Local Heart, Global Soul

March 19, 2019

Dried Up And Mangled, Soon To Be Swept Away…

My arty adventures require reference material to both inspire and refer to. I take images and see how the composition of everyday life works; the juxtaposition of nature and the man-made environment. Here I am looking at the autumn leaves and their fate in the gutter, having exited the trees with a measure of gracefulness they now lay somewhat dried up and mangled, waiting for the machine that the Gemeente (city council /Town Hall) use to glide next to the pavement a sweep these up with it’s brushes. Leave and trees are a sort of “theme” of mine of late, the beautiful structure of leaves is something I struggle to draw so I need a lot of practice.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 4, 2018

Alice And The Spray Cans…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Looking around the buildings left behind after the Christchurch New Zealand earthquakes, I see murals galore.

I love the idea that painting the city in bright colours, thought provoking pieces, decorative and in all styles can help a city busy with rebuilding their lives to sometimes breathe a little and take a moment to smile.

Christchurch’s Manchester street was packed full of some of the oldest buildings in the city.

Exceptionally few of them survived the quakes and now it can even be difficult to recognize where you are standing because consciously or otherwise we use buildings as landmarks all the time.

These murals are ones I pondered over; What on earth is Alice doing?

This is a long way from the rabbit hole Girl! She appears to be sitting playing cards, What? Fishing them out of the carpet??

A projector-type-thingy makes an image like a small theatre, and in between the little theatre image stands a table with something on it, which I am taking a guess might be a pop-up book? or another small model theatre? dolls?… or?? Your guesses would be appreciated. And by the way there are some seriously strange pieces of furniture in Alice’s digs.

I have no idea what’s going on. The other mural pieces though are simply ingenious; build large cylindrical columns and make them look like giant paint spray cans.

Then the “cans” themselves get decorated with art/graffiti.  There are styles here to please everyone. This is a brilliant idea for transforming barren, ugly, sad, spaces and damaged buildings and I’m delighting to add these to my virtual mural collection.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 3, 2018

Manchester Street Goes Funky…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The empty spaces left after demolition of buildings damaged in the Christchurch, New Zealand earthquakes have generated new spaces for large scale artworks.

These murals along Manchester Street liven up the empty walls of the buildings that still stand. The styles are all different and some are pretty funky.

Some of these buildings are still due their date with the wrecking ball or “nibbler” cranes; others are probably in limbo due to Insurance issues and for the moment stand empty.

I think it’s a brilliant idea to encourage this sort of colour, it’s something to bring a smile or provoke a thought that focuses on a difference side of the disaster and tragedy that shock the city on 4th September 2010 (mag:7.1), 22nd February 2011 (Mag:6.3), 13th June 2011 (Mag:6.4) and the one Kiwidutch family experienced: 23rd December 2013 (Mag: 6.2).

There is a website called “Geonet” that monitors all earth tremors in and around the coast of New Zealand, the earth’s crust is still very active albeit on a far lower scale, even as recently as 15th July 2018, there was a Magnitude 4.0. (Depth 9km) epicentre 10 km north-east of Christchurch.

This is only a moderate quake though; nothing to worry about and the rest of the quakes on the first page are all light or weak quakes of far lesser degree.

We think that the earth stays still, peaceful and tranquil below us but reality is that the tectonic plates are busy, pushing and almost unperceptively nudging one another like siblings in the back of the car on a car still secretly fighting even though the parent is watching. Geonet: https://www.geonet.org.nz/earthquake

The “Christchurch Quake Map” also details quakes on a daily/weekly lineup, as normal now as the weather forecast. href=”http://www.christchurchquakemap.co.nz/largest”>http://www.christchurchquakemap.co.nz/largest</ I want to continue taking as many photographs as I can of these murals, they may be temporary and one day gone. That doesn’t mean though, that they need to be forgotten.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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2018Jan Les Mills1 (Small)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 10, 2013

Imagine Leaning Out the Window of Buildings Leaning into the Street…

Filed under: Canterbury Cathedral,ENGLAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Last summer we hired a van, packed up our family of four and visiting friend “Velvetine’ and hit the road to new sights and adventures.

This is my photographic diary of events as they unfolded. Today we have a schedule to keep so are up bright and early so that we don’t waste the day. We want to visit Canterbury Cathedral and the website says that the gates open at 9.00 a.m but we are a little early so we need to wait for the doors to open.

The entrance we need to find is located in the centre of town down a narrow street. There’s no parking and it’s started to drizzle so Himself lets us out and goes off to park the car.

There are some small streets closeby that are very narrow and have tudor style buildings along them.

I half imagine that if an upstairs neighbour from across the street needed to borrow a cup of sugar then it might almost be possible for the counterpart neighbour opposite to pass it over though an upper floor window. That is of course probably figuratively and literally be stretching things just a little bit, but this street is amazing in it’s selection of leaning walls and quirky shapes.  Let’s take a look…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 20, 2013

Belgium: Finding a Wall of Chickens but No Waffles…

Filed under: Belgian Cuisine,BELGIUM,Lochristi,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Welcome to my retrospective posts about our Summer adventures.

It’s August 2012 and we’ve just bundled our rather jet-lagged friend  “Velvetinenut”  into our rented van and whisked her to over the border to Belgium… after an hour or two dozing in the back with pillows she’s refreshed and rearing to go and since we made an early start kids everyone is now whineing  expressing wishes for food.

We turn off the motorway and take a few smaller roads but apparently not much is open in Belgium villages on a hot sleepy August morning.

We enjoy the scenery and several villages later find ourselves in the slightly larger town of Lochristi.

In deep contrast to the small villages around it, Lochristi  is a hive of activity and the main reason is soon apparent as we progress down the main street to find market stalls set up on the footpaths.

Himself drops us off so we can browse whilst he finds a parking spot and my kids find themselves dragged past the stalls of  cheap plastic toys by the two fanatical foodie friends who are making a bee-line for the food trailers instead.  (yeah kids, sorry it’s a tough life).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There’s a particularly interesting cheese stall and when I ask about local speciality cheeses, I’m surprised at just how many there are.

There’s a good queue of locals (always a good sign) which we join and of course we end up buying a few more cheeses than we intended but they turn out to be fabulous, so worth it.

There”s an amazing rotisserie trailer where an entire side is filled with gently rotating roasting chickens, at the bottom there are golden roasted potatoes that look scrumptious  but we didn’t end up getting any because the queue here by the counter was about ten deep.

I only got a great photo of the rotisserie because it was throwing out a small wall of heat and since the day was already heading for 30C  (86 F)  people were wisely queueing on the “cool” side to the left of the counter. Velvetine said that since Belgium is famous for it’s waffles, and we are here in Belgium she would love to try a waffle if she can.

I ask directions to possible places we might get a waffle and we visit several cafés with no luck, but they are friendly and helpful and write down the name of a place further down the street that they think might have some for us to try. The search for a bona fide fresh Belgium Waffle is on…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Velvetinenut) posted with permission

(photograph © Velvetinenut) posted with permission

(photograph © Velvetinenut) posted with permission

(photograph © Velvetinenut) posted with permission

(photograph © Velvetinenut) posted with permission

(photograph © Velvetinenut) posted with permission

(photograph © Velvetinenut) posted with permission

(photograph © Velvetinenut) posted with permission

(photograph © Velvetinenut) posted with permission

(photograph © Velvetinenut) posted with permission

(photograph © Velvetinenut) posted with permission

July 7, 2013

Tackling DownTown on Foot… Is a Pleasure in Veere…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS,Zeeland: Veere — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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During our walking tour of Veere we discover a pretty main street filled with little boutique shops, restaurants and cafés… todays post is a photographic tour as I walk around… I’m easily amused by things like finding three ages and styles of bricks in the pavement, or metal signs that reflect the area’s history. Walking around here didn’t take long as the town centre is very small indeed, but I very much enjoyed the walk and got my physiotherapy exercise for the day done at the same time.  Win Win!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 2, 2012

Feeling, Tasting and Seeing Harmony…

Filed under: FOOD,MALAYSIA,Melaka,PHOTOGRAPHY,Specialty,Traditional — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You are turning another page in my retrospective diary of our travels to New Zealand earlier this year.

We are now on our way back home  to the Netherlands but have a long stopover of almost a week in Singapore to visit with a fellow Foodie and good friend that I first met on the internet who I’ll call here by her internet nickname “Velvetine”.

Together we have made a side trip from Singapore and have taken a three hour bus trip to Melaka, Malaysia where we have  been visiting the Cheng Hoon Teng temple but now after waiting a while for one straggler in our group who was busy seeking her fortune with “lucky sticks”, we all spill out onto the street to start a walking tour and see the city centre.

The street we are on is  officially called  Jalan Tokong Besi  but it’s also known as “Harmony Street”  because on it and standing in harmony are the places of worship of the three main religions of Malaysia.

These consist of the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple that we have just visited, which was buit in 1645, and is the oldest chinese Temple in Malaysia. Just a short distance down the street is the Kampung Keling Mosque tht was built in 1868 and looks like no other mosque I have ever seen before.

It’s a tall tower of a building some six stories high, very square in shape and has a sight pagoda look to it, actually I asked the guide if it was a Japanese building and when she told me it was a mosque I was quite surprised. It’s a stunning piece of architecture, with pure simplicity that draws your eye straight up the tower to the top.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The last of the trio is the Sri Payyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple which, built in the late 1700’s is the  oldest Hindu temple in Malaysia but which sadly I didn’t manage to grab a photograph of.

I find it amazing that two of these building are the oldest of their type in all of Malaysia and that they are situated in the very same street… brilliant!

Don’t you just wish at all religions could so peacefully co-exist in their own “harmony streets” everywhere in the world as they do here?

Of course I’m captivated too by the street scenes all around us… there is so much to see.

The decorations for the upcoming Chinese New  Year,  street vendors, a freezer full of ice-cream  grabs the full attention of my children, and  for my lens too since these ice-creams are  egg-shaped and come in rounded clear plastic containers.

Then there was the table of durian sweets… but the one I really wished we could have had time to stop and try, a local speciality that our guide pointed out and explained: chicken rice balls, which consists of rice cooked in chicken stock and molded into balls. We are told that come evening time there will be a long queue outside this establishment for these rice balls,  touted as one of the best in Melaka are very popular with locals and tourists alike.

Darn, I wish we could have stayed longer… I want to try it all (ok, maybe not quite so fast on the durian… but those chicken rice balls were definitely calling me). Let’s take a look…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 9, 2012

It’s Not Necessarily What’s in The Photograph That’s Worrying… It’s What’s Not.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This post is a continuation of the one I made yesterday… because I spied something that piqued my curiosity.

There’s a relatively unassuming building in Hereford Street, Christchurch that stands next to Shand’s Emporium and its called the Royal Insurance building.  On the ground floor at street level there are four equal sized arches that house three windows and a doorway, followed on floors two to four by rows of four large bay windows on each level.

What’s seized my attention are two things, First is the unmissable  massive ironwork bracing that appears to be holding up the front face of the building, and second is the fact that the building is tucked so close in to Shand’s Emporium that it even appears to be dovetailed into the recess beneath the Shand’s Emporium roof!

That’s a very “close relationship” indeed so needless to say I was interested to find out more about this building.

Sadly I drew almost a total blank on my research on this one,  the only mention is I could find was that a company called “Royal Insurance” was  indeed active in Hereford Street Christchurch from about the 1860’s onwards, thus making it one of the cities founding stone buildings… but details about how long it stayed as an Insurance company and when it ceased to be so and went on to other things appear to be absent (or more probably, the information is available somewhere in a place like the Christchurch City Council archives).

Still, background information or not, I hoped that whoever had gone to such a great effort to support this building, would be back to repair it at a later date.

As is my custom, I usually start sorting travel photographs and using my diary notes a week or two before the post is published… because often I need to fill in the gaps and provide names, dates and finish my research on the topic before I can post it and as you can imagine with work, health and family life, not everything can done quickly.

The text up until this point, I had written ready for posting, so imagine my horror when I ran across an on-line newspaper article yesterday here:  http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/7575542/Good-home-wanted-for-Shands-Emporium

It’s not just the sad shape of the little Shand’s Emporium building that’s left me speechless  ….it’s  also the very prominent gap on the left side of the newspaper photograph where the Royal Insurance building should  be standing that makes my heart sink.

I’m posting these photographs of the Royal Insurance building anyway…  since photographs apparently,  are all that’s left.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Thanks to Google Street View)

(photograph © Thanks to Google Street View)

April 6, 2012

Even Something Deco Going On Underfoot…

Filed under: ART,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Places and Sights,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Being the patterns / manhole cover etc geek that I am  https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/new-287/   I also delight in seeing that the manhole covers here are also in the Art Deco Style, as are the drain covers and grates…   is it only me? …don’t you find this cool?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

And further along on the pavement itself, there is also a large star-burst style  metal emblem inlaid into the ground… the detail fanatic in me loves this!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 27, 2012

The Day a Police Car, a Random Act of Kindness and some Wise Words Changed my Life…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I was going to post something different today but something happened this weekend that reminded me that one person’s actions can influence the path of someones else’s life forever.

Me?  I’m the person who was influenced.
I was given a gift, a very special gift.

Remember a few days ago I wrote about the Rugby Street Church in Christchurch New Zealand and the church hall behind it that has now been completely demolished due to earthquake damage?

Well this place holds a special place in my heart for more reasons than just the dances and fun times I  had there.

I went to this youth group because I was friends with a brother and sister who parents had a holiday house in the same place as my family did.

These two people came into my life during some turbulent years and I valued the fact that they accepted me for who I was and we got on well, so when they invited me to come along to their youth group I said yes.

My parents were semi-neutral about my joining this group and although I had a sister who rarely went out and for whom they were a ready and willing taxi service, when I expressed hope of the same it was made clear that my bike was in the bike-shed and if I wanted to get there, I could do so under my own steam.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Since I lived in the shadow of the Port Hills on the other side of town I therefore commuted to and from the friday night youth group by ten-speed bicycle.

One day when I was locking up my bike outside Rugby Street hall another member of the group, (“M”) came over and wondered why I hadn’t walked to the meeting. (It appeared that he assumed I lived close to the brother and sister friends who lived a short walk away.)

I laughed, told him where I lived and thought nothing more about it.
A few weeks later “M” came  and told me that he was really worried about the idea of me cycling home in the dark alone, especially through the often deserted one -way system that I used to get home.

I’ll explain why he said that.

In the “wisdom”and thinking of the day,  Christchurch’s City fathers planned the layout of their new city in a concise looking grid pattern before even leaving England, which got somewhat complicated when they imposed it on a landscape on the other side of the world that surprised them with added features like  meandering rivers.

The grid pattern road system worked well on paper, but when motor vehicles were added to the equation, reality was that the sheer number of intersections meant more traffic lights than city inhabitants and crossing the city became a nightmare.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One day someone had a bright idea and turned designated streets into one-way systems with synchronised traffic lights for speedy travel north/south and east/west on each of the four sides of the city centre.

Good, the system worked well enough, but it was synchronised for car speed and not bicycle speed so for cyclists there were many stops along it anyway.

I still considered the one-way streets safer than the very busy Columbo Street because there wasn’t much space on Colombo for bikes and I wanted to avoid the weekend inebriated who hung out around Catherdral Square.

The one-way systems were by far the quickest routes, but often the most lonely too, light industrial businesses had strung up along many of them, the inner city residences that there were, were few and far between and because this was an area of the city that  might be termed as “an old-established,  pre-regeneration area”  the houses tended to be more run-down needing some obvious TLC,  than inner city chic.

“M’  was worried about my safely cycling alone here at night and said he wanted to borrow his father’s car and drive me home. My problem with this idea was that “M” lived very close to the Rugby Street church and my house was a long long way out of his way… not only that, but it rankled with me that  I couldn’t afford to give him petrol money, so in my pride and stubbornness I politely refused his offer.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Several  offers of a lift later, also politely refused, and despite assurances that no petrol money was needed (after finding out that it was one of my reasons for declining)  “M” took matters into his own hands.

When I got on my bike and cycled home in the dark, he would follow a safe distance behind me in his father’s car, made sure that I got up my driveway ok, and then wave and drive home again.

Since I was resolute in my opinion that his actions weren’t necessary and hope he would grow tired of it,  I continued to cycle as usual and he continued this process until one summer night when our youth meeting had gone on far longer than usual.

It was well past midnight, but the weather was still balmy, it had been tropical all day so I was wearing a tee-shirt and skirt as I cycled  home as usual.
The one-way street that would take me south was Barbadous Street and it was really quiet… the odd car passed but other than “M”  following slowly behind the streets were deserted.

I’d been waiting at the traffic lights because of course they were phased for car speed and not cycle speed, and when they turned green off I went. All of a sudden I heard a strange noise… a sort of “whop whop, then a pause and again “whop whop”.

More than the noise I now noticed a strange light in the darkness and still cycling, turned my head to see what it was.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Imagine my shock to see “M’s”car pulled over to the side of the road with a police car next to it… there was no siren on but police car’s light’s were flashing and this was the strange light that I had noticed.

I turned around on my bike and cycled back to find poor “M” tying to explain to the police that he was on a mission to assure my safety and that he wasn’t actually stalking the female cyclist as it certainly looked to them.

The look of relief on his face when I arrived back to confirm his story will stay with me for the rest of my days, so will the incredulous looks on the faces of the police officers at the whole situation before them.

My pride and stubborness were knocked down quite a bit that night and not wanting to embarrass “M’  further we quickly thanked the police for their concern and intervention,  put the bike in the back of the station-wagon and drove  the rest of the way home.

Outside my door we sat in the car and had a long talk. It wasn’t about the petrol money “M” said, or the time,  effort or distance, it was because he really worried that something might have happened to me on one of these nightime journeys and he had the means to make sure nothing did.

He wanted to help, not only for me but for his own peace of mind… this had really been worrying him  and he wanted to help.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then he said words to this effect: “Sometimes someone just wants to give, they know you can’t pay them back, but that’s not the point… payback to me isn’t needed.

Maybe instead, one day, some time , somewhere in life you will find someone who has a need that you can meet.

It might have nothing to do with cash, it could be your time, your talent, a skill, a listening ear, it may indeed be financial … but most often you will find that your time and efforts are needed far far more than money.

When you see this situation and can meet the need, just do what you can and in doing so you will have paid me back in full.”

His words that night changed a lot of things in my life, not least  my attitude because it made a good dent in my stubborn streak.

The biggest lessons I have learned from this … is that help often comes to you when you least expect it and in guises you never dreamed of …. that giving back brings a satisfaction that you never imagined possible…. and that if you have your eyes open you will always find someone who could use a helping hand and that both parties can be richer for having given and received.

Whilst I have never “given”with the expectaion of anything in return, I can tell you that I have often experienced some very strange situations in my life in which seemingly unrelated chains of events have slotted together prefectly to ease a complication in my life.

Is this “karma”or a case of “what goes around comes around”? Who knows…

I am richer as  a person because  I have learned that when I give, I grow.

For various reasons I now longer attend church but I don’t think that having faith is necessarily defined by church attendance, for me it’s all about the maxim “to whom much is given, much is required“.

Sadly I  lost touch with “M” long ago, but I will continue to be influenced by him because his kindness and his words changed me and widened my horizons. I can only hope that every now and again he is blessed in receiving a random act of kindness from a complete stranger whenever he needs it too.

The best thing about a random act of kindness? …. Passing it on.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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