"ALL ABOUT MY HAT - THE HIPPY TRAIL 1972" PAPARBACK
isbn 9780-0-9932107 ON AMAZON
isbn 978-0-9932107-0-9 THROUGH BOOKSHOPS AND LIBRARIES
An incredible journey in 1972, of a young man and his hat, "Myhat", from
Thessalonki in Greece, through Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan,
Pakistan and India - and back to the UK, through poverty and illness, a
journey not forgotten. Passing through Istanbul, Izmir, Ephesus (Efes),
Antalya, Antakya, Aleppo, Deir el Zur, Qa'im, Baghdad, Tehran, Mashad,
Herat, Kandahar, Kabul, Khyber Pass, Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Lahore,
Amritsar, Delhi, Agra, Haridwar and Rishikesh - known now as "The Hippy
Joan Bello?, US: "I am quite sure that I have just finished reading what
should be recognized as an all time classic. Alun Buffry is a master
storyteller. All About My Hat kept me spellbound from the first page.
This is a precise recounting of true adventure that every hippy-minded
person will be in awe of regardless of age. Thankfully, Buffry has found
a delightfully unique literary vehicle that completely disposes of the
usual ego distraction of so many biographical accounts. It is effortless
reading, nothing superfluous, no fillers, with an ease of language and a
precision that is admirable. My Hat is a constant reminder of the
camaraderie shared among all cannabis supporters around the world.
Winston M, Surrey: "Great read and so much interesting found it hard to put down."
Kevin T, Norfolk: "A Brilliant book once i started it i could NOT put it down i would recommend others to read it."
Roger H, Suffolk: "Good Grief!"
Ann C, Norwich: "This is a fascinatng book packed with stories about
adventures on the "Hippy Trail" in all its reality. It was harsh with
extreme discomfort, heat and dust and sometimes illness. It took
strength and endurance ...but then... the rewards were a rich awareness
of other cultures and beliefs.
"I recommend it warmly.and did I mention, it is so funny!"
Roger W E, Swansea: "My Hat is becoming an independent friend, as I read on - he/she/it is competing with you! Roger WE"
Chris P, Essex: "Awesome read fella, most enjoyable."
Ian L, Norfolk: "Liked it a lot, very entertaining, definitely a good read, well done Alun."
Frank K, W Sussex: "Loved the book Alun and have shown friends, also
travellers with a Hippie hat. Great days to remember for you I bet. I
like the way you laid out the text too, great read."
Mark S, Norfolk: "Loving the book."
Melissa D, Italy "I really enjoyed this book..... but I have to admit I
skipped some of the travel book descriptions. My favourite part is.....
No, I won't spoil it for you!
Simon B, Norwich: "You were lucky to survive - loved the book."
Marion G, Suffolk: "Marion Gaze An easy enjoyable read. It took me right
back to those times of footloose carefree travel and spontaneous
adventure....usually ending in illness or loss of ones money! Though i
was part of the start of the journey, Alun's Hat remembers a lot more
than me, which is why there will not be a book about my overland trip to
India a year or so later..."
Let me introduce myself, I am called Myhat.
I am quite an old hat. I was made decades ago. I had been passed many
times to a few heads, yet had seldom found one that I felt really
About 40 years ago, everything changed. I found myself upon a head that I
had a close affinity with and I found myself seeing, hearing, smelling
much through this young man, Al - and even picking up on his emotions
I was lost then for several years, stored in a cupboard until, once
again, I found myself on Al's head and now I can tell my tales.
Al and I spent some nine months together on our first trip, visiting
many big cities and several small villages, in eight countries, all
different, all new to myself and my new head – an adventure of a
I had sat on Al's head and witnessed all sorts of strange places and events until we had travelled to India and then to the UK.
When Al arrived back in the UK, he was quite ill, having suffered from a
problem called Hepatitis and also dysentery. Al went to his parent's
house in Wales and then to hospital. But whilst he was in that hospital,
I was never on his head after he had arrived, and ended up in a box in a
I didn't know what was happening. Why was Al leaving me? How long was I
to be here? What would become of me now? Would I get a new head? Would I
get more adventures? Would I be treasured or neglected?
Then one day, Al took me out of my box and put me back on his head.
That is how it came that I found myself back on Al's head. I have been
on and off Al's head for about forty years and now I can tell my tales.
Al had done a lot of travelling over those forty years.
I had always been able to understand any language spoken and understood
by whatever head I was placed on - but never been able to utter anything
myself – until now! I have discovered that I can help Al remember the
places we had experienced together and I somehow I managed to place the
idea of writing my tale for me. Anyway, that idea came upon Al and here
he is, writing this for me!
As well as understanding the thoughts, memories and feelings of my head –
I felt as he felt - I have been able to see through the eyes, hear
through the ears and even taste through the mouth and tongue of my head –
Al – and over the days developed a strange connection so that so long
as Al was nearby, I could watch what was going on around him – even when
not on his head!
I watched, I listened and I remembered – and that is how I come to write this story through a head called Al.
A DIP IN THE GANGES
After a pleasant afternoon with Ashok and his family, they drove back to
Haridwar and Al was dropped off back near the railway station where,
once again, he slept on the wooden bench.
The following morning after a breakfast of fruit, yoghurt and bread, Al
took a stroll around the town. It seemed very old. The streets were
crowded with people going about their days amidst the cows.
After a while he found a bridge over the river Ganges. It looked greener
on the other side, with trees to sit beneath and watch the powerful
currents pass. So he crossed the bridge and turned right to follow a
rough path running besides the River.
He spotted an orange-robed elderly and bearded man sitting cross-legged
beneath a tree, a semi-circle of younger people sitting facing him.
Al knew that they were called Baba’s, as he himself had been called a few times.
“Maybe he’s one of those guru teachers,” Al thought.
Back in England Al had read about the pop group The Beatles who had
taken up with a Guru called Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who had taught them
how to meditate and himself gained great publicity and popularity –
maybe it was something to do with that.
The orange-robbed ‘teacher’ shouted something and motioned to Al to go
over and join them and sit down. Al complied. The elderly teacher smiled
and asked Al where he was from and why he was in Haridwar, in a broken
English with an almost German accent.
Al explained that he had travelled overland from the UK, simply on an
adventure and that he was here because he had met a Spanish man in Delhi
who had recommended it as a good place to stay for a while. The teacher
laughed and from under his robes produced a chillum. The chillum was
prepared, wrapped in a safi – a small piece of cloth that served as a
sort of filter – the tobacco hash mixture poured in and the lit chillum
passed around so that everyone including Al had a good puff.
The teacher-come-chillum-maker – the Baba – asked Al if he had a few
rupees for another chillum. Al handed over a small note. A young boy
suddenly appeared from amongst the nearby thickness of trees, took the
note, ran off into the trees to return seconds later with a small lump
of black hash which he passed on and which was instantly made into
another chillum and smoked.
Al stayed a short while and as nothing was being said and he was quite
high on the hash, he said his goodbyes and left, carrying on in the same
direction as before. Within minutes he was sitting with another group
under another tree, smoking again.
“This is the good life!” thought Al, so high that he was beginning to feel like he was in a Holy city in India. “By the Ganges!”
He left the second group and walked some hundred yards before he had the
idea that immersing oneself in the Ganges was supposed to purify the
“Well,” he mumbled under his breath so only he (and I) could hear, “Why not, it’s hot and I’ll soon dry off.”
Across the river he could see a long walled building complex with steps
going down to the River. As he got closer he could see steps going down
on this side too. A few steps, “I should be OK."
The water was moving very fast. Al thought maybe he would not immerse himself, just splash himself all over.
“After all, I can’t swim.” So he put down his bag, took me off his head
and put me on his bag, took off his sandals, and stepped down and in to
With some hesitation, one step, second step, third step – then his feet
were swept from under him. He felt himself falling backwards into the
water which he knew would sweep him away. Too high to feel real fear, he
envisioned the situation if he was to be swept down the Ganges – he
would have to try to float. He had to hope he would be saved, but who
would swim in this? How many bodies had ended up like this. Was this
really Holy Water?
As he fell he reached out and somehow managed to grab a chain that was
attached to the land, maybe for mooring a boat. He grabbed the chain but
the force of the water was now tugging at his body like a hungry
monster and now splashing his whole body with his head about to go
As his head went under he felt a wrenching on his arm but he pulled
stronger, now his head was out, now his body, now he was clambering up
the steps, drenched and coughing up Holy Water. He made it to the grassy
bank and collapsed on the floor.
I felt so many emotions and thoughts and images flooding Al’s brain.
“So fucking stupid! I could have died.”
“Am I cleansed? Am I saved? Don’t feel any different.”
“God I’m stoned! I shouldn’t have done that. What would have happened if that chain wasn’t there?”
“Glad I took Myhat off!"
So was I.
Had I been in that water I would surely have been swept away for ever.
But it wasn’t long before Al was dried out and sitting with yet another group smoking another chillum.
After a while, that particular teacher said that they had seen Al go
into the River and now his soul was clean. That was about all he said,
except he asked Al if he wanted some chai and said that “Mahatma is
coming, he will take you for chai.” Al liked the spicy milky tea drinks.
Al wondered if this was the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi or maybe some local
lord or lord’s son, a rich man probably. Everything was so strange that
Al did not know what to expect next. I was wondering about who this
‘Mahatma’ was - maybe he made hats?
After a while a man in orange robes accompanied by a small group of
Indian-looking people approached. Apparently he was the Mahatma. He
exchanged words with the teacher under the tree and said to Al: “OK, you
come now for chai and this evening we will do our ‘Arti’ parade through
town and then you join us and come to Ashram maybe?” They walked a
while, crossed a bridge and entered a small chai shop where the Mahatma
said something to the owner or waiter – who did not look too pleased –
pointing at Al who, seemingly somewhat disgruntled, delivered to his
table with “No charge, Sir” and the Mahatma and his entourage left,
saying “Join us for Arti parade.”
There were still a few hours before evening so Al decided to go and wait on his bench back at the railway station.
That was when everything changed.
"OUT OF JOINT - 20 YEARS OF CAMPAIGNING FOR CANNABIS" isbn 978-1-5084202-1-7
It was in Norwich prison whilst on remand in 1991 that Alun Buffry was
approached by Jack Girling during a prison visit, and invited to help
him and others form the Campaign to Legalise Cannabis International
Association (CLCIA).In 1992, whilst on bail, the CLCIA was formed but it
would not be until after Alun Buffry was released on parole in 1995,
having served four-and-a-half years, that he started to dedicate himself
to the cause of legalising the possession, cultivation and trade of
cannabis in the UK. In the General Election of 1997, Howard Marks
contested four seats on the single issue of cannabis. In 1999, the
campaign registered as a political party in the UK under the name
Legalise Cannabis Alliance (LCA).The LCA fought in over 80 elections
including Parliamentary, local council and county councils, did numerous
talks and interviews, gave oral evidence to the Home Affairs Committee
and the Basque Government in Spain, debated at The Oxford Union and at
universities, attended marches and rallies protests and picnics and
produced the first and only Party Political Broadcast by a cannabis
party, shown on TV in Wales in 2005. This is Alun Buffry's
no-holds-barred story, from his prospective, detailing his own
activities and those of others, over the period 1991 to 2011.