Saturday, 21 June 2008

21st June, 2008

Happy Summer Solstice to everyone

Tonight I will be celebrating solstice with some friends. We will gather to eat food and read some poems by Rumi and Hafiz. The notion to do this came about when I discovered recipes for curry in the back of my Rumi's collected poems. It seemed to make perfect sense - the combination of poems and recipes. A trend that could perhaps be encouraged in contemporary poetry books? Who knows, perhaps there's a whole hungry market out there just waiting for for the poem/food fusion to happen.

All we need is a mystic restuaranteur or publisher to step this way and we're off.

Meanwhile, my ticket for Australia has arrived. I will be flying on the 24th of September with Virgin. The aeroplane only stops in Hong Kong for refuelling and so once I've managed to get the stone onto the plane then I know that it will arrive in Sydney.

I'm excited about travelling with this next stone. It has been three years since I took the last one to the U.S.A. and I'm looking forward to reconnecting with everything stone and the mysteries that imbue stone. I'm re-reading Phil Cousineau's Art of Pilgrimage in preparation - this is a great book full of inspiring quotations. I'm also about to have some photographs taken of the stone and me with the stone which will then be posted as soon as possible.

If anyone is unsure about what the migration habits of stones project is all about, then please visit my website at

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

The strangest thing happens on Sunday 8th June. I'm sitting in a field at the Bovey Tracey craft fair munching my way through a salmon salad when my phone rings. It's my friend Roger. Roger who lives in Australia. What's he doing back in the UK? I think. But he's not in the UK. He's on a beach in Sydney and he and Neil were thinking of me and so they phoned.
Roger said, "We keep on imagining you here Alyson. Everywhere we go, it's so easy to see you. In fact, it's as if you are already here."
That's the thing with travel. A little part of you leaves days, weeks, months before you actually step onto the plane or train or road and depart. An envoy of the soul if you like.

Meanwhile, on the practical front, I'm trying to speak with customs. If you dial the number that you find for customs and excise on the internet you get a hideous squeak followed by the predictably mechanical voice that tells you the number is not recognisable.
Here we go, I thought, anticipating spending at least the following three hours trying to find someone to talk to about taking a stone through customs.
I couldn't have been more wrong.
Enter Stuart: a real, live human being who is part of the Heathrow Airport Information Team. What a star. He is friendly and extremely helpful. He assures me that a stone is not such an unusual item to take through customs (people take anchors for boats he tells me) and that I should mention it at the check-in and also obtain proof of ownership so that people can see I'm not involved in a commercial venture.
The only thing remaining for me to do now is to speak with the airlines and to check whether or not they are happy to offer safe passage for my stone from this country to a country on the other side of the world.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008


This is to let you know that I am now in full flow preparing to take stone number 3 in the migrating stones series to Sydney, Australia.

The current mountain that I'm preparing to climb is deciding which airline to fly with. Given that I'm going to be carrying a rather unusual object - and a heavy one at that - I need to be rather careful as the last thing I want is for the stone to be blown up when an unsuspecting baggage inspector looks at his or her screen and sees a large, unidentifiable thing in my suitcase.

So the current tasks are

1/ How to protect the stone (when i flew to the states a few years ago the metal box containing the stone was severely damaged)

2/ How do I contact the airline I fly with in order to tell them my story

3/ What paperwork do I need to ensure that the stone can successfully make its flight from Heathrow to Sydney in September.

With regard to question one, I spent most of yesterday inspecting roasting trays. Yes, that's right, roasting trays. The latest brain wave led me to believe that two taped together would be the most efficient and economical protection for my stone.

Later, when I thought about this, the pitfalls were obvious. Strange object surrounded by foam in between two taped together roasting trays. The only other thing i'd need to add would be a clock and a bit of wiring.

Thankfully Sam, my man, came to my rescue with a black box that will serve the intended purpose perfectly.