Dear Flagcrackers

If you have followed my recipe for "No need to boil your hat" you should be aware that if you go out in the rain wearing said hat, the hat will become soft, and the intrinsic elasticity within the tights with which you have covered your hat will begin its evil work and will constrict your hat to the extent that, when it dries, your hat  WILL NO LONGER FIT YOUR HEAD!!

Barbara Bentley, March 2010

Now she tells us! Eyepopping!


Boiling a Hat - Fish your hat out from the pan, look in horror at the mangled shape and wonder what to do.

This recipe is especially useful when attempting to turn grey or blue hats black. It may also be used if you recklessly promise to eat your hat, as it adds an interesting shape and colour that I am sure makes this little snack more endurable, and perhaps even enjoyable - Emily

Purchase a lovely new top hat that the kit keeper has proudly found and that fits your head perfectly.
Buy some black dye from a shop, available in chemists etc.
Read instructions on the leaflet, found inside the packet of dye, realise that the dying process requires vast quantities of salt.

Go and buy some salt, 1kg should be enough.

Weigh the hat.

Find that the hat doesn’t fit in any of your regular cooking vessels, pots, buckets or washing up bowls.
Go round to neighbour's house, preferably one that works in a commercial kitchen and has access to a very very large pan, and ask to borrow it.
Go home, place hat in pan and fill with water.

Realise that the hat floats and fill with stones from the garden in order for it to remain submerged throughout the procedure.

Add the salt.

Turn on the heat.

Wait for the water to boil.

Still waiting

Waiting some more

Realise that large quantities of water don’t boil very quickly and that it would have been much easier to boil the water in a kettle first.

At last, it’s boiling!

Simmer for fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally with a stick that you have retrieved from an obliging tree in next door’s garden.

After five minutes realise that the hat is shrinking and that it is no longer very hat shaped.

Think for a minute about what to do about this dilemma as there is still ten minutes left before the hat will be of the required colour, according to the instruction leaflet that is.

Fish your hat out from the pan, look in horror at the mangled shape and wonder what to do.

Find an upturned plant pot that looks roughly like the shape of your head.

Stretch the hat over the upturned plant pot.

Realise that the soggy hat is dripping black dye over your best carpet, remove to outside.

Leave and hope for the best.

Return later when it is dry, this can take up to an entire week as the properties of the hat are such that it has the ability to retain water for an uncommonly long time.

Take hat from on top of the upturned plant pot.

Try hat on for size.

Realise that the hat no longer fits your head in quite the same way as it did before and that actually it is quite uncomfortable as it is now totally solid.

Look in mirror, find the hat to be a little misshapen yet still looking remotely like a top hat.

The hat is still not black however.

Go to the shoe shop and buy some shoe dye (the sort that should have been used in the first place).

Coat hat in the dye.

The hat should now be a lovely black colour, although not very even.

Insist on wearing hat despite it being ill-fitting, and ignore the resulting headache.

Editor's note: we actually recommend black LEATHER dye for this job.

No need to boil your Hat - cunning stunts with black underwear

If your hat is grey and spotty, this is what you do:-

1.Take a pair of black tights and cut off one leg. Give the leg to June Banks to make a hanging basket.

2.Cut off the other leg. Force it over your grey spotty hat; the toe may be a problem; BE FIRM!!

3.Put the rest of the tights (some people would call this part The crotch), on the hat so that the waistband is where the hatband would be and there is a lot of crotch material hanging down.

4.Cut the crotch out.

5.Tuck all loose material into the leather band inside the hat and either stick it or sew it.

6 Hey Presto! an attractive black top hat,which will not go grey or spotty.

(Some people have a problem with the seam which appears on the hat brim.Consider this a design feature-I know I do!!)