Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Just 19 shopping benches til Christmas

As everyone knows, shopping is exhausting. It's a nightmare. The food shopping alone is enough to make you start smoking again.

Lady Brassica has her very own replica mall in the basement of Drizzly Manor but even so, she often has to take to her bench after a long day of retail therapy.

To get through the Christmas shopping period we're going to need some solid shopping benches and some sound advice. 

First off, make sure the shops are open.

Take a roomy shopping trolley with you. This one is actually a bench so if you get tired, you can sit down on it.

The shops will bedazzle you. Try to think what you're shopping for before you go out.

With a good list, the shopping just flies by.

Women are easy to buy for. I've already told my husbands what I want.

But gifts for men are tricky. Shops will give you ideas of stuff you don't want. 

Neither of my husbands would be caught dead in this nightie.

I could, of course, buy a bench but that's what I do every year. It's a bit obvious.

Men tend to get socks and ties but this year I thought I'd give His Excellency a bright, trendy Christmas jumper that he can wear all through the festive season. 

This fellow looks really chuffed with his.

Miggy, my imaginary friend:  His Excellency will not thank you for a jumper. Believe me. He will hate it. You'd be better off giving him a subscription to Bench Dude Monthly.

What about this one then?

Miggy:  Are those reindeer doing what I think they're doing?

Oh, crikey. I didn't notice that.

Miggy:  I think you'd better give up on the jumpers.What are you getting for Mungo?

Mungo is my imaginary husband; he's easier to please. 

He's going to get this t-shirt that's right in the Christmas spirit.

Miggy: I suppose you chose this because Mungo used to be a maths teacher? 

Yes, I thought it was exponentially witty.

Miggy: But Mungo hates Christmas. He will not wear this t-shirt now or ever.

You could be right, Migs. Maybe I'll just get it for myself.

Miggy: If you get one in double extra large, I'd like one. 

Dream on, Fat Girl. You're getting a subscription to Bench Geek Weekly.

Sorry, Migs. I'm getting a bit stressed out with all this shopping. It's hard to know what to do next.

©Graham Horn and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license 

I'm just going to sit down on these nice red shopping benches and rest my brain.

I'm watching the Christmas shoppers and I know what everyone is thinking.

These women in Liverpool found everything they wanted in Primark but one of them is worried that she might have bought something stupid.

OK. Deep breath. Ready for more advice?

The apostrophe is missing in heart's. Maybe they couldn't afford one after all that spending.

Dress up to do your shopping trip. A bit of glamour won't go amiss.

Try to do your shopping alone. If you have to, set off in the rain in the dark of night.

Or take your dog with you. Have a seat in the mall and think things through.

Whatever you do, don't take your kids. 

You will end up on a bench doing all manner of childcare.

Either that or you'll spend the whole time queueing to see Santa.

It goes without saying: don't go with a man.

If you have to, find a convenient husband-parking bench and leave him there.

Kids left in a shopping centre ball-pit tend to have a whale of a time. Men, however, tend not to be able to find anything to do. 

This man was sensible enough to bring a book but even so, he's had enough. He's been there ten minutes and already he's holding his head.

He seems to have a lot of problems. Maybe I could get him this?

With all these men hanging around shopping areas it's no wonder shops put up anti-loitering signs.

Wouldn't it be nice if men waiting on benches would tell each other a Christmas Story?

Then we could all return home as happy couples laden with presents.

The truth is, most men will not enjoy the pleasure of talking to each other whilst waiting on a bench.

So all in all, you'll need to be quick with your shopping. You can't just run in and grab a bench for half price.

It's a matter of finding just the right shop, and friendly staff who are eager to serve you.

If you're lucky, helpful staff will pack up the presents.

Then, of course, everything has to be wrapped.

But once the Christmas shopping is done you'll be so pleased with yourself.

You can go and collect your kid that, three or four hours ago, you left on a bench outside The Cookie Shoppe.

You can go and find your man.

With a sense of relief, you can stand on a bench surrounded by bags.

Or, like Innocent, you can sink down into your purchases with a sense of satisfaction.

The control freaks among you can come home and arrange your shopping in alphabetical order.

Hmmm. I can see that you are wondering if there is a way to avoid all this. 

Yes. There are two ways I can think of. 

Like Miggy's mum, you can sit on a bench and make your own presents.

You'd need to plan ahead though. Miggy's mum has been working on these woolly scarves since October. 

Or you can stay in and order stuff online.

Maybe that's the way to do it? 

A harem of friends, wifi access, a hookah pipe, an unlimited credit card, and an elegant banquette where you can put up your feet while the stresses of Christmas roll by. 


Karina photographs Bunches and Bits, including the colourful bench and shopping bags at the top of this post. 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.

Supermarket Shopper is a sculpture from artist Duane Hanson in 1970. It was photographed by Rene Spitz in June 2011.  Rene is based in Cologne and has an interest in design. As his photo sets show, he is addicted to taking pictures in museums and galleries, which is fortunate for me because I am stranded on Paradise Island and never get to see things for myself. Duane Hanson created a number of lifesize, realistic shoppers, including a man on a bench with a paper bag. Ausstellung Hyper Real, Ludwig-Forum Aachen 13. 

Primark Shoppers is a photograph by Jan at The Caravan Gallery  Jan and her colleagues travel all around the UK and elsewhere finding, capturing, and exhibiting fascinating little slices of life. Caravan Gallery photos have featured on Benchsite before and I have been lucky enough to visit the caravan. What a treat!  

Lady Jessica Brassica is the wife of Lord Brassica, Fifth Earl of Drizzly. She does indeed have her very own shopping mall in the basement of Drizzly Manor, from which she has unlimited credit and access to all manner of shoes, dresses, handbags, and Young Male Readers of various kinds. On more than one occasion she has been so exhausted by her shopping experiences that a doctor has had to revive her from her condition of Shopilius Extremis  What's the best thing to buy someone like this for Christmas? Well, one year she was delighted with a throne.

The yellow Patient Husband bench was photographed by Aga Slodownik in Porto Fino, Italy. Aga lives in Warsaw ans works as a Polish polisher; she says she does this work with German precision. Aga's photostream shows much interesting travel and she also has a thing for feet.

I only recently discovered Sign Fail and I'm really glad I did. Sign Fail 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. Some of them seem too good to be true but I've picked out several which are just right for Benchsite.

Etienne Reijnder's Toosh-e is an ex-shopping trolley converted into a bench. It features as one of my Alphabet of Dutch Benches and comes in really handy here as a Christmas shopping trolley. Etienne Reijnder describes himself as '. . . a headstrong designer, who especially loves to walk the road of sidetracks and loves challenges. I believe in simple work. The design and material must fit in with the thought process, so don't make it prettier or uglier than it needs to be. I work very crisp, and pure.'  His website is at

The mens' nightie and other gifts for men is a 35mm slide of a display at Binns Department store at Newcastle upon Tyne in 1966.  The photo is from the Robert Sanderson collection, available through the Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums on Flickr Creative Commons at   The other shop photograph of Christmas decorations is Woolworths in Newcastle, taken in the same year and available through the same collection.

Shop Until You Drop is graffiti by Banksy, photographed by POOP in January 2012.

Paula Picard creates funny magnets, wine labels, and greeting cards like All I want for Christmas is everything.  My sentiments exactly. There are loads of funny ornaments and greeting cards for Christmas. Paula's shop is in Illinois at

The BENCH bench was photographed in Buchanan Street, Glasgow in 2008. The photographer is Steve Gore, who has a photostream full of all things Scotland. Scottish weddings, Armed Forces Day, stunning beaches, The Edinburgh Festival - it's all going on in Scotland.

The silly red dog jumper is 1980s from Stefano International Sportswear. It's sold by Joseph Murawski at Carnival of the Maniac, an intriguing shop full of vintage clothing, vintage paraphernalia, and conjurings. The shop is packed full of ugly Christmas jumpers and a guy who models them in a perfect deadpan way.

Gettemfast has a lot of ugly, funny, cool, custom and geek tee-shirts at his etsy shop in Michigan. I particularly like the reindeer cotton crewneck, which comes in a variety of colours and costs £22.22.  It's not the usual sweater you get from your granny.

Dave Fiorante runs his Classy Whale Tees shop from Toronto. There are all kinds of joke tee shirts in a huge variety of colours. It should be possible to find one for just about anybody you know.

The Next shop and metal benches are in the High Street in Exeter, where I once spent a summer. They were photographed by Graham Horn for Geograph in 2009.©Graham Horn and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license   I saw the photograph at

Choo Yut Shing lives in Singapore and has an eye for benches. There are lots of sleek, modern benches in public places, like the red plastic benches he photographed in 2009.

City Girl Night Rain is a fine art print from Agata Lawrynczyk's Art Corner in Ottawa, Ontario. Agata does original paintings, multiple canvas, abstracts, and textured artwork.

The woman with the dog in the mall was photographed by Emiliano in 2007. No clues where this mall was, but it's in the euro zone. He also photographed the man reading a book on a bench in Liverpool. Emiliano is an actor and songwriter from Livorno in Italy. Livorno just happens to be an incredible Bench Place, frequently appearing in the excellent Bunch of Benches. Emiliano has photographed his share of benches too. You can see them at  in his Flickr photostream at

The two women with children were photographed in a palm tree mall in Bristol in 2008.

DressyFlats specializes in greeting cards which are cheeky, sassy, un-PC, obnoxious, and adorably hip. They're made by Jessie in Brooklyn and available through her etsy shop at Please Don't Buy Me Anything Stupid This Year is a 5x7 holiday card, laser printed on acid-free cardstock. The image is a digital collage made from vintage and contemporary magazine images, with hand lettering and cutting. Jessie will put a message of your choice inside the cards so you can use them for any occasion.  

Terry Bell is from New Mexico and has some fantastic photos of the southwest, including a whole set of benches. He took the picture of the yellow bench Shop til your heart's content in the Las Placitas mall.

The little girl visiting Santa is Joan Wilson from St. Augustine in Florida. The photo is from the 1951 Department of Commerce Collection, made available through Creative Commons at the wonderful State Library and Archives of Florida

It's Just Slate is a shop full of hand painted home decor, especially signs like the Shopping with your husband one. It's run by Jessica Beare in Virginia and features yard, door and walls signs which are handpainted on old roofing slates.

The man and woman bearing gifts are from the Netherlands National Archive in 1961.   The well-dressed woman shopper with gifts is from the archives 1950-1960  Both are from the Spaarnestad Photo Collection at

Marji is the Rain City Girl from Seattle. The picture of bags and bench at the end of the story is called Been Shopping and comes from her set of Flickr Bench Monday photos.

Starting Lineup Tees are described as attitude tee's that are sure to propel you to the starting lineup... or at least get you a few high fives on the way into the game. I particularly like I bust mine so I can kick yours.  There are sports tees galore, including bench ones.

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.

Bench in a Shopping Centre is a watercolour painting by Oliver Lovley in Nottingham. Oliver uses watercolours and coffee to create pretty, fluid landscapes of Nottinghamshire.  I just know these men on the bench are lonely but however long they wait, they will not talk to each other. Oliver's etsy shop is at

The helpful shop assistant was photographed by Roberto Trm in 2011. He doesn't say where it is but Roberto is from Venice and is widely travelled. Guessing from his wonderful travel Sets, including lots of benches, I'd say Bali or Indonesia.

My Dutch is normally just about good enough to work these things out but I can't for the life of me find out who is the painter of Entry of St. Nicholas into the Toy Shop (Intocht van St. Nicolaas). It's a Dutch painting by either A.C. Callenfels of Alkmaar or Gebr. Kluitman. The date, I think, is 1903. I saw it on WikiCommons at 

I would love absolutely anything from Julie's StitchinStash fabric studio in North Carolina. Stitchin' Stash offers the highest quality designer cotton fabrics from Michael Miller, Robert Kaufman, Riley Blake, Henry Glass, Studio e and more. There are colours galore, including the obligatory red, green and candycane stripe for Christmas. I just took a deep breath and chose the Holiday Hostess Fat Quarter Bundle to show in the story but if I had any of these, I'd be sewing forever.

Nikolay Titov took the photo of the two men sleeping on a bench in Taipei City, Taiwan, in 2011. He calls it Exhausting Shopping, which makes sense.

Killing time while Mom shops at the mall kid on bench is from the Fair Use policy of Uncyclopedia at   I am extraordinarily patient in tracking down the original source of images where possible but sometimes, as in this case, you just have to accept that the photograph is Out There. Having said that, I am always pleased to add a credit to the rightful owner if they want to get in touch. 

Shopping in the Harem is by Austrian painter Rudolf Swoboda, 1859-1914. The date of the painting is unknown. Swoboda was one of Queen Victoria's favourite Orientalist painters and she sent him to India to paint scenes from her empire. His Indian paintings now hang at Osborne House, Queen Victoria's summer cabin on the Isle of Wight.

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. These 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. 

Saturday, 23 November 2013

31 things to do on a bench

This is one of those trendy listical posts where I make a list of some cool things you can do on a bench.  

Eddie, my Inner Editor, who just happens to be a primate: Say what you mean. Exactly how many is some?

I'm going to show you a list of some thirty-one cool things you can do on a bench. 

1.     Sit on the fox bench and read the Sunday papers

Tamsin, a local girl:  Ohhhh. This fox is soooo cute! 

His Excellency, my imaginary husband:  I wouldn't want all that fur on my trousers.

Lord Brassica, Fifth Earl of Drizzly: I am a tolerant man but I will not tolerate foxes. I'll send my man round with a shotgun next Sunday.

His Excellency: Mind where you shoot. I'll be on the fox bench reading The Sunday Times.

2.     Walk along the top of a bench on a snowy day

Eddie:  Just down to the edge of the bench and back? It's not going to be a marathon, is it? 

3.  Scribble your thoughts into the wind

Tamsin: lol! All my thoughts are like this! 

Hood-D, a recent graduate of Fribble School of Art:  This was done by layering in Adobe Illustrator. I suspect the finishing touches were Adobe Photoshopped.

Tamsin:  You're sooooo clever! My school report said I'm not a bright budgie. I'm not sure what that means. 

4.     Play a musical instrument. A lute or something folksy works well

Lady Jessica Brassica: This would be lovely if it were a younger man. I'm going to contact Young Male Musicians dot com and ask them to send me a lute player. 

5. Snog

Tamsin: Ohhh, this is soooo romantic!

6.     Stand on a bench and show off your frugal frock

Miggy: What a great dress! And this model is a refreshing change from the stick insect versions. 

Don't get any ideas, Migs. There isn't a bench around here that would hold you.

7.   Wait for the metro

Lord Brassica, Fifth Earl of Drizzly: There is no metro service in Drizzly. Perhaps we ought to have one? 

Why, Lord B? There is only one street in Drizzly. And we already have a bus bench. 

Biff, one of the more destructive members of the Fribble Agro gang: There used to be a bus bench. I got rid of it.

8.     Make merry on the seafront

Oh, yes, there is lots of merrymaking on the seafront here in Fribble. 

Root, future Sixth Earl of Drizzly:  I like to get drunk down on the Esplanade and crash out on one of the benches. Here's me and Innocent on our wedding night. 

His Excellency: Looks like romance isn't dead then.

9.     Do some yoga

Eddie: This is the Hanumasana, otherwise known as the Monkey Pose. I've never seen a monkey doing this.

Eddie, I hope you're not going to start bringing primates into it. I'm declaring this a Primate-Free Zone.

Lady Brassica:  I do yoga every morning. It keeps me limbered up for the evening when my Young Male Readers arrive.

The less said about that, the better I think. 

And now for the tenth thing you can do on a bench.

Eddie:  There are only nine things to do on a bench.

You're wrong, Eddie. I'm showing 31 things to do, all of them perfectly acceptable. 

My imaginary friend Miggy: Well, except maybe the vice one.

His Excellency: The vice one? I must have missed that.

We'll come to that in a minute. Meanwhile, here's number ten.

10.    Enjoy a quiet smoke

His Excellency: This chap has the right idea. Looks like a jolly nice place to sit with a Café Creme. Some wine and a slice of brie would go down a treat as well. What number is the vice one? 

11.  Bench press

Lady Brassica:  I leave the sweaty stuff to the men. 

Miggy: You wouldn't do this around here. There are unspeakable things on the ground around the benches.

Lord Brassica: Yes, my dog Pru is appalled at what she finds.

12.   Sit with your mates and complain about the economy

These are some of our local men in the grounds of Drizzly Manor. We haven't got much of an economy round here so there's nothing to talk about. 

Lord Brassica: I say, these chaps are trespassing on my land. My dog Pru is there but she doesn't seem to be able to see them off. I'll send my man round with a shotgun.

13.     Trip the light fantastic

Lady Brassica: Last night I had a Young Male Dancer come round and we did a steamy botafogo.

Miggy:  I guess steamy is better than sweaty?

14.     Enjoy a competitive game

Lady Brassica: Ohhhh, I love competitive games. 

Miggy:  I suppose there's a Young Male Game Player on his way tonight?

15.  Pamper your butt

Lady Brassica:  This is something I do every day. Or get someone to do it for me.

His Excellency:  Is this the vice one? 

It's a little racy for Benchsite, but no, it's not the Vice one. 

His Excellency: I'm just going for a little nap. Let me know when you get to the Vice one. 

16. Fall in love with someone unsuitable

Tamsin: I fell in love with Root and he was unsuitable. Totally. That's why I left him at the altar and ran off with Garçon Orange.

Root: I married Innocent instead. Tamsin has big green feet.

Tamsin: It's true what they say about French lovers. Garçon is soooooo orange!

17.     Try to attract the attention of someone you fancy

Eddie:  When I was in Borneo I fancied a cute little orangutan. I brought her bunches of bananas every day.

She ap-peeled to you I guess.

Eddie: Not funny. My heart was broken. 

Sorry, Eddie.

I had to stop editing the prestigious publication Monkey Business and come back to England. I'm not one to beg and plead. 

18.  If you can't get what you want, beg and plead 

Miggy: This sculpture is brilliant. It's called Bench of Vices.

Lord Brassica: We don't have any vice around here. Never have. Never will. 

His Excellency: Sorry, Lord B. At first glance I thought this was your wife. 

Root: I thought it was MY wife. Innocent can be a bit clingy at times.

His Excellency:  Isn't this that clingy stuff they wrap sandwiches in?

Lord Brassica:  By jove, you're right! Bring on the picnic! 

19.    Forget sandwiches. Sit on a bench and watch something spectacular

Miggy:  We ought to get an outdoor cinema here in Fribble. I could make popcorn and cakes for the interval. 

Eddie:  The first film should be Planet of the Apes. And then the old Tarzan films. And that Clint Eastwood one with the chimp in it.

Hood-D (MA Fine Arts): We could get these glasses and watch old films of nuclear tests. That would be ironic and also educational for the generation who knows nothing about atomic devastation.

20.  Enough about films. Have a good gossip

Miggy:  You wouldn't believe what I heard about Innocent. 

Lady Brassica, Innocent's mother-in-law:  There is nothing I wouldn't believe about Innocent.

His Excellency: I heard it too. I found it rather intriguing. 

21.  Take a break from your labours and wonder if it's all worth it.

Eddie:  Editing Benchsite is definitely not worth it. I got paid twice as much at Monkey Business

I pay peanuts, I get monkeys.

21A.     Here's a better photo of something to do on a bench.

Eddie, please don't start with the primates. 

And don't interfere with my numbering system. 

21B.  Writing is something you can do on a bench. Here's a picture of me, writing. 

And no pictures of you either. I mean it, Eddie: NO MONKEYS.

Eddie:  What about a balloon?

Yes, a balloon is fine. 

22.    Float under a balloon

Satoshi Itasaka at 

His Excellency: This is a minority interest though, isn't it? I can honestly say I have never seen a balloon bench, let alone sat on one.

Tamsin:  Ohhhhh, that little boy is sooooo cute! 

Lord Brassica: If you fancied a bit of high jinx you could wait until someone sat on the bench and then shoot down the balloons. 

23.    Fall flat on your face in front of the Taj Mahal

Root: I get totally legless at the Dustpan and ipod. I look like this, only with a pool of biryani where I've been sick.  

Too much information, Root.

24.   When you get tired, take off your shoes and have a bit of a kip

Root: Yeah, I do that too. I sleep all night on the bench. If I can get myself onto the bench. If not, I sleep in the biryani.

Seriously, Root. We do not want to know.

25.     Carve a message for posterity

Biff: I can't see the point of carving stuff into benches. Too much effort, mate. I'd rather just smash up the bench. 

26.  Achieve a good work/life balance

Miggy: I think I have an excellent work/life balance. I make cakes for my Be Happy cake shop and then I take the cakes home and eat them. Nothing goes to waste. 

Root: I don't believe in work. I have a life/life balance. 

Unwin, Lord Brassica's butler: I have a work/work balance and I'm very satisfied with it. Is there anything I can get you, Sir?

Lord Brassica: Yes, Unwin, you can get me a shotgun and I'll go after the blighter who left a pool of biryani on my billards table.

Unwin:  That was your son, Sir. 

Lord Brassica: Was it? Oh, well then, tally-ho. High spirits of youth and all that.

27.     Pose for a portrait in the garden with your family

Lord Brassica: We had a family portrait done for Root's wedding. It had a Scottish theme and we all got dressed up in kilts and whatnot. Unfortunately, Root and my wife and the bride were missing.

Tamsin: That was me. The missing bride. Sorry, Lord B. 

His Excellency:  We had a family portrait done when I was growing up. Here it is:

Hood-D: In my view, your family portrait is less sentimental and more aesthetically pleasing than the Tissot narrative painting.

His Excellency: I think so too. That's me on the left by the way.

28.     Sit in judgement of those who have transgressed

Biff: I know this dude! He gave me 12 weeks community service and all I did was smash up the bus shelter. It's so unfair.

Root: Yeah, I got a caution for being a public nuisance. 

Miggy: No offence, Root. You ARE a public nuisance.

29.     Feed a baby. They say breast is best. 

Lord Brassica: Breast or no breast, I'm not in favour of infants being nurtured in public. In my day we were dispensed to the nursery and we stayed there until we went to boarding school. Any nonsense and we got a good clip round the ear. Didn't do us any harm.

30.     Sit with a flower looking vaguely alluring

Tamsin: Ahhhh, this is so sweet!

Unwin, Lord Brassica's butler: I knew this girl when I was working at Downton Abbey some years ago. One of the kitchen girls as I recall. Married that Irish fellow who used to be the chauffeur.

Miggy:  No, Unwin, it was one of Lord Grantham's daughters who married the Irish chauffeur. Lady Sybil.

Tamsin:  Ahhhh, that is so sweet! 

Miggy: Haven't you seen Series Three? It didn't end well.

31. Celebrate all the things you can do on benches!

So you see Eddie, there are wayyyyy more than nine things to do on a bench.

Eddie:  I'm sticking with the nine.

Suit yourself. But if you think there are only nine things to do on a bench, or even 31 things, you are so, so wrong.


Sunday Mornings on the Fox Bench is an original illustration in graphite, ink and coloured pencil. It was given to me some time ago by Peter Harren, a children's book illustrator from Minnesota. The fox bench and other delightful drawings are in Peter's shop at  The only other fox bench I know is the one we saw when we were looking for Wild West benches in America's Wild West.

Balancing Act is a person who appears to be walking on top of a bench in Colwick Country Park. It was photographed by Alan Murray-Rust for Geograph in February 2009.

Scribble your thoughts into the wind is by photographer Mark J. Sebastian in 2007. It is layered in Adobe Illustrator with finishing touches in Adobe Photoshop. I saw it on Flickr Creative Commons at      Strangely enough, this scramble of scribble does look very much like Tamsin's brain scan. 

Eddie is my Inner Editor and he has ruined helped me edit a lot of Benchsite posts. He has a habit of sabatoging contributing to my stories and turning them into photo galleries of primates, including himself. He behaved arrogantly reasonably well on Blue Monday but I was seeing red benches in February when he took liberties with his employment contract. You'll also see him celebrating completely destroying my St. George's Day dragon story at   However, when it came to The Year of the Monkey, Eddie finally got his say. 

The man playing a musical instrument is a painting called Mezzetin, by the French Rococco painter Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721) Mezzetin was painted between 1717-1719 and is part of the Yorck Project at  Watteau's work often showed the pursuits of rich aristocrats - comedy, music, ballet and theatre -  otherwise known as fetes galantes. Watteau is credited with having invented this genre. If he were alive today he'd be painting the Brassicas of Drizzly. For more musical benches see

Lady Brassica has a penchant for young men, whatever they are doing. Her young male readers feature in the discussion of books at For an update on her love life this summer, see what she gets up to in her beach hut with Troy. 

Hyde Park Snoggers is a photograph by Jan at The Caravan Gallery  Jan and her colleagues travel all around the UK and elsewhere finding, capturing, and exhibiting fascinating little slices of life. The Hyde Park Snoggers have featured on Benchsite before, as have many other Caravan Gallery photos. 

Diana from Austin, Texas is the girl behind Frugal Fatshionista, living large on a little budget. That's her, modelling her favourite green dress on a bench. She has some lovely dresses and a wise and witty way of writing about them. She created her blog to vent, explore and discuss what it feels like to navigate through adulthood as a plus-sized woman on a shoe-string budget.

The Mohammed Naguib Metro Station in Cairo was photographed in 2008  by  Meursault2004.    Yes, before Biff destroyed it, we did have a very nice bus shelter in Fribble-under-Par. Here are local residents, Cora and Dora Boran, waiting for the bus. Cora has taken her teeth out to rest them on the bench.

For some brilliant bus stop benches around the world see

You will have gathered that my husband, His Excellency, is rather camera shy. Not so my imaginary husband Mungo, who travels with me and is happy to be in our holiday snaps. See, for example, our summer bench-finding trips to Greece, Italy, and the Alps. His Excellency likes a strong mature cheddar, a good Chianti, and a cigar. Mungo, on the other hand, likes . . . Oh, never mind.  See for yourself how my two husbands compare at

The group of people gathered on a seaside bench in 2008 were remembering their dear friend Rebecca, who had died six years previously. Rebecca's bench is in Brighton, the home of photographer Davey, who is otherwise known as Scarycrow. Davey likes to photograph assemblages, birthday parties on benches, and vintage stuff, including old cars. He has a delightful photostream at

Doing the splits on a bench is not most people's idea of yoga, but it's certainly impressive. This photo comes from Vicky Oliver, a yoga teacher, trainer and practioner at whYoga in Greater London. Apparently this is Hanumasana, the Monkey Pose, and Vicky says it's beneficial for depression. She also says she can teach people to do the splits on a bench whilst reading a book. Vicky says Most of us believe The Splits to be one of those poses that only really flexible people can do, like celebrity yogis, Olympic gymnasts, seven year old girls and those lucky enough to have two parents who were rubber bands . . . Not so. It’s all about preparation.

The park benchpressers are not what they seem. One guy is benchpressing. But Root is not actually benchpressing; he got drunk the night before and passed out like this and is just trying to get up. The benchpress trainer is Rawlings Benchleigh-Preston, who used to be a barrister in London. Find out all in the ins and outs of bench law

The smoker is a painting from 1858 called Independence: Squire Jack Porter. It was painted by Frank Blackwell Mayer (1827-1899), an historical painter from  Maryland. Squire Jack Porter is now in the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

The three men in the grounds of Drizzly Manor are an engraving by Emil Orlik (1870-1932), made in 1899 and entitled London Dawdlers (London Tagediebe). Emil Orlik was a painter, etcher and lithographer, born in Prague but travelling widely and working in Japan and Germany and elsewhere in Europe. His work is in the public domain at    
The two men playing chess were on the Western Front in France 1918. The official photographer notes that the man on the left made the chessboard and chessmen himself. The photograph is in Flickr Commons via the National Library Scotland

Stick People Dancing on a Bench is a work of light graffiti by glenneroo, who is currently based in Vienna. glenneroo does a lot of portraits and he gets around; he has sets from all sorts of places, and a whole set of light graffiti photos as well.  For a whole alphabet of dance benches see

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.

Romeo and Juliet is an oil painting by French artist Jules Salles-Wagner (1814-1898). The painting is in the public domain  at    Tamsin and Root were no Romeo and Juliet, that's for sure. Fortunately, Tamsin eventually saw sense and called off the wedding but it was a tense event. For full details of the ill-fated Scottish weddings, see

The three girls trying to attract the attention of a man on a bench are The Three Graces, a painting by Italian genre painter Enrico Tarenghi (1848–1938). It is in the public domain. 
Italian art and Italian food: we have some tasty Italian benches here on Benchsite.

The Bench of Vices (Lavicka Neresti) is a sculpture by Czech/Canadian artist Lea Vivot. She has exhibited in the Royal Academy of Arts and lectures about art all over the world. Vice was photographed by Miaow Miaow in 2006 in front of the Sazka Building in Prague. 

Innocent's Cling Dress was designed by Joop in Overbearing in Holland. Joop has been Lady Brassica's dress designer for many years but he seems now to have abandoned Lady B and turned his efforts to dressing Innocent instead. Innocent's Downton Abbey dress was a bit of a wow at a recent fashion show. You can see it at Lady Jess has her own studio now, based in Ballyfrumpy in Ireland. So maybe every fashion cloud has a silver lining?

The three bronze girls having a gossip are The Girls of MiskolcThey were photographed by Alensha in 2006 and made available on Wiki Commons.
The statue is in Szinva Terrace in the Hungarian city of Miskolc in northern Hungary. In researching this I stumbled on a dodgy Hungarian dating website which suggests that girls in Miskolc have lovely necks but apparently you should never trust them. 

Operation Plumbbob was a series of 29 nuclear tests in the Nevada desert between May 28 and October 7, 1957. US servicemen stationed at Camp Desert Rock near Las Vegas were subjected to huge levels of radiation from the blasts; one describes being able to see the bones of his hands. This photograph is from Boltzmann, the very first test at 11.55 am on 28 May, when NATO observers wore special glasses to protect them from the flash.  The photo is in the public domain.

My German isn't brilliant but as far as I can tell, the labourer is a peat digger. The painting is by Walther Firle (1859-1929), a portraitist and genre painting who seems best known for his portraits of Bavarian royals. And if you want to get high on alpine benches, click here

The monkey and ice cream bench is from Asian Replicas in the Philippines  This photo featured in the Edible Benches back in March and then there were more delicious treats when we all screamed for ice cream benches in summer 2015.  Asian Replicas make all kinds of funky fibreglass food furniture, including benches that look like pizza, chicken and cake.  Miggy says she'd definitely go for the cake.  

There are many brilliant Japanese benches on Benchsite. Satoshi Itasaka's amazing Red Balloon Bench is an item made according to the customer's specifications at Studio h220430 in Tokyo. The photo is by Ikunori Yamamoto at  For every project the studio arranges the color, quantities, setting positions of balloons, length of the rope, and fabric materials of the seat according to customer's request or the space that bench will be fixed in. The balloon bench shown is in a restaurant in France. The standard price is 2,100,000JPY and retailers are Gallery SOMEWHERE in Tokyo.

The planker (that's a p, folks, not a w) is planking on the Princess Diana bench in front of the Taj Mahal in 2012.
This is the  bench where Diana posed for a lonely photograph which made us all realise that all was not well at the palace. An innocent photograph or a carefully orchestrated media coup? We'll never know.

The woman sleeping on a bench under a newspaper is my dearest oldest friend Cookie, late of Los Angeles, now of The North. That's Northern California, not so grim as The North as we know it in the UK. I kept this picture all these years and now, finally, it has found a good home. But is it ok to sleep on a bench

The bench with lots of messages carved into it is by Toggan at sv.wikipedia. My Swedish is minimal but as far as I can tell, the sittbänk is at a tourist station in Aradalen in Gotland. The tourist station is one of the oldest in Sweden and it looks like a fabulous place to be in summer.

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 
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.

Garden Bench is by James Tissot (1836-1902), painted in about 1892. Tissot was born in France but lived mostly in Britain, where he painted first medieval scenes and then scenes of every day modern life, such as boating on the Thames and sitting on benches. His model was often Mrs. Kathleen Newton, an Irish divorcee who was also his lover. Garden Bench is in a private collection but is in the public domain and placed on Wikimedia by  

The judge is Justice Lewis Cave (1832-1897), appointed as a Justice of the Queen's Bench in 1881. He was photographed sometime between 1881 and 1891 by the London Stereoscopic Company.

Feeding a baby is a photograph called Generationen by Klaus D. Peter in Wiehl, Germany. The three generations were photographed in England in 1976. 

Woman with a Red Zinnia is a painting by Mary Cassatt (1844-1926). Mary Cassatt was an American impressionist painter who studied in Paris and depicted the lives of women, especially the bond between mother and child. Her works were not well received in the US but she exhibited for several years at the prestigious Paris salon and was awarded the French Legion of Honour in 1906. Her paintings are now valuable in the US and have even been used on postage stamps. Woman with a Red Zinnia is in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC and due to its age, in the public domain at

The Celebration bench is from Brian Hart at California Harts, Flickr. It was photographed in 2009 in Celebration, Florida, a town much celebrated for its creation of an idyllic, smalltown community which is clean and safe and pretty. More than seven thousand people live there. To balance this though, some people find its Disneylandish perfection a bit creepy. Make up your own mind by viewing Brian Hart's Celebration set at

Nine Things to Do on a Bench (2001) was a collaborative project by writer Julia Darling (1956-2005) and glass designer Cate Watkinson for the Grainger Town Development Trust in Newcastle.  They created nine etched glass panels to accompany benches in the town centre, each panel suggesting things to do on a bench. One of them was The Kiss Bench, using Julia's lines Here's my list, go out, get kissed.

Nancy Bruning is the author of 26 books on health and wellness, including Nancercize: 101 Things to Do on a Park Bench.  She describes herself as a breast cancer survivor, public health professional, certified fitness specialist, world traveller, and flamenco dance student.  Her books and blog feature advice on health and include advice on how to get outdoor exercise, even within city environments. And she knows of what she speaks; she has an MA in Public Health.

I promised Tamsin she could model a Clingfilm skirt but somehow I don't think Innocent has anything to worry about when it comes to modelling. 

For Tamsin's perspective on life, cuteness, and benches, see