Tuesday, 27 August 2013

My hard hat decision

Well of course I knew all along that I had a brilliant, creative and safety conscious pack of bloggie pals.

You'll remember, of course, my post earlier this month, when Gail put in a plea for designs for a hard hat that I could wear on the forthcoming geological field trip to the Isle of Skye. Something to protect my precious noggin from falling rocks when loitering underneath unstable cliffs etc.

It is customary in these circumstances to say that the response has been  overwhelming. And that indeed is the case, as you can see from the comments on that 8th August post.

Being a systematic kind of a fellow, I noticed that the entries received fell into three broad categories, and I am going to discuss these below.

By the way, I hope no-one will be offended by my pointing out shortcomings of aspects of the suggestions. I mean, they were all brilliant in their way, and much appreciated.

But the first category comprises ideas proposed by those of  you who seem to have mistaken Scotland for a hot, dry country, and suggested designs either with ventilation holes or poorly suited to wet conditions. So thank you very much Molly, Dip-Dip and The Bridge, Jazzi, and Asta, all of whom put forward some variant of an upended small colander, but really I doubt there will be a danger of overheating on Skye at the end of August, and all those holes will just let in the rain. Likewise, papier maché based designs, as proposed by Frankie Furter (who generously provided detailed instructions that even Gail might have been able to follow) and Craig, have been ruled out due to the poor protection afforded by wearing a soggy pile of shredded newspaper and flour on one's head. Craig patriotically suggested a Saltire as decoration, but good heavens, what would Alex Salmond say if our national flag ended up a gooey morass?

Rear view of tea packet design

I regret that Gail and I have also had to rule out our friend Auntie Yam's ingenious suggestion, pictured left, for similar reasons. Although she is Scottish, this wonderful lady lives in India and it may have slipped her mind that thin cardboard is not proof against her native climate. Anyway, please do visit Aunty Yam's blog to see the tea packet based hard(ish) hat design in all its glory. The ear and nose flap detail is particularly impressive. Should any of you happen to be travelling to an arid country where the falling rocks are not very heavy (pumice perhaps?) then you may find this one comes in very handy.

Christmas hat
Pippa's Christmas hat, another possibility, is beyond question most attractive (at least when worn by Pippa) but somehow it just does not seem right for August.

Moving on to the more climate-appropriate ideas, a number of you worked the 'small bowl, upside down' theme and this comprises the second - and perhaps most successful - category. Gail was impressed with Daisy, Bella and Roxy's practical suggestion that an enamel bowl could double as a water/food dish, but was concerned that such a dish might not stay in place on my head for long should I go bouncing over rocks, scrambling down cliffs etc. Finn too suggested the dual use container. Amber da Weenie and Wyatt both addressed the attachment problem, proposing a plastic bowl tied in place with a ribbon or strap. (Being mindful of my appearance, I was particularly pleased with Amber's comment that the bowl should be 'nicely coloured'). Madi and Mom's carefully thought out design (pers. comm.) combined an upside down cup and with a coffee filter to provide the brim. Outstanding!

bike helmet
Our third category is 'ideas for hard hats one could buy on the internet'. Now I appreciate that many of my friends here are taking a realistic approach given Gail's lack of craft skills, but after much agonising, I have concluded these must be disqualified, as being counter to the DIY spirit of the exercise. So Gizmo's batters' helmets, and the helmets specially made for dogs on bikes (Sally Ann and Andy, Pip, and Bonnie and Kenzie) have been ruled out, as, with some regret, have MaxMom's utterly wonderful South African 'Makarapa'.

I will say that I queried Gail's apparent reluctance to spend money on my personal protective equipment, reminding her that her employers, who after all are paying for the jolly intensive field course, say that 'safety is the number one priority'. After a lengthy negotiation, we agreed an initial budget of not more than two items purchased from Poundland.

But then Riley in New Zealand delivered a googly in the form of the inspired suggestion which I am going to quote in full:

I'm not sure what size your head is but perhaps Gail could get you a large cricket box (yes I do mean the guard with air holes that batsmen wear), as if it can take the full force of a cricket ball it should cope with small rocks. Gail could shop via Amazon (if she doesn't want to explain to sales assistant why she needs one), choose you a bright colour, add some straps, a bit of extra padding inside and your name. 

Box (in USA, 'athletic cup')
Both Gail and I agreed that this was such a brilliant example of lateral thinking that we might stretch the rules and budget to include the purchase of a 'box'. I would have been happy to settle for a second hand one on eBay, thinking it might smell rather interesting, but Gail, to my surprise, insisted on shelling out for a brand new box, and even went to some trouble to locate this item in an Aberdeen sportswear shop. (By strange coincidence, the customer in front of her, a young Pakistani male, was purchasing the identical piece of equipment, although we think probably not for the same intended use...)

Well in the end it has proved extraordinarily difficult to chose the optimum design of helmet, thus Gail (with my help) has agreed to put together three possibilities, taking a pick and mix approach to some of the amazing ideas that you, my friends, have supplied.

1. Plastic bowl tied on with red ribbon.

2. Enamel bowl, with bubble-wrap liner for added comfort, black ribbon.

3. Cricket box, tartan ribbon and bow.

Please help me select which one to take to Skye next week....We have a Saltire flag sticker, all ready  to decorate preferred option.

PS I reserve the right to decide that Sweet William's 'no hat needed for such a tough terrier' suggestion (I paraphrase) was in fact the most appropriate of all....


  1. Love all the creative suggestions - we vote for number 3 - the cricket box! Lee and Phod

  2. Bertie, I would be inclined to the no hat choice myself. After seeing 3, I think that is the way to go. It will make for very interesting conversation and it actually looks quite dapper on you. Whatever you decide, just be prepared to duck.

    Loveys Sasha

  3. There is no question .... by far the most fetching and inventive is the Cricket Box.....

    That's my vote.

    Tail Wuggles, Rubie xxx

  4. We are kinda liking the enamel bowl
    Benny & Lily

  5. We think 'the box' might be a good idea. We gave up on the enamel bowl because when SHE tried to photograph us in it, it slid off, or was thrown off, or became good protection if you had a goitre. We think No hat might be the way to go.

    Of course copious amounts of duct tape might work.

    XXXoOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

  6. Bertie-
    They are ALL lovely and look like they would do the job, but we have to pick the enamel bowl because you look so dashing in that shade of blue!

    Wyatt and Stanzie

  7. I haven't laughed this hard before 9am since I don't know when!!! Hilarious! We vote for the box! It looks like a miniature white bowler. You will need to bring a thick skin though so you can handle the ribbing. Safety first and all that!

  8. Climbingmandy took the words right out of my mouth! Only it's 12:45 AM here!!


    Bart, Ruby and Otto

  9. Hari Om
    BOL...BOL..BOL... OMD this is all soooo good! But it has to be the Boxer Hat!! Though it does rather break your initial elimination rule regarding weather worthiness - some clear plastic (shower cap?) ought to see that trub off and viola, the best dressed terrier on Skye!!!

    Thank you for setting us all up for such fun Bertie and Gail. We love you!!! Hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

  10. My vote will have to be for the cricket box. It looks quite jaunty when it slips to one side of your pointy noggin and is in keeping with the spirit on the passion for cricket that those of you across the pond appear to have.

    I look forward to seeing you in action thusly attired.


  11. Without a doubt, a coffee spitting morning fur sure. Some coffee even dribbled outta Mommy's nose after seeing your choices.

    While the blue bowl brings out the color of your eyes, we have to say it reminds us of an old fashion Elevator Operator or Bell Boy in a hotel.

    The colander is not a good choice either because you might pick up 'the weather from China' with all that metal on your head.

    And... we're just not too sure about the athletic cup on your head. You look like Inspector Clusoe from the Pink Panther movies.

    We will support your decision in whatever you choose. (Butt don't get mad if we continue to laugh about it.)

    Lily Belle & Muffin



  14. We are laughing real hard over here. Bertie you crack us up. We vote numero 3. However we think Sweet William has the right idea. Have a terrific Tuesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  15. Hi Bertie, I'm Coccolino the mini pig and our friend Madi sent us over. You gave me quite the morning laugh. In all seriousness, I think number three is your best bet :-)

  16. Muzzer just snorted some very strong black tea out her nose at the picture of you in your cricket box hat! We think that is our favorite and vote for it.

    Gussie n Teka

  17. cricket box by no means, and thanks for letting me know what a cricket box is, i had no idea... to me a cricket box is what my dad carried his crickets in when he went fishing.

  18. THE CRICKET BOX gets OUR vote.. It is so MANLEY.

  19. Hmmm, not sure. The cricket box looks the best but which is the most comfortable?
    Dip Bridge and Elliot x

  20. Hey Bertie!
    Wow, what a creative and entertaining bunch of suggestions! With furiends like this the humor is flowing like wine. BWAR HAR HAR I gotta vote for that cricket box. Hopefully a new one without the peep-crotch smell. Yikes.
    Grr and Woof,
    Sarge, COP

  21. Hi Bertie,
    I was worried that you might have thought I had gone barking mad with my suggestion, but it is good to know that you can literally think both inside and outside of the box while evaluating different design options.

    You are a good sport modelling three designs for your blooging friends, and we can’t wait to see the obligatory team photo taken on your field trip to Skye with you wearing one of them – of course my human will be looking closest at the faces of the males in your group, especially the Health and Safety man, to see their reaction to the level of protection that you choose to wear.


    PS May I also suggest, to any of the ribbons adding a little bit of elastic for that extra level of comfort. I also need to mention that Enzo is more than slightly concerned about Gail’s idea of putting a large “X” on top of your helmet to mark the precise spot for the rock to fall on. What is she trying to do to you?

  22. Bertie, the cricket box it is. If it can protect erm, delicate things, it can protect your little head. Great suggestions by everybuddy. This post had us laughing mate. No worries, and love, Stella and Rory

  23. I has to say, the cricket box does look by far the most fetching! What a good job you has such clever readers and not just useless ones like me. If I had time I going to suggest a half a coconut. Which will also condition your furs.
    ~lickies, Ludo

  24. Definitely No 3 Bertie! May we also suggest you take a spare just in case......

    Molly, Taffy, Monty and Winnie

  25. Hahaha, what an array of brilliant suggestions you got there Bertie! Of, course, it's fine if you didn't want my hat, but of course, you can still borrow it in December and become a rather wiry father christmas!
    After all the effort Gail has gone through, I believe you should wear the cricket box thing! It looks fantastic (emm, maybe), and it's such an imaginative idea!
    Pippa :)

  26. Yep Bertie sometimes my mind does fire off a spark. Us tough terriers can take a hit and keep on ticking.
    Sweet William The Scot