Saturday was the only instance that I’ve ever felt compelled to jump on train tracks. No, I wasn’t drunk or feeling suicidal (that day) but I wanted to retrieve my hat.
Let me start from the beginning. I was on my way to the Bloggers 4 Japan sale and silent auction at The Horatia. I had decided to dress with some thought that day, as someone I wasn’t – middle class. Thus, I topped off my rather preppy ensemble with a bowler hat (also because my hair was looking rough). I’ve owned this hat for just under two years, it was a present from my father when we went to the Maharaja: Splendour of India’s Royal Courts at the V&A. I have always wanted a bowler hat, and my dad is not only my fashion icon but very kind and sweet, bought me a Christy’s black wool bowler hat cos I’m a spoilt brat. As usual, small was too small, but the kind and helpful assistant sourced a medium for me. I was delighted. My dad was pleased. I said we should share it – as me and my father are extremely fond of hats. However he never wore it… and now I know why. He’s often partaking in activities where there’s gales blasting around.
I have never worn it until Saturday. Now I wish I hadn’t. As I got off the train the wind in the tunnel as the train left, was so strong, my hat was blown off my head. As my hands were full of bags, I couldn’t hold onto it. I could only watch, horrified, as it tumbled onto the tracks.
After running back and forth on the platform for a frantic few seconds, I rushed upstairs and gabbled at the man in the ticket booth. He pointed me to the man in the random plastic box that sits behind the barriers, who told me to wait for the station supervisor, who was very nice and made a note of my hat flying off my head (really, I thought stuff like this only happened in films, but also apparently to me) and said the night porter would get it when the power went off. He also told me there was a trap at the end of the tracks to catch such items, as hats, since in the early to mid 20th century, hats being de riguer, would often fly off, caught in the upstream from a train.
Slightly buoyed by that, I went off and had a jolly old time with Katie and Mariana. Returning to Holloway Road station, we decided to check on the eastbound track. Five and a half hours later, IT WILL STILL THERE. Rejoice I did. However I was still peeved that they couldn’t stick a pole down there to pick it up. Yes I know, electrocution blah blah blah, but I could have done it. I’m an idiot like that. To document this, Mariana and I took photos. Mine was taken on my phone, so it’s rather low quality, but it was sitting there peacefully, rather like it was sleeping. (I realise it’s an inanimate object and humanising it is just weird.)
On Sunday I went by to pick up my hat, as the supervisor said to come by the next day. Which I did. And it wasn’t there. Apparently the night porter couldn’t find it (or didn’t bother looking very hard, or took it himself), and my hat was gone. Lost to the tunnels they said. I filled in a lost property form that was so retro, where you wrote the date, it was already pre-printed with ’19-’
I knew it was a fruitless task when I done it. Sadly I got on the train going the opposite way and headed home, where I bought a Cornetto at the local shop and got into bed and ate it.
That’ll teach me to try and be deliberately jaunty and dress above my station