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Dr John Hawkins

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Posted on 2012/03/04 11:42:48 (March 2012).

[Saturday 3rd March 2012]
We're planning on going to the Cheltenham Festival in a couple of weeks' time, and I was keen to buy an appropriate hat for the event. So after a not entirely lazy morning and early afternoon in the flat (I processed the backlog of washing up, which was surprisingly large considering I'd only eaten at home one night this week so far, and also did a stint on the exercise bike) we ventured out in the direction of St. James's. The Victoria line was closed for the weekend, so we decided to walk, and it was a very pleasant stroll through Westminster and St. James's Park.

We first went to Bates on Jermyn Street, but somehow nothing really grabbed me there. So instead we tried Lock and Co. on St. James's Street. It was great that in both shops I just told them I was going to the Cheltenham Festival and wanted a suitable hat, and they did all the rest. Having never really been to that sort of thing before I have no idea what kind of hats men wear, and searching on the web the results seem to be flooded with ladies' hats. Apparently though there were just a couple of styles of hats synonymous with race-goers, which to my untrained eyes looked like predominately trilbies and fedoras, and mostly in brown. Unless you're Irish, apparently, in which case you might wear a blue hat.

The clincher came when I mentioned to the lady in the shop that I'd most likely be wearing the same suit (I'd put it on today in order to help find an appropriate hat for it) and she remarked, seemingly quite sincerely "it is a beautiful suit". The sale was very much in the bag at that point.

I ended up going for a brown "Voyager" - it's designed to be rolled up and packed away, but it also seems to keep its' shape very well when unrolled. Pleasingly they gave me one of their rather fetching hat boxes for it, although it would normally be sold rolled up and in a tube.

We continued our wander from there, and eventually ended up at Selfridge's, where we bought some bread and some Pierre Hermes macarons in the food hall. As we'd start our shopping quite late in the day our thoughts soon started turning to dinner, and somehow or other we ended up with the plan of heading to Knightsbridge and going to one of the Lebanese restaurants I'd seen around there. It was a place called Beiteddine, and whilst it was lacking somewhat in atmosphere, the food was pretty tasty.

Went home after that to try on my hat again.

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