Life in the rotten barrel: Romani gypsy discrimination and the police

My Romani gypsy great-grandfather was charged with being drunk in possession of a horse and cart in 1907 when he was 18. I laughed last week when I found the article in the British newspaper archives and sent it round to family members.
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Gypsy Feminist

I’m a feminist and part of my ancestry is Roma. I am proud of both of these aspects of my identity, but both remain controversial in their own right. So what is a gypsy feminist? Maybe I’m being deliberately provocative in putting these two words together. But this gypsy feminist creature must be exotic, right? Traditional meets modern with her copy of ‘The Feminine Mystique’ poking out from under her headscarf.
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Panning for ancestral gold

It’s a random weekday evening. I sink into the sofa with my laptop and subconsciously flick through the usual suspects..facebook, the news…back to facebook again. My mind drifts back to work and I flick faster, searching for something that will take my mind somewhere else. But I’m back at work again…until I remember that my colleague was talking about researching her family tree at lunchtime. I’d love to do that I’d said, but doubted I’d get far with written records of a travelling family.
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The mythical gypsy past

My Romani gypsy heritage isn’t something we talked about much growing up. My grandmother died long before I was born and the whole family had settled and integrated into mainstream society. For my dad it’s part of his childhood- the smell of the grass, the sounds of the horses hooves, the sight of the wagon off to market. But for me it’s a mythical past that I can’t smell, taste, touch or see.
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Hello world!

Today seems like as good a day as any to start….

I used to love writing. My oldest friend and I used to joke that she had the imagination and I had the punctuation. I loved creative writing and once got completely lost in an English exam and forgot I was even there. Sadly those days are gone. The more I was required to write throughout University the less natural it became, until one day I was sat in my dad’s basement on the other side of the world with 6 weeks in which to write a 75,000 word thesis. The only way I got through was to bribe myself with 10 minutes of a period drama (!) for every 20 minutes of writing I did. Maybe I should finally read it (3.5 years after handing it in) and see if any Mr Darcys slipped in there by mistake. Here’s hoping.
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