This is the first year I’ve spent the build-up to Christmas away from my own home town, and while I’m looking forward to going back on Saturday, I’ll also miss Bournemouth. In it’s own quirky way, it’s become like my second home. The past month in particular I’ve noticed how much character it actually has.
Firstly, there’s the German-style Christmas market, with 20 or so little wooden cabins selling all manner of gifts. They’re a little on the pricier side for what they actually are, though, so I’ve not actually bought anything, but they look pretty to walk past. Then there’s what appears to be an outdoor bar. Down in the town centre where the market is, there’s a larger hut selling drinks. Unfortunately I prefer the warmth of the nearby Wetherspoons to have even considered drinking there.
I think the recent snowfall certainly added to how nice it looks in winter. The rooves of the huts did, when covered in snow, resemble an alpine town. It was easy to forget we were only a five minute walk from the beach. There is also a large Christmas tree, naked of decorations but when it was covered in snow it just looked so beautiful, so natural and I think any tinsel or baubles would have just ruined the effect.
Of course, being a seaside town, the wind comes in from the coast and when it’s cold, it’s very cold. Even a fifteen minute wait at the bus stop makes me thankful for the warmth when I board it. But never let it be said that Bournemouth isn’t a stylish town; the hat parade is out in full force. There seem to be three main types this year: the ‘Dappy’ hat, so-called because it’s the attire of choice for the star. (It’s the one with the long tassles for those of you that have managed to avoid seeing photos of him.) The second is the animal hat, with a face on the front and two bobbles resembling ears. I’ve got one of those. The third is a Russian style fur hat with ear flaps. I’ve seen large quantities of all three about, including a few hybrid forms. Still, it doesn’t matter what you wear as long as you’re warm, right?
I haven’t seen a lot of houses illuminated, and although it makes a change from seeing the house near my school where their electricity bill in December alone must be more than the rest of the year combined, I do quite like looking at how creative people become with their homes.
In my flat, we’ve decorated the communal area with tinsel, paper chains, snowflakes, fairy lights and of course a tree in the corner. It’s going to look bare when we take it all down. It’s interesting to notice how different the Christmas celebrations are in different towns. One thing I have missed from home is the Santa’s sleigh which tours the streets in the first two weeks of December, towed by a car and all in the name of charity.
It’s due to snow on the south coast again on Thursday, and I’m hoping I won’t get stranded here over Christmas. But if the worst comes to the worst, I can always celebrate Australian style. Barbecue on the beach, anyone?