I am breathing a huge internal sigh of relief as my heart plays double time in my chest. It’s time to go. Yes, we may have mounted the curb twice since leaving Charter van hire and scraped the side of a Volkswagen Passat as we pulled into my street but that is all behind us now, Wales and all her wild beauty awaits. Well…as soon as we have packed the considerable luggage the Cerbyd artists have brought with them. Maybe I should have set a weight limit? Has Megan actually brought a whole suitcase of shoes?! I load bag after bag plugging a gap here, slotting a tent into a satisfying space there. Briaan looks up at me, his face caked in sweat as he wrestles with bags fitting them under chairs and into every last nook and cranny.
“It’ll fit” he says
I raise my eyebrows and state firmly
“It has to”
Sean shoves another bag onto the bus and we continue to muscle them in. For a while, we are definitely just moving bags from one place to another then a Eureka moment, relising that we must pack around the artists to free up more space.
First two artists onto the bus please. The bravest of the group Kathryn and Tomoko take their seats. Briaan and I pack around them, building walls of bags to their left and right, obscuring any possible view or chance of light they may have had.
Next please. Ben and Paul follow and before we know it we have Rosa, Charlotte, Louise, Megan, Lucy and Femke. The bus is full to bursting. Everyone takes a deep breath so I can squeeze the last bag in and I take considerable enjoyment from slamming the van door shut, knowing that this is my most successful piece of sculpture to date. I take my seat next to Briaan at the front of the bus and we are on the move at last. The artists seem in good spirits despite their lack of movement, light and oxygen. This bodes extremely well for the rest of the trip.
The bus chugs along the A48 towards our first campsite in Llandow. The plan is to pitch tents, eat a nutritious meal then head back into town to the Tair Pluen for our artist talks at 7.30pm. We arrive at Llandow Caravan Park at 2pm exactly. We don’t make a U-turn but we do stop to let a stowaway bee out of the bus. Entering the campsite, I hop out and confirm our arrival, retrieving the codes for the gates. We are then directed to George. George may be a time lord or gatekeeper or something like that as he knows exactly what direction we must align the tents to benefit the Cerbyd project. The sun is out and I am happy for George to direct us.
We have our spot and within minutes tents spring up. However not all are up. Briaan, Gillian and I struggle under the canvas monster. And Louise, bless her, seems to have brought a circus tent. Her tent is simply massive and would easily fit everybody in. Maybe this was her plan? Louise is not alone for long and the group come to her aid. Hammering in the pegs I think the sun has gone in. I needn’t worry. It is Louise’s tent blocking out the sun.
And now it’s time to cook. On the menu this evening – conchiglie with onions and mushrooms in a tomato + pesto sauce. Briaan and I don our matching approns – I become Michelangelo’s David and Briaan makes an eye catching Botticelli’s Venus. Preparation is shared amongst the group but it is the boiling of the water and softening of the pasta that takes longer than expected. We wait and wait but it is all worth while. We eat, wash up then off on the road again.