One of the things that struck me in Iran was the very reserved and private nature of the woman aged 40+. They’d generally be kitted out in black and almost go as far as hiding their faces when I was near them. Taking a picture would be out of the question. They’d certainly make any party in which they were present, very socially awkward, ‘So, do you come here often?’, cue horrified look, ‘No, no, aaaaahhh’, before running away. ‘Cmon love, ease up a bit, I’m just makin chit-chat. Jeez, tough gig’. Younger woman were different, but many of the older woman were definitely very withdrawn (around me anyway). One afternoon I found myself in a courtyard surrounded by them having their lunch. In a scene reminiscent of a feel-good Hollywood flick, they all randomly started clapping in sync, prompting one to rise to her feet and start dancing. Another then rose and began singing. Before too long the whole place was pumping to song and dance with smiles that would light up a Nordic winter. Just when you think you’ve figured them out, they all get up and spontaneously start dancing. I guess the fact that they were all dressed in brightly coloured clothes should have revealed that this lot were not very withdrawn. Nevertheless, I’d never seen anything like it. It was yet another surprising twist in my ever-changing impressions of Iran, and one of the more memorable moments of the trip.