H.I. is used to me coming home with weird bits of junk, but the other day I really excelled myself.
Now come on - admit it. If you walked into a charity junk shop and saw this thing on offer for £2, would you not have bought it yourself, even if you had no immediate use for it?
It is a full-sized, heavy-gauge steel helmet which has been professionally riveted together by a theatrical armorer and patinated in a fetching shade of mottled green to which Farrow and Ball would probably assign the name, 'Frog's Breath'. It weighs quite a lot, and wearing it without a leather lining is quite painful. I know, I tried it on.
My eye was drawn to it in the shop, where it nestled unassumingly amongst old clothes, books and children's toys. I quite often see cars pull up outside and people bringing unwanted items inside as donations, but I didn't see this one being delivered.
I have a vision of Darth Vader opening the boot of his car and extracting an old helmet to give the the nice ladies who run the shop. This is not so far-fetched as it sounds, because the actor who plays Darth lives just outside Bath and has a pronounced, farmer's Somerset accent. They had to break it to him that his character's voice was to be spoken by another actor, as it would have been unlikely that an attempt to take over The Universe would have been made by someone from Shepton Mallet, no matter how large that someone was.
I have a feeling that I have seen this helmet before - possibly in a promotional photograph for a modern Shakespeare production. Recognise it anyone?
Well, what with the Willow Manor Ball coming up and the Winter season festivities shortly afterwards, I may find a use for it after all. I might even sell it for scrap in February.
Understatement of the week: (Woman in shop): "I think that's probably the most unusual thing we have in at the moment".