Saturday, April 14, 2007

early thistle, wooden tulips, raising hats

The early stages of a giant thistle: I look down on and see its leaves spread out on the gravel, from which it is growing, like a green star.

In Grosvenor Road precinct, someone is selling painted wooden tulips. I do like them. But I prefer them to other artificial flowers made from silk or plastic. There is no pretence about them; they do not pretend to be tulips.

When I was a child I was taught to raise my hat to grown-ups. So, at the least encounter, off came my black and white school cap . Later, when the fashion for wearing hats had begun to fade, I still raised my hat in greeting, on the rare occasions when I wore one, whether a trilby, a bowler or something floppy in tweed. I still have the hat-raising instinct but hardly ever wear the sort of hats, which are made for raising, and there are fewer people around who would understand the greeting. Today, I see, in the distance, some oldie friends of the hat-raising culture. I think: they are too far away for a verbal greeting, so it would be ideal to raise my hat and wave it in a courteous way. But I realize that I am wearing a base-ball cap, and reflect that this is not the sort of garment that you would be expected to raise. The same goes for the beret basque, which I also wear. I reflect that these, like hats which are part of a uniform, were never intended for raising.

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