Wagons under construction near Redditch. Unlike many wagon builders, Pete Delaney works where he lives, and has not taken up a yard. Photo: Vjeko Vranic
How one man could inspire a new generation of horse drawn travellers
22nd June, 2011
Jean Vranic meets Pete Delaney, the remarkable traveller challenging stereotypes and proving that - even in modern Britain - alternative, sustainable lifestyles are still possible
When Pete Delaney and his family’s painted wagons arrive at the Sainsbury Island in Redditch, the local people know that Christmas has arrived. They've sold hand made holly wreaths and decorations at this spot for many years and when Christmas is over, Pete, his wife Rachel, their children and their sturdy horses are a regular feature in the lanes of Redditch and the nearby countryside.
Although many people assume their decorated homes belong to Romany gipsies, Pete and his family are actually known as 'horse drawn travellers'. There are approximately 1000 such travellers now and the number is growing. The Delaney’s home is a Romany Style Bowtop Vardo - the Romany word for caravan, taken from an Iranian word vurdon.
On a warm spring day, sitting around the camp fire under a thick coppice of trees seemed very appealing, but I wondered what it was like during the recent freezing weather conditions: Pete assured me that the caravans were as warm inside as a conventional home as they are heated by wood burning stoves. The only concessions to modern technology are the solar panels used to power the children’s d.v.d. players and a battery operated radio and mobile phone. Food is cooked...
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