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Friday, 20 March 2020

Nowruz Moborak

Nowruz Moborak...Happy New Year

It's Persian New Year today.

Here's wishing all our Persian friends, wherever they are,

"Nowruz Moborak"

And stay safe.

My Own Iran Experience

The first time I visited Iran I had just turned 17.

moody shot working for the Post Office in Brighton

And we still called it Persia.

I was stunned my parents let me go.

It was in the days before foreign holidays had become the norm and 
 a world away from our suburban Brighton lives.

I had never been abroad before.

Well, unless you count a day trip to Dieppe with the school when I was 11.

My new Persian boyfriend was visiting his family in Tehran for the summer.
Would I like to go?

I asked with trepidation.

Spent days summoning up the courage.

It might not have been an issue, but only a year before I had been seen to "go off the rails."

From a sensible, studious, convent girl, I had turned into a rebellious, absconding, wild teenager,
Aided and abetted by my first regular boyfriend.

Much older.
A bit on the rough side.
"Been in trouble with the police," said Mum.
Did I mention my Dad was a policeman?

So maybe the parents were only too glad for me to go away for the summer.
My new boyfriend was my age.
Charming and polite as is the Persian way.
Very attractive to boot.

He was going to train to be a doctor.
(I found out many years later he became a highly respected, 
world-renowned specialist in his chosen field.)

So far removed from the ne'er do well I had attempted to run away with the year before.

Persian Adventure

Memories are fragmented.
It was such a long time ago.
And much has happened since.


I remember walking down the steps of the plane and the sweltering Tehran air enveloping me.

The warmth and generosity of the people I met.

If I close my eyes I can smell the all-pervading aroma of kebabs as we drove down Pahlavi Avenue.
The car windows open, our arms draping outside in a vain attempt to cool off.

American voices were everywhere.
"Like being in America in the Middle East." I remember saying.

We spent time travelling and stayed in Shiraz, 
visiting  Persepolis and the tombs of Hafez and Saadi.

Isfahan with its huge square and bridge of 33 arches just so beautiful.
I had never seen anything like it.

We passed nomadic Qashqai groups along the way.
The women's brightly coloured traditional clothes in contrast
to the designer outfits worn by many on the street.

We walked along the sands of the Caspian Sea where women sunbathed
in bikinis and couples strolled hand in hand.

Photos of the Shah were displayed in every public place.
"They must really all love him." I wrote on a postcard home.

I was, I have to say, an extremely naive 17-year-old.

We found a gravity hill.
The weirdest experience.
Put the car into neutral and roll forward.


Mealtimes were hard.
Sophisticated I really wasn't.

Now it's my most favourite food.

Green rice though, I adored.
It was probably the only dish I did.
With loads of mayonnaise, I thought it heavenly.

I make it at home a lot.
Rice packed with so many fresh herbs it looks green.
Coriander, chives, parsley and the most dominant flavour, dill.

Served with yoghurt now though, instead of half a jar of mayo.

I mastered enough farcie to ask for the essentials.
"Toilet koja?"

Got to grips with the tradition of tarof

...but only just

This is funny and gives you a really good idea of this age-old tradition.

Then suddenly, it was over.

We returned home and a few months later I started
training as a children's nurse at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Brighton.

My Persian boyfriend and I later split up and I married an English man.

After that, I didn't think of Persia/ Iran for many, many years.
I never thought I would return.
But, in the way of life's twists and turns, I did.
A long time later

With an Iranian husband.

Yes definitely.....
a story for another day.


Friday, 14 February 2020

Happy Valentines Day

One of our favourite restaurants is Pappardelle in Arundel High Sreet.
When we walk into those two cosy upstairs rooms I'm immediately transported to Italy.

The food is good.
The ambience and service, warm and friendly.

When we have US clients staying in the area, we like to take them to Pappardelle.
They love it as much as we do.

Mostly they are dashing.
Keeping to a tight schedule.

But occasionally they have time to take a breathe and enjoy Arundel.

I have great memories of two separate evenings at Pappardelle's.

The restaurant is owned these days by Clive Mina, who also creates their fabulous meals.

Years ago it was run by his father Bruno.
Bruno was a great friend of Nass's.

We went in on spec on my birthday, hoping for a table.

But they were filled to bursting, Bruno apologising profusely.
No, he really didn't have space anywhere. 

Standing back in the town square, disappointed,
but kicking ourselves for not booking,
we debated where to go.

"Takeaway and home?" I suggested.

"Stay there," said Nass, running back upstairs.

A few minutes later he and Bruno could be heard struggling down the stairs with a small table.
I watched in amazement as two chairs followed.

Then a waiter carrying tablecloth, cutlery, and wine glasses.
By the time we sat down, there  were candles on the table 
and the waiter was handing us the menu.

At first, I felt self-conscious.
Passersby were looking and nudging each other,
But by the second glass of Italian red, I barely noticed them.

This is Arundel, eccentric things happen.


I once worked as a Vegetarian chef at the wonderful West Dean College.

It was a lovely place to work.
The downside was the split shift.

It's a drive from Arundel to West Dean, not particularly far, 
but enough when you've been on your feet all day.
And you've done the journey twice.

One Valentine's night I arrived home around 9pm.
Ready to flop into a chair.

Jay, my son, was a student and still at home.
A lovely smell of cooking pervaded the house as I walked in.

The fire was lit.
The table set for two.
Jay at the ready, to wait on the table.
Jay now a menswear designer in the US

How wonderful.

"Let's go into town for a drink first," Nass said.
"Oh please no," I thought.

Instead, I smiled graciously, albeit through gritted teeth.
Crikey I felt tired, but they had both gone to a lot of trouble.
"OK, Just one then."

As we walked into town he said,
"Let's go to see Bruno and have a drink there."
"Nass,  we can't do that he'll be busy."
"He won't mind."

Exasperated by now, and a wee bit tetchy maybe?
"And full. He will be full up. It's 9.30 on Valentine's night for goodness sake."

As we got to the top of the stairs Nass noticed an empty table.
" Come on here's a vacant table"
" Yes, but it's reserved."

He grinned. 
" Yes for us."
" But, but, you've cooked"
" Fried onions for the smell."

We had a wonderful evening.
When Bruno had finished in the kitchen he sat and drank a glass of wine with us.

"Happy Valentine's," He said as he left the table.
Then I noticed a small heart-shaped box he had left.
(It turns out Nass had even taken that in earlier.)
Red, velvety.

"What's that?"
I didn't dare open it.

Now, I know what your thinking.
I thought so too.

It was full of the most beautiful hand made chocolates.

I love chocolates.
But I would make a box like that last.
For days sometimes.
Savour one at a time.

But we opened them and ate them instead of dessert.

" You ate those quickly."
" Did I?" I said, blushing.

" You thought there was a ring in there, didn't you?" Nass laughed.
" No, I didn't." Going even redder.

And yes, I had and no there wasn't.

I felt quite sick from too much chocolate on top of rather a lot of red wine.
But a sense of relief.
Early days and all that.
I had only just come through a divorce.

And a ring did come later.

After three ignored marriage proposals.

Well, they were fuelled by beer and 
encouraged by over-enthusiastic Friday night Arundel pub revellers.

Admittedly he did go down on one knee.
Every time.
A bit wobbly.
(That would be the Fosters probably. I don't think it was emotion. Nah pretty sure not.)

" When you ask me without an audience I'll think about it."

And one Christmas Eve returning home from quiet drinks in the Kings Arms,
he did the down on one knee thing again.

Only this time I said " yes."

Happy Valentine's Day.

Monday, 10 February 2020

Arundel Countryside Walks, Antiques and Upcycling.

Arundel must surely be one of the most stunning towns on the south coast of England.



Opposite the Priory on London Road are the most beautiful allotments I have ever seen.

We are lucky enough to live and work in the town.

Every morning Elsa and I do a different walk...

Each walk a bonus as we nearly lost her when she was 8 months old.
A grass seed went into her leg...and migrated to her spine.

Here's one of our favourite rambles.
One of the most picturesque, too.

You can get onto the river bank at the far end of the Black Rabbit car park.

The path meanders along the riverside until you reach South Stoke.

 You walk until you reach the second bridge.

no not this bridge Elsa

The countryside will take your breathe away.

The village of South Stoke.

this is the bridge we want.

Looking across from North Stoke to South Stoke

This little bridge was built by a Ghurka Regiment.,_West_Sussex

The path is muddy at the moment.
There is a spot where I took a second too long to work out my route through the quagmire.

My feet disappeared up to my ankles.

Stunning hey?
If you want to find out more about the route
they have walking maps in Arundel Museum in Mill Road.

We might see you.


So who are we?

Nass, my husband, and I have a large warehouse in Arundel
It's filled with English and French decorative antique furniture.

The warehouse was once part of the 18th century Swallow Brewery.

Here's more about us.

And where are we?

Hidden behind Arundel Co-op.
Just 5 minutes' walk from Arundel High Street.
Well, only 2 if you're a fast walker.

Walk down to the bridge
and along the alley next to William Hill then turn left.

Take a sharp left.

You will find us, Arundel Eccentrics, in the last warehouse along.

Here's what we have in store at the moment!/dealer=arundel-eccentrics

and this is what I do in our Arundel studio by the river at the end of our garden.


You will find more on that here..........

Open 11-4 daily.

Other times just contact us.