Photographer Chris Porsz Recreates His Old Time Pictures Of Strangers From 40 Years Ago

Chris Porsz, a British photographer, is well recognized for his innovative "Reunions" project, which records the daily lives of individuals in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. Thought to be a reference to simple street photography, Porsz has been working on his project for more than 40 years.

His project is unique since it features the same subjects posing in the same locations years after the original photograph was taken. Chris has been working on part 2 of his "Reunions" project for the past fifteen months. The initial photos date back as far as the 1970s.

Chris wrote, "For many, seeing pictures of their young ages brought back wonderful recollections of a day they had forgotten," in his photography book "Reunions 2". A lot of people were quite happy to have a photograph of themselves during a special period that would not have been captured otherwise.

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"I'd also like to offer my sincere thanks to my friends, then random strangers who made 'Reunions 2' a possibility. Thank you for sharing your life with me."

“In 1972, I bought my first camera, a Kodak Instamatic, to document a wild, three-week hitchhiking adventure with my then-girlfriend and now wife, Lesley across Europe and North Africa. Unfortunately, the pictures were not as rich as expected. Thus, I bought a better camera to snap pictures of my family that made me quite passionate about photography. That was when I quit my social work study program and started working as an A&E porter at a hospital for thirteen years. Early in the 1980s, instead of writing lengthy, tedious articles, I spent my free time wandering in the streets looking for inspiration and recording everyday life by pointing a camera at the society."

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#1 Mr Gino (Original 1980 – Reunion May 2021)

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Pictured serving Zahida Parveen in Cromwell Road is the ice cream vendor Genesio Borrillo (also known as Gino). When he relocated from Italy to Peterborough, he acquired an ice cream van and spent the summer driving around the city selling ice cream.

He opened a pasta shop in Peterborough in 1992, and he now operates it with the help of his wife Clara and daughter Lucia. He has four grandchildren and three children. Says Zahida.

"When I used to live close to Cromwell Road, Gino's Ice Cream was a frequent stop for me. I frequently purchased a cone with strawberry drizzle and occasionally a chocolate flake. I believe my age was around seven in the picture." Zahida, who has three children and a grandson, continues to reside in Peterborough. It was nice getting my photo taken again, she continued.

In Reunions 1, a photo of Gino and Zahida from 1980 showed Gino outside his pasta restaurant in 2014 because the girl could not be located. "It was great to find Zahida and be able to reconcile her with Gino in the same place 41 years later," Chris continued. We appreciate Israr for the ice cream truck.

#2 Ford Cortina (Original 1980 – Reunion June 2021)

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In 1980, an image of Paul Smith in Cobden Street, Peterborough, was taken in front of a Ford Cortina. Beginning in 1978, he spent 12 years as a porter at Peterborough District Hospital, spending some of that time alongside Chris Porsz. He stated: “The photo was taken outside my flat and it was my neighbour’s car.”

Paul is a DJ for the nearby radio station Peterborough Community Radio and a father of two kids. Because they are so uncommon, Chris struggled to find a Cortina that looked like it, but a buddy got in touch with him and said he had seen a red one while driving. Maurice and Joan Bradford, the home's owners, were delighted to lend their Ford Cortina Mk 5 Crusader for the reunion shot when Chris knocked on their door. As you can see, Paul did not disappoint when Chris said, "I had requested Paul to dress colorfully to bring the old mono photo alive."

#3 Carrot And Stick (Original 1981 – Reunion July 2021)

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After 58 years of marriage, Bernard and Irene, who reside in Lincolnshire close to Stamford, have two daughters, three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. He has been painting with oil for the past 30 years. He also has a collection of picture-covered tins, around 31,500 which he has accumulated over the course of 13 years and has displayed in his house.

Chris remarked: "It was one of the funniest and most strange reunions I've ever done. Thanks to Vanessa and Jerry Rice of Four Acres of Thorney in the Peterborough area who kindly gave 10-year-old Jessica and Bernard who was a fantastic sport and up for fun. They also had Ronnie, Reggie, Molly and Dyllis four additional donkeys, who persisted in attempting to obtain the carrots.”

#4 Ever Ready (Original 1980 – Reunion August 2020)

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Adalat Khan and Amir Baz, brothers who operated a newsagent in Peterborough's Cobden Street/Cromwell Road from 1979 to 1996 and were captured on camera in 1980. They still reside in Peterborough even though they are retired. Amir is married with a son and a daughter, while Adalat is married with two sons.

As you can tell by their faces, Chris continued, "They liked coming back behind the counter and wanted to stay to serve a few more customers."

#5 Red Hot (Original Circa 1981 – Reunion August 2020)

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Tim Davies spent the first five years of the 1980s working as a blacksmith at a forge at Thorpe Hall in Peterborough, which is now a Sue Ryder hospice. I seized the opportunity because it was something I had always wanted to do, he claimed. I picked up skills on the job and enjoyed every aspect of it. Learning this talent was fun and incredibly fulfilling. Later, he spent two years working out of Grimsby on extremely risky deep sea fishing trawlers in Greenland and other places.

Tim said, "I returned home for a more established, safer, and quieter existence, so I became a security guard in the neighborhood work center as I am a friendly person and I like getting to know and help people.” Tim, who has a daughter named Gwendoline, retired in 2012 and frequents the Wortley Almshouses where he takes pleasure in real ale and his friends' companionship. For his 2020 class reunion photo, Tim visited a forge in the Thorney community, where he ran with blacksmith John Downing. “I noticed the forge, and it started tugging at my heartstrings; it brought back so many wonderful memories,” he continued.

#6 Fun At The Fair (Original 1985 – Reunion May 2021)

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Friends at the Town Bridge Fair in Peterborough in 1985, Teresa Weston (née McPartlin) and Toni Cray (née Pignatiello) were captured on camera riding the Sizzler. “A large group of us went to the fair on the Friday night to celebrate leaving Stanground Comprehensive School after finishing our CSE/GCE exams,” according to Toni. “Teresa was 16 and I was 15. It was actually our last night together before becoming adults, and it was an absolutely fantastic night. We went to the fair because there were no proms back then. All of my memories from that night came flooding back when I saw the snapshot Chris had taken. We arrived there at 5 p.m., went on a ton of rides, and I recall some of the guys entering the spinning tunnel."

#7 Lollipop Lady (Original Circa 1984 – Reunion September 2020)

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Gloria Steele cherished her position as the Queen's Drive School's lollipop lady on Dogsthorpe Road in Peterborough. For seven years in the 1980s, she assisted the kids in crossing the street three times every day. Gloria, a mother of a boy and a daughter, later served as an NHS community caregiver before retiring.

"Recreating the image in uniform with a new lollipop pole was a lot of fun, and I hadn't lost my touch because the cars continued stopping. It brought back many pleasant memories. We laughed a lot, and it was great to see the girls becoming older."

#8 Four On A Bench (Original 1985 – Reunion September 2020)

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In 1985, Chris came into friends Trudy Larkinson, Johnny Crawford Sandra Wilson-Bailey, and Tom Bray (from left to right) sitting on a bench in Bridge Street, Peterborough.

#9 Mates (Original 1982 – Reunion April 2021)

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On Cathedral Square in 1982, friends Romell Yearwood, Ryan Wiltshire (now Rayan Abdel Raheem), and Stephen Moore can be seen (from left to right). Since moving away, Mark Allan (cap) was absent from the reunion photo.

#10 Owl And Burger (Original 1984 – Reunion August 2020)

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Chris captured Joe Wright in a portrait at a country and western show in 1984. Joe Wright was frequently spotted in Peterborough with his pet Barn Owl Rocky perched on his shoulder. "We hand-reared several rescue Barn Owls, and I'd carry Rocky around town on my shoulder, which always brought a grin to people's faces," he said. Rocky got his nickname because when he was delighted, he would rock his head back and forth. He was very gentle and never attempted to fly away, so people would approach him and pet him.

He used to reside in my bedroom and would nip at my ear until I got out of bed when my alarm went off. Rocky and the other owls eventually relocated to the garden shed, but one day someone broke in and let them out. They believed they were protecting the owls, but because they were hand-reared, they couldn't survive in the wild, according to Joe. It was incredibly sad. Joe, who continues to reside in Peterborough and is employed by Perkins Engines, visited The Exotic Pet Refuge in Deeping St. James for the family portrait and sat alongside Sparkle the Barn Owl. We now have dogs, guinea pigs, and goldfish, he continued. It felt great to once again carry an owl on my shoulder.

#11 Frogs, Vikings And Gluttons (Original 1989 – Reunion August 2020)

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Paul Yates worked as a street sweeper for 20 years in Peterborough before being medically retired in 2006. In 1989, he was captured on camera utilizing the "Green Frog" cleaning device on Lower Bridge Street. Paul, a married father of three, went back to the same street for the reunion shot with "The Glutton," the city council's latest cleaning tool. Paul, who continues to reside in Peterborough, has been leading the Viking reenactment organization Clan Wulfhar for 30 years and frequently speaks at educational institutions across the nation. They also stage large fights across the nation and set up encampments with 20 tents.

#12 Pyschobillies (Original June 1983 – Reunion August 2020)

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Greg Brown, Dave Kennedy, Dave Baines, and Neil Tucker, four young men, were seen on camera at Peterborough's Cathedral Square. Over time, they have all kept in touch with one another.

#13 Lesley And Chris Porsz (Original 1971 – Reunion January 2021)

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When they were seen in the Peterborough Evening Telegraph in 1971 after travelling over 6000 miles across Europe and North Africa in just three weeks, Chris was a student, age 18, and Lesley was a BT administrative assistant, age 20. Three children and seven grandkids have been born to them since their 1976 wedding.

#14 Scoop Purchase (Original 1980 – Reunion April 2021)

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In Peterborough's Bridge Street, brothers Mark and Matt Court (from left to right) were captured on camera munching on chips while their mother was out buying shoes. We had no idea the photo had been taken, but a friend who saw it on Facebook recognized me, according to Matt. My mother cried and adored it when she first saw it.

In the picture, Mark was about two and a half and I was probably around a year old. We believe that mom was buying our dad cowboy boots. Both Mark and Matt attended the same school as Chris Porsz's kids. They currently reside in Birmingham, where Mark, a married father of three boys, is the head teacher of a primary school, and Matt works as a carpenter. Matt will shortly return to Peterborough.

"It was wonderful to go back and recreate the photo and meet up with family," he continued. “I currently have a copy of the image up on my wall. Nowadays, the shoe store is a Ladbrokes. Many thanks to Sally Wells for lending the pram and the Salvation Army Superstore in Long Causeway for the accessories for the reunion shot.”

#15 Dad And Daughters (Original 1994 – Reunion April 2021)

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In 1994, a picture of Dr. Richard Scott and his three daughters was taken in Peterborough's Bridge Street. I believe it was a Saturday, and my wife would have been working in the hospital, while I would have taken the girls out in Peterborough, the man claimed. At Peterborough District Hospital, Richard worked as a general practitioner and performed endoscopies on the weekends and in the evenings. In 2019, he retired, although he has recently come back to assist with Covid vaccines. His wife, Caroline Scott, retired from her position as a radiographer at PDH and Peterborough City Hospital.

#16 Andy Ireland (Original 1981 – Reunion 2020)

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Andy Ireland, a former physiotherapist to Sir Andy Murray, donned a chimney sweep costume for the Gladstone Street Carnival fancy dress contest in 1981. Today, he serves as a consultant at a facility in the heart of London.

#17 Snoggers! (Original Christmas Eve 1980 – Reunion October 2020)

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On Christmas Eve 1980, Rhyder Hunt and Julie Gracey (née Davies) were photographed kissing in Peterborough's Cathedral Square. They belonged to a group that socialized at scooter rallies and enjoyed Northern Soul.

#18 Tea Break (Original Circa 1983 – Reunion September 2020)

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Anita Downs, Jane Kew, Maggie Moore, Karen Belson, and (left to right) The friends would frequently take their tea break at around one in the morning because they all worked evenings.

#19 Madhouse (Original 1991 – Reunion August 2021)

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In a 1991 photo taken in Peterborough's Bridge Street, Emily Wright (née Adams) and her brother Jimmy Adams are seen sitting in the doorway of the Madhouse store. Along with their two other siblings, Emily and Jimmy were raised in Werrington Village and went to The King's School in Peterborough.

#20 Boy To Man (Original 1982 – Reunion February 2021)

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In 1982, when he was just four years old, Mohammed Mustafa was spotted hiding behind the wall of his house at 64 Cromwell Road. He has five kids and is currently employed in the Peterborough Tesco warehouse. In that home, his mother still resides.

Chris said: "It was great to see how he now towered above that wall and to be able to stop and converse about those intervening years. When I shot Mohammed's picture nearly 40 years ago, I never believed I would ever see him again.”

#21 Famous Five (Original 1980 – Reunion May 2021)

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The Gladstone Street sign shows friends Nasar Ali (left), Ali Shauqat (center), Mohammed Shanawaz (right), Khalid Mahmood (crouching on left), and Mohammed Riza (crouching on right). In 2010, they got together again for a photo, but Khalid Mahmood was not there, so Mohammed Shanawaz's twin brother Muhammad Shazad filled in. In May 2021, all the boys showed up again for the fresh reunion photograph.

#22 Emma And Abbey (Original 1996 – Reunion March 2021)

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Friends Emma Porsz, daughter of Abbey Gordon and Chris Porsz, was captured in 1996 while shopping in Peterborough's Westgate. "I've known Emma all my life," Abbey said. "Our mothers were best friends, and we were born a month apart. We attended the same preschools and elementary institutions after that. In the original photo, I believe I was around 14 years old. We would meet up every Saturday at 9 am and wouldn't get home until 5 pm. We would travel to Westgate to go shopping and meet up with other buddies. Abbey is currently a Morrisons employee and resides in Stanground. She is getting married the following year and has three kids.

"Abbey and I used to go to town every Saturday, shopping and watching the boys," Emma said. When my dad spotted us and called our names, we quickly turned. After so many years, it was wonderful to reconnect. It appeared as though nothing had changed. Emma, who is now a mother of two, was a devoted athlete in school and then went on to become a PE instructor and personal trainer. In order to stay in shape, she likes to go boxing, go camping, go trekking, and work out in the garden.

#23 Fur Coats (Original 1980 – Reunion May 2021)

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In 1980, Karen Pycroft, Pamela Albanezi, Lisa Springthorpe, Amanda Bayford (née Phillips), and Carmelina January (nee Bevilacqua) were all wearing fur jackets while out and about in Peterborough.

Karen Pycroft, a mother of three girls who passed away at the age of 47, was replaced in the reunion photo by her sister Helen. She has a daughter and two sons. It was nice to replicate the image on Karen's behalf, the woman remarked.

Amanda was waiting for her boyfriend Mick in the town center when she decided to photobomb the shot because she knew the other females from school. I would have been approximately 18 years old, she replied. I believe it was Saturday night and I was sitting here waiting for Mick. The two have been together for more than 40 years after meeting in 1978. Amanda has three children, continues to reside in Peterborough, and has worked part-time at a school for the past 20 years.

After 22 years in America, Pamela moved back to Peterborough in June 2006. She currently works evenings as a cleaner at the hospital and has three kids. We would have been taking a Peterborough pub crawl, she said. Helen Pycroft and I were close friends, but she stayed at home that night while her sister Karen joined us. Helen and I remain close friends; we are practically soul mates.

"I was probably 15 in the picture and best friends with Karen," Lisa recalled. The others were a little older than we were, but we were all close friends, lived close by, and went to the same elementary school. They were some of my best life experiences. Over the years, Lisa, who has a fiancé and now resides in Downham Market, said she lost touch with the girls, but now that they are in touch again, they have plans to get together again. It was wonderful to see them all again, she continued. Lisa appreciates Alison Lynn lending her mother's coat.

Carmelina January, Pamela's sister, has two kids and has lived in Lowestoft for 24 years. "I was 17 in the picture and would have been picking potatoes and onions at that time," she claimed. We only refer to ourselves as twins for one month of the year because there are only 11 months between Pamela and I. That evening, Karen, Helen's sister, went out in her place because Helen had a baby. We wore coats made of rabbit fur, as I recall. For the past 20 years, Carmelina has worked in a kitchen at a school. "I attempted to leave, but my kids enjoyed the hours I worked and the fact that I had the lengthy school breaks with them so I stayed," she continued.

#24 Sister Bambridge (Original Circa 1980 – Reunion August 2020)

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For 40 years, Elizabeth (Bess) Bambridge served as a senior sister in the A&E unit at Peterborough District Hospital. Chris, a casualty porter at the hospital where she worked, took a picture of her suturing a patient, which is a regular practice following car accidents.

In order for the nurses and doctors to see what the accident victims were dealing with, Chris recalled: "I would frequently go along a line of accident patients with a bucket and sponge."

"It was horrible because people would smash through the windscreen, and I would have to spend hours delicately removing the glass from their faces," Bess continued. A&E personnel numbers were lower at the time, and there was less paperwork. It was extremely experiential. I recall the porter calling me one morning at 7:15 a.m. about a couple and their 13-year-old daughter who were in the car and were experiencing an asthma attack. I performed her resuscitation in the rear of an ambulance since there was neither a receptionist nor a doctor nearby. I'll never forget that day.”

Her relatives sent me a picture of her from her wedding fifteen years later and told me she wouldn't have survived if it weren't for me. It was a very satisfying work. Every day, we help individuals and save lives. Elizabeth, who is currently retired, volunteers at the Thorpe Hall Sue Ryder hospice. The reunion shot was taken in her backyard because she resides in Thorney village.

#25 Flares (Original 1980 – Reunion June 2021)

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In 1980, Muhammad Bashir and Abdul Karim, also known as Uncle Paloo, were seen walking past a home in Peterborough's Gladstone Street. They both resided close by. In the 1970s, Abdul worked in brickyards and a paper mill close to Peterborough. Later, he entered the car sales industry. He has nine children, lives in Nottingham, and has had health issues for more than ten years.

#26 Buggy Kids And Mr T (Original 1987 – Reunion May 2021)

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When they were two and three years old, Nathan and Lisa Yates were pictured in a double buggy in Peterborough while their mother was out shopping and they were munching on crisps. The siblings had resided close to the city's center. With a partner and four kids, Nathan, a Peterborough City Council employee, now resides in the neighboring town of Farcet. "It's fantastic how Chris portrayed that period of time in my history," he remarked.

His sister, a shop manager who resides in Peterborough, is still someone he visits frequently. "I truly loved their enthusiasm to participate, especially when Lisa even found a Mr. T T-shirt," Chris continued. Since our reconnection, Nathan and I have become friends and frequently stop for a talk as we move throughout the city.

#27 No Parking (Original 1978 – Reunion September 2020)

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In 1978, Peterborough's traffic warden Jayantilal Kotecha was observed writing a parking ticket on King Street. Prior to Idi Amin, the country's president, expelling Asians from Uganda in 1972, he was born in Uganda in April 1939 and moved to London in 1971. He relocated to Peterborough in 1972 and worked as a traffic warden for a short while before quitting after receiving abuse and a knife threat. He could speak Hindi, Gujarati, and Swahili, and he occasionally served as an interpreter for the police in court. Then, up until his retirement in 1992, he was employed by Barclays. He has three children—one of whom is a doctor—and is married to Champa Kotecha.

He remarked: "In 1978, there were no buses or automobiles because the winter was so harsh that the roads were frozen and the diesel fuel froze. My friend and I walked several miles to work and were the only two traffic wardens out of 26 to show up for our shift. I recall the harsh working conditions and the prohibition against walking in pairs—not even to lunch.”

#28 Wedding Rings (Original 1981 – Reunion September 2020), Howard And Sharon

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In the spring of 1981, Chris observed Howard and Sharon Marshall (née Bird) looking through wedding bands at Ernest Jones on Cathedral Square in Peterborough. The pair were engaged at St. John's Church in Stanground in November 1981 after spending the evening together at The White Lion bar in the city in 1976. They exchanged vows at the Phorpres Social Club in London Brick and spent their honeymoon there for two weeks.

The couple, who will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary in 2021, purchased their first home in Peterborough in 1980, but they had to renovate it for a year before they could move in together after being hitched. After finishing high school, Sharon worked for SodaStream until deciding to stay at home with her children in 1984. Howard spent almost 40 years as an engineer with Royal Mail before retiring seven years ago.

#29 Ducking Stool (Original 1985 – Reunion July 2021)

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In 1985, Cheryl Geeves was seen jumping into a chilly pool of water as her friend Pam Jackman (née Huddlestone) waited for her turn. Cheryl recalled: "In the early 1980s, the Deeping show, where my late father-in-law Jack Geeves earned money for the Deeping Angling Club's junior division, was the main event in my husband's family. It was a lot of fun to go to a stall where the general public would throw balls at us in an attempt to dunk us into a pool of water with my childhood buddy Pam. Cheryl used to work in nursing homes and now has three children and two grandchildren. The majority of the Geeves family members involved in the Deeping event are still local, and she later married her then-boyfriend George.”

Chris said, "Until Cheryl informed me about her recent knee replacement, my first plan was for Cheryl to leap in from a chair! She apparently fell in, which explains why she is drenched in water and Pam is giggling uncontrollably. As you can see, it was a truly enjoyable reunion that took place on a very hot summer day in her garden.”

#30 Brothers On The Wall (Original Circa 1982 – Reunion July 2021)

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In the early 1980s, Peterborough's brothers Shujah and Zia Saklain were observed playing on their neighbor's wall. When Shujah was three years old, they relocated to the road and remained there for 14 years. They continue to both reside in Peterborough. While Zia works as a car dealer, Shujah instructs drivers, manages the charitable organization Children of Adam, and teaches boxing. Shujah stated, "It was strange to be back at our house again after so many years.” It was amazing joy climbing up on the wall again. Sadly, the other two guys were nowhere to be seen, so Shujah and Zia were once more alone on the wall.

How do you feel about this project? Make sure to leave your ideas in the comment section. Stay tuned for more interesting stuff. Happy trails until we meet again!

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