Friday, December 4, 2009

Hold Onto Your Hat!

Ways to use a small piece of fabric

We're in an era of climate change, with the mercury scooting up and down 50 times a day it seems. Escalating power bills also render indoor climates less consistent. As a result, dressing for breakfast is predictably not going to be comfortable all the way through lunch.

I'm always on the lookout for adaptable clothing options. My closet (or suitcase) must at all times be stocked with garments and accessories that can be layered to accomodate my continued comfort. Perhaps you have a physique that handles climate alterations with perfect equinamity, but for those of us not that fortunate, I'm collecting practical solutions for a felicitious journey through Climate Change.

I left the house for my daily walk in the balmy sunshine of Spring when there was also a steady breeze and threatening clouds spilling over the ranges that still displayed traces of snow in odd crevices. My walk would take me through both sheltered and exposed portions of countryside. I didn't want to swelter under too many layers of clothing and sun rays, but nor did I like the thought of an icy wind dividing my unprotected members. The occasion called for adaptibility, unless I was willing to carry extra layers. Which I wasn't.

A denim jacket over cotton chemise, shirt, and cardigan took care of torso comfort. A cotton sunhat ($14 from The Warehouse) kept my face from getting sunburned (I hate wearing sun lotion). That is, until the breeze became too insistent. The crown of my hat was too shallow for it to remain sturdily on my head when the wind nudged.

I was prepared for this, with a scarf that was wide enough and light enough to act as a veil, the kind of thing you see Edwardian ladies wearing (examples provided in large proportions in the movie "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"), or if you prefer a trendier label, a hoodie.

The light weight of the scarf (100% viscose, $14 from Postie+) was sufficient to keep the hat on my head until the wind became really gusty, by which time the sun had disappeared and I could really feel that hint of snow. I tied a half knot in the scarf, pulled my collar close, and walked briskly until the sun came out again.

It always does, you know, but sometimes the wait can seem interminable. I reached my halfway rest stop, a convenient brick wall featuring an excellent country vista. The sky and temperature conditions continued to fluctuate and I juggled head gear to keep pace.

Scarf becomes Hoodie

Another benefit of my scarf-cum-hood became clear when the sun shone super-hot. My hat brim wasn't always wide enough to keep the sun off my face, but pulling the scarf close down the sides gave me admirable coverage yet without impairing my vision.

viscose scarf over cotton hat
lightweight but secure

A few days later, weather conditions were similar. I chose a hat with a deeper crown, one I hoped would stay on my head, but I draped a scarf around my neck just in case.

The wind soon proved to be more than insistent. The gusts swooped with gleeful energy. I promptly scarfed around and calmly continued my exercise without concern for my headgear. I'm telling you this because I returned from that walk in giggles.

Photographic inspiration came to me where there was a gate to lean on and a fence post to empty my bulging pockets onto. Completely caught up in the creative breezes, when my camera battery threatened to quit, I realized my pace hadn't varied much beyond a wander, so I tucked the camera into my jacket pocket and set off briskly against the wind to really stretch those muscles. On the way back the wind was behind me and I took out the camera again to record that the hat pinner was now a neck warmer (above). Suddenly I realized I was short of an item or two. Where were my glasses?

Behold a fence post!...but there should be two items on it...

Most spectacles are designed to improve vision. This pair have a camouflage option.

Moral of the story: When the winds blow, you could lose more than your hat.

Generally I take the camera with me to shoot flora and fauna. Finding Great Aunt Dora's Hat is a bonus. As every good photographer knows, if you don't have a camera on you at all times, you don't have the ability to grab those brilliant snaps.

Orange scarf dimensions: 54cm by 1700cm.
Yellow scarf 10cm longer and 10cm narrower.

Difference in hat crown depths:
Bone hat: 105mm
Blue hat: 77mm

The Ducking Initiation
Mama's kidding, right?

After 5 weeks of Mama Duck returning to this scene with her progeny, I saw 2 of the surviving 7 ducklings make the jump into the culvert and follow Mama out the other side. The other 5 scooted up the steep bank, across the road, and jumped down the other side.

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