A view on Fishing,Community and Life on the NW coast of Scotland

Archive for the ‘Work Places’ Category

Hegg Mac

In a bit of mild shock this evening over what could have been earlier. I am well aware of the greater tragedy for many folk after the insanity in Manchester. We have a Manchester connection at the Inn and it brings it home that we are never far away from the actions of madmen. These people have to have a disconnect with the norms of humanity to carry out acts like they do. My own potential mishap pales into insignificance when put against what the people of Barra must be feeling tonight, but life for others goes on.

Tuesday was a hit the wall day and that meant that absolutely nothing got done and resulting in eighteen hour days since, not remotely catching up but at least not falling further behind. The weekend featured the music brought to us by Hegg Mac, a band

that Matthias from Karslruhe,

brought over to play their world tour of Applecross. To be perfectly frank I did not hear as much as I would have liked. Saturday night the tour got underway at the Community Hall but as I was fishing and others were younger and keen to go I stayed on and finished at the Inn. Feeling pretty knackered so the ease on down of the late night suited me fine and the second night of the tour took place at the Inn. Busy old lunch even with the poor weather. Although sold as the “acoustic set” there was a fair amount of setting up.

When they did get to play they rocked and sounded really good. Good food

and great music, what more does one need, Raymond taking the snaps?

Again coming to the end of the shift I did not hear as much as I would have liked but did manage the whole of the first set. They finished up at the Walled Garden but that turned out to be my Wall day.

Monday saw me delivering langoustines to Loch Ness Inn, Alison to Beauly, Aron to Toscaig and racing around Inverness trying to organise passports, Gaelforce, Highland Wholefoods, before picking up wood and herring

on the way home. Light and still at the Shed moorings.

Maybe the Tuesday off was so on the cards although I did not see it on the horizon.

Back on the trolley for Wednesday and it was down to the Pier early to throw off some creels for washing,

before nipping up the road for a badly needed massage from Sarah, back to the Pier to wash the creels and then the shift at the Inn. Busy enough with a table of fourteen booked in at 8pm but as they were the Karlsruhe crowd on their last night all went well with only a short wait for tables for a couple of residents. We then finished the night with a truly acoustic session

but again tiredness takes over and I am off down the road for an early start on Thursday as the weather had quietened down.

Fishing fine and one of the fleets back in operation so just the other to find. Unusually have had five attempts at it so far, beginning to wonder if it has been dragged a little out of position. The well forecast weather arrived this afternoon

and it was a pleasure to be out.

Not a lot of sea life about but the views are fine and quiet waters are the order of the day. The bees are looking very healthy and busy

and the garden is buzzing with bees and colour.

That left today to deal with and all was going well. Varuna beached alongside the Pier, another fleet ashore to be washed along with the bottom of the Varuna. Things going swimmingly, not quite getting the fleet ready for going out in the morning as there were a few bars to repair. Not a good set of creels these ones. Have had a lot of the welds breaking earlier than they should. So with the oil change left to do I floated her off. Decided I would make a really good days work and change the oil at the moorings. Only just decided to do that as it was easily put off for a day or two. Went below and thought just a little more water than there should be, pumped her out and proceeded to empty the sump, then saw water pouring in from the aft compartment, another quick couple of pumps, change of oil and filters, open up the aft hatch to a little fountain of seawater coming in where there should be a bolted on anode. Rotted away and still have a little shake thinking if I had put the oil change off the Varuna would have settled on the bottom in about an hour. Phone to Ewen, who picked up parts on the way home and now ready for another beaching, through the night this time. So close to having my wee world turning upside down.

(2.00am) Ashore again after leaning her against the Pier, waiting for the tide and fitting a new bolt, packing and anode on. The light was fine on the way out,

so now a couple of hours sleep before it all starts again.

Back to Hegg Mac and talking to Matthias it seems the name is taken from a colloquialism with an added Scottish twist, basically meaning de stressing, going with the flow and Scottish, even Applecross style. Thought about that many times this evening when it all could have been so different.

Now 6.00am and all is well after my mini scare, the Varuna is back on her moorings, sitting peacefully as though nothing had happened, and I am going to bed after having an hour and a half sleep. So Hegg Mac works but a wee insight to what goes on behind the scenes in getting some langoustines on the plate.

Away Day to Rona.

An away day to Rona was planned and today, after forgetting my fuel key, then fuelling up we set off just after eight. Bill had reported problems with his own connection and I picked a day to get over after catching some langoustine yesterday to keep the Inn going.We were followed half way across by a solitary bonxie which I fed with some pout from yesterday.

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There were only three to keep him/her interested as they do not like the salted herring. Beautiful day

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and even the anticipated north-easterly for the trip home did not arise. Went up to the mast with Sean and Owen and an enthusiastic Bill overtaking us with the tools on the quad,

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staying to help out on a bit of the health and safety side. And we had our usual chat on land, land usage and land reform.

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The views up there are spectacular on a day like today both to the west

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and south.

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The Varuna looking very peaceful alongside the pontoon.

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While the boys were working on the net I managed an oil change and a bit of a scrub down on parts of the boat the everyday hose down does not reach. The nano and tough switches changed we all headed down with Owen getting a picture of how the setup works as he is planning joining one or even two of the Boards. I don’t think things went so well at the receiving end of the system and another visit is required.

Back to the Inn with a box of bigger langoustine to keep them going. There is always variety here in Applecross, asked to check fuses, unsuccessfully, as the Shed electricity went down and then to take a photo of one of the best beer gardens in somewhere.

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Something to do with the Telegraph. All quiet now and a bit of strimming and sowing after tea. Last night’s strimming led to the disappearance of the Dougal who went on an all-nighter not coming home till eleven this morning. Seems pretty tired and remarkably unrepentant.

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Snow and Boats.

Took a bit of effort getting to the boat today and as you can see the coast road was the second choice,

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always is for us locals, whoops, residents. Was not sharp enough away this morning before the Hill was experiencing a white out, nothing for it but to turn back, fill up with diesel which I had forgotten to do first time round and then head for Lochcarron the long way round. Bank, shop and then the Yard to start cleaning the Varuna.

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German Writing is hard work to remove so the plan was to start cleaning in three to four different places and by the end of the week she should sparkle, for another week anyway. Showers kept coming through but the hills, when the sun shone, glittered with the fresh snow.

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Such a contrast, this bustling Yard and the back drop of the Applecross hills.

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Managed a big bag of rubbish off the boat and two buckets of barnacles, writing and mussels of the rudder, keel and prop. These have not been copper painted and are difficult to clean up against the Pier so making good use of the slings. Stayed till five before going back over the reopened Bealach. Stopped at the top and stepped out to take a couple of snaps

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before realising the wind chill and shower that had descended. Was not out long and would not survive in these conditions if not prepared.

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Kishorn Cradle.

Any one who thinks being a director on a community company is for status think again. Another meeting tonight to discuss tenders and for me a really difficult decision with many implications. I for one am not taking what we are doing lightly and as we are encountering problems every step of the way it is a tribute to the Board and our LDO that we have not thrown in the towel. I know we are in a privileged position living where we do and doing what we do but we are trying to keep our community sustainable. There is a certain amount of risk in doing this but we are learning and getting used to this as we progress projects. This is going to be our biggest challenge and may cause a few sleepless nights at the Schoolhouse and other abodes. The effort so far has been huge and we have had lots of support from many people at HIE, CES and now LES to get this far and that is despite de minimus problems, financial and time constraints. Luckily the season has not kicked off properly so the Board meeting five times already this year has not impinged too much on personal work levels, going to be difficult during the summer. Can see Netflix not getting much of a look in soon.

Really enjoyed my shift at the Inn on Thursday evening, a lot easier with Joe behind the bar and fewer, but noisier customers. The hen party had a wee introductory session this evening up on table D while the Sheffield troops were on the Big Table. Not a lot in-between but some conversations were special and connections made chatting about health care and Israel. You can talk about anything at the Inn with people you are comfortable with. Time flies by and before you know it another meeting starts. So early home after the Board meeting and a bit of Netflix before out like a light on the couch.

Friday morning saw us running to stay still. Although do not do time very well the tide waits for no man. Landed some fine prawns for the weekend, watched some eiders on the Bay

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and then straight back down the road to throw some stuff on to the pier and steam South to the Kishorn Yard. Passing Ardban,

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Coillieghillie,

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a little cloudy but started to brighten up as I steamed up loch Kishorn.

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Met the Bella Jane who came off the cradle and was heading back over to her home port of Elgol.

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Was on time to catch the tide,

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ease into the cradle and tie up.

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Boys came out to put the strops under her and ashore for a coffee.

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Then back out to some badly needed cleaning.

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Managed to hang in for a couple of hours before walking up the Hill for home, lift from Alan so back in plenty of time. Unfortunately there was hardly any tide so Ewen did not get back before seven. By this time the Inn was in full swing. Six of us on but not a problem, even the LDOs. Everyone well fed and the goodbyes to Sheffield done, he IS going to retire, wandered down to the noisy table at the end and after community engagement it was politics with every subject through to nuclear disarmament. Good going debate and passionate but gradually got repetitive and with an Old Poultney it was off back up the road for them, another few hours animated discussion ahead. Animated,

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more animated.

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There were many quotes of the night, one of the best involving Kyle but not to be attributed to anyone as mildly rude. ‘Twas a fine start to the weekend. A grand sunset earlier in the evening.

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Many times the colours seem to improve after the sun dips behind Raasay.

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So good to see the sun setting just to the south of Dun Caan, portent of Spring.

 

SEA with people at the Core.

Wednesday night at Coul House

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and coming to the end of another Social Enterprise Academy (SEA) course. Hard to describe without jumbling up the whole three and a half days into an out pouring of enthusiasm and even inspiration. Should not say even but I came on the course not too sure this time. I really enjoyed and got so much out of the course at Sal Mor Ostaig and was willing to give it another go. I was suffering a bit of cabin fever and was quite into meeting some new people. Not the best reason for going on a course but was quite relieved that it was not fully subscribed so had not stopped anyone going on it. That seems such a long time ago. At the start of the course there was a fair bit of repetition.of the previous one so feeling was reinforced. Now no doubt great decision, action learning sets a challenge, a trip up to Lochbroom  Woodfuels,

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some one to one coaching and tomorrow finishing off with a presentation to Lochbroom before yet another fabulous lunch, blood donning and a shift at the Inn. It just has not slowed down this winter at all. On the way back we had to stop the bus to take a snap of the still water above Lael.

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Back to here and arrived in time for lunch on Monday and the standard for food was set…… Very high and that has continued to the extent that after this weekend in Ullapool the diet has got to be strict. Split into two groups and from then on pretty intense time, listening to guest speakers, and forming friendships amongst the work. I have very little in common with the rest of the group in a work place sense. Although I do not know what every ones business is it appears most are based on the north-east and east side of the country and involved mainly in theatre, and training sectors. Great group though and very personable, easy to get on with but pretty competitive. I am surprised how little completion I feel now. Even a couple of years ago I would be up for “winning” the presentation tomorrow. All that matters is that we do well and every one feels involved. Tuesday saw the arrival of Dougal and Eilidh, dropped off by Alison on the way to the CES AGM further south. We had already checked that it was dog friendly and as the owners had two it was Okay. And a big hit they have been as everyone has one or two of their own. Attention has not been lacking and the rooms have been up to their standard. In fact it is a beautiful Hotel, an old hunting lodge, complete win rhododendrons.

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So food, company, course have all been spot on. Took a box of papers to sort through in the evenings but that never happened, not that I could not be bothered but purely a time thing. Today’s coaching session was startling. Originally was not that bothered about even having one but my name was put down in a relatively random manner. I turned up five minutes late and eased into the session but it was quite a session and even when not expecting much more than a pleasant chat it was quite revelatory and has given me quite a bit to work with. Dipped into a bit of yoga and the response was Buddhist which turned out to hit the spot. Just a saying that was told to the tutor that has stayed with him and he passed onto me. Nothing mystical or spacey but arrowing in and so perspective. Out of time and it feels a little rude writing away with the headphones on by the fire but also in good company. But so much more. The dog walking was quite important as it gave a little time to process all the info and Dougal and Eilidh’s company is always good. Weather was stunning with cold crisp mornings and low lying mists.

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Views although not west coast are very special.9Q7Q7502

Lovely woods at the back of the House.

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“Good Luck for Tomorrow”

Starting to feel slightly manic and there are two days before we know if we are going to be part of the newest country in the world. Seems Friday around breakfast time is when we hear. Coming home this afternoon from the fishing there is now no doubt the aspirations of the Macleod household with Alison adding a couple of flags to the gate to go alongside the Yes board on the wall.

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Anyway back to the story which has been slightly mixed over the past few days. On Saturday Gerry’s Duathlon went okay judging by the evening at the Inn. Maybe just leave a few stats, 302 pints of real ale, 477 food orders plus between 50 and 60 fish and chips sold outside. I arrived at sixish and ended up behind the bar. They had already arrived and the Boss and Crissy were out front and it is hard to dive in an already tight and planned operation. never mind three behind the bar were serving all night with little break.

Sunday again was busy, not too bad but we are one or two staff down and the season is far from over so kept going over the lunch period. Not a lot to report apart from the arrival of the helicopter from the MV Itasca.

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Not a new boat, built in 1961, but still out of my range. Think she would be a bit awkward for hauling creels anyway. She was up in Ullapool end of last week and had headed south but came back for lunch. Coming for lunch by chopper does not impress me with my attempted green credentials but it caused a bit of a stir I suppose. Could not help noticing the contrast when the chopper took off against the backdrop of the Clachan Manse, old and new.

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Towards the end of the shift the old head kicked in again and bothered me all day on Monday, just a painful nuisance that stops you enjoying life for a day or so. Still was not right yesterday morning but made out and felt so much better for it. The Inn had enough prawns but was under a little pressure to make sure the supply was sorted out for this weekend. Robert is chaffing at a charity function in the Inverness area for Marie Curie Cancer Care. Suspect there will be a large amount of money raised and as a contribution if there is a Yes vote they will getting their prawns for free, if No they pay 50%. Not insubstantial number of prawns going so just as well the fishing is still just holding up.

Out again this morning and although there was a wee breeze from the North early afternoon the weather has remained stunning

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and is probably the best September

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I can remember for lack of wind and warmth.

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Morning sun catching Camusterrach.

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And of course Ardhu.

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Interesting traffic passed on Tuesday slowly making her way down the Sound.

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Today at slightly different speed passing and couple of toots on the way past.

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Lovely bit of coral came up on one of the creels yesterday

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As well as prawns there is a batch of squats going to this function and hopefully most of them were caught today. If not there is tomorrow. Always good to head for home and now see the flag as part of the boat.

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Last night as I am way behind in reading my emails a meeting of the ACC was announced for 8.30pm Minutes of the last meeting, mine to do, had to be very rapidly prepared and at that time there was little chance of me getting to the meeting as I was still hung over but decided to get on the bike and head out. So glad I did.W We had a very productive and positive meeting, two and a bit hours long but well worth it. IPS progressing, Community Broadband report and going well along with toilets functioning okay. The new Filling Station coming the week after the vote. Had to stop on the way up to the meeting for a last photo of the evening.

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Earlier was spectacular.

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and there was something a little different.

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Sleep came fast last night and will again tonight.

All the chat today has been about tomorrow and it cannot come quickly enough now. All the discussions, chat, arguments have taken place. Tomorrow it is the cross in the box. I like listening to the positive podcasts of Lesley Riddoch and this week the tour around the country continues, meeting after meeting. The energy these guys have is phenomenal. Loved the way that this network has evolved and how every one has helped each other, looked after each other and the excitement has grown as the opinion polls have closed. I have started to listen to John Beattie over the last couple of weeks and sorry not sooner. The most reasonable and balanced over view of the Referendum I have come across on MSM. Had an amusing experience listening to the psychology  of how we are going to vote. Seems when we listen to “experts” the independent thinking part of our brain shuts down. Unfortunately a study on experts predicting the future whether in medicine or economics does not show them up in good light. In fact very bad light, so all these postings, tweets I have read and retweeted do not mean much. When you look back what economists predicted 2008, or politicians for that matter. The same ones who are saying we should not try some thing different. I have come to the conclusion that they do not know any more than I do and that is very little. I do believe in a community, in saying We instead of I, I believe in “all of us first” and taking responsibility for our own actions, mistakes, ambitions and vision. The worldis watching us avidly, is seeing something amazing, people who are telling the Establishment enough is enough. There is widespread panic already amongst the corridors of power, they no longer know how to deal with people having a say in their own lives. Neo liberals have got used to 30/40% turnouts and complaining about disengagement. Well we are engaged as todays and tonight’s conversations at the Inn and everywhere else back up. Several people going home tomorrow to vote, its brilliant. And the most telling aspect of it all is all these Europeans telling us go for it. In fact the chat with regular visiting Belgians will stick with me and her closing comment was “Good luck tomorrow”

Trying to Make a Migraine positive.

Long day today. That can be the only description for going through a migraine type headache. Todays was a little different as it did not start as one but developed into it. Up at 6.20 am and light headache required a 500ml paracetamol and it was going to be off in an hours time but not to be. By 12 olcock I was holding my head and throwing up through the afternoon. Probably worse on a day like today but such is life. I would far rather not have them but I do think it makes you more aware of other people’s situations and even illnesses. I do n’t think I am quite as dismissive of the headache or back problem as those who right people off as scivvers. I physically could not have put a fire out if it was my own house that was on fire. I detect a lack of compassion in the country at the moment from the legislation being passed and the phone-ins I hear on the boat. Quite shocked at the dispassionate comments from, I assume, city dwellers who were slagging off farmers for not being careful with their stock and it was their fault for losing ewes and lambs because they should have had them inside. More and more I see and hear people drifting away from nature and what is real and it does not bode well for the kids. That’s the moody ill bit over and done with. Yesterday was sublime and a day at sea was therapeutic for the body and soul and hopefully tomorrow will cancel out today.

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Again the weather was sublime and I am going to stop apologising for taking pictures of the Cullin and keep taking them. This time in the morning with the sun rising over The Five Sisters there are a wonderful display of shadows on Skye.

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Halfway through the day in the shallower water on the middle bank I came across a large family of hermit crabs, one stopping for a photo before going back over.

Working my way south I was getting a little apprehensive as there were three fleets I had not hauled for a while but all was well and no foul ups. Last fleet to haul picked up my last awol fleet and although it will take a bit of sorting out when I haul it next week it is good to get new gear working again.

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There are lots of signs of summer about, this time the Hebridean Princess steaming up from the south end of Raasay and the muir burning is in full swing much to the chagrin of  many of the local fire brigade who are trying to get on with normal life.

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Not been down the south end of the Sound but the Five Sisters look magnificent with their top of snow and on the way up to the Inn looking west the sky was a van stopper.

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The shift at the Inn started off a little slow and slightly disjointed but once you start interacting it comes together and once again we had a 100% satisfaction rating. The Fishing News cartoonist is staying at the Inn and I would never have known but he overheard my conversation with the Irish family on table D about fishing community and life on the NW of Scotland. The Irish family were great conversationalists,unsurprising I suppose, and we sorted out Independence the Irish economy, and just life in general. Does not matter what we said but it felt like I was making new friends My shift finished with a staff drink of a scoop of Baked Banana and the latest offering Rhubarb Crumble ice cream. Another sign of summer.

A couple of stories from the French piper. As he was playing in Marseille one of his onlookers had put a bag down and wandered off forgetting it and not long after Ruairidh found himself surrounded by the elite of French bobbies and a bomb squad. He is now in Lille and couch surfing his way through France. Saving the best till last. The guy’s flat he is staying at has gone to Strasbourg for the weekend and has left the key with Ruairidh. This reminded me of a similar situation north of Salt Lake City when I was hitching across US of A. Wonderful to see such trust given and not abused….

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