After checking all four hives, eliminating the odd wasp and the inspection is complete. We move away from the wasps and remove our stylish white bee suits. Unknown to us the BBQ was cooking and under the marquee there is a stunning array of desserts on display. The artist’s eyes light up and I head to the van to get our food. As I approach the BBQ I can see now that there is plenty of food already on the grill, more than enough for everybody. Instead of adding more, I simply hand out our produce to members of the beekeeping group for them to cook at home.

I get into a conversation with a beekeeper, and mention it was a shame I failed to see a queen.

‘Fear not’ he says and points me in the direction of a display hive. I go in for a closer look and yes, I can see the queen. I gather the other Cerbyd members to gaze upon the queen and now all the boxes are ticked. The day could not be going better.

While looking at the queen, I witness a bizarre mauling of a bee. I tell one of the members of the group and he explains that the bee must have found its way into the wrong hive. The bees of this hive see him as a threat and to protect the queen they absolutely batter it. After a while, the bee plays dead and they leave him alone. He moves again and the clan are on him again relentless with their attack. I have to stop myself from watching this massacre and return to the BBQ.

This BBQ has turned into something of an event. Children and families of the beekeepers arrive, a raffle is on the go, wine flows and food is being consumed. Indeed, it seems the sudden influx of meat into the diet of the artists has gone to their heads. After the consumption of around 9 sausages (I wasn’t counting!) Tomoko likened the place to paradise and totally agree. We are just fifty yards from the bees but any earlier trepidation has certainly vanished now.

Gillian once again wins the raffle and a bottle of wine that is quickly shared out. We finish our conversations and say our goodbyes. I take one last look at the queen bee in the display case and we head back to the campsite.

Back at the campsite and we set light to a bonfire. I sit, some draw, some write, but the majority of the group are playing Frisbee, and creating I might add, some bizarre moves. Each are named, I watch and relax and we have an early night.


While setting up camp typically, I miss a call. The answer phone message is somewhat surprising, I’m asked to ring a number, I do, echoing down the phone is a Liverpool accent. I make no sense of it at first but quickly realise it’s none other than the site office from last night’s campsite. And would you believe it? Tomoko’s phone has been handed in. The gentleman at the other end of the line asks if I can come collect it.

I explain to him that we are now in Brecon and make arrangements for the campsite to look after the phone for a few more days. I return to others with the good news and arrange with Paul, a local, to collect the phone at the end of the project, and post the phone onto Tomoko.

Everyone is in a far better mood now, and my distrust of Scousers is quickly eradicated, the campsite couldn’t be any more helpful. I return once again to the office to collect the electrical items and arrange the evening, A quick phone call to the beekeepers and we’re sorted. Directions are ever so slightly tricky so I double check my notes and give an estimated time of arrival to the Beekeepers.

I knew my notes and directions were a little vague so we take the scenic route! Two U turns and a phone call later and we are back on course then bang there it is, the sign for the beekeepers.

We turn off the road through a gate and down a leafy passage way in the field barely wide enough for the van, but we get though, exit the van and make our introductions. Once again the hospitality from our hosts was second to none, but we are slightly late and we must get started.

We get suited up, laughs are had while each person struggles to get into their sci-fi like hooded suits. I, to the bemusement of the group capture these moments on camera, but in doing so I have forgotten to suit up. I put down my camera to find only one suit left on the cloths line, an old school model different to everyone else’s and slightly small, it’s my turn to struggle, I’m not laughing now.

My copious amounts of hair push my face against the netting of the mask, this simply won’t do, safety precautions won’t allow it, so I have to remove my mask, unzip my suit tuck my hair in and try again. Second time lucky and I am given the go-ahead to catch up with the rest of the group who by this time were already in close proximity to the hive. I catch up and receive the introductory talk on what you should and shouldn’t do around bees, interspersed with hard hitting tales that underline the importance of safety.

Having been swarmed with advice we approach the hives. We’re here in our numbers, local enthusiasts are also in attendance to learn the ins and outs of hive inspections, because of this reason we are asked to stay behind a barrier, there are 4 hives, and the expert gets to work ensuring each carefully removed segment is brought over to us for closer examination.

Everyone involved with the beekeeping group were very helpful and extremely informative. The inspector was a little intimidating but with so many people, that’s totally understandable. The smoking of the bees calms them down considerably and it wasn’t long before Kath made a friend, and was the first to brave the inspector’s wrath by entering the fenced pen for a closer look. After 20mins everyone was at ease, and the inspector didn’t seem to mind that we were getting a lot closer to the action. It was probably impossible to tell who was who in our matching suits and masks.


(Brian as narrator) Saturday It’s early, very early, or at least it seems that way being the morning after the night before. The George Formby night was a great chance for the artists to get to know one other in a more social setting. Although by this time, I’m sure they were already familiar with each other’s quirks! On return to the campsite several of the group decided to carry on this social engagement in the bus, including me, a decision I am currently regretting. Nothing a shower can’t sort out.

A moment of panic strikes, while having a shower Tomoko left her mobile phone plugged into charge in the bathroom but forgot to pick it up when she finished. She returned once she had realised her error to find the phone gone. A few of the group head to the site office in a bid locate the missing item. I meanwhile pack the van, and despite doing this one alone, it was achieved expertly with haste.

Kath and Paul return from the campsite office phone less, I have a quite chat with Paul and with my now obvious distrust of Scousers decide to get the group out of this zoo.

The beekeepers have arranged a BBQ so supplies are needed. On route I hand a blank sheet of paper and a pen to the crowded bus behind asking for people to write down requests for the BBQ. I wish I hadn’t, the returned piece of paper was a sight to behold, time for a re-think. The requested items were extremely plentiful and my issues with the list were as follows:

1) Can we eat all this food

2) How long it would take scouring the supermarket aisles for some of these products

3) Cost, although budgeted for, this list would far exceed earlier food budget estimations.

I explain this to the group, and try a different course of action. I want a simple Meat or Veg reply when I call the Cerbyd artists names. The system works and I now know my shopping list. Sometimes you have to adopt the role of strict headmaster in order to move forward! Typically, some of the artists still want some of the luxury items on the list, but it is decided that anyone wanting particular goodies must purchase these themselves. This decision proving slightly pointless as once I got in the supermarket, my kind nature took over and the shopping list expanded to include fruit, and even haloumi!

Next stop Brecon, we snake down a narrow stony dusty lane and the sun is out. It’s hot and stuffy on the bus, the artists are eager to get out and stretch, we reach the end of the lane to larger courtyard area, everyone jumps out of the bus, to satisfy there basic human needs for comfort and stretch their legs.

As far as campsites go this is another gem. Kath’s been here before and is quick to compliment, I leave the group to speak to the land owners and get a pitch. A wonderful charming woman greets me at the farmhouse, she enquires to where we are all from. This leads to a discussion about the project – how we arrived in Brecon and what we were doing here, and as fate would have it, it turns out that our host is a avid beekeeper, and has a hive on her land.

I ask if there is a secure location to charge our various gadgets. I am led to an office and plug in nine phones, two cameras, and one video camera. Unfortunately, the room is not secure and although the clientele of this campsite appears trustworthy, after the events of this morning, I remain vigilant. Meanwhile we set up camp; campfires are allowed on this site so I return to the farm to purchase some campfire wood, for later.


It’s Friday and the Cerbyd ladies have that Friday feeling belting out a storming rendition of Aretha Franklin’s Respect as we travel behind a bin lorry on the winding B4366. The winding roads eventually lead us to the home of the Caernarfon Model Railway Club. The group welcome us and have on display a fantastic track for us to ‘play on’. The group tell us their tales of how they got involved in model railway. They are all afflicted with the model railway bug. They can’t shake it and it’s a commitment for life, just like art. Each of the group has an individual specialist knowledge and skill that they bring to the group. The Caernarfan Model Railway Club as a whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

On the way up to the North Wales Branch of the George Formby Appreciation Society we pop into the all new MOSTYN. We soak up the We are the mirrors, we have the plans show before having a special tour of the Jo Shapland exhibition before it opens that evening unfortunately Cerbyd has just enough time to mark their territory in the MOSTYN loo before heading in the direction of Formby.

Our thanks to Martin Barlow for his excellent hospitality dealing with us so well during our impromptu flying visit.

It’s Friday night and the Cerbyd girls get out, dust down and un-crease their glad rags to meet the North Wales Branch of the George Formby Appreciation Society and no one can say that Cerbyd doesn’t have heart as Paul’s fiancée, Rachel, comes along to celebrate their anniversary together. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

(Narrator changes to Briaan)

Once the raffle tickets are bought and introductions made we get a comforable seat to take in the evening’s mirth. We are joined by a lovely surprise Christine, our tour guide!

‘She wouldn’t have missed it for the world!’

I have looked forward to this night and a chance to let my hair/dreads down all week and the price of the drink brings a grin to my face.

I’m glad I’ve had a bit of Dutch courage as I am asked to explain our presence to the audience. I head onto the stage and nervously bumble my way though some of the objectives of the project. Job done I return to my seat and try to recruit some artists to perform on stage.

The group are decidedly nervous but when we establish that they don’t have to do a Formby tune they become more willing. During the interval Paul has an express Ukulele lesson and acting as ‘the band’s manager’ I’ve mustered together three acts to slot into the second half:

Kathryn Ashill singing “Calon Lân”

The Cerbydettes performing Tom Jones’s ‘It’s not unusual’ with Megan on vocals, Paul on ukulele, Ben on foot pump, Femke, Louise, Lucy & Charlotte on backing vocals and the musical instruments made at the National Eisteddfod.

Concluding with a Performance piece from Anti-Cool.

Tomoko’s performance was exceptional and despite the fact anti-cool herself saw it as a failure at the time, I, along with pretty much everyone else in the room found it mesmerising.

By the end of the night the Formby society had accepted us with open arms and many friends were made, we have to leave early because of a campsite curfew but there is just enough time for Gillian to scoop the Formby raffle before we leave. Everyone has had a great time. Charlotte even dubbed it ‘The best night of her life’


We feel completely lost without Christine and to think I was worried about the way the group might react to a ‘outsider’ hitching a ride then getting off. We are quite lost without her directions too and find it difficult to navigate to our next campsite in Llandegla. A sequence of beautifully performed U turns guides us safely to the small family run campsite of Llyn Rhys Farm. As Gillian pulls into the campsite Briaan and I leap out to find where we should park. Gillian drives onto the grass prompting Briaan to show a keen set of heels to a whippet speeding off, jumping up and down berating his sister for parking in the field. Hilariously and fortunately the farmer is happy for us to park there and we get the soup on before heading to the Chirk Writers Circle.

We arrive at the community centre home of the Chirk writers circle’s monthly meetings. We are welcomed with an array of tea and biscuits before getting down to introductions. Once these formalities are out of the way, Barbara Maitra, the commander of the Writers Circle, sets us the task of writing a short piece of prose without adjectives.

Cerbyd chorus:

‘What’s an adjective?!’

An adjective modifies a noun or a pronoun by describing, identifying, or quantifying words. An adjective usually precedes the noun or the pronoun which it modifies.

Well, I’m glad that’s been cleared up. Clear as mud now. I’m very glad that I’m filming and photographing this activity so not required to perform these tasks.

The next task is to write a short piece of prose only using adjectives. We all read our pieces one by one. Barbara is impressed and we seem to have done ok. We have not shown ourselves up and genuinely bond with the Writers circle over some more tea and biscuits.

The Chirk writers each perform a piece of poetry or prose that they have specially prepared for our visit. Cerbyd is blown away by a beautifully crafted almost epic, in length, poem about the World of War Craft computer games. This multiplayer online role playing game where players take on characters as their avatar to explore the landscape, fight various monsters and completing quests has never sound so lyrical or seductive.

We clamber into the bus and once again this bonds the group. I feel a sort of ‘we’re a better group than they are’ mentality and I suppose we are. Half the group are tired and head for bed, the other half of us congregate in Louise’s cavernous tent to share two now warm bottles of wine between the remaining eight. No it doesn’t go far but that really isn’t the point.