Living under the radar.

Our little town has a rich history and so, although near but not quite on the coast, we are a tourist destination. Each summer, The Rotary stage weekly events on the riverside. The car park is emptied, rides for the children set up and the pub does a roaring trade from locals and tourists alike. Every week there will be a different attraction, a Crafty Raft Race, Michael Jackson impersonator, a Pirate Invasion…..
The boys will be entering a team in the Tug of War contest next year. At the moment we are stumped for a name. I thought they could call themselves The Gypsies, for a laugh. Already entered are The Rugby Club, The Bear Inners, The Lions and so forth, so it seemed catchy and a bit cheeky. Of course they can’t really call themselves that because as my Big Fat Gypsy husband pointed out, “I work with a lot of these people and I don’t want them knowing what I am! Most of them would never use me again!” His notoriety hasn’t spread to the whole town yet, you see.
My sister-in law gardened for a woman for twelve years without letting on she was a Gypsy. After all those years, they had by now a friendship, exchanged Christmas cards and birthday gifts, the woman doted on my nephew and would often tip him a fiver for helping. My sister-in-law decided, one day, to broach the subject of some Gypsies in the news to test the water. I mean, who would want to live always incognito, you are what you are and they got on so well. Anyhow, at the first mention, she was met with such a stream of bile about the dirty Gypsies, that she shut up quick and got her head back down in the borders. She was slightly hurt but not hurt enough to lose the customer.
We rarely admit the name of our hamlet which comprises half a dozen large houses, a pub and our council run travellers’ site. Too many people make the association. Although seeing us ploughing through the High Street traffic on the way to the shops, in a Transit lorry loaded with trees or scrap iron fairly gives the game away. Most of the year my husband wears a trilby, with a Goldfinch pin, then worries about looking like Gypsy Jack.
I used to wear the creole hoop earrings and diamante clips that he bought me but I’ve toned that down now. Gorja and proud is my motto. I never have pretended to be something I’m not and frankly, I suit small pearl studs, better.
So we live, as far as we can, under the radar – on our site next to the landfill on the outside of town.
We came here for a quiet life and to earn our place as respected local business people.
Don’t want no trouble mister.

One thought on “Living under the radar.

  1. I’m sure you’re not alone in living under the radar. Whenever we have a Gypsy funeral, hundreds and of people attend. We all know there aren’t that many sites in the whole south west – so lots of them are living in houses and keeping their heads down. I do wish people would begin to recognise Gypsy culture as part of our national life and celebrate it. It’s scandalous that anyone should have to hide who they are!

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