It was Austin’s last day before starting school, and our final chance to tick off items on the ‘must-do’ Summer wishlist. So Austin, Gwen and I took the train into London Bridge, to seek out the BookBenches dotted along the Southbank’s Riverside trail.
The 50 BookBenches, spread along trails spanning London’s City, Riverside, Bloomsbury and Greenwich, have all been decorated by professional illustrators and local artists.
The seats we found were shiny, smooth, vibrant and welcoming. It was particularly good to see them in a city that has been criticised for some of its hostile architecture. Like anti-homeless spikes, and benches that are made uncomfortable on purpose, so people won’t want to sit on them for long.
The only hitch was that anyone who did decide to sit and watch the world go by, ran the risk of being hounded off those benches by people like us. The two men sitting eating lunch on Axel Scheffler and Julia Donaldson’s bench probably regretted striking up a conversation with my son, when he very politely informed them that ‘it’s time for you to move now. We need to take a photo of this bench.’