We don’t wish for anything more than spending this anniversary quietly, simply, together. I hardly slept – too hot and uncomfortable – but glad to be here. We have breakfast – beautifully sweet water melon, green tea and some bread and honey.
We set about doing our bike maintenance, the easy stuff first. Scotoilers replenished, my chain is tightened, tyre pressures adjusted, air filter cleaned, the odd loose bolt tightened, lights and mirrors cleaned. Even the Givi screens get a wash. We understand why we’ve heard that it took a couple 3 days to clean their bikes in preparation for shipping to Australia. Hopefully we won’t need to get them that clean to fly them to India…
While we doing all this maintenance, the house guardian watches us. We can’t communicate but she is very sweet. She brings us tea and is surprised that we don’t take any sugar. We’ve noticed how much Iranians love sugar. When you buy tea in a coffee shop or restaurant, each cup is served with a massive sugar stick. Later that day, she invites me into her home, offers me tea, we sit in the middle of her lounge, on the large rug, and gets an envelope out of a locked briefcase: she gets out her wedding photos to show me. Her mother joins us and keeps chatting to me in farsi – her daughter and I keep laughing as we both know I have no idea what she’s saying. But she continues regardless.
We had installed BMW large bash plates as part of the additional equipment to beef up the bikes. These required the removal of four nuts and two screws, the location of the front screws and their respective nuts will make re fitting a fun task. As Anne’s baseplate comes off, we now know the fate of the small bird Anne hit in Uzbekistan last month, somewhat dried up and definitely a Norwegian Blue. sorry little bird :-(.
When we undertook the motorbike service training with BMW North Oxford in May 2014, which seems a lifetime ago, we were told that the oil change at 6,000 miles could be stretched to 7,000 miles if necessary. We are now at 7,068 miles with about another 1,000 miles before we could reach an authorised BMW service centre, with coffee, tea cakes and newspapers in Dubai.
Our friend Afrooz in Iran had arranged through her contacts and friends to help us with accommodation and we now had a luxury villa in Karaj with the two somewhat, well no, very dirty bikes sitting on a marble floor under the villa in the Garage area. Not a bad place to undertake a motorbike service. The flowers from the garden provide a gentle scent just to complete the scene.
Those of you who know of our very limited, nay no existent mechanical skills, YES those who build overdrives into 1930’s gearboxes or have a fleet of motorcycles that require outside maintenance to support and the rest of you, would tremble at the thought of us undertaking a simple oil change and ending up with a rideable motorcycle, you will all be pleased to hear that we had help, one of Afrooz’s friends Sohrab, who is a researcher, inventor and man of many talents, spent hours on the internet researching all aspects of the service of the BMW F700GS to assist us in the service.
When we left the UK, we took a small toolkit to cover most of the work we might have to do on the bikes, but with a couple of major omissions. These were a 24mm spanner for the rear wheel nut to adjust the chain and a BMW produced fancy circular multifaceted tool which in conjunction with a spanner remove and replace the screw-on oil filter. The 24mm spanner I had purchased in Kazakstan, so only the filter remover to get which Sohrab said he would find.
Sohrab arrives around 1pm with bags and bags of food and goodies he has bought for us including 8 litres of Castrol oil and a special tool to remove the oil filter. The official BMW tool was too large and heavy and we had decided not to bring one with us but we have regretted the decision ever since. He apparently criss crossed Tehran several times (which takes him hours) , before he eventually found an old man in a tiny hardware store who produced a box from the back of the store with this locally produced tool for filter removal, regardless of size – absolutely perfect!! Having now spent some time in Tehran, and seen the city’s size traffic volume and actions of the drivers and riders, this no mean feat.
<Sohrab installs his laptop and external hardware drive with lots of music for our listening pleasure. We are to sit back and relax while he prepares us lunch. We are not allowed to help in any way. It is our special day and he is here for us. While he's preparing lunch, he's also trying to sort out our Iranian sim cards, calling his friend Samone to buy extra data packages for us, contacting the telco while rushing back into the kitchen to deal with whatever he's preparing for us. His generosity, thoughtfulness and helpfulness is all a bit overwhelming.
He tells us that overnight, he has come up with a system that could cool water for us on our bikes. Pity we are leaving tomorrow! His mind is constantly rushing all over the place, solving various problems. His English is good but we all wish we could communicate more easily and hear more about his various inventions.
We have lunch at 4pm and devour the delicious meal. Of course, I am not allowed to help clear the table and even less wash up.
We finish working on the bikes at 8.30pm and Sohrab sets about preparing dinner!!!
Anne & Anthony
PS. For those not familiar with Norwegian Blue, it is a reference to a dead parrot comedy sketch by Monty Python from the 1970’s