Some kindly women of The Meadow would store unwanted clothes in great bags for the Travelling Woman on her calls. Was she grateful? Well, selectively.
From the front door to the public footpath was some two to four metres and before she’d reach the latter she’d have completed her own sorting.
Your private footpath – and the two small gardens on each side – would by then be strewn with her unwanted and discarded items.
You had a bit more redding up to do!
Later you’d see her seated on some improvised chair outside her caravan, feeding the baby from a Guinness bottle with a teat attached to the top.
You’d fervently hope that the bottle contained milk!
The nearest traveller site to us was the waste ground where since then Clanrye Fold has been erected. I think – though I could be wrong – that it was just fortuitous that the Railway Bar was adjacent – a source of babies’ bottles, if nothing else!
When they’d finally get around to school placement for their idle children, the fireworks would begin for the hapless teachers of the area, of which I, in later years, was one!
I interrupted a blazing row between two boys in the school yard one time, and took them aside to read the riot act to them. Having calmed them down temporarily, I chastised them.
‘You are the only two Travellers in the school.
You should be showing a good example and not have people believe that all you can do is fight with each other!’
One flared up again immediately, indicating that I had put my finger on the problem.
‘Traveller, is it, Sir ?
I’m a Traveller.
My father’s a Traveller : my mother’s a Traveller !
He’s NOT a Traveller !
His mother’s a Traveller.
But his father’s NOT!
His father’s a …
His father’s a …
His father’s .. (this said with the utmost contempt and pointing an accusatory finger)
… his father’s … just like …
… more later …