This website is about my experiences as a Briton travelling to Iran firstly as a tourist, later as a student of Persian language and literature, and more generally as a reader with an interest in Iran. Iran is the country that I have most visited and spent most time in – more or less two years in total.

Over the course of my visits I’ve visited some of the main tourist sites, but also some less usual places for westerners, and I have taken several thousand photographs. I often wrote privately about my trips so I have a well of information to draw from when writing articles here. I don’t yet have a formal structure or plan for the articles on this website. Instead I will probably write just what I want to write at that time, show some photographs, upload some videos, and so on. The posts are not in chronological order. So with a mere four posts I am putting this site live.

All of the photographs are my own, except where I clearly show an attribution. I want this website to be about my first-hand experiences. I do plan to show some historical photographs of Iran to compare with the present day.

The name Sadface

A couple of years ago I was living in Velenjak in north Tehran. I was in Iran to study Persian language and literature at Dehkhoda Institute (full name: Dehkhoda Lexicon Institute and International Centre for Persian Studies, which may explain why most people refer to it simply as Dehkhoda). You can read more about Dehkhoda here.

I was living in a complex mostly for foreign students, and one day on my walks around that part of Tehran I chanced upon half a dozen cats living on the streets. Some local residents occasionally put out food for these cats, and the cats themselves foraged and searched the rubbish bins. I decided I would feed them too. I had noticed a pet shop in Velenjak shopping centre, so I went there and bought a tin of cat food.

On one of my first feeding expeditions I spotted a small grubby thin white cat with dirty ears and possessing a sad countenance. I named him Sadface. I made use of a box lid and put the food into it. Sadface and one of his chums ate some, then he walked away quietly.

Over time I saw several other cats. Amongst them there was the very large Prince; a feisty female cat called Mummycat and her kittens; and a black and white cat with one eye who I perhaps predictably named Cyclops. I collectively referred to all these cats as the piglets.

Sadface was a friendly cat from the beginning and was very tame with me. Suffice for now to write that I adopted him, and brought him legally to the United Kingdom where he now lives. I will write several more articles about him, including the process to take him from Iran to the United Kingdom and the requisite regulations.

He has grown up to be a king of cats, and I thank God that I did not leave him behind when I left Iran.

There are many cats living wild in the cities. Adopting one and caring for it will gain you a friend for life.

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