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.