Sunday, 7 July 2019

Job for you up north

"Job for you up north" Boss said, "Give you time to wind up here, find accommodation, expenses paid. Salary will be lifted two grades while you're there but we don't pay overtime. Talk it over with your wife, let me now tomorrow, Okay?"

Wife had already told me she was pregnant but I knew her answer "Yes, do it!" But could she cope with two kids already and me miles away? She said she could see the advantages and she had her sister living close who would help.

So I said "Yes". With a hirecar provided I worked 150 miles from home coming back most weekends reporting to the office. I chose a hotel, expenses paid to make it easy.

Up each morning to check the contractors on building sites, pouring concrete and constructing various structures in town as well as viisting other sites within a 100 mile radius.I spent time in the hotel each evening with locals and visitors like myself chatting at mealtimes or propping up the bar. Each morning before work I'd go for a run to keep fit.

One morning after my run the hotel owner's wife met me as I came back before work. "I'm glad you're back" she said "Your wife's gone to hospital to have the baby!"

I gulped with surprise, baby was coming far earlier than expected. I thanked her and rang my sister in law to check. "Everything is OK" she said, "Baby's being born now!"

I drove carefully back home letting others overtake me and arrived to see my wife and new baby girl in hospital. Both were well and were cleared to come home a few days later.

Image found at


  1. I enjoyed this insight into a phase of your life. It has a very Australian flavour, and would even without the picture, although you haven't specified a location. It must be the language, especially the dialogue.

    1. Thanks Rosemary, well the job in the late 1960's centred around Peterborough SA, stretching from the NSW border (Broken Hill, NSW) to Port Pirie on the coast. I supervised building construction in the rail standardisation project.

  2. Working so many miles away from home is a hard life for both the husband and wife, though sweetness happens in between. And how lovely is that!

  3. It’s never easy, travelling long distances for work, but it’s a necessary evil when you need money to survive, especially when you have a family to support. But your wife was brave to cope on her own when pregnant – lucky she had a sister nearby. When I was pregnant with my daughter, we were living in the middle of nowhere in Ireland and only a couple of friends I hadn’t known very long. I'm glad it all worked out well, Robin.

  4. Oh, those jobs that take fathers away from home, they are both a blessing and curse. But it worked out well in the story, the ending is satisfying. You have also brilliantly brought characters and setting to life with your clear narrative. Overall, a lovely glimpse at family life!

  5. My granddaughter has three kids, two small, and her husband works away. Sometimes it is needed for increased income. I enjoyed reading this slice of your life, Robin.

  6. Aw! Yeah it's tough being away from family, but the love stayed strong despite distance.

  7. working very far from home, sometimes there's not much of a choice. Caring for the family comes first, and with the added incentive of a higher pay, why not?
    and it works out fine in the end. :)

  8. This is such an evocative write, Robin 💖 I resonate with being away from family and working somewhere else.😊

  9. I really like the normality of the story, the way it happens so naturally, so familiarly... that one can almost miss the fact that although the birth was without complications, and the dad will get to see mom and babe soon, he still missed the special moment. And I think that this memory always stays.

  10. What a lovely story, Robin! A new baby definitely enriches an already rich home!

  11. Good baby, comes with a reward of joy and good sense, making papa drive slowly and carefully but coming home ASAP, all the same

    Happy you dropped by to read mine Robin

  12. My husband worked away from home for years when we first got married. It was tough. A healthy wife and baby are beautiful welcome home gifts.