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Are you an Idle Woman...or do you know someone who was?

Eddie Mair | 15:19 UK time, Friday, 8 August 2008

You never know what will happen after something's appeared on PM or iPM. Following our recent interview with the Land Girl, Hilda Gibson, Chorus Girl wrote on our blog that women who'd worked on the waterways during the war also deserved recognition from Downing Street....now read this!

If you want to contact us, you can write to :Idle Women, PM, Room G601, BBC News Centre, London W12 7RJ, or email: pm@bbc.co.uk...or just add your comment by clicking on Comments.


  • 1. At 3:41pm on 08 Aug 2008, U10783173 wrote:

    What a coincidence! We were just discussing idle women on the Beach.

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  • 2. At 3:50pm on 08 Aug 2008, Mrs Effingham wrote:

    Let's not forget, The Idle Working Men's Club. A club in the village of Idle near Bradford. :0)

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  • 3. At 3:58pm on 08 Aug 2008, DI_Wyman wrote:

    TIH, you will be in for such a hard time if you aren't careful!

    I mentioned this thread to Mrs DiY, hence me now sitting here with 10 overcoats on after a really icy glance!

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  • 4. At 4:05pm on 08 Aug 2008, Gladys_Friday wrote:

    Okay. Where's that gelding that needs castrating...??

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  • 5. At 4:08pm on 08 Aug 2008, Fifi wrote:


    ...and he was just saying earlier he was glad it's Friday, too!

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  • 6. At 4:20pm on 08 Aug 2008, U10783173 wrote:

    Gladys (4) - If you ever find a gelding that needs castrating, ask him how he managed that!

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  • 7. At 4:28pm on 08 Aug 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    TIH 6, Nelson Eddy was known as the singing capon.

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  • 8. At 4:43pm on 08 Aug 2008, Thunderbird wrote:

    All this talk is bringing a tear to my eye

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  • 9. At 4:47pm on 08 Aug 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    Tbird 8, My wife had knee replacement surgery yesterday.

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  • 10. At 4:48pm on 08 Aug 2008, Fifi wrote:

    David (9): How is she today? Not feeling too woozy I hope.

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  • 11. At 4:52pm on 08 Aug 2008, Thunderbird wrote:

    Dave (9) Ouch.... that sounds unconfortable.

    Wish her all the best from your chums on the blog

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  • 12. At 5:00pm on 08 Aug 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    Fifi 10, She looked OK today when I visited. The idle woman should be home scrubbing floors with homemade lye soap.
    Tbird 11, It didn't hurt me one bit. She larfed when I told her about my wheelie bin fame.

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  • 13. At 5:04pm on 08 Aug 2008, Thunderbird wrote:

    Careful Dave (12), the is a fine line between being famous and infamous, please dont be tempted over that line

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  • 14. At 5:07pm on 08 Aug 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    Tbird 13, My wife doesn't fool around with blogs or forums. Too busy doing the cooking and ironing.

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  • 15. At 5:20pm on 08 Aug 2008, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Shame on you, DMcN. Cooking and ironing use up loads of carbon. Clothes can be flattened nicely under the mattress and this is summer, so eat salads.

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  • 16. At 5:22pm on 08 Aug 2008, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Or generate loads of carbon, by using up too much fuel.

    Duh - brain froze over while trying not to listen to the Olympics guff.

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  • 17. At 5:31pm on 08 Aug 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    F_O 15, My wife uses an electric iron, not one of those things you heat on a coal fire.

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  • 18. At 5:38pm on 08 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    The First Law of Thermodynamics says it's impossible to either "generate" or "use up" carbon (or any other form of matter or energy)


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  • 19. At 6:15pm on 08 Aug 2008, MartinWL wrote:

    London Canal Museum is collecting memories of people who worked on the canals in their working days - including the Idle Women if any are still around. If anyone has memories or knows someone who does please look at the London Canal Museum website (find it through any search engine) and see the Oral History page in the collection section.
    Martin Sach

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  • 20. At 6:26pm on 08 Aug 2008, DI_Wyman wrote:

    (18) Spot on Ed I, something that mere mortals have not got their collective heads round.................................yet!

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  • 21. At 6:26pm on 08 Aug 2008, Pommard wrote:

    I knew an idle woman once - this was during the late '70s and early '80s. She was called Margaret, must have been in her 60s, and chugged up and down the cut in her narrowboat. One of the many things that impressed me about her was that she used coffin offcuts from various undertakers she came across on her travels to use as fuel for her stove.

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  • 22. At 8:12pm on 08 Aug 2008, RJMolesworth wrote:

    Ed 18. However, entropy is increasing.

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  • 23. At 02:29am on 09 Aug 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 24. At 11:06am on 09 Aug 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    E_I 18, As Flanders and Swann said....

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  • 25. At 11:09am on 09 Aug 2008, oldbooks wrote:

    There's a book called "Maidens' Trip" by Emma Smith about her experiences working on the canals during the war. It's out of print now I think, but Emma Smith is still alive. Maybe the Waterways Trust could reissue it as it's quite hard to get a reasonably priced copy.

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  • 26. At 12:06pm on 09 Aug 2008, needsanewnickname wrote:

    EdI, DI, I did know that...

    but having been an Idle Girl in Physics lessons (sooooo boring - lousy teacher) I have to ask:

    Is carbon 'bad' energy if too much of it contributes to climate change? Or is it too much carbon that is? Or is this, in fact, Chemistry (sadistic teacher. Quite literally.)

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  • 27. At 3:29pm on 09 Aug 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    I really hate to be the one to break it to you Frances_O but....you are made in large part of carbon yourself. Had you been paying attention in chemistry class instead of being idle, you'd know that organic chemistry is the chemistry of carbon. Soooooo, is too much carbon a bad thing? I'd say stop being so idle, move those muscles, restrict your intake, and you will have a lot less carbon and become nice and svelt.

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  • 28. At 3:34pm on 09 Aug 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Ed Uglyheart #18

    You're wrong as usual.

    Here is the real fact of it.

    "The increase in the internal energy of a system is equal to the amount of energy added by heating the system, minus the amount lost as a result of the work done by the system on its surroundings."

    Furthermore, transmutation of matter into energy and energy into matter was postulated by Einstein in 1905. That is the basis of nuclear energy.

    Go back to the third grade. Start from there. Based on what I've seen in your postings, you've gotten at least that far.

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  • 29. At 3:50pm on 09 Aug 2008, nikki noodle wrote:

    MAII (28)

    What is gained by taking that tone? Or being rude? Are you making a point? It seems to be about yourself.

    Ed is totally correct (as usual) in his post (18), energy is never created nor used up.

    It can only be changed from one form into another.

    As this is a fundamental law of physics, I think Einstein would be surprised to learn from you that he 'postulated' otherwise.

    Have you read 'Meditations' by the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius? His book opens with the line "Decency and a mild temper is what I learned from my grandfather"

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  • 30. At 3:59pm on 09 Aug 2008, nikki noodle wrote:

    Carbon is just stuff, a thing. You and me are carbon and water, mostly. Neither is bad.

    Water forms clouds, which can act to cast shadows on the ground because they shield the suns rays.

    Also, in another way, carbon forms Carbon Dioxide gas 'clouds' in a sort of duvet around the globe.

    If there is too much Carbon Dioxide in the air, this 'duvet' will trap all the heat energy underneath it, in the air, on the ground and in the seas. Not enough of it will radiate out into space. And the more that gets trapped, the hotter we get.

    What can we do about this?
    (1) reduce the amount of carbon dioxide we put into the atmosphere
    (2) try to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere

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  • 31. At 3:59pm on 09 Aug 2008, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Marky, I'm aware that I'm a carbon-based life-form. I've seen enough SF on telly to realise that.

    I won't snark at you for making inappropriate remarks about my chemistry classes, because you weren't there, so how could you know?

    But actually I am healthy and svelte [NB spelling]. Don't try to be obnoxious, we have other, wittier people around here for that.

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  • 32. At 4:05pm on 09 Aug 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    F_O 31, Is MAII in another one of his moods?

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  • 33. At 4:10pm on 09 Aug 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    What of a lot of squabbling here today! It must be the weather.

    Does anyone else remember how it was as a child, in the summer holidays, when rain stopped outdoor play? Alright for the first hour or two, then boredom would led to quarrels ...

    Of course, the sun's shining on the Beach. As ever.

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  • 34. At 4:11pm on 09 Aug 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    MAII 27, But more oxygen. And 65% (percent if it doesn't work) water by mass. We can all show how intelligent we are by Googling now.

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  • 35. At 4:24pm on 09 Aug 2008, needsanewnickname wrote:

    I think Big Sis is right.

    Anyone for ludo, snakes and ladders, etc? Rainy holiday afternoon stuff...

    I've also got a stack of Summer Specials. Beano, Dandy, Judy... now no squabbling, ask nicely.

    DMcN, probably.

    Maybe it's time for cakes.

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  • 36. At 10:34pm on 09 Aug 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    nikki noodle...uglyheart and I have WW-V going on, this battlefront is just a minor skirmish between us.

    Frances_O, wittier people than me...around here?...don't make me laugh. Where are they hiding, under the glass coffee table?

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  • 37. At 5:50pm on 10 Aug 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    MAII 36, The wittier people here don't brag about it. 'Tain't the British way. And being nasty ain't being witty.

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  • 38. At 5:52pm on 10 Aug 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    F_O 35, Got a Viz or Mad? Or something witty for MAII, like Private Eye?

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  • 39. At 5:56pm on 10 Aug 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    F_O 35, I was Googling and found a recipe for Marcus Aurelius cake. I tried to bake it, but it fell flat.

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  • 40. At 6:52pm on 10 Aug 2008, needsanewnickname wrote:

    DMcN, here are some raising agents:

    'A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself; and a mean man, by one lower than himself. The one produces aspiration; the other ambition, which is the way in which a vulgar man aspires.'
    Marcus Aurelius

    'Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all 'your heart.'
    Marcus Aurelius

    'Adapt yourself to the things among which your lot has been cast and love sincerely the fellow creatures with whom destiny has ordained that you shall live.'
    Marcus Aurelius

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  • 41. At 6:54pm on 10 Aug 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    David McPenny, so I can assume that all those nasty British drunks Justin Webb referred to are not among those Brits you'd call witty. I suppose then that leaves just you. Rather self serving I'd say.

    I looked up Nickel (that's how we spell it on our side of the pond) and here's what I got in Wikipedia about smelting them down for their metal value;

    "As of December 14, 2006, the value of the metal in a United States nickel coin reached USD$0.055759, an 11.5% premium over its face value.[4] This was due to the rising costs of copper and nickel[5] and the U.S. Dollar losing its value. In an attempt to avoid losing large quantities of circulating nickels to melting, the United States Mint introduced new interim rules on December 14, 2006 criminalizing the melting and export of cents and nickels. Violators of these rules can be punished with a fine of up to $10,000, five years imprisonment, or both."

    BTW, what do drunken British soccer hooligans get when they are arrested on the continent, about 10 minutes community service for punishment? Maybe a real stiff talking to by a magistrate. OOOOh, sounds rough.

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  • 42. At 09:18am on 11 Aug 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    MAII 41, Names are spelled however you want to spell them. My background is Scotch (Scots here)-Irish. They were probably potato (no e) farmers from N Ireland who couldn't spell. Now let's discuss how to spell aluminum/aluminium. My father worked for ALCOA in Cleveland for many years, so I know how I spell it. As I have told you before, but you had your head up your own fundament and weren't listening, I am a US citizen.

    Nasty British drunks are just like any other nasty drunks. They just think they are witty. Do you drink a lot?

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