Those who read any fitness articles will note how often the word Bench gets mentioned. I’ve taken this a little further in this article.
So for those who want an insight into bench pressing here is a link https://www.coachmag.co.uk/exercises/chest-exercises/186/bench-press-technique-tips
But there is much more to benches than just fitness. Here are a few shots that I took on a recent visit to Wisley
There is the bench to watch the lake and see the ever changing picture reflected in the water
This bench allows one to look across the river and dream of the perfect hole in one on the golf green just the other side of the river. Or as more likely, try and retrieve that amazing shot which had landed perfectly on the green and which then rolled on and and landed in the river. Such is life.
Or there is the bench and table that would have been so perfect for the summer picnics when the family were all young and at home. Remember those squabbles over who got that extra sausage or the chicken wings.
And as there are 3 tables all close together, there was the not so subtle game of one up man-ship as to who had the best picnic.
Closer to the river there were those swing benches that would have been just great with you first girlfriend in the summer to watch the water move past whilst going precisely nowhere. Today its was a better reflection of life as there was a raging torrent and the ground was flooded- ah, those challenges of life
Life stages are also reflected in the curvy benches and the circular ones- twist and turn or go round and round.
Wisley has many benches which have a dedication on them. One of the most significant is one that says ” Some days I come and sit and think, other days I just sit”
On the most recent visit I saw a bench dedicated to a married couple who had died at the ages of 79 and 99 meaning that one of them was alone for 20 year or so. It had been sponsored by their children.
There has also been a recent campaign for those who are alone and lonely to establish a recognised bench or place to sit and have a few words conversation with strangers. This particular piece was in the Big Issue. A magazine which aims to give those who are homeless a sense of purpose and self respect.
There is also a charity, Silver Line whose purpose is to ensure that those who are elderly and living alone have somebody to talk to on at least once per week. https://www.thesilverline.org.uk/
Loneliness is not however a situation that is limited to any one particular group in society as it affects all ages. The circumstance of looking past the other person is all too easy to adopt and very common.
And so a bench is not just a place to get physically fit but also a place to refresh your mental fitness as well. I wonder if as a country we could start by saying Good Morning to that person who does the same commute as you and has done so for the last 5 years.
In closing I wonder if you have seen the following benches outside the Royal Festival Hall on Southbank London. Their shape and colour makes them ideal to start that conversation- about the weather or similar safe topics.
And as if just to complete the story, right on que came the following story on the BBC. It is said that loneliness over Christmas increases calls to police control rooms.