Sexy Sue

The beach is bitterly cold. Residents have seen to it that shops along the seafront are banned, and so there are none. Instead, a solitary chip van parked up on a patch of concrete is doing booming business. A card taped to a tip jar on the counter wishes patrons a Merry Christmas from Sexy Sue. When they finally come, the chips are steaming but soggy and we smother them in ketchup from an oversized dispenser misleadingly labelled Heinz. A family of nine has set up a ring of camping chairs, where they sit and sip on polystyrene cups of Bovril. Overhead, a drone buzzes.

A dozen memorial benches dot the waterside, some wreathed in holly or with rotting flowers disintegrating gently into their cellophane wrappers. Breathe in the ozone! reads a plaque. We eat our chips in the car.