Tuesday, 12 March 2013

My Favourite Hat

‘Hats’ is Jenn Duffy-Pearson’s choice of topic this week for The Writers’ Post on Facebook.
I’ve had different ‘hats’ all my life, some real, some figurative. As a Brownie, I wore a brown woollen hat, as a Girl Guide a navy beret. My school also had an ‘outdoor uniform’ as well as the traditional indoor uniform. We all had to wear navy gabardine coats and a navy berets with the school badge sewn on the front of the beret. Woe betide you if a prefect saw you without your beret!
Our felt berets, when new, always had a short stub in the centre, known to us as a ‘bobble’ and it was traditional, when you got a new beret, for it to be ‘debobblicated’ i.e. have the bobble removed. This 'ceremony' usually took place while we waited for the school bus in the morning. I remember my mother being very annoyed that the debobblicating left a small hole in my new beret, but I didn’t mind. It simply wasn’t ‘done’ to have a beret with a bobble!
More ‘real’ hats followed – woollen hats for hiking and hillwalking, hats to attend weddings, a mortar board when I graduated –and then the ‘figurative’ hats of being a daughter, mother, and teacher. There were times when I felt I also needed a ‘halo’ hat, for coping with teenage daughters, and students too (although maybe they would think a witch’s hat more suitable!)
I was the leader of a Girl Guide unit, and hats were part of the uniform. They were rather like the 1960s/70s ‘air hostess’ type of hat, and I think everyone hated them. I remember one National AGM when the Chief Guide stood to address the meeting, and started off by saying, “All right, hats off, ladies!” and everyone removed their hats with a sigh of relief. That same Chief Guide obviously hated the hats too, as she introduced a new uniform, with no obligatory hats for leaders!
I haven’t worn a ‘real’ hat for many years, not even for weddings, but I still have some figurative hats. I’m still a mother, of course, and also a grandmother, so there was the babysitting hat, and the picking up from school hat when my grandsons were small, as well as the 'confidential' hat, when my teenage grandsons talked to me about anything and everything, knowing I would never betray their confidences.
Now I wear ‘a ‘retired person’ hat! I very soon decided that retirement was my real ‘vocation’ in life! I’ve travelled more since I retired than I ever did before, and visited places I thought I would never see. I’ve enjoyed being able to ‘do my own thing’, get up late, stay up late, go out for pub lunches with friends, and make meals for myself as and when I want them! I suppose you could say I also now wear a ‘writer’s hat’, having started writing contemporary novels again about five years ago, after a 25 year break.
My favourite ‘hat’ is the one I wear right now!



  1. I would have loved to seen pictures of your in some of those berets from your youth. It is amazing how many figurative hats a person actually wears in the course of our lives.


  2. I like the hat you're wearing right now too! :)

  3. I'm happy to say I don't have ANY photos of myself wearing my berets, Kathy :-)

    Me too, Mimi!

  4. I enjoyed reading about your hats, Paula. Got to know you better too. We'd love the pictures! :)