I have nothing against Travelers, or Tinkers or Knackers of Pikeys or whatever the fuck is their current Politically Correct name.

If they don't bother me, then I won't bother them.  They have their lifestyle and I have mine, and ne'er the twain shall meet.  If they call to the door to tell me they are "doing a job for my neighbours" and have some spare tarmac over and would I like my drive done, I tell 'em to piss off and check around the side of the house to make sure no one is trying to break in while I'm at the front door.  I know the way they do things.

Some years ago the council built a little estate of about twenty houses in the village, and a couple of those are occupied by Knackers.  You can tell which ones by the fancy caravans parked in the front gardens [doubtless housing a few more families].  We call the estate "The Court" because that's where some of the residents usually end up.  

As it happened, I had some business in The Court, trying to retrieve some tools that a pal had "borrowed" a year or so ago and I wanted them back.  It was a lovely sunny day so I walked the dog down and headed for the pal's house.

"Hey YOU!"

I wasn't sure whether the shout was directed at me, but I did glance over my shoulder and sure enough there was a little Snot Gobbler Knacker staring at me.  He was about fifty feet away, sitting on a bike he had probably robbed out of someone's garden.  He was only about five or six so I ignored him.

My pal gave me my tools and a mug of tea and eventually it was time to walk home again.

The little Gobbler was still there, waiting patiently for my return.  Fair play to him for his patience.

"Hey YOU!" he yelled again.

I realised I had to pass him on the way out and ignored him again.  I wasn't going to shout.

"Wass your name?" he demanded.

My name is something very personal and precious to me and I don't hand it out lightly to strangers or police.  It's just a little quirk of mine.

"Fred" I told him.

He looked at me somewhat suspiciously presumably trying to work out if I looked like a Fred.

"Are you a Pikey?" he demanded somewhat aggressively.

"I might be and I might not" I replied, wishing he'd go away.

He thought about this for another moment.


"No" I replied, "but I will if you want me to."

He thought about this for another while and suddenly without warning he fucked off without so much as a "goodbye" or a "Cheerio".

I pondered over our little chat as I made my way home.  I had to admire him, taking on a bloke who's well over six foot and ten times his age, not to mention the fact that I had a dog and an armful of heave steel tools.  I also realised that by giving him a noncommittal response to his question I had in effect told him to fuck off even though I hadn't actually told him to fuck off, if you get my drift.

Smart kid.


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How to say something without saying it — 3 Comments

  1. I've had a few encounters with this delightful folk whilst growing up in England during the 70s. I like to consider myself a fair man and generally judge people as I find them (often in a ditch) but I'm willing to make an exception when it comes to 'gypos'. As a group they certainly live up to their stereotype as sober pillars of society with a knack for paying their taxes on time. Fick and arse!



    • The crowd down in The Court are actually pretty harmless.  There are a couple of girls who wander around the village occasionally in their pyjamas, shouting abuse and insults at no one in particular.  They add that little extra colour to village life.  The adults keep very much to themselves which is strange as they belong to one of the great warring factions of the Itinerant world.  The only indicator that they live in The Court is the almost constant presence of a squad car there! 

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