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Published:  2012-10-12 Views:  779
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Published in:  Cruises
The other day I was watching one of those TV shows featuring funny clips filmed by people on their camcorders or mobile phones. It occurred to me that a couple of the most frequently filmed objects must be hammocks and swing seats. But why are they so hilarious? A hammock is a canvas or net sling attached at each end to trees or strong posts, whereas a swing seat consists of a metal or wooden frame from which a bench-type cushioned seat hangs. As the seat part has no legs it can swing freely, there is usually some sort of canopy over the frame that acts as a sunshade or rain guard. Although a hammock is only known as a hammock, confusingly a garden swing seat can also be known as a hammock or even a garden swing hammock.

The cause of the hilarity on the TV clips seems to be the difficulty people have in getting in or out of hammocks or the faith they have in the strength of the fixings; garden swing seats of rather flimsy design seem to have the habit of tipping out the occupants as they take a seat.

I wondered how the hammock made it to our gardens and ultimately to being made a star of the small screen. Hammocks were developed by Mexican natives; the greatest advantage of having a resting place suspended above the ground was that it afforded protection from biting insects, snakes and even disease. Around the end of the sixteenth century the Royal Navy adopted this type of sleeping arrangement aboard their ships. Hammocks took up less room than fixed bunks so that more would fit into the confined spaces of the decks. It would seem they were more comfortable than a traditional bunk as the occupant was well balanced, swayed with the motion of the ship and got a much better rest. The added advantage was that the hammocks could be rolled and stowed away when unoccupied creating extra room for the day-to-day running of the ship. Nowadays hammocks are popular at beach-side resorts and in gardens for relaxing in just as long as you have the appropriate strong fixing places. Having said that, some hammocks now come complete with a frame that stands on the floor and has integral fixing points for the sling making it more portable and negating the need for a sturdy tree or two.

Unlike slung hammocks the garden swing hammock more of a piece of garden furniture. They are usually fairly substantial as they are designed to hold the weight of two to three people. The bench part is much like a long swing with a backrest; this is suspended from a sturdy wooden or metal frame that can be anchored to the ground for added safety. The seat can be padded with cushions, and the frame normally has a canopy over the top of the seat to protect the sitters from hot sun or gentle rain. They are not really meant to be swung vigorously, more a gentle motion much like the gentle swaying of a slung hammock on board a ship as described above.

Providing you have a big enough garden you can have a great deal of fun and even whimsy in a garden by designing lots of different seating areas. It goes without saying that if you are going to install a hammock or a swing seat you need to allow enough room around it for it to actually swing. A swing seat needs to be on firm flat ground as it may have to take a lot of weight once people are sitting in it.

Needless to say that all garden products should be protected from extremes of weather to keep them looking good, and to ensure they last for a decent amount of time. Hammocks can be taken in, rolled and stored; if room does not allow for the storage of swing seats indoors over the winter, then the purchase of a good well-fitting cover is also recommended.

Lazing about in a hammock is just one of the hundreds of http://www.myoutdoorstore.co.uk/compare_days-out.html. Follow the link to discover our vast selection of days out ideas.
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