Watching Big Fat Gypsy Wedding reminds me of when I first moved to the UK over 11 years ago. Please bear in mind that prior to this I had no experience of travellers. I was walking to the pub with my partner at the time; we had an open field behind our house. I said ‘look there are some people camping over there’. He immediately went ballistic. I didn’t understand why, as I thought the whole idea of moving from place to place as a community sounded quite quaint. Until they left, leaving a mess behind that the council and inevitably us to pay for the clean up.
I’m absolutely fascinated by the paradox between their strong morals (no alcohol or sex before marriage for the girls) and the ‘sleazy’, for lack of a better word, attire which stretches to spectacular wedding dresses. I have to admit the provocative dancing, spray tanning six year olds and the ritual of ‘Grabbing’ made me very uncomfortable.
I’m a very curious soul and after the first episode spent a lot of time on the internet researching the history, ideals and way of life. From what I read it all sounds very idyllic so why are they hated so much? The hashtag #bfgw on Twitter is evidence of this.
From what I can work out there are true travellers and then there are those that masquerade as travellers, the latter being the ones that most people have experienced. Unfortunately, to date I’ve only had a few dealings with travellers and sorry to say neither of them were positive. It reminds me of teenagers, many think they’re all horrible obnoxious creatures but this may be just because these are the ones we see terrorizing town and the quiet well behaved ones go unnoticed.
I had so many questions, so, I was pleasantly surprised on Tuesday night when @tinatubss appeared in my timeline. We’ve been following each other for ages but I didn’t realise or had forgotten that she was a traveller. She was very open to all of my questions and I do apologize to her for my lack of frontal screening or if it seemed insensitive at any point. She taught me a thing or two. Here are her answers to my questions. I have her full permission to publish it and she is more than happy to take questions.
I have very strong links and beliefs. I even look like a Gypsy. My Gypsy name is Segonia, but my name is Christina now.
If you like reading buy Yellow on the Broom by Betsy White then the Sequels as you will love them.
We just have our own laws and that’s it. Never ask questions just do as we are told. My Daddy was a traveller.
I didn’t put my children to school and kept them home and they have done fantastic.
You’re right, they are under educated, but it’s what they choose, they are ignorant people but very interesting.
Have you seen my girls they’re amazing and very open minded through their upbringing.
but travellers have home educators who come to their vans. It’s the law in this country!
I understand you, we moved a lot so schooling was difficult but I wanted them at home anyway. Education is important definitely.
That’s why they hold them back so they don’t know any different and can’t choose. It’s sad! :(
It’s difficult being a parent and deciding what is best. I showed my kids all ways and walk and let them choose their direction.
Do you mean the programme unfair representation? If so, it’s difficult because Scotland has load of travellers not Gypsies but…
People don’t understand the difference but it’s huge Gypsies are a minority, Tinkers are the Majority and travellers big in S/land
We are definitely watching Gypsies NOT travellers
Yes, very big, they hate each other, never camp near each other; they never ever go near each other.
I’m a traveller NOT a gypsy. My daddy’s family were travellers. So so so different from Gypsies, it’s an insult!
They have different beliefs totally, we work very hard and honestly and our children are everything to us J
Do read the book and it will be very clear how lovely our way of life is compared to the Gypsies.
People are ignorant and scared of us. So, retaliate instead of asking us questions.
I have been living in a house for 3 years and hate it. I’m buying a woodlands hopefully and live in a caravan again.
We have always worked as foresters and all the children worked too! I pay all my taxes but use alternative therapy.
Only docs when I’ve tried everything else. I love you asking! We eat with the seasons also. Eat what is growing now.
My children were home educated and Rudolf Steiner and state schools so they could integrate out with my beliefs.
I’m a great believer of letting children be heard from a very young and have their own choices and say and learn from that.
Some people thought my children were cheeky and rude but they were confident and very individual. They’re amazing!
Ha ha you can’t live in a Caravan the local council evicted us out of our home, we live in a *HOUSE* yuk yuk yuk!
A big thank you to Christina for answering all my questions. I would love to learn more about this group of people but I suspect the BBC won’t be focussing on them as it wouldn’t get the ratings! Off to buy Yellow on the Broom.