About Just AnotherAngler

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About Just AnotherAngler and the Website

"To all Readers of this discourse, but especially to the honest Angler" ~~ Izaac Walton ~~ 

Just AnotherAngler (aka JAA) has worm-drowned around for some two-score-and-six years. In 2005 I fenced off this piece of internet negative equity to write about fishing and generally indulge myself; it's 100% a vanity project. In 'those days' blog templates and Content Managment Systems were rare, but in 2004 I had taken over the administration of a website for a 'local protest group' which consisted of interfacing to the chap who had done the work so far. The trouble was that his idea was that we would ask him to do stuff and he would do what he thought was best. It was, as is so often the case, far less trouble to do it myself, than to alter the thinking of one 'who knew best'. Learning 'HTML', it turned out, took about a week 'FAPPFor All Practical Purposes' twtThe early code had stuff 'left in' that did nothing, as I worked intially by trial-and-error on a quiet webpage tucked around the back. Then I discoved 'CSS' and all manner of other things. 'PHP' came later. SQL next (maybe). For a year or three I would occasionally find incorrect hyper-link target fields or picture ID's that had no use at all.... Meh.

If you find that catching small perch and gudgeonA gonk a day keeps you smiling: The GUDGEON is reputed a fish of excellent taste... is fun, then you may well like this site but if you do not, then it's just possible you are missing the point, but it is a free country. Mostly. This site is not really about catching fish; it is about why I go fishing slipIf you think 'the how to' bits must have stuff like "I put up my Beastmaster XXX 3½lb rod, loaded 300 yards of Bloggs Triple-Strength 12lb onto my Overlymanley Big Pit reel and tied on a Noddy's Chod rig with a Tiger Claw size 8 hook...yada yada"...bo££ocks, then you're on the wrong website. Really. SFAlthough if that kind of stuff makes you feel good, you will be pleased to know that Sigmund Freud got there well ahead of you..

JAA AAIn a past job, I worked with Ian who was recovering from 'substance abuse' and one day at fag-break he asked if I had been fishing, so said I was considering starting a website to present my own view of the fishing world. He took a long drag and gazing into the middle distance, said "An alternative look at fishing...another angle..." He was always doing that. One of his favourite words was 'wheelbarrow'. No reason. is a 'pleasure angler'. That is to say I do not spend days and nights camped rhAlway amused by those tales of 300 rod hours finally 'nailing' the target fish. I am rather more in the "After four hours I'm fairly sure the fish is somewhere else so will have a re-think" mould myself.
'Long session' or no idea where to fish? You decide...
by a water, trying for the 30 pounder that I know is in there, mainly because the owner put it in, it has been caught three times already (this year) and has a name. My childrens' goldfish also have names GF'Goldy' and 'Finny'. Well the Marmite-Angler was only 2¼ at the time. Mind you, they've were recently joined by 'Crucial' the Crucian, 'Mr. Smith' the Common and 'Jaws' the Mirror. 'Jaws', that's what happens when boys name fish. Heh.
P.S. July 2010: Mr. Smith didn't make it. R.I.P.
P.P.S. ...as of June 2011, indoor fisheries are now up and running, or 'goldfish bowls' as I hope they will be known...
. I am a bit obsessive about knotsPick a knot, any knot, tie it properly mind. Test it, you must. though, to be fair. And surface fishing for carp...still chasing butterflies come to that. I am very very interested in floats. Not obsessed. Nope. Not at all.

This quote pretty much covers how I feel about float-fishing:

"I can never find any satisfaction in ledgering for fish without a float: I must be able to either see a float or see the bait, but I prefer watching a float." ~~ Michael Traherne - ‘Be Quiet and Go A-Angling' ~~ 

 di·vid·er: (noun): a thing that keeps two spaces or areas separate... Page dividerdi·vid·er: (noun): a thing that keeps two spaces or areas separate (...and back to the top of the page)  di·vid·er: (noun): a thing that keeps two spaces or areas separate...

"We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered." ~~ Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead ~~ 

This quote is included as: (1) I like it (2) Almost without exception, folk who advise you "not to burn your bridges" only have their interests at heart and (3) if you are going to burn a bridge, make a commitment, trample the ashes to powder, then kick them in the river. Mean it.

 di·vid·er: (noun): a thing that keeps two spaces or areas separate... Page dividerdi·vid·er: (noun): a thing that keeps two spaces or areas separate (...and back to the top of the page)  di·vid·er: (noun): a thing that keeps two spaces or areas separate...

So, on this site, I expound on fishing in general, tackle, methods, plus an occasional diaryToday I went fishing...or wrote about something else that amused me. Or annoyed me. Or something.. Possibly the occasional rant as wellGrumpy old anglers of the world unite...my therapist says it's good for me and I am 'making progress' whatever that means. She thinks I am a paranoid schizophrenic, but we both know she is lying.. Well, it is my website. If you think you have guessed my secret identityJAA lost in France, do email in. I may even own up anonOr not...
...yeah, right.
.

It is just possible this site contains information unsuitable for overly sensitive folk with low self-esteem, no sense of humour and/or an irrational belief system. I am open to reasoned debate on most topics. If you believe you have some kind of 'right of reply', reserve a domain name, pay a hosting service and write your own damn' website. Bear in mind I write this for my own benefit and entertainment. There may be mistakes and in keeping with an engrained engineering mind-set, it is continually being 'improved'.  Random Fish

If you see anyone using a keep-net, barbed hooks, live bait, 2lb line, halibut pellets, trout pellets or boilies, using a 'bolt-rig', a fixed lead, an 'anti-eject rig' (the gin-trap of fishing), a 'spod' or a 'method-feeder' is is not me. Anyone ledgering is unlikely to be me as I do not really enjoy ledgering. Free-lining on the other hand - that might be me. I never have and cannot see why I might ever kiss a fish. If you see someone taking a picture of himself with a fish, that will not be me. I like to keep pictures of some fish, I refer to this as the 'digital keep-net', but I see neither point nor purpose in a multitude of pictures of myself with 'some fish'.

If you see anyone using treble hooks it is probably not me; I don't like them, nasty spiky things, plus I am not convinced they are actually more effective.

Remember, the only sure way to catch fish every time, is buy a barrel and then buy some fishObviously I would never fish for them. Probably. - you would blank eventually even so...'BB' sums up this rather well...

"If we caught fish every time we went out, if as soon as we put in line we had to pull it out again because a fish had taken the bait, then all the pleasure would be gone. There indeed would be monotony for you, that indeed would demand patience." ~~ Michael Traherne - ‘Be Quiet and Go A-Angling' ~~ 

 Random Fish

A random fishing quote to go with the random fish...

"Anyone can be a fisherman in May." ~~ Ernest Hemingway ~~ 

 Random Fish
Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook (and return to the top of the page) Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook

On a ship canal this is easy, it is pretty much 'straight on' as a rule. However, here at 'anotherangler.net', things are nowhere near as linear. At the top of every page is a menu linking to the main website pages. Some 14 (of 30 possible) menu entries will be shuffled and re-displayed every time a page is loaded. You may find this (a) amusing or (b) mildly irritating. In case it is the latter, the following middle row items never move:

Home PageThe 'blog for 2020.; the 'blog for 2020.
About...About this site and JAA; about this site, its operation, topology and JAA. This page in fact.
Site-Mapa site-map of sorts...; a site-map of sorts, where every extant page is listed with a permanent link.
The Crucian WebsitePeter Rolfe's Crucian Cornucopia; Peter Rolfe's Crucian Cornucopia.
The Last CastPractically Mandatory; because this is more or less mandatory.

Links to pages on other web-sites will open in a new browser window. Links within the site, whether they are to somewhere else on the current page or a different page on 'anotherangler.net', will open in the same browser window. At least this is the intention and it is possible one or two got missed... Random Fish

The site has several different page types, plus a bunch of outliers that are their own thing. Below is an overview of the common page types and their navigation aids. If the below seems a little didactic, this is probably because I am writing it for my future self, who will be easily confused.

The 'Blog page: this is the site's index ('landing') page and displays the current year's diary entries, but as a (web-log) 'blog so with the latest entry at the top. Each month is separated by a random pick from a bunch of jovial page break separators, which display fishing themed things, e.g. hooks, sinkers, gudgeons and miniature gudgeons. The left-hand one of these 'things' wherever they are encountered, always links back to the top of the page, as do the occasionally encountered curly page-divider things.

Below the page's introduction there are links to each month's entries within the page and also to each of the other diary pages.

All of the entries in this 'blog page exist in parallel on a 'diary’ page for the same year. This contains the same entries, but on the 'diary' page the entries are in chronological order, i.e. earliest entry at the top.

'Diary' pages: these start in mid 2005, have expanded like demented slinkies, are 'one per year', have a header, links to other years' diary pages, internal page links to months and display entries in chronological order. They each have their own custom 'thumbnail icon' for each entry.

Like the 'blog page, each month is separated from the next by a random pick from a bunch of jovial fishing-themed page-break separators, e.g. hooks, sinkers, gudgeons and miniature gudgeons. The left-most one of these always links back to the top of the page.

At the bottom of the page (and all pages) there is a hyper link: 'Back to the top of the page...Ah go on...have a guess...go on, go on, go on....'. Some diary pages, according to whim, have a short 'outro' with links to the previous and following years' pages.

Hint: so, on the row of 'fishingy things' below this section, click on the left hand one...  Random Fish

'Memory' Pages: are very like 'diary' pages but they pre-date the site's incept. They look much like diary pages and are navigated in the same way, although some pages cover multiple years and have internal 'year' links to support in-page navigation.

'Topic' pages: these are entries culled from the big stack of virtual index cards that is the rest of the site, then arranged by some common topic into a web-page with a sub-menu at the top. The entries themselves have a custom 'thumbnail icon' for this topic. The usual dividers provide links to the top of the page. Topic entries have a different heading style to 'diary' pages, a bold red script (as shown), as opposed to the regular bold black.

If the 'Topic' entry is also a 'diary' entry, its thumbnail icon will hyper-link to that entry on its originating diary page (naturally, swapping its thumbnail icon for that of the diary page's...). If there is no such hyper-link, then that entry has no chronological place in the scheme of things, so only appears on its 'Topic' page.

Some topic entries relate to a 'thing' that appears in other diary/memory entries and when this is relevant, those entries are listed under the topic entry itself, using the topic page's thumbnail icon, which also hyperlink to the orinal diary entry.

'Subject' Pages: these group a collection of diary/memory entries under a common subject or theme, with no menu. They are arranged chronologically like 'diary' pages. Each entry can have its originating years' thumbnail icon, e.g. a page dedicated to a single venue, 'the Saxon Ponds'. However, a few of these pages have their own thumbnail icon, e.g. 'Fettling'. One or two such pages even have randomly selected thumbnail icons for that theme, e.g. 'Old Bob'. This amused me at the time of coding.

All of the above is designed to make the place reasonably easy to navigate, but furiously clicking the 'back' button unitl you recognise your starting point will also. And if all else fails, there is regular searching. There was a 'custom search box', but the provider changed it and despite careful re-implementation, I could not get it working. So it has gone. You can email me using the address at the bottom of every page, but it is manual entry - too many 'bots stealing emails for spam spam spam...and I will answer such, unless they are abusive. Or contain suggestions for improving the site's 'marketing', in exchange for a small fee.

Tight lines to you.  Random Fish

P.S. You may spot random mini-fish around the place. They do not do anything, they're just fish. Here's another one: >>  Random Fish

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Phones and Tablets

This site pre-dates the ubiquity of mobile browsing, so was never really designed with that in mind. Luckily, this is not a wildly commercial enterprise and is unlikely to appeal much to anyone who does not fish and even then, to only a small subset. Luckily, it has always been a 'content' rather than 'style' kind of place and the initial layout I strung together lent itself to small screens with little adjustment needed.

In August 2020 I re-jigged the look of the place to make it 'nicer'. The nearly grown up Bugangler agrees and she is our style and colour expert.

I have set the portal width of the site for convenient mobile phone use - it should automatically set to full screen width, less a small margin, but does not disable the ability to zoom in and out. Images are all scaled in 'css' pixels, so should render perfectly well.

I have optimised embedded videos (not that there are many of those) and reset the text size unit from 'em' to 'rem', those will help. There are a couple of weird scaling issues with hyperlinks, causing some links to appear in very tiny text on a phone (plus chrome browser), even though they are at the intended size on a PC. Random Fish Buggeredifino.

So it is not all sorted out just yet, but I am working through it whenever I can be hedgehogged. The way technology advances, I suspect it will never really ever be 100% up to date...

This space deliberately blankThis space deliberately blank Random mini fishesRandom mini fishes... (and return to the top of the page)Random mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishes This space deliberately blankThis space deliberately blank

'Tool-Tips' for Images and Hyperlinks

 Random FishThese, added to images and hyperlinks, generally do not work on mobile devices - so (in 2017) I modified the way this works so that they display. Most links internal to this site and external should now work this way, as do 'tool-tips' for images and any common abbreviations. It has taken a while to get around the whole site and implement that, along with other site-wide style changes. I concede this was done for myself, as I use my own 'handy' to look stuff up on my own site...

This space deliberately blankThis space deliberately blank Random mini fishesRandom mini fishes... (and return to the top of the page)Random mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishesRandom mini fishes This space deliberately blankThis space deliberately blank

How it Works

In late 2017, the entire site was converted to a kind of 'php' database that I invented myself. I wanted to learn 'php' to a decent standard and it also occurred to me that if I didn't get the maintenance and structure under control now, in ten years' time it would be a nightmare and I'd give up in exasperation... Random Fish

...so almost every entry on the site is a kind of 'index-card' file with a set of associated critieria. I have built various 'engines' which will display pages according to 'some criteria' and also extract entries that match (e.g.) 'some criteria' for specific pages. I can create whole new pages by simply copying a file and changing its name (sneaky, oh yes...). The idea is that from 2018 all I need to do is write something, add the right data fields, then upload it and it will magically appear in all the right places. For ever. Currently there are around 1,471 such entries.

The bad news for any competitive angler reading this and already mentally rubbing their hands together thinking this site will be a mine of useful information that will give them 'an edge', is that I do not record fishs' weights, the bait I caught fish on, the water temperature, the barometric pressure and a lot of other things, although I mostly record what bait I took with me. Quite often I just note that I caught, for example, 'some perch'. I might mention the weather/temperature/hook size. I might not. It is mostly 'not'.

While there are those that consider this a wasted opportunity for me to become a far better fishermen, in the first place, my goal is 'to go fishing' and in the second place, the site is for the most part a longitudinal memory experiment I am running with a single non-randomly selected participant. If you would like to join in, write me a letter... Random Fish

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Site Security and 'Cookies'

This site does not directly use or set any cookies of any sort. Nope. None. Nada.

[In May 2020 I found out that embedded Youtube videos place cookies if the reader views such videos via this site, something I was not aware of. This has since been remedied.]

'The Path by the Water Forum', now hosted on this URL, also sets cookies, but only for forum members while they are using the forum. These are related only to forum statistics and log-in information.

SSL: As this site stores no visitor information or data of any type, either as cookies or in any other form - SSL is not really required. Nevertheless I've installed a 'basic' SSL, so connections to this site are now encrypted. Great. However, as there is no visitor data, there is nothing to read, nab, eavesdrop or otherwise intercept, so it is really just to stop browsers whining about lack of a secure connection.

As the worst thing that someone used to be able to find out about a site visitor was that they are visiting this site, which I suppose someone might feel sheepish about, a cynical view would be that this is a kind of protection racket...

There is currently no money being made here. In point of fact, I put money in and 'anotherangler.net' comes out. This is a bit like opera, in that one puts money in and opera comes out. Although 'anotherangler.net' does not have interminable arias, people shouting at each other in quasi-musical German and/or Italian and love-stricken mezzo-sopranos mooning about the place, getting on yer nerves. This is good.

 Random Fish JAA declares he has no conflict of interest. That means no-one pays me for this. So I can say what I like within the limits of libel laws. Heh.

The Lady of the StreamThe Lady of the Stream...(and back to the top of the page) Thymallus ThymallusThymallus Thymallus The Lady of the StreamThe Lady of the Stream Thymallus Thymallusgrayling The Lady of the StreamThe Lady of the Stream Thymallus ThymallusThymallus Thymallus The Lady of the Streamgrayling Thymallus ThymallusThymallus Thymallus
...there is a float in there if you can spot it....there's a float in there if you can spot it. Barton's Court LakeBarton's Court Aurora Borealis sunset
should be old ledger weights...coffin...(and back to the top of the page) should be old ledger weights...barrel... should be old ledger weights...coffin... should be old ledger weights...barrel... should be old ledger weights...coffin... should be old ledger weights...barrel...

Copyright

Note well:

Every picture on this site has an embedded copyright message. Every page on the site carries this messageNo-one has permission to use any material on this site...;

All information, text and pictures for this website are copyright ©2020 by the author (identified here as "Anotherangler" or "JAA") unless otherwise specified. No person or organisation has permission to use this domain's email for commercial purposes. It is possible this site contains information unsuitable for folk who are overly sensitive, have low self-esteem, no sense of humour and/or an irrational belief system. Nothing on this website constitutes guaranteed accuracy of any kind. If you like this website, by all means let me knowYou will have to type the email address yourself; if you do not, I will try not to lie awake at night worrying about it.

Despite the humorous tone the intent is completely serious.

VB Hook traceSingle 'VB' Hook trace...(and back to the top of the page) VB Hook traceSingle 'VB' Hook trace VB Hook traceSingle 'VB' Hook trace

JAA

I have been going fishing since I was about twelve, which means I have been sitting hopefully behind a wet worm for forty plus years. As a very young angler I was fortunate to see a little mystery, a lot of small perch and a path by the water. Then 'Old Bob' imparted to me the importance of luck, a love of the outdoors and more importantly, respect. Then some 'real life' intervened and the mysterious was put on a high shelf. In later years, possibly due to a surfeit of 'real life', I have edged back to the water to reclaim some peace and latterly, to fish for dragons.

 Random Fish I live in Dorset real...as opposed to 'middle-class TV Dorset', which looks lovely on the telly, but honestly, it is just not like that. Very few of us bother with 'artisan made' anything as this is generally three times the price and not any better than the 'regular stuff'. And do not get me started on 'Christmas Fayres'...  where most of my angling takes place, but have fished all over the place. I am lucky to get my tackle out most weekends, thanks to Mrs AA's good graces. I used to think my opinion of today's over-commercialised fishing were 'Just me', but the discovery of 'Waterlog', its forums, other anglers and succeeding forums was cheering and have led here. Eventually.

I will fish anywhere for anything, which is how I have come by mullet, grayling, wrasse (various) and moray eels. I have had as much fun on two-feet wide mountain streams catching bullheads and 1oz wild trout as I have catching tench in lily patches - although it is true to say I have done a lot more of the latter.  Random Fish

I like some traditional things, but not at the expense of picking the best tackle for the task in hand. I once got a Wallis cast about right; that is to say it went a good distance more-or-less where aimed without tangling on the reel handles or a tree.

I am not a 'traditionalist', perhaps 'orthodox' is a better term, and do not automatically assume old tackle is best, nor do I think all modern tackle is 'new fangled', although it is easier for some to believe this than consider the alternative. It took me until 2011 to catch a barbelBoris the trespassing horse gudgeon, 1½lb, and that was by accident, and in 2010 I caught two 30lbL'Orange Daze and one 40lb carpTangerine Days, but had to wait until 2011 for a first 'twentyGosh, that was a chilly session.'. As of 2016 I am up to 'three' of those carp, float-fishing and with the bait on the hook. Can be done.  Random Fish

I have never used bolt-rigs, boilies or pellets, (trout or halibut) and mean to keep it that way. I have tried 'anti-eject' rigs and will not use one again. I side with those who consider this little better than foul-hooking. I go fishing to go fishing FFAs opposed to 'I go fishing to catch fish', which is generally used for justifying some questionable tactic, tackle or stocking density. Normally stated in a belligerent and bullish manner, but I take comfort that those folk generally give up when things get tough 'because the fishing is rubbish'. . I like green and grey, and make a lot of floats, some of which even get used. I nearly always float-fish, even when most sane folk have got out the ledger rod or gone home. Some call this obsessive; I prefer 'dedicated'. I am usually to be found in a quiet windward corner of the lake reclining under a hat, six feet from one of the 'said floats, rod resting on one boot, apparently not paying any attention. I am trying to achieve the virtual equivalent with this site. I admit to being a bit obsessed with knots.

I tend to put coffee in the flask as long as proper stuff is available and will never invent an espresso attachment for the Kelly kettle, as it is far easier to carry a spirit stove and a small coffee pot. I am overly fond of strong coffee, red wine, good whisky, very dark chocolate and log fires; 'addicted' is a word that has been used in respect of these things. Part-paraphrasing, I like the creak of leather and the magpie's shriek, but prefer the jay's screech, the yaffle's chatter and the squeak-and-scurry of the furry folk at my feet, possibly because these noises mean I am, so far, unnoticed. Random Fish

Fire, for the reaching out of toes of.Fire, for the reaching out of toes of.

I like weathered red-brick and am not yet tired of Spring, but like Autumn most of all. I am technically competent and happily continue to have 'authority issues' AIThis is quite deliberate. I have never agreed with the notion of 'feudalism' either inside an office or outside. I do not have to respect anyone. Respect is earned. Or not. And it can be lost in a trice, often by small things, like slipping a pen into your pocket when you think no-one is looking, or a curl of the lip or a moment's fawning to your boss, or more recently by making unconscious onanistic motions on a pen when trying to dominate a meeting...(I have really seen this and once seen, well, everyone was looking for it after that). . I have spent thirty odd years in electronics, designing and providing ASIC field support all over Europe and the world. I gave that up for an MSc in Psychology. I like stuff made out of brass, which seems to me more honest that gold and tend to find things other folk have left behind, sometimes last week, sometimes 15,000 years ago. I like oak that has weathered to silver. I am not scared of the dark and enjoy dusk most of all. I am not a morning person. In fact I am not a person at all until after 9am and two cups of freshly brewed black stuff.

There is no telling whether the littleanglers will find the path by the water, but I took them fishing anyway and they seemed to like it. Hopefully one will wheel me to the water's edge in a bath-chair when I cannot get there myself and ideally before making the great last cast.

"Nullius in Verba" - "on the word of nobody" NIV'Nullius in Verba', roughly translates as 'Take nobody's word for it', and is an expression of the determination to withstand the domination of authority and to verify all statements by an appeal to facts determined by experiment...or more roughly "That's what you claim, now prove it or push off".
How we miss the good old days of rigorous science.
 ~~ The Royal Society's motto ~~ 

Be Lucky...

VB Hook traceSingle 'VB' Hook trace...(and back to the top of the page) VB Hook traceSingle 'VB' Hook trace VB Hook traceSingle 'VB' Hook trace

Beginnings

I can recall, at the age of 'four', peering into a ditch on the Bingham road wondering what lived under the green scum on the top of the water - I probably did not know about fishing then, but the curiosity, the insistence on peering from every bridge into the water below, was already there.

My earliest memories of actual fishing and its grip on the psyche came from Singapore, where we spent twenty months in 1966-68. Mind-lodged is the wooden balcony at Seletar Yacht club, which overhung the sea (when the tide was in). On a grey rough day a Chinese man appeared from the kitchen behind the bar with a short rod and casting a line over the balcony edge, caught a garfish, which bent itself in bright green hoops as it was carried back into the kitchen, presumably heading for the 'dish of the day'. I still have not caught one and they are still on my "to catch" list.

There were small whiskered catfish around the slipway at low tide and small bright silver fish, which wheeled and darted past in threes and fours. Sometimes the prehistoric horseshoe crabs came up to the beach and we would pick them up by the tail to look at the alien underneath. This beach did not rate shark-nets, unlike around the coast at Changi. We shared a boat with a family friend and in this we took jaunts across the Johore Straight to Malayan beaches, where there were occasional pineapples in the bushes and men would appear with long bamboo poles to knock coconuts down in return for a few cents. When the tide was low, mudskippers bounced along the wet sand in improbable parabolic leaps and I would chase to see them at rest. On one such jaunt I was stung by a jellyfish which left a line of burning red weals from chin to swimming trunks, thus ending the day's entertainment.

RAF Seletar Yacht ClubThe Yacht Club is on the right in the background where you can see the balcony RAF Seletar Yacht ClubThe Yacht Club from the other side and that's the boat we shared with 'Bill'

I have a memory of Chinese boys fishing for catfish in one of the larger monsoon drains (10 feet wide, 6 feet deep). These larger drains always had areas with some water in them - the smell was overpowering and best not committed to memory - but the feel of the heat radiating back off the concrete into my face is alongside the excited chatter as a large (to my eyes) catfish, a huge alien tadpole, made its way up the foul channel towards a bait on a line held by one of the boys. I wanted to wait for the outcome, but was hurried on. I forget where we were or were going.

There were these; fascinating and prized for more years than I'm going to tell you.

Singapore fish2 Cent - Hippocampus Kuda Singapore fish4 Cent - Puntius Hexazona Singapore fish5 Cent - Amphiprion Percula Singapore fish6 Cent - Toxotes Jaculator Singapore fish10 Cent - Rasbora Heteromorpha Singapore fish25 Cent - Trichogaster Trichopterus

There was the 'kampong' where our 'amah' lived. There was a well outback and in it was a carp, being fattened on scraps for the table. It would come up when fed and then sink, Cheshire cat like, back into the depths. Perhaps it 'monitored' water quality as well. I wanted to catch it even then.

Kim's kampong house, SingaporeThat's the view from our amah's house (Kim was a 'full-time amah', which was an important distinction) into the kampong Kim's kampong house, SingaporeThis was self and sibling in the 'garden' with some of Kim's children. The well, with its carp, is out of shot to the right.

Here is another time I got into trouble, for scampering up the pier to see what was going on. I am probably being restrained behind the camera. The second is Haw Par Villa. It occurs that those fish still lurk in the subconscious - I could put a lot more in here, I have a quite exceptional memory for my early life, but perhaps another time.

Singapore stuffHere is another time I got into trouble, for scampering up the pier to see what was going on. I am probably being restrained behind the camera. I imagine the tackle being used is very 'traditional'. Just folk fishing on a jetty (in Singapore). Singapore stuffHaw Par Villa. One of the most bizarre places you will ever see, fascinating for small boys, Mother really did not approve.

...and these came back from Singapore...

Singapore wooden goldfish...round and round and round...

Then there was the camping holiday by the Thames, somewhere (I think) in the area between Lechlade and Oxford. One evening I stumbled across a fisherman on the river's edge, tucked into a gap in the rushes. The float, keep-net and general air of expectancy fascinated and I can still feel the glare of the sun-set reflected off the water and smell the river-tainted evening air. I cannot recall seeing fish caught, but still in my minds eye is the float with its rounded top and bands of colour. Even then, at the grand age of eight, it seemed full of mystery, forever poised to vanish.

The paternal grandparents (in one of their many houses) lived a stone's throw from the Lancaster canal and I do not need the picture to recall the draw of the water, often as not covered in duckweed. This the Lancaster canal at the White Horse lane bridge, c. 1969. Honest.

Caught by a riverI can still smell the river from that evening. Caught by a riverI really hope that sign says 'no fishing'.

By late 1968 we had moved to Sculthorpe in Norfolk and I could not pass a body of water without gazing rapt at the surface - I knew this as there was a pond on the approach road to the camp (the road to Syderstone) which became the object of longing every time we passed by in the car ("Wickenpond" which has a tradition of its water rising and falling with the corn prices).

Barely a year later we moved to BoddamBoddam is a coastal village in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It is 29 miles (47 km) north of Aberdeen and 3 miles (4.8 km) south of Peterhead. Sea cliffs rise to 200 feet (61 m), south of the village: a coastal path leads along these to the Bullers of Buchan., the most easterly place in Scotland, which is here:

From 1969-71 this served only to heighten interest. There was no power station then. Before, there was a stream, narrow and fast, flowing between grassed banks in a shallow valley with a few scrubby trees. It was good for 'civil engineering projects', dams, those trees were the only ones for miles and they looked as windswept as a tree can, while 'not a bush'. This stream, the 'Den of Boddam', clattered over rough granite shingle and coarse grey sand at the beach. I never saw a fish. We always went to the stream by the farm track (past the sweet shop where you could buy four 'blackjacks' for a penny) and came back along the beach to the harbour. Just seemed the right way round.

There was plenty of fishing from the harbour wall. The village lads fished, I watched, tackle seemed so out of reach...there were rock pools on the lighthouse island (the 'Boddam Coo'), when sea-fog laid on flat seas, the Coo lowed, overlaying the presence of fellow man with highlighted isolation - you learned to sleep through it and not go east of the lighthouse when it was foggy. Rock pools there upon had fleets of blennies and at the northern end a deeper pool fed by occasional waves had pollack, after storms, enough pollack to rouse village lads with rods to remove them. I watched enviously, once being allowed to look in a tackle bag, which had an actual orange float in it, wonder of wonders. Funny thing, in 1994 the deep pool was there but weeded and well above the sea level, other pools I recall being fresh, blenny'd up were now weeded and stagnant. There was a lot more shore and a lot less water. Thought the sea was coming up...but not here.

Boddam HarbourBy that hut on the left, was a large pile of empty skittering clam shells, which smelt of the sea and their contents. Clam shells always seem too good to throw away. In the distance is Peterhead. In those days it was a working harbour and fresh wet-fish was sold out of a small (and strongly annointed) stone bothy behind the harbour.

There were other places. On the southern approach to the village there were two square quarry holes, both shallow at one end, sharp rocks and unknowable cold dangerous depths at the other, not that we cared. These were overrun with sticklebacks, three-spined plus an occasional imagined glimpse of something larger that blurred to the deeps. The barbed wire didn't deter small boys. These pits were bisected by the railway embankment, the long-gone 'herring line', that dipped into every village from Aberdeen to Inverness and mostly ran down to the harbours. All trace of the station was gone, the embankment remained and its east face, with copious broom, was dry and sheltered so was a favourite haunt on damp windy days. Opposite the eastern quarry pond was a regular pond with thick rushes, more sticklebacks and an impressive number of tadpoles in the spring. Endless fascination, floating paths were made from folded and woven reeds on which we would edge obliviously out over the water, which was probably barely three feet deep.

There was the quarry on the Stirling Hill, the pink granite quarrySeriously, 'the'. This is the source of a lot of the world's pink granite. You could not bung half a brick without picking up a half-brick sized piece of the stuff. It was everywhere. Walls, piles, heaps, Trafalgar Square, Blackfriars bridge..., a trefoil pattern of three cavernous holes in the hill, plus the Type 80This was a 2.5 Mw (peak) S-band (3 GHz or 3,000 MHz) search radar with a range of around 200-250 miles. radar station. Absolutely verboten, so so dangerous, steep drops, bottomless waters, falling rocks. There were also huge colonies of newts which you could catch by hand, empty interesting cartridges left by the rough shooters and if you bothered to hunt the nooks, crannies and quarry dross, clumps of quartz crystals and even small outbreaks of amethyst - none of which could you own up to having as there was only one place to get them...as I discovered to my cost by showing such treasures.

Water was the main attraction but not the only attraction. There were crumbling granite cliffs (climbing not allowed, sure), the big pile of scallop shells by the harbour, I can smell it and recall the hollow clatter, even now. We grew tatties (everyone did), froze in the winter, one paraffin heater and one fireplace in thin-walled cast iron-framed single glaze windows ('airmens' quarters' to you). Winter-time you walked to school in the dark for 9am, walked back again at 3pm in the dark. Summer-time brought near midnight-sun, dawn at 4am. It was wild, windy, rough and the people, my classmates (presided over by the fierce grey-haired Miss McLeod and then her twin Miss McLeod) were friendly and welcoming with little of the incomer hostility most postings had - the normality for fly-by-night 'forces' brats'. The feeling of being treated as a local assumed odd significance when years afterwards my father, c. 1994, established the family had originated a few miles around the coast near Forres and the surname, was common in the areaA Keith, Veritas Vincit. In fact, it turned out we were kind of 'local', with great-grandfather having left this home village for the army life and a great-great-aunt of mine is there still. Funny thing.

The only school prize I ever won was here, a book, no idea what it was now or where it went. A wander about the place on 'Streetview' shows most of the village is unchanged, the school exactly as recalled. After leaving I was fluent in DoricFit like? Farabootsyerfrom?
(How are you? From whence do you hail, my good man?)
, something of which I found retained during a 2007 biz. trip to Aberdeen and a little further north.

So, "Sugar Sugar" by the 'Archies' was a hit, we liked that as there was a cartoon. So was "Two Little Boys" (not so twee now eh?) and "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" theme had a TOTPReally? Top of the Pops, pop-fans (sorry). video of silent movie westerns, which we also liked. I made Airfix models and painted my hands as much as the models. It kept me quiet, the primary function of anything I was given to do. We spent two Christmases up here, I don't recall much of either of them, but can hear the crunch of the ice laminated snow in the bitter mornings, see the frozen 1/3 pint bottles of school milk and recall a recurring night terror which I am not about to relive in detail. I still miss the place. Funny thing that.

When Mrs AA and myself swept through in 1994, newly-legitimised, on the way to Dornoch (as it turned out), I was momentarily flummoxed by 'my' house not being where I recalled (I do not know about pigeons and salmon, but I can find places blindfolded if I have been there but once), but after a moment it was apparent the old pebble-dashed quarters had been knocked down and new houses built in their stead. Probably just as well.

A'm fair forfochten.

Then mid-1971 we decamped dc'Literally' as it happens...  to CyprusVia Brize Norton by VC10, veritable luxury compared with a Britannia. with its small ballen wrasse, blennies and sociopathic moray eels, where I was, clichéd, hooked.

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Split Shot 1971-74. Cyprus.Onward and eastward. Hot and dry. Sometimes very hot and dry. Sunny. And here:

I had the good fortune to live here from 1971-4, plucked, to Mother's evident relief, from the extremes of Boddam to 100°F (37°C) in the shade. Ow. This was where I started actually fishing, as opposed to dreaming about fishing while reading the "Ladybird Book of Coarse AnglingI'm not certain one needs to fish wearing a collar-and-tie...". I had neither rod nor reel and initially made hooks from safety pins (I read about how to make these in a 'survival' book) and for line used a single thread out of the middle of parachute cord (green for preference). This worked surprisingly well, especially with a range of safety pins, though the angle and length of the 'hook' and 'barb' was critical.

Once I found a 'pattern' that worked it was guarded with my life and copied. One pair of pliers and a concrete wall used for a file and sharpener - the wall outside the back door had three solid metal posts embedded (for some long lost wire) each making a handy makeshift anvil for beating home-made hooks a little flat and the fine-cast smooth concrete made the 'said perfectly serviceable file. Safety-pin hooks they might have been, but they were 'cold forged' and needle sharp.

Safety pin HookSafety pin Hook Proper 'paracord'Proper 'paracord': 'paracord' fishing line - (the core threads)

Eventually I gleaned enough real tackle (line, hooks and shot) by buying little bits and finding a surprising amount. I still find a large amount...I digress. I once came by a small cardboard box of 100 Mustad spade-end hooks, something about a size '14', I sometimes wonder where they all went.

The fishing, accompanied by various friends, was carried out while sitting on a handy 8-foot across flat-topped rock at the bottom of the cliffs. This, directly behind the house, was reached by walking over the hill with the secret radio-listening post, skirting the minor dump (where I once used a pallet as a stepping stone among the piles of old tins, in this way 'discovering' a bees' nest) then descending the rocky path on one side of a spur of soft sandstone. This was nearly as high as the cliff-top itself and was known to all as "Camel's Hump". There, armed with a hand-line and a knife, we fished from the flat rock for small wrasse and some kind of blenny, using limpets prised from the rocks with a pen-knife for bait.

A couple of split-shot were used to keep the bait down and your finger was the bite indicator. Bites were more or less non-stop, but wrasse have small mouths and hard teeth and as a result were hard to hook and on a good morning you might catch ten fish. These, cuckoo wrasse, were predominately green, with purple and yellow markings and mostly only a couple of ounces.

We envied the lucky folk with fishing rods, who could cast the 30 feet needed to catch bream or garfish.

If the bait was lowered to the bottom, then you would pick up blennies, easier to catch, but fewer and further between. The risk was, that a bait on the bottom became interesting for moray eels (aka the Roman eel, muraena helena), a sort of 'eel shaped demon' with sewing machine needles instead of teeth. And no sense of humour at all.

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This is the insane bit.

Once or twice we caught a small moray - a foot or so long, but still quite an exciting thing. The trouble was that even a small one would back into the rocks on the bottom and a protracted tug of war was needed to get them out. The only difference between being snagged on a rock and snagged on a moray, was that despite keeping the line as tight as you dared, the moray would give an occasional tug back. If there was more than one of you and the water was shallow, then the non-combatant would get in and move some rocks to loosen the eel.

At some point these accidental catches developed into a deliberate sport. The 'moray rig' was a piece of broom handle, some very heavy line and a wire trace with a big hook on it. I have no idea where we got the wire, but being quite resourceful, it was probably a strand of an old bike brake cable or similar. Then, you caught an unfortunate blenney and, using its head as a bait, searched out a big hole in between the large rocks and dropped the bait into the hole...

...if you were 'lucky' the hole harboured one of the three-foot mottled yellow and brown monsters. There was no 'bite' as such; just an inexorable tightening of the line, the response to which was to pull hard and fast, minimising, hopefully, the moray's purchase. I once hooked one such and anchored by its tail to its rocky lair, the top half was pulled clear of the water, with me on the other end...eventually, if one is resolute, the eel tires and is extracted inch by inch, then eventually and suddenly it lets go - a yard of well-armed thrashing airborne psychopathy heading in your direction focuses the mind somewhat - then it makes land in one's general area. A location that suddenly becomes marginally less comfortable than it was. As I said, 'no sense of humour'.

The only way (and I was very young) was to go after it with a knife and separate the head from the body, perhaps a little easier said than done...getting your hook back was troublesome, as the upper jaw bone was 'V' shaped and the hook tended to go right through the 'V'. It was a mistake to think that the head, only lately detached from the body, could not bite. You can take my word for that.

Maybe this is why I am tolerant of anguilla anguilla - compared with the muraena helena, the freshwater eel is a friendly and harmless thing...mostly.

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In our garden there were clumps of bamboo, planted a decade previously (I know this as the planter came by one day and told us). This provided an endless supply of raw material for five feet long bows; 30" arrows were made from sanded rocket sticks with dart-feather flights and the bows were powerful enough to stick a fire-hardened point into the side of the aircraft engine crate that had been converted to a back-garden shed. All attempts to make a bow out of more than one piece of bamboo failed, but if I had some cable ties, well then...these of course did not exist then. I once spent far too long trying to make some sort of fishing rod out of a 1cm diameter fibreglass curtain pole, too thick and it is a complete mystery to me why I never simply cut a bamboo pole and tied a piece of line to the end to fish with. Seems obvious really.

I found the bottom half of some old bomb case, which I once fell across, the find's tail-fin leaving a welt across the small of my back and causing me pain for weeks, for which I got no sympathy and indeed, was not even helped up. Let us call this 'pragmatism'. I often wonder if that was the root cause of the back trouble that kicked in around 1981. There was ordinance, if you knew to look under the piles of spent (blank) GPMG shells for the live rounds dropped as the bolt was worked to get the belt in. We all collected these spent cases with their steel belt clips and made long strings of spent cartridges. Odd 'thunderflashes' turned up (deadly things), black powder flare-gun shells, any number of spent cartridges, especially if you sneaked over the twenty foot, grey, handily stepped wall at the back of the small arms range...completely forbidden of course, but you could gather a lot of brass. And plenty of 9mm slugs for one's catty.

Cattys were slingshots. A loop of elastic and a pouch. You needed to drop the hand sharply on firing...all of us at one time or another had sustained that nasty bruise that resulted from hitting one's own hand. Elastic came in one 'pic' and one-and-a-half 'pic' lengths, sourced via some Limassol dealer via a youthful black market. The one-and-a-half 'pic' was the most useful size - fights were common, with ammo consisting of occasional pebbles, 9mm slugs and 9mm casings. It is a wonder no-one got hurt. Probably poor marksmanship. Probably. I made ersatz firearms with match heads and tissue wadding using TV aerial tubing, an experiment abandoned when a pinch of nitro-cellulose propelled the tube fifty yards across the scout hut frontage with a noise that at once frightened and made one rather conspicuous. Once I cut the end off a rifle bullet, expecting lead, only to find it was an incendiary of some sort and as the phosphorus smoked I wondered and then as it flared, I pondered, then was left holding empty pliers between my knees, with a ringing sound in my ears and a trickle of blood running down the inside of the right knee. Even then I realised I had been rather fortunate and for all I know that sliver of copper is still in my leg somewhere.

I spent many happy hours wandering the bondhu bduAn area of undeveloped scrubland, with indigenous flora and fauna; 'outback' or 'bush'.  searching the dry limestone for Roman coins among other things (after rain was the best time). There was the odd Byzantine coin, a bronze finger ring (conned from me by a Flight Lt., a 'friend's' father who really should have set a better example), two bronze fishhooks, one a near circle, thick wired and flat-sectioned and one more like an 'Aberdeen' with a spade-end, numerous bronze buttons, a strigel or two, bronze horseshoe nails, tesserae of blue and green glass, some with gold leaf inlay, enamelled pottery shards, ancient glass (Why did I give this all away? Answer, "Reducing weight for the crates home and it's rubbish anyway"). Dammit.

For my last birthday on Cyprus my parents had eventually spotted the need to fish and bought me a rod and a reel. This was a seven foot glass-fibre rod, made by Modern Arms Company in Kent (it is stamped on the reel seat) and an 'Intrepid Challenger' reel. Well, I was excited and the glimpses of rod and reels at the top floor tackle shop in Limassol came to life - then for some transgression I do not even recall I was banned from having either for six months, which took us past Cyprus and the summer spent at my grandparents. I have no idea what I did even now, although I have a sense that mother thought it harsh, this was not unusual.

We drove from Cyprus to the UK in 1974, setting off in June. I know this because it took three weeks and Turkey invaded Cyprus in July 1974 and we heard that on the radio in France, the day before we bounded across the channel by hovercraft. Turkey, reached by ferry from Cyprus, was welcoming enough, but we were nearly held in Turkey as we crossed the border to Greece, father afterwards telling us how close things were. There were competing views at the border and some parties felt we should have been detained, however cooler heads prevailed. He later confided that he had seen, among the army vehicles going the same way as us (towards Greece), an accident in the rear-view mirror that he would normally have stopped for, a lorry leaving the road and overturning. We sat in a campsite in Greece with only a very little food and I suspect considerable if well-disguised relief. A bearded Swiss chap in a one-man tent next to us, shared his loaf of bread, a fine kindness. He had been held for several days in a Turkish prison and was just happy to be across the Bosphorus.

Why on earth did we get on the ferry? Odd call. In hindsight, I suspect strong advice was imparted that we ought to take a plane and wonder if this judgement, probably perceived as 'an error in', inhibited his future progress. We de-camped in torrential rain, sped through Greece, spent one night in Yugoslavia (as was), a campsite with armed guards and passports were taken away as surety. Our laundry was taken off the guy-ropes during the night and by the time we got to the border things were beginning to feel very strained. We crossed into Austria by tunnel and at the border, an Austrian crossing guard with a nearly comedy handlebar moustache peered at the Union Flag on the windscreen, said "Ah, British! Gut!" and expansively waved us through. As we passed, he leaned into the car's rear window and said "Boo" to us. Things were suddenly much better. Even the trees seemed more orderly.

At Ossicacher SeeBrrrr, cold...and so many chocolate cakes. we swam in water so cold it made your bones ache. I fished with a hand-line and an antenna float against some reeds from a canoe that the German lad from the tent next door took me out in (a quid pro quo for games of chess I played against his father, I think 'won one, lost two'). Caught nothing...but I fished.

In Austria, the campsite outside Salzburg bordered a small mill-house and on the banks of the mill-race I found a hook with barbs on its shank, a find which I kept long after (although we were castigated severely for wandering off the site, I suspect an overreaction to the earlier situation in Turkey). We reached France, then Turkey's invasion of Cyprus was announced on the radio. I watched French pole-masters at work on the duck-weeded canel bend that bordered the camp-site, great excitement when a 1lb bream came to the net.

Then our posting to Chivenor went west (sorry), the camp closing; we ended up in limbo, staying for months at Old Bob's, a long summer and the prospect of school in Chandlers Ford loomed and then it was AngleseyYay. 'Fun Island'.. Oh Goody.

For a good year or two afterwards I would dream of looking for Roman coins or hand-lining for wrasse, perfectly content, then waking, sorry to be off the Island.

Chronologically arranged fishing stuff is this way -->...which start at 1970 and then proceeds onwards and occasionally upwards....

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A moment. I had the kind of childhood that people write books about. I had seen more of the world by my 14th year than many people ever do or did.

I saw Singapore in the late 1960's when the island was kampongs and rubber plantations, where horseshoe crabs came onto the shore, where monitor lizards longer than me got stuck on wire fences, cobras were not uncommon and shark-nets kept the beaches safe, but not from sea-snakes. I saw the Singapore museum (as was), with beetles the size of matchboxes on pins and butterflies of a size that was unimaginable to me then, the Singpapore zoo (the smell was simply awful), Haw Par Villa and it could rain for two weeks without stopping. And did.

We went to live markets where the fish were still moving and live chickens were killed and de-feathered by being dipped into barrel of boiling water. Touch-Me-Not (Mimosa Pudica) covered half our front garden along with fierce 1cm long red ants and I once put my hand into a nest and withdrew it with two score of them hanging on my hand by their pincers. If a drain cover was lifted, cockroaches the size of match-boxes scattered; they flew into the veranda in the evening and we used to hit them with badminton racquets and even then they would often fly off. Chee-chak lizards (common house geckos) climbed the walls and ceilings and we had no idea where they came from or how they stayed up. One year a pair of minah birds nested in the roof and attacked us when we went outside. The heat and high humidity meant that unwashed natural fibres and leather rotted in days.

An ice-cream vendor that came by the street sold vanilla and sweet-corn ice-cream, which was really very good and fireworks of every sort could be bought for a few cents at the row of shops down the road at any time of the year, small rockets with parachutes were my favourite.

We then spent a year in the big horizons of Norfolk and two in the far north-east of Scotland, where summer sunshine extended to midnight, where the salt spray of a winter storm reached our house and on foggy nights the Boddam Coo kept you mournfully awake for the first night you heard it. In winter we rose in the dark, crunched to school in ice crusted snow at 9am and then crunched home in the dark at 3:30pm. The free milk, still bottled in those days, froze and pushed the caps off the bottles. We drank it anyway.

The drive home from Cyprus may have been tricky, but we went to the Grand Bazaar before it became pastiche of itself, saw the jaw droppingly beautiful Blue Mosque where guileless small fast boys offered to 'guard your shoes' for a small fee, visited Hagia Sophia, saw the fist-sized emeralds and solid gold jewel encrusted crib in the Topkapi Palace and walked fortifications of Constantinople, which make Leeds Castle look like a country house. I have seen sights, places, cultures and landscapes that are long gone and part of a past some strive to ignore. I had also lived in all four corners of the United Kingdom for good measure. It is possible I was fortunate. And I do have a good memory.

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JAA