Hoodies have been in the news a lot recently.  Apparently a hood is a convenient disguise if you are, say, rioting or looting where you might be picked up on a CCTV camera.  You’ll be pleased to hear that I am ill equipped for such escapades since I haven’t any longer got any clothing with a hood apart from an old cagoule with one cunningly concealed in the collar.  At least, I think there is a hood in there hidden behind lots of zips and Velcro.  However, the duffle coat I used to wear at university had wooden toggles masquerading as buttons and a generous hood.  I remember my duffle coat well because I wore it all the time for three years and because, quite unintentionally, it nearly cost me my life.    

During my time at university, I drove my car back and forth between the Isle of Man and Hull. My car at the time was a second hand Hillman Minx that had been manufactured long before cars had heaters. I’m no inventor, but I have always thought it odd that car heaters took so long to be invented. After all, a hot engine generated a constant supply of piping hot water just a few feet away from the driver. Still, I can’t complain, I could have thought of it myself, but didn’t.  With no heater,  on a long journey in winter you slowly froze. Sometimes I used to drive with a hot water bottle on my lap. 

Once, during a particularly cold spell, I was driving though the night from Hull to Liverpool to catch the morning ferry and, as I climbed up over the Pennines, I got progressively colder.  I sat, huddled over the steering wheel, wearing my thick duffle coat with the hood up to counteract draughts (cars had draughts in those days too).  At a junction, I stopped and looked right and left and then right again.  All clear, so I proceeded across the main road.  Immediately there was a squeal of brakes and lots of bright lights; a large lorry was bearing down on me.  I just got clear before being hit side on. 

I had failed to see anything coming because I had diligently looked into the sides of my duffle coat hood; my head had moved while the hood stayed still!

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