Bad smell reported across Oxford

Bad smell reported across Oxford

Bad smell reported across Oxford

First published in News
Last updated
Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering North Oxford, Jericho and Summertown. Call me on 01865 425498

A STRANGE smell across Oxford was last night and this morning reported by residents.

The warm weather caused many to open windows last night, only to be greeted by what one Twitter user described “a stench of raw sewage.”

A spokeswoman for Thames Water has said it's not aware of any problems with its sewage network. 

She said: "I’ve spoken to the teams at Oxford sewage treatment works and all our equipment is working as usual and there have been no operational problems."

More than 75 readers have now contacted the Oxford Mail to say they smelt the odour in areas including Old Marston, Headington, Risinghurst, Wood Farm, East Oxford, Cowley and even Jericho and Osney.

Here's a map of reports of reports of the pong so far:

  • This is indicative of areas only, not specific street locations

Gerry Vickers, who last night was visiting his elderly mum in Headington Quarry, said the smell had made it “impossible to go out of the house”.

He said: “The smell lingered from the afternoon until well into the early hours. At first we thought it was the food bin as it had been hot, but it was soon clear that this was not the case.”

Mr Vickers said his family called Thames Water but when an engineer visited this morning, no problems could be found.

He added: “He was insistent that nothing was untoward and left a leaflet saying 'no bad smell, no blockage'.

“But my sister also returned from London last night and said that the smell was nauseating all the way from the Green Road Roundabout.

"I am glad we were not the only ones to have noticed this and I will be interested to find out the reason."

Oxford City Council is also understood to be making enquiries and the Oxford Mail has asked the Environment Agency and Oxfordshire County Council for information as well.

More to follow.

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Comments (34)

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10:14am Tue 29 Jul 14

Sandy Wimpole-Smythe says...

Possibly the smell of corruption and BS emanating from the County Council offices.
Possibly the smell of corruption and BS emanating from the County Council offices. Sandy Wimpole-Smythe
  • Score: 20

10:24am Tue 29 Jul 14

icba1957 says...

Sarah Kirby said: "Blackbird Leys smelt naaasty."

So what's new?
Sarah Kirby said: "Blackbird Leys smelt naaasty." So what's new? icba1957
  • Score: 0

10:33am Tue 29 Jul 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Having been brought up in the countryside (and having worked in a major Edinburgh office near large scale chicken barns), it wasn't hard to work out what the smell was...

The distinct cheesey odour was clearly that of nitrogen-rich fertiliser sourced from poultry being spread on farmland around Oxford. I imagine from the forecasts that the farmer had expected some rain to wash it into the soil.

The countryside has the habit of smelling bad... Now you know why members of the notorious Oxford(shire) faction of the CPRE are always pictured in "The Oxford Mail" with their noses raised in the air in the style of Tulip Tattsyrup
Having been brought up in the countryside (and having worked in a major Edinburgh office near large scale chicken barns), it wasn't hard to work out what the smell was... The distinct cheesey odour was clearly that of nitrogen-rich fertiliser sourced from poultry being spread on farmland around Oxford. I imagine from the forecasts that the farmer had expected some rain to wash it into the soil. The countryside has the habit of smelling bad... Now you know why members of the notorious Oxford(shire) faction of the CPRE are always pictured in "The Oxford Mail" with their noses raised in the air in the style of Tulip Tattsyrup Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 12

10:52am Tue 29 Jul 14

xenarthra says...

Andrew, I'm sure you're right.

Thames Water sent a Lanes for Drains van out to open up the manholes on my road in Headington this morning, after a neighbour reported the smell to them last night. I was quite impressed with the speed of the response, but less impressed with the lack of internal communication within Thames Water, now that I read that people were reporting the same thing all over Oxford.
Andrew, I'm sure you're right. Thames Water sent a Lanes for Drains van out to open up the manholes on my road in Headington this morning, after a neighbour reported the smell to them last night. I was quite impressed with the speed of the response, but less impressed with the lack of internal communication within Thames Water, now that I read that people were reporting the same thing all over Oxford. xenarthra
  • Score: -1

11:02am Tue 29 Jul 14

HomerSimpsonDoh says...

It came from the Bull Shi# out of County CouncilRodney Rose on why he has decided to cause traffic hell in Oxford again
It came from the Bull Shi# out of County CouncilRodney Rose on why he has decided to cause traffic hell in Oxford again HomerSimpsonDoh
  • Score: -15

11:03am Tue 29 Jul 14

HomerSimpsonDoh says...

icba1957 wrote:
Sarah Kirby said: "Blackbird Leys smelt naaasty."

So what's new?
Typical Tory Toff comment who has never been to Blackbird Leys.
[quote][p][bold]icba1957[/bold] wrote: Sarah Kirby said: "Blackbird Leys smelt naaasty." So what's new?[/p][/quote]Typical Tory Toff comment who has never been to Blackbird Leys. HomerSimpsonDoh
  • Score: -3

11:28am Tue 29 Jul 14

Parkie says...

Andrew:Oxford wrote:
Having been brought up in the countryside (and having worked in a major Edinburgh office near large scale chicken barns), it wasn't hard to work out what the smell was...

The distinct cheesey odour was clearly that of nitrogen-rich fertiliser sourced from poultry being spread on farmland around Oxford. I imagine from the forecasts that the farmer had expected some rain to wash it into the soil.

The countryside has the habit of smelling bad... Now you know why members of the notorious Oxford(shire) faction of the CPRE are always pictured in "The Oxford Mail" with their noses raised in the air in the style of Tulip Tattsyrup
Not that I've smelt it but my immediate thought was fertiliser. That's the smell of the countryside.
[quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: Having been brought up in the countryside (and having worked in a major Edinburgh office near large scale chicken barns), it wasn't hard to work out what the smell was... The distinct cheesey odour was clearly that of nitrogen-rich fertiliser sourced from poultry being spread on farmland around Oxford. I imagine from the forecasts that the farmer had expected some rain to wash it into the soil. The countryside has the habit of smelling bad... Now you know why members of the notorious Oxford(shire) faction of the CPRE are always pictured in "The Oxford Mail" with their noses raised in the air in the style of Tulip Tattsyrup[/p][/quote]Not that I've smelt it but my immediate thought was fertiliser. That's the smell of the countryside. Parkie
  • Score: 9

11:43am Tue 29 Jul 14

TheRightOne121 says...

The stench in Sandhills was unbearable. We thought it was spraying on the farmers field at the bottom of the estate. Never before in over 30 years have we smelt such a stench. We had to close all of our doors and windows and couldnt go outside at all as the smell was overpowering. It should be illegal to cause such an offensive odour and the Council need to take action. Should we not have a right to sit in our gardens in the little good weather we get?
The stench in Sandhills was unbearable. We thought it was spraying on the farmers field at the bottom of the estate. Never before in over 30 years have we smelt such a stench. We had to close all of our doors and windows and couldnt go outside at all as the smell was overpowering. It should be illegal to cause such an offensive odour and the Council need to take action. Should we not have a right to sit in our gardens in the little good weather we get? TheRightOne121
  • Score: -11

11:46am Tue 29 Jul 14

TheRightOne121 says...

TheRightOne121 wrote:
The stench in Sandhills was unbearable. We thought it was spraying on the farmers field at the bottom of the estate. Never before in over 30 years have we smelt such a stench. We had to close all of our doors and windows and couldnt go outside at all as the smell was overpowering. It should be illegal to cause such an offensive odour and the Council need to take action. Should we not have a right to sit in our gardens in the little good weather we get?
I agree. The smell was very offensive in Sandhills and trying to get hold of the Environmental Agency out of hours is impossible!
[quote][p][bold]TheRightOne121[/bold] wrote: The stench in Sandhills was unbearable. We thought it was spraying on the farmers field at the bottom of the estate. Never before in over 30 years have we smelt such a stench. We had to close all of our doors and windows and couldnt go outside at all as the smell was overpowering. It should be illegal to cause such an offensive odour and the Council need to take action. Should we not have a right to sit in our gardens in the little good weather we get?[/p][/quote]I agree. The smell was very offensive in Sandhills and trying to get hold of the Environmental Agency out of hours is impossible! TheRightOne121
  • Score: -5

11:59am Tue 29 Jul 14

WitneyGreen says...

There was a strong smell in east Witney from about 8pm last night. It's fertiliser, otherwise known as The Countryside. No big deal.
There was a strong smell in east Witney from about 8pm last night. It's fertiliser, otherwise known as The Countryside. No big deal. WitneyGreen
  • Score: 8

12:18pm Tue 29 Jul 14

Wustpisk says...

WitneyGreen wrote:
There was a strong smell in east Witney from about 8pm last night. It's fertiliser, otherwise known as The Countryside. No big deal.
I know what the countryside smells like. This was NOT the smell of the countryside - it was almost definitely raw sewage and worse than any smell that I can remember around here.
[quote][p][bold]WitneyGreen[/bold] wrote: There was a strong smell in east Witney from about 8pm last night. It's fertiliser, otherwise known as The Countryside. No big deal.[/p][/quote]I know what the countryside smells like. This was NOT the smell of the countryside - it was almost definitely raw sewage and worse than any smell that I can remember around here. Wustpisk
  • Score: 0

12:46pm Tue 29 Jul 14

livid99 says...

My wife often produces a smell like that.
My wife often produces a smell like that. livid99
  • Score: 18

12:53pm Tue 29 Jul 14

icba1957 says...

HomerSimpsonDoh wrote:
icba1957 wrote:
Sarah Kirby said: "Blackbird Leys smelt naaasty."

So what's new?
Typical Tory Toff comment who has never been to Blackbird Leys.
Actually, I'm a Revolutionary Marxist, but don't let that cloud your preconceptions ...
[quote][p][bold]HomerSimpsonDoh[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]icba1957[/bold] wrote: Sarah Kirby said: "Blackbird Leys smelt naaasty." So what's new?[/p][/quote]Typical Tory Toff comment who has never been to Blackbird Leys.[/p][/quote]Actually, I'm a Revolutionary Marxist, but don't let that cloud your preconceptions ... icba1957
  • Score: 13

12:56pm Tue 29 Jul 14

ElderP says...

If it is caused by farmers "muck spreading" - as it may well be as it is so wide-spread, I have smelt it too in Cutteslowe - then they must be using some new recipe. Definitely more of a "blocked drain" smell than previously experienced.
If it is caused by farmers "muck spreading" - as it may well be as it is so wide-spread, I have smelt it too in Cutteslowe - then they must be using some new recipe. Definitely more of a "blocked drain" smell than previously experienced. ElderP
  • Score: 2

1:34pm Tue 29 Jul 14

howardl says...

Swinedon Town fc coach passed through our shire last night
Swinedon Town fc coach passed through our shire last night howardl
  • Score: 4

2:50pm Tue 29 Jul 14

yabbadabbadoo256 says...

its called "Country smell" get over it u city folk
its called "Country smell" get over it u city folk yabbadabbadoo256
  • Score: 4

2:51pm Tue 29 Jul 14

bart-on simpson says...

Marvellous, and I thought it the Crem's BOGOF incineration offer...
Marvellous, and I thought it the Crem's BOGOF incineration offer... bart-on simpson
  • Score: -6

3:48pm Tue 29 Jul 14

PrinceFras says...

Sunday, Didcot power station was demolished. There is a large outdooe rubbish tip right nextdoor. Explosion plus wind towards Oxford perhaps?? Whatever it was, it was pungent.
Sunday, Didcot power station was demolished. There is a large outdooe rubbish tip right nextdoor. Explosion plus wind towards Oxford perhaps?? Whatever it was, it was pungent. PrinceFras
  • Score: 1

9:20pm Tue 29 Jul 14

TheRightOne121 says...

The smell has just returned to Sandhills. What is Environmental Health doing about it? They need non emergency staff on call for issues like this. It is no use trying to work out where the stench is coming from when it has gone! Two nights in a row now that we have been forced to shut ourselves in a non ventilated house!
The smell has just returned to Sandhills. What is Environmental Health doing about it? They need non emergency staff on call for issues like this. It is no use trying to work out where the stench is coming from when it has gone! Two nights in a row now that we have been forced to shut ourselves in a non ventilated house! TheRightOne121
  • Score: 0

9:34pm Tue 29 Jul 14

Oxford12345 says...

TheRightOne121 wrote:
The smell has just returned to Sandhills. What is Environmental Health doing about it? They need non emergency staff on call for issues like this. It is no use trying to work out where the stench is coming from when it has gone! Two nights in a row now that we have been forced to shut ourselves in a non ventilated house!
Smell has filtered down to Garsington too!!!
[quote][p][bold]TheRightOne121[/bold] wrote: The smell has just returned to Sandhills. What is Environmental Health doing about it? They need non emergency staff on call for issues like this. It is no use trying to work out where the stench is coming from when it has gone! Two nights in a row now that we have been forced to shut ourselves in a non ventilated house![/p][/quote]Smell has filtered down to Garsington too!!! Oxford12345
  • Score: 3

9:40pm Tue 29 Jul 14

Oxford12345 says...

PrinceFras wrote:
Sunday, Didcot power station was demolished. There is a large outdooe rubbish tip right nextdoor. Explosion plus wind towards Oxford perhaps?? Whatever it was, it was pungent.
Definatley agree this has to be related to the smell! Look here http://www.wthr.com/
story/19208780/neigh
bors-concerned-about
-air-pollution-durin
g-coke-plant-demolit
ion similar thoughts are concluded too.
[quote][p][bold]PrinceFras[/bold] wrote: Sunday, Didcot power station was demolished. There is a large outdooe rubbish tip right nextdoor. Explosion plus wind towards Oxford perhaps?? Whatever it was, it was pungent.[/p][/quote]Definatley agree this has to be related to the smell! Look here http://www.wthr.com/ story/19208780/neigh bors-concerned-about -air-pollution-durin g-coke-plant-demolit ion similar thoughts are concluded too. Oxford12345
  • Score: -2

9:46pm Tue 29 Jul 14

TheRightOne121 says...

Oxford12345 wrote:
PrinceFras wrote:
Sunday, Didcot power station was demolished. There is a large outdooe rubbish tip right nextdoor. Explosion plus wind towards Oxford perhaps?? Whatever it was, it was pungent.
Definatley agree this has to be related to the smell! Look here http://www.wthr.com/

story/19208780/neigh

bors-concerned-about

-air-pollution-durin

g-coke-plant-demolit

ion similar thoughts are concluded too.
But why only at night and not during the day?
[quote][p][bold]Oxford12345[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]PrinceFras[/bold] wrote: Sunday, Didcot power station was demolished. There is a large outdooe rubbish tip right nextdoor. Explosion plus wind towards Oxford perhaps?? Whatever it was, it was pungent.[/p][/quote]Definatley agree this has to be related to the smell! Look here http://www.wthr.com/ story/19208780/neigh bors-concerned-about -air-pollution-durin g-coke-plant-demolit ion similar thoughts are concluded too.[/p][/quote]But why only at night and not during the day? TheRightOne121
  • Score: 3

9:47pm Tue 29 Jul 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

TheRightOne121 wrote:
The smell has just returned to Sandhills. What is Environmental Health doing about it? They need non emergency staff on call for issues like this. It is no use trying to work out where the stench is coming from when it has gone! Two nights in a row now that we have been forced to shut ourselves in a non ventilated house!
Get out in the car and track it down then?

No point overpaid council officials claiming double time when your nose will be just as good as theirs.

Just look for the poultry manure being spread...
[quote][p][bold]TheRightOne121[/bold] wrote: The smell has just returned to Sandhills. What is Environmental Health doing about it? They need non emergency staff on call for issues like this. It is no use trying to work out where the stench is coming from when it has gone! Two nights in a row now that we have been forced to shut ourselves in a non ventilated house![/p][/quote]Get out in the car and track it down then? No point overpaid council officials claiming double time when your nose will be just as good as theirs. Just look for the poultry manure being spread... Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

10:02pm Tue 29 Jul 14

TheRightOne121 says...

Andrew:Oxford wrote:
TheRightOne121 wrote:
The smell has just returned to Sandhills. What is Environmental Health doing about it? They need non emergency staff on call for issues like this. It is no use trying to work out where the stench is coming from when it has gone! Two nights in a row now that we have been forced to shut ourselves in a non ventilated house!
Get out in the car and track it down then?

No point overpaid council officials claiming double time when your nose will be just as good as theirs.

Just look for the poultry manure being spread...
The smell is so vastly spread out that you'd need one hell of a nose! I wouldn't worry about them being paid double time! On their phone line you can report 'as an emergency' a stray dog and noise and repairs. All things that may not endanger your immediate health. Dead dogs rotting on the side of the road in the Bahamas is all I can liken this smell too!
[quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]TheRightOne121[/bold] wrote: The smell has just returned to Sandhills. What is Environmental Health doing about it? They need non emergency staff on call for issues like this. It is no use trying to work out where the stench is coming from when it has gone! Two nights in a row now that we have been forced to shut ourselves in a non ventilated house![/p][/quote]Get out in the car and track it down then? No point overpaid council officials claiming double time when your nose will be just as good as theirs. Just look for the poultry manure being spread...[/p][/quote]The smell is so vastly spread out that you'd need one hell of a nose! I wouldn't worry about them being paid double time! On their phone line you can report 'as an emergency' a stray dog and noise and repairs. All things that may not endanger your immediate health. Dead dogs rotting on the side of the road in the Bahamas is all I can liken this smell too! TheRightOne121
  • Score: 4

10:34pm Tue 29 Jul 14

Mythena says...

I thought one of my neighbours in New Marston must have spread a load of manure in their garden yesterday - I'm quite reassured to find the problem is more widespread!
I thought one of my neighbours in New Marston must have spread a load of manure in their garden yesterday - I'm quite reassured to find the problem is more widespread! Mythena
  • Score: 0

1:13am Wed 30 Jul 14

d_1951 says...

Apparently, this is not the only part of the country with this problem:
http://www.bbc.co.uk
/news/uk-england-bed
s-bucks-herts-285416
90
Apparently, this is not the only part of the country with this problem: http://www.bbc.co.uk /news/uk-england-bed s-bucks-herts-285416 90 d_1951
  • Score: 1

8:14am Wed 30 Jul 14

JanetJ says...

TheRightOne121 wrote:
The smell has just returned to Sandhills. What is Environmental Health doing about it? They need non emergency staff on call for issues like this. It is no use trying to work out where the stench is coming from when it has gone! Two nights in a row now that we have been forced to shut ourselves in a non ventilated house!
I assume you phoned them to ask - their web site says they operate 24hrs

"Call centre open during office hours Monday-Friday from 8am to 6pm for general enquiries.
Call centre available out-of-hours from 6pm to 8am and at all times at weekends and on Bank Holidays for emergency enquiries related to Council services such as our Environmental Health duty officer, flood response team, anti-social behaviour action line and emergency temporary accommodation. For serious accident, fire or police emergencies call 999.æ
[quote][p][bold]TheRightOne121[/bold] wrote: The smell has just returned to Sandhills. What is Environmental Health doing about it? They need non emergency staff on call for issues like this. It is no use trying to work out where the stench is coming from when it has gone! Two nights in a row now that we have been forced to shut ourselves in a non ventilated house![/p][/quote]I assume you phoned them to ask - their web site says they operate 24hrs "Call centre open during office hours Monday-Friday from 8am to 6pm for general enquiries. Call centre available out-of-hours from 6pm to 8am and at all times at weekends and on Bank Holidays for emergency enquiries related to Council services such as our Environmental Health duty officer, flood response team, anti-social behaviour action line and emergency temporary accommodation. For serious accident, fire or police emergencies call 999.æ JanetJ
  • Score: 0

11:46am Wed 30 Jul 14

sablond oxford says...

The smell was terrible in the center of Oxford.
I'm guessing yabbadabbadoo256 never smelt it or they would know it wasn't just countryside smell (not that it would be in the center of town anyway!!).
I hope someone finds out what it was, so that it doesn't happen again.
The smell was terrible in the center of Oxford. I'm guessing yabbadabbadoo256 never smelt it or they would know it wasn't just countryside smell (not that it would be in the center of town anyway!!). I hope someone finds out what it was, so that it doesn't happen again. sablond oxford
  • Score: 5

2:55pm Wed 30 Jul 14

Major Rhode-Werks says...

What's all the fuss about. It's muck-spreading and we get it every year at this time - some years worse than others.
I dare say that this is being "bigged up" to take attention away from the chaos on the roads that's being caused the the roadworks at Kennington roundabout at the moment.
What's all the fuss about. It's muck-spreading and we get it every year at this time - some years worse than others. I dare say that this is being "bigged up" to take attention away from the chaos on the roads that's being caused the the roadworks at Kennington roundabout at the moment. Major Rhode-Werks
  • Score: 1

3:18pm Wed 30 Jul 14

Wustpisk says...

Major Rhode-Werks wrote:
What's all the fuss about. It's muck-spreading and we get it every year at this time - some years worse than others.
I dare say that this is being "bigged up" to take attention away from the chaos on the roads that's being caused the the roadworks at Kennington roundabout at the moment.
Well, if it is muck-spreading, then the farmer(s) concerned will have to be reined in. As the affected area far exceeds the Kennington area, and if anything it is being 'quietened down'. that is perhaps a conspiracy theory too many :)
The best explanation I have seen so far is the disturbance of the landfill site in Didcot, as that is exactly what it smelled like.
[quote][p][bold]Major Rhode-Werks[/bold] wrote: What's all the fuss about. It's muck-spreading and we get it every year at this time - some years worse than others. I dare say that this is being "bigged up" to take attention away from the chaos on the roads that's being caused the the roadworks at Kennington roundabout at the moment.[/p][/quote]Well, if it is muck-spreading, then the farmer(s) concerned will have to be reined in. As the affected area far exceeds the Kennington area, and if anything it is being 'quietened down'. that is perhaps a conspiracy theory too many :) The best explanation I have seen so far is the disturbance of the landfill site in Didcot, as that is exactly what it smelled like. Wustpisk
  • Score: 0

3:36pm Wed 30 Jul 14

The New Private Eye says...

TheRightOne121 wrote:
The stench in Sandhills was unbearable. We thought it was spraying on the farmers field at the bottom of the estate. Never before in over 30 years have we smelt such a stench. We had to close all of our doors and windows and couldnt go outside at all as the smell was overpowering. It should be illegal to cause such an offensive odour and the Council need to take action. Should we not have a right to sit in our gardens in the little good weather we get?
I drove out to Beckley yesterday and once past Barton and The Crem the stench was so bad I had to hold my breath and put my foot down, but by the time I reached "the white house" it had pretty much gone. But like you say, I have never smelt anything like that before. It was like a doorway that about 50 people had peed in, times 50.
[quote][p][bold]TheRightOne121[/bold] wrote: The stench in Sandhills was unbearable. We thought it was spraying on the farmers field at the bottom of the estate. Never before in over 30 years have we smelt such a stench. We had to close all of our doors and windows and couldnt go outside at all as the smell was overpowering. It should be illegal to cause such an offensive odour and the Council need to take action. Should we not have a right to sit in our gardens in the little good weather we get?[/p][/quote]I drove out to Beckley yesterday and once past Barton and The Crem the stench was so bad I had to hold my breath and put my foot down, but by the time I reached "the white house" it had pretty much gone. But like you say, I have never smelt anything like that before. It was like a doorway that about 50 people had peed in, times 50. The New Private Eye
  • Score: -7

6:19pm Thu 31 Jul 14

robbo81 says...

love the line at the start where it says smells were reported "and even Jericho and Osney." oh heavens. Not the good posh folk of Jericho. how absolutely dashingly terrible. Not only do they have to share the city with the rest of us poor plebs now they have to share the smells. it must be frightfully hard being rich!
love the line at the start where it says smells were reported "and even Jericho and Osney." oh heavens. Not the good posh folk of Jericho. how absolutely dashingly terrible. Not only do they have to share the city with the rest of us poor plebs now they have to share the smells. it must be frightfully hard being rich! robbo81
  • Score: -2

7:26pm Thu 31 Jul 14

Tryam6 says...

There is still a strong unpleasant smell on the Horton Road side of Barton today.
There is still a strong unpleasant smell on the Horton Road side of Barton today. Tryam6
  • Score: -6

11:16am Sat 2 Aug 14

support your local team says...

....and its not even OUFC v Swindon Town today. Mind you I think the wind is in the right direction......
....and its not even OUFC v Swindon Town today. Mind you I think the wind is in the right direction...... support your local team
  • Score: -6

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