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Tuesday, September 29, 2009


This is a vardo, a Romy gypsy mobile home used from the mid 1850's into the modern era. It is estimated only 1% of european gypsies use them anymore. I found this on a blog while doing my research today.

This model is from the Gypsy Caravan Co. in the UK. It reminds me of a passenger traincar from America around the same time as these were being used. The thing is, while it was engineered by the English, the painting has a distinctly German/Bavarian asthetic. Further proof, I suppose, that England And Germany are intrinsicly tied together.

I guess, what I like best about these things, portability and real horse power requirements aside, is that it it somehow reminds me of home. A place I lived a long time ago. A way I lived a long time ago. It seems to say solitude. It is a pod.

One vardo is your shell. Many vardoes are a community. Gypsies may have had to band together to survive fearful villagers. But in the darkness of a winter night, one enjoys their own space warm from a stove and glowing with lantern light. It is the first time for the day that there is peace. Outside, while the wind howls and the sky is dark, many vardoes gather. Beyond the bleak snowy curtain, you know that you are not alone.

Yeah, you have to boil water to wash dishes, cook over a campfire, set up and tear down, pack and unpack your belongings every time you "pull up stakes". But you get to move your whole house around when you visit. And you are always visiting but you have a base. No hotel. No crashing on a friend's couch. Its like camping with an RV these days. The bed is solidly planted with bedding as sumptuous as you like. You get a matress while you are camping. Yea!!! The roof is solid as well. When it rains you stay dry, unlike in a tent.

Of course I am overly romanticising the adventure. Adventure/ordeal.... its all about perspective. And my geeky little self, watching BBC America's Doctor Who marathon is thinking how cool it would be if a vardo were bigger on the inside than it looks outside: VARDIS. I know TARDIS stands for something. And I'll be hornswoggled if I can think of what the vardis anacronym could mean. But it isn't about meaning for a change... its about possibility.

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