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PERU BENCH (HOMEBASE) as 'virtually' Chosen by Dooyoo the Monkey If I owned a monkey I would definitely take it out shopping with me. The reason for this being that monkeys are supposed to be wise, aren't they? Well, I am very indecisive when choosing what to buy and so my wise monkey could come along and help me decide on important purchases, and so, for the purpose of this review, I will adopt an imaginary monkey and, as Dooyoo has helped me make many wise and considered purchasing decisions over the last couple of years I will call my monkey DOOYOO! Now one of my recent purchases was a new garden bench. I already had a bench in my garden that had stood the test of time pretty well but was becoming the worse for wear. My husband had made some repairs but the bench was beginning to sway a little when someone placed their bottom onto it. And this was with skinny people as well as those of more ample girths, I'll have you know! Now, I knew I needed to purchase a new bench to replace the worn one but which one to choose? First, as usual, I looked online and then followed up by visiting the appropriate stores to have a look at them and see if they looked strong enough to last a few years, and could stand the English weather. What I did discover was that many benches which looked good online didn't look nearly as good on closer inspection. My husband thought many were poorly constructed or made with cheap flimsy materials. True, I didn't want the sturdiest bench available as this would probably mean a hefty price tag. I didn't wish to spend too much as I had also just replaced my garden patio set and so didn't want to go too mad. I thought a price of between £40 and £80 seemed a reasonable amount to spend and should be enough to buy a solid if plain bench. So when we were having our premature spring in the United Kingdom, I asked Dooyoo if he would like to accompany myself and my husband (AKA 'Daddy' to Dooyoo!) to look for a new bench. Dooyoo jumped up to the hat stand and brought down his charming hat (a red fez type affair) put on his matching bolero jacket, patted the dog on the head in goodbye and leapt up so that he could perch upon my shoulder. We went to several places in our search for benches, one being QD Stores. In here we saw a bench which my husband said it wasn't up too much. I looked at Dooyoo who nodded his agreement. On our quest we visited several other places, among them Poundstretcher. Here we looked at two benches which were in our budget and of these; my husband preferred the all wood one on sale rather than the other which was a mix of wood and metal. The trouble was this bench was that they were displayed on an inaccessible platform and so we couldn't sit on it to test at all. Now I was very pleased that Dooyoo the monkey had come along as he came in very handy here as he hopped upon the bench and jumped up and down on it, giving it a good testing. At this point he had a funny little expression on his face and moved his hands around; I knew this to mean "so-so!" We nearly bought this bench but I thought perhaps we should look a t a few more before finally deciding. Next stop was Homebase and here we came upon a few benches of various designs. Some were made of metal and my husband said, "No, not a good idea as it will rust too quickly." He preferred to buy a wooden bench. We looked at the Peru bench priced at £59.99 and a bench consisting of two single wooden seats with a table in the middle. This is called the Peru companion seat and is priced at £99.99. We sat upon both benches and they seemed strong enough. So, which one to buy? As usual I hated making a decision and my husband just said, "You decide; it's up to you!" so I looked beseechingly at Dooyoo, as I placed him gently down upon the floor. It only took a second or two until he made up his mind by running and jumping, with the agility which only monkeys have, and landing on the Peru bench. "Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle!" Said my husband. "He certainly has no trouble making up HIS mind!" I think Dooyoo probably chose the Peru bench as there's room for three on it and the other bench was more suited to a couple. However, I may return to buy this as well when a further area of my garden is paved. Hubby took down a long, flat, cardboard box from a shelf, containing the Peru bench, and carried it over to the till. It was quite heavy and I did tell him he was supposed to request help from staff but no, he insisted on doing it himself, knocking down part of the display in the process. Dooyoo and I walked away pretending we didn't know him. The bench fitted well into our car but granted we do have a people carrier. I think it would fit into smaller cars but will supply measurements further along in this review. ASSEMBLING Once home my husband wasted no time in assembling our new bench. It took no longer than half an hour and he didn't need any assistance (even from Dooyoo with his monkey wrench handy). The unassembled bench consisted of slats that were already fitted together, four support brackets, two armrests, seat back, a long piece of wood which fitted under the seat and screws necessary for assembly, along with instructions. The only tool used was a screwdriver. My husband said that the instructions were clear and easy to follow. AM I SITTING COMFORTABLY? The bench has been sat upon many times over several weeks. The weather hasn't been perfect but we have still managed to find opportunities to enjoy cups of tea outside and a couple of times even a glass of wine. Dooyoo enjoyed a packet of monkey nuts and a banana. The bench looks and feels solid. I would expect it to last for many years. In my opinion it looks good and welcoming and reminds me of a park bench. Really, it is just what I wanted; for eating outside I have a patio set and if the weather gets really nice I have sun loungers but I like a bench to leave permanently outside so there is always a place ready to sit upon, during all seasons of the year, in my garden. It is comfortable but obviously a hard wooden garden bench won't be as comfortable as a longer or padded chair but to sit out for half an hour or so, then it's perfect. Cushions are available to purchase separately but I didn't want these as in the case of the bench I want it to be functional rather than fancy and don't want to have cushions to remember to remove and store. The Peru bench is treated with wood preserver but will need further treatments for the purpose of longevity and I would think every year will be sufficient. PRICE/AVAILABILITY I paid £59.99 for my bench from Homebase and also earned 120 Nectar points with this purchase. It can be ordered on-line: http://www.homebase.co.uk/ Home delivery starts from £5.95 PRODUCT DETAILS: (From www.homebase.co.uk) * This 1.2m Peru Bench is stylish and versatile to suit any outdoor space. * Dimensions of bench in cm: (H)86, (W)122, (D)59. * Material (of chair): Solid eucalyptus wood. * Self-Assembly: 1 Person. * Care Instructions: Use wood oil to maintain the product, Cover the product when not in use. TO CONCLUDE I am pleased with this purchase. I believe the price to about right for this particular bench. I might perhaps have found a similar bench slightly cheaper if I had bought online but I wanted to see the bench in 'real-life' before purchasing. I might have seen something slightly cheaper if I had kept on searching but then if one keeps driving around to different places then, taking into account, the price of petrol this becomes expensive. It really is ideal for my garden. If I had a monkey I would definitely teach it to type so that I could dictate reviews while sitting upon my new bench under my monkey puzzle tree.