In this unusual book – unusual because unlike so many it’s seen from the inside – Ryalla describes her life as a young child ‘on the road’, travelling in the family’s waggon from place to place, her parents earning a living on farms or by making and selling household items from the hedgerow. The book bursts with laughter, drama and wonderful characters.
Meet Pow Pow, Mangle Tit, Nos Nos, Off and On and his runaway dray – not forgetting Jan Jan the chicken and a host of other Gypsies. Times were hard in the late ’50s and Christmas was basic but traditional. One or two Gypsies did better for themselves – one had a handbag filled with astonishing mysteries, another a car, whilst Ryalla’s Mam aspired to and ultimately achieved an oven made from a biscuit tin.
Had the Romany Gypsies but known it, it was the end of a traditional way of life and a difficult transition to a new one. This is a book for all lovers of Gypsy literature, the countryside, nostalgia and the unusual.