Thursday, July 12, 2012

Freedom, Frivolity and the Gypsy Life

Back in the 1930s my mother had a friend who drove her horse and caravan from Melbourne to Sydney, about 900 kilometres, and for entertainment on the trip she took with her a windup gramophone and a pile of George Formby records. This has stayed with me as a dream of independence from the everyday world. I've always known that a portable windup gramophone and a pile of suitable 78rpm records were part of life's essentials. Here is the lovely caravan sized gramophone with which I've replaced my other much larger one. I've got plenty of records to go with it, although no George Formby.

For the last few years I've been rather tied to the farm so naturally I've been making plans for escape. Apart from my husband, who is even more essential to the plan than the gramophone, there are number of other important elements to be included. The caravan and horse, of course. I would like one of those old Reading wagons - real one, not a reproduction - and a gypsy cob to pull it. Teddy the donkey would come along as well, the goats could wander behind, the chickens could travel in a cage underneath and the dog would naturally ride on the wagon.
A Reading wagon looks rather like this one. It's more upright, not like a bowtop.

If I were a real gypsy I would favour Royal Crown Derby for my crockery, but I rather like the idea of Irish Belleek to go with the Irish linen sheets (a dream at the moment).

The problem of how to fit a piano in a caravan has been hard to solve but recently I've come up with a possible solution to that. 
Inside this ugly case is the answer: 

What could be more appropriate? Now I only need to learn to play it properly.

Yes, there may have been a wrong note there. The dog certainly thinks so.

And what to wear? I found a hand knitted red woolen skirt in an op shop which will keep the chill away and I've made a beret and socks to go with it.
Frivolitee Socks
Frivolitee Beret

The socks and beret are called Frivolitee (with an acute which I can't find on this keyboard) and are available from Renaissance Dyeing as a kit made with their beautiful organic and naturally dyed yarn. The red here is dyed with cochineal.
If, after equipping yourself for the road, you should be fortunate enough to have some leftover cash,  perhaps you could spend it on 24 carat gold jewellery and be really self contained. 


Marylene said...

So nice to see you restarted this blog. Lovely to read all your stories. I also dream of having of a gypsy wagon myself, in fact I'm planning to buy one soon as a "chambre d'amis" in the garden.
I really love the beret too !
Andie's magical colours again !
Have a nice day...

Lydia said...

What a wonderful idea. I think the wagon would be called a vardo and you may just be able to find one... Have you heard of Vashti Bunyan? Many many years ago she too travelled throughout Britain with a horse and wagon and wrote songs which have lately become rather famous. Good luck to your ideas they are great to read about.

blodeuedd said...

You'll be getting a lot of visitors if you offer accommodation like that. is there somewhere in France where you can buy a caravan?
I think the beret would suit you. it turned out to be quite a flattering shape with a nice firm band, so I'm really happy with it.

blodeuedd said...

I just looked up Vashti Bunyan because I hadn't heard of her. Fancy becoming a legend while you're busy bringing up children and not considering your earlier life particularly.

Marylene said...

Ah but there a lot of gypsy wagons here, they are called roulotte or verdine, see here a famous french site:

blodeuedd said...

They look very comfortable. Shame they can't be taken on the road, though. Do you know how much they cost?

Marylene said...

Everybody wants one nowadays !
They cost a lot, like 25000 euros ! We'll that's too expensive for me anyway.

Andie said...

Oh how delightful. What marvellous roulettes you have in New Zealand but it looks as though you will need a largish horse to pull that. And the socks and beret of course are perfect for the frivolous gypsy side of all our souls.
If you were very quick you could give a caravan a test run this week-end a get a crochet course into the bargain with the Eclectic Gypsy herself, C├ęcile Balladino/.
Oh and belated congratulations on the wedding

Kate said...

That caravan is not in New Zealand yet, unfortunately. We have hopes, though.
I'd love to do Cecile's crochet course but perhaps not this weekend.
Will you be there?

Brenda said...

I am so happy I've stumbled on your blog!...and I'm not certain how that happened!

I laughed out loud at your necessities for the caravan, and I heartily agree! I would need Irish linen sheets and a set of Belleek or Limoge!

I enjoy using Renaissance yarns myself, so I think your socks and beret are the best!

I will be leaving on my own adventure in about a month, although not in a caravan. My husband and I will be sailing into the sunset, eg, down the east coast of the US then off shore to the Bahamas. I'm bringing lots of knitting, weaving and spinning with me (alas! no dyeing). As of yet there will be no linen sheets or bone china. Sigh... maybe I'll find some along the way? We'll be gone about 9 months.

Happy travels to you!


Tricotcolor said...

c'est magnifique !!

blodeuedd said...

How lovely, Brenda! Off to the Bahamas. I think the Limoges would suitable for that trip. You could visit a lot of secondhand shops in nine months travelling so I expect you'll find the linen as well.
Bon voyage!