I was overwhelmed by the wonderful feedback I received after my performances as an Idle Woman on Sunday at Stoke Bruerne Canal Museum. The photo above was taken at the National Waterways Museum, Gloucester where I’ll be performing on Saturday November 8th. The piece was commissioned by the Canal & River Trust and is now available for bookings elsewhere!
Idle Women and Judies by Heather Wastie
Performances at Stoke Bruerne
Sunday 28th September 2014
Absolutely fantastic. Now have a better understanding of women’s role on the boats. Can’t wait for the audio.
Mr & Mrs Roberts, Soham, Ely Cambs
Was great story especially knowing it was real. Sounded very life like, and it was like being there and feeling how the women were feeling. A new life for them in more of a man’s domain. Fantastic.
Belton Family from New Zealand
A lovely performance full of feeling – thank you.
The Richardsons from Lincoln
Very interesting and informative. Very well done!
Very interesting and educated. Thank you.
Isaac Smith age 10
It was very entertaining.
Iona Smith age 8
Very informative and moving.
Fascinating insight into a bygone age.
Learnt new things about ‘Idle Women’ in the WW2. So v. educational. As a woman & new to owning a narrow boat I wish there was an Idle Woman around to teach me her hands on skills!
Very entertaining. Learnt the connection between facts I already knew and those that emerged during the performance.
John Adshead, Northwich Cheshire
Thank you for bringing the story of WW2 women working the waterways to life – very memorable and enjoyable. Great way of bringing history to children.
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.