PLAY­ING WITH THE BOYS

Canal Boat - - News -

I met Olga Keve­los for the one and only time in Septem­ber 2008 at an un­veil­ing of a plaque to the ‘idle women’ (wartime vol­un­teer trainee boat­women) at Stoke Bruerne. At the time I knew al­most noth­ing about what tran­spired to be a re­mark­ably amaz­ing woman. Be­sides her time on the canals, in the post-war years she had taken up mo­tor­cy­cle rac­ing, and quickly be­came one of the great­est ex­po­nents, com­pet­ing head-to-head with the boys into the 1960s. Then years later she made the quar­ter-fi­nals of Mas­ter­mind. When she died in 2009 and I came to write her obituary, I was sur­prised at how much in­for­ma­tion I was able to ob­tain – my piece con­cen­trat­ing on Olga’s canal years. I passed to Colin Turbett all I knew; he was mainly in­ter­ested in mo­tor­cy­cling but was able to ob­tain a lot more on Olga’s canal years – and all of this is in this fas­ci­nat­ing book­in­clud­ing a short ghost story set in the Blis­worth Tun­nel that Olga pub­lished. She was a lit­tle prone to ex­ag­ger­a­tion, but there is still far more of a life achieved here than many a mere mor­tal, and Colin has made a great book of it. Play­ing with the boys, Colin Turbett, Beinn Nuis Pub­lish­ing, £20, 978-1-5272-0795-0

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