Tag Archives: Uplands House

Dylan Thomas & I — Just Ahead Of Cambridge ‘Welsh Christmas’ Revels.

.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
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by Anura Guruge


RevelsCambridge10182015Related posts:
** Dylan Thomas: ‘A Boy With A Note’.

>> Christmas Revels North, 2015Scottish Highland Bash.
>> Christmas Revels 2014: RAVE.
>> Christmas Revels 2013 at Dartmouth.
>> Christmas Revels 2012 at Dartmouth.

++++ Search for ‘Revels’ & ‘Cambridge’ for MANY other related posts >>>>


Cwmdonkin Drive, Uplands, Swansea.
Yes, “Uplands House” was set inside a
HUGE sloping garden.

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Click to ENLARGE.


‘Laugharne’ relative to Swansea
(and the famed rugby & mining town Llanelli).

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Click to ENLARGE.


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Dylan Thomas.

2015 Christmas Revels by Cambridge ‘Revels’, which will start this Friday, is based on a “Welsh Celebration” with Dylan Thomas, the famed dipsomaniacal and chain-smoking Welsh poet, to the fore.

Dylan Thomas (who should never be confused with ‘Bob’) & I share a connection.

No I never met him. He was born October 27, 1914 and died November 9, 1953. As such he died when I was 2 months old.

I was never a Dylan Thomas scholar and to be honest am, at best, only familiar with his most famous works, e.g., Under Milk Wood“.

The connection that we share is that I too, like he, lived on Cwmdonkin Drive in the ‘Uplands‘ district of Swansea, Wales — this being when I did my first degree (a B.Sc. in Computer Technology) at the University College of Swansea from 1971 to 1974 (before joining IBM).

I actually lived directly across the road from the semi-detached house (now with the obligatory blue plaque commemorating its historic significance) in which he was born and spent the first 19 years of this relatively short life.

I rented a ‘wing’ in ‘Uplands House’ — an old, rather dilapidated Squire’s Mansion owned by a retired couple who rented much of the house to mature students and recent graduates. I managed to get the ‘wing’ because my adoptive parents could afford the rent (given that my education, in full, was paid for by UNESCO).

When I moved to ‘Uplands House’, after getting kicked out of another boarding house because I broke the rules about visiting girlfriends, I had never heard of Dylan Thomas. But I was still new to Britain having only lived there for just over 2 years — and I had only left Ceylon four years earlier. But my then ‘live-in’ girlfriend, who was to be my first wife, was very au fait with Dylan Thomas’ work. But there was little she didn’t know about English literature or for that matter most things cultural, historic and social. She was a star scholarship pupil from a prestigious (good ol’) British Grammar School. She was beyond clever. I never worked out why somebody as clever as her saw in I. But it was great. She taught me much. And it was she who took me across the road one day and said “look, Dylan Thomas’ house”. She then had to tell me who he was …

When we eventually got a car we, for the heck of it, drove around quite a bit. And that is how I also visited Laugharne, where Dylan lived during his last years and where he is buried. Laugharne was an easy and scenic drive from Swansea. I remember doing the ‘Dylan tour’ of Laugharne at least twice and on one of these visits sitting by his grave.

So between Cwmdonkin Drive and Laugharne I feel I definitely have a connection with this great (but ‘misguided) Welshman.



Beaujolais Nouveau 2013: Celebrations In Swansea, Wales At The Morgans Hotels.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>>
Sherry-Lehmann — Nov. 15, 2013.
>> 2013 race to London — Nov. 13, 2013.
>> Beaujolais Nouveau 2013 Day — Oct. 17, 2013.
>> My review of Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau

>>  2012 — Nov. 15, 2012.
++++
Search on Nouveau for ALL the 2012 & 2013 posts

and there were many >>>>


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One of the Morgans Hotels in Swansea. Do NOT remember it.

I, even today, consider Swansea my ‘home town’.

I spent 3 of the best years of my life, 1971 – 1974, in Swansea. I would not be seated here, writing this, if I had not gone to Swansea. Swansea is where I went, kind of on a whim, to get my first degree — in computer technology. My 3 years there was a study in riotous hedonism coupled with intense amount of energy expended on learning to program, programming languages and operating systems. i didn’t go to many classes. There were some that I never attended, at all.  In the British system of the time, per centuries old tradition, there was no continuous assessments, quizzes or tests. Attending class was also not mandatory. All you had to do was sit for a STIFF set of exams at the end of each year, each exam 3 hours long — and typically you had about 6 you needed to sit. If you passed your 1st year exams you were allowed to go to the 2nd year and if you passed your 2nd year to your 3rd and final. And then, at the end of your 3rd year, you had your FINALS. That determines whether you got a degree or not. So, despite not attending classes, living a very hedonistic lifestyle I still managed to get a degree and I didn’t even sit for one exam because I had no idea about the subject since I had never attended a single class! But, the British system was made for reprobates like me. 100/100 was not the limit on an exam you took! Aaahh! At the top of the exam paper it would say something along the lines of ‘correctly answering 6 of the 9 questions will enable you to get full marks’. So each question was worth around 16.7 marks — though you always got a few points knocked off. But, with luck you could get 10 to 15 points PER question. So 6 got you 90. But, IF you, in the 3 hours managed to answer ALL 9 you could get 120 or more. So that was my strategy. I knew I could ace, more than ace, anything to do with programming, computer systems and some level of calculus. So, I would set out to get 120 in the exams I sat. It is the total of the 6 exams that count. So I could scrape by and still get an Honours degree even if I stayed in bed during one of the final exams. Plus, I had an unconditional job offer, degree or no degree, from IBM. But, I wanted to get a degree just for the heck of it. So, suffice to say, I have basically good and fun memories of Swansea.

I do NOT remember these hotels from my time there. I wasn’t into hotels at the time. I was young.

I lived, for 2 years, in a delightful old mansion, with a bunch of older reprobates and an old retired couple who owned the place, called ‘Uplands House‘ — opposite Dylan Thomas’ birthplace on Cwmdonkin Drive. Can you say that: Cwmdonkin Drive. I looked for it on Google Maps. Have a dreadful feeling that it was torn down. It was old and kind of decrepit — but huge.

It appears that Swansea is now famous for its Beaujolais Nouveau celebrations.

That is new to me. Though you could drink in England when you were quite young, definitely by 16, I didn’t start drinking till I basically left Swansea. Drinking, and especially being drunk, would have got in the way of all the fun I was having! That is the reason that I also never did drugs though for periods of time I hung out with some heavy inhalers. I didn’t want anything ‘clouding’ my brain because that would have prevented me from savoring every second of my life. So to me, hedonism was always with a clear mind sans the need for any external stimulants. But, as I am the first to admit, I am strange. That said, I would not, even today, swap my 3 years in Swansea for the promise of not being strange.