Saturday, 1 April 2017

Liars, lies, and fake news benches

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Fake news is big news. Fake news is HUGE.

Everyone is sitting on their benches wondering if the news is real or fake.

It's the same with benches. I know benches. I'm fantastic. I'm a really smart person. In fact I'm a genius. And I'm going to make benches great again.

A lie told often enough becomes the truth. I didn't say that, by the way. It was Vladimir Lenin back in 1917. 

Is this bench real or imagined?

I asked a scientific American to help me because I need evidence. This is Troy, who is from Dry Heaves, Minnesota. As you can see from the Union Jack, he thinks Britain is Great.

Well, Troy, people are saying that lies benches these days come in all colours of the rainbow.

Troy: You're stretching the truth here, Seashell. Lies come in blue, black and white. And sometimes there's a fine line.

In this low, dishonest decade it's hard to know who's who or what's what. 

You're a well travelled pilgrim, Troy. 

Just where is Bowling Green, anyway?

My best imaginary friend Miggy is pleased to see that the bowling green benches have survived.

Bowling Green is a nontroversy if I ever saw one. 

I even wondered if fake news is real but now I know it is.

We're all suffering from Pseudodoxia Epidemica: that's an epidemic of fake news. It was first diagnosed in 1646 by Thomas Browne, a philosopher physician. And history may have changed the language of it but the truth is, we are living in an omnishambles of quacksalvers, charlatans and taradiddlers.

Troy: You should remember that not all lies are bad. White lies are good. White lies are told to benefit others. 

No, Miggy, honestly, your bum doesn't look big in this.

image by Sheila B

One of my husbands, His Excellency, is a philosopher. He's a really smart person. Really smart. He's fantastically smart. But he is finding it hard to determine the truth in a world dominated by what Boris Pasternak called the inhuman power of the lie

Troy: The truth is powerful in every language.

vérité  sandhed  حقيقة  Wahrheit 真相 verdad Правду fírinne prawda  진실
Troy: However you say it and whatever colour it is, there seems to be a fight for truth.

And the fight for truth is gonna be HUGE. 

It's gonna be the biggest fight the world has ever seen.

Here on Benchsite Eddie is my Inner Editor. 

Like the USA, Eddie has a strong constitution. He acts as a check and balance system for what he considers my self-interests in bench storytelling. But the truth can be ambiguous.

Is this a handy bench or a gorilla asking for small change?

It depends where you're sitting.

Now, I like Eddie. I do. We get on fine. As co-editors we're a finally tuned machine. But facts? Eddie finds alternatives. 

His Excellency says that the contents of book benches have long been full of alternative facts.

my photo, sculpture by

As an avid reader, some of my own childhood dreams turned out to be fake.

I remember being very upset when the teacher told us that the United States does not own Greenland. WHAT??? I'd grown up believing Greenland was the 51st state.

Oh no, sorry, that was Ireland.

And I remember being devastated when I learned from an alternative fact checker that there is no poo fairy. 

There are no ghost benches.

And apparently there are no leprechauns either. 

Troy: There were plenty of leprechauns around when I was in Ireland for St. Patrick's Day.

Yes, but Ireland is not the 51st state, is it?


Golly, maybe it is. 

No word of a lie, there certainly are a lot of liars benches about, both with and without apostrophes.

Humblebragging has become a favourite pastime by those who enjoy telling porkie pies.

Do you see the noses growing
And wonder where the truth is going?

Sunday mornings on the fox bench aren't the same anymore either. 

Headlines and deadlines still drive newspapers but some news benches are more reliable than others.

They'll print anything to sell newspapers. 

Woman Selling Newspapers 1907, Vincent Wodzinowski

Nowadays you can't believe what you see on TV either.

Troy: Have you heard what was reported on some TV channels? 

Golly. Whereabouts in Sweden did these attacks happen?

Troy: I happened to be Frozen up in Sweden at the time.

I'll never fjorget it.

Real and fake news seem to be getting mixed up in a confused and bewildering reporting of events. Sadly, after the fake news report, Stockholm did suffer a real attack.

My husband has alerted me to the Spanish word saltimbanco, which is an old word for quacks who sold fake medicines and remedies. I see the word banco here, which means bench. Doesn't it? Well, doesn't it?

Yes! Saltimbancos jumped onto benches to attract an audience. And a wise observer has noted that the internet is the biggest imaginable bench for today's saltimbancos to leap on to

Both online and out in the world there are gossips and liars everywhere.

And sad clowns.

Troy: And trolls.

Trolls are bad people. They are sleazebags. There is reason to be much afraid of trolls who like to stir up trouble in the virtual world.

Much Afraid from The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan 1678

We're gonna round up all those nasty trolls and put them in jail. That's what we're gonna do. We're gonna put them all in gaol. That's using two kinds of spelling so we get them on both sides of the Atlantic. 

We don't want losers. For our best benches we want people who are young, wealthy and attractive.

Troy: As it happens, a very good friend of mine is young, wealthy, and attractive. 

That would be Lady Jessica Brassica. Wife of Lord Brassica, Fifth Earl of Drizzly.

Troy: Yes. She's made me feel very welcome in Britain. 

She's Lord Brassica's wife though. Don't you feel guilty?

Troy: Not at all. We hang out at her beach hut for a bit of sport.

And of course I assemble her flatpack benches.

I don't think I believe this.

But I do know that if you're not young, wealthy and attractive, you're butting your head against the wall.

And who's going to pay for the wall? YOU ARE.

Troy and Eddie and my husband, His Excellency, think I need to calm down. Apparently shouting on Twitter blogs is tacky. Who knew?

Believe me. Going online can be perilous.

Troy: A little birdie told me to beware of Twitter.

There are dummies on Twitter. 

my photo

Some of their tweets are so ridiculous that they'll have you in stitches.

On the other hand, some tweets are kind of creepily scary. You feel like putting a wall up to protect your benches.

But who will pay for the wall?

Troy: Certainly not The Ronald.

They say the truth is out there, but is it? 

Some people have suggested that truth, like NATO, is obsolete because it was designed many, many years ago. And we're not interested in the past now. The past is passed. The past is past it. It's passé. 

Troy: All the old bench certainties have gone.

And the institutions benches we trusted have been taken away.

So in this world of modern mythologies, how do we know what's real and what's a fallax? 

Troy: Well, some smart librarians have come up with a simple guide on how to spot fake news.  

Yes, librarians are good people. Some of them are very attractive young women so we should listen to them.

This is in Swedish. 

Troy: There are versions in dozens of languages to help people out. 

We don't want those languages. We just want English.

Wait a minute though. Who exactly is an 'expert'? For example, who is a bench expert? 

Is it enough just to be a Bench Dude?

Reading a couple of issues of Bench Dude Weekly isn't going to make you an authority, is it? 

Troy: An ultracrepidarian is someone who gives opinions beyond his expertise. You wouldn't want that. 

No, you would not. But Grayson, fair enough. You're an expert on cat benches.

Troy: I myself am something of an expert on poetry.

Eddie, my Inner Editor, is an expert too. There's no one who knows more about primate benches than Eddie does.

Although thinking back, Eddie, you weren't very good on knitting together the Orange Benches story.

You didn't even know that orange is the new black, did you? You didn't foresee that the future of the USA was going to be orange. 

You're a loser, Eddie. I don't like losers. That's why you got the sack. You were warned. Nevertheless, you persisted.

Troy: I think you'll find that useful lies are preferred to harmful truths. 

Plus Eddie has a huge number of followers who believe everything he says whether it's true or not. They don't care one way or the other. So every time I try to get rid of Eddie I am flooded with his followers. 

Speaking of flooding, what's all this about global warming?

Apparently we're not green enough.

But some people are climate-change deniers who stick obstinately to their views despite clear evidence that climate change is real. Even Troy is a bit of a mumpsimus when it comes to climate change.

Troy: I am finding that I have to wrap up warmly even in a British summer.

Yes, but that's always been the case. And you come from Dry Heaves, Minnesota so you're not a good judge of what's normal weather on Paradise Island.

Troy: It's definitely colder. Lady B and I were wearing our knitted jumpers all summer last year.

Some people think we could use a big fat dose of global warming created by China  El Niño.

If El Niño is Mexican he might find himself on the wrong side of the Wall. 

Troy: I'm fed up hearing about this wall. 

Well, get over it.

What's this? 

His Excellency is saying that flooding is evidence of global warming and that global warming is caused by CO2 emissions. My other husband Mungo is saying that a wall is estupido. Everyone agrees. 

People are saying they don't want to miss out on all the brilliant Mexican benches we've seen on Benchsite. 

Troy: It's true. Mexico es fabuloso.

Instead of making enemies, why don't we be compadres?

Can't we just shake on it?

No. Apparently not.


Earlier I said that I'm a really smart person. I claimed to know everything there is to know about benches. 

There's a bit of a Twitterstorm going on at the minute. I'm not going to share the hashtag but basically people are saying it's time for Benchsite to come clean.

Troy: It is claimed that you have misrepresented the people of Paradise Island, notably your best imaginary friend Miggy. 

According to alternative facts, Miggy is 29 and has a figure like Lady Brassica.

Alternative facts are useful when the truth is inconvenient.

 In reality though, poor old Migs looks more like this.

I was going to say she's short and fat but apparently you can't say that anymore without causing an international incident. 

Troy: We're all very worried about an international incident, whether unleashed by accident or through a moment of immature fury.

Some people seem to think that peace is just for snowflakes.

Troy and Eddie and His Excellency are telling me it's not a good idea to use the word snowflakes anymore. 

What, not even in the context of a nuclear winter?

Come on, we need to get smart. It's time to meet life honestly and courageously.

my photo, Lewiston, Idaho

In other words, it's time to drain the swamp.

OK, so some of the benches on Benchsite may have been a wee bit post truth.  

This person is not really walking on top of the bench, is she?

And there's no dodging the issue here; this is a bench you cannot drive.

The dandelions on this bench are not real. You cannot smell them or pick them or feed them to bunnies.

I have to confess, not everything on Benchsite is the honest truth.

On Benchsite you can expect a certain amount of blarney.

Troy: This dog, though wearing a lab coat, is not a real doctor.

And this zombie is not a real nurse. 

This ice cream sundae bench is not edible.

On the other hand, this pumpkin soup was delicious.

Yes, it's true that it bears more than a passing resemblance to Jench de Bench, my vegetable editor from Potirons.

Jench, is that you?

I would like to assure readers that no French people were harmed in the making of this soup. I would like to but I can't.  

What I do know is that it's not a good idea to empathise with stupidity.

Troy: Now let's just calm down and have a glass of champagne.

Or vino.

My husband His Excellency is a philosopher who is prone to mansplaining. He's also very fond of veritas.
Troy: In wine there is truth apparently. 

And the truth is, he likes to see Verity getting out of her bath.

His Excellency says Verity is a terrific gal. She's one of the greatest gals he knows. Really great. Terrific. Everyone agrees.

Troy: I certainly agree. Verity makes me feel like dancing.

The naked truth is all well and good but truth can be interpreted in different ways.

This man is lying on a bench.

My photo, sculpture by

Miggy was lying when she claimed this yule log is a bench.

It's true that logs and benches are sometimes confused.

Cake before fake, as Miggy would say.

But then she claimed this Mars Bar is a bench.

I had to ask her to resign as guest editor of the Log Benches story. I am not a nasty woman but what else could I do? She was warned. Nevertheless, she persisted. 

To be honest, some regular readers say they are shocked by the extent of fake benches in Benchsite stories. 

But you have to admit, Benchsite is packed full of good stuff.

Now Eddie is saying liar, liar, pants on fire. He wants to send me to the Liar's Bench.

Come on, Eddie, you know I'm not a liar.

The truth is, some people lie on benches and others do not. Is this guy lying? I'm not saying either way.

Troy: You're getting carried away here, Seashell.

Why don't you just tell the truth about benches?

Here on Benchsite I could, of course, swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. 

Or I could just say meh, whatever, see you in court. And when I get there I'll give the judge a high five.

The world is full of lies. Blue lies, black lies, white lies. And fake news benches are just a big box of crazy.

Troy: Will you make benches great again? 

Maybe not. 

I'm a really smart person though; I'm practically a genius. So I'm not going to let fake news wind me up. I'm just going to drink my tea and jolly well carry on. 

Thank you.


Stuart Rankin is a software engineer living in Yubari in Japan.  In January 2017 he cropped the 1890s Fake News Figure, (with Lurid Background 3) from a Library of Congress illustration from the magazine Puck. Looks like the term fake news has been around a long, long time. 

Doug Zwick photographed the man with a computer, who is seeing Bad News. He's on the McGill campus in Montreal and the statue commemorates the passing of Steve Jobs. The laptop screen reads Steve Jobs est mort 1955 - 2011.

The Newspaper Reader, a life-scale bronze sculpture of a man reading a newspaper on a bench, was cast by Seward Johnson in 1987. It is was one Johnson's firsts. Johnson was working on the original design when the Watergate scandal became headline news, so he decided to add the famous New York Times edition which announced "NIXON RESIGNS" to his sculpture. It was photographed by Wally Gobetz, a prolific photographer of interesting artistic and historical works. A retrospective of Seward Johnson's work presents an overview of the New Jersey sculptor's 50-year career through a lifetime collection of over 150 of his works. Grounds For Sculpture is a 42-acre sculpture park and museum located in Hamilton Square, New Jersey. The grounds feature over 270 large scale contemporary sculptures and Wally has photographed many of them.

As far as I can tell, in 2006 Liana, Kyle, Isabella and Xavi were in Prague. Liana sat on a bench. Or did she?  Then Kyle was sleeping on the same bench. Or was he?  It's probably best that you make up your own mind.

The colourful rainbow love bench in Yachats, Oregon was photographed by Mike Krzeszak, aka Mavis, an Aspiring Photographer in Portland. He loves rusty things, black and white photography, old buildings and graffiti.

Troy breezed into Paradise Island a couple of summers ago. He's normcore and his passport lists his occupation as Pilgrim. Apart from that, all we know about him is this: 1) he comes from Dry Heaves, Minnesota, where he learned to read poetry in a particularly alluring voice  2) he never wears shoes  3) he is extremely polite and calls ladies Ma'm  4) he speaks a lot of languages fluently 5) he carries a manbag filled with books, a violin and a ladder in case anyone needs to be rescued. And doesn’t he look great in his lovely sweaters from Lady Brassica's Studio? It's at Ballyfrumpy in County Offhand. 

There are truly different shades of blue, as in the beautiful photograph by Maher Berro, taken in June 2016. Maher describes himself as a multimedia designer | web specialist | user experience designer mysterious | insane and enjoy it | creative | cheeky | inspirational | live in my head most of the time and not in this world | long-life learner | spunky | tenacious | artful. He currently lives in Sydney and his photostream is well worth a look.  

Massacres in Bowling Green, attacks in Sweden: Politiquotes come from David and Liz in Maryland, who are two college BFFs who enjoy collaborating on creative projects. David is a graphic designer and videographer. Liz is a crafty nerd. They enjoy talking politics and making things - thus Politiquotes was born in February 2017, just in time for badges and buttons, prints and digital downloads of hot-off-the-press pithy quotes. 

The man pointing to a map is William J. Young of Drouin, Victoria in a photo taken in 1944. Drouin is obviously not in Sweden or in Bowling Green either: he's pointing to a map in Australia. The photo comes from the National Library of Australia on the glorious Flickr Commons site at

Bill from Leeds has a whole album of photos of the lovely Woodhouse Moor Park. In June 2008 he took a lovely shot of the green, green bowling greens and their benches.  

Sheila B lives part-time in Cyprus, from where she keeps Benchsite supplied with lovely photos in the sun. There are several sculptures from the Cyprus Art School which look uncannily like Miggy, but this could be just an alternative fact. 

In his famous poem on the outbreak of war in 1939 WH Auden refers to a low, dishonest decade. He meant the 1930s, when the economic disaster of the Great Depression made truth the first casualty. Propaganda flourished in this stressful climate and war was on the horizon when George Orwell suggested that useful lies are preferable to harmful truths. There are lessons for us here and now because, quoting His Excellency, Et praeterita obliviscentes, in ea procul dubio ea repetere.  Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.

His Excellency is one of my two husbands. He is a philosopher and a man who takes an interest in many subjects, apart from chemistry. Mungo, my imaginary husband, is my travelling companion and soulmate but he is not agreat lover of poetry. He blames this on his schooling, which focused mostly on woodwork. For more about my two husbands and their educations see

David Hayward is the nakedpastor. He's a graffiti artist on the walls of religion. Yes, really. His Fighting Over the Truth cartoon is one of the many brilliant drawings, cartoons, posters and prints available in his etsy shop.

The best grilled cheese the world has ever seen? It's at Brownies and Brunch in Crickhowell in Wales. Or so they say. 

Eddie is my Inner Editor, who just happens to be a primate. He's a stickler for truth but if you've seen much of Benchsite you will know what a problem this is for me. Eddie has ruined helped me edit the post about my swimming bench and the Blue Monday benches.  He interfered with stepped in to help with the Orange bench mystery. Look what a mess he made great job he did on St. George's Day . And as for my Red benches in February? No wonder I was very grateful seeing red. 

Speaking of primates, the huge gorilla is at the entrance to Longleate Safari Park in Wiltshire. 

Sitting on History is a bench sculpture by Bill Woodrow, 1995 at   I photographed this bench at Cass Sculpture Park in 2009. There's another one at the British Museum and also, I think, in Milton Keynes.

Fosco Lucarelli photographed the Fake a Dream bench in Venice back in 2003. Fake a Dream

The poo fairy signs appear all over East Cowes on the Isle of Wight and I'm beginning to see them elsewhere too. This one was photographed by Joanna Michalak.

The man holding his own head is Simon Greig (xrrr), who is an IT architect and part-time photographer. He has made this photo available via Flickr Creative Commons at  It's called Happy Headless Halloween and apparently it only took him 15 minutes to make

Leprechauns are big business in Ireland and there's a National Leprechaun Museum in Dublin. The Killer Leprechaun sign was photographed at the Killeen House, Aghadoe, County Kerry by Joel Sowers in 2010. Joel has a lot of travel albums from the United States and also one from Ireland, including the obligatory one for all travellers to Ireland - someone kissing the blarney stone 

Barb Dorsey's hometown is Sandusky and she's a homemaker in Castalia, USA. The photographed the Liars and Bragging bench in 2010 in Bergmans Orchard, Port Clinton, Ohio.

Pinocchio was photographed on a bench in Orvieto in Italy. I found the photo in the Etsy shop of Haya Gold from Tel Aviv. Haya does fine art photography, fine art prints, and home decor. When Haya's friends asks her What's new? they know there will always be something new; her shop is constantly getting exciting new stuff. Most photographs displayed in the shop are on fine art heavyweight paper at the convenient size of 8" x 10", however all the photographs can be enlarged to almost every size and on any kind of material.

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 red news bench was photographed in 2007 in Johannesburg. The photographer is Babak Fakhamzadeh, a traveller who is from Tehran but now lives in São Paulo, Brazil.

The girl selling newspapers is selling Sprzedajaca Gazety from somewhere in Poland in 1907. The artist is Vincent Wodzinowski (1866-1940), from the Young Poland movement in the modernist period of Polish visual arts, literature and music. This painting sold at auction in June 2020 for 40,000 zlotys.   

Meg is a paparazzi currently living in Portland. She photographed her favourite holiday movie - the yule log and the elf - in 2009. There is a fire, of sorts, going on in front of the TV.

In June 2015 Shankar S was on an archaeological excavation in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada.  He was struck by the two gossip and liars benches on the Avalon waterfront in Ferryland, Newfoundland.

No word of a lie, the concept of fake news goes back a very long way. In 1646 Thomas Browne referred to an epidemic of fake news as Pseudodoxia Epidemica. In 1640 William Hazlitt used the term ultracrepidarian for someone who opined beyond his experitise: who does that remind you of? In the Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1796) a taradiddler referred to a person who tells falsehoods or lies.  For more about quacksalvers, charlatans, taradiddlers, ultracrepidarians and saltimbancos, see Steven Poole's brand new book entitled Before Trump: the real history of fake news 

The slightly scary green troll is a wool felted sculpture by Kelly Riley in Bend, Oregon. Kelly does fiber art, felt art, felt supplies, and original music. Some of her photographs and sculptures, such as Nora the sheep, have already featured on Benchsite. Her etsy shop is at 

Much Afraid is a character from John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, first published in 1678.

Chester is a posh town in the north of England. It's the sort of place where people might be offended by other people, in other words, shoppers in the pretty streets of Chester do not like to see homeless people on their benches. In October 2015 two street artists placed some plaques on benches across the city to raise awareness of the plight of homelessness in their city. I have shown two of the plaques in this story. As reported in The Chester Chronicle, it wasn't long before the plaques were removed because, according to an official spokesperson, ". . . although they may appear humorous, some people may find them offensive". So now it's not just homeless people who are offensive; it's humour as well. I saw this story on Jamie Zawinski's blog at 

Sign Fail is one of the brilliant discoveries I have made on etsy. Michael Bancroft from Melbourne makes funny sign replicas inspired by real-life hilarity - the best of Chinglish and Engrish on handmade funny signs, cards & magnets. I've used them before, I'll use them again here on Benchsite. They're quirky,inexpensive, great fun.

Chris McNicholl from Co. Down in Northern is a young designer with a passion for being creative. TweetingSeat is an interactive park bench which is designed to explore the potential for connecting digital and physical communities. The bench logs its usage by uploading images of its users and environment to a live Twitter feed, allowing people to interact with it both in person and virtually. The aim of TweetingSeat is for people and communities to form their own relationship with the object through the way in which they choose to use it. Each time someone sits down, TweetingSeat uploads an image from two cameras to the Twitterfeed. One camera is located on the bench looking at the surrounding space, and another is located nearby looking at the people who use it.  

Twitter for Dummies is a book I've never got round to reading. 

StitchBucket is run by Derek in California. Derek knows stitches. He makes the best stitches. They're terrific. Everyone agrees. His cross stitch patterns are available as instant downloads. Every other cross stitch pattern is fake news.

David Schroeder is a retired clinical psychologist, now a curator of The Photographers' Gallery in Modesto, California. His travel sets capture the vibrant colours of life around the world, including Central and South America. His benches against the yellow wall were taken in 2013 at Bernal, Queretaro de Arteaga.

Valerie Everett lives in Tuscumbia, USA and is a frequent Benchsite contributor. She was out and about on Christmas Day in 2008 when she photographed Ronald McDonald on a bench in Indianapolis.

The Obamas, Michele and Barrack, are seated on life-sized benches and are themselves life size. They are made by Life Size models from Jolly Roger Ltd., otherwise known as Lifesize Models in the UK. They have thousands of quality resin and fibre-glass 3D life-size models, figures, signs, statues, props, furnishings, etc. Their showroom has over 2000 themed models, which include animals, people, and everything from counter-top coffee beans to fullsize elephants. Their Facebook page shows some of the models in amazing situations   

When Camden Council in London removed some of their public benches it was time for the Guerilla Benchers to step in. They turned up at 7 am armed with 18v hammer drills and two benches to be re-installed. Due to their cunning disguises in high visibility vests, the guerilla benchers were not questioned by anyone as they installed the benches. Unfortunately though, the drills ran out of batteries just after the first bench had been installed so in true workman style they retired to a cafe for a fry-up breakfast and cup of tea whilst the batteries re-charged. The missing benches were duly replaced and all was well with the world. The guerilla benchers would like to make it clear that they have NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with Space Have a look at their website and decide for yourself.

The infograph for spotting fake news is from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, posted on Wikicommons in January 2017. The infographic is based on’s 2016 article "How to Spot Fake News" in PDF format. There are versions in dozens of languages. This is the English one: 
uselang=en-gb   This is the Swedish one: 

Dasha Gaian currently lives in Luxembourg and travels a lot. Her goal is to take a photograph which ends up on the cover of National Geographic. The beautiful grey cat was seen by Dasha in Gurzuf, Crimea in 2006. His name is probably not Grayson.  Dasha calls him The Bench King.  Cats and benches have an affinity so it's only right that here on Benchsite we have some glorious cat benches. And somehow cats have taken over our piano benches. And the benches of St. Helier too.

We have all colours of benches here on Benchsite. The brilliant orange knitted bench is by Claire-Anne O'Brien Originally from County Cork in Ireland, Claire-Anne O'Brien lives and works in London producing textiles for furniture, space and product. Specialising in constructed textiles, material properties and textile technique are explored through hands-on experimentation. With a sculptural approach, Claire-Anne investigates form, construction and scale through textiles. Shows include London Design Festival, Milan Furniture Fair, Wool Modern and Spinexpo. In 2011 she received the Future Makers Award from the Crafts Council of Ireland.  

nicksarebi is a lecturer in Bristol in the UK. He took the photo of the flooded benches in Worcester on February 14, 2014. By this time many parts of Somerset had been under water for eight weeks.

We have a whole fiesta of Mexican benches here on Benchsite. El Niño isn't one of them since he doesn't have a bench. 

Brian O'Connell is broc7. His Queretaro compadres bench was taken in México
in 2007.  His photostream has some lovely shots of snowy winter benches too, probably not taken in México.

There is a whole alphabet of creative benches in The Netherlands. The beautiful mosaic bench is at the Peace Palace in Den Haag. The Peace Palace houses the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial body of the United Nations, as well as other institutions of international law.The Peace Palace opened in 1913 and was funded by Andrew Carnegie as a temple of peace. The bench was photographed by Akbar Simonse, whose photostream is at  

Lady Jessica Brassica is a fashionista and former model with Studio Joop from Overbearing in Holland. Now she has her own fashion house at Ballyfrumpy in County Offhand in Ireland. She loves shopping at her replica mall and having poetry read to her by Young Male Readers dot com. She is happily married to Lord Brassica, Fifth Earl of Drizzly but last summer Lady Jess  spent rather a lot of time at her beach hut with Troy.

The woman in the deck chair is a brilliant painting I saw on a beach hut on Hayling Island in summer 2016. It's like one of those old time seaside postcards. Sorry, no artist was shown but all credit to him/her.

For a small town, Lewiston, Idaho sure has a lot of nice benches. In the pretty old town square there are a couple of philosophical benches with quotations on them. There are some colourful quirky chairs. Then there's a lovely sculpture of Tom Campbell, who was a journalist on the local Tribune newspaper. His statue is now on a bench outside the Tribune offices. I photographed it when I was looking for Wild West Benches in 2016. 

Eric Heupel is an oceanographer who lives in Mystic Seaport, Groton, Connecticut. In March 2014 some divers did a cleanup dive in the Mystic river and, among other things, they brought up an old park bench. They left the bench along, with a "coffee table" out for the Mystic Irish Parade, which apparently generated a bit of conversation (good!) and then disposed of them Monday morning

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.

We've had a lot of benches on the move here on Benchsite. Dude, where's m,y bench? Todd in Oshkosh, Wisconsin is The Tailgate Guy. He has built 25 benches from tailgates of various kinds and they're sold on etsy  The Dodge and all sorts of others are on his Facebook page, where you can see the whole process from tailgate to bench

The beautiful Dandelion Bench is a metal work by Sally Bridge in Wakefield, Rhode Island. Previously a fashion designer, Sally makes amazing furniture from metal. Her Rustic Modern Living collection is inspired by her home in Umbria in Italy, where she lives and works part of the year. She uses reclaimed, recycled and new metal for her pieces and works with local craftsmen. Sally describes her style as a culmination of the following elements: edge (which is undefininable), a sculptural aspect, graphic detail and boldness, a little 50′s, and a well travelled mind.
Her website is at

The Blarney Castle bench is outside Blarney Castle near Cork in Ireland. You're meant to kiss the blarney stone, which apparently gives you the gift of the gab. I kissed it back in 1977 and I'm still waiting. The photograph is by Matt Brown, editor of and an all-round Londonophile. 

In days past, The Mercantile was the place to find anything. If you didn't see it, you just had to ask. Steve Tucker from Harrisburg, Oregon has created Tuckers Mercantile, where he makes one of a kind handmade gift items. When making signs and woodcrafts, he often uses re-purposed materials to add character and rustic appeal. The sign I love is the one about malarkey and shenanigans but he has many other Irish signs as well.

Dr. Grizz Lee was the resident dog doctor at PR company TFI Envision in Norwalk, Connecticut. He knows how to wear a stethoscope and he seems to have a good bedside manner. He actually looks a bit like our GP here in Fribble-under-Par. If you're feeling under par, you welcome a guy like this. This image of Dr. Grizz Lee is from 2003 so he's probably retired by now. TFI Envision do branding, packaging, promotion, and digital and corporate communications.

The nurse zombie was photographed by James Jardine in 2010.   James has an album of Melbourne people, apart from the many zombies in his photostream.

Here on Paradise Island we all scream for ice cream benches. The delicious ice cream bench is among a huge variety of food furniture from in the Philippines. You could also have pizza bench, a cake bench, or a chicken and chips bench. Miggy says she'd definitely go for the ice cream.

When I needed help with the story about edible benches, the appalling Jench de Bench from Potirons in France was sent to me by vegetableeditors dot com. Jench turned up in a dodgy beret with a bottle of cheap wine and a Café Creme hanging out of his mouth. He brought along Garçon Orange, his younger self, because French people are very existential. Jench spoke not a word of English but his Gallic shrug told me everything about his lack of enthusiasm for the edible benches I had chosen. There was a confrontation and it didn't end well. 

In Vino Veritas is a well-known Latin phrase: In Wine There Is Truth. The plaque sign shown is cellar decor from the ShabbySignShoppe, run by Stacy in North Carolina. The ShabbySignShoppe (try saying it out loud!) specialises in hand painted wood signs and plaques. Stacy does signs in different styles - rustic, chic and shabby, Victorian, whimsical - and in English, Spanish, German, Italian and Irish. 

The woman getting out of her bath is Vérité, otherwise known as Truth. She was painted by Jean Léon Gerome in 1896 and the correct title is La Vérité sortant du puits. Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824 – 1904) was a French painter and sculptor in the style now known as academicism. The range of his oeuvre included historical painting, Greek mythology, Orientalism, portraits, and other subjects, bringing the academic painting tradition to an artistic climax.

Huma Ganatra runs Twisted Envy, an etsy shop with a very wide range of products including clothing, spa kits, wineboxes, mugs, bags, and rhinestone transfers. Oh, and marshmallows. No kidding. There are 763 kinds of marshmallow gifts to suit every country you can think of and just about every hobby and interest too. The naked truth is always better than the best-dressed lie mug is just in time for this post truth era.

Three little birdies sitting on a log is a photograph by Richard Gillin, who is a beancounter trying to prove we're not all as dull as... Well, whatever. Richard lives in St Albans in  Hertfordshire and commutes to the Smoke every day to earn a crust. He tries occasionally to take a decent photograph or two and this includes photos for the Chocoholics group.

Doug lives in Montreal and photographs lovely things in Quebec like autumn leaves, and luscious-looking food, and the log bench with white chairbacks. This design of bench is not unique to Quebec though; Dutch designer Jurgen Beys made a very upmarket Tree Trunk Bench back in 1998, which is one of my Alphabet of Dutch Benches.  Doug's photostream is at  and he's also on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. 

We've got a lot of luscious log benches here on Benchsite. Just logs. And cake.

The Mars bar was photographed in 2006 by John Hartnup, a computer guy from Leamington Spa in the UK. John says he's not the only John, but a John. He has no eccentricities. None. As for the Mars bar, it's now one of the many photos in the Mars Bar group

The wide awake businessman is called Man Lying on His Side (2000). It's one of many fabulous sculptures by Sean Henry  Sean Henry is one of my favourite sculptors. In August 2011 I was lucky enough to see his work scattered around the grounds of Salisbury cathedral. What a terrific setting for his lifesize figures. The lying man in a suit is resting on his briefcase and I'd like to think he's simply resting, not contemplating the demise of the UK economy.

Jeremy Brooks Liar's Bench cocktail bar was photographed in 2009 in Placerville, California.  This is a photo in the Can You Hear the Noses Growing gallery on Flickr. Jeremy Brooks quotes the Desolation Theme by Ken Nordine of Stay Awake: 
Do you see the noses growing
And wonder where the truth is going?

id-iom's 2009 artwork Liar is another one from the Can You Hear the Noses Growing gallery. This one is spraypaint, marker pen, acrylics, paint pen, and ink on a 60 x 60 cm canvas. id-iom artists and purveyors, from London, do all manner of artistic creations -  original artwork, stencils, graffiti, screenprints, limited editions . . .

Empathise with stupidity and you're halfway to thinking like an idiot. So says this quotation from The Guardian, printed on a foldup chair. It was, I think, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, photographed by wyrdlight at

OnceandFuture Laura is from Tacoma, Washington. She has taken a lot of pictures of courtrooms and the Oath on the Bench was taken in 2010. It's not actually a high-five, as you might have guessed, but an oath caught in mid-air on camera has interesting interpretations. 

London suffered a terrorist attack on March 22, 2017. The following day a London tube sign sent a defiant message for terrorists and this was read on the BBC TV news the following day. However charming and well intended it is, the message is yet another example of fake news as it was created by an online tube sign generator,  Nevertheless, many people, including the British prime minister, praised its sentiments. You just have to love London.

Blue lies have been around for more than ten years and are frequently told in business, politics, sports, and many other areas of  life. Since adults generally dislike lies, why is there so much lying going on? Last week the Scientific American published a well argued paper about the three common types of lies. To summarise complicated academic evidence, black lies are lies told to benefit or gratify the self by possibly harming others, white lies are lies told to benefit others, and blue lies are lies told to benefit or create a social group while possibly harming others. The argument is that in politics recently blue lies have become a kind of weapon that simultaneously builds group identity amongst supporters while potentially harming everyone else. Smart people/bad people/unattractive people - I'm naming no names here.

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