Sunday 31 December 2023

The Year of the Dragon Bench

 It's The Year of the Dragon so what better time to look at dragon benches? 


ekeidar Creative Commons license

From February 10, 2024 to January 28, 2025 it's the year of the Wood Dragon.

People who make things with wood and chainsaws are particularly fond of dragon benches. 


Dinas Emrys, Wales

And Game of Thrones-type benches. 

Dragon Bench by Igor Loskutow

Eddie, my Inner Editor: This is not a good start. You promised to get a primate photo in at the start.

Welcome back, Eddie, you have been away for a while.

Eddie: Away? You fired me. I've been on garden leave.

True. But under pressure from many readers and the good people of Fribble-under-Par, I have asked Eddie back to edit this important Year of the Dragon post. He came back, under certain conditions.  

Eddie:  A picture of me. Or else.

So here is a picture of Eddie 




It's very small. I'm not sure it captures my true character. 

It does. Dragon people have little willpower and do not like to admit that they make mistakes.

Eddie: And now for my bad points. 

Well, since you ask, people born in the Year of the Dragon are also confident, resolute, ambitious, and full of energy. 

Eddie: I'm a Monkey. In astrology Monkeys are the best match for Dragons. That's because Dragons are attracted to cheerful, enthusiastic and intelligent Monkey Benches such as myself.

Or Rooster Benches . . .

michiel2005.FK.3288878800_4a1a46e51b_z

. . . or Rat Benches.

Benchsite 2020, The Year of the Rat


Eddie: Call me fussy, but I would not want a romantic relationship with a rat.

Sadly, 2024 is not a lucky year for Dragons to be in love. And it's also unlucky for health, career, and finances.

Kim Smith, Flickr

Eddie: It sounds like a bad year for Dragons. They might as well give up now.

That's bad advice, Eddie. People born in the Year of the Dragon give up too easily. They need encouragement. 

Eddie: I encourage you to give up this story and go get a cup of tea.



No, I'm going to be like a Dragon: full of charisma and strength and fighting spirit. Readers have been promised dragon benches in celebration of the Dragon zodiac sign.

Eddie: One dragon, one primate. That's what we agreed. So here's a very interesting monkey bench from Chinatown in San Francisco. 



image from www.karenlaw.ca


Eddie, you've already put two primates in and I haven't got going with my dragon benches yet.  

OK then, out of the goodness of my heart, you can do two dragons in a row.

Great! So here are two beautiful dragon-inspired benches. First, this gorgeous rosewood bench, painstakingly restored by Master Craftsman Eric Saperstein, who is one of the Artisans of the Valley in New Jersey. 


image from www.artisansofthevalley.com


And here is a cheerful monkey on a very small bench. 


image from www.playgroundinfo.com

I think the monkey adds value by making the bench photo more interesting, as the art critics would say.

Monkeys as Art Judges 1889, Gabriel von Max

Do you notice that I only got to show one of the two dragons benches you promised me? 

Sorry, but it's not my day to care.  Here are some very nice people on a bench in an art gallery. 



Eddie, that's you!

Yes, I was an attractive baby. 




And quite a photogenic adult as well.
uNatural, etsy

You look like a card shark. Are you still gambling, Eddie? 

Eddie: No comment.

Well if you are, you need to avoid the numbers nine, eight and three this year. They're unlucky. Your lucky numbers are one, six, and seven. 

Eddie: Thanks for the tip. Is there any chance of seeing a dragon bench before The Year of the Dragon runs out?

I like this unusual cedar dragon by Preston Manganaro at the Outside In gallery in Piermont, New York. 


 http://outsideinpiermont.webs.com/


I have another very good dragon bench made by chainsaw artist Paul Sivell on the Isle of Wight.

 http://www.thecarvedtree.co.uk

And then a bench-style sofa seat that's colourful and comfy.

NowPleaseTakeASeat, Etsy


Enough dragons. Sock monkeys are excellent value I find.

This is Eli and Sirus at their wedding. Or Civil Partnership as we say in the UK. 


image from www.themonkeyville.com
Eddie, you are sneaking in extra pictures again. And this is TWO sock monkeys, so that counts for two for you. No more sock monkeys!

I'm going to do my dragons now. This is a pretty sea dragon bench from Lost Art, who restore historic garden furniture.

image from www.lostart.co.uk


The only thing is, green is an unlucky colour in The Year of the Dragon. Which is unfortunate, because dragons are often green. 

Sleeping Dragon Bench, www.mcvaysculpture.com

Red, purple and black are also unlucky.

Eddie: Looks like 2024 is not going to be very colourful.

A lucky colour this year would be gold. 

Zlata Neha by Lukas Rittstein, wikimedia

Or silver.


MX3D Oregon Dragon Bench

Are you telling me this is a Dragon Bench?

Yes, it's 3D printed advanced technology at the Nike Center in Oregon. It's called The Oregon Bench. And it's silver for good luck! 

Eddie: Oregon? That's a bit far north for dragons.

North is a lucky direction this year. So is West. But we have to go south to see a real komodo dragon on Komodo Island.


photo by Toby McAlister


It's a dragon but it's not a bench. You can't sit on this dragon, can you? This blog is called B-e-n-c-h-s-i-t-e.  Do you see the word Bench in there? Does that give you a hint as to what this blog is about? 

I do, but it's my blog and I love the real dragon. 

I'm sure readers are more interested in primates than dragons. People didn't descend from dragons, did they?

Monkey with Skull, 1893, Hugo Rheingold

I'm not going to discuss evolution. I'm going to show Dragon Hall, a medieval trading hall in Norfolk. It has a very nice sign and some lovely benches. 


photo by Chris McAlister



photo by Chris McAlister

I've picked up on your tricks: notice how I slipped two dragon pictures in?  

Didn't notice. 

Two can play this game you know.

I'm ignoring you. 

And just to make the point, here's a dragon bench from Poland. 


image from http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/wikipedysta:Wojtekskaiski

And another one from Wales. 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/nh53/95603371


The Welsh dragon is a big thing in Wales.

The British Ironwork Centre


This monkey has fallen off his bench. He is Macaco Gordo (Fat Monkey), by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman. He was made in a park in Sao Paulo in Brazil in 2010. 


images courtesy of Florentijn Hofman at http://www.florentijnhofman.nl

Fat Monkey is made from 10,000 flipflops sewn together. No kidding. Here they are up close. 




I couldn't have imagined that in a month of Sundays.

Speaking of sundaes, here's an ice cream monkey bench for you.

image from www.asianreplicas.com

This isn't really a monkey bench though, is it? It's a monkey on a bench. And don't think I didn't notice how you slipped another one in.

Here's a Victorian dragon bench from Lost Arts. Aren't the blue ends beautiful?


image from www.lostart.co.uk


Yes, but look at this garden monkey bench from the Singapore Japanese Gardens. Look how minimalist and serene it is. 


image from www.everydayminimalist.com


Yes, that's true. But this is TWO monkeys again, Eddie. 

Did you count both blue dragons on the Victorian bench?

Well, maybe not. 

What about this dragonfly bench then? It's a sort of dragon.


image from www.cottageandbungalow.com


Eddie? I know you hate insects, but it's a beautiful bench. Why are you covering your eyes?

image http://www.popartdecoration.com


Oh, don't start that See-No-Evil stuff with me. 

It might be pretty but that dragonfly bench is not a dragon and it's not a primate and it shouldn't be here. End of story.  Here is a terrific monkey couple on a log bench.

image from www.rakuten.co.jp/kanmuryou


Eddie, you have stolen this off my own blog. These are on the Japanese post. Regular readers will have already seen them.

You kid yourself that you have regular readers.

Back to dragons now. I insist. 

Do you know the dragon flag benchpress move? It was a trademark move of Bruce Lee in the Kung Fu movies. Remember those?

No.  

This Kung-fu Master uses the Dragon-head Bench as a weapon. Let that be a lesson to you, Eddie.

image from http://hasayfu.com

That sounds like a threat.

I suppose in a way it is. 

I would like my treble fee now, please, as we agreed.

We agreed double, not treble.

In that case I will have to consult my lawyer.

In that case I have just two words for you, Eddie: Circus. And Circus.




That's hitting below the belt.

Yes, sorry about that.  It's just that I'm running out of benches.

Must be the end.

CoolingandCooling.c.uk


Wow, Eddie, these dragon bench ends are beautiful! You are an annoying but highly skilled editor. 

You know I would never send you to work in a circus. I'm bananas about you.



Happy Year of the Dragon.

Thanks. It's nice to be back. 



Credits

Years of The Dragon include 1928,1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, and 2012. If you were born in any of these years, chances are you are a Dragon. Whether you are lucky or not depends on what you consult. Different information on lucky numbers, colours, directions, etc appear on different websites. It's probably best not to make any life-changing decisions based on this story.

If you're interested in benches and also astrology we have had a Chinese New Year bench story almost every year here on Benchsite. There was The Year of the Ox in 2021, The Rat in 2020, The Pig 2019, The Dog 2018, The Rooster 2017, The Monkey 2016, The Goat in 2015, and The Horse in 2014. Eddie was allowed to do The Monkey but absolutely banned from everything else. 

The very fancy wood bench at the start of the story is in Chon Buri in Thailand. It was photographed there in 2011 by ekeidar and made available on a Creative Commons Share Alike license. 

Dragons have a long history in England and St. George is the patron saint of merrie England, a folk hero, a warrior, a much-loved saint. He is known for having slain a dragon and St. George's Day has been celebrated since the eleventh century and in Henry VIII's time you could be fined for not attending St. George's Day celebrations. Forgotten in some decades, the feast of St. George's Day has been revived and there is much white-and-red-cross flag waving these days.

I'll let you in on a little secret about Eddie: he hates insect benchesPersonally, I find Eddie rather hard to work with but if you like his style, you can see the posts he has ruined edited for me on Benchsite. In 2013 there were the orange benches. Eddie got stressed out and threw a strop. He interfered with my careful numbering system in 31 Things to Do on a Bench. In 2014 there were the Blue Monday benches in January and then, worst of all, the Red Bench disaster in February. After that, Eddie went to Mexico for a while and I had a bit of peace. I am having to rethink my animal editors. Monkeys are bad enough but cats . . . as for Meredith, don't get me started. Put it this way: if I had to call in Noah to round up animal benches for the ark, monkeys and cats would not be on it. 

If by any chance this is not enough monkeys for you, 2016 is the Year of the Monkey Bench. I thought it only fair that the story about monkey benches should be handed over to Eddie. What could possibly go wrong? 

Wales is a very dragony place and the dragon is a symbol of Welsh identity. The simple wooden bench is on the beautiful trail to Dinas Emrys in North Wales. 

The beautiful green Sleeping Dragon bench is by Pat McVay in Whidbey in Washington State. www.mcvaysculpture.com

Annette Cox has an Etsy shop called Now Please Take A Seat. It's full of comfy benchy sofa type things like the colourful dragon bench sofa seat. 

The British Ironwork Centre in Shropshire makes great themed park benches. Besides the dragon one shown here, you can find a clutch of chicken benches elsewhere on Benchsite. 

Estonian chainsaw artist Igor Loskutow now lives in Germany. He created the very intricate carved wood Dragon Bench in 2017. Some people have likened it to a Game of Thrones dragon bench.  

The Dragon Hall photos are by Chris McAlister. Oh how I love people's holiday photos! Dragon Hall is a Grade 1 listed medieval merchant's trading hall in Norwich, Norfolk. The Great Hall was built around 1427 but archaeological research on the site has shown evidence of 1,000 years of human habitation.

Preston Manganaro's cedar dragon is at the Outside In Gallery in Piermont, New York.  http://outsideinpiermont.webs.com/   The Outside In describes itself as an ARTefact gallery offering a diverse collection of fine art, found objects and hand-selected artisan objects 

Paul Sivell makes intriguing chainsaw sculptures and is inspired by nature, local traditions, and mythology. His distinctive style is well known around the Isle of Wight though he also works throughout the UK and abroad. The dragon bench is one of his many functional sculptures (benches!) which can be seen at http://www.thecarvedtree.co.uk/

Thanks to Karen Law at www.karenlaw.ca for her image of the Chinatown monkey in San Francisco. Karen has interesting travels and photographs which are well worth a look. 

The beautiful rosewood dragon bench was painstakingly restored by Eric Saperstein, who is one of the Artisans of the Valley. The artisans do hand crafted custom woodworking and period restorations. The Valley is in Pennington, New Jersey but is more easily visited at  http://www.artisansofthevalley.com/  The artisans publish a blog and a quarterly review of their projects at  Artisans of the Valley's Artisans Quarterly Review Volume 6 Issue 1 - 2013

The sock monkey couple are Eli and Sirus. They were married in a same-sex wedding ceremony in Massachusetts. You can see the wedding and other sock monkey activities at www.themonkeyville.com

The round gold bench is or was photographed in Liberic in the Czech Republic in 2011. It's called Zlata Neha, by Lukas Rittstein. 

The curvy silver bench is called the Oregon Dragon Bench. It is located at the Nike Advanced Innovation Center in Beaverton, from the design laboratory Joris Laarmass. It is from 3D printed technology. 

The monkey on a bench was photographed by Erin Eastman at www.playgroundinfo.com. It was created as a tabletop sample for tradeshows. The bench is by DuMor Site Furnishings and the sculpted/molded monkey is by Tivoli Too.

The komodo dragon was photographed on Komodo Island by Toby McAlister in March 2011.

The bench with the bright red dragon feet is at Beddgelert station in Wales. Beddgelert is a town lucky enough to be along the line of the Welsh Highland Railway and Snowdonia National Park. The bench was photographed by nh53 in 2013. https://www.flickr.com/photos/nh53/9560337181  nh53 is very, very well travelled indeed. 

The flipflop Fat Monkey is by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman at http://www.florentijnhofman.nl/dev/projects.php   Many thanks for permission to use these images. Here is a brilliant short video about the making of the monkey:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5FyGf7PCA8&feature=related

The pretty dragonfly bench is by Cottage and Bungalow and costs $2,260. It's at www.cottageandbungalow.com  

Three Wise Monkey benches are easy to find in bronze, plastic and just about any material you desire but I liked these life-size Three Wise Monkeys On A Bench from http://www.popartdecoration.com   

The two serene minimalist monkeys holding up a bench are in the Singapore Japanese Gardens, photographed by the Everyday Minimalist on her extensive, minimalist travels. This is a girl who knows how to live out of one suitcase. She has a fascinating website with excellent minimalist advice at www.everydayminimalist.com 

The beautiful blue dragon bench is Victorian cast iron. Along with the sea dragon bench, it comes from www.lostart.co.uk where they are dedicated to the careful restoration of historic garden furniture.  Many thanks for permission to use these images.

The lovely carved wood Japanese monkey couple are from http://www.rakuten.co.jp/kanmuryou/

Hasanfu is a Kung Fu style which features The Five Animals. The Dragon is the final form and the most difficult because it combines physical moves with a culture of spirit and a higher state of awareness.The Dragon-head Wooden Bench Weapon move is demonstrated by a Kung-fu Master at the Lam Tang Kung Fu Academy in Lexington, South Carolina. This and other Kung Fu moves can be seen at their interesting website at www.hasayfu.com

Circus Circus is a casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Eddie has never worked there and never will. I, however, was a cocktail waitress there in . . . no, I'm not going to name the date but if you're thinking evolved from apes you're in the right era.   

Friday 1 December 2023

Shopping Benches for Christmas

I guess I could just go out and buy the obvious thing for Christmas. 


http://www.flickr.com/photos/mag379/

As everyone knows, shopping is exhausting. It's a nightmare.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/bunchesandbits/


The food shopping alone is enough to make you start smoking again.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/renespitz/


The easiest thing would be just to go out and get some bench stuff.




But I wouldn't want you to get the idea that I am in any way sponsored by Bench dot or any other company. Far from it. These are my very own purchases from the Bench dot outlet store. None of them fit me and they are all the wrong colours but never mind, they bear the bench message. 

Here on Paradise Island Lady Brassica has her very own replica mall in the basement of Drizzly Manor. Even so, she often has to take to her bench after a long day of retail therapy.




To get through the Christmas shopping period we're going to need some solid shopping benches and some sound advice. 

First off, make sure the shops are open.


https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SignFail


Take a roomy shopping trolley with you. This one is actually a bench so if you get tired, you can sit down on it.


http://etiennereijnders.com


The shops will bedazzle you. Try to think what you're shopping for before you go out.



With a good list, the shopping just flies by.





Women are easy to buy for. I've already told my husbands what I want.


https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/picardcreative

But gifts for men are tricky. Shops will give you ideas of stuff you don't want. 

Neither of my husbands would be caught dead in this nightie.



Men tend to get socks and ties but this year I thought I'd give His Excellency a bright, trendy Christmas jumper that he can wear all through the festive season. 

This fellow looks really chuffed with his. 

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/CarnivalOfTheManiac


Miggy, my imaginary friend:  His Excellency will not thank you for a jumper. Believe me. He will hate it. You'd be better off giving him a subscription to Bench Dude.




He'd hate that too. What about this jumper?


https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/FastTees


Miggy:  Are those reindeer doing what I think they're doing?

Oh, crikey. I didn't notice that.

Miggy:  I think you'd better give up on the jumpers. What are you getting for Mungo?

Mungo is my imaginary husband; he's easier to please. 

He's going to get this t-shirt that's right in the Christmas spirit.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ClassyWhaleTees


Miggy: I suppose you chose this because Mungo used to be a maths teacher? 

Yes, I thought it was exponentially witty.

Miggy: But Mungo hates Christmas. He will not wear this t-shirt now or ever.

You could be right, Migs. Maybe I'll just get it for myself.

Miggy: If you get one in double extra large, I'd like one. 

Dream on. You're getting a subscription to Bench Girl.




Miggy: No thanks. I'll take the bike though. 

Sorry, Migs. I'm getting a bit stressed out with all this shopping. It's hard to know what to do next.


©Graham Horn and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license 


I feel like Christmas shopping will be the death bench of me.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/srzrocio/


I'm just going to sit down on these nice red shopping benches and rest my brain.



http://www.flickr.com/photos/25802865@N08/


I'm watching the Christmas shoppers and I know what everyone is thinking.


www.etsy.com/shop.dressyflats

These women in Liverpool found everything they wanted in Primark but one of them is worried that she might have bought something stupid.


www.thecaravangallery.co.uk

OK. Deep breath. Ready for more advice?



http://www.flickr.com/photos/t_w_b_50/

The apostrophe is missing in heart's. Maybe they couldn't afford one after all that spending.

Dress up to do your shopping trip. A bit of glamour won't go amiss.




Try to do your shopping alone. If you have to, set off in the rain in the dark of night.



https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/AgatasArtCorner


Or take your dog with you. Have a seat in the mall and think things through.



http://www.flickr.com/photos/loungerie/


Whatever you do, don't take your kids. 

You will end up on a bench doing all manner of childcare.





Either that or you'll spend the whole time queueing to see Santa.



http://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/70682


And naughty kids get bundled away into the coal sack, which is kind of creepy.



It goes without saying: don't go with a man. 



https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ItsJustSlate


If you have to, find a convenient husband-parking bench and leave him there.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/vajlentka/


Kids left in a shopping centre ball-pit tend to have a whale of a time. Men, however, tend not to be able to find anything to do. 

Man on a Bench, Giles Penny


This man was sensible enough to bring a book but even so, he's had enough. He's been there ten minutes and already he's holding his head. 



http://www.flickr.com/photos/loungerie/

He seems to have a lot of problems. Maybe I could get him this?



https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/StartingLineupTees

With all these men hanging around shopping areas it's no wonder shops put up anti-loitering signs. 



https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SignFail


Wouldn't it be nice if men waiting on benches would tell each other a Christmas Story?




Then we could all return home as happy couples laden with presents.




The truth is, most men will not enjoy the pleasure of talking to each other whilst waiting on a bench.


https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/OliverLovleyArtwork

If worse comes to worse, you may have to bring them with you and sit on a bench thinking how much there is to do.


All in all, you'll need to be quick with your shopping. You can't just run in and grab a bench for half price.




And you don't want to wear yourself out.


Friends, Sergei Vinogradov (1869-1938)


It's a matter of finding just the right shop, and friendly staff who are eager to serve you.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/massimo_riserbo/


If you're lucky, helpful staff will pack up the presents.





Then, of course, everything has to be wrapped.





But once the Christmas shopping is done you'll be so pleased with yourself.



https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/StitchinStash


You can go and collect your kid that, three or four hours ago, you left on a bench outside The Cookie Shoppe.



http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/File:Killing-time-while-mom-shops


You can go and find your man.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/ntitov/

If he's outside he may be quite cold by now. 

Man im Schlitten, Walter Gramatté


And then you can  gather all your stuff and get out of there.

Shoppers, Duane Hanson


With a sense of relief, you can stand on a bench surrounded by bags.



http://www.flickr.com/photos/47555374@N03/

Or, like Innocent, you can sink down into your purchases with a sense of satisfaction.




The control freaks among you can come home and arrange your shopping in alphabetical order.




Hmmm. I can see that you are wondering if there is a way to avoid all this. 

Yes. There are two ways I can think of. 

Like Miggy's mum, you can sit on a bench and make your own presents.




You'd need to plan ahead though. Miggy's mum has been working on these woolly scarves since October. 

As I write this there are just 23 shopping days left before Christmas. Or 24 if you count going down to the corner shop on Christmas Eve and buying anything you can find. 

The best bet is probably to stay in and order stuff online.



Maybe that's the way to do it? 

A harem of friends, wifi access, a hookah pipe, an unlimited credit card, and an elegant banquette where you can put up your feet while the stresses of Christmas roll by. What's not to like? 



Credits

The BENCH bench was photographed in Buchanan Street, Glasgow in 2008. The photographer is Steve Gore, who has a photostream full of all things Scotland. Scottish weddings, Armed Forces Day, stunning beaches, The Edinburgh Festival - it's all going on in Scotland.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/mag379/

Karina photographs Bunches and Bits, including the colourful bench and shopping bags at the top of this post. A stay-at-home-mom who isn't home very much, Karina lives in Pennsylvania. She loves Bench Mondays and there are glorious photos of Karina and her family doing all kinds of things on benches, chairs and brick walls. Like me, she is amazed by the talented, creative people who share their photos on Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/bunchesandbits/

Supermarket Shopper is a sculpture from artist Duane Hanson in 1970. It was photographed by Rene Spitz in June 2011.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/renespitz/  Rene is based in Cologne and has an interest in design. As his photo sets show, he is addicted to taking pictures in museums and galleries, which is fortunate for me because I am stranded on Paradise Island and never get to see things for myself. Duane Hanson created a number of lifesize, realistic shoppers, including a man on a bench with a paper bag. Ausstellung Hyper Real, Ludwig-Forum Aachen 13. 

Primark Shoppers is a photograph by Jan at The Caravan Gallery www.thecaravangallery.co.uk  Jan and her colleagues travel all around the UK and elsewhere finding, capturing, and exhibiting fascinating little slices of life. Caravan Gallery photos have featured on Benchsite before and I have been lucky enough to visit the caravan. What a treat!  

Lady Jessica Brassica is the wife of Lord Brassica, Fifth Earl of Drizzly. She does indeed have her very own shopping mall in the basement of Drizzly Manor, from which she has unlimited credit and access to all manner of shoes, dresses, handbags, and Young Male Readers of various kinds. On more than one occasion she has been so exhausted by her shopping experiences that a doctor has had to revive her from her condition of Shopilius Extremis  http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/feelgood-medical-benches-for-world.html  What's the best thing to buy someone like this for Christmas? Well, one year she was delighted with a throne.



The yellow Patient Husband bench was photographed by Aga Slodownik in Porto Fino, Italy. Aga lives in Warsaw ans works as a Polish polisher; she says she does this work with German precision. Aga's photostream shows much interesting travel and she also has a thing for feet. http://www.flickr.com/photos/vajlentka/

I only recently discovered Sign Fail and I'm really glad I did. Sign Fail are funny sign replicas inspired by real-life hilarity, the best of Chinglish & Engrish on handmade funny signs, cards & magnets. The signs are handmade to order in Melbourne, Australia by Michael Bancroft. Some of them seem too good to be true but I've picked out several which are just right for Benchsite. https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SignFail

Etienne Reijnder's Toosh-e is an ex-shopping trolley converted into a bench. It features as one of my Alphabet of Dutch Benches and comes in really handy here as a Christmas shopping trolley. Etienne Reijnder describes himself as '. . . a headstrong designer, who especially loves to walk the road of sidetracks and loves challenges. I believe in simple work. The design and material must fit in with the thought process, so don't make it prettier or uglier than it needs to be. I work very crisp, and pure.'  His website is at http://etiennereijnders.com

The mens' nightie and other gifts for men is a 35mm slide of a display at Binns Department store at Newcastle upon Tyne in 1966.  The photo is from the Robert Sanderson collection, available through the Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums on Flickr Creative Commons at  http://www.flickr.com/photos/29295370@N07/6841096548/   The other shop photograph of Christmas decorations is Woolworths in Newcastle, taken in the same year and available through the same collection.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/twm_news/6987219153/

Shop Until You Drop is graffiti by Banksy, photographed by POOP in January 2012.  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Shop_Until_You_Drop_by_Banksy.JPG

Paula Picard creates funny magnets, wine labels, and greeting cards like All I want for Christmas is everything.  My sentiments exactly. There are loads of funny ornaments and greeting cards for Christmas. Paula's shop is in Illinois at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/picardcreative

The silly red dog jumper is 1980s from Stefano International Sportswear. It's sold by Joseph Murawski at Carnival of the Maniac, an intriguing shop full of vintage clothing, vintage paraphernalia, and conjurings. The shop is packed full of ugly Christmas jumpers and a guy who models them in a perfect deadpan way.   https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/CarnivalOfTheManiac

Gettemfast has a lot of ugly, funny, cool, custom and geek tee-shirts at his etsy shop in Michigan. I particularly like the reindeer cotton crewneck, which comes in a variety of colours and costs £22.22.  It's not the usual sweater you get from your granny.  https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/FastTees

Dave Fiorante runs his Classy Whale Tees shop from Toronto. There are all kinds of joke tee shirts in a huge variety of colours. It should be possible to find one for just about anybody you know. https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ClassyWhaleTees

The Next shop and metal benches are in the High Street in Exeter, where I once spent a summer. They were photographed by Graham Horn for Geograph in 2009.©Graham Horn and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license   I saw the photograph at
 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Exeter_High_Street_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1137809.jpg

Choo Yut Shing lives in Singapore and has an eye for benches. There are lots of sleek, modern benches in public places, like the red plastic benches he photographed in 2009.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/25802865@N08/

City Girl Night Rain is a fine art print from Agata Lawrynczyk's Art Corner in Ottawa, Ontario. Agata does original paintings, multiple canvas, abstracts, and textured artwork. https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/AgatasArtCorner

The woman with the dog in the mall was photographed by Emiliano in 2007. No clues where this mall was, but it's in the euro zone. He also photographed the man reading a book on a bench in Liverpool. Emiliano is an actor and songwriter from Livorno in Italy. Livorno just happens to be an incredible Bench Place, frequently appearing in the excellent Bunch of Benches. Emiliano has photographed his share of benches too. You can see them at  in his Flickr photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/loungerie/

The two women with children were photographed in a palm tree mall in Bristol in 2008.  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bristol_MMB_V0_The_Mall.jpg?uselang=en-gb

DressyFlats specializes in greeting cards which are cheeky, sassy, un-PC, obnoxious, and adorably hip. They're made by Jessie in Brooklyn and available through her etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/dressyflatsPlease Don't Buy Me Anything Stupid This Year is a 5x7 holiday card, laser printed on acid-free cardstock. The image is a digital collage made from vintage and contemporary magazine images, with hand lettering and cutting. Jessie will put a message of your choice inside the cards so you can use them for any occasion.  

Terry Bell is from New Mexico and has some fantastic photos of the southwest, including a whole set of benches. He took the picture of the yellow bench Shop til your heart's content in the Las Placitas mall. http://www.flickr.com/photos/t_w_b_50/

The little girl visiting Santa is Joan Wilson from St. Augustine in Florida. The photo is from the 1951 Department of Commerce Collection, made available through Creative Commons at the wonderful State Library and Archives of Florida http://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/70682

It's Just Slate is a shop full of hand painted home decor, especially signs like the Shopping with your husband one. It's run by Jessica Beare in Virginia and features yard, door and walls signs which are handpainted on old roofing slates. https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ItsJustSlate

The man and woman bearing gifts are from the Netherlands National Archive in 1961.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/nationaalarchief/3117495287/   The well-dressed woman shopper with gifts is from the archives 1950-1960 http://www.flickr.com/photos/29998366@N02/3118323428/  Both are from the Spaarnestad Photo Collection at 
www.spaarnestadphoto.nl/


Marji is the Rain City Girl from Seattle. The picture of bags and bench at the end of the story is called Been Shopping and comes from her set of Flickr Bench Monday photos. http://www.flickr.com/photos/47555374@N03/

Starting Lineup Tees are described as attitude tee's that are sure to propel you to the starting lineup... or at least get you a few high fives on the way into the game. I particularly like I bust mine so I can kick yours.  There are sports tees galore, including bench ones. https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/StartingLineupTees

The Bench was a play performed at the Delta Stage Theatre in Greenville, North Carolina in December 2010. Written by Larry Larson and Eddie Lee, it's a true modern tale of Christmas featuring the story of two men who meet on a bench at the mall while waiting for their wives to finish Christmas shopping. As the weeks progress, they get to know each other, along with all the other wacky characters who inhabit the mall. They enjoy mall-style entertainment on the nearby stage, including a version of A Christmas Carol performed in under 5 minutes. The Bench is apparently full of singing and dancing and is hilariously funny. It sounds like just the thing for getting into the Christmas spirit; I'm sorry I missed it. http://www.deltastage.com/

Bench in a Shopping Centre is a watercolour painting by Oliver Lovley in Nottingham. Oliver uses watercolours and coffee to create pretty, fluid landscapes of Nottinghamshire.  I just know these men on the bench are lonely but however long they wait, they will not talk to each other. Oliver's etsy shop is at  https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/OliverLovleyArtwork

The helpful shop assistant was photographed by Roberto Trm in 2011. He doesn't say where it is but Roberto is from Venice and is widely travelled. Guessing from his wonderful travel Sets, including lots of benches, I'd say Bali or Indonesia. http://www.flickr.com/photos/massimo_riserbo/

Just Ard is a street photographer with lots of beautiful black and white photographs of unsuspecting subjects. He photographed the No more shopping please bench in Cardiff in May 2014. It's part of a Yesterday in Cardiff series at https://www.flickr.com/photos/justard/14190027311  Justard's blog is at http://www.justard.com/ - well worth a look!

My Dutch is normally just about good enough to work these things out but I can't for the life of me find out who is the painter of Entry of St. Nicholas into the Toy Shop (Intocht van St. Nicolaas). It's a Dutch painting by either A.C. Callenfels of Alkmaar or Gebr. Kluitman. The date, I think, is 1903. I saw it on WikiCommons at 

I would love absolutely anything from Julie's StitchinStash fabric studio in North Carolina. Stitchin' Stash offers the highest quality designer cotton fabrics from Michael Miller, Robert Kaufman, Riley Blake, Henry Glass, Studio e and more. There are colours galore, including the obligatory red, green and candycane stripe for Christmas. I just took a deep breath and chose the Holiday Hostess Fat Quarter Bundle to show in the story but if I had any of these, I'd be sewing forever. https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/StitchinStash

Nikolay Titov took the photo of the two men sleeping on a bench in Taipei City, Taiwan, in 2011. He calls it Exhausting Shopping, which makes sense.http://www.flickr.com/photos/ntitov/

Killing time while Mom shops at the mall kid on bench is from the Fair Use policy of Uncyclopedia at http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/File:Killing-time-while-mom-shops-at-mall-kid-on-bench.jpg   I am extraordinarily patient in tracking down the original source of images where possible but sometimes, as in this case, you just have to accept that the photograph is Out There. Having said that, I am always pleased to add a credit to the rightful owner if they want to get in touch. 

Shopping in the Harem is by Austrian painter Rudolf Swoboda, 1859-1914. The date of the painting is unknown. Swoboda was one of Queen Victoria's favourite Orientalist painters and she sent him to India to paint scenes from her empire. His Indian paintings now hang at Osborne House, Queen Victoria's summer cabin on the Isle of Wight.  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Swoboda-shopping_in_harem_mid19th.jpg

I wouldn't want you to get the idea that I am in any way sponsored by Bench dot or any other company. Far from it. These are my very own purchases from the Bench dot outlet store. None of them fit me and they are all the wrong colours but never mind, they bear the Bench message and that's what's important.