Friday, March 09, 2007

Park Benches

I'm not sure where the park bench is on the front cover of my novel, Tell Me Everything, but it's exactly how I imagined the bench when I was writing. And it led to an obsession with park benches and their inscriptions (already documented in the archives of this blog!), particularly the personal ones which can be so moving.

And when it's sunny, as it is today, the location of these benches becomes all important. My home town of Tunbridge Wells is well documented for its, ahem, mature population, so it's perhaps not surprising there are benches everywhere, just right for a 'nice quiet sit-down'. What I hadn't realised is there is a social message behind which bench you choose to sit on. Best of all, apparently, are the ones up at the top of the hill, in the spot nicknamed the 'South of France'. In his memoir of growing up in TW, the historian Richard Cobb writes about his mother's regular battle to get the best seat:
"My mother, who always had lunch at midday and who could walk quite fast well on into her seventies, could generally beat the Wellingtonians to it, cutting down through Little Mount Sion, then right across the Common, past the Wellington Rocks, to reach the South of France by one, while the regulars were still at lunch. It was one of her favourite seats, but as she reached her late-seventies, she had to give up her trips to the local Riviera, it was too hard going."

And my writing prompt today is: It was lying under the bench...

1 comment:

Becky C. said...

This sounds very much like me:)