Different Hats For Different Tasks

You cannot see Canna House from its gate. A dark tunnel of Escalonia bushes, which have been allowed to grow so they meet overhead, hides the view until, emerging into the sunlight, the house is square before you.

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Leading the way up short steps and through an oak door with a dolphin knocker, John Campbell hung his beret in the porch alongside several other hats which included a conical straw sun-shield of the type worn by Chinese working in paddy fields and a solar topee, the pith helmet beloved of the British Raj. I found later that John wore different hats for different tasks. On the floor was a croquet set, in a corner fishing rods, nets and a pendant flag from the top of a buoy.

This is an extract from Ray Perman’s forthcoming book, The Man Who Gave Away His Album, which will be published by Birlinn in April 2010.

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