We’ve got grand designs for the allotment. Construction is underway for a giant hop dome to straddle the currently fallow area next to our shed, which will host our newly acquired hop collection. We’ve got Mount Hood, Kent Golding, and Challenger, along with a cutting taken from Nick’s own, home-grown Target hop – all of which will climb majestically over the structure, creating a serene, shady space under which to reside.
It promises to be an impressive sight when ready, and is sure to court admiring glances (and the odd letter of complaint*) from our neighbouring allotmenteers. Plans for the area underneath the dome are still a bit hazy (raised herb bed? Bar? Hammock?) but some form of seating is as given – and something considerably more elegant than the crude plastic chair that currently resides on the allotment.
Step forward then, ace bench-makers Sloane & Sons, who recognised our seating plight and sent us over one of their Westminster garden benches to trial.
The Westminster is a handsome bench of teak, featuring elegant angles and a gentle arching backrest. Straight out of the box, it required minimal effort to assemble – a nice touch is that all visible joins are made with dowel pieces instead of screws, making for a clean, sturdy finish.
Three things we particularly like about this bench.
- It’s enormous – enough to seat five people** at least. Certainly big enough to have a kip on, should we ever lock ourselves out of the house. And It’ll be perfect for entertaining if, for instance, Alan ever pays us a visit. We can sit and shoot the breeze, maybe talking about the time when we appeared on his show, and how he thought to himself that we were probably the best guests he’d ever had on. All three of us could sit there in comfort, with enough space around us for it not to feel too cramped and socially awkward.
- The armrests are vast, enabling a whole flotilla of drinks glasses and bottles to be racked up without fear of spillage.
- The teak used is taken from a sustainable source, and will require minimum maintenance. We’ve got at least 8-12 months before it needs slathering with oil.
The bench will eventually move to its final position under the hop dome but, for now, it resides in my back garden until the time is right. We just need to work out how to transport it to the allotment – there’s no way this whopper of a bench will fit in the back of my Ford Focus.
We’re gonna need a bigger boot…
For more fine benches, go here
*The dome really is huge. Massive. Massively huge.
** It says it’ll fit three people on the website. We can’t speak for the good people of Burton-on-Trent, but there is certainly enough room to fit five whippet- thin West Country folks.