The last few days have seen events that have made me feel... well, reactionary. Whilst I'm not keen on how it's made me feel, it is important to remind myself *why* I feel like this and not let the source of the problem be dumbed down. I'm not sure how much I want to say about this here just yet, and unless you've been following my vents on Twitter this might all seem a bit cryptic; it's of a political nature, and that's not the easiest of subjects to broach when emotions are running high.
This site grew, like many others around Europe, as a reaction to the events of the early Eighties in the UK. Many, many travellers left the UK, pushed out by a Prime Minister and Government who were determined to rid the UK of travellers of any creed. (for the record we fall under the classification of 'New Travellers').
They were difficult times, and really, little has changed. The media still plays the 'Travellers are a Problem' card and prejudice and intolerance have been normalised. As many of you know this site is under threat from another wealthy, and therefore powerful, source determined to be rid of us because we're different. There's a wave of anti-gypsy laws sweeping Europe and few people seem to care about the effect that this is having on so many communities. Actually, I think relatively few people even know this is happening, which is even more saddening.
Yesterday I felt the need to celebrate who and what we are. I wandered around The Yard taking random photos whilst still being mindful of folks' privacy. Here are some of those photos, in no particular order.
Nearly everyone who spends time on this site works in a creative area, which in turn means that we work long hours for relatively little pay. Living as we do allows us to support our families on these low incomes, as well as provide a varied and cultural upbringing. Folks who accuse travellers of being spongers or layabouts really won't get the irony of their words.
Aran has a level of freedom that he'd have never have known should we have stayed in that council flat in London. He's able to see creativity in action, to see the diversity that it brings and gain those skills for himself. He's been able to learn a second language and develop an open minded view of the world. He's been able to learn to ride his bike at such a young age because he has the space and security here to explore by himself, unhindered. He's learnt how to interact with people of all ages and from all walks of life without realising that this is something rare and special. His world isn't a consumerist one; in his world, everyone reuses and recycles and will learn how much can be achieved by simply being practical, mindful and resourceful.
As I said, feelings are running high. Forgive me if I sound a little defensive.
I'm going back to my sample knitting now; tomorrow sees the first photoshoot for Playful Woolly Toppers, and our location is right here, on The Yard.