Episode 002 – the one with the Idle Women and the curse of Rosie and Jim.

In the second episode of Up the Cut I speak with dramatist, performer and boater Kate Saffin. Kate has lived on her boat since 2009 and is currently a constant cruiser. I travelled to Banbury, site of the historic Tooley’s boatyard, where she was waiting to go into dry dock for blacking.

We spoke about the work of the Alarum Theatre company and in particular Idle Women of the Wartime Waterways, a performance piece about the women who came to the canals in the Second World War to crew workboats. The show toured the Grand Union on historic workboat Tench for 15 week’s during 2017, following the route the women would have taken during the war, and its success means that it will tour again in 2018.

The recording became victim of the curse of Rosie and Jim for the first time, so there’s a bit of a break in the recording while I erased previous recordings from my digital recorder.

While in Banbury I also visited the lock which had been drained for gate replacement; as is now customary, Canal and River Trust were holding an open day at the lock and visitors were able to go down onto the floor of the lock.



Kate Saffin:


Tea and Cake at Tooley’s:


The dry dock at Tooley’s:


The floor of Banbury lock. During WW2 the lock received a hit from a Luftwaffe bomb. The lock gates were not destroyed, saving the town from flood, but the lock floor was damaged and to expedite rapid return to use was repaired with concrete for much of its length rather than bricks:


The old gates:


Episode links:

Up the Cut Episode 002 on Overcast (cross platform)

Up the Cut Episode 002 on the Stitcher app (cross platform)

Up the Cut Episode 002 on the Apple podcast app

Up the Cut Episode 002 on Libsyn web player

Alarum Theatre Company

Alarum Theatre YouTube

Alarum Theatre on Facebook

Tooley’s Boatyard on YouTube

Banbury Lock open days on YouTube (Canal & River Trust)

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