Well, I asked for a cup of coffee, at the Eisteddfod, anyway. A cup of “coffi heb laeth” in point of fact. I understood the smiling instructions that I needed to put my “tocyn dan y sganiwr” as I fumbled at the gate. I also told a bit of a lie for the sake of simplicity in telling someone in Maes D (the Learners Tent) that “Dw i’n dechrau Crwrs Mynediad yn Medi”, not knowing the words for “carrying on with after slacking off for most of a year”…
I hadn’t been to an Eisteddfod before and only really decided to go this year on the spur of the moment when the weather proved so utterly foul that my planning camping trip with the aeroplane was patently no-go.
In any case I’d managed to fail to realise until last weekend that it was in Cardiff at all, and more, that it was somewhere vaguely central and accessible. The Felindre site when Swansea held it was enough to put me off all by itself itself.
This time it was an easy train ride and, armed with a big enough brolly and good boots, a rather pleasant riverside walk, even in the rain. The signposts started out well but petered out a bit early and I found myself wandering the campsite and a rather rickety bridge before finding an entrance, not to mention accidentally misdirecting an American-sounding couple by assuring them I knew the way, then finding I didn’t…
Still I got there eventually, and only wet to the ankles. Whether because of the weather, or that fact it was now the last day, it seemed rather quiet, and bore an initial, unfortunate resemblance to a badly attended county show. The novelty of all the signage (up to and including the fast food stands) was novel enough to distract me, and I splashed and dripped happily enough across the field while getting my bearings.
Mostly I wandered and eavesdropped shamelessly on other people’s conversations. I browsed the bookstalls and bought myself a nice little book in plain simple Welsh of traditional legends retold for learners (Chwedlau Cymru i Ddysgwyr). It came with activities, which I suspect were aimed for kids learning it at school, but the Welsh was at me level and the content at least a change from picture books!
Maes D, the learners tent had plenty of things to watch from singers to belly dancers, but most of the guided events specifically for learners seemed to have wrapped up. I think I’d check out the programme in advance another time and try and catch some more.
As it was, while I enjoyed the day, and my few attempts at using the language with “real people”, I felt as though I hadn’t really made the most out of the trip.
I rounded out my Welsh practice with writing a postcard to myself while sat at the railway station for the train home!
Some pics — very dismal looking in the rain
And a link because I found this summing up most apt and amusing!