The travelers pass through our town annually. I have always loved the clop-clopping of the horses hooves, the clourful wagons and the excitement of the journey to the horse fair in Appleby.
Mr Furlong and I “came home” to the UK after living in Africa most of our lives. We were used to “colourful” and often “un-acceptable”.
So over the years, I particularly, have watched with sadness how Travelers are treated by the other folk in our town. Mr Furlong takes most of it in his stride, simply shrugging.
Gradually, all the places along the route that the Travelers take to get to Appleby, where they once parked their caravans, and where their horses could graze the no-mans-land grass on verges, have been closed to them – especially round our town. Fences, boulders, police notices are put in place in good time to stop them stopping.
On Sunday we went for a drive to visit our children, and all the old gypsy collection points were blocked to them. The road was full of wagons going home from the fair. I wondered where on earth they were going to overnight.
We once ran an art shop in our town – well, it’s a village to me, but I’m told it’s a town! And I made friends with a real gypsy family who used to visit our shop every year to look at the art. Grandfather and granddaughter, both artists, complained at how their annual horse trading meeting was being spoiled by “the Irish”. Real gypsies are proud people. They have been swamped by pretend gypsies.
Anyway, Mr Furlong has just returned from the village – er – town, and he reports all the shopkeepers are complaining there was no business from the travelers in our town this year.
Serves us right!