My mum had one, a glamorous half-ball of soft white fur, elasticated at the edge for a tight fit around the head. I had never seen her wear it in real life, but I remember seeing old black-and-white photographs of her wearing it, an incredibly beautiful and stylish woman with narrow plucked eyebrows and huge painted proud eyes, so unlike my plump nervous mother wearing stained crappy clothes and cooking rice in the kitchen. The fur hat had been delegated to toyland by then, and I wanted one so much that they bought one made out of white faux-fur for me. Although white and round, it did not really resemble the wonderful maternal hat, for the fur was rough and frizzy to the touch, and it did not have a close elasticated fit, but was tied under the chin with a long string decorated with dangly pompoms. Nevertheless, I seemed to have been happy enough with it, and there are pictures of me, in colour now, aged perhaps five or so, wearing the fur hat with a red anorak, leaning forward with cupped hands to feed the pigeons in Trafalgar Square.
Anyway, teetering along South street in Halifax today in my new uncomfortable stylish boots which have funny curvy platform heels, a girl passed me wearing a fur hat like the one in my memory, only bigger and more beautiful. The hat was huge and perfectly round, the girl looked as if she had large dandelion on her had. The fur was exxageratedly long and waved with the motion of her stride. It was not white, but a mix of yellow, grey and cream and shone in the cold snow sun of Halifax afternoon. I saluted the hat and the wearer respectfully, knowing that I did not have the stature or the confidence to ever wear something like that myself.
Or perhaps not. After all, how else are you supposed to survive the Canadian winter unless you amuse yourself and others with weird and wonderful winter clothes?