Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Just in case you were getting too comfortable...

Now this may look like a sort of suspended tree bench but it is in fact a 20 foot catapult. The piece of art, Ambush by Dexer Dymoke, is at Grizedale Forect in Cumbria and is apparently designed to 'challenge our relationship to the forest.' Just don't sit down on it to 'rest awhile'...

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Resting spots

Two benches with gentle messages in my home town of Tunbridge Wells.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Pickle bench

This bench is made from reclaimed pickle barrel wood by Eric Strong from Oregon. (Is it just me or does a lot seem to be happening in Oregon right now?)

Thanks to Shedworking for passing on the link.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

The Straw Bale Bench

Thanks to Crystal for drawing my attention to this winding 'straw' bench at the train station in Davis, California. Designed by John Hammond of Indigo Architects, and with tile decoration designed by his wife, Seico, the bench is over 200 lineal yards long and has graffiti that echoes that on the passing train carriages.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Park benches for teenagers

My local park replaced one park bench with these three benches arranged in a triangle. Cheers to them for admitting teenagers congregate round benches so they might as well make it pleasant for them - it makes me want to be young all over again.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

My mum's bench

It was my mother, the writer, Elizabeth Peplow who inspired the title of this blog. When my son was really small, he came back from staying with his granny with all sorts of mannerisms and sayings he'd picked up - as often happens when children spend time with people they love. However, the one that really made me laugh happened when we were walking along in the park one day and he turned to me and said very solemnly, 'Shall we have a nice quiet sit down now?' I could so hear her voice in his and imagine how he must have tired her out when she said it. So when we wanted a memorial bench for her, it seemed exactly the right thing to put on it.

Somehow, it sums up all I love about memorial benches - the personal phrase that catches the spirit and memory of a person and even if you don't know them at all, you have some picture of who they might have been. Of course, nice and quiet is the opposite of how I remember my mum, although in some ways that was exactly how she was. Like the best people, she was complicated. I wrote this response to Jenny Joseph's famous poem for her recently. Although it's about Mum, I can think of nothing better than turning into my mother!

Response to Jenny Joseph
(in memory of EP)

I shall invite small boys to play ping pong with me
and grumble about their manners if I lose.
I’ll invent complicated games with dominoes
and keep changing the rules, the television
control will get lost when there’s a programme
I don’t want to watch, while for big horse races
I’ll invite the butcher over and we’ll keep the phone
between us on speed dial to the bookies. I’ll throw
lilies out the window because they smell of death,
I’ll pretend my gin is water and that every dress
is this old thing. I’ll never share my sweets.
Each Easter I’ll decorate the same Church window,
in the same way; I’ll get my family to judge
and act surprised when they say mine is best,
I’ll bet on everything and somehow always win.
Although no one knows exactly how, my house
will be filled with people who ‘want to help’,
who clean and organise and dog walk and always
stay for cups of tea after tea after tea until the cards
come out and my pile of loose change grows higher,
and when, at my funeral, they’ll cry and say
‘she was generous, gave us all so much',
despite the evidence, they’ll be right.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Bench art

The Westerville Arts Festival holds an annual bench art project, with all the benches being auctioned off for charity. Look at the webpage for more ideas for benches.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

A Deviated Path

Thanks to the gardenhistorygirl for the introduction to Matthias Pliessnig's flowing benches. Even more extraordinary because they're made of oak. She's got some more formal designs up too from Munder Skiles in her most recent post. Worth a look - particularly to have a little dream about 10 scrapbooks full of vintage benches and to watch his video tour of Reinventing the Garden Seat.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Memorial benches

I love benches that are in memory of a person, but those in memory of an event are pretty special too. In my local park, The Grove, there's a bench:

dedicated to the 'Great Storm' of 1987:

Luckily the tree replanting programme in The Grove has worked beautifully:

but the bench is a useful reminder of what might have been lost, particularly as most of the kids who sit on it now weren't even born when the hurricane took place. It's extraordinary to think of what pictures - because of the bench - the 'Great Storm' conjures up in their imaginations.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Born to be mild....

I don't know about you, but I find the photograph above of a bench in Switzerland is rather exciting. However, I get the feeling that the the Dull Men website has its tongue firmly in its cheek with its Park Bench page.

However, it has a good link here to different views from park benches.