I WAS thrilled to read this week that Charlie Chaplin may have been born in my neck of the woods and not in London, as has always been thought.
His birth certificate has never been discovered but Chaplin's daughter Victoria has recently unearthed evidence that he was probably born in a caravan that belonged to a Gypsy Queen - on the Black Patch in Smethwick, near Birmingham.
Which leads me nicely to a brilliant fly-on the wall TV documentary: please tell me you've been watching My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding on Channel 4.
This programme was about so much more than pantomime dresses and fairy coaches and got right to the heart of the traveller life, albeit without comment from the 'settled' community.
The traditions they still live by, such as 'grabbing', when a young man takes a girl he fancies by force, are quite startling.
Though a rough and questionable practice in these days of equality, the act does not lead to molestation, or worse, as it might imply.
There is a strict code of courtship; even engaged couples are chaperoned in the gipsy community and sex before marriage is strictly forbidden.
Some of the film was shot in Uxbridge and Ruislip, and one of the weddings took place in Iver.
Many of our schools have traveller children in their classes and they do a sterling job, considering the short time the youngsters tend to spend with them.
Girls are not usually expected to be highly educated and are often taken out of school to care for younger siblings.
Marriage as young as 16 is on the cards, with no work outside the home and strict obedience to their husbands forever after.
(Mr F, looking over my shoulder has just said: 'Quite right too' to the last part. I shall not respond).
* FINALLY: Still on old traditions, it is great to hear that Uxbridge Folk Club has been revived, with plans for an annual folk festival from 2013. The club usually meets at Uxbridge RNA at the junction of Long Lane and the A40, but Mr F and I went to one of their special concerts at the Compass Theatre. We had spotted Emily Smith on BBC4's Transatlantic Sessions so were impressed to find she was performing locally. What a scoop! The concert was great and well done organiser Archie Macaulay. Check out the club's website for its programme. ..SUPL: