by Anura Guruge
** Dylan Thomas: ‘A Boy With A Note’.
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Cwmdonkin Drive, Uplands, Swansea.
Yes, “Uplands House” was set inside a
HUGE sloping garden.
Click to ENLARGE.
‘Laugharne’ relative to Swansea
(and the famed rugby & mining town Llanelli).
Click to ENLARGE.
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.