A woman who rejoiced when her husband lost the hat she’d ‘banned’ him from wearing after it blew out to sea has found her victory to be short-lived – after the hat washed up on shore just a few hours later.
Richard Beer was taking photographs along the jetty of Viking Bay in Broadstairs, Kent, in June when a strong gust of wind blew his favourite straw Panama hat off his head and into the water below.
And while Richard was gutted to have lost his 20-year-old hat, his wife Linda Beer struggled to contain her joy, as she had previously imposed a “ban” on the item because of how “tatty” it looked.
However, Linda’s excitement was cut short later in the day when Richard, 74, went for a walk after his pub lunch and spotted his beloved hat hanging on a post after it had washed up on the shore.
Richard, from Dartford, Kent, said: “I’m delighted to have it back, especially after its recent episode and the fact I was almost forbidden from wearing it, which is now not the case.
“She’d asked me not to wear it as she thought it was too shabby and beaten up, maybe I wasn’t living up to her sartorial expectations. It’s a bit tatty, it’s not exactly a prime piece of sartorial wear, it’s just a straw hat.
“The ‘ban’ goes back particularly far. More often than not I’d pick it up on my way out of the house over the years, so my wife’s objection to it was a bit more recent.
“Maybe I hadn’t worn it in a while and she saw that it was getting a bit ragged around the edges.”
The retired advertising photographer said his hat was “impossible to retrieve” after its dip in the sea, and at the time, he sent a text message to his wife to let her know what had happened.
His message read: “My favourite hat that you hate so much is now on its way to France. Coming back at high tide to see if it comes home.”
Richard then decided to take a walk two hours later, and couldn’t believe his luck when he saw the soggy headwear hanging from a post outside a pub.
He added: “About two hours later I decided to go for a walk again and walked along the beach idly thinking it might have been washed up on the shore, which it hadn’t.
“I went round to the town end of the jetty and there was my hat sitting on a post in the sunshine outside a pub called the Tartar Frigate. It was still damp and very sandy, and I imagine someone had found it on the beach and put it on this post in the hope that I might find it, which I did.”
The man also shared his story on a community Facebook page, where commenters were delighted to see Richard reunited with his beloved hat.
One person said: “The best news this week! I take my hat off to you (I know – sorry).”
While another commented: “It’s a keeper!”
After its adventures at sea, Richard has dubbed his hat ‘Wilson’ after the volleyball from the Tom Hanks movie Cast Away.
Richard said: “I thought of the film Cast Away, where Tom Hanks has a volleyball called Wilson. They both survived, albeit in a beaten-up state, so I’ve called the hat ‘Wilson’.
“It’s back in its normal resting place, and I’ll be wearing it with impunity now.”
And the story of a man being reunited with his hat has even given Richard’s wife Linda something to think about, as she’s now changed her mind and has said he’s now free to sport his now ‘famous’ Panama in public again.