Friday, 16 August 2019

Benches on holiday

Are you expecting to see any benches in this story?

Sorry, they're away on holiday.

His Excellency, one of my husbands: With a start like this you've already lost a lot of readers you know. 

Mungo, my other husband: Yes, people have come here to see benches. What's the point of a blog called Benchsite if there aren't any benches?

There will be benches, I promise. There will be sunshine and sparkle.

It's just that this time of year everyone wants a sun break.

Even benches.

It might be the only chance to catch the last rays of summer.

OK, it's been pretty sunny up to now.

But the benches weather could break any minute. 

In those dark days of winter you'll look back fondly at the sunny benches. 


It's back to the school desks pretty soon. 

But right now a lot of teachers are up in grey old Edinburgh for the Festival Fringe.

There're a lot of music benches going on up there.

And dance benches too.

The only trouble is, it's hard to find a room in Edinburgh.

A  bench is the next best thing. 

What have you been doing all summer?

Maybe you've been lying on the bench beach?

my photo, Nederland Delft Blue by Hugo Klaagman

Or hanging out at the bus stop?

Maybe, like my two husbands, you've been at your workbench?

His Excellency: I most certainly have not been at a workbench. I've been island hopping in Greece.

Mungo: It was me at the workbench all summer. I'll be glad when summer's over. It seems like an eternity. 

Students waiting for their exam results feel that way too. 

April, May and June have been in London this summer.

They had great fun eating banana splits  . . .

and skating on the benches along the river.

His Excellency: But a lot of kids who have sat on the bench couch all summer will be happy to go back to school.

We'll just take a poll on that, shall we?

purple: Kids who don't go to school

green: Kids who never went to school

red: Kids who don't want to go back to school

blue: Kids who hate going back to school

Mungo: I can't understand why kids wouldn't want to go to school and learn a lot of good stuff. 

His Excellency: Maybe this poll is wrong. Poll results put me in a bad mood.

Here on Paradise Island we're in holiday mood. 

Ursula, our Unicorn in Residence, is looking very summery in blue jelly shoes.

And, of course, lots of people are sunbathing. 

Lord Brassica, Fifth Earl of Drizzly: Oh I say! This is my favourite time of year. Cowes Fortnight, The Glorious Twelfth, and gels who are inclined to take advantage of the sun in the most appealing ways.

You could chill out on a beach in Brazil right now.

Bench at Sunrise by Jonathan Wilkin @

You could go around the world in your camper van.

Or, like Ursula, you could stay right where you are and enjoy an ice cream soda.

My best imaginary friend Miggy has gone to a retreat for some bench yoga.

Actually, it's goat yoga. 

Miggy loves a well dressed goat.

Lord Brassica: This is an utterly bloody silly activity.

After a couple of downward dogs you'd smell like a goat in a library.

Miggy's Mum: Each to his own, Lord B. People enjoy different activities.

Well, Miggy's Mum, I guess in these slack days of summer you're enjoying  knitting some benches.

Miggy's Mum: Yes, everyone wants to wrap up warm for Christmas so I'm starting now.

Before you know it there will be all those bench stockings to stuff.

And all that shopping. 

Gosh, it's surreal how fast the time bench is fading!

But right now the benches are crumbling with too much to do.

The Longest Bench, Littlehampton, West Sussex

The heat of summer has run them into the ground.

The Longest Bench, Littlehampton, West Sussex

Which reminds me, someone has to bench press the logs for the campfire tonight.

Mungo: Mind which logs you burn though.

His Excellency: You said that last year. 

And the year before. 

Mungo: You don't want to destroy the ten thousand dollar designer log bench.

His Excellency: Like I did last year. 

Mungo: And the year before. 

This discussion about burning benches tends to get heated.

Eddie, my Inner Editor, who just happens to be a primate:  I suppose you're going to wheel out the same old bench stories that you use every year?

No, Eddie, I am writing an entirely new blog here.

Eddie: That makes a change. By the way, here's a picture of me. 

Wow, Eddie, you're looking very dapper here. You must have been on holiday.

Eddie: Yes, I had a great time in Mexico.

Mungo and I had our honeymoon in Mexico.

His Excellency: Well, that's fine if you've got the money bench.

Lord Brassica: It's vulgar to talk about money don't you know. I've got all the ruddy money I want.

Just as well. Lady Brassica has gone to Paris for some retail therapy.

Her purchases have done her in I think.

Or maybe it's the company she's keeping.

Eddie: Company? Is this trip business or pleasure?

It's bleisure. And of course some personal pampering.

After all that retailing and pampering, no wonder Lady B is recovering on the beach all afternoon.

As is Miggy.

my photo, Hayling Island

Lord Brassica: Looking somewhat less decorous, it has to be said. 

His Excellency: Well, not many of us look great whilst snoozing on a bench. This chap certainly looks like a pillock.

That's you on our holiday last summer.

His Excellency: I don't remember that. But I do like sleeping. It's what gets me up in the morning. 

Well, you slept through the whole holiday. As did this baby.

Mungo: I saw some lovely beach chairs in The Netherlands.

my photo, Middleburg, Netherlands

Lord Brassica: I say, this is a jolly good looking gel! Seems to have left her clothing somewhere. 

Which is perfectly ok with you, I'm sure. 

Eddie: There's not a lot about benches going on here. Given that this is a blog about benches is there any chance of seeing a bench? 

Ursula: Not in a month of Sundays sundaes.

You're right, Eddie. The sun seems to have melted my brain. 

Mungo: You could do with a little catnap on a bench somewhere.

Lord Brassica: Oh, no, not ruddy cats again. 

His Excellency: Some people think sleeping on benches is anti-social.

Lord Brassica's son Root: Me, I just kip down anywhere. 

After seventeen pints I don't suppose it makes much difference. 

Root: I've spent my whole summer like this. It's wicked!

Eddie: Not everyone is a layabout. A lot of people like expensive activity holidays. 

His Excellency: Tennis bench vacations are a racquet.

But some people like keeping fit on their holidays. Bench pressing and whatnot. 

Lord Brassica: A ruddy waste of time if you ask me. This chap needs to buck up and get a job.

Innocent enjoys bench pressing with Vini when she goes to Rio.

Lord Brassica: Tally ho, this looks like jolly good fun! 

And zumba, rumba, samba. Innocent enjoys dancing too. 

Mungo: Apparently Innocent and Vini are in Rio going for gold. They're calling it a second honeymoon.

His Excellency: It's worth noting that it's Innocent's second honeymoon because she's still married to someone with whom she had a first honeymoon.

Yes, Innocent and her husband Root had a relaxing honeymoon in Bracknell. 

And then after the honeymoon, some people apparently have a babymoon before their child is born.

Eddie: The words Meghan and Harry come to mind. 

His Excellency: Pass the sick bag.

How about a throne?

His Excellency: No. 

Eddie: A throne is just a bench with cushions.

His Excellency: I have one thing to say to that.

Bench pressing is too energetic for me.

I like walking holidays. With the proper hat and boots of course.
The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan

Do you see yonder wicket-gate?

Mungo: I do but there are too many styles stiles for me. 

Me too. I prefer swimming benches. 

Mungo and I went swimming on our honeymoon.

Lord Brassica: Honeymoons, babymoons. What a load of tosh!

Tamsin, a local girl: I didn't have time for a babymoon. A stork brought my baby without any warning.

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

Tamsin: After the baby I had a mumcation though.

His Excellency: What, you went on vacation with your mum?

No, a mumcation is where the mum goes away leaving her benches puppies behind.

Tamsin: Ahhhhhh! These are soooooo cute! 

I just left my baby on a bench at the beach.

Mungo: Saves on childcare I suppose. 

His Excellency: Enough already! These family relationship benches are really boring. Give me a break. 

I could do with a break myself but there are just so many benches and so little time.

I've decided I need a micro gap though. 

Eddie: And a micro gap is . . .   

It's like a mini break bench only smaller.

Eddie: It's smaller than a gap year bench then?

A lot smaller, yes. 

Lord Brassica: Gap years, mini breaks. Pah! This is all snowflake stuff. 

Tamsin: Oh, I love snowflakes! 

Lord Brassica: In my day we didn't have breaks. We went to boarding school at age two and stayed there until we grew up. Except for some nights out, of course. 

Mungo: Yes, and it didn't do you any harm, did it?

Lord Brassica: And then we did National Service. Unless our pater bought us out of it.

Which yours did?

Lord Brassica: Of course. Someone had to organise the elves at Castle Broccoli.

It's always the little people doing all the work. 

His Excellency: You're getting a bit tetchy, Seashell. Maybe you need a city break bench. 


Eddie: Florence has some rooms with a view.

Lord Brassica: Dunkirk! That's the spirit!

No, I'm stressed out. I'm in a slough of despond.

The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan, 1783

I need a holiday which is emotionally healing.

Eddie: A painmoon I think they call it.

Do they?

Eddie: They do. It's like a honeymoon only with mental anguish.

His Excellency: The two are not mutually exclusive.

Mungo: Maybe you need a staycation?

Yes. I could stay at home with a healing bench.

And a lot of hygge.

Miggy's Mum: Some cozy deer sheets, dear.

Yes. And some lagom.

Eddie: You did that last Christmas.


This summer you can all do what you like. 

His Excellency:  I'm going to head to an art gallery.

Eddie: You may find a picture of me there.

Mungo: And me.

I'm going away for my hols.

His Excellency: Are you going Down Under? This chap seems to be pointing to Australia. 

No, I'm staying here on Paradise Island.

I'm going down to the Fribble beach huts for some peace and quiet.  

my photo, Seaford, East Sussex

Then, for the rest of my holidays, I'm going to enjoy myself.

I'll get myself a lovely ice cream sandwich bench.

 Maybe do some streaming.

Or just find a comfy bench and read.

Come on now, it's time to pack up the ice cream and go.

my photo, Valise Expansion by Cesar, LAAC Museum, Dunkirk

Whatever you do on your holidays, mumcation, mini break, micro gap, downtime, sabbatical, or painmoon, enjoy the rest of your summer! 


Sunny days are headed your way. That's the title of the first photo by Karina's Bunches and Bits. A stay-at-home-mom who isn't home very much, Karina lives in Pennsylvania. She loves Bench Mondays and there are glorious photos of Karina and her family doing all kinds of things on benches, chairs and brick walls. Like me, she is amazed by the talented, creative people who share their photos on Flickr. The sunny days photo is from a Bench Monday in 2010 

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.  

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 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. There's a whole alphabet of Dutch benches at

It was autumn in Mölle, Sweden. It was 2011. Mikael F took a lovely photo of a broken bench with red foliage growing through it.  Every year we fall for autumn benches here on benchsite   And once the weather gets colder we have log benches too. And cake. Plenty of cake. 

The Brrrrrrrilliant Brrrr bench was photographed in Decatur, Illinois in December 2006. The photographer is Tim O'Bryan, who now lives in Chicago.

It gets jolly cold here on Benchsite. Frozen in fact.  

The beautifulphoto of dancers and benches is from the University of Minnesota Theatre Arts and Dance back in 2005. It's a performance called Dance Revolutions, with choreography by Joe Chvala, Carl Flink, Marge Maddux, Charles Moulton, Zoe Sealy, and Shapiro & Smith. Photos are by V. Paul Virtucio.

Ton Zilstra from Enschede in the Netherlands describes himself as a networked individual in a networked world. His photostream is admirably full of benches, including some stunning beach bench huts. He saw the grand piano bench at Queen Anne Park in Seattle in 2008.

The Oxford bench was photographed by Stephanie Byron, who is from Iowa. I don't know if she was actually in Oxford at the time, or maybe even another place called Oxford, other than the well-known university one. Her shop is Red Hedge Photos, which sells simple, beautiful, and unique  products  inspired by nature. There are floral prints, animals, textures, objects, letters and all kinds of prints to add a dash of cheerful inspiration to everyday life.  

The two little boys were in the craft room at Daven, photographed by Philip Howard at -  This is one of those photostreams full of fascinating photos that tell a life story. Starting in London in 1957, it's a story of a life in care.

The skeletons waiting for their exam results are from the Bundes archive Bild in Berlin's Arbeitsschitz Museum in 1931.,_Berlin,_Arbeitsschutz-Museum.jpg 

I have two husbands. One is Mungo, my imaginary husband, who features in lots of other Benchsite stories, but not this one. This one includes 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. 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

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

Jonathan Wilkin took the beautiful photo of a bench on the beach an sunrise. The photo was taken in July 2008 at the Guaratiba Resort, Southern Bahia in Brazil. It is on wikimedia under a creative commons license.

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

Hugo Klaagman is a terrific artist and we were fortunate enough to see his work Nederland Delft Blue at the Zuider Zee museum in Enkhuizen in June 2019. The work is an entire room handsprayed in Dutch images like Delft tiles. At first you think it is Delft tiles. Wooden shoes abound, as do windmills, storks, fishermen, herring eaters, and clog wearers of every age. 

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.

As the photographer asks, who doesn't want to eat ice cream while sitting on a banana split bench? The Royal Seat is a commissioned artwork by Northside artist Mary Kwakenat located at the Camden Dairy Queen.  The photographer is Northside365. 

The ice cream sundae bench is from Asian Replicas in the Philippines  Asian Replicas make a huge variety of food furniture, including ice cream benches and ice cream cone stools, a pizza bench, a cake bench, and a chicken and chips bench. Miggy says she'd definitely go for the ice cream.  For more edible benches and an incredible story about a chef from France, see

The man in the kilt is by Bob Shand, who lives in Glasgow.  The kilted man was on a bench in Stirling, Scotland, in 2007. As you'd expect of someone who loves trains and Scotland, Bob's photostream has lots of brilliant photos of trains and Scotland   If you'd like to see a Benchsite Scottish wedding, have a look at

The young woman sunbathing on a bench was in Chorzowki park in Poland. She was photographed in 2010 by Agnieszka Bernacka, whose photostream is full of intriguing black and white photos of ordinary life. 

As you can see by her amazing fitness in the Monkey Position, Sarah Siblik is an enthusiastic yoga practitioner & instructor, an optimist by conviction and an energy healer. She lives in Etobicoke, Canada.

2015 was The Year of the Goat. We had lots to celebrate on Benchsite with goat benches of every description.

The goat wearing a tux is by far the most elegant of any of the dressed-up goats I found anywhere. Being bored with dressing up dogs and cats and babies and rabbits, people eventually got wise and turned to goats. Now there are costumed goats all over the internet. I don't know what the original source of this photo is but here's where I saw it

Why goats aren't allowed in libraries (2009) was written by Murray McCain with drawings by John Alcorn. It was photographed by Nick Sherman, who is a graphic designer, skateboarder and musician living in Brooklyn.

Lord Brassica, Fifth Earl of Drizzly, is a gentleman farmer here on Paradise Island. He is a descendent, apparently, of a court judge who laid down the law on legal benches. He 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 Tonks, and possibly something about dog benches from Pru. What he really knows though, is picnic benches

Keeping warm is quite a thing here on Benchsite. We love it! Miggy's mum lives here in Fribble-under-Par and occupies various benches in the town and on the beach. Last year she organised Knit Bomb Thursdays so that we covered all the Paradise Island benches just in time for winter. And it does get cold here. Our benches get frozen   See how we keep them woolly warm at

The brilliant orange knit bench and the cardigan-wrapped chair (Chairwear) iare by Claire Ann O'Brien at  Originally from County Cork in Ireland, Claire-Anne O'Brien lives and works in London producing textiles for furniture, space and product. Specialising in constructed textiles, material properties and textile technique are explored through hands-on experimentation. With a sculptural approach, Claire-Anne investigates form, construction and scale through textiles. Shows include London Design Festival, Milan Furniture Fair, Wool Modern and Spinexpo. In 2011 she received the Future Makers Award from the Crafts Council of Ireland.

PW Fenton from Florida photographed the surreal Dali Time bench in 2008 whilst singing Hello Dali to himself. He has travelled to 21 states and 11 countries - more than Sarah Palin. For a varied and somewhat quirky photostream see his work at

I wouldn't want you to get the idea that I am in any way sponsored by Bench dot or any other company. Far from it. The stuff in the bags are my very own purchases from the Bench dot outlet store. None of them fit me and they are all the wrong colours but never mind, they bear the Bench message and that's what's important.

You've probably guessed that it's not a yule log being bench-pressed. This is a photo of pararescueman applicants 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.

As the marvelous Internet Archive Book Images shows, bench pressing goes back a long way.  The man bench pressing dates from 1917. It's an image from page 266 of "A manual of physical training and preparatory military instruction for schools of the United States; a modified Swiss system intended to provide for the strong common national defense of America.

I’ve burned a lot of benches each autumn and there are quite a few benches on fire, one way or another, on the internet. 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 ten thousand pounds saved then.  

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 

Eddie is my Inner Editor, very popular with Benchsite readers but a real pain to work with.  He's a great editor but he tries to slip primate pictures into Benchsite posts whenever he can, sometimes ruining my stories. For some monkey business with cheeky monkey benches see

The excellent portrait of Eddie looking studious is from Fringepop, an etsy shop in Atlanta, Georgia. It's full of  8x10 art prints including hipster, pin ups, zombies, steampunk, mermaids, witches, Edgar Allan Poe, Abraham Lincoln, cabinet cards, owls, taxidermy, flappers, octopus, fine art, lowbrow art, and surreal art. Fringepop also has a large selection of roller derby, horror goth, retro kitsch, and circus sideshow. They also love art deco, flapper, and art nouveau pinups and gorgeous deco mermaid art. They specialize in Victorian, medical, sideshow, and other oddity art along with many whimsical animals including squirrels, owls, deer, and ravens.

The Bench was a play performed at the Delta Stage Theatre in Greenville, North Carolina in December 2010. Written by Larry Larson and Eddie Lee, it's a true modern tale of Christmas featuring the story of two men who meet on a bench at the mall while waiting for their wives to finish Christmas shopping. As the weeks progress, they get to know each other, along with all the other wacky characters who inhabit the mall. They enjoy mall-style entertainment on the nearby stage, including a version of A Christmas Carol performed in under 5 minutes. The Bench is apparently full of singing and dancing and is hilariously funny. It sounds like just the thing for getting into the Christmas spirit; I'm sorry I missed it.

Kim Smith owns a dramatic web design company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She photographed the money bench in 2007. Her photo sets contains lots of friends and family and her landscapes  make Michigan look like a beautiful place. In fact, Mackinac Island doesn't look so different from my own Paradise Island.

How many shopping benches til Christmas? Golly, we can get into a panic about Christmas shopping, can't we? 

We're a little low key this year but in the past we've had ourselves a Ding Dong Christmas here on Benchsite. Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without some brilliantly Christmasy benches. In 2015 we here dreaming of purple ones. For a more traditional Ding Dong Christmas though, see  If lagom is not your thing, have a look at the full fat indulgence of my 2016 Hygge Christmas deer.

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. (By the way, we've got some great Irish benches for celebrating St. Patrick's Day). She loves shopping at her replica mall and having poetry read to her by Young Male Readers dot com. She is happily married to Lord Brassica, Fifth Earl of Drizzly but some summers Lady Jess  spends rather a lot of time at her beach hut with Troy.  

The Butt Bench is from a company in Milltown, New Jersey called The Butt Bench and they do what they say they do. They make an all-in-one bathtub seat on which you can sit, for whatever reason you need to.  According to their product information, the Cedar Butt Bench can create a relaxing zen or spa-like feel in your bathroom. Customer testimonials speak highly of the bench for reasons of safety, comfort, storage and shaving. And the t-shirt is for sale too.

We celebrate World Toilet Day here on Benchsite 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.'

Root is the son of Lord and Lady Brassica of Drizzly.Whilst Lady B is gorgeous and Lord B is wealthy and personable, Root has none of these qualities. In fact, he has no qualities whatsoever, as became apparent in my Bus Stop benches blog last year.

Back in 2016 Vini guided us through the Rio Bench Olympics
Vinicius is a popular name in the Portuguese language. It dates back to Roman times and in 2016 it was the name of the Olympic mascot, as well as Brazil's famous musician Vinicius Moraes. Vini is a great bench-presser, according to Innocent, but the only medal he won was a bronze for sun bathing. (That's a Tim Vine joke from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival). 

There are two wonderful illustrations in this story from John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress. Do you see yonder wicket-gate? You don't? Well, it's the first of the illustrations. The second is where Christian still endeavoured to struggle to that side of the slough that was farthest from his own house. That's the name of the illustration, as well as what he did. I just call it The Slough of Despond.  

If you follow Benchsite you'll know that I am a committed swimmer. Maybe not as committed as some people though. See my tribute to serious swimmers and the swimming benches that support them. My Swimming Bench is well documented on the post called, not surprisingly, My Swimming Bench. You've seen the bench, you've heard the story, now read the poem. It's at    

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 frequent trips to Rio give us some clues I think. 

Marc, a technical writer from Brighton, is neither anti-royal nor anti-wedding. But in 2011 the Royal Wedding Sickbag made him laugh, so he photographed it.

The Brassicas of Castle Brassica and Fribbly Manor are what passes for royalty here on Paradise Island. A red throne was made for King Charles III of Spain, gilded sometime before 1772 in Madrid and including his profile in the medallion atop the backrest. Since the late 19th century each Spanish sovereign has had a copy of this original throne, incorporating his own portrait. In the Royal Palace in Madrid now are matching thrones for King Don Juan Carlos I and Queen Dona Sofia. However, this photo was taken by Jebulon, during an exhibition of various thrones, in Château de Versailles France. Jebulon is French and proud to live in the centre of Paris.

Stacy Scissors in Tucson has the best name of all Etsy shops: Running with Scissors. She describes her shop as emo, scene, rockabilly, kitsch, rocker, and hardcore bling, in other words, stuff for the sweet and evil side of every girl. There is all kinds of jewelry, including razorblade necklaces and the bright and blingy Bah Humbug necklace. If you have a look at her shop, you're in for a treat. 

Tamsin is a sweet local girl who works here in Fribble-under-Par in the Not Quite Good Enough pharmacy. Ever a follower of fashion, Tamsin likes to try anything new. She has a French fiance, Garcon Orange, and a baby named Isambard Kevin, whose paternal origins are unknown. 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.

How do you get ten puppies to stay on a bench so you can get their photograph? Gini managed it when Arlette and Hoss had their litter of ten Greater Swiss Mountain puppies in 2000. They're from Brushcreek Farm in Philipsburg, Missouri. Gini's photostream is at

Carlos Fonseca lives in Portugal and takes fabulous photos, including the Obligatory Cat photo of the two chilled cats on a bench in 2013. This to me is the epitome of a brilliant cat photo. I've added it to my favourites.  And if you want to see some fabulous Cat Benches, my feline editor Meredith will guide you through. 

The innocent days of Lord Brassica at the tuck shop are well and truly over. Francis Storr was on his way to work at the ungodly hour of 6:45 am on a Saturday morning when he spied these hungover schoolboys next to Costa Coffee in Tunbridge Wells.  They seemed to think that sleeping it off on a town-centre bench was a good idea.  For some very well-educated school benches, see

Chester is a very posh town in the north of England. It's the sort of place where people might be offended by other people, in other words, shoppers in the pretty streets of Chester do not like to see homeless people on their benches. In October 2015 two street artists placed some plaques on benches across the city to raise awareness of the plight of homelessness in their city. I have shown two of the plaques in this story. As reported in The Chester Chronicle, it wasn't long before the plaques were removed because, according to an official spokesperson, ". . . although they may appear humorous, some people may find them offensive". So now it's not just homeless people who are offensive; it's humour as well. I saw this story on Jamie Zawinski's blog at

Mike Cogh lives in Adelaide and photographed the gnome bench and many other benches around the world which I have used widely on Benchsite.  Mike has an extensive set of over 800 Humble Bench photographs at 

bcgrote lives in California and has way too many interests, including animal photography. Sit Stay Heal is a bench from the Gaslamp District of San Diego, where she comes from. It was photographed in 2008 in front of the Gaslamp Hilton 

The black and white Athens Benchmark bench comes from the 2010 Athens Benchmark competition sponsored by Bombay Sapphire and supported by design journalists from  The winning benches from the competition can be seen at   For lots more lovely Greek benches, see

The Dunkirk bench depicts The Spirit of Dunkirk, when thousands of small boats were mustered to rescue more than 300,000 troops from the shores of France in May and June 1940. This photograph is from Greg Duce, who saw the bench at the National Arboretum in Alrewas, England, in 2010. Greg has toured many of the battlefields of Europe and has an extensive collection of military, battle, and memorial photographs on his photostream at

Hygge was the word of the year 2016 in the Collins and Oxford dictionaries so we had to have hygge for Christmas here on Benchsite.  There are more than one and a half million #hygge posts and zillions of hygge photographs on Pinterest. So many hygge books were printed that most people got one for Christmas. For a detailed analysis of hygge and its various cultural meanings, see Charlotte Higgins in The Guardian November 22, 2016. She goes so far as to suggest that the Danish hygge was  hijacked into a commercial frenzy that turns hygge into something far less cuddly than it sounds. 

Flannel deer sheets are everywhere at Christmas and for some reason I find them hard to resist. Along with the sheets, of course, you can get the matching bedside table and lampshade, and cushions that look like they've come from a Scottish manor house. I strongly suspect that all this deer-themed stuff has a limited life after Christmas.

Last year for Christmas here on Benchsite we looked at lagom benches. There are different ways of looking at the concept of lagrom. Some Swedes hate it. For example, it has been referred to as a suffocating doctrine of Lutheran self denial. Novelist and comedian Jonas Gardell called his 1990s standup show På besök i mellanmjölkens land, a visit to the land of semi-skimmed milk. 

In Avon, Ohio Joanne is a mum and a graphic designer, among others things. In her Paperieshop at etsy she sells DIY printable templates, instant downloads and wall décor. Sensibly, she has a definition for hygge, and also one for lagom, which is neither excessive nor sparse, but looking, feeling, and being in perfect balance. The wall art digital file with this definition is a very lagom image, in that it is beautifully displayed on an attractive bench that is thoroughly in keeping.

The man pointing to a map is William J. Young of Drouin, Victoria in a photo taken in 1944. Drouin is obviously not in Sweden or in Bowling Green either: he's pointing to a map in Australia. The photo comes from the National Library of Australia on the glorious Flickr Commons site at

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 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. 

Twitter for Dummies is a book I have never got round to reading.

Each of the people from Fribble-under-Par has a story to tell on other Benchsite posts. If you're meeting them for the first time, go to Who's Who in Fribble and that will tell you all you need to know. 
Root (future Sixth Earl of Drizzly) is a bit of a waster, but still he can tell you about bus stop benchesparty benches and, in his own weird way, sleeping on benches. Tamsin has an interesting totally daft perspective on life, and benches. Miggy's Mum knits a mean guerilla bench scarf

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