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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.