Saturday, December 16, 2006

A few days ago I heard on the news that anti-war protesters finally won their case against the police to prove that their rights to protest were violated after 120 of them were detained by the police in March 2003. The campaigners had planned a peaceful demonstration outside Fairford airbase in Gloucestershire (which is where many American B-52 bombers were launched from to bomb Baghdad in the early day of the war) but instead they were stopped in their coaches, searched, then kept in there for two hours and then escorted away from the base and sent on their way. The campaigners were obviously not happy about this at all and so they took the police to court. On the 14 December this year the campaigners finally won their legal battle when high court of appeal ruled that the police acted unlawfully.
Gloucestershire police said that it was “disappointed” with the outcome and that the officers had acted in “good faith”.
But here’s the interesting part. When interviewed on the news the other night the head of Gloucestershire police (who looked pretty upset) said that they did this for the protesters’ own safety as they were worried that a demonstration might make the American pilots angry and result in them opening fire on the protesters.

[Some violent shakes of the head to adjust brain in right place followed by a minute or two of staring at the monitor with widened eyes]

Excuse me?
You were worried about the American pilots getting angry and opening fire on the protesters?
Opening fire on these didgeridoo playing, tree hugging, British, peaceful protesters?
And this is really what you think of American pilots? That they are sadistic robot gorilla types that are programmed to shoot at anything that might look like it might disagree with them?
And these are the creatures that were sent off to carry out “precision bombings” in Baghdad?
I don’t for a minute think that this would ever have happened you know. That the Americans would open fire on the protesters I mean. It’s absolutely ridiculous. But what really makes me laugh is that this is obviously what the British police think! Of their allies! Oh dear!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

This year in an attempt to build bridges between Christians and other faiths, celebrating Christmas openly has been frowned upon.
Oh yeah, that ought to do it! That is going to build bridges between faiths alright. Bridges that they can then cross to reach the people of other faiths…and kick their heads in!

-Why aren’t we having a Christmas tree this year Mummy?

-Well little Johnny, you know what a Muslim is?


-You know Abu Hamza? The guy with a hook for an arm and one eye that you used to have nightmares about every time you saw him on the news? Well that is a Muslim. And that doesn’t like Christmas so we’ve decided not to have Christmas anymore because we don’t want to offend him. Isn’t that nice?

-But what about Santa Mummy? Is Santa still going to come?

-No honey, I’m afraid not. You see Santa’s sleigh was hit by a scud missile as it flew over Gaza. The Jewish government has already accepted responsibility and has apologised for this mistake…which is nice.

-So no presents?

-Well not quite darling. Here is a copy of the Holly Koran for you to read during the holidays and in this envelope I have two circumcision vouchers for you and your daddy to be redeemed on Boxing Day! Isn’t that great?!

Yeah that’s it! Get them while they’re young. Make sure that message of “Hate non-Christians” is tattooed on their brain before they’ve even reached the age of ten.
Two out of three companies in the UK have banned Christmas decoration in their offices this year so not to offend people of other faiths. It’s political correctness gone mad darling! Whatever next? A veiled Muslim lady delivering the Christmas Day message?
Well they’re one step ahead of us on that one. Channel 4 has already signed up a veiled Muslim lady to do their Christmas message and it’s going to be aired at exactly the same time as the Queen’s speech.
Also talks are currently being held with heads of Al-Qaeda as Harrods desperately tries to sign up Bin Laden for its in-store Father Christmas.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A few days ago Negar of Location Texas made a comment about me being pregnant. As I’m sure you would all agree, predicting that someone in Oxford is with child, all the way from Texas is no easy feat.
Now those of you who know Negar know that she has been fasting all Ramadan and altogether really is quite holy (overlooking her foot obsession. Actually Jesus quite enjoyed washing other people’s feet) So I’ve been thinking, now we don’t know yet if I am or not but supposing for a minute that I am pregnant, shouldn’t that be considered a kind of miracle on Negar’s part? And if yes, shouldn’t that make her allegeable for canonization and ultimately sainthood? Of course she will still be needing one more miracle to become a fully functional saint but it’s a start isn’t it? Wouldn’t it be cool though? Saint Negar of Texas. Has a real ring to it wouldn’t you say?

I don’t want to alarm you but did you know ‘Saints almost went out of style in the 1960s’? (according to Don Lattin of San Francisco Chronicle) I know! It’s unthinkable, isn’t it? ‘Those were the days when many church leaders saw Catholic saints -- and the miracles performed in their name -- as outdated…’ Uhh!
Those were the terrible times during which many saints were either downgraded to mere martyrs or were stripped off their holiness altogether.
They even made a television programme about it called, ‘The Weakest Saint’ which was presented by the fierce Sister, Anna Robinson.
‘Now, who is two miracles short of a sainthood?’ she would say to the terrified saints standing all around her in a large circle, ‘Who has managed to pull the wool over the eyes of the cardinals of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints? Which one of you has been canonized when they should have been shot out of a cannon?’ she would throw her icy stare at the saints; unforgiving, brutal, ‘Which one of you has been acting all holy when in reality you are only as holey as a tramp’s undergarment? It’s time to reveal, the weakest saint.’
The BBC refused to air the programme however claiming that no one would watch it on account of saints and martyrs being so passé. Well they had almost gone out of style then as we said earlier.

One of the saints that were dropped during the downsizing was poor old Saint Christopher, the patron saint of travellers (I don’t know why that was, I suppose he had dreadlocks and lived in a caravan) who once carried the weight of the whole world across a river. Well he did it by accident actually or more to the point, he was tricked into doing it.
One day poor old Christopher was about to cross a river when a child came up to him and said, ‘Hewwo mister Chwistopey. I’m onwy a wittoy baby. Wiww you take me to the othey side of this big wivey wiv you pwease?’
But when Christopher put the child on his shoulders, he realised that he was unbelievably heavy. On further inspection he noticed that the child was in fact none other than our own Lord Jesus Christ (who died on the cross to save all our sins) carrying the weight of the whole world! Talk about mardeh rend, Minoo! That’s just so unfair isn’t it?
God asks his son to take the world from one side of the river to the other and he’s thinking, ‘Ugh, I have to do evvverything around here.’
I heard that.
‘Course you did, you’re always eavesdropping.’
And you are always moaning, ‘Oh do I have to daddy? but I don’t like touching other people’s feet’, ‘oh why do I have to walk on water? Why can’t I part the sea like Moses?...
‘Ok ok, I get the massage. I’ll do it. Why do I need to take the whole world across the river anyway?’
We’re going on a picnic.
‘Can’t we just take sandwiches like everyone else?’
HuH, see? Always moaning, ‘Oh but do I have to daddy? why Can’t we just take sandwiches…
‘OK OK! Jeeeesus! I said I’ll do it didn’t I?’
Ok then you move the world and I’ll go and get the Thermos and the picnic blanket.
‘Yes you go and do that father, I’ll just take the world to the other side, no problem.
Is he gone? Phew. I thought he’d never leave. I’m just sick of this you know, he’s always giving me inappropriate tasks, ‘Let them eat your flesh and drink your blood.’ ! ‘Raise the dead.’ It wasn’t even Halloween.
Now I have to carry the whole world to the other side of the river and what for? We’re not Iranians. We don’t have to take everything we own with us on a picnic so we can cook rice and aubergine stew from scratch…Hey who’s that? Is that Christopher coming this way? Hmm, that has just given me an idea.
Hewwo mister Chwistopey…’

That’s a joke obviously but I’m not surprised if Jesus is a little bitter about his miracles. Moses got all the best ones really didn’t he? He turned a cane into a snake, parted the red sea, ate red hot charcoal and burnt his mouth. Now those of you who are not familiar with the story of Moses are probably thinking that the latter can’t have been a miracle if he actually burnt his mouth, but it was.
Basically Moses being a prophet was different from all the other kids right from the start and as time went by, Pharaoh got more and more suspicious. Until one day he said to his wife, ‘Listen Missy, I’m not all that crazy about this basket boy you’ve brought in here. I’m thinking about having him you know…What do you think?’
‘What?’ his wife replied, horrified, ‘Are you crazy?’
‘Well he just makes me feel uneasy you know.’ Said the Pharaoh, ‘Look at him sitting there all quietly on top of the desk.’
Wife: ‘What’s wrong with that? He is just drawing.’
Pharaoh: ‘He is drawing up blueprints for a bridge that he is planning to build over the river Nile.’
Wife: ‘Hmm, yeah maybe he is a little advanced for his age but he is still only a harmless wikkle baby.’
So they walked over to the desk.
Wife: ‘Helllo wikkle Mozy pozy. Do you have a little kiss for mummy?’
Moses: ‘Later doll, yeah? I’m really busy right now.’
‘You see what I mean?’ Pharaoh whispered to his wife, ‘He’s not normal.’
Moses: ‘Yo Pharaoh, wanna come down to the river with me tomorrow? I’m going to pick a nice spot for my bridge.’
Pharaoh: ‘No I don’t like going by the river. There are frogs there. I don’t like frogs.’
Moses: ‘Really? You don’t like frogs? Huh, wha’doyouknow!’

So the next day when Moses came back home from picking a nice spot for his bridge, a table had been set for him with two plates on it, one containing a piece of red hot charcoal and the other a piece of cold, black charcoal. This was a test devised by the Pharaoh to separate the prophets from kids and the logic behind it was that the genuine child, being a bit of a dumb-dumb by nature, would be attracted to the redness of the red, hot charcoal while the baby prophet, being a bit clever and having supernatural powers, will eat the cold charcoal! Or say, ‘Goodie! Is it Egyptian fondue night? Make your own kebab type thing? Where’s the meat?’
However the poor Pharaoh had not taken into account that prophets don’t always play fair, especially the baby ones who can be extremely crafty at times. So he was tricked by baby Moses who picked the hot charcoal.

For a while now I’ve been begging a friend of mine to let me try this out on her baby but she is just one of those overprotective mothers who would never let their kid do things like eating hot charcoal (hopefully Saint Negar is correct and soon I won’t have to keep begging others for every little experiment that I want to do).
Finally the other day, we settled on a much safer option. I was well up for it at first but then I lost interest when I realised that she’d said raisin and not razor.
She offered the baby a raisin and a grape. He picked neither as he was busy chewing on a slug he had found in the garden. An imbecile or a messenger from god? We will just have to wait and see with that one I suppose.

When it comes to prophets, I really think Noah drew the shortest straw. The poor guy really had his work cut out for him there didn’t he? First he had to single-handedly build a ship. Then he had to go and pick out two of each animal to get on his ship so they could later repopulate the world. That must have been really hard because he must have had to put them through vigorous tests and interviews to be able to pick out the best and the healthiest. Well it would have been terrible if after the flood he realised that the male zebra he’d picked had a low sperm count or something.

Is there anyone in the family with this problem?
Have you attended alternative practitioners like an Osteopath?
Has it stopped you going to work?
Have you felt resentment for being off work?

Do any problems arise out of going to the toilet so often?
What about social problems, work problems, with opening your bowels so often.
What actually was the original problem?

Are you able to get about?
Can you walk upstairs?
How far can you actually walk?
Are Social Services involved (e.g. meals on wheels, home help)?

What actually happened at the time?
Is there any difficulty with speech?
Are there problems with swallowing?
What treatment are you on at the moment to prevent further attacks?

Do you get the Flu Vaccine and Pneumonia Vaccine on a regular basis?

Have you ever been admitted to Hospital with too much sugar in your blood?
Has it affected you from an Insurance point of view?

How did you first notice that her memory was going?
Would she get lost if allowed out alone?
Is she able to take part in any conversation?
Does she repeat things very often?
Does she get more confused at any particular time of the day?
Is she likely to wander?
Is she likely to do other things like leaving the gas stove on?

I don’t know what he did about lazy animals like pandas and koalas and things like that. Koalas are apparently as lazy as they come. I once saw this programme about koalas and in it they were saying that koalas are too lazy to mate and so there was this guy who was in charge of koalas’ mating. So I thought he would be lighting scented candles for them and playing Barry White on the stereo but I was wrong, his job was definitely a lot more hands-on.
This is what he did: He went over to a sleeping male koala, holding onto a tree and started, humm, let’s say, “pleasuring him”, manually. Once the male koala was good and ready, he grabbed him by the scurf of the neck and rammed him on top of another sleeping koala, on another tree (this one female). You would think the koalas would take it from there themselves but oh no, the job of the koala fiddler was not yet complete.
The female koala didn’t even wake up all the way through. The male opened his eyes briefly (well I say opened. Half opened really). He looked unimpressed and rightly so; the guy didn’t have much of a rhythm. And to top it off he was talking to the camera the whole time which must have been quite off-putting.
That’s some job that guy has, isn’t it? ‘And what does your father do little Sheila?’
Hope poor Noah didn’t have to do that.

Oh sorry, I just realised I’ve left you all high and dry by dropping the bombshell of, ‘Saints almost went out of style in the 1960s’ on you at the beginning, without letting you know that there really is no need to panic because only a few years later, saints made a huge comeback all thanks to the king of cool, John Paul II and the one and only, Mother Teresa. Phew!
Now Mother Teresa, like our very own Negar, has performed one miracle so far. A medallion with a picture of Mother Teresa was taped to the stomach of a woman suffering from a cancerous tumour and after a while the tumour disappeared.
Now there are those, like Dr. Ranjan Kumar Mustafi who refuse to accept that this was a miracle. ‘She had a medium-sized tumor in her lower abdomen caused by tuberculosis,’ he (nicknamed Dr Tattletale by the supporters of Mother Teresa) told the Sunday Telegraph, ‘The drugs she was given eventually reduced the mystic mass and it disappeared after a year’s treatment.’
Doctors, ey? Always trying to take all the credit. So answer me this then Mr Smarty Pants, who made the tumor in the first place, ey? I suppose next you’ll be wanting to take credit for that too. It’s all me, me, me with these doctors isn’t it?

Anyway enough about Mother Teresa. I think Negar’s miracle is much better. Predicting pregnancy from thousands of miles away! That’s really something. I’m sure neither Dr. Ranjan Kumar Mustafi nor the Pope himself will able to argue with that one.
Humm, Saint Negar of Texas, the patron saint of bloggers.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

This year when I was in Iran, I was told by an uncle (a few times removed) who looks a bit like Sloth from the Goonies (in a nice way) that on account of my great grandfather and a little sack full of screwed up pieces of paper that he was buried with, I will be going to heaven regardless of what I do in this world.

It’s a strange feeling knowing that you are going to go to heaven no matter what. It kind of makes me wish I enjoyed doing more bad things. At the moment the worst things I do are probably not picking up the phone sometimes, throwing away mouldy bread and not listening to the great advice of prophet Mohammad, ‘Stop eating at one bite before feeling full’
To top it off, I used to get these terrible migraines when I was younger that would stay on for hours and according to Prophet Mohammad suffering through one hour of headache is the equivalent of seven years of praying (or seventy? Ok, let’s say seven is correct) which means discounting the hangover pains (which I have a feeling will not count) I have many more years of praying banked up than I’ve lived in this world.

I’m thinking of putting some on ebay if anyone’s interested. I mean why not? Some people (who are very busy or simply can’t be bothered) employ others to pray for them. It’s true. If they go out drinking one night, the next morning they’ll call up their employee and say, ‘Fancy some overtime?’
Things could be a lot simpler if instead of employing someone and having to listen to their whines about holidays and raises and bonuses, you could just go and buy however much praying you needed on ebay. I’d always known I was destined to become an entrepreneur.
Now I’ve patented this idea so don’t you migrainy types think you can just go and start up your own business because I will sue your Nurofen-starved heads, not only in this world but also in the next.

Now back to the subject of my great grandfather and his little sack of screwed up pieces of paper.
My great grandfather was a man of god. He prayed. He read the Koran.
Every time my great grandfather…Aah I don’t know why I keep saying ‘my great grandfather’ it’s a bit formal isn’t it? I’ll just use his name from now on, Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam. That’s better. So every time Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam read the Koran from start to finish, he would take a little piece of paper, screw it up and keep in a little pouch. This was the pouch that was later buried with him.

Apparently there were so many pieces of paper in there that would make Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam the…well I was going to say ‘the king of heaven’ but I suppose a position like that has probably already been taken by someone like Prophet Mohammad or Jesus so he will be something like Secretary of State perhaps. Anyway even after becoming a high ranking heaven official, he will still have so many screwed up pieces of paper to spare that (according to uncle Sloth) all his children and all his children’s children and their children will get all their sins washed away and enter heaven too.
Great, isn’t it? It’s like having your name on the best guest list ever. While all you lot will be queuing with the rest of them outside the gates of heaven, putting your most holly faces on to try and get in, I’ll be pulling up in a white chauffer driven Bentley and waltzing in through the VIP door to pick up the keys to my three bedroom Victorian semi with a river of milk and a river of honey running through the bottom of its backyard.

Ok so maybe it’s a bit mean of me to rub it in your faces like this. But don’t worry I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be all milk and honey and Bentleys and Victorian semis for me either.
Think about it. First of all there’s going to be The Judgment Day where everyone (literally) will be present along with God and Gabriel and the Devil and lo and behold, Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam and his little sack of screwed up paper which I’m guessing the Divine Court is probably going to be a little offended by. I mean they’re supposed to be the biggest record holders ever. They’ve been keeping records since the dawn of time. They know exactly how many grains each ant has picked up in its lifetime and how many times you have passed wind and tried to blame it on your senile grandmother. And then my great grandfather for some reason has felt the need to take his own evidence down there.
I just hope their records match with his screwed up pieces of paper because what is he going to do if they don’t? Is he actually going to have it out with Gabriel? In front of everyone? Ooh, I don’t even want to think about it. You know how it’s kind of embarrassing when one’s parents get drunk and start doing karaoke or re-enacting scenes from Saturday Night Fever? Well I’m not sure but I’m kind of guessing your great grandfather quarrelling with Gabriel on Judgment Day in front of every creature that has ever lived in this world plus God and the Devil and all the angels is going to be quite embarrassing.

And then of course we will have the matter of my sentencing.

Gabriel: Shirin, you are hereby sentenced to shuffle excrement in Hell for all eternity. Any questions?

Me: Yes. Th…

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: What? She can’t be going to hell. There must be some kind of mistake. What about all those headaches she used to get?

Gabriel: Yeah well she was fine with those but then she started selling all her banked up prayers on ebay. Then when she saw what a great demand there was out there for prayers, with the help of a friend she opened up a praying sweatshop in downtown Tehran and started exporting affordable prayers to Europe and the US.

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: I can’t believe this. This is terrible. So that is why she is going to hell.

Gabriel: No that’s fine. There is actually a legal loophole in Islam that makes it absolutely fine to buy or sell prayers but your great granddaughter’s problem is that she forgot to keep any prayers for herself.
Now dear I believe you had a question for us.

Me: Emm, yes… about what I’ll be shuffling for all eternity, do you know if that will be human or animal excrement?

Gabriel: Hmm, let’s see. Half burnt stakes, yada yada yada, getting ripped apart by angry dogs, yada yada yada. Oh here we go. Yes, pool of excrement. No that’s not it. Oh yes here we go: shuffling excrement… Hmm, no I’m sorry dear. Unfortunately it does not specify which type of excrement you will be shuffling.

Devil: Sorry to interrupt but can I say something? Now don’t take my word as Gospel but seeing that the act of shuffling excrement will be taking place in Hell, I would imagine it’ll be mostly demon shit.

Me: Oh, I should think that is quite acidic. Am I right?

Devil: Yes but you don’t need to worry about that; we will be issuing you with special protective gloves and boots…

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Ok that’s enough. You know I’m not going to let her go to Hell and that’s that. So let’s start our negotiations about how many Koran readings it’s going to take to keep her out of there.

Gabriel: Fifteen.

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: FIFTEEN? You havein’ laugh? Is he havni’ a laugh? No way. I’ll give you one.

Gabriel: ONE?! ONE?! I know you’re haggling Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam but that’s ridiculous even by Iranian standards.

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Two and that’s my last offer.

Gabriel: No way Pedro.

Devil: No way Pedro?!

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Ok then, three and I’m not giving you a Besmellah more.

Gabriel: What did you say? Because for a minute there I thought you said ‘three’ and I was going to get seriously insulted. Thirteen and I’m not accepting a Gholho vallah less.

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Well tough because I’m not giving you any more than four.

Gabriel: Twelve.

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Five.

Gabriel: Eleven and that’s only because you are a direct descendent of Prophet Mohammad.

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Six or I’m walking.

Gabriel: Are you kidding me? No way. Ok I’m getting bored of this now. Let’s call it an even ten.

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Seven

Gabriel: Nine

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Eight

Gabriel: Eight and a half.

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Eight and a quarter.

Gabriel: Done.

Devil: Halleluiah!

Me: Thanks for bailing me out Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam. I’m very sorry you had to…

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Come on young lady, we have a lot to discuss.


Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Now tell me. Have you thought of any new money making schemes suitable for this world?

Me: Seriously?

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Yes. Well we have all eternity here so we might as well do something.

Me: Well off the top of my head…a sewage system for Hell?

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Do you think there will be much profit in that?

Gabriel: Excuse me! Can the people who have already had their sentencing PLEASE move their talks of dodgy dealings out of this court?! We really need to get on with things over here!
Ok where was I? Oh yeah. May I have your attention please, may I have your attention please? Will the real Slim Shady please stand up? I repeat, will the real Slim Shady please stand up? We’re gonna have a problem here...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I fasted once. Twice really but it appears that one of the times will not count because I ate at lunchtime and that apparently is a big no-no.
It was the month of Ramadan and my cousin Shadi and I had decided to fast. It was my first time but Shadi was a pro. I was about ten or eleven and Shadi was two years older. We were staying at our grandparents’ house.
I could hear the sound of the call of pray as I was being shaken awake. I pulled a blue mohair jumper with an orange butterfly on the front, over my red, Japanese style pyjamas (very popular with us kids back then) and crawled out from under the stairs.
Now to avoid any misunderstandings let me just explain that we were not made to sleep under the stairs by our cruel grandparents. No, it wasn’t like that. Usually we slept under the dining table like normal people. Well I say normal!
Basically it was during the bombings and my grandmother, Mamanjoon had got it into her head that the safest place for us all to sleep in was under the dining table. It was made of choobeh albaaloo (sour cherry wood) you see, which apparently is very strong.
‘You pack up every night and go and sleep in reinforced concrete shelters?’ I used to say to my friends at school, ‘Maybe you should think about investing in a sour cherry wood dining table.’
So when we stayed at our grandparents’, we all slept under the dining table. All except Madarjoon (Mamanjoon’s mother) that is. Madarjoon was far too old and far too sensible to leave her comfy bed in favour of sleeping under the dining table with me, my two cousins and our two grandparents.
I don’t know exactly what our bomb plan was really but I imagine it was something along these lines:

In the event of a bomb trying to enter the house, first Madarjoon would try to catch it and fling it out of the window.

If she failed to do this however, the bomb would then bounce off the dining table and that would be the end of that.

As you can see it’s quite a plan. Luckily we never had to find out exactly how foolproof it was. Anyway, back to the main story of my failed fasting.

So that night Shadi and I had moved to our own private quarters (under the stairs) so we wouldn’t wake the others when we woke up at dawn to start our fasting.
I slumped myself into a chair at the smaller, round dining table (that was still being used for eating purposes and not as a bunker on account of it being a bit flimsy and not quite big enough for all five of us to fit under)
As I sleepily shoved pieces of greasy aubergine omelette (that had been left out for us by Mamanjoon the night before) in my mouth, Shadi poured me a cup of tea from the flask and stirred in a couple of spoonfuls of sugar, talking non-stop, ‘We’re not doing this right but it’s ok. You’re not supposed to eat after the call of pray. Actually I don’t know…maybe you can eat all the way through the call of pray too in which case we should eat very fast. It shouldn’t matter though because it’s not our fault; our alarm clock didn’t go off. It’s lucky I woke up myself. Anyway I don’t think it matters. The important thing is that we wanted to do this so it’s ok. We will eat quickly and we’ll go to bed and we won’t tell anyone about this. Ok?’
I nodded. I was far too sleepy to have an opinion anything at the time.
A few hours later we woke up again and watched telly while the others had breakfast. A little past midday, I went home (which was about five minutes away) to get something. And within ten minutes of me arriving there, I had raided the fridge and scuffed a huge bowl of Spaghetti Bolognese.
The truth was I had found fasting quite boring and not at all the exciting spiritual experience that I thought it was going to be. I had expected to at least be able to levitate by lunchtime. However I did feel the exact opposite of that as soon as I told my cousin what I’d done. She was very disappointed in me. I said, ‘But it wasn’t going to count anyway, was it? Because we woke up late.’
‘It would have counted.’ She said, ‘Being a few minutes late wouldn’t have mattered, the important thing is that we wanted to do it.’
I hung my head in shame and sneaked upstairs to Madarjoon’s room. It had been another quiet night on Bomb Watch for her and I figured she could use some company.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

I was watching one of my favourite programmes last night called QI (Quite Interesting). It was all more than quite interesting and all the way through I was doing the usual pleading with my brain to remember at least one interesting fact from the show so in the unlikely situation of that subject ever coming up in a conversation, I would have something to say about it and dazzle everyone with my cleverness and as usual my brain was refusing to accept anything.
‘Come on please. They are talking about the real people who Gulliver’s travels and Robinson Crusoe were based on. This is very interesting. Could you try and remember this please?’
‘Sorry, no can do. The disc is full.’
‘But how can that be? I don’t know anything really.’
[Yawn] ‘Well you know this morning when you were trying to memorize your mobile phone number?’
‘That took a lot of space.’
‘Oh cool, so did I manage to memorize that at the end then? Huh, I hadn’t realized that I had.’
‘Oh yeah’ [Yawn] ‘077 something, something and all the rest of it.’
‘077?! That’s all you’ve got?’
‘Hey come on, it’s a long number. How many digits? Ten? Eleven? You know I’m not good with numbers.’

But as soon as a picture of a kangaroo came up, for some reason I knew that I was going to remember this interesting fact no matter what. And I did!
‘What is it that kangaroos can not do?’ Asked Stephen Fry.
‘Play the piano.’
‘Oh shut up Brain.’
‘Drive’ Said Alan Davis
‘Vote’ said another guy
‘It’s a bodily function.’ Said Stephen Fry
‘Yes’ said Stephen Fry, ‘kangaroos can not fart.’

Interesting! But it gets even better. Apparently, as I write this, cutting edge experiments are being done by scientists who hope that one day those species of bacteria that live in a kangaroos’ guts can be fed to cows and with any luck stop them from farting so much and ultimately end global warming.

Uhum, yes. Sounds like a great plan. But is there a plan B that maybe we could work on before starting this? The thing is I’m just not comfortable with the idea of experimenting with trying to improve cows again. We all remember what happened last time when we tried to do that, don’t we? And who would have thought that something as innocent as feeding some cows to some other cows would start such an appalling chain of events with the cows all going mad and even worse, making some of us go mad too with the terrible thought of not being able to eat burgers for while. Oh those were tough times.
[Yawn] ‘Oh yeah, very tough, very tough. Is it lunchtime yet?’
[sigh] ‘No not yet.’
‘Snack time?’
‘Play time?’
'Sleep time?'

Sunday, October 01, 2006

One of the situations that make me feel very uneasy is when someone calls me and I get the feeling that they are after a very long conversation because they’re bored. Oh just thinking about it sends shivers down my spine. ‘Hi’ they say in a miserable sounding voice, ‘I’ve been stuck in traffic in Headington for twenty minutes; I’m bored out of my skull.’
This is when I start to panic. But then I think, no no no, let’s not be hasty now, it might not be what I think it is. So I say (in a oh-no-you-poor-thing way) ‘Oh no, that’s bad.’ And then ask, ‘Are you on a bus?’
‘Yeah’ they sigh. Oh no, I’m really panicking now. ‘Where are you heading?’
‘London’ they say cheerlessly. My worst fears are realized; this means they’re after a two hour conversation.

I’ve never been a big telephone fan. When I was younger I never went through that period of spending hours on end on the phone. My mum, who was extremely worried over my lack of interest in this teen must, even went and bought a little, red telephone especially for me and put it in my room. But it didn’t work; neither my mum’s plan nor the phone. It was one of those cheapo plastic ones with very sharp edges and built in Random Disconnecting System (which did exactly that). Bad for having a conversation on basically but great if you were after something sharp to slit your wrist with. The man in the shop may not have been lying after all when he had said that these were very popular with teenage girls!

Living so far away from my family and a lot of my friends for so many years however has taught me to appreciate a good phone conversation with a loved one. But I still can’t get my head around the idea of calling someone not because I miss them or have something to tell them or ask them, but just because I’m bored. I’m not saying it’s wrong to do that or anything, I just don’t understand it especially when the bored person has absolutely nothing to say and it’s like they’ve called you to entertain them.
I was having one of these conversations this morning. Oh it was like pulling teeth. There were many ‘Hmm’s and long silences and ‘So what else is new’s. It was clear that neither of us was enjoying ourselves much but still every time I tried to direct the nonexistent conversation towards an end, the person on the other side brought up another subject. Twenty three minutes and forty five seconds this suffering went on for. It really was quite painful.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

All this talk about banning skinny models from catwalks has reminded me of this little story which I thought I could share with you.
A couple of years ago, in January 2004 to be precise, I went to ‘Fashion in motion’ a fashion show by some famous Iranian designers at V&A Museum in London (organised by Iran Heritage Foundation).
My aunt and good friend was one of the designers there so before the show I got to rub shoulders with the rich and famous of the Iranian fashion world. My choice of outfit: a thick, stiff, black polo neck that flattened my chest to nothingness (It was a cold day, ok? And that was the only jumper I owned at the time. I’m not a big fan of winter clothes really) was something that I regretted almost immediately and then a bit later, after paying a visit to the ladies' room, my very rushed and amateurish makeup application!

Straight off you could tell the designers were not happy and there was tension in the air. After some minutes of persistent eavesdropping I managed to work out what the problem was. Apparently the models that had been brought in for the show, how should I put it, er, let’s say had a lot more meat on them that designers had anticipated.
Luckily my aunt did not have to worry about things like that much on account of her clothes mostly being, if not one-size-fits-all, then one-size-fits-many. But even she was a little annoyed I think because one of her outfits had not fitted any of the models.
There was this one guy there that everyone was feeling sorry for though who from what I gathered was not going to be able to show a lot of his designs since none of the girls could fit into the clothes.

As usual with cases of unhappy Iranians vs. people of other nations, there was a lot of talk of conspiracy theories. ‘They’ve only done this because we’re Iranians.’ I heard someone say (Iranian is the new “Black” apparently), ‘they would never have given us such fat models if they didn’t want to annoy us.’ (These were not the designers themselves by the way. Those guys were too busy running around to have time for uncovering conspiracies. These were just their friends and other nosy people) ‘Of course’ another one joined in, ‘do you think if Giorgio Armani had a show here they would dare give him these models?’

By the time I took my seat by the catwalk, I had taken the idea of fat models and run with it and was imagining all kinds of amazing entertainment for the night: big mummas packed into delicately made clothes with the stitches coming undone, handing out cookies to the audience. Unhealthy, overweight, teenage mums munching on chip butties and pushing prams and wearing pink pleated shalitehs and tonbans (short skirts worn on to of a pair of baggy trousers that fasten round the ankles)
I could go on but I don’t want you to, like me, get too excited about this and then be totally disappointed!
I’m only kidding. The show was absolutely fantastic. However I just couldn’t get over what I’d heard round the back. I’m not a designer and I haven’t been to many fashion shows so I don’t know, maybe these models were actually a bit bigger than normal catwalk models but to me they looked super skinny and I just kept thinking if this lot couldn’t fit into the clothes, I really don’t know who could. A stick insect? But she would probably get crushed under the weight of the clothes and suffocate!

Fatty number one ;-)

I can’t remember who took these pictures. They’re not great. You can see some better ones on the V&A website.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

It breaks my heart every time I have to throw the fat parts at the top and the bottom of sliced bread in the bin so I don’t do it for ages and keep them in the cupboard thinking that I’ll take them and feed them to the ducks sometime but then when I don’t get round to doing that for a while and they get covered in powdery green dust and strange fungi, I’m left with no choice but to throw them away. Oh how I wish like in Iran, we had Namakis (Salt Men) in Oxford who would exchange dry and mouldy bread for crystal salt.
Bread has a lot of respect in Iran. Robab, my cousins’ nanny, used to say, ‘If you see a piece of bread in the street, pick it up, kiss it and then put it somewhere higher up like on a wall or a windowsill so it won’t get treaded on.’
Actually all food get a lot more respect there than they do here but bread in particular is much respected bordering on holly.
Growing up in Iran one of the first rules I ever learned was that ‘you finish everything that is on your plate’. When I see people leaving food on their plates, I feel so angry. Well it’s more upset than angry actually. To me it’s just sad that they see nothing wrong with wasting food. The funny thing is that from what I’ve seen, usually these are the people who are seen as righteous and whose behaviour is envied by others. Time and time again I’ve heard people (usually ones that are a bit on the chubby side) make comments such as, ‘Oh you are so lucky you’re able to leave food on your plate, I always have to finish everything, even when I’m full.’ And the other person, the rude one, the one Robab and my grandmother would not have hesitated to give a good telling off to, the one who has for many years been in charge of how much goes onto his/her plate but has not yet been able to calculate exactly how much he/she is able to eat, sits there with a massive grin on his/her face, looking very pleased with him/herself.
It’s like eating is such a bad thing that doing anything else with your food other than eating it is fine. ‘Just don’t eat it ok? Because eating will make you fat and that is bad’ seems to be the message.
Some time ago I was with a few friends; a couple of them with new babies, one with an older baby and me with no baby when I heard this (which I think is one of the strangest pieces of information and advise I’ve ever heard in my life), ‘It has been proven that mothers put on most of their weight from “let’s not waste”’ Said the older baby mummy in a knowing manner, ‘but you mustn’t think like that. As soon as you think your child has had enough, you must pour what’s leftover on the plate into the bin and pour washing-up liquid all over it.’
I felt the same look coming over my face as when people ask me questions like, ‘Just out of interest, exactly why do Moslems love to blow themselves up so much?’
‘Yeah I’ve heard that’ said one the new baby mummies, ‘I’ll definitely do that because I don’t want to get any bigger than this.’
The older baby mummy smiled and nodded sympathetically. I smiled and raised my eyebrows. Many questions were circling around my head. Some I figured I was better off not knowing the answer to (So is the washing-up liquid really necessary? Is it possible that if you don’t do that, you will at some point during the afternoon go looking through the bin for a little snack? And if you are the kind of person that does that, is a bit of washing-up liquid going to stop you?) and some I thought I would just get laughed at by asking them (Does it absolutely have to either go in the bin or be eaten? What’s wrong with putting it in the fridge and keeping it for later? It could make a nice little snack for you or the baby couldn’t it?) But most of all I was thinking ‘Exactly when did food lose all its respect in this country?’
Somehow between these girls’ grandparents’ generation (who without a doubt respected food after all the hardship they had gone through during the war) and now, it has become absolutely fine for someone like Gillian McKeith (of 'You are what you eat') to go to someone’s house, get a bin bag and throw anything sugary or fatty that she finds in the house in there, encourage the overweight person who has asked for her help to put muffins and éclairs on the floor and stamp on them, then set a table with all the things that person eats in a week (slabs of cheese, kebabs, burgers, cakes, chocolate, numerous glasses of beer and coke, biscuits, takeaways,…) and occasionally use other shock tactics such as making a chocolate gravestone and a human size grave covered entirely in chocolate bars.
I actually like this programme because it teaches people to eat well and be healthy but must they waste all this food in the process? Ok yes, cakes make people fat but cake is still food isn’t it? It has been made from flour, sugar, oil, eggs maybe milk, maybe nuts. These are all good food that our bodies need and should be treated with respect and not as the enemy. Yet people on this programme and others similar are encouraged to destroy them, throw them away and pour washing-up liquid over them, in short do anything but eat them. Maybe I’m being a bit naïve here but shouldn’t they instead be taught to respect food and try to control themselves so they won’t overeat?
Let’s say someone is a sex addict and whenever he/she sees a good looking person, he/she wants to…well you know. Anyway when he/she goes to get the help of an expert, does the expert 1- try to teach him/her to somehow get his/her desires under control? Or 2- tell him/her that whenever he/she sees a good looking person in the street, he/she should punch them in the face so they’re not pretty anymore and therefore no longer desirable?
This might seem like an extreme example but I’m sure if you were to put this scenario and someone destroying a skip full of cakes, cheese, bread and chocolate, to group of people in a famine stricken country, they would think that these were both equally ridiculous.

I don’t know what came first really; the wasting of food in our daily lives or in movies and television. But it does often feel like they are one step ahead of us, taking things to extremes. And it’s strange how they usually take every possible care to make everything appear so natural in movies yet when it comes to eating habits, they often fail miserably.
I’m talking about all the times someone buys a sandwich, takes one bite of it and throws the rest in the bin because he receives a phone call with good or bad news/sees a friend or enemy standing on the other side of the road/realises he’s late for something/has had amnesia for the past four years and then suddenly remembers (if what he remembers is that he doesn’t like pastrami and that’s what he’s bought, then I guess that’s understandable but it’s probably something lame like) he is a prince who everyone thinks has died in a yachting accident and now that his father has died, his evil cousin is about to be crowned as the next king unless he gets himself to the palace pronto. He could still eat the sandwich on his way there if you ask me. I would. I had to throw my half eaten tuna sandwich in the bin about a year ago because the bus driver said no food was allowed on the bus and I’m still thinking about that sandwich and cursing that bus driver every time I do. And it wasn’t because he had made me get on the bus hungry because the sandwich was huge and I had already eaten my fill (I was just keeping the rest for later).

There are so many examples of these unnecessary throwing away of food in movies and television that I could write a whole book on them. The depressing British soap operas (Eastenders, Hollyoaks,…) are full of them. No one ever eats on these programmes.
Scenario: A couple sit down to have dinner with plates of sausages and chips in front of them. Phone rings. The man picks it up (bad move), ‘Hello’
‘Your wife is cheating on you.’ Click, beeeeeeep
‘Hello, hello, who is this?’
‘What’s wrong Barry?’ Asks the wife, picking up a chip.
‘You’ replies the husband with an angry look on his face, ‘you’re cheating on me. I don’t ever want to see you again.’
Walks out. Slams the door behind him. Now the woman either starts crying and runs upstairs or starts crying and empties the plates in the bin. And I just think, Love, you cheating might have been shocking news to him but it’s not news to you, is it? So why not finish your dinner?

Another common scenario is this: A man/woman walks into a house. He/she takes care to come in quietly as it’s pretty late at night. He/she walks into the dining room to find a table set for two with two plates full of food that have gone cold and a flickering candle on its last breaths. In the living room, a woman/man sleeps on the sofa fully dressed, holding an empty glass of wine. She/he has been waiting for he/she to arrive and he/she is very late for their dinner date. Now she/he suddenly wakes up and starts rubbing her/his eyes and he/she starts to apologize for his/her lateness…Stop right there.
Let’s analyse this common scenario on television and movies for a moment. Would anyone in their right mind dish someone’s dinner and put it on the table before they arrive in the house? Because I’m thinking even if you have a date with the Incredible Timekeeping Man/Woman who always arrives at exactly the time he/she says he/she will arrive, he/she might still have a little something to do before dinner like washing hands, making a phone call or going to the bathroom. What if they want to have a little wine before dinner? What if on their way in, a neighbour starts talking to them?
The way I see it, it’s she/he who has done the wrong thing here. She/he has not only wasted all the food, but also finished all the wine. And now we’re supposed to feel sorry for her/him too?! No way.
If I were him/her I would give her/him a good telling off. If you can’t understand why I think what she/he has done is so stupid, let’s change this scenario a little for you. Let’s replace dinner with a baby or a puppy. Let’s say in the film, he/she was supposed to have come home at 7 O’clock to look after the baby/puppy so the other person could have a rest or go out. He/she arrives three hours late to find that she/he is sleeping with earplugs in (so not to be disturbed by the cries of the baby/puppy)/has gone out already and the baby/puppy is hungry and badly in need of a change/walk.
Again some might think this is an extreme example but I’m sure people felt exactly the same way when someone decided that animals should have rights (and a little further back,) that humans should have rights. So now what’s wrong with saying that foods should have rights?
The fact of the matter is that day by day, the food we eat has less and less nutrition in it on account of us overworking the soil so much. Apparently these days most of us (even the ones with a balanced diet) need supplements simply because there are a lot less vitamins in our food than there once was. But we still don’t think that food needs to be treated with respect.

There are always discussions about all the violence in movies and the effects of this on the society. Ok I agree; violence is bad. People die from violence. But every year masses of people are also dying from hunger while others are given standing ovations for stamping on éclairs.
It’s funny how it no longer seems to be acceptable to have a hero or heroine in a movie who smokes but it’s absolutely fine to have someone in a movie take one bite from an apple and throw the rest sexily in the bin or to have Brad Pit in Ocean’s Eleven, take one bite of a burger and then for no apparent reason, throw the rest away.
‘No food has been wasted during the making of this film’ that’s what I would like to see at the end of a blockbuster movie one of these days.
I would probably fight for this if I was a tad less lazy but unfortunately I’m more of a talker than a doer and so my height of Respect Food Campaign will probably be to glare disapprovingly at guests who leave food on their plates and maybe if I have a child one day, teach him/her to respect food too.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The other night I was doing a bit of cooking and listening to the television that was on in the living room. It was one of those British documentary series following a bunch of people around at work. You know the ones. And if not, the best way to describe them I think is, dull as hell. Which I like because you know, it’s real. Let’s face it, life for most people, for the most part is dull. And that’s how we like it, isn’t it? I mean if every time I came out of the house, I would have to dodge man-eating lions that were lurking about behind the Ford Fiestas and the wheelie bins, then yes I guess life would be a lot more exciting but as it is, the only thing lurking around here is the crazy guy who shouts at me from time to time and to be honest I would prefer it if this bit of excitement was taken out of my life too.
Anyway back to the documentary. It was all about following a few people around some airport.

Hussein, a cleaner in terminal five has a problem. ‘I’ve lost me broom. It were there a minute ago and now it aint.’ Hussein decides to do some investigating.
‘Excuse me, ‘ave you seen a broom lying about ‘ere.’
‘Well I don’t know do I? It were there a minute ago and now it aint and I need it to do me work youknowwha’imean?’
‘Sorry mate I haven’t seen it.’

Meanwhile Naomi has to deal with a very unusual package. ‘What is inside?’
‘It’s a doll. A very expensive…’
‘No no no, you must take it out of the box. You can’t put a dog in a box, it’ll die.’
‘Oh no it’s not a dog, it’s doll. A clay doll. They are very expensive.’
‘A doll?’ ha ha ha ‘I thought you said a dog.’

At the same time on the other side of the airport, Ben is on Bird duty.
‘Birds land on the runway from time to time and it’s not usually a problem but when you get a lot of them…’
Radio, ‘khhh…How are things looking down there?’
‘Not good. A group of seagulls are blocking runway 14.’
‘Kaa kaa’
the birds chat in the background.
‘khhhh…Roger that.’
Ben attempts to shoo off the birds.
‘Shoo shoo.’
‘Kaa kaa’
(‘Is that guy pretending to be a bird?’)
‘Kaa kaa’
(‘Shoo shoo? What does that mean?’)
‘Kaa kaa?’ (‘He is making sea noises. I think he is trying to ask us where the sea is.’)
‘Kaa kaa’ (‘Are you sure? I’d always thought that was human for ‘shit on my head.’’)
Unfortunately the shooing does not work but Ben has another trick up his sleeve (apparently the unsuccessful shooing counts as one trick!).
‘This is a tape of a seagull in distress. I’m going to play this now and the seagulls will fly away thinking that there is danger in this area.’

‘’ave you seen me broom?’

No no no stop! Don’t cut to the broom guy! The seagull story was just getting interesting. A tape of a seagull in distress! I just have so many questions about that. For starters, how do you go about making a tape like that? Do you strangle a seagull and record his dying screeches? If yes, does the RSPCA know about this? Do your family know you strangle seagulls for a living? Is your mother proud of you? Perhaps you can buy this tape from HMV or Tower Records. In that case, do you think I could get one that says, ‘Please don’t shit down my collar?’

‘…a broom. ‘ave you seen it?’
‘Why are you looking for a broom?’
‘Cause it’s lost init?’

On the other side of the airport Zohoor has problems of his own.
‘Sometimes a swan gets lost and lands in the airport. You have to be careful with them because they’ve got a nasty beak on them.’
‘Ouch. See? He just tried to go for me there. They’re vicious little things they are.’

Meanwhile runway 14 is still blocked by seagulls.

Yes! Back to the seagull story.

‘Khhh…has the runway been cleared?’
‘No not yet. I’m playing the tape of the seagull in distress at the moment but it doesn’t seem to be working.’
Turns out the tape is just of a bird doing a jazz version of ‘O Sole Mio’ and the seagulls seem to enjoy it.

No it didn’t say that and I don’t think that’s what it was. It sounded more like the seagull they had strangled had some sort of speech impediment that made it hard for other seagulls to understand him. They sounded quite confused, ‘Kaa kaa?!’ (‘Is he saying ‘Help me, I’m dying.’ or ‘Jeffery, I’m in love with Marlene.’?’)

Now Ben needs to think of another way to clear the runway.

Hussein’s shift is coming to an end and he has not been able to locate his broom. He is considering discussing the matter with his supervisor and asking for her advice.

Join us again next week for another episode of Airport where Hussein will undergo hypnosis in an effort to find his broom and Ben struggles on Bird Duty.
‘As you can see they are starting to get a bit aggressive now.’
‘Kaa kaa’
(‘What do we want?’)
‘Kaa kaa’ (‘O Sole Mio’)
‘Kaa kaa’ (‘When do we want it?’)
‘Kaa’ (‘Now’)
‘Kaa kaa’ (‘Che bella cosa na jurnata 'e sole,
n'aria serena doppo na tempesta!
Pe' ll'aria fresca pare già na festa...
Che bella cosa na jurnata 'e sole.
All together now’
‘Kaa kaa’ (Ma n'atu sole
cchiù bello, oje ne'.
'o sole mio
sta 'nfronte a te!’)
Ben, ‘I think I might call for backup.’

Now I’m off on a fun-packed week in London and Paris tomorrow where I’ll be meeting many old friend and three new babies and all I’m thinking about is, ‘Damn, I’m going to miss next week’s episode and will never know what became of Hussein’s broom or the jazz loving seagulls!’

Saturday, September 02, 2006

I guess most people would agree with me on this (well most people that read this blog anyway); it’s not nice seeing pictures of mutilated bodies or people being eaten alive or dieing in some other horrible way.
Being married to a Heavy Metal fan, I’m exposed to beauties such as these nearly everyday (please don’t look if you’re going to have nightmares. Yes I mean you Mother. Remember how many laps of the living room you did when we attempted watch House of Wax together? Hmm, yes leave that mouse alone dear, it’s not worth it): Butchered at Birth - Eaten Back to Life

Ahhh, you can’t imagine how many times I’ve woken up in the morning to an image of someone being torn apart by a bunch of zombies on our bedside table next to a discman and thought ‘why can’t my husband just be into porn like a normal bloke?’

So a little while ago Kamyar and I met in HMV and I noticed that he had picked up a few CDs, which was weird because he had bought some the week before and he never really used to buy many CDs. So I said, ‘You’re buying a lot of CDs lately.’ To which he replied, holding amongst others a Marilyn Manson CD (which I happen to like as well actually, the music that is not the artwork) with a picture of a crucified Marilyn on the front, minus him bottom jaw, ‘you know what’ in a bit of a you’ll-be-dead-proud-of-me-when-you-hear-this sort of tone, ‘I’m collecting these for our child.’
Yes, some people start up a college fund or a wedding fund or a post office account for their children, we prefer to invest in CDs of people with half of their face missing, singing about Satan!
I can just imagine the kind of family arguments we’re going to have in fourteen years time: ‘What do you mean you don’t like Cannibal Corpse? You know how much overtime your father had to do so he could buy these albums for you?’ or ‘You kids these days don’t appreciate anything. When I was your age back in Iran, we never had original CDs. We just had tapes that were copies of copies and artworks that were photocopied over and over again until you couldn’t tell if it was a picture of a man munching on his own insides or a man being served a plate of spaghetti bolognaise. Ahhh the good old days.’
No but joking aside, we would never force our way of thinking upon our child. This is more a case of us wanting to make sure that if our child one day expresses interest in the general cannibalism or Satanism area, we have a good collection of music and artwork for him or her to enjoy.
I’m only kidding. I know not all heavy mental fans are into cannibalism and Satanism and all that. Most of them (such as my own other half) are very lovely and gentle people actually…who just happen to enjoy listening to songs about people being ripped apart :-\

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The latest on the airports terror alert
with Shirin and Kamyar Adl

A stick of dynamite was found in a man’s checked luggage in Houston Texas. The man, who was arrested by the authorities, claims to work in the mining industry.
Earlier I interviewed one of the other passengers on the plane who had agreed to speak to us.

‘Hello Sir.’
‘Meep meep’
‘Mr Roadrunner, this man claims to work in mining which of course would explain the dynamite in his luggage. Obviously people should be allowed to carry their work tools around with them if they wish to do so. And of course I would never object to a teacher travelling with one or two pupils packed neatly in her suitcase or a lumberjack walking through airport with a chainsaw on his back. But in case of this creature I must say, all evidence point to him being a terrorist:
1- He is brown
2- He is hairy
3- He is quite dodgy looking really

We asked Mr Roadrunner for his input on this subject but unfortunately by then he had disappeared, leaving behind only a cloud of dust.

In other news a Continental Airlines flight from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Bakersfield, Calif, was held in El Paso after the crew discovered a missing panel in the lavatory.
After examining the hole, the authorities arrested a strange looking man with a huge belly and a very big nose/mouth. There are reports from eyewitnesses that as the man (who claims to work in the pest control industry) was being escorted out of the airport, in one terrorist language or other, he repeatedly shouted the words, ‘Azat motenafferam soorakheh fori’ which when translated into Queen’s democratic English will give, ‘I hate you instant hole.’

The man arrested, who has been named by the authorities as Anteater, will be transferred to Guantanamo Bay prison later this evening.

An Aer Lingus flight from New York City to Dublin was also evacuated Friday morning during a scheduled stopover in western Ireland following a bomb threat that turned out to be unfounded.
We now go live to our airport correspondent.

‘Bugs Bunny, I hear that you have been interviewing people at the airport all day.’
(munch munch) ‘Eh…yeah that’s right.’ (munch munch)
‘So? What have they been saying?’
‘Well I asked one guy, ‘What’s up Doc?’ and he said, eh…where are my notes now? Hang on a minute…ok here they are. Eh…he replied, ‘Be vewwy, vewwy quiet, I'm hunting wabbits!’
‘Oh, well that’s very interesting.’
(Munch munch)
‘Ok…er, what about Denis Breslin, spokesman for American Airlines’ pilots union? I hear that you have been speaking to him too.’
‘Eh…’ (munch munch) ‘oh yeah that guy. Yeah I asked him, ‘What’s cooking?...Doc.’
‘And he said, ‘There really are bad guys out there to get us.’
‘Really? Is that what he said? Well that sounds scary.’
(munch munch) ‘Nyeah…I knew I should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque.’
C Loony Adls Press 2006

Have your say!

These are some of the comments that we at the Loony Adls Press have been receiving regarding the latest terror alerts and airport security.

Erik Smith said…
The authorities have been trying to unarm airplane passengers for many years now but somehow there are still people getting onto planes armed with dynamites and knives and shoe-bombs and baby milk. Frankly I don’t feel safe travelling on a plane anymore.

Anonymous said…
I don’t think it’s fair how airport officials seem to concentrate all their attention on the Moslem looking people. As a tall blond person who has never been strip searched in an airport in all my life, I feel that my basic human rights have been violated.

Mohammad Taghavi said…
This is only another great stratagem by the Great Satan and the cockeyed British to annoy the guiltless, martyr producing nation of Iran and compel this dear nation to give up their basic human rights of a nuclear power station.
Give me your ear and let me notify you why I say this. Notify me, what other people would endure as much suffering as the first-class people of Iran when a veto on hand luggage is put in place? You are notifying us, the nation who invented the Six Carry/Push method (one backpack, two carrier bags on each hand and one big bag being kicked in the front) that we are only sanctioned one bag on the plane each? You kid me? What about all the fried Ghormeh herbs, the fried aubergines, the feta cheese and green plums? Are you anticipating us to travel without these vital substances?
But let me notify you this Mr Bush and Mr Blair, you may take away our hand luggage rights but we will never give up our nuclear rights. As god is my bystander, I will pray everyday for the day that every Iranian has a nuke in his backyard, in other words, beh omideh roozi keh har Irani yek mooshak daashteh baashad. Vassalam, nameh tamam.
Mohmmad taghavi, 38 saaleh, az Tehran

Thursday, August 24, 2006

‘Yes?’ the teacher replies unenthusiastically as she stares out of the window, hands behind her back.
‘Can we write whatever we want in our letter?’
‘No’ says the teacher, continuing to look out of the window, ‘you must all copy out what I have written on the blackboard.’
The blackboard has been split in two by a wriggly chalk line in the middle. On one side of it there is a letter, written in white chalk. It reads:

Drear Soldier brother
My name is … and I am … years old. You are very brave my brother.
Your family must be very proud. We pray everyday for you to defeat Saddam the killer and come back home. We are behind you every second of the day, fighting from our little trenches: our schools.
May Allah be your guardian

On the other side of the blackboard there is a badly drawn picture of a standing man with his hands in front of his face in prayer position.
‘What about the picture Miss?’ asks the girl sitting in front of me raising her hand, ‘Can we draw a different picture?’
‘No’ the teacher sighs. Then she turns around and reluctantly walks to the blackboard, ‘you must draw this picture on one side of your paper, and then copy out this letter on the other side of it, putting your name and surname here,’ she says pointing to the dotted line after ‘My name is’ and then pointing to the next dotted line she says, ‘and your age in here.’
‘What did I tell you?’ the girl in front of me whispers victoriously. I want to give her a kick from under the desk but I don’t want her to know that she has annoyed me. So I shrug. ‘So?’ I say indifferently.
‘So’ she whispers again, with one hand in front of her mouth, ‘your drawing is no good and you have to start a new one now. I shrug again. Tina, who is sitting next to me whispers, ‘Just ignore her.’
The girl in front turns around and seeing that I’m still colouring in the picture I have copied from my pencil case; Luke Skywalker having a light sabre duel with Dart Vader, whispers a little louder than before, ‘You’re going to get a big fat zero for…’
‘Shhhh,’ says the teacher, ‘Quiet. You only have ten more minutes to finish your letters and then we’re going to start our lesson. If you’ve finished already, take your letter along with your moneybox and put them on my desk.’ And then she starts walking in between the desks and looking at people’s drawings. ‘That’s nice’ she says smiling, ‘Well done Zohreh.’
The girl in front of me giggles. ‘She’s not gonna be smiling when she sees your drawing.’ She whispers.
‘Shhhh’ says the teacher and glares at her frowning for a few moments before resuming her stroll around the class.
Suddenly it sounds like there is a fight going on downstairs in the yard. Some of the girls on the other side of the class are peering out of the window. ‘What is going on?’ asks the teacher as she walks to the window herself, hands behind her back. ‘A few mums are talking to each other down in the yard Miss.’ Says one of the girls, standing on the bench to get a better look. ‘Niki,’ she says excitedly, ‘you’re mum’s down there too. And so is yours Niloufar. And…’
‘Get down from there and finish your letter.’ Says the teacher as she opens the window.
An anxious voice calls from the yard, ‘Thank god Mrs Baagheri. Are you sending the kids down now?’
First looking at her watch and then back out of the window again and sounding a bit unsure, our teacher replies, ‘No’ and then, ‘There is still half an hour left until break time.’
‘We’re not talking about break time’ one of the mothers screams melodramatically in a squeaky voice, ‘the Red Alert has already gone off. We are about to be attacked.’
‘Oh I see,’ says our teacher, ‘I wasn’t aware of that.’
‘Well now that you are, will you send our kids down?’ says one of the mums from the yard.
‘I’m sorry’ says our teacher, ‘but I can’t dismiss this one class when the rest of the kids are still in their classes.’
There’s a sudden uproar in the yard.
‘Can you believe this?’
‘They’re crazy.’
‘Are you honestly expecting us to…’
‘Don’t worry Niloufar darling, mummy’s here.’
Niloufar hangs her head and starts to go beetroot red. Some of the rest of us start to giggle hysterically.
‘What is going on here?’ asks the principle, shuffling her way across the yard in her rubber slippers.
‘We’re about to be bombed’ shouts one of the ladies, ‘and we want to take our children somewhere safe.’
‘Yes I heard the Red Alert’ says the principle calmly, ‘but I’m sorry; I can’t close the whole school every time the red alert comes on. As you know, sometimes they come on three or four times a day and nothing happens. But even if we are attacked, I don’t think it’s safe for the kids to be sent away before school closing time. What if their parents are not home yet from work? What if their parents always pick them up from the school and they get lost? What if instead of going home…’
Tina nudges me. ‘Start packing’ she whispers. I grab my backpack and shove everything inside it in one swift move. Downstairs the principle is still counting the reasons why she is not going to close down the school, ‘I’m responsible for these girls. If something happens to one of these girls during school hours, I’m the one who will have to answer for it. I’m the one who angry parents will come to and ask, ‘why did you send our daughter out of school all by herself?’ What I’m trying to say is…’
Boommmm. The sound of the bomb is faint and muffled. ‘Aaaaa’ screams the squeaky mum, ‘they’ve started.’ The whole class stand up; ready to run out of the door. ‘Sit down’ our teacher says firmly. We all sit back down on the edge of our benches with our backpacks still on our backs.
Boommmmm. Class shakes. Windows rattle. One of the girls screams and starts crying. From downstairs mums shout out their kids’ names followed by, ‘Mummy’s here.’
Out in the corridors and stairs, kids have started to run around noisily. Our teacher goes to the classroom door and looks out for a few moments. Tina and I hold sweaty hands. All the girls with aisle seats have one leg out of the bench, ready to run out.
‘Out’ our teacher suddenly announces, holding the door wide open with one hand and waving us out with the other.
Tina and I squeeze ourselves out through the door. In the corridor, we join the sea of kids pushing each other towards the stairs. I trip but don’t fall over since we are all so packed together that there is no room to fall.
Outside in the yard, tearful mothers grab their children and storm out of the school.
Four of my friends and I try to go walk out of the gate but the principle stops us. ‘No. Only the kids whose parents have come to pick them up can leave. The rest of you are staying here.’ And then points to the back of the yard, ‘go and stand over there.’
‘Ahhh’ I say, ‘just because we don’t have crazy parents who spend their whole day waiting outside the school, listening to the radio, we have to stay here for the whole day and sit through maths while everyone else gets to go home.’ The others nod in agreement. ‘I said go and stand over there.’ Says the principle, noticing that we have not yet moved away from the gate, and points to the back of the yard again. We cut through the crowed and stand under a tree.
Booommm. There’s another explosion but we’re too miffed to pay any attention to it. ‘Back of the yard.’ The principle is saying to another group of disappointed girls.
‘Nargess’ a lady standing by the gates is calling and waving in our direction, ‘come hear darling.’ She screams. But she is barely audible in all the noise everyone else is making. ‘I’m here to pick up Leyli’ she says, holding the little first year girl, Leyli, in her arms, ‘you can come with us too if you like.’
‘That’s my neighbour.’ Says Nargess.
‘You’re so lucky.’ Maryam says to her.
‘Yeah’ she says, ‘Sorry’ she shrugs helplessly at us, ‘I see you tomorrow.’
The four of us wave at her glumly as she pushes through the crowed. When she reaches the gate, her neighbour asks her something and points in our direction. Nargess says something back to her. Then she shakes he head and says something to Nargess. Suddenly Nargess starts waving at us. ‘Come on’ she shouts cheerfully.
We start pushing through the crowd instantly, not wasting a nanosecond of time.
‘Come on’ says Nargess’s neighbour, eager to get out. We all follow obediently without stopping for a second to tend to our twisted veils or unbuttoned uniforms or undone shoelaces that have resulted from being pushed and pulled and hung on to for steadiness as we had tried to make our way through the sea of girls trying to make it out of the school.
‘Where do you think you’re going?’ the principle shouts at us angrily, ‘How many time does a human child need to be told one simple…’
‘They are with me.’ Nargess’ neighbour cuts her off bravely. We all huddle behind her, using this opportunity to adjust our veils and button up our uniforms.
The principle grunts in displeasure and turns away from us.

Outside, I hungrily breathe in the air of freedom. ‘You will all go home now, won’t you?’ Nargess’ neighbour says, holding her daughter tightly to her chest with Nargess standing by her side. We need to split from them as we are not going in the same direction. ‘Of course’ the rest of us say in unison and then we turn away from them and start running in one direction as they run in the exact opposite.
We run past the little nameless shop next to the school. For the first time I can see what the front of the shop actually looks like without a crowed of girls attached to it. Multicoloured plastic boxes containing bottles of black pop are stacked on top of each other outside in the sun. There is an empty little worn-out stool just in front of the door where I presume Mashdi, the store keeper, sits when he is not being attacked by swarms of girls from our school demanding lollipops, popsicles, cheesy puffs or sour prunes.
The street is empty except for the odd car speeding through every now and then and swerving round the corner. We run as fast as we can until we are almost flying with our sails of veils flapping behind us in the wind. With every step we take the coins we have each been collecting for the war for the past three months, rattle noisily inside their plastic grenade-shaped moneyboxes.
Booommm We run faster laughing and screaming with tears spurting out of the corners of our eyes from all the dust blowing into them.
I imagine arriving home and finding a pile of rubble where our home once stood. ‘It landed on our home,’ I sing, my right foot hitting the asphalt. ‘Chlink’ the coins do their bit. ‘It didn’t land on our home,’ I sing as my left foot momentarily hits the ground before it is forced to swing back again as my right foot comes to the front. ‘Chlunk’ sing the coins.
‘Wait’ someone is shouting. I almost fall over trying to stop. My backpack, still in flying mood, hits me on the back of the head hard before falling back down to place again.
A little further down the road, Tina sits on the ground rubbing her knee. All around her are the contents of her backpack: books, notebooks, her Barbie pencil case and a packet of cheesy puffs. Her maths notebook with red cover has fallen open in the middle of the road and the pages are being flicked through by the wind, or the invisible man. Her plastic grenade rattles happily rolling down the road until it is stopped by the tire of a parked car.

‘It landed on our home. Chlink. It didn’t land on our home. Chlunk…’ I sing turning into our street after dropping off Tina, Maryam and Goli at their homes, making the last bit of my journey home alone since out of all my friends I live the furthest from school. I try to jump higher as I run, to see if any smoke is coming from the direction of our home, surprising myself with how much energy I still have after all that running.
I run up the stairs two in one, bursting into the front door of our flat, gasping for air. My mum and dad both come to the door to meet me. ‘They closed down the school?’ my mum asks. ‘No’ I say panting, pulling my veil off theatrically and feeling my hair stand up with static electricity. My dad smiles. ‘We escaped.’ I say and throw myself in their arms.
It didn’t land on our home.

Friday, August 18, 2006

‘You love Saddam Hussein?’ asked the Greek barman eagerly. I had been mistaken for many things in my life but Saddam Hussein’s lover was definitely the most interesting one.
‘No’ I replied in a bit of a squeaky voice that had resulted from me being so shocked at this question. Socrates, the barman, frowned in disappointment. ‘You like Iraq better now?’ he inquired, leaning over the bar. He was quite big and now towering over me.
I instinctively stepped back, taking care not to step on the chubby black puppy sleeping just behind me with his fat, pink belly pressed against the cool stone floor of the restaurant.
‘No’ I said, ‘the current situation in Iraq is terrible but Saddam Hussein wasn’t such a great person either.’
The barman stepped back, giving me knowing nods. ‘Yes it’s terrible’ he said, his face showing disgust but also happiness at having found exactly the right English word to describe his feelings in relation to the Iraq situation: Terrible. This he now repeated several time whilst shaking his head from side to side. I kind of wished I’d picked a better word.
‘Do you go back there?’ he finally asked, after sufficient number of ‘terrible’s were expressed.
‘Ah’ I said smiling, realising the misunderstanding, ‘I’m not from Iraq, I’m from Iran. With an N.’
Socrates gasped, widening his eyes. ‘Iran?’ he asked excitedly. I nodded, dreading his next question which I assumed was going to be about me being in love with our president. But luckily it wasn’t. He just nodded at me approvingly. ‘Very good’ he said, looking me up and down.
I looked over to the bottle of coke and the can of iced tea that I had taken from the fridge about ten minutes earlier. They hadn’t been that cold to begin with and now they were even warmer. For the fifth time since I had met the barman, I stretched my hand towards him, holding a five Euro note.
‘Hey’ he shouted at a chunky middle aged guy sitting at the end of the bar, waving my money away. This was followed by a series of words in Greek with the only recognizable word to a non Greek speaking person being: Iran.
‘Oh’ the other man replied, raising his eyebrows in surprise. Then he got up and headed in my direction.
Standing in front of me, one hand on chest, he began, ‘Hello’
‘Hello’ I replied, losing all hope of ever getting away.
‘I am Socrates’ he said, bringing his right hand to shake mine. Hearing this exact same sentence about ten minutes earlier from the barman had amused me a little but now I was just hot and bothered and wanted to drink my coke sitting on the beach with my feet in the water.
‘Shirin’ I said, shaking the man’s hand, ‘nice to meet you.’ Then I waited but neither of them said anything. They just stood there looking at me as one would at endangered species shown on television; with a look of sorrowful respect accompanied with the faintest of smiles. The puppy yawned and dragged his belly across the floor a little to reach a cooler area.
‘Iran’ said Socrates #2 with great determination that was mirrored in his tight fist held near his face, ‘very good country.’

Who would have thought that as a result of the Lebanon tragedy, being Iranian would suddenly become something cool and trendy! All the time we were in Corfu, whenever we told anyone we were from Iran, they would look at us admiringly.
The most interesting example of this was definitely the antiwar demonstration that we accidentally attended in Corfu town. We were walking around in the evening, going from shop to shop; waiting to feel hungry so we could go and have dinner, when we saw a group of people walking down the road carrying Lebanese and Palestinian flags and shouting slogans which were all Greek to me ;-)
Naturally the photoblogger and his flaneur missis followed the crowd. He, enticed by the prospect of great photo opportunities, and her, drawn in by the cuteness of the group of nine local dogs following the demonstrators.
As we marched through the narrow streets, more people and dogs joined. After a while, a little out of breath, Kamyar caught up with me and my twelve furry friends at the end of the procession. ‘Excuse me’ he said to the guy walking in front of us, holding a Lebanese flag, and asked him what it was exactly that they were shouting about, fitting into his question, very artfully, the three magic words that we had come to understand would instantly turn people into our friends: I am Iranian.
It worked. The man looked very pleased and so did the woman next to him. After he was done explaining to us what was being said by the demonstrators, he whispered something to the person next to him. This started a little Mexican wave of whispers, with every now and then, someone turning around to give us a respectful nod.
At Liston, everybody stopped and continued shouting, standing in a circle. Kamyar and I and a collection of dogs, stood a little further away, watching. After a while a young man with dreadlocks ran towards us. ‘Come quick’ he said excitedly. They were about to burn flags and he had rushed to call in the experts, as it were!
I don’t really like the whole flag burning thing myself and despite being Iranian, with flag burning in recent years having become a national pastime of ours, I’m afraid I had never seen it being done before. Even so, obviously carrying the Iranian-flag-burning genes, I took one look at the Israeli and the American flags that they were holding and knew they were heading for a disaster. The flags they were about to burn were different to the other ones they were carrying. These were made out of plastic for some reason. And as if that wasn’t enough, the guy in charge of burning them, first covered them both in what smelt like lighter fuel.
The flags went from flags to charred nothings in 1.2 seconds.
The crowd screamed and jumped back as the flags went up in flames.
The dogs dispersed.
The Iranians went off in search of a nice restaurant.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Drrrrrrrrrrrring Drrrrrrrrrrrring
Drrrrrrrrrrring Drrrrrrrrrring
Shirin quickly picks up the phone, at the same time producing a very unnecessary cough. ‘Hello?’ she says, trying her hardest to sound awake. As if sleeping is some sort of crime.
‘Good morning’ says the hotel receptionist from the other end, ‘I have Europe Car people here. They have come to pick up the car you rented.’
‘Oh!’ she replies, blinking rapidly a few times to try and get things in focus whilst looking at the clock, ‘But we were supposed to return the car at ten, it’s not even nine now and we still haven’t put the petrol we used back in.’
‘Oh!’ replies the receptionist.
‘Well the petrol station was shut when we got back last night so we thought we would do that this morning.’
‘Please excuse me a moment.’
And then two Greek voices discuss the matter on the other side. Shirin takes this opportunity to rub her eyes with the back of her free hand and check out her tan. It’s looking good but it could be better and today is her last chance to try and get it just perfect.
‘Hello?’ Says a nervous Greek voice from the other end.
‘Yes? Hello’
‘I am very sorry but I need to take the car now.’
‘But what about the petrol?’
‘It is ok. I will see how much you used and take the money from your card.’ And then her voice goes from nervous to sounding like she is about to cry, ‘Please, I need to take the car now. I will not be able to come back in this weather.’
That’s when Shirin notices the ‘wishhhhhh, wishhhhhh’ sound from outside. It’s raining. ‘Oh Greeks’ she thinks to herself swallowing her laughter while shaking her head from side to side in the knowing manner of a person from the UK.
‘Please’ the woman pleads again.
‘Ok’ she replies, ‘Don’t worry, my husband is on his way to the reception now.’ looking at the poor, half sleep husband next to her and waving him out of the bed.
‘Oh thank you’ says the woman on the other side, sounding very relieved.

Outside, rain is coming down hard on the lawn and on the flowers and on their drenched towels hanging out to dry. Shirin sits on the edge of the bed, scratching her legs and looking at the too familiar English style sky. ‘So you missed me so much that you had to follow me all the way to Greece then hey?’ she says looking up at the clouds.
‘What about the petrol?’ asks Kamyar, pulling his T-shirt over his head. ‘It’s ok’ she replies, watching the fat drops of rain land in the anti-mosquito candle left outside on the table, ‘she says she can just take the money.’

The next ten minutes are dedicated entirely to Shirin thinking about what she is going to have for her breakfast. By the time Kamyar gets back, drenched from head to toe, she has worked out exactly what she is going to have: three pieces of toast dripping with double cream and topped with blackcurrant jam washed down with a cup of coffee. But the storm is getting worst by the minute. ‘So this is the catch.’ She says to herself, ‘being stranded in our room on our last day here without any jam.’
She had wondered about the catch ever since the very cheap last minute holiday they had booked without even knowing exactly which hotel or which town they were going to, had turned out to be an amazing holiday in a wonderfully gorgeous place, not far from her idea of paradise.
They had been given a little house all to themselves, about five minutes away from a huge swimming pool and a beautiful beach, with amazing views of Greek mainland. But somehow non of it had felt right and everyday, lying back on the beach or by the pool, jet skiing in the Mediterranean, eating fresh swordfish, accidentally receiving a much better rented car than they had paid for, she had asked herself over and over again: What is the catch?
‘But if this really is the catch’ she thinks to herself, ‘it’s actually an ok one. We’ve had a fantastic week and now it’s raining a little, so what?’

‘Terrible weather, isn’t it?’ the old lady from next door was shouting to the people standing by the front door in the house opposite from them, ‘Do you have supplies?’
‘Supplies!’ Shirin chuckled to herself.
The lady continued, ‘Have you heard about the airports? ...Terrible, isn’t it?’
‘The airports?’ Shirin thought, ‘Oh no, have the airports closed down because of the rain? Oh fogodsakes’ she thought, getting up from the bed and walking to the door, ‘it’s just a bit of rain.’
Outside the rain had been busy. It was still coming down hard and now everything was under at least two inches of water. ‘Umm’ she thought, things were starting to look serious now.
‘Look at this’ she said to Kamyar who was pouring water in the kettle to make coffee, ‘There’s water everywhere.’
And so they both did what any normal holidaymaker in their position would do; they took out their cameras and started to shoot.

Their paradise had gone from this

and this

to this

and this

For the first time since they had bought their tickets, Shirin thought about the annoying mandatory insurance that they had been made to buy, wondering if the cheap £17.99 one they had chosen, offered a helicopter rescue from the roof or not.
‘Oh we must watch the news’ she said, suddenly remembering what she had overheard earlier, ‘The lady next door was saying something about the airports being closed.’

‘Airport plot’ read the white writing on the red band at the bottom of the television screen on BBC World Channel. And then it changed to ‘Terror Alert’
It took them a while to work out exactly what was going on. Basically the British police had been informed that terrorists had plotted to blow up planes in midair, using bombs in liquid form (a Doctor Evil kind of plan basically) and now many flights had been cancelled and all airports were in chaos. Shirin and Kamyar watched in disbelief.
‘So this is the catch’ Shirin thought to herself.
Outside, rainwater was only about an inch away from reaching the top of their doorstep and pouring into the house. Occasionally a lobster-red, English man in shorts would slosh past their door, ankle deep in water to get to the shop for some food for his family. ‘Wonder if the shop has any jam left.’ Shirin thought to herself.

They spent the rest of the morning staring at the television or reading their books. The rain would ease off for a while and then start up again. By twelve o’clock they noticed an opening in the clouds and then a small brown dog with a goatee swam past their front door. The situation was still extremely surreal but things were definitely improving.

By two o’clock the rain had stopped. Blue skies had come out again and Shirin was sitting outside in the sun eating her three pieces of toast with cream and jam, hoping the dog with the goatee managed to swim home ok. They still had the airport situation to worry about but now that it was sunny again, it wouldn’t actually be that bad really if they had to stay a few extra days.