add insult to injury the blind broke so wouldn’t go up and down and would actually fall on you if you tried to raise it.

It was time it went.

Actually it’d been time it went about 7 years ago, but hey… I was busy, ok!

My idea was to make a padded blind, inspired by something I saw on the Ikea website in their ideas section. My plan was to use a dropcloth (I love the natural colour) and get some batting for the inner layer. I kept putting it off cause I’d have to buy the batting…

Then Romeo decided to help me out. When Montana began having continence issues I bought some cheap single bed doonas from Kmart and use those as dog beds. I fold them up and put them into covers and voila – instant, easy to wash and dry dog beds.

Well, when Romeo gets bored he loves to attack his bed… He ripped a hole in the cover and tore a whole section of doona, leaving me just enough for the blind! He wasn’t being naughty. He was being helpful!


This is the corner now, much better without the salmon blind. The pics aren’t the best but hey, I did the best I could. Don’t complain.


The whole thing wasn’t as easy as I thought. The doona made it quite unwieldy to sew and I can’t sew a straight line if my life depends on it.

I also made a couple of mistakes. The idea was that I’d use large hooks and put rings on the blind so you could chose how much you wanted it gathered. You know… halfway, three quarters, all the way, etc.

First mistake was in calculating the length, I didn’t take into consideration the hooks, so the blind is a big too long. Even when I replaced the hooks I planned to use with smaller ones.


The other error was where I put my rings. I put them on every crooked line when they only needed to go on every second one, and i needed one at the bottom which I missed. Oh well.



So, I have a very crookedly sewn, nice thick and warm blind which is helping keep the house warmer in the cold. Its a win… even if there are a few failures involved.


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this year’s christmas tree

Its not exactly what I’d planned, but I love it.

I had planned a 3D tree, made using old timber on a central rod. Then I found the old crib sides I used to use as dog barriers when I lived in Fentonbury and thought “hey, I’ll use the slats!”…

So I cut them up for branches. I drilled holes in the middle. I cut blocks to go between the branches. I drilled holes in those. I created a base for the rod. I put it all together and went “yeech”.

Then I found myself with all these cut up slats – luckily not all had holes in them – so I went for plan B.

And this is what I ended up with:

Pretty huh?

Yes, I know its a bit wonky… but you know me. Nothing is ever quite perfect. I’m of the ‘close enough is good enough’ school of DIY.

I used the base I cut the slats off as the bottom, I like the way it grounds it. I had to stick the trunk slat back onto the base so I used an old hinge.

I then decorated it with the timber stars I bought a few years ago and some brown, natural looking, florist wire I’d had for years (I knew I’d find the right project for it one day!)

Its hanging in the middle of the living room, right over the air conditioner. Basically, its on the only bare wall I have. I’d been wondering what I’d put there, well, problem solved for the next few weeks. Gives me time to think about future displays.

Did you notice I put the presents under the tree (on top of the air conditioner?) They won’t stay there. When I clean the old grate we use to hold firewood for the wood heater I’ll put the presents in that.
Don’t know about you, but I love wrapping presents. I’ve had a thing for plain brown paper for years now, adding different embellishments each year to pretty them up. This year I made large bows from burlap ribbon and a brown linen type ribbon.
The spotted paper was something I saw at a shop while browsing… I thought “I’m not paying that for wrapping paper!” so I made my own. I love the way it looks having plain and spotted paper wrapped gifts together.
I’m all excited now. I can’t wait to get stuck into getting the house ready for Christmas and mom’s visit.
I’ve already started in the garden. There’s been weeding and some new planting (to fill in gaps) and heaps of general cleaning in the yard. Still much to do on that front!
I’ve also started building my tv unit/room divider. 
Its a big job and I can’t believe I’m doing it, but after months, years even, of thinking about it and hesitating and doubting myself, I suddenly got hit with inspiration. Before I had time to rethink it I’d measured up and gone out and bought plywood.
Its half done now. I’m thinking it’ll be a work in progress. The base part is done except for putting the legs on. Then I can move it into the house. It’ll need polyurethane to protect it and I’ll need to do the back, but it can be used and I can rearrange the living room the way I’ve been planning to for ages!
Later I can build the rest of it. The idea is to make it so it can be pulled apart in case I want to move it one day, thus making it in 2 stages works for me.
But more on that later. When I have decent photos to share.
Other than that I’m doing great. Well, other than the wisdom tooth I had pulled out last Friday cause it was loose (and turns out it had an abscess). And the fact that its now more sore than it was on Saturday. Thank goodness for strong pain killers! 
I’m falling apart.

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white eyelet curtains

A friend of mine at work once asked if I accepted charity. I said sure, I’m not too proud. Anything you don’t want, give it to me. Old things, broken things, whatever. I’ll most likely want them.

After all, I’ve worked hard to earn a reputation as a junk-addicted crazy poodle lady.

So, when my equally crazy friend Patrice asked if I’d like the old curtains from her living room, I said yes. Of course.

I’d admired those curtains before. I love eyelet curtains and I love white curtains (says the woman who bought metres and metres of grey and silver curtain fabric to make curtains for the living room). Anyway, they’re not old. She’s only had them for about a year.

Worst thing wrong with them was the bit of cat hair on the bottom, but hey, whats a few cat hairs between friends?

She also gave me a few plastic curtain rings and a couple of brackets to re-hang the dark grey curtain over the door … that’s our front door, the one we never use to walk in or out of the house, and it lets in so much cold wind in winter that I always hang a curtain over it. This year I couldn’t find the curtain I’d used last year with its rings and brackets so I improvised. Not always a good thing. I had to take it off and put it up again, but it works better now.

But back to the white curtains Patrice gave me. They’re nice and long so I did what I’ve never done before and hung them up as high as I could. We have a  pretty low ceiling in our living room so that’s not really high, but turns out its the right height for the curtains. No hemming needed.

Patrice, bless her little cotton socks, also gave me some plasterboard toggle thingies for mounting the brackets. Well, after mucking around for ages, searching for the right brackets for the curtain, compromising on ones that ‘will do’ and fiddling with toggles and screws, I got them up.

All while listening to The Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood. Great movie.

I really like them.

Now I think I need to buy enough to do the other window which looks to the front of the house. They come ready-made as continuous curtains at Spotlight.

Next time I’ll make sure I have the right brackets… and the right plasterboard fittings.

That’ll make life easier.

Oh, I have a new drill. Its a cheapie that Wayne got me a couple of months ago. Its much lighter than my trusty old one which was probably my first power tool ever. And its got a chuck which is probably better for me as I can’t really hand tighten enough.

So there you go.

I finally did something.


new office blind, the cheap way

One project finished.

And what an adventure it was!

You already saw a preview yesterday…

This is what the blind in the office looked like before.


Like everything else in this house when we bought it.


I wanted a new blind. I’ve been wanting a new blind forever, but since I made over the office its been a lot higher on my list of ‘wants’. But I didn’t want to spend a ton, or even a little…

Enter the painting the blind idea.

First I planned to paint stripes; paint the blind white, then paint stripes in pale grey with a distressed look… to kind of match the kitchen blind but to not be identical.

But I didn’t have any light grey paint. I did have aqua, so I mixed up a batch of light aqua and got ready to paint stripes.

Have I ever mentioned my bad relationship with numbers?

I hate measuring things… hence my slapdash creative methods.

Well, suffice it to say I stuffed up the stripes.

So, I did what any self respecting DIY-stuffer-upper would do… I painted the whole blind aqua.

Then I decided to try chevron … cause its so much LESS numerically demanding!

I have no idea what I was thinking. I was in the zone.

I looked up ‘how to DIY chevron easily’ on Pinterest and found a suggestion that I grid up first. I used a book as my ‘slightly off-square’ shape and pencilled in a grid.

I then used an off-cut of timber to achieve the width of my stripes… and very soon ended up totally off my grid.

Eh. No one’s perfect.

I masked off my stripes and used a mini roller to paint in the stripes. I only gave them one coat using the chalk paint mix I was using on the chests of drawers and wardrobe* so that the effect is a bit uneven and ‘washed out’ in spots. The old look I was after.

The masking tape lifted up a few small spots of aqua as well, thus giving it an even older, more distressed look…

Oh well, it may not be perfect, but it looks ok… As my mother likes to say “many will see it, few will notice”.

This morning I erased all the darn pencil lines and painted the back all white. One happy accident was the difference in the aqua vs white. The aqua is semi gloss and the chalk paint is matt so the blind now has both colour and texture.

However, this is one adventure I’m not likely to repeat soon. If ever.

I do enjoy painting, measuring not so much. And painting on the floor I can live without.

The difference in the office is amazing.

Take another look at how it was before:
And now:
Much better!
Today I also went a little crazy and added pom poms to half the window.

Cause I could.
Cause I had the pom poms and didn’t know what to do with them.
The photo sucks, but the pom poms are kinda pretty. As long as you ignore all the bird poop on the window and the view of the garage.

All in all, its been nice to finish something, even though it wasn’t really on the To Do list for this week.


* My DIY approach is simple: once you get a paint out and start painting, paint anything and everything you can in that colour while the brush is wet.

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a place for our keys

Once upon a time Wayne had this box in his garage. I think he once told me it was meant to hold a dartboard…

I remember now (hard not to with all the yelling…),

…but I’d forgotten it before I pulled it apart…

Anyway, from the moment I spied it just sitting idly against a wall, I had plans for it. I found it was made of 2 boxes joined together so that their doors opened outwards like a wardrobe.

One day I got inspired and pulled it apart. That’s when he reminded me what it was for.


Anyway. What was done was done by then. I may as well do something with it to make the destruction worth it, right?
What I saw when I looked at it was a key storage box… a place to keep our keys organised and labelled. (Sorry, no before photos.)

Making into what it is now wasn’t an easy job. When i pulled it apart it had chipboard glued to the inside. REALLY well glued. I ended up taking chunks of timber out when I tried to pry it out using a chisel and scraper. Then I put the sides back so it was a single box with a door even though the inside was awful with all the gauges.

That meant I had to find a backing for it. That’s when inspiration struck.

Ages ago when we visited the guy who we bought timber from for the mud room, I saw all these strips of hardwood he was throwing out. They were the edges of timber he’d trimmed to size. They were the same width but the thicknesses varied. I collected some and they’d been sitting in the carport since I brought them home. I got some out, sanded them, cut them to size, gave them a wash of different colours, then used them to line the box. It gave the box a beachy kind of feel.

Ok… I don’t do beachy… so I had to figure out how to finish the outside of the box so it suited my style but didn’t look out of place with the inside!
The door to the box has a fancy design on it with a name in the middle. Sort of like a wine crate would have… I wanted to keep that somehow, but had no idea as to what I wanted to do with it. I considered painting keys on it, stenciling words… 

I wanted to use keys for the obvious reason. And I remembered the antique keys I brought home from Greece. I wanted to use them on something I’d keep, so why not this?

I experimented with some expendable keys and different glues to see which would work best and then glued the keys on the door. The 3 bigger keys are from Greece, the rest are from my ‘antiqued’ key collection.

I had started painting the box creamy yellow, then brown in a way to make the fancy border stand out, but I just didn’t like it.

I went ahead and painted it in layers of different coloured paints in the sloppiest way I could, till in the end I topped it off in the minty green I’ve been using everywhere else.

Then I distressed it.


The colours in the photos vary a lot, sorry about that. Its cause I took them in different places inside and not outside on an overcast day.

They key box is now hanging in the corner of the office between the window and the wall with the antique map.

It doesn’t have many keys in it yet. I have to sort them out and label them properly so we know what’s what.

One day I plan to be organised.

In this lifetime even.


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Beyond The Picket Fence

the new toothbrush holder

You know I hate our bathroom, right?
Its small. Its cramped. It has an unforgivably common vanity. A gold rimmed mirror. White and gold taps. (gag). A gold rimmed standard shower cubicle. A square edged clawfoot tub*. Ugly white and gold plastic towel ‘knobs’. No storage space, and less space to move.
Oh, and not to mention laminate tile sheeting.
One of the worse culprits was the hideous toothbrush holder in mouldy gold and white plastic.
I can’t afford to redo the bathroom right now. Though I’d dearly love to. In fact I was planning to, at the very least, remove the clawfoot tub* so there’s room to put in a cute cabinet or two and turn around when you’re drying your hair… but you can’t even get the clawfoot tub out of there without ripping out the shower and vanity!
Meanwhile I do the tiny things which make it easier for me to go in there without throwing up.
Like getting rid of the ugly toothbrush holder and replacing it with something kinda nifty.

Like this spiritless spirit level I found at a tip shop. You can’t really see it in the photos but the test tubes and the beaker are painted in cream and white – the bottom cream, the top a white stripe.
I had wanted to do a more dramatic ombre type of thing but in the end I didn’t think I could get a nice effect on the plastic test tubes if I didn’t use spray paint. As it was, I discovered that ‘low tack’ orange masking tape ain’t low tack enough. You can just see the bits of orange pigment/glue left behind.
I figure once the paint has ‘cured’ long enough I can try wiping the residue off with some eucalyptus oil.

Can you guess why I wanted to paint the bottom of the jar and tubes? Yup. You got it. To hide the gunge that always accumulates at the bottom of a toothbrush holder.
And the reason I didn’t paint up as high on the beaker? Cause I liked the numbers showing.
I also whitewashed the spirit level so it wasn’t brown. Nothing I could do about the gold fitting though. I have to live with those. At least I painted the silver clamps white so it wouldn’t clash too much.
One day, when I have a bathroom I actually like, I might change the colours on the test tubes. Till then, this is way better than the ugly thing I tossed unceremoniously in the bin.
* I am thinking the clawfoot tub might work nicely as a cooling outdoor bath in summer. Somewhere. Maybe… I’ve always thought it would be great but never had the guts to actually do it.

NOTE: This project turned out to be a fail. The test tubes gather water which becomes mucky and stagnant and stinks. I replaced them with large gauge syringes and it works much better!

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DIY Show Off

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The DIY'ers 

DIY Show Off

making do and interesting things

 My cousin Zefi’s house in the commune that’s known as ‘Souvlia’ used to be the boat shed and garage. It was built on a slope so the front is a couple of steps down. As a result its darker than most of the houses on Souvlia, but no cooler. In fact, being at the back of the block, with other buildings as windbreaks, it doesn’t get the full force of the wind – great when you want to sit on the porch for a drink, terrible if you want a cool breeze to cool down.

Despite that, Zefi has made it into a gorgeous place. Thanks to her mom’s fossicking, her husband’s good taste and Zefi’s practical mind, the place is pretty, traditional and totally user friendly.

I love her old island couches. I’ve tried to find this type of couch in Australia as its the ideal outdoor couch. Its not so comfy as a living room couch, but so pretty.

I love the big dresser as well, in the traditional dark timber. Zefi’s grandfather on her mom’s side used to be a carpenter and he made some beautiful pieces.

 I love the lace on the shelves inside the glass cabinets.  My aunt Dora has it in her kitchen in her house as well.

 One thing I love to do when I’m here (or anywhere for that matter) is look at shops. I love looking at shops. Sometimes I see things I want to buy, something I see things which inspire me. Whatever. I love to look at shops.

In the market street in Parikia there’s a traditional old homeware/grocery store. Its been there as long as I can remember. They now sell more stuff to tourists than to locals I’m sure, but its the only place I saw one of these:

 Its apparently a dough bowl of some sort. You put the bread dough in it to rise. I find myself needing one of these… I never make bread, but I’m sure I’ll find a good use for it.

I also love these things:

Sieves of all sizes with all different wire thicknesses… from flour sieves to lentil and bean sieves. Pretty cute.

At the other end of the shopping scale are the home decorator stores… not very different to the type of stuff I see in Australia. Still pretty displays and colours though.

Colourful outdoor cushions with jute and bling tassels and fish, naturally.

Burlap mini cushions and a jute string bowl on a lace table runner.

A beautiful simple white bowl.

A rope and sailcloth lamp.

Table centre piece of sea urchins minus spikes, shells and starfish.

I found an antique/second hand shop which has some beautiful things in it but this one was right up my alley: old windows with photos in them.


I even found a shop which sells marble things. Like a marble sink… why have a ceramic butler sink when you can have the real thing? And this slab of carved marble which you can put in your garden and run a tap through.

 A tap like this! Isn’t this a beauty?

Or, if you prefer, you can buy marble columns. Cause no house is complete without marble columns.


 Of course, there are tons of places which are done up beautifully whether they’re shops or cafes or restaurants. Sometimes its something simple like these fish at a taverna by the sea:

Sometimes its way more elaborate, like the boat/couch at this bar in Parikia.

And these door coffee tables.

There just aren’t enough door or window signs though, like this one on a closed antique shop.


And I love this sign on a cafe.

I haven’t been inside many hotels, but the couple I have been into have some interesting items in their lobbies and bars. Like this lamp …

This wooden trough is now a frame for a wooden boat.

Obviously made by the same artist, this boat wall clock at the Paros Bay Hotel.

And a ton of these fishing boats.

This is my favourite. I love the humour in the little paper sailboats.

A couple of little shops in Naoussa, a small town on the other side of Paros, have gorgeous displays. Right up my alley.


Closer to home, I found some interesting ways to deal with the small issues life throws at you. This is my uncle’s solution to the wind taking his umbrella along with the small table.

It might take up a bit of table space, but it works.

My fish bowl has a new spot among the shell collection in my aunt Flora’s kitchen.

The oven in the main house has a dodgey door, so the kokones (a name we call the aunts) have found a simple solution.

Aunt Marisa has found a cute way to cover the electricity panel in the hallway using a hand woven mat.

In her house a little down the road, my aunt Dora has a small corner where she keeps her ancient sewing maching, which she still uses, and a few items from her mother’s house.

You can always tell a greek house, cause there is always an icon somewhere in it. I now have my own icon, my very first. My aunt Xeni gave it to me. I’ll have to find a spot in my home for it when I get back. My decor will be shabby-greek…

Love the old irons with the big base to hold hot coals.


a quick pinboard

Yes. I’m getting ready for a trip. I’m drowning in grooming appointments, chores, housework (which I’ve successfully avoided so far) and all manner of things hanging over my head with a deadline of June 23.
Yet I can’t help myself.
This morning, between grooming appointments, I finished this pinboard for Wayne’s office space. I don’t know if you remember I moved Wayne’s office into the living room. Some might call it banishment, but I call it relocating him to a space more likely to be used!
(Btw, it looks nothing like in the photos on that post. Its now got a more relaxed look. Some might call it ‘lived in’… I call it plain messy.)
When we first moved to the farm we thought we’d share the office, but Wayne never used it. He’d use the kitchen table… which got old really fast, let me tell you! So I decided I’d create an office space for him in the living room where he could be warm (near the heater), see out through the window to the front yard, watch TV and be near his favourite reading chair. Everything close at hand.
One of the things I used to have in the real office was a bulletin board. I’ve always had bulletin boards in my office no matter where I lived. They’re so handy. I had one in the office here till I bought my gorgeous antique cabinet and had to remove it. It was sitting in the casita for ages. I decided to use about half of it to make Wayne a smaller pinboard for his office space since he really loves having one. The rest of it I think I’ll put up in the grooming room to pin up photos of customer dogs.
I had this old frame but it was an unattractive colour so I sprayed it white. I had considered repainting the pinboard but I left it. Its the same colour as the feature wall at the other end of the living room so its ok. Dark grey. You won’t see much of it once Wayne pins everything on it. 
I think its his entire filing system… 
Anyway, I found the bulletin board material easy to cut with a jigsaw, then I used my staple gun to hold it into the frame. I reinforced it with some wire, and voila!
Meanwhile I wanted something I could put pins in for him. Something cute but big enough for him to get his big manly fingers in easily…
This little old tin belongs to Wayne, no idea where he got it, but its now back in his space, put to good use.
There. One last (??) craft project before my trip.
We’ll see… Maybe the last…