After watching the celebrities perform their fourth and final challenge
I'm very chuffed with some of the learners - not so much with others. Lowri hasn't done much at all, saying that life has got in the way. Rhod has much more Welsh than he let on. He must have heard it as a child as he said some words in a West Wales dialect.
Di worked very hard and Colin's also done really well. He's got real empathy with the language. A lot of people, especially those who are sports fans, will see what he's doing and be encouraged to learn Welsh.
I hope The Big Welsh Challenge will create sympathy towards the language and show that people really do speak it - and that they feel much more comfortable speaking Welsh than English. People feel threatened for no reason
I really hope that the learners will carry on because they're a great example to others. I know a lot of English people like Colin who have learnt Welsh and it's really changed their lives.
23rd January 2008
I've just been watching a bit more of what the celebrity mentors and learners have been up to. There seem to be a lot of ups and downs. It made me happy at times seeing how hard some of the learners were trying but then I could see others weren't working hard enough.
People often go into learning Welsh with good intentions but there's still got to be a little bit of hard work. Some people haven't got much time but in the end you've just got to put the effort in yourself.
It's obviously difficult because some of the celebrities are in a society where they don't hear Welsh spoken. In our local pub we've started "A Pint of Welsh" sessions where we have a pint, speak Welsh and have fun. At home you have to do the not-fun bit of learning but then it's pointless if you can't go out and practise with other people.
Most Welsh speakers will welcome the fact that you're learning. Where I live in Tresaith there are a lot of Welsh speakers but also a lot of people who've moved into the area and don't speak the language. But many have made the effort to learn and I'm really proud of them.
One English woman is now teaching Welsh and can even write the strict meter verse, Cynghanedd. I suggest to learners, try to find a place where you can go and use your Welsh so you can see a reason for learning it.
As we've been watching the TV footage we've been seeing Ray and Simon working together. It's very sad about Grav and I feel so sorry for his family. All of Wales will miss him, and I think Simon in particular will feel his loss.
Some of the celebrities have taken The Big Welsh Challenge seriously, others haven't been working quite so hard and some have done very little at all. It's not too late though. This is just the beginning of their process of learning Welsh and once you start putting the effort in you feel very differently about Wales and the people around you.
I've started singing with a band in folk music nights and I'm busy writing new songs. I'm also learning Cynghanedd and although it's hard work I'm trying to make it fun, which is what you have to do.
25th September 2007
Saw bits of the new series today, and they're all different in their approach. Rhod and Cerys are both round the bend, Grav and Simon are bonding like tallyho, Di and Glyn are going great guns (I really think Glyn looks like James Hook - every time Hook gets the ball in a game I feel myself hyperventilating and saying, "Why did they pick GLYN!")
Rebecca is really good with Colin - he is such a gent. He's totally different from on the pitch - I'd rather teach him Welsh than tackle him. Please let us go through to the quarter finals! Lowri is a real warrior. They've all done very well - keep going!