[Grammar] A sentence from The Honorable Schoolboy by John Le Carre

guzhao67

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Hi: good morning/afternoon/evening, the following sentence was taken from The Honorable Schoolboy by John Le Carre.

Listening, waiting - vamping, as the actors call it - Craw told himself her story, just as he had told it on the refresher course at Sarratt five years ago, when he was back there getting a rebore in the black arts. (Penguin Edition, p 220)

My question is: Why does the author use "ago" instead of "before", since the time reference is "past in the past"?

Thank you for reading my question, and have a nice day.
 
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