Around the end of the 1950s the Gypsy-Travelling people exchanged four legs for four wheels. The days of the old horse-drawn Romani wagon passed, the days of motors and trailers began. Dominic Reeve’s record of those early days, Smoke in the Lanes, was a classic account of Gypsy life in the 1950s. In Beneath the Blue Sky he records the days of mechanisation. He shows how the days of living freely on the common and by the roadside was destroyed by councils, landowners and the police. Writing as a Traveller, from the inside, Dominic Reeve describes how his community struggled to retain its lifestyle; to be self-employed, to roam at will, to be as free as possible, and to prosper. Without in any way romanticising gthe Traveller lifestyle the author’s lively memoir is filled with comradeship, generosity and optimism. He describes his last half-century ‘beneath the blue sky’; and, within the fashions and restrictions of the Traveller’s ways, how he was able to survive and thrive. Beneath the Blue Sky – the title taken from a popular Travellers’ song – can be read as a social document or simply the experience of one Traveller during the last fifty years.
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