"The gyptian families, who lived in canal-boats, came and went with the spring and autumn fairs, "

A canal boat
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeA canal boat - Credit: Dr Neil Clifton
This is the first mention of the gyptians, who will become vital to Lyra as the story progresses.

While most of the Irish and Gypsy travellers of our world live in caravans or trailers, there are some who still live in house boats. As John Faa will later hint, they still battle with local government over their use of the waterways.

The website Gypsy Traveller provides a lot of information, including details of local horse fairs such as the one where we are first introduced to Ma Costa and the gyptian people in the novel.