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Welcome to my Blog!The lion roars!!!
I hope to share here my irrepressible thoughts on news, music, books, arts and such like. In general these will be items, events and issues which I feel have no place on my website (which focusses on aviation history and my travel photography).

The item immediately below this would be the latest posting.

Anybody, providing he knows how to be amusing, has the right to talk about himself. - Charles Baudelaire
Esse est percipi (To be is to be perceived) - Bishop George Berkeley

In 2013 I started a series of photo albums on Blurb.com, named '36Exp' (a subject adressed in 36 exposures, a reference to the exposures on most common rolls of 35 mm film: 12, 24 & 36.). The books can be ordered directly from the Blurb.com website.



Flowerparade 'Bloemencorso' 2017

Flowerparade 'Bloemencorso' 2017

Flowerparade 'Bloemencorso' 2017

Flowerparade in Haarlem (2017Apr23)

Flowerparade in Haarlem (2017Apr23)

Flowerparade in Haarlem (2017Apr23)
Float 'Netherlands bicycle country'
This one wasn't the winner, but it was my favourite!

Over the years I have enjoyed the Dutch flower parade (bloemencorso), a yearly tradition in april.
Most years, if work and weather allowed as much, I witnessed the parade pass by as a convoy. This year a slightly different method was applied: on thursday (april 20th) I visited the flowerhall ('Klinkenberghallen') in Sassenheim where volunteers were busy pinning the flowers in the designed patterns.
The team of volunteers work from wednesday to noon on friday and that's the deadline. It is a race against the clock, they can't take more time because the fresh flowers won't hold much longer than a few days. It takes some 6.000 crates to finish the job...
Per float combination it takes about 75.000 pins (total number 1.750.000!).
It was magnificent to see all that work progressing. The logistics is most impressive.

The convoy slowly parades from Sassenheim to Noordwijkerhout on friday, on the saturday to Lisse, Hillegom, Heemstede and come to a full stop stop in Haarlem.
On the sunday the show is stationary and as today, it always draws quite a crowd; in 2016 some 65.000 witnessed the parade en route while Haarlem saw 80.000 admirers.
The fragrant smell of all these flowers is something to be experienced!
The theme this time was 'Dutch Design' and this year was the 700th anniversary: this colourful tradition started soon after WW2!

MyFlickr for the preparations
MyFlickr for the show in Haarlem




'Slowly I am becoming aware of the fact that I have many more years behind me than ahead of me.
There is simply not enough time for me to realize all the plans I have in my head and that forces me to make some difficult choices...'

How true!



Unni Lindell

Not quite sure how this crime novel by Unni LIndell ended up in my bookcase, as the author is unfamiliar to me (does not appear on my 'search for'-list). But it was a pleasant read with a fascinating plot, though I could not warm much to any of the main characters, Cato Isaksen & Marian Dahle.

'Boeman' is the Dutch title of the original Norwegian 'Mørkemannen' novel and was published in 2009; this Dutch translation by Carla Joustra was published in 2010.

Unni Maria Lindell (b.03Apr1957) is a Norwegian writer. She is best known for her crime novels (whodunits), but has also written a collection of poems and several children's and young adult
Lindell worked as a journalist before she became an author.
Her first book 'Den grønne dagen' ('The green day') was published in 1986.
One of Lindell's most prominent characters is detective Cato Isaksen. He also features in this book.
Some of the Isaksen books have been adapted as TV films starring Reidar Sørensen, though I failed to find any titles of such films or crime series (a search on Google, Wikipedia and Imdb.com did not result in any titles).

The plot of this novel starts simply enough. A woman becomes very frightened when she hears someone whistling a children's song; it brings back scary memories.
Two days later she falls from her balcony 6 stories high and dies. Police find clues that warrant an investigation into this suspicious death.
The trail leads to a summer campground.
We change perspective and find a teenager working at the campground hearing a whistling during the night; she finds someone staring at her.
Cato Isaksen and his team are perplexed because the background of the victim is very vague.
The owner of the campground lives in the same complex as the victim.
The start of the investigation shows much unrest and bickering among the police team about office space, Marian's dog Birka in the offices to which Cato objects, some personal background of Marian Dahle (one of Isaksen's team but with obvious mental problems and not a teamplayer - much of the book is from her perspective).

New facts keep popping up and the murder is connected with events from the pasts for which a murderer was convicted, although the body was never found...

Not exactly five star material but if and when I come across another Unni Lindell crime novel I will certainly acquire it.




Raj, by Gita Mehta, a history novel about India

I picked up this book, Raj by Gita Mehta, for my interest in India's history as well as rekindling some of the memories dating back to my 2009 travel in India. During that travel the path of the Raj culture was crossed many times.

At the time of the first British colonies, India was ruled by 565 princely states. These states were most remarkable, perhaps, for their multiplicity and diversity.
The very palaces and forts of the dynastic rulers varied remarkably, as well, in size, architecture, history and occupation: from a chieftain's well-appointed, tapestried tent to a Maharajah's 400-room marble palace housing thousands of servants and retainers, rose-water-filled swimming pools, exotic zoos, squash courts, modern movie theaters and great, gilded durbar halls.

Among the princely rulers were hedonists and ascetics, scholars and sportsmen, tribal chieftains and Oxford graduates, despots and reformers.
However, regardless of their wealth, religious background, or aptitude for leadership, most royal leaders of British India initially welcomed imperial rule, for one of the Crown's first acts was to freeze the borders of many kingdoms, thus providing a security and tenure heretofore unknown to the rulers and their predecessors.

This novel describes how the Maharajah's succumbed to the rule of the British, voluntarily from a selfish or progressive point of view, or because their was little option.
The Maharajah's all complained about the cost of contributions for British warfare and infrastructure development in India, under orders by the British, such as railway lines and train stations, but meanwhile spending fortunes on their life style and the exorbitant costs of travel and long term stays in exquisite accommodations in Europe.
Even during my travels in India one noticed that the Maharadja's, even those considering themselves progressive, had little concern during their long reign for community improvements of their people.

The book decsribes in a very readable way the progress to independence. One reads about the British offering self-ruling to India provided the Kingdoms could all come to an agreement on the conditions, the Maharajah's ducking the responsibilities and uncertainties (to their own interests) of such a change, the rise of the Nationalists, the awful response of the British military to uprisings, the fighting between the Moslems and Nationalists...

Probably not the greatest book on India's history but a most readable one and I enjoyed it.




Travel and healthcare in th eTropics

Probably the only book my father, Jan Leeuw, ever published!
While working for what is now called the Human Resources Dept, he was designated with the desk for employees working overseas.
He published this comprehensive manual in 1977 for those sent out for detachments to countries in the tropics with some 126 pages filled with advise on food, drinking, cockroaches and rats and such, illnesses, etc.
The health issues were part of his work and he was in frequent contact with experts such as the Institute for the Tropics.
I treasure it as fond memory!


Suspects, tv-series

Suspects is a British police procedural television series first aired on Channel 5 on 12Feb2014.
Set in London, the series follows DS Jack Weston (a role by Damien Molony), DC Charlie Steele (Clare-Hope Ashitey) and their senior DI Martha Bellamy (Fay Ripley) of Greater London Police while they investigate different types of cases including murder, attempted murder, missing people, drug overdose, child abuse and sex crime.

Most of the show's dialogue is improvised in order to make it seem natural, the actors have a detailed story document and perform from there.
The show is filmed within the former London Electricity Building on Cambridge Heath Road, London.

I esspecially liked the high paced plot lines and dynamic way of filming.
Very entertaining series I thought, and while I missed Series 1 and sofar only have seen Series 2, I am looking forward to Series 3 & 4.




Werner Bischof, In Bevrijd Nederland

Werner Bischof, In Bevrijd Nederland

Werner Bischof, In Bevrijd Nederland

Werner Bischof, In Bevrijd Nederland

I came away with 2 photobooks from Werner Bischof's exhibition in Den Haag recently; 'Backstory' was discussed below, but Fotomuseum Den Haag / Lecturis also published a photobook in particular dedication to the photos on display concerning Holland, as Werner Bischof travelled in the Netherlands during november - december 1945 and photographed the destruction by bombing but also destruction by water after the Allied Forced had bombed the dykes of Walcheren to weaken German defenses in that area.
The book has 96 pages (31.5 x 24cm), 40+ large size photos and copies from Du magazine.

The photographs are not only about destruction and damage, as was Bischof's signature, he shows people objectively in the streets, children posing for the photographer, a woman cleaning a house from flood damage, etc. Life goes on, there is hope among the rubble.
A valuable document indeed.


Backstory - Werner Bischof, iconic photojournalist
The below photos are not meant to reproduce the images but rather to get the feeling of this fine book.

Backstory - Werner Bischof, iconic photojournalist

Backstory - Werner Bischof, iconic photojournalist

Backstory - Werner Bischof, iconic photojournalist

Backstory - Werner Bischof, iconic photojournalist

Werner Bischof (b.26Apr1916 - d.16May1954, died aged 38) was a Swiss photographer and photojournalist. He became a full member of Magnum Photos in 1949, the first new photographer to join its original founders.
At that time Magnum was composed of just five other photographers, its founders Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger, David 'Chim' Seymour, and Ernst Haas.

From 1939 on, he worked as an independent photographer for various magazines, in particular Du, based in Zürich.
He travelled extensively from 1945 to 1949 through nearly all European countries from France to Romania and from Norway to Greece. His works on the devastation in post-war Europe established him as one of the foremost photojournalists of his time.

The focus of much of Bischof's post-war humanist photography was showing the poverty and despair around him in Europe, tempered with his desire to travel the world, conveying the beauty of nature and humanity.
In 1951, he went to India, freelancing for Life, and then to Japan and Korea.
For Paris Match he worked as a war reporter in Vietnam.
In 1954, he travelled through Mexico and Panama, before flying to Peru, where he embarked on a trip through the Andes to the Amazonas on 14 May. Two days later his car fell off a cliff, on a mountain road in the Andes, and all 3 passengers were killed.

'Backstory' was published in celebration of Werner Bischof's 100th birthday. It contains 400 photos plus contact sheets, personal letters, quotes from his diaries and sketches, as well as magazine features as published in Du, Paris Match and Life.
It is rather typical that Life has a subtitle to Bischof's article (Dec.1949) 'Iron Curtain Countries': "a sensitive photographer shows their somber mood". The photography goes beyond mere reporting.
There's also a fine essay by Fred Ritchin and an interview with Karen Lubben, executive director magnum foundation, with Marco Bischof.

This book goes beyond a retrospective of Bischof's photography, it includes letters to Rosellina Mandel, who was to become his wife. Also most of the captions with the photos are quotes from his personal diary, he speaks to us from beyond the grave.
We read how Bischof considers becoming a member of Magnum and takes the plunge as he finds them ' .. all reliable and socialist-minded individuals.'

The book also illustrates by personal letters and diary entries.
This is a telling caption to a photo in the 'India' chapter: "I have to say that this work is meaningful to me, because it is closely connected to life, and that every day brings new thoughts, new problems, which keep you flexible. It's not necessary to entirely lose sight of sensitivity, but in order to save these things, man must first be saved, and we are the 'enlighteners' , the tools which can allow people to see."

The reader also sees that, with time passing, Bischof expresses doubts about his work as a photojournalist and subsequently struggles with his role as an artist and his frustrations with magazines and the short attention span of the media.

Werner Bischof was restless and idealistic as we see in his travels and photography, but restless regarding his morality as a reporter, entertaining a higher calling for beauty in everyday life while struggling with realities his job brought with it. He also had a wife and a small child, with another one on the way (who was born months after Bischof died), bringing further responsibilities.

The book and photographs are of course immaculate, but the personal struggle expressed in correspondence with his father, his sister Marianne, to Rosellina and to 'Bob' Capa & Magnum Photo is what sets this book aside from so many photobooks. The person who Werner Bischof was, with his dreams and ambitions, really comes alive in 'Backstory'. A fine tribute and masterpiece by his son, Marco.

Germany 1945
France 1945
Italy / Greece 1946
Hungary / Romania / Poland 1947
India 1951/52
Korea 1951/2
Japan 1951/2
Hong Kong 1952
Indochina 1952
USA 1953/54
Mexico 1954
Panama 1954
Peru 1954
Eassy / Fred Ritchin
Interview / Marco Bisschof / Kristen Lubben



Cartoon by Joep Bertrams
Published in De Groene Amsterdammer 6.4.2017



Pillars of the Earth - miniseries tv/ dvd

Pillars of the Earth - miniseries tv/ dvd

Pillars of the Earth - miniseries tv/ dvd

The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett (book)

I had not been interested in Ken Follett's spy novels, but when I noticed he had written a novel set in the year 1135, with a focus on life of common people I soon bought this paperback edition of Pan books (published 1990).The 1070 pages were a constant pleasure.
Imagine my surprise when I recently noticed that a mini series for tv had been produced, by none other than Tony & Ridley Scott. It probably was a good thing there were decades between me reading the book and watching this film and I enjoyed it immensely.

'The Pillars of the Earth' is an 8-episodes 2010 TV miniseries, adapted from Ken Follett's novel of the same name.
It debuted in the U.S. on Starz and in Canada on The Movie Network/Movie Central on 23Jul2010. Its UK premiere was on Channel 4 in October 2010.
In 2011, the series was nominated for 3 Golden Globes, including Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television, Ian McShane (as Waleran Bigod, a man of God) for Best Actor and Hayley Atwell (as Aliena) for Best Actress at the 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards.

In 1120, the White Ship catches fire in the English Channel, killing the only legitimate son of King Henry I, and seemingly leaving no survivors. Henry, who is close to death, requires his court to pledge loyalty to his daughter Maud's unborn son. However, Henry's nephew Stephen of Blois, who enjoys close ties with the Church, makes a deal with the Archbishop of Canterbury to be crowned instead. The battles for the English throne is a plot through all episodes.
For their loyalty and participation in the conspiracy Lord Percy of Hamleigh and his wife Regan & son William are rewarded with Castle Shiring. Lord Bartholomew of Shiring, owner of Shiring and loyal to Henry I, is thrown in the dungeon, his daughter Aliena and son Richard are reduced to poverty but take an oath to recapture Castle Shiring.

Aliena manages to set up a wool business in Kingsbridge, thus finding funding for her brother Richard to buy a horse and weapons to start a career as knight and he manages with his fighting fame to be invited to the royalty surrounding King Stephen. Both await their chance to strike, but this is not without stumbling blocks.

Meanwhile, Tom Builder has found work in repairing the abbey of Kingsbridge; he has brought his family but his wife died on their way. Tom and his son & daughter strike up a friendship with a woman and her son living in a cave in the woods as outlaws. They have a story connecting to that ship that went up in flames.
Alfred, Tom's son, becomes jealous of Jack, the son of Ellen, the witch from the woods. Jack has a talent for stone carving.

Prior Stephen is ambitious but struggles with intrigue among the monks at Kingsbridge.
Kingsbridge manages to get market rights from the King, to pay for the building of the cathedral. But this takes business away from Shiring and there is constant intrigue, conspiracies but also armed raids and murder surrounding the building of Kinsbridge cathedral.
The story, filled with plots, assassinations, drama and fighting in the battle fields, develops over decades until the cathedral is finished.

Cast (from Imdb):
Ian McShane - Waleran Bigod (9 episodes, 2010)
Matthew Macfadyen - Prior Philip (9 episodes, 2010)
Rufus Sewell - Tom Builder (8 episodes, 2010)
Natalia Wörner - Ellen (9 episodes, 2010)
Eddie Redmayne - Jack Jackson (9 episodes, 2010)
Hayley Atwell - Aliena (9 episodes, 2010)
Sam Claflin - Richard (9 episodes, 2010)
Sarah Parish - Regan Hamleigh (9 episodes, 2010)
Robert Bathurst - Percy Hamleigh (9 episodes, 2010)
David Oakes - William Hamleigh (9 episodes, 2010)
Anatole Taubman - Father Remigius (9 episodes, 2010)
John Pielmeier - Father Cuthbert (9 episodes, 2010)

A very entertaining series!




Werner Bischof - Standpunten (Fotomuseum Den Haag)

Werner Bischof - Standpunten (Fotomuseum Den Haag)

Werner Bischof - Standpunten (Fotomuseum Den Haag)

Werner Bischof - Standpunten (Fotomuseum Den Haag)

Swiss Magnum photographer Werner Bischof (1916-1954) worked as a photojournalist for legendary magazines like Life and Picture Post. Over the two decades prior to his premature death in 1954, he produced a memorable and multifaceted oeuvre.
To mark the centenary of his birth, the Hague Museum of Photography mounted a major retrospective of his work.
The exhibition numbered around 220 original prints, plus contact prints, personal letters and photo books. It offers an extensive view of his studio work, his images documenting Europe in the immediate aftermath of World War II, and his travels in Asia, South America and the United States.
The exhibition has been created by the photographer’s eldest son, Marco Bischof in collaboration with Magnum Photos.

This exhibition was already shown in Munich and Lausanne. For the Dutch showing (until 07May2017),
it was supplemented by 30 photographs that Bischof took during his 1945 visit to Holland and which have never previously been exhibited.






Recorded this from tv and wathched it over the past few weeks. Expecting a run-of-the-mill Scandinavian crime drama, but found myself in for a surprise!

Jordskott (EN: 'earth shot' or 'subsoil shoot') is a 2015 Swedish TV series, which is broadcast by SVT.
The series was filmed in Sala and Ragunda in the summer of 2014 and premiered on 16Feb2015.

Police inspector Eva Thörnblad (Moa Gammel) returns to the village of Silverhöjd, 7 years after her daughter Josephine disappeared beside a lake in the forest. Josephine's body was never found and it was presumed that she had drowned.
Upon Eva's return, a boy is missing and Eva begins to look for similarities between this disappearance and that of her daughter. At the same time, she has to deal with the death and probate of her late father and his large timber felling and processing business, Thörnblad Cellulosa.
Besides the missing children, there are a few murders and while the police soon have a suspect for the murders, the motiv remains a mystery.

The local police is not equipped to deal with such a crime wave and an inspector of the National Police arrives on the scene; but he, Göran Wass (Göran Ragnerstam), seems to have an agenda of his own in all this.
Local police inspector Tom Aronsson (Richard Forsgren) is divorced and has his autistic daughter staying with him, but his ex wife wants her to return home seeing the news from Silverhöjd on tv; an added family drama thrown in the plot.
Over the course of the series, Eva discovers that the children's disappearance is inextricably tangled with the conflict between those who want to protect the forest and the community that depends on Thörnblad Cellulosa.

There are various deadlines here: a bounty hunter is killing 'unhumans' who supposedly live in the boreal forest and Thörnblad Cellulosa is keen to start dynamiting the caves in the area for mining purposes.
Two parents on the board of Thörnblad Cellulosa have their kids kidnapped, but keep this from the media for the sake of the company business, under pressure from their CEO. The kids are suspected to be kept hostage in these caves...
The secretary of the CEO has a retarded child from him and her fight to keep him home, out of institutions, is a plot that continues through the series and has a climax all of its own.

When I found that the series dealt with 'unhumans' and other alien creatures (never seen, sometimes heard with their shrill, piercing noise unbearable for the human ears), I had difficulty in adapting from the usual crime drama at first to something with a twist. In the end I enjoyed all 10 episodes.
But I can understand the reluctance of undertaking a 2nd series, it may be a little too 'strange' for the greater audience.



One Summer in America 1927 by Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson is one of my favourite authors, I love both his travel books as well as his other work e.g. browsing history of the character of Shakespeare and a book like this one...

How much can happen in one summer and how interesting can it be compared to the present time? Well, in 1927 a lot happened and indeed much of great interest while the facts that have vanished in the grey past are fortunately put back in the limelight, dusted off by Bill Bryson.

The memorable summer of 1927 began with Charles Lindbergh's historic flight across the Atlantic and ended with the release of The Jazz Singer, which ushered in sound cinema, and Babe Ruth's record-setting 60 home runs for the New York Yankees.
In between came the notorious Ruth Snyder murder case (inspiring the film Double Indemnity); the execution of anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti; the great Mississippi flood, which lasted longer than any other American natural catastrophe; the Dempsey-Tunney fight; Henry Ford beginning to develop the Model A; and the starting of work on Mount Rushmore by the improbably named Gutzon Borglum.

These milestones mark Bryson's landscape, but his guided tour takes in many detours: back to the origins of prohibition, through the presidency of Warren G Harding, around Lindbergh's fellow flyers from Italy to France to Newfoundland, through Henry Ford's preposterous 'Fordlandia' settlement in Brazil, with a great deal about baseball, boxing, aeroplanes, cars, radios, films and televisions along the way.

Thanks to Bryson's entertaining style of writing, this book never becomes a bore; he is indeed a gifted raconteur and we have to thanks his love for research for this magnificent book. Never in the 600+ pages of this paperback my attention flawed, wonderful reading.

It is educational to read how rampant racism and legal inequality prevailed in those times. The person Lindbergh, from hero to fallen icon, becomes even more fascinating while the subject of 'eugenics' (a set of beliefs and practices that aims at improving the genetic quality of the human population) is positively shocking!
Reading about society in the United States in 1927 one can only conclude: lessons to be learned here!

I also appreciated to read about so many aviation pioneers who strived for the same ambition as Linbergh, but failed and many lost their lives in doing so but their efforts and courage largely forgotten.

In spite of natural disasters such as the devastating flooding by the Mississippi river and the stock market crash, optimism prevailed in that summer of 1927. And rightly so, because Lindbergh's flight across the Atlantic, his promotional tour during months throughout the United States (and afterwards also a tour through Latin America), built the foundations of aviation as an industry in the USA and gave them the headstart in global aviation.
The film industry going from silent movies to talkies was a painful process, but also gave the USA a headstart in this business, a leading role that continues to the present day.

It is a hugely entertaining book and I am grateful Bill Bryson brought all his fine research into this excellent book; one can only be grateful to people who undertake such monumental task.

Sarah Churchwell on Bill Bryson's fun, encyclopedic rattle through the memorable summer of 1927:
theguardian.com/books/2013/, she even finds some facts to correct and a modest amount of criticism; worth a read in itself.




My book on Blurb: Look

It has been a while, probably 3 years, but I have added a new title to the books I have published with Blurb's BookSmart. It is another title in the '36 Exposures' series, a subject adress in the maximum amount of exposures of the famous 35mm photographic film.

The title of this book is 'LOOK', documenting people looking, absorbed by photography, paintings or expressions of history such as memorials and such like.
The series of 'art & photography' books I have for sale on Blurb (and soon on Amazon) can be found via this link:




Hoorn Steamtram station

Hoorn Steamtram station

Steam locomotive 'Medemblik'

Steam locomotive 'Medemblik'

Changing from steam transport to historic ship
MS Friesland, on IJsselmeer

MS Friesland, on IJsselmeer

Historic triangle Hoorn - Medemblik - Enkhuizen

Yesterday we enjoyed 'travel in time' on the steamtram 'Medemblik' by rail from Hoorn to Medemblik and after a lunch there travelled on the historic (built in 1956) MS Friesland from Medemblik to Enkhuizen.

We started at the 'Hoorn Museum Steamtram' and stepped on board for a thrilling journey through time.
The engine whistled and the fireman shovelled coal into the firebox. Our sense were opened to experience it in full: wooden partitions creak, wheels sing and steam hisses.
Meanwhile we also enjoyed the the Westfrisian countryside where springtime treated us on a fine, sunny day.
We were allowed to disembarked at Wognum station and visit the historic station, note the modest accommodations and logistics of many decades past.

The locomotive 'Medemblik' was built in 1943 by Arnold Jung in Jungenthal (Germany).
It was numbered 14 the very first years when operated by the ' Georgsmarienhutte', later this became 16.
With both firms it was used to rearrange equipment at the factory.
Through the years some major repairs and modifications were needed. During the period of restauration the appearance was altered to resemble the locomotives which used to be operated on regional rail and tramways in the Netherlands.
The rather resplendent red colour is in striking contrast to the faded green it wore when operated in Germany.

The MS Friesland is old-fashioned steamer with a fantastic saloon-deck, it sails along the coast of lake IJsselmeer.
The IJsselmeer used to be connected to the open sea ('Zuiderzee') and there is a large museum at Enkhuizen where the ship can drop you off. As a visit warrants quite a bit of time we left that for another day, but it is certainly worth a closer look and see more about the historic 'Zuiderzee' towns of Hoorn, Medemblik and Enkhuizen.
The return trip (e.g. for a parked car) Enkhuizen - Hoorn is by modern rail.

My photoreport of this day on Flickr.com




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Created: 03-Apr-2017