It's the Year of the Ox.
|Postcard from Honolulu, Hawaii c. 1910|
It's a heavy load to pull but I'm going to welcome in the new year with this great ox
Let's face it, 2020 has been an amazingly awful year.
|Sorrowing Old Man 1890, Vincent Van Gogh|
Throughout most of 2020 we haven't been flying high. 2020 went down like a lead balloon.
Eddie, I want to make it perfectly clear that this story is about The Year of the Ox, not The Year of the Monkey.
Eddie: I hear you.
I mean it, Eddie. None of your monkey business.
His Excellency: Years of the Ox are as follows: 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009 and 2021. If you were born within the Chinese New Year in any of these years, you are an Ox.
Are you an Ox?
My husband, His Excellency: I most certainly am not an Ox. I am a philosopher.
|The Formalist, John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress|
Eddie: Here we go with the puns.
(Credit: John P. Mosesso, USGS. Public domain.)
Eddie: I'd have thought you'd want an oxcart for that.
This is old news, Eddie.
Eddie: And also avoid people who were born in The Year of the Horse.
Or a Rooster.
Eddie: And not goats.
Eddie, we're only getting started on this story and you have already put up two pictures of yourself and four other pictures of primates. This has to stop. It's Oxen we're presenting here. Or possibly cows. I can't rule out Cow benches in this post.
The Year of the Rabbit bench was in 2011, Tamsin. It's sooooo over. As is 2020.
Tamsin: What about squirrels? I love squirrel benches!
|my photo, Isle of Wight|
There is no Year of the Squirrel bench. So if you don't mind, I'd like to show you the benches I have collected for the Year of the Ox.
|my photo Eastbourne, East Sussex|
|my photo, Sagrada Familia, Barcelona|
. . . and beautiful bridge benches.
My cat Meredith: I would like to put in a word for The Year of the Cat.
Meredith: There are lots of lovely cat benches about.
There are, but there is no such thing as The Year of the Cat. The closest it gets is The Year of the Tiger and that's not until 2022.
Meredith: While the cat bench is away, the mice bench will play.
Thank you, Meredith. However, there is no Year of the Mouse. Though as you know, there is a Year of the Rat.
Meredith: Rats, mice - it's all lunch to me.
You are fed very well, Meredith. You do not have to catch mice and rats.
His Excellency: He who does not feed his cat will feed rats.
It's the Metal Ox this year, so here is a metal bench.
|my photo, Oiustreham, France|
Tamsin: It's not a very nice bench though.
His Excellency: Strictly speaking it's not even a bench.
Eddie: And it's not an ox.
It was my only choice. I couldn't find a Metal ox bench and I thought this would do.
His Excellency: This is sloppy and totally unacceptable. If it weren't so pathetic it would be seriously funny.
Eddie: I agree, Seashell. You lack the diligence and persistence that an Ox person has.
|photo by Joanna Michalak|
But green benches are lucky.
|my photo, Lynmouth, Somerset|
And yellow benches will do nicely too.
You are stubborn as an ox. I keep telling you that the Year of the Rat was last year.
No. You're stubborn, repetitive, and extremely irritating.
Eddie: I'm going to stick up for Oxen here, though I myself am clearly a Monkey.
Another picture of you, Eddie. Just what we need.
His Excellency: I expect they're good at pulling ox carts too.
|Cart With Black Ox 1884, Vincent Van Gogh|
Tamsin: oh, this poooooor puppy! The burden is too much for him.
His Excellency: He and Michele seem to be getting on very well.
Or the year before. We were on a knife edge.
Eddie: This is bittersweet. Perhaps there was a cool passion?
Tamsin: Green is lucky!
His Excellency: I think you'll find that Mr. Obama does not need luck. He is a very strong communicator in all spheres of life.
Eddie: He was certainly responsive when I wrote to him. He sat in the Oval Office and read my letter carefully.
Tamsin: Me, I'm kind of shy and timid.
|Much Afraid from John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress|
Eddie: Unless they face southwest. Southwest is bad luck this year for Oxen.
I guess we won't be getting out the covered wagon benches then.
It goes without saying: don't stand on benches.
If you're at the gym trying to get strong as an ox, mind how you go.
Meredith: I for one will be relaxing and staying out of the rat race.
His Excellency: The thing with a rat race is, even if you win you're still a rat.
Very profound, HE. Is that what you learned at Oxford?
Meredith: You need to breathe some OXYgen into this story. Maybe you need to take a different direction.
Eddie: Directions are very important in 2021. Get all your benches facing north or south.
Eddie: And it's not for want of looking.
|On the Lookout 1889, Elif Peterssen (1852-1928)|
I was hoping you wouldn't notice. I had a few problems finding ox benches. This is the best I could do.
|Ox paper towel holder, Amazon |
But ox and cow benches aren't the same thing, are they?
His Excellency: The title of this story is totally misleading. Readers are expecting to see a cartload of ox benches.
Eddie: The larger half of the story is irrelevant. Probably there aren't any readers for this blog anyway.
You're right, Eddie. I guess the yoke is on me.
I'm clearly confused. I'd better roll out the ox bench I found on ebay.
His Excellency: You can't get away with this, Seashell. One ox bench does not a new year make.
Now, ox bench or no ox bench, it's time to say goodbye.
Jason Ellsworth-Aults currently lives in Santiago, Chile. He took the lovely picture of the baby monkey playing on a red bench in Kyoto, Japan. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ellsworthaults/2769765986/ We have all colours of benches here on Benchsite but red benches are clearly Eddie's favourite.
Three Wise Monkey benches are easy to find in bronze, plastic and just about any material you desire but I liked these life-size Three Wise Monkeys On A Bench from http://www.popartdecoration.com
I am lucky enough to have two husbands. One is Mungo, my imaginary husband, who keeps a good workbench. http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/workbench-wonders-two-husbands-lots-of.html The other is His Excellency, who has a reputation for destruction, even when he means well. He's a philosopher and, to say the least, not a very practical person. You can appreciate his difficulties if you know his school bench history.
The Formalist and Much Afraid are two illustrations from the most wonderful The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan, published in 1683. Though Bunyan preceded my husband His Excellency by several hundred years, his illustration captures the essence of the man as we know him today.
Don't you just hate it when someone takes your bench away? The two woodland folk carrying a heavy log bench away are raganu kalnas - characters from Lithuanian folklore. They are at Witch Hill in Juodkrante, where a forest trail of sculptures was created in 1979. The photo, Long Bench, was photographed by IceM626 on his visit to Lithuania in 2013. Other albums in his photostream include New Orleans, Poland and Utah. https://www.flickr.com/photos/44358614@N02/13585640885
The illustration of the man with crossed arms is not actually my husband. William Cobbett (1763-1835) an English journalist reformer who campaigned to end poverty and inequality in England. The image is from page 282 of "The life and letters of William Cobbett in England & America, based upon hitherto unpublished family papers" (1913). I saw it on the wonderful Internet Archive Book Images photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/internetarchivebookimages/14782967952/
Mike Coghlan in Adelaide is one of my most reliable bench providers - what an eye he has! His bench collection is the most extensive I have found and it is truly inspirational. On dreary days I flick through to see what's new and it cheers me up enormously. For this post I have used his bench wrapped in tape, which is reminiscent of a crime scene or perhaps even IS a crime scene.. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikecogh/ And by the way, there's a case to be made for looking at legal benches http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/laying-down-law-on-legal-benches.html
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 . . . http://www.flickr.com/photos/kimsmith/
The swaggering chimp looks like he's just come out of a backroom game of Craps with Paul Newman and Robert Redford. I saw this and thought The Sting, best film of 1973. And of course I thought of Eddie, my poker-playing Inner Editor. The Chimp is a Geekery art poster, an original drawing by Spiderman Jonah Jameson, provided here by the wonderful uNatural etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/shop/unaturalinspiration If you've seen The Chimp before you've no doubt been reading about National Insect Week benches, presented by Eddie, who was not at his best due to a morbid fear of ladybugs, grasshoppers and other harmless insects.
ro_chi has no profile so there is very little I can say about him or her except that the photostream is brilliant and all photographs are available on Creative Commons. For my Fiesta of Mexican benches story I could have done almost a whole Mexican bench blog from ro_chi's photos alone. The Poker bench, I think, is by Darthko http://www.flickr.com/photos/srzrocio/ ro_chi calls the Poker bench the Ace of Hearts (As de corzones ). It sounds lovely in Spanish.
2014 was The Year of the Horse http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/2014-year-of-horse-bench.html
The handsome black and gold horse is by 3D Rivers, whose mission is to help the internet community meet the growing need for a wide range of well-designed, high quality 3D models and consumer goods products in a constantly changing environment. They offer a huge range of 3D products including things like buildings, transport, everyday objects, characters, model packs, animals, and yes, of course, benches. This Indian-style horse is one of the many different kinds of benches available via their online site at http://www.3drivers.com/ He has already appeared on Benchsite as one of the animals on Noah's Ark.
2017 was The Year of the Rooster at http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/china-in-year-of-rooster-bench.html The charming rustic rooster and chicken bench is from www.bellesscape.com in Los Gatos, California. http://belleescape.com/painted-country-rooster-hen-bench.html 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.
Goats were a thing back in 2015. It was the Year of the Goat http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/2015-year-of-goat-bench.html Erika Crofut from Connecticut made the beautiful goat bench on the porch. It was one of the animal benches Noah saved on his ark back in 2013. Erica has other bright, fun animal benches and sofas on her website at http://www.erikacrofut.com/ Erika explains I have always loved the process of transforming a thought from my head into something physical that can be shared with people . . . My projects are all attempts to interpret and visually articulate ties between history, family, and stories. . . I use my art to express my amazement and gratitude for how beautiful an average day can be.
Paul Sivell makes intriguing chainsaw sculptures and is inspired by nature, local traditions, and mythology. His distinctive style is well known around the Isle of Wight though he also works throughout the UK and abroad. The dragon bench is one of his many functional sculptures (benches!) which can be seen at http://www.thecarvedtree.co.uk/
There is quite a thing about sock monkeys and about monkeys generally. Indeed I found 485 etsy shops with the word Monkey in their title. The blue sock monkey is by Heather Doon in Ontario, Canada at http://monkeybutz.blogspot.co.uk/
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, even lurid purple Easter frocks. 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.
We have some lovely sunny bunny benches for Easter. Sara lives in Naples, Italy and has a menagerie of very charming creatures, including Milo the dwarf rabbit. Born in 2007, Milo is described as half kitten, half bulldog, and an aspiring actress. Milo and her companions are very willing subjects for photographs; they will wear anything and hold any posture. But Milo does protest that this bench is just a little bit too small, even for a dwarf rabbit. https://www.flickr.com/photos/milorabbit/
It's true, I have thousands of images of benches from all over the world. I keep collecting them whenever we travel and I collect them faster than I can use them. The row of benches is at Eastbourne in East Sussex; British seaside towns are particularly fond of stringing benches along the seafront. The other row of benches are actually church pews, in the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.
And as for the very tall stack of picnic benches, Martijn Engelbreght and Miguel Brugman's 'Rest' Air Restaurant was in Wageningen, Netherlands in 2008. Unfortunately, they are no longer taking reservations. But isn't this the most wonderful thing? Martijn gave me permission to use the picture. He has a very cool website address: www.egbg.nl For the very coolest of Dutch designer benches see http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/an-alphabet-of-dutch-benches.html
**El-Len** is a physician and vintner who loves to travel and sees photography as a way of capturing moments and extending each trip she takes. She photographed beautiful bridges whilst travelling in China. The covered bridge is Miao architecture in Langde village in Guizhou Province. Ellen sent me several beautiful Miao bridges, which are from the Miao ethnic minority in this region of China. But that's just the beginning of the wondrous images I found in her photostream http://www.flickr.com/photos/27784269@N06/ For some beautiful bridge benches cross over to
Meredith is modelled by my own cat Melissa. Melissa, like Naomi Campbell, is not prepared to get out of bed for less than ten thousand dollars a day. That puts her out of my price range so I used the same pictures as before. If you like Meredith's style of editing and you don't mind cats, see what she did to put my post about piano benches all out of tune. Where she did excel though, was World Cat Day http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/cat-benches-for-world-cat-day.html
The cat bench is one of very many Social Sofas created by local communities in The Netherlands. I cycled around two summers photographing them; this one is in Dordrecht.
The white Siberian tiger bench is from Asian Replicas, who make a huge variety of lifesize statues and furniture in the Philippines www.asianreplicas.com Elsewhere on Benchsite you will find their edible benches such as tacos and ice creams. You could also have pizza bench, a cake bench, or a chicken and chips bench.
The lovely mouse bench is by Danish designers Nofred in Copenhagen. It's made of oak veneer and suitable for children 2-5 years. Nofred was founded by Sandra and Signe, who combined their backgrounds in interior design with their role as mothers. Seeing their own children play, they saw a gap in the market for interior products that not only belong in the children’s room but blend perfectly with the adult interior of the entire home. They want to create unique moments in childhood with sustainable products lasting for generations.
JD Hancock lives with his wife and two kids in Austin, Texas. He's a hubsand, father, web-slinger, cyborg, photographer. One of the things he photographed is the couple on a knife edge, an image which is straight out of the camera: no tweaking, no color processing, no cropping, no nothing. JD calls it Paring. He explains that a paring knife is a small, plain-edged knife designed for peeling and intricate work. The dull side also makes a great bench for his tiny young lovers, who are part of his Little Dudes series, documenting the Little Dudes who live in his home. Weird, witty, highly recommended. https://www.flickr.com/photos/jdhancock/3772013250
The rusted seats which aren't quite a bench were ones I saw in Ouistreham in Normandy, France. I have a whole collection of ugly/broken/unwanted benches and sooner or later all of them come into a story.
The lovely bright blue bench was photographed by Joanna Michilak on a sunny day at Denham Gardens in West Sussex.
The green bench against a sea wall is at Lynmouth in Somerset.
The roller skater on a bench is a statue I saw when wandering around Victoria Station in London. Oh, the wonderful things you can see in cities.
The excellent portrait of Eddie looking studious is from Fringepop, an etsy shop in Atlanta, Georgia. https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/fringepop 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. As if this weren't enough, Fringepop loves macabre gothic themessuch as skulls and anatomical art. Favorites also include funny designs with retro sayings and a kitsch quality.
The Obamas, Michele and Barrack, are seated on life-sized benches and are themselves life size. They are made by Life Size models from Jolly Roger Ltd., otherwise known as Lifesize Models in the UK. http://www.lifesize-models.co.uk They have thousands of quality resin and fibre-glass 3D life-size models, figures, signs, statues, props, furnishings, etc. Their showroom has over 2000 themed models, which include animals, people, and everything from counter-top coffee beans to fullsize elephants. Their Facebook page shows some of the models in amazing situations https://www.facebook.com/TheJollyRogerLtd You will also find them talked about on Twitter https://twitter.com/lifesizemodels Michele without the bench costs £390+ VAT and the Obamas together cost £799.
President Obama was going over notes in the Red Room prior to a Live Prime Time Press Conference in the East Room of the White House on March 24, 2009. The photo was taken by Pete Souza and is an Official White House Photo from the official Whitehouse Photostream at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Barack_Obama_readings_notes_in_the_Red_Room.jpg
The PlusZ Ranch in Redmond, Oregon is inspired by the nature and history of the Wild West. The creative people at the PlusZ Ranch use old stuff like cowboy ropes, worn horseshoes, barnwood, and antique barbed wire to make lovely, rustic things. One of them is the Cowboy boots bench, which reminds me of a gas station we used to go to in Seattle when I was a child. The gas pumps were under the cowboy hat and the cashier lived in the boots. Boy howdy, we loved going there! Sorry, I digress. The PlusZ Ranch shop is at
In 2016 we rode out to the Wild West looking for benches. There we found Pomeroy, a little farming town on Highway 12 which follows the route of explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark as their Corps of Discovery made their way to and from the Pacific Ocean in the first years of the 1800s. Pomeroy is an historic town in this respect and it's great to see all these beautiful benches commemorating their farming heritage. The one included in this story is the covered wagons.
The man balancing on a bench is one of those pictures that's all over the internet but very hard to find when you want it. I saw it at www.pichippo.com
I don't know if pichippo is Japanese but on reaching their Japanese language website I asked for a translation and stumbled on a very large ad for Viagra. It's one of those photos in which a lot of people have a pinterest. All I can say is, don't try this at home.
Leo Reynolds, from Norwich, has been taking photographs for many years. He photographed the sign about the dangers of standing on a bench https://www.flickr.com/photos/lwr/6004233669/ Leo is a geek after my own heart. His photostream is incredibly well organised into labelled and categorised sets. Among them are selfies, stick figures in peril, vintage graphics, and, of course, benches. I'm fascinated by it all, especially 1,141 photos of the letter E. And if this isn't convenient enough, you can get all the letters of the alphabet, and numbers, organised by colour. Oh bliss. Finding a site like this just makes my day.
Vinicius is a popular name in the Portuguese language. It dates back to Roman times and in 2016 it's the name of the Olympic mascot, as well as Brazil's famous musician Vinicius Moraes. Our Vini was a benchpressing champion in Brazil but during The Games he got distracted by Innocent and struck Gold in an entirely different way. http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/rio-2016-brazilian-bench-olympics.html
Sunny yellow benches are a bit of a tradition here on Benchsite. There are some springy ones that will get you in the mood for, um, spring. The one shown here is a fabulous beach shelter bench at Southsea. http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/springy-yellow-benches.html
The brilliant yellow sofa with two hearts is in the Netherlands. It's made by Guusje Beverdam, who specialises in ceramics which are durable, low maintenance, vandal-proof and frost resistant. I have admired her work ever since Mungo and I spent a summer holiday cycling in Overijssel and came across what I still call The Enschede Sofa. Guusje calls it a loveseat. It's made of clay and fired at 1160 degrees and then glazed in her characteristic bright colours. What a treat to find street furniture like this! She was Arts Woman of Overijssel in 2012 and no wonder. You can watch videos of her working on her website at www.guusjebeverdam.nl For more brilliant Dutch design see http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/an-alphabet-of-dutch-benches.html
We are egg-static about egg benches here on Benchsite. The chicken benches came first, http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/no-spring-chicken-benches.htmland then the eggs http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/eggstatic-egg-benches-for-easter.html
and then, of course, the roosters http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/china-in-year-of-rooster-bench.html
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. https://www.flickr.com/photos/26615859@N05/
The Farmer's Market bench in Rochester, Minnesota is by Susan Waughtal. In 2013 it was part of an exciting project called Life-is-a-bench at http://www.rochestermnarts.com/events/life-is-a-bench/index.html For lots more yummy edible benches see http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/edible-benches-with-jench-de-bench.html
If you love animals see which animal benches Noah saved on the Ark. If you like pig benches, then you're looking in the right place and there are more small, large and faraway dog benches at http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/big-bench-small-bench-cute-and-tiny.html On the other hand, if you prefer cats, let Meredith show you some fabulous feline benches. Maybe you like rabbits: bunny benches 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.