Thursday, 1 January 2015

2015 - The Year of the Goat Bench

Goodbye and good riddance to 2014, the year of ice buckets and vaping and normcore. Good-bye, I hope, to bendy i-phones and selfie sticks and man buns and conscious uncoupling. 

2015 is the Year of the Goat.

Nora: Two things. One: this is not a bench. And two: it could be argued that 2015 is the Year of the Sheep.

Nora, this is a picture of you. 

Nora: Yes. You asked me to help you out with the sheep bench story. So here's a very nice sheep bench for you.

As you well know, I've already done the sheep benches on Benchsite. You were there, remember? 

You were one end of the carefully designed B/ovine Bench.

The less said about that, the better.

Now we're doing goats, just in time for the Year of the Goat which begins on February 19th and lasts until February 7, 2016. Some people consider goats the Greatest Of All Things. And fortunately for me, they love benches.

I don't know why you're bleating on about goats: goats have been having a moment already. Goatees for instance.

Yes, that's true. Goats in costumes, Frosty the snow goat in a wheelchair, the What What bleating goat- 2014 was the year of the Internet Goat. They're still going on about it on Twitter: Goat with the Wind. The Goatfather, Forrest Goat. Where will it end?

But now we're doing Goat Benches and it's actually quite hard to find nice goat benches. Sometimes it's even hard to find goats. They wander onto buses and get lost.

Here's a really great goat bench though.

Nora: I distinctly remember you asking me to bring the sheep.

I know some people think this is the Year of the Sheep but they are baaaaaadly mistaken. So goats only, please. No sheep. 

What about llamas?

You're trying to get my goat here, Nora. No more butting in with llamas or sheep benches.  

There's no need to be gruff about it.

You're right, Nora. I should be more goat-like.

Goats are mild mannered, shy, dependable and calm.

They will wait patiently to be milked.

People born in the Year of the Goat, like goats, are said to be passive, loyal, generous and kind. 

You're not a goat then.

No, I'm not passive, loyal, dependable or calm. And I don't provide cheese.

Lots of people get very excited by cheese. My husband, His Excellency, will do almost anything for a good goat's cheese log.

That's a cheese log, by the way, not a bench log. 

Good point, Nora. Though it is possible for a goat to stand on a log . . .

. . . and for a log to be a bench.

This is supposed to be about goats though, not logs.

True enough. There are hundreds of kinds of goats who are happy living in scrubland, in alpine regions, in deserts, or on inhospitable mountain ledges. 

These guys seem to be on top of the world.

And of course, many goats live on farms.

The goats I know like to be smartly dressed. Angora or cashmere - no normcore for them.  

My friend Billy spends a fortune on clothes.

I guess he's vain.

No, goat people are not snobs or show-offs. They are content to sit together calmly on benches.

Lumbini, Wikimedia

Or they are quite happy on their own.

Remember the lonely goatherd?

And the one little girl in a pale pink coat-erd

Yes, she was up there on a bench in the Alps and apparently yodelled back to the lonely goatherd.

my photo, Italy

They got together after that. Conscious coupling.

They had some kids . . .

. . . and a nanny to look after them.

I'd like to think so. But now for more about Goat people . . .

Was Mozart a Goat I wonder? He had that magic flute. Child_with_flute_and_goat  

Well, maybe. Goats are very keen followers of music.

Mick Jagger is a Goat. As is Keith Richards. 

I know a kid who loves to DJ.

Sadly though, being born in the Year of the Goat is thought to be unlucky. 

I guess no one wants to be a scape goat.

According to Chinese superstitions, Goat people are over-sensitive, dependent, and likely to get involved in financial disputes. They aren't good with money.

They're said to be clingy in relationships.

They aren't clever and agile like Rats or Snakes. 

In other words, they aren't successful.

Someone should tell Bill Gates that. 

You're right, Nora. The Microsoft Man was born in 1955 in the Year of the Goat. But nevertheless, some couples have already taken care to ensure that their child is born before February 19th. 

How did they do that?

Well, they, um, planned the conception of their child so it would be born in the Year of the Horse. Horses, as we saw on Benchsite last year, are energetic and successful.

What about tigers?

Yes, also good. And best of all is the dragon. 

But there isn't a Dragon year coming up until 2025. 

Poor old goats. 

Yes, it's a really bad press for Goat people. They aren't even allowed in libraries.

I don't know why.

Maybe it's the goatees?  

It's puzzling why goats should be singled out this way.

It would be nice to see goats getting some recognition for their achievements.

Trouble is, goats are their own worst enemy sometimes. This one ate the award she was given.

One thing's for sure: Goats will need to put their heads together and think how to get through 2015.

I still think it's the Year of the Sheep though. 

And anyway, I've already started celebrating. 

Alright, Nora, have it your way. I see you've brought the champagne.

Yes. So you bring the sheep and the goats.

And have a happy Year of the Goat


2015 is the Year of the Goat. Other Goat years are 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, and 2003. The Chinese zodiac has a twelve year cycle so if you want to plan the conception of your child to avoid a Goat year, you have nothing to worry about until 2027. 

Chinese New Year is an annual event here on Benchsite. 2018 is The Year of the Dog, with a slight emphasis on Unicorns. In 2017 The Year of the Rooster, with quite a lot of Chinese beer, was thrown in. 2015 was The Year of the Monkey Bench. And 2014? Horse Benches!

Chinese calendar years are characterised by Yin and Yang. In the Year of the Goat it's yin - yin earth, or yin wood. In 2015 it's wood. There are lots of experts predicting what this might mean but I'm hoping it might mean more benches.

Karina Garasimyuk from Poznan in Poland runs Decal My Happy Shop, where she sells unique vinyl nursery wall Stickers and decals for every room in the house. She also has yoga decals, wall decal quotes, window decals, car stickers and custom wall decals. Her 2015 Year of the Goat sticker starts the story and I love the bright green sofa, even if it's not exactly a bench. Many thanks to Karina for organising this image for use on Benchsite.

Helen Danby lives on the Isle of Wight and is a keen finder of benches. Hot off the press, she spotted a tweet about the missing Goaty McGoatface, who was last seen on a bench in Ryde. Goaty isn't the only one missing though; there are many, many things lost and found on benches

Nora has appeared in Benchsite before. As she's a sheep, it was, not surprisingly, in the Baaaaad Sheep Benches story. There you will find all manner of clever and fleecy sheep benches, and a rather woolly discussion about the nature of art, for example, is this high art or is it just a piano bench draped with a bathmat?

Nora is a needle-felted sculpture made by Kelly Riley at Coyote Rim Studios at You can buy a felted sheep like Nora readymade, or you can buy a felt kit and make one yourself.

The curvy sheep bench is in Kirby Stephens, photographed by belleradio in 2004.  Belleradio is well travelled and likes photographing landscapes, weddings and animals.

The goateed goat was photographed in 2012 in Kinderdijk in South Holland. The photographer is Nemodus, who lives in France and does fabulous photos of, among other things, moons, flowers and animals.

Erika Crofut from Connecticut made the beautiful goat bench on the porch. It was one of the animal benches Noah saved on his ark back in 2013. Erica has other bright, fun animal benches and sofas on her website at  Erika explains I have always loved the process of transforming a thought from my head into something physical that can be shared with people . . . My projects are all attempts to interpret and visually articulate ties between history, family, and stories. . .  I use my art to express my amazement and gratitude for how beautiful an average day can be.

You bring the sheep is a photo by David Boyle, taken in 2007 at New York City's Central Park zoo The line is from a poem by the Greek poet Sappho, born in 630 BC and the lines of the poem are spread across three benches. 

You bring the sheep and the goats is a photo of the same poem taken by Scott in 2005.   Scott has photographed all three sections of the poem:

Evening star who gathers everything/shining dawn scattered -
You bring the sheep and the goats,
You bring the child back to its mother

For more lovely poetry benches see

The llama bench - Lammaskaluste - was seen in the kids' department of a shop in Malmo in 2008. It was photographed by Mace Ojala, who is a librarian in Turku in Finland. His photostream suggests a love of travel and cycling. 

Flickr is full of photos of goats with heads butting. The two goats shown were photographed in an African Lion Safari park by Albert Choi in 2012. Albert's photostream covers so many different places that I can't begin to guess where the lion safari park was.  

Goats love benches and they love picnic tables. The white goat sitting calmly on a picnic table was photographed by Jim h in 2012. The photo is one of a Flickr group called goats, antelopes, cows, wild sheep and deer. And that's not the only Flickr goat group: there's another one run by someone called goateatingshirt. If you're interested in picnic benches, our own Lord Brassica is an excellent guide.

Farmer milking a goat is an  expressionist painting done by Ernest Ludwig Kirchener. Kirchner, a painter and printermaker, was born in Germany in 1880 and died in Switzerland in 1938. The image is now in the public domain.

The Metro Market in Seattle offers periodic free cheese classes and Leslie Seaton attended one in 2011. So exciting were the cheeses that Leslie forgot to bring a good camera and resorted to photographing the cheese with a cell phone; that's ok.  Like Leslie, lots of people get very excited by cheese

My husband, His Excellency, is partial to Innes Log, which is produced at Innes Farm in Staffordshire. Soft, white, creamy and light, with a subtle nuttiness, this is said to be one of Britain's best goat cheeses. Innes Log is a cheese, by the way, not a log. There has been so much confusion about logs on Benchsite, to the extent that some very expensive benches have been destroyed. There has also been confusion between cheeses and fonts

The homemade goat's cheese log was photographed in 2013 by Gregory Povey, who lives in Liverpool. He doesn't say what kind of goat's cheese it is or whether he made it himself.

The log bench is entitled The Flintstone's Sofa. It was photographed in Broxbourne Woods, Hertfordshire,  in 2007 by Steve Chilton. Steve loves to photograph wildlife and nature, especially flowers, insects and birds. He is also a big lover of creative depth of field (DOF) and bokeh. Other subjects that he likes to dabble with include - live music, B&W, landscape & candid portraiture.

IT manager Dave Wild has been taking photos since 2003 and he has a photostream full of brilliant animal photos. Dave looks for animals with a bit of personality or character so it's no surprise that he has a Climb Every Mountain album full of glorious goats. The goat standing on a log was taken at Gorsethorope in Notthingham in 2005. The goats standing on top of things were taken in 2009, in North Wales.  I try to present a kind and calm demeanour to the animals when I photograph them and try to keep them happy. The animals that enjoy the attention and are at ease around me are the ones that tend to look happy in the resulting photos.

Ozzy Delaney takes photos of, among other things, funny signs. He photographed the Wobbly Bottom Goat Farm sign in Hitchin, UK in 2013.

The goat wearing a tux is by far the most elegant of any of the dressed-up goats I found anywhere. Being bored with dressing up dogs and cats and babies and rabbits, people eventually got wise and turned to goats. Now there are costumed goats all over the internet. I don't know what the original source of this photo is but here's where I saw it

Back in 2010 Jason Sweeney from Dartmouth in Canada photographed a drawing which claims that Carly Simon's "You're so vain" is actually about mountain goats. I can't confirm this one way or another.  Jason provides Animal Trivia merchandise at his zazzle shop at

The black goats together on a bench are in Lumbini, Nepal. They were photographed by Taylor and Agumi in 2010 and the photo appears on Flickr and in Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons Generic license 2.0.

The pale brown goat standing on a bench was photographed by reway2007  at the St. James City Farm in Gloucester. It's a fitting photo for a Bench Monday.

The black and white goat was photographed in 2013 by Plonq, who describes the following scene: This may be the first animatronic goat I have ever seen, but it is also the creepiest I have ever seen, and probably the creepiest I ever will. It turned it's demonic, one-horned visage toward me, made a cud-chewing motion with its horrible mouth and said something muffled that I think was either a greeting, or an offer to eat my kidneys.

Valentina Korzh is from Chemihiv, Ukraine. In her Dolls Store she makes the most beautiful dolls, including quite a few goats. The pretty-in-pink she-goat is, of course, much too fashionable to be a simple goat girl, but perhaps she did actually yodel back to the lonely goatherd. The goat couple are not alpiners: they're wearing Ukrainian national costume. Valentina says this goat couple can't live without each other, which is nice to know. Apart from the dolls shown, Valentina's shop also has a goat footballer, Ukrainian mice, hares, pigs, and a pair of Ukrainian rabbit soldiers. They are all dressed in their very best and look fantastic. Many thanks to Valentina and Slava for permission to take my pick

The lovely alpine bench is from my travels this summer with Miggy and Mungo. We got high looking for alpine benches. This one is in the Alps in Italy, high above the town of Latsch, where we took a cable car up to St Martin (1736 metres). From there we were told it was a two and a half hour walk back down the mountain but two and a half hours later we were only part way down and the paved road had turned to a narrow, steep path which left us clambouring over rocks on precipitous ledges. 

The baby on the bench is called Sinking Sheep, which suggests sheep rather than goats. Nevertheless, it's such a lovely photo that I couldn't resist it in the goat story. It was photographed in 2008 by Stacy Brunner, whose photostream is full of kids, not all of them lambs

Nanny Goat Strut is a street sign in Louisville, Kentucky, photographed in 2012 by Eric B. Eric is a beardy guy from Chicago - that's all I know. His albums are full of art, music gigs, festival, travel and cats   

There are indeed many links between goats and music. In Greek mythology the god of wild, shepherds, flocks and goats was Pan, who was half goat himself. Pan had a penchant for panpipes so goats with flutes have therefore been a theme for artists for a long time. The young child with flute and goat is a painting by Jacob Gerritsz Cuyp (1594-1692) who was born and died in Dordrecht in the Netherlands.  He was a portrait and landscape painter, and also painted still lifes, interiors with figures, and animals. His later work is pastoral landscapes. famous  

Bart van der Leck (1886-1958) was a Dutch painter, designer, and ceramacist. With Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian he founded the De Stijl art movement (neoplastisicism) in the Netherlands. The painting shown is a fascinating abstract of a girl playing the flute with a goat following.

The DJ goat is enjoying a new year's eve party in 2004. He was photographed by James Yeo, aka Rev Voodoo, who lives in Toledo, Ohio and has a photostream full of bodybuilders, parties, and plenty of pets. Rev Voodoo has a Voodoo Empire and more photos at

Scott Clendaniel from Anchorage, Alaska knows his beer. He does bright, colourful original oil paintings and prints of beer art, tandem bicycle art, Alaska art, and antique trucks art. 2014 has been the YEAR OF BEER Paintings in which Scott painted a new beer painting and blogged about it every day. The painting of Scape Goat Pale Ale by Big Sky Brewing Company in Missoula, Montana is the 233rd one on 21 August 2014. Scott's blog is at and his etsy shop at

Kim Smith owns a dramatic web design company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She photographed the money bench in 2007. Her photo sets contains lots of friends and family and her landscapes  make Michigan look like a beautiful place. In fact, Mackinac Island doesn't look so different from my own Paradise Island.

The Bench of Vices (Lavicka Neresti) is a sculpture by Czech/Canadian artist Lea Vivot, whose work has appeared on Benchsite several times.  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.

The snake bench is a creation by B Zedan in 2007. It's Griffen, juggling on a bench, a scene from Jenn Manley-Lee's online graphic novel Dicebox, which tells the story of an eventful year in the lives of Griffen & Molly, who started off as a couple of itinerant factory workers in a space-traveling future.  When B Zedan first saw this she knew she had to make it. She makes lots of things: paper, miniature books, crazy nails.  She says the snake bench was way harder to make than the figure herself.

The carved wooden horse bench is by Kris, who has been making large scale wood carvings since 2004 at  From insects to elephants, he uses a chainsaw to carve wildlife and figurative sculptures, furniture, functional crafts, 3D signs and more. In addition to wood, he also sculpts in bronze, clay and epoxy resin. For lots more Year of the Horse benches see  Yes, I know, the Year of the Horse is sooooo last year. 

The white Siberian tiger bench is from Asian Replicas, who make a huge variety of lifesize statues and furniture in the Philippines   Elsewhere on Benchsite you will find Asian Replicas edible benches such as tacos and ice creams. You could also have pizza bench, a cake bench, or a chicken and chips bench. Their extensive catalog is at

The Dragon Bench is at Devonport in Auckland New Zealand, photographed by Russell Street. Russell photographs amazing local landscapes, art and quite a lot of benches  Should you wish to see some terrific dragon benches on Benchsite, you'll have to put up with a bit of monkey business. 

Why goats aren't allowed in libraries (2009) was written by Murray McCain with drawings by John Alcorn. It was photographed by Nick Sherman, who is a graphic designer, skateboarder and musician living in Brooklyn.

Meg-Z from Anchorage, Alaska takes random photos from things in her world. She wore the green goatee and hat  whilst messing around with photobooth on her computer. Meg explains that she had a new needle felted stache and goatee and just had to show it off.  

The pair of goats on a blue bench were photographed in Pfannenstiel Guldenen in Switzerland in 2010. The photographer is roland zh at   

Linda Craun from Dallastown, Pennsylvania lives on a small farm and paints goats, livestock and pets on wood show pen signs, outdoor signs, awards, canvas, slate, milk and cream cans.
All her creations are original, hand painted and one-of-a-kind. Her handpainted signs, like the four blue ones shown in the story, are goat show awards which have been featured in publications. Her etsy shop is at

Hey - look what I won! is the title of John Haslam's 2007 photo. 
Living up to the stereotype of goats the world over, the show champion was not showing off his rosette, but trying to eat it too.  They say goats will eat anything so I'm wondering about benches. As it happens, there are some edible benches here on Benchsite.

The pair of goats sitting head to head on the bench were photographed by Marco Zanferrari at Elephanta Island in India in 2012.
Sopra la canta la capra canta, sotto la panca la capra crepa. Marco says this is an Italian saying that means: over the bench the goat sings, under the bench the goat dies. Oh dear, goats really are unlucky.  

People think January's boring but they're much mistaken. There's so much to celebrate - the Year of the Goat, and Blue Monday for a start. OK, that's a bit depressing but never mind. 

Coming next on Benchsite: the Great British Bird Bench survey. How well do Miggy, Mungo and I know our bird benches? And will feathers fly?

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