I am awfully fond of my head. I do most of my thinking in it. Without my head to keep my ears apart my stereo hearing would be somewhat compromised, and my eyes, mouth and nose would have little to cling to except each other.
Over the centuries my head has been camouflaged under a mop of slightly gingery nonsense, under shoulder-length New Romantic embarrassments, used as the anchor for a waist-length ponytail (I kid you not) and even occasionally trimmed short backsides. We have played together well, head and I. However, there comes a time in every man’s life when the hair on his skull runs for cover and takes shelter in ears, nose and… other places. My such moment was some eighty or ninety years ago and I have long-since reconciled myself to the next stage of life, that stage being titfers. Headgear. Bonce-armour. Hats.
I sport a wide(ish) array of hats. I’ve worn bandanas, biker-style. I’ve worn bandanas hippie-style. I’ve occasionally worn bandages, NHS style. On the grounds of “when in the colonies do as the colonials do” I’ve even worn items described on the labels as “baseball caps” and “bush hats” (sans corks, natch). It can be as well to blend in with the local population in some areas of the globe. Once or twice I have, during moments of crisis, fashioned hats from tin foil. My current stable includes a fez or two, some smoking caps – hand-crocheted wool and Indian silk, with and without tassels – a pith helmet, a bewildering array of tweed flat caps (some made from the woven harvested fur of whippets that I have loved) and, as of this week, a Brazilian tarp-hat.
Tarp-hat? Yep, a hat made from old tarpaulins ripped off the back of high-mileage Brazilian haulage vehicles. The material is akin to a waterproof canvas, and because of the rigours of its former life, has aged beautifully. Of the wide-brim designs there are three variations (although each hat is necessarily unique within its type). These are the relatively neat version, made from the least-worn parts of the tarpaulins, the extreme patches version (self-explanatory) and the version sporting Portuguese writing and logos.
Mine is an “extreme patches”.
I may look like a right plonker in any and all of my headgear, but I do not care a jot. Not one iota. My specs are dry, my nose is sheltered from that blazing English sun and all is well with the world.
I like my new hat so much that I am happy to plug the website. In England it is tarphat.co.uk and I commend the company to the nation.
They seem like a fun company as well as a competent one. For one thing, my hat arrived in the most deliciously old-fashioned style parcel with some splendid labels. None of your nasty grey plastic mailing bags for this lot.
Later this year I shall be expanding into a Bowler.
Watch this space for details. Chin-chin.