The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Old friend

straw sun hatIt’s the last thing that I reach for when I leave the cottage in the morning. Satisfying to the touch. Slightly scratchy but soft and reassuring with years of wear.

My old hat usually travels on the passenger seat on the outward voyage to work. In the evening it views the world from the top of my head.

It was quite smart once but over the years it has been sat upon and squished. It spent last winter beneath the extinct wood burning stove in the kitchen. A bit of luck as it would have frizzled if the stove was alive.

It has protected my head for so many times this summer that it’s now an old friend.

I used to wear cotton hats, the ones that you can buy from camping shops. Large sizes with crumpled, comfortable brims after the first wash.

They are lost in the airing cupboard or ˜hot press’ as Danny calls it.

In desperation, I grabbed my gardening hat one morning and it’s become a treasured companion. The straw lets my head breathe. The rounded brim can be turned down for super privacy and protection from the baking midday sun. It also has a certain style.

At dusk on a sunny day my hat’s finally whisked off to double up as a basket for carrying vegetables from the evening forays to the kitchen garden.

Rest assured, it’s not overworked. It rests on a peg on the door at night and sleeps in at the weekend.


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7 Comments

  1. How timely that this article’s anniversary is this week. The week when it was accidentally left outdoors overnight during the recent drought. The night when it poured with rain and “old Friend” shrank a size or two!
    Still very much going strong.

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Monica

    Yes, I agree. Old clothes are the best!

    Your beautiful blog makes me long to be able to read Swedish!

    Hi Pat

    A decent sun hat is essential when it is sunny around here. The air is so clear that the sun’s rays burn very quickly. TKMaxx had some good ones when I last went in about a month ago.

    Hi Lynn

    That sounds like a nightmare trip. Nifty adjusting your visor, though!

    Hi Plumsource

    The straw is so much cooler than the cotton hats. Hippy chic.

    Hello Kate(uk)

    Great image – linen trousers and old straw hat – quintessential English gardening costume for the lady of the manor!

  3. Kate(uk)

    My trusty straw garden hat is now entering its 30th year. It was a rather smart open weave kangol hat when it began life, purchased on a blissful summer’s day in the covered market in Oxford to wear to a wedding.It is now somewhat lacking in regularity, but, gosh! Thirty years later, so am I, so we match. I was almost pleased when I discovered my favourite linen trousers had developed a large hole in the posterior as they can now be gardening trousers and join me and the hat in the great outdoors for reckless dirtying on a more regular basis. I just wondered for how long I had been walking around with my elegant granny knickers showing.

  4. plumsource

    I recently rediscovered an old straw hat of mine too. It looks a bit posh / boat race when worn as intended with the broad brim turned up. BUT turn the big brim down and it looks nice n hippified plus lots of cool shade as you say. I’m re-converted too. Viva la straw!

  5. I recently drove school bus for 2 weeks of summer school and the sun was just beating down on the left side of my face…very disturbing. I ended up wearing a visor turned sideways. A bit ridiculous looking. I wish I had thought to use my garden hat!!!

  6. I could have used an old friend like that yesterday in the sun.

  7. Monica

    Lovely hat! Old and worn clothes are always the most comfortable.

    /Monica

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