Friday, 31 December 2010

Beware callers asking questions about brown tourist signs

This morning I've been calling attractions around the country, especially the quirky smaller ones which may not hear about my quest to fill my map of Britain with brown signed attractions. I don't want to leave them out and they're a big part of The Brown Sign Way after all. So I called a small house and garden in Leicestershire (which shall remain nameless) and started the conversation in much the same way as I usually do, encountering the standard confusion I always get when explaining my project, but I couldn't quite pull this conversation back like I normally can:

Me: Good morning, I wonder if you can help me, I am currently writing a book about attractions in Britain that have brown tourist signs and wondered whether your attraction has one?
Lady: Pardon?
Me: Sorry sounds a bit strange I know, but I'm putting together a comprehensive list of destinations in Britain that have brown tourist signs, and I was wondering if I could add your attraction to my list?
Lady: Well, I'm not sure whether I want to be added.
Me: Well, it's basically free advertising and I am singing the praises of all brown signed attractions, it's a good thing.
Lady: Sorry, where are you calling from? Are you a journalist?
Me (I get this all the time which I hate because everyone is suspicious of a journalist): Well, no not really, my name is Amanda Hone and I am writing a book and have a website dedicated to brown tourist signs, just me, on my own, it's a bit of a passion of mine...
Lady (getting annoyed now): Right, so where exactly are you calling from then?
Me (she asked for it): Errr... my parents' dining room.
Lady (clearly dumbfounded and thinks I'm mental): Well I'm very sorry to tell you that we do not have a brown sign.
Me: That's OK, no problem, I just thought it was worth enquiring just in case...
Lady: Well, I think this is a bit of a cheek.
Lady: I don't know who you are or where you're calling from...
Me: Um, Amanda Hone, my parents' dining room.
Lady: I hope you won't write about us not having a brown sign in your column.
Me: Right, I'm not a journalist and not having a brown sign isn't a bad thing, I was only...
Lady: This is all very odd.
Me: You're not wrong lady, but please let me just explain, I'm...
Lady: I think I've had quite enough of you and your bizarre questions. Goodbye (Hangs up)
Me (oscillating between wanting to both laugh and burst out crying): Thank you, you've been most helpful.

Hilariousness abounds along my Brown Sign Way.


  1. Some people just don't deserve free publicity! My wife and I run a small gallery in Rothbury Northumberland, (no we don't have a brown board due to unhelpful planning regs!) We have often tried to muster local businesses to work together promoting our village, but are often met with suspicion! Occasionally downright hostility. Good luck on your questand if you ever get the car insured and venture as far as Northumberland call in at Crown Studio Gallery

  2. I know it's weird isn't it? I think it's all about doing little things on a local level that makes the difference and taking the time to notice the things all around us that gives the most reward. Thank you for your thoughts!

  3. Amanda,

    I have encountered similar kind of opposition in trying to promote my tours. Some people can't be helped and seem to delight in crushing the aspirations of others. Keep at it.


  4. I guess people can be suspicious in a world where there is no longer such a thing as a free lunch. Thanks for the encouragement, I will keep going!


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