Friday, 1 January 2021

The Year of the Ox Bench 2021

It's the Year of the Ox.

Postcard from Honolulu, Hawaii c. 1910

It's a heavy load to pull but I'm going to welcome in the new year with this great ox bench sofa.

Let's face it, 2020 has been an amazingly awful year. 

Sorrowing Old Man 1890, Vincent Van Gogh

I'm  jolly glad to see the end of 2020, the Year of the Plague Rat benches. 

Throughout most of 2020 we haven't been flying high. 2020 went down like a lead balloon. 

Eddie, my Inner Editor, who just happens to be a primate: Happy New Year, everyone! And by the way, here's a picture of me. 

Eddie, I want to make it perfectly clear that this story is about The Year of the Ox, not The Year of the Monkey.

Eddie: I hear you.

I mean it, Eddie. None of your monkey business

Eddie: The subject is oxen. Year of. 

Yes. The Year of the Ox is the second sign in the twelve year cycle of the zodiac. It begins on February 12, 2021 and goes until January 30, 2022. 

My husband, His Excellency, is prone to mansplaining, so he is going to tell us the most recent Years of the Ox.

His Excellency: Years of the Ox are as follows: 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009 and 2021. If you were born within the Chinese New Year in any of these years, you are an Ox. 

If you are Vincent Van Gogh, or Walt Disney, or Margaret Thatcher, you're an Ox. 

Are you an Ox? 

My husband, His Excellency: I most certainly am not an Ox. I am a philosopher.

The Formalist, John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress

His Excellency: And as it happens, I'm OXford educated.

Eddie: Here we go with the puns. 

Well, that's all water under the OXbridge bench.

His Excellency: I think you'll find this is the Brooklyn bridge. 

Eddie: Or a genuine imitation of one. 

I think you'll find it's the same difference.

His Excellency: Those are OXymorons by the way: same difference. Genuine imitation. 

artist unknown

Is this an original copy? Just asking. 

Eddie: And now I guess you're going to tell us what an oxymoron is. 

His Excellency: It's a figure of speech where one word contradicts the other. It comes from two ancient Greek words, oxys, meaning sharp, and moronos, meaning dull

This story is certainly dull. 

Eddie: And there is no shortage of morons. 

To liven things up, I have used quite a few oxymorons in this story. See if you can spot them. 

His Excellency: a lively bench blog. Now that's an oxymoron. 

Eddie: As it's The Year of the Ox, are we at any point going to see an ox bench?

Happy to oblige.

(Credit: John P. Mosesso, USGS. Public domain.)

His Excellency: The ox on the right bears some resemblance to Mrs. Thatcher.

And the one on the left is a dead ringer for Walt Disney.  

Eddie: But there's no bench.

You're getting the cart before the ox here.

Cart with Red and White Ox 1884, Vincent Van Gogh

Tamsin, a sweet but not very bright local girl: Oh I love to see animal pictures! This cat doesn't look very well fed. 

We're moving on. First, the characteristics of Ox people. 

His Excellency: Van Gogh was an Ox and it didn't end well for him. It was no bed of sunflowers.

Eddie: No starry, starry night.

No bench.

Tamsin: Maybe these ox people don't have any money for a bench? 

On the contrary, people born in the Year of the Ox are very good with money benches. They're financially secure. 
They are dependable, hardworking, and not afraid to put in a lot of effort to get things done. 

Need a heavy bench moved? Call in the Ox people

Eddie: I'd have thought you'd want an oxcart for that.

His Excellency: Sounds too good to be true. I have a feeling there's a catch.

Yes. Ox people are not great at communicating. 

They do not enjoy social intercourse.

Tamsin: My son has a hat like this. I don't know if  I've ever done social intercourse though. Do you need a hat for it?

Eddie: This chap looks totally unapproachable. What's with the folded arms?

Keeping people away I think.

If you see an Ox person on a bench, act natural and maybe say hello but do not expect any small talk. Ox people don't see the point of an exchange of ideas.

His Excellency: The unexamined life is not worth living. 

Eddie: I agree. We primates are extremely scholarly. 

The Scholars, Max von Ritter (1840-1915)

Tamsin: I read a book once. It was pink.

His Excellency: I spend most days communicating my ideas. 

Two Idlers, 1888, Robert Frederick Blum

And I spend most days not listening.

Eddie: I myself am extremely good at communicating. I am also good with money. Because I'm a bit of a card shark.

This is old news, Eddie. 

Tamsin: Golly, Eddie, you look really butch!

His Excellency: Butch Cassidy. Poker. The Sting.

Eddie: Lucky numbers this year are one and four. Avoid five and six.

Eddie: And also avoid people who were born in The Year of the Horse.

Oh dear, that's me. 

Eddie: The best match for an Ox person is a Monkey.

Or a Rooster.

Oxen get on well with Monkeys and Roosters. But not Dragons.

Eddie: And not goats.

Eddie: They do get on especially well with monkeys though.

Eddie, we're only getting started on this story and you have already put up two pictures of yourself and four other pictures of primates. This has to stop. It's Oxen we're presenting here. Or possibly cows. I can't rule out Cow benches in this post.

Tamsin: I don't really like cows though. They're kind of smelly. I like fluffy bunnies.

The Year of the Rabbit bench was in 2011, Tamsin. It's sooooo over. As is 2020.

Tamsin: What about squirrels? I love squirrel benches!

my photo, Isle of Wight

There is no Year of the Squirrel bench. So if you don't mind, I'd like to show you the benches I have collected for the Year of the Ox.  

Eddie: Ànd here was I thinking you didn't have any.

Yes, I'm a bit of a collector.

my photo Eastbourne, East Sussex

my photo, Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Eddie: And not an ox bench in sight.

You're getting the cart before the ox again.

His Excellency: This story seems to be in a random order. 

Every year I go to China to collect beautiful bench pictures for my Chinese New Year story. There are temples . . .

. . . and rivers .  . .

My cat Meredith: I would like to put in a word for The Year of the Cat.

Meredith: There are lots of lovely cat benches about.

There are, but there is no such thing as The Year of the Cat. The closest it gets is The Year of the Tiger and that's not until 2022.

Meredith: While the cat bench is away, the mice bench will play.

Thank you, Meredith. However, there is no Year of the Mouse. Though as you know, there is a Year of the Rat.

Meredith: Rats, mice - it's all lunch to me.

You are fed very well, Meredith. You do not have to catch mice and rats. 

His Excellency: He who does not feed his cat will feed rats.

If I could just get a word in here, I'd like to show you some benches for The Year of the Ox. 

It's the Metal Ox this year, so here is a metal bench.

my photo, Oiustreham, France

Tamsin: It's not a very nice bench though. 

His Excellency: Strictly speaking it's not even a bench. 

Eddie: And it's not an ox. 

It was my only choice. I couldn't find a Metal ox bench and I thought this would do. 

Or what about this? It's kind of like an oxcart, only with skinnier wheels.

Tamsin: Ohhhh, this ox is sooooo cute! 

His Excellency: This is sloppy and totally unacceptable. If it weren't so pathetic it would be seriously funny.

Eddie: I agree, Seashell. You lack the diligence and persistence that an Ox person has. 

Tamsin: Would you like my unbiased opinion? 

No, I would not. And I would like you all to stop with the oxymorons. I have a minor crisis here. 

Eddie: You have my intense apathy. 

His Excellency: You'll need a minor miracle to find an impossible solution. But the chances are growing smaller. 

Oxymoron alert: I like to think of myself as a successful failure.

Eddie: Why don't you show the lucky colours for the Year of the Ox?

Blue benches are very unlucky.

photo by Joanna Michalak

But green benches are lucky.

my photo, Lynmouth, Somerset

And yellow benches will do nicely too.

Tamsin: Ohhhhhh, I love yellow benches. They're so sunny and friendly. Like me!

Eddie: Oxen are not known for their friendliness. They are unsociable and aloof. 

my photo, London

His Excellency: When fools skate on benches, rats laugh in the rafters. 

You are stubborn as an ox. I keep telling you that the Year of the Rat was last year. 

His Excellency: I prefer to think of myself as persistent. 

No. You're stubborn, repetitive, and extremely irritating. 

His Excellency: And now for my bad points. 

Did you see what I did there though? I used an OXford comma? 

Tamsin: I hope we don't have to do commas again. I didn't understand it.

So you still love cooking babies and puppies?

His Excellency: Commas save lives. 

My friend Miggy says she stopped using the Oxford comma when she couldn't get into Oxford. 

His Excellency: This is somewhat of a paradOX.

Eddie: I'm going to stick up for Oxen here, though I myself am clearly a Monkey.

Another picture of you, Eddie. Just what we need.

Eddie: I was going to point out that due to their willingness to work hard, Ox people make very good farmers.

His Excellency: I expect they're good at pulling ox carts too. 

Cart With Black Ox 1884, Vincent Van Gogh

Tamsin: oh, this poooooor puppy! The burden is too much for him.

His Excellency: The burden of this blog is too much for me.

Eddie: I'm feeling just like this ox right now.

Thank you all for communicating your feelings. Let's carry on.

Despite being weak in communication skills, Ox people are very good politicians. Did you know that ex-President Obama was born in the Year of the Ox?

His Excellency: He and Michele seem to be getting on very well. 

Not like you and me last Valentine's Day when we were alone together on a bench. 

Or the year before. We were on a knife edge.

Eddie: This is bittersweet. Perhaps there was a cool passion?

No, there was a deafening silence. 

Tamsin: Oh look! He's got a green bench! 

Tamsin: Green is lucky! 

His Excellency: I think you'll find that Mr. Obama does not need luck. He is a very strong communicator in all spheres of life.  

Eddie: He was certainly responsive when I wrote to him. He sat in the Oval Office and read my letter carefully.

 And of course you sent him a picture.  

Tamsin: Golly, Eddie, you're famous!

Eddie: And he was good at getting me my job back when you sacked me. 

Eddie, you were sacked because you were a useless editor. And anyway, that was YEARS ago. 

Eddie: The pain never goes away. 

His Excellency: Your persistence and effort paid off though. The true qualities of an Ox person. 

Tamsin: Me, I'm kind of shy and timid.

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

Well, Ox people are too. It's just that they're full of determination. Which they will need to be if they are to be a success in 2021.  

Eddie: Unless they face southwest. Southwest is bad luck this year for Oxen.

I guess we won't be getting out the covered wagon benches then.

In fact, like everybody else, Ox people need to pay attention to health and safety this year. They should avoid any high risk activity.

It goes without saying: don't stand on benches.

If you're at the gym trying to get strong as an ox, mind how you go.

Meredith: I for one will be relaxing and staying out of the rat race.

His Excellency: The thing with a rat race is, even if you win you're still a rat

Very profound, HE. Is that what you learned at Oxford?

Meredith: You need to breathe some OXYgen into this story. Maybe you need to take a different direction

Eddie: Directions are very important in 2021. Get all your benches facing north or south. 

Tamsin: Yellow ones, not blue! 

His Excellency: Well, Seashell, I hate to be the one to bring this up but we have yet to see an ox bench in this story. 
Eddie: And it's not for want of looking.

On the Lookout 1889, Elif Peterssen (1852-1928)

I was hoping you wouldn't notice. I had a few problems finding ox benches. This is the best I could do.
Ox paper towel holder, Amazon 

Tamsin: Paper. Towel. Hmmmm. Is that an oxy-whatsit?

His Excellency: Well done, Tamsin, you've learned something today.

Meredith: A couple of ox benches wouldn't have gone amiss. Or even a cow bench. 

But ox and cow benches aren't the same thing, are they?

His Excellency: The title of this story is totally misleading. Readers are expecting to see a cartload of ox benches. 

Eddie: The larger half of the story is irrelevant. Probably there aren't any readers for this blog anyway.

You're right, Eddie. I guess the yoke is on me.

Eddie: Wrong kind of yolk. 

I'm clearly confused. I'd better roll out the ox bench I found on ebay.

It's a rustic bench made from a genuine oxcart wheel.

His Excellency: You can't get away with this, Seashell. One ox bench does not a new year make.

Ok, let's forget the ox benches. How did you get on with the oxymorons?

There are at least 25 intentional ones in the story, including Tamsin's. It's an open secret (see what I did there?) that some accidental ones sometimes occur. For a full list, scroll down to the end of the credits.

Now, ox bench or no ox bench, it's time to say goodbye. 

Eddie: Parting is such sweet sorrow. 

And I'd like to wish everyone a happy Year of the Ox.


Chinese New Year is an annual event here on Benchsite. Last year it was the Year of the Plague Rat.  In 2019 it was The Year of the Pig and I'm not telling porkie pies when I say that the pig benches are better than a bacon sandwich. In 2018 we got in a bit of a muddle about unicorns and/or dogs. In 2017 it was the Year of the Rooster and there's quite a bit about Chinese beer in that story as well. The Year of the Monkey Bench went on for far too long in 2016 and contained a lot of monkey business. Back in 2015 it was Goats and/or possibly Sheep Benches. 2014? That was Horse Benches.

The 2021 Chinese New Year picture at the start of the story is from the Party Stickers shop at etsy. It is one of hundreds of wall stickers, decals, and murals that they sell on a huge variety of subjects.

The oil painting of the sad old man was made by Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh two months before he died, in 1890. Van Gogh was in an asylum in Saint Remy in France at the time. This is what he wrote about the painting. "My intention . . . is to express the special mood of Christmas and New Year. ... Leaving aside whether or not one agrees with the form, it’s something one respects if it’s sincere, and for my part I can fully share in it and even feel a need for it, at least in the sense that, just as much as an old man of that kind, I have a feeling of belief in something on high even if I don’t know exactly who or what will be there."

The photograph of Eddie working at his desk is his favourite picture. Eddie is my Inner Editor, who just happens to be a primate. If you've seen much of Benchsite you will know what a problem Eddie is for me. He 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. However, he has a habit of setting his own agenda with the benches. 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.

Jason Ellsworth-Aults currently lives in Santiago, Chile. He took the lovely picture of the baby monkey playing on a red bench in Kyoto, Japan. We have all colours of benches here on Benchsite but red benches are clearly Eddie's favourite.

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

I am lucky enough to have two husbands. One is Mungo, my imaginary husband, who keeps a good workbench. The other is His Excellency, who has a reputation for destruction, even when he means well. He's a philosopher and, to say the least, not a very practical person. You can appreciate his difficulties if you know his school bench history.

The Formalist and Much Afraid are two illustrations from the most wonderful The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan, published in 1683. Though Bunyan preceded my husband His Excellency by several hundred years, his illustration captures the essence of the man as we know him today. 

The Oxford bench was photographed by Stephanie Byron, who is from Iowa. I don't know if she was actually in Oxford at the time, or maybe even another place called Oxford, other than the well-known university one. Her shop is Red Hedge Photos, which sells simple, beautiful, and unique products inspired by nature. There are floral prints, animals, textures, objects, letters and all kinds of prints to add a dash of cheerful inspiration to everyday life.

"I demand originality or else imitation will do" is a photograph from the Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth many years ago. I regret that I have been unable to trace the artist.

Do you have any questions about punctuation benches? Know what a comma is for? How does punctuation save lives? For some perfectly punctuated benches, see   A few students have told me that this story actually helped them (exclamation point)

Want to see some amazing, well-engineered bridge benches? Engineer Emily has lotss of them to show you  
The brilliant Brooklyn Bridge bench was photographed in Brooklyn Heights by DeShaun Craddock in 2011. A self-taught Brooklyn photographer, De Shaun shoots mostly urban landscapes. New York landmarks, music gigs, Brooklyn street life, no pants subway rides - his photostream has it all.  He also creates prints of the images for his shop.

Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh was born in the Year of the Ox in 1853. The two oxcart oil paintings were both done in 1884 in the Dutch town of Nuenen, shortly before Van Gogh left the Netherlands to live in the South of France. The black ox cart picture is unsettling because both the cart and the ox are so decrepit. This may reflect the artist's anxiety at the time. The painting now belongs to an art museum in Portland, Oregon. An analysis by digital x-ray and ct scans show a flying bird, which was covered beneath the oxcart.  

Don't you just hate it when someone takes your bench away? The two woodland folk carrying a heavy log bench away are raganu kalnas - characters from Lithuanian folklore. They are at Witch Hill in Juodkrante, where a forest trail of sculptures was created in 1979. The photo, Long Bench, was photographed by IceM626 on his visit to Lithuania in 2013. Other albums in his photostream include New Orleans, Poland and Utah.

The illustration of the man with crossed arms is not actually my husband. William Cobbett (1763-1835) an English journalist reformer who campaigned to end poverty and inequality in England. The image is from page 282 of "The life and letters of William Cobbett in England & America, based upon hitherto unpublished family papers" (1913). I saw it on the wonderful Internet Archive Book Images photostream at

Mike Coghlan in Adelaide is one of my most reliable bench providers - what an eye he has!  His bench collection is the most extensive I have found and it is truly inspirational. On dreary days I flick through to see what's new and it cheers me up enormously. For this post I have used his bench wrapped in tape, which is reminiscent of a crime scene or perhaps even IS a crime scene..    And by the way, there's a case to be made for looking at legal benches   

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 swaggering chimp looks like he's just come out of a backroom game of Craps with Paul Newman and Robert Redford. I saw this and thought The Sting, best film of 1973. And of course I thought of Eddie, my poker-playing Inner Editor. The Chimp is a Geekery art poster, an original drawing by Spiderman Jonah Jameson, provided here by the wonderful uNatural etsy shop If you've seen The Chimp before you've no doubt been reading about National Insect Week benches, presented by Eddie, who was not at his best due to a morbid fear of ladybugs, grasshoppers and other harmless insects.

ro_chi has no profile so there is very little I can say about him or her except that the photostream is brilliant and all photographs are available on Creative Commons. For my Fiesta of Mexican benches story I could have done almost a whole Mexican bench blog from ro_chi's photos alone. The Poker bench, I think, is by Darthko ro_chi calls the Poker bench the Ace of Hearts (As de corzones ). It sounds lovely in Spanish.

2014 was The Year of the Horse
The handsome black and gold horse is by 3D Rivers, whose mission is to help the internet community meet the growing need for a wide range of well-designed, high quality 3D models and consumer goods products in a constantly changing environment. They offer a huge range of 3D products including things like buildings, transport, everyday objects, characters, model packs, animals, and yes, of course, benches. This Indian-style horse is one of the many different kinds of benches available via their online site at He has already appeared on Benchsite as one of the animals on Noah's Ark

2017 was The Year of the Rooster at The charming rustic rooster and chicken bench is from in Los Gatos, California. The bench features a special hand-painted rooster and chicken design on the back rest. The papaya finish has been lightly distressed to add an antique feel. It's available for $2,295.00. Belleescapes has just about every kind of chic furniture you can imagine: farmhouse, industrial, cottage, bohemian, cosmo, Provence, vineyard and even shabby chic. Cottage style? They've got coastal, earthy . . . I'll stop there. You can have a look for yourself.

Goats were a thing back in 2015. It was the Year of the Goat 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.

The ape on a bench is certainly a splendid creature. And so is Mike Coghlan, the photographer. Mike has a King Kong sized collection of benches which have been used widely in Benchsite stories.

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

There is quite a thing about sock monkeys and about monkeys generally. Indeed I found 485 etsy shops with the word Monkey in their title. The blue sock monkey is by Heather Doon in Ontario, Canada at

Horn Imports in the UK make all sorts of life size art animals, some of which are benches. In 2019, Horn Imports was commissioned to design and produce 11 Highland Cow Bench Models by the town of Crieff in Scotland. Historically Crieff has been an important market place for highland cow trading, so it was decided that this Highlander model would be the most appropriate. Ok, it's not an ox but The Crieff Cowche is a great looking bench.

For more bovines, let Lord Brassica show you around the creme de la creme of cow benches

Tamsin is a sweet local girl who works here in Fribble-under-Par in the Not Quite Good Enough Pharmacy. Ever a follower of fashion, Tamsin likes to try anything new, even lurid purple Easter frocks. She has a rather odd perspective on life, as shown in the post she helped me with about big and small benches. If you think size doesn't matter, you ought to see it.

We have some lovely sunny bunny benches for Easter. Sara lives in Naples, Italy and has a menagerie of very charming creatures, including Milo the dwarf rabbit. Born in 2007, Milo is described as half kitten, half bulldog, and an aspiring actress. Milo and her companions are very willing subjects for photographs; they will wear anything and hold any posture. But Milo does protest that this bench is just a little bit too small, even for a dwarf rabbit.

The cement squirrel bench is one which my sister-in-law won in a raffle on the Isle of Wight. Sadly, there is no Year of the Squirrell. 

It's true, I have thousands of images of benches from all over the world. I keep collecting them whenever we travel and I collect them faster than I can use them. The row of benches is at Eastbourne in East Sussex; British seaside towns are particularly fond of stringing benches along the seafront. The other row of benches are actually church pews, in the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. 

And as for the very tall stack of picnic benches, Martijn Engelbreght and Miguel Brugman's 'Rest' Air Restaurant was in Wageningen, Netherlands in 2008. Unfortunately, they are no longer taking reservations. But isn't this the most wonderful thing? Martijn gave me permission to use the picture. He has a very cool website address:  For the very coolest of Dutch designer benches see

**El-Len** is a physician and vintner who loves to travel and sees photography as a way of capturing moments and extending each trip she takes. She photographed beautiful bridges whilst travelling in China. The covered bridge is Miao architecture in Langde village in Guizhou Province. Ellen sent me several beautiful Miao bridges, which are from the Miao ethnic minority in this region of China. But that's just the beginning of the wondrous images I found in her photostream   For some beautiful bridge benches cross over to  

Meredith is modelled by my own cat Melissa. Melissa, like Naomi Campbell, is not prepared to get out of bed for less than ten thousand dollars a day. That puts her out of my price range so I used the same pictures as before. If you like Meredith's style of editing and you don't mind cats, see what she did to put my post about piano benches all out of tune. Where she did excel though, was World Cat Day

The cat bench is one of very many Social Sofas created by local communities in The Netherlands. I cycled around two summers photographing them; this one is in Dordrecht.

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 their edible benches such as tacos and ice creams. You could also have pizza bench, a cake bench, or a chicken and chips bench.

The lovely mouse bench is by Danish designers Nofred in Copenhagen. It's made of oak veneer and suitable for children 2-5 years. Nofred was founded by Sandra and Signe, who combined their backgrounds in interior design with their role as mothers. Seeing their own children play, they saw a gap in the market for interior products that not only belong in the children’s room but blend perfectly with the adult interior of the entire home. They want to create unique moments in childhood with sustainable products lasting for generations.

The beautiful angular statue, Couple on Seat, is in Cabot Square at Canary Wharf, London. It's one of many by British sculptor Lynn Chadwick (1914-2003), made in 1984 in the tradition of Henry Moore. Chadwick began his career as an architectural draughtsman but after World War II he took up sculpture. His work is now exhibited at Lypiatt Sculpture Park near Stroud in Gloucestershire. This photograph is by Sludgegulper in 2010 and although I first saw it on Wikicommons, it also appears in his Flickr photostream at  

JD Hancock lives with his wife and two kids in Austin, Texas. He's a hubsand, father, web-slinger, cyborg, photographer. One of the things he photographed is the couple on a knife edge, an image which is straight out of the camera: no tweaking, no color processing, no cropping, no nothing. JD calls it Paring. He explains that a paring knife is a small, plain-edged knife designed for peeling and intricate work. The dull side also makes a great bench for his tiny young lovers, who are part of his Little Dudes series, documenting the Little Dudes who live in his home. Weird, witty, highly recommended.

The rusted seats which aren't quite a bench were ones I saw in Ouistreham in Normandy, France. I have a whole collection of ugly/broken/unwanted benches and sooner or later all of them come into a story. 

The lovely bright blue bench was photographed by Joanna Michilak on a sunny day at Denham Gardens in West Sussex. 

The green bench against a sea wall is at Lynmouth in Somerset. 

The roller skater on a bench is a statue I saw when wandering around Victoria Station in London. Oh, the wonderful things you can see in cities. 

The excellent portrait of Eddie looking studious is from Fringepop, an etsy shop in Atlanta, Georgia. It's full of 8x10 art prints including hipster, pin ups, zombies, steampunk, mermaids, witches, Edgar Allan Poe, Abraham Lincoln, cabinet cards, owls, taxidermy, flappers, octopus, fine art, lowbrow art, and surreal art. Fringepop also has a large selection of roller derby, horror goth, retro kitsch, and circus sideshow. They also love art deco, flapper, and art nouveau pinups and gorgeous deco mermaid art. They specialize in Victorian, medical, sideshow, and other oddity art along with many whimsical animals including squirrels, owls, deer, and ravens. As if this weren't enough, Fringepop loves macabre gothic themessuch as skulls and anatomical art. Favorites also include funny designs with retro sayings and a kitsch quality.

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   You will also find them talked about on Twitter  Michele without the bench costs £390+ VAT and the Obamas together cost £799. 

President Obama was going over notes in the Red Room prior to a Live Prime Time Press Conference in the East Room of the White House on March 24, 2009. The photo was taken by Pete Souza and is an Official White House Photo from the official Whitehouse Photostream at   

The PlusZ Ranch in Redmond, Oregon is inspired by the nature and history of the Wild West. The creative people at the PlusZ Ranch use old stuff like cowboy ropes, worn horseshoes, barnwood, and antique barbed wire to make lovely, rustic things. One of them is the Cowboy boots bench, which reminds me of a gas station we used to go to in Seattle when I was a child. The gas pumps were under the cowboy hat and the cashier lived in the boots. Boy howdy, we loved going there! Sorry, I digress. The PlusZ Ranch shop is at

In 2016 we rode out to the Wild West looking for benches. There we found Pomeroy, a little farming town on Highway 12 which follows the route of explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark as their Corps of Discovery made their way to and from the Pacific Ocean in the first years of the 1800s. Pomeroy is an historic town in this respect and it's great to see all these beautiful benches commemorating their farming heritage. The one included in this story is the covered wagons.

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.

Leo Reynolds, from Norwich, has been taking photographs for many years. He photographed the sign about the dangers of standing on a bench   Leo is a geek after my own heart. His photostream is incredibly well organised into labelled and categorised sets. Among them are selfies, stick figures in peril, vintage graphics, and, of course, benches. I'm fascinated by it all, especially 1,141 photos of the letter E. And if this isn't convenient enough, you can get all the letters of the alphabet, and numbers, organised by colour. Oh bliss. Finding a site like this just makes my day. 

Vinicius is a popular name in the Portuguese language. It dates back to Roman times and in 2016 it's the name of the Olympic mascot, as well as Brazil's famous musician Vinicius Moraes. Our Vini was a benchpressing champion in Brazil but during The Games he got distracted by Innocent and struck Gold in an entirely different way.

Sunny yellow benches are a bit of a tradition here on Benchsite. There are some springy ones that will get you in the mood for, um, spring. The one shown here is a fabulous beach shelter bench at Southsea.

The brilliant yellow sofa with two hearts is in the Netherlands. It's made by Guusje Beverdam, who specialises in ceramics which are durable, low maintenance, vandal-proof and frost resistant. I have admired her work ever since Mungo and I spent a summer holiday cycling in Overijssel and came across what I still call The Enschede Sofa. Guusje calls it a loveseat.  It's made of clay and fired at 1160 degrees and then glazed in her characteristic bright colours. What a treat to find street furniture like this!  She was Arts Woman of Overijssel in 2012 and no wonder. You can watch videos of her working on her website at  For more brilliant Dutch design see

We are egg-static about egg benches here on Benchsite. The chicken benches came first,  then the eggs

and then, of course, the roosters

Jeff Turmelle has only 23 photos on his photostream, which include landscapes, a penguin, a puff adder, and the egg yolk bench which he saw on Tallman Mountain in 2009. Well, if you're going to have a very small photostream, one of the pictures ought to be a bench.

The Farmer's Market bench in Rochester, Minnesota is by Susan Waughtal. In 2013 it was part of an exciting project called Life-is-a-bench at   For lots more yummy edible benches see

If you love animals see which animal benches Noah saved on the Ark. If you like pig benches, then you're looking in the right place and there are more small, large and faraway dog benches at  On the other hand, if you prefer cats, let Meredith show you some fabulous feline benches. Maybe you like rabbits: bunny benches are not just for Easter you know. Sheep? We've got some Baaaaaad ones here on Benchsite. And monkeys? We've got those too. And finally, for the Cream of Bovine Benches, let Lord Brassica show you his cows.

And here's a list of oxymorons that appear in the story:

Amazingly awful
Lead balloon
Genuine imitation
Same difference
Original copy
Act natural
Old news
Random order
Seriously funny
Minor crisis
Unbiased opinion
Intense apathy
Minor miracle
Impossible solution
Growing smaller
Alone together
Cool passion
Deafening silence
Only choice
Larger half
Paper towel
Sweet sorrow
Clearly confused

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