The poet Jenny Joseph died last week so it is most appropriate that I wear a red hat for Visible Monday to celebrate her work.
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.'
She didn't, in fact, like to wear the colour purple. "I can't stand purple. It doesn't suit me." She was also irritated by the success of this poem and the attention given to it over her later work which she considered more worthwhile. The poem was the inspiration for the founding of the Red Hat Society in America for women over fifty who want to meet up for fun.
With the proceeds from 'Warning' Jenny Joseph bought a cottage in the charming little town of Minchinhampton in Gloucestershire, which we visit in our book group. Here she wrote, 'Led by the Nose' a book inspired by the perfume of the flowers in her cottage garden. The popularity of 'Warning' gave her the opportunity to travel around the world giving lectures and recitals. "The old woman has been a very good passport," she said, but, "I must admit to finding her a bit of a bore."
Jenny Joseph, poet. 7.5.1932 - 8.01.2018
A friend sent the poem to me many years ago because I've always liked to wear purple. Many of my Visible Monday outfits testify to this. The red hat is more of a dressed-up beret. It's cosy and comfy and rather silly, just the thing to cram on when the weather is grim. After all the winter feasting my face resembles nothing so much as a clootie dumpling. (A Scottish recipe, a fruit pudding that's boiled in a cloth into a rather lumpen sphere.)Visible Monday, where women from all around the world show the clothes that make them feel visible and have fun whether wearing a red hat or not!