I unzipped the tent to overcast skies, a marginal improvement on the previous day. We were on duty at 8.30 so there was no time to linger over numerous mugs of tea. We availed ourselves of the water heater in stewards facilities so didn’t even need to wait for the kettle to boil before setting off down the hill. A few more cars had arrived in the dedicated car park, including two families with young children.
Our comrades for this shift were the two comedians from the previous evening. They were brimming with excitement. The Hairy Bikers and entourage had arrived during their shift and accommodated their selfies with good grace. Our guys had helped carry their luggage to a separate area, adjacent to glamping, where two Airstream caravans and several squrts were billeted. The latter being vertically challenged yurts, looking distinctly mushroom-like. We hoped no-one was too tall as, not only would they not be able to stand-up but the limited diameter would require a foetal sleeping position. We saw no sign of anyone, perhaps it was too early.
We were quite happy when it was suggested that we go back to the gate we’d manned previously. At least there was some activity there. The sun was making its daily breakthrough as the clouds melted. New arrivals were heaving heavy loads up the hill from the car park which now extended out of sight down the track, yet further to drag in the dusty heat. We had become quite adept at noticing wrist bands as people approached so that they didn’t need to stop and adjust their load to display the correct colour.
We restarted our best greetings to these hot dusty beasts of burden as they trudged back and forth between cars and tents, carrying as much as possible to minimise the number of trips. A few had their own carts which was just as well as no-one had opened up the wheel-barrow stall and all had been locked away in the van over-night. A few disgruntled faces tried to ascertain when it would open, apparently not 9am as that hour came and went. We had no idea either.
A lady turned up with an empty barrow. She had hired it just before the stall closed the previous evening and had been told to return it by 10am to retrieve her £20 deposit. We suggested she tucked it behind the gate beside where we were stood, until she returned later. Before long we had 8 barrows piled up beside us and realised that we could operate a roaring trade if they didn’t open soon. By 10am the returners, holding their receipts, were milling around with those wanting to hire. It was very tempting to tell them to get themselves organised and work together but thought we might get into bother for suggesting entrepreneurship!
We half-hoped for a relief or break at some point during the four and a half hour shift but none materialised and we weren’t bothered enough to abandon our posts. The wheelbarrow guy rolled up around 10.15 so we lost the interest factor there, but the rest of the arrivals were building up. I noticed a woman dragging a hugely overladen trolley up the track from quite well down the hill. Her husband was ahead with another well stacked sack trolley. He parked it near Roger and went back to help her out. As they were about to continue Roger pointed out that they needed to swap their tickets for wrist bands. They seemed grateful for the rest but returned to their luggage less than pleased. They too were glampers who had been mis-directed to the general parking and carted their loads all the way up the hill in the heat. He wasn’t very happy as he stomped off down the hill to collect the car. I was relieved we weren’t on car park duty. We were intrigued to know what all their luggage contained as they seemed to have more than most, but no need of a tent or bedding at the very least.
The time galloped on, unlike it would have done in the glamping stewards tent. We only directed four cars down the track all morning, even if one was seriously unhappy. The quiet campsite field had filled up, the remaining spaces shrinking with each influx. Our shift was due to finish at 1pm and at 12.30 we heard an act on the main stage start up, opening Cornbury 2018, which nearly didn’t happen as 2017 was going to be the final event.
No-one came to relieve us again so we took the decision to abandon our posts to the guys a few yards away. We left the hi-vis jackets in the tent as we weren’t doing another shift until Sunday evening and that would be at the main glampsite. We were now free to go and enjoy the festivities until then.