Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Travellers? Seriously?

Reading seems to be plagued with travellers, a nomadic group that goes around in their RVs, parks anywhere, is accused of increasing crime, and generally annoys the hell out of people who like to live in a more stationary manner.

A local newspaper story titled "Travellers force children out" discusses the bizarre problem. In this story parents couldn't find a parking spot when taking their tykes to swimming lessons because a convoy of travellers filled up the parking lot. A court order had to be obtained to get them to move out. I don't know why you can't just tell them to pack it in without the time and trouble of a court order, but that seems to be common -- you can't just tell them to move along, presumably because they are a recognized ethnic group and they have rights, dammit, even if that means clogging up your street where you pay high taxes with their rusty old RVs. There was another problem recently where travellers had parked near a bridge in Reading and were causing a lot of annoyance, not the least of which being that the traveller children, being unencumbered with a need to be in school, where trying to force passerby to pay for the right to cross the bridge. Rambunctious little darlings.

Travellers are of Irish heritage, and apparently some live in the U.S. I never heard of that before the show The Riches, which is a U.S. program that recently started airing in the UK. It's a well-acted show (thank you, Minnie Driver and Eddie Izzard), with a largely unbelievable plot. But I wonder how many Brits watch it and think the whole traveller society is much more prevalent in the U.S. than it really is? I'd never heard of or seen them before. The only group of RVs I've ever heard of parked in a lot belonged to "snowbirds" who go down to Florida for the winter, and they're more old and cold than a nomadic tribe. And they paid to park in an RV lot, rather than just randomly hanging out. Let's hope the whole traveller thing doesn't catch on in the U.S., 'cause this girls likes a place to park without being hassled by urchins, ya know?

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