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Hi Seb,

 I have no worries about Brexit as we can do our own trade deals with other countries such as India cutting the steep duty imposed by them on imported scotch whisky. 

The water for Caol Ila is very clear compared to the peaty water in the south of Islay around Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig. 

About ten years ago we used to occasionally play golf with a Caol Ila employee who told us that as a ‘one off’ Caol Ila distillery produced a heavily peated single malt whisky. How did they do this when Caol Ila whisky is traditionally a light whisky containing little peat. They instructed the Diageo owned Maltings at Port Ellen to heavily peat their barley to create their heavily peaked single malt. 

Caol Ila whisky is very expensive and as far as I am aware you can only purchase Caol Ila single malt in the shop at the distillery and specialist whisky shops such the Green Welly shop at Tyndrum. 

Another friend who worked at Laphrioag told us at the golf that if the water in the South coast of England was suitable then all the whisky distilleries would situated on the South coast of England. 

This is starting to happen with a new whisky distillery in the Norfolk area being built and now in production using the expert knowledge of retired Laphroaig Distillery Manager Iain Henderson whilst a new Cotswold whisky distillery has recently opened up. 

Edited by islaydarkblue
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3 hours ago, Gedee said:

Islay do you as an "incomer" as opposed to "these white settlers" ever feel the need to, interfere/take over/contol/disrupt, the Islay people & their way of life? Or would you describe yourself, as the kind of person, who prefers to be on the fringe of things and happily take a backseat? Or do you occasionally offer assistance, in a quiet unobtrusive manner, when required or aske? Am I right to assume, you make a gentle effort, to blend in with the local people & customs ... Which some might say, has served them well for many generations?

G, I'm usually a silent read-only observer to this range of topics, but your post brought a question to mind.....I'm just 'throwing the thought up in the air', and not expecting you to answer it.

Just what is the difference (in local impact on housing/prices/services/culture) between people who retire early to or buy a second home in the Highlands & Islands as "white settlers" from the south and those from other parts of mainland lowland Scotland....are both sets not equally as likely to inflate local housing beyond the scope of young locals, to 'take over' local businesses, committees, push for changes to the established way of life, and to consider themselves the latest incarnation of 'the great improvers' (the unwanted), as the Gaels used to call them?

:chin:

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10 hours ago, islaydarkblue said:

Hi Seb,

 I have no worries about Brexit as we can do our own trade deals with other countries such as India cutting the steep duty imposed by them on imported scotch whisky. 

The water for Caol Ila is very clear compared to the peaty water in the south of Islay around Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig. 

About ten years ago we used to occasionally play golf with a Caol Ila employee who told us that as a ‘one off’ Caol Ila distillery produced a heavily peated single malt whisky. How did they do this when Caol Ila whisky is traditionally a light whisky containing little peat. They instructed the Diageo owned Maltings at Port Ellen to heavily peat their barley to create their heavily peaked single malt. 

Caol Ila whisky is very expensive and as far as I am aware you can only purchase Caol Ila single malt in the shop at the distillery and specialist whisky shops such the Green Welly shop at Tyndrum. 

Another friend who worked at Laphrioag told us at the golf that if the water in the South coast of England was suitable then all the whisky distilleries would situated on the South coast of England. 

This is starting to happen with a new whisky distillery in the Norfolk area being built and now in production using the expert knowledge of retired Laphroaig Distillery Manager Iain Henderson whilst a new Cotswold whisky distillery has recently opened up. 

India is a difficult market to crack - they have a home grown whisky industry which they want to protect. They are not keen to import masses of scotch whisky. A trade deal with India would be years away if at all.

Most of the distilleries on Islay take their malt from Port Ellen - it is all peated "to spec" to ensure it is the correct phenol content for the the distillery it is on order for. For example, Caol Ila has a low phenol content, Ardbeg, Lagavulin, and Laphroaig have a much higher phenol content which gives it the almost medicinal (TCP) type flavour.

Making whisky isn't a difficult process - water, barley, yeast. You can make it almost anywhere. We've got sites that make whisky from borehole water and a lot of them make it from domestic "towns" water. Whisky has been made in England and Wales for a while now. 

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8 hours ago, WoodStein said:

G, I'm usually a silent read-only observer to this range of topics, but your post brought a question to mind.....I'm just 'throwing the thought up in the air', and not expecting you to answer it.

Just what is the difference (in local impact on housing/prices/services/culture) between people who retire early to or buy a second home in the Highlands & Islands as "white settlers" from the south and those from other parts of mainland lowland Scotland....are both sets not equally as likely to inflate local housing beyond the scope of young locals, to 'take over' local businesses, committees, push for changes to the established way of life, and to consider themselves the latest incarnation of 'the great improvers' (the unwanted), as the Gaels used to call them?

:chin:

Hi Wood...I don't mind responding to your post (if I can), but I'm  not sure I understand it, or where you are going with it. The fault I think may be with me.

Referring to my last post to Islay, it was my intention to add a light piece of sarcasm, to question Islay's motivation & his reasons for inflicting his beliefs,

politics & standards on others (As I see it) Islay is well aware we personally disagree on many levels & I believe accepts this. My posts/responses to him,

nearly always contain a wee bit fun/light sarcasm/banter. I understand in the main they are wasted, as Islay is the first to admit he..."does not do humour"

The alternative for me, is to ignore most of his posts, or get into pointless debates & arguments, which frankly go nowhere & don't do any of us any good.

(Islay, the post above is of course a response to Wood's. But that said, I don't like referring to yo like you are not there. So comment on above if you wish):chaplin:

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23 hours ago, WoodStein said:

G, I'm usually a silent read-only observer to this range of topics, but your post brought a question to mind.....I'm just 'throwing the thought up in the air', and not expecting you to answer it.

Just what is the difference (in local impact on housing/prices/services/culture) between people who retire early to or buy a second home in the Highlands & Islands as "white settlers" from the south and those from other parts of mainland lowland Scotland....are both sets not equally as likely to inflate local housing beyond the scope of young locals, to 'take over' local businesses, committees, push for changes to the established way of life, and to consider themselves the latest incarnation of 'the great improvers' (the unwanted), as the Gaels used to call them?

:chin:

Hi WoodStein,

i have just noticed your post and I will give you my answer as far as it affects Islay and probably other islands such as Arran and Mull.

Most people who have retired early and have a second home on Islay have fallen heir to it as the result of the death of parents. 

A lot of these second homes are rented out as self catering properties the vast majority being being advertised on AirBNB. 

This is hopeless as in the winter months there are a lot of ‘dark windows’ in villages throughout Islay. These ‘dark windows’ are particularly prevalent in the villages of Portnahaven, Port Wemyss and the most of the properties in the centre of Port Charlotte. 

Second home owners tend not to get involved with Committees on Islay as they are on the island for only short periods especially if they are renting their house out throughout the tourist season with the main part running from Easter until the middle of October. 

I am surprised that the local hoteliers and guest house owners on Islay are not ‘up in arms’ about the explosion on self catering properties being advertised on AirBNB as it is taking business away from them. 

In my opinion it is the ‘white settlers’ who have inflated the prices of properties on the islands as they have sold their property down south for a high price and are prepared to pay ‘top dollar’ to purchase the property of their choice usually with a sea view. 

Most of the committees on Islay are run by ‘white settlers’ who tend to be ‘pushy’. 

Several shops have closed in recent years on Islay but amazingly Bowmore is the ATM capital of Scotland. 

There are currently three ATM’s situated in the centre of Bowmore which has a resident population of about 900. 

There is a Bank of Scotland ATM, an RBS ATM and a Co-operative Bank ATM which is situated outside the Co-op. 

 

 

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14 hours ago, Gedee said:

Hi Wood...I don't mind responding to your post (if I can), but I'm  not sure I understand it, or where you are going with it. The fault I think may be with me.

Referring to my last post to Islay, it was my intention to add a light piece of sarcasm, to question Islay's motivation & his reasons for inflicting his beliefs,

politics & standards on others (As I see it) Islay is well aware we personally disagree on many levels & I believe accepts this. My posts/responses to him,

nearly always contain a wee bit fun/light sarcasm/banter. I understand in the main they are wasted, as Islay is the first to admit he..."does not do humour"

The alternative for me, is to ignore most of his posts, or get into pointless debates & arguments, which frankly go nowhere & don't do any of us any good.

(Islay, the post above is of course a response to Wood's. But that said, I don't like referring to yo like you are not there. So comment on above if you wish):chaplin:

Hi Gedee,

 I have just posted some words of wisdom in reply to WoodStein’s post.

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10 hours ago, islaydarkblue said:

Hi Gedee,

 I have just posted some words of wisdom in reply to WoodStein’s post.

Thanks for noting my comment Islay. I'll let Wood respond, should he so wish.

But mind keep note o' they hooses wi the Dark Windaes :ph34r:

Cunning, nasty folk these "White Settlers" :sadno:

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2 hours ago, Gedee said:

Thanks for noting my comment Islay. I'll let Wood respond, should he so wish.

But mind keep note o' they hooses wi the Dark Windaes :ph34r:

Cunning, nasty folk these "White Settlers" :sadno:

Hi Gedee.

It is the second home owners who have fallen heir to houses on Islay that are guilty of having houses with dark windows during the long winter months. The ‘White Settlers’ have moved to live on Islay ‘lock stock and barrel. 

However some of the ‘White Settlers’ have realised that living permanently on Islay is not for them. They have sold up and moved to live on the Mainland. 

With signing of Kane Hemmings is now time for me to get a move on and get back to living back in Dundee on a permanent basis. 

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2 hours ago, islaydarkblue said:

Hi Gedee.

It is the second home owners who have fallen heir to houses on Islay that are guilty of having houses with dark windows during the long winter months. The ‘White Settlers’ have moved to live on Islay ‘lock stock and barrel. 

However some of the ‘White Settlers’ have realised that living permanently on Islay is not for them. They have sold up and moved to live on the Mainland. 

With signing of Kane Hemmings is now time for me to get a move on and get back to living back in Dundee on a permanent basis. 

Islay it must be difficult for the Islay Folk to keep their eye on...Who is what & where.

White Settlers, Incomers & more established  "Local People" (wi their strange ways)

Not to mention the scary, half furnished, or poorly furnished houses wi Dark Windaes.

Better indeed to get back to civilisation. Do you check the Dundee Property Market?

 

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21 minutes ago, Gedee said:

Islay it must be difficult for the Islay Folk to keep their eye on...Who is what & where.

White Settlers, Incomers & more established  "Local People" (wi their strange ways)

Not to mention the scary, half furnished, or poorly furnished houses wi Dark Windaes.

Better indeed to get back to civilisation. Do you check the Dundee Property Market?

 

Hi Gedee,

It is certainly a lot more difficult for them since our dog Poppy was put to sleep in March 2017 as prior to then I took Poppy out for a walk every day except when it was pouring rain and she refused to go out. 

The local Islay residents do not know about the Dark Blues Forum otherwise they would be able to read all my up to date information about Islay. 

We have been continually checking the Dundee Property Market, but I am fussy where I would like to stay. 

I do not want to live in Broughty Ferry and Barnhill as the houses are more expensive and the Ferry is the first part of Dundee to get the East Coast haar. Broughty Ferry and Barnhill is too far from Dens Park, the new stadium if it ever happens and Downfield Golf Club 

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Was wondering if you had any actual information about the Calmac ferries that are built but not in service and the disagreement between the Scottish government and both the ship builders and CamLmac. Don't know what the row is about but it seems as though the guy who bailed out the yard is about to be shafted.

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On 11/08/2019 at 22:14, BCram said:

Was wondering if you had any actual information about the Calmac ferries that are built but not in service and the disagreement between the Scottish government and both the ship builders and CamLmac. Don't know what the row is about but it seems as though the guy who bailed out the yard is about to be shafted.

BCram,

I hope that do not get in more trouble regarding this post as my reply is bordering on political although in my opinion it is a matter of public concern. 

Ferguson’s Shipyard previously went into administration and it was bought out administration by Jim McColl who at the time was like Donald Trump a very good friend of Alex Salmond. Last night according  to the BBC Reporting Scotland news Jim McColl is still an economic advisor to the Scottish Government despite having fallen out ‘big time’ with Alex Salmond. 

Jim McColl lives in Switzerland. 

That is the political bit completed. 

In September 2017 when I had my first attempt at my prostate operation one of the patients in my ward in the RAH told me that the owner of Ferguson’s Shipyard had paid off skilled local workers and replaced them with workers from Eastern Europe. He told me that he had a friend who had been paid off after complaining to the owner when he was visiting the yard about employing workers from Eastern Europe and getting rid of skilled workers.

The Eastern European workers  were bussed in every morning and bussed home at the end of their shift. 

My fellow patient also told me that the Calmac ferries would not be ready to be used for another two years which has proved correct. 

When I returned to Islay after being discharged from the RAH I searched the Internet to corroborate my facts but I could not find anything about it. Mind you there was also nothing about the MV Hebridean Isles when it hit the pier at Kennacraig in July 2016 and was taken out of service for ten days. 

When I had my second and successful prostate operation last January the person in the next bed to me worked in Port Glasgow and he confirmed that the information I had received in September 2017 was correct. 

It was a crazy decision by CMal to power these new ferries with an untried type of engine which has never been previously used in a Calmac ferry. 

The MV Finlaggan is powered by heavy fuel oil which the last time I looked cost 8p per litre as opposed to marine diesel which powers most of the other Calmac ferries costing 58p per litre. 

In my opinion CMal should have ensured that these two new Calmac ferries were powered by either heavy fuel oil or marine diesel as the majority of the current Calmac fleet of ferries are getting ‘clapped out and they are continually breaking down having to be taken out of service. 

CMal and Calmac are both Scottish Government owned. In my opinion someone is going to have to back down and ‘eat a bit of humble pie’ to avoid the yard going into administration and I doubt if it will be Jim McColl. 

If this breaches the rules of this forum then I am very sorry for breaking rules and you can always PM me. 

 

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3 hours ago, islaydarkblue said:

BCram,

I hope that do not get in more trouble regarding this post as my reply is bordering on political although in my opinion it is a matter of public concern. 

Ferguson’s Shipyard previously went into administration and it was bought out administration by Jim McColl who at the time was like Donald Trump a very good friend of Alex Salmond. Last night according  to the BBC Reporting Scotland news Jim McColl is still an economic advisor to the Scottish Government despite having fallen out ‘big time’ with Alex Salmond. 

Jim McColl lives in Switzerland. 

That is the political bit completed. 

In September 2017 when I had my first attempt at my prostate operation one of the patients in my ward in the RAH told me that the owner of Ferguson’s Shipyard had paid off skilled local workers and replaced them with workers from Eastern Europe. He told me that he had a friend who had been paid off after complaining to the owner when he was visiting the yard about employing workers from Eastern Europe and getting rid of skilled workers.

The Eastern European workers  were bussed in every morning and bussed home at the end of their shift. 

My fellow patient also told me that the Calmac ferries would not be ready to be used for another two years which has proved correct. 

When I returned to Islay after being discharged from the RAH I searched the Internet to corroborate my facts but I could not find anything about it. Mind you there was also nothing about the MV Hebridean Isles when it hit the pier at Kennacraig in July 2016 and was taken out of service for ten days. 

When I had my second and successful prostate operation last January the person in the next bed to me worked in Port Glasgow and he confirmed that the information I had received in September 2017 was correct. 

It was a crazy decision by CMal to power these new ferries with an untried type of engine which has never been previously used in a Calmac ferry. 

The MV Finlaggan is powered by heavy fuel oil which the last time I looked cost 8p per litre as opposed to marine diesel which powers most of the other Calmac ferries costing 58p per litre. 

In my opinion CMal should have ensured that these two new Calmac ferries were powered by either heavy fuel oil or marine diesel as the majority of the current Calmac fleet of ferries are getting ‘clapped out and they are continually breaking down having to be taken out of service. 

CMal and Calmac are both Scottish Government owned. In my opinion someone is going to have to back down and ‘eat a bit of humble pie’ to avoid the yard going into administration and I doubt if it will be Jim McColl. 

If this breaches the rules of this forum then I am very sorry for breaking rules and you can always PM me. 

 

Don't think it's political at all. How businesses are run is an interesting topic for some of us and I felt sure that you would have some information. The bit that intrigued me was the comments made by McColl about the untried engines that had been chosen to power these ferries. He seemed to think that the costs were not a problem for the builders and they should be paid for by the company that ordered them. Since both companies are controlled by our government I thought that this was a reasonable argument and all parties should be trying to get the money to pay for the ferries.

If we don't get reliable ferries the people who live on islands will gradually lose their quality of life and tourism will decline too, a downward spiral which can only be stopped by our government taking action. I don't understand the nationalisation argument but I think it's something to do with keeping to the rules that govern governmental support/subsidy for businesses.

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22 minutes ago, BCram said:

Don't think it's political at all. How businesses are run is an interesting topic for some of us and I felt sure that you would have some information. The bit that intrigued me was the comments made by McColl about the untried engines that had been chosen to power these ferries. He seemed to think that the costs were not a problem for the builders and they should be paid for by the company that ordered them. Since both companies are controlled by our government I thought that this was a reasonable argument and all parties should be trying to get the money to pay for the ferries.

If we don't get reliable ferries the people who live on islands will gradually lose their quality of life and tourism will decline too, a downward spiral which can only be stopped by our government taking action. I don't understand the nationalisation argument but I think it's something to do with keeping to the rules that govern governmental support/subsidy for businesses.

BCram,

Thank you for your post.

I think that a lot people do not realise that the Calmac ferries are effectively the island’s bridge to the Mainland. 

Since 2007 only two new large car ferries have been introduced onto the Calmac ferry routes, the MV Finlaggan on the Kennacraig to Islay Route and the Loch Seaforth on the Ullapool to Stornaway Route. 

The Finlaggan was talked about long before 2007 as my wife and I attended a ferry meeting in the Gaelic College in Bowmore in August 2003 which on this occasion was open to the public about the new Islay Ferry. 

Thanks to the introduction of Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) the Calmac ferries are now working flat out for the bulk of the summer timetable period which has resulted in several major breakdowns. However RET which was supposed to reduce the cost of travel on the Calmac ferries for island residents has been ill thought out. It is the same fare for you taking your car on the Kennacraig to Islay route as it is for an Islay resident which in my opinion is cray and not what the local residents thought was going to happen when RET was introduced. 

In my opinion I think that CMal had not worked out the full cost of these experimental engines whilst the Scottish Government was  desperate to give some work to Ferguson’s Shipyard. The Scottish Government has plenty of money to pay for an increased bill for the new ferries but it would mean that someone in CMal would have to admit  that they had made a mistake. 

Judging by the film reports on BBC Reporting Scotland by the time the ferries contract is finally completed and handed over to Calmac they will be corroded thanks to exposure to the sea air. 

Like you I think that nationalisation of the Ferguson Shipyard is a bad move as the cost will ultimately fall onto the Scottish taxpayer if it is not a success. It may have something to do with the State aid rules which are imposed by the EU.

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Don't see any problem in making sure we have a shipyard operating in Scotland and that it is capable of building decent sized ships. This used to be one of the planks of Keynesian economics where governments invested in vital infrastructure projects and the money they spent used by those who were directly employed to buy goods and services from other businesses.

If the engines are state of the art and "green" that seems to me to make it even more worthwhile for the government to pay up.

 

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Re the impact of the "White Settler" arrivals & the 2nd home "Black Window" impact, I guess the western isles do have some differences, compared to mainland highland areas....perhaps due to the impact of longer driving trips & ferries.

In 30 years of being based in the Cairngorms National Park area, in Upper Deeside, there is a high percentage of the 'white settler' variety of incomers, who have retired to an area of far lower property prices, but have succeeded in driving up local house prices to the extent that it's nearly impossible for any young people working locally to buy a house, even a tiny 2-room cottage, as they'd never be able to get close to a mortgage on £12-20k salaries. Very few children of local families remain in the area now, unless they're staying with parents....and there were many instances of young families with 2 or more kids living in 1-bedroom rented houses, as there's an inadequate supply of 'low cost housing'.

The worst impact, though, is the 2nd 'holiday' home owners, who buy up the lower-end property, come up for their (mainly golfing) holidays largely from Edinburgh/Glasgow area, or the north of england, with their cars stuffed with the food for their visits, and put almost zero into the local economy. Roughly a third of housing now falls into this 2nd home category, as there's no control over 'classification' of housing usage.

The same kind of impact has done significant damage to areas like Cornwall & Cumbria, and there really does need to be a radical change in the classification & permitted use of housing, and a far higher council tax / occupancy tariff on 2nd homes. Or just ban them ;) 

 

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Hi WoodStein.

Thank you for your comments. The island of Islay is part of the inner Hebrides whilst the Western Isles used to be called the Outer Hebrides. 

I agree with what you are saying about a lack of housing for local families in Upper Deeside due to well off people from Edinburgh and Glasgow purchasing second homes in the area. 

However you do not have to go as far as Upper Deeside to see this problem. The East Neuk of Fife has exactly the same problem with houses in Crail, Anstruther, Cellardyke etc owned by people who live in Central Scotland and use them either as second homes or let them out as holiday rentals which results in the same Dark Windows during the winter months apart from a few days at New Year. 

Islay has a similar problem with second home owners letting out their houses for holiday rental and it has got worse with the arrival of AirBNB. 

Argyll Community Housing Association and West Highland Homes in the last five years have probably built at least one hundred new homes on Islay but unfortunately they did not have the sense to hold back a number of these houses for incoming workers .This failure has resulted in HIAL the owners of Islay Airport having to consider housing their incoming staff in portacabins beside the airport. 

A local Islay resident had a letter in the last edition of the Ileach complaining about a lack of housing yet up to a couple of years ago she was part of the problem. She owned several flats on Islay but preferred to earn the ‘big bucks’ from holiday rentals rather than let them out all the year round for incoming workers to Islay such as vital NHS staff. 

It is not just second home owners who stuff their cars full of food. The local residents also do a ‘big shop’ at either Tesco or ASDA when they make a trip to the Mainland for the simple reason that there is not the choice on Islay that their is in the supermarkets on the Mainland.

If you do not believe me them I suggest that you do your weekly shopping in a Co-op supermarket in Dundee with the one in Albert Street being similar in size to the supermarket in Bowmore, Islay. 

One of my table tennis friends has a card for Costco in Glasgow and his car is packed to the gunnels with things like Coffee, biscuits, and other dry goods. 

On one occasion toilet rolls were on special offer in Costco and he brought back 225 toilet rolls which were fitted into every nook and cranny in his car in addition to all his other shopping purchased at Costco. 

 

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Hi Islay. you mentioned the supermarkets like Asda and Tesco as having an effect on the local shopping. what happens with the online competitors? Do you get great delivery service from the likes of Amazon? I don't know if you saw a newspaper report that showed that 6 shops in Oxford Street in London paid more in business rates than Amazon did. It seems to me that putting up operating costs for the likes of Amazon or reducing costs, like business rates, for High Street shops is really just tinkering with the problem. The convenience of online shopping is something that never seems to be considered and in my opinion people are beginning to value that, and using that as a reason for shopping online.   

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