Unpredictability - Good for your health

Our modern life is based on organising an environment free from the unexpected. The house needs to be as stable and reliable as possible. The job as safe as possible. Nothing should break down. Nothing but what we predict, should occur.
This is the life of the zoo animal. Let's explore the life of the Nomad. Let's live the life of the Nomad.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Last day of contract - will it be extended?

Hello Everyone
Today is the last day of this contract I have been doing since February.  So the question remains as to whether or not it will be extended.  It was only my intention to do this contract for a few months, but since it was so convenient I have continued doing it.  To finish work at 4 pm and cycle home and have the evening to myself - this is a great privilege for someone used to doing far more hours.

And it would be good if it was extended another three months to keep me going over the festive season for even a nomad needs money.  Yes the bills are still there - the van needs insuring, the rent needs paying and mouths need feeding.  So the contract may be extended or it may not and this is the plight of the self employed.  I do not mind this for the world of the uncertain is also the world of surprise.  And while we might fear what is around the corner - you never know - it could be something great.

So I wish everyone a great weekend and encourage you all to do something different and if you feel up to it - let me know in the comments what it is.


Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Gypsy Boy and Butlins

A couple of weeks ago I decided on taking the kids to a place called Butlins in Bognor Regis. Butlins can best be described as a chain of expensive holiday camps designed to keep families entertained. If you visit one of these places you will be able to enjoy many activities included in the initial price.

For example, there will be a Splash Waterworld where you can scare yourself going down a variety of water slides. Or you could imagine yourself to be in the sea itself as the pool magically creates artificial waves - or rather, artificially creates real waves.

There will also be a series of activities the children can participate in, such as playing football, or watching a dance show or trying their skills at archery. In addition there are a number of fair ground type rides and if you are lucky you won't have to wait too long in a queue to get on the ride.

As for myself I had decided to take the opportunity to read a book titled Gypsy Boy while the children enjoyed the facilities of the resort. This book is written by a Romani gypsy called Mikey Walsh - a gay man that had to leave the gypsy world since homosexuality leads to persecution in this close knit world.

Since being caravan bound myself, I have on a few occassions been called a gypsy - mostly in jest. Ofcourse, living in a caravan does not make me a gypsy - for the term in itself relates to a number of ethnic groups to which I do not belong. Mikey Walsh is a Romani gypsy and in his book he describes the life as it is - growing up as a child in the Romani gypsy clan.

It is indeed an interesting book and the narrative paints a picture of a tough life for a gypsy boy. Both the gypsy boy and the gypsy man must be prepared to fight and to win a fight is noble, and to lose a fight is dignified. But to run away from a fight? Now this is a disgrace. You can't help but hold some sympathy for the small boy expected to bare knuckle fight with a boy twice his size. So poor Mikey, not being a natural fighter, had a fairly bloody upbringing as his father and many other boys walloped him to the ground on a regular basis.

Now with Dale Farm being in the news I was interested to probe the reasons for gypsies themselves being persecuted and stigmatised - since it is unusual in this politically correct world for an ethnic group to be so openly frowned upon.

One article I read on the internet suggested a somewhat Marxist interpretation. The argument was that employers prefer to have more workers than required living in the area of the workplace since this results in reduced working wages. Thus employees began to hate gypsies since their arrival decreased their working value, while employers also took offence since the gypsy community could simply decide to leave an area - resulting in a higher worth to the remaining workers. I find this argument a bit far fetched since even in the booming years gypsies are still stigmatised.

Another commonly held view is that gypsies make their money in a dishonest manner. Mikey describes working with his father resurfacing driveways. His father would offer to do the driveway for ten pounds, to which the home owner would agree. After doing a shoddy job that wouldn't last a light rain shower, the father then tells the home owner he must pay ten pounds per square meter - and it's not his fault if the owner didn't understand the origial quotation. And maybe this accounts for the common view point but I doubt the majority of the population has been swindled by a gypsy.

Now I remember many years ago our history teacher speaking of the Jews, and how they kept themselves together and how this in itself could create suspicion which would result in anti-semitism. And Mikey himself makes it clear that the gypsies see themselves as a special race and completely discourage any association with the outside world - people they call Gorgies. I believe herein lies the origin of gypsy persecution and distrust since this too is true of cults also, in general. To consider one's group extra special, and to avoid contact with those on the periphery of your group - this can only make outsiders suspicious also.

Well, I am no sociologist and maybe the gypsy is hated for all of the above and many more reasons. I would recommend this book and if it is a little unbelievable in places it is nevertheless still very interesting.  As for Butlins - not my sort of thing but the children love it.