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Game of Thrones – Sword Making Workshop

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Game of Thrones – Sword Making Workshop

Posted on 11 February 2015 by Chris Ford

To mark the release of GAME OF THRONES: The Complete Fourth Season on Blu-ray™ and DVD, HBO invited us recently to a day briefed as ‘An Introduction to Sword Making’ in the very fitting setting of Glastonbury in Somerset.

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We arrived at The Forge of Avalon bright and early to be greeted by Richard our Swordsmith for the day.
So what qualifies Richard as a Swordsmith I asked, Richard said:
“Although I was born in the UK, I grew up under the shadow of the Austrian mountains in the highland region the Romans knew as Silva Nortica, the Northern Forest, and it was in these verdant surroundings that I first became apprentice blacksmith in a proper old-style village forge. Building on the foundation of skills hard-learned I was then most fortunate to become a student of the Master Swordsmith Eilenberger, a most erudite character, then in his seventies, to whom I am eternally indebted for passing on his enthusiasm and knowledge and love of the traditional craft that inspires me to this day.

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In 2009 I took the opportunity to relocate my business from Austria to the epicentre of mysticism itself – Glastonbury, the Isle of Avalon – where it is reputed that once Wayland forged the legendary Excalibur … well, I’m sure you know the tale of Arthur and his mythic sword! Importantly, my philosophy embraces these stories – that the sword is a magical and mysterious creature which must reflect the true spirit of its master and to this end I assure all those who commission my work of my closest attention to their requirements at all times. “

Of course we were all raring to go and build our own version of Long Claw (Jon Snows sword in Game of Thrones) but like any apprentice you start off small to hone your skills, and as Richard explained to us his very first task as an apprentice was to perfect the hand forged nail so it emerged was ours, Richard was told to fill a bucket all those years ago, lucky for us we were tasked with just one… and believe me it was difficult!

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Above is my rather feeble attempt at a Nail, this took me nearly 3 hours!

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After our Nails were complete we took a break for lunch, the question I had to ask Richard was if he had made a sword in the same way the Valyrian steel blades were made in the Game of Thrones by pouring hot liquid steel into sword molds. Richard quickly dismissed this
“While that looks good on TV its simply not possible, the sword would be too weak to be functional”
Bubbles slightly burst we headed back to the workshop where we tackled our next challenge, a fire poker!

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Richard explained that the the skills we had learnt making the nail would be used much the same for the poker but on a larger scale and it practice that was true although I in the end found the poker a bit easier to do I think because it was bigger and easier to hit!

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Above is final poker on the right (yes I know its slightly bent!)
We had a excellent introduction into the skills required to make a sword and at some point I fully intend to come back and do the full four day course and make my own sword.
Sword making packages at Forge of Avalon start at £389, for more info and dates go to www.forgeofavalon.com

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Game of Thrones Season four is out on the 16th February on both DVD and Blu-ray …  All Men Must Die !

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The Rise of TV Themed Stags Dos

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The Rise of TV Themed Stags Dos

Posted on 18 August 2014 by Chris Ford

Forget awkward lamppost encounters and terrible decisions with electric razors, the modern man’s stag do is now far more likely to imitate his favourite TV show. Whether it’s an action-packed weekend paying homage to Jack Bauer or spending a night in a zombie infested bunker á la Rick Grimes, there is a growing trend for TV themed weekends. Here’s our favourite rundown of TV inspired weekend ideas:

Zombie Bootcamp (Walking Dead) 2
The Walking Dead
With series five starting in October, there’s a palpable Walking Dead fever in the air. Horror activities have enjoyed a massive boom this decade, with ‘Zombie Actor’ now a recognised profession that’s in surprisingly high demand. There are zombie races, where terrifying looking actors chase you through fields at night; zombie battles are a regular occurrence in Greenwich and entrepreneurs have overtaken abandoned warehouses and malls to create completely immersive horror activities. Zombie Boot Camp gives a full background and plot to people who take part, with convincing spoof news dating back to 2010 about virus outbreaks and Government call to arms. The experience even includes an overnight stay in military accommodation! To keep even the alcohol consumption zombie themed, there’s a genuine ‘Walker’ beer available from Dock Street Brewery that’s made with smoked goats’ brains.

Ice Bar London (Game of Thrones)

Game of Thrones
If the ‘Bedding’ wedding ritual is anything to go by, we dread to think of the hijinks involved in a Game of Thrones stag do ceremony, especially if Tyrion Lannister and Littlefinger were involved (and you know they would be). However in real life, Game of Thrones inspired stag activities include escapades beyond the wall with tours of the Icelandic film set locations. You can recreate the atmosphere in London though with a trip to the London Ice Bar or imagine yourself scaling the wall like Jon Snow himself with an abseiling adventure in Edinburgh or the Brecon Beacons.

Playboy Weekend (Geordie Shore)

Geordie Shore
Love or hate the reality show, the antics of the Geordie Shore cast have played no small part in the rejuvenation of tourism in Newcastle. Newcastle is now deemed to be one of the most popular UK cities for a stag break thanks to the program showcasing the free-spirited and unpretentious Geordie nightlife. You can easily experience a night out that would make Gaz and the rest of the Buck Squad proud with ready-made city break bundles like the Big Geordie Shore Playboy Weekend, which includes two nights’ accommodation, a party bus, brewery tour, nude life drawing class and a night out with Newcastle’s finest Bunny Girls!

Shooting Days (24)

24: Live Another Day
Time to get serious; Jack Bauer has no time for Bunny Girls. The latest instalment of 24, Live Another Day, was set in London and included action of epic proportions (Wembley Stadium was destroyed with hijacked missiles and Bauer had no less than 39 on-screen kills throughout the series!) There are plenty of ways to recreate some of the heart-racing stunts on a 24 themed weekend in London, from leaping tall buildings with a Free Running session to speeding down the Thames on an RIB boat tour. If you want to get as trigger happy as Jack does, head over to Riga, Krakow or Tallin for a whole number of high octane experiences, from handgun and AK47 shooting packages through to SWAT training and tandem parachute jumps, (all available through Maximise).

Las Vegas Pool Party (Entourage)

Entourage
Get your bromance on with an Entourage themed break in Los Angeles. For guys looking to tread the same steps as Vincent Chase, a trip to LA is hard to beat – you can visit the Paramount and Warner Bros. studios, parade down Santa Monica beach and party at the Crazy Girls Stripclub where the guys went to make Drama feel better in season one. You can even eat at the same restaurants as the Entourage men with the Entourage Restaurant Map which pinpoints every LA venue used in the show, from Harold & Belle’s on W. Jefferson Blvd where Turtle and Jamie-Lynn get Jambalaya, to the Village Pizzeria in Beverley Hills where Eric gets messed about by Seth Green. For some real Entourage glamour, head over to Las Vegas where stag groups can easily book in a helicopter tour before getting VIP entry to the clubs and cooling down at exclusive pool parties.

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Game of Thrones Locations

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Game of Thrones Locations

Posted on 07 April 2014 by Chris Ford

Excited that Game of Thrones is back on our screens today? well why not relive the locations used in the TV show, below we have broken down for you the best of them :


Take a wander through the streets of King’s Landing with a break to Dubrovnik in Croatia. The dragon skulls may be long gone, but the castle, walls and ancient, winding passageways will ensure you never tire of visiting this enchanting seaside town.

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5* Dubrovnik holiday: Valamar President Hotel, Croatia
From £730 / per person for 7 nights (saving £399 per person)

Offer includes seven nights in a Twin room with balcony, buffet breakfast, a full day Dubrovnik excursion, return flights from your selected departure airport to Dubrovnik and shared transfers.
Book by 13th April 2014. Available select dates June to October 2014. Visit http://www.secretescapes.com or call 0843 22 77 777.


Follow in the footsteps of Daenerys Targaryen in the High Atlas Mountains, the stunning backdrop for her passage to the narrow sea.

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Kasbah Africa: Atlas Mountains, Morocco

From £96 / per suite per night (saving £41 per suite)

Offer includes accommodation in a Suite (minimum two-night stay required), Moroccan buffet breakfast, complimentary mint tea and coffee during your stay, mineral water and fruit in your room, guided walk along Azzaden Valley to Tassa Ouirgane Berber village and complimentary hire of personal binoculars and telescope.
Book by 13th April 2014. Available select dates April 2014 to February 2015. Visit http://www.secretescapes.com or call 0843 22 77 777.


Roam north to the land beyond the wall, Iceland, and witness for yourself the striking wilderness and the magical northern lights. Unwind in steaming thermal pools surrounded by snow and experience what life might have been for the Night’s Watch in some of Reykjavik’s many museums.

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Iceland wellness break: Reykjavik Lights, Reykjavik
From £542 / per person for 4 nights (saving £217 per person)

Offer includes four nights in a Superior room, breakfast, welcome drink on arrival, complimentary three-day access to Laugar spa, gym and pool area, Golden Circle tour, Blue Lagoon Experience Comfort Package Tour (including admission, towel and bathrobe rent, Drink in the lagoon Bar & volcano scrub or algae mask), Reykjavik City tour, return flights from your selected departure airport to Keflavik and shared transfers.
Book by 8th April 2014. Available select dates April to May 2014. Visit http://www.secretescapes.com or call 0843 22 77 777.

Explore the dusty city of Marrakech, the setting of Pentos, and get a feel, smell and taste for the vibrant chaos of Westeros’ and Essos’ cities.

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Marrakech holiday: Opera Plaza Hotel, Morocco
From £442 / per person for 7 nights (saving £170 per person)

Offer includes seven nights in a Swimming Pool-View room (half-board basis), complimentary access to fitness suite, one complimentary hammam per person, per stay and return flights from your selected departure airport to Marrakech, Morocco.
Book by 13thApril 2014. Available select dates May to December 2014. Visit http://www.secretescapes.com or call 0843 22 77 777.


Head north into Stark territory with a trip to the Scottish Highlands and enjoy breath-taking panoramic views, epic walks and crisp, fresh air.

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Loch Lomond Waterfront: The Trossachs National Park, Scotland
From £143 / per lodge per night (saving £63 per lodge)

Offer includes seven nights in a Luxury Lodge and a security deposit for breakages/damage.
Book by 13thApril 2014. Available select dates April to October 2014. Visit http://www.secretescapes.com or call 0843 22 77 777.


Experience the dramatic geography and medieval architecture of the Andalusian city of Ronda. Surrounded by ancient olive groves and lush vineyards, the city stands above a canyon featuring three impressive Eyrie-like bridges.

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Hotel Molino del Arco: Ronda, Spain
From £85 / per room per night (saving £47 per room)

Offer includes accommodation in a Superior room (minimum two-night stay required), buffet breakfast and welcome drink.
Book by 7th April 2014. Available select dates April to August 2014. Visit http://www.secretescapes.com or call 0843 22 77 777.


The historic village of San Pataleo in Sardinia is surrounded by mountains and overlooks the iconic coastline of Costa Smeralda, with ocean views reminiscent of those commanded by Petyr Baelish’s ships.

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Tranquil Sardinia holiday: Hotel Arathena, Italy
From £435 / per person for 7 nights (saving £290 per person)

Offer includes seven nights in a Standard room, full breakfast, return flights from London Heathrow to Olbia and shared airport transfers.
Book by 13thApril 2014. Available select dates May to September 2014. Visit http://www.secretescapes.com or call 0843 22 77 777.

With its Qarth-like architecture and stunning sea-front vistas, Korcula island is an idyllic escape just off Croatia’s southern Dalmatian Coast. The main Korcula Town is a charming medieval walled city, with a beautifully preserved old town and stellar local restaurants.

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Luxury Croatia holiday: Hotel Korkyra, Croatia
From £579 / per person for 7 nights (saving £193 per person)

Offer includes seven nights in a Mare Deluxe Double room (half-board basis), return flights from your selected departure airport and private airport transfers.
Book by 13thApril 2014. Available select dates April to October 2014. Visit http://www.secretescapes.com or call 0843 22 77 777.

Located on the Ionian coast, Le Castella fortress is the very image of Astapor. Slavery hasn’t tainted the shore for centuries, and the nearby Calabria and Crotone now lie sparkling next to turquoise blue seas.

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Praia Art Resort Hotel: Calabria, Italy
From £94 / per room per night (saving £164 per room)

Offer includes accommodation in a Classic room, guaranteed upgrade to higher room category, buffet breakfast, complimentary Frigo bar (soft drinks only), access to the private beach with sun loungers and an umbrella, welcome fruit basket and bottle of wine.
Book by 13thApril 2014. Available select dates April to September 2014. Visit http://www.secretescapes.com or call 0843 22 77 777.


Witness the results of a civilisation which played and lost the Game of Thrones with an escape to Rome, where ruined temples and palaces stand testament to the power struggles of their former rulers.

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5* Rome & Venice holiday: Luna Baglioni, Venice & Regina Baglioni, Rome

From £1119 / per person for 6 nights (saving £280 per person)

Offer includes three nights in a Superior room at the Luna Baglioni Venice, breakfast included, three nights in a Superior room at the Regina Baglioni Rome, breakfast included, return flights from your selected departure airport to Venice and transfers by train between hotels.
Book by 13thApril 2014. Available select dates July to August 2014. Visit http://www.secretescapes.com or call 0843 22 77 777.

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Game of Thrones Season 3 Blu-Ray

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Game of Thrones Season 3 Blu-Ray

Posted on 18 February 2014 by Chris Ford

gameofthrones

For those of you that don’t know ( you must have been living under a rock ) Game of Thrones is an American fantasy drama television series created for HBO by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. It is an adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin’s series of fantasy novels, the first of which is titled A Game of Thrones.
The HBO TV series is just about to start its fourth season and last week I was invited to a screening of the newly released third season blu ray where we were treated to a making of documentary of the Red Wedding ( a key scene from the third season).

I have always been impressed with the production quality of Game of Thrones and sometimes very graphic and controversial scenes the producers aren’t frightened to tackle but after watching this behind the scenes documentary seeing the detail gone into things and hearing how the actors prepared for the challenges faced Im even more impressed in fact Ive just ordered the Blu ray to be able to watch it all over again!
As you may know not all Blu Rays are exactly packed with extras but if you are a Game of Thrones fan or new to the show and want to catch up before season four I can highly recommend you go out and buy the blu ray set, not only does it look stunning on screen you will be entertained for hours with all the fantastic extras included in the sets.

Available now from Amazon with an exclusive bonus disc of even more features from the link below

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