The Girl in the Painted Caravan
Memories of a Romany Childhood
Date of publication: February 2011
Born into a Romany gypsy family in 1939, Eva Petulengro's childhood seemed to her to be idyllic in every way. She would travel the country with her family in their painted caravan and spend evenings by the fire as they sang and told stories of their past. She didn't go to school or visit a doctor when she was unwell.
Instead her family would gather wild herbs to make traditional remedies, hunt game and rabbits, and while the men tended horses to make a living, the young girls would join the women in reading palms. But Eva's perfect world would be turned upside down as the countryside became increasingly hostile to all travellers. Eva describes the wonderful characters in her family, from her grandfather 'Naughty' Petulengro to her four beautiful aunts who entranced everyone they met, as well as the fascinating people they came across on the road.
Moving, evocative, romantic and funny, The Girl in the Painted Caravan vividly captures a way of life that has now, sadly, all but disappeared.