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Hi, this is Gerry and this is my Diary for Friday, 31st August, 2018. Today is a special show. Why? Well, for different reasons. Firstly, it’s because we’re celebrating  10 years of PodClub. Secondly, it’s because this show is going to be an interview. My Wandering Son Owen is going to ask me questions, and I’m going to try to answer them. Owen has also recorded a special multilingual podcast  with all the other PodClub podcasters. And everybody in it speaks their own language. Great fun ! I hope you enjoy it.
My first podcast Diary went out in January 2008. Today this is my 197th, and it’s also my last. Let’s find out more in the interview. Over to you, Owen.
Owen: Hi Gerry. Well, you say that this is your last show. Why’s that?
Gerry: Well, after ten years I’m ready to retire . When I started I was still in Switzerland. Then after 23 years in Switzerland, I moved back to Wales. It was interesting for me – and I hope for my listeners, too – to try to describe my new life here. At that time, I think I could see this place through Swiss eyes . Now I think people know a bit more about Wales and how we live here. So perhaps the time has come to do something different.
Owen: OK, so what are you going to do?
Gerry: Oh, I’ve got plenty  to do. And as you know, your sister is coming to live here in North Wales with her family and I expect your mother and I will have a lot to do helping with the children. It’ll be Lulu’s first year at school. And the school is a Welsh one. She’ll have to learn Welsh. That’ll be interesting. And I think your sister will have to learn, as well .
Owen: In your Diary you used to talk  a lot about your Welsh class. Did you enjoy learning a new language?
Gerry: Oh, yes. That was one of the best things about moving here. When I was little I used to come to Wales every summer on holiday. My cousins spoke Welsh but I didn’t. And I always wanted to.
Owen: So how good is your Welsh now? What level are you at? People say that you know a lot about these levels: A1, A2, etc. What’s your level?
Gerry: It depends … I’m sure that everybody who’s learning a language knows that you have good days and bad days. Some days you feel good about your language, other days you feel that you’re learning nothing.
Owen: Come on, Gerry! Answer the question!
Gerry: OK. Well I’m definitely an A2. That means I can deal with  routine everyday situations. And I’m usually a B1: I can make conversation about a lot of things now but often I’m a bit slow and I need to ask for help with words sometimes. I can understand most other people. There are always some people who are more difficult to understand than others. Do you know what I mean ? And sometimes I’m a bit B2. It takes me time, but I can now read quite well in Welsh, and I realise that I can understand more on the radio and television than I could. Is that clear enough?
Owen: Well done! But it’s taken you ten years!
Gerry: I know. But you need time to learn a language. And I’m a lazy  student!
Owen: This is your 197th podcast. Was it always easy to find something to talk about?
Gerry: Not always. I like to find stories that are funny or interesting, but not too serious. In my Diary I talk about everyday life because that’s what learners can manage  at levels A2 and B1. Nothing too abstract! I had some good stories about our cat in Switzerland, I remember. I think I could probably tell stories about Minnie, our new dog. It’s a pity that we didn’t get her last year!
Owen: What about your pub quiz questions?
Gerry: Yes, they were fun. I can’t remember where I got the idea from but the best thing about those questions was the answers from my listeners. I was always pleased to hear from them. And when I started writing a new Diary I always had something that I could write first: the answer to the pub quiz question. As, I’m sure you know, one of the worst things when you have to write a podcast, is starting.
Owen: So where do your ideas come from?
Gerry. I try to make some notes . I have a document on the computer called “podcast ideas”. And I start making notes in that about a week before I have to write the podcast. And then I think about how to tell the stories. And then I write them. If I don’t make notes, I forget my ideas!
Owen: Maybe that’s why it’s time for you to retire! By the way , when you started doing your Diary, did you actually  know what a podcast was?
Gerry: That’s a good question! I half knew, I suppose. I knew that a podcast was a sort of recording  that you got from the internet, but I didn’t really know how it worked. And to tell you the truth, I still don’t really understand it. But I hear every day on the BBC radio now that you don’t have to listen to a programme at a special time, you can get the podcast of the programme. So 10 years ago, I think we were quite modern!
Owen: Do you think your podcast has been a success?
Gerry: It’s difficult for me to say. I don’t really see the statistics. And I’m not sure what people use my podcasts for. Our idea at the beginning was to help people to improve their listening, because most learners tell us that listening is the most difficult thing when you’re learning a language. It’s certainly more difficult than reading, because you have no time to think. But I know a lot of people read my texts while they listen to them, and some people don’t listen they just read. That’s a pity . I write my texts so that they are not too difficult to understand when you hear them. I try to speak clearly. I try to repeat important things. I keep my sentences short. PodClub promised to bring people “easy listening”, and I hope we succeed. I once asked people: Where do you listen to me? And I got some good answers. People said things like: “on the tram on my way to work”, “while I’m jogging”, “when I’m ironing clothes”, “when I’m cooking”. That was good to hear.
Owen: OK, old man. So now we’re nearly at the end of the show. How are you going to finish it?
Gerry: Well, I think it would be good to say some thank-yous. Thanks to my Migros colleagues for giving me the chance to do this job. A special thank-you to Peter here in the studio in Wales where I record these shows. We had fun doing that. And a big thank-you to my wife, my best editor . But the biggest thank-you goes to anybody who’s listening. I know a few of your names because you write me comments, but most of you I don’t know. I just hope that you enjoyed this show and the others before it. So, for the last time, goodbye and take care!