Books!!

So it looks like I’ve started writing children’s books!

Well I never thought that would happen, but it just goes to show that life can really throw some serious curve balls your way when you least expect it.

Anyway have a look in my books page in the menu above. Or just click here

The titles of the books are:

Where Does The Spider Live?
The Frog That Wanted To Fly.
The Chicken That Went To The Dentist.
The Horse That Was Missing A Shoe.
The Duck That Loved Cheese.
A Monkey Called Peter.
Callum The Circus Octopus.

 

You may like them, children find them funny, and some grown-up do too. I’m only just starting this venture so if you’d like to support me, please buy one or two, and later I hope to publish to paperback and hardback copies, and hopefully by then my artwork will have improved (it’s been years since I did any drawing so I’m kinda rusty at the moment)

Also you’ll noticed I’ve listed one for free, for a limited time period only though, so get it now while you can.

Thank you for looking.

Stephen.

 

 

“They say everyone has at least one book in them, it looks like mine are children’s books.” – Stephen Turner.

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Music, Bass and Me!

What makes me tick?

From reading my blog you are enlightened to the fact that I like to play and write music, but when It comes to music, performing is the number one on the list of things that makes me happy.  And it’s hard to actually believe I’ve peen playing on and off for the past 22 years (where does the time go?).

As a performer it’s easy to get a laid back approach and think, ‘yeah I know this stuff so I won’t put too much effort into it’, and that’s where problems start, bad habits begin and after a while people notice the lack of energy coming from the stage.which is why me personally, I try and treat every gig as an arena, playing to thousands. Even if there are only one or two people watching the show, give them the best show I can. They will love you for it, and when I say they, I don’t just mean the punters who came to have a quiet pint, but the staff and management of the venue, if your willing to put that much effort in to a smal performance, what will you be like at a big one? 

I’ve been with quite a few bands over the years and played a variety of stages inside and out, from 2 piece to 6 piece, and I’ve always maintained, play like there is a person out there that you are making a difference to, play like its the biggest gig you have ever been at, and most importantly… Entertain the masses!! After all that is what you are getting paid for.

It is true, musicians get paid to entertain the people, not to play their instruments ( as I know  a few people think they are up there to do), and sometimes you don’t have to be the best player of your instrument ,  if you put on a great show you could probably get away with a few basic notes.. But it does help to be able to play though.

Even though I’m no longer with a band at the moment, this doesn’t mean I have to stop playing until I find a new one to work with, what it means for me is an opportunity to learn a wider variety of songs, at least one or two songs a week,  so as you can imagine that from last September I’ve learnt quite a few songs to expand my musical vocabulary. And I’ve been doing this for a few reasons, as every musician should, 1: to actually be able to play a wider selection of music, 2:  to keep your muscle memory in shape and 3: if your a bass player like me, after a while of not playing your fingers go soft, and it’s easier to keep playing than have to go through the blisters all over again. And all is needed is a couple of hours every few days just to keep up the stamina to play a full set on stage, nothing worse than getting a 2 hour gig and never playing longer than an hour in practice, you do feel it start to drain your energy fast, plus it’s great cardio exercise,  (that’s only if you jump about and groove around while playing)

As I’m typing this my bass is beside me, because I’m just after learning another new song today,and that will get put into the playlist of songs that I’ve been learning with some songs I’ve know n for years, at the moment that playlist is  nearly 150 minutes long.
On the writing side, I should really get back and see what my creative juices can produce again, the last few things I wrote were to give me a working knowledge of different styles, and get out of my comfort zone of writing and basically try something different, so what will happen next?? I know I have a few ideas an melodies written down, so maybe work on them a bit more?

Oh and in other news, one of my pieces of music has been picked up by a film maker to be used on a documentary, so let’s see where this goes..

So that’s it for me for the moment, maybe my next blog could be about me and fishing and what makes me tick there!!
Life is full of choices, and there’s no such thing as the wrong choice, it’s just taking a detour to where you’ll eventually get to in life….
  

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And life goes on, with a surprise!

Well there you go, for those that read my last post, it shows that anything can happen to anyone.

But, as time goes on and life continues you have a choice to make, either stay in that moment or move on and have that moment as a memory, I’m currently trying for the latter. 

So what’s new? Well since the last blog there has been a new addition to the flock, so with the two Rhode Island reds and the silkies, there is now a duck, a pekin duck at that.

At the moment we call the duck, ‘Duck’, even though it’s (her) name is Jemima Dunn, my partner started calling her Jemima, and I started calling her Dunn ( after Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn, the bass player in the Blues Brothers film), but now we just call her Duck or Ducky. And she started laying about 4 weeks ago, so now there is a nice supply of eggs, can’t complain there.
I mentioned before I have had problems with my stomach, and sure enough I had a severe attack of gastritis in March, the joy!! For the whole month my diet consisted mostly of bananas and yoghurt, as well as anything that had no flavour and real taste. Sugar, salt anything spicy or acidic all had to be cut from my food for a month, and I do love my food, thankfully though it happened when it did and not later as I had a cousins wedding to attend, which involved pretty much of my whole family being in the one area for a week in a house in Kent (England), and  me cooking for 7 of us for two of the nights. We do like our food.  While I’m on the subject of Kent, if you get a chance to go, do. Some nice countryside in the area we stayed in, especially around Kemsing and Seal, and a trip to Leeds castle for a walk around the grounds is also a must. And sure while your in the area you might as well take a trip south to Brighton, hopefully the weather is as good for you as it was for us.  

 

Hmm slight tangent there, so yeah, I seem to be recovered now from gastritis, even though I still have to keep an eye on what I eat, but it’s a lot easier now and seem to be managing it better, even though as I type this I have a blood pressure monitor strapped to my arm, and talk of the devil it has just started up!!! I’ll have it on for 24 hours to monitor my blood pressure and get a good reading for the doctor tomorrow, just to see how bad it is, the last time I got it checked I was borderline hypertension! So with that and the bloods taken I should have a better idea of how my health is and see what I need to do to keep myself going, I just wish I could replace my knee though. After walking 5km for the Pieta house darkness to light I realise I can no longer walk any distance like I used to.

And sure I might as well see how my health is now as there a future  to look forward to. Now for those that did read my last post, you will have read that I (we) buried our unborn child, but in a funny twist of fate it seems that two weeks later we had started a new life again, and as you can imagine the roller coaster of emotions between finding out and the first scan, but this time there was/is a heartbeat and now we are 14weeks and 6 days. 

  
This image is from the 12week scan, it seems we have a dancer that like to rock out!!

And that’s all I have for this update,  it might not be for everyone to read about my life, but it shows we are all human and all go through things that bring us down to make us stronger.

 

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Today was a Good Day, Sad but Good…

(I’ll give you a warning that this post contains subjects of a personal nature to me and some may find upsetting, disturbing. This is my way of getting things out in the open so to speak, if you are easily offended, that’s not my problem, you were warned)

Many things have been happening of late, read my last entry for a catch up of recent events.
Today marks a day that will be with me forever, as today we finally laid our unborn baby ‘Mol Turner’ to rest in a slight comedy of errors!
The day began being a nice minus four degrees Celsius, so first things first was to feed the chickens and check for eggs, only one egg at the time, but at least it was a start. Got ready to head off and picked a few snowdrops from the garden and a marigold to make a small bouquet, then off to the cemetery. Now the day was highly emotional at the time but looking back on it now I can see the humour that incurred more so.
So there we were at the cemetery beside the plot finding out we were supposed to collect the little one from the hospital after a small prayer, but apparently this happens regularly according to the cemetery staff. We were not expecting what happened next to be happening that day.

So there we were at the hospital meeting the grievance councillor and the priest in a room which was occupied by a small box with the last remains of our little one, seeing this put a lump in my throat and brought back all the emotions of the last few months. We were given time alone to say our last goodbyes and then the pries came back and said a little prayer, now I’m not religious much these days, but this seemed to just fit in nicely, still highly emotional though.
Nothing could prepare me for the next bit, the drive back to the cemetery with the small coffin resting on my lap, I’m sure if other drivers saw what was in the car beside them they would probably be a crash somewhere…

Finally made it back to the cemetery and said our last goodbyes with tears in our eyes.
Then into town for food, after all this is us and we do love our food. But the planned place of dining wasn’t yet open, so quick change of venue saw us filled for the afternoon.

Now to describe the day, still a chill in the air but clear skies with the sun trying its best to heat the day, and for anyone who knows Galway City on days like this is the best time to be about the town, even better through the summer though (when it’s warmer obviously), so a walk along the river towards the docks and we walked by this little (well maybe not that little) bird..

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A young Heron, didn’t even flinch as we walked by, so managed a few photos on my phone before walking on..

Then we headed out to Salthill for a walk on the prom, and yet again near perfect weather, except the temperature.

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Then finally back home, to find another two eggs… The unusual thing is that one of the chickens laid two eggs today!! Even though we have four chickens, there is definitely a difference between the two breeds (Rhode Island Reds and Silkie), so one of the Reds has laid two instead of one every 25hours or less during winter months!!

Anyway before going off on a tangent, I would like to thank the hospital staff that took care of us today and the cemetery workers who saw us come and go.. And come and go again!!! They all made the day that little bit more peaceful and relaxed as they could.. Thank You..

I’m going to dedicate this entry to my blog to our little angel.
Mol Turner.
Forever loved for being with us for such a short time.

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2014: Boat, Chickens, Love, Life and music

Well here you have it, 2014 over with and now onto 2015, so as the title states a few different subjects I’ll try and attempt to review the year by subject rather than chronological order, even though the subject will be dealt in that order..

so to kick things off..

Boat:

Myself and partner bought the boat way back in June 2013, I know I kept the boat quiet on the blog, but didn’t want to post anything until I finished all the work on her, and there was a fair bit of work to do.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/c20/22074107/files/2015/01/img_1969.jpgThis photo is the boat about to be taken off the trailer so work can be done to the hull, the engine was already taken off by this stage and strapped to a tree to keep it upright, and all the work getting her off the trailer was done by hand, sheer manpower and elbow grease.

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Here’s a photo of the hull with all the antifoul (black paint that prevents weed and organic build-up) that needs to be removed, and you can make out a few deep scratches too.

It took about 5 days to sandpaper all the antifoul off.

IMG_2080This is where there was a hole in the hull, so I had to cut out the small hole to make it workable when re applying  fibreglass to the area.

Quite a few hours of work done by this stage, 2 days to fill smaller holes and scratches.

 

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a cleaner hull with all holes and scratches repaired, just have to wait 48 hours for the resin to set before a complete paint over with 4 layers of resin over the whole hull.

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Finished, 3rd September 2013, and stayed in this position right through the winter and it wasn’t until April 2014 when she was righted up and put back onto the trailer, all by hand, my hand at that, it sure beats going to the Gym anyway.

 

 

and by May 16 2014 she was ready to move to her new home,

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which I’d only moved into myself in October of the previous year,  it’s good to see her finally being moved from the boatyard AKA the parents back garden, and I must thank them for letting us use the space to do the majority of work on the hull and leaving her there over the winter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Time to put the engine on, a 50Hp Mercury Thunderbolt, again another workout for me, these engines are not light, well over 70kg. And as you can see here I’ve also attacked an auxiliary engine (safety at sea and all that).

 

 

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Another view of the transom and both engines, you may also notice I’ve put the trailer board lights on the actual boat instead.

A few hours of wiring involve, but all working correctly.

 

 

IMG_2692The next thing to do was build up the fly-bridge from scratch, so a large sheet of polycarbonate and strips of aluminium, and more hard labour by me (again).. but she is finally starting to take shape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Then making a cabin roof for the fly-bridge, more working with fibreglass and a sheet of plywood, and you’ll notice the fish finder in place now, and yes that is a BMW steering wheel, navigation light installed on the sides too, things really starting to progress now with the addition of rod-holders.

 

 

 

 

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Computer installed with navigation charts, wiring for lights, fish finder, batteries, solar panel, ignition key and switch and kill switch all installed (me again).

other additions include VHF radio and aerial, car stereo, bluetooth hands free, anchor rope and

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chain, new roller boat trailer and a Mitsubishi Jeep to help pull it all with.

 

We were finally able to have a maiden voyage on the 28th June 2014 a year after buying the boat, a year of working away bit by bit, but was finally worth it,I must mention it was with the help of our neighbour that got us our first launch, as I didn’t have the Jeep fully up and running at that stage (it was in a garage with a mechanic), but now the Jeep is running well enough to go down the road and launch the boat. and as you can probably guess from my previous posts that I do a little bit of fishing, and fishing has been done aboard ‘Disilldous’, pronounced Dis-‘ll-do-us (this will do us).

So far species caught aboard her are Dogfish, grey gurnard, tub gurnard, dogfish, pollock, whiting, pouting, coalfish, mackerel, poorcod and a 40-50+lbs stingray.

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Which brings me on to the next subject of 2014.

 

Chickens:

When me and my partner moved in together we knew we would probably get a couple of chickens, and as my mother works in a Sunday market in Claregalway, we knew there was someone selling chickens,  and after visiting the Sunday market and seeing the chickens it was only a matter of time before we would pick up a couple, and on the 30th March we were the proud parents to two Rhode Island Reds.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/c20/22074107/files/2015/01/img_2590.jpgMe and the Girls:

Tikka(left)

Kiev (right)

And yes they are livestock not pets, good producers of eggs and when the production stops, it will be time to fatten them up and then for the dinner table.

Rhode Island Reds can lay up to 300 eggs a year, and we have two of them, so if you do the maths, I should have a breakfast of eggs everyday for the year, or at least there abouts.

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After a couple of weeks I decided to chart out the number of eggs per day/week, and as you can see from this chart I did indeed have  many boiled eggs, fried eggs, scrambled eggs, omelettes, pancakes, poached eggs and other various meals that includes eggs. And this is just from two chickens.

They do take a bit of maintaining, and somewhere to live, but over all they are starting to pay off their chicken coop, already paid for themselves after the first few weeks, and with the price of a dozen eggs to what it costs to feed them they are sure to leave me with a little extra money than if I didn’t have them, but the story doesn’t end there!

So there we were, heading off to buy the Christmas tree on the 13th December (  yeah, we leave it late to put one up, unlike those that have them up right after Halloween ), in the local gardening centre, and I head a noise of chickens and other animals coming from the back, so me being me walked over and saw the funniest looking chickens I had ever seen, and I do like funny looking things, I just had to get one of them.

This breed of chicken are called Silkie, so called for the texture of their feathers, more like fine soft feathers, and white in colour.

So not only a Christmas tree in the car, but a Silkie chicken. Now this is a pet, and as a pet it wouldn’t be given a name that reflects food like the other two ( Tikka and Kiev), but what to call this little ball of fluff, because that is exactly what it is. Then I remembered an old episode of Star Trek with small fluff balls called Tribbles. So there you have it, the name of our new pet ‘Tribble’.  But as things go this still is not the end of the story.

So now we have Tribble, Kiev and Tikka running around the chicken run, Kiev being the top of the pecking order starts making life tough for poor little Tribble, but a bit of string tied between Kiev’s legs has sorted that out, but still poor Tribble looking a little left out as Tikka and Kiev stick together. Now with the size of the chicken coop it would be possible to squeeze one more chicken in there (and squeeze is putting it mildly). so with that in mind we ended up buying, or should I say my partner bought me another Silkie on the 22nd of December called ‘Marshmallow’. And Marshmallow laid her first egg here on Christmas morning, Silkies lay about 100 eggs per year.

So now you guessed it, there are four chickens outside now, two of which are livestock and two pets, and yes they do come into the house every now and again and perch happily on the back of one of the breakfast bar chairs, we just put a box below them to catch any… well you get what I’m saying.

IMG_0192Silkies perched:                                  Tribble (left)                           Marshmallow (right)

The four girls (below)

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And Finally,

Love, Life and Music:

I’m putting these three parts together to make the chronological order of things a bit easier to understand because it has been one hell of a year, and funnily enough, it was this time last year when I last blogged, so what has happened with me since??  well here goes…

for the year there has been a nice trophy sitting above the solid fuel stove on a shelf, which I will have to give back soon, as it is the Master Boat Angler trophy, you can find out more details about that on the fishing club page GalwayBuccaneers.com, and as you may have read I bought a Jeep at the end of January,  even though I bought it as a non runner, I did finally get it running by the end of the summer (even the mechanic who had it for a few months couldn’t get it going as it should), and me being me added a few extra features like reversing camera.  

As well as chickens, we did a bit of farming, small scale. Planted potatoes, broccoli, leeks, jalapeños, lettuce and carrots, unfortunately the carrots didn’t take, but the rest of the vegetables did, so through the summer, we reaped the rewards of our harvest, and will definitely be doing it again this year.

One of the highlights of the year was definitely getting the boat on the water, and with the maiden voyage up the estuary to a bar to christen the boats new status went very well indeed, and through the summer we took the boat out for a stay over in Ballyvaughan,  the first time we slept over on the boat, another successful journey. And there has been many fishing trips through the summer leading to many BBQ’s  with roast garden potatoes, you can now see how my life is turning out. And there seemed to be a resident dolphin through the summer near a channel very close to where I launch the boat, which to the delight of my partner got to see the dolphin up close with her sister and two nephews and (now) brother-in-law.

Now through the summer my instincts were telling me something was upset in the world of music, but I did have many other things on my mind, my health being one. It’s not fun gigging and having to wonder will I need to run off stage through a set in search of a toilet, so much so that I was thinking of stepping down until I got my health back on track, however it turned out to be gastritis, a fairly severe dose of gastritis mind you which landed me in A&E  and spending a full day in hospital, but this also gave me time to think about my life and where I want it to go, and made me realise of how I lost track of myself and the things that are important to me, so after being released from hospital my partner and I went for a walk down to the sea and look over Galway bay, we must have sat in mostly silence looking out over the water for a good hour, and it just seemed to be a perfect time to ask her to marry me.. and the reply was..’are you serious’.. yip I was, so we were engaged as the sun slowly made its way down to the waters of Galway Bay. Now I mentioned an upset in the music world, well the very next day I got a call to say I was out of the band and they were going to continue without me!! huh.. go figure, but I wasn’t going to argue, sod it, it’s their decision, they have to live with it, I do miss gigging, but at least I now have less hassle in my life at the moment, and having seen my replacement play one month and then four months after, yeah…it is definitely not the band it used to be, but I wish them all the luck in the future. As for my future, I’ve been writing music again, but in different styles, bossanova, reggae, disco and basically styles out of my usual comfort zone. They are available to listen to in my soundcloud page https://soundcloud.com/stevecrow74 .

Now this is where things get hard to type and I may go on a rant, we’ll see..  So being engaged to my partner with no date really set, but we will wait till 2016 before we tie the knot, and she has been going on about her body clock for a while, and after a lot of serious thinking, I was ready to start a family by the end of spring 2013, but as we now know sometimes these things can take forever if happen at all, so it was an nice surprise to find out we were pregnant, well when I say we, I mean she, but it does seem to be one of them things that people say in the situation, so yeah we were pregnant and over the moon about it, we decided to let people know early, after all it is hard to keep something like that under wraps for any length of time, so we told family and close friends first then slowly by the end of November were letting everyone know. We had a scan booked for week 8 which was on the 30th November, which was a rather emotional journey in to find the place where the scan was. Now when in there nothing can prepare you for what you see when you look at the screen and see a small but yet recognisable being showing up as clear as anything, and nothing can prepare you for the shock when you are told that there is no visible heartbeat where there should be, there are no words for the emotions that you go through in those minutes and even the following days, the best I can come up with is from what I read on someone else’s blog earlier today, they said that “losing a pregnancy even that early is like losing a close member of your family”, you are literally heartbroken. After this we were referred into the hospital so the next day  we spent nearly the whole afternoon in the maternity ward, probably not the greatest place to be after finding out you have lost a pregnancy, when in there they said they’d wait a week to do another scan as they don’t see the private scan as a real scan!! so with a whole week of being torn apart from the inside, we went back in for the ‘real scan’, which confirmed the pregnancy stopped just after 7 weeks, I cant speak for herself and what she was going through, but for me, I wasn’t in a good place with my mental health, even though I had to try stay strong for the both of us, so there we were in the hospital waiting to see what happens next, and one of the doctors came in to us in a little room and explained what had happened and why these things happen, and made us realise we were lucky to actually get this far so soon after trying for the first time, I know it’s little consolation, but it did help a little to, so booked in for an ERPC that evening or when ever they could squeeze us in, emotions were still running hard, and unfortunately a couple of emergencies pushed us to the next morning, but thankfully I was allowed to stay over night with my partner and to be with her in the ward. The next morning came and went along with the ‘procedure’. And for the hour or so while I was by myself  all I could do was either cry or try not to cry. And with this happening in the run up to Christmas, it really didn’t help. And now I must admit I’m not a fan of Christmas to begin with, as back in 1995 I was made redundant from a job working in a hotel kitchen, what made it worse was I was living in the hotel while I worked there and wasn’t given time off to look for somewhere to live in the last week of work, so basically was made homeless for Christmas 1995, only for a few friends and people taking sympathy for me and letting me sleep on couches until April when I finally got a roof over my head I could call my own, and then later that year, going home for Christmas ( as I usually did ) came back to where I was living at the time to find out we had all been evicted because one of the lads living there threw a party and trashed the place, I begged to be let stay but was only given a week to find somewhere.. yeah right.. over the new year.. your joking right!! so yet again made homeless, and thankfully one of my friends was able to help store pretty much all my belonging in his parents house, except a few clothes and what I had on my back, thankfully it was February when I got a roof over my head, even though I was still on the couch until I was upgraded to a bed a few months after. So not only do I get depressed from December to Mid January, I now have something else to be totally depressed about. And not many.. well truth be told none of my friends know I’ve been suffering depression for quite a long time (2001 ish), but because its has been a mild depression I have hid it very well, none of my partners have known, even my fiancée now only recently figured out the extent, but as I said it was mild depression, so I have been able to control and manage it very well, through positive thinking and taking everything one step at a time.  And while I’m on the subject of positive thinking.. why is it there will be someone who will try and put you down just because they don’t understand what makes you work, always saying I’m doing things wrong, and should do things the way they think is better… well its fecking not better for me, and I do what I know to be right, if I’m wrong I will hold my hands up and admit it, but if I know I’m right I will fight you….  (and that’s probably why I’m no longer in a band, I just had that button pushed too many times)..   Anyway, enough of that rant, so according to quite a few on-line tests for depression, I’ve been upgraded from mild to moderate depression.. yeay… go me!! I know this is going to take time to get over, and it is like losing a member of the family, because that’s exactly what has happened, I’ve lost a child, and I’m sure there are plenty of people just like me who are going through all this alone and not telling people. This is why I think its better to let people know you and your partner are pregnant so they can share the joy, and if you do lose the pregnancy, they know that your going through a rough time, and with that would like to extend a big thank you to friends who have been supportive to us both through this time, and some have come forward and said they have gone through the same thing, which really helps us not feel alone with what we are going through. (and writing this blog is like a little therapy for me, just getting it out there and off my chest, I don’t want sympathy from the people reading this, just a little understanding that I’m going through a rough patch in my life that I’m struggling to manage at the moment.. note to self, wipe the tears of the laptop when I’m finished this!!!)

So with that, all I can do is move forward with my life, my chickens, my fiancée and hope 2015 brings bigger and better things, after all 2014 wasn’t all bad, it just had a couple of hiccups.

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Posted in band, boats, chickens, Connemarra, depression, fish, fishing, food, Galway, global, history, Ireland, learning journal, life, Money, music, philosophy, ponderings, pregnancy, religion, summer, technology, thoughts, Uncategorized, updates, weather | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Year in review, i.e. Ups and downs of 2013

Well I know I haven’t posted much this year, and I have a few posts that have been left in the draft stage and never finished, so this is just a review of last year and bits and pieces.
So without further ado…

The good things of 2013:
Life long ambition to own a boat, even though I am part owner.
New bass guitar Yamaha RBX6JM (made in 2002) and in immaculate condition.
Finding a nice little house in the country/by the sea to live in with t’other half.
Getting to go fishing with good friends.
Winning the Galway Buccaneers Master Angler 2013 boat series.
Flying to Poland for a good friends wedding.
Attending a Polish wedding.
Cycling loads (must keep that going)
Still playing a bit of music every now and again 😉

The not so good things of 2013:
Well not getting to fish as much as I wanted, but at least I got out and did a bit.
A slight incident with the boat, but at least it means I get to give the boat a good working over and full service.
What happens in Poland stays in Poland.
Having quite a few ‘close calls’, so, happy to be here.

All in all quite a good year, my friends know who they are, I appreciate them all for who they are and I hope they still take me for being myself :D.
You guys rock.

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No rest for the wicked, or for a fisherman.

It’s been a while, but I found a bit of time to type up a few lines from recent days.

As some of you may have already read my last post, and before you say anything, yes I know it was extremely short, so this one is going to elaborate a little more in to the details.

So I’ll start of on Sunday morning 2am after a night out in the mid-lands; It begins as the night ends so to speak, after a night out miles away from home, in a small town called Athlone. We reach the car, but before we head off on the long trek west, food was required to sustain the soul and occupy the mind as the journey home would take around an hour. The food emporium that night was filled with the smells of hot meat and some fried vegetable type things, yummie!, with the acquisition of food it was back to the car to eat such night time delicacies and savour the flavours of Athlone’s finest Take-aways.

The journey back was pretty much uneventful, other than the odd remark about the weather for the next few hours and whether the sun will make an appearance or decline and let the usual Irish weather do its usual business(also known as ‘Rain’). 

We reached home sometime after 3am, and as others scattered off to bed it was up to me to organise the tools and tackle required for a boat fishing expedition, thankfully I had most of this sorted before the adventure east, but there were a few little bits that required attending to to prevent manic running about when I wake up at 7am that morning.

So to bed it was at around 4am(ish) and as soon as the head hit the pillow thoughts of fish and tactics came to mind!. The next thing I know is the alarm going off, oh! 7am already, great, I still feel like I could sleep for and eternity and a few extra hours on top of that.

Thankfully with everything taken care of the few hours before, it was only suitable attire  and a bag of  frozen bait that was required to gather, as everything else was in the car waiting to be joined by my self and my other half. And there we were, on the road again, heading west, with a quick stop somewhere halfway to pick up nibbles  for breakfast and lunch before heading further west to meet up with the rest of the lads who also empowered themselves to wake up at a ridiculous time in the morning to go out and endure the Irish weather out at sea!.

Aboard the boat it was time to see how many fancied their chances at the competition, but with only seven aboard the numbers it was going to be a close competition between the four who decided to match their skills and wits against each other (me included). even though I  had the distinct advantage in the battle of ego’s, as it was the last two boat competitions of last year I won, so I was fairly confident I’d give the rest of the lads a good run for their money.

As we left the shelter of the small bay and into open water it was obvious that the weather was going to pursue a typical Irish day at sea, wet and windy!. But this wasn’t going to stop this motley crew from fishing this time, as the last two competitions arranged for the beginning of the year were cancelled due to severe weather conditions, nope, this time we were going to brave the elements and what mother nature could throw at us.

The first drift was rather slow for some of us, even though to the annoyance of me, my other half was catching small Coalfish left right and all over, I did however manage to catch a minuscule number of Coalfish , but nothing like the dozen or so my other half caught!. The next drift saw my other half land a nice sized Pollock, one for the table too, yet again me wondering how is she doing this?, but I did manage to winkle out a nice Red Gurnard. I knew this fish would make the difference for me in the competition.

As the morning progressed so did the weather, so much so that one of the new members to the club went a little green around the gills and lost his mornings breakfast overboard, thankfully he leaned over downwind, or I guess a few others would have gone the same route. After the morning session fishing was slow with only Coalfish showing in any numbers and one Pollock and one Red Gurnard.

It was time to move to shelter and relax for a while, after a mornings battering trying to keep every part of the body upright it was needed. we anchored up in an area, but nothing seemed to be about except weed, and more weed, an executive decision was made to move further into the sheltered bay and anchor just ahead of a disused fish farm.

The bites started off slow, but as time went on and fresh baits kept hitting the sea bed fish moved in, and then the fishing seemed to really begin. With Dogfish being the first to come aboard it wasn’t long that a nice margin was made putting me second place, but that was soon to change, as Bull Huss were coming to the boat, but not being landed and even a missed Thornback Ray by me saw wasted points, then when I did lad a Bull Huss it was foul hooked (not hooked in the mouth) so that was more wasted points, but I did also manage to catch a Dogfish at the same time, so at least all wasn’t wasted. The battle for a place was on and then it happened I caught and landed a Bull Huss, points glorious points that pushed me into the lead, but not by much though, and as the other competitors were landing fish it was at one stage 10 points in the difference between first and third place. By this time though I had noticed there was a pattern to where all the fish were being caught.. as the boat drifted from left to right on the anchor it was only when the  boat reached a point where it began to turn the other direction fish were being caught and this was only for one side of the swing too, so I concentrated my baits in that area alone, which seemed to pay off as I was landing Dogfish each time we reached that point while other baits were slowly just getting there I was already landing a fish and putting a bait out there again, and when a second Bull Huss appeared on my line I knew landing this would increase my margin from second place. With even More Bull Huss Being landed to the boat by the others it was now clear I had pulled ahead into the lead, and this lead was put further ahead when I actually landed a Thornback Ray. After this a steady stream of fish came aboard for all, and it was only a battle between second and third place as my lead was well ahead of the rest.

As the day came to a close and ‘lines up’ was called, there was a sigh of relief from a few including myself, as it had been a very long day with very little sleep the night before, and with the morning workout ( i.e. trying to keep balanced on a rocking boat )it was obvious there were going to be a few bruises. But that’s what makes it all fun too. As we motored off back to port the scores were counted, with first place being 127 points, second place being 62 points, and third 58 points (exact points may vary, but that’s how I remember them to be counted at the time), so it was clear I was over double the points for second place. And an interesting side note to this is, If my other half fished the competition, she would have actually come in second with 68 points, pity really, I could have really given the other lads a slagging for at least three months if that was to happen, maybe next time!

So there you go, slightly more detail than the last post. Even as I type this I have a couple of bruises just above each knee from where I was holding myself against the boat to try and keep balance through the sea’s turmoil, not to mention the muscles in my upper arms and back from being sore, but as you can guess, I don’t do this for the fun of it, I do it for the passion I have for fishing.

Now at this time I would like to thank the skipper Kevin for a great day out in what you could only call a slightly rough day at sea, If you are interested in deep sea fishing or want to try it in the west of Ireland, you can contact him here: http://www.galwaybayfishing.com/     (oh, and that’s me in the second picture down on the right on the home page wearing the orange and black jacket)

 

 

And at the end of the day (or in my case the next day) food like this is second to none.

red gurnardBaked Red Gurnard:

fish placed on tinfoil with slices of garlic add a little butter, freshly squeezed lemon juice and a sprig of rosemary seal up the foil and put on a tray, place in oven and bake for 25 minutes, then enjoy.

 

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