The last article recorded the passing of my straw hat, which fell in active service on the A343. While we mortals are recycled by the agents of nature beneath the graveyard soil, this hat was recycled by the winged agents of nature into a number of bird nests on the nearby Faccombe estate.
GY with Hat
In its absence, a substitute straw hat from the dressing-up box. was pressed into service. It was a hat from the Wild West, having been acquired for an event in Monxton where the male guests were required to arrive, dressed as cowboys. At this event, the MP and the Rector were obliged to mount a bucking bronco to raise funds to rebuild the church. The hat suffered the indignity of being unhorsed, along with its owner, after a millisecond on a demented electro-mechanical mustang ; a photograph of this incident exists, but is not displayed on my website. However, this refugee hat from Kansas, with sheriff type badges round the rim, was – how shall I put it – somewhat out-of-place at the more respectable events to which the local MP is invited. It was not a long-term solution.
The story of the missing straw hat evoked a sympathetic response from readers who murmured condolences on meeting their bare-headed Member of Parliament at summer social events in the open air. But one reader from Upton was propelled by my misfortune into action.
On one of the days last week when the post was not delivered, a straw hat was placed on the mail box outside our front door. Through these columns, I thank the benefactor. I know his identity, but I will not reveal it. If the source of this generosity was exposed, the good man would be subjected to countless requests from local folk to raid his wardrobe to make good their shortcomings. I say simply that he is a former High Sheriff, and an all-round good egg.
When you buy a pedigree dog, it comes with a certificate from the Kennel Club as evidence of its good breeding. It is no reflection on the previous owner of the hat to say that, inside it, there was no such evidence of pedigree. There was no label claiming parentage at Locks of St James’s. However, Sherlock Holmes might have detected a gentle aroma of expensive hair lotion, and the hint of a singe on the brim from a Havana cigar – both of showed that the hat was clearly was accustomed to the good life.
The hat has been pressed into service and has been sighted in Monk Sherborne, and at the 75th Annual Flower Show of the Burghclere & Newtown Horticultural Society. It is on standby for the Winton Conservative Branch Barbecue, weather permitting.
And so far, I have only been approached once from someone behind me tapping me on the shoulder, having mistaken me for a retired High Sheriff.