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Hi, this is Gerry and this is my Diary for Friday 8th September 2017. It’s time to bring you my news from the summer break. There was the Eisteddfod, my visit to the notary public and the little festival on Church Island. But first what about my pub quiz question from last time?
Last time I asked you: Why was copper  very important to Admiral Nelson in the war against Napoleon? Nelson’s final battle was the Battle of Trafalgar, and that’s where he died. Nelson’s ship was called Victory, and you can visit this ship in Portsmouth – on the south coast of England. But in Amlwch, the local copper town, there’s a very small maritime museum and in this little museum there’s a sheet  of copper from Nelson’s ship, the Victory. It was a man from Anglesey who had the idea of covering the hulls of these warships with copper. The hull  is the bottom part of the ship. In those days ships were made of wood. Copper protected  the wood in the water so you didn’t need to clean it so often - and copper helped the ship to go faster through the water. Nelson’s ships were faster than the French ships. That’s why copper was important. Congratulations to Agnès, Willy and Armin for the correct answer!
The National Eisteddfod came to Anglesey this year and it was a great success – about 150,000 visitors over the eight days of the festival. And it all takes place on a big field in tents and temporary  buildings. The only problems were the typical Eisteddfod problems of the weather and the traffic. The festival this year was on some big fields near a little village in the middle of our island. On the first day of the festival I parked my car on the grass in one of the fields for parking. Before the festival, the weather had been quite dry, but the fields didn’t feel really dry. The ground was quite soft. Anyway that Saturday, the first day, was beautiful – warm and sunny. But… the weather forecast for Sunday wasn’t good. Very heavy rain, they said, on Sunday evening. I was singing that evening – it was one of the traditional events at the festival. Hymn  singing! Yes, the Welsh have some fantastic hymns – religious songs. And people love singing them. So this was a concert with the big festival choir and a brass band  and 1,500 people singing in the audience . As we sang in the big pavilion you could hear the rain hammering  on the roof! We continued singing through the storm! When we came out, the fields outside were covered in water and soon they turned to mud ! They had tractors to pull some cars out. But what I realised was this: this festival is so important to the local people that they will always come. Nothing will stop them coming to sing!
The next day, on Monday, they started a new parking system – a park and ride service  with buses from an old airfield about 20 kilometres away. But the system didn’t really work that day – there weren’t enough buses and they didn’t know which way to go! It took me two and a half hours to get to the festival. It should take 30-45 minutes. The original parking fields stayed wet all week, although the weather got better, and the park and ride service also got better. I’ve uploaded a few photos to the website to give you an idea of this amazing week. And you may be able to listen to some of it. The Welsh channel is called S4C. You need to search on the internet for the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol (the National Eisteddfod).
On my last show, I told you about how I need to show the Swiss pension people that I’m still alive. And I told you about the notary public – a man who could perhaps help me. Well, after the last show I went to meet Mr Davies, who is a notary public and a solicitor . A solicitor is a lawyer  – the sort of lawyer who does all the everyday, usual legal work. In this part of the world you can still find old-fashioned country lawyers, and this man was one of those. He’s a partner in a small firm, and they work in a beautiful, old building: beautiful but very shabby  and not very practical. Mr Davies’s office is a very big room with big windows. In the middle of the room there’s a huge  table covered in papers and books. That’s his desk. I can’t remember seeing a computer. Mr Davies was dressed in an old-fashioned tweed suit, and he was very friendly – and very chatty. We talked a lot about Switzerland. When he was younger he did a lot of mountain climbing – and he loved the Alps. On the wall of his office I noticed a certificate. It was like something from the Queen. It was handwritten, and it started something like “I, Rowan Douglas, Archbishop of Canterbury …” and then I saw Mr Davies’s name. This was Mr Davies’s certificate to show that he was a notary public! This bit of the British legal system is controlled by the Church of England! The history goes back to 1533. I asked Mr Davies about this, and he told me his story. “I was a solicitor,” he said, “but some years ago I thought it could be interesting to become a notary public, as well. You have to go and swear an oath  – to promise to do your job honestly, etc. And you have to swear this oath in front of a priest of the Anglican Church . So I thought I’d ask the local bishop.” The bishop said: “I don’t know anything about notaries public, but come round for a cup of tea and you can tell me what I have to do.” So Mr Davies had tea with the bishop, and now he’s a notary public. He was able to sign my document with a wonderful, old-fashioned fountain pen , and – very important – he was able to put his special stamp on it. Very impressive! I hope the Swiss like it.
And now here’s my quiz question. Who is this group of people? There are 20 of them, They’re all men. At the moment, there are four from England; two each from Wales, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Portugal, and Argentina; and one each from France, Ireland, Italy and Croatia. And they all do the same job in the UK. Who are they? Think about sport! Send me your answers and any comments on the show to the website podclub.ch, or you can use Twitter. My Twitter address is @gerrypod. You can also find us on Instagram with the hashtags #gerrysdiary and #podclubgerry. And finally, don’t forget the PodClub app, where you can find the vocabulary learning programme. I’ll be back with my next Diary podcast on 6th October. Till then, thanks for listening, and take care!