Sea and Sand

We live in a beautiful part of the country, although I’m biased because this close to the sea everything is beautiful in my eyes. However for various reasons, I’m trying to combat years of spending 11 hours a day either at my desk or commuting to work and this involves lots of walks regardless of the weather. It also involves trying to get to know the local landscape a lot more, after all, we’ve only lived here a year next weekend so there is still lots to explore from ruined villages on beaches and the bare bones of castles clung to cliffs like nesting birds.

This weekend we went to two places, both rather close to our house. The first was a bird reserve with a lovely waterfall and thousands of birds.
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If you follow the path away from the reserve you end up here with lots of rocks and the pools of all different colours.
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Then on Sunday because despite the forecast, there wasn’t any torrential rain, we went to our local beach.

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Getting down onto the sand requires a slightly precarious trip down the side of a cliff. Hand rails aren’t something we seem particularly good at, perhaps the authorities assume everyone who lives around here had a previous life as a mountain goat.
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The beach ends with yet another waterfall and lots of rocks. There is an old fisherman’s cottage just peeking out amongst the rocks at the foot of the waterfall which must have been a fabulous if slightly scary place to live once upon a time.

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This one is for Matty.
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I have a slight obsession with driftwood, there is something pure about it’s bleached whiteness and this piece with it’s fishing twine and weeds caught up in, suggests that Mother Nature sees art in the strangest things.
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The beach might look empty but someone had obviously been here before us. At this time of year, lots of jellyfish wash up but there is something creepy yet beautiful about the fact that someone placed this egg shaped stone on top of this one.

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The rocks are made up of various materials including slate but I just liked the contrast of this rusty piece of metal, hot orange against that blue sky with the dark grey rocks tinged with green.
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So, we’re climbing a cliff along a path where there has clearly been a landslide at some point in recent history and we come across this sign. Do we automatically retreat? Of course not, the incorrect spelling of the first word surely makes the rest of the text immaterial.  To be fair, whilst I wouldn’t have wanted to attempt it in the rain or even on damp ground, the path was no more dangerous than the one we came down in the first place but I just liked the sign and the fact that it had been brutally thrust aside by someone else.
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Finally, this is the view from just above the dangerous sign, showing the rocks stretching away into the distance.
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Home Sweet Home

Last week the Blog Azeroth Shared Topic was:

What in WoW reminds you of your home?

Suggested by Sycro of Sycro Owl.

Unfortunately I was too ill to put words on the page then so I’m sneaking in late.

I’ve been fortunate to call many beautiful places home and so rather than picking one, I’m going to take you on a quick tour of my life via WoW locations.

As a child, we lived in Germany in amongst the mountains and the fairytale castles so Gilneas immediately springs to mind. Their accents might be an approximation of English but those barren crags, dark waters and ornate walled city reminds me more of the Germany of my childhood than it does Britain.

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Then as a teenager, we moved to a far softer landscape surrounded by farm land in Scotland where you could see for miles, fields tapering down the sea. So in WoW terms I couldn’t imagine a better fit for Westfall and the rain in this particular shot is merely art mirroring life.

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There was an interlude traveling to places which didn’t remind me of home at all, following by a stint of living in a city about as far removed from Stormwind as possible and now, I live idyllically less than 200 metres from the sea in a tiny fishing village. The best equivalent I think in WoW would have to be  Sri-la village perched as it is at the base of a cliff. Okay, we don’t have a waterfall or any giant statues but that hidden away feel persists. There is only one road down into the village, passing the sea front and for a moment everyone seems to pause just to look down over the houses scattered below.

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This is the view less than a five minute walk from my front door and it makes me smile every time I see it.

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The Gnome Garden

When we bought our house by the sea, we inherited the most beautiful terraced courtyard garden along with it. Slowly but surely my fingers have been turning green as I’ve spent more and more time out there. We are growing strawberries, jalapeños, tomatoes and herbs by the pot full and nothing helps you relax after a tough week at work than sitting the sun, shadowed by your own sweet smelling roses.

Then a few months ago I got the idea to build a little Gnome Garden in a terracotta pot.

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The lump of stone at the back was the stand in for the cottage I knew the garden had to have whilst I sourced something suitable. I looked at plastic Smurf mushrooms and at ruins for fish tanks before finally settling on something so simple I can’t believe it didn’t occur to me straight away.

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The good old painted stone cottage which can be customized in any way you see fit.

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Over all I’m pretty happy with how this has turned out and intend making a village full of cute little cottages to hide away amongst the herbs, roses and marigolds in the garden.

Liebster Love part 4

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Here are the answers to my next 22 questions.

Mon of Mon Plays WoW:

  • Why do you play WoW? This is actually a question I’ve been putting a lot of thought into recently. I’m not even sure I’d call my current WoWing “playing” as it mostly consists of tiny snapshots these days. I log and talk to my cooking apprentice on Dulca. I might do the odd spot of PvP on Snowflower. Sprout might get an outing to make cloth for another bag. Random alt number 17 might gain a level or two but I have no real purpose. I don’t raid (too anxious and if I’m being honest, I feel raiding without being willing to get gear from other sources plus cloak is lazy and unfair to the rest of the team), random battlegrounds show you the worst of humanity more often that not and there are only so many pet battles I can stomach. Mr Harpy thinks I’m an optimist desperate to the see the best in things and personally I suspect it’s stubbornness. In my head I’m not ready to quit, I want to play through Warlords.
  • If you had to play one class, and one only, what would you pick? Priest. I’ve deviated away from this on many occasions only to find myself running back to the comfort of the one class I’ve always been happy playing.
  • How long have you played WoW for? February 2005… although there have been breaks along the way.
  • What is your favourite meal or delicacy? (Gaming related or not) What I’m cooking right now, whole chicken roasting slowly in the oven. It’s buttered skin sprinkled with paprika, oregano and with slices of fresh lemon tucked up beside it. I’ll be serving it with flat breads, red wine and a spicy tomato salad. 
  • What got you in to gaming? I got my first computer when I was quite small but then as a teenager I decided it wasn’t cool and abandoned gaming completely. It was only when I met Mr Harpy that I got sucked back in, primarily playing first person shooters over a lan with him and his friends. Turns out I had a shed load of aggression and loved shooting his mates repeatedly in the head. From there I graduated to Age of Empires and Dungeon Keeper I and II and haven’t really looked back since.
  • Why do you blog? I’ve always loved to write. I won my first ever short story competition as a rather precocious six or seven year old (for the record it was terrible) and was always encouraged to write by my mother. She with a tiny bit of imput from me created scrapbooks for me starting when I was two or three, which I still have and blogging is a continuation of that.
  • What is a strange habit you have when playing WoW? To completely lose track of time.
  • What is your ideal next expansion? One with strong characters, both male and female, compelling and interesting quest lines and stunning scenery. 
  • If you could create a mount, what would it be? A giant bug a la Princess Huhuran. 
  • What is your favourite raid or instance? Hmm a toss up between Karazhan or Ulduar.
  • What could you never live without? Books, bacon and and long hot baths. (I’ve love to say Mr Harpy but I know life is not like that).

Chatmay of the WoW Debutante:

1. How long have you been blogging?  Why did you decide to start a WOW blog? Scarily enough, I’ve been blogging since the end of May/start of June 2008 which surprisingly enough means this year is my 6th anniversary.  I must admit when I started, I never thought I’d last this long. It took me another year to force myself onto Blog Azeroth and another year and a half before I managed to make a twitter account.
2. What has been the highlight of your blogging career? Discovering that people do actually choose to read my ramblings.
3. What games do you play besides WOW? At the moment I’m playing Dragon Age: Origins and trying not to fall for Alistair, Candy Crush because I have a disturbing need to get three stars on every level and Harmony Isle just because…harmonyisle02I’m also fond of Transport Tycoon. 
4. What hobby do you spend the most time on besides gaming? Reading, crafting, sewing, gardening and cooking all divide my time fairly equally at the moment.
5. What kinds of foods do you like and when do you snack the most? I prefer savoury over sweet although I found a fascinating sounding recipe in an old cook book the other day for a mashed potato chocolate cake and I’m definitely going to try that.
6. What period of time/expansion have you enjoyed the most in WOW and why? Probably Wrath. I loved the bad guy, the zones and the quest chains leading up the Icecrown Citadel. Also it played host to some of my favourite five man dungeons in Halls of Reflection and the Culling of Stratholme.
7.  What is your favorite profession in WOW?  What is the rarest pattern you have made in a profession? Herbalism so no rare patterns just that peace of mind which comes from wandering around picking flowers and taking screenshots.
8.  How often do you twitter about WOW?  In one day? I’m not the most prolific tweeter out there, in fact I probably on average tweet less than once a day.
9.  Do you attend any conventions for comics, anime, WOW, gaming, etc.? No. If Blizzcon was closer, I might be tempted but in reality I’m awfully shy.
10. Tell about a close friend you have had in WOW and whether you are still in touch. Because of the above, I wouldn’t say I’ve ever had that many close friends in WoW. None of my real life friends play or at least they’ve never admitted it to me and whilst I’ve always got on with most of my guildmates, I wouldn’t say we were particularly close. 
11. Random WOW fact or adventure you have been on. I couldn’t think of a WoW adventure I’ve been on that I haven’t already described at some point or another so instead I thought I’d show you some photos of a real life adventure I went on.

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The view from the roof of the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary of Mexico City (and yes, I was up there legally).

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A Mayan Ruin

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The only surviving monument to a town laid to waste by a volcano

Long Weekend Away – Photo Heavy Post

This is totally not a WoW post although I’ll be happy if my Garrison ends up resembling a few of these castles in their heyday.  Mr Harpy and I have just returned from an idyllic couple of days away wandering around in the great outdoors and these are a few of the pictures we took in the process.

Edzell Castle

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Falls of Feugh

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Drum Castle

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I never thought I’d end up saying this but now I love wandering around the walled gardens far more than I do clambering up spiral staircases and staring wide eyed at suits of armour. The walled gardens at Drum really are beautiful especially as you have to wander through a wonderful wild area before you find the wall with the wrought iron gate set it in.

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Crathes Castle

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If you’re ever passing through Scotland, I’d definitely recommend stopping off this way and taking a look for yourselves.

Liebster Love: Part 2

Today for part two of the Liebster Love, I thought I’d answer my first 22 questions. Part one can be found here.

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Velgana’s Questions

  • What made you start playing World of Warcraft? A random encounter in a shop. Mr Harpy had played the original Warcraft games and thought it would be worth trying out.
  •  Some may be healthier than others, but what is your favorite snack to chomp on while gaming? I tend not to eat whilst playing as I’m rather messy. That said, if I was eating at the computer I’d go for something like crusty bread stuffed with salami, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes.
  • Where do you draw inspiration for your blog topics? Anything and everything. Quotes that make me think of aspects of games that I’m playing, things I encounter whilst gaming, other blogs and news sites.
  • What advice would you give to someone who wants to start blogging? Do it. Don’t hesitate, don’t hide and most of all, enjoy it.
  • What is your most treasured item in WoW? My Benediction both because I loved the quest line to get it and because every time I look at it reminds of the people who helped me get it!
  •  How do you balance your time between gaming and doing real life things? My spare time is really precious these days so I do what I feel like whether that’s WoW, reading a book or watching a movie.
  • If you are going to be playing during Warlords of Draenor, have you decided what character you’re going to boost to level 90? No. I have however narrowed it down. It will most likely be Horde and I’m erring towards some sort of female Orc. My first thought was Shaman because healers are my comfort zone but I’m not convinced. I have an Orc Shaman already at level 69 so it seems a little silly to make another one.
  • Do your friends and family know about and read your blog, or do you hide it from them? My Mother knows I blog but she is under the impression it’s purely about crafty stuff. She equates gamers with ax murderers.
  • Out of all the world, dungeon, and raid bosses from Warcraft, who would you like to have dinner with and why? If I was hosting a dream dinner party I’d invite Jandice Barov, Onyxia in her human form, Corla, Herald of Twilight, Freya and Svala Sorrowgrave. The wealth of knowledge, bitchy chat and just general hating on everything would be amazing. Would still need to figure out the menu though but that might be a post in it’s own right at some point. After all, who wouldn’t tune in for the Warcraft version of “Come dine with me”?
  • When you’re not slinging spells or swords, what do you do? Schooling, work, hobbies, ect. I currently work full time but am looking to pursue a second degree course this autumn.
  • If Blizzard decided that at the end of the day they were going to pull the plug on the Warcraft servers, where would you log your character out at? Hmm this is difficult. A lot of my absolute favourite places were destroyed in the Cataclysm. I suspect that at the end of the day, I’d go for something like a quiet snow encrusted peak in Winterspring or down by the sea in Westfall.

Cymre’s Questions

  • What is your earliest memory in WoW? Dying in the Spider cave in Teldrassil back when packs of blood thirsty spiders would launch themselves at you.
  • What is your favourite activity when playing? Discovering and doing things I hadn’t noticed before, whether that’s exploring off the beaten track or learning how to play a new class/spec properly.
  • What is your best WoW memory? Definitely a toss up between getting my Benediction and killing C’thun for the first time. We went from having to practice entering the room properly, from people stacking on top of each other at the worst possible moment and beams of death taking out whole groups to a coherent focused team working together which was a pretty amazing feeling.
  • If you could have any title in WoW, what would it be? “Of the Harvest” currently sported by the Worgen Druid Trainer, Celestine. I’d grow a thousand Pumpkins or reap corn til my hands bled for that title. My second choice would be this:WoWScrnShot_022414_001407
  • What is one thing in-game you could not live without? Gnomes!
  • What is your favourite item in-game and why? For PvP it would have to be the Gin’ji Knife set because nothing beats adding insult to injury and in PvE I imagine it would have to be my Ogre Pinata.
  • Who was the first character you created and do you still play them? Erinys the Human Warlock and no, I don’t. She’s been sat in vanilla PvP gear in Stormwind since around May 2006.
  • If you could design any transmog piece, what would it be and why? Small and pretty cloth shoulders for low levels. Staffs with lanterns on them like those the NPCS have and a weapon covered in chinese lanterns (the flowers) a la this post.
  • Who inspired you to start blogging? GuildMum and Saresa of Destructive Reach.
  • What is the first thing you’ll do when WoD becomes live? Not sure yet, probably head off and start questing.
  • What was your biggest noobish mistake? Thinking I’d never get a Felhunter after I stuffed up the quest the first time and basically logging off, thinking I was a fail at being a Warlock.

 

Liebster Love: Part 1

I got home from what could be best described as a bad day at work to discover I’ve been put forward for the Liebster Award by not one person but six. Much celebrating later it dawned on me that I needed to answer 66 questions and I eeked slightly.

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So rather than post a massive wall of text, I’ve decided to break this down into bite sized chunks. I’m doing to do this in a slightly different order to the list above in that I’m going to leap from 1# to 3#, leaving the answering of all my questions to part 2.

Without further ado I’d like to say a massive thank you to Velgana, Cymre, Amerence, Sofia, Mon and Chatmay who all nominated me. The answers to all 66 questions are coming I promise.

11 random facts about me

1. The humble tomato is one of my favourite things. I love them raw, cooked, roasted, puree’d, dehydrated, fried and in toasties.

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2. I like debating (many other people call this “arguing for the sake of arguing” ).

3. When I was a little girl my favourite My Little Pony was Applejack.

4. I have unruly hair. These days I keep it long so I can tie it back and pretend it’s not there. I also still look like I’m up to no good most of the time, unfortunately I wasn’t “blessed” with a poker face.

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5. I collect cookery books.

6. Frozen has managed to over take The Hunchback of Notre Dame as my favourite Disney Movie.

7. I can’t walk in high heels.

8. I love scary movies even if I have to watch them from behind the sofa.

9. I’d like to get a tattoo but can’t quite get past the idea of surrendering my skin to someone else’s control, especially with something which is so permanent. Although if I do manage to over come  that, I’d love a Firebird on my back, a feather trailing loose.

10. I give up chocolate for Lent every year. This is entirely due to my “fear” of my Mother as opposed to any religious reason.

11.  I have two large cardboard vampires folded up in a cupboard.

My Nominations are as follows:

(Yes I realise that’s not 11).

Questions

1. What’s your favourite line from a boss fight? Can be from any game with vocal boss mobs.

2. What’s your comfort food? The one dish which always makes you feel happy and safe when you sit down with it.

3. If you could only have one book, what would it be?

4. Create a battle pet/non-combat pet for the game of your choice. What would it be and does it already exist in your chosen game world in one form or another?

5. Dinosaurs or Sharks?

6. Favourite NPC in the game of your choice and why are they your favourite, what makes them special?

7. From a Lore perspective, what’s your favourite WoW race?

8. Do you play in silence or must you have music on? If the latter what sort of music makes up the soundtrack for your gaming?

9. PvP or PvE?

10. Best and worst quest in-game?

11. Ignoring WoW, what’s your favourite computer game?

I’ve tried to limit the WoW questions purely because I feel that they’ve already been asked by lots of people over the last few days and also because I’m totally nosy. Feel free to rebel and not bother answering, I promise I won’t get all sulky.

The answers to my own questions will be coming up soon.

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