Bournemouth might not be on the international radar, but visit in the summer months and you shall be drowned in waves of english tourists and holiday makers. The soft golden sands of the beach disappear under brightly coloured towels and umbrellas, and space suddenly becomes a prized commodity. The smell of sizzling flesh and the bright glow of skin being unearthed from underneath winter hiding places assaults your eyes. The great summer crush has descended.
While its reputation is completely justified, the sparkle and beauty of the vista is marred by the tread of the legions, the commodification of space, the extortionate prices reserved for the summer months. Dogs are banished to the outer reaches of the county, and peaceful walks along the beach become a highly frenetic weaving and dodging exercise. If you get hungry, allow an hour for the queues. In fact, even driving to the beach becomes an exercise in creative parking, or a sound knowledge of the meandering road systems and their parking regulations.
We are, after all, a small country, and space is at a never ending premium. Even at the beach.
Except for winter. In winter, the beach is yours. You can hear the gentle simmering of sea froth on gently lapping waves, feel the brisk sea breeze painting your cheeks with a reddened glow, smell the salt in the air. Just don’t expect to get out your swim suit.