Sunday, October 16, 2011


is there any moment so profoundly and sadly bittersweet as the return home from a wonderful vacation? Well, in my case the return at least to the home country if not the specific location designated "home."

My Sweetie and I went to London for 10 days, not to do anything special, but visit museums, sample authentic English ales and generally try to take a deep breath before the sprint to the SHOT Show. It was designed to be low key -- hence my absence from the Internet -- and it succeeded wildly. Maybe I should consider not waiting 4 or 5 years before taking any time off.

I'll be talking a little about the trip on this week's podcast, especially the armory at the Tower of London and the Holland & Holland Gun Room (c'mon, couldn't let those opportunities get away, could I?).

I failed in my search to capture he elusive Herbert Johnson "Poet" fedora, progenator of all Indiana Jones hats. Rather, I found the hat, apparently the last of its kind in the British Isles, in a hi-zoot shop just off Bond Street. It was, however, not my size. Well, simple solution...

"I'd like to place an order for a Poet in my size, and you can ship it too me when it arrives."

"No," said my shopgirl.


"No, absolutely not," she said.

"I'll pay in advance, including shipping..."

Steady shaking of the, nein, nyet, etc.

"How might I buy one of these hats in my size?" I ask

"Be here when the next shipment is delivered," she responded, checking her phone to see if Hugh Grant had called...apparently not...

"When will the next shipment be here?" I asked...seemed like the logical follow-up question, eh?

"We don't know," she said. "They just show up now and again."

"Now and again..." Well, okay. I decided to temporarily shelve my quest (although I've read rumors of an operation in New Zealand that finds old Herbert Johnson "Poets," rehabs them and them, I don't know, sells them to leaders of the Western World or the prop masters for "Dr. Who") and went to a store that actually sold hats. Bates Hats, founded in the late 1800s and the favorite of Tom Jones (also dating from the late 1800s), specializes in class Brit top hats, and I found a MAGNIFICENT grey one...pixs when it gets delivered.

Meanwhile, I come home to find Wall Street occupied by 1968, the U.S. Forest Service launched into another of their pathetically regular antigun jihads, and U.S. troops in Uganda..can't turn my back for a minute, I swear! Not to mention that the Secret Hidden Bunker had its first snow.

As I said before, sigh...

-- Post From The Road


Anonymous said...

That doesn't look like Kansas MB.
Tom B

Robert said...

You should check out They are an American company that hand-makes fedoras

shawn w said...

interesting choice.
have fun, be careful.

justbill said...

I hope to visit the Britsh Isles one of these days but doubt I'll have enough time to do it justice. Will probably need to limit it to London and Bovington. The later is home to arguably the best armored vehicle museum in the world.

So, how naked did you feel that week without the SR-9C?

Gary said...

Welcome back Michael. Is it any surprise the customer service over the pond sux. I think London is the only place left our Bonehead n' Chief hasn't apologized too so they are pissed.

Anonymous said...

The armory at the Tower of London was one of my favorite parts of my trip to England many many years ago.

- Grizz

Anonymous said...

Customer service isn't necessary when demand far exceeds supply :-(

Apparenly one of the materials used in fabrication is unobtanium :-)


Mad Ogre said...

Customer Service is universally poor in England.

Kristopher said...

Ah ... so the District Ranger down there got brave enough to put up no shooting signs again?

They excluded the Fudds, I'll bet.

Same as they did up in Laramie last year. The entire district is no shooting from September to June.

Kristopher said...

This may require federal legislation to fix.

Apparently district rangers are now all political appointees, and cannot be trusted to have discretion in this matter.