Saturday 24 November 2018

Hats vs Minimalism (+ Chocioły)

This week I read Goodbye, Things by a Japanese minimalist named Fumio Sasaki. It is an entertaining read, and I suspect it was cobbled together from his blog.  The photographs are inspiring, too: Saskaki shows what his bedroom looked like when he was a miserable materialist, then what it looked like when it was down to simple furniture, and finally what it looked like when he got rid of all furniture except a fold-away futon mattress and achieved tranquility.

I am somewhat envious of Sasaki--especially as his apartment has honey-coloured wood floors throughout. Our flat has wall-to-wall carpeting, and B.A. says it must stay for the sake of our downstairs neighbour. According to the internet, the noise of upstairs neighbours thumping around is one of the most niggling strains in British community life.

Nevertheless, I am doing what I can to rid ourselves of all unnecessary belongings. This week I made two trips on foot to a charity shop with bags of books, bedding and kitchen utensils. A suitcase of summer clothes now lives in the shed. The sitting-room is still, however, festooned with artificial owls: owl prints on the walls, owl cushions on the chairs, brass owls on the side table, ceramic salt-and-pepper shaker owls on the kitchen table, painted owl on the china coffee cup on the leather-topped side table I said we could keep after all.

That the leather-topped table survived the purge is evidence I love my husband more than minimalism. Meanwhile, he finally glued the pieces together so that the table would stop falling part every time I touched it, so I am feeling more friendly towards it.

I also seem to love hats more than minimalism although the fun of buying two new winter hats online (on special!) wore off almost as soon as the postwoman delivered the box this morning. Still, one must have winter hats, and I have a bad habit of losing at least one wool beret every year. For a less formal/old-lady look, I also bought an olive-coloured corduroy fisherman's/fiddler's cap. At 59 cm it is a bit snug, but "extra-large" (61 cm) was too big.

This morning I looked at the hats crowded in our bedroom closet with some dismay. They are as following:

1. pale-green and black bespoke mini-hat for cocktail parties and weddings;
2. large royal blue straw hat for weddings;
3. enormous brown "straw" (actually starched paper) hat for hot climes;
4. navy blue French Scout hat for hiking (at 60 cm just a touch too big), except it looks out of place everywhere except in France or at super-trad Girl Guide camp;
5. delightful confection of black straw, black net, and blue-and-green feathers for cocktail parties and weddings;


very posh-looking pink hat my youngest sister bought for a wedding in England and I am keeping for her in case there are other English weddings; and
white Panama hat I bought B.A. for hot climes

In addition, I have 6. an open-work crocheted beret which is totally unsuitable in wet or cold weather,  7. a blue beret my mother knitted and now 8. a new forest green beret and  9. this snazzy fiddler's cap.

B.A. has two green tweed caps, size 57 cm. I feel vaguely ashamed that my head is 2.75 cm larger than my husband's. My theory is that he was built along nimble Pict lines, whereas I am a lumbering (if short) Viking woman.

Meanwhile, it is very difficult to find women's hats that fit my large head, the principal reason why I am loath to get rid of any of my occasional-wear hats. I haven't been to a cocktail party in years, but there is a chance more of my friends and acquaintances will marry.

Come to think of it, I may rid myself of the bepoke mini-hat, for anyone with as big a head as I do, let alone the bizarrely thick hair, has no business wearing a mini-hat. The phrase "organ-grinder's monkey" comes to mind.

I am also reminded of the Chochoły from a Polish play called Wesele ("The Wedding Reception"*). Chocoły are either animated bushes wrapped in straw or living haystacks. I love the concept for they epitomise the strangeness of Poland and other countries east of the Oder: the unfamiliar kings and queens, the bizarre new monsters, Christmas trees hung upside-down, fearless mushroom-picking, etc. Wesele is pleasantly weird, too, as you will discover if you watch the film.

When Polish Pretend Son was planning his wedding, I asked if there would be a Chochoł to haunt the proceedings.

"You will be the Chochoł," said PPS, and so I was, only in blue, not straw.  

*This is usually translated as "The Wedding", but that is not strictly accurate.

Update (noted in hall cupboard): 10. Faux-fur winter hat for east of Oder--or west of Yonge Street--only.

Update 2: I have taken the mini-hat and enormous brown hat to a charity shop, along with a potato peeler, a silk Chinese blouse, a few owl figurines, and a large, rolled-up, deep-pile green rug. B.A. hated the rug, so he is delighted.

1 comment:

  1. You have absolutely GORGEOUS hair! Wondering why you bother with hats at all, except perhaps in the summer :) If I had hair like yours I'd have it out all the time!