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Dyddiad: 05/08/11

Yn l I'r Maes

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Yn l fi i'r Eisteddfod ddoe.

Roedd yn rhaid i mi fynd i lawr i'r dref i wneud ychydig o siopa cyn ei hegli hi am y Maes, a gan fod y peth cyntaf roeddwn i isio'i gweld yn dechrau yn y Babell Ln am un-ar-ddeg o'r gloch, mi benderfynais i adael y tŷ am naw.

Doedd y tywydd ddim yn argoeli'n dda o gwbl wrth i mi gychwyn allan - roedd y glaw wedi dechrau ac mi oedd y nen yn un cwmwl mawr, du.

Roedd y llanc oedd y tu l i olwyn y bws i lawr yn gyrru fel Jehu, ac felly mi gyrhaeddais i ganol y dref ychydig ar l ugain munud wedi'r awr. O fewn hanner awr, roedd y siopa wedi'i wneud, ac mi oeddwn i'n barod i anelu am y Maes.

Cyrhaeddodd y bws Arriva sydd yn rhan o'r gwasanaeth yn rhedeg pob deng munud rhwng yr orsaf rheilffordd a'r orsaf fysiau a'r Maes, ac mi oedd yn llawn hyd sefyll erbyn i ni bicio trwy ochr ddeheuol y dref a thrwy Rhostyllen a Bersham i'r arosfan jyst ychydig lathenni o gefn y Pafiliwn (ie, dyna mor agos oeddwn i at gael bws Ddydd Sadwrn!).

Gan fod dros hanner awr i fynd cyn i Ddarlith Goffa Hywel Teifi ddechrau, mi benderfynais i fynd am dro fach rownd y Maes. Erbyn hyn, roedd y glaw wedi cryfhau tipyn eto byth - tywydd traddodiadol o Eisteddfodol - ac roedd golwg llwyd iawn ar y Brifwyl (yn wahanol iawn i heulwen y Dydd Sadwrn blaenorol).

Erbyn y briod awr, ddaeth yn bryd i mi fynd i mewn i'r Sied eto. Ychydig ar l i mi gymryd fy sedd (tua chefn prif ran y gynulleidfa y tro hwn), mi ddechreuodd hi fwrw ffyn a hen wragedd, ac mi ddaeth un o'r hen wragedd honno i eistedd drws nesaf i mi.

Roedd y Babell yn rhyw dri-chwarter llawn (mwy nag oedd ar gyfer y Talwrn, mi dybiwn) pan gododd Gwenno Ffrancon i gyflwyno M Wynn Thomas, a oedd i draddodi Darlith Goffa Hywel Teifi Edwards, Colli Hywel Teifi: Ymadawiad Arthur?. Roedd Thomas a Theifi'n ffrindiau mawr, ac roedd gan Thomas ambell i stori ddifri am ddiffyg amynedd yr ymadawedig wrth orfod gwrando ar ddarlithoedd nad oedd yn cwrdd 'i safonau o ei hun am ddyfnder a chryfder. Ond, roedd sylwedd y ddarlith yn canolbwyntio ar awdl T Gwynn Jones Ymadawiad Arthur (a ennillodd y Gadair iddo ym Mhrifwyl Bangor ym 1902), a sut mae'r ddelwedd o Arthur wedi'i defnyddio gan y Saeson a'r Cymry am ei wahanol rhesymau.

Mi oedd yn ddarlith ddiddorol iawn, yn gwneud y pwynt (ymysg pwyntiau eraill) fod Jones wedi cael ei fersiwn o o Arthur nid o lenyddiaeth Gymraeg yr Oesoedd Canol, ond o feirdd Saesneg megis Mallory, Tennyson a Scott, a bod hynny wedi effeithio'n gryf ar sut oedd Jones ei hun yn cyfleu tranc Arthur, cyn i Thomas fynd ymlaen i nodi mai ofer oedd i Gymry gwladgarol ddiwedd y bedwaredd ganrif ar bymtheg geisio dwyn Arthur yn l fel symbol i'w cynnal yn sgl methiant Cymru Fydd, oherwydd nad Cymro oedd Arthur.

Unig wendid y cyflwyniad oedd bod rhai o'r lluniau oedd ar y sgrn y tu cefn i'r darlithydd yn rhy fach i'w gweld yn glir; tipyn o anfantais gan fod rhai ohonyn nhw'n gartwnau lle na ellid darllen y testun oddi tanynt.

Wrth i mi fynd allan o'r Babell, cefais fy hun yn meddwl - yn gwbl sentimentalaidd, bid siwr - mai dyma'r hyn y dylai diwylliant ac addysg fod mewn cymdeithas war: yn ymestyn gorwelion y gwrandawr a pheri iddo/iddi feddwl ac edrych ar bethau mewn ffordd newydd, beiddgar braidd.

Roedd hi'n nesu at ganol dydd erbyn hyn, a'r glaw, diolch byth, wedi stopio'n llwyr, ac mi benderfynais i gael tro arall rownd y Maes, ond y tro hwn yn galw i mewn i rai o'r stondinau. Felly y prynais i gopi o ddisg Degawdau Roc 1967-82 o stondin Sain (roeddwn i wedi rhyw hanner meddwl am brynu disg Tebot Piws hefyd, ond mi benderfynais i beidio y tro hwn - sorri Pws!).

Erbyn hyn, a'r digwyddiad nesaf ar yr agenda yn dod ymlaen am chwarter i ddau, roedd hi'n amser i mi gael tamaid bach i fwyta. Roeddwn i wedi dod 'm bwyd fy hun efo fi, fel y gwnaf fel rheol wrth i mi fynd i rywle, ac yn enwedig ar l i rywun yn y swyddfa Ddydd Llun gwyno am bris y bwyd oedd ar werth ar y Maes. Roedd 'na ddigon o ddewis o hwnnw 'ta beth - rhywbeth at ddant pawb, yn wir; yn enwedig os nad oedd y 'pawb' yn poeni am bwysau ei waled.

Felly, mi euthum i eistedd y tu cefn i'r Llwyfan Perfformio Mawr ar gyrion y Maes. Roedd dawnsio gwerin brwdfrydig yn digwydd ar y llwyfan gan griw o ferched ifainc, a gafodd dderbyniad gwresog gan a sawl oedd yn eistedd ac yn ciniawa o flaen y llwyfan.

Cinio drosodd, ac roedd hi'n bryd i mi gerdded yn hamddenol yn l tuag at ben y Maes a'r hen Sied unwaith yn rhagor, am achlysur pur arbennig.

(Wrth i mi wneud hynny, mi welais i ddyn yn sefyll y tu allan i stondin y Principality yn siarad ar ei ffn. Roedd yn cario cs gitr a rycsac, ac yn gwisgo spectol tywyll a het fawr ddu. Neb llai na Meic Stevens, Y Brawd Houdini ei hun! Mi lwyddais i dynnu ffoto bach slei ohono fo wrth iddo orffen ei alwad a cherdded ymlaen, er i mi bron chael fy nharo gan fws mini wrth wneud hyn).

Rwy'n hannu o aelwyd oedd bron bod yn gwbl ddi-Gymraeg, er bod rhyw afael gan fy nhad ar yr iaith wedi iddo weithio ar ffermydd Dyffryn Clwyd fel dyn ifanc yn nauddegau a thridegau'r ganrif ddiwethaf. Mi ddysgais i'r iaith yn raddol wrth fynd trwy'r ysgol gynradd a'r ysgol uwchradd, a phan ddaeth hi'n bryd i mi benderfynu pa bynciau i'w hastudio ar gyfer arholiadau Lefel 'A', mi ddewisais i'r Gymraeg fel un ohonyn nhw (er trwy ddiffyg awydd am bynciau eraill cymaint dim byd arall). Ac felly yr es i, ym Mis Medi 1978, i Goleg Chweched Dosbarth Il (fel yr oedd hi yr adeg honno) ar Ln Crisbin.

Wrth i mi ddechrau yno, mi ddechreuodd rhywun arall hefyd, ond ar staff dysgu'r Coleg. Bryan Martin Davies oedd hwn. Y Prifardd Bryan Martin Davies. Y Bardd Coronog Dwywaith Drosodd Bryan Martin Davies bod yn fanwl.

Yr argraff cyntaf gefais ohono fo oedd un corfforol. Mi oedd yn stereoteip o Gymro'r Cymoedd (ac yntau'n hannu o Ddyffryn Aman); eithaf byr, gwallt du pitsh, wyneb gron. Yn wir, mi allasai fo wedi camu'n syth allan o un o gartwnau Gren.

Yr ail argraff gefais oedd mai dyma ddyn oedd ar dn dros ei bwnc. Doedd y gwersi iaith a gramadeg ddim yn ei danio cymaint, ond pan ddaeth hi'n bryd i ni astudio'r gweithiau llenyddol oedd ar y maes llafur: Gwenallt, R Williams Parry, Rhys Lewis, Gwanwyn Yn Y Ddinas, Siwan, dyna'r gwreichion yn dechrau tasgu. Mi oedd o'n ddi-flewyn-ar-dafod yn ei farn am ymddygiad rhai o'r cymeriadau yn y llyfrau hyn, yn ddirmygus o gymelliadau ambell un ohonynt. Ac mi roes ei farn a'i ddysg drosodd mewn modd uniongyrchol a grymus - yn ymylu ar yr echreiddig yn aml.

A siarad yn fyr ac yn blaen, mi oedd o'n gymeriad. Petaswn i wedi cymryd gwell sylw o'r hyn yr oedd o'n dweud wrthyf innau am farddoni ac am fywyd - fel efo'i gyd-athro, yr hanesydd Eric Earnshaw - faswn i wedi elwa'n sylweddol. Ond mi oeddwn i'n rhy amharod i dderbyn na chyngor na chyfarwyddyd o du neb yr adeg honno (a Davies ei hun a'm disgrifiodd fel "a satirical rebel"), ac felly mi gollais i gyfle enfawr. Er hynny, mi gafodd o effaith pell-gyrhaeddol arall arnaf, sef mai fo - yn anad yr un person arall - a'm troes yn Gymro Cymraeg go iawn (er i ddwy flynedd ym Mhantycelyn lwyddo i fynd 'r maen yn llwyr i'r wal wedyn).

Felly, fel rhyw fath o fynegiant o'r ymddiheuriad yr wyf yn meddwl sy'n ddyledus iddo fo o'm tu i, ac fel mynegiant o ddiolch iddo am y cymwynasau a wnaeth i mi, roeddwn i'n meddwl y base'n addas i mi fynd i deyrnged iddo fo yn Y Babell Ln a gyflwynwyd gan Grahame Davies ac Elin ap Hywel.

Rŵan, mi oeddwn i wedi rhyw led-glywed am Davies, ond roedd Elin yn gyfarwydd i mi gan ein bod ni'n gyfoedion yng Ngholeg Il, a hithau yn y dosbarthau ar gyfer y sawl oedd 'r Gymraeg yn famiaith iddynt. Mi oedd hi yn Aberystwyth mwy neu lai'r un adeg finnau hefyd.

Roedd y Sied yn rhyw hanner llawn, os hynny, ac mi oedd hynny'n biti mawr o safbwynt golwg y peth. Mi ddaeth rhyw hen wraig gron, flodeuog i'r llwyfan i gyflwyno Grahame ac Elin, ac mi anghofiodd hi enw Elin ac hefyd y ffaith fod y meicroffon yno at bwrpas penodol; troes i ffwrdd ohono yn rheolaidd ac felly mi gollais i - a rhan fwya'r gynulleidfa - y rhan fwya' o beth oedd hi'n ceisio dweud.

Yn gyntaf, mi ddaeth Grahame Davies ymlaen. Mi oedd Grahame yng Ngholeg Il yn union ar fy l i, ond mi oedd o wedi gwrando ar BMD ac wedi dysgu ganddo. Doeddwn i ddim wedi clywed darlith lenyddol o unrhyw fath ers i mi raddio o'r coleg dros chwarter canrif yn l, ac hyd at ddoe doeddwn i ddim wedi poeni rhyw lawer am y diffyg hwnnw. Roeddwn i wedi barnu bod tueddiad i or-gymhlethu pethau wrth drafod llenyddiaeth (a'r celfyddydau'n gyffredinol), a'i gwneud yn fwy astrus nag oedd rhaid. Ond nid felly y tro hwn. Mi ddaeth y gymysgedd o anecdotau personol a dealltwriaeth gelfyddydol a gafwyd gan Grahame goleuni i un fel fi sy ddim wedi ymddiddori'n fawr mewn llenyddiaeth fel rhywbeth ag eithrio rhywbeth i'w darllen ers achau. Roedd ei ddehongliad o themu, arddull a syniadau'r bardd yn peri i mi edifarhau am fod mor esgeulus o ddiog yn fy ieuenctid.

Yna mi ddaeth Elin ap Hywel i'r meic. Roedd ei chyfraniad hi'n fwy o atgof personol o Davies a'i nodweddiadau na dim byd neilltuol o lenyddol (er iddo gael effaith enfawr arni hi fel llenor hefyd). Mi ddaeth ei hatgofion hi o nerth cymeriad a natur echreiddig y dyn ag atgofion yn l i mi hefyd, fel yr holl amseroedd y base'n eistedd ar y silff ffenestr i bontifficeiddio ar ryw bwnc llenyddol efo'r ffenestr nesaf ato ar agor fel y gallai gael ffag slei.

Mi aeth y tri chwarter awr yn gyflym (arwydd da o safon darlith heddiw, fel yr oedd yn nyddiau'r coleg gynt), ac wedi ymdrech ymbalfalus arall gan yr hen wraig i ddiolch i'r ddau, mi oedd yr achlysur ar ben.

Mae'n rhaid i mi gyfaddef fy mod i wedi gobeithio gweld yr hen foi ei hun yno (er pam ddylai neb yn ei iawn bwyll isio clywed rhywbeth sydd i bob pwrpas yn obit iddo fo ei hun yn aneglur i mi), gan i mi ddeall ei fod dal ar dir y byw. Ond doedd hynny ddim i fod (ac mi ddo' i'n l at un esboniad posibl yn y man).

Yn wreiddiol, roeddwn i wedi bwriadu aros yn Y Babell Ln i weld yr Ymryson a ddilynodd y deyrnged. Ond mi oedd hi'n nesu at dri o'r gloch erbyn hyn, ac mi oeddwn i isio cael un tro bach arall o gwmpas y Maes cyn i mi ymadael 'r Ŵyl. Hefyd, mi oeddwn i isio gweld a oedd modd cael copi o'r casgliad o holl gerddi Bryan Martin Davies y bu Grahame ac Elin yn dyfynnu ohono. Felly, mi euthum i stondin y Cyngor Llyfrau. Na, doedd y gyfrol neilltuol honno ddim i'w gweld yno. Stondin Siop Y Siswrn? Nage. Stondin Y Lolfa? Dim byd (ac roedd hi'n ymddangos i mi fod mwy o lyfrau Saesneg yno na rhai Cymraeg - so mytsh ffor ddi oltyrnatif cyltsyr, ondif?). Doedd dim copi gan stondin Barddas chwaith, a nhw oedd y sawl a'i chyoeddodd! Ond, mi brynais i gopau o Os Hoffech Wybod...a chofio Dic (hunangofiant Dic Jones) a Cerddi Dic Yr Hendre, casgliad o waith bardd caeth mwyaf blaenllaw a phwysicaf ail hanner y ganrif ddiwethaf.

Yna, mi sefais i rhwng Y Babell Ln a'r Brif Fynedfa am rai munudau yn cymryd un golwg arall o'r Maes, gan i mi dybio mai dyma oedd y tro olaf i mi weld Maes Prifwyl yn fy oes i.

Wrth i mi fynd yn l heibio'r Pafiliwn er mwyn dal y bws yn l i'r dref, mi welais i Grahame Davies yn sgwrsio efo rhyw ddyn arall. Roeddwn i wedi gobeithio cael rhyw sgwrs fer efo Elin wedi'r cyflwyniad gynnau fach, ond doedd dim modd. Felly, gan fod cyfle wedi cyrraedd i mi ddiolch i'r person arall oedd ynhglym wrtho, mi fanteisiais arno. Fel roedd hi'n digwydd, mi oedd Grahame yntau'n mynd am y bws er mwyn iddo ddal ei drn. Felly, mi gefais i'r cyfle i siarad fo am ryw chwarter awr wrth i'r bws GHA weindio ei ffordd yn l i Stryd Y Brenin. Bm yn sgwrsio am Bryan Martin Davies a'i ddylanwad arnon ni'n dau, a Grahame yn sn am gyflwr trist y dyn ar l i'w wraig farw tua diwedd yr wythdegau, a berodd iddo droi i mewn arno fo ei hun a byw'n feudwyaidd - stori drist am un fu gymaint o rym natur.

A dyna ni'n ffarwelio 'n gilydd wrth yr orsaf fysiau; yntau'n mynd yn l i Gaerdydd, finnau'n mynd yn l at fy mywyd di-fflach fy hun.

Mae gen i ragor i'w ddweud am yr Eisteddfod fel ffenomen, a Chymreictod a'r hyn y mae'r Brifwyl yn ei gynrychioli, ond rywbeth ar gyfer y penwythnos fydd hynny, gobeithio. Saeth i glicio arni i fynd  chi i erthygl sy'n dilyn hon

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Back To The Field

I went back to the Eisteddfod yesterday.

I had to go down into town to do some shopping before heading off to the Maes, and as the first thing I wanted to see in the Literature Tent was to start at 11:00, I decided to leave home at nine.

The weather wasn't at all promising as I set out - the rain had started and the sky was one large, black cloud.

The youth who was behind the wheel of the bus going down drove like Jehu, so I got into town just after twenty past the hour. Within half an hour, the shopping had been completed, and I was ready to head Maes-wards.

The Arriva bus which is part of the service running every ten minutes between the train and bus stations and the Maes duly arrived, and it was standing-room only by the time we started to pick our way through the southern side of town on through Rhostyllen and Bersham to the bus stop just yards from the back of the Pavilion (yes, that's how close I was to getting a bus on Saturday!).

As there was over half an hour to wait before the Hywel Teifi Edwards Memorial Lecture was due to begin, I decided to go for a walk around the Maes. By now, the rain had intensified yet further - traditional Eisteddfod weather - and the Festival wore a very gloomy aspect (very different to the sunshine of the previous Saturday).

At the appointed time, it was time to go into the Shed again. A little while after I had taken my seat (near the back of the main part of the auditorium), it started raining cats, dogs and little old ladies, one of whom came and sat next to me.

The Tent was about three-quarters full (more than had been present for Y Talwrn, I'd estimate) by the time Gwenno Ffrancon rose to present M Wynn Thomas, who was to deliver the Hywel Teifi Edwards Memorial Lecture: Losing Hywel Teifi: The Departure Of Arthur?. Thomas and Teifi were big friends, and Thomas had some amusing stories about the departed's lack of patience as he had to listen to lectures which didn't reach his own standards for depth or strength. But the main part of the lecture was to concentrate on T Gwynn Jones' awdl Arthur's Departure (which won him the Chair at the Bangor Eisteddfod of 1902), and how the image of Arthur had been used by the English and the Welsh for very different reasons.

It was a very interesting lecture, making the point (amongst others) that Jones had received his version of Arthur not from mediaeval Welsh literature, but from English poets such as Mallory, Tennyson and Scott, and that that had had a strong influence on how Jones himself conveyed the death of Arthur, before Thomas went on to note that the Welsh patriots of the late nineteenth century acted in vain to retrieve Arthur as a symbol to sustain them in the aftermath of the failure of Cymru Fydd, because Arthur was not a Welshman.

The only weakness in the presentation was that some of the images on the screen behind the lecturer were too small to be seen clearly; this was something of a disadvantage as some of the images were cartoons where the text below them simply could not be read.

As I went out of the Tent, I found myself thinking - totally sentimentally, I'm sure - that this is what culture and education should be like in a civilised society: expanding the horizons of the listener and causing him/her to think and look at things in a new, rather daring, way.

It was getting close to noon by now, and the rain, thankfully, had completely abated, and I decided to take another stroll around the Maes, this time calling in to some of the stalls. So I bought a copy of the Decades Of Rock 1967-82 double CD from Sain's stall (I'd half-considered buying a Tebot Piws disc as well, but I decided not to this time - sorry Pws!).

By this time, with the next item on the agenda due at a quarter to two, it was time for me to grab a bite to eat. I'd brought my own food with me, as I usually do whenever I go somewhere, especially after someone in work on Monday complained about the price of the food on sale on the Maes. There was plenty of choice of it, anyway - something for every taste, indeed; especially if that taste included not worrying about the weight of one's wallet.

So, I went to sit behind the Large Performance Stage at the edge of the Maes, where a suitably Large Performance was taking place involving a group of young women folk dancing, which got a warm reception from those who were sitting and eating in front of the stage.

Lunch over, and it was time for me to walk in a leisurely fashion back towards the top end of the Maes and the old Shed once more, for a quite special occasion.

(As I did so, I saw a man standing outside the Principality stall talking on his phone. He was carrying a guitar case and rucksack, and wearing shades and a big, black hat. None other than Meic Stevens, Brother Houdini himself! I succeeded in taking a sneaky little photo of him as he ended his call and walked onwards, although I nearly got run down by a minibus as I did so).

I come from a home which was almost entirely non-Welsh-speaking, although my father had a few words of the language as a result of his working on the farms of the Vale of Clwyd as a young man in the 1920s and 1930s. I learned the language gradually as I went through first primary and then secondary school, and when the time came for me to decide which subjects to take for 'A'-level, I chose Welsh as one of them (although this was as much down to a lack of enthusiasm for other subjects as anything else). And so, in September 1978, I went to Yale Sixth Form College (as it then was) on Crispin Lane.

As I started there, so did someone else, but on the teaching staff. This was Bryan Martin Davies. The Chief Poet Bryan Martin Davies. The Doubly-Crowned Poet Bryan Martin Davies to be precise.

The first impression I had of him was a physical one. He was a stereotype of the Valleys Welshman (he was a native of the Aman Valley); quite short, pitch-black hair above a round face. Indeed, he could have stepped straight out of one of Gren's cartoons.

The second impression I received was that this was a man who was burning with passion for his subject. The language and grammar lessons didn't fire him so much, but when it came time for us to study the literature on the curriculum: Gwenallt, R Williams Parry, Rhys Lewis, Gwanwyn Yn Y Ddinas, Siwan, then the sparks started to fly. He was forthright in his opinions regarding the behaviour of the characters in some of these works, scornful of the motivations of some of them. And he put his views and his erudition over in a direct, forceful manner - bordering on the eccentric at times.

To speak plainly, he was a character. Had I taken better notice of what he was telling me about being a poet and about life - as with his fellow lecturer, the historian Eric Earnshaw - I would have profited greatly. But I was too unwilling to take either advice or direction from anyone at that age (it was Davies himself who described me as "a satirical rebel"), and so I lost a huge opportunity. Despite that, he had another far-reaching effect on me, because he it was - more than any other individual - who turned me into a real Welsh-speaking Welshman (although two years in Pantycelyn managed to complete the job afterwards).

So, as some sort of expression of apology which I think I owe him, and as a means of showing thanks to him for the favours he did me, I thought it would be appropriate for me to attend a tribute to him in the Literature Tent presented by Grahame Davies and Elin ap Hywel.

Now, I had sort-of heard of Davies, but Elin was known to me because we had been contemporaries at Yale College, with her being in the classes held for those who had Welsh as their first language. She was also in Aberystwyth at more or less the same time as me as well

The Shed was about half full, if that, and that was a great pity from the point of view of the look of the thing. An elderly, spherical, florid woman came to the stage to introduce Grahame and Elin, and she forgot Elin's name and also the fact that microphones are there for a specific purpose; she turned away from it regularly and so I - and most of the audience - lost most of what she was trying to say.

First of all, Grahame Davies came forward. Grahame had been in Yale College just after me, but he had listened to BMD and had learned from him. I hadn't heard a literary lecture of any sort since my graduation over a quarter of a century ago, and up until yesterday I hadn't worried too much about the loss. I had reached the opinion that there is a tendency to overcomplicate things in discussing literature (and the arts in general), thus making it more abstruse than it needs to be. But that was not the case here. The mixture of personal anecdote and artistic perception which Grahame provided came as quite an enlightenment to one who had not for a long time taken a great interest in literature except as something to read. His interpretation of the poet's themes, style and ideas made me regret being so culpably lazy in my youth.

Then Elin ap Hywel came to the mike. Her contribution was more in the form of personal reminiscences of Davies and his character than anything specifically literary (although he had a huge influence on her as a writer as well). Her recollections of the man's strength of character and his eccentric nature brought back my own memories, such as the times he would sit on the window sill to pontificate on some literary topic with the window next to him open so that he could have a crafty fag.

The three quarters of an hour passed quickly (a good sign of the quality of a lecture today, as it was in my college days), and after another fumbling attempt by the old woman to thank them both, the tribute was at an end.

I have to admit that I had hoped to see the old boy himself there (although why anyone in his right mind would want to hear something which was tantamount to an obituary to himself isn't clear to me), as I understood that he was still in the land of the living. But that wasn't to be (and I'll return to one possible explanation for this shortly).

Originally, I had intended staying in the Tent to see the poetry competition which followed. But it was getting near to three o'clock by this time, and I wanted to take one last turn around the Maes before leaving. Also, I wanted to see if there was any way of getting hold of a copy of the complete collection of Bryan Martin Davies' poems which Grahame and Elin had been quoting from. So, I went to the Books Council's stand. No, that particular volume wasn't in evidence there. Siop Y Siswrn? Nope. Y Lolfa? Nothing (and there seemed to me to be more English books than Welsh ones there - so much for the alternative culture, eh?). Barddas didn't have a copy either, and they had published the thing! But I did buy copies of Os Hoffech Wybod...a chofio Dic (Dic Jones' autobiography) and Cerddi Dic Yr Hendre, an anthology of the work of the most prominent and most important strict-metre poet of the second half of the last century.

Then, I stood between the Literature Tent and the Main Entrance for some minutes taking one more look at the Maes, as I suspected that that would be the last time I would see a National Eisteddfod Maes in my lifetime.

As I walked past the Pavilion to catch the bus back into town, I saw Grahame Davies talking with some other bloke. I had hoped to have a quick chat with Elin after the presentation earlier, but there was no way to do so. So, as the opportunity had arisen for me to thank the other person involved in it, I took advantage. As it happened, Grahame was himself going for the bus so that he could catch his train. So, I had the chance to talk with him for about a quarter of an hour as the GHA bus wound its way back to King Street. We talked of Bryan Martin Davies and his influence on us both, and Grahame mentioned the sad tale of how, after his wife died in the late 1980s, Davies had turned in on himself and had lived like a hermit - a sad story for one who had been such a force of nature.

And then we bade each other farewell by the bus station, he to go back to Cardiff, me to go back to my own unremarkable life.

I have more to say about the Eisteddfod as a phenomenon, and about Welshness and what the Festival represents, but that's something for the weekend, I hope. An arrow to click on to take you to a follow-up item