Saturday, 19 November 2016

Turkey benches for Thanksgiving

I've covered a lot of other countries on Benchsite so this time I thought we'd talk Turkey.

I don't mean that kind of turkey. 

I mean this kind: the one on the Bosphorus, where Europe meets Asia.

I'm thinking mosques . . . 

and carpets . . .

and grand bazaars.

Trouble is, I invited Troy to help me with this post and he got here first.

Hi, Troy. I see you're wearing your pilgrim gear. 

Yes, Ma'm. It'll soon be Thanksgiving in the good old US of A. We're plumping up the turkeys . . . 

. . . and sharpening the shears. 

Do you normally use shears to carve a turkey?

No, Ma'm. Where I come from we use a sabre.

That's just weird. And anyway, I don't eat turkey. 

To me, Thanksgiving is all about pumpkin pie benches.

Or as they'd say in Turkey, kabak pasta banklar.

But before we go any further, I'd like to clarify a misunderstanding about Turkey. 

Yes, I agree. The little fellow in the picture above is not a turkey; it's a dog dressed as a turkey.

Thanks, but that isn't what I mean.

No, thank you! I'm honoured to be here, Ma'm. I come from Dry Heaves, Minnesota, which is a modest little place and I am grateful every day for the opportunities I've had.

Thanks, Troy, but . . . 

Thanksgiving is all about gratitude and I've got a heart full of gratitude.

I'm sure you have but . . . 

I'd like to thank a few people. First, I'd like to thank my mom for having me.

And thanks, Mom, for teaching me to please say please. And thank you.

My mom is of German ancestry. All through my life she's been a brick.

That's all very well, Troy, but . . . 

My Mexican friends Drida and Friego have also been brilliant. 

Thanks, guys. Or as we'd say in DF . . . 

I'd also like to thank the good ladies of Ballyfrumpy in County Offhand in Ireland. They crocheted this excellent sweater for me.

And this sweater as well. And the hat to go with it. And the gloves. And the scarf.

I am truly blessed.

And a special thank you to Lady Jess.

Ever since I've been on Paradise Island she has made me feel at home.

We really enjoyed Lying Together.

Yes, well, the less said about that the better I think. 

Lady Jess and I met through Young Male Readers dot com. Her husband Lord Brassica sent me this bench with a very special message, though I'm not entirely sure what it means. 

Troy, if you've finished thanking people . . . 

And I'd also like to say thank you to people who put up benches in parks saying thank you. Because parks bring me great joy.

I am going to stop you right there, Troy. I want to show some benches in Turkey and you are gobbling up this whole blog. I want to talk turkey.

I thought we were talking turkey. As in Indian Bird. As in Peruvian Bird or French Bird. Or even Dutch chicken. 

No, I mean the other Turkey. As in Constantinople, the Queen of Cities, where east meets west. 

That's a very poetic turn of phrase you've got there, Ma'm, if you don't mind me saying.

Thank you, Troy. I'd forgotten you're a poet. Istanbul is full of poetry benches, like this one at Heybeliada on the Sea of Marmara.

In fact, there is a whole park of open books.

I'd like to sit in the sun on one of those benches and read some poetry. 

That's what this cat is doing. 

And then you can visit the Blue Mosque, which isn't quite this blue.

Ma'm, Istanbul is awesome.

Yes. The words Turkish and Delight come to mind.

Couldn't you just sink into a pretty bench like this and sip your Turkish coffee?

No, it's too strong for me. I normally have an Americano.


Anyway, in Istanbul there are plenty of places to sit.

Throughout Turkey they have banklar çok - lots of benches.

We have quite a few turkey benches here in the US of A as well.

And I'd love to have a seat but now I need to get rolling.

You're off to Dry Heaves then.

Yes, and I'm already thinking about Thanksgiving. 

Me too. That reminds me, I've got a pumpkin ready to make my pies.

Wineglass, moustache, manbag . . . I think you've made a mistake here, Ma'm. I met this fellow in Potirons in France. He's a famous chef. 

Oui. Il s'appelle Jench de Bench.

I'd like to say thanks to him.

Of course I couldn't make a pie out of Jench. Not after all the help he gave me on the Edible Benches blog

I guess I never got round to thanking him.

I hope you'll enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner, Troy. Who will you be sharing your turkey with?

Oh, it's always the same people round the table.

Well, it's too late now to show all the lovely Turkish benches I gathered. The benches from Turkey are going to have to wait for another time. 

Sorry, Seashell. I got the wrong end of the drumstick here. 

I went in like a whirling dervish and messed up your Turkish blog.

Well, all I can say to your readers is Sabrınız için teşekkür ederiz - thank you for your patience.

That's really nice of you, Troy.

And I'd like to say thank you to your readers for bearing with me on this side of the pond.

Alright, Troy, happy Thanksgiving. And thanks to everyone who has persisted with this story. I don't know where you are in the world so this is the best I can do:

Actually, the Turkish thank you is missing.

Teşekkür ederim.

I forgot you were a linguist, Troy.

It's been great sharing Turkey with you.

Don't forget to sign our guest bench before you go.


Matt Stangis is a visual junkie who lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He photographed the turkey on a bench with a pumpkin in October 2008. Matt reminded me that Thanksgiving in Canada is different from the States: in Canada Thanksgiving is on the second Monday in October, which this year was October 13th. In the States, Thanksgiving is on the fourth Thursday in November - the 27th this year.

Lori X is a designer. Turistik yuzer tesis isl der and the couple on a bench in Istanbul was photographed by Lori in 2012. My Turkish isn't very good but I could make out the word Tourist

Jenny is a recent graduate in landscape architecture. She was in Istanbul this year, where she took some gorgeous photographs of the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, and the benches where you can see the mosque in the background. For a photo tour of Istanbul it's worth a look at Jenny's photostream.

The two kilim rug benches in the story are by Jay at Jay Bazaar, not in Turkey but in Brooklyn.  Jay's Bazaar is full of lovely kilim rugs, ornaments, and vintage jewelry. 

David Casteel is an elderly curmudgeon from Dallas. He photographed the Grand Bazaar bench on a trip to Istanbul in 2006. He has a whole album full of photos from the trip at

Troy breezed into our town this summer. He's normcore and his occupation is 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.  

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 by Young Male Readers dot com. She is happily married to Lord Brassica, Fifth Earl of Drizzly, a gentleman farmer and expert on both cows and picnic benches. Lord Brassica's generosity extends to Thank You benches for the community, as shown here.

But this summer Lord B has been rather busy with his dog Pru, his horse Tonks, and his 1947 Land Rover, so Lady Jess has been spending rather a lot of time at her beach hut with Troy.  The novel Lying Together is by Gaynor Arnold. 

Pinké is a native Texan who makes dog happy art, including Churkey - that's Chuck the dog dressed as a turkey for Thanksgiving 2012. Chuck regrets being addicted to salmon dog treats but apparently there aren't any rehab programs available in Houston.
If you like dogs, there are plenty of great dog benches here on Benchsite.

Pascal lives in Heidelburg and amuses me with his Lego mini-persons. In this story we've got Robert, a Lego person on a bench with a turkey and a sword. The title is Partial Amnesia; that's apparently because Robert only faintly remembered something about Monday, benches, and bonus points for birds

Christel lives in Trelleborg in Sweden. The bench groaning with pumpkins of all sizes was photographed from the car near Trelleborg in autumn 2006.

AGA~mum's photostream has a lot of amazing benches from around the world. She has an eye for a bench, does AGA~mum. I have a heart full of gratitude for her lovely Heart of Gratitude bench, photographed in 2010. It's in a beautiful garden setting and the bench message says it all.

Thanks Mom is from Rakuten in Japan  From what I can gather, Rakuten is sort of the Etsy of Japan. Call me fussy, but this particular Mom doesn't look very German; I wonder if Troy is telling porkie pies?

Maik Meid is involved in fundraising, photography, and non-profit social media. He photographed the Danke image in 2014, which is one of many different bricks made for the Spendenstein project.

Antonio S, aka Ellohir, is an engineering student from Valencia in Spain. The gracias image was photographed in 2007.  

Patti Colvin from Oakville, Washington lives on a funny farm. Yes, really. She has a farm full of critters she loves, writes about, and makes things from. Her products are largely organic: the sheep are sheared by her, wool washed by her, and wool spun by her on my drop spindle. Earrings from pop tops, paper mache "Littles", art journals that look like the "Book of Shadows" - Patti loves making something out of nothing. That includes the barn wood sign I am blessed, shown in the story.

*Lie, pronounced Lee, is from Antwerp. She sent a message - merci with roses and chocolate - to all her Flickerito friends back in 2010. What a nice thing to do. Delightful photo and lots of different languages.  

Dragon Dream888 seems to keep an eye out for benches. She was walking about a shopping mall in Washington DC in 2009 and photographed the Thank you for not reclining bench. It's one of many in her photostream at

The Ellen Wachtel commemorative bench is in Central Park in New York City. The photographed was taken in 2010 by Michael Kazarnowicz, who lives in Stockholm.

Troy is a well-travelled pilgrim and a bit of a linguist. He's quite right that in Turkey the country the word for turkey the bird means Indian Bird. The Indian word for turkey means Peruvian bird. And the Greek word for turkey means French bird. However, in Malaysia the word for turkey means Dutch chicken. How does Troy know all this? Probably he looked up 1,411 QI Facts at  page 216.

Ryan Ward is an attorney from Santa Monica, California. He photographed the peeling orange bench in Istanbul in 2011. Note the crest imprint, which appears on lots of things throughout the city.

William Avery Hudson from New York is a communications consultant and photographer. He photographed the Heybeliada Turkisk poetry bench in 2008. Heybeliada is one of the Prince's Islands in the Sea of Marmara, where there are many poetry benches along the seafront.

Matthias Buehler is a German software developer living in Denmark. He has a nice collection of bench photos and is one of many people who photographed the Istanbul open-book benches.   

There are many cats in Turkey. Many, many cats. Quite of few of them appear on Flickr pages. I liked this one called Catnap, by Jeremy Brooks in 2014. Jeremy is a software engineer with a passion for photography, especially vintage neon signs. His photos are mainly urban scenes, which is great because this includes lots and lots of benches. Love the closeup of patterns in a metal bench!

By the way, if you like cats, let Meredith guide you through the cream of Cat Benches. If you think turkeys are for the birds, there are no spring chickens but a lot of nice hen benches. 

Two things you probably know about Turkey: Turkish coffee and Turkish delight. Both were captured in a beautiful photograph by Colin Warren in 2013. Colin is from Geelong in Austrailia. He's one of those people who gets out there with his camera and photographs all kinds of things - shoes, rocks, plants, dead rabbits - he makes everything look good.

Justin Lehmann, from San Francisco, photographed the benches outside Istanbul's Blue Mosque in 2011. Lots of people photograph these benches as they are very photogenic (the benches, not the people). I think Justin's black and white photograph is very effective.

There are many ancient ruins in Turkey, including Roman amphitheatres with rows and rows of stone benches for watching gory spectacles. The amphitheatre pictured here is in SideTurkey, photographed in 2014 by Jacqueline Poggi from Provence. She has amazing photographs of buildings and she loves cathedrals.

Cindy Oppel is Out Back in the Barn and she sure knows how to celebrate the American holidays. For Thanksgiving alone she's got a handpainted pilgrim boy and girl, a handpainted turkey, and this lovely turkey bench to rest your feathers. Handpainted wood crafts, shop home items, homemade jam - she's got it all for every holiday. We've already had her harvest bench back in the fall and, come St. Patrick's Day in March, I look forward to her Irish bench too.

Allen is a school district maintenance supervisor and freelance photographer living in Kansas City and Henderson, Nevada. He is an obvious fan of Las Vegas and his photostream is full of roadside Americana - gas stations, cars, motels, neon signs, packaging and suburban life. Oh, this is heavenly nostalgia for me! Allen also collects stuff, like the 1900s postcard of a turkey towing a pumpkin. This was Allen's greeting to his Flickr pals at Thanksgiving 2012.   

The turkey hotdog is an unusual thing and not something I'd like to eat at Thanksgiving. Well, it certainly caught my eye. It was photographed in 2012 by Jason Brackins, a software developer originally from Bethesda, Maryland.

Jench de Bench is a chef from Potirons in France and last year I asked him to help me with my Edible Benches story. Which he duly did, sort of. Well, no, he didn't. He kept disappearing and after a great deal of searching for him throughout France, I gave up and edited the post myself.  I don't mind saying, it's a bit of a mess but still, there are a lot of tasty benches on there.

Jason Taellious from Olympia, Washington likes reflections, long exposures, words, flyer art, architecture and art. His photostream is full of all these things. There's a lot of great stuff and I liked the photo lexicons, especially the word Merci, photographed in Paris in 2013.

I love the idea of a cranky messiah. There is one on Flickr and he says he didn't do it. I think he might be from Baltimore but that's really none of my business. The photograph from 2008, Thanks for nothing, is just what I was looking for

Clotho98 from Richmond, Virginia is a no good floozie (her words, not mine). She photographs a lot of vintage advertising and magazine covers, including the the Thanksgiving one from a Boy's Life magazine in November 1927.

Gisela Giardino lives in Buenos Aires but comes from somewhere far from there. She gets on well with herself and is with herself all the time. She is pretty clear who she is, as shown by the long list on her Flickr profile. Thank you was written in the sand by someone in Nov 2006 and Gisela photographed it before it got washed away.

Alexander Wrege says he's alive. Well, that's a good start. Alexander is a teacher from Germany, now living in Toledo in the United States. It looks like he gets out and about all over the place, doing lots of stuff like hiking and kayaking and having fun. Alive, in other words. His photo shows a lot of thank yous in different languages. Very handy for this particular story, though I don't see one in Turkish.

Michelle in LA has lots of greeting cards in her Euclid Street Shop. I love the card that says Thanks a B-nch with some lovely balloons where the letter E should be. That would be Thanks a Bench, which is just what I need for this blog. It does occur to me that the balloons are standing in for the letter U, which would be Thanks a Bunch - an entirely different message.  

Jessica from SasifrasPrintables in Ohio tells me that a guest bench is an alternative to your run-of-the-mill guestbook- guests sign a blank bench with their name and a message for the bride and groom, and after the wedding the bench is finished and used either in the home or in the new couple's garden/yard. SasifrasPrintables does DIY downloadable and printable holiday and wedding designs such as the Sign our guest bench print. You choose the size of sign you want, download it, and print it out on your own printer. Easy peasy! 

If at the end of this story you have a lust for further travel, you can go lots of places here on Benchsite. See a fiesta of Mexican benches, for example, or an alphabet of Dutch benches. The 2017 Year of the Rooster Bench will take you to China. Get high on alpine benches, or tasty Italian ones. Every summer Miggy and Mungo and I go on our bench-finding missions; see our impossible Greek mission, or what happened when we cycled down the Danube. And for some truly amazing Japanese benches, see

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