Sunday, 14 December 2014

Log benches. Just logs. And cake.

My best friend is Miggy. Although she's imaginary, time is short in the Christmas rush so she's going to help me with this post about log benches. 

Go on then, Migs. You start. 

Miggy: It's nice to have a yule log this time of year.

Are you sure this is a log, Miggy?

It's a yule log, yes.

Are you sure it's a bench? 

There's a little deer sitting on it. And it's time to be getting the log benches in for Christmas.

This isn't a bench. It isn't even a log. It's a Christmas cake.

No, it isn't. This is a Christmas cake.

Come on, Miggy. You know that log is a cake.

Well, yes, in one sense it's a cake. In that you can eat it. But it's a log. 
Shall we call it a yule log? 

Fair enough, Migs. But I meant this kind of log. 

Oh, I see. The kind you make a bench from.

Exactly. This is Benchsite, remember.  B-E-N-C-H . . .

You don't have to spell it out. 

I just want to make it clear that a log and a bench are not necessarily the same thing.

my photo, Schimmert, Netherlands

Log or bench? Looks like both to me.

Well, ok, maybe they are.

Anyway. It's time to be bringing in the yule log for the fire.

I already said that.

Everyone likes a nice fire whilst watching the Christmas repeats specials.

Yes, and whilst opening their presents. 

This present wouldn't be a cake by any chance?

Of course. Who doesn't want cake for Christmas? 

This story is not about cake though. It's logs.

Just logs. And log benches

And log cutters?

As you know, I have a bit of a thing for hunky log guys.

No woodcutters. No cake. No hunks. Just log that have been made into benches.

But isn't it going to be very boring looking at log benches? One log looks much like another.

No, not at all! Wood has distinctive grains, like this glossy one. No.This is a cake. 

Is it? 

Yes, it's a bûche de noël made with chocolate fondant pine cones and matcha marzipan pine needles.

It's hard to tell the difference, isn't it?

Not at all. You can sit on a log and drink your hot chocolate.

You can sit on a bench and drink your cappuccino.

You can't sit on a cake though. Can you? 

You can actually. Here are three little birdies sitting on a yule log.

The thing is, there is a fine line between a bench and a log. 

This bench in Ireland has become at one with the tree.

Wow! This bench is a star.

What is this?

It's a bûche de noël made with chocolate genoise and bittersweet glaze. The shooting star is mendiants with candied violets, gold dragees, and freeze dried strawberries, mangoes, and blueberries.

I can see that. By why is it here?

Well, I referred to stars and this is a shooting star . . .

Just stick to the point will you.

OK, here is a stick bench for you.


This log has already been made into a bench.

Unlike here, where the logs are waiting to be cut up.

Are these logs cakes by any chance?

I couldn't possibly comment. 

Here is a green log bench which sits naturally in the forest.

It doesn't look green to me. This looks green:

I'm going to overlook this cake and move on.

As we have seen previously, a log bench can be ever so plane plain.

If we've seen these previously, why do we have to see them again? Why can't we see some log benches which are more than just . . . logs? Something with a few frills.

Miggy, this is a cake and you know it.

Yes, its a bûche de noël in a Belgian chocolate cage, made with almond dacquoise, vanilla genoise, framboise syrup, raspberry buttercream, Belgian chocolate glaze, and gold dragees

Can we get back on the subject now?  Here are some logs which have been value-added into comfy seats. 

Or you can just take bits of wood lying around and make a bench.

There is no need to log the rainforest for wood to make benches.

Just walking along the beach you can find a driftwood bench out of whatever you have to hand.

I have a Mars bar to hand so I guess I could make a bench like this.

Stop it, Migs! You are ruining this blog.

What? It's not a cake. 

L-O-G-S. It's log benches we're discussing. 

I guess you wish you hadn't axed me to help you.

I'm going to rise above that and press on.

Oh, very funny. I see what you're doing there: Bench. Press.

I'm going to ask you to log off in a minute. Got that? L-O-G  O-F-F! 

You better chill out, Seashell. Logs can do strange things to people.

Remember the Log Lady in Twin Peaks?

As I was saying, a log bench can be simple, like this three piece suite sofa and chairs.

Or it can be decorative, like these chainsaw otters.

Do otters use chainsaws?

I'm going to ignore that and show you how a log bench can be dressed with decorative log pillows.

Clever. I like the variation in colours and contours. Rather like this log I came across recently.

I'm not fooled by this, Miggy. There are forks here: this is cake.

OK, I confess. I have sneaked in a yule log here. It's Christmas, after all.

You always sneak a cake in. And it's doing you no good. 

my photo, Tilburg, Netherlands

I know, I know. A minute on the lips, a year on the hips. But I have an answer to that:

You have sabotaged this bench blog with cakes.  

Sorry. I'm a rubbish editor. I better get back to my kitchen.

my photo, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight

There are more cakes than benches in this story.

True, but at least I haven't set fire to any benches. 

Unlike your husband, who has destroyed some very valuable benches.

Yes, His Excellency set fire to a designer bench without realising it cost me twenty thousand pounds.

He confused it with a log bench I guess.

It's easily done. Hey! What's this?

Just a little log fire I thought you'd appreciate.

It's not my designer bench is it?

Good heavens no. It's a bûche chocolate-walnut-rum torte. The logs are sandwiched with plum jam and covered with nocino ganache. The embers are covered with confectioners sugar, the flames are candied orange peel and caramel makes the flames and sparks.

Sounds delicious! We'll have to hurry though.

These guys seem to have their eyes on it.

Quick! Let's find a log bench to sit on and eat the whole thing.


Miggy is my best imaginary friend. I love her dearly but good heavens she drives me crazy. She's obsessed with cake, which in one way is a good thing because she runs the Make a Wish Cafe here in Fribble-under-Par. By cafe I really mean cake shop because mainly she sells cakes. 

The Christmas yule log (cake) at the start of the story was made by Yongjiet in 2008.  Yongjiet's albums include art, sport, food, drinks and desserts. 

The multi-coloured yule log is by Felibrilu at   There is nothing at all in Felibrilu's profile but the photostream reveals cake, buildings, and a certificate of participation for visiting Glasgow's underground vaults. 

Sarah from Coventry is an amateur baker and cake decorator who made the Christmas cake from brandy, fruit, and marzipan in 2011. She confesses to loving the decorating more than the baking. Apparently she always goes a bit over the top with royal icing. She made all of the decorations with plain fondant as she didn't want them to go too hard. The holly leaves were just cut out with a small star cutter and stretched. Her photostream is full of cakes

Ross from Ann Arbor, Michigan is a member of his local Help Save the Ash group. He loves forests. For him, stumbling upon an ash log bench in Bird Hills Park in 2005 was an unexpectedly emotional moment because it's a log from an adult ash tree, killed by the borer.

The little boy bringing in the yule log was photographed by C.P. Storm, who lives near Ottawa. 

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.

The Christmas present cake was photographed by Eugene Wei from Santa Monica in 2008 

When travelling in Germany I always admire the way they stack their wood, and the arty things they make with it. The log shelter house with a bench in front was photographed by Franzfoto in 2012 and available on Wikicommons at,_Einladung_Hock_di_na_02.jpg

Several of the beautiful log cakes are from distopian dream girl at Flickr in 2010. The frilly bûche de noël in a chocolate cage  is at  The shooting star bûche de noël is at and the bûche de noël - chocolate woodgrain  is at Finally, the campfire buche chocolate-walnut-rum torte logs and embers is at  

Maja is the little girl who enjoyed her hot chocolate on a log bench in 2008. The photo was taken by Katia Strieck who is from Ontario but now lives in Philadelphia.

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.

The shiny log bench was one we saw at a campsite in Vlotho, Germany. There are lots of campsites in Germany, and lots of logs. Come to think of it, there are lots of cakes too.

The Hungry Tree is the tree that has grown around the bench in the Kings Inns in Dublin, Ireland. The photograph was sent to me via Facebook For more crazy Irish benches see

The Bench a Tree Built was photographed by Judy Paris in 2007 at the Planting Fields Arboretum on Long Island's North Shore, on the grounds of the former Coe Family Estate. Judy explains that in 1915, when the family estate in Massachusetts was scheduled to be subdivided, the family decided to rescue two mature copper beeches. The trees were barged across Long Island Sound in the dead of the winter. It was one of the largest tree moving operations in the Northeast. One copper beech survived the trip. The other did not and this bench, as well as some other structures in the garden, came from that.

Kevin, aka Idiolector 1.3, photographed Log Wizard, the bench with a chainsaw on it, in 2013.  Although I love his photos, especially Street Art and Litteralism, I'm not even going to try summarising Kevin's profile. It involves krypto-pedestrianism and quite a few photos of dog pooh.

The pile of logs cake was baked in 2014 by Eldriva, who has the most fabulous cakes in her photostream. Don't take my word for it - have a look!

The reclining figure is not Miggy but a sculpture called Music by Mari Andriessen (1961). It's found in the forecourt of the Schouwburg Theatre in Tilburg, North Brabant in the Netherlands. 

Greg is from Pittsburgh, currently living in Seattle. He has some glorious photos of Seattle, my old home town, and he has also photographed a number of log benches, some of which are very difficult to distinguish from logs. In his photograph All natural furniture (2007), he poses the question Log or Bench?  The log bench, found in Karlsruhe in 2007, is certainly natural. Greg says, quite rightly, that it's the Fallingwater of park benches. 

Rebecca Carlson lives in Bethal Park, USA and loves taking photos of awesome rock bands around Pittsburgh. She photographed the slice of green Christmas cake in 2009

The plane plain bench with a plain plane on it is a silver maple log left over from milling. It was photographed by Jason Nemec from Ottawa in 2009. Jason is an art director by day, a woodworker by night. He makes beautiful stuff from logs.

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. 

Mike Coghlan from Adelaide is one of the most prolific bench photographers I have come across. I keep checking his photostream to see what's new and I'm never disappointed. This time I'm using his Bench with Character, a rustic-style bench made from logs.He saw it at Deep Creek in South Australia in 2013

The protest sign about benches in Washington Square were from Rainforests of New York at  The protest took place in Washington Square, New York City on  April 22, 2011. I saw it on Flickr at

The beautiful driftwood bench looking out to sea is on the California coast at Cambria. It was photographed by Caren Silvestri, a Southern California native, who loves landscapes and macro photos of nature subjects in the garden and at the beach. Oceans, mountains, deserts - as she says, in Southern California they have it all. Her shop is at

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

Tom Burke is from Hilo, Hawaii but currently lives in Reykjavik, Iceland. He's fairly tall and works as a miscellaneous problem solver. He took the photograph of the ax in the logs way back in 2005

Pararescuemen applicants were bench pressing a wooden log in a mud pit during a screening process held by the Air Force 306th Rescue Squadron in Tucson, Ariz. In this test the applicants do a timed 3-mile run, 1500- meter swim, calisthenics, and other various tasks. The photo was taken by Airman 1st Class Veronica Pierce, U.S. Air Force on April 21, 2006. This image is a work of a U.S. military or Department of Defense employee, taken or made as part of that person's official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.

Creepy King Me is MattDe Turck, who is a photographer and graphic designer in Rochester, New York. The photo was taken in Rochester Park in 2006

The Three Carved Benches were near Llangollen Canal, photographed by Paul Farmer for Geograph in 2009

The carved bench with otters and fish was photographed by Angus Kirk in 2012 at Rooksbury Mill Local Nature Reserve in Andover, UK.

The decorative log pillows were see on a bench inside a nail spa. They were photographed in  2012 by KG Nixer, aka niXerKG, who is a web developer in Chicago.

The white and chocolate log cake with Varlhona Chocolate Mousse is apparently a healthier version - healthier than what, I'm not sure. It was made and photographed in  2012 by  I saw it at  I know nothing about Foodie Baker but her photostream is full of, um, food. Lots of it. Food fabulous food. And an album from Cambodia. 

I have two husbands. One is Mungo, my imaginary husband, who features in lots of other Benchsite stories. 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. In the past two autumns he has unwittingy burned two very expensive designer benches. Last year this was forgiveable because we had to keep warm. But this year . . . well, he fell for it again. You can appreciate his difficulties if you know his history. Mungo, on the other hand, keeps a good workbench. Read about both of them at

I covered burning benches last autumn and there are quite a few benches on fire, one way or another, on the internet. The burning bench shown here is by Valentine Svennson from Stockholm. Photographed in 2003, it is one of several fires in his Retro collection. I'm not going to ask whether Valentine started the bench fire.

Nov2874 has some lovely photographs in his Ride Around the Countryside album, including the burning log in the fireplace, photographed in 2014. I am pleased to say that this log is not the expensive designer log bench I purchased in Japan. Phew! That's twenty thousand pounds saved then. 

The men on the benches in front of the fire were students at Proctor in the 1950s. Proctor Academy is in Andover in New Hampshire. There's an Andover in old Hampshire too but no academy there as far as I know.The photo is from the Proctor Archives at

The slice of cake with a knive is a 2008 photograph by Alex Cockroach. He says D's mom made the cake and it was yummy. Alex Cockroach is a resident of Bywater, which is the upper 9th ward in New Orleans. His photostream includes from photos of benches under water.  And speaking of cockroaches, there are some brilliant insect benches at

If you'd like to tuck into more edible benches we have plenty on Benchsite.  Try a tasty Italian one at  or some very nice ice cream benches at

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