Wednesday, 1 April 2015

No Spring Chicken Benches

Spring has sprung on Paradise Island.

The clocks have gone forward and the whole town of Fribble is up with the chickens.

After a season of eternal winter, everyone is out on their benches enjoying the sunshine.

Little April, age six, is on the yellow benches with her parallel selves, May and June, and their yellow friend Chickpea.

The tourists are gathering on the benches on the esplanade.

Also, the language students have arrived for their annual visit. Welcome three lovely girls from Kajagoogoo Prefecture in Japan. 

Kimiko is the one in pink. Her name means she's a Child Without Equal. Noriko is in blue; she's Lawful. (I'm pretty sure she said Lawful rather than Awful). And Emiko is a Child Graced with Beauty, a Smiling Child. Like this lovely little chick on her Easter bench.

But there are plenty of youthful voices already on Benchsite so this time I have asked the elderly folk of Fribble to help me out with this post. 

They are no spring chickens. 

Here is Miggy's Mum, the mum of my imaginary best friend Miggy. 

Miggy's Mum: Our church, St. Asphyxia's, is needing spring flowers
so I sit on this bench making bouquets for hours
They cheer up the church til they wilt and they fade
and rather like me, they never get paid 

Unwin works at Drizzly Manor. He is Lord Brassica's long-suffering butler.

Unwin: As Lord Brassica's servant I have many small tasks
wearing jam on my head, or whatever he asks
but my mornings are free for a short bit of fun
so I iron the newspaper and sit in the sun

Thank you, Unwin. I see you've ironed The Times very carefully this morning.

And here is Old Noah, who rescued our animal benches a couple of years ago for World Animal Day.

Noah: My name is Old Noah. I'm old as the ark
I sit in the sun and I sleep in the dark

Fair enough, Noah. I see you've got Nora the sheep with you. She's no spring lamb anymore, is she? 

Everyone seems to be out and about on their benches.

Even the shyest ones are coming out of their shells.

Sorry Unwin, what's that you're saying?

Unwin: I'm a humble fellow, I love to read Dickens
I thought this story was springtime and chickens

You're right, Unwin. Spring chickens, to be precise.

All winter the Chuks family have been cooped up. Now they're enjoying a day out on their bench.

Miggy's Mum: My view of this blog, which may have been wrong,
is that we'd have daffodils, church bells, and song

Err, not quite. Here are some daffs from our garden though.

Old Noah: I survived The Flood and I've served in the trenches
I thought this blog was all about benches

Quite so. We need to get some benches in here!

Unwin: I never complain and I rarely make moan
but standing on benches I cannot condone

Chill out, Unwin. Lots of people stand on benches nowadays.

You may say standing on benches is nothing to crow about . . .

. . . but o
n Bench Mondays it has become an art!

Golly, there's a lot going on here. Spring. Chickens. Benches. 

And I haven't forgotten you three Japanese girls. For the spring equinox Miggy and I took the girls to Stonehenge.

They brought us some lovely spring blossom benches from Japan.

Now there's a bit of kurfuffle going on here in the village. What's it all about? 

Oh, it's Dora and Cora, the Boran twins. They're already wearing their Easter bonnets, which are the worst hats since this Roost Hat I saw at the mall.

I hope he can wash that mess off his suit before Easter. 

And now to Dora and Cora, who are no spring chickens. And these are not hats Graced With Beauty.

Dora: Good morning, dear, we're out on our walk
and we heard you've invited us elders to talk
It's nice that you ask, but between you and me
I'd just as soon settle for a nice cup of tea

Yes, Dora, thank you. I'm just a bit worried about Cora. She's a bad egg.

And she's not called The Evil Twin for nothing.

Well known for destroying benches, Cora regularly attacks our cheerful police constable Willie Wyme, even though he's always nice to her. 

Cora: I hate chickens, I loathe ducks
The people in this town are 

I'm going to stop you right there, Cora. 

Dora: I think she was going to say clucks.

Old Noah: Cora is clearly letting off steam
though at least she's keeping the chicken theme 

You're right, Noah. I need to pull this story together somehow. 

Unwin: There are three things here that you need to bring:
Chickens and Benches and the joys of Spring

I'm trying to keep to the theme but it's like flogging a rubber chicken.

Cora: The joys of spring? It's an act of treason
It's the ugliest, stupidest, nastiest season  

I can see that Cora is going to be rude and unreasonable, as always.

Now I'd like to show some chicken benches; would that be too much to ask?

Unwin: Forgive me. I know this blog is meant to be quirky
but the script on this bench is all about Turkey

You're right to call fowl, Unwin. We've already got Turkey benches here on Benchsite. This needs to be about chickens. 

Maybe Noah can help. 

When you loaded the ark, Noah, did you manage to save any chicken benches?

Noah: The ark was loaded two by two
and I had to take any bench that would do

Oh no! Not Colonel Sanders.

Unwin: What tennis is to elbows, what chillbains are to legs,
Colonel Sanders is to chickens what omelettes are to eggs 

I don't think we should yoke joke about that.

Oh dear. This blog is going terribly wrong. 

Dora: That Colonel Sanders is finger lickin'
But there's not a lot here about benches or chicken.

Maybe you're not looking in the right place?

I'm wondering if a discussion about Easter might keep us on the topic of chickens, benches and spring. 

Cora: Your blog last Easter was a terrible mess
A frivolous girl in a hideous dress 

I'm with you there, Cora. Innocent's Easter dress was a fashion disahster, darling. 

On the other hand, Lady Brassica turned up at St. Asphyxia's on Easter Sunday in this pretty crocheted dress made by the good ladies of Ballyfrumpy in Ireland.

Unwin: Excuse me, I know that you have this passion
but the story today is not about fashion.

You're right, Unwin. It's just that I didn't want to put all my eggs in one basket.

Unwin: I know you are trying, but give it a miss
Last year's Spring Benches were better than this 

Dora: And sorry to say it but yes, it is true
Last Easter's bunnies were much nicer too

Oh dear. 

I'll see if I can hunt some Easter eggs good ideas.

Sorry, I haven't forgotten you, Emiko, Noriko and Kimiko. It's just that it's spring here in Fribble and there's so much going on. 

Yes, I know it's spring in Japan as well.

Cherry blossom! And sumo. And bamboo. And the three of you in your kimonos. Wow, this really is a cultural experience. 

The Japanese girls explain to us the importance of having a bench in a garden so that you can enjoy the peace and tranquility any time of year. 

Emiko says she often sits on a bench with her boyfriend, Hitachi. He needs a pretty big bench.

image by Miggy's Mum

Unwin: Reading this rubbish is becoming a chore

Cora: Apart from the fat bloke, this blog is a bore

Now Unwin is reminding me he's no spring chicken. 

Unwin: Had we but world enough and time
Wasting hours on this blog would be no crime

Oh dear, I guess I'd better lay off the chickens.

Noah: We are nearing our sell-by, we have stuff to do
beyond looking at benches and working for you

Miggy's Mum has been talking it over with her friend and she's decided this blog is for the birds.

I try to persuade her to help me but she won't give in.

Miggy's Mum: There is nought you can pay us, no thing you can fix
It's simply that we are no spring chicks

Err, it looks like you are, Miggy's Mum!

Sometimes these spring chicks can be little devils.

So without my No Spring Chickens I have to finish the story by myself. 

The truth is, I can find benches with chickens, on, under or around them, but benches that are proper chicken benches are rare.

Maybe I'll just show the one I found last year.

So that's that then. A chicken bench at last. And I'm cock-a-hoop to see a rooster too!

Fortunately, the long, light spring evening is drawing to a close. The Japanese girls are looking for some benches to sleep on. Noriko, the Lawful One, says that in Japan it's very common, and legal, for people to sleep on benches in public places.

Noriko has found herself one of the little benches under the cherry tree and she's all tucked up for the night. 

Sayonara, Lawful One. Sayonara, Kimiko and Emiko.

Sayonara, Spring Chicks. And Happy Easter, dear readers. 

PS - As last year's Easter blog about bunny benches is so much better, maybe you ought to have a look at that. 


It's been a long cold winter and we've been frozen under our benches. The Great Bird Bench Survey was too cold to tweet.  Then it warmed up a little but it was still Fifty Shades of Grey right up to Valentine's Day. This is the third spring blog here on Benchsite. Last year we had springy yellow benches and then, for Easter, lots of sunny bunny benches. The year before that, spring came to Fribble via Japan and the girls, Noriko, Emiko and Kimiko, brought us some brilliant benches from Japan, plus some culture and a bit of romance. We've had rabbits, ducks, eggs, lambs and now, finally, this year, some sprightly spring chicken benches. I think it's great that the people in this story are (mostly) no spring chickens. They're in the autumn of their years. And speaking of autumn, did you know that September is National Chicken Month so we've got plenty of benches to celebrate. Then in 2017 it's The Year of the Rooster Bench don't miss it! 

The calm chickens under a bench are in Russia. The photograph is by Pite at  The only thing I know about Pite is that he has two nipples, and a photostream divided into sets called East, West, Balkans, Mediterranean, Scandinavia, Cuba and analog. That's probably all you want to know.  

The chicken relaxing on a bench was drawn by  Laurie Pink back in 2006. Laurie comes from Bristol but now lives in Stockport.

April, age six, is one of the few children here in Fribble-under-Par. We are an aging community and most of us are no spring chickens. April has two parallel selves, May and June, who are also age six. They're lively girls and they did a great job last Easter on helping me sort out the bunny benches

The elderly ladies at the Congregational Church held a Sunday School Picnic at the fair grounds in Nantucket in 1916. The photo is from the Nantucket Historical Association, whose aim is to preserve and interpret the history of Nantucket Island and foster an appreciation of its historic significance. They maintain over 20 historic sites and a collection of 50,000 photographs, as well as archival documents such as ship's logs, account books, family papers, and scrapbooks. Like many historical organisations, they are making this terrific archive of material available online

The three lovely Japanese girls visit us in Fribble every spring. In 2013 they brought with them some very exciting designer benches from Japan. If you're not familiar with Japan, don't waste your time searching for Kajagoogoo Prefecture on Google Earth. Kajagoogoo are a 1980s band from Leighton Buzzard in the UK (yes, Leighton Buzzard is a real place.) Check out what people love about it at

The chicks on a bench photo is called Kissing Time and you may have noticed that a pair of chicks are kissing. You didn't? Have another look - it's sweet. The 2011 photo is by Matt Beighton, aka snufflopollus, who is from Leicester in the UK. 

Miggy's Mum is the mum of my friend Miggy. She is a serene person who occupies a bench in the village and also down on the seafront where she mends fishing nets. She takes photos sometimes and organised our militant Yarnbomb Thursdays one autumn. 

Lord Brassica is the Fifth Earl of Drizzly and Unwin is Lord Brassica's long-suffering butler. Amongst Unwin's most unsavoury tasks is standing away from Lord Brassica's picnic with raspberry jam on his head. Why does he do this? Read all about it on Lord Brassica's guide to picnic benches. For more about who's who and what's what on Paradise Island see

Old Noah is very old indeed. Think animals. Think ark. See which animal benches he chose for the ark for World Animals Day back in October 2013. 

Nora the sheep knows a thing or two about sheep benches but she's quite argumentative so when she came onto my baaaad sheep bench blog I thought I'd been fleeced. 

Mary Vogel Lozinak in Philadelphia says that altered minds make altered art. That's a good starting point for her etsy shop, where she makes original rubber stamp designs, artisan jewelry, illustrations and steampunk designs.This includes the brilliant rubber stamp of the four elderly ladies gossiping on a bench. 

Ohkylel@twitter is a boring fat guy with an attractive wife, a 16 year old son, and four year old daughter. His life in Blue Ash, USA is the typical stuff a good sitcom contains, including Lego chicks coming out of their shells.

Three chickens on a bench is a photo from an album called Chicken Palace, taken by smoobs. Smoobs is a web developer living in the Cotswolds.

Anat and Gila from Israel made the lovely chuks family - rooster, chicken and hen - on a bench together in fellowship and love. Their shop features lovely crocheted stuff - chickens, of course, but also bears and stuffed dolls. According to Anat and Gila, there is nothing like a hen house to say "I really really love you!"

The daffodils are from our garden at La Casa Perfecta here on Paradise Island. The garden at La Casa is rather splendid, but it depends on which way you are looking. For the good, the bad and the ugly perspectives on my house and garden, see Welcome to La Casa Perfecta.

The big yellow chicken legs and someone else's legs are from a Bench Monday Giant Chicken Edition back in 2010.They were photographed by Jessica Wilson, who at the time was on her Big Road Trip and happened to be in Arkansas. How's that for dedication to art? Despite being on a road trip, Jessica made sure she submitted for Bench Monday!

Red Shoes is a 2011 Bench Monday photograph taken by the ever-clever Karina at Bunches and Bits.  In fact, I like Karina's photos so much that I've used another one in this story. It's the one with the eggs in a basket on the floor. Karina calls it Watching My Eggs and it's from a Bench Monday in 2009, when she photographed every day; this is Day 113/365. The bench was newly recovered and Katrina just had to include the rooster.

The huge rooster on a wall is called Morning; that's when roosters are at their best. It was photographed in 2007 by Tom Rose, who is a web developer from Philadelphia.

Shigemi.J, aka pen3ya, is a housewife from Hokkaido in Iwate, Japan. She took the lovely photo of the bench and cherry blossom petals at Takamatsu Pond, which she calls Pink Flakes She also photographed the blossom tree (In Bloom) later in the story  Shigemi plays the clarinet in an amateur orchestra and says that Iwate is the most beautiful prefecture in Japan. From her photostream I can tell she likes cats and benches. 

You don't get a weirder Credit than this. The Lego man in a blue suit has a chicken on his head and a bit of something that has splatted on his shoulder. He was seen in Chicago back in 2005 and was photographed by Goatling, who is a goat herder from Grand Cayman.  2015 is the Year of the Goat so you might want to see some great goat benches. 

Cora and Dora Boran are life-long residents of Fribble-under-Par, both christened at St. Asphyxia's. Dora is the nice one and Cora is the Evil Twin. If you're new to Benchsite, let Dora and Cora explain who's who and what's what on Paradise Island

Ron McNeil is an artist based in the Scottish highlands, working in both Pop Surrealist and abstract genres of painting and drawing. He has degrees in fine art printmaking, fine art painting, and photomedia. Bad Egg is one of his wonderful graphite illustrations   His other work can be seen at

The Easter Sweet chick in a teacup is from Easter 2010 at The Sweet House. It was photographed by a stay-at-home mom who lives near the sea on a nine acre hobby farm and has been crafting since she was a wee girl. She adores anything British, and loves listening to British radio shows and Corrie - that's Coronation Street for those of you not up on British soap operas.

Willie Wyme is our police constable here in Fribble-under-Par. He has a bright smile, which is great for smile benches, but he isn't always on the right side of the law. Is there a law for benches? There certainly is. I rest my case. 

Johnnie Walker is from the Isle of Muck in Scotland. He photographed the black hens and the pretty blue-armed bench back in 2007.

Mike Kuniavsky lives in San Francisco and photographed the dead rubber chicken in 2011. Why it's there, he doesn't say.

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.

Pi István Tóth is a virtual cat from Hungary but he has a Turkish wife and they live in Istanbul.That might explain why he photographed the single chicken near a bench at aglikoy, Kastamonu in Turkey.  If you'd be grateful for seeing more Turkey benches, check out Troy's Thanksgiving Turkey benches from Turkey.

Colonel Sanders on his bench was photographed at the Colonel Sanders Museum in Corbin, Kentucky.  Corbin is where Harland Sanders established his diner in the 1940s, and which became finger lickin' good across the world.The photographer is Jimmy Wayne Emerson, who is a vet in Dalton, Georgia. He (Jimmy, not the Colonel) enjoys travelling and photographing county courthouses and post offices. As a personal mission he has set out to visit all 3,143 counties or county equivalents in the United States.  

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 and an egg yolk bench is particularly useful.

Back in 2007 baby Oren was looking for chickens under the picnic table. He knew where to look. The photograph is by Dan Gordon, who is a teacher.

Innocent has emerged from her convent nursing dress into something of a fashion icon. But just how innocent is Innocent? Last April in the Springy Yellow Bench post she turned up to a party in rabbit ears and ended up dressed as a Mexican flag. Was this a bit of fun or a careful strategy to unnerve the Easter Bunny? We still don't know. 

Lady Jessica Brassica is married to Lord Brassica, Fifth Earl of Drizzly. Innocent is their daughter-in-law. Lady B and Innocent are what you might call competitive in the fashion stakes. For many years Lady Brassica modelled for Studio Joop from Overbearing in Holland but now has her own fashion house in County Offhand in Ireland. See her St Patrick's outfits and more Irish benches at

Samuel Yoo is originally from Brazil but now lives in Seoul. He took Spring's Invitation, the white bench amid lots of blossom,  at Extrema Minas Gerais in Brazil.    He seems to speak English, Spanish and Portuguese, and is an eternal stranger in all these places

Miggy's Mum acquired Hitachi the sumo wrestler at a garage sale in Idaho. She was certain he'd know one of our Japanese girls and sure enough . . . 

The spring chick man is not exactly Unwin. He's Chick 3, made by 2009 Krista Hennebury in 2009. Krista, aka poppy print, is from North Vancouver and has a photostream full of beautiful crafts.  

Crossing Paths is a life-scale bronze sculpture of two older ladies chatting on a bench, cast by Seward Johnson in 1994 and 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.

The lovely embroidered and beaded Easter chick is not actually Miggy's Mum but a lovingly hand-crafted work by Constanza, aka peregrine blue, in 2009. Constanza comes from Santiago in Chile and currently lives in Camarillo, California. I spent a long time looking at her brilliant arts and crafts.  

The deviled egg chicks are a clever creation by Janice Newell Bissex and Liz Weiss, the Meal Makeover Moms. You can visit their website at or see their 2012 Easter treats 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.

The characterful rooster is from Oksana Boyko's etsy shop Handmade By Povitrulya in the Ukraine. He's perfect for The Year of the Rooster.  We always celebrate Chinese New Year here on Benchsite and 

The Year of the Rooster Bench in 2017 is really something to crow about.

The two bunnies on a bench with plants are The Boomerang Bunnies. I found them in Switzerland when Miggy and Mungo and I went bench-hunting last summer. They were in the immaculate toilet block of Camping Boomerang in the gorgeous Poschiavo Valley You can read all about our alpine bench adventures at

Next time: get your shoes on - amazing dance benches for World Dance Day! 

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