GYPSY WOMAN I:They say Gypsy this and Gypsy that but well, you see, I can name eight or nine different Gypsies, I can. There is the fellow they call a Mumpley you see.
GYPSY WOMAN II:What's a Mumpley then?
GYPSY WOMAN I:He understands nothing you see, he's ignorant to it. He hasn't got knowledge to go out and get his living same as say we do. He hasn't the knowledge to go 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.
GYPSY WOMAN II:What is a hedge-crawler?
GYPSY WOMAN I:Well, 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, eat and drink and smoke, just that's the one they call, what I just said, a hedge-crawler.
GYPSY WOMAN II:And the Romany?
GYPSY WOMAN I: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.
GYPSY WOMAN II:Would you be Romanies then?
GYPSY WOMAN I:Oh yes. We're Romanies. Then there's that fellow they call the hippy.
GYPSY WOMAN II:But are there real Gypsies and false Gypsies? And are all these people that leave such a mess, real Gypsies?
GYPSY WOMAN I:They are. I am. We are. Just that we've fallen back from our old ways ... There are other things that are even more secret, for instance we have the secret names of the Travellers. 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 Bats, the Longs, the Tinkers, and the Bowary Lads.
GYPSY WOMAN II:If they're so secret, how come you're spreading them round all over the place?
THE PRINCE:They took me Chavvies from me.
CHILD:What did you say?
PRINCE:They took me chavvies from me. I used to have more than I do now. They took two of them from me.
CHILD:Why did they do that?
PRINCE:They said it wasn't healthy for them living with me, seeing I was a Gypsy.
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 Travellers do it?
JIM: Suppose you ought to be in a hospital.
MAGGIE:Do Travellers use hospitals?
JIM: Well, no.
MAGGIE:I'll do it the Traveller's way. (She takes his hand.)
PRINCE:That's our tradition. That's the way it's done.
MUM: You mean, she has it in a tent outside the caravan? Can't she have it in the caravan?
PRINCE:Sorry. That's the way it's done.
DAD: 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 taste of the feet but I think they give a bit of flavour to it. Then you put him in a ball of clay. 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, or alternatively this can be done in an oven, if you got one. That's how Gorgios do.
Amos and Seth with guns.
AMOS:I sometimes 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.
SETH:Say Amos, say. How much money would you say Madonna has? How many trailers would it fill?
AMOS:Ho. I'd say, fill up every trailer in these parts with notes, there'd still be money left over.
SETH:Well, what d'you mean? Would it be one pound notes or fivers of tenners or twenty pound notes, eh? Or what?
AMOS:I don't know. Let's say fivers. I'd say it would fill up them all and money left over.
SETH: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.
AMOS:Never mind. I reckon it could fill all the trailers on this county and more to spare.
SETH:Well, how much money you reckon she got for a start?
AMOS:No idea. But more than would fill a number of trailers.
SETH: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.
On a Common
There is a big table sumptuously laid out with a white cloth in the open. On it all sorts of goodies like jellies, a huge joint, cakes, cans of lager. A large cake in the form of a caravan (horse-drawn or modern; if modern should be the Westmorland Star type with lots of chrome).
PRINCE:Here's to the bride and the groom.
PRINCE:And now, a song!
Gypsies scuffle among themselves to decide who is to sing. Finally one steps forward.
A number of things will take place like scuffling, drinking, eating, sporadic dancing.
80. Eviction Area
In the midst of this chaos, a Corporation official climbs a step ladder and speaks through a megaphone.
CORP OFF: All right, boys, listen to me. I’ll make you an offer. The Corporation, boys, has decided to be generous. You may think that what has happened this morning is unreasonable. Then listen to what the Deputy Town Clerk has to say. He’s going to make you an offer that, frankly, I think very reasonable.
D.T.C.: We’re going to make this generous offer and we want you to take it or leave it. Now listen to me carefully. The Corporation has decided in its wisdom to provide you with a temporary official site for twelve, yes twelve, caravans on condition, and this is an important condition, that the rest of you will promise to leave. If you promise to leave of your own accord, we’ll provide a temporary site straight away for twelve caravans to be chosen by lot, but the others must agree to leave and to get out of this borough.
This speech produces at first an amazed silence, and there is babble as each of the Gypsies tries to express his views.
GYPSY: Yes, for that we’ll be the lucky ones, we should accept the Corporation’s offer.
G.C.R.: No, there are many more trailers there than places on the site. And you are now in a strong position since there are so many of you together! You should bargain for more places.
GYPSY: Once dispersed the council would be able to overwhelm us.
There is a chaos of wild discussion. In the end an approximate decision is reached.
GYPSY: Go on, you tell them, Jim.
Jim goes to the Deputy Town Clerk.
JIM: The answer is yes.
The Deputy Town Clerk is writing down the names of all the Gypsies present, and the Gypsies are jostling around him, making sure that he gets their names down and that he’s got them right.
80B. Another Part of the Eviction Area
An official is briefing a journalist.
OFFICIAL: No, of course, the rehabilitation of Gypsies is inevitably a lengthy business. We don’t in fact hope for much with the adults, but actually we expect quite a good rate of success with the rehabilitation of the youngsters.
81. Eviction Area
Gypsies are crowding round the Deputy Town Clerk, giving their names which he is writing down.
GYPSIES: Lethco Smith. Seth Smith. Jemima Lee. Ebenezer Penfold. Tom Smith. Jim Smith.
D.T.C.: Not another Smith!
There is much confusion, especially as so many Gypsies are called by the same names, and many cannot write or spell. At length the names are all down to everyone’s satisfaction.
D.T.C.: Is that all of you then? Everyone? Has every household here given me their names?
Well then, you see that I put your names in this helmet here? Are you all satisfied?
He begins slowly with his hand to stir the names round in the helmet.
D.T.C.: And now I’m going to extract the names from this pile. Those whose names are called stay here till later and we will then lead you to the new site that the local authority in its wisdom has provided. And I want to make it absolutely clear that the others as we agreed will go.
H.I.: The Deputy Town Clerk will now read out the names.
The Deputy Town Clerk reads out ten names, frequently having to call for silence because of the chorus of excited shouts and comments that follow each name.
D.T.C.: Seth Carnaby. Peter Wranco. Andrew Smith. Lethco Smith. Bruce Penfold. Jemima Penfold. Jimmy Doherty. Jim Smith.
MAGGIE: Jim! Jim! It’s you. Number ten.
Maggie hugs Jim in an ecstasy as she realises what has happened and there is pandemonium as Gypsies congratulate each other.
MAGGIE: Oh, Jim. We’ve got a site at last.
But disappointment is bitter amongst other Gypsies who haven’t got a place on the site.
GYPSY: I’m not going after all, at all, at all! I should have got a place on the site, so I should.
GYPSY: No! We’re not going! The council did have a duty to give all of us sites!
GYPSY: (a Gypsy who has been given a site)
No! You gave your word, now you must go!
Amongst the caravans where they’ve been dumped by the lane there is chaos, some of those who have promised to go trying to get past, and some of those who have won a place on the site trying to stay.
H.I.: Silence! Silence!
D.T.C.: Those of you who have won places on the local authority site, I want you to follow me.
The trailers, pulled by lorries and cars, follow the car of the D.T.C.
JIM: We’ll follow.
Jeremy Sandford FanClub Archives
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