Take a seat – In the country

“Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us. We need hours of aimless wandering or spates of time sitting on park benches, observing the mysterious world of ants and the canopy of treetop.” – Maya Angelou


The first stage of the roadmap out of COVID lockdown comes into place this week and most children will be returning to school. This first step will also see people allowed to meet up with one other person from outside their household for either exercise or recreation. At last a chance to meet up with a friend to have a coffee on a park bench. However, judging by what we see on our walks, this simply legalises what many people have been doing anyway. A government official announced “The PM thinks there should be no harm in two adults sitting on a park bench to enjoy a coffee and a chat. It’s a small but important step — one he hopes will start to raise people’s spirits.”

My next few posts will celebrate the humble park bench and other forms of outdoor seating. Even if you can only ‘visit’ them from the safety and comfort of your armchair perhaps these posts will raise your spirits a little.


As I searched for suitable quotes about park benches I came across the story of 24 year old Sam Wilmot from Bristol. Sam has visited hundreds of benches and gives them a score out of 10 based on comfort, design, location, and view.

City benches usually score one for location, countryside usually gets a two, and then a three is reserved for those with a special wow factor. There are also marks for arm rest, back support, an inscription or plaque, concrete base, whether it’s wooden, curvature of the seat and the final thing – that additional wow factor of whether it’s nicely carved or sculpted. His Instagram site – ratethisbench has amassed a following of over 12,000! Do you have a favourite bench?

9 thoughts on “Take a seat – In the country

    1. Are you going to start your own park bench rating system Andrew? If nothing else lockdown teaches us to be resourceful in what to blog about. I am using photographs taken over a number of years so I could say posting ‘old wine in new bottles’. If I started from scratch I would include a bit more human interest and indeed will try to do so in future photographs.

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  1. I wonder how many untold stories there are in the world? Now there’s a subject for someone more able than me. I have thousands of photographs that may, or may not, remind me of the circumstances. They may be, in their own right, worthy of being displayed but would be much more so with a few descriptive words.

    Now, there’s a start of a blog post!!!

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    1. To answer your opening question – will you settle for ‘countless’? I agree that descriptive words, however few, always add to a photograph. One or two blogs I follow sometimes have a ‘wordless Wednesday’ They often leave me wanting more information and yet most followers just accept and respect the bloggers choice to be wordless and rarely ask for an explanation. I look forward to your telling of a hitherto untold story!

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  2. Do I have a favourite bench. Yes, my mum’s memorial bench that my children gave me after she died. My late husband paved a small area in the garden next to her roses so that I could sit near to where her ashes were scattered.

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      1. It was, but the builders put an end to that with over zealousness in digging out to create a path around the new extension. Only the purple rose remains and I now have the bench on my kitchen patio.

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  3. I like your phrase “legalising what many are doing already”. To be honest with you, I think people have generally done what they need to do to balance physical well-being and mental well-being. And to be doubly honest, when I met my friend for a walk in Boggart Hole Clough last week, it didn’t cross my mind that by sitting for a rest halfway round would constitute a break in the law, but if we had stood up for the duration we wouldn’t have done. It doesn’t make sense, but there again, some things about the management of the pandemic haven’t made sense either!

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