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My adventures along The Brown Sign Way

I spend a lot of my time travelling around Britain veering off roads randomly following brown signs, usually with little or no money, often alone or with my twin (The Mose) in a car that’s constantly on the edge of breaking down and encountering lots of confused people who think me and my pursuits are completely mental.

But against all odds I always manage to discover a huge variety of brilliant people and places along the way and I think they’re worth telling the world about. All my shenanigans are here for you to enjoy so why not have a read and metaphorically come along on my adventures with me? Oh go on, I get lonely…

“Uh-hu before you abuse, criticise and accuse walk a mile in my shoes” so sang Elvis…

September 18, 2015
IMG_5758[1]I've been excited about the opening of the Empathy Museum since I first read about its crowd funding campaign in August (through Indiegogo). The concept of a pop-up museum in a shipping container resonated with me immediately, not just because I'm rather fond of hosting random exhibitions in shipping containers given the chance but also because the museum's founder is Roman Krznaric, also a founder member of the innovative and life affirming School of Life in London and author of the book How To Find Fulfilling Work (a must-read for anyone struggling to find their...

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… but that’s another story

July 27, 2015
IMG_5672[1]A few weeks ago Go Set A Watchman, the sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird and the original manuscript that the aspiring author Harper Lee presented to her publisher in the 1950s was published and released after being presumed lost for over 60 years. The announcement of the finding and subsequent publication of the manuscript, which had spawned one of the most iconic books of all time, understandably received a monumental build up in the literary world. The climax exploded early on publication day and by 7 am when I got up...

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The bell doth toll for the Bromley Museum

June 17, 2015
Bromley MuseumLast week those of us who'd been watching the increasingly downward spiral of events unfolding at a small local museum in south east London finally heard the news confirmed that no one wanted to hear. It was not at all unexpected but nevertheless still immensely sad and frustrating that the local authority eventually announced they would be closing Bromley Museum forever as of the 1st of October 2015. No plans have been put in place to rehouse and show the collection elsewhere (unless you call a few display cabinets in an unstaffed...

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Defunct museums, rivalry to the death and the Egyptian Pharaoh hanging out at Niagara Falls

October 24, 2014
John Lenon museumAhh, greetings fair blog reader* and how goes it? I haven't had those eyes feast themselves on this here blog for a while so I'm pleased to welcome you back. *Quick aside: if a blogger writes a "web log" and is commonly referred to as a "blogger" how does one refer to a "blog" "reader"? Are you a "bleader"? I think you are, you look like one an' all.  I've digressed and I hadn't even started, sorry, back to my web logging... In the last few months I've been going out less...

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The abandoned theme park of Camelot

June 29, 2014
Magical castle This symbol adorned the brown sign pointing to a theme park called Camelot, in Lancashire. I remember trying to find out what it was a few years ago when my friend Simon at Buchanan Computing sent me a road sign design software package with lots of "locally approved" unique brown sign symbols pre-loaded onto it (he knew I'd really like them you see). Unsurprisingly this symbol caught my attention and so too did it capture @gars_grumbles imagination. She tweeted me yesterday: @lovebrownsigns flipping through your blog and saw the unique princess...

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Lincoln gets some long awaited brown sign highway cred

June 26, 2014
Lincoln brown signsLast year I was contacted by BBC radio Lincolnshire and asked to give an interview about Lincoln's long running campaign to get brown tourist signs on the A1. I agreed and, as I said in my interview, was quite surprised the city didn't have them already (the interview is here if you'd like to listen): listen to ‘BBC Lincolnshire can't get enough of this brown sign bonanza!’ on Audioboo // It turns out that the Lincoln Business Improvement Group (BIG) have been appealing to the Highways Agency and then finally through their MP to...

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News of a scuttling

June 17, 2014
Clifton Suspension BridgeSince moving out of the Big Smoke Bristol is now my closest city. Just voted the best UK city to live according to The Sunday Times it has the winning mix of nearby countryside, lovely houses, good schools and "buzzy" feel. Its cultural and industrial heritage is outstanding, with Banksy daubing its streets and rolling stock since the early '90s and Brunel's Clifton Suspension Bridge and famous docks looking as grand and impressive as when the largest ships in the world once sailed from them, Bristolians have justifiable reason to be  proud...

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Great driving roads of the UK (many with brown signs FYI)

May 27, 2014
Pendle witchYesterday I was interviewed on a BBC wireless show. The subject was the great driving roads of Britain and the art of getting out and engaging in the world around you, doing some discovering for discovering's sake and you can hear my interview here :)  listen to ‘Follow the Brown Signs Mark Forrest show’ on Audioboo(function() { var po = document.createElement("script"); po.type = "text/javascript"; po.async = true; po.src = "https://d15mj6e6qmt1na.cloudfront.net/cdn/embed.js"; var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(po, s); })();...

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Traffic Sign Regulations and General Directions 2015 news – WOOF!

May 17, 2014
Pre-worboys school signI first started this big old brown sign project of mine to celebrate the fantasticly varied and endlessly fascinating destinations across Britain that can be found simply by following a brown tourist sign, unsurprisingly then my project has immersed me in the vibrant heritage and cultural scene, but I have also often found myself immersed in the seemingly less exciting world of road regulations, traffic sign design and "roadside furniture" management. As everyone knows though I'm a massive nerd, just give me a paragraph to read on any subject, from...

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Tour de France Grand Depart – like the Tour de France but with some Yorkshire in it

May 7, 2014
Yorkshire grand departThis year the Tour de France will begin in Yorkshire. My dad's been obsessed with sweaty men in lycra puffing their way up French mountains (or "Alps" if you will) for as long as I can remember so I pricked up my little ears when the news was announced last year. I'll admit to snoring off however when I was told that my '90s favourite, Miguel Indurain, wouldn't be making an appearance. Apparently he's too old, which was distressing because he was about the only thing that got me through those...

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Dr Jenner: Destroyer of the small but deadly pox

April 22, 2014
Jenner MuseumReader, I've moved. At the end of February we swapped an expensive chicken coop of a flat and the often terrifying (for an introvert like me at least) streets of South London for a small cottage on a farm in deepest darkest Gloucestershire. It's deliberately out of the way. My property search involved identifying the biggest areas of white on the road map (where there is nothing) and waiting stubbornly until a rentable property came up therein. Very frustrating for my other half I could tell but when I played the...

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Sky high nausea in 9th century aviation technology

September 18, 2013
Gliding 8For my birthday this year my boyfriend gave me a days gliding course at the London Gliding Club. I was both touched that he'd got me such a cool non-boring present and scared stupid that I'd soon have to ascend into the skies in a craft with no engine, kept aloft purely by naturally occurring thermals under some very thin wings. I have a love/hate relationship with things that push me out of my comfort zone and I do stuff that scares me a lot. I get a ridiculous idea in...

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In the ruins of Bayham Old Abbey

August 14, 2013
english-heritageRecently English Heritage sent me a big spreadsheet containing all their 400(ish) properties in it for me to upload onto my brown sign map of the UK. In order to prevent a brain meltdown I didn't even open the file (best to ignore big data sets in case I break them I find) and sent it straight to my web developer Olly, who had the opposite of a brain meltdown (I think he even said "cool" upon receipt) then cracked right on with uploading it onto my website. You can...

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Me on BBC Radio 4 Saturday Live

Saturday LiveOn Saturday I had the honour of being on Saturday Live on Radio 4. Over the years I've been mildly hesitant to get what I do into the media, mainly because I feel a bit shy about it but also because when I've tried in the past it often came to nothing and made me feel a bit crap. In order to keep myself sane and not get too despondent when receiving knock backs I kept going quietly on my own without shouting very much about it. However, recently the...

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Travels with my barman

July 13, 2013
Guide bookLast week, after months of working nearly every night, double shifts at weekends and doing my part-time 9-5 as well, I was yearning for the sweet relief of a light adventure. Amanda Hone does not like feeling fenced in, so I was browsing Twitter for some inspiration on where to spend my day off when I saw the best museum advertising ever posted on YouTube for the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, where a flashmob act out Rembrandt's famous Nightwatch in a Dutch shopping centre.... I'd watched the BBC4 documentary in April...

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Visit Churches (.org.uk)

July 3, 2013
12th Century ChurchRecently I was contacted by a very nice chap at the Churches Conservation Trust, this organisation does exactly what you think it does, helps to maintain hundreds of churches in need of restoration and conservation around England. He told me he'd recently been driving to a meeting in Suffolk and discovered a "gorgeous hidden gem" of church by following a little brown tourist sign. As a total history geek obsessed by all things old I too especially like following a brown sign to a church. Here's a picture of one...

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Post proposal brown signing on the Isle of Wight

May 27, 2013
Breakfast award logo for web_tcm30-35357When I awoke on my first morning as a soon-to-be-married woman I was both excited about being engaged (I had to keep checking I still had a ring on my finger) and almost equally as excited about the Visit England Breakfast Award accredited breakfast that awaited me just sniffing distance away in The Fawley's breakfast room. Like I said, I do like bacon. It's become a bit of a thing for me now to check whether the place I'm staying at shows this small but extremely significant sticker in its window when...

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My face. The radio.

May 21, 2013
BBC micLincolnshire is going brown sign crazy at the moment (that's meant as a compliment of course Lincolnshire) so BBC Radio Lincs asked me again to go on their morning radio show to talk about the great joys of randomly following brown tourist signs. I always have to win the sceptics and people who brand me a total loon over, but eventually I hope listeners will be inspired to turn off the road and discover a great place for themselves next time they see a brown sign. I might have to...

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A choppy crossing to an unexpectedly romantic Isle of Wight

May 15, 2013
Us on ferryReader, I just got back from the best weekend ever on the Isle of Wight. My boyfriend and I went on a brown sign jolly to discover this island county which fights a dual everyday with Rutland for the title of Britain's Smallest County (which it wins twice daily at high tide). To discover a little island through the medium of randomly following brown tourist signs is up there with bacon sandwiches and long distance railway journeys as one of my favourite things,  and as I've never had the pleasure of visiting this 148...

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Me on BBC Radio Lincolnshire

April 11, 2013
Me in BBC studioHere's me just before my recent interview on BBC Radio Lincolnshire on Monday. Lucky I wasn't absolutely wetting myself with nerves in the new BBC studios! It is below if you'd like to listen again :)       listen to ‘Me on BBC Radio Lincolnshire April '13’ on Audioboo // ...

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