The Storm Kettle – Product Review

Originally, the Storm Kettle was handmade in Ireland - often by travellers who produced them in copper - for fishermen, itinerant workers and tourists. John Grindlay, who with his wife owns and runs the Eydon Kettle Company, modified the design and implemented modern manufacturing techniques in the early 1960’s.

John Grindlay borrowed an original copper kettle and took it to England during the winter. Tooling was manufactured and the first 10 kettles eventually produced. These were very quickly sold for £10 each in 1979, the assembly work being carried out by Mr Grindlay’s children who were then 8 years and 10 years old. Popular demand meant that production had to increase. Since 1979 the numbers sold have substantially increased each year.

Mainly these Kettles, whether sold in the UK, Germany, or elsewhere, are used by sportsmen, holiday makers, expedition organisers and outdoor enthusiasts. They have even accompanied the explorer John Blashford-Snell, while he was searching for signs of early civilisations on a trip to Central America.

Nowadays they can be found in the Solomon Isles helping remote islanders boil water to purify it, in remote parts of Southern Africa, where dried cattle dung is used by the Zulus as fuel, or in the Sahara Desert on expeditions.

Using a Storm Kettle means you can boil water easily, in the wettest and windiest of weather, both rapidly and safely. They are also environmentally friendly as you only need a sheet of newspaper and a handful of twigs as fuel. So the simplicity of the Kettle ensures that boiling water is always available, without the need to use gas, petrol or any other artificial fuel.

Storm Kettles come in two sizes, the Original and the Popular. The Original will boil up to 2.5 pints (approx. 1.5 litres) the Popular up to 2 pints (approx. one litre) – that should ensure more than enough hot water is available for you within minutes - at any time.

The water boils rather quickly and can be kept going by just adding further small sticks into the fire that is going in the burner beneath the kettle via the “chimney”.

One word of warning even though it is mentioned more than once in the literature and also on a sticker on the kettle itself: NEVER EVER use it with the cork in place. While the cork is very handy for carrying the kettle with water in it when heating the water the cork must be taken out of the spout.

I am always amazed though that they never seem to have found a take up by the still travelling Romani in the UK and elsewhere. The Storm Kettle does away with the need for a fire for just the purpose of brewing a cup of tea or coffee or even for the making of some other hot beverage. I can but highly recommend them for our use as well.

While the Storm Kettle and accessories do not come cheap they certainly do not cost a fortune and will save a lot of trouble for those of ours that are, even if only occasionally, still po drom.

The Prices for the kettles are: £43.00 for the Popular and £44.50 for the Original. Prices include V.A.T. and carriage.

Reviewed by Michael Smith (Veshengro), February 2008

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Commissioner Hammarberg recommends stronger efforts

Strasbourg, 20.02.2008 - The Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, today presented his human rights assessment report on Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Whilst underlining that the authorities have ratified key European and international human rights treaties and adopted legislation and action plans in important areas, Mr Hammarberg highlighted the need for further efforts to ensure concrete implementation of the reforms. His recommendations focus on internally-displace
d persons and minority returnees, Roma, children, poverty and social exclusion.

The Commissioner considers that the effects of years of conflict have contributed to persisting poverty, social exclusion and inequality; social assistance is not distributed fairly and elderly people, single-parent families and people without health insurance coverage are particularly vulnerable and risk destitution.

He stated that further efforts are needed to facilitate return of people who were displaced during the conflict and that appropriate housing, infrastructure and services should be offered without discrimination to all returnees. Commissioner Hammarberg also urges national authorities to provide assistance and integration opportunities for those who cannot return to their places of origin.

Refugees who have been under temporary protection should be offered a durable solution, particularly those for whom return to Kosovo is not yet possible. Legal safeguards should be introduced to protect persons deprived of citizenship from being returned to countries where they would be at risk.

Furthermore, the Commissioner recommends more positive action for the protection of national minorities. The rights of Roma to education, employment, health and housing rights should be given priority. The report also sets out specific recommendations to combat violence against women and children.

The Commissioner recommends swift action to finally establish the office of the ombudsman at a State level. While he notes progress in the judiciary with regard to independence and professionalism, Mr Hammarberg expresses concern about the huge backlog of cases in the courts. There is an urgent need for an action plan to remedy this problem, he suggests.

The report, based on the findings of an official visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina in June 2007, is available on the Commissioner'
s website (

Abandoned in Kosovo

Those European countries which are in such a hurry to recognise Kosovo's independence should also stand up for its beleaguered minorities, of which there are a few.

For almost a decade western attitudes to Kosovo have reinforced the adage that the truth is rarely pure and never simple. As far as Kosovo and the Albanians is and was concerned there truth that was presented to the West was not the truth at all. The West, for some stupid reason, however, swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

In 1999, George Robertson, then Britain's defence secretary, claimed that Nato had undertaken a "fight for a downtrodden people and it has won". The question is who were the downtrodden people that he was referring to?

While it is claimed, and to some extent some of it may indeed be true, that forces controlled by Slobodan Milosevic were responsible for heinous crimes against the ethnic Albanian community that Robertson purported to champion, the fact is, and this was borne out by comments of the KOFOR troops, including high ranking officers, who stated “my God, we backed the wrong side”, as they saw what really had been going on.

In the security vacuum that followed Nato's "victory", there was a wave of violence against Kosovo's minorities: the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians (three groups often described as "Gypsies") and the Serbs. By some estimates, up to four-fifths of the 120,000-strong Roma community were driven from their homes in an true effort of ethnic cleansing. A litany of killings, arson and rape has been documented - in many cases allegedly perpetrated by members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (Hashim Thaci, the KLA's political leader at the time, is now prime minister). The majority of Gypsy Mahallas in Kosovo are nowadays ruins and shells and still people are being sent there to be attacked again and often killed.

It has always been the aim of the KLA and those associated with them, but also others that were working on the “liberation” of Kosovo to have a Kosovo for Albanians only and to drive all non-Albanians out and then attach Kosovo to a “Greater Albania”; only they are not going to admit to this now, are they.

Those who fled Kosovo have been reluctant to return and it is not hard to grasp why. Facing almost total unemployment and a dearth of social services, some Roma in Kosovo have been reduced to living on scraps of food from rubbish containers. With a principal Roma neighbourhood in Mitrovica almost completely destroyed in 1999, many of those remaining have been forced into substandard shelter by the UN in an area of toxic contamination which they are not, so it is reported again and again, permitted to leave. Illness is unsurprisingly widespread. All those “refugee camps” are under UN control.

Surely, there is an onus on those European countries who supported the Nato campaign and are now recognising Kosovo's independence to stand up for its beleaguered minorities. How can it be, then, that some of the same countries have made the plight of those the minorities even worse?

UN data indicates that about 2,000 people were forcibly sent back to Kosovo from other parts of Europe last year and more than 3,500 in 2006. A further 90,000 could still be deported, Ban Ki-Moon, the UN secretary-general, has said.

In 1999, Germany's involvement in the Nato effort caused ructions among its Green party, which then belonged to the ruling coalition. To its shame, Germany has been happy to expel significant numbers of Kosovars who have sought refuge on its soil. According to reports, those expelled have included people suffering from trauma who will almost certainly not receive the specialist care they need upon return. But then Germany always likes to get rid of the “Gypsy problem” fast regardless as to whether it is safe for those Gypsies to return or not, as was shown in the 1980's with the Roma and Sinti from Macedonia.

These expulsions disregard warnings by the UN's refugee agency that Serbs and Roma risk persecution if forcibly returned. Similar conclusions have been drawn by Kosovo's ombudsman, who found that returnees continue to be stoned on buses and have their property attacked. In 2006, some returnees were murdered and bombed, he added, and while such incidents had not reoccurred by the time his latest annual report was published, fear that they will persists.

Amnesty International, meanwhile, is perturbed by the woefully inadequate number of prosecutions stemming from past crimes, including war crimes. This means that the people accused of inflicting terror on minorities are frequently still at large.

In theory, the EU's decision to dispatch a law-and-order mission to Kosovo will remedy some of the underlying problems by helping to establish a properly functioning system of justice. But it could still be a long time before the Brussels institutions merit across-the-board confidence in Europe's newest country.

Kosovo's Gypsy population certainly has now been abandoned – not that the UN did much for them (in fact the actions of the UN caused lead poisoning to so many children) – by this overly fast wish to accept Kosovo as an independent state into the family of Nations and here with the like of the EU and the USA in the very forefront. I just would love to know what the hurry is here.

Michael Smith (Veshengro), February 2008

Judges without Names

Recently supposed Sinti judges, Rechtsprecher, have had a declaration posted on a forum on the Internet condemning various activities and practices by (young) Sinti in Internet forums, chat rooms, and the like and while I, for one, can but agree with the spirit and the sentiments expressed in that decree, the same is invalid without the names and the proper titles of the judges that made it. However, challenging this fact publicly was not permitted, as I found out. The post I made on those forums questing the validity and such, was not allowed past the censors and the threat was thereafter locked on all the forums concerned.

Those “judges” make a mockery out of our ancient system of justice by not being prepared to stand by this with their names and ranks, so to speak. Furthermore, the way this degree has been composed and worded is already out of keeping with Romanipen mentioning some things that should not be mentioned by name, theoretically, and the anti-Romani way that some young folks dress should also have been included in those condemnations.

Such actions by so called “judges” and the statements, written in such a childish way without names and titles, make the Romani People, and especially the Sinti in Germany, etc., and our system of justice, into a laughing stock in the eyes of the Gadje. Or are the German Sinti and those in Austria, and such, so far removed from the true system of Romani justice. One can but wonder.

Judges who do not have the courage of their convictions to put their names to such a statement and decree do not deserve nor have the right to be called judges and deserve no respect at all, as they would be incapable to even judge an allotment garden produce show. Dordi! And the Sinti in Germany and such places are governed by such “leaders”. One can but feel sorry for them.

© Michael Smith (Veshengro), February 2008

I am a genuine Romany Gypsy and it goes against my beliefs to live in a house

The above is the statement of a Mr. Fred Adams, of Huntingdonshire, in his application for planning permission for developing his own caravan site.

The Adams family (no relations to the one on TV) who Romany-Gypsy are trying to get planning permission to put six caravans on a field off Chatteris Road in Somersham has put forward another application.

Permission for a similar project was refused by Huntingdonshire District Council at a meeting in St Ives in November.

At the time, the applicant, Fred Adams, told the council's development control panel that he wanted to use the land as a home for members of his extended family.

He added that he was a genuine Romany Gypsy and it went against his beliefs to live in a house.

However, Mr. Adams currently lives in a house, so it would appear, which he wants to sell in order to develop the caravan site for he said he planned to sell his house in Stukeley Meadows and use the money to develop the site to include six pitches, a roadway and hardstanding on the field, which is more than a mile from the centre of the village.

District councillors, however, decided that access from the site to the main road would be dangerous and that the site would have an adverse impact on residents, businesses and the character of the area.

Mr Adams has now altered the planned access to the site with a view to gaining planning permission for the scheme.

Somersham Parish Council, which also objected to the original development on the grounds that it would be unsustainable, was going to consider the plans at a meeting on Monday, February 4, before they are put before Huntingdonshire District Council.

Statements like that by Mr. Adams in an attempt to get planning permission for such a site do not help at all and do no one any favors, not even the person making them. In fact they will make it worse for others to get permission.

I too am a true, as Mr. Adams says, Romani-Gypsy but I do live in a house and I know probably more about the true beliefs of the People than Mr. Adams, I am afraid to say, will ever know. His claim as to living in a house being against Romani beliefs is absolute humbug. How can he justify such a claim anyway as he currently lives in a house he owns?

If he wants to have his extended family live with him, which is something that I can understand and that is why we, as a People need to fight for the right to be able to develop our own settlements, then he should say so properly and, maybe, buy a bigger house or even a farm where he can then develop building where members of his extended family can live. The rest is hukaben and kek else.

© Michael Smith (Veshengro), February 2008

I am proud to be Gypsy...

...declared Jacques Abardonado (29), who plays for the Nuremberg Football Club in Germany, who until recently was a player for O.G.C. Niece in France, whence he comes, in an interview.

Jacques Abardonado, also called “ Pancho”, the blond-headed Manouche, wants, with this declaration, to improve the image of the Romani People. “Gypsies”, 'Pancho' said, “are always seen by the public as people wanting a fight and as thieves and vagabonds. When we arrive at a place the shout immediately goes forth 'Watch out! The Gypsies are in town!' I have got a different image here and I can change the image of the People by doing this”.

This is a very refreshing thing, to have one of the likes of “Pancho” stand up publicly and declare that he is Rom, Gypsy, and proud to be one.

What is stopping you, and you, and yes, you there in the corner too, from doing the same and proclaiming openly that you are ethnic Gypsy and that you are proud to be thus?

Oh, what was that? You say that that is easy for him... he is a professional footballer. Well, he is also not the only professional footballer who is Rom and also not the fist to be open about it but, as far as I can see, he is probably the only one who has ever been that open about it.

All I can say is “good on you, mate!” to “Pancho” and hopefully many young Rom will take him as a role model and, aside from modelling themselves along his lines, so to speak, also follow his lead of publicly declaring membership of the People of the Rom.

© Michael Smith (Veshengro), February 2008

Sharia law in UK is 'unavoidable'

The Archbishop of Canterbury says the adoption of certain aspects of Sharia law in the UK "seems unavoidable".

Dr Rowan Williams told Radio 4's World at One that the UK has to "face up to the fact" that some of its citizens do not relate to the British legal system.

Why Her Majesty's subjects in the UK should have to face up to the fact that Sharia Law is unavoidable, as Dr Rowan Williams, who is not fit to be the Archbishop of the Church of England with statements such as this, has said, beats me. If some people living in this country have problems with the British legal system, that of criminal law and that of civil, maybe then it is time that they, who do not with to accept the system of this country leave it – permanently. If you live in this country then you live by its rules not your rules. Period! Dosta!

Read on...

MP warns of Roma children trafficked into crime

As many as 2,000 children of Roma gypsies have been trafficked into the UK to be schooled in the art of street crime by modern-day Fagins, the Government was warned today.

Tory Anthony Steen (Totnes) said the children were brought to Britain for the express purpose of committing crimes and "milking" the benefits system.

Sold for up to £20,000 each, they were "debt bonded" to criminal gangs and could net as much as £100,000 a year, he claimed.

He warned it was a new "phenomenon" in Britain which was approaching "siege" levels but which no one had grasped the significance of yet.

Mr Steen called for a new offence of "criminally exploiting others" and for the children concerned to be treated as victims of crime and repatriated with the support of reputable child organisations.

He was speaking in a Westminster Hall debate after last month's high-profile rescue by police of 10 children from a so-called "Fagin's Gang".

The children were taken into care after officers raided 17 addresses in Slough, Berkshire.

Nine have since been reunited with their families who live in the UK.

Police believe the children were being held by organised criminal gangs from Eastern Europe and being forced into a life of crime.

Opening the debate, Mr Steen told MPs: "What is happening is that organised criminal networks are trafficking Roma children into Britain and other EU countries, notably Italy and Spain, and using them to milk the benefit system and undertake criminal activities such as shoplifting, pick-pocketing and ATM theft."

The Metropolitan Police estimated up to 2000 Roma children have already been trafficked into the UK, he added.

"None of them go to school, they are not on social services databases, they aren't cared for by foster parents, they are completely under the radar."

Meanwhile, Romanian nationals accused of crime in Metropolitan Police areas had soared 786% since 2006 and Bulgarian nationals by 250%.

"These gangs are buying children and schooling them in the art of street crime," Mr Steen alleged.

"The twist is that many of these children are under 10 years old and have no criminal liability in this country."

Mr Steen continued: "This is an entirely new form of trafficking because although the children are often with their own family, their family is mortgaged - debt bonded to the criminal gangs.

"The families sell their children for cash and the child is expected to pay off that debt by crime.

"We have hundreds - but no doubt in time thousands - of these kinds of families in Britain whose sole aim is to milk the benefit system and steal on the streets."

Mr Steen claimed London was "a sitting duck" for Roma-organised crime and that it was spreading throughout the regions.

"Intelligence has been received that children and adults are being sold between the gangs in the UK as well as being trafficked into the UK - evidence of sales for amounts of between £20,000 for one or more persons including babies and very young children," he said.

"Intelligence has also been intercepted that reveals a criminally active child can earn approximately £100,000 per year for the organised criminal network that controls her or him."

Home Office minister Vernon Coaker stressed that criminality not nationality was the issue, adding: "We are not stigmatising all Romanians."

He said crimes committed by trafficked children were concentrated in certain areas and police were already taking "robust" action.

Government intelligence suggested there were about 180 Roma children trafficked into the UK, Mr Coaker added, and a database was currently being created to record all victims of trafficking.

Meanwhile, new assessments of the threat posed by organised criminal gangs were being compiled by the Serious and Organised Crime Agency.

Mr Coaker, the minister responsible for tackling child exploitation, said Roma families could claim benefits in the UK but there was no automatic entitlement.

He told MPs the Government was looking at creating "specialist local authorities" to handle care and support for child trafficking victims.

"We are looking at perhaps 40 across the country," Mr Coaker said.

Ministers were also talking to European colleagues about better integration of the Roma community, he added.

Mr Coaker pledged to raise the matter with the Romanian, Bulgarian and Albanian ambassadors on a forthcoming trip to their countries.


Editorial comment:

It is this very kind of behaviour by some members of the Roma community that is the very reason, aside from the fact that they simply are not Roma, that Romanichals and other Sinti, as well as the Cale, while Romani, do not wish to be called Roma or referred to as Roma.

It is high time that the Roma leaders did something against this, or are they involved in this? Then again, would a true leader of his people go about “warning” countries like the UK that his people will be all headed for the Uk in order to “milk the system”, as some of them have done? What is the reason for a “leader” of the People making such statement? One can only guess and wonder, methinks, but it would appear to me to be some kind of blackmail. In other words: “offer me some money and I will see to it that those subjects of mine do not go to your country to milk the system” seems to have been the attitude behind this. Therefore, one can only wonder why none of the “leaders” speak out against what seems to be going on here with those trafficked Roma chave.

Instead of pretending that this is not happening and that Roma do not sell children the honest leaders of the community should do something about it. All our groups have been able to do so far is openly mention that this is happening but again and again we have been attacked then and being called racist and whatever for saying so. This editor was personally offered a small, approx six or seven year old Roma boy in a town in Surrey for sale by other Roma, who, purportedly came from the former Czechoslovakia and who have been living from begging on the streets of said town in Surrey.

So, let's stop pretending it is not happening, for it is. Now let's see what we can do about it.

Then again, those that could do something about it, i.e. those very same Roma(ni) organizations that have the money, are the very same that deny that this is happening. It has been going on for years and years, decades and decades, and has been documented in films even. However, each and every time “leaders” and Roma(ni) academics have tried to deny this.

Instead of denying the existence of this we, as the People as a whole, must fight this and stop the exploiters. How? Well, maybe someone out there has some suggestion, other than the Kliste.

MVS, Feb 2008

BOGO LIGHT - Advertisement

Romani CRISS approved as NGO in Consultative Status with ECOSOC

Within working session of the United Nations Committee on Non-Governmental Organisations which took place in New York from January 21st till January 30th 2008 and where 145 organisations’ applications were analysed, Romani CRISS – Roma Center for Social Intervention and Studies was approved as NGO in Consultative Status with Economic and Social Council ( ECOSOC)

Romani CRISS is the first Roma organisation in Romania and the fifth in our country to be approved in the Consultative Status with ECOSOC. This fact infers communication of meetings of ECOSOC and of subsidiary bodies, as Romani CRISS may make proposals in regard to the agenda and may distribute documents. The competencies of NGOs with consultative status are available at

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), along with the General Assembly, Security Council, Trusteeship Council, International Court of Justice and the Secretariat, is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations. The United Nations family, however, is much larger, encompassing 15 agencies and several programmes and bodies. Established in 1945, the UN has 192 member states and the mission to maintain international peace and security; to develop friendly relations among nations; to cooperate in solving international economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems and in promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in attaining these ends. On December 14th 1955, The General Assembly decided that Romania became part of UN.

Cezara David
Public relations coordinator
Romani CRISS