Monday, 17 June 2013

Sooooooo Cute benches - Tamsin's perspective

There's no getting around it, is there? If you're doing small, you're doing cute. Puppies, kittens, babies. It's going to be adorable. But don't worry if you don't like cute and tiny: it'll get big and ugly soon enough. 

I've asked Tamsin, Goddess of All Things Cute, to help me out here. Who else could cope with something as cute as this tiny little bench with its pretty miniature cushions? 

image from

(Tamsin, not yet recovered from the cuteness of the puppies, is now squealling uncontrollably about the cuteness of the bench.)

Tamsin is my neighbour here in Fribble-under-Par. She is pretty cute and pretty small. Here she is at the final fitting of her wedding dress. 

Tamsin is soon to be married to Root, the son of Lord Brassica, Fifth Earl of Drizzly. Eventually Root will be the Sixth Earl of Drizzly and Tamsin will be Lady Brassica. 

But apart from his title and its privileges, Root is no prize. 

Here are Root and Tamsin on a typical night out at the Dustpan and ipod.

See what I mean? Tamsin is small and cute. Root is small and drunk. 

Tamsin: I don't know why you say Root is small. He's a very tall fellow. 

As small plastic toys go, you're right, Tamsin. But to me tall means seriously tall. Like these police constables who were on patrol in Fribble last night.

Or this bench in Holland.

image from

Oh, I see what you mean. Tall!

Tamsin works at the Nearly Good Enough Pharmacy where she's known to be exceptionally cheerful and not very competent at handing out prescriptions. 

I hope you're not going to tell them about the time I got Mrs. Paragon's blood pressure tablets mixed up with Lord Brassica's Viagra.

No, Tamsin, I wasn't going to bring that up. 

And pleeeeease don't repeat that story about the hemorrhoid cream and the eye ointment.

I wouldn't dream of mentioning it. 

Maybe you could show a picture of me at my graduation?  

I could, but unfortunately you didn't graduate from anything. 

Here's your just-about graduation photo from your Not Very Competent pharmacy diploma.

So on to Big. There are big benches all over the world but the most photographed one of all seems to be the one in Broken Hill, New South Wales in Australia. 

Sounds lovely. Do you have a picture? 

Indeed I do. 

Ohhhhh, this is awesome.

Oh yes, this bench is BIG. It's 2.5 times normal size and everybody loves having their picture taken on it. 

But there are big benches all over the place. Here's Miggy on a bench at Narbonne in France.

And Mungo too.

Miggy looks a lot bigger than Mungo. 

Enough said about that, Tamsin. Back to benches. 

I could have a picture of just about everyone in the world taking their turn getting photographed on big benches. 

image from

I don't mean to be rude but wouldn't that get a bit boring?

Clever girl, Tamsin. That's why I'm just going to show a few big benches.

For example, here's one in Switzerland celebrating the anniversary of a Swiss bank.

And here are a couple of guys on a really big bench in Eastern Oregon.

image from Tommy Nguyen at

These guys are kind of small, aren't they?

That's one way of looking at it I suppose. What about this one?

photo by Monica Matthews

I thought I was small! lol! There's a whole world of small people out there, just like me!

Tamsin, I think you're going to have to get a perspective on this. Ask yourself one question: small? Or far away?

That's two questions!

OK, have a look at this.

OMG, this bike is sooooo cute! Even someone with little legs like mine could ride it!

Ask yourself the two questions. 

Hmmmm . . .  I've asked myself and I can't work out the answer.

Never mind. Let's move on. Here's a giant park bench in Leeds city centre which was just there for a couple of weeks during the Christmas season in 2000. 

image from

Golly! Is there no end of big benches?

I was wondering that myself. Let's look at some other big stuff, shall we? 
Here is my imaginary friend Miggy peering over the edge of a very big red wagon in Spokane, Washington.

photo by Miggy's mum

I really like this but I kind of thought the point was benches. Maybe I've got confused? 

No, Tamsin, you are absolutely right. We'll stick with big benches. Like this seriously big bench in Buenos Aires.

This is really cool! 

I thought so too. And what about this big Paul Bunyan in The Trees of Mystery in California? Here is Miggy's niece Lettie with her dad, sitting on Paul's boot. 

lol. This guy must be mega! 

No, he's only about five foot nine. 

Oh, I see. You mean Paul. Yes, Paul is 49 feet tall. Here he is with his blue ox, Babe.

I thought Babe was a pig?

Maybe he was a pig who started out as an ox. The question is, how much big stuff do we want to look at here? 

Maybe just a little bit more?

OK, so here is one of the big benches they have in Germany. They're all over the place. Miggy and I found them all through the Eifel region when we were cycling there last summer. This one is in Gerolstein.

Notice how Miggy fills up her bench while I barely take up any space at all on mine. That's me on the left by the way. 

No offence but I'm kind of losing interest here. Can we do the small cute ones now?

We can. What do you think of this?

image from Public Record office Northern Ireland

This little girl is sooooo cute! She's looks so much older standing on this bench.

I hadn't thought of it that way. I wonder if you mean taller?

Do I? Yes, maybe I do.

What about this one?

image from Public Record Office Northern Ireland

Oh I love this! She looks so retro. 

I don't think retro is quite the right word. Let's try one more. 

Here is a child and a baby and a fish. Which do you think is larger?

image from Shinobu Matsuo

Ohhhhh, it's hard to work out which one is larger when they're all side-by-side. Maybe we should compare cuteness instead? Those kids are so cute! 

No offence to the fish: it's cute as well!

Tamsin, you really are the Queen of Cute. 

Tamsin: If I had to put my finger on it, I'd say small is cuter than big.

Like this?

Tamsin: OMG, this finger is sooooo big! 

Anyway, it's size we are talking about here. With images, size is a question of perspective. 

Is this a small bench or a large dog?

image from Mark J. Asher at

Just guessing, I'd say it's a small dog on a large bench?

So this one is what - a large dog on a small bench?

image from

Hmmmmm. Not sure.

And what about this one - small cat or large bench? 

image by Helen Danby

So let me get this right: if you have a dog on a bench it's large, but if you have a cat on a bench it's small?

You're not just a pretty face, are you Tamsin?  What about this one?

image from

That's a tough one. I can't tell if it's the man that's large or the bench that's small. 

You've really got a grip on this perspective thing, haven't you, Tamsin? 

Here is Miggy and her little tiny mum. What do you think - small? Or far away?

Miggy's mum is sooooo cute! Miggy must be very tall!

On the contrary. Here is Miggy looking exceptionally short.

Mega lol. What am I like? I really am confused by all this! Is this Miggy and her mum when Miggy was a child?

No. This is Miggy and her twin brother.

Really? They look nothing alike. 

Moving quickly along then, would you say this is a town or a city?

photo by Miggy's mum

Ohhh, you're teasing me now! Everyone knows that's New York. I recognise it from watching Friends

And who is this, Girls Aloud?

Before you answer I'll tell you. It's Miggy and her mum and her granny at the Lilliput Doll and Toy Museum on the Isle of Wight. 'Lilliput' is a word associated with small, as in Gulliver's Travels. 

I've never been to Gulliver. I've been to Drizzly though. That's just down the road from Fribble. 

You need to get out more, Tamsin. Maybe go to Moscow?

Or Toronto.

Wow, I look really intelligent here! Do bigger cities make you smarter?

I'm not sure about that, Tamsin. I'd have to think about that a lot longer.

But this isn't really about benches, is it? 

You're so right. What about some long benches then? Here's one in Amsterdam that's one hundred metres long.

image from 

Cool! You could get the whole population of Fribble and Drizzly on this bench couldn't you?

You could. But it might not be a good idea. Here's another very long bench in Japan. It's called the Eel Bench and it's in Nakatsu in Oita Prefecture.

image from

There's something fishy about this long bench.

Seaford, East Sussex

Do they use this bench for catching eels?

I doubt it very much. 

Where's the longest bench in the world then? It's not in Drizzly, is it?

No, definitely not. It's in Littlehampton in West Sussex. Here's proof:

Can we see it?

We can indeed. Here's the bit where it looks something like a normal bench:

image from Camilla Lambert

And here's the bit where it looks like something else:

image from Eco Ethel at

But before you get too excited, Japan also claims to have the longest bench in the world.

image from

Ohhhhh, this is sooo difficult! I can't get my head around all this perspective stuff. 

There are lots of long benches around. Would you like to see some more?

Dinard, Brittany

No, thanks. I've seen enough. I guess I have a short attention span for long benches.

Fair enough. We're coming to the end now so what would you like to see?

I'd like to see the teeny tiniest bench you found.

OK, here it is.

image from

(Squealing) This is sooooo cute! 

It's tiny. You'll have to take my word for it. 

But I think we'll finish here with a picture of a very sweet little girl on a park bench in her bicycle helmet.

image from

OMG, this is the cutest girl I have ever seen! Totally. This is awesome. 

Thank you, Tamsin. You've been a nearly good enough guest editor. 

I've learned a lot doing this. I am a very small person but if I marry Root I will be the Lady of a very big castle.

And you know this thing about small and far away that we've been talking about? Well, I think that applies to me. I've had some small doubts about marrying Root and now that the wedding is closer up and not so far away, I think maybe these doubts are getting bigger.

Funny you should say that, Tamsin. Because someone has written I love you always on the roof of your house. 

Who do you think that might be?


Tamsin, I beg you, don't marry Root. You have green shoes and a bright, pretty smile and a nearly good enough job. You do not have to be the Sixth Lady Brassica married to a drunken Earl. You do not need to wear silly outfits designed by Joop from Overbearing in Holland. You should not be a look-alike with your mother-in-law. You are small and cute. I know the wedding is large and looming but please get out before it gets any closer.

How do you get ten puppies to stay on a bench so you can get their photograph? Gini managed it when Arlette and Hoss had their litter of ten Greater Swiss Mountain puppies in 2000. They're from Brushcreek Farm in Philipsburg, Missouri. Gini's photostream is at

The pretty little white bench with colourful cushions is one of the many wonderful miniatures made by Dale for her shop at

Tamsin's wedding dress is from Joop's Tourbillon de filet collection, made at his studio in Overbearing in Holland. Joop is the designer for Lady Brassica, Tamsin's future mother-in-law, who is trying to get Tamsin's wardrobe smartened up so that Tamsin can eventually become the sixth Lady Drizzly. This is difficult because 1) Tamsin has very short legs and 2) she has bright green shoes which do not come off. It has to be said that Joop is frustrated with trying to design dresses for Tamsin. For other dresses in Joop's collection, including Tamsin's rejected wedding dresses,  see 

The tall bench in Holland was photographed by Nilly Oren in Amsterdam in 2005. It appeared in my Alphabet of Dutch Benches post in May. Nilly is an Israeli photographer who travels widely and photographs all kinds of amazing things. Her photostream is on Flickr at

The big red bench in Broken Hill, New South Wales is from Jan Williams at The Caravan Gallery, which tours around with brilliant photographic exhibitions.  See   I have used many photographs from The Caravan Gallery on Benchsite. See, for example their interesting bus stop benches at

Mungo and Miggy were delighted to come upon a very big bench in the Archbishops' Garden at Narbonne cathedral in France. It's fair to say that Migs had quite a hard time hoisting herself up onto the bench but once there, she was perfectly happy to sit in the autumn sun. 

Paul Bunyan is at the Trees of Mystery near Klamath, California. Paul was a legendary logger in the area so it's a wonder there are still any redwood trees standing. Babe, by the way, is 35 feet tall. Lettie is four feet tall and her dad Joe is . . .  it really doesn't matter, does it?

Rosmarie Voegtli has albums full of all kinds of things - textures, theatre, plants, animals, landscapes, wrinkles - and benches. There's a very large one from the Swiss Bank Institute, who gave 150 benches to the public in 2014. Looks like it might have been their anniversary. Apparently most of the benches are a normal size.

The big wooden bench with two guys on it is Tommy Nguyen and his friend on their bike trip in the John Day country in Eastern Oregon. It's a stunning landscape and you can see photos of it on Tommy's photostream at

Monica Matthews and her friend Maria saw the big orange sofa at a furniture store in California and were kind enough to send it to me. OK, it's not exactly a bench but it's close enough. And it's a good way of teaching Tamsin about perspective. As for Tamsin, small brain or big heart? You decide. 

Collideous, who lives in Biel, Switzerland, sent me the bicycle picture from Mont-Crosin in  the Canton of Berne.  He quite rightly called it Shrinkage, though clearly Tamsin doesn 't get the message.  Apart from being a web developer, Collideous is a very serious cyclist and if you enjoy stunning scenery viewed from a bike, his photostream will please you.  This is cycling at its best!

The big bench in Leeds was put there in January 2000 by Panasonic, in order to publicise its Lumix compact camera. It was only there for two weeks but much enjoyed during that time. I can't get the link to work,but here is the reference

The Seriously Big Bench is the green bench with three couples on it in Buenos Aires. It was photograhed by Mike Wegner, aka Uncamikey, who has a whole set of bench photographs at  His other Flickr photos are at

You may have noticed that the second big green bench is the same bench. Like the Broken Hill bench, the Buenos Aires green bench has been much photographed. This photo is from Reagan, who travelled to Argentina in 2012 and likes things to be slightly Aliced, as she puts it. As in Aliced in Wonderlanded. You know what she means, don't you? Reagan's blob is at  

The tall woman with Miggy is not Miggy's Mum or Miggy's twin brother. It's Walking Woman, one of Sean Henry's sculptures, photographed in the grounds of Salisbury Cathedral in August 2011. Walking Woman is 2.2 metres tall and was sculpted in 2008.  

The two little girls on benches are both from the Public Record Office Northern Ireland, who has generously made lots of photographs available via their Flickr site at   These girls were both photographed in 1910 by HF Cooper in Strabane. Details of the photos can be traced through the reference numbers shown in my links. 

The baby and the little girl and the fish were photographed by Shinobu Matsuo in Japan. The baby is Emi, the little girl is Miyu. I don't suppose the fish has a name. 

The Great Dane photograph in black and white is by Mark J. Asher.The photo appears in his first book, Old Friends, which is available on Amazon at  Mark's shop with many other photographs of dogs and other things is at

The dog on the bench is a stoneware miniature by Sue Scamihorn in Wabash, Indiana. It's called That dog Won't Stay Off My Bench. She has a cat who won't stay off her bench as well. The dog is just two inches tall and the bench is three inches. Besides stoneware Sue does garden miniatures, wall spots, whistles, deocrative pottery and jewelry. Her shop is at

The tiny cat on the (medium) bench is Fundy. The lovely bench is from an old Quaker Meeting House on the Isle of Wight. Helen Danby bought Fundy at a charity fund-raising sale, thus the name Fundy. For some purrrfect cat benches, have a look at Meredith's cat blog. 

The big guy on the bench is Big Al Carson from New Orleans. He's a blues and jazz singer whose band plays at The Funky Pirate in Bourbon Street. If you've never heard him, you're in for a treat. Try click on the videos and go from there. 

Many thanks to Miggy's Mum for the photos. 'New York' is Godshill Model Village on the Isle of Wight. The Lilliput Doll and Toy Museum is in Brading, Isle of Wight: Miggy's grandma was 83 at the time and having her first tour of Britain. 

Miggy and her Mum were on the porch of Newtown Town Hall on the Isle of Wight. Newtown is actually very, very old.  If you've ever seen the hilarious episode of Father Ted you'll know that Small is different from Far Away.

In 2006 the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs commissioned design company Droog to create a gift for the waterfront in Amsterdam. Architect Claudia Linders designed the 100 metre red bench for the Space to Take Place project in Ijburg near Amsterdam. This bench also features in my Alphabet of Dutch Benches.  Linders is principal of the Bureau Claudia Linders, a studio for interdisciplinary research and design. Her work can be seen at and at

The Eel Bench is from the blog of Jasmine Blossom, who is a blogger, photographer and teacher in Japan. She speaks Japanese and blogs (very interestingly) about life in Japan at  The Nakatsu City eel bench is the longest eel bench in Japan. Then again, I'm not sure how many eel benches there are in Japan. For more sea benches see the World Oceans Day post. 

The fishy bench is a lovely long bench winding its way along the eastern end of the beachfront in Seaford, East Sussex. Each fish is a metal plaque with a name on it. It shimmers nicely in the sun. Yes, we do occasionally have sun on the south coast of England. 

The Littlehampton Bench is made from reclaimed wood and was opened in 2010. It was designed by It is 2,000 feet long and can seat 800 people. The Japanese bench in Ishikawa Prefecture is in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2008 as the longest bench; the one shown is 406 metres ( And a Japanese bench designed by Mikio Tanaka in August 2011 is 653 metres long and seats 1360 people.  

The normal bit of the Littlehampton bench is Daniel on a Bench by my writing friend Camilla Lambert from West Sussex. She has a habit of photographing Daniel on scenic benches so it's great to have this.

The twisty bit of the Littlehampton bench is an image sent to me by Eco Ethel, who describes herself as a cyber numpty. She has a lovely blog about doilies and gardens and all kinds of stuff; her Poetic Pants poem is worth a look too.

The long wooden bench is actually going steeply downhill towards the sea in Dinard, Brittany. We had a picnic on this bench last summer. 

The teeny tiniest bench is from Terry Gozeski at beadcharm in Massachusetts. It's a handbeaded dollhouse miniature scale (1" to 1")  of an antique gold metal figurine on a round filigree brass base. It's a hand applied green pearl patina, with one tiny clay flower and 15/0 petite Czech seed beads and tiny glass no hole micro beads as accents. Sounds like a large amount of work for something so small! Terry's shop is at

Patti Flinsch-Rodriquez took the photograph of her daughter on a park bench in 2007. Such a lovely girl and a sweet bike helmet! Patti's photostream is at

Despite Tamsin's doubts about marrying Root, the wedding is going ahead. Here is your invitation:

If you want to see preparations for the wedding, you can follow Tamsin through the sunny summer. You can attend the (three) Scottish weddings in summer 2013. Beyond that, you can see who sent Tamsin a hearty heart Valentine bench in 2014. And then you're on your own. 

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