Saturday, September 4, 2021

What would my great-grandpa do?

Sometimes, when I’m faced with a living-off-the-grid problem, I try to imagine how my ancestors would have dealt with it. The current case in point: keeping my head warm while sleeping in an unheated van.

One solution is to simply pull the bedding over my head, leaving an opening for my face. But I move around in bed and the covers can end up elsewhere.

So I’ve adopted that classic Victorian habit of the night cap. Not the glass of distilled spirits before bed. The head covering one wears to bed. As in “Ma in her kerchief and I in my cap / Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap.” Except rather than the long pointed stocking cap Ebenezer Scrooge is always depicted wearing (how did they avoid getting tangled in those things?), mine is an ordinary knit beanie. Warm head, no problem. 

Another advantage is that I can continue wearing the cap the rest of the day, if necessary, without anyone thinking I’m weird. Or weirder than usual. And if I want to sleep past sunrise, I can just pull the cap over my eyes. My ancestors would never do that, though. They’d be up before the sun to tend the livestock before heading off to the Dickensian sweatshop.


  1. They say the head is a person's chimney so it's good to keep the heat from going up the chimney.

  2. Ditto what Rob said: knit cap and warm socks. That's how I get through the winter.