Friday, 30 July 2010

Gooone fishin'...

The nights sleep, despite significant tiredness when we hit the sack, was not such a good one, in fact, let's be honest, it can probably be ranked as one of the worst ever. Predictably I hadn't checked the weather forecast before we left and assumed that being in mid July meant likelihood of good weather. Unfortunately I was proved wrong (as always) at around 1 am when the heavens opened and we were rained on hard for the next 6 solid hours. I had nightmares of the tent, and ourselves, being swept away by something very much resembling a tidal wave and had visions of me unzipping my sleeping compartment to the sight of drenched food, bags and cooking equipment in the morning. When the rain did finally stop (well, slowed to an all engulfing heavy mist) and I checked for soakage I was shocked to find that our tent building was clearly not as bad as we'd thought and everything was dry. We cooked sausages to celebrate (in the non fire retardant tent of course), but I'll be honest we were both feeling a little jaded and weren't looking forward to the fishing I had been so excited about before I left.

Friday, 23 July 2010

More More Moor (that's how I like it, that's how I like it)

The next brown sign trip started with a pretty much uninterrupted drive up to Robin Hood's Bay, just south of Whitby in the North York Moors. By "pretty much" uninterrupted I mean it did include a quick stop at an OK Diner on the A1. OK Diners are the most amazing motorway services ever and leave me dumbfounded as to why they haven't made their way down south to replace the horrendous Little Chefs I am so used to avoiding. These restaurants have totally pulled off the 1950s-themed diner experience, with rock n roll playing and the kitsch Americana adorning every surface. I simply cannot drive past one. I have to go in and order myself a massive burger with a thick shake and feel a bit unwell for the rest of my journey. They are brilliant.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

On another bear hunt...

Time to do another brown sign trip! Heading for Robin Hood's bay today, just north of Scarborough. Because of the long drive up there the estimated time of leaving was approx 9.30 (get up and go for a 2 hour run at 7 am come back get in the car and go) but here I am still buying fishing rod licences online and digging very spider infested camping chairs out of the shed.  Perhaps a more accurate time will be 11.30. Ho hum.
I have fishing booked for Tuesday and hopefully badger watching on Monday evening at a Forestry Commission forest. The rest will be dictated by my trusty brown signs (and how willing owners will be to let a poor struggling writer and her sister into their attractions at a reduced rate), North Yorkshire is my oyster!
The Saxo is stuffed to bursting with badly packed tents and bags, pasta and Dolmio sauces which I would never even think of touching normally and maps and tourist leaflets stuffed into any available orifice.
No "boutique" or "cool" camping for me my friends, oh no, I plan to get very muddy on the way to and from the shower block every morning, discover I've run out of 50ps once there and go to bed at approximately 9pm every night hungry because we've also run out of gas to boil the pasta with. At least I am prepared and resigned to my fate. Weirdly though I love it, and I plan to tell you all about it (whenever I can find a Starbucks or Wifi friendly pub, we shall see).
Wish me luck, bye bye for now.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Bad brown sign day, weird yellow sign day

This morning I woke up raring to go. My blog has been bandied around the social networking medium I am both scared and excited by, Twitter, and it's been great to get good feedback about what I'm doing and the idea that we can all discover Britain by The Brown Sign Way. I was supposed to go for a run (I'm training for a marathon, something I am regretting FYI) and then get on the computer, instead I sat in my pyjamas for some time twittering around and planning the next brown sign trip next week up north.
The day that lay ahead was a family day with my sister (regular), mother and aunties (newbies). We were to have a nice lunch in Wakehurst Place, the most visited National Trust Property but also part of Kew Gardens, with a visit to an open garden afterwards. The open garden wouldn't have a brown sign, I was prepared for this, because it is not permanently open, but I could deal with that by secretly keeping a mental note of every brown sign we passed, hoping we would get time to visit one the way home.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

A little farm and a not so little vineyard

Today I decided it was time to discover a vineyard via The Brown Sign Way. A lot of attraction types are being ticked off the list now so I think it's time to be a little more focussed in my approach to my brown signing (I'll still go to all the random places I happen upon too though, don't worry). My sister and I got into my just MOTed and legal (if still smelly when braking and rattly when accelerating) car and headed for a vineyard brown sign near Dorking. Xfm were playing some belters so Jo and I Florence and The Machined our way to Surrey. Maybe it was the enthusiasm of our singing or perhaps the car was suddenly faster for finally having a mechanic under it's bonnet, whatever the reason we arrived (very unlike us) an hour early for the winery tour. As with any time I ever have to kill I kept my eyes peeled for a brown sign, luckily I spotted one in the shape of Bocketts Farm, I followed it.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

An emotional windmill & Nature vs. Industry (Nature 1 Industry 0)

Recently I have been thinking (a lot) about why I like brown tourist signs so much, and why I want to write a book about them. My good friend Rob Archer, Occupational Psychologist extraordinare, asked me some very simple but enlightening questions about what I feel when I go off visiting brown signed tourist attractions.
Firstly I said I was excited at the prospect of discovering something new, meeting the people who run the places and that I feel good when I experience something fun and different. But when he asked what actual physical sensation I get when I thought about brown signing, I realised that I felt something like a nag, a small pain or knot, a little bit like worry, in the pit of my stomach.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

I value your opinion - I really do
Ok, I am starting to properly build up this blog now, woo! I want it to be as brown and touristy as it can be and to be honest I wouldn't mind your input. I am effectively a one woman brown tourist sign visiting machine but would like your suggestions and comments of your brown tourist signed experiences.