Houghton Mill

Houghton Mill was almost demolished, then saved by the local villagers and restored to working order to carry on the tradition of milling on the site for over 1,000 years. The mill is set in an idyllic village location on an island on the Great Ouse River. A great place to visit and experience the sound and atmosphere of a traditional working mill. The Waterclose Meadows are a delight to take a leisurely stroll in, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

 

Alpacas

 

Walk along the River Ouse

 

Swans

 

Time to relax!

 

 

References

National Trust. (2016). Houghton Mill and Waterclose Meadows. [online] Available at: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/houghton-mill-and-waterclose-meadows [Accessed 8 Jun. 2016].

Powis Castle & Attingham Park

Wanting to make the most of the weather that we had over the weekend I headed west for Wales and visited Powis Castle, then the following day headed over to Attingham Park. As usual my camera was my companion and there was plenty to photograph.

Powis Castle

Powis Castle (Castell Powis) is a medieval castle, fortress and grand country mansion near Welshpool, in Powys, Mid Wales, that has an amazing collection of paintings, sculptures, furniture and tapestries. There are also Italianate terraces, spectacular yew hedges, lead statues and lavish herbaceous borders to explore in the gardens.

 

 

In addition to the landscaped estate, Powis Castle plays host to parkland and a deer park which is a pleasure to walk around.

 

 

 

Attingham Park

Attingham Park is a country house and estate in Shropshire, England, and is located near the village of Atcham. Attingham Park was built in 1785 for Noel Hill, 1st Baron Berwick. The Estate comprises roughly of 4000 acres, but during the early 1800s extended to twice that amount at 8000 acres. Here you can explore the mansion, walled garden and the park.

 

House

 

 

Park & Walled Garden

 

 

References

National Trust. (2016). Attingham Park. [online] Available at: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/attingham-park [Accessed 18 May 2016].

National Trust. (2016). Powis Castle and Garden. [online] Available at: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/powis-castle-and-garden [Accessed 18 May 2016].

 

Nymans

Last weekend we had such beautiful weather that it would have been a shame not to make the most of it, so I headed down south and visited the wonderful and peaceful gardens at Nymans, Handcross, nr Haywards Heath in West Sussex.

 

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Imagery © 2016 Bluesky, DigitalGlobe, Getmapping plc, Infoterra Ltd & Bluesky, Landsat, Map Data © 2016 Google

 

The gardens are a treat for the eye and contain mixed borders of perennials and annuals. The garden is also house to romantic ruins, intimate gardens, and internationally recognised plant collections against a backdrop of Wealden woodland. Great for those who like to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and recharge the batteries.

If you’re feeling a little more adventurous or energetic, your visit can be complemented by a walk around the surrounding estate, an area of the High Weald, designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1983.

 

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© Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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Entrance to Nymans

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Entrance to Nymans

 

The Gardens

 

 

The Woods

 

 

 

References

National Trust. (2016). Nymans. [online] Available at: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/nymans [Accessed 11 May 2016].

Grafham Water

After a busy morning working in Huntingdon on an underwater shoot, I decided to make the most of what remained of the Bank Holiday and take a trip with my camera to nearby Grafham Water.

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Grafham Water is a reservoir which was created in 1965 in order to provide people with drinking water and the area was immediately colonised by wildlife. The nature reserve contains ancient and plantation woodlands, grasslands and wetland habitats such as reedbeds, willow and open water. Grafham Water is a bird watcher’s paradise and is home to a number of hides which enable you to view a variety of birds such as osprey, grebes and the more familiar resident mallards and greylag geese.

 

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(Anglian Water, 2016)

 

Initially I had only intended to walk a short length of the shoreline but before I knew it I had already walked half way round the reservoir, so I decided rather than turning back, I would continue and walk the entire length…and I’m glad I did. It took me a total of 3 hours to walk the 9-10 miles. I would highly recommend this walk for anyone who enjoys the countryside, views, walking and wildlife!

 

 

Walk through Savages Spinney

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References

Anglian Water, (2016). Grafham Water Map. [image] Available at: http://www.anglianwater.co.uk/_assets/media/images/waterpark-grafham-full.jpg [Accessed 3 May 2016].

Wildlifebcn.org. (2016). Grafham Water | Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. [online] Available at: http://www.wildlifebcn.org/reserves/grafham-water [Accessed 3 May 2016].

Work trip to Cardigan, Wales

This weekend my work took me to Cardigan, Wales for a photoshoot with a swim school. Whilst on the journey there it was hard to resist stopping and taking some pictures of the beautiful countryside in Powys, so we did!

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My map reading skills coming in handy

Dunham Massey

At this time of year it is rare that I have a full weekend off from work, so when I finally found myself with both Saturday & Sunday off I decided to seize the opportunity and travel up north to Cheshire and spend the weekend away. I chose to visit Dunham Massey because I had not been there before and there seemed to be a lot on offer.

There is a garden for all seasons, an ancient deer park and a house filled with treasures and stories. My main reason for visiting was to stroll in the park and take some pictures of the deer that live there.

“Dunham Massey has all the elements of a great medieval deer park. On a walk through the grounds you’ll see fine avenues, wide vistas, ancient trees, roaming deer and open grassland.”

(National Trust, 2016)

 

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The deer park at Dunham Massey is around 300 acres in size and dates back to medieval times. There is a beautiful pond with resident swans and other species of bird and it is a great experience to roam through the park and walk amongst the free roaming deer.

 

 

References

National Trust. (2016). A Perfect Parkland. [online] Available at: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/dunham-masseys-parkland [Accessed 20 Apr. 2016].

 

Gran Canaria

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View of Mountains © Richard Brochu-Williams

Located southeast of Tenerife and west of Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria is of volcanic origin, mostly made of fissure vents. Gran Canaria’s surface area is 1,560 km² and its maximum elevation is 1,949 meters (Pico de Las Nieves). It has a round shape, with a diameter of approximately 50 km.

Gran Canaria is known as a “Miniature Continent” due to the different climates and variety of landscapes found, with long beaches and dunes of white sand, contrasting with green ravines and picturesque villages. A third of the island is under protection as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.

The climate of Gran Canaria suited me perfectly, as it was not excessively hot but was warm enough to take a walk in the breathtaking countryside in a T-shirt and shorts, also the breeze was mild. The temperature is constant throughout the year with temperatures ranging from 20-28 ºC with August being the hottest month.

This was my first visit to the island and I was not disappointed. I opted to stay in the north of the island near to Las Palmas as I had found an apartment there that would suit my needs and also had the added benefit of a private pool. Exploring the island is not too difficult, especially if you choose to hire a car during your visit. At first I was a little apprehensive about driving on the right and taking on the mountain roads but I quickly adapted and became accustomed to it. Now it was time to head on out for a road trip, with camera in hand and start taking some photos. The scenery is incredible, especially when you head up into the mountains and you can see for miles. The sea is even visible from the middle of the island and I enjoyed great views from Roque Bentayga.

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Map of Gran Canaria © Google Maps

I travelled to the south of the island to visit Maspalomas and its magnificent sand dunes which stretch out along the south coast looking like giant waves of sand covering around 4 square kilometres.

 

Maspalomas

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All of that walking through the sand dunes was thirsty work…

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Playa del Inglés is a great place to top up your tan and it’s full of great places to eat and drink giving you a perfect place to rest and recharge your batteries. By night Playa del Inglés really comes alive. If you like music and dancing, this is the place to be! I spent a couple of hours here and it was really easy to find a quiet, secluded spot to have my picnic and enjoy the views that were on offer. A great way to spend my birthday!

 

Las Palmas

My next trip was to Las Palmas which I found to be in complete contrast to Maspalomas. Las Palmas reminded me of a smaller London and much more busier and compact than Maspalomas, which is probably due to the fact that nearly half of the island’s population live there. I took a tour bus around the city so that I did not miss out on any of the key sights. I actually took the bus twice, the first lap was to take in all of the sights and the second lap I took the opportunity to get off at locations that I was interested in visiting. I would recommend taking the tour, by doing this I ensured that I would not get lost, as my map reading skills are not the best.

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Jardín Botánico Canario Viera y Clavijo

Jardín Botánico Canario Viera y Clavijo is the full name of the botanical garden on Gran Canaria and simply means “Botanical Garden of the Canaries” while the additional words “Viera y Clavijo” honor the pioneering Spanish cleric and scholar José Viera y Clavijo (1731–1813), who attempted to found a botanical garden in the Canary Islands in the late eighteenth century. The garden comprises approximately 27 acres and is definitely worth a visit if you have an interest of things botanical or to just simply take a pleasant stroll in. I spent over 3 hours here, and the plants, location, waterfall and numerous ponds make it an enjoyable visit. It is worthwhile bearing in mind however that the gardens are on very steep slopes and may not be suitable for everyone. There are two entrances, one at the top and one at the bottom. I started at the bottom and worked my way up, where I witnessed some spectacular views…well worth the climb!

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Road Trip

The great thing about hiring a car is that you can plan your own day out and you don’t have to rely on public transport. One day was spent driving around the island taking in all of the sights, from the coast to the mountains. It amazed me how diverse the landscape on the island was and with each twist and turn of the winding roads it felt like I was entering into a completely different environment. Some parts were green and lush, whilst other parts appeared baron and desert like.

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Tejeda

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Tejeda

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Roque Bentayga

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Roque Bentayga

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Roque Bentayga

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Roque Bentayga

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Roque Bentayga

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Roque Bentayga

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Roque Bentayga

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Roque Bentayga

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Roque Bentayga

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Santa Lucía de Tirajana

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Mirador De Guriete

 

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Mirador De Guriete

 

My time spent in Gran Canaria was enjoyable with plenty to see and do…in fact there was plenty more that I wish I had done. I would most definitely like to return again in the future to enjoy what the island has to offer and to take more photographs.

 

 

References

Grancanaria.com. (2016). The Canary Botanical Gardens. [online] Available at: http://www.grancanaria.com/patronato_turismo/27798.0.html [Accessed 29 Mar. 2016].

Spain-grancanaria.com. (2016). Gran Canaria Hotel, Tourism and Holiday Guide. [online] Available at: http://www.spain-grancanaria.com [Accessed 29 Mar. 2016].

Wikipedia. (2016). Gran Canaria. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gran_Canaria [Accessed 29 Mar. 2016].

Wikipedia. (2016). Jardín Botánico Canario Viera y Clavijo. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jard%C3%ADn_Botánico_Canario_Viera_y_Clavijo [Accessed 29 Mar. 2016].

Switzerland

A place of beauty that extends across the north and south side of the Alps in west-central Europe, Switzerland encompasses a great diversity of landscapes and climates on a limited area of 41,285 square kilometres. It is unusual in the sense that it comprises four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh in a relatively small area.

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Ferney-Voltaire, France

My travels took me to Ferney-Voltaire in eastern France, a commune in the Ain department which lies between the Jura mountains and the Swiss border and forms part of the metropolitan area of Geneva. My hotel was just 5 minutes walk from the Swiss border and allowed me easy access to transportation that would take me into Geneva. Within 15 minutes I was able to board a tram at Meyrin that would take me straight into the heart of Geneva, the journey took no longer than 10 minutes. I was really impressed with the trams, not only did they run on time but they were also in a good state of repair and were clean, something that can not always be said about transportation in the U.K.

Geneva is definitely one of my favourite cities in Switzerland, despite the fact that it is not very big in size and is known as “the smallest of big cities”, it somehow feels spacious and not overcrowded like some cities do. I took this opportunity to take a few photos, even though my hands were frozen and I did not want to take them out of my lovely warm pockets. I shall remember in future to pack my gloves with me if I visit Switzerland in the month of February.

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This was the second time that I had visited Geneva but I was able to view it through different eyes, as the first time I visited was during the summer months and the city has a completely different feel at this time of year. Gone was the greenery and the vast array of flowers that colour the city over the course of summer, like those at L’horloge fleurie and instead there were bare trees and cold bitter winds but somehow the city still seems to hold a sense of charm. It was lovely to see all of the swans and other birds dwelling in Le Rhône just off Lac Léman. I only spent a short time here in Geneva but it was definitely time well spent.

The following day I had planned to travel to Lausanne which is located 62 kilometres (38.5 miles) northeast of Geneva. Lausanne is the second-largest city on Lake Geneva and is the lively capital of the canton of Vaud. I was looking forward to this visit, as Lausanne was a place that I had not visited before. The “Old Town” Lausanne is extremely picturesque and is largely car free, which is ideal if you are a pedestrian. Compared to Geneva, I found Lausanne to be busier and less spacious and at times reminded me of London, UK. The pace of life seemed to be much quicker here and the fact that it had a Metro system gave it more of a “London” feel. The Old Town is home to the Notre-Dame Cathedral which dates back to the 12th Century. The Cathedral is impressive not only on the outside but also inside and there are some great views of the city to be found here.

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Views over Lausanne

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Views over Lausanne

Notre-Dame Cathedral

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Just a short walk away (maybe 20-30 minutes) there was a chance to escape from it all and I found myself a place of peace and tranquility. I visited Lac de Sauvabelin, an artificial lake in the Sauvabelin forest, above Lausanne which started construction in 1888. As well as the lake there is also a petting zoo which was a pleasant surprise and better still it was free of charge. I especially loved it here as I like the peace and quiet and I have a great fondness for animals. A great way for me to spend the afternoon before heading back into the hustle and bustle of the city.

Lac de Sauvabelin

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Before heading back into the city I took the opportunity to climb the the Tour de Sauvabelin (Tower of Sauvabelin) which is a wooden tower located in the Sauvabelin forest. The tower was constructed in 2003 and is 35 meters high and provides panoramic views of Lausanne, Lac Léman and the surrounding countryside and mountains. Well worth the climb.

Tour de Sauvabelin

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Tour de Sauvabelin

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Tour de Sauvabelin

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View from tower

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View from tower

Back in the city I also visited Port d’Ouchy which is a popular lakeside resort located south of the city at the edge of Lake Geneva (Lac Léman). I can imagine that in the summer months the port could get very busy but in February it was fairly subdued which made it a pleasure to visit. There are great views over the lake that look over to France (weather depending), unfortunately it was a little overcast during my visit but I could just make out the mountains on the other side. The Compagnie générale de navigation sur le Lac Léman or Lake Geneva General Navigation Company (commonly abbreviated to CGN) is a public Swiss company operating boats on Lake Geneva connecting towns in both France and Switzerland including Geneva, Vevey, Montreux, Évian-les-Bains, and Lausanne. The boats can be seen at the Ouchy Port.

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The Lausanne CGN boat in Ouchy

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The Lausanne CGN boat in Ouchy

Ouchy was once a small fishing village which was incorporated into the city of Lausanne in the mid-19th century to serve as a port on Lac Léman. Today it is a popular place amongst skateboarders and roller skaters as well as tourists for its incredible views of the lake and the Alps.

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Waterfront statue

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Giant chess board

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View of Port d’Ouchy

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View of Port d’Ouchy

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View over Lac Léman towards France

I also managed to see the Château d’Ouchy (“Castle of Ouchy”), an old medieval castle that has since been converted into a hotel.

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Château d’Ouchy

All in all I enjoyed my visit to Lausanne but my favourite part of the visit was to the Bois de Sauvabelin and I would urge anyone visiting Lausanne to pay a visit. My time away in Switzerland was brief but it was a nice break and I shall definitely miss the view from my hotel room.

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View from hotel room, overlooking France

I am looking forward to my next getaway in a few weeks when I travel to Gran Canaria, hopefully capturing some great images.

 

References

 

Chateaudouchy.ch, (2016). Château d’Ouchy Lausanne. [online] Available at: http://www.chateaudouchy.ch/uk/ [Accessed 29 Feb. 2016].

MySwitzerland.com, (2016). Lausanne. [online] Available at: http://www.myswitzerland.com/en-gb/lausanne.html [Accessed 29 Feb. 2016].

MySwitzerland.com, (2016). Notre-Dame Cathedral. [online] Available at: http://www.myswitzerland.com/en-gb/interests/excursion-summer/historical-switzerland/abbeys-churches/lausanne-cathedral-lausanne.html [Accessed 29 Feb. 2016].

Ville-geneve.ch, (2016). Welcome to Geneva – Ville de Genève – Site officiel. [online] Available at: http://www.ville-geneve.ch/welcome-geneva/ [Accessed 29 Feb. 2016].

Wikipedia, (2016). Compagnie Générale de Navigation sur le lac Léman. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compagnie_Générale_de_Navigation_sur_le_lac_Léman [Accessed 29 Feb. 2016].

Wikipedia, (2016). Ferney-Voltaire. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferney-Voltaire [Accessed 29 Feb. 2016].

Wikipedia, (2016). Lausanne. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lausanne [Accessed 29 Feb. 2016].

Wikipedia, (2016). Lausanne Cathedral. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lausanne_Cathedral [Accessed 29 Feb. 2016].

Wikipedia, (2016). Ouchy. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouchy [Accessed 29 Feb. 2016].

Wikipedia, (2016). Switzerland. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switzerland [Accessed 29 Feb. 2016].

Back to work

Whilst it has been nice to have some time off during the Christmas period, I am now starting to get a little restless. “Good News”… I now have dates and a work schedule for the next 6 months photographing across the UK at various swim schools. It will be nice to get back into the swing of things.

 

Underwater Art

© Underwater Art by Nicola Gwyther, All rights reserved.

 

In between these shoots I will also be doing some travelling which I am very much looking forward to. My first destinations will be to France & Switzerland. I have visited both places before but I am eager to visit new parts that I have not explored on previous trips. We plan to travel to Lausanne which is located 38.5 miles northeast of Geneva, where we will be residing. Lausanne is situated on the shores of Lake Geneva (French: Lac Léman, or simply Le Léman) and I am keen to capture some landscape images here.

 

Lausanne, Switzerland - Map

Lausanne, Switzerland © http://www.world-guides.com 

 

Other trips include, Gran Canaria & Iceland and again this will be a great opportunity to capture some images that I can add to my portfolio, as well as a great opportunity to travel and escape from it all. I will be keeping this blog up-to-date and posting new images.

À bientôt, ¡Hasta luego!, Sjáumst síðar.

Seals at Waxham Beach

© Richard Brochu-Williams, 2016, All rights reserved.

 

The New Year has arrived and at the weekend I decided that I would take a journey to the coast and dust off my camera. It was a wonderful opportunity to witness the seals and to capture some images. I had initially intended to visit Horsey Beach which is one of the many unspoilt and wonderfully quiet sandy Norfolk beaches on the east coast of the UK but when I arrived the car park was full and there was a long queue of cars waiting to get in. At this point I was tempted to drive away and head back home, but my travelling companion suggested that we drove on further and see if we could possibly park up further along the coast….then BINGO! We arrived at Waxham, a few miles up the road from Horsey. I didn’t hold much hope for seeing any seals and when we walked onto the beach, it was deserted…no people & no seals.

Walking along the beach on a mild January afternoon was a pleasure in itself but after 10 minutes of walking we could see what looked like big rocks in the distance. I changed the lens on my camera to my 200mm and could see that what initially appeared to be rocks  were in fact seals…the long journey had been worthwhile after all.

It was a real pleasure being able to photograph these seals, it is so much nicer to photograph an animal in its natural surroundings as opposed to a zoo and I think that the images look far superior. An enjoyable afternoon and I would urge anyone to visit who is near the area and has a keen interest in nature and wildlife.

 

Waxham Beach – Explore Norfolk

 

© Richard Brochu-Williams, 2016, All rights reserved.