Mohammad and the Maes

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Usually, I'm counting down the days to the new football season at this time of the year, but it's not the footy this time, it's the 2010 National Eisteddfod in Ebbw Vale!

I'm extremely proud to say that for the first time I'll be broadcasting in Welsh from the Maes. I've done many interviews over the past fortnight for newspapers in English and Welsh about my role for BBC Cymru Wales this year and people still seem generally surprised when they discover that I speak Welsh.

I learnt the language over a period of 11 years - studying it at GCSE level with my inspirational teacher at Glyn Derw High School in Ely, Valmai Griffiths.

I then studied A Level Welsh at Coleg Glan Hafren and did my degree in Welsh and Politics at the University of Wales, Swansea, graduating in 1996.

During those years I developed a passion for the language, its origin, history, institutions and of course, the literature of Wales. Now, some years later, I'm preparing to broadcast in Welsh on television for the first time from the Eisteddfod, so it's a big moment for me.

Obviously, many people associate me with my time on Wales Today, broadcasting in English but over the past 18 months I've had many requests to work in the Welsh language.

Last year I presented a programme for S4C, where I travelled on a spiritual journey to Mecca and the response I had from the people who watched the programme was simply phenomenal. But the overriding response was one of surprise - that I actually spoke Welsh.

My children go to a Welsh speaking school and I use the language more now than ever before, even though I present the daily Radio Wales Phone-In and still do most of my work in English.

So this year I'm really looking forward to the Eisteddfod. I think it's vitally important for it to visit places like Ebbw Vale.

It's always a big thrill for me to visit the Royal Welsh Show or the Eisteddfod representing BBC Cymru Wales and I look forward to meeting our viewers, listeners and of course, the many competitors that I'll be will no doubt have the pleasure of interviewing.

I'll be keeping you right up to date with the whole experience through 'the eyes of Jason' via this blog so come and say hello. I'm here from 8.30am on Saturday.

For now though, I've got to browse through my Eisteddfod programme to find out what's going to be my first item?! And of course, pack my wellies.

No... stay positive, the sun always shines on the Eisteddfod, doesn't it?!

Jason

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