“The Garden of Shadows and Repose invites visitors to sit and rest a while on its black hued benches or meditate in the shade of its bamboos- a welcome halfway stop-off on days when a fiery sun is beating down from above. Tree ferns, dense black clusters of perennials and purple New Zealand flax contrast with tender green lawns, drawing visitors into an elsewhere with close ties to the southern hemisphere.”
Garden realised by the teams of Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire.
A guest bench today courtesy of Twitter and Historic England, who posted recently on unusual war memorials.
This particular bench commemorates peace and was donated by the Quakers of Hastings to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.
The feather on the bench represents the white feathers bestowed on the street – usually by women – to men of forces serving age who were not in uniform. It was a way of denouncing and shaming them.
Quakers are advocates of peace and many of them were conscientious objectors during WWI, a group often awarded the white feather. Many Quakers who objected yet did choose to serve in some way drove the front-line ambulances, not a job for the faint-hearted.
See the video mentioned via this link. It’s well worth your time as the story is both heart warming and thought-provoking. As The Guardian says on its website:
“One in four people in Zimbabwe experiences mental health problems but there are only 13 psychiatrists in the country. To help plug the gap, Dixon Chibanda has developed a scheme to train an army of grandmothers, who offer a listening ear on park benches. The scheme challenges the stigma surrounding mental health and provides the women with company.”
There’s been much written in the press over the years about the ‘postcode lottery’ for various treatments on the NHS, but I never imagined a bench would feature in a health related story.
You need a postcode to register with a doctor, so how can that be achieved if you’re of no fixed abode?
A practice in the centre of Bristol found a workaround by using the postcode of a nearby park bench in Portland Square to provide the address for the homeless who registered with them.
It’s a neat way of ensuring ‘the system’ is satisfied, so the health workers can get on with the business of providing any care needed.
It’s a while since this story was reported in The Guardian, and so it may no longer apply, but it was still worth a diversion to Portland Square when I was in Bristol late last year. The Square in question has many park benches around its sides, so I can’t say whether this is the actual bench with the postcode. Perhaps they all do?
We’d only just arrived at Hardwick Hall when this unusual bench greeted us. There were plenty more inside which may feature at a later date.
I’d often spotted the Hall looming over the surrounding countryside as we whizzed past on the M1 to/from my brother-in-law’s in Yorkshire. I’m pleased we found the time to explore it on our way home on Tuesday.
I’m also pleased I’ve added a new county – Derbyshire – to the Categories section – over half way now! [30 down, 12 to go in fact]