Over the last few days, I have been soaking up the writerly atmosphere of Swansea, that ‘ugly lovely town’ (which became a city in 1969).
I’m a regular now that my daughter lives here – she’s just getting to the end of her Masters in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Swansea University – and I love it.
A country girl like me enjoying city life? Well, yes, but only in short bursts. I wouldn’t want to live here myself (or any other built-up area come to that), but for the moment, the rush and tear, the traffic, the crowds, the endless opportunities for retail therapy? Bring it on!
There’s plenty of inspiration here – it is the seaside, after all. And there are loads of wonderful parks (dog mess underfoot notwithstanding). My favourite has to be Singleton Park – acres of grass, woodlands, a stream, ornamental and botanical gardens, squirrels and jays – even a handkerchief tree in full bloom. Plenty of quiet places to sit in the sunshine with a notebook and pen, too.
I’ve also discovered one of Dylan Thomas’s old haunts, Cwmdonkin Park, which is on the side of a hill overlooking the city with spectacular views of Swansea Bay. And it’s just around the corner from Dylan Thomas’s birthplace (also on a hill!), which in turn, is just around the corner from where my daughter lives in Uplands.
It is difficult to go anywhere in Swansea and not be reminded that the great writer passed through here once, although he lived many other places once he was famous, and he died while on tour in America back in 1953. It was the 100th anniversary of his birth last year; I’m not sure he’d recognise modern Swansea as the same place he played as a child; the trees would be smaller, the houses and shops different (and fewer of them), although the roads would be mostly in the same place…
I wonder what he’d make of modern-day Swansea – and if he’d find it as inspiring as he did back then? It’s certainly got my creative juices flowing 🙂