Tempting hats in doorways…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s Sir Arthur Conan Doyle quote is from The Sign of Four: (Watson) In the uncertain, shadowy light I could see dimly that there were glancing, glimmering eyes peeping down as us from every cranny and corner. Even the rafters above our heads were lined with solemn fowls, who lazily shifted their weight from one leg to another as our voices disturbed their slumbers.
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On walking out of the railway station in Leeds (Yorkshire UK) last Saturday afternoon I found that there was an unexpectedly cold wind blowing around the place and that I was definitely feeling a bit chilly. I zipped by jacket tightly up to my throat, and as I wandered I had the bright idea of keeping an eye open for a charity shop where I could possibly buy a cheap scarf, even an ugly one, most of it would be hidden under my coat, which I would just wear for the day.
I drifted down Briggate in the direction of the bridge over the River Aire and on towards the Tetley Art Gallery (which, as usual, turned out to be aesthetically disappointing). As I passed the doorway of a closed down shop, there, as if in answer to my prayer (of course I wasn’t really praying), lying on the ground, was… not a nice warm fluffy scarf, but one of those Peruvian-style woollen hats with ear flaps and dangling bits that can be tied under one’s chin. It looked in very good condition and it seems pretty clean; the problem was that it was knitted in horizontal bands of bright vibrant colours…
It was a blustery cold day, and I admit I was tempted to pick it up and don it – they do say that one loses a good percentage of body heat through one’s head – but no, I left it there. Me? In a multicoloured Peruvian hat? It wasn’t as if I’d bump into anyone I knew in Leeds, who might make a remark or two about it, but no… No way Jose!… I’d rather be cold…
About an hour later, having seen an exhibition of some not very interesting photographs at the Tetley, and warmed up with tea and a chocolate brownie in the Tiled Hall cafe, I was sauntering back down the Headrow when I glanced into department store doorway and there, sitting upright on the pavement, as if lying in wait for me, was another Peruvian hat! How strangely serendipitous! It wasn’t as colourful, and in-your-face, as the previous one, the shades were more muted, but after a moment’s consideration I decided to decline this new offer… I would hang on, there may be a nice scarf out there, caught by the wind hanging on a railing, or nestling in some reasonably clean gutter…

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
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