Monday, August 27, 2007

My Eisteddfod

This year I spent more time on the Maes then any other Eisteddfod. This was because, along with 7 other members of the Association of Welsh Language Software (CMC) had clubbed together to have a stall. We actually shared a 3 unit stand with The Association of Welsh Language Translators and Interpreters.
Stondin CMC
First day on the stall, and got to meet up again with Dewi and Delyth who are the chair and secretary of CMC and who both work for the Language Technology Unit at the University of Wales, Bangor (see their blog). I was also introduced to Ambrose and David who work part time with the unit and part time for private companies. Ambrose works with Draig, while David works from home (in York) for a firm in the English Midlands.
David had another reason to be present at the Eisteddfod as he'd reached the final round of the Welsh Learner of the Year competition. His Welsh is impressive, even more so considering he's never lived in Wales. In addition to his work he's done a lot of work in his free time helping out with the localisation of OpenOffice into Welsh with Meddal volunteers, and he's also developed a 18,000 word English/Welsh dictionary that can be installed on a mobile phone, called Geiryn. Sarah and I promised to meet up with him when we're next up in York visiting her parents as he doesn't have anyone to practice his Welsh with up there, although he did meet someone who visited the stand that's studying a Computer Science degree now at York Uni.
I mis-read a poster and nearly sent Sarah to a flower arranging session at Maes D (Welsh learners tent) , when she thought she was going to a book launch, only a last minute intervention from my cousin saved her.
Watched Sarah's current favourite band, Brigyn perform on one of the out door stages on the Maes while eating lunch.


First thing was CMC's AGM, which was poorly attended. It was followed by an 'install-fest' where demonstrations were given on how to install the Welsh versions of Windows XP/Office, OpenOffice and show how easy they all are to switch from one langugae to another. One of the criticisms of the 1st Welsh Language version of XP/Office was that it was difficult to switch languages. The is now a new Language Control Centre, which not only switches Microsoft products you've installed, but also Firefox and Thunderbird. Annoyingly, it seems that a separate application called dotNETfx has to be downloaded from Microotf as well for this to work.
In the afternoon, I'd been asked to make a presentation on behalf of CMC in the Societies Tent (where may societies/organisations hold an 'annual lecture'). Mine was about 'Blogging and Social Newtowrking' (see slides/photo). I was worried as to who would turn up, but there were 20+ there, and not just my mum and fellow bloggers! At the end, a few people in the audience asked questions, mostly about Wicipedia.

Got back from a York in time for the gig at Mold Rugby Club , where Cymdeithas yr Iaith had organised gigs all week. That night I saw Sibrydion, Genod Droog and Mr Huw.
In the morning I went to see a collection of Welsh language short films in the Theatr Tent by those busy people who run This meant that I missed a presentation into a study by Bangor Uni into how Basque is taught to adults in the Basque Country, but I picked up a copy of the report which was very interesting.
I then finally put pen to paper and paid for an annual subscription for Y Byd. Y Byd will be the first ever daily newspaper in Welsh. It's been a long time coming, with plans being announced years ago, with many doubting whether it would ever see a light of day especially as the lunch date kept being moved. I even paid £25 as supporter around 3 years ago (which entitled me to a £30 discount once it was launched. My and other people's reading patterns have changed completely in that period, and Y Byd will now be offered on-line. As on-line subscription is only £80, compared to £120 odd for paper copy, plus my discount and the fact it entitles you to a free add, it was silly not to go for it.
In the afternoon I went to the launch of the latest issue of Tu Chwith in the Literature Tent.
Y Babell Lên
This had a Basque flavour too as Basque poets Bernardo Atxaga, Rikardo Arregi and Miren Agur Meabe read their poetry and then young Welsh poets read their Welsh translation of each one under the Literature Across Frontiers programme. As it happend, Bernardo Atxaga's poem was translated by Aneirin Karadog who also raps with Genod Droog!

Last day, chance to buy anything I'd not yet got and chase up anyone who I intended to speak to. In the afternoon there was a blog-meet. As not many had responded to the idea of holding one this year, I hadn't made any firm arrangements, but I met with Meilyr and Rhodri at one of the bars in the afternoon where we had a good chat about the potential of getting income from blogging, plus Rhodri mentioned he was about to start on a project of creating an on-line directory of all Welsh films. We were later joined by Ray and Iestyn. The last Saturday is when the male voice choirs compete, and I must say there's nowhere better than in one of the bars afterwards when all the choir members have downed a few pints and join in together for a huge singsong - I pitied the poor bloke on the performance stage near by as he didn't stand a chance.

Labels: ,


Blogger Mr Harrington said...

Great thanks for leaving the comment - Yes I teach at Cefn Fforest Primary near Blackwood - you have just opened up a whole world that I was unaware of thank you. When I bean blogging and podcasting over 18 months ago I started looking for welsh bloggers and came up blank !!!??? I am very keen to encourage all schools in Wales to develop blogs and other web 2.0 presence - I will try to catch up with all of the contacts that are in the aggregators - again thank you.

9/03/2007 10:56 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home