Last updated: 06 November 2008
As Dylan looked for a steady income and the family moved around war-torn Britain, there was no small amount of turbulence in the Thomas household.
They moved around England and Wales, wherever there was a kindly benefactor, the chance of work for Dylan, or where they were safe from the risk of bombing. In July 1944 they returned to Wales from England, to stay with his parents in Llangain, near to Laugharne. Although they generally disliked the place, Dylan was able to begin writing again after a fallow period.
The Thomases moved later in the summer to New Quay in Cardiganshire. Although they lived in "the toppling town" for just nine months, it was a time of great productivity for Dylan. They lived in a wood and asbestos bungalow called Majoda, which overlooked Cardigan Bay.
The house cost the family just £1 a week in rent, but it was lacking both running water and electricity. Dylan found it hard to work in the house with its thin walls, and so rented a room of his own nearby.
The couple soon settled into a routine of domesticity and writing. Dylan usually wrote in the afternoons before retiring to the pub in the evenings. His newly found productivity found him writing a number of poems in New Quay, along with a piece for radio, Quite Early One Morning, which was a portrait of the town. He recorded at the end of the year.
Of the poems written here, around 15 ended up in Deaths And Entrances, his collection published in 1946. The most notable was Fern Hill, the ode to childhood and the farm he knew as a child. Equally significantly, New Quay was an inspiration for the fictitious Llareggub in his 1954 play for voices Under Milk Wood.
The Thomases' residence in New Quay was curtailed rather dramatically in March 1945 when Dylan and some friends got into an argument over the war in the Black Lion pub with an army captain who had returned from a tour of duty.
Following the row Dylan returned home, as did the captain - a neighbour of the Thomases and the husband of a family friend. The captain, by account, seized a machine gun and a hand grenade, and fired a number of shots at Majoda. Fortunately no one was injured, but Dylan was clearly shaken up. He wrote to Vernon Watkins, "Caitlin and I go to bed under the bed". For the Thomas family it became time, once again, to move on.
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