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June 7, 2010 -

John Heald

Well BA decided to let flight 0206 from Miami to London Heathrow fly and……………..I got upgraded…………..OK I had to pay for that………but I am happy ……….well……….mostly.

Let me tell you about the lady in the seat next to me. Her name is Audrey who is on her way to London where she has “very important meetings with clients.” Audrey also hates children. I know all of this not because she reached out a hand of kindness to introduce herself to the fat bloke she will be next to for the next 8 hours but because she spent the 20 or so minutes before take off screaming down her cell phone …………she has an Eye Phone naturally………..and she made sure that the entire aircraft knew how important she was.

Audrey is in her late thirties I would guess, has a fiery temper because…………she has ginger hair.

I know that she hates kids because she told whoever she was screaming down her eye phone at about it and proved she was a woman not overburdened with maternal instinct. In the seats in front of us were Mum and Dad with two young children. One was Kye’s age I would guess, the other maybe 2 or 3 years old. Audrey had seen this and to whoever the unfortunate sod who was on the other end of the phone she screamed  “airlines should charge a premium for breeders and their kids. It’s ridiculous they are allowed in business class.”

She said this loud enough for Mum and Dad in front to hear and Mum turned around and glared at her. Had the opposing camps been in a bar, a bitch fight would have broken out. If she had asked me my opinion I would have told her that I would have been firmly on Mum and Dad’s side, not just because I am a Dad now, or because she was ginger………but because she was bloody rude.

Audrey has made no attempt to talk to me and straight after take off she went to the toilet and changed out of her designer suit into what I am told is called “leeeeisssurre wear ” in America. I very rarely get to fly business class but Audrey obviously does. So, as she taps away on her oversized laptop, I am sitting next to her, typing this on my Raspberry so she can’t see………….and I just let out what will no doubt be the first of many silent but utterly deadly shock and awe farts.

You see, Audrey is the perfect example of a business class snob and I am going to write a raspberry list now of all the things she has done so far to explain what I am talking about.

1 Just because you are in business class and have a laptop with spreadsheets and schematic thingies on, doesn’t make you better than everyone else. It is unlikely you paid for your own seat and that the company you work for did, so stop showing off.

2.Sip your champagne more humbly. Feel compassion, not smugness, towards the people in economy. Someone might take offense and beat you to death with a Sky Mall magazine. Smugness kills.

3. Audrey……when you look at yourself in the mirror, you see a tycoon. An international jet-setter. A tiger. You may even growl sexily. But you have ginger hair and breath straight from Satan’s armpit.

4. Don’t abuse the cabin crew because they’ve been a bit slow bringing your third glass of red wine. Tutting at them and not saying please or thank you puts them in a bad mood, which they take out on the rest of us by going on strike. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have your photo Audrey on their placards as they walk in circles outside BA HQ chanting “we don’t get paid enough to look after rude bastards like Audrey.”

5. Accept that the parents with the screaming baby are doing everything they can or almost certainly to comfort the child. Telling the flight attendant that she should put the kid in the overhead locker is just wrong.

6. Please keep your seat belt fastened until the plane has come to a complete standstill. Jumping up, grabbing your oversized hand luggage and racing for the exit while we’re still taxiing is not only dangerous, it’s annoying. We all know you don’t have an important meeting to go to. We saw it on your spreadsheet and heard you scream about it on your Eye Phone. You think you have to turn your phone on the instant the plane has landed because the London stock exchange is struggling to manage without you. No. The reason you turn it on so sodding fast is to find out if you have been sacked.

So instead of pretending to be an international mover and shaker, who cannot be out of touch for a moment, leave your laptop in your carry on and spend the time either thinking about stuff or reading a good book. Both of these activities will ensure you’re a better, cleverer person, and that’s a good thing because most people would rather do business with a lady who’s read a riveting novel than some lady nerd who reckons a widescreen EyeMac PowerTrip makes her look important.

The parents of the two kids meanwhile are not having much fun. The flight is only one hour and 30 minutes old and while the three year old seems to be happy watching the TV thingy the baby is not a happy camper.

You know, before Kye came into my life I would have maybe been a little peeved about a baby crying loudly on a trans-Atlantic night flight. I certainly wouldn’t have been as rude as little Miss Audrey (who, by the way, has now had 4 glasses of red wine) but I may have said a silent “bugger.”

British Airways does not allow you to smoke while on board, or carry anything with a sharp point or have rumpy pumpy with other passengers in the toilets.

You are also not allowed to board if you have wires hanging out of your underpants. And if you make any sort of joke, about anything at all, in earshot of the stewardesses, you will be tied to your seat and sent to prison for 35 years.  But you are allowed, welcomed even, into the club class section of the plane even if you are accompanied by what is essentially a huge lung covered only in a light veneer of skin. As the baby started to cry, I felt a huge wash of guilt come over me at the times that I had said unkind words in my mind about crying babies on planes and I was feeling guilty also that Heidi had done this journey with Kye…………..on her own. Right now, as I write the poor baby seems inconsolable and is screaming at erupting Icelandic volcano volumes. Audrey has her noise canceling headphones on and the look on her face is priceless……….I hope those BOSE $200 headphones are canceling bugger all noise…………rude cow.

OK, time for me to watch a movie and eat my meal. I have chosen the chicken curry…….I really fancied the Steak teriyaki…….but Miss Audrey deserves the reaction my bottom will have to the curry around 2 hours before we land………………..important meeting with clients, my arse.

Julie Mendenhall Asked:
Hi John (please reply)

I so enjoyed seeing the Carnival Fantasy in my home port of Charleston today. Since we now have a ship homeported here, I was wondering if the state of South Carolina might get resident cruise rates as I know Florida does get them. I know this is a “beard people question” but I thank you for the answer.

I must say I have never been so disappointed to know that I was so close to the Carnival Fantasy today and yet could not meet the most fantastic cruise director on that ship. I was on the port site dropping off my friends, “Mr. Carnival” and his bride Cheri. Hubby and I were to be on this cruise with you and had to cancel due to family situation. I will sail one day with you, John. Until then I will look forward to my 9/18/10 cruise on the Carnival Dream.

I enjoyed the video very much and Love the Bouncy song! Julie

John Says:
Hello Julie Mendenhall

That is such a good question Julie and I am not sure who the best person to answer that is. I know Florida does get resident rates as you said and I have no idea if something similar applies to Texans sailing out of Galveston and folks from Louisiana sailing on the Carnival Triumph out of New Orleans? Let me put that question to some people at Carnival and I will get back to you with any information they may be able to give me about South Carolina.

I am so glad you enjoy seeing the Carnival Fantasy in Charleston and I am sorry I didn’t get to see you. Hopefully, it will not be long before you are here and enjoying the ship just as Mr. and Mrs. Carnival did recently. You will have a brilliant time on your Carnival Dream and as soon as I hear anything about resident rates I will let you know.

Best wishes
John

Jane_M Asked:
PLEASE REPLY

Your video was awesome! Your daughter is a very lucky little girl to have such a talented dad. Is there any way you will be the cruise director on the Liberty for the 5th annual br**st cancer survivor’s cruise on the Carnival Liberty next May 14-21?

John Says:
Hello Jane_M

Thanks so much for the kind words and I am certainly the lucky one to be home with the girls once again. If there was one cruise I could chose to be a part of it would be the breast cancer survivor’s cruise. I know the recent one was a huge success and it would have been an honour to have shared that experience with 300 who have battled and continue to battle breast cancer. Unfortunately, the cruise next year comes right in the middle of the first cruise of the Carnival Magic so I will be unable to attend.

However, I wonder if you might remind me some weeks before the sailing as I would like to send a video message to play at one of your functions as it is something that I really would like to be associated with somehow.

Until then, I send you my best wishes.
John

Julie Kurkowski Asked:
JOHN (please reply)

I first sailed with you in 1996 out of San Juan on a southern Caribbean cruise for my honeymoon. Now 14 years later, we are redoing the southern Caribbean with 26 of our closest friends and family. This will be our 3rd group cruise in four years. The Carnival Victory on July 4th. We always end up sitting near the kitchen at late dining. Is there some way you could put in a request that we can sit a little closer to the middle of the dining room this year? If not, we understand. Will send our review of the Victoy upon our return.  Thank you for everything you do for the Carnival family.

PS – Our group is called No Ties Allowed Room 9246

John Says:
Hello Julie Kurkowski

What a brilliant name for a group……..no ties allowed. I am glad to see that you have been enjoying cruising since our time together way back in 1996. I have sent your request to the maitre D on the Carnival Victory who I know will do his best to help you.

Thanks for the kind words.

Best wishes to you both and have a great cruise.
John

Slickabrina Asked:
Hi John ~ Please reply….

First, just wanted to pass along that Mom and I are officially booked on the 10/17 Carnival Splendor sailing. We are looking forward to sailing with you again and there will be no Billy No Mates on this trip! If you can find time, we would very much enjoy a meal, or even tea, with you at some point.

With all the talk about the liquor smuggling crackdown, I’ve started to wonder. Why are passengers allowed to carry on a bottle of wine or champagne and not a bottle of liquor? Just curious as I am still a relatively new cruiser (though I do have my Platinum cruise already booked for February!).

Hope the toe is doing better!
Colleen

John Says:
Hello Slickabrina

I am so very honoured that you and Mom have booked to sail with me on the fabulous Carnival Splendor and I will do all I can to make it your best cruise ever. The current rules do allow guests to bring on one bottle of champagne and or wine. My toe still hurts and it doesn’t help that I keep banging the sodding thing on bedposts and high thresholds.

So, I will see you in September and if you need anything before you sail, please let me know.

Best wishes to you both.
John

Judy Sharum Asked:
JOHN PLEASE REPLY!

I STILL haven’t heard from the “stephannies” about the trouble on excursions in Rome??? No one got back to me about the pirates!

As for your complainers- tell em to stuff it! Southerners are a bit “up tight” and could use loosening up! You don’t have offensive shows or music! My granddaughters loved it! Takes a lot to make THEM laugh from an adult!

The tolitet comment- too much info thanks! Women don’t want to imagine what goes on in a man’s bathroom!

Keep up good work!!

John Says:
Hello Judy Sharum

I am sorry that I hadn’t gotten back to you on this. The link I am about to post was from a blog of some weeks ago about guests on a cruise ship in the port of Civitavecchia who ……..well, have a read of this. Here is the link thingy.

http://johnhealdsblog.com/2010/04/16/cruise-to-nowhere/

This is another perfect example of why excursions purchased from the cruise ships are such a must option to take.

Thanks for the kind words of support for the blog and sorry about the toilet thingy.

My best wishes to you and the family.
John

Michael Asked:
John- Please Reply

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1147946

Another thread about ways that passengers are smuggling liquor onto the ship. Rum Runners in socks, checked luggage, etc. A lot of gloating about how it was recently done in Miami. I trust you will get this information to the proper authorities.

John Says:
Hello Michael

Thanks so much for posting the link to this particular board. We are all very well aware of how a few guests continue to try to smuggle liquor on mass and for the most part we seem to be winning this particular battle. Did you see my blog last week about the one cabin with the 8 water bottles full of vodka and rum? I know some people may consider what we do to be wrong but really it isn’t. Bar and other revenue sources onboard keeps the cost of the cruise affordable. I also have to say I am surprised that people post their smuggling techniques on a public website……………is that not a bit silly?

Thanks for the link which I have passed along to the right people.

Best wishes,
John

Leslee Asked:

I am taking my 17 yr old daughter on her first cruise (my 3rd) on September 16th, 2010 (Carnival Sensation). Even though this is a short 3-day trip, it’s still going to be a special Mom/Daughter trip with some special time for her & me. We are going a day early of course so that we don’t have issues flying in the day of the cruise, but also to extend our time together. This is my first balcony (M114) and I know that I’ll be “balcony hooked” from now on!!

My Julia is the youngest of 3… my baby! She is such a wonderful girl and I just want her to know how much I love her and appreciate what a good girl she is. Not only because she’s my daughter, but just in general she is a special sprit and is loved by many. She baby-sits for many of our neighbors (spelt correctly) and they all comment on how respectful and lovely she is. It’s such a wonderful thing to hear, no matter how old they get! I must have done something right… J

Anyway, I have a couple of questions regarding the short, 3 day Sensation cruises.

1) Is there a “Cruise Elegant” night?

2) I have already arranged for flowers to be in our cabin at sail away for her, and I know the rules about bringing flowers off the ship… BUT… will I be able to say, press a bloom or two into a book for safekeeping and be okay? I’m sure I could probably do this without permission and nobody would know, but would like clarification before the fact so that I’m not doing something that I shouldn’t be doing.

3) Will there be something like what I’ve read about you doing, where you can submit letters honoring/saying something special about the person you are cruising with? If not, is there some other way you can think of that I might be able to relay my gratitude to her for being such a GREAT kid and SO much more that I cannot even articulate during our short 3-day adventure?

That’s all for now John, except to say that I love your blog and look forward to reading it every day (almost!). My daughter has also become a fan! You have a unique sense of humor (spelt correctly) and even though some may find it a bit “off”, MOST of us find it entertaining and enjoy your efforts to keep us informed, amused and most of the time, happy. Thanks again.

Leslee

John Says:
Hello Leslee

Mum and daughter trips are very important and I am happy to hear that you will have some special bonding time on the Carnival Sensation in September. I am sure you have raised a wonderful family and that Julia and your 2 other children realize what a wonderful Mum they have in you.

Here is the cruise itinerary with the elegant night marked for you….by the way, I think you meant the cruise starts on the 17th.

Now I know that the ship is in Nassau while the Captain’s Celebrations are going on and some of the guests will prefer not to dress elegantly that night. However, the option is there should you decide to take it and have some Mum/Daughter portraits taken.

Officially flowers are not allowed to be taken off the vessel as per The Department Of United States Agriculture laws. However, pressing a few petals in a scrapbook is going to be fine.

I am glad that you enjoy my silly humour and please would you post a reminder to me on August 16th and include your Stateroom number so I can send Julia something from you and I.

You will love the balcony and you will love this special cruise.

Best wishes to you both,
John

Templecruiser Asked:
Reply and comment please

There is a HUGE discussion on Cruise Critic that shows people are ready to desert Carnival and go to your competitors due to your archaic power strip ban. Care to comment on http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1192074

John Says:
Hello Templecruiser

I didn’t read the comments but as I think I have said recently……….if someone wants to change cruise lines over a power strip, then I doubt there is anything I can say that will change their minds. Maybe Freud or Dr. Melfi from the Sopranos can help.

Best wishes,
John

Zannett Asked:
Hi John (Please Reply)

I have been reading the blog, as always, but haven’t posted in a while. We have a few more trips coming up with the first to be on the Carnival Inspiration 6/10. We are taking one of our daughters who graduated from college last week. She has missed cruising with us because she has been at school or working and this is her first in 6 or 7 years. I was hoping you could have a ship on a stick sent to her congratulating her on her graduation as well as being accepted into Law School at UGA.

Her name is Elizabeth (actually Charlotte Elizabeth) and she will be in cabin M138. Thanks and we are hoping to be able to join you next year on the BG4!

Zannett

John Says:
Hello Zannett

Please congratulate Elizabeth for me on her graduation. You must be so very proud. I will ask the Cruise Director to send her a little graduation gift on my behalf. I do hope that I will get to see you on BC4 and I wish you both a wonderful cruise.

Best wishes to you and the family,
John

Paul Asked:
(Please reply)

John,

I wanted to take a minute (more likely more) to thank you for the extra effort you put into making sure we had a crib in our room for our son on our recent Carnival Liberty cruise to the Western Caribbean. I gave a wave off of the tender in Grand Caymans (build a pier) to the Fantasy as we were anchored alongside for the day. Also, going that extra mile with a ‘ship on a stick’ and a little something for Mom and Dad was a great touch. Butch wrote us a great letter welcoming us and our group on board.

I cannot say enough great things about the ship’s beauty and the beauty of her staff. Every person we encountered was full of smiles for our son, making his trip that much more enjoyable. While he couldn’t swim yet, we brought along an inflatable pool and attendants made sure we had fresh water for him in there without me having to go to a shower for a refill.

Each steward, not just ours, knew our son by name on the first day. Nopparet (sp?) our steward was great, moving the crib to my mother’s room on ‘nights out’ for me and my wife, moving toys over for our little guy. Our wait staff of Enrico and Avito were phenomenal having PB & J for Josh before we all ordered to keep him busy through dinner service, and if we wanted extra, no problems.

I would like to take a minute to apologize for one of our group’s behaviour, in case Butch received any complaints as I heard back he might have made things difficult for other diners during the Chef’s Table dinner which is quite unfortunate, as other guests paid hard earned money for such a wonderful treat. I do apologize, and I’m pretty sure he won’t be joining us again.

Again, thanks for all the wonderful care pre and during cruise. It won’t go forgotten.

We all (minus 1) bought the cruise certificates and are fairly certain we will be on the Carnival Glory next May to HMC, St Thomas, Grand Turk and San Juan as 3 of those ports we have never visited and 1 is where my wife and I were married, so it holds a special place.

Plus, with a cruise booked I will be able to keep reading the blog daily as I have a hard time reading about others cruising when I don’t have one to look forward to myself…. easy solution… book a cruise.

Thanks again, John.

John Says:
Paul

Thank you for letting me know that everything worked out for you and your family on the Carnival Liberty. I saw the ship when we were together in Grand Cayman and actually got to speak to Butch on the phone. He is a great guy and I thank him for always helping me with those extra requests I ask of him. Many times I ask the CD’s to help and while most are brilliant in this regard but some are not. These CD’s are easy to spot as when they walk out on stage you will see one of my shoes sticking out of their bottoms.

I have passed on all your kind words to the ship so they can read your words of praise and…..how thrilled they will be.

I am not sure what happened at the Chef’s Table but I will make sure that your apologies are passed along. Please don’t worry though. I am happy then that you all had a great time and I remain here ready to help you the next time you need anything.

Best wishes to all,
John

That’s all for today.

I read with great interest your continuing comments and thoughts on smoking. All I want to say for now is that I have sent them all to a group of folks in Miami who are going to pay very special attention to them. Thanks to everyone who wrote in.

So here I am back home in the UK. It’s 2:10pm and as I sit here…………..Heidi made me put clothes on and not write to you in the usual fashion……..I feel both elated and tired. Yep, jet lag has become my new mate and as usual I didn’t get much sleep on the plane and short of a naked Latvian reading me a bedtime story, I doubt I ever will. Little Miss Audrey got some sleep though despite the poor kid who eventually screamed himself to sleep. Me, I tossed and turned and maybe dozed for an hour but that was it ………….and now I am paying the price but…….I am determined to stay awake to 9:00pm or later……….just so my body starts adjusting a bit. But right now as I type my eye lids feel like Pamela Andersen’s knockers are hanging from them.

So, I had better hurry up and get this blog written and my apologies if my writing is ummm………….bollocks.

Right then, the news. There are some great photos of the Niew Amsterdam’s Sea Trials including a rough day at sea, what happens when you are in the wrong place at the wrong time when the sprinkler system gets tested and ……….a mysterious stowaway.

Here is the link thingy

http://www.hollandamericablog.com/2010/06/03/nieuw-amsterdam-photos-june-3-2010/

I know that sometimes some of you scoot over the videos I post here if they don’t specifically pertain to a Carnival ship. However, I have to tell you that the videos I am about to show you are fun and are a must see.

Some of the best videos around at the moment are being posted by P & O Princess. They have 5 videos on their site, all about what happens in dry dock. These are filmed onboard the Pacific Dawn and are different to normal videos of this kind. They really do go behind the scenes and include brilliant looks at the engines and how they have stopped vibration concerns and what happens to the……..ummm……..poo.

Then they look at the medical department and the life of a bridge officer and lots, lots more. You really have to see them. Here is the link thingy

http://pacificdawn.pocruises.com.au/

And today’s blog is full of video clips which is something I will strive to do as often as I can. The next one is of the spectacular naming ceremony of the Seabourn Sojurn. This was hosted by Seabourn’s incomparable President Pam Conover who is totally comfortable at the microphone and her speech and her interview describes, the Seabourn product perfectly. The Godmother was the still drop-dead gorgeous Twiggy and as the video shows, she was truly proud to christen the uber luxurious Seabourn Sojurn. And as you will see, with London as the backdrop, it was a naming ceremony that the people who attended will never forget.

Well, I am certain that the Carnival Fantasy is in great hands and young Hennie the Cruise Director is going to be very good. I helped him as much as I could, especially with the debarkation talk which is so very important on that ship. This is of course due to the small terminal building and the gangway being on Deck 3. But he got the message across well and had about 1000 take the self assist option. He needs to push a little harder and try and get about another 500 on this…………it will be best for all concerned.

Someone asked a few Q and A’s ago about how many guests Carnival carries a week and I waffled may way around the answer. Actually, I had no clue, so I thought for the blogger who asked that question and as normally, when I am a CD I write how many people are sailing with me that voyage that I would post how many were sailing on the next voyage of every ship. And so with thanks to the fleet’s guest services managers…….I still miss calling them Chief Pursers…………here is who is sailing with them this week.

Carnival Fantasy                                   2611

Carnival Ecstasy                                   2610

Carnival Sensation                                2626

Carnival Imagination                              2602

Carnival Fascination                              2612

Carnival Inspiration                                2574

Carnival Paradise                                  2613

Carnival Elation                                     2633

Carnival Destiny                                    3254

Carnival Triumph                                   3468

Carnival Victory                                     3336

Carnival Spirit                                        2379

Carnival Pride                                       2375

Carnival Legend                                    2548

Carnival Miracle                                    2393

Carnival Conquest                                 3632

Carnival Glory                                       3253

Carnival Valor                                       3585

Carnival Liberty                                     3630

Carnival Freedom                                  3562

Carnival Splendor                                  3635

Your Carnival Dream                             4450

And that gives us a grand total of guests enjoying an incomparable, affordable, fun for all cruise vacation this week of………….66,381………….oh, plus 3 service dogs.

I think that number speaks for itself………… but when you actually think that this week 66,381 men , women, children, honeymooners, retired people, families, single travelers will be enjoying the fun for all Carnival Experience……………it truly is quite extraordinary.

And so over the past 6 days I have been asking you to vote on where you wish your Carnival Magic would call her home port. Here is one of the 344 Stephanies with the results.

8,770 total votes to date.

    Answer – Votes

New Orleans – 4,213 48%
Galveston – 3,800 43%
Port Canaveral – 368 4%
Port Everglades – 228 3%
Miami – 161 2%

Wow, that is very interesting. It was extraordinary to see Miami so low and New Orleans and Galveston so high.  I wonder where your Carnival Magic will end up ……we should know soon.

Well, I think I am about finished. I did in the end have a two hour nap………jet lag has totally kicked me in the bollocks. So, here I am, at home with the girls. Now, I will start by asking your kind permission about something and some of my regular readers will know what’s about to happen. Yep………I would like to take four days off. The writing part of my brain needs to take a vacation and, of course, I would like to spend a few days to relax. Is that OK?

Now, I will be back on Monday and possibly before if Super Spy PA 007 breaks the news on your Carnival Magic’s home port and trans-Atlantic this week. If not, I will see you on Monday the 14th June…………..in my underpants. There will be lots to write about including possible ship re-deployments ……….or not………….and new ports of call ………….or not. There will be guest blogs and lots, lots more as well as a few days of double Q and A so that I can catch up.

Just before I go, I know that this is a blog about life and cruising and not about babies. And I will keep that kind of stuff out of the blog thingy as much as possible. But today, I want to share one thing with you.

Throughout the 8 hours on the plane and the 2 hour ride home, one reoccurring thought kept churning through my mind……….. Kye had not seen me for two months………….what if she started to cry and to not want me to hug her.

I wound myself up about this so much that honestly……it gave me heartburn………I kept telling myself it was the British Airways chicken curry……..but deep down ……….I knew it was the fear of rejection.

So what happened………………………..well this happened?

She took a few minutes to realize that the person she had been listening to sing to her on the phone everyday was actually here……….in person………..but then she wanted a cuddle………….and then………..well all the late nights, early mornings and broken toes became absolutely worthwhile. My life is all about her now and everything I do, I do it for her…………………oh God that was nearly a Bryan Adams song……….my apologies if I made some of you vomit. Oh and sorry about my hair……….I looked like I had just rented a moped.

Thanks for the time off and see you all bright and early on Monday morning……………unless PA 007 has Magical news for us.

Goodnight
Your friends
John, Heidi and Kye

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.

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