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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The lights were on inside the rent office because today it was overcast the radio said it may get out. It was the middle of July and there hadn’t been a summer to speak of yet.

Ivy Purvis was the first there waiting for the others. Pacing up and down until she saw Betty and Agnes in the distance walking slowly towards them. If they didn’t hurry up there would be a massive queue again and they would have a long wait whilst the rent officers checked your arrears. She was glad that she had the money to pay the rent because she thought she might have had to go along to Fishers the pawn shop and pawn her wedding and engagement rings again.

Bill Arnold said her rings seem to be on an elastic band as they were no longer pawned then paid back on the ticket then she was back the following week to pawn them again. She was going to pay two weeks rent this time.

Betty and Agnes reached the door just as the doors were just opening.

“Timing is bloody perfect said Betty.”

I’ve been stood here nearly fifteen minutes in the cold waiting for you two.

“Whey you know the bloody place doesn’t open until nine thirty Ivy.”

“Come on then let’s part with our money.”

Betty went first because she knew how to handle the cheeky bugger behind the glass fronted counter.

“Rent book please said the shirty stiff looking bald man.

“Two weeks said Betty.

“Two weeks Mrs Stephenson; do you know that you are three weeks in arrears with your rent.

“Now you listen here baldy; if the bloody Nash gave us enough to live on I wouldn’t be in arrears would I?

“Now Mrs Stephenson if you do not pay the conditions of your tenancy agreement state.

“I will tell you something about your tenancy should I. I have a hole in my floor board in the bedroom where the wood is rotten, the light on the stairs doesn’t work, the toilet keeps blocking all the time. It won’t flush and we have to throw a chamber pot outside.

“Now you tell me I’m in arrears with my rent; now you listen to me you skinny piece match wood. “You had better get someone around to my house this week to fix my problems or you will get no rent; do you understand that. Now either take my money or give me it back and I will go to the bingo tonight.”

Ivy and Agnes were laughing like hell until he stamped Betty’s book and took the money.

The man sighed is he looked at Agnes book. “How much are you paying Mrs Watson?

“Two weeks off my arrears and do you want to hear my list repairs that I want doing.

He just took her money and stamped the book.

When Ivy paid hers they came outside. “That’s the way you talk to them little sods or they will jump all over you. “ Right breakfast; Agnes you are flush so you can get them in as I just saved your bacon in the bloody rent office.”

They walked up to Micky Browns café and Agnes ordered three bacon sandwiches and a large pot of tea.

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