As the start of my upcoming Japanese adventure draws closer there are various bits and pieces that need taking care of before I go. But I’m delighted to say that I’ve now sorted out what was one of the biggest worries for me, namely finding a new and suitable WRITING HAT.

This isn’t a superstitious thing; there’s nothing magic about a good writing hat. It’s simply that I like to write near a window that I can look out of once in a while – the drawback being that this means I also need some kind of hat with a brim, to shade my eyes so I can see my computer screen.

Behold my old writing hat, as kindly modelled by a friend of mine:

If you click here and scroll down you can see some pics of this hat in action while I was writing Tim, Defender of the Earth. It’s most often worn low over the eyes, like this:

I got this hat from a charity shop for a fancy dress party when I was thirteen. As you can see, it’s not wearing the years since lightly. Fond of it as I am, I have to admit it’s looking pretty manky these days – besides which, putting it in a suitcase would destroy it. What to do?

Problem: I needed not ‘just’ a new writing hat, but one that wouldn’t mind being squashed flat.

Answer: …EUREKA!

This is a brand new, genuine Yorkshire flat cap, which I bought at the recent (and excellent) Nidderdale Agricultural Show.

As you can see above, the brim is just right. It’s warm for the winter, and it will be fine in a suitcase – after all, what hat could be flatter than a flat cap?

But as if those attributes weren’t enough on their own, I’m thrilled to find this hat is also surprisingly versatile. As well as the traditional face-on position…

…there’s also the back-to-front look or, as I call it, ‘The Samuel L.‘:

You can even wear it sideways like a beret, ‘A La Francaise‘:

What a comfort it is to know that however my travels turn out, I’ll have a good writing hat with me.