Spurred on by the early morning chill, we walked steadily over the sands towards the pier as a whirl of chatter buzzed around us in English, Polish and Arabic. With one of our number waylaid with a stiff limp, we let the crowds of Santas, elves and penguins shuffle passed in a snaking procession that stretched all the way from Bournemouth to Boscombe. This was our first Christmas Day in Dorset, and we were feeling decidedly under-dressed.
Sleepy looking teens swigged from what must have been extremely cold cans of lager, whilst the slightly more dignified older set sipped from hip flasks and steaming cups of cocoa sold by an opportunistic – but charity minded – road-side-vendor. Families in various states of undress, spilled out of the beach huts lining the route, playfully jostling for a few more minutes’ shelter as they waited for the off.