Earlier this year I was commissioned by the Canal & River Trust to write a new piece of poetry using some of their oral history recordings. I created an audio piece and I’m now about to give the first live performances. See below!
Idle Women and Judies by Heather Wastie is based on the wartime memories of 3 women: Emma Smith, Nancy Ridgway and Daphne March (Daffy). It broadly tells story of women who took over the working boats while the men went off to war, from recruitment to redundancy, using their own descriptions, condensed into the form of a poem.
I have been involved with canals for most of my life, cruising on ex-coal-carrying narrow boat Laurel and, in the early days, getting involved in campaigns to save them from extinction with my father, Alan T Smith, who received an MBE for his services to the inland waterways. As a writer and musician, I particularly enjoy sharing other people’s stories through my writing and I am grateful to the Canal & River Trust for commissioning me to undertake this fascinating and rewarding project.