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It is the best of spring days in Porthcawl, warm sunshine and a balmy

breeze off the ocean. Topped up with fish and chips we decide on a four
mile hike along the coast. Seabirds wheel and cry over the dunes beside
Rest Bay. A skylark, fresh down to earth, dances, singing among the
scrub. Breakers crash on a distant sandbank in a streak of white foam.
Beyond, lies England, shrouded in mist.

The bus is about half full. We sit, relax, and people-watch. On the seat in
front of us, a middle-aged man talks into his mobile. In front of him, a
young bearded chap sits reading notes. Over to our right, a fat woman
stares into space.

In Bridgend, most of the passengers decide to leave and form an orderly
queue in the aisle. A similar sized queue stands in the bus station, waiting
to board. Its always the way hereabouts.

The young bearded man stands and joins the rear of the disembarking
queue. The fat woman prizes herself out of the seat to the right, stands at
the back of the queue for a moment, then drops onto the seat vacated by
the beard. Now the middle-aged man puts his phone away and joins the
queue as it speeds up. As he passes the fat woman, she once again
decides to leave and follows on.

As the new arrivals settle into their seats, the bearded man reappears and
boards the bus, mutters something to the driver, then makes for the seat
he has just vacated. I think I left my wallet behind, he says anxiously.
With that, we all stand up and peer under our seats. But there is no wallet
to be found. The bearded one turns, defeated, and hurries back into the
bus station.

That lady sat on that seat for a moment, Liz reminds me. I thought she
was changing seats. But then she got off the bus.

So she did, I say, getting up and heading for the driver. I tell him the
story. Then an official from the bus station boards the bus and the driver
repeats the tale to him.

As the bus pulls away we catch a glimpse of the bearded man standing
alone and crestfallen in the concourse. The fat woman has melted.

Spoils a nice day, says Liz.