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I don’t know what possesses me: it’s probably something to do with being cooped up in the house while the wind whips the snow around. The TV downstairs doesn’t work, and The Mom’s TV upstairs is constantly tuned into CNN which just gives me the creeps. And as Crazy D and L’il Sis have moved out of The Mom’s now, I’ve only got the canaries and Mrs Beeton for playmates. There’s only so long I can bother them before I get a bit bored.

So there comes a point in every visit that I go trolling through the house for New and Interesting things. Not that I expect them to be actually new – mostly I just like to keep track of things. If The Mom or my siblings have been moving things around or ‘cleaning up’, then there’s a pretty good chance that something new and interesting will have surfaced. Everyone will always say whatever it is I’ve found has always been there, which I know isn’t true, but kind of doesn’t matter.

This year it was a funny fur hat we found. The Mom was on the hunt for her wedding veil to make L‘il Sis a gift of it for her upcoming nuptials. I wasn’t terribly interested in this, but as it was the only thing going on in the house at the time, I hovered around anxiously, hoping for action or adventure.

I got neither, but I did get a fox fur hat. Now before you get upset, let me just say that it’s vintage, and I used to be horrified by this sort of thing too. I used to admonish The Mom every time she wore one of her fur coats. Which is a shame in some ways because they are beautiful. But to me, now, they’re more about history than anything.

However, this fox fur hat, well, I took one look at it and squeed. I clamped it on my head and it fit like a glove. It’s kind of in the shape of one of those old-time flying hats pilots wear in films set around The War. You know, the leather kind of ones, like what Snoopy wears when he’s the Flying Ace. Except in fox fur, so from behind apparently, I look like David Bowie circa Ziggy Stardust. No greater compliment could there be.

I have long been a fan of hats and the minute I find a great one, that’s it. I’ll wear it constantly. Indoors, outdoors, to bed, in the bath, wherever. I don’t care. I just like wearing the hat. The feeling of containment it gives one, the silence, the warmth. There is also of course the deep satisfaction I take in asserting my weirdness.

The Mom had apparently been given this hat by Your Father sometime in the early days of their marriage. It had been made to fit her tiny head. That it fits mine is somewhat alarming, but the hat itself is so wonderful I am forced to overlook that.

It makes me feel like the kid from the Gruffalo books, wandering around in a costume of my own devising, somehow invisible to the world (which at this point basically only includes The Mom and the birds because it’s way too cold to go outside.). It lets me imagine I’m someone completely different – though not, as The Mom may have hoped, that I might imagine myself a Proper Young Lady.

We went for a walk, the whole motley lot of us, the dog with the busted leg, the bent ear, The Mom with her turkey toque on (a new addition to her hats in the form of turkeys range), and I in my fox hat. We cut sharp shapes. And when we encountered some neighbours, they didn’t bat an eyelash. Which leads me to wonder if everyone on the whole block knows that we’re a bit funny.

But more than that, it really encourages me to get everybody together and enter the Talent Show at the pool this summer. Imagine: five or six adults, one small person, a few dogs, and everyone in flamingo masks, walking around like flamingos. People probably won’t even notice. Surely a great sign for any neighbourhood.

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