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Folki I Know by Bob Lovell
FOLKIE I KNOW.
Over the last 11 years I've come to know a few very kushti folkie who have spent their lives working and researching Romani/traveler History - Families tree's and stories .
these people I speak of have given their time and gift for free in general . which I take my Stardi off to them as it's no easy task as all involved in Romani/traveler research etc will tell you.
While it's often heard that why ?do we ! Romani /traveler folkie need any help in regard to our history ( mainly the UK ) or indeed our familia tree's . In my own mind I can see where these modern day researchers have opened up many opportunity's for those of us not perhaps ? educated in the way of computers and books - census records etc to reveal many wonderful connections and stories that might other wise be lost to us.
So I'm grateful to these people I'll speak of. Above Bob Lovell and Robert (Bob) Dawson
First is my friend and Bruv Bob Dawson. Now Bob or Bruv as he's called by his friends in the Romani /Traveler world is first a boro mush - a big man not only in physical size but his heart is huge and his friendliness beyond measure.
When I first met Bob in Derbyshire at his home in 1999 he had recently become very ill so of course my wife Jayne & I were a little worried that by contacting Bob we might cause extra stress at the time for him.
But no way! Bob welcomed us into his home with out question,. I might add here I'd heard Bob had once been a school principle , this had me worried as School teachers and such I'd avoid like the plague.
My worry's were unfounded ! Bob I found has away with him you can't help liking , he doesn't muck about -but says what he believes which puts a person at their ease .
At The time Bob was winding down his years of work on behalf of the Derbyshire Gypsy liaison Group , which Bob spent many years leading in practical help to the Romani/traveler folkie of that area of England.
Not just research work but educational booklets that would help both Romani/traveler folkie and Gorgo officialdom and any one interested.
Some of the booklets Bob wrote I have read and all in my mind are of great value to us Romani/Traveler folkie in understanding while we are a ethnic culture and race we are still part of the general population where ever we happen to live or be artch'd up, that we like all people have a responsibility to get on with non Romani./traveler people.
While in the UK in 1999 Bob had just given his life's collection of Romani/traveler items, such as familia research documents-letters and much much more to the Reading University rural museum . Bob did this so in the future Folkie Romani/traveler and Gorga folkie could go to the Reading Uni rural museum and for a small donation research the huge collection for themselves.
At the time the collection had not been officially opened by the museum. a few days prier to our visit with Bob Dawson my wife Jayne and I had gone to the Reading uni rural museum . once in there I asked to see the collection, The chap in charge said sorry it's not opened yet , come back in a month ! I replied well we didn't know this and we had come 13 thousand miles to see it ! so he said ok ! , I'll let you have a look around but don't tell anyone .
But Back to Bob Bruv , Bob first became interested in Romani/traveler folkie as a boy , he'd seen Gypsies in his local area and was drawn to these people that many other's ignored or didn't have a good word to say about them .
For Bob it wasn't some romantic notion or he wanted to be like a Gypsy, it was a genuine interest that would lead to a life times work (mainly unpaid - a work of love) Around this time in Bob's life he met and became lifetime friends with Dora Yates the Gypsyoligist who all of us have heard or read of.
Dora was always one of Bob's Heroines , even when Bob and I openly
discussed the Rye's of old -John Sampson and his merry gang (including Dora) both Bob and I agreed that whilst Sampson and Co clearly had personal agendas some of these Rye's and Rawni's had a great love for their Romani friends of the time and Dora clearly had a great love of the Romany and traveler Folkie in her life.
Bob also headed the Romany Family & Traveler history group that today are highly thought of by many many people . their Romany routes booklets are a great source of factual knowledge that many Romany/traveler folkie are very grateful for .
in recent years Bob has stepped down from his work with the RFTH group due to his ongoing health problems.
much of the work Bob did for RTFH has been taken oner by Romani folkie like Janet Keet Black and other's, having also met Janet I can only say great things of . another person who gives so much without thought of monetary payment.
Again in 2007 My wife Jayne and I returned to the UK and visited our Brov Bob in Derbyshire , this time clearly Bob's health issues were clearly visible but it didn't stop Bob or his Lovely wife from making us welcome into their Kenna.
this time I had much to share with Bob (as I was no longer shy to rokka with him on Romani kovas - things) Bob and I talked about deep subjects re Romani Folkie and the Rye's and rawni's of old!
What came out of our talk was my belief in what I'd always known and that was without the help of books but rather oral family says passed down to myself by my own Dadus-Father. he could not read so his oral based memory of old stories-says I felt must be based on real happenings in the past in the UK within the Romani/traveler world (more so Wales)
One thing my Bruv Bob D said to me was Bob Pral (me) if anyone should write about this kova=thing-s , it should be a Romani person who is of direct descent from one of the mentioned UK Romani families we have discussed here today !
So I took up the pen and wrote the item (it can be read on Romani jib today) whilst it might be seen as me taking potshots at certain Romani Families and rye's of the past , it is in my mind based on reality and factual rather than wishful thinking on my part .
I don't believe I would have ever stepped out of the background and been so vocal without knowing Folk like Bob Dawson and others who keep saying over and over , Romani/traveler folkie do have the means and support to speak for themselves in today's world . just go out and do it !
Lastly it's a privilege to know Bob Dawson and to know all Romani /traveler folkie be they in the UK or elsewhere have this man as a Friend and brother.
Bob Lovell 2010 NZ.
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