When the Second World War takes Britain's men away to fight, it is women who step up to fill the jobs left behind. From farms to factories, no job is too back-breaking, and for many women it offers their first real chance at independence. Two such women from very different backgrounds find themselves working on the narrowboats - piloting freights round southern England's network of canals. One is a solicitor's wife, still smarting from the humiliation of her husband leaving her for his secretary. The other is a young working-class woman glad to find an excuse to get away from her violent boyfriend. Life on the canals is hard, and breaking into such a close-knit community can be tough - especially when the remaining male works are sure women aren't up to the job. But though these women start out as strangers, they will forge a bond of friendship that will take them through the darkest hours
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