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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 28: I might not believe in God but I really like monks

June 16, 2012
I've been slack. I'm only just writing yesterday's Olympic torch relay blog today. Life and work have been doing their best to get in the way of my metaphorical jog around the country holding an Olympic torch, trying not to set my hair alight and veering off the road whenever I see a brown tourist sign. Here are a few of the getting-in-the-wayers: - The restaurant I manage may or may not be sold, so yesterday was spent oscillating between being in and out of a job and feeling stressed about what in God's...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 27: Grace Darling. The End

June 14, 2012
This blog is going to be the quickest blog ever, for a few reasons: 1) It's my birthday today 2) I spent most of the day in the garage because my car sounds like this when I drive it: Car near death experience 3) I'm out being busily t-total in an hour or so (I'm not even joking). So today's brown signed destination has been chosen from the Olympic torch relay route from Edinburgh to Alnwick and is The Grace Darling Museum run by the RNLI in the coastal town of Bamburgh in Northumberland. This museum...

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Follow The Brown Signs Torch Relay Day 26: Royal escapees and doggy walks

June 13, 2012
So today is our last full day in Scotland as the Olympic torch bearers carry the flame south from Dundee to Edinburgh. The live location tool showed me that the torch was just coming up to Kinross, where there's also an interesting looking blue trianglish splodge on the map, so I homed right in to have a closer look. The triangle is actually a loch called Loch Leven which is an interesting destination in itself. It has seven islands, one of which is home to Castle Leven whose most famous prisoner...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 25: Love/hate relationships with flying, ghosts and war dogs

June 12, 2012
So we've started the journey south along the Scottish East coast today from Aberdeen as we spend our penultimate full day in Scotland. The torch goes inland on a little loop around the Firth of Tay and finally on to its destination, Dundee. About 40 miles south of Aberdeen is the coastal town of Montrose. A quick scout of the area through the medium of t'internet got me interested in the place and especially in an attraction called Montrose Air Station (I am yet to feature an air museum on this torch...

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Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 24: Hopping on a brown signed tour with Queen Victoria

June 11, 2012
The Olympic Torch leaves the Scottish islands today and gets flown back down south to Inverness, it then makes its way through some of the most mountainous and spectacular scenery in the United Kingdom to Aberdeen, on the east coast of Scotland. My destination today lies just on the boundary of the Cairngorms National Park which was established in 2003 and covers an area of over 2500 square kilometres. The area was designated a national park to help preserve and protect the natural landscape and is therefore a haven for lovers of the outdoors,...

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Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 23: Predictable post on cutie-pootie puffins

The Olympic torch travels north from Inverness to the Orkney and Shetland Islands today, then back south west to the Isle of Lewis where it finishes it's journey in Stornoway. Finding a brown signed destination was hard, being at work the whole time and the fact it was a Sunday meant I couldn't just get on the phone to the tourism office in Shetland and ask for their help. Instead I found myself on Google Street View pulling the little orange man off his stand and onto the little roads around...

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Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 22: A quicky but a goody

June 10, 2012
The Olympic torch makes it way up the gorgeous west coast of Scotland today as it crosses over the Highlands to the north east, travelling from Glasgow to Inverness. Watching the live coverage and seeing those surroundings is making me go a bit weak at the knees quite frankly, just a tad jealous of those torch bearers at the moment. The Mose and I drove all the way up to Inverness for New Year's Eve a few years ago on a spontaneous we're-depressed-with-London-so-we're-flicking-everyone-the-Vs-and-going-to-Scotland road trip (the kind of road trip we're...

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Topical Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 21: Celebrating World Oceans Day on Scotland’s west coast

June 8, 2012
Today the Olympic flame has crossed the Irish sea and nipped across to Scotland, the country it will call "home" for the next 5 days, and what a lucky torch it is. It's hard not to love the West coast of Scotland, it's scenery, people and remoteness are all so beguiling, it's the kind of place that demands you take it all in and enjoy it slowly and quietly so it's absolutely the kind of place I long to be. I've spent many a happy week climbing rugged rain beaten...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 20: Irish ribs and torpedo testing stations

June 7, 2012
We're on day 20 of my alternative torch relay already! We might be getting somewhat tired running around with our metaphorical torches but heavens above haven't we happened upon some great places by veering off the route to follow the brown signs?! Yes we jolly well have (caught the brown-signing bug yet? I very much hope so). Yet again I can't include a picture of my Olympic torch relay map (I left it at home, God I miss it bad) but I can tell you that today the torch is back...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 19: Where ancient manuscripts and manga collide

June 6, 2012
The Olympic torch makes it's only trip outside the UK today (apart from Greece of course) when it visits Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. Not a great deal of choice for our destination of the day but Dublin is jam packed full of places to visit and as its recently been voted the 25th best city in the world by city break connoisseurs on Trip Advisor you'd expect it to be bursting at the seams with things to do. So the prospects for the blog were looking promising today until I called...

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The Brown Sign Olympic Torch Relay Day 18: Permaculture: What it is and the amazing things it can do..

June 5, 2012
The Olympic torch leaves the Northern Irish coast today and heads inland through the deepest countryside of Omagh, where mountains, lochs and forest parks abound. Just looking at the map of the area made me long to be there and then Googling what it looks like in real pictures makes me even sicker to be sitting in my flat in urban South East London (I really need to move to the country, and quick). I had a look to see what brown signed attractions were around the area and settled...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 17: Why I love wind

June 4, 2012
The banks may be taking a day off today but me and the Olympic torch bearers most certainly are not. The torch makes its way from Portrush to Londonderry today all along the north coast of Northern Ireland, calling at the famous Giant's Causeway, 38,000 hexagonal blocks stretching out into the sea and Mountsandel Fort, Ireland's earliest settlement dating back to 7600BC, on the way. Today I chose Limavady at random as my destination of the day and to my great happiness found this town to be packed full of great attractions, including...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 16: A cottage not belonging to an Irish president of the USA

June 3, 2012
The Olympic torch landed in Northern Ireland today and as I got into work at stupid o'clock this morning (for yet another double shift) my favourite live location tool showed me that the torch was just starting it's journey north up the coast to Portrush, currently heading through Carrickfergus. This town looks inviting, it's old and on the coast (2 things I like), it also has imaginatively named attractions listed on its council website (stuff I like even more) which include: Flame! The Gasworks Museum of Ireland, The Andrew Jackson Cottage and US Rangers Centre,...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 15: Those in peril on the sea around self-governed island nations

June 2, 2012
No bad photo of my official London 2012 torch relay route map today I'm afraid. I'm working a double as always on a Saturday and as I exited my bed approximately 15 minutes before I needed to be here, taming my enormous barnet (not picking up my A-Z of the UK) was more my immediate concern. I can tell you though that the Olympic torch left the mainland from Liverpool and headed to the Isle of Man in an aeroplane (was it still lit? Is that even legal? I want answers... OK...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 14: Glass blowing will never go out of fashion

June 1, 2012
When I saw that the Olympic torch was going to Liverpool from Bolton today I  started thinking about all the cool places I've been around there which I could feature on the blog. The ones that stuck out were Anthony Gormley's Another Place, The U-Boat Story, Ness Botanical Gardens and the new Liverpool Museum which are all brilliant and inspiring in their own separate ways. But I've sung all their praises before on the blog and for me this website is all about discovering new people and places, so I did what...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 13: From King Canute to Millennium tapestries

May 31, 2012
The Olympic torch makes another of it's classic higgedly piggeldy journies today from Stoke-on-Trent to Bolton, including an eastward detour via Macclesfield (where I once sat in a KwikFit for 5 hours while my car exhaust got replaced after it fell off rather dramatically while ascending a steep hill in the peak district, not exactly the fondest of memories of Macclesfield I'm afraid). Just up the road from Macclesfield though is Knutsford, somewhere I didn't have the pleasure of visiting but from the sounds of it I'd happily have spent 5...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 12: You just keep on pushing my ball over the borderline

May 30, 2012
The Olympic torch is being carried back into Wales from Chester today as it heads to Stoke-on-Trent taking a very long way round. A closer look at the map shows me that it doesn't cross the border just once though, as far as I can work out it crosses back and forth 4 times today and you won't be surprised to hear that I find this exciting. When I was travelling I was intrigued by the borders between countries, it's one of the reasons I travelled overland the whole time so that I...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 11: Love by way of churches, gargoyles & eagles

May 29, 2012
Today the Olympic torch is being relayed from Bangor, just south of Anglesea, along Wales' north east coast then back just across the border to Chester. The live location tool shows me that the torch is coming up to Rhyl so I did a bit of research around the area and got interested in a church which is commonly referred to as "The Marble Church". It's in Bodelwyddan which is a few miles south of Rhyl so it just about counts as being along the torch relay. The church was commissioned by Lady Willoughby...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 10: Boats, birds and abbey ruins

Today the Olympic flame travels north from Aberystwyth, going part-way down Wales' pointing finger to Pwllheli, then out again and up along the coast on the Menai strait (between Anglesea and the mainland and where I ticked off my equestrian centre brown sign on my big trip of Britain) and on to Bangor. The torch's journey includes a little detour to the top of Snowdon on the steam train that I did a video about for the Fan in a Van competition, God I love it there so bad. I was...

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The Brown Sign Torch Relay Day 9: The world turns upside down in Aberystwyth

May 27, 2012
OK, today I've been so busy working at my proper job that actually pays my rent that I've had to speedily choose a brown sign for today's Alternative Brown Sign Torch Relay of Britain, not that it makes it a bad one, oh good golly no. The torch travels north from Swansea to Aberystwyth today, mainly along the rugged coastline and how fabulous it would be looking on a day like today too. Finally when I had time to log onto my favourite website of the moment www.London2012.com the live location function...

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