Martin Sainty – The Bench

Just a short reflective piece on a bench I visit by the river!

‘there’s a place I go where I’m all alone’ – ‘Sludge’ by Squid

After a particularly difficult day at work in the thick of covid times and lockdown I found myself sat on this bench on Terry Ave by the river. It became my little sanctuary on the way home from work where I would reflect on the day, breath in the air, watch the world go by and er, of course have a wee drink!

The usual residents of the bench and surrounding area, a robin, squirrel and mouse were very welcoming and would often pop by to say hello.

Word spread at the covid huddle about my bench and on the days I was the palliative care covid CNS people would ask after the bench and if I’d been recently.

I would listen to music, the playlist reflecting my mood following my day at work. Japanese psych and noise would normally represent a frustrating day, 80’s goth and indie would mean I was in reflective mode, electronica matching my confusion of the events of the world, Cocteau Twins when I was nice and chilled and Tom Waits when I needed a comforter.

I started taking photos using my phones and then experimented with filters to create different images of my view looking out on the river and towards the park.

The Bench, Terry Ave, looking up river to New Walk Terrace.

The Bench, Terry Ave, looking down river.

The Bench, Terry Ave, looking towards Rowntrees Park.

People still ask after the bench, or as they now call it, my bench. Who would have thought something so simple would have had such an important part to play in my wellbeing over the last 12 months.

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