Fish Wife

"FISH WIFE" It tells of two women one from Scotland the other from North Shields.Margaret Rose Garbutt, has a violent abusive husband who beats her up whilst pregnant she runs away from from Sterling and when her baby is born is forced to give her up. years later she ends up working in the kipper factory on North Shields fish quay where she meets Irene Milsip who had such a bad home life that when she was set up on a blind date met Jimmy Johnson who she marries more out of desperation than love. Jimmy is a waster and is having an affair behind Irene's back with an Irish immigrants daughter until Irene's friend finds a letter in the street. Annabelle Crosby is faced with a dilemma- does she tell her friend or let the affair go on. This is the story of hardship and struggle of two women during the 1960's and their rise to success but one thing they will never forget is their roots. FISH WIFE is a tale of love, ambition, family values, and friendship.


13. 13

It didn’t take long before the word got around that Irene had thrown Jimmy out.

Her boss Ronnie Rowe called her into his office on the Monday morning.

“Hi Irene please take a seat.”

“Irene sat down nervously and was expecting to get the sack.

“Now Irene you have worked for Ballard’s since you were fifteen is that right?

“Yes Mr Rowe fifteen years gone in March.”

“Well I have heard about your predicament and I want to help you.”

“That’s kind of you Mr Rowe.”

“Now, I am going to make you a charge hand which means that you will be responsible for that lazy lot down stairs.”

“For that I am willing to pay you twelve pounds a week but I expect results do I make myself clear?

“I won’t let you down Mr Rowe.”

Good; I have had a word with Derek Breake over the road who has said that you are to go to him each Friday where he will supply you with a box of fishcakes that you can sell for thruppence each. Fifty times thruppence is what?

Quickly Irene worked it out that it would be one pound and ten shillings Mr Rowe.

“Correct said Ronnie as he lit up a Senior Service Cigarette and offered one to Irene.

“Thank you she said can I keep it for my break Sir

 “Of course you can; in fact here take the packet.” Now you can also take home a dozen kippers and some smokes haddock, you can either sell it or use it to feed that daughter of yours.

“Mr Rowe you have been more than kind, thank you so much.”

“Think nothing of it Irene; we look after our loyal hard working people.

 Irene came down the stairs from the boss’s office with a smile on her face.

“Alright everyone gather round and I will tell you what happened up there because you are dying to know, is that right?


“Come on then lass what is going on; you didn’t get the sack did you?

“No quite the opposite, I got promoted.” I want you all to work hard for me I will be strict but fair with you all. “Don’t take my kindness for weakness because I will fire anyone who does not pull their weight. Are we understood?

“Yes Irene they replied.”

“You will address me as Ms Johnson at work is that clear?

“Yes Ms Johnson they all replied.”

“Now get on with your work.”

“Ronnie Rowe had heard everything from his office as his door was slightly open.

He smiled to himself knowing that Irene had been a good choice.


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