It was so lovely seeing our very first Bootcampers last weekend in Llandrindod.
It made Catrin and me realise that (what with one thing and another over the years) we haven't always put as much focus on the forum, on this magical community and its members, as it (and they!) deserve.
It's time we changed that.
And to get the ball rolling, I thought it would be good to have a 'Star of the Week' post - a chance for me to talk about SSiWers past and present who have helped form this community and make this project so lively and exciting. As well as putting the spotlight on some very deserving people, I'm also hoping it will (once it's built up a bit) help new members feel that they're getting to know who's who quickly and easily...
Seren yr Wythnos #1
Iestyn ap Dafydd
Who else could it be?! The man you know as the Voice of the South (which always makes me imagine him on a hilltop in Llandysul looking a lot like the Angel of the North) - who is also my long-term friend, co-conspirator, business partner and idea generator.
Late in 2008, Iestyn agreed (perhaps with more kindness than sense!) to southernificate the lessons I was building, and to record them, and to find a female voice. Then, when it became clear that what we were doing had some real legs, he agreed to become my business partner, and took over full responsibility for all the actual, proper, grown-up stuff like legal things and tax things and all sort of nightmares that I only know by the collective name of 'stuff' (or, when I'm feeling technical, 'things').
You can imagine, I'm sure, how long SSiW would have survived if Iestyn hadn't agreed to be the grown-up...
Whatever I say here about Iestyn is going to feel as though it's been cut short - we've worked together on other stuff before SSiW, most noticeably when we were part of running the housing, community and language pressure group Cymuned, and we'll be working together in some shape or form for the rest of our lives - which is one of the luckiest and happiest things that's happened to me.
Iestyn has been a voice of consistent calm on the rare occasions when things have become heated in the community, and he is one of the most enthusiastic and inspiring supporters of learners I've ever met. Whatever you throw at Iestyn, he'll find a way to deal with it, and to keep on smiling and laughing (even if it does mean he needs to add a daily pint of coffee to the mix!).
He undersells himself regularly - he told our original Bootcampers last Saturday that I could have found someone else to play his role in SSi, but he couldn't have found someone else to play mine - which is probably the only genuinely daft thing I've heard him say. I couldn't even begin to imagine still being on this journey without everything he's done and everything he is.
And the fun thing is, it still feels as though we're only just getting started...
How about you?
What have you appreciated most about Iestyn over the years?
What difference has he made to you?
Let's give him a chance to see how much he really matters...