A manager of a PENCIL MUSEUM, crazy GOLF fanatic, PREFAB anorak, BARBED WIRE collector, mum with a RAILWAY STATION in her back garden, and a female who obsessively follows BROWN SIGNS are in this year’s calendar. Until now only men have been in the annual calendar but Leland Carlson, assistant vice-president (the highest office) of the Dull Men’s Club, spent the past year travelling around Britain and found women with dull hobbies.
“We are pleased to have ladies who are passionate about everyday, unglamorous things in the calendar,” said Leland. “They are truly ‘Celebrating the Ordinary ‘.”
The calendar includes mum Amanda Hone, 36, who has an obsession with brown tourist signs and has set up a website, Follow the Brown Signs, which now features more than 5,000 signs.
“Soon after leaving university I quit my job, saved up some money and spent a year travelling around Britain following brown signs,” she said. “It soon took over my life and I was arriving late for everything because I kept following the brown signs. The signs took me on unexpected adventures to a lighthouse, brass rubbing centre and steam railway. Now I regularly get emails from people saying they have been inspired by my brown sign hobby and have turned off the road and had a great day out somewhere.” Amanda, who is a restaurant and pub manager, is married to husband Rob and has a young son. She added: “When we first met Rob told me he had done brown signing once so I knew he was a keeper.”
Dawn Walker, who is passionate about pencils, stars in the calendar as Miss March. The 49-year-old started working at the Cumberland Pencil Museum in Keswick, Cumbria, five years ago and is now the manager there. Over the years she has become fascinated by the manufacturing process of pencils and enjoys adding to the museum’s collection.
“Pencils are a humble tool which most people have had since childhood, but people are unaware of all that goes into the manufacture of the pencil and it’s remarkable,” said Dawn, who has twin 18-year-old boys. “We have the Artists range of pencils on display and already have 120 colours but I enjoy sourcing new shades to add to the collection. We also have the world’s longest colouring pencil, which is 27ft long.”
Elisabeth Blanchet is a fan of prefabs and said she was “honoured” to be in the Dull Men calendar. “I was very honoured to be asked and certainly don’t mind being called a dull woman,” said the 45-year-old, who began taking pictures of residents in their prefabs when she moved from France to London in 2002. Dawn Searle, 59, from Hastings, Sussex, has embraced her husband Stuart’s passion for collecting advert and railway signs and helped him to build a life-size railway station in their back garden. Stuart, 62, who worked for British Rail for 38 years and is now retired, began collecting signs when he was 14 and now has more than 1,500. The couple have moved three times as his collection has grown and have now built a 62ft long railway station platform, complete with waiting room and ticket office, in their garden to house everything. They have made a 60ft long underground station with curved walls, so Stuart can display all his signs.
Mini golf fanatic Emily Gottfried, 34, is obsessed with the game and together with her husband Richard, 36, has visited 716 courses in the UK over the last nine years. The pair spend their weekends tour the country visiting venues from traditional seaside courses with wooden windmills to more sophisticated sites with movie-style effects and even courses which glow in the dark.
August sees barbed wire collector Jacky Smith, 72, whose passion began in 2001 when she was in America with her husband traveling on Route 66 and came across the Devil’s Rope Barbed Wire Museum in Texas.
The dull men include Ian and Stuart Paton who grow award-winning giant pumpkins near Lymington and Mark Leigh, from Surrey, who photographs lost gloves.