Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Hot stuff benches for a sizzling summer

It's August and so hot that I'm in danger of looking inelegant. 

I'm going to put on my best dress and find a bench to rest on.

Midday Rest (1890) by Michael Ancher

I don' wear sunscreen but at least I've got my mask.

Sunscreen mask 1928

Benches are hot stuff this year. 

It's so hot and dry that some of the benches are starting to curl up like leaves in the sun. 

Throughout the northern hemisphere the sun benches just keep on shining.

Here on Paradise Island we're hotter than a bench on fire.

My editor, Eddie, is having to wear Factor 500 in this fierce sun.

Ursula Makepeace is our Unicorn-in-Residence. Ever cheerful, Ursula is keeping cool in a great pair of glasses and some pretty jelly shoes. 

Apparently there are hot benches all over the world this summer. The USA is in meltdown.

In Japan people are sleeping outside on benches to escape the heat.

In Krappistan their benches are disintegrating under the scorching sun.

This bench spontaneously combusted.

In Mexico they're sheltering under big hats.

No? OK, maybe not. 

But in Mongolia my friend Hippy Chick Jovi is at a yurt festival.

In the Gobi desert the sun bench is beating down in a clear blue sky.

my photo, Lyme Regis, Dorset

The ice cream van was long awaited as it trundelled across the desert.

Everyone was worried that the ice cream would be melted by the time it got there.

However, it was the van itself which melted.

And the benches, of course.

People were shocked.

You'd never expect to see a melting ice cream bench in a month of sundaes.

The heat is widespread this year. It's blazing hot in some places that are normally shivering.

In June some friends from Paradise Island travelled to Russia. 

Our Irish friends Sean and Seamus said it was sweltering in Red Hot Square.

The ice cream they'd brought poured out of their luggage.

Valise Expansion by Cesar, LAAC Museum, Dunkirk

Tamsin was there, for some reason dressed in the colour purple.

She had a good time with a family of Russians.

Such was the heat in Moscow that they all went rather red in the sun. 

(These Russians were very nice, apparently, just a bit full of themselves).

A loyal football fan, Innocent was there as well.

Though it's never clear which team she is supporting. Sweden?

England or Mexico?

No, I think it's either USA or Greece.

That Greek flag reminds me of beautiful summertime benches.

Normally we'd be envious because in the UK most summers here are fifty shades of grey.

This year though, the newspapers are reporting record temperatures and unrelentingly sunny benches.

Earlier this summer, some of us suspected fake news.

 We wondered if our so-called hot benches really looked something like this:

But no. The sun benches kept shining all summer.

 As usual, the summer sports events were back-to-back.

photo by Sheila Bernsen

No sooner had the World Cup finished than it was time for the tennis ball benches.

Unusually, the sun shone throughout most of Wimbledon.

In all that heat the competitors needed lots of breaks.

As ever, the excellent Wimbledon groundspeople kept the dandelion benches off the grass.

Sorry, all this talk of exercise in heat has caused me to feel faint.

On the Ship 1887, Julian Falat

Thankfully, there were some very capable men to help me. 

As I was saying, in finding benches there is always a window of opportunity.

photo by Janet Wells

You can find a bench along the sea somewhere

Benches on Cromer Pier  copyright Patrick Mackie

or a bench in a nice little park.

Of course this time of year we've all tried to find our bench in the sun.

Here in Fribble-under-Par Lord Brassica's butler Unwin irons his newspaper every morning and makes for the bench in the square.

If he's lucky, Innocent will come down and flaunt herself before making for the beach.

photo by Sheila B

Innocent and her beautiful friends like a little dip at the start of the day.

Meanwhile, my best imaginary friend Miggy is not quite as suited to bikinis as Innocent is. Migs hauls herself into her favourite deckchair and stays there.

my photo, Hayling Island UK

Lady Brassica doesn't bother with a bench or even a deckchair. She's got a lot of sunbathing to do before her spray tan appointment.

The sun benches are relentless. Big and bold and bright, they just keep shining every day. 

That's good news for those of us who like to swim. 

Some people are indoor swimmers so they don't need a pool or a swimming bench.

Grass swimming has also become popular in recent years.

I've never seen the attraction - all that grass in your mouth. 

But it may be the only option if the hot summer dries up all the pools.

I'm a keen swimmer but not for me the mucky old Paradise Island pool.

my photo, Agen, France

I'm a sea swimmer, often to be found five fathoms down heading for the starfish bench.

Lucky for me there are plenty of swimming benches down along The Plunge, where I leave my stuff.

As I've said before, a swimming bench is a marvelous thing. And in heat like this a swim every day is essential. 

An ice cream bench is also a must in heat like this.

As our Unicorn-in-Residence, Ursula is partial to Unicorn ice cream of course.

my photo, Montabaur, Germany

And in a sweltering summer like this one, she recommends an ice cream soda twice a day.

In my view an ice lolly bench will do just as well.

It kind of depends on where you find the ice lolly though.

Well, it's only August so there's the rest of the summer still to enjoy. 

my photo, Middleburg, Netherlands

In these dog days of August it's time to paws pause.

My advice is not to feel blue.

If the heat is getting you down, stay out of the sun.

Find yourself a nice cool bench in the park.

Maybe a bench that swings?

A picnic bench is always nice, so long as the grass is green.

Make sure that there are plenty of trees growing out of your bench.

Picnic Grove by David Brooks, my photo

Once you've found your bench, wear a big hat.

my photo, Troyes, France

Take along a sandwich bench and stay for lunch.

Or a hamburger bench.

Or a hot dog. 

Better still, find a place to swim.

Don't worry if your swimsuit fits you like a barrel.

There are always grumpy people around who will disapprove.

Just leave your clothes on a handy bench and enjoy the water.

What if there's no bench? 

No problem.

Skinny dipping is a great idea in this heat.

And don't worry if you get caught out.

The sun is brilliant this year. Enjoy it!

As for me, I've found myself a comfy bench hammock and I'm staying there.

L'amaca (The Hammock) 1933, Felice Carena


Mid day Rest (1890) is a painting by the Danish Realist artist Michael Ancher (1849-1927). He is widely known for his paintings of fishermen, the lakes, and other scenes from the Danish fishing community in Skagen. 

Michael Beitz, a Fine Arts graduate of the University of Buffalo, exhibits throughout Europe and the US. He makes all kinds of weird and wonderful sculptures which have emerged from his experience as a furniture designer. Sofas in knots, upside down tables - it's great to see his quirky, twisty, mind-bending stuff. The green tangled picnic table from 2013 is called Picnic.  

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. 

Roger Hiorns is a British artist, born in 1975 in Birmingham. He attended Goldsmiths College and the Bournville Center for Visual Arts. He was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2009. He creates fictional scenarios which are made real through his use of ordinary objects and materials, such as benches. In his 2010 Youth series, which is untitled, a scene is activated at intervals, involving a bench, a small fire and a naked young man who contemplates the fire. The photograph shown here is by Gert Jan van Rooij and is shown courtesy of the artist and his representatives, Corvi-Mora, London. It comes from the Hiorns exhibition at the De Hallen Gallery in the Netherlands; thanks also to Annelieke van Halen at  

I keep reading that immigrant arrivals to the United States received ice cream at Ellis Island but I don't know if it's true. Seems unlikely, given the reception that immigrants anywhere receive these days. Still, this is a brilliant collage by Tilman Harte, who comes from Berlin. The source is selbst at 

Ursula Makepeace is our Unicorn in Residence here in Fribble-under-Par. She's an expert on ice cream and every summer we keep screaming for ice cream benches. Ursula's got the scoop. She also edited the story of Romantic White benches, which turned into a long-winded fairy tale but with some very romantic white benches. She came back to give Peace Benches a chance  and then in February for a hearty Valentine story about Heart Benches. My own heart was broken so maybe I wasn't as helpful as I could have been. 

This year Mungo and Miggy and I made our yearly trip to Europe, where we sampled the delightful Ein Horn unicorn-flavoured ice cream in Montabaur, Germany. Unicorns are everywhere this summer. Our local beach is littered with floating unicorn rings and someone had to be rescued on one that drifted out into the English Channel. 

Blogda came from Krappistan to help me with the Europe Day benches. The idea was to illustrate European diversity by showing one bench for each of the 28 countries in the European Union. It should have been easy. Now that there are only 27 countries perhaps I should try again?

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. I've had a bit of a break from him as he's been in Mexico for a while. Now he's back and the primate pictures are in danger of overwhelming my stories.

Speaking of Mexico, please excuse the sombrero and let Drida and Friego introduce you to the fiesta of fantastico benches from Mexico.

Jovi is a Hippy Chick who is very keen on festivals. Glastonbury, Bestival, Benacassim - she knows them all. Check out Jovi's liveblog of festive festival benches at

The miniature Walls ice cream van in the sand is actually The Ice Cream Van at the End of the Universe. It was photographed by Mr Evil Cheese Scientist in 2013.
Why a miniature ice cream van? Because sometimes you're not hungry enough for the restaurant.

The marvelous melting icing bench is by Lauren Doby in Dallas. Her shop is Neko Dahl, which is a curious little shop. At present it has some hair accessories and an iced donut stool.

The melted ice cream van is an image from  And oh isn't it sad? We all love the ice cream van, except possibly those who are irritated by the jingly music.

Smooth & Smoothie is the bench set by Florent Degourc . Bubble-gum pink and mint green, the benches seem to be melting or dripping - perfect for ice cream. They were first exhibited at the Index interior design show in Dubai in 2010 and have received a lot of internet attention since then. The designer says about his work: Studies aimed or rather confused, an atypical path, opportunism, here is the recipe with which I managed to do what I love. I do not pretend to revolutionize the discipline, far from it, but I try to make a playful and practical approach in my daily observations. See more at

The older Male Reader is on some ancient clipart that came with a computer I had 20 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 . . .

I've shown some ice cream benches here on Benchsite in previous stories because benches and ice cream go together like summer and sunshine. And also like summer and ice cream. The ice cream sundae one was photographed in 2007 by cherry2far and I'm not sure where, though it says Bahamas in the corner, which might be a clue.

The Brrrrrrrilliant Brrrr bench was photographed in Decatur, Illinois in December 2006. The photographer is Tim O'Bryan, who now lives in Chicago.  If you're feeling hot and bothered you can find  some very Frozen benches and see what happened last winter with the boys from Snowvenia.

Sean and Seamus are plucky little Irish fellows who travel widely in their campervan. If Ireland doesn't tickle the cockles of your heart there are plenty of benches from other countries here on Benchsite. Japan, for example. And a whole fiesta of benches from Mexico. There's a whole alphabet of Dutch benches and a bench from each of the countries of Europe. Every summer Miggy and Mungo and I go on a mission to find benches so see how we ate our way through found the tasty benches of Italy. We got high on benches in the Alps but Greece was a mission impossible. And then there are the benches of St. Helier, and the benches of Las Vegas, where Mungo and I gambled on love.

The suitcase oozing something - ice cream? - was seen at the brilliant LAAC modern art museum in Dunkirk in 2018.  Or, as they say in France, Lieu d'Art et Action Contemporaine Dunkirk. It's one of the Must-Sees in the museum and is entitled Valise Expansion (1970). The artist Cesar is fond of appropriating objects of consumption to lend them new status and function. So polyurethane foam spills out until the suitcase itself is submerged by its contents. Elsewhere in the exhibit a teapot, colander and other kitchenalia are compressed into a block of metal, thereby erasing their original form and function. I could go on and on about modern art but probably I should get on with the benches. 

Tamsin is a sweet local girl who works here in Fribble-under-Par in the Not Quite Good Enough pharmacy. She has a French fiancé, Garçon Orange, and a baby named Isambard Kevin, who was delivered by stork on her wedding day a couple of years ago. And 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.

Innocent is Lord and Lady Brassica's daughter-in-law because she unwisely married their numpty-but-very-rich son Root. She has emerged from her convent nursing dress into something of a fashion icon, becoming a world class fashion model for Studio Joop, from Overbearing in Holland. But just how innocent is Innocent? Her hot trip to Rio gives us some clues I think.

There are truly different shades of blue, as in the beautiful photograph by Maher Berro, taken in June 2016. Maher describes himself as a multimedia designer | web specialist | user experience designer mysterious | insane and enjoy it | creative | cheeky | inspirational | live in my head most of the time and not in this world | long-life learner | spunky | tenacious | artful. He currently lives in Sydney and his photostream is well worth a look.  

We've had more than enough of the 50 shades benches were on Benchsite. Two Valentine's Day blogs have been taken up with this nonsense. Grey benches, pink benches, who cares? Well, someone does: it's one of the most popular posts on Benchsite

The pretty mosaic bench with a boy reading was photographed in 2011 in Charlottesville. The bench was made by Virginia Gardner at Virginia Mosaics. It has been much photographed with many people sitting on it. 

Fake news benches? There are a lot of them about.

Stuart Rankin is a software engineer living in Yubari in Japan.  In January 2017 he cropped the 1890s Fake News Figure, (with Lurid Background 3) from a Library of Congress illustration from the magazine Puck. Looks like the term fake news has been around a long, long time.

nicksarebi is a lecturer in Bristol in the UK. He took the photo of the flooded benches in Worcester on February 14, 2014. By this time many parts of Somerset had been under water for eight weeks.

Sheila B takes a lot of brilliant photos for me without knowing what they are going to be used for. Nor do I. They sit in my files waiting for their time to come, but sooner or later they find a home in a Benchsite story. Most of her photos are from Cyprus, like the photos here of the flaunting statue and the back-to-back benches on the tennis court.  

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

The Tennis ball bench is by Tejo Remy and Rene Veenhuizen at in Utrecht. The two designers studied together at Utrecht School of Art and at Department 3D-Design; they have worked together since 2000 and have a worldwide profile.  'By making everything our material, the world is our toolkit. We transform the familiar and incorporate the circumstances. By applying this as a kind of design rule, we create our own freedom.'

Do It Tennis make tennis court equipment, including benches and chairs. Of course you need a bench on a tennis court because you'll need a break from the court.

The beautiful painting of a woman overcome by heat dates from 1887 when delicate ladies made long, hot journeys to colonial climes, in this case Colombo in Ceylon. Men rushed to her aid with fans and parasols.  The artist is the Polish Impressionist, Julian Farat (1853-1929), who is also known for his watercolour landscapees.  

There have been lots of sunny benches for Benchsite summers. The brilliantly bright sun bench is by Craig, the Salinas poet. He's originally from New York but currently lives in Maryland. Before that he lived in California. He was working but then retired and now is working again. I think. Anyway, he photographed the bright and sunny bench in downtown SLO. Sorry, I don't know where SLO is. But I love the benches in Craig's photostream at

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

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 travelled mind. 
Her website is at

Janet Wells from London photogrpahed the stone bench under a hole in the green hedge while she was on a trip to the Dordogne several years ago.

The row of seaside benches is on Cromer Pier in Norfolk. They were photographed by Patrick Mackie in 2009 and the image is available on Creative Commons Share Alike cc2 

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

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

Lord Brassica, Fifth Earl of Drizzly, is a gentleman farmer here on Paradise Island and Unwin is his unfortunate butler. Lord B loves his horse Tonks, his dog Pru,and his 1947 Landrover, in that order. He indulges his wife, Lady Jessica Brassica with a replica mall in the basement of Drizzly Manor, a beach hut on the Esplanade, and unlimited amounts of cash for shopping. However, it has emerged that he doesn't know as much as you'd think about farm animal benches, especially cow benches or sheep benches. He knows a bit more about horse benches, learned from his horse Tonks, and possibly something about dog benches from his dog Pru. What he really knows though, is picnic benches. Unwin, on the other hand, reads The Times every day and is a learned man. 

The eight girls on the bench are a typography art deco colour photo from the 1920s. What fun they had in the 1920s! Everything is in living colour on beaches in Florida and California and everyone is beautiful. The photograph and other vintage beach decor prints are available from  

The woman in the deck chair is a brilliant painting I saw on a beach hut on Hayling Island in summer 2016. It's like one of those old time seaside postcards. Sorry, no artist was shown but all credit to him/her.

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 particularly likes yellow benches; she is no fan of pink though. She loves shopping at her replica mall and having poetry read to her by Young Male Readers dot com.

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

The indoor breastroke swimmer silhouette is a vinyl decal which looks striking against this green wall. It's from Darla in Holland, Michigan, who makes witty and clever vinyl art for walls, laptops, etc. She has a whole range of cool designs through her shop at

The Swimmer appeared in London parks in May 2011 as part of an advertising campaign for the London Reality Show's London Ink. The Swimmer is 46 feet long and 10 feet high. He was photographed in Greenwich Park by Chris and Karen, who have loads of swimmers in their photostream at I am fascinated by The Swimmer's realistic feet though concerned that he has his mouth open a little and is swallowing too much grass.

I have always been fascinated by swimming pools, whether empty, full, or green with slime. I tend not to swim in the latter. This pool was at a campground in Agen in France. The water was there, the diving board was there, it's just not very appealing when there is scum all around the edges. OK, fair enough, it was almost November and the campground was closing the next day. But still.

The bench in the drained swimming pool is a photograph by Roberto Zito, who photographed the pool in Modugno, Puglia in Italy in 2011. Roberto lives in Italy and has a gallery of extremely varied photos covering different parts of the world. I love his black and white photos and the way he captures the character of cities.

My Swimming Bench is well documented on the post in this blog called, not surprisingly, My Swimming Bench. You've seen the bench, you've heard the story, now read the poem. It's at   The lovely starfish bench appears throughout Benchsite because there are lots of sea stories here. Try Mikey's Marine Boat Benches (they rock!) or his naughty, much-loved Sea benches for World Oceans Day, always a Benchsite favourite.

I'm a great fan of Sign Fail, an etsy shop at . These are funny sign replicas inspired by real-life hilarity, the best of Chinglish & Engrish on handmade funny signs, cards & magnets. The signs are handmade to order in Melbourne, Australia by Michael Bancroft and I've picked out several which are just right for Benchsite. Many thanks, Michael.  

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. 

Ursula Makepeace is our Unicorn in Residence here in Fribble-under-Par. She edited the story of Romantic White benches, which turned into a long-winded fairy tale but with some very romantic white benches. She came back to give Peace Benches a chance and then in February for a hearty Valentine story about Heart Benches. My own heart was broken so maybe I wasn't as helpful as I could have been. Ursula loves ice cream so I asked her to edit when we were all screaming for ice cream benches. And don't forget Eat Ice Cream for Benches Day; the next one is February 2, 2019.  

The popsicle stick bench was photographed by Loren Javier at Princess Dot Puddle Park at Flik's Fun Fair in 2009.

The blue cow statue was in Budapest in August 2008. The author is 
(WT-en) Kulmalukko at English Wikivoyage and the photo is in the public domain  Should you wish to see more blue benches, see what happened on Blue Monday.

The Middleburg deckchair statue is one I photographed on  trip to Zeeland in June 2017. Middleburg is a beautiful city and one full of benches and surprises.

Back in August 2006 Till Krech, a software developer from Berlin, photographed his friend Peter eating bubble gum ice cream. Although it apparently tasted awful, it gave a nice blue tint to Peter's tongue.

The Don’t Set Yourself on Fire Sign was photographed by Abraxas3D at the Burning Man festival in 2006. It also appears in the Stick Figures in Peril album with over 26,000 photos – have a look, it’s hilarious.

Cass Sculpture Park in West Sussex is one of my favourite places. When Mungo and I visited recently we were delighted to find, down by the Deer Hut, a whole grove of picnic tables set amongst the silver birch trees. The interesting thing is that the trees actually grow up through the benches. Terrific! Picnic Grove is a 2012 work by David Brooks.

The picNYC grass table is by architect Haiko Cornelissen in New York. It was a 2012 New York Design Week favourite. Not surprising. You can have a picnic anytime you want. Just try to make sure you sandwich benches aren't one sandwich short of a picnic.

The woman wearing a large floppy hat is a statue sitting on a bench in Troyes in France, photographed in 2017.

Jellio is a world of fun childhood memories brought back as unique home furnishings: Rubik cube tables, lava lamps, cupcake stools - Jellio makes things to make you smile. Their brilliant ice cream sandwich bench certainly makes me smile. Check out their custom design projects and their really fun Jellio DIY projects to try at home

The hamburger bench is in front of the Moses restaurant in Herzliya in Israel. The photographer is דוד שי, who put the picture on Wiki commons in May 2013.

The little dog in the hot dog coat was photographed by Linda Wanless.  It was the dog's Halloween costume in 2008. Linda is a self-confessed Flickr addict. Her site is called a pieceofheaven, which gives you a clue how much she loves photography.

If you love animals and want to see lots of brilliant animal benches, see which ones Noah saved on the Ark. 2014 is the Year of the Horse, of course, of course. If you like dog 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 great feline benches. Maybe you like rabbits: bunnies 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.

The pawprint benches were photographed by Kate Robertson from Idaho Falls. Kate is the Queen of Creativity. She describes herself as a painter, mixed media artist, weaver, spinner and writer. Besides that, she photographs all kinds of stuff wherever she goes on her creative pursuits. She is a Kaizen-Muse creativity coach and she has loads of ideas on how to get your creative mojo working. She has various blogs; I first saw her at

The Lady of the Lake is a photograph by Manny Juan, inspired by Die Badende (The Bather) by German sculpture Oliver Voss. The Lady was at Lake Alster near Hamburg for ten days in 2011. She rises 13 feet above the water, stretches 67 feet long and weighs more than 2 tons. She wasn't just there looking lovely though; she was there to promote the 'art' of bathing in order to advertise beauty products for the British company Soap & Glory. Manny's photostream shows more about The Lady and is full of other surprising images. It's at

Mike Cogh from Adelaide has nearly a thousand Humble Bench pictures from his travels around the world and he is featured regularly here on Benchsite.  Mike has an eye for public art and also, luckily for me, an eye for benches; he finds them everywhere. The swimmer shown here in her brightly coloured bathing cap is a mosaic bench at the Marion Aquatic Centre in Sturt, Adelaide in 2014.

The wooden barrel swimsuits were apparently worn in Hoquiam in Washington State in 1929. I can't for the life of me think why. I saw the photo on the Netherlands national archive at

The heavily clothed people are at Seaton Carew beach in the late 19th century. This photograph is from the wonderful Hartlepool Museum at

The woman getting out of her bath is Vérité, otherwise known as Truth. She was painted by Jean Léon Gerome in 1896 and the correct title is La Vérité sortant du puits. Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824 – 1904) was a French painter and sculptor in the style now known as academicism. The range of his oeuvre included historical painting, Greek mythology, Orientalism, portraits, and other subjects, bringing the academic painting tradition to an artistic climax.

You can only smile for so long. After that it's just teeth. This is a quotation from Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk.The sunny yellow and orange Smiley Face bench is apparently in Coventry Village in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. (There is another Coventry in England, but that's not the one.) The author is THD3 and the image is available from

The beautiful painting of a woman in a hammock (L'amaca) is by Italian artist Felice Carena (1879-1966). It was painted in 1933. Carena came from Torino but exiled himself to Venice for the rest of his life. 

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