© Copyright Romanygenes 2007--2020 Design and Web Layout © 2007-2020 S.J.Day All Rights Reserved
Copyright RomanyGenes 2007-2020 Design and Web Layout S.J.Day All Rights Reserved
Dominic Reeve’s previous books have been written over more than half a century, and have told us about life with waggons and horses, life with lorries and trailer caravans, and the change over from one to the other.
In this new book he takes us back to his childhood, youth, and early manhood. It is a brutally frank book hiding nothing of his early misdemeanours, nor his determined (and successful) bid to escape National Service.
With an honesty that has always been the hallmark of his writing Dominic Reeve shares with us how, unbeknown to his parents, he exercised for several years ‘controlled’ truancies (achievable in the lax atmosphere of war-time schools) and was befriended by a Romani family on the other side of town. He felt more at home with them than with his own family, and so the foundation was laid for his itinerant life, first alone, and then with the charismatic and multi-talented Beshlie, who remains his lifelong partner.
Dominic Reeve is one of the few authors we publish that I've not met. We have long phone conversations and he bashes out letters on his old fashioned typewriter, the keys clearly having seen better days. He's a self-confessed cantankerous old man, still living as he has for decades, selling compost from door to door. His Smoke in the Lanes was a classic of the old days of the horse-drawn "waggon years" and was an enormous commercial success when it came out, and is now available in a trade edition from the University of Hertfordshire Press and a mass market edition from Abacus, taking advantage of the current popular interest in Gypsies. Not that Dominic is thrilled by that, raging (correctly) about some of the Big Fat Gypsy Wedding coverage. After Smoke, Dominic wrote two or three fairly derivative books which sold less, before returning to Travelling life with his partner, the successful Romani artist Beshlie. After a forty years break he returned to publishing with Beneath the Blue Sky with Five Leaves. This covered the 1960s and onwards, the less "romantic" decades when Romanis moved from four legs to four wheels, yet tried to remain self-employed, tried to retain a Travelling lifestyle and tried to hang on to their culture in the wake of their traditional trades and stopping places vanishing.
Trucks are of less interest than the old bow topped waggons, and the book was therefore less commercial but nevertheless we sold 1,000 or so. After a gap we've tidied up the book, inserted some better photographs, included some drawings by Beshlie and it is again available. There will be a mass market edition from Abacus sometime, without the illustrations and photographs, in a supermarket near you, but meantime you can buy our edition at
Suitable for older children and adults alike, this nature book by PHIL SHELLEY is generously illustrated in black and white by wildlife artist R LEONARD HOLLANDS. It grows from a fondly remembered series of books by the Methodist minister and naturalist broadcaster, George Bramwell Evens, known as ROMANY (he was part gypsy). Now, "Romany of the BBC" is back with us, 50 years on. Based in his gypsy caravan, he takes us around the countryside opening our eyes to the marvels of nature. As TERRY WAITE says in his Foreword, it is to be hoped that, through this book, many "will be encouraged to take a greater interest in the preservation and development of the natural world."
Surrey and Kent by Rosie Smith, who still lives a traditional Gypsy lifestyle, and her second cousin Lindsey Marsh, who has been researching her own Gypsy roots. It is an introduction to the language, working lives, music, poetry and song of Gypsies and a record of the changes that have taken place in their way of life in recent years. With chapters on prize-fighting, cherry picking and hop picking, the book also exposes the hostility that Gypsies have endured at the hands of gavvers and local councils over the years. A remarkable book, a social history and the seldom heard voice of Gypsy life.
Appleby Horse Fair will soon be here and this year it commences on Thursday 4th June until Wednesday 10th June. Over 10,000 Gypsies & Travellers attend with an additional 30,000 visitors - so it becomes very busy on the Saturday and Sunday. We will be out and about in the week before the fair as well as fair week to produce our 2009 DVD. We hope to see all our friends (old & new)