Friday, 2 December 2011

Wearing a hat indoors

I always used to be told that this was bad luck, like opening an umbrella indoors, and bad manners. It is at this time of year that I start to wonder how long anyone regarded it as bad luck for. You see, I live in a house that's over a century old. We have single-glazing almost everywhere, and I managed to re-open the flue of the unused fireplace in my room last year. So it tends to get cold in here of a winter's day. Let me just add that my floor is fully carpeted, and I had to remove armfuls of old nesting material (thanks, starlings!) when I reopened the fireplace. So lighting the fire is not an option.

When we have a very cold winter, as we did last year, I must admit, I do get double-glazing, as ice forms on the inside of the windows over-night. I am not, I hasten to add, complaining about the temperature in here. It's slightly chilly (somewhere between 12 and 14 Celsius), but I am wearing a hat, and a dressing gown over my normal clothes, and I have buried my sock-clad feet in a large beanbag. I have a glass of whiskey, which is chemically tricking my brain into thinking the temperature is even warmer than that. I am snug by any measure.

It's clear what I'm getting at, I hope. A hundred years ago, with central heating systems in their infancy, this sort of temperature will have been the norm. Of course, everyone clustered around fires in their drawing rooms, but why the devil wouldn't they have worn hats? Indeed, Ebeneezer Scrooge, renowned miser, is often depicted wearing one of those droopy caps to bed. So people were prepared to wear them to sleep, if not to dinner. Yet nowadays, people tend not to wear hats. I accept that part of this is the vagaries of fashion, as with that risible eighteenth-century wig-wearing nonsense.

I went out for a walk earlier. I strolled four or five miles through some very pretty, albeit chilly and perforce bleak, scenery. I shall go out on a limb and assume that all humans follow my pattern when it comes to feeling cold and moving about. If you feel cold, you can move about, and it gets the blood flowing, and one feels warmer. Similarly, hot climes induce in me a noteworthy lassitude or a ridiculous filling of plastic buckets with ice cubes for me to dunk my feet in. When I went out I wore a coat, but after a few minutes' walking, buttoning it was unthinkable. I wore a hat, and I had to take that off, because it was too warm. My chest got a little cold, and so did my ears, but in warming them, I should verily have incinerated the rest of my body!

I don't find I need a hat when I go out, unless the weather is ridiculously bad. I find that I need a hat indoors. Jumpers are another superfluity out of doors. It is when I am static, moving only my fingers over a keyboard, that I get a bit cold. Of course, that is only the case at home. Whenever I have worked in an office, I have found it too warm. Sometimes it is just a little too warm, and one needs to have a shower on returning home. Then again, on one very unpleasant occasion in London I was nearly sick because the office felt so hot. In fairness, I was living in a house without central heating at the time, so I'd be a tit to blame the rest of the office for that!

Anyway, I shall continue to lay in bad luck for myself, and to be privately ill-mannered (nobody is watching me wear this black hat, after all), because it is a bit cold. I rather rejoice in this than condemn it. If you're too cold, get up and have a walk, grab a jumper, do some press-ups. If it's the height of a Greek heat-wave, then about all you can do is decamp to the beach and dive into the waves all day. If it's a British inland heat-wave, then that option is not open to one! Until next time, readers: same Bat-nonsense, same Bat-website!

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