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Benches and an Airbnb experience

Updated: Mar 11, 2019

Comfort for bottom and soul.

Benches can help us plough a rich seam of experiences. Especially those by the sea. A place for companionship and a good yarn. Or for sandwiches and a hot mug of coffee. Or perhaps for contemplation, lost in the view and memories. Places to savour the horizon and the breeze. Many benches honour a loved one. And sometimes they can be works of art in themselves. On this stroll, I've walked past thousands of benches; here are a few photos of those which have piqued my interest.

Perfect spot for lunch on a Welsh headland.

I liked this dedication.

Bas and Frederike sitting on what must be one of the more uncomfortable and unattractive benches along the Hadrian's Wall path.

Industrial chic bench (and wiggle around for a massage), for weary travellers near the Newcastle end of Hadrian's Wall way.

This is the only single person bench I've come across so far. Looks out onto the Solway estuary.

Looks like a bench from an art design school. Probably more for looking at than sitting on.

All the benches in Grange-over-Sands were of this rather interesting design.

My favourite bench dedication so far.

Finally, a short Airbnb story. Not of any great importance, but then many of the things we remember aren't particularly earth-shattering. Staying in a different Airbnb every two nights offers up possibilities for many new experiences. I was somewhere deep in the remote Welsh coastal countryside, last December, when I came across something which I'd never seen before. Airbnb was a 16th century farmhouse, replete with creaking floorboards, crooked ceilings, unexplained noises and history oozing from the walls. It was a dark and stormy night, as they say. The wind was howling, the gutters rattling, the rain spattering, you can imagine the scene. I awoke at 3am. Not sure why. Decided to go to the bathroom. Couldn't find the light, so stumbled in, in the darkness, half-asleep. Suddenly there was a single "whoosh" noise from within the small room. And what felt like a breath of air on my grizzled cheek. I did the proverbial jumping out of my skin and searched much more urgently for the light. I'm not a believer in ghosts (although in passing I should mention that I owned a flat once in north London from which two separate groups of tenants left early, independently stating that they had heard a ghostly baby crying sound, and felt uneasy). This was really eerie. Had I imagined the moving air and the noise? Was I sleepwalking and half in a dream? Finally found the light and looked around. No obvious living being in the room. Very strange. I pressed my hands to the walls, searching for something, anything; anyone looking in would have thought I was mad. Eventually, in my stupor, I realized what it was. There was a small device on the loo which was activated by a motion detector. When someone comes in the room, it swings into action and releases a puff of scented air. Mystery solved. Somehow it would have been more interesting if there had been no explanation...

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