I am I suspect, rather disappointingly, that in some respects I am a rather ordinary sort of a man. I will never climb Everest and my skills in amateur dramatics are somewhat “hammy”.
However, I am distinctly “unusual” in that wherever I go I always wear a suitable hat. This is something that I have done since my late teens and has developed into a bit of an obsession. One mention of a hat shop and I am there like a shot (as I was when recently in Santiago de Compostella passing by the beautiful shop of one Mr Inglesias). Accordingly I have a fine collection which do get to be worn where the occasion allows.
As I was commuting to my new office in Suffolk (the East Anglian HQ of Albert Square Mediation no less) I began to think how much pleasure I get in matching my hat to the mood that I am in.
Because a recent sunny day felt distinctly like Spring the faithful Panama came out for a trip. It made me happy and optimistic. My thoughts turned to how I could develop my practice, improve my bank balance and replace my car with something a little more sporty and special.
Whenever I am in London then I wear my Bowler (or Coke as it really should be called). This gives me gravitas and I feel able to question people in a slightly superior way. I imagine for one moment that I am a High Court Judge and I have the chance to sort a few injustices in the World and hand out a few sentences suitable for the crime. As with the Mikado I want to “let the punishment fit the crime”. (You will be relieved to know I don’t usually wear this to a mediation – no judgements allowed).
Churchill was a great hat-wearer and one of his regulars was a Homberg. I am fortunate to have a 1950s dark blue one made by the great German hatters of Mayser. I feel that Churchill – like me when I am wearing it – would simply demand “the facts” short and sweet. It is the most lovely of hats, not perhaps as formal as the Coke but still a hat of PMs.
Even when I am in my garden, mowing the grass, I wear an appropriate hat – a flat cap, green and agricultural (with a hint of horse-trainer). I sit on my mower and think of creative things, feel calm and productive. There is nothing like well-cut grass to make the heart feel glad!
Of course my obsessions do not stop at hats. I like shoes, and suits and watches and pens…. But occasions such as a wedding allow a combination of the above! My grey top hat and morning dress (not a suit as the jacket and trousers do not match) is just right for such a day. Days full of love and emotion, feeling running high and a time when it is perfectly in order to let them show.
Grey has become the colour of choice for top hats but the real “king” of hats is in fact the black silk top hat. Hats that are now rare in good condition but which are the head-gear of monarchs and the aristocracy. My own is a little small and has a mark on its front but still it makes me feel “in control” and, as someone who is “short” a bit of height on the hat-front is nothing but a good thing.
As I know from mediating it is a useful lesson to learn how attitude can be influenced by external factors. Are the participants comfortable? Are the surroundings conducive to calmness or emotion, optimism or despair? Perhaps if we pick up on this we are in a better position to help the participants to look forward rather than back and see the benefits of settlement rather than focus on judgement and retribution? Perhaps I should bring along a selection of hats to help them find their “Panama” moment or to find fulfilment in a flat cap in the countryside?
June 5, 2017