Just before I had my accident, I spent a few days in Milan. I lived there for 3 years back in the 90s and often walked through the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele. There’s a shop at the end of it, a branch of Borsalino, the hat-makers, that has been there as long as the arcade has. Borsalino was founded in the mid nineteenth century and was famed for its classic fedoras as worn by Humphrey Bogart – and more recently by the likes of Johnny Depp, Denzel Washington and Leonardo Di Caprio.  I’d never been inside the shop and imagined it only sold men’s hats. (I’ve since discovered Kate M, Nicole K and Naomi C are all fans).  I spotted a duck-egg blue cloche hat in the window and immediately fell in love. I was with a friend, Lina, and she persuaded me to go in and try it on. Now I’m not at all a hatty person – I don’t think hats and glasses go together, but once I tried it I had to have it – even though it cost a king’s ransom. (All Borsalino’s hats are hand made).

Image of a dark turquoise hatUnfortunately I haven’t worn the hat since flying home in it – as 2 days later I had my accident – and decided wheelchairs are even less great a combination than glasses. I’d forgotten about the hat since – as of course it’s a winter purchase – but on coming across it in the cupboard the other day I realised it is very like the hat featured on the front cover of A Greater World. Perhaps there was a subliminal memory of my neglected Borsalino when I chose the cover image? I’m now looking forward to wearing it next winter. I’ve been told by the friend who accompanied me on the hat-buying excursion to remove the no make-up selfie I’d originally posted here as did neither the hat nor me justice!


Composite Image of The front cover of the novel A Greater World by Clare Flynn

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