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Jottings from the coast path

See the spray coming up as the stream goes over the edge of the waterfall? Gravity meeting a 50mph wind...

Newly discovered eternal truths

- A forecast of "sunny" in Wales, means that the rain stops for a few minutes for the sun to shine through, often offering a glorious rainbow, before resuming. The wind continues unabated and unabashed.

- Second holiday homes in coastal villages drive out life: the shop closes for good, and even the pub closes in winter. Ghost towns outside summer.

- There are more castles per square mile in Wales than anywhere else. The ancient Welsh (Celts?) must've been an unruly lot. Or the castle builders (Normans, who then became the English) got into some kind of "my castle's better than your castle" competition.


Ogmore Castle: a tiny, tiny castle. Following 1066, the Normans fortified the western border with Wales, known as the Welsh Marches. In the 1090s, King William II authorized his friend Robert fitz Hamo to attack the Welsh kingdom of Morgannwyg, which he did with gusto, and thus created the lordship of Glamorgan. The builder of this castle, Robert de Londres, was one of his 12 knights.

Bus musings

Sometimes we're really lucky. A couple of Saturdays ago, in a remote part of Pembrokeshire (which is itself in a remote part of Wales, which get the idea) I finished a walk relatively early, in the late morning. I had to be in Bristol that evening for a cervical cancer ball. My intention was to spend 2.5 hours walking back to the camper van. But, upon arriving at the hamlet of Stackpole, I was astonished to find that there was a bus which runs only on Thursdays and Saturdays, and the times matched perfectly. When travelling on these rural bus services, you get an idea of how important they are for the community. Most of the passengers know each other, and the driver; it is a good opportunity to catch up on the local gossip.

Winter bus service for Stackpole: Thursdays and Saturdays only.

Made it to the ball on time. Hats off to Georgia Lee Collier, of Bristol, who decided of her own volition to organize a ball for around 200 people to raise funds and awareness solely for cervical cancer. You don't see that often. It was a tremendous success, raising over 8,000 pounds for Cancer Research UK, and everyone had a great time. Coincidences continued: Cancer Research UK representative at the ball lived on the same mountain in Malawi, Mt Mulanje, where Melitta and I had our first date, and the master of ceremonies at the ball and his wife both attended the University of Aberystywyth at around the same time as Melitta.

Right to left: Tanya (Melitta's younger sister), Alanna (her youngest daughter, studying at Bristol), Phoebe (Alanna's friend, also at Bristol) and me.

Of course there have been some other bus incidents. One day I raced to get to a bus stop by 8am so I could fit in an early walk. There was a lady there, waiting, with a somewhat mournful look on her face. She assured me that the bus was always about 20 minutes late. Which reminded me of the no doubt apocryphal story of the man racing to the airport in an African country to catch the one flight that day. He arrived early, in order to be sure that he made it, as he was going to his daughter's wedding. The check-in clerk shook his head sadly. "Sorry sir, the flight is delayed for a day. Come back at this time tomorrow." the man looked aghast. Missing his daughter's wedding! The clerk brightened, and said "No problem, I can put you on yesterday's flight, which will be leaving in about an hour". Anyway, back to the rainy, windy 8am bus stop. The woman and I had a good chat. A really good chat, as 8.20 came and went without any bus appearing. By the time 9am rolled round we had told each other our life stories. The next bus was due at 10am. At 9.30 both of us decided to call it a day. No walk for me and no work for her, that day.

So here's a suggestion. You know how there's a facility on our phones so we can see where another phone is, providing that person enables that. Why don't they put something like that on buses, so we can see where the bus has got to?

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