the 14th May, BBC Radio Kent's Barbara Sturgeon took her lunchtime
programme to Cranbrook to discover how Romany Gypsy culture is surviving
inspite of all the changes being imposed upon it.
hosts, Paula and Henry, explained how life has changed in recent
years. Paula married into the culture, and now the couple have started
a plant nursery, although they still live in a caravan, albeit a
modern one, on the nursery site.
and Paula spoke to South East Today about Gypsies' love
of entertaining friends and family.
also restores traditional wagons, and hopes to open a museum of
the programme Henry told of his childhood, and the importance of
animals to Gypsies and some of the values that the Romanies uphold.
- Henry spoke of his childhood spent travelling, how we went out
with his mother as she sold flowers from a hand basket.
living - Henry's family have always tried to live in the
traditional Romany way. His family used to settle for the winter,
but Henry has always tried to keep travelling throughout the year.
- Henry told how the Romany attitude to animals is different to
that of the Gorgers'. Horses and dogs are regarded as part of the
family, but never live indoors.
horses - Henry spoke about the significance of the coloured
horse to the Romanies. Black and white was every Gypsy's dream horse.
Fairs - Horsemonden may have gone, but there are other
Gypsy horse fairs still going strong. Appleby and Stow have been
on for hundreds of years and look like going on for many more, although
the future is never certain.
horses - Henry talked about the emotional side of selling
horses. Luck money should always given back and is an important
part of any sale.
- Henry described some of the different wagons, their history, and
life on the open road. The women loved their china and lace and
made the inside as pretty as they could. Wagons even had a stove
and an oven inside. Most wagons were pulled by one horse, but another
could be hitched up if needed. Travelling with a horse and wagon
is not as easy as it once was, but Henry still takes his out on
- Hygiene is very important in Romany life. Separate bowls are used
for different things, whether it is washing tea towels, other laundry
Girl" - Paula spoke to Barbara Sturgeon about life
being married into Romany life and starting up their nursery business.
Paula has always been interested in plants, and a nursery was a
natural choice of business. She
explained that those marrying a Gypsy will never become Romany travellers,
however much they take on the way of life.
- Gorger marriages - Henry explained some of the issues
when marrying into a Romany family. He told why it is more difficult
for a Gypsy woman to marry a Gorger man and accept the non travelling
way of life than it is for a Gorger woman to marry into the Romany
Henry and Paula spoke to John Peel on BBC Radio 4's Home
- Henry told how a Romany's handshake is his bond. And a Gypsy is
always as good as his word.
Pudding - Paula spoke to Barbara Sturgeon about Romany
cooking on an open fire and some of the traditional recipes.
- Henry plans to open a Romany museum, showing the Romany way of
life and traditions.
- The couple still tries to keep travelling as part of their way
of life. They do shows and exhibitions all over the country, although
now it is harder to find places to stay.
- Henry sees a positive future for Romany blood and his heritage.
thought - Henry offers an invitation to come and see how
Gypsies live and make their own judgement on the Romany way of life.
community fights for Henry and Paula