Bridport Hat Festival 2018

There's something very agreeable about living in Bridport, West Dorset. Is it the general friendliness of the people, or is it the individuality and sometimes overall wackiness of the place that makes it so entertaining I wonder?

On Saturday we had our annual hat festival celebrating Bridport's Hat Heritage. When the trade routes to France were cut off during the French Revolution census data for people living locally revealed that people were listed as 'hat weavers' or flax doily weavers'. Although the industry died out after the revolution it is now gaining in popularity again.

Not only is it a terrific occasion and a chance to bring the town together, it also raises funds for head-related charities including brain tumour research, so it has a serious and worthwhile side too.

I decided we must join in the jollification fully rather than run our usual Saturday stall. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Mr P agreed wholeheartedly which I knew he would. Fortunately I had conveniently held back a rather fetching Jaeger jacket with an eye watering original price tag. I was going to sell it but I have decided to keep it. What's the point of a clothing stall if you don't get first pick of the most delectable items? Mr P wears blacks for his profession anyway so it was just a matter of plonking on a bowler hat for him. My Panama hat was looking decidedly dull so I plucked up a stuffed black cat with manic eyes, which I think is hideous, and off we strolled, never dreaming of attracting so much attention to our hastily put together outfits.

The creativity of people never ceases to amaze me. Hats off to the folks that made such an effort to make the day memorable and, 'try harder next year' to the people that don't bother but just gawp and then scurry on lest they become infected by having fun. And we did have fun. Fun with a capital F.
Lashings of laughter and spontaneity too. Heavens we all need a dose of that from time to time.

We were chosen to enter the Elegant Ensemble competition on the Millennium Green which we duly trotted along to. I entered Mr P into most elegant gent competition too which obviously I thought he should have stormed but I wasn't the judge. All a matter of personal taste, although I may be biased. We skipped the tea and cake tent and found they were serving Prosecco elsewhere for a donation. Most of the other contestants had discovered the tent too, so it was all very jolly and convivial

As we wearily wound our way home we fantasised what we would have done with the most generous prize donated by T. Snook of Bridport had we won, which obviously we didn't. It has to be said however that the winning couple were incredibly elegant.

Mr P reckoned it was because he wasn't wearing his pin stripe suit, 'the pinstripes would have swung it' he lamented. I thought the ghastly black creature flopping over my head didn't endear the judges to us too much but I kept quiet.

'Next year' I said, 'next year'...

I already know  he will try and sneak in a whole new outfit meaning I must stay alert to any lovingly sourced clothes that don't quite reach the stall...





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