Chasing deadlines ...

I got back from my conference in Tehran yesterday in the early hours of the morning. The list of "things to be done today" is daunting, especially chasing the things that should have been completed by my return ... 

I have to say that the experience was a mixed bag. The people I met, talked to and was hosted by are fantastic, the regime, obviously, is another matter and the experience of getting the visa and then of the security checks at the airport were - shall I say - designed to deter anyone, however well disposed, from visiting the place.

Iranian hosts take their duty as hosts extremely seriously. The duties of a host are those you find in the Bible and the visitor is honoured as a guest under the same conditions. Naturally, as a guest, you also have certain duties, such as respecting their culture and their rules. Many westerners find that tricky or even objectionable. I don't. It is no more and no less than I expect of someone visiting my country. OK, so I can't have alcohol. Big deal, I didn't go there to drink anyway. I do find it difficult that I can't visit a church, though I am always religiously told I am welcome in any mosque should I wish to pray ... It isn't quite the same as having the full freedom to worship, practice or discuss my faith that I enjoy in most countries. There is also a very palpable tension in Iran at present, the current regime is not universally popular and I expect that one day it will be expelled from power, but, it will have to be an internal expulsion and not a western "intervention." In that country it simply will not work.

Now I have returned I have to chase my artist for the cover picture, now well overdue. I have to get on with a revision I started and put aside to complete the preparations for the conference and I have to chase the Galley Proofs for On The Run which are now also overdue! Then there is a question of getting a response from the company I engaged to create trailers for the Harry Heron series, they haven't responded since I sent them my material and paid them. Plus, Autumn has shown its bite and the garden needs "winter proofing." Oh well, at least the trip to Tehran has given me a fistful of ideas for the next Harry Heron ... 

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