Tuesday, 28 October 2008


I am living in an unusual flat in a rather upmarket bit of Rome. Leila is the rather glamorous lady who's flat I am staying in - she is maybe in her early 70's, and has a three legged cat. She also had an elderly cat(18) who sadly had reached the end, and I arrived in Rome just in time to stroke its little head before it was despatched from this world. It's not exactly what I was expecting my first memory of Rome to be...but life as we know...is strange. To try and cheer Leila up (as I was lacking in Italian vocabulary I was showing her some photos of various things on my laptop to take her mind off things) I started talking about my hats, and her eyes lit up! "You made all these?" she asked. I was proud to say that yes I had made them and we started to talk about millinery in an Italian/English medley that was half understanding and half guess-work. Leila told me she had been searching for a turban as she liked something a litle glamorous yet practical for her "bad hair days"(I'm not sure how you say that in Italian - anyone know?) but try as she might, she just couldn't find these hats any where in Italy any more. As luck would have it I had a picture of my T-shirt turban on my lap-top and her eyes lit-up! "Bella bella," she said,"comme se fai?" I told her in my halting Italian how I had made it and suggested that she too could have a go, and she enthusiastically hunted out an old beach dress made of jersey fabric. Meche, who is her Peruvian home-help, was then instructed in the art of turban making...and this was the result: I'm telling you - hats have a way of breaking down barriers!

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