This is an excellent idea, especially for a skilled willow weaver.
If you need a bicycle wagon and can get a lightweight frame built, this seems to be a great, eye-catching option. I suggest watching the short videos on their site as well. I find their site somewhat difficult to navigate, but who am I to talk with all the clutter around here?
Here is a quick link to the video about the Weaving Wagon:
Click here for their full post about the Weaving Wagon and I suggest looking around. They have some neat stuff going on.
I think I would really love to have something like this.
A somewhat dilapidated or damaged vardo in France 1920s – 1930s. People with no fixed address have always drawn suspicion while simultaneously their lifestyle is romanticized.
In Britain and Ireland, the Romany Gypsys and the Traveller community are often associated with low-skilled work such as scrap dealers, horse traders, musical entertainers, or more nefarious activities outside the societal norms. However, there were plenty of skilled craftsmen and craftswomen providing goods and services to people around the country.
Below is an image of a couple, working together making footstools outside their vardo while another couple looks on from the comfort of their wagon.
Other Gypsy families were blacksmiths, basket weavers, or similar occupations that could be taken on the road, required little stock or overhead, and could be performed independently or with a minimum of family help.
There is more to wandering people than the romantic or demonized images we carry. People are just people after all.
Travellers in Europe and Britain have always been associated with a style tent called a bender. This comes from the construction technique of cutting saplings and bending them into a dome, elongated dome, or half cylinder shape, These frameworks were then covered with tarps and made watertight in the temperate damp. The origins of this design are lost in the mists of time and are believed by archaeologists to be one of the earliest style of recognizable tent structure used by humans.
Even after a certain level of affluence allowed some Romany and other Travelling folk to own living wagons, the bender continued (and continues) to be a way to extend the living space without the need for a lot more gear.
The fact that a tent becomes the subject for a Blackpool post card shows the ongoing fascination with “Gypsy Culture,” especially in the British Isles where Travellers are simultaneously suspect and romanticized.
If you have family that me be Romany, Traveller, or Fairground folk in Britain or just want to learn more, check out the Romany & Traveller Family History Society at http://rtfhs.org.uk/.
Here’s another excellent photo of a pack of vardos (caravans) in the wild. It looks like everyone came out and maybe even spruced themselves up for the photo. I couldn’t find any metadata on this one but it looks fairly early, probably late nineteenth century. These appear to be high-end models in great condition still.
Nomads are not loners. In fact, humans do not do well alone in any setting. We have always been communal people, depending upon one another for help and support. Many hands make light work and it is essential to be near others you can depend on.
I have been collecting images of Traveller communities for many years and I really enjoy the gritty, homespun feel of the old encampments with peeling paint and makeshift tarpaulin shelters. I’m sure this image was not welcome in settled communities around Europe and the shiftless nature of these wanderers led to many suspicions, both unfounded and real.
The vardos bear many differences but within fairly tight physical contraints of size, weight, needs, and technology. It’s important to remember as well that historic travellers of most varieties didn’t design or build their own accommodations but often modified or improved that which they acquired.
We are at our best and worst in groups, whether that is family or friends. Humans are social animals.
I decided this was worth a re-post. An incident that could have gone far worse in many ways.
I had to wait a while to publish this one but maybe I just need to get it out…
I like to think I’m a safe person. At least to the point of looking out for others if not always myself. I don’t drive aggressively, I maintain my vehicles, and don’t take big chances on the road. That said, I probably stress my truck and the vardo more than most people would. The truck has spent sixteen years as an archaeologist’s field vehicle and has gone into places I would have never thought I would take it. I have crept into BLM campsites with the vardo that required it to be tipped up to 45 degrees and I was certain it was going to go over. I’ve intentionally jack-knifed the whole thing just to push it into place between boulders.
These things are just the nature of travel in the…
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So, a vardo is a small space, especially when living with a dog.
The old dog loved sleeping under the rig as she took her guard duties seriously but unfortunately, she is no longer with us. The youngster, on the other hand, has no interest in that sort of nonsense and only wants to be by my side as much as possible. She loves enclosed spaces so the vardo is a big attraction for her. She spends much of her time under the main bed, hidden away, and often forgotten about until she decides to get under foot. I even lost her for the better part of a day when she snuck in while I wasn’t looking, slipped into her bed, and was locked in for several hours. When I found her, she looked content enough and came out stretching like a sleepy child.
Much of 2016-2017 I was lucky enough to spend many nights camped in the gypsy wagon with just my dog for company. She doesn’t get on furniture inside the house but the dog has decided the floor or her bed are not good enough when she’s in the vardo. Since she knows she not really supposed to sneak into the bed, the (too small) bench seat is often her compromise in the wagon. She doesn’t really fit but I guess it makes her feel like one of the family.
A couple years ago I learned to be extra careful when sliding out of bed, especially in the dark, as she often plants herself on her favorite felted rug; right under my feet. In this case, it also happens to be in front of the ceramic heater on a chilly morning.
Even while getting ready to go to work, she seems to manage a photo-bomb; always lurking nearby and not wanting to be left behind. Just because it’s a small space, there is still plenty of room for a dog; sort of.