Friday, January 22, 2016

Them and Us

Taken from Dorothy Hartley's book - The Countryman's England

Gypsies; Cannot you not spy the romantic vision of gypsies in this photo, though what stands out is their poverty....

When I read the blogs this morning there was Tom Stephenson going on about the fabulous wilds of Canada, and perhaps the 'hippy' tendency to go out into these wilds and live the solitary life.  Then there was Heron's blog about the shameful eviction of Travellers in Louth.  The first thing that slips through my mind is how you look at things, how can we, safe and secure in our own homes, not feel sympathy to the thousands of refugees that flow endlessly across Europe, and these Travellers in Louth made homeless by bureaucratic bungling, and the need to be vindictive to people who are 'different'.  Compassion and the need to do right are things we talk of but rarely succeed in.

Hippies are a bit like children playing a game of living outside, see they all have the same 'uniform' similar hair, clothes and of course flowers to symbolize their peaceful natures.  Photos taken from this site.

My mind is questioning why I put hippies and Travellers together, the answer comes back because they don't live by the 'norms' of the society they live in.  Hippy land started in the 1960s and took weird and wonderful  ways of interpreting the way these people wanted to live.  Spirituality was one of the things that stood as a signpost, the need to 'live off the land' and not take part in the commercial actions of polite society.  It went well for a time, but read anything up on the time and there comes the usual human emotions to breech their dreams and send most hippies on to a more rational lifestyle.
Travellers or gypsies start with a more ancestral connection, they are Romany, I know little of them, yet they are still part of our society and deserve our respect.  It would seem that standing out from the crowd is frowned upon by those of us who live, (what word would you put to describe your life?) a life that conforms with the marjority of people around, those that don't conform can be harassed by the civil authorities and by biased and racist groups of people - red doors anyone?

And on a lighter note ;)

Also before hippies there were Beatniks, thanks to LS for that...


  1. Thelma, how I agree with what you have written here. My mother came from Romany background a few generations ago and my father's family never really let her forget it. I thought it was something to be proud of, and because I was dark haired like her I always did my best when young to bring it up in the conversation. She was always bitterly ashamed of it and as a result she made sure that as children we were always at least as well-dressed, if not better dressed, than our peers. Now, looking back on those years, I feel sad that I didn't do more to reassure her how little it mattered and how there was a lot to be proud of.
    Those red doors are a disgrace - as though the refugees haven't suffered enough to get here - why can't people let them live in peace?

    1. I do believe those 'red doors' were a deliberate way, maybe lazy manner of marking people, and the firm called to account, as also the people who are racist. That was sad about your mother being ashamed of her background but prejudice is always rife....

  2. A good blog Thelma . Just a couple of points The Hippy revolution came out of the USA and was adapted by Europeans looking for an alternative lifestyle. From the Hippies came the Rainbow Family and in growing larger the International and the European Rainbow Family which is still operating and organises annual camps in Europe. In the UK a break away group formed mainly by ex city folk became The Convoy and from them the New Travellers.
    Now your mention of Travellers and Roma or in Ireland it is the Irish Travellers and the Roma, two distinct groups with similar problems
    see here
    Interestingly many of the Irish Traveller families can trace their roots back to the Celtic society and pre -Christian Druids.

  3. Morning Heron, Yes indeed The hippy culture grew out of the Vietnamese war and the revulsion of war itself. But it escalated into many sided groups, probably the idea was to find Utopia and there are still communes and 'back-to-the-land people making a go of it. For instance Brithidir Mawr in Pembrokeshire...

    "Interestingly many of the Irish Traveller families can trace their roots back to the Celtic society and pre -Christian Druids." That is an interesting statement ;)

  4. Yes Thelma, and here is one example among the many : the Irish Traveller family named Ward in Irish Mac an Bhaird, were the one of the many minor bard families within the Fillidh structures of Ancient Ireland.