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..
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.
This 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.
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.
This 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.
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.
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,
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.
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).
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.
The 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.
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.
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
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.
Which brings me on to the next subject of 2014.
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.
Me and the Girls:
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.
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.
Silkies perched: Tribble (left) Marshmallow (right)
The four girls (below)
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.