Saturday, 23 November 2013

31 things to do on a bench

This is one of those trendy listical posts where I make a list of some cool things you can do on a bench.  

Eddie, my Inner Editor, who just happens to be a primate: Say what you mean. Exactly how many is some?

I'm going to show you a list of some thirty-one cool things you can do on a bench. 

1.     Sit on the fox bench and read the Sunday papers

Tamsin, a local girl:  Ohhhh. This fox is soooo cute! 

His Excellency, my imaginary husband:  I wouldn't want all that fur on my trousers.

Lord Brassica, Fifth Earl of Drizzly: I am a tolerant man but I will not tolerate foxes. I'll send my man round with a shotgun next Sunday.

His Excellency: Mind where you shoot. I'll be on the fox bench reading The Sunday Times.

2.     Walk along the top of a bench on a snowy day

Eddie:  Just down to the edge of the bench and back? It's not going to be a marathon, is it? 

3.  Scribble your thoughts into the wind

Tamsin: lol! All my thoughts are like this! 

Hood-D, a recent graduate of Fribble School of Art:  This was done by layering in Adobe Illustrator. I suspect the finishing touches were Adobe Photoshopped.

Tamsin:  You're sooooo clever! My school report said I'm not a bright budgie. I'm not sure what that means. 

4.     Play a musical instrument. A lute or something folksy works well

Lady Jessica Brassica: This would be lovely if it were a younger man. I'm going to contact Young Male Musicians dot com and ask them to send me a lute player. 

5. Snog

Tamsin: Ohhh, this is soooo romantic!

6.     Ignore the signs.

my photo, Enkhuizen, Netherlands

Stand on a bench and show off your frugal frock

Miggy: What a great dress! And this model is a refreshing change from the stick insect versions. 

Don't get any ideas, Migs. There isn't a bench around here that would hold you.

7.   Wait for the metro

Lord Brassica, Fifth Earl of Drizzly: There is no metro service in Drizzly. Perhaps we ought to have one? 

Why, Lord B? There is only one street in Drizzly. And we already have a bus bench. 

Biff, one of the more destructive members of the Fribble Agro gang: There used to be a bus bench. I got rid of it.

8.     Make merry on the seafront

Oh, yes, there is lots of merrymaking on the seafront here in Fribble. 

Root, future Sixth Earl of Drizzly:  I like to get drunk down on the Esplanade and crash out on one of the benches. Here's me and Innocent on our wedding night. 

His Excellency: Looks like romance isn't dead then.

9.     Do some yoga

Eddie: This is the Hanumasana, otherwise known as the Monkey Pose. I've never seen a monkey doing this.

Eddie, I hope you're not going to start bringing primates into it. I'm declaring this a Primate-Free Zone.

Lady Brassica:  I do yoga every morning. It keeps me limbered up for the evening when my Young Male Readers arrive.

The less said about that, the better I think. 

And now for the tenth thing you can do on a bench.

Eddie:  There are only nine things to do on a bench.

You're wrong, Eddie. I'm showing 31 things to do, all of them perfectly acceptable. 

My imaginary friend Miggy: Well, except maybe the vice one.

His Excellency: The vice one? I must have missed that.

We'll come to that in a minute. Meanwhile, here's number ten.

10.    Enjoy a quiet smoke

His Excellency: This chap has the right idea. Looks like a jolly nice place to sit with a Café Creme. Some wine and a slice of brie would go down a treat as well. What number is the vice one? 

11.  Bench press

Lady Brassica:  I leave the sweaty stuff to the men. 

Miggy: You wouldn't do this around here. There are unspeakable things on the ground around the benches.

Lord Brassica: Yes, my dog Pru is appalled at what she finds.

12.   Sit with your mates and complain about the economy

These are some of our local men in the grounds of Drizzly Manor. We haven't got much of an economy round here so there's nothing to talk about. 

Lord Brassica: I say, these chaps are trespassing on my land. My dog Pru is there but she doesn't seem to be able to see them off. I'll send my man round with a shotgun.

13.     Trip the light fantastic

Lady Brassica: Last night I had a Young Male Dancer come round and we did a steamy botafogo.

Miggy:  I guess steamy is better than sweaty?

14.     Enjoy a competitive game

Lady Brassica: Ohhhh, I love competitive games. 

Miggy:  I suppose there's a Young Male Game Player on his way tonight?

15.  Pamper your butt

Lady Brassica:  This is something I do every day. Or get someone to do it for me.

His Excellency:  Is this the vice one? 

It's a little racy for Benchsite, but no, it's not the Vice one. 

His Excellency: I'm just going for a little nap. Let me know when you get to the Vice one. 

16. Fall in love with someone unsuitable

Tamsin: I fell in love with Root and he was unsuitable. Totally. That's why I left him at the altar and ran off with Garçon Orange.

Root: I married Innocent instead. Tamsin has big green feet.

Tamsin: It's true what they say about French lovers. Garçon is soooooo orange!

17.     Try to attract the attention of someone you fancy

Eddie:  When I was in Borneo I fancied a cute little orangutan. I brought her bunches of bananas every day.

She ap-peeled to you I guess.

Eddie: Not funny. My heart was broken. 

Sorry, Eddie.

I had to stop editing the prestigious publication Monkey Business and come back to England. I'm not one to beg and plead. 

18.  If you can't get what you want, beg and plead 

Miggy: This sculpture is brilliant. It's called Bench of Vices.

Lord Brassica: We don't have any vice around here. Never have. Never will. 

His Excellency: Sorry, Lord B. At first glance I thought this was your wife. 

Root: I thought it was MY wife. Innocent can be a bit clingy at times.

His Excellency:  Isn't this that clingy stuff they wrap sandwiches in?

Lord Brassica:  By jove, you're right! Bring on the picnic! 

19.    Forget sandwiches. Sit on a bench and watch something spectacular

Miggy:  We ought to get an outdoor cinema here in Fribble. I could make popcorn and cakes for the interval. 

Eddie:  The first film should be Planet of the Apes. And then the old Tarzan films. And that Clint Eastwood one with the chimp in it.

Hood-D (MA Fine Arts): We could get these glasses and watch old films of nuclear tests. That would be ironic and also educational for the generation who knows nothing about atomic devastation.

20.  Enough about films. Have a good gossip

Miggy:  You wouldn't believe what I heard about Innocent. 

Lady Brassica, Innocent's mother-in-law:  There is nothing I wouldn't believe about Innocent.

His Excellency: I heard it too. I found it rather intriguing. 

21.  Take a break from your labours and wonder if it's all worth it.

Eddie:  Editing Benchsite is definitely not worth it. I got paid twice as much at Monkey Business

I pay peanuts, I get monkeys.

21A.     Here's a better photo of something to do on a bench.

Eddie, please don't start with the primates. 

And don't interfere with my numbering system. 

21B.  Writing is something you can do on a bench. Here's a picture of me, writing. 

And no pictures of you either. I mean it, Eddie: NO MONKEYS.

Eddie:  What about a balloon?

Yes, a balloon is fine. 

22.    Float under a balloon

Satoshi Itasaka at 

His Excellency: This is a minority interest though, isn't it? I can honestly say I have never seen a balloon bench, let alone sat on one.

Tamsin:  Ohhhhh, that little boy is sooooo cute! 

Lord Brassica: If you fancied a bit of high jinx you could wait until someone sat on the bench and then shoot down the balloons. 

23.    Fall flat on your face in front of the Taj Mahal

Root: I get totally legless at the Dustpan and ipod. I look like this, only with a pool of biryani where I've been sick.  

Too much information, Root.

24.   When you get tired, take off your shoes and have a bit of a kip.

Root: Yeah, I do that too. I sleep all night on the bench. If I can get myself onto the bench. If not, I sleep in the biryani.

Seriously, Root. We do not want to know.

25.     Carve a message for posterity

Biff: I can't see the point of carving stuff into benches. Too much effort, mate. I'd rather just smash up the bench. 

26.  Achieve a good work/life balance

Miggy: I think I have an excellent work/life balance. I make cakes for my Be Happy cake shop and then I take the cakes home and eat them. Nothing goes to waste. 

Root: I don't believe in work. I have a life/life balance. 

Unwin, Lord Brassica's butler: I have a work/work balance and I'm very satisfied with it. Is there anything I can get you, Sir?

Lord Brassica: Yes, Unwin, you can get me a shotgun and I'll go after the blighter who left a pool of biryani on my billards table.

Unwin:  That was your son, Sir. 

Lord Brassica: Was it? Oh, well then, tally-ho. High spirits of youth and all that.

27.     Pose for a portrait in the garden with your family

Lord Brassica: We had a family portrait done for Root's wedding. It had a Scottish theme and we all got dressed up in kilts and whatnot. Unfortunately, Root and my wife and the bride were missing.

Tamsin: That was me. The missing bride. Sorry, Lord B. 

His Excellency:  We had a family portrait done when I was growing up. Here it is:

Hood-D: In my view, your family portrait is less sentimental and more aesthetically pleasing than the Tissot narrative painting.

His Excellency: I think so too. That's me on the left by the way.

28.     Sit in judgement of those who have transgressed

Biff: I know this dude! He gave me 12 weeks community service and all I did was smash up the bus shelter. It's so unfair.

Root: Yeah, I got a caution for being a public nuisance. 

Miggy: No offence, Root. You ARE a public nuisance.

29.     Feed a baby. They say breast is best. 

Lord Brassica: Breast or no breast, I'm not in favour of infants being nurtured in public. In my day we were dispensed to the nursery and we stayed there until we went to boarding school. Any nonsense and we got a good clip round the ear. Didn't do us any harm.

30.     Sit with a flower looking vaguely alluring

Tamsin: Ahhhh, this is so sweet!

Unwin, Lord Brassica's butler: I knew this girl when I was working at Downton Abbey some years ago. One of the kitchen girls as I recall. Married that Irish fellow who used to be the chauffeur.

Miggy:  No, Unwin, it was one of Lord Grantham's daughters who married the Irish chauffeur. Lady Sybil.

Tamsin:  Ahhhh, that is so sweet! 

Miggy: Haven't you seen Series Three? It didn't end well.

31. Celebrate all the things you can do on benches!

So you see Eddie, there are wayyyyy more than nine things to do on a bench.

Eddie:  I'm sticking with the nine.

Suit yourself. But if you think there are only nine things to do on a bench, or even 31 things, you are so, so wrong.


Sunday Mornings on the Fox Bench is an original illustration in graphite, ink and coloured pencil. It was given to me some time ago by Peter Harren, a children's book illustrator from Minnesota. The fox bench and other delightful drawings are in Peter's shop at  The only other fox bench I know is the one we saw when we were looking for Wild West benches in America's Wild West.

Balancing Act is a person who appears to be walking on top of a bench in Colwick Country Park. It was photographed by Alan Murray-Rust for Geograph in February 2009.

Scribble your thoughts into the wind is by photographer Mark J. Sebastian in 2007. It is layered in Adobe Illustrator with finishing touches in Adobe Photoshop. I saw it on Flickr Creative Commons at   Strangely enough, this scramble of scribble does look very much like Tamsin's brain scan. 

Eddie is my Inner Editor and he has ruined helped me edit a lot of Benchsite posts. He has a habit of sabatoging contributing to my stories and turning them into photo galleries of primates, including himself. He behaved arrogantly reasonably well on Blue Monday but I was seeing red benches in February when he took liberties with his employment contract. You'll also see him celebrating completely destroying my St. George's Day dragon story at   However, when it came to The Year of the Monkey, Eddie finally got his say. 

The man playing a musical instrument is a painting called Mezzetin, by the French Rococco painter Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721) Mezzetin was painted between 1717-1719 and is part of the Yorck Project at  Watteau's work often showed the pursuits of rich aristocrats - comedy, music, ballet and theatre -  otherwise known as fetes galantes. Watteau is credited with having invented this genre. If he were alive today he'd be painting the Brassicas of Drizzly. For more musical benches see

Lady Brassica has a penchant for young men, whatever they are doing. Her young male readers feature in the discussion of books at For an update on her love life this summer, see what she gets up to in her beach hut with Troy. 

Hyde Park Snoggers is a photograph by Jan at The Caravan Gallery  Jan and her colleagues travel all around the UK and elsewhere finding, capturing, and exhibiting fascinating little slices of life. The Hyde Park Snoggers have featured on Benchsite before, as have many other Caravan Gallery photos. 

Diana from Austin, Texas is the girl behind Frugal Fatshionista, living large on a little budget. That's her, modelling her favourite green dress on a bench. She has some lovely dresses and a wise and witty way of writing about them. She created her blog to vent, explore and discuss what it feels like to navigate through adulthood as a plus-sized woman on a shoe-string budget.

The Mohammed Naguib Metro Station in Cairo was photographed in 2008  by  Meursault2004.    Yes, before Biff destroyed it, we did have a very nice bus shelter in Fribble-under-Par. Here are local residents, Cora and Dora Boran, waiting for the bus. Cora has taken her teeth out to rest them on the bench.

For some brilliant bus stop benches around the world see

You will have gathered that my husband, His Excellency, is rather camera shy. Not so my imaginary husband Mungo, who travels with me and is happy to be in our holiday snaps. See, for example, our summer bench-finding trips to Greece, Italy, and the Alps. His Excellency likes a strong mature cheddar, a good Chianti, and a cigar. Mungo, on the other hand, likes . . . Oh, never mind.  See for yourself how my two husbands compare at

The group of people gathered on a seaside bench in 2008 were remembering their dear friend Rebecca, who had died six years previously. Rebecca's bench is in Brighton, the home of photographer Davey, who is otherwise known as Scarycrow. Davey likes to photograph assemblages, birthday parties on benches, and vintage stuff, including old cars. He has a delightful photostream at

Doing the splits on a bench is not most people's idea of yoga, but it's certainly impressive. This photo comes from Vicky Oliver, a yoga teacher, trainer and practioner at whYoga in Greater London. Apparently this is Hanumasana, the Monkey Pose, and Vicky says it's beneficial for depression. She also says she can teach people to do the splits on a bench whilst reading a book. Vicky says Most of us believe The Splits to be one of those poses that only really flexible people can do, like celebrity yogis, Olympic gymnasts, seven year old girls and those lucky enough to have two parents who were rubber bands . . . Not so. It’s all about preparation.

The park benchpressers are not what they seem. One guy is benchpressing. But Root is not actually benchpressing; he got drunk the night before and passed out like this and is just trying to get up. The benchpress trainer is Rawlings Benchleigh-Preston, who used to be a barrister in London. Find out all in the ins and outs of bench law

The smoker is a painting from 1858 called Independence: Squire Jack Porter. It was painted by Frank Blackwell Mayer (1827-1899), an historical painter from  Maryland. Squire Jack Porter is now in the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

The three men in the grounds of Drizzly Manor are an engraving by Emil Orlik (1870-1932), made in 1899 and entitled London Dawdlers (London Tagediebe). Emil Orlik was a painter, etcher and lithographer, born in Prague but travelling widely and working in Japan and Germany and elsewhere in Europe. His work is in the public domain at    
The two men playing chess were on the Western Front in France 1918. The official photographer notes that the man on the left made the chessboard and chessmen himself. The photograph is in Flickr Commons via the National Library Scotland

Stick People Dancing on a Bench is a work of light graffiti by glenneroo, who is currently based in Vienna. glenneroo does a lot of portraits and he gets around; he has sets from all sorts of places, and a whole set of light graffiti photos as well.  For a whole alphabet of dance benches see

The Butt Bench is from a company in Milltown, New Jersey called The Butt Bench and they do what they say they do. They make an all-in-one bathtub seat on which you can sit, for whatever reason you need to.  According to their product information, the Cedar Butt Bench can create a relaxing zen or spa-like feel in your bathroom. Customer testimonials speak highly of the bench for reasons of safety, comfort, storage and shaving. And the t-shirt is for sale too.

Romeo and Juliet is an oil painting by French artist Jules Salles-Wagner (1814-1898). The painting is in the public domain  at    Tamsin and Root were no Romeo and Juliet, that's for sure. Fortunately, Tamsin eventually saw sense and called off the wedding but it was a tense event. For full details of the ill-fated Scottish weddings, see

The three girls trying to attract the attention of a man on a bench are The Three Graces, a painting by Italian genre painter Enrico Tarenghi (1848–1938). It is in the public domain. 
Italian art and Italian food: we have some tasty Italian benches here on Benchsite.

The Bench of Vices (Lavicka Neresti) is a sculpture by Czech/Canadian artist Lea Vivot. She has exhibited in the Royal Academy of Arts and lectures about art all over the world. Vice was photographed by Miaow Miaow in 2006 in front of the Sazka Building in Prague. 

Innocent's Cling Dress was designed by Joop in Overbearing in Holland. Joop has been Lady Brassica's dress designer for many years but he seems now to have abandoned Lady B and turned his efforts to dressing Innocent instead. Innocent's Downton Abbey dress was a bit of a wow at a recent fashion show. You can see it at Lady Jess has her own studio now, based in Ballyfrumpy in Ireland. So maybe every fashion cloud has a silver lining?

The three bronze girls having a gossip are The Girls of MiskolcThey were photographed by Alensha in 2006 and made available on Wiki Commons.
The statue is in Szinva Terrace in the Hungarian city of Miskolc in northern Hungary. In researching this I stumbled on a dodgy Hungarian dating website which suggests that girls in Miskolc have lovely necks but apparently you should never trust them. 

Operation Plumbbob was a series of 29 nuclear tests in the Nevada desert between May 28 and October 7, 1957. US servicemen stationed at Camp Desert Rock near Las Vegas were subjected to huge levels of radiation from the blasts; one describes being able to see the bones of his hands. This photograph is from Boltzmann, the very first test at 11.55 am on 28 May, when NATO observers wore special glasses to protect them from the flash.  The photo is in the public domain.

My German isn't brilliant but as far as I can tell, the labourer is a peat digger. The painting is by Walther Firle (1859-1929), a portraitist and genre painting who seems best known for his portraits of Bavarian royals. And if you want to get high on alpine benches, click here

The monkey and ice cream bench is from Asian Replicas in the Philippines  This photo featured in the Edible Benches back in March and then there were more delicious treats when we all screamed for ice cream benches in summer 2015.  Asian Replicas make all kinds of funky fibreglass food furniture, including benches that look like pizza, chicken and cake.  Miggy says she'd definitely go for the cake.  

There are many brilliant Japanese benches on Benchsite. Satoshi Itasaka's amazing Red Balloon Bench is an item made according to the customer's specifications at Studio h220430 in Tokyo. The photo is by Ikunori Yamamoto at  For every project the studio arranges the color, quantities, setting positions of balloons, length of the rope, and fabric materials of the seat according to customer's request or the space that bench will be fixed in. The balloon bench shown is in a restaurant in France. The standard price is 2,100,000JPY and retailers are Gallery SOMEWHERE in Tokyo.

The planker (that's a p, folks, not a w) is planking on the Princess Diana bench in front of the Taj Mahal in 2012.
This is the  bench where Diana posed for a lonely photograph which made us all realise that all was not well at the palace. An innocent photograph or a carefully orchestrated media coup? We'll never know.

The woman sleeping on a bench under a newspaper is my dearest oldest friend Cookie, late of Los Angeles, now of The North. That's Northern California, not so grim as The North as we know it in the UK. I kept this picture all these years and now, finally, it has found a good home. But is it ok to sleep on a bench

The bench with lots of messages carved into it is by Toggan at sv.wikipedia. My Swedish is minimal but as far as I can tell, the sittbänk is at a tourist station in Aradalen in Gotland. The tourist station is one of the oldest in Sweden and it looks like a fabulous place to be in summer.

The man balancing on a bench is one of those pictures that's all over the internet but very hard to find when you want it. I saw it at 
I don't know if pichippo is Japanese but on reaching their Japanese language website I asked for a translation and stumbled on a very large ad for Viagra. It's one of those photos in which a lot of people have a pinterest. All I can say is, don't try this at home.

Garden Bench is by James Tissot (1836-1902), painted in about 1892. Tissot was born in France but lived mostly in Britain, where he painted first medieval scenes and then scenes of every day modern life, such as boating on the Thames and sitting on benches. His model was often Mrs. Kathleen Newton, an Irish divorcee who was also his lover. Garden Bench is in a private collection but is in the public domain and placed on Wikimedia by  

The judge is Justice Lewis Cave (1832-1897), appointed as a Justice of the Queen's Bench in 1881. He was photographed sometime between 1881 and 1891 by the London Stereoscopic Company.

Feeding a baby is a photograph called Generationen by Klaus D. Peter in Wiehl, Germany. The three generations were photographed in England in 1976. 

Woman with a Red Zinnia is a painting by Mary Cassatt (1844-1926). Mary Cassatt was an American impressionist painter who studied in Paris and depicted the lives of women, especially the bond between mother and child. Her works were not well received in the US but she exhibited for several years at the prestigious Paris salon and was awarded the French Legion of Honour in 1906. Her paintings are now valuable in the US and have even been used on postage stamps. Woman with a Red Zinnia is in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC and due to its age, in the public domain at

The Celebration bench is from Brian Hart at California Harts, Flickr. It was photographed in 2009 in Celebration, Florida, a town much celebrated for its creation of an idyllic, smalltown community which is clean and safe and pretty. More than seven thousand people live there. To balance this though, some people find its Disneylandish perfection a bit creepy. Make up your own mind by viewing Brian Hart's Celebration set at

Nine Things to Do on a Bench (2001) was a collaborative project by writer Julia Darling (1956-2005) and glass designer Cate Watkinson for the Grainger Town Development Trust in Newcastle.  They created nine etched glass panels to accompany benches in the town centre, each panel suggesting things to do on a bench. One of them was The Kiss Bench, using Julia's lines Here's my list, go out, get kissed.

Nancy Bruning is the author of 26 books on health and wellness, including Nancercize: 101 Things to Do on a Park Bench.  She describes herself as a breast cancer survivor, public health professional, certified fitness specialist, world traveller, and flamenco dance student.  Her books and blog feature advice on health and include advice on how to get outdoor exercise, even within city environments. And she knows of what she speaks; she has an MA in Public Health.

I promised Tamsin she could model a Clingfilm skirt but somehow I don't think Innocent has anything to worry about when it comes to modelling. 

For Tamsin's perspective on life, cuteness, and benches, see

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