Monday, 1 July 2013

Sunny benches for Fribble Summer

Here on Paradise Island the sun has come out at last. 

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Everyone is out looking for a bench in the sun. 

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There are so many beautiful benches to choose from, like this glorious dandelion bench.

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Some benches are so sunny that you really feel you can push the boat out.

This man and his dog have found their bench and it looks like they're going to be there for some time. 

image from Arne Ranslet at

Down on the Esplanade tourists enjoy their lunch in our glorious Paradise Island sun.

image by Janet Wells

On this ice cream bench, Miggy's Cupcake Cones are going down very well.

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Miggy has moved her house down to the beach for the summer.

At high tide the sea comes up very close behind the house but no one seems to mind. We have a lot of parties at Miggy's and we do a lot of sunbathing. 

Everyone is smiling. The sun is smiling. Even the benches are smiling.

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Oh yes, it's a beautiful day.

Ursula, our Unicorn-in-Residence, looks very glamourous in her summer gear.

And here is Eddie, my Inner Editor, down on Bench Beach wearing Factor 500. He got stressed out working on Orange Benches recently so it's great to see him relaxing.  

Lady Jessica Brassica is fond of sunbathing as well.

In the afternoons Lady Brassica and her wealthy friends go out to lunch looking like Kew Gardens in their posh frocks. 

And then, as the sun turns to moon . . .  

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. . . Lady Brassica's Young Male Readers arrive on the evening ferry. 

© Olga Vasilkova | Dreamstime Stock Photos

I wonder what they're reading. Last of the Summer Wine maybe?

The sun has brought many visitors to Paradise Island and Tamsin has a new friend, The Octopus Girl. The two of them are often down on the benches along the esplanade. 

The Octopus Girl has eight limbs, but not all at the same time; she keeps the spare ones in her handbag.

Mikey the Mariner has been showing a lot of interest in The Octopus Girl. He is fascinated by her ocean heritage and her changeable limbs. 

Tamsin has been pouring her heart out to the Octopus Girl. Since receiving a heartfelt message of love from Garçon Orange, Tamsin has felt rather unsettled about her forthcoming marriage to Root. 

Miggy even saw Tamsin down on the beach with Garçon the other evening. 

It got dark, so there was just a glimmer of light left on the sunburst bench.

image from RonClark5329 

Since the weather improved everyone is more active. 

Miggy has taken up trampolining.

Whoa there, Migs! Let's hope that trampoline is up to the job.  

Hood-D has taken up running.

But otherwise the Fribble Agro gang are up to their old tricks. Here is Root pouring Coke into the swimming pool. 

Our police constable Willie Wyme, known as Wyme the Crime, doesn't seem too bovvered about it, does he?

Most nights the Agro are down at the Dustpan and ipod drinking lager shandies on the bench outside.

As the night and the dancing goes on, they find that the girls start looking smaller and smaller. The girls carry signs saying No Chance, Loser.

This has the effect of making the Agro lads feel that they might be in with a chance. 

The sun just keeps shining day after day and we can't believe our luck. 

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Fribble Park is looking its best these days.

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There have been plenty of picnics in the long, light evenings. Root and Tamsin and Tamsin's little brother are at a picnic table with my dog Sit. That's Sit standing on the table. 

At the blue picnic table April is with her Parallel Selves, May and June, sitting with Mikey the Mariner. 

The girls brought along some of their little friends, who ran around the park like headless chickens children.

The Brassicas had a family picnic the other evening too. Lady Jessica wore a fetching onesie playsuit and Tamsin, as usual, wore something similar, though the effect was altogether different.

Lord B ordered a fabulous picnic basket from Harrods 

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As a decoy for wasps, their butler, Unwin, stood nearby with a dish of raspberry jam on his head. Here he is, waiting to receive the jam. And still smiling, despite the horrors to come. 

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Lord B says that by jove he is going to have a picnic as good as The Colonies have on the 14th of July. By which he means the Americans I think. 

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Unless he means Bastille Day.That's July 14th. Also red, white and blue but without the stars and stripes.

Intervention of Garçon Orange, who is from Potirons:  France has never been and never will be a colony of Great Britain.  

OK, Garçon, point taken. 

Meanwhile, the sun keeps shining as bright as this pretty Tuscan sunflower bench. 

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Despite Tasmin's doubts about marrying Root, the wedding plans continue. 

The streets of Fribble and Drizzly are teeming with people setting things up for the big day.

image from The Pilgrim's Progress

Arrangements at Drizzly Manor are supposed to be a secret but Miggy and I found a perfect peephole in the hedge to watch what's going on.

image from Janet Wells

There's going to be a huge marquee on the tennis courts though the men of Fribble seem to be having a very hard time getting it erected. 

Drizzly Manor Chapel looks lovely.

The Brassica's garden is looking fabulous. 

All the benches have been freshly painted 

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White benches, white walls . . .  

image from Mike McAlister

. . . everything has been dressed in white.  

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But then the weather turns. 

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With the ominous clouds come droplets of discontent.

For example, this Young Male Reader isn't so young.

One of the yellow sun benches suddenly turns black, like the big clouds that are blown in from the sea.

And Miggy, out sunbathing on the Esplanade with my dog Sit, turns a peculiar shade of green.

A young man on another bench turns even more green.

You see what I mean? Little things keep going wrong.

It rains for days. 

People sit out on the benches under umbrellas.

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Wait a minute! we islanders cry. There should be 500 days of summer! 

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Then three things happen which unnerve everyone:

  • A robust blue picnic bench washes up on the beach.

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  • Garçon is found on the seabed of Paradise Reef, alive and well but nevertheless caught in a net under the starfish bench. 

  • And most mysterious of all, a week before her wedding, Tamsin finds herself with a baby.

To be continued . . . 


Mary-Lou Fletcher has some lovely photographs on Flickr, including the sunny bench with the big painted sun behind it. I loved this and thought it fitting as the first photograph on the Sunny Benches post. Mary-Lou lives in Cornwall and runs her own yacht management and marine services company. She started taking photos in her  teens and has loved photography ever since. She spent ten years at sea working on superyachts and travelling the world - I wonder if she knows Mariner Mikey from the Oceans post? Her photostream is at
A Bench in the Sun is a play by Ron Clark, which is about a retirement home. It seems to be quite a popular play amongst small community theatres. Here I have used the poster from The Hunterdon Hills Playhouse in West Hampton, New Jersey, which was performed there from April to June 2012. I hope it was a success. I couldn't find a way to contact them but their website is at

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 traveled mind.
Her website is at

I photographed the beautiful yellow bench and boat full of tulips on a street in Dartmouth, Devon in May 2016. Oh, it was gloriously sunny that day! 

Arne Ranslett (born 1931) is from Denmark. He made the 1989 bronze called Mand Med Bulldog Og Kat, otherwise known as Man with a Bulldog Sitting on a Bench in the Sun (my title). It's located in Winsen (Luhe) in Germany. I was delighted and grateful to find that this photograph is freely available for sharing through wikicommons at   I wish more people would share like this, though I understand why they don't.  

Janet Wells keeps providing me with strange and wonderful photographs to use on Benchsite. I am grateful for donations like these. The first of Janet's photos on this post is the women eating lunch on a concrete bench. As the palm trees in the background suggest, this was in Catalonia, not Fribble-under-Par. Janet's other photo is from her recent trip to the Dordogne: the intriguing peephole in the hedge. 

The fibreglass ice cream bench is from 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 cake. Their extensive catalog is at cream

The smiling suns Happy Bench is a photograph from Bruce Aleksander and Dennis Milam's Flickr photostream, which contains photos from all over the world and rather a lot of nice benches. The Happy Bench is in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Bruce and Dennis's photos are at 

I visited Selfridges in London in mid-May and delighted, as always, in their amazing window displays. Every one is memorable. I loved their summer themes and have used them here for Lady B's fashionable friends, for the girls at the Dustpan and ipod, and for the headless chickens children

The mosaic Sun and Moon bench is vitreous glass tesserae with pewter grout on a concrete bench. It was designed by Sandra Groeneveld at the Kalimera Design Company in Orlando, Florida They study the environment into which a project will be installed and design accordingly to achieve a harmonious blend. Sandra uses glass tiles, ceramic tiles, smalti, and natural stone to make custom mosaics for stepping stones, bird baths, backsplashes and, of course, benches. The sun and moon bench was commissioned as a birthday present from a man to his wife. Now wouldn't you just love to receive a present like that?  

The Young Male Reader photograph is called The Look. If you look, you can maybe see why. It comes from Dreamstime at
The photographer is Olga Vasilkova at

Ron Clark sent me the sunburst bench from his Flickr photostream at  This is a different Ron Clark from the one who wrote the Bench play. This Ron Clark has contributed previously with his whale tail bench on Oceans. He has an eye for All Things English and he has an amazing collection of pub signs in his photostream. 

The Sandman is Tom Sandusky, who made the cheerful mosaic sun bench at his studio at  He also makes handcrafted mosaic stepping stones, table tops and wall art from a process combining stained glass and Hydrostone.  

Wenche Horvath makes miniature dreamscapes, like the pretty little bird park with the bench. She does birdcages, birdhouses, tiny landscapes, and exquisite little cottages I'd like to live in. Her shop is at

Daisy Harper from Maine provided the lovely sunflower summer island picnic basket photo of the Brassicas' picnic. Daisy does all kinds of photographs, including intriguing self portraits;  her Red Riding Hood self-portrait featured in a previous post. Daisy makes homemade gifts with good energy and love. Her shop is at

Lord Brassica is something of an expert on picnic benches and he has previously helped me out on that subject. From Harrods hampers to sandwiches in the park, he provides a full guide to an excellent array of picnics and picnic benches at

The patriotic 4th of July bench is American, of course (not French). It couldn't be, could it? It has the stars and stripes on it. It's from Karen's Treasures in Denton, Texas. Her shop is at

Rusti Lee from Colorado made the bright and sunny Tuscan sunflower stool; I'm considering a stool as a bench here - why shouldn't it? Her shop is at  She makes whimsical handpainted stuff for the home, especially knobs, frames, boxes, and more. I love her painted signs. 

Vanity Fair is from John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, 1673. It's quite a busy street - much busier than Fribble High Street, even with the wedding preparations going on. 

The pretty white garden benches and flowers are not in Lord Brassica's garden but in the garden of my imaginary friend Felicity. The garden is here on Paradise Island and is beautifully kept by Felicity's husband, Hugh. 

Yael and Tal have let me use sooooo many of their lovely bench necklaces and  I have been waiting for an opportunity to show the Wet Paint bench; it's exquisite. This and other bench jewelry are available from . Their facebook page is at

Sweet Magnolias Farm is in Southern California. The farm shop is run by Sarah and Abbey, a mother/daughter team who are best friends and enjoy working together. They have a passion for vintage finds and they enjoy designing and creating unique and useful offerings for the home. Their shop is filled with beautiful stuff so I guess their home must be too. They say their everyday lives are filled with the joy of working with their hands: no wonder. They create just about anything you can imagine - furniture, fabrics, baking, soaps, bench covers - there's no end to what they can do. Their blog is well worth a visit: and they have an etsy shop as well at

Mike McAlister sent me what he called the boring bench (a white bench against a white wall.) He challenged me to find an interesting way to use it. Well ok, maybe it's not wildly interesting but it has its place in the story. Every bench sent to me will eventually find its place. Thanks, Mike. 

Gina Signore is from Michigan. The glorious Change in the Weather is an original fine art photograph. I love it for the contrast between the ominous clouds and the bright sunflowers in the foreground; rather like what's going on in Fribble, don't you think?  Gina's shop is at  She sells signed original artworks with painting, drawing, pastels, and watercolours added to them. 

The older Male Reader is on some ancient clipart that came with a computer I had 15 years ago. It must have come with a lot of peoples' computers because this guy is everywhere on business websites and no credits are ever shown. Ohhhhh, for the old days and free clipart . . . 

The green morph guy is Ben, who came to a family party and amused us all. It was a hot day but he agreed to pose for some bench pictures.

The black sun bench did not used to be yellow; it was always black. I saw it for sale on a pimp your garden page on Amazon. Now why would I want to pimp my garden? I like the bench but even so. If for some reason you want to pimp your garden, the bench is available at

Sous la pluie is the proper title of the print Girl with an Umbrella. It's one of many prints available from Sara Olmos through her shop at

Janelle O'Shea lives in Singapore and is apparently a quirky person who makes quirky things, like her 500 Days of Summer bags backpacks, which come in four different colours. She carries one herself and loves it but, as she admits, she's biased. She also makes badges, notebooks, mousepads and other interesting stuff for her etsy shop at

Hugh, aka Sosidesc, is a coastal dweller and surfer. Originally from somewhere else, he washed up in San Clemente, California, where he takes loads of gorgeous surfing and sea photographs: one of them is the picnic table/bench which washed up on the beach one day. Hugh has over 7,000 photographs, some of which are available at

All the Fribble photographs are mine. I'm sure you know that. You can tell because they usually involve either toys or out of focus real people. 


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