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.


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As the sun got higher the heat from it made the raw sewage that had been thrown out into the street stink as George Wilkinson walked out of the Wooden doll and headed towards the fisherman’s mission on the quayside. Walking was difficult for him especially with a tin leg. George lost his left leg during World War Two when he was on a merchant ship delivering supplies to the English forces in Normandy when a shell from a German cruiser hit the bridge and killed five people. He was lucky to get out alive. George was rescued by HMS Argent with his leg shattered. He was transported to the hospital ship where emergency surgery saved his life.

Seven months later in a rest home until he could walk unassisted; George was then allowed back home. His house had received a direct hit from a German Bomber killing his wife Elizabeth, his son William, and daughter Becky. Fifteen years on; the pain of the loss of his family still haunts him. George walked over the cobbled street the vibration from each step sent pain to the stump.

Looking across the Tyne he saw the Luna going out on the tide. The merchant ship was being pulled by the Nor’sider and Sou’sider two tug boats; slowly she slipped by silent as the night; only the sound was the squealing herringulls breaking the silence.

North Shields had always been a busy port. It was at one time the biggest producer of herring and with its easy accessibility boats were able to navigate into port at anytime.

George remembered as a boy that the whole of the quay was a hive of activity with over two hundred boats and cobles coming in to unload tons of herring. The fish were plentiful then but man’s own greed depleted the fish stocks and the humble herring; the silver darlings as they were known as; were nearly wiped out.

Today as George walked along the quayside less than twenty boats occupied “The Gut.”

“Hi Geordie; shouted Tom Hadaway as he loaded his van with polystyrene boxes of fish.

“Hi Tom, how’s the business going?”

“Whey man the price of fish down here is ridiculous; the trawler men are asking for more and more money. “ They are pricing us out of business. “I have to put up my prices to compete with them and the customers aren’t happy either.”

The way things are going Tom; there are going to be a lot more blokes unemployed shortly. They are not building ships in the dock now you know; it’s all ship repairs nowadays.”

“What brings you down here anyway Geordie?

“I come down to see my mate and have my dinner in the mission.” Since my wife and kids were killed; I come down to have a cooked meal.” Whey I diven’t cook Tom; I make do with a cheese sandwich of a night time.” The mission does a good dinner and a pudding for half a crown.”

“You are always welcome to come to my house Geordie and wor lass will cook you a nice dinner.”

“That would be nice Tom thanks.”

“What about coming over on Sunday; we will be having a nice piece of roast beef and Yorkshire puddings, and roast potatoes cabbage, carrots, and peas with some Bisto gravy.”

“Sounds nice Tom; what time do you want me?

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