This morning, I was witness to the Gorsedd Ceremony of the Powys Eisteddfod. Location was Ysgol Uwchradd Y Trallwng (Welshpool High School). Felt just like a family and friends occasion. The Presiding Druid was Hedd Bleddyn, an old friend. We became councillors at around the same time, in the 1980s, and joined forces with David Rowlands (current Ukip PPC in Mongomeryshire) as the 'Freedom Fighters'. We advocated a permissive approach to planning permission. For six years we led the Planning Authority, me as Chair and Hedd as Vice Chair - and he took over when I moved to Finance. You might ask how on earth I finished up as President of CPRW!! Refined my opinions (as Nick Griffin might say)!
The harpist, who dominates the stage on these occasions was Sian James, probably the most famous member of my extended family. The sword carrier (not sure of the proper title)was Glandon Lewis, more family. Pleased that by tradition the sword never leaves its scabbard, because I wouldn't trust him with it any other way. One of the singers of the Gorsedd prayer was Alun Jones, and up on stage as one of the leading 'white rank' druids was John Talog - yet more family. And another was accepted into the Gorsedd - Dafydd Morgan Lewis, who has done so much for Cymdeithas yr Iaith. 'Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau' was sung almost as emotionally as when Cymru take on Lloegr at the Millennium Stadium.
The Powys Eisteddfod was first held in Welshpool in 1824. Its been held there eight times since then. The first Powys Eisteddfod was held in 1820, before the National Eisteddfod was first held. The area of Powys is not coterminous with the County of Powys, which is a modern totally bizarre creation. What we might call Powys proper comprises Mongomeryshire, part Meirionydd and Denbighshire. For the first time ever, the Montgomeryshire Conservatives sponsored one of the competitions tonight - Her Unawd (Solo Challenge).