First Draft Screenplay
1. On the Road: On a Lorry
Jim, leaning over the top of the driver’s cabin of a big open lorry. Behind him, high piles of scrap iron, and beside him, his friend Ruben, and a child of six, Amos. In the front seat of the lorry sit Dad, Mum, the Prince.
Feeling of hunting expedition through the otherwise empty countryside.
The lorry may be an army surplus lorry, with an open cabin. Jim usually has three dogs with him.
The wind is blowing through their hair, and Jim is singing a Gorjio song, but it does not sound the same as if it were sung by a Gorjio:
JIM: ... Thou would’st still be adored
As this moment thou art,
Let thy loveliness fade as it will;
And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart
Would entwine itself verdantly still ...
Jim strikes Ruben heartily on the shoulder.
We are having a good time Ruben. We are having a good time standing up here in the back of the lorry. I reckon we’re all having a good time. That’s what we say.
RUBEN: Aye, we’re having a nice time.
AMOS: And I’m having a good time.
Jim, looking behind, drums with his hands on the roof of the cabin.
JIM: Police car! Dik, dik, the gavvers! Don’t want them stopping us now because there’s something wrong.
RUBEN: Is there? What’s that?
JIM: The windscreen wiper. It don’t go. ‘Gainst the law it is that. You’ve gotta have a windscreen wiper that goes. They give you endorsement. Oh, praise God. They’re turned off.
RUBEN: Watch this then.
He leans forward dangerously over the lorry cabin and moves the wiper back and forth.
RUBEN: That goes, don’t it?
JIM: That goes. But, come rain, you’ll get wet. Then you’ll want to be in the cabin, not outside pulling wipers!
Ruben leans back to beside Jim.
RUBEN: No. That’s true. That goes cushti, though. That way no gavvers can get you, eh?
I suppose so. I wouldn’t be sure.
RUBEN: I know. Let’s get the chavvy to do it. Amos!
RUBEN: Got a job for you. Come rain, you sit here on the cabin and work this. Go on. Up there.
JIM: No, Ruben, it’s not safe. And it’s not right on the child, not in rain time.
Amos climbs up and works the wiper.
AMOS: Like this?
RUBEN: He enjoys it, don’t he?
AMOS: (all smiles)
I like it!
JIM: Oh, all right. But I don’t like it.
RUBEN: And are the lights working on this lorry now?
JIM: No. Don’t think so.
RUBEN: Well then. If night come, we’ll put Amos on the bonnet holding this.
(He’s got a large torch out of his pocket)
Or else he can throw up bits of burning paper.
Jim’s not sure whether or not he’s joking.
2. On the Lorry. Later: it’s grown darker
Brian slows down the lorry and stops.
JIM: About time too.
Jim and Ruben, apart from the others, relieving themselves.
JIM: (In a different voice, whispering)
I see her again!
RUBEN: Who? Her? The same?
JIM: Didn’t you see her - by the road?
RUBEN: Not me. I saw no one. Anyway, you must be dreaming. You can’t always be seeing the same rakkli, always in different parts of the drom!
JIM: That’s what it seems to me - I tell you - she stands there, giving the hitchhiking sign. In all different places - everywhere I see her.
RUBEN: I don’t believe it. I didn’t see nobody. Where was she?
JIM: Ten mile back.
RUBEN: There was no rakkli there, Jim.
JIM: Brrr! I’m afeared. All the time it happens!
RUBEN: Strange times, Jim.
3. On Another Road
Jim is alone, driving a lorry.
Maggie, a handsome art student type of young woman, wearing Gypsy style clothes, is standing by the road. She gives an elaborate, rather unreal hitchhiking sign.
Jim looks afraid and doesn’t slow down.
3B. On Another Road, Darkness
A scene very similar to the previous one.
Jim even more disturbed.
4. On the back of the Lorry
RUBEN: Hey, feels like he’s slowing down. We going to stop at that place, what is it, the Hostelrie?
JIM: No go.
JIM: They won’t serve us there. I’ve tried it before. No Gypsies, no filthy Gypsies served, that sort of thing.
RUBEN: Well, he seems to plan to give it a try.
5. In the Hostelrie
Sounds of syruppy musak. It is a pretentious mock Tudor sort of place.
Jim, Dad, the Prince, Ruben, Mum and others, walk across and Jim slams fifty pounds down on the counter, one note at a time and some coins. The others stand around him.
JIM: Beer, please gov’nor.
How much beer would you like?
JIM: Well, five pints and a Guinness and shandy, half and half. And some chocolate.
LANDLORD: (as if they’d done something wrong and he’s being nice about it)
Of course, sir. It’s perfectly all right, sir.
(he’s drawing the beer)
JIM: That’s good. I’m glad it’s all right.
LANDLORD: Just one small thing, sir. We haven’t any ordinary chocolate. Only the somewhat costly personalised product made specially for the Hostelrie. Too much for you, I’m afraid, sir.
JIM: We’ll take it.
LANDLORD: It’s perfectly all right, sir.
Jim speaks aside, to Dad.
JIM: I don’t know, there’s something about this place, it gives me the willies!
DAD: How come Jim, because the man is nice, he’s a nice man!
JIM: I don’t know.
LANDLORD: Here’s your change, sir.
JIM: And we’ll have the rest in bottle beer, sir.
LANDLORD: Bottle beer. How much beer would you like?
JIM: Well, as much as we got money for, that’s all we can say.
LANDLORD: What sort of beer?
JIM: Carling Special. And some Guinness.
LANDLORD: How many of each? In what proportion?
LANDLORD: How many of each sort of beer?
JIM: Leave that to you, guv.
LANDLORD: It’s perfectly all right, sir.
JIM: Did I tell you the one about the two poachers?
These two poachers, they were out poaching, with a gun, a really old-fashioned gun, and suddenly they see the keeper coming. ‘Quick, quick,’ says the one, ‘throw that gun on the ground.’ So they throws the gun on the ground and they throws a couple of old sacks over it that they had brought out to put the day’s takings in.
But the keeper, he had seen it. ‘It’s no good, boys,’ says he. ‘Tell me now, what’s that iron object on the ground under the sacks?’ And he knew they would never admit that it was a gun, they would claim it was for some other purpose, so he said; ‘There’s one thing I know it’s not. No, I expect you was going to tell me it’s a new-fashioned form of hoe for getting up potatoes. Well,’ says he, ‘it is not.’
So now it’s the boys’ turn. ‘No,’ says the boys. ‘No, you’re right, it is not that at all. I’ll tell you now, it is an instrument of music.’
‘Oh, very interesting,’ says the keeper. ‘And what sort of music?’
‘Well, it is a bit like the tin whistle, a large tin whistle.’
Says the keeper; ‘Let’s hear some music. One moment, I have an idea. You blow down the pipe, and I’ll handle the keys. Put this in your mouth then, to show me.’
So the keeper makes him put the barrel in his mouth and pretend to blow it. And he is fiddling with the trigger. All of a sudden the gun goes off! Down the poacher falls, his arms and legs jerking around in his death throes. And the keeper, he looks down at him and says; ‘Get up,’ says he, ‘you fool! Stop dancing, you haven’t heard the music yet!’
The Landlord has placed three crates on the counter. A snooty man stands by.
JIM: Well, surely we get more beer than that?
LANDLORD: That includes a five pound deposit on each crate.
RUBEN: We have to buy the crate?
The Gypsies talk animatedly among themselves, and then Jim says;
JIM: We won’t take the crates, we’ll take that money’s worth in bottles.
LANDLORD: Fifteen pounds worth more of bottles? But that’s a lot of bottles. You can’t carry them all loose!
JIM: Hm. True. But have we got a sack?
DAD: Yes, there you are Jim, there’s some sacks in the lorry. I’ll get them.
Ruben reverts to the previous subject.
RUBEN: That’s a good story, Jim. You ought to write it down.
JIM: I can’t write. You know that.
RUBEN: I can. While I was in there I was doing writing. Yes, I done fill books, many books, with writing. Some of these books, specially those about ghosts and suchlike, I’m sorry to say that they’s been confiscated by the Home Office. They say they lost them, but I know better. Because these books contain information that they need badly.
JIM: What information?
RUBEN: I’ll tell you Jim. It were about ghosts.
JIM: But do they have a department for ghosts at the Home Office?
RUBEN: They do. ‘Tis a new department.
LANDLORD: Excuse me, sir, would you mind not putting your feet on the rungs in front of the bar?
JIM: Gracious, you made me jump. Oh yes, of course, sir.
GYPSY: Why not on the rungs of the bar?
MUM: Do what the gentleman tells you.
Dad returns with the sacks and they begin to load the beer in.
JIM: Thank God for a good bottle of Guinness. I’ll tell you, first it is a good drink to make you drunk. Second, a cough bottle. Third, it’s a health drink. Fourth, a body builder. Fifth, makes your skin clearer. Sixth, a shampoo. Seventh, protection against colds. Eighth, a cure for paralysis. Ninth, stamina in race horses and in greyhounds. Tenth, a prolific worker. Eleventh for sprains. Twelfth for curing warts.
RUBEN: And thirteenth, if you drink enough, some kind gavver will give you a cell for the night.
DAD: The last few will just fit in.
The Prince lifts the sack. The bottom of the sack falls out, and the bottles cascade onto the floor.
GYPSIES: Oh Lord! The sack! The bottom has fallen out! Sorry, sir!
Landlord’s wife comes out with a mop.
L’S WIFE: It’s perfectly all right, sir.
B: LIFE ON THE COMMON - JIM LOOKS STRANGE
6. On a Common; the Campsite
Evening. Jim sits by a fire and the others are drinking and some are singing in a leafy place. Dad’s caravan parked behind. Mum is stirring a pot.
MUM: Here’s your bit of food, Jim. It’s just come to boiling.
JIM: Thanks, Mum.
She gives him a big mug of tea and a bowl of stew.
JIM: What more could a man want? Delicious!
Others are also served by Mum as they come up to the fire.
MUM: Jim, you seem strange.
JIM: Do I?
7. The Camp Site; Next Morning
Mum has a small fire going amid the embers of last night’s. She is boiling up a huge tin pot of tea, hung from an iron stake. Empty beer bottles lie around.
Jim, still sleepy, stripped to the waist, with blankets, folds them and puts them in the caravan.
JIM: Morning, Mum!
He jumps out of the caravan, from a large silver water carrier he pours clear water into a plastic bowl and, stripped to the waist, washes.
MUM: Hurry up, Jim, your tea will be cold.
She sings a line or so of a seductive melody and looks across tenderly at Jim. He doesn’t notice.
8. By the Road
The caravan is stopped again.
Ruben is whittling wooden roses.
Mum is making tea with Carnation milk and Tetley tea-bags.
9. The Countryside
Jim, Ruben, Amos with guns.
JIM: Sometimes I think there’s a woman in man who is his true self. If you go with a woman she’ll take up that part of you that is your true soul, and no contradicting.
RUBEN: Say Jim, say. How much money would you say the Spice Girls have? How many trailers would it fill?
JIM: Ho. I’d say, fill up every trailer in these parts with notes, there’d still be money left over.
RUBEN: Well, what d’you mean? Would it be one pound coins or fivers or tenners or twenty pound notes, eh? Or what?
JIM: I don’t know. Let’s say fivers. I’d say it would fill them all and money left over.
RUBEN: Oh no, think of it. I clench my fist, look like this. How much money I got in there? Well, could be over a hundred in fivers. Take an awful lot of money to fill three trailers.
JIM: Never mind. I reckon it could fill all the trailers on this county and more to spare.
RUBEN: Well, how much money you reckon they got for a start?
JIM: No idea. But more than would fill a number of trailers.
9B. The Same; Later
RUBEN: Hm. D’you know that song of the Beatles, you know, ‘We all live in a yellow submarine’. Well, d’you know what a Traveller told me? That really should be ‘We all live in a yellow caravan’. That’s how he wrote it. But they wouldn’t let him. He had to change it. Why? The Home Office wouldn’t let him.
RUBEN: Well, they don’t like to hear about the Travellers.
JIM: Someone was telling me last night, was telling me about that Gypsy fellow, they put him in the police cells, they did, the gavvers got him, they did, they put him in the police cells and going at him, you know, like they do, till he went out of his mind, he lost his voice he did. He couldn’t speak. Yes, he was unable to speak till he got out of there.
RUBEN: Aye, aye.
Jim shoots a hare. It is retrieved by Amos and dogs.
On the way back;
RUBEN: Why does Madonna wear red pants?
JIM: Ho. No, you have me there.
RUBEN: I’ll tell you. Because the red means ‘danger, manhole ahead’.
JIM: That’s a manhole I’d be happy to fall down. Now tell me one. How did it take four elephants in one Ford Escort?
RUBEN: I dunno.
AMOS: I know, Dad! You put one in each seat, that’s how you get them in. One in the driver’s seat, one in the passenger, and two on the back seats.
Oh, it’s good this morning.
9C. In the Lorry; Moorland
Jim, Brian, Ruben, in wild country.
JIM: Stop! Stop the show!
JIM: A bit of moulder! Quick.
They get out and run to an old car, abandoned by the road, or a little way down the road, on moorland.
JIM: Get a few bob for this.
Getting out sledge hammers and crowbars from the lorry they begin to destroy the abandoned vehicle.
10. In a Nunnery
NUN: So, you are a dealer?
JIM: Yes, and I’ll give you a good price for any oddments, any old holy things you may have.
NUN: Would an altar reredos suit?
Ruben and Amos are peering round an arch behind him.
10B. In a Pub
PRINCE: Hm. Tell me now. Life. Why is life strange like a caravan?
JIM: Why is life strange like a caravan?
PRINCE: Yes. Why is life strange like a caravan?
Jim tries to think.
PRINCE: I’ll tell you. Life is strange like a caravan because ‘tis neither here nor there.
11. A Scrap Dealer’s Yard
Jim, Ruben, Dad and little Amos jumping down from their lorry on the weighbridge of the scrap yard; vast mounds of scrap iron of every sort amongst which huddle concrete bunkhouses.
The weight of the lorry is noted down by the Proprietor. An Assistant produces sacks which he gives them.
They they are putting semi-precious metals from the back of the lorry into the sacks.
Then while Ruben and Dad continue with this, Jim climbs back into the lorry, picks up the various bits of scrap and throws them expertly out of the lorry onto the heap.
JIM: Ruben, give us a hand with this one.
Ruben climbs up into the lorry and helps him.
We notice Amos hauling a sack behind him across the muddy ground.
The Proprietor holds £150 in notes, and a form, which he hands to Jim.
Jim takes the notes and signs the receipt with a large cross.
11C. Housing Estate
A street of semi-detacheds in a council housing estate. There is a lorry standing outside, its engine running. Three young Gypsy men are draped around the lorry bonnet. They are Jim, Amos and Seth. They are chatting up Maggie, and are in a state of mild euphoria since they all find her attractive. Also they find her intriguing and mysterious, 'foreign' and unpredictable. They don't normally get this close to a Gorgio young woman and find her words, movements, and actions hard to interpret since they are different (and in fact more 'open') than a Gypsy girl's would be in the same situation.
AMOS: You live in this place all on your own then?
SETH: Who with? With your boyfriend?
AMOS: I bet you're walking out in secrecy. Courting. Secret courting.
JIM: This house belongs to you then?
MAGGIE: How could I afford a house like this? (Primly) I live here with my Mum.
SETH: What, and your Dad?
MAGGIE: Oh yes. (Possibly a great big lie).
AMOS: Is he a big fella?
MAGGIE: No. Why?
AMOS: Him don't come and beat up, cosh we? (He illustrates by hitting Seth, Seth retaliates, and the two young men have a mock wrestle).
JIM: They mean, he don't mind, don't take no notice of we rokkering with you?
MAGGIE: (Momentarily guarded). What's rokkering?
JIM: Rockering, talking.
MAGGIE: Oh no, why should he?
JIM: Oi, mind the moulder!
(The mock fight is getting out of hand, knocking into the lorry).
MAGGIE: What do you guys do for a living? If anything? Not hippies are you?
She can't quite place them. Jim is surprised by her question because he'd supposed it must be obvious. He looks hastily at her to see if she's in earnest, then he replies;
JIM: Hippies? Nah! Man of the World.
(Pride in his voice): Oh, you know, bit of this and that, general dealing, tarmacing, tree lopping, harvesting, motor upbreaking. Just moved a hundred tons of shit from a chicken factory went bust. Bit of everything that has to be done. Bit of a Jack of all trades.
MAGGIE: Yes, well. I sort of see what you mean, I suppose.
JIM: Take an instance. Was there something out in the garden shed or garden that has been there a long whiles you have no use for, maybe that has long lain there hid and has great value all unknown. Well, we'll help you ...
MAGGIE: There is something in the garden that has been there since I was a little girl. I never thought it might be of value, but you're welcome to take a look. Would you like to see it?
Jim hides his excitement at going into the garden with this young woman that he finds very attractive with a professional detachment.
JIM: Oh, aye. Take a look at it. Who knows? There may be somewhat of great value, all unknown.
Jim and Maggie go towards the garden, possibly through a small gate. We may see them in the background, with Maggie showing Jim various objects and Jim nodding, shaking his head, etc. Or they may disappear altogether. The other two are still talking to the neighbour.
NEIGHBOUR: (rather crossly) Well, are you interested or not?
But Amos and Seth have noticed that Jim and Maggie have disappeared and immediately forget what's in hand in their envy and astonishment.
AMOS: Poove the grai!
SETH: Feik the bosh!
They are impressed with Jim but also resentful it wasn't them.
AMOS: Goodman Jim!
But the neighbour is angry they're paying so little attention.
NEIGHBOUR: (crossly) Sorry. Nothing today. Good day to you! (She slams door).
SETH: Hm. Time we was going on totting. Can't go back empty handed.
He climbs into the lorry cabin and blows the horn loudly.
AMOS: Again Seth.
Seth is about to blow the horn again when Jim and Maggie appear from an unexpected direction.
JIM: Alright then.
He gives her a gentle smile and climbs into the lorry, takes the wheel, revs up. Amos gets in behind.
JIM: Bye Bye.
He and Maggie are both studiedly casual. Jim's two friends look at him expectantly as he begins to inch the lorry forward. He gives nothing away. She waves goodbye quite coolly as if to an acquaintance she's known for years. She may run back into the garden and return with the object Jim had intended to take but forgotten - possibly part of a mangle.
As the sound of the lorry dies away she stands thoughtfully, not moving for a moment, still holding the mangle.
12. On the Common; By the Fire
MUM: What you say, Ruben? Doesn’t Jim look strange?
RUBEN: Oh yes. Him strange all right.
PRINCE: (to Mum)
Him go after Gorjio woman.
PRINCE: Never go after Gorjio girl, Jim. Them mock the Travellers. You keep to Gypsy girls. I’ll tell you. Gorjio girls mock the Gypsy.
DAD: But he go after woman for ten days now. He’s sick!
MUM: That true?
Jim pretends not to hear. He’s angry.
DAD: How much it cost you, Jim?
RUBEN: Fifteen pound.
JIM: Never you mind your own business!
OTHERS: Twenty pound. Twenty pound, ent it Jim?
A hundred pound.
DAD: Never! Twenty pound!
OTHERS: Twenty pound. She must be good.
No, I pay no money.
DAD: Free? Free? He pays. He pays!
RUBEN: Should be fifteen pound!
JIM: I pay no money.
PRINCE: You being mocked, man. Gorjio woman always rob the Travelling man!
JIM: Gorjio women are good women. Very good women.
I’ll believe you, Jim, that they can be good women, good for going with.
There is a dreamy look on Jim’s face. It has grown dark by the camp fire.
13. At the Camp Site
A Policeman and Jim.
POLICE: You’ll have to get another officer to help with filling in your forms from now on.
JIM: Oh no! Don’t tell me you’re going?
JIM: Where you going?
POLICE: Up to the metropolis. Yes. I’ve got promotion. Inspector. That’s me from now on. Anyway. That completes your application for your new vehicle licence. Sign down here with a cross. Right. Take it down to the Post Office with the money as soon as you can.
JIM: Hey, mush - hey, when you go, will there be another one?
POLICE: Another police officer? Of course.
JIM: Will he come down the camp site to help the Travellers? Will he help us out like you do?
POLICE: Hm. Who can say, son? Most coppers are decent folk but of course they are also busy.
JIM: Hoping the next one is as cushti as you are.
C: JIM FANCIES MAGGIE AND HERE SHE IS
14. In Jim’s Lorry
Mum and Gypsy Woman pass by and say, in Romany, that Jim is having sex with a non-Gypsy girl.
Then we see the lorry parked nearby and in it Jim and Maggie, the girl he previously saw giving the hitchhiking sign by the road.
Jim makes no reaction.
MAGGIE: Well ... Jim, those women.
Jim acts as if he doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
JIM: Which women?
MAGGIE: Don’t tell me you didn’t see them, or hear them. They were talking in a strange language.
JIM: Oh, that!
MAGGIE: What do you mean, oh that?
JIM: That was nothing.
MAGGIE: That was not nothing! (she’s teasing him) They were saying something. Not in English. What were they saying and who were they? What language were they talking? (then, elaborately) Who are you, mystery man?
JIM: Nobody. Nobody. It had sod all to do with me. They said nothing. Silly women talk. Silly women talking nothing.
MAGGIE: What language were they speaking?
JIM: I don’t know.
MAGGIE: You must know. They knew you. You puzzle me sometimes. (romantically) Take me back home.
JIM: (startled; the date has only just begun)
Oh, it’s not time to go yet. Not time for you to go back home.
MAGGIE: I don’t mean to my home. I mean to your home.
JIM: My home? I can’t.
MAGGIE: Why? Mystery man? (then she astounds him by saying) ...
Listen, Jim, I know that you’re a Gypsy.
Jim is taken aback and silent for a moment, then;
JIM: You know?
He is blissfully relieved that she already knows what he was keeping from her because he thought she might despise him for it. He kisses her.
15B. The Same; Later
JIM: And you’re still ready to go out with me?
MAGGIE: Why not?
JIM: Well, some people think some things about Gypsies that are not true.
MAGGIE: Like what? I’d like to go out with a Gypsy.
JIM: But if you live with me you may have to do things that you don’t like doing.
Who’s talking of living with you?
JIM: Well, I thought - if you’re - you know - How long did you know I was a Traveller?
MAGGIE: Since I first saw you.
JIM: Since that very first time I saw you?
MAGGIE: Well, very nearly.
JIM: And you still wanted to go with me?
MAGGIE: Especially then.
I know we have a good and a very good life.
JIM: (trying to puzzle it out)
But our ways are not your ways.
MAGGIE: I know.
JIM: And - but you don’t want to live with me?
MAGGIE: No, but I’ll see you every now and again. Or more often if you like. More often than now and again.
JIM: Listen, I was afeared. How come, all over the country where I been travelling, I see you there standing by the road? Well, how could it be?
MAGGIE: I’ve been travelling the roads too. I’ve been hitchhiking. Maybe we were fated to follow the same route?
JIM: You been following me around?
MAGGIE: No! It’s you’ve been following me around. And I’ve been coming home.
Jim doesn’t know how to take this.
16. A Stopping Place
There is a cluster of people round the caravans. There are two Vigilantes.
VIGILANTE: Out. Ten minutes and then out.
MUM: They said we could stay here, mush.
VIGILANTE: I don’t mind who said what. I’m telling you, get out.
MUM: Where was your friend, you know, we called him the cushti gavver?
VIGILANTE: My friends are my own business. Now you’d better start getting ready to go. Because you’ve only got ten minutes.
MUM: But I mean, tell us where to go and we’ll go.
VIGILANTE: Go where you bloody well like.
16B. The Stopping Place; Later
Landowner sits in the cabin of the lorry.
MUM: That’s not your lorry, get out!
LAND: Sorry, madam, I have to move this.
She pulls at his arm, then threatens him with a battery lead.
LAND: Just put that down or we shall call the police.
They lead her off, struggling. Other Gypsies cluster round. The Prince, half asleep, emerges, a wheel brace in his hand.
PRINCE: What is it, Jim?
JIM: They say we got to go.
I’ll wind the jack up for the trailer, you get the lorry back.
17. By a Fire
PRINCE: I’m against it. A Gorjio girl can’t go with a Gypsy.
JIM: Maggie is classed a Gorjio because she lived in a house. But her grandfather was a Gypsy.
DAD: I’ll not believe that.
MAGGIE: He was!
Maggie snuggles into Jim’s flank and the other Gypsies look scandalised.
MAGGIE: I admire the Romany ways. It’s open-plan living. The open life.
MUM: Young girl, if you admire Romany ways, get a longer skirt.
18. By the Fire; Later
Maggie seems to be more accepted by the Gypsies than she was.
PRINCE: Another thing to watch for is, don’t pass between a man and his food. And if the men come to sit close with you, tell them they mustn’t sit on the same couch as an unmarried woman.
RUBEN: Go on! Nobody thinks that now!
PRINCE: There is a fire in man that the short skirt excites. Travellers don’t hold with that, no more we do with divorce, bashing, coshing, violent acts to people.
MAGGIE: I like my skirt that way.
MUM: You’re going with a travelling man now, ducks; you do as the Travellers do.
The Prince looks ferociously at Maggie.
18B. By the Fire; Later
JIM: Well, you see I can name eight or nine different Gypsies, I can. There is the fellow they call a Mumpley, you see.
MAGGIE: (slightly mocking him, enjoying it)
What’s a Mumpley?
JIM: He understands nothing, you see, he’s ignorant to it. Hasn’t got knowledge to go out and get his living same as we do. Hasn’t the knowledge to do and do a day’s work or do a job of work. That’s what they call a Mumpley. Then there’s the hedge-crawler.
MAGGIE: What is the hedge-crawler?
JIM: That is what we call a tramp Gypsy. He’s too idle to wash himself. All he wants is a fire, lay around a fire, just eat and drink and smoke. That’s the one they call, what I just said, a hedge-crawler. Then there’s the drongoes, the crusties, the New Age Hippy Travellers. You know about them?
MAGGIE: And the Romany?
JIM: Ah well, did you hear somebody say the Romany, them you can tell as a true travelling bloke. A fellow who can turn his hand to anything.
MAGGIE: Who would be a Romany then?
JIM: Well, er -
MAGGIE: Are there a few standing round us right now?
Jim smiles but makes no comment.
MAGGIE: And how do Romanies make a living?
JIM: Mostly like me they deal in scrap. The recycling of scrap metal. Then tree lopping, tarmaccing, selling tinware, duckering.
Maggie pretends not to notice that they are surrounded by mounds of rubbish and scrap and says;
MAGGIE: Are there real Gypsies and false Gypsies? And are all these people that leave such a mess Romanies?
JIM: They are. I am. We are. Just that we’ve fallen back from our old ways.
19. Harvest Fields
Gypsies are cooking on open fires, loading the fruits of the harvest onto the wagons behind the tractors, going to the farm with churns in prams for water, and working the large sheds which house the machinery. We see Jim and Maggie working.
20. By the Fire; Later
Sitting with Mum, Dad, Ruben, Amos, Jim, and the Prince, is Charlie Smith, Chair of the Gypsy Council.
JIM: The Travellers have always got by.
CHARLIE: Travellers have always been able to get by before.
JIM: I couldn’t join with them other Gypsies.
CHARLIE: Yes, but they all say the same thing.
JIM: Who do?
CHARLIE: The others. They all say that they are the only genuine Gypsies. Listen, you know how the councils are building these Gypsy sites?
CHARLIE: Once a local authority has built a site for all the Gypsies in their area - even if the Gypsies aren’t on it - they can apply for ‘designation’.
JIM: What’s designation?
CHARLIE: They can stop you stopping by the road in those parts, ever again.
JIM: They’ve always done that.
CHARLIE: This is worse. They can fine you for every day you stay there.
JIM: Why are you poking your nose into other people’s business?
CHARLIE: Because we belong to the Gypsy Council, and we’re concerned at what’s happening to Britain’s Gypsies.
JIM: When we want your help, we’ll ask for it.
20B. At a Stopping Place; Evening
Trailers stand amid the trees.
Jim’s trailer arrives amongst them. Maggie and Jim get out.
Two Gypsy girls pass, carrying an ornate can of water.
People come out from among the trailers and to up to the lorry, fingering the booty that lies in its back.
Various Gypsies come up and greet them.
GYPSY: Which way you go today, Jim?
JIM: Compton, Fawleigh, Bromtown, heading on for Farley.
21. The Same; Later
MUM: I’ll get your bit of food, Jim. Stew. It’s just come to boiling.
JIM: Thanks very much.
They unload bottles. They squat down by the fire. Jim takes from Mum a large cup of tea, a plate of baked beans on bread, a corned beef sandwich. He swigs from a bottle. Others join, till there are ten of them round the fire. Various cooking pots going on the fire.
A group of Women sorting out flowers to sell in the market.
Others are watching a portable battery-driven television, propped beside the fire.
Mum indicates a large pair of Chinese trousers which lie beside her with other rags.
MUM: Hey, Jim, could you manage a woman this wide?
JIM: Any number of ‘em. Hey, Prince, what you got there, Prince?
The Prince is brewing up an unpleasant looking stew.
PRINCE: Jim. This spell is for your private use, that you’ll find powerful.
JIM: I don’t hold with spells.
PRINCE: Even so. The day may come - and I can see it. The day will come when you may need a spell to help you out, so here it is.
He scribbles something on a piece of paper and rolls it up very small and attempts to give it to Jim, speaking the first part of the spell.
JIM: Why do you give it to me?
PRINCE: Day will come when you may need this.
JIM: I don’t want it.
PRINCE: Take it. Take it.
JIM: I don’t want it.
PRINCE: Take it!
Jim shrugs and puts it in his pocket.
JIM: Do you know, you can always tell a Gypsy. I passed a man I’d never seen before, this afternoon, and he said; ‘Hello brother’. He was a Gypsy, see.
GYPSY: Oh yes, you can always tell a Traveller.
PRINCE: Seth and Angela are walking out.
JIM: Seth and Angela? That’s a good match.
DAD: I give them till July.
JIM: Why till July, Dad?
DAD: If two young ‘uns are walking out, they say it will last a lifetime if they’re still walking out spring and summer till winter, till July, so far as the end of the plums.
JIM: Ah, the time of the plums, the time of them good summer days!
DAD: Yes, in summer days when the grass is lush, then God gives good times to humankind.
JIM: Better times for us than the Gorjios.
MUM: That’s just talk! I wish I wasn’t a Gypsy.
JIM: Now, Mum!
22. The Same; Later
Evening. An idyllic scene.
Another lorry containing two Gypsies arrives, piled high with scrap.
The men are proud, silent, and the women stand around the lorries proudly, gossipping in shrill voices. Lean dog on chain. Amid piles of debris, other Gypsies reading comics. There are piles of iron, piles of chairs, a pram, and an old large square tent with bobbles on top of it.
A Gypsy constructing a cage for animals from the back of a lorry with bedspreads put across it. And everywhere Gypsies are tap-tapping away at metal from dismantled cars, separating the good from the bad.
MUM: Now Jim, there is that iron cauldron at the back of the lorry. Keep that for me!
JIM: I don’t know. We was going to shop it. All right, have it for a day.
MUM: I’ll do you a lovely dinner in it. That size, I can really do something good.
DAD: Yes, we’ll take the freedom off a few hares and rabbits to cook them over the open stick fire.
JIM: And dress them in all sorts of herbs, ready to meet their doom.
A little girl carrying a tiny little pup which she has thrust into a battered toy fire engine. The pup is shivering.
MUM: And that table and chair too. I’ll have that table and chair.
She points to an iron table and chair.
JIM: Just for one night.
23. The Same; Later. By the Toilet
Jim is propping up four sheets of corrugated iron together, upright into a square. On top he’s put a watering can on a swivel, so that the system inside can be flushed.
JIM: (slightly ironic)
We know the public health has made certain acts that there must be toilets and water, for health reasons.
23B. Outside the Toilet
Ruben and Gypsy approaching with a churn of water.
23C. Interior of Toilet
Jim sitting on makeshift toilet seat. A jet of water pours down on his head. Jim leaps up and with his trousers down runs out.
JIM: What the bloody - runting -
RUBEN: We was just flushing the toilet for you Jim.
Jim, trying to pull his trousers up, runs out shaking his wet head.
Ruben puts down the bucket.
23D. The Same; Later. The Toilet
Ruben and Amos are tossing stones up into the air, trying to flick them into the toilet.
D: JIM’S GETTING IT TOGETHER WITH MAGGIE
24. Woods Nearby
Jim and Maggie are walking.
JIM: ... There are other things that are even more secret. We have the secret names; the Hillybillies, the Frogs, the Vikings, the Angry Deaths, the Lambs, the Cutlers. The Dead as Old Man’s Knackers. The Priors, the Widesdens, the Longs, the Bats.
MAGGIE: Very significant.
25. The Common
The Prince and Maggie.
PRINCE: They took me chavvies from me.
MAGGIE: What did you say?
PRINCE: They took me chavvies from me. Once I had many. They took them from me.
PRINCE: They said it wasn’t healthy for them living with me ... seeing I was a Gypsy.
26. The Common; Later
The Prince and Maggie.
PRINCE: So I take one gallon dandelion flower petals, and here you see I have one orange, one lemon, three pounds of sugar, one ounce well brewed ginger root, and a half ounce of yeast which I will put on toast.
Well, first I wash the dandelion petals well and I cover them with boiling water. I allow them to stand for three days, stirring often and squeezing the flowers. Then I pour boiling water on them. So then I’ll leave them and after then I’ll strain off and add the liquid and thin rind of the lemon and orange as well as the fruit sliced up. I’ll boil for an hour in one gallon of water, and allow to cool. Then will be good times, good days and nights, and many.
27. The Common; Later
Mum and Maggie.
MUM: Well, I’d like to go far away. I’d like to get right out of the county if I could, like out of the world. But it’s Jim’s Dad, it’s where he goes I gotta go, sorta thing, but if I had my way I wouldn’t be in this county, not an hour, ‘cos I don’t, you know, now I’ve lost me father, I’ve got no time at all for this county, like somehow, you know, just to come back in the winter, I wouldn’t mind that, but for the rest, I’d like to be away in the other parts.
28. The Common; Later
The Prince is teaching some children, and Maggie.
PRINCE: The Irish Traveller’s language is named Cant, Shelta and Gammon. The Romany word for rabbit is chuchi, the Cant word for rabbit is squalon. In Cant a horse is called coral, in Romany, grai. Child in Romany is chavvy, in Cant, galya. If I was to say; ‘Calune na stach ne monya na pavee an Rom’, this would mean in English; ‘God look good over the Tinker and the Gypsy’. If I said to a Traveller; ‘Stach the monya locken’, it would mean in English; ‘Look at the lovely girl’.
29. The Common; Later
By the fire. Jim half listens, bored, as the Prince, holding a hedgehog, is talking to Maggie.
PRINCE: First you got to get your hotchi open, and this ain’t no easy thing. What you do is like this; stroke him until his legs come out and his head and then you knock him out on the nose. Like this. You just stun him, you ain’t killed him. You cut off the top of his head slightly underneath the belly or the gut and keep pushing and the lot comes away. Then, if you like, you nip his feet, but a lot of Travellers would leave his feet on. I like leaving the feet on myself, you never get the exact taste of the feet but I think they give a bit of flavour to it. Dig yourself a fair sized hole - like this one here - put plenty of dead leaf in it - and put yourself a good fire on top, roll up your hotchi in a ball of clay.
30. The Common; Later
Music is playing from an old clockwork gramophone, operated by a child.
The little patch of forest in which the Gypsies are settled must have been beautiful once. Now the upper parts of the trees are still beautiful but the undergrowth has been cut for firewood and car chassis and car seats and old mattresses and bedsteads litter the ground where grass was. Jim is mending a lorry engine.
31. A Corner of the Harvest Fields
Subsequent to making love, Maggie lays in Jim’s arms on the cold red earth behind the crops.
MAGGIE: I’d prefer to live in the open. For one thing, it would be better on the children.
She looks appraisingly at Jim. Jim does not react. Jim’s lurcher comes and barks vociferously. Maggie, annoyed, sits up and rubs her eyes. The dog continues to bark.
MAGGIE: Why is he doing that?
JIM: Oh, he always does that to wake me up in the morning. He thinks I’ve been too long sleeping.
MAGGIE: You’ve not been sleeping.
31B. Harvest Fields; Later
Jim and Maggie in a romantic mood.
JIM: You have those big eyes, big blue eyes and I say to myself; ‘That’s the one for me’. It’s wonderful times we’re having this summer, don’t we? Wonderful times among the hops.
MAGGIE: Yes, it’s nice here. I prefer it in the open. Open plan living.
32. The Common
The Prince is reading Maggie’s palm.
PRINCE: And now, I see even more of your fortune unfold in your hand. Hm. You are benevolent and thoughtful for others. One who likes travel and change and firm made friendships. You are rather wild but kind, strong willed, and very loving. Elect in company, would give and go without yourself. Good in principle, considerate and just. Hasty in choice of things, not easily deceived. Quick in comprehension, can give and take a joke but don’t trust others too much.
E: THE ELOPEMENT: PROGRESS TO MAGGIE PREGNANT
33. In Jim’s Lorry; Early Morning
MAGGIE: My Dad was at me again last night. He kicked up a right shindy, he did, about me going with you. He said; ‘What do you want with him? You’re too good for him. I won’t have you going with a Gypsy.’
JIM: Well, I’m glad we’re doing what we’re doing.
34. In Jim’s Lorry; Later
JIM: I feel remorse now that I took it, ‘cos it belonged to my Dad. Well, my Dad’s got enough to buy a second lorry now, hasn’t he? And his caravan. He won’t miss this old lorry. Shouldn’t do. (He’s a little doubtful about this.)
35. By the Lorry; Later
They are standing in a rolling part of the countryside.
MAGGIE: But ... Jim ... don’t you ever wish you had a home, you know, somewhere you could settle down, somewhere where you could be secure, some little house somewhere to call your home?
JIM: Maggie, I have a home.
He looks out across the countryside.
JIM: This is my home, Maggie. All of this far stretching countryside.
36. By the Road - Tent
There’s a rudimentary tent made from tarpaulin hung down along a length of rope tied to a tree from the back of the lorry.
Inside we find Maggie and Jim beneath some blankets.
Maggie, you are good in bed.
MAGGIE: That’s if you’d got me a bed to lay in!
JIM: Never worry, Maggie.
37. At a Stopping Place
Jim cooking on an open fire. Maggie sits watching.
JIM: I’d say a house was too big a price. Like if a Gorjio has a friend, well he may live a long way apart, the houses will split him up from his friend. But, well, if you’re a Gypsy, you move your house to be next to your friend. We put friendship in front of the dwelling.
Gypsies never make a worry out of life. They take life as it comes.
Gypsies may move into houses but soon the old travelling urge comes out in them again.
My nephew was in a house, he was well set up. But when the urge come on him he sold up, bought a varda and went on the road.
Still we get the urge as the summer comes. Travellers want to get away, travel. We’re independent. We try to go to work for a boss but we can’t because we can’t take orders. We have to work for ourselves.
MAGGIE: Do you people really come from India?
JIM: I don’t know. It is too long ago.
Maggie turns to lean against him, caressing him.
MAGGIE: Mystery man, Gypsy man, I don’t know really who you are or where you come from, all I know is, mystery man ... I love you ... and I’m carrying your baby!
JIM: My baby! Are you kidding?
MAGGIE: (after a pause)
Yes, I am kidding.
F: THE CAR DUMP. PROGRESS TO MAGGIE LEAVING
38. An abandoned rusty car dump
Two or three hundred cars are piled here, one on top of each other. Jim proudly leads Maggie towards it.
JIM: There! Look at that!
MAGGIE: What’s this then?
JIM: Well, what is it? You tell me.
MAGGIE: Well, it’s a pile of crashed up motors.
JIM: Some of them have been crashed a long time, eh?
JIM: Some might be classic, even vintage?
MAGGIE: Some might even have trees growing through them.
JIM: How many motors would you say there are here?
MAGGIE: I don’ know. A thousand?
JIM: Not quite. But I reckon there’s three hundred cars there. And, well, just you and me are going to live here.
MAGGIE: Live here? Live here? No! Live in this rusty old pile of old motors? (camping it) Is this the home you promised me?
JIM: It’s only for a while. Well, some of them is very cushti.
He throws open the rear door of an estate wagon.
MAGGIE: People can’t live in cars. Cars is for travelling around in.
JIM: Here’s your living room.
He opens the door of another car nearby.
JIM: And here’s your bedroom.
MAGGIE: I never heard of living in a motor. I don’t know that I can face it!
39. Car Dump; Later
Jim and Maggie pick their way through the car dump.
JIM: Just till I can get enough money to buy us a proper trailer.
Maggie, to a Gorjio a pile of scrap is ugly. But to a Traveller it’s beautiful. I’ll tell you what this pile of scrap is like to a Traveller. It’s like a pile of three thousand pounds! This great heap of cars, when it’s bust up, it’s worth money. And I can get it for next to nothing - well, for a small amount which I do have. So let’s just live here while I bust it up - and then we’ll have a wonderful home.
Maggie is doubtful.
40. Car Dump
They are in a small clearing in the dump, surrounded by rusting car bodies.
Maggie is cooking in a big pot on a fire. She washes dishes in another big pot. A transistor radio is jabbering. Maggie consults a cook book.
With the cook book in one hand, she peers at herself in a motor mirror, while putting make-up on with the other.
She goes to put the finishing touches to a bed made up in a Cortina Estate. She puts her hand to her mouth and clutches her stomach.
MAGGIE: That bloody water. It’s poison. Jim! That last lot of water you got! It’s poison!
40B. Car Dump
A stranger stands watching Jim aggressively. He is at work breaking up the cars, converting them into their various saleable components. They’ve exchanged words already.
STRANGER: Okay. Answer me just one more question.
JIM: I’ll answer your question.
STRANGER: Right. Here it is.
JIM: But first you must show me your licence.
JIM: Your licence to ask questions.
40C. Car Dump
MAGGIE: What have the Gorjios against Gypsies, Jim?
JIM: Who knows?
MAGGIE: No, Jim. That’s not enough.
JIM: What d’you mean?
MAGGIE: Well - it’s not enough to say ‘who knows?’ There must be a reason.
JIM: Such as we leave refuse around the place.
MAGGIE: Right. Well, do we?
JIM: Some Gypsies do. But the councils, they won’t give us refuse collection. Anyway, who makes the more mess? The Gypsy with his little old load of scrap, or the Gorjio with his roads and motorways, factories, housing estates, pollution?
MAGGIE: Are Gypsies thieves?
JIM: Well, there’s some thieves among the Gypsies, just as there are among the Gorjio folk. We got no more thieves than the Gorjios.
MAGGIE: Why do they say we all are then?
JIM: They say that Gypsies are thieves because - they don’t like us being different. Anyway, who’s the thieves? We had this whole land once to roam through. We fought for this land in the war. Gypsies died for this land in the army. The Gorjios have stolen it all from us - everything. They say we’re thieves because - they’ve stolen from us and they feel guilty.
40D. Car Dump
Maggie washing clothes in the stream. She returns to hang them out to dry on a line strung between motors. Then she goes to sit in their ‘bedroom’ and reads comics.
Rust dust from a car that Jim is breaking up drifts over her, and the washing.
MAGGIE: Oh, Jim, Jim. Look, it’s gone over the washing!
Jim is in a precarious position and shouts;
JIM: Hang on a moment, Maggie!
MAGGIE: When I went with the Gypsies I thought we was going to live in a caravan, not in a car dump.
JIM: I never said we were going to live in a bloody caravan.
MAGGIE: Oh, Jim, Jim, I hate it! Look, it’s all spoiled.
JIM: Why do you have to hang it out when I’m doing the breaking?
MAGGIE: I thought the point of being a Gypsy is, you live in a caravan, not a car dump. Jim, I hate it!
JIM: What’s that? You hate me?
MAGGIE: I never said I hate you. I said I hate it!
40E. Car Dump
Jim’s lorry piled high with scrap, its engine running.
JIM: See you later, Maggie.
The lorry moves off.
MAGGIE: Good luck, Jim!
She settles down by the fire.
41. Abandoned Rusty Car Dump
The empty lorry is returning. It is growing dark. Maggie looks up. The engine stops. Jim jumps down and comes towards her.
JIM: Put these in your panties, Maggie. Ancient Gypsy tradition.
Maggie takes from him a large wad of notes.
MAGGIE: Jim! Jim! How much, Jim?
JIM: Count it! Nor is that all!
Maggie looks beyond the remaining cars in the dump to where, behind the lorry, she catches sight of a smart lorry.
There is triumphant music from a stereo system in the lorry.
From Maggie’s point of view we see details of the lorry. It’s decorated exotically like a Romany caravan, with details of cut glass in its windows, vinyl curtains, silver plated bowls and plates on walls, candlewick cushions, a candlewick bedspread, a two-belled clock, and a load of lustre.
43. In the New Lorry
Jim, eating a large chunk of bread and butter and quaffing a mug of tea. He looks outside at Maggie, who’s returning with a churn of water. She’s wearing a dress that sits closely on her figure, but a slip sticks out of her decolletage.
JIM: (to himself) She’s a seductive woman. (Then, as she gets close enough to come into earshot); Hey Maggie! You shouldn’t wear that slip with that dress.
MAGGIE: And why not?
JIM: It sticks out the top and makes you look - well, makes you look not so good as you would if you didn’t have it.
MAGGIE: I’ve got to wear it.
MAGGIE: If I don’t wear it the fellows whistle. You know you don’t like that.
The daylight is filtering through the pink and yellow vinyl curtains. The caravan interior glows like a magic cabin. Jim, ignoring her last remark, continues to munch. He looks up to where on the wall of his caravan hangs a picture of a seductive girl.
JIM: Hey, Maggie, the man who painted that picture must have got a lot of money for it.
JIM: Well, she’s an attractive girl.
MAGGIE: (prevocatively) Is she as attractive as I am?
44. Car Dump
Three old Gypsy women are sitting in a battered open car.
Maggie passes by with shopping.
OLD WOMAN: Hey you!
She beckons Maggie to her. Maggie comes and stands nervously in front of the three old women in their car.
Reverse shot of the women surveying Maggie. She looks voluptuous but a little apprehensive.
OLD WOMAN: You’ll do.
A look of gratitude on Maggie’s face as she continues. She’s been accepted.
45. Car Dump
Maggie is cooking in a cauldron. Jim sits watching.
JIM: A pot you can’t get for love or money, the type of pot like that. Mostly now they use all aluminium saucepans, but I always use the iron pot. There’s many Gypsies today say they don’t believe in those big dirty pots and they’ll have them crumbled, but they’re still using the pot, but they don’t know it because when it was crumbled it went to make one of the small ones!
MAGGIE: Did you ever go to school, Jim?
JIM: Yes I did.
MAGGIE: When was that?
JIM: For three weeks I went to school once. But we got evicted again, so that was that.
He says this without bitterness.
As the steam winds up past her, he gives Maggie a long stare. Maggie notices and says;
MAGGIE: What is it, Jim? Is it that you want your dinner?
45B. Car Dump
Maggie is teaching some Romany kids. She has a Gorjio picture book, but in teaching them she’s putting in a few Romany words she’s learned.
46. Car Dump
I can’t live like this. I can’t. I hate it!
You chose it. It was you got pregnant!
MAGGIE: It was you got me pregnant.
She shakes her fist in joke, then runs off in tears.
47. Car Dump
Maggie is lungeing a horse. It runs round a rope in ever decreasing circles. Finally she brings it to a halt alongside Jim, where he is working. Jim looks up as she walks up to him, pleased with herself.
MAGGIE: D’you know, I think he likes me better because I’m a girl. D’you think so, Jim?
JIM: (indulgently, proud of her skill at horsebreaking)
He knows you to be a girl but he does not know you to be a girl.
MAGGIE: What? Jim, but that’s nonsense! That’s foolish! How can he know I’m a girl and not know I’m a girl?
JIM: (quietly, very angry)
I am not foolish.
Maggie is stroking the nose of the horse. Jim says;
JIM: Reckon we’ll move on this evening, Maggie.
MAGGIE: But I’ve just done the washing, Jim. It’ll be a day drying.
JIM: Put it in the pillowcases. We’ll hang it up when we get where we’re going.
MAGGIE: It rots it like that. It’s not good for it. Anyway, where are we going?
MAGGIE: Jim, it’s a nice place here. Let’s stay.
JIM: It’s just, I’m pissed off with breaking up these motors. Let’s go away for a day or so, then come back and I’ll finish the job.
48. In Jim’s Trailer
Maggie is reading, Jim listening.
MAGGIE: Amazing seventy pence offer, one frame and four pictures.
JIM: Eh? Yeah, yeah.
MAGGIE: Four irresistible wide-eyed puppies in full colour for your home. Beautiful and appealing original oil painting now yours as full colour large fine arts prints.
JIM: Go on!
MAGGIE: Everyone likes these appealing waifs with their adorable warmth and touching wide eyes. That’s because the artist Lewis, one of Britain’s most perceptive painters of animals, has captured the universal appeal and charm of his favourite subject. Under his sensitive brush ...
JIM: All right. Now that.
MAGGIE: Freed the girl the dentist forgot. Attractive Sandra Smithson went to the dentist yesterday and left hours later down a police ladder. Dentist Bruce Fuller had told Sandra to sit in the waiting room when she felt giddy after a filling. Then he disappeared. All in a day’s work, joked PC John Royall, as he forced open the window and helped Sandra to safety.
JIM: Now that one.
MAGGIE: Help. I’ve got a squirrel up my bidet ... er ...
(she loses her place)
JIM: (proud of her)
It’s good that you can read, Maggie. Now read me this in case we ever need it.
He produces the spell that the Prince gave him. Maggie glances at him to see if he’s in earnest. Then Maggie begins to read the spell.
JIM: All right, that’s enough. It has no power till you put in the very last word.
MAGGIE: Do you believe in it?
MAGGIE: I don’t ...
49. The Car Dump
MAGGIE: I’ll be having the baby soon.
MAGGIE: How do I do it?
JIM: How do you mean?
MAGGIE: I mean, should I register at a hospital? Or what? How do the Gypsies do it?
JIM: Suppose you ought to be in a hospital.
MAGGIE: Do the Travellers go to hospital?
JIM: Well, no. Not usually.
MAGGIE: I’ll do it the Traveller’s way.
She takes his hand.
50. The Car Dump
JIM: That’s our tradition. That’s the way it’s done.
MAGGIE: You mean, I have it in a tent outside the caravan? Can’t I have it in the caravan?
JIM: Not the way we do it.
51. The Car Dump
Maggie returns, crying.
JIM: What’s up, Maggie?
MAGGIE: Jim, I don’t understand it. I really don’t.
MAGGIE: That vicar. At that church. I was taking some water from the churchyard tap and he told me to stop. Said it was meant to be locked. Why are the Gorjios like that?
JIM: Hm. Some places is especial bad. Bagsden, for instance. Water’s bad there. They won’t give you a spot of water at Bagsden. Other places, they charge you fifty p for five gallons.
MAGGIE: But why?
52. The Car Dump
A cooking pot has spilt on the ground. Maggie is crying.
MAGGIE: I’ve got to go, Jim. Can’t you see? Got to. I can’t stand it.
So. You want to go home?
MAGGIE: I must, Jim.
Jim hits her across the face.
MAGGIE: No, Jim!
He continues to slap her across the face.
MAGGIE: I hate you, hate you, hate you!
JIM: Because I’m a Gypsy, eh?
JIM: You hate me because I’m a Gypsy, don’t you?
Maggie runs away. Too late, Jim runs after her. He can’t find her.
G: MAGGIE’S MUM’S PLACE
53. Maggie’s Mum’s Place
Maggie sits in her Mum’s dream kitchen, listlessly watching her make a pot of tea.
MUM: I knew you’d come back one day, darling.
53B. The Car Dump
Jim at work. The cars are nearly all gone.
54. In a Café
A man is chatting Maggie up. Jukebox is playing.
MAN: It’s funny, when I talk to you, I feel I’ve known you always.
MAN: Why are you sighing?
54B. The Car Dump
Jim returns and stows away a huge wad of notes.
55. Bingo Session
With her Mum, Maggie sits at Bingo.
55B. Caravan Sales Pitch
Jim has bought an extremely exotic Westmorland Star Romany Gypsy caravan. The sales person is pointing out a few final details which enables us to have a look at it. Jim hitches it to his lorry and, a little sadly, drives off in it.
56. At Maggie’s Mum’s Place
Maggie is preparing a meal, dropping the scraps on the floor as she is accustomed to do when cooking in the open.
MUM: You’ve picked up some pretty unpleasant ways while you were with your Gypsy friends.
M’S SISTER: She is a Gypsy. Always was a Gypsy.
Maggie turns to look at her sister. For some reason that she can’t understand, she’s crying.
57. At a Fête
A Lady with blue hair and an extraordinary hat makes a speech.
Maggie looks up at the sky and sees a bird flying.
58. At a Hostelrie
Jim now has plenty of money but he’s lonely. He’s parked the caravan outside while he has a drink. Now he’s heading for ...
H: THE HORSE FAIR
59. A Horse Fair
We see a series of vignettes, presenting the great horse fair.
Two Gypsies are haggling over a horse which one holds.
GYPSY: How much do you want for that grai, brother?
The haggling goes on and on.
60. The Horse Fair
GYPSY: How much for the dog, mush?
The dog starts barking.
GYPSY: Ah, that dog he knows every word.
GYPSY: Get on!
60B. The Horse Fair
GYPSY: (with a donkey)
Yes, he’s good, is very good with a herd ... If a cow should fall in a bog, he will cry for help.
60C. The Horse Fair
WOMAN: ... Not very well. Because, the menfolk keep being taken from me.
JIM: Why would that be, then?
WOMAN: Well, they don’t understand all these forms to do with the lorry, they can’t read them, you see. So the law has took them away.
60D. The Horse Fair
GYPSY: Yes, we buried her. She was put in an oak tree, filled with fern, laid to rest in a bright coloured frock with an ounce of baccy and a pipe in one hand and a box of matches and a box of snuff in the other.
GYPSY: Yes, I reckon death should be the same as a wedding.
60E. The Horse Fair
GYPSY: Give you a fiver for that jukel, mush.
60F. The Horse Fair
PRINCE: So I hit him with a bottle. The swiftness of the ash plant in my hand knocked him kicking. Five policemen came and they were hit to the ground like hailstones. A battalion came. The battle was started. I charged! And twenty-two police were left to dry in the streets!
60G. The Horse Fair
OLD GYPSY: Well, if I had my rights I wouldn’t be sitting by this wee fire here tonight.
60H. The Horse Fair
Beautiful Lola, wearing exotic pseudo Gypsy gear.
GYPSY: What you do? Are you a Traveller?
LOLA: Do I look like a Traveller?
GYPSY: Well, yes.
GYPSY: No, she’s no Gypsy. She’s just pretending.
GYPSY: You’re a Gorjio, ‘ent yer?
GYPSY: Why you come here?
LOLA: I’m a dealer in harness.
She flaunts the leather studded belt round her waist.
GYPSY: How much you want for that then?
LOLA: It’s not for sale.
60I. The Horse Fair, The Moors
SETH: So I built this edifice. Now it can be told. It is a memorial to Mariella, the best wife that ever took wild justice from her man and gave fair do’s to all her sons. She was fair, fair as women can be. May she rest in peace.
A group of Travellers are crowding round a tree. A woman with a fibre-paper carton of eggs. She throws an egg.
GYPSY: What is it? What is it?
GYPSY: What they do? What they do?
GYPSY: Them Gorjios. Them feik under a cosh.
Lola and her boyfriend are kissing tenderly under a tree.
GYPSY: Don’t bring them nacri Gorjio habits here.
They continue to throw eggs, etc. at them.
60J. The Horse Fair; By a Fire
PRINCE: ... With a horse-drawn vehicle, you see, the police well knew that you couldn’t go after hours, you’d say; ‘You can’t do that to the horse!’ You know you’ll have the cruelty people on to you. Whereas now with a motor ...
60K. The Horse Fair; Waiting for Water
Mum and the Prince, with the Sun newspaper, talking to other Gypsies.
MUM: Yes, well a Gorjio come one time, asked me would I vote.
PRINCE: Don’t hold with it. We bin asked scores and scores of times to vote but we see no sense in it.
MUM: We don’t understand it.
PRINCE: I mean, it’s no good for the likes of us, one of us going in to try and vote ‘cos we can’t. We’re no scholars, I mean, we can’t read or write.
MUM: There’s very few of us scholars.
PRINCE: Yes, and it would be no good me going in and voting for one company, you know, one lot of government, if it was Labour, Liberal, whatever it was, you see - we shouldn’t understand it. That is the trouble. Anyway, I say, they’re all the same. There’s no one for the Travellers.
Lola with Jim’s palm.
LOLA: This palm is the same. I have observed that in the palms of so many people the life line stops ahead in a few years’ time - and at the same time for all of them almost to the hour and day.
JIM: What does that mean? That makes me afeared.
LOLA: Talking to others who read palms they’ve told me the same.
JIM: That means many people is going to die at the same time, all at once.
LOLA: Looks like it.
MUM: That makes me afeared.
60L. The Horse Fair
On Appleby top
You will find an old fair
It draws on the Travellers
Year after year.
There you will see
Didi’s Deece’s and Liahs
Sit cooking their scran
Round smoky wood fires.
There are Skewbalds and Piebalds
And flea-bitten grais
Like some of us
They have seen better days.
With a queezy leg here
Or a bog spavin there
We will take knacker prices
For those at the fair.
60M. The Horse Fair
But what did they fight for and why did they die?
For freedom to wander around.
But where can we wander; there’s no place to go
For they’re closing our camping grounds down.
At the end, the Audience is equable, but the Gypsy is in tears.
CROWD: Good old Bob.
They clap him on the back. The Gypsy sings a couple of lines of an old love song, with tears in his eyes.
60N. Another Part of the Horse Fair
Luke and Amelia Smith and Young Smith, and Mum and Dad.
LUKE: Best thing we ever did, I’m telling you.
MUM: I reckon you may be lucky. It’s not everyone can find a place on one. So what’s it like on the Gorgiman sites?
LUKE: Nothing but kindness.
YOUNG S: Us got a bathroom.
LUKE: Gorgio builds huts like little houses. You stop the trailer alongside, inside a bathroom.
YOUNG S: And a toilet!
DAD: Never had a bath. (a little wistfully, then he sees the Prince approaching and says, more defiantly) Never held with it.
Enter the Prince.
PRINCE: (severely, to the Smiths) Travellers don’t hold with no baths, you know that. We wash traveller way with a bucket. Cleaner than Gorgios. Modest but down and up, up and down, down and up, up to the bottom.
AMELIA: (ignoring the Prince, to Dad) Well, we’re pleased to have the bath, Zeke, Gorgio ways or no ways. And it’s no more hassle, no more hassle beside the roadway.
DAD: They tell me, though, that Gorgio man has his own rules on the council sites.
AMELIA: Oh, nothing much. Nothing really. They do have rules and regulations, but nothing too bad really.
DAD: Like - no jukels, no fowl. No open air jog.
AMELIA: I can understand it though. But Gorgio’s attitudes are different, very much different.
DAD: (persuing his point) What about yours though? Can you keep the jukels?
YOUNG S: Dad slashed all their throats and put ‘em in the binbag!
Amelia Smith remonstrates with her son.
DAD: And the old dealing, scrap dealing. Can you do that?
MUM: And the open stick fire?
LUKE: No. Not on ours.
AMELIA: No. But we don’t need no open stick fire now ‘cos we has luvver to buy coke for the stove in the trailer. And he don’t need no job now. He’s signing on, at the Social. Gorgio gives us money. They have a council bloke that helps us fill in the forms, you know. We gets luvver, so much luvver.
DAD: Don’t sound much cop to me. What’s a Traveller or any man can’t make his living. I wouldn’t take no support from the Social. Ask or receive.
AMELIA: Yes, but Luke’s not so well as he was. It’s his legs. And we’re neither so young as we was. And the scrap, down our way, it’s not never so good as it was. Times are not easy.
DAD: Even so.
LUKE: Then there’s all the hassle on the commons and laybys. Don’t know why, but down our way these days it’s push and shove, push, shove, push, shove all day long. Gorgio got into his head to be nacri.
AMELIA: Luke says the new age travellers in all them buses and benders been riling the gavmush so he become vicious.
PRINCE: (loudly, in case any others are tempted to abandon the official Gypsy line) It’s not too bad down our way. And I reckon we got something you haven’t. Worth all the luvver and council sites. What’s that? We got our freedom.
MUM: I mean, don’t you feel they’re turning you into Gorgios?
61. The Horse Fair; Later
LETHCO: (through a portable speaker)
I’m not an educated man, but I’m a man of experience and I do know the way these things are done. Some of us have been talking this over - the travelling people who are on this ground - and we say that we agree to form this Travelling Traders Association (suppose that will be the name). You may not see results right away, the first year ... but there’s got to be a beginning for all things.
Because you are driven from pillar to post, out of one district to another and you have no rest on the road. There is a remedy for our people, we are British subjects; we are entitled to justice. Other minorities in this country, even those who come from abroad, are looked after and their human rights respected, but you’ve got nothing, or nobody to care, or no place to live, nor even to rest.
You are technically a people ‘of no fixed abode’ ... I’m not thinking about you men, I’m thinking about your little children. The time has come when they should all be able to go to school and get some education.
A Gypsy comes up from the crowd.
GYPSY: Bollocks! Bollocks!
LETHCO: What I am saying is the truth!
GYPSY: I’m not his son!
61B. At the Horse Fair
DAD: Eh! Look who’s here!
Jim’s lorry, complete with trailer, is approaching. Jim climbs down and approaches his Dad. Mum and the Prince come and embrace Jim.
And now once again Jim and his family are as close as they were before.
JIM: My Dad is all right, you know. In fact he is a corker. He can pick a leaf off a tree, any tree, and tell you what it is. He can imitate any bird in the world! He’s a fine musician and he’s a prime dealer as well. He’s the only man who can clinch a deal while dancing a reel.
No, son ...
61C. At the Horse Fair
MUM: So many people here. Penfolds, Smiths, Lees, everyone! So many people!
DAD: There’s someone here for you, by the way, Jim.
It is Maggie. She has a baby with her. Jim stands rooted to the spot. Now she’s got a baby, Maggie is the centre of attention, and the others crowd round Maggie, admiring the baby.
MUM: That’s Jim’s then?
MAGGIE: Ask Jim.
All look over towards Jim.
Jim goes over to Maggie and they embrace. Jim and Maggie will be together now till the end of our story.
62. The Horse Fair
They are leaving the fair. A long line of wagons and trailers. A real horse-drawn varda is one of them, with real Gypsy and Dave at the reins.
A police car.
GAVVER PRIOR: Right, get off this manor, you bloody Gypsies. Get off this manor and don’t come back.
The police radio is crackling.
DAD: Say something to them, Jim.
JIM: No, leave them be.
GAVVER PRIOR: (as before)
DAD: Stop the lorry. I’ll talk to them.
He jumps down and goes over to the Gavver.
DAD: Mush, why do you talk to us like that? We’re human beings like you.
Gavver Price gets from the car.
GAVVER: Did you want to say something?
DAD: I said, don’t talk to us like that. We’re all human beings. Just, our ways are different to yours.
GAVVER: Who are you then? You’ve got a lot of spunk for a Gypsy.
DAD: Why do you divide the world into Gypsies and Gorjios?
Gavver Prior looks at him with a hard long gaze.
62B. The Horse Fair; By a Fire
MUM: There’s come the time makes me see we’ve been false to be too happy. The shades, I reckon, they’ve come to say to themselves that we’ve had things good long enough.
RUBEN: Yes, I don’t know why they’ve decided to make our lives a misery.
MUM: I don’t know what it is, but now it has been one long story of shove, shove, push and shove, push, push, push, shove all day long.
RUBEN: Yes, that’s right.
DAD: I do know what it is. They know the parliament has enacted to chase us off the earth. So, they’re trying to chase us away from there so they can say there’s no more Gypsies.
63. Stopping Place
A shade car draws up and three shades (security men) get from out the car. And they come and stand by Jim.
SHADE: Are you aware that you are on private property? What’s your name? What are you doing here? Where are you going?
Jim begins to reply but they interrupt.
SHADE: Listen when I’m speaking to you, you ignorant man.
SHADE: Well, I give you three hours flat to get out of this manor.
The land that they have reached at this point in their odyssey is waste land, fucked up land, with factories in the background and a few trees, and rubbish tips. The industrial midlands, the most fucked-up countryside in the world.
Shades bang on the side of the trailer.
SHADES: Right, you’ve got one hour to get going from this borough. Get going, come on - get going! You’ve had ample warning.
Jim is eating his bit of grub.
JIM: Yes, all right, we’ll move on boys, just give us five minutes, won’t you, because we’ve just got our breakfast ready, so we can tidy up and get moving, and have our nice bit of bacon, then we’ll go. All right?
SHADE: Get going now! When I tell you.
64. Eviction Area
Caravans being shifted by bulldozers, tractors.
I: EVICTION. PROGRESS TO GETTING A PLACE ON THE COUNCIL
65. Eviction Area
Maggie and Jim are sitting in the lorry.
MAGGIE: Can’t we go back to the country, Jim?
JIM: It’s the wrong time of year for the country.
JIM: Well, there’s no living to be had in the country now fruiting’s over. And they chased us out of the country, didn’t they?
65B. Eviction Area
Early in the morning. A shade banging on the door of the caravan. Jim appears, looking dishevelled.
SHADE: You’re on again. What’s your name?
JIM: All right, mush. We’re just going.
65C. Eviction Area; Montage of
Trailers being moved, amongst them Jim’s and an old horse-drawn varda, an old man at the reins.
65D. Eviction Area
Jim’s caravan is standing by a grassy verge of a leafy lane, and Jim is sitting outside, rolling a cigarette before going in to bed. A shade appears.
SHADE: Will you people never learn? I told you. You can’t stop here. We don’t want Gypsies in this manor.
66. In a Pub
Jim and Maggie drinking.
STUDENT: You’re trying to lead a nineteenth century life in the twentieth century. Your lifestyle is as dead as that of the thatcher and the cooper and the hostler and the street sweeper. You’re an anachronism. You’re living in the past. And everything you do only takes you further from the modern world, not nearer.
Jim is about to reply, but it is just after closing time and two barmen walk in, taking the half empty glasses away from Jim and Maggie and others drinking there.
SHADE: Come on, you know it’s after closing time. Come on, drink up, hurry up!
JIM: We were just going to be off. Oh, what’s the use?
67. Stopping Place
Jim is lying by the fire. Maggie and child nearby. The Prince. The Heroic Inspector is going on at Jim and won’t leave him alone.
HERO INS: Move! When will you be going? While I stay here you don’t stay. Move! While I remain in uniform, you won’t remain in this manor.
JIM: Yes, but please why do you say bad words to the travelling people, you want to make them angry? You are bad man!
SHADE: I don’t care if I’m a bad man or no. While I remain in uniform, you don’t remain long in this manor. Anyway, who do you think you are, you filthy Gyppo. Stand up when you talk to me. Move! Move!
Jim sheepishly stands.
68. Stopping Place
A car’s headlamps light up the caravan. Then there comes the splintering crash of some form of amateur petrol bomb exploding, breaking glass, and the frenzied barking of dogs. The bomb has gone through the rear window.
It was a car, that’s all. A passing car. They were passing by and threw a sort of bomb out.
Maggie appears from the trailer, holding the baby. There is blood over them.
69. By a River
Jim, Maggie, Baby. They are sitting by the water, momentarily at peace.
MAGGIE: Jim, when she grows up a little, shall we let her go to school?
JIM: School? Where’s the point in school? Gorjio teaching. Gorjio learning. That’s what’s school.
Jim lies over the bank with his hand in the water. Maggie, with the baby, watches. Jim climbs to be beside them and says to the baby;
JIM: And many’s the bite you’ll get one day from pike or eel under the bank or under the bridge or stone in the river. Plunge your hand in the water, put your hand lightly along the side of the fish until you get your fingers near his gills, then squeeze lightly on the gills with thumb and forefinger and he’ll be yours, little Maggie.
Maggie smiles at Jim and the baby looks on passive, uncomprehending.
70. In Jim’s Trailer; Night
Silhoutted against the door, moaning slightly, is a small misshapen figure wearing an oversized overcoat. It grows and grows till it is a miraculous height, towering eight feet. The baby is terrified.
From behind the overcoat Jim emerges. Horror, followed by the amazement of the baby.
71. In Jim’s Lorry
Jim, Maggie, baby, in the cabin as Jim drives. Jim looks in the mirror.
JIM: That bloody squad car. He’s been following me ten minutes.
Jim pulls into a layby and stops. The police car comes in front of them and stops, and the PC walks back.
P.C.: You can’t stop here.
All right, mush.
Jim starts the engine again and drives on. He peers in the mirror to check that the shade is off his back and then turns off the main road, down a lane. Jim looks again into his mirror.
JIM: That’s got rid of him. We’ll be all right down here.
Jim pulls onto a bit of grassy verge and stops. The police car appears again, passes them and stops. The shade is walking back towards them.
71B. By Jim’s Caravan
Three shades are approaching. One of them holds a piece of paper. Jim sees them coming and skips into the caravan and slams the door. The curtains are drawn. Maggie is already in there with the baby. They sit silent. Nothing happens for a moment, but unknown to them the shades are standing just outside.
JIM: I hate that man.
Gently, so as not to disturb the curtain, Jim looks out through the window. The shades are standing so close that when Jim looks out through the window he can’t see them.
Jim opens the door a chink and looks out. The shades make a rush. And once again Jim slams the door shut.
Gypsies in a nearby trailer set up protective screaming.
And so the shade walks away from the caravan and he goes over to the squad car and he talks into the phone of his car and says;
SHADE: Garnet here. Get me back up. Get me two dogs.
And now there are four shades outside the caravan, trying to get their fingers round the steel rim of the door to pull it open. The police dogs have arrived and they’re trying to put them through. And when they don’t succeed at that, they go round to the windows outside of the caravan and try to force them open to put in the police dogs.
One shade, meanwhile, is sitting in a police car, talking on the mobile.
The shades have got one of the windows open and the head of the first dog goes into the caravan. And the baby is screaming and Maggie is shouting and screaming too, as is the Traveller’s habit to behave when things are going against them in order that people may know what is going on.
Inside the caravan, terrified by the heads of the dogs and what they might do to the child, now Maggie throws open the door of the caravan and shouts.
MAGGIE: You’re fucking beasts! Get those dogs out of our trailer!
And there are many Gypsies now gathered round the door of the caravan and the windows are partly shut so the shades can’t get more than the heads of the dogs in. A Gypsy comments;
GYPSY: Of what sort of men, what men, what sort of men can these be? Of a certain they say there are many mistakes made in the world. But the biggest mistakes of all are made in bed.
So then the shades make a charge at the door of the caravan. It breaks. Maggie is screaming and the shades go in.
And as Maggie lies back screaming, Jim is standing in the further part of the caravan by the baby, and he is throwing things at them, plates, carbolic soap, and then the transistor radio.
But the police officers come for him and they seize Jim and they handle him out of the trailer, and they take him and he is struggling as they put him in the police car.
And Maggie, when she sees what is happening, runs out of the caravan leaving the baby and runs after him.
MAGGIE: You’re not taking him without me. I’m coming too!
P.C.: He’s going on his own.
She jumps into the car beside him. Another Gypsy goes to look after the baby.
71C. In the Police Car
Maggie knows that Jim has money on him, and so Jim transfers a wadge of notes from himself to Maggie and she hides it in her clothes.
72. Police Station Cell
Jim on his own. A shade comes in and shuts the door behind him. He hits Jim in the stomach.
JIM: Hit me in the face! Go on! Where it will show!
P.C.: You filthy Gyppo, I’ll hit you in the face and all.
He prepares to hit Jim.
JIM: (shouts as loud as he can)
He’s hit me, he’s hit me!
Another shade comes in.
SHADE 2: What’s all this noise about?
SHADE 1: Oh, he was using insulting language and trying to strike me.
JIM: That’s not true.
SHADE 2: Tomorrow you go to court.
The shades go out. Jim looks round the cell.
Jim sits with his hands in the position of prayer.
73. At the Slaughterhouse
PRINCE: One sheep’s gut. One cow’s head. One pig’s head. One sheep’s hind foot.
ATTENDANT: Yes, sir.
PRINCE: Put ‘em in that sack.
ATTENDANT: Yes, sir.
PRINCE: (to himself)
I’ll fix ‘em.
The Prince, watched by the surprised slaughterhouse attendant, raises the sack to his shoulder and begins to leave.
73B. Stopping Place
The Prince has lit a fire. Onto this he has placed green branches, the various animal heads, and a horse’s skull. From a satchel he throws guts and tripe. And he says;
PRINCE: This venom comes with all my heart because you hurt the Travellers. And God in his own good time grant the Travellers revenge.
He speaks the spell.
74. Eviction Area; Dawn
A bulldozer and a lorry are moving towards the woods. A lorry is backing towards a caravan in order to tow it away. Gratton sits on the towbar so that this can’t happen.
GORJIO: Also, tell the womenfolk to stay in the caravans. Then it is illegal to move them.
MUM: Stay in the trailers?
GORJIO: Yes. Really. If we do that they can’t move us.
GYPSY: (to Gorjio)
Who are you, then?
GORJIO: I’m a Gorjio. I’ve come to help you.
GYPSY: Help us? If you really mean it, help us really, have us with you. Have us with you to live in the houses. Have us with you. Have us to live in the houses. Otherwise, fuck off. We don’t want you Gorjios.
75. Eviction Area; Later
PRINCE: Did you hear? Did you hear?
PRINCE: My spell. My spell. It worked!
PRINCE: The town! It’s been flooded.
PRINCE: The river has flooded. There’s water in the streets, up to this high. They won’t touch us after this. Now they know our powers.
76. Eviction Area
Gypsies, screaming, get between the lorries and the caravans, so that the lorries cannot tow the caravans away.
Gypsy women, sitting on the towbars of caravans, call to the children to do the same.
A journalist is talking to a police officer.
JOURNAL: Why exactly is the police force here?
POLICE: We are here to ensure that there is not a breach of the peace.
JOURNAL: You mean, you are here to ensure that the law is not broken?
POLICE: Yes, and also to ensure that nothing is done which might result in the law being broken.
JOURNAL: But surely you know it’s against the law to remove a caravan with people in it. This is part of the Highways Act, isn’t it?
POLICE: Are you trying to inform me what is the law?
JOURNAL: Well, yes, if you deny it. I have it here.
He shows him a copy of the relevant Act.
JOURNAL: Now you see. Well, in that case I hope that you will now prevent these caravans being moved, since there are women and children in them.
POLICE: I’m afraid I’m not able to do that, sir.
JOURNAL: Well, what the heck are you here for if not to see that the law is not broken?
POLICE: We are here to ensure that there is not a breach of the peace.
76B. Eviction Area
A lorry driver has halted.
DRIVER: Sod that for a lark. I’m not going to drive down the women and children.
The Deputy Town Clerk tries to pull a woman off the towbar. But she holds tight. Many of the children are standing in a group by the fire.
GYPSY: Get in the varda!
GYPSY: You can’t move that trailer. There’s an oil stove in it and there’s my kiddies in it!
Two Corporation men are trying to pull Gypsies off a towbar, amongst them, Maggie.
G.C.R. and Travellers are moving a trailer to the entry to the site.
GYPSY: These aren’t really Corporation men. They’re thugs in uniform to come and help in the rout of the Travellers.
The window of Jim’s trailer shatters as a brick is thrown through it. There is blood streaming down the face and chest of a Gypsy child. By the fire where the chavvies stand there is an explosion.
76C. Eviction Area
The trailer at the entrance is on fire.
JIM: We’ve got to get that child to hospital.
GYPSY: They won’t let us. We’ll never get through that lot. Hey, what the
As they look, to the amazement of the Travellers, the Corporation vehicles begin to move back from the caravans down the road.
JIM: What now? They’re going!
GYPSY: Why are they going?
GYPSY: Is this a trick?
An uneasy quietness lies over the place. Gypsies talk amongst themselves. We see the Prince’s face most joyful - his curse has worked!
A Gypsy runs up.
GYPSY: They say a truce has been declared. Er - they say we can stay here for four days.
77. Council Office
Maggie, Mum and Council Official. Maggie is trying to use the sort of jargon that will get through to him.
MAGGIE: It would mean such a great deal to us.
OFFICIAL: It’s true we have a new Traveller site, nearing completion.
MAGGIE: My husband and I, and indeed the whole Lockett family, would so appreciate it if a place could be found for us on it.
MUM: Yes, that’s right, sir, very right, yes Sir.
OFFICIAL: Well, at any rate you are good mannered, which can’t be said for all Gypsies.
MAGGIE: The entire family would absolutely promise to pay the rent on time, and abide by any rules the council would, in its wisdom, care to impose on us.
OFFICIAL: Well ...
He/she consults a huge wad of papers.
OFFICIAL: I see here that there are in fact some voids on the Bagsworth site due to (reads) ‘this group that is the entire Smith family last night unexpectedly voided four adjacent pitches subsequent to skirmishes which broke out while poll-tax inspector was having his palm read. There were some arrears.’ Hm. Know anything about this Smith family?
He/she looks at Maggie over the top of spectacles.
MAGGIE: (piously) Oh no, not a thing.
MUM: Oh no, never met them nor ever had anything to do with them. To be honest, always kept out of their way, sir.
OFFICIAL: Well, let’s have a list of your names then.
He/she scuffles with the papers to find the correct application form.
OFFICIAL: The Lockett family. Can we go in order of seniority?
MAGGIE: Yes, well, the senior member of the family is the Prince. That’s Nathaniel Petulengro Boswell Lockett. Usually known as the Prince.
MAGGIE: Fortune telling and spell binding.
OFFICIAL: His style the Prince is presumably not from membership of the British Aristocracy? (with a touch of irony) Is it perhaps a French or German title?
MAGGIE: (not getting his irony) No, he’s a Gypsy prince.
78. Eviction Area
Early morning. Inside a varda a Gypsy who has risen early looks out through the window and shouts;
GYPSY: By Christ’s bones, here come the shades again.
He pulls on his clothes hastily, shouting to give the alarm. There is panic. Gypsies are getting dressed as fast as they can. Children are crying at being woken suddenly. Gypsies are getting a hasty bite to eat from quickly opened tins or gnawing at chunks of bread.
Down the lane to the common, shades in lorries. Maggie dressing herself and the baby. The doors of various vans fling open and men, dishevelled, appear at them. Security men are dragging Gypsies away from the doors of their caravans.
Gypsies, especially women and children, are gathered round the towbars of the caravans nearest the exit to the common.
79. In a Supermarket
Jim pushing a mobile wire basket which Maggie is filling.
MAN: You’re from the Gypsies, aren’t you?
JIM: What’s it to you?
MAN: Go down to London. There’s places for you Gypsies there. Go down to Hyde Park in London. Have a go there. Give the people up this way a rest.
JIM: Is there a place for Gypsies there? Hyde Park?
MAGGIE: Jim ... (she tries to interrupt)
MAN: Place? There’s hundreds of them. Go down to Hyde Park. Hyde Park Corner. Be all right there. Down there in London it’s not like in these places. They want the Travellers there. It’s right next to the Queen - you know, Buckingham Palace.
JIM: Hm. (again Maggie tries to say something) Who are you then?
MAN: Police Inspector Durant, B Squad.
He shows a card.
80. Another Part of the Eviction
G.C.R.: Why do you treat the Gypsies like that?
SHADE: Because they don’t belong here. This isn’t their place.
G.C.R.: Where is their place, then?
SHADE: I don’t know. But we don’t want them here.
G.C.R.: Whose place is this then?
SHADE: Well, it’s the place of the people who live here, the decent people who live here.
G.C.R.: Are you one of these people? Is this where you come from?
SHADE: Me? No. I’m from the Home Counties.
81. By a Trailer
PRINCE: Did you hear? Did you hear?
PRINCE: My spell. My spell. It worked!
PRINCE: The town! It’s been flooded.
PRINCE: The river has flooded. There’s water in the streets, up to this high. They won’t touch us after this. Now they know our powers.
81B. Eviction Area
A Corporation lorry is reversing up to a trailer. It continues to reverse and two Gypsies on the towbar jump and run out of the path of the reversing lorry.
Security men are picking the caravans up and bodily dragging them out into the lane.
A Roman Catholic priest is kneeling amidst the mud.
PRIEST: You must go! Yes! In the name of God and peace, you must go. Why do you stay here? It is no good for you to be here.
Jim follows beside his caravan as it is towed across the bumpy land towards the lane.
An old man, emerging from his roadman’s shelter on wheels, brandishes an antique gun, raising it over his head.
GYPSY: I’ll shoot the shades!
Other Travellers take his gun and quieten him before the shades notice what is happening.
J: PROGRESS TO THE CURSE
82. In Jim’s Lorry; Trailer behind
Jim is driving. Maggie and the baby are also in the cabin.
MAGGIE: Oh, Jim, we’ve got a site now! I always thought we’d be lucky, Jim.
They have fallen behind the others.
MAGGIE: Are you sure you know the way to the site?
JIM: It’s on this road.
He’s silent for a while. Then he says;
JIM: No, Maggie. Oh, let it go. Let it go.
MAGGIE: What are you saying?
JIM: Let it go.
MAGGIE: Don’t you want to go to the site?
JIM: Let it go. Let’s stay with them didn’t get a site.
MAGGIE: But why, Jim?
JIM: Listen. Listen, Maggie, I’ve been on these council sites.
MAGGIE: I didn’t know that.
JIM: Yes. Visiting, you know. They’re not bad.
MAGGIE: Well, why can’t we stay on one? We’ve got a place.
JIM: They don’t respect your life really on these sites, Maggie. There’s a wire round about them. And I’ve been talking to some of the blokes here about them. One thing, you can’t light fires in the open. And what’s a Traveller without a fire when you can’t have a fire and a bit of smoke. And then you can’t keep animals on them and what’s a Traveller alone of his animals, without his horses and his dogs.
Jim pulls up by the road. They have just reached a slight rise from which they can see the local authority site, concrete floored, surrounded with wire netting, topped with barbed wire.
JIM: And you can’t pile scrap there in most of them and what’s a Traveller if he can’t deal in his little bit of scrap.
And then you can’t leave for more than a few weeks or they say you can’t come back and what’s a Gypsy if he can’t travel and go away long as he likes and then a little longer too and come back.
MAGGIE: This site is a new one. This site may not be like that, Jim.
JIM: Look at it. I reckon they’re all much the same. The Gorjio has made the sites in his own likeness ... What’s so wonderful about Gorjio life that makes them think their values are better than ours? What are they trying to do with us on those sites ...
82B. At a Stopping Place
A journalist is interviewing a Gypsy.
JOURNAL: Are you in hopes of rehabilitation?
82C. Local Authority Site
WARDEN: Ah yes, this must be Mr and Mrs Lockett Junior.
He advances with hand outstretched. Jim and Maggie stand rather uneasily and Jim ignores his hand.
WARDEN: The caravans of some of the rest of the family have already arrived. That is Mr and Mrs Lockett Senior, Master Seth and Master Amos, and ‘the Prince’, who was with me just this very moment.
MAGGIE: We just came to check about how to get the trailer in, and so my husband can see the site.
WARDEN: How do you do, sir?
He again offers his hand and Jim rather unwillingly allows his hand to be shaken.
MAGGIE: Can we look around?
WARDEN: Carry on! I’ll be in the warden’s hut over there if you want me. Here, by the way, are the ‘rules of the Hostelrie’.
He may indicate a large notice board, standing in front of eight foot high wire mesh, headed ‘Bloxham District Council’.
Jim is looking uneasy. Maggie takes his hand and leads him forward. Maggie is probably trying to disguise from herself, and certainly from Jim, that she knows he doesn’t really want to be here.
MAGGIE: So, Jim, we’ve got a site now! I always thought we’d be lucky, Jim.
He goes to peer through the wire mesh. He walks back and kicks a tin against one of the toilets.
MAGGIE: What are you doing? Shall we go and see the others?
The Prince appears, suddenly.
PRINCE: We’re packing it in.
JIM: Why’s that, Prince?
PRINCE: They don’t respect you on these sites, young Maggie. Look at all that wire round about us! Look at that bloke watching us all the time from the warden’s place there!
The Site Warden leaves his hut and zooms over.
WARDEN: I heard my name spoken. Can I be of help?
PRINCE: About this site. You can’t light fires in the open. Isn’t that right?
WARDEN: Well, yes. But ...
PRINCE: And what’s a Traveller without a fire, when you can’t have a fire and a bit of smoke to sit by and feel homely. And then you can’t keep animals on a site like this, isn’t that right?
WARDEN: Well, yes.
PRINCE: And what’s a Traveller alone of his animals, without his horses and his dogs.
MAGGIE: But Jim and I ...
Enter Mum and Dad.
MUM: Prince, don’t rile the council mush, don’t cause trouble!
PRINCE: And you can’t sort out scrap there in most of these places. Can you in this one?
WARDEN: Well, no.
PRINCE: And what’s a Traveller if he can’t sort out and deal in his little bit of scrap? And then they tell me you can’t leave for more than a few weeks or you can’t come back. Is that right?
WARDEN: Well, you can go away for up to a month, but rent must be paid.
PRINCE: What’s a Gypsy if he can’t travel and go away long as he likes and then a little longer too on his travels, and then come back?
Exit the Prince.
MAGGIE: It doesn’t look too bad, Jim. Come on, let’s have a talk with the warden. In private.
She gives a look of complicity to the warden.
WARDEN: We certainly aim to give value for money. There’s a very long waiting list.
Enter Dad, with the Prince.
DAD: We’re not staying either, son. Prince talks good sense. ‘Cos the Gorgio has made the sites in his own likeness.
WARDEN: No! The Council consulted the Romany Guild and Gypsy Council.
PRINCE: Romany Guild is puppet Gypsies! What’s so wonderful about Gorgio life that makes them think a place like this is better than life on the commons and laybys? What are they trying to do with us on these sites but take away our freedom?
WARDEN: The life of freedom is getting harder. You know that.
MAGGIE: (to the others) The life of freedom is getting harder.
JIM: (jumps up on the roof of the toilet) The life of freedom is the Traveller’s right! Our birthright!
MUM: So give us back our money, mister!
WARDEN: Madam, the rent money has been already paid into the Council Treasurer’s Department.
MUM: Come off it. You’ve got it in that little warden’s hut of yours. I’ve seen it. Piles of it!
DAD: Give it back, mush.
WARDEN: May I make a suggestion? Stay for a week! The council has, in its wisdom, sunk a large sum into the construction of this site. It was certainly constructed with the interests of the Travellers very much in ...
PRINCE: Hand back the moharda luvver! Or else!
Exeunt Mum, Dad and the Prince, talking among themselves, followed by an anxious official, leaving Jim and Maggie alone.
JIM: (again kicking the tin can) Let it go. Let it go, Maggie.
MAGGIE: Please let us come on the site. They’re very hard to get on.
JIM: Let it go. Let’s stay with all of them, outside. All them that didn’t get a site. The real genuine Travellers.
Angry voices are heard from the others.
JIM: Mum and Dad are not staying. I’m not staying.
MAGGIE: I thought they wanted to be on a site. I thought you wanted to be on a site. Get off the road for a bit.
JIM: Look at these high fences. Nacri. I prefer life out there. Free and easy.
MAGGIE: Life out there is no longer free. Or easy! Jim, we’re going to stay on this site. Just for a week or two. See how we like it. Come and talk to the council mush.
She tries to pull him. Pause.
JIM: Not for a week. Not even for a day. Nor an hour. Listen. Listen, Maggie, I’ve been on these council sites.
MAGGIE: I didn’t know that.
JIM: Yes. Visiting, you know. They’re not bad.
MAGGIE: And we don’t have to stay for ever.
JIM: No, Maggie. They turn you into a Gorgio, turn you into a Gorgio.
Maggie moves to take his hand and they stand together for a moment.
MAGGIE: All right, Jim.
JIM: There. We’ve got something better than all them on those sites. We’ve got our freedom.
He holds her tight. She’s close to tears because she admires him for this decision, but also knows it is probably stupid. Amongst the other group there seems to be a slight skirmish. The Prince appears pointing dramatically at the warden’s hut like an Old Testament prophet.
PRINCE: Hand over the filthy luvver!
83. On the Road
They are driving.
MAGGIE: Where are we going then?
JIM: There’s a place I’ve heard of, it seems it’s a common. Maybe there we’ll be peaceful.
In the dusk they are driving down leafy lanes similar to those they took long ago when they first went off together, lanes that now are filled with the mists of the evening, not morning.
Maggie sits, quietly with the baby, and Jim realises she still wishes that they’d accepted the place on the site.
JIM: Maggie, I’m sorry. I know you’d like to be on the site. It’s just, I’ve grown sick of all the Gorjio ways.
Maggie rests her arm a moment on his hand.
MAGGIE: I know. I do understand, Jim. You think I don’t understand. I do understand.
Maggie is weeping.
JIM: There is another place where they don’t harrass Gypsies. It was a shade what told me. They just let you travel around. Go where you want. Hyde Park Corner common or somewhere. In London it was, he said. We could stay there the winter. Stay on maybe till the end of the plums.
Maggie turns to look at Jim through her tears.
MAGGIE: Jim ... I was there ... that gavver when he told you ... he was making a mockery of you ...
JIM: Is that right?
MAGGIE: Yes. Sorry, Jim.
JIM: I’ll fix him.
Jim stops the lorry and climbs down.
84. By the Road
This is a place from which a substantial town can be seen, far away in the distance. From his pocket Jim produces the curse given him by the Prince.
Jim peers at the scrap of paper and begins to speak the curse. He falters. He can’t remember it all, and he can’t really read it.
Maggie comes to stand beside him and helps him read the rest of the curse.
In other parts of the countryside Mum, Dad, the Prince appear and join in the curse. The Prince has a ritual object, such as water can filled with holes spouting water.
Maggie is the only one who can read. She comes and stands beside Jim and together they all complete the curse. Then Maggie and Jim climb back into the lorry.
JIM: There. We’ve got something better than all them on those sites.
Jim turns his key in the ignition, starts the lorry.
JIM: We’ve got our freedom.
The lorry moves forward and, as the credits roll, we see through the windscreen the lush green meadows and pastures of England, seemingly endless, but with few places left for Gypsies.
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