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
, 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, 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
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!
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
, 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
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....