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.


17. 17

When Rose finished her shift she paid a penny and got the bus home because it was too far to walk; the conductor took her fare and she sat near the back so that the smell of tobacco wouldn’t get into her clothes. The waves of cigarette smoke billowed out of the back that was open with a pole in the middle. If you were late you could run and take hold of the pole and jump on board. Sometimes the men who tried to get on would have to let go as the bus picked up speed or they ended up falling to the ground.

The bus dropped off across the road from George’s house. She got in and washed before getting to work on making a corned beef potato and onion pie.

Using the key to open the tin of Fray Bentos Corned Beef she was careful not to snap the piece of metal as she was opening the tin and even more careful as she pulled the top of the tin apart. Many times she had cut her finger’s doing it.

Rose peeled and chopped carrots and some cabbage. Again she had to run the risk of cutting her hand opening a tin of marrowfat pea’s with a hook shaped implement.

The vegetables were washed and salted and put on the gas after she had lit each ring. The pie would take about thirty five minutes she thought so she ran herself a quick back and when the vegetables were boiling turned them to a gentle simmer before getting into the tub.


George checked his watch it was 5.45pm as the taxi stopped outside his house.

He paid the driver then used his key to get in. He could smell something cooking as he went into the house.

“Rose, Rose I’m back, he called.

“George; I won’t be a minute I’m having a bath.

George put on the kettle and made a pot of tea as Rose dashed along the passage with a towel wrapped around herself and into her bedroom. A few minutes later she returned with her hair in a towel and a dressing gown.

“I’m sorry George I didn’t know what time you would be back and I had to bathe the smell of kippers and the kipper dye gets into your skin.

“Please don’t apologise Rose; just treat my house as if it were your own.”

“Thank you George; did you have a good time in Sheffield?

 “Please tell me all about your lecture.”

“George went on to tell her as she served him the pie and vegetables with some Bisto gravy thickened with a little milk and flour.

“This is beautiful said George; how did you know I liked Corned beef, potato and onion pie?

 “Alice Hunter at the Mission hall told me what you like to eat.”

“You are a clever girl.”

  “I have something for you he said as he went into the carrier bag and brought out the pot plant.

“George; thank you it is so nice.”

“I thought you could put it in your bedroom.”

“Oh no George, I want to put it where I can see it in the house. Can I put it in the window in the kitchen?


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