I used to pride myself on my wide range of hats. Quirky ones, warm ones, twattish ones and cool ones. I had a cream-coloured Technics visor but I spilt red wine on it; I had a purple fleece pork pie hat, but it was so ridiculous I chucked it; there were many others, but time has reduced them until the nadir of last month. I had a gigantic Russiany brown one twice the size of my head and with great big ear flaps. A year ago I left it at my future in-laws house in Northern Ireland. They posted it back and I proceeded to lose it again. I had a nice simple grey beanie with a tiny peak, but I lost that too. Many others came and went, until the cold snap in December saw me with just an ancient thin flimsy blue beanie; no use for keeping warm at all.
In Belfast a couple of days before Christmas I picked up a fantastic flappy hat, with warm furry bits, a sort of dogtooth/zigzag patten, and a subtly branded Guinness (Dublin Ireland 1759 Trademark) logo over one of the ears. I got it in a Irish tourist tat shop full of shamrock this, bodhrán that, and cèilidh the other; lots of fridge magnets of leprechauns and mock o’olde plaques full of mock Irish bollocks about the craic (read here for why the craic is a load of bollocks). My shopping bag was also leaden with NI fridge magnets, a Giants Causeway mug, a tiny Belfast t-shirt for my godson, Guinness playing cards and a load of Titanic/Belfast docks postcards. Good crack.
Then on Christmas day I unwrapped an awesome matching hat and scarf set (given to me by my very generous future mother-in-law). They are black and grey chequered, and the hat proudly balances a large bobble. Suddenly my hat levels were climbing back up to acceptable levels. I pulled out my hat-dipstick, gave it a wipe, popped it back in, and when I drew it out again it indicated a health amount of headgear.
At my own parents for New Year and they returned to me my lost grey beanie, meaning I was peaking dangerously; top-heavy and topple-prone. And just ten minutes ago, the event that prompted today’s blog post. I yawned and stretched from my desk, leaned back in my chair with eyes closed, and when I opened them I saw across the room my big brown Russiany flap-hat. It sits atop a cuddly toy banana with an angry face and hands that look like kidneys (an unlikely souvenir from an Osakan fish market). It’s part of my oh-look-I’m-quirky-and-interesting collection of crap that is a substitute for actually having a personality, which includes a great pile of toy octopuses, Peruvian masks, children’s drawings, two toy TNT lorries (still in the packets), and a stylophone with Rolf’s smiley face on the box.
Hats, hats, hats. And Japanese stuff, and octopuses, and books. That is all. Thank you and goodnight.