Tuesday, 6 September 2011

I'm moving this blog to my new website...

Hello you,

If you've just stumbled upon me and my brown sign project then great, welcome along! I used to use this blog to tell interested readers about all my travels discovering Britain by following brown tourist signs, but I've always thought that getting out there and doing it for yourself is what it's all about, so I'm in the process of building a website with loads of information, stories and brown signed attractions on it which you can use to get inspiration to go brown signing yourself.

The website is here www.followthebrownsigns.com and my often ridiculous but funny travels around Britain following brown signs still happen, they are here www.followthebrownsigns.com/blog too if you're interested.

Thanks for the visit, I hope you enjoy the new site and please do get involved :)

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

It seems I can't stop banging on about men on the moon...

... but when my sister got sent the link to this video I thought I must share it. What I love most, apart from loving the song and it reminding of me of my teenage years when The Mose would play R.E.M. on a loop, mooning around the house adoring Michael Stipe a little more than is healthy, I also love what lies behind the story of the song.

Mikey Stipey, as he has become affectionately known in our house (even my 86 year old Dad knows who we're talking about when we mention Mikey) said this about recording the song for the 7th day wake up message to crew of the last space shuttle mission "I recorded 'Man on The Moon' for NASA in Venice, Italy, where Galileo first presented to the Venetian government his eight-power telescope, and in 1610 wrote 'The Starry Messenger' (Sidereus Nuncius), an account of his early astronomical discoveries that altered forever our view of our place in the universe."

The song isn't just relevant for it's appropriate lyrics as a wake up call to people in space (especially given the 35th anniversary of the first ever moon landing is tomorrow!) it's greatness comes in that it is also a song inspired by the people who had the insight and desire to discover what lay beyond our reaches here on earth, and even human comprehension out there in space over 400 years ago. Galileo and his early sky watching pals would have been absolutely in awe of our accomplishments of getting men into space and on the moon and I find these things totally fascinating. What an absolute dude (both Galileo and Stipey, obviously). This brought a tear to my eye, enjoy.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Random Brown Sign of the Day - The National Space Centre

Today, after about 3 weeks working solid 14 hour shifts at my restaurant, I am back in the game (the very best game I know: The Brown Sign Game) and in honour of my return I thought I'd feature a big fat impressive attraction on random brown sign of the day and it doesn't get much bigger than space does it? So today children we're going to be talking about The National Space Centre.

This pretty amazing attraction is in Leicester and I cannot tell you how many times I've had friends driving up or down the M1 who text me about the brilliant and distinctive brown signs directing you there with the huge rocket logo on them (just imagining it makes me want to get in the car right now and take a trip up there to see it for myself), even the address excites me, it's on Exploration Drive for heaven's sake, genius.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

All aboard for some Swanage steam train action

The Mose and I went down to Dorset for a few days over the Easter break, mainly because I was wetting myself at the prospect of having a little go on the Swanage Steam Railway after they signed themselves up to my Brown Sign Way website.

This railway line wasn't actually one of the many hundreds across the country that were pulled up and abandoned after Dr Richard Beeching overhauled the railway network in the infamous Becching Report of 1963. This report saw the closure of around a third of all railway lines across Britain (luckily for us though many have now been restored and got themselves a brown sign). This line, which runs from Norden (just north of Corfe Castle) down to the beach and Swanage, was closed in 1972 after British Rail deemed the line simply not profitable enough to sustain, which aroused much local consternation and upset, as you can imagine. Just 3 years later though The Swanage Railway Project was set up by a group of dedicated volunteers (God I love them) and the painstaking task of relaying the line and restoring the railway back to it's former glory was begun. It took over 30 years to complete but finally the first passenger service to run from London all the way through to Swanage via Wareham arrived on the 1st of May 2009.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Me talking on BBC Lincolnshire about The Brown Sign Way

I have a permanent Twitter search set for "brown sign" on my TweetDeck that pulls up any tweet with the words "brown" and "sign" in it. So whenever anyone tweets about brown signs I always tweet them back, tell them what I'm doing and point them to my website. The relevant ones are usually people going down the motorway tweeting "OMG I'm so excited! We've just gone past the first brown sign for Alton Towers!" Others have been rants about the council not replacing stolen or defaced brown signs and sometimes it's random directions to places involving brown signs. Most of the time though the search brings up chat about whether American basketball players or rap stars with surnames "Brown" will "sign" to a new team or record label, obviously not very relevant to The Brown Sign Way but it does mean I'm well clued up about Chris Brown at the moment, so if you ever want to know what's going down him then I'm your gal...

Anyway today the "brown sign" search came up with a tweet by BBC Radio Lincolnshire DJ William Wright, his tweet was this "Has seeing a brown sign ever made you visit somewhere you hadn't thought about going? There's a campaign for Lincoln brown signs on A1". I got very very excited and tweeted that chap straight back, telling him about my website and that of course I'm well up for that brown sign campaign. After a few more tweets and some convincing I was interviewed by said DJ on his drive time show talking about the thing I love the very best, The Brown Sign Way.

It is below if you'd like to listen to it, just click the link and when it's loaded in the window skip to 1:43 (1 hour 43 minutes into the show) and then you'll hear me powering on through my terrible cold and sounding like the true south Londoner I am but didn't realise was quite so pronounced in my accent. Enjoy!


Or the recording here if it's no longer on iPlayer:


Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Random Brown Sign of the Day - Uffington White Horse

This is the view from above the White Horse Hill in Uffington, Oxfordshire. Apart from deserving the Random Brown Sign of the Day accolade for it's gorgeous views over the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside, having an excellent quirky name and being over 3000 years old, this horsey hill also holds a special place in my heart.

In a former life as a travelling marketing consultant I spent many hours in my car driving all over the south of England listening to radio 4 and audio books which, needless to say, started getting a little bit depressing. In order to combat the monotonous hideousness I used to turn off the road whenever I saw a brown sign to help me engage with where I was and to feel like I'd done something more with my day than talk about a company brand I didn't care about and get annoyed with the Afternoon Play. I lived in Oxford at the time and as much as I love discovering new places I found myself turning off at the brown sign for Uffington White Horse on the way home again and again. I'd park at the bottom of the hill and walk up to the horse's big head and admire the views. It's windy up there and one day I thought I'd buy myself a kite to fly (I hadn't done this since I was 8), so feeling like a bit of an idiot (luckily there weren't too many people around) I put my kite together and after a few failed attempts (running desperately down the hill to retrieve my tangled and flapping kite) I started to get quite good.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

How to win at greyhound racing - go for a Swift Gin

The joys of The Brown Sign Way not only come in the sheer quantity of brown-signed attractions across Britain but also in their variety. There are 93 different types of attraction and facility that get their own symbol on brown signs, for example:

Birds of Prey

Motor Museum


Historic Dockyard/Naval Attraction

Of course there are attractions that don't fit into any of the 93 categories and these either get their own unique symbol (like Jodrell Bank Observatory and the Millennium Dome) or don't have a symbol and have just text on their sign. There are a few niche categories, like heavy horse and brass rubbing centres that get their own symbol and as much as you might think there aren't really enough of them to warrant having their own symbol I like the idea that they're important and British enough to be included.

An attraction that doesn't have it's own symbol but really should (and what a brilliant symbol it would be) are greyhound stadiums, so when Perry Barr dog track in Birmingham signed themselves up to my website it inspired me to research the history of greyhound racing in Britain. The first ever official greyhound races were held at Manchester's Belle Vue Stadium after an American enthusiast brought over the concept (which emerged from coursing) in 1926. By 1927 there were over 40 dog tracks across the UK and the sport proved very popular, especially with the urban working classes. It enjoyed it's peak in popularity just after WWII but as with many sports and leisure activities at the time visitor numbers began to wane in the 1960s, probably due to the ease and affordability of travel and the shifting trends in how people spent their leisure time.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Stormy times in a whole world of barometers....

This was the view from Chris’ balcony window at 7.30am on Wednesday morning. After the blindingly gorgeous weather we’d had the day before this sight was mildly disappointing. Sometimes though having your options limited ends you up discovering random places you probably wouldn’t have gone to before and today turned out to be just one of those days.

Chris told me about a brown sign he used to pass on his way to work that he’d always been intrigued by which points to (and this is no joke) Barometer World. I’m the biggest fan of the quirky and off-beat, however even I was a little apprehensive about the potential of this nicheset of niche attractions. But it was indoors, somewhere new and there's a man with sideburns on the website, so I was sold.

Barometer World is just through the little village of Merton near Okehampton on the north side of Dartmoor. Moors fascinate me, they creep me out bad and I can’t help imagining myself suddenly lost, alone and wandering the windswept eerie landscape Jane Eyre style, perhaps encountering a rabid werewolf or running into a serial killer hell bent on axing me to death or something just as ridiculous, and weirdly I have a massive pull to things that freak me out, so I donned my bonnet and set off for Dartmoor.

Once we got up onto the moor the weather was appropriately dank and foggy. Chris wanted to show me the sprawling and ominous Dartmoor Prison but we could hardly see our own hands in front of our faces, let alone the road and other road users, so I didn’t get to appreciate it’s scariness as much as I could have done. The point was this brown sign though and I was obviously bouncing off the walls with excitement when I saw it...

Sunday, 10 April 2011

The nerve centre of The British Empire in a quiet little Cornish cove. Who knew?

This is the sign at the bottom of the Minack Theatre hill. I'd never heard of the Telegraph Museum so I was intrigued, and when I'm intrigued I must discover. We'd passed a big white building on the way to the Minack with MUSEUM printed in massive letters on it so I guessed that was it.

After parking up you walk through a garden full of "sci-art" sculptures which were born out of an interesting collaborative project that aims to bridge the age old divide between the art world and the science world by engaging local school children and innovative artists to design pieces of object d'arts that reflect the invisible science behind telegraph technology portrayed though the medium of sculpture, sound and light. I liked this eerie one the best...

This is a telegraph pole connected to a redundant submarine cable that was once used to send telegraph signals between here and Vigo in Spain. Since the cable no longer transmits telegraphs the signals it now picks up are the earth's faint electrical charges which are then processed and sounded out through the speaker on top. It emits live changes in the electrical signals under the sea, so in effect what you're listening to is the cumulative sound of the earth's magnetic field, radio waves, lightening and man-made electromagnetic charges (among other things) and hearing it makes you feel like you've been shot straight into an episode of Doctor Who. It was all creepy and scary and I love that.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

England's most westerly point and a single-handed open air theatre builder

At 1am on Monday morning I was in my old pal Chris' sitting room in Plymouth after a non-stop 4.5 hour belt down the motorway straight from work. We'd spontaneously decided I'd visit and go brown-signing around the South-West after The Minack Theatre signed up to www.thebrownsignway.com. I was hell-bent on paying them a visit after reading what they had to say about themselves: "The Minack is the UK's only cliffside open-air theatre, created by Rowena Cade in the 1930s, we're now hosting an 18 week summer season of plays and musicals and open all year to visitors who just wish to explore this incredible venue". A cliffside open air theatre on the tempestuous Cornwall coast, wowzers now that sounds cool. After a little more research I discovered their live webcam (permanently open in browser) which quite frankly cemented my hell-bentedness on visiting even more. I gave Chris a week's notice to get some time off work and so it was that I came to be sitting on his sofa at 1am. We haven't seen each other for about 8 years but I have Chris to thank for doing all my brown sign graphics early on when I finally decided to properly do my project full time. Ever since he's been massively supportive of me and really encouraging of my pursuits along The Brown Sign Way, so the prospect of spending the next few days with him was something I was really looking forward to.

We set off for The Minack nice and early the next day to allow for some random brown sign action along the way, and those Cornish brown signs didn't disappoint either.

I was excited about seeing the sign for Lands End because I've never been there before despite numerous trips to Cornwall. I've also thought a lot about doing a massive Land's End to John O'Groats brown-signing trip so I was happy to find my starting point had the appropriate signage. I think it's romantic to be somewhere where the land quite literally ends and to imagine yourself marked on the map, standing on the rugged toe of England as it juts out into the vast expanse of sea beyond, I like the thought of me being there on the very tip of Britain's toenail.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Random Brown Sign of the Day - The Darlington Brick Train

brick_trainExactly what it says on the tin: a massive train made from bricks just on the outskirts of Darlington, or more precisely "situated next to Morrisons on Morton Park Industrial Estate" it's location is rather depressingly described on thisisdarlington.com tourist information website.

Interesting when you learn a little more about it though so here's a little about what they have to say:

The sculpture was built in 1997, designed by David Mach, to celebrate the rich railway heritage of Darlington.  The adventurous can climb to the platform overlooking the train from above. The sculpture is signposted from surrounding roads (those'll be the brown tourist signs people!)

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Random Brown Sign of The Day - The World of Model Railways

Today's brown sign of the day is The World of Model Railways in Mevagissey, Cornwall. I knew I'd love it even before I'd had a butcher's at their website but all the pictures and descriptions of this little attractions only compounded my love for them even more. When answering the question "Why is your attraction important and why would Britain be worse of without you?" on the form on my website they said this:

"We are almost unique in Britain, one of very few model railways operating daily for the public, and the finest in terms of model detail and operational interest. 2011 sees us established 40 years and we are very well known in the model hobby, having set the standard for others to aim for and been an inspiration to many people" Ahhhh, how can you not love that? And here's what they say on their website...

The World of Model Railways is one of Cornwall's premier tourist attractions, with one of the best model shops in the South-West of England.

Our OO gauge Main Layout has over 30 trains travelling through varied landscapes including town, country, seaside and even an Alpine Winter.
The 'Junior Junction' childrens' railway features Hornby Thomas The Tank engine characters and a model circus.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Random Brown Sign of the Day - The Kingcombe Centre

I'm getting so many unique and amazing attractions signing up to The Brown Sign Way through the "I'm a brown-signed attraction, get me involved!" page on my website that I think it's time they were shared, so in their honour I'll pick one randomly every day and feature it in my new daily post called "Random Brown Sign of the Day". It won't be a normal blog about me doing a brown sign visit, it'll be more about how surprising and interesting these places are when you start finding out just a little bit about them, and hopefully inspire you (even more than you are already!) to get out there and follow brown signs just for fun and to discover all these cool places all for yourself.

My very first Random Brown Sign of the Day is The Kingcombe Centre in Dorset, and in their own words here's a little bit about them...

Kingcombe meadowsNestling at the heart of the peaceful hamlet of Lower Kingcombe in West Dorset, our educational charity offers an engaging array of natural history, archaeology, craft and art courses throughout the year.
Surrounded by 185 hectares (457 acres) of Dorset Wildlife Trust's Kingcombe Meadows Nature Reserve, the centre offers tranquillity in a landscape miraculously untouched by modern agricultural practices.

Delving into our exciting programme you will discover something for all ages and abilities from day to week-long activity holidays. We are renowned for our friendly hospitality, scrumptious food, environmental guest accommodation and as a flagship for sustainability.
Whether you join us on holiday, gain inspiration from a walk in the nature reserve, explore the Visitor's Centre or take refreshment at the Kingcombe Café, you are always guaranteed a warm welcome.
The Kingcombe Centre Café is now open every weekend and most days from 1 October – Easter (11.30-3.30) and Easter – 30 September (11.30 – 5.00). The Café will be closed for a short time over Christmas and the New Year.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Day 2 of Matt and Amanda go brown-signing: Visit to a repile zoo at the deceptively named Beaver Water World

Matt and I decided that another brown sign trip was in order after the mildly disappointing day we'd spent wasting petrol driving around South West London/Surrey, being turned away from Hampton Court Palace and getting stuck in traffic jams that made us go a bit mental. As an ode to our "Henry VIII says no" day we took this picture of us eating our packed lunch in the car, kindly bought by Matt from the petrol station consisting of Ribena, donuts, Revels and Wine Gums (both big bags) which we ate all in one go and regretted straight away.

In order to choose the destination of the day Matt went onto Google maps and located a random spot. I asked him to try and randomly select somewhere in the south east because 1) I have no money to buy more than £10 of petrol 2) I was working at 5 and 3) My car is very likely to explode on the motorway, so his initial selection of High Wycombe in Oxfordshire was vetoed. After re-selection he told me we were going to Pilgrims Way near Biggin Hill and which we'd navigate to via The Brown Sign Way. Much to my joy I noticed a "Beaver Water World" in Tatsfield marked on the map, which I hoped beyond all hope had a brown sign because I don't think I've ever seen a beaver before and I'm a big fan of doing new things (even if that does just mean looking at a beaver).

Thursday, 17 March 2011

My very random phone conversation with a chap at the London Development Agency just now...

Me: *Sounding very serious and worky* I would like to hire an intern/work experience person to help with a project I'm currently undertaking and wondered if you might be able to assist me?
Man: OK, I'll just get some details, can you describe the project for me?
Me: Yes of course... *blah blah usual stuff about brown signs etc*
Man: Can I just stop you there, do you have a twin?
Me: Err yes I do, do you know her?
Man: Well not really, but I did meet both of you outside the Draft House pub near Tower Bridge once.
Me: Oh my God I remember you! Was I banging on about brown signs?!
Man: Yes you were. The conversation was definitely unique, I'll give you that.
Me: Cripes. Was I hammered?
Man: Errr yes.
Me: And probably not very professional?
Man: *Laughs* No. Not at all!
Me: Belter. I really know how to impress don't I?
Man: *Can't get his words out for laughing* Oh yes, you really do!
Me: Magnificent

Monday, 14 March 2011

King Henry VIII's computer says "NO"

Luckily for me my best friend Beaker's brother Matt, who works abroad, has been back in the country for the last week. This is great for me because it means I get some variety in the person sitting next to me on my brown signing trips. People who don't have proper 9-5 jobs or children suit my needs brilliantly. Score. Matt's known me for a long time and was therefore totally unphased by my suggestion that we should get in the car and drive in a random direction to discover some brown signed attractions when he called to arrange a catch up.

I was lucky enough to be a book giver on World Book Night and had arranged for my 58 copies of A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry to go to a lady who runs book groups in prisons. She is a professor of Creative Writing at Roehampton University and (as it turned out) is an exceptional lady. So Matt and I thought we'd use the opportunity when dropping the books off to get discovering the brown signs around the west London/Surrey area. After a nice long chat in the university coffee shop (feeling a bit old and a lot out of place) with Professor Jenny talking about her book groups and what I was doing with my project we were raring to get brown signing.

We found (as I've noted before on the blog) a frustrating lack of brown signs in Surrey. I was bemoaning this fact when Matt grabbed the camera because he'd seen this sign. Knowing we were unlikely to happen upon racing at Sandown Park (and being wholly inappropriately attired) we hung a right towards the unique brown sign symbol telling us we were heading for Hampton Court Palace. I was a bit dubious about the prospect of a visit here though. The bigger the attraction and the more people there are to talk to about my project when I arrive the harder it is to get in for free or even talk to anyone who really knows and cares about the place, but we thought we'd try, so we drove into the expensive car park anyway and entered the massive hi-tech ticket hall. I began my explanation of what I was doing, said I was singing the praises of brown signed tourist attractions, highlighting the joy of spontaneously turning off the road when you see one and showing how brilliant going brown signing is as a way of discovering Britain. I added that I was doing it out of sheer love and not making any money from my pursuits so could we possibly get in for free/reduced entry.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

An actual Living Rainforest in the middle of the Berkshire countryside?! Strange, but believe it people, it's true...

This weekend I went away with my uni gang to the Cotswolds. My friend Kat (far left) moves to Singapore for an indefinite period soon and we all needed a weekend away slopping around in our pyjamas 'til noon, pootling in picturesque villages buying things we didn't really need, breaking casserole dishes we found in the cottage and eating massive pies in country pubs (accompanied by lots of wine) to make us all feel like we'd spent some quality time together before she left.

Now that the Brown Sign Way has truly overtaken my life most of our trips out were dominated by frequent shouts which resulted in screeching halts when anyone saw a brown sign. One such time was when we saw this one pointing to a 17th Century Quaker Meeting house in Nailsworth. It excited me. I was sure it would be a cool crooked little house with information about it presented in a plastic sheet on an A4 piece of paper typed in around 1989 on a typewriter and pinned to the wall with drawing pins (the very best kind of information) so on my insistence we headed up the hill and followed the brown sign. Sadly Lisa's mini with all of us in it was no match for the hill it was on, so I only got a glimpse of the house as we powered on past in 1st gear. The hill was so ridiculously steep that when we finally found ourselves up a dead end with only one way to go (down), the anxiety, sweat and tears exuding from the car was undeniable and there was no asking if I could get out and pay the meeting house a little visit. Instead I sat quietly while we slid slowly backwards with my friends bellowing "left!" "right!" "no left, left!" trying hard to avert nasty ploughage-into-dry-stone-wallage. Well here's another fine mess you've gotten us into brown signs...

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Mission: Explore via The Brown Sign Way. Geography is COOL man...

I was very excited to be tweeted at the other day by a cool bunch of geographers (they exist, I promise you) called The Geography Collective who launched a great website last year called Mission: Explore. They have an affiliated iPhone app and now 2 books that are packed full of missions for kids to do. They aim to get children noticing the world around them and engaging with their surroundings by completing lots of fun and diverse exercises. They're designed to get kids actually doing and thinking for themselves, and (thank God) encourages them to move away from their computer and TV screens and playing in the outside world. There are hundreds to do and the variety is huge so every mission makes you think in new and interesting ways. Some missions are location specific so if you are using the iPhone app it recognises your location and lists missions near you (oh iPhone I say I don't want you, but I really do) and many can be completed anywhere.

Here's an example of one of my favourites:

Design a game

Design a game that can only be played in this place.
Mission image


Think carefully about the objects, patterns and other things you can use to help you make up your game.
Mission number: ME1154


Try to design a game that doesn't involve a lot of shouty stuff or throwing spiky objects.

Cool huh? Clearly I am a big fan of getting kids noticing and doing and engaging so when cool geographer Dan from The Geography Collective tweeted that my brown signs idea would make a good mission for Mission: Explore I jumped at the chance to write one for them, and they liked it!

It has just been added to the site and is here if you would like to have a look... Go Brown Sign Collecting! and even better accept the mission and do it yourself or with your kids, and be sure to tell me how you're getting on!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

If I died and went to brown sign heaven I would spend eternity doing days like this....

So this is me on Saturday at 6.30am after approximately 5.5 hours sleep and guess what, I was in a stinker of a mood. Anyone who's ever had the displeasure of being anywhere near me when I've had less than 10 hours sleep knows it's not a nice experience and the reason for my lack of sleep wasn't even from a night on the tiles, sadly no. It was after a hectic Friday night waitressing, where I made so many mistakes that I frequently wanted to burst out crying, so much so that even disappearing out the fires escape to smoke a lot of fags didn't help. And it was my poor sister, The Mose, who was on the receiving end of my bad mood in the morning. She's usually happy to spend the day with me, especially on brown sign days but, unsurprisingly, on Saturday she wasn't feeling it. She's also a great believer in pathetic fallacy and it was one of those dull rainy days that makes you feel a bit arse. Predictably then we lost our tempers and got in the car in silence with no idea where we were going, so I pointed us the direction of deepest darkest Kent and we huffed off onto the M20.

After a little while being in a mood though I find it gets boring and coffee and sticky buns from the petrol station seem to make everything just a little bit better, also The Mose finally chose a destination; Tenterden "the jewel in the crown of the Kent Weald" a mere 50 miles away, where there was also a museum shown in red on my AA map (thank the Lord for tourist maps. Pah! Who needs an iPhone?). Things were looking up.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Staring down the barrel of some massive guns

A few weeks ago I noticed a museum on Twitter which immediately attracted my attention. Why? Because it's called "Explosion!" that's why, now you're interested, see? I especially liked the use of the hard hitting exclamation mark so I had a lot of respect for them straight away. This Portsmouth based museum looked like just the kind of place I love the very best, with dedicated passionate staff and an impressive repertoire of activities and exhibits which chart the history and importance of naval firepower. However, as much as I wanted to pay these guys a visit the 200 mile round trip from London was mildly off-putting. Also my life at the moment is a lot about doing boring but important computer based work with the website so felt I couldn't really take the time out, until.... My parents (being the older traveller) told me they were taking a 2 week cruise departing from Southampton and I was the lucky sole they'd chosen to drive them down there. Ecstatic to be given an excuse to hit the south coast I piled my parents and their luggage into the car (my mum's car that is, and what a joy it was to drive without the terrible my-exhaust's-about-to-fall-off anxiety), deposited them at the extremely windy and rainy Southampton dock 10 and shot straight off to Portsmouth harbour.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

I'm a big fan of this brown sign bandwagon

During my extensive research of the brown signed attractions of Britain I have discovered some pretty cool things going on all over the country that are either run or linked up with brown signs. The website I am building (www.thebrownsignway.com) will have an area dedicated to my findings don't you worry but I thought I would share this one with you in the mean time.

www.visitwoods.org.uk is an exciting programme set up by The Woodlands Trust in conjunction with other organisations like The National Trust, the RSPB, the Forestry Commission and The Wildlife Trusts to (you guessed it) encourage people to visit more of our gorgeous woodlands. There is a great search facility which throws up all the woods near you and contains lots of information about our precious woodlands. It's an excellent place to begin your discovery of the natural world around you and will hopefully inspire you to go enjoying woods for a million different reasons. My personal favourite reason: when I'm feeling a bit lonely. My worst reason: training for a marathon. Whatever your reason though they're important and visiting one will enrich your life (and make you feel quite tired if you run around it a lot).

The Woodlands Trust are also running an important campaign at the moment to protect our woodlands from being sold off by the government and you can sign up to their petition here, every name makes a difference http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/en/campaigning/save-ancient-forests/Pages/fc-disposals-act-now.aspx?WT.mc_id=fc

I am always up for getting people to experience all the great places we have around us in Britain, so of course this project gets my hearty seal of approval, but there is another more silly reason why I like it a little too much, follow the link and just look at the logo. Quality, rock on The Woodlands Trust.


Saturday, 15 January 2011

If you can't beat 'em join 'em

Spot the difference...

That's right all you eagled eyed ladies and gentlemen out there, the top brown sign is FAKE!

My visual cortex has more cell space than most dedicated to the colour brown on sign shaped objects, so I'm very good at noticing oddities in brown tourist signs. Over the years I've noticed quite a few fake brown signs but usually I've been on a motorway somewhere when taking a picture would be more dangerous than normal so I've never recorded the event. To my delight I found this brown sign recently in Christchurch, Dorset pointing the way to a little tea room. I told you, brown signs are so good they're getting ripped off, 'mazing.

When a thing has been said and well said, have no scruple; take it and copy it - Anatole France (French Writer, won the Nobel Prize for Literature 1921)

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Walk, don't run, around Norman Park

Today I felt both fenced in and lethargic. New year's hangovers hang around man. Living in deepest suburbia means it's pretty hard to just skip out of your front door and have a big walk in the countryside to blow away the cobwebs, also unfortunately for me I can't afford to insure the pile of crap that is my car so I couldn't even drive off to the nearest heritage trail.

So my sister and I took a walk around the streets of Bromley. Luckily I could also do some brown signing because this sign directs you to my local park. Wicked.