Last year I blogged about the Rural Women’s  speech writing award I presented  in memory of my Mother Pat Rowley. The award is The Rowley Brooch and you can read about the award  here. Jenny Malcolm from North Otago won the Rowley Brooch in 2016 and to my delight went on to win the National Awards in Wellington.

jenny malcom

Myself with Jenny Malcolm on the left

Jenny has kindly allowed me to reproduce her speech here. all contestants were given the same topic from the annals of history.

Captain Lawrence Edward Grace “Titus” Oates (  1880 –  1912)  was an English army officer, and later an Antarctic explorer, who died during the Terra Nova Expedition. . Oates, afflicted with gangrene and frostbite, walked from his tent into a blizzard. His death is seen as an act of self-sacrifice when, aware that his ill-health was compromising his three companions chances of survival, he chose certain death.  As he left his tent he said  “I might be gone for some time”.

Topic “I may be gone for some time….” Time 3-5 minutes.

Here is Jenny Malcolm’s words  and interpretation of the topic; and I can assure you her delivery was exceptional. 

You all know the feeling of frustration – of being takenfor  granted!!!

Can you – feed the calves, pay the bills, iron my shirt,  pick me up,   drop me off,   fetch this, mow that, wash this, cook that ……. arrrrrrrrgh


Enough!!    I’m off  – and I may be gone for some time!

We all know this phrase – I may be gone for sometime.  We have all either used it or heard it used.  Its familiar,  and it has somewhat morphed from its original use when in the early 1900s the explorer Captain Lawrence Oates on an expedition to the south pole, near death and aware he was holding up the rest of his team, stepped outside the tent, in  40 degrees, in bare feet to face certain death, with the parting comment, –

I’m  just going outside, and I may be some time.

I wonder if he realised at the time, how often this phrase would be used by others in the future to portray their frustration and stresses of everyday life.

Everyday stresses such as – a mob of unpredictable ewes & lambs at tailing time, 3 hyperactive barking dogs, a stressed husband.  Throw in 4 teenage daughters who would rather be at home on the wi-fi, and  ME, having been up since 6 am putting together a paddock morning tea, hung out the washing, made the beds, and now working 2 of the excited dogs who my husband is directing his yelling at!

Some people throw plates, some people swear and curse, ME –    I walk away

– and I may be gone for sometime.

Now –  we all know that I’ll be back.  This is not the suicide version – although in the early years it may well have been considered.

The reality is, I can’t walk away forever – too many obligations, too many children, too much at stake, and deep down – too big a heart,

BUT  I do want to make a statement,   I do want to be heard,  I do want to be valued.

And it’s not just me that may be gone for some time – on many an occasion, my husband William has also felt the need.

Being one of 3 boys, the only girl he ever lived with for the first 18 years of his life was Mum.  She never showed any signs of stress or frustration, the dutiful home executive who at worst may have banged a pot on the table to portray her level of tension.

15 years on and Williams married – to me – with children – 4 daughters to be precise.


Now – This is a new breed of women – outspoken, headstrong, forthright

synchronised. Yep the monthly warning bells ring out like a herd of marauding goats.

The first sign of mad behaviour and we hear the distinct slamming door and his now rehearsed line –

the shepherd’s hut suddenly looks very inviting!

Of course, over the years the “some time” has got less time.  There’s a wisdom with age, and more to lose.

The statement   –  has done its job.  Lessons learnt, values taught.

It’s now more likely to be the parting remark to the farm manager before embarking on a well-earned holiday  that will invoke the phrase  – I may be gone for some time.

I’m heading for the hills –  I may be gone for some time – and he will –




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