The Contentment Of Sitting On A Park Bench

I used to live in a house situated near a castle and a cathedral. People would buy ice creams and just sit in the Square and soak it all in. They would sit with the same contentment with which people sit on a park bench, drinking in the rhythm of nature. Seeing the people in the Square, it crossed my mind that they would not sit on a bench by a busy road or in streets of anonymous houses. No, they chose to sit near the castle and the cathedral, breathing in the construction and the painstaking work that had been lavished on the buildings. It’s the same with parks, isn’t it. We get contentment on a park bench in a park because we can drink in nature.

a pleasant scene - a park, a park bench, and a reminder that it's 'Another year, another birthday... it's just a walk in the park

I was born in Leeds, and on the outskirts is Roundhay Park, one of the biggest city parks in Europe. It covers more than 700 acres (284 hectares) of parkland, lakes, woodland and gardens. And it is a park for the people, being owned by Leeds City Council since 1872.

The lakes were previously quarries, and when the park was still in private ownership the owner employed veterans from the Napoleonic Wars to build out the banks and fill the lakes. In honour of the veterans, the owner named the lake Waterloo Lake after the battle of Waterloo.

And of course, the path around the lakes is dotted with park benches.

Park Bench In Edinburgh

My wife and I lived in Edinburgh for five years, and it was in one of the parks that I photographed this park bench by a winding path lined with trees. We made this card ‘Another year, another birthday… it’s just a walk in the park.’ If it takes your fancy as a greeting card, just click on the image and it will take you straight there, or follow this link to Home / Greeting Cards / Occasions / Birthday Cards / Park.

Now writing this it occurs to me how various are the legs of park benches. Victorian Britain is still hanging on with park benches with legs of scrolled wrought iron. And wood on which to to park one’s bottom is still the favourite.

A few years ago, and still today, there was a move by local councils to make benches impossible to lie on, so as to deter tramps and the homeless from sleeping on them. If that’s not just plain uncharitable, I don’t know what is.

tree and park bench in snow in Cambridge in December 2017

More recently we moved to Cambridge, and I have had the opportunity to photograph park benches because the parks are right on our doorstep, so to speak. I photographed this one in the snow in December 2017. The trees in the park are interesting. Two Ginko bilobas stand near a Caucasian Wingnut. A spreading Horse chestnut dominates one boundary of the park. And near where I photographed this park bench are two trees that are grafts of a cross between a Buckeye and a Horse Chestnut grafted onto a Horse Chestnut. The candelabra are red rather than the standard white of the European variety.

Interesting Trees

I could go on about the trees because there are so many interesting varieties. And it is most probably down to the University. More than that, there is the Botanic Garden just south of the Centre – literally a short walk to forty acres of trees from all over the world. More than that, the land has been sculpted and scooped out to produce the illusion of being in a much larger space. It is a masterpiece of garden engineering. And just behind the gardens is Hobson’s Brook that feeds the garden with super-saturated oxygen-rich water.

Finally, the image here of the tree and park bench in snow is sitting in the ‘Possibles’ drawer of cards we have made but not yet decided to get printed for adding to our stock. I’ll update this post as and when we add this card to our general stock. Watch this space or sign up for the newsletter to keep in touch with the news.

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