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The brown sign torch relay is behind…

July 9, 2012
Despite desperate efforts to keep up with the Olympic torch and singing the praises of a brown signed destination every day along the relay route over the last few days I've been moving, and when your flat looks like this with no internet and no hope of knowing where your computer might be it makes the task pretty impossible. Thus I have been doing very little other than unpacking and enticing my inner carpenter out after gargantuan trips to Ikea. I am going to do some of my other paid...

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The house of Rudyard Kipling

July 4, 2012
Today I went to Batemans in Burwash, East Sussex - the National Trust owned property where Rudyard Kipling once lived. I went with an old family friend who I hadn't seen for some time and before we did anything we headed for the tea room to have a catch up. I told her all about my progress on the brown sign project and also about the trials and tribulations that go with it sometimes. I've got a lot going on at the moment and it was nice to just be...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 46: I love unique rocket brown sign symbols

July 3, 2012
Today the Olympic torch had a pretty spectacular send off (which included all sorts of excitingness including a man with a jet pack) from the National Space Centre in Leicester. I often get texts from people who know about my obsession with brown signs while travelling up or down the M1 telling me about the unique and exciting brown sign symbol for the Space Centre. I've never actually had the pleasure of seeing it myself but, by the genius that is Google Maps you and I can see that bad...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 45: If you’ll excuse me, I’m off for a spot of gongoozling

The Olympic torch travelled from Coventry through the Northamptonshire countryside and up to Leicester today. This area is well stocked with canals and waterways so I decided to feature a watery attraction of my alternative brown sign torch relay. Just outside the brown-signed town of Market Harborough is Foxton, where there's a very intriguing lock system which was built to enable boats to navigate between the junction of 2 canals - the old Leicester and Northamptonshire Union Canal and the Grand Junction Canal which lie on different heights. The boats need a "lock...

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The Brown Sign Olympic Torch Relay Day 44: Out of the ashes…

July 2, 2012
Today the Olympic torch travelled from Birmingham to Coventry in a big U shape, taking in Solihull, Chipping Campden and Royal Leamington Spa along the way. I pricked up my little ears when I heard the torch's destination because I happened to go to university in Coventry, for 3 whole weeks in 1998. I dropped out pretty spectacularly after finally admitting to myself that I'd only gone there because I had mucked up my A-levels and managed to bag a random place through clearing, not because I actually wanted to spend the next...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 43: Going to the dogs

July 1, 2012
The Olympic torch goes south from Derby making some easterly detours but finally finishing up in Birmingham on day 43 of the Olympic torch relay. And so on our alternative brown sign torch relay we will be doing just the same (except we'll be taking frequent detours when we see brown signs). I've had the pleasure of visiting Birmingham quite a few times; it helps when you have friends around the country if you have an all consuming travel related project like I do and whenever I visit people I...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 42: Stones would play inside her head…

On the 42nd day of the Olympic torch relay we run/walk/jog (depending on how athletic we're feeling on a Friday morning - not very I'm guessing) along our alternative torch relay from Nottingham to Derby. We make a big M-shape on our journey with the dip in the middle of the M taking us appropriately down to Matlock in the Peak District where the Olympic flame makes it's way up to The Heights of Abraham (gorge, hilltop woodlands and park with campsite and various other attractions) in Britain's first ever alpine type cable...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 41: White water rafting in Britain’s most landlocked county

June 29, 2012
The Olympic torch travels from Lincoln to Nottingham today and along the way passes through the town on Newark on Trent. I was happy to see that this town has a brown sign pointing a destination I haven't featured on the alternative torch relay - a water sports centre. But this is no ordinary water sports centre, no no, this is The National Water Sports Centre. They say: "Despite Nottinghamshire being the most land locked county in England, NWSC boasts some of the best white water and flat water you will find...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 40: Cleethorpes to Lincoln

June 28, 2012
The torch relay continues it's journey south and then east today from Grimsby to Lincoln. One of my most surprising visits when I was round this neck of the woods was Heckington Windmill, the only 8 sailed windmill in the UK sitting in what can only be described as a rubbish dump. I wrote about it as well as a walk around a wood, pottling around an abandoned 16th Century country house and my stay at a brown signed youth hostel here :)...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 39: From the archives – Sheffield to Cleethorpes

Very behind on the brown sign torch relay this week, having 2 jobs and an all consuming project is taking it's toll on my self imposed target of metaphorically trotting around the country keeping up with the Olympic Torch. Anyway the torch travelled from Sheffield to Cleethorpes on day 39 and as luck would have it I covered that whole route when I was doing my big brown sign trip of Britain, the blog is here. It's packed full of diverse and interesting destinations, as ever, enjoy :)...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 38: The answer always lies in education and engagement. Always.

June 27, 2012
Day 38 sees the Olympic torch heading across from Leeds to Sheffield and I've chosen a rather hidden and more unusual type of brown signed destination today (but no less important, far from it I'd say). Featherstone is a town just off down the road from Pontefract in Wakefield and has been around since the Doomsday Day Book days (1085). The town had a strong mining history and grew up around the mines that were opened here during the 17 and 1800s. More recently through the town has seen a...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 37: Gangrenous limb hacking

June 26, 2012
From Manchester to Leeds our Olympic torch travels today. Along the way lies the community of Harehills in Leeds and on the grounds of St James' University Hospital lies the Thackray Museum. Being located right inside a hospital you won't be surprised to learn that this museum is dedicated to medicine and the health sciences. The museum delves into the history of medicine and the way advances in science, surgical techniques and treating infection using antibiotics have changed our lives beyond all recognition.     Exhibitions that explore this in gruesome detail show how the...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 36: The beginnings of my brown sign project, football museums and Thierry Henry

June 23, 2012
That blessed Olympic torch was making it's way through Preston when I woke up this morning (it gets up early and so must I apparently). Preston has some interesting brown sign related history that I thought I'd share with you today, but rather ironically the place I'm going to blog about doesn't technically qualify as a brown sign to be blogged about. Let me explain... Right at the very beginning of this project, when I decided to plough all my efforts into the brown signs stuff properly, to turn it from...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 35: A shining bright star in Morecambe’s future

June 22, 2012
Wow, I've caught up and am actually writing a blog for my Alternative Brown Sign Torch Relay on the day it's supposed to be written and, joy upon all joys, that means I can use my favourite ever live location tool on the London 2012 website to decide my destination of the day! As I wrote the torch was just making it's way along the seafront at Morecambe so I began my daily research into the interestingness that my destination had to offer and stumbled upon this article from February this...

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The Brown Sign Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 34: Modern solstice marking sculptures

Right, I've been huffing and puffing and trying desperately to keep up with the Olympic torch for the last few days and now I'm only a day behind on the blog, who knew it was possible during a time of redundancy, taking on 2 new jobs and general massive upheaval? Not stressful at all as you can imagine. The Olympic torch travelled from Carlisle up into Scotland for a quick visit to Dumfries, then back down into England again to the Lake District where it rested for the night at Bowness-on-Windemere....

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 33: Skittish squirrels, R.E.M. and B&B watermills

June 21, 2012
The torch covers another significant distance today, York all the way up to Carlisle. A community that stuck out along the route was called Appleby-in-Westmorland. I grew up on a Westmoreland Road, and maybe at some point the road I used to live on really did lie in the west of some moor land but it definitely doesn't now and currently serves as the busiest road into the congested town of Bromley, not a piece of moor to be west of in sight, Primark would have built over it years...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 32: Crying and Vikings

June 20, 2012
Hull to York for the torch today and crying while clearing out my closing restaurant for me. Oh Joy. The blog of the day is a another quicky but brilliant and unique-symbolled brown sign along the torch relay, Yorvik Viking Centre in York. It's not only a great attraction with a brilliant brown sign it's also all about scary Vikings, and who doesn't like scary stuff about Vikings? No one is the answer :)...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 31: Looking awful, badger watching and frog squashing

June 19, 2012
Day 31 and the Olympic torch continues its journey from Middlesbrough all the way down the coast to Hull, making just one detour from the coast inland to Pickering. I love this corner of the world, The Mose and I have been to the Scarborough/Witby/North York Moors a few times and done a lot of brown signs around there. We found a great fake-brown-signed camp site in Robin Hood's Bay and stayed at the legal-brown-signed youth hostel in Boggle Hole where every dorm is named after a shipping forecast area...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 30: Michael Caine and the slag

June 18, 2012
So it's day 30 and we're jogging with our imaginary Olympic torches on a big backwards "S" route from Durham down to Middlesbrough today. Looking at the map Blackhall Colliery caught my eye and became, for reasons explained below, my destination of the day. Whenever I go to places that have a significant industrial history I find myself getting totally beguiled by them. Industrial heritage sites aren't the kinds of places you'd expect to be beguiled by, they're not exactly romantic and are usually bridges, massive machines, mines, factories and...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 29: ‘ello, we’re the Romans (to quote Eddie Izzard)

Another very quick shout out today for a brown signed attraction that lay along the Olympic torch relay route from Newcastle to Durham on Saturday. I'm tres behind with my alternative torch relay because apparently when your restaurant might or might not be closing you still have to work doubles on one of the busiest days of the year (Father's Day) and pretend you haven't run out of food when you have, look professional, smile at people who are furious at you and try not to run downstairs and kill...

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