And then the Eisteddfod – Part 1

meifod-sul020

After Lille came Meifod!

I could write about the wonderful National Eisteddfod in Welsh, but Welsh speakers are already very well aware of what happens at the biggest Welsh cultural festival of the year, so in order to share this unique experience with more of you, English it is!

Is that Welsh or Esperanto?

After leaving Lille I headed to Cardiff to pick up my car along with a passenger, a fellow Welsh learner and aspiring polyglot. Ifan started learning Esperanto after attending the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin in April, and decided he couldn’t miss the Universal Congress in Lille. We met up again afterwards in London, chatted in Esperanto for the first part of the train journey from Paddington, then attempted to force our brains back into Welsh. It was very difficult at first, with hesitations and “What’s the Welsh for {Esperanto word}?” but it had to be done. Luckily by the time we arrived in Cardiff and had lunch with Welsh-speaking friends, reluctant brain cells had realised resistance was futile and we were back in full Welsh mode.

The tent experience

Camping

 

This year I decided that the real Eisteddfod experience had to include staying in a tent.

OK, it wasn’t the one in this picture!

 

 

It was a rather large tent with three separate sleeping ‘pods’ and two living areas, but a tent nevertheless! You have three main choices when you stay in a tent at the Eisteddfod

  • Maes B, which has a huge stage and very loud music until the wee, small hours
  • Maes Carafanau, which caters mainly for caravans but has a section at one end for tents
  • or this year you could stay in another location nearby organised by Cymdeithas yr Iaith which also has loud music until the wee small hours.

Yes, I plumped for Maes Carafanau. However, as it wasn’t too great a distance from Maes B, I still got to enjoy the music but at a rather reduced decibel level.

Are you thinking that sounds like rather a large tent for one person? You would be right!

Leia came to share with me, bringing with her some very useful things, such as a little gas stove, various cooking implements, cutlery, and a supply of ‘easy cooking’ food. Yes, Leia was a great choice of a tent companion as she had obviously done it all before! I had remembered to bring a mug and some tea. A great contribution! Leia was cooking burgers and sausages when I arrived so I was very impressed, and appreciative. (It was also rather handy that she got there the day before me and the tent was already erected when I showed up! Thanks, Leia and Catrin!)

The novice camper

Unfortunately, my lack of camping experience became blatantly obvious on the first night. I was FREEZING. I had a blow up mattress, a lightweight sleeping bag and a duvet, but the mattress just didn’t get warm. It was like lying on a block of ice all night. Gradually I put on more and more clothing until I was wrapped in several layers but I still couldn’t get warm.

Somewhere around 2 am I decided that I couldn’t possibly spend the whole week like that so I had no choice but to drive home to Llandysul the next day and load up the car with warmer blankets and clothing. And that’s what I did. I was volunteering at the Eisteddfod the next morning, but as soon as I was finished I set out for home. Two hours later I was there and after a good sleep in my own bed, loaded up the car and set off back to Meifod the next day.

Now the Eisteddfod could begin for real!

4 thoughts on “And then the Eisteddfod – Part 1

  1. Menna Hughes

    A great start, Dee. It can only get better, can’t it? Please continue … I am enjoying reading about your adventures. Hwyl fawr.

    Reply
  2. Dee Post author

    Yes, it got a lot better Menna! In fact I’m thinking that camping is the ONLY way to really do the Eisteddfod in future 🙂

    Reply
    1. Dee Post author

      I wondered that myself when I first saw it. It grated on me to be honest! But I read, or heard, an explanation somewhere that said it was for the benefit of non-Welsh speakers who were being encouraged to attend the Eisteddfod and experience a little bit of Welsh culture but might be confused, or put off, but Meifod changing to Feifod. I’m not sure how true that is, but it sounds like a possibility.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Checking you're a human * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.