And Dad says we have to walk into town because Mum's got the car and he hasn't any change for the bus.
I can't believe he thinks it's OK to walk on a day like this, but I stand outside anyway, waiting for him to find the door keys he's just put down and lost.
My hood makes me look like a tall pixie but as I'm putting it up, Mr B. from over the road runs out of his house.
'You look very miserable, Barney. Do you need to borrow a hat?'
Hmm. A hat. Not sure.
'It's a very fine hat. Old. My grandfather bought it back from China. The story goes he won it in a bet.'
'It's a magic hat.'
That’s it. I can't say no to a magic hat.
Mr B. runs back into his house and comes out seconds later brandishing the hat.
'When you don't want to wear it any more, say *$%^£**&* (he whispers a word in my ear), and remove it, quickly.'
The hat is squashy and brown and doesn't look magic. But I wave him goodbye and put it on.
It turns into a souwester!
'Nice hat,' says Dad.
I take it off to show him, but it disappears to reveal a purple and red jester's hat.
Next is a wide-brimmed fedora. I catch my reflection in a shop window and am pleased. I look like Zorro.
Underneath that is a bowler hat, then a stetson, a top hat, a tricorn.
By the time we have reached town, I am sporting a giant bearskin.
People stop me to comment on my marvellous headgear. As we get on the bus to come home, a small crowd applaud me. It has been a good trip.
'Best return the hat now,' says Dad. My mortarboard nearly caught him in the eye.
I ring Mr B's bell but he is out. No matter! The hat turns into a flat cap, and I post it through the letterbox.