Monday, 31 January 2022

Hearty Heart Benches for Valentine's Day 2022

 It's February and there are hearty heart benches everywhere.

My best imaginary friend Miggy: You do this every year, getting locked into another show of hearty heart benches. 

"Reyjkavik" by Moyan Brenn / CC BY-SA 2.0

Sorry, Migs, I can't help it. I was nothing before benches.

Benches are close to my heart.

Miggy: You need to get freed from them. Make this the final chapter.

Yeah, but it's Heart Awareness month and also Valentine's Day. Hearts are everywhere.

There are wooden ones . . . 

. . . and painted ones. . .

. . . and mosaic ones.

There are red ones . . .

. . . and white ones . . .

. . . and pink ones.

Miggy: No grey ones I hope.

Miggy: Good. My heart isn't in it. I'd like to avoid Valentine's Day and especially anything grey.

I know what you mean. I feel fifty shades darker about Those Films.

Miggy: They always came out at Valentine's Day for some reason. 

When you see all that grey you start wishing for some nice red lips benches.

Miggy: Even Mae West couldn't resist.

Golly, these retro benches make me feel vintage. 

Miggy: I know. One minute you're a young svelte couple . . .

And next thing you know you're ancient history. 

Miggy: The question is, will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64? 

Sorry, I don't know. I'm tied up at the moment with all these benches.

Miggy: This bench story is already fifty shades darker than I'd like. 

And there is too much romance around. I'm starting to feel like I've lost my head.  

Me too. Everywhere I go I keep seeing loved-up couples on benches.

Or les amoureux des bancs publics, as they say in France. 

Miggy: It's been going on for centuries. I'm sick of it.

Some of them seem to be having a heart-to-heart . . .

. . . and some of them rock up on a kissing bench, rocking and kissing to their heart's content.

Everywhere on benches I see couples reaching out for each other.

Even animals are at it. Lord Brassica's horse Tonks has recently lost his heart to a little filly in Drizzly. 

Miggy: Yes, he bought her this card and learned every word by heart so he could recite it to her at the gymkhana on Friday.

I know I should take heart from this sort of thing but my heart is set against it. We're like a couple of old spinsters, Migs. 

The Spinsters 1927, Erik Henningsen

Miggy: Speak for yourself. I think you've said too much about your love life already. 

It's true. A couple of years ago I poured out my heart about my two husbands. I gave a hearty account of the two of them and their workbenches. 

I explained how I met my imaginary husband Mungo in Las Vegas and we took a gamble on love benches.  

With His Excellency it was a different story. I gave my heart away rather too quickly. 

Miggy: To be honest, he doesn't look very keen.

I know. He's totally against Valentine's Day.

And most other days as well.

I try not to lose heart but I feel like my balloon is about to burst.

Miggy: At least you've got another husband.

Yes, Mungo always remembers Valentine's Day.

Miggy: It's rather greedy of you having two husbands when I can't even find one.

I've been waiting for decades.

You need to make yourself available, Migs, maybe flaunt yourself a bit.

photo by Sheila B

Miggy: I tried that in The Year of the Rat bench. 

What happened?

I met a lot of love rats. 

I guess your heart bench has already been through the shredder?

Miggy:  Yes. I want to meet someone who sets my bench heart on fire.

You could do some online dating.

I tried that. I just met a lot of clowns. 

It might be worth advertising.

OK, maybe not.

What about those two guys at the library?

Miggy: Dead. Both dead. And positively skeletal.

You need to get yourself a husband like Lord Brassica. You know what he gave Lady Brassica for Valentine's Day?

Miggy: Let me guess. 

A garden bench, a basket of flowers, an unlimited credit card?

 Yes, and a week at a fat camp spa. 

Miggy: A renewal of her yearly subscription to Young Male Readers dot com? 

Of course. And a shopping spree in New York . . .

. . . her own jewellery shop

. . . and a week-end in Paris.

Oh, and another throne at Drizzly Manor.

Miggy: I'm green with envy.

Yeah, me too. I'd be lucky to get a week-end at a spa fat camp and a rendezvouz on a bench spent in stoney silence.

Miggy: Looks like these hearts have gone cold.

But don't lose heart, Migs. Love is all around on a bench near you.

my photo, Heerlen, Netherlands

Miggy: Most of those benches are already occupied though. With loved up couples . . .

Boris Kramer at 

. . . and would-be lovers getting to know each other. 

I see what you mean, Migs. There's no room for three on a bench.

Miggy: And I've got stiff competition. 

Well, true. Fiona here has beautiful green eyes and a heart to give away. 

Miggy: Of course Innocent is out to break some hearts. 

And some banks.

Miggy: Even Ursula is sprinkled with romantic dust. 

Ursula nearly had heart failure when she got this mysterious download from someone in the 17th century. 

Miggy: Who's it from? Richard the Lionhearted? Or Coeur de Lion, if you'll pardon my French.

Ursula hopes it's from Doctor Skill. She has fancied him since 1678. 

Miggy: You know what they say: too long a sacrifice makes a stone of the heart.

Well, my heart hasn't quite turned to stone yet. 

Young Man in Black, Girl in White 1919, Nils Dardel

And I haven't got a wooden heart either.

His Excellency is taking me away for the week-end. He says he's bought us a house!

Miggy: Lucky you. 

Remember the house he bought last time?

Yeah, I couldn't believe I was living that kind of life. 

Miggy: I think we need a final chapter for this story about hearts.

How about this then?  

A one-size-fits-all heart bench just waiting for someone to occupy it.

Miggy: Beautiful! 

This puts all the other hearts benches in the shade. 

HappValentine's Day!


As regular readers of Benchsite will know, I am lucky enough to have two husbands. One is Mungo, my imaginary husband. I lost my heart to him when we met in Las Vegas. It all happened so fast. My real husband is His Excellency and though he kind of messed up Valentine's Day this year, sometimes he is an excellent Valentine. Both men are excellent in their different ways, as shown through their woodworking skills

Because of Those Films we were Fifty Shades of Grey back in February 2015, and then Fifty Shades Darker again in 2016. This year it's Fifty Shades Freed and oh, dear, please may we be freed from any further Grey films. We're promised that this is the final chapter and I hope with all my heart this is so. In the meantime, for Valentine's Day 2018 grey and pink benches are still the order of the day. 

Miggy is my best imaginary friend and travelling companion. She runs the cafe here in Fribble-under-Par, which serves teasandwiches and cakes. Migs herself is a great consumer of cakes. She even manages to turn a sensible discussion about log benches into a cake-centric story. No wonder she hasn't found a husband. 

Over the years here on Benchsite we have had more than our share of sad clowns We've had liars and fake news benches. And skeleton benches We've had a few love rats too. And rat benches, though not many. Ok, none actually. For some 2020 Year of the Rat Benches see  but don't worry, you will not see any actual rats. 

The man with a heart head is Working Man, located at The Cube, a 25-storey building in the city centre of Birmingham UK. The Cube houses a mix of offices, shops, restaurants and apartments and inside the building’s central courtyard atrium is an exclusive portfolio of art pieces by contemporary artist, Temper, whose work is dedicated to and influenced by ‘The Lovely People’ of the city he loves. Each of Temper’s pieces immortalises a real person who has inspired others and demonstrates a source of pride for the city. Working Man was photographed by Barry O'Neil in 2012.

Italian-born Moyan Brenn made his very first shot with an HP digital compact camera in 2005. Since then he has travelled all over the world finding gorgeous places and beautiful subjects for his photography. At Reykjavik Airport in April 2014 he photographed the pretty heart and padlock bench for Flickr Creative Commons.
His images can be used for free for both private and commercial use under license CC-BY-2.0 

My Heart bench was photographed at the University of California in Santa Cruz in 2008. The photographer is Celine Nadeau, who is a webdork from Paris suburbia, currently living in San Francisco.  

The brilliant red lips bench was seen on International Kissing Day 2014 at the Baci restaurant, along the Yarra River, Melbourne. The photographer is Andy Blackledge, a hockeyholic who enjoys capturing interesting images, especially flowers, birds, fish, and landscapes. From Scottsdale, Arizona, Andy's travel photography adds to the memory and appreciation of the places he visits

The beautiful painting Ask Me No More is by Victorian painter Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912) who worked as a contemporary of Alfred Lord Tennyson, the Poet Laureate in England from 1850-1892.  Alma-Tadema was born in the Netherlands but became a UK citizen and worked in England. Painted oil on canvas in 1906, Ask Me No More is a line from Tennyson's poem The Princess

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 the first photo in this post I have used his bench wrapped in tape, which is reminiscent of a crime scene or perhaps even IS a crime scene..

The English painter and sculptor Sir Frederic Leighton (1830-1896) painted Acme and Septimius, an oil on canvas, in about 1868. Like many of his other works, it depicts historical, biblical and classical subjects. The painting is from the love poem of the same name, which was written by Gaius Valeruis Catullus, who lived from 84 to 54BC. The painting now hangs in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford and is in the public domain.,_Frederic_-_Acme_and_Septimius_-_c._1868.jpg?uselang=en-gb  Besides his art work, Leighton is known for having the shortest hereditary peerage, as he died the day after receiving it. 

And pink ones too. Marco Antinori is Iron Tuna, from Maserata in Italy. He took the photo of the stunning pink bench in the Viale Ceccarini in Riccione, Italy in 2009. This photo is molto molto bella, as so many Flickr commenters have said. And Marco's albums are full of colour - not only pink, and not only in Italy.   

Speaking of Italy, we have some tasty Italian benches here on Benchsite. 

Yay Benches make mosaic concrete benches.   Cats, dogs, bones, flowers, lizards - they make benches of every kind. They're enthusiastic about the art making process and each bench they make is done with a lot of laughter. They have even had to make a rule about no laughing while moving heavy concrete. And they say "Yay!!" all the time which explains the name.  

Janis lives in Vienna  She took the photo of the Styrian heart bench in Bad Gleichenberg, a historic health resort in South East Austria. This is the Green Heart of Austria, which inspired the bench. As far as I can tell with my limited knowledge of German, the bench won a design prize in 2011

Dmitry Sipety lives in Moscow and works in finance. His photostream contains photos from Istanbul, Spain, New York, Italy, and elsewhere. The black and white ones are brilliant too. Sipety photographed the lovely red bench in front of a house in Brienz, Switzerland in 2010. The house was all decked out with red hearts, which look stunning against the old wood. Seeing this photo really warms the cockles of my heart (as probably no one at all ever says in Ireland). 

What does Ruben Ras make from lego? Anything. Creatures, vehicles, people, spaceships, pubs, steampunk, modular houses and, more to the point, Salvador Dali's Mae West Lips Bench. Ruben is a primary school teacher who works from the heart at his home in Urk in the Netherlands. He's in Lego Dutchies, Lego Freaks, and other appreciative Flickr Lego groups

Kevin Lucius is a graphic designer who runs Lucius Art from a tiny apartment in Chicago. He loves working with old textures, animals, and vintage design elements to produce vintage-inspired animal art and city art. She Thought of Love is an original illustration from a vintage art print.

The Hyde Park Snoggers were photographed by Jan Williams at   The Caravan Gallery's exhibitions are seriously thought-provoking, distressingly perceptive and beautifully absurd. That's what it says on the website and it's absolutely true. 

Maria Stableford is a designer, illustrator, and home crafter. Her designs have been explored through her love of Cambridge, England, especially visits to the Fitzwilliam museum, universities and the Cambridge Botanical gardens. She also loves the boating life on the River Cam, which meanders through the heart of the beautiful city. The Lover's Bench, set in the Botanical Gardens, is an original drawing made into a greeting card.

For a fabuous film of love on French benches, accompanied by a song by Georges Brassens, see Les Amoureux des Bancs Publics at

The sculpture Couple on a Bench is from Jalisco in Mexico. This couple have been together a long time - since  200 B.C. - A.D. 500 it seems. They are a burnished red-slipped ceramic sculpture from The Proctor Stafford Collection, purchased with funds provided by Mr. and Mrs. Allan C. Balch (M.86.296.91). This file is in the public domain because it has been released by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art with its "Public Domain High Resolution Image Available" mark.

The bright red Kissing Jim Rocker is by Didi Dunphy in her Modern Convenience studio at Didi likes to bring play and free time into home decor. Her Recess line reintroduces play through sculptural furnishings which bring the free-time concept of Recess indoors. The Kissing Jim Conversational Seat is modelled after the Victorian courting chair, which allows two people to sit face to face comfortably, promoting conversation, meaningful gazing and who knows what else. Kissing Jim is made from powder-coated aluminum or, as we say in Britain, aluminium

Danish artist Erik Henningsen (1855-1930) was a master of Social Realism. In 1927 he painted The Spinsters, long past their own days of young love on a public bench. In other paintings he depicts the difficulties of the poor, wounded, unemployed, and socially isolated. He's one of my favourites among the Nordic Realists.

The brilliant billard ball beanbag seats were seen at the wonderful FRAC museum of contemporary art in Dunkirk, France in October 2017.  I have been unable to find the artist though.

Fiona is one of the miniature dolls made at Studio Dada in Sofia, Bulgaria. Isn't she stunning? Studio Dada makes miniature dolls and angels, pin buttons, and other tiny pieces of joy   

Annie Mole photographed the Unknown Husband bench. She is Head of Social Media for Great British Chefs and she lives in London where she keeps the  Annie Mole - London Underground Tube Diary.  She is webmaster of Going Underground and its companion blog about travelling on the London Underground   Her Flickr photostream is at

Gone are the days when wedding toppers were scared grooms and bored brides. At Splendorlocity in Stone Mountain, Georgia they have all kinds of amazing wedding toppers, including themes with lots of people sitting on benches. Day of the Dead Goth themed wedding toppers? No problem. A skeleton bride who has waited for ever for the right man? Yes, definitely. And much more besides.

Over the years here on Benchsite we have had more than our share of sad clowns We've had liars and fake news benches. And skeleton benches We've had a few love rats too. And rat benches, though not many. Ok, none actually. For some 2020 Year of the Rat Benches see  but don't worry, you will not see any actual rats. 

The skeletons sitting at a table (in the library?) are from the Bundes archive Bild in Berlin's Arbeitsschitz Museum in 1931.,_Berlin,_Arbeitsschutz-Museum.jpg

Besides being a Valentine girl and an incurable romantic about love and white benches, Ursula is also a peace campaigner. Here she is chanting Peace Bench slogans for International Peace Day last year. 

Paul Evans is an engineer currently living in Plymouth in the UK. He was cycling the lovely Tarka Trail bike path in Devon back in 2006. Along the trail he saw the wooden bench figures reaching out for each other.

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.

KPAJCollectibles in Minneapolis make great custom items like the Apple iPhone Custom Case of the Emo girl with a heart balloon and bench.  The case is a white plastic snap-on; it's durable, strong and stylish. Besides a huge assortment of iPhone cases, they also make dog tags and zippo lighters.  

Eugeneloza photographed the red love bench in Kiev, Ukraine in 2008. It is licensed under CC BY 3.0 on Wikimedia at      

Richard the Lionheart was born in 1157 in Oxford, the son of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. At 16 he commanded his own army and in France he was known as the coeur de lion because of his courage and military leadership. On the death of his father, Richard was King of England from 1189 until his own death in 1199. 

Dr. Skill first appeared in the Feelgood Medical Benches in 2013. He certainly makes Ursula feel good. Dr. Skill is from The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan, first published in 1678. Mercy was fallen down in a swoon is also from The Pilgrim's Progress

The stone mason's bench with beautiful carved roses is from Superior Monument back in 2009.

The wood bench with the little red heart in the corner is by John, aka MTSOfan.   John is a pastor who says that photography isn't just a hobby; it's his attempt at sanity, a diversion in a life with much responsibility, and also a way of looking at the world. John calls his photo of a thin bench couple Holding Hands, a whimsical bench. He photographed it in January 2013 in Chalfont, Pennsylvania.

The bronze lovers bench sculpture is one of many beautiful works by Canadian sculpture Boris Kramer at  The artist writes: I heat and form metal until it emulates expressions of human relationships. When heated, metal is very forgiving, which is why I choose it as a medium. Through art, I explore humanity. In particular, the ways that we are drawn together.

Hilde Skjølberg is a webdesigner and mother of two living in Oslo. She photographed the lovely old couple on a bench back in 2008. Gosh, they must be 64 by now. At least. 

The gorgeous yellow hearts bench is at the corner of Irving and 6th in San Francisco. It was photographed by Claudya Martinez, who describes herself as a Latina mom blogger. She has a very entertaining blog about what she gets up to on Sundays  This was one of the first romantic benches to catch my eye and I'm very pleased to have it here.  It also featured in last year's blog about how I met Mungo in Las Vegas

Vintage Vendor in California makes vintage and antique paper goodies, pretty 1920 holiday postcards, Victorian trade cards and other Victorian paper from the late 1800's. They also specialize in vintage collectible buttons, particularly 1940's realistics, moonglows, kiddie buttons and beautiful antique buttons that are over 100 years old.  

2014 was the Year of the Horse so I gave horses a high profile on Benchsite. The horse couple sitting on a bench look happy but it doesn't end well for them; the next photo shows him sitting alone   Bronwen Hyde, aka bellybuttongirl, is a fine art photographer originally from Australia, currently based in London.  She has had two solo exhibitions in Melbourne, and considerable success in various art competitions. She recently undertook a one month artist residency at Hospitalfield in Arbroath, Scotland, to create images to complete her series interior / exterior, and to find new directions with her self-portraiture and photography in general. 

Papercut Pretties in Kelty, Scotland makes personalised papercut greetings cards and wall art for every occasion. The Love Song bench scene kit is a personalised kit with the lyrics or verse of your choice. The printed lyrics are the background to the papercut bench, grass, tree and lamppost. Instructions are given for making this into a highly personal Valentine's, wedding or anniversary gift.

The Pixel Prince, from Hollywood, Florida, is the creation of husband and wife duo, Kenny and Rene, started in late 2009. They create one-of-a-kind inspirational, funny, customizable original illustrations for homes and offices. Kenny is a self taught artist with formal training in Computer Science while Rene holds the title of Accountant, Organizer, Fact checker, Craft extraordinaire, Auditor etc…etc. The downloadable printable bench art is one of their many products, which includes moustache art prints, world maps, photo pinback , key chains, art prints, buttons, posters, and yes,  digital downloadable printable art    

Root and Innocent were married in a Scottish-themed wedding. Here they are on their not-very-romantic wedding night.

Root has carried on as before, being drunk and disorderly on every bench in Fribble and Drizzly. Innocent, however, has pursued a career in modelling, having been discovered by Joop from Overbearing in Holland. Studio Joop is well known amongst fashionistas for Joop's avant garde designs, such as the Downton Abbey Servant's Dress modelled by Innocent for the Autumn Collection. As for marriage, it has to be said that heartless Root and innocent? Innocent are not a very well matched couple.

Is it true that benches are never made for three? The vintage card is from the USA, dated 1936 and found    in the photostream of Joe Haupt at

Bart is from Deventer in the Netherlands. He makes affordable, top quality canvas prints, including subjects like chillis, waterfalls, pinwheels, sunsets, cows, and the mosaic bench with a heart.  Bart's etsy profile tells me that there are 3,642 members of the very creative Netherlands etsy community. I am lucky enough to keep meeting them when I find brilliant Dutch benches for Benchsite

PhotographyPhreakGirl photographed the twin heart benches. Her photostream contains lots of lovely photographs of cats, and also the King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania. As someone who looks at thousands of images, I can honestly say that nowhere else have I seen photos of the King of Prussia Mall.

Lady Jessica Brassica is happily married to Lord Brassica, Fifth Earl of Drizzly, a gentleman farmer and expert on both cows and picnic benches. Lady Jess has long been a stylish fashion icon but following a new year's eve party there was a debacle about a dress

The pretty display of antique jewellery on a pink chair is from the window of an antique shop in Freshwater, Isle of Wight. If you're into islands why not see how My Paradise Island compares to the Isle of Wight.

Amarand Agasi loves computers, photography, people, reading and art...not necessarily in that order. The lovely wood bench with the green heart is called I Wood: New lens, new camera, new season of a fresh new year! And although the photo was taken back in 2006, it still reminds the photographer of Spring.

The illustration of the man with crossed arms is not actually my husband. His Excellency is extremely camera-shy and has never knowingly appeared in a picture. This illustration is 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

The beautiful angular statue, Couple on Seat, is in Cabot Square at Canary Wharf, London. It's one of many by British sculptor Lynn Chadwick (1914-2003), made in 1984 in the tradition of Henry Moore. Chadwick began his career as an architectural draughtsman but after World War II he took up sculpture. His work is now exhibited at Lypiatt Sculpture Park near Stroud in Gloucestershire. This photograph is by Sludgegulper in 2010 and although I first saw it on Wikicommons, it also appears in his Flickr photostream at  

The wonderful painting of the Young Man in Black, Girl in White was made in 1919 by Swedish artist Nils Dardel (1888-1943). The girl is Nita Wallenberg, daughter of a wealthy Swedish banking family. Nita met the artist in Japan in 1917 and  they became secretly engaged but her father did not care for bohemian artists and put an end to the relationship. This painting sold for £445,250 in 2012. 
Amor frío is the snowy heart bench, photographed by Pedro de Matos in 
Sabadell, Catalonia back in 2012. Pedro comes from Cadiz and is apparently something of a comic as well as a photographer.

The final heart bench with no one on it is the Champagne Suki heart bench, photographed in Yokohoma, Japan 2016.

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