The chap on the left is rather foreign – well, he is to me. To the lady behind the drum on the right of the photo, I was the foreign one. He’s actually a Caci dancer up in the hills of Flores, Indonesia and is just about to start his warrior dance. Not the sort of thing you see everyday in England.
So, is Daffodil foreign? Well, no, not really. She’s a teenager from Basildon, Essex although being a teenager from anywhere, may, in some people’s eyes, qualify her as being foreign. But it’s more what she claimed to be, than what she is. During her first encounter with Mr. Hornsby, the schoolmaster, she has to explain away her twentieth century clothes and as they are slightly gypsy-like. She starts to tell him she’s a gypsy, when the voice, who Mr. Hornsby can’t hear, warns her not to…
““Er, my mother’s foreign, and these are the sort of clothes she wears.
“Foreign, you say?”
Looking down at my clothes, I had a mad flash of inspiration.
“She’s a gy—”
“Don’t mention gypsies,” warned the voice.
“Well, actually, she’s a Roma—”
“No!” whispered the voice insistently.
“Not Romany, I hope,” Mr. Hornsby bellowed. “I will not tolerate those people here, with their spells and curses!”
How was I going to get out of this? It would be difficult to explain why I was dressed gypsy-style if I wasn’t a gypsy. It was lucky I hadn’t worn a short skirt and t-shirt. How would I have explained that?
I needed to invent a believable story or at least one that he wouldn’t be able to prove one way or the other.
I stood up straight, took a deep breath to steady my nerves and said the first thing that came into my mind, “My mother comes from a tiny region in Russia and belongs to a group of people called the Romaneros.””
If you want to know how Daffodil becoming a Romanero, (if only in the eyes of a few) changes her outlook on life, you can find out here in ‘Daffodil and the Thin Place’