Benches 65 - 68: St James' Church
We're on the north side of St James' church. A cluster of benches up against the wall. Somewhere else I'd never been before. You can see the benches if you come down Bridge Street heading towards the town centre. Check right when you're idling at the traffic lights. If the angle's right you'll catch them.
I thought that there was just one bench here; maybe a residual childhood memory. This spot is tucked out of the way. We're not on a natural path going past the church (if you want that kind of action - and we'l get there soon enough - then check round on the south side), so you might not have a reason to notice that they're here. That's just how it should be.
There's a bit of a garden, an assortment of little mementoes. Evidence of guerilla gardening of the most genteel kind. After a few seconds you get it. This is a place of remembrance. Somewhere to scatter ashes of loved ones maybe. Somewhere to think.
Being on the north side this is usually in shade. Chilly in winter for sure, and easily obscured, but cool in the summer. A sensible place for contemplation on a sunny day.
One of the benches is dedicated to a friend of my parents.
A decent-enough view, but this isn't a place for looking out from.
The north-side path leads by the church from Westgate to Upgate. A charming run of steps on the Upgate side. Take care if you don't know better though; the steps come out onto a blind corner a handful of yards from a traffic light. Much easier to enter this way from Little Eastgate and to go out by the Westgate end of things.
It's a good spot, but it's not for me. I feel not exactly as though I'm intruding, but that this isn't a place necessarily for all and sundry. You may disagree; this might be your ideal sandwich-and-fizzy-Vimto spot. And fair play to you if it is. But like I said, it's not for me. This is a place for people who need to be here, who have reasons. And it's good that such places exist.
The Google Street View image is from July 2011. It looks as though there were just two benches there at that time. There's four.
Here's the updated map as of 2/6/15.