Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, with a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Hooptedoodle #396b - Mystery Object Revealed

 My thanks to everyone who got in touch. I have to say that I was delighted with that little exercise - so much creativity - I am impressed, and greatly cheered up. Apart from a temporary problem I am having this morning, thinking about steamed cod-pieces and giant fat-balls, I was profoundly touched by the friendly, supportive spirit in which my possible foibles such as shrunken head collecting were glossed over - accepted on the nod - without any hint of disapproval. That is kind and diplomatic; if I had a heart, it would be warmed.

Many of the suggestions are more exciting than its true purpose, but I shall now reveal the correct answer...



As a couple of people suggested, it is a device to assist in cleaning a baseball-type cap. As far as I know, it can also cope with a baseball cap which is worn backwards, which is pretty good too - high marks for versatility.

The weird bit is that, as revealed in the photos, the device is intended to be used in the dish-washing machine. Yes - quite so.

My "lucky" walking hat has now been with me for 10 years - I have worn it in the Alps, on the Danube, along Hadrian's Wall, around the fortifications of Chester, Berwick, Carlisle, Denbigh, Salzburg, on my visit to the Eagles' Nest, in Vienna, at numerous recent wargames (to avoid the overhead lighting setting off my ocular migraine) and all sorts of other exciting activities. I reckon this cap has also accompanied me during a couple of hundred mowings of my lawns - we have been inseparable. I've lost it a few times along the way, and some of the occasions on which I found it again were unlikely - occasionally they might even have been far-fetched. Critics have queried why, since I bought it in Austria, it says "Austria" on it - in English. I have no answer to this - I assume it may be something to do with British and American tourists probably not being expected to know what Österreich means. Whatever, it is my friend. Like me, it got soaked through, walking the last few miles into Wallsend in the footsteps of Hadrian. It also walked across the great bridge at Regensburg when slightly too much beer had been taken. You get the idea.

Recently it has been quarantined - it has become, with use, smelly and unappetising, so a wash was prescribed. We obtained the gizmo under discussion, and yesterday I fired up the dishwasher, specially. Cool, quick wash cycle - no lemon in the cleaning capsule [discuss?].

Seems to have been successful - it's still drying, but looks (and smells) far better. Now I'll have to come up with some special trips on which to wear it again. Sounds good.

My friend De Vries suggested that the device might be a Scold's Bridle (also known by various other names) - a medieval, cage-like device which was fitted around the head of a gossip or similar, with a tongue clamp. Horrible thing - I saw a few once, in a museum in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. No it's not one of those.

***** Late Edit *****

As a bit of evidence, here's a shot of my cap on tour, at the big castle in Salzburg, when I was younger, and still allowed to go on foreign holidays.


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27 comments:

  1. Okay, that’s even more weird than some of the suggestions in the previous post. Made me check we weren’t on April 1st again. Strangely I never imagined you in a baseball cap...or to be clear, anything else for that matter... Bicorne hat, yes, baseball cap...mmmmm. Not that I can say much mind, my gardening bonce protecter is a British Army jungle hat. The wife has threatened to call the fashion police on more than one occasion.

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    1. I wear hats most of the time these days - this has a lot to do with the migraine issue - I get dazzled easily. I have another of these caps, black, otherwise identical. I've never been quite so fond of this one - it is not so comfortable (though would probably improve with wear), and doesn't have the vague Afrika Korps vibe.

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  2. Prof De Vries emailed again (he still refuses to have a Google account), to say that a machine for cleaning baseball caps is a bit iffy. This sounds like an invention for mothers of small children who wear baseball caps. REAL baseball cap wearers - rednecks, 70-year-old Trump supporters who chew tobacco and take a rifle to the bathroom, the guys who live under the freeway in North Hollywood - are not likely to clean their caps. God forbid. Outrage. Indecent proposal.

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  3. Hello old chap,

    I have been to that big castle in Salzburg on a school trip back in 1973. We stayed by lake Konigsee and also visited Berchtesgaden and the Eagles Nest - I will email you some of the memories of this, my very first overseas adventure.

    All the best,

    DC

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    1. I liked Salzburg, but it's a bit busy for me. I prefer very quiet places. When I visited Salzburg we were staying at Lake Wolfgang - very nice, but full of wealthy Viennese. A bit like the relationship between the Lake District and Manchester. When i think about it, my cap was worn throughout my tour of Essex in 2019!

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  4. I see you bought the German version of the Cap Buddy. Most appropriate.

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    1. Ganz genau. It came from Amazon UK - that can't be right, surely? My sovereignty may be compromised here. I guess if it comes from the same Chinese factory but has a German label that's OK.

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  5. This all sounds very unlikely. A torture device for unsavoury titfers? Some of the other suggestions were far more believable.

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    1. On the face of it, it does seem a bit like a solution in search of a problem, but it seems to work nicely, so we'll keep it in the kit.

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  6. Hi Tony:
    I totally get the idea of the lucky hat. I once turned around on a freeway and drove 90 minutes back to a pub where I left a toque knitted for me by my late wife. Almost cried when I found it.
    I also have a favourite cap, a Toronto Maple Leafs cap, which I've worn on several continents, eliciting looks of pity from locals who know what a crap hockey team the Leafs are. I've never put it in the dishwasher, though. Which leads me to ask, why does it _Need_ a cap buddy? Why not just toss it in the dishwasher?

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    1. Hi Michael - ah - well, I don't have a lot of personal experience, but a previous cap I had fell apart after it got soaked a few times. I guess it was a cheap cap (so is the current one, but maybe the Austrians are a bit fussy) - a cheap cap can often be made with materials inside the peak and in the headband which are basically cardboard. Washing it in a frame preserves the shape and the integrity of the peak. Yes - I know - it sounds like BS, but it certainly worked OK yesterday.

      As for unlikely recoveries I lost my lucky cap the night my sister was rushed into hospital, 8 years ago, for what turned out to be her final illness. There was a major panic at 2am or thereabouts, and afterwards I couldn't find my cap, and wrote it off as collateral damage. Turns out the ambulance driver, John, who was based miles away in Edinburgh, lived in our village, and he found my cap in the ambulance, kept it for me, and dropped it off at my mother's house when he was off-duty a couple of weeks later. He said he had thought it looked like someone's lucky cap (which may not be a compliment!).

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  7. Well, I've seen it all now!

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    1. Hi Lee - it still feels a bit gimmicky - "don't tell me you still have a washing machine...?".

      It works OK for hats, apparently, but it does come in the general grouping of activities like making jam in the bread-maker, and (I suppose) taking photos with a phone! If you wonder what else you can do with your dishwasher, have a look at this

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIoHJKS2Iyc

      Interesting, but I wonder what particular problem it was supposed to solve? I also understand that you had better watch the operating temperature of the dishwasher or your hat will fall apart and you may die of botulism.

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    2. I suppose when they turn the gas supplies off, it’s an
      option. 90 minutes for baked salmon is a bit of a long time to wait.

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    3. Agreed - also, how irritating is it going to be when everyone's had their salmon and there's dirty plates to go in the dishwasher? My life is confusing enough - not long ago I made a cup of coffee for myself, and then lost it. I found it two hours later in one of the kitchen cupboards. Keeping things tidy is OK to a point...

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  8. Is it me or does the bridle look like Homer Simpson?

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  9. My, my, what will they think of next? Most impressive. JBM's comment makes me wonder - is there a bicorne hat version. for re-enactors perhaps?
    Thanks again - 'quality item', as Mark and Lard would have said.

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    1. Personally, I always get my bicorne cleaned and shaped by my uniform specialists. My manservant did it once - brushed and steamed it after Orthes - but the feathers were never the same again.

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  10. Interesting gadget. Have not seen one of these. Being a baseball cap wearer myself, I clean it in the dishwasher too. Then I block it until dry to maintain the shape.

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    1. Hi Jon - obviously this is established as the way to do it - the idea of washing my cap at all is still something of a novelty to me. This is the first time I have ever managed to avoid losing a cap for long enough for hygiene to become an issue. I guess I went for many years without ever wearing a hat at all. Gradual thinning of both hair and eyesight have changed my habits!

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  11. Just wish to add that in it's down time you could definitely squeeze watermelons with it....

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    1. Matt - I believe you are right. Do you do a lot of melon squeezing yourself?

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    2. Absolutely, hence "The Misunderstanding" in my local Tesco. I still think a lifetime ban was a bit harsh!

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  12. I was wondering why such a grim piece of headgear as that Scold's Bridle should have a jolly little bell on the top like Noddy's hat.

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    1. Just part of the public ridicule thing, I guess. The gossip/nag/backbiter would be led through the streets on a leash of some sort, and the jeering crowd would throw things. I suppose the bell was remove the last vestige of dignity. Punishment was a black art in those days - very creative - I once read of a man who was accused of calling his neighbour a devil (did I hear a sharp intake of breath?) and was sentenced (in Manchester) to walk for half a mile tied to a carthorse, with his face pressed into the horse's anus...

      Mind you, they didn't have reality TV in those days.

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    2. ...and they burned the neighbour, of course...

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