Saturday, October 07, 2006

Romany Museum

Yesterday we did a group visit to The Gordon Boswell Romany Museum which is based near Spalding in Lincolnshire. B took most of the photos during the tour so I've added a few into the text.

The owner, Mr. Boswell a Roma himself, talked to the group about the history of the Romany civilisation (they originated from Northern India), including details of his past, the various wagons known as Vardos (some of which we were able to step inside) and we watched slides of his trip in 2002, by horse and Vardo, to the famous Appleby Fair. Information on the history of the Romany (shown as Romani in this site) people can be found here.

The wagons were absolutely beautiful. Naturally we saw the old fashioned "gypsy" wagons with the lovely painted wood, wood burning stoves and beds that slide out to provide "ample" sleeping accomodation. Caravan style homes were on display too, some were quite small and would have housed a whole family. This seemed shocking but we were reminded that families of yesteryear would have been residing in one-up-one-down properties! Two gorgeous 60's style homes on wheels, that would have been pulled by a truck and would have been available to only those with some decent money in their pockets, were open for viewing and would have been lived in by just the adults. Children would have slept in a tent and any cooking would have been done outside to ensure the main home stayed smelling fresh!


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One of the many decorative wagons

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Living under a tent, the style of which has been copied in today's small tents,
plus a view of the rods that would have held cooking pots and kettles
over a log fire.

Watching the slides with running commentry was interesting. The trip to Appleby Fair in Cumbria, took Mr. Boswell and his wife three days, most of it in torrential rain! The journey starting from Spalding through Pinchbeck and then along the old forgotten lanes through Yorkshire towards their final destination. They would stop periodically to feed and water the horses and light a road-side fire to cook or have a cup to tea. As the Vardo was not equipped with a fridge, they took with them a cured ham which would stay fresh for the entire journey. In fact they followed the traditional Romany style of living from beginning to end.

The two stabled horses, used for funerals and weddings, and the little Shetland outside in the paddock, were the highlight of K's visit. They certainly had a lot of attention and seemed to enjoy the children's company, nudging and nipping for more strokes!


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After a picnic lunch, with Mrs. Boswell providing warm drinks for the adults and squash for the children, we headed off for a spot of retail therapy at Springfields Shopping Centre close by before B, P and I headed home just to head out again to have fun at the fair that is visiting our town at the moment. A ride on the kiddies helicopters and hook a duck for B and good old bumper cars for us all and then home to warm up and wind down! K, by the way, stayed with her friend overnight, a treat she really looks forward to and always thoroughly enjoys.

Just to finish off, here's a lovely picture that K drew, named "Starlight".

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4 Comments:

At 7:41 pm, Blogger Jules said...

The museum visit looks fab, Chelsea would love to visit a place like that.
The picture that K drew is excellent too, very talented :-)

 
At 8:48 pm, Blogger Elle at Ellesfuntimes said...

Thanks Jules, yes she's a very talented young lady. Elle

 
At 7:31 pm, Blogger tammy said...

Sounds like a fantastic day out. K's picture is excellent, she must be looking forward to horse day on friday.

 
At 8:39 pm, Blogger Elle at Ellesfuntimes said...

Hi Tammy, yes she's really looking forward to it. In fact this topic was hers and a friend's idea so she's helped to plan it all out. Elle

 

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