My electricity provider has helpfully supplied me with an Age Concern Cold Alert thermometer. It is a piece of double-layered card with a temperature-sensitive strip displayed in a window next to a colour-coded guide relating to the safety of the ambient temperature. A very similar device was supplied by various purveyors of baby-products for monitoring the “nursery”.
Luckily none of us is either very old or very young since, as you might be able to see, it’s quite cold around here at the moment. I think it’s more a result of the wind getting through the late Victorian cracks than the actual outside temperature.
Last night, as I alternated between chill-induced headache and sub-duvet suffocation, I remembered of the delights of that comforting garment, the nightcap (my childhood held its fair share of frugal heaters), and thanks to the stitches of the interknit have already found free pattern. Although I’m not wild about the idea of knitting 1ply wool even if I could find some. It shall have to be adapted for something slightly bulkier.
Actually, there was a period in my life when I wore a knitted hat all day and all night, winter and summer. It was made for me by my mother from this pattern (which I obviously still have).
She only knitted me three things (excluding the possibility of baby clothes which I don’t remember). That hat was the second. First was… this.
In baby pink. Baby. Pink. Made for me when I was thirteen years old. Anyone who has ever met me, even for a millisecond, will know just how diametrically anti-me such a garment would be, at any age. Even in black. But in baby pink? And apart from the colour the most obvious thing about it, to a girl not yet bought a bra and provided with extremely sensible knickers, it’s full of fucking holes. Let us leave aside the obvious fact that it’s hideous. I was used to being forced to wear hideous.
Poor woman. She tried so hard to have a daughter who was some person other than me. It is entirely possible that, in the titanic struggle of identity between us, the hat – navy blue and very plain – became a symbol of something we actually agreed upon. Something given, something taken. Which may explain why I chose to wear it all the time until, as I recall, it pretty much disintegrated, and she elected not to stop me.
Perhaps instead of using some other nightcap pattern I should ritually recreate that blue hat in a symbolic assuaging of ghosts.