I would like to include in a story some details of Stoorish River-life and how it would it have differed from that of Shire-dwellers. The Gladden Fields sound like nothing but marshes and irises and I don't know how the inhabitants would compensate. Can anyone tell me about River-folk in our world?
Well, here's my thoughts--which may not be anyone else's!
If we're talking about the days when Smeagol's people inhabited the Gladden Fields, then I think we're talking about a less progressive society than we're used to seeing in the Shire. I think these people would fall into a kind of Dark Ages 'peasant' category, a very insulated people with a very simple way of life. I think rather than inns they might have the kind of society where, if you were walking along the road (or sailing on the canal) you could knock at any door and the matriarch there would give you bread and soup and a pile of straw in the henhouse, perhaps in return for a fish and a reasonable accounting of your ancestry!
I may be wrong, though. I work alot on instinct, and there are people here at FITC who actually know these things and can give you chapter, verse and page number! I hope they will weigh in here too so you can get a more balanced view than mine might be.
(That said, the Golden Ring is fabulous, though!!) :)