Leaving Moon city-autobiographical flash fiction

maltabus by doodle_juice
maltabus, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

A day earlier in Abadan our passports and tickets were ready for collection. Dad spoke to this guy in the ticket office who dropped the word OK in every one of his Persian sentences.  He had a poster of palm trees on the wall. Who puts posters of palm trees of some other city in a city full of palm trees? He was what we called Gharb-Zadeh which meant western wannabe. On that last day I was keen to keep my daily ritual and cycled under the heat of the Sun, in our city of Mahshahr. Mahshar meant moon city. I passed Mahnaz’s house and peeked through the mesh wire  window. She wasn’t there, shame. Why was it that when things were getting better something always changed? Only a fortnight earlier I wrote her a note, sat next to her in the cinema and dropped it in her lap. When she saw me next she blushed. Her cheeks turned red like inside a cherry pie and I’m guessing they probably tasted the same. I knew then that if I persisted I could get a taste of her. I put my best shirt on. It was a lost cause but it wasn’t just for her I was saying goodbye to the neighbourhood. The heat  melted the road and left my tyre track behind. At least the road kept a trace of me. You could fry an omelet on that asphalt but I was used to that heat even though my skin had turned deep brown and peeled like a potato. The swimming pool chlorine had lightened my hair and I thought I looked cool!  I passed the market. The vegetable market had fresh coriander and the mechanic’s shop smelled of diesel and grease. My friend Ali was home.  Unlike me he was a town boy. At school I  hanged out with the town kids just as much as I knew the kids from our part of town. Town kids called us the refinery kids. I didn’t care much for such differences. Ali went puppy faced but kept quiet and just wished me luck.  Ali’s Mum offered me lunch, smiled and wished me luck, but I didn’t stay. I passed the fishmongers and the  smell of  freshly backed bread further up market made me hungry so I headed home. I reached the rose gardens of the English houses  of our road and circled the Helipad where the king had once landed for his visit. On his visit I’d peeked inside the Helicopter now I was going round the H three times for good luck. I had my lunch and had a short nap. The summer days were long but that day was going too quickly and I was slightly disappointed. My life was about to change and I expected a bit more fuss from friends and family. Surely someone cared that I wouldn’t be there the next day?  Then it happened. Ali hadn’t gone puppy face  because  he was keeping a secret. He wasn’t good at keeping secrets but that day he did a good job. The kids had organised a surprise visit. They all turned up at once, or at least the best of my friends the seven of them came to say goodbye. Mohsen the eldest of all of us was a poor kid who along his education had started to be a coach driver’s assistant. This had caused a bit of interruption so he’d repeated the year but otherwise that kid was a really bright. His favourite occupation was to make bamboo shoots burn a few holes and turn it to a flute for his buddies. He was a great musician but that day he was a coach driver. He’d borrowed his uncle’s coach, picked each one of them at their homes and beautifully parked the coach in the col-de-sac where we lived. It wasn’t just for me, it was for them too. They wanted to look me in the eyes and see how it felt to be going somewhere and living a dream. I should had kept in touch but didn’t. A lot happened after that point. A war swallowed up a million kids. Rich or poor many people left the country but I hope my magnificent seven, the seven friends, the town boys that I once had as genuine friends had grown to be happy men and I hope wherever they are that they had a good life. Life did turn out to be like a dream. The thirty-six years have gone fast and nothing like what I expected.

Mustard field by doodle_juice

Mustard field, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

I took this picture of a mustard field on my regular commute to London. There was a long cycle lane along this field. It crossed many fields and went on for miles and miles.
I dreamt that one day I would take my daughter and go cycling there. Then a month later I fell ill and suspected that I might have had a mild heart attack. I ended up in the hospital across the field and there I dreamt of being able to go back on my regular train journey and be alive to maintain the livelihood of my family. Fortunately it was a false alarm but it did dawn on me that you can’t always leave things to future. A few month later I did take my daughter on that cycle trip. It meant a lot to me but my teenage daughter was rather indifferent about the whole experience. Perhaps when she reaches my age she would look back and then the trip would mean something to her. Come what may, it has been wonderful to be alive and cycle on that lane.

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Russian vampire night Zurich

Russian vampire night Zurich by doodle_juice
Russian vampire night Zurich, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

Halloween night last year, Russian vampire night Zurich. Filled with rich ex pat Russians and their lovely other halves I suspected I was amongst some dodgy characters!

mustardfield by doodle_juice

mustardfield, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

And now for something cheerful. I have a new job and I’ve given up consulting. Working for a local company with a change in career, I will not be doing my long journeys. On the plus side I’ll have more time at home and doing my Art work, but on the downside I will be taking less Travel photos like this one from a train.

The Orchard, Granchester

The Orchid, Granchester by doodle_juice
The Orchard, Granchester, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

The Orchard is a Tea Garden in Grantchester, Cambridgeshire. It is a place that looks frozen in time.
In 1868, it became a Tea Garden purely by chance. A group of Cambridge students asked Mrs Stevenson of Orchard House if she would serve them tea beneath the blossoming fruit trees rather than, as was usual, on the front lawn of the House. They were unaware that, on that

Rupert Brooke

Image via Wikipedia

spring morning in 1897, they had started a great Cambridge tradition.
The Orchard soon became a popular ‘up-river resort’.
The owners started to take lodgers and one particular lodger was Rupert Brooke who brought his circle of friends later dubbed by Virginia Woolf as ‘Neo-Pagans’.
In March 1915, he embarked on a troop-ship bound for Gallipoli. Tragically, he was never to return. He became very ill on board, and on 23rd April 1915, aged 27, he died from blood poisoning.
The Grantchester group:
E.M. Forster, Rupert Brooke, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Bertrand Russell, Augustus John, Maynard Keynes, and Virginia Woolf ( from left to right).
We visited the Orchid from time to time.
In the summer before I our marriage, I used to bring my wife here.
I brought my daughter who is 16 now and wants to one day read English at Cambridge here.
I wanted to give her a sense of History. Who knows perhaps one day they’ll have her picture among these pe

Portrait of Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)

Image via Wikipedia


Lytton Strachey and Virginia Woolf.

Image via Wikipedia

Tallulah and Augustus John with her famous por...

Image via Wikipedia

The 1913 Dreadnought hoax

Image via Wikipedia

Rupert Brooke posing as Comus.

Image via Wikipedia

Noel Olivier; Maitland Radford; Virginia Woolf...

Image via Wikipedia

Lady of Elche


shop by doodle_juice
shop, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

A shop window at night

Zurich Lake Port

port by doodle_juice
port, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

Picture was taken on an evening walk. I liked the shadows of lines going into perspective.


radio-telescope2 by doodle_juice
radio-telescope2, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

A 5hr walk around my house and a picture with mobile phone and some editing to turn this into a lino-cut like print resulted in this.


hodler autoportrait 1916hodler The Consecrated One, undated0201

Bern, a set on Flickr.

This is my last Swiss blog. I’ll be back in UK on Monday. It has been a glorious 9 month here. Like an isolated Darwinian evolutionary continent, Switzerland with its unique political status has evolved a culture different from the rest of Western Europe, this is more visible when you visit the museums. There you are likely to find the concept of War something that is historical or happens to other people. You will find paintings, landscapes which are uniquely Swiss and you would not see around the world. Historical museums, and second-hand shops are full of luxury items and beautiful art Deco furniture and vintage designer clothing owned by generations of wealthy Swiss. The Art and sculpture is rich with detail, extravagance and sometimes a distinct humour.

Anyway, this was my last weekend in this beautiful country so I decided to make the most of it and visit Bern. When I went to the Zurich station I was surprised to find a Thai Festival in action. I went to listen to the chanting of the monks and looked around the food and furniture stands and decided to go and get my train. Bern is a city with so much to offer.

Apart from the medieval oddities such as a sculpture of an Ogre eating babies, or the impressive old clock tower, the city is picturesque and the museums are rich with unusual artefacts. Bern is a very happy city. You see people of all ages having romantic interaction, you see little kids running around the water works in a large square and getting soaked laughing and having fun.

There was an exhibition of hoof cleaning cows and horses. The poor cow was mowing like mad when it was tied down and her hooves were being grind down.

Going back to the subject of Swiss differences, Ferdinand Hodler symbolist paintings are distinctly Swiss.

After the Art visits, the historical museum was also interesting. I came across many unexpected Iranian items such as Astronomy an Astrology instruments, lacquered pen holders, Sufi order items such as the Sufi master’s hat  and axe etc. There was also a collection of Qajar Art including 18th century pen holders and recreation of women’s room inside a Qajari house.

The most impressive which in my opinion is a unique masterpiece was the Joseph Reinhart’s paintings of Swiss costumes 787 to 1797 as well as a series of water colours called the dance of death.

The final visit was to Einstein museum where I discovered a side of Albert that I didn’t know about. Albert was one hell of a lover boy and his poor wife who was also educated and had ambitions of an academic life settled for being a house wife and had to put up with her husband’s infidelity. Einstein was wrongly associated with the creation of the Atomic bomb by the Time magazine, but he tried to rectify that. He did his best to curb its use and make people think about the Arm’s race and the catastrophic outcome. He was under surveillance during the McCarthy years and was almost expelled from U.S. He died after a speech about nuclear disarmament and proposing the idea of a world Government in 1955.

I had a great lunch and a glass of Swiss white beer and slept like a baby on the train.

When I came back to Zurich I finished off a very distinct and fantastic glass of Honey wine. I bought a bottle after doing having a wine tasting session and chose a bottle that was not sweet but had a lot of character. The alcohol intake was the exception. I was simply making the most of my Swiss experience and had to finish my wine bottle as my luggage could go over the weight limit. Well at least it is a good excuse to celebrate a long journey!

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