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Smoke in the Lanes by Dominic Reeve, Peter Ingram


Smoke in the Lanes by Dominic Reeve, Peter Ingram

This facsimile reprint with a foreword by Peter Ingram of this classic account of the reality of life as a Gypsy in the 1950s when Travellers lived in horse drawn wagons and stopped by the wayside in quiet country lanes wherever possible, but were often driven to atch besides main highways as so many of the old stopping-places were fenced-off or built upon. This book is full of stories of life on the road and descriptions of colourful characters living for the present despite constant harassment by police and suspicious landowners. The author, Dominic Reeve, still lives the life of a Traveller but in a modern caravan pulled by a heavily chromed four wheel drive pickup. Illustrated with his wife, Beshlie's fine drawings this is an inside account of life on the road and as such is of permanent value to both students and the general reader as a vivid portrayal of a vanished way of life.

About the Author

The author is notoriously secretive and his true name and any personal details about his past have never been publicly disclosed. It is known, however, that he took to the life of a Traveller in his late teens (he was not born a Gypsy) and although turned seventy continues to live and earn his living in the traditional way. His dislike for both academics and do gooders is balanced by his close friendship for fellow Travellers and his adherence to traditions which many of those born Gypsies have abandoned. His wife, who drew the illustrations, goes by the name of 'Beshlie' and her drawings were much admired by Augustus John (who painted her) and bought by Dame Laura Knight. Dominic and Beshlie regularly attend the traditional horse fairs at Stow but have no permanent fixed address and their publisher communicates with them via an accommodation address. His three books (each with illustrations by Beshlie) are considered to be the most accurate account of the evolving life of English Gypsies (Romanichal) and as such of lasting value. Their genuineness can be attributed to the author having lived the life of a Traveller for all his adult life.

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Book Info

Publication date

7th September 2007


Dominic Reeve, Peter Ingram

More books by Dominic Reeve, Peter Ingram
Author 'Like for Like'


University of Hertfordshire Press


312 pages


Social groups
Physical anthropology
Autobiography: general
Social & cultural history



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