My favourite Hat and the wonderful Spanish Man

I nearly lost my favourite hat today – again.  You know the one I ‘lost’ last December, the turquoise one with sparkly beading on the front that I got from Violette’s in Main Street, Skibbereen.  I bought it over two years ago and people have begun to recognise me by the hat.

I was in Cork airport, yet again, on Sunday and one of the staff said he had recognised me by the hat.  It was cold enough on Sunday, a blistering biting wind and the hat, which is double lined, was an absolute necessity.

I thought I had lost it last December, and phoned every single person I had visited and each venue I had been in over that fateful weekend when my hat had disappeared, to no avail.  I have other hats but this one is pretty special, even though Hammond’s Jack Russell chewed a couple of the sparkly beads off before we noticed what she was doing.

I was reluctantly using some of my other hats for a couple of weeks last December when I returned to the hairdressers.  I asked if they had found my hat but they have a routine of placing what has been left in the salon on the coat hooks by the counter.  There was a heap of coats on the hooks and I pulled them around a bit but no hat was visible.

By the time I was leaving Hair Heaven, there were fewer coats on the hooks and there it was hiding underneath a couple of jackets – my precious and beloved hat.  I was so delighted and resolved not to let it out of my sight again.

Today, with a handbag slung over my shoulder and a bag of recycling in my hand I had a firm grip on the hat in case it rained.   It is 17 degrees in Fuengirola but it rained yesterday and it was threatening to rain today and I have no umbrella.

Here in Spain they have recycling set up really well.  At various points there are sleek shiny bins of different hues by the side of road.  I didn’t know what to do with my rubbish the first week I was here and only found out about the bins just before I was heading back home for a few days.   I though the bins at first glance looked kind of small but when you open the lid you realise there is a cavernous space below them underground.

I had recycled my organic (food) waste before I went home but had accumulated several bags of recycling.   I meet the same group of people each morning for coffee and today I headed up the road between the orange trees intending to deposit another bag of recycling and then meet the others in the café.

I don’t know where my head was – certainly not in the hat – which ended up on top of a heap of recycling papers and boxes fifteen feet or so below the ground and my bag of recycling still safely clutched in my hand.

What a clown and as I peered down to my yet again lost hat I wondered what on earth I could do – or had my beloved hat gone for ever this time and was it destined to end its life by contaminating a mountain of recycling.

Help was at hand in the form of a very handsome clean cut Spanish man who enquired what the problem was.  Well I think that was what he was asking as I have no Spanish and I didn’t understand what he was saying.  I expect it is not often he sees an old lady with a bag of recycling bag in hand staring despondently into the depths below the opened bin door.

I patted my head a few times and pointed into the recycling bin.  It took a while for him to catch on but catch on he did and my hero indicated ‘I’ll be Back!”   Not quite like Arnie but near enough to placate this damsel in distress.

Sure enough – whilst I stood guard on the open bin refusing to let anyone else put their recycling on top of my precious hat – my saviour hurried to a large grey porta cabin near the building site behind the bins.   He produced a pole about fifteen feet long and I could see him working at one end of it.  He had somehow inserted a hook and he returned triumphantly along the street brandishing the pole.

It was only on the second attempt that he secured my turquoise beaded hat and I was so thrilled and thanked him profusely.  I have a big box of Cadbury’s chocolates I am going to drop off to him tomorrow morning on my way to coffee in the café.

Aren’t Spanish men wonderful!    The young man who sold me a dongle two weeks ago was equally as sweet but that’s for another time.


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