I Been Home, I Have. Tidy, It Was

As foretold in my previous post, I made a trip to Swansea over the weekend. Having grown disenamoured of Premier Inns the wife and I decided to try the Marriott Hotel overlooking the Marina, or the fish dock as I recall it from a long, long time ago.

Because in our early teens a crowd of us would cycle down to the fish dock in the evenings, and to the big fish merchants’ shed, open on three sides, its floor always covered in fish parts and ice, for some special cycling. Special because, in addition to the detritus covering the floor, the floor itself sloped gently towards the dock to make it easier for hosing said ice and fish parts into the dock. (An operation never fully completed.)

The idea was to build up speed from some distance away then see who could stay up on two wheels for the greatest distance inside the shed. If memory serves after more than 50 years, the champion was Dai Evans, who went on to join the Fleet Air Arm, and was lost when the helicopter in which he was an observer went down while searching for the Hull trawler / spyship M V Gaul.

I have no doubt that one day this exhilarating sport will be revived and take off. I look forward to seeing athletes from around the world slide across a sloping course covered in ice and cod innards competing for the Dai Evans Memorial Cup.

We arrived at the Marriott with these cherished memories fresh in my mind.


There was a parcel waiting for me in reception. It was a box of leaflets urging us to vote for Arfon Jones in May’s Police and Crime Commissioner election. Now I’m not entirely sure we need PCCs, but if we must have them then let’s have people who a) know and identify with the area, and b) understand how Gogplod and other forces work.

Arfon leaflet

After settling in to our room and reading Private Eye for a bit I felt the need for a nightcap or twa. So I sauntered down to the bar and ordered a large glass of Cabernet Sauvignon . . . which cost me £10.60! I shall repeat that – ten pounds bloody sixty. I thought to myself, ‘For that kind of money, Jones, you could get two bottles in the Co-op or Spar’. Listen Marriott, for a mediocre wine in a matchingly mediocre hotel, £10.60 is an absolute rip-off. As are your other prices. (Needless to say, for Saturday night I bought a bottle.)

As an aside . . . Someone told me something very odd about the Marriott hotel in Swansea (which I should have checked out). My source insists that it’s the wrong way round! By which he means that the side of the hotel overlooking the beach and the bay is taken up entirely with kitchens and other service areas, which means that despite being a stone’s throw from the beach no rooms offer sea views. If true, then someone screwed up big time.


Saturday morning we went down for our ‘Full Welsh Breakfast’, though when we got to the dining room and surveyed what was on offer it was difficult to see anything that qualified as being specifically Welsh, unless the sausages, eggs, bacon, etc., had been locally sourced.

More in hope than expectation I asked the woman restocking the self-service counter if there was any laverbread to be had. To my surprise she answered in the affirmative – but it was hidden away somewhere in the kitchen!

Listen up again, Marriott. You are advertising a ‘Full Welsh Breakfast’ – just a hoot and a holler from Swansea Market – yet the local delicacy is hidden away as if it’s something to be ashamed of!

Swansea caviar should be proudly displayed, with a card explaining that it cures everything from gout to impotence, and furthermore it reverses baldness when applied liberally to the scalp and left for a few weeks to work its magic.


Something I should have mentioned just now – and another reason I needed a drink on Friday night – was that I’d bought the Evening Post and there, on the front page, it shrieked – ‘RUCK’S BACK! Outspoken Columnist Makes His Return ‘.

Knowing you’d want to read the wit and wisdom of the now recovered Jools (our prayers were answered!) I brought the ‘paper home and scanned it for you. So read on . . . (And if you really do want to read it you’ll need to click on the image to open it in another window and then enlarge it.)


The hotel was busy on Saturday, what with the Norwich City squad staying there, a wedding reception, and various other comings and goings. We left the hustle and bustle behind to visit Cwmgelli cemetery where my parents and grandparents are buried to lay a Mother’s Day wreath before heading back into town and parking the car outside the hotel.


Now to the Liberty Stadium and the vital game against Norwich. I made the mistake of getting a bus from the Quadrant bus station, a mistake because it would have been quicker to bloody walk. Even so, I still managed to meet up with my son at 2:30 and in we went. Our seats were at the very front, right by the stairway, at pitch level, and very close to the visiting fans, who were in good voice.

To our left were the modern counterparts of the old Vetch Field North Bank crowd exchanging (relatively) good-natured banter with the visitors from East Anglia. I was a North Banker myself back in the days of Harry Griffiths and Herbie Williams, Keith Todd and Brian Evans, Lennie Allchurch and Jimmy McLaughlin. (No, missus, North Banker is not rhyming slang.)

I suppose that’s the big difference between live football and watching a game on the telly. The latter can show you almost everything, from every conceivable angle, it can run replays and offer analyses, but it cannot convey the atmosphere, it cannot show you what the fans are up to, or anything else happening away from the cameras, especially the small incidents that go unnoticed by almost everyone except those directly involved.

Sitting on a little stool in front of us, on the other side of the gate that gave access to the pitch area, was a steward of some kind, a single-minded jobsworth of a woman who clearly believed that The Three Hundred had it easy compared to her. Nor did her responsibilities end with guarding that gate. As one poor bugger found out.

A young guy sitting a few seats in from us went at half time to get refreshments and returned triumphant with a box of chips and a glass of beer. Christ! when the steward saw the beer she flipped. After haranguing him she quickly dispossessed him, and then, holding the beer solemnly at arm’s length, marched to a point where she could hand the offending liquid to another steward . . . who probably drank it.

The game itself was poor fare, but given the circumstances, a win was more important than entertainment. After Swans scored the only goal the Norwich fans fell relatively silent, perhaps resigned to watching Championship football next season. This of course was the Neo North Bankers cue to start up with, ‘It’s all gone quiet over there’.

As ever, a big disappointment was seeing the union flag that marks the location of the local fascist crew. These people are an embarrassment to the club and an insult to a city that only last month remembered the three-nights blitz of February 1941 that saw the Luftwaffe bomb Swansea, including the house my parents had rented, just six days after they’d got married.

Liberty fascists

Think about that. Their home town bombed by the air force controlled by the man they worship! I bet these bastards will be supporting England at Euro 2016 – even in the Wales v England game.

It will be interesting to see whether the British National Party they support puts up candidates for May’s Assembly elections or whether they’ll tell their people to vote Ukip.

At the final whistle my son shot off to get to his car and quickly out of town, leaving me to make my way the three miles back to the hotel. To begin with I was in a surge of a few thousand people all heading the same way, down through the Hafod neighbourhood, haunted by pubs I’d known that are no longer there – The Mexico Fountain, Jersey Arms, Hafod Inn . . .

The crowd gradually thinned out until I found myself by the Castle Gardens where some belated St. David’s Day event was packing up, and before I knew it I was alone and risking life and limb to cross Oystermouth Road.


Unsure where to eat on Saturday night, my first thought was the Uplands, reasoning that sophisticates like Councillor John Boy Bayliss and his friends must have attracted exciting eateries to the area. And so it appeared – everything from KFC to Vietnamese cuisine – as I drove around in a fruitless search for a parking space. ‘What the hell, let’s head for Mumbles’.

(Having mentioned John Boy gives me the excuse to digress for a mo. I hear that his mentor and former council leader, David ‘Il Duce‘ Phillips, is close to complete ostracisation from the local Labour Party. While it is further alleged that Phillips’ successor, Rob Stewart, may be no more than a figurehead, with the real power being wielded by the Anglo-Austrian Trotskyite duo Bob and Uta Clay, plus a few others they’ve gathered around them.)

And it came to pass that Mrs Jones and I found ourselves in the cheap but cheerful White Rose on Oystermouth Square. My first visit to this pub for many years.

The last time I was there I was resplendent in a very sharp powder blue suit, with a pink shirt and a blue striped tie. Perhaps selective amnesia spares me the memory of what shoes I wore. (Though yellow leather keeps flashing into my consciousness!) Anyway, I’m sure you can make your own suggestions as to what footwear might have best completed the ensemble. Or perhaps you’re still thinking, ‘Did he really say a powder blue suit!’

Whatever I might have been wearing I bumped into a guy I used to work with. His wife had just left him, so we drowned his sorrows and ended up back at his – now empty – house in Bishopston.


When we went down for breakfast on Sunday morning the woman at the breakfast bar remembered me and immediately went to get the laverbread. Breakfast was OK, and even enlivened by an incendiary incident.

The toaster had a sign nearby which said, ‘Only use pre-sliced bread in this toaster’. Fair enough. A Chinese family came in and the daughter – in her early twenties I’d guess – looked at the toaster, then cut a chunk off a French loaf and forced it into the horizontally aligned, conveyor belt-type toaster. I watched enthralled, and sure enough, the inevitable happened.

She must have realised what she’d done but our oriental visitor returned to her table as if nothing was wrong. It was left to public-spirited moi to alert staff once the flames started licking out the front of the machine.

Anyway, despite my little moans it was nice to have a few days in the city I love. I hope you’ve enjoyed my account of the visit.


I head back south on Wednesday for the funeral of an old friend and comrade. We’ll stay somewhere Wednesday night (but definitely not the bloody Marriott!) and come home late on Thursday. My daughter is home for the weekend on Friday, then it’s a rugby weekend, so don’t expect another post until next week . . . though I do have a few interesting irons in the fire.

In addition to those ‘irons’, I have just heard from Wynne Jones down in Cardigan that contractors employed by Mill Bay Homes – the properties-for-sale arm of Pembrokeshire Housing – has carried out unauthorised work and in so doing damaged culverts and raised the flood risk on adjoining land.

Having come to know Wynne Jones I can guarantee that Mill Bay’s latest show of contempt for planning procedures and disregard for the property of others will not pass unnoticed.


Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
A Black

Everyone knows that St Patrick came from Banwen, taken by Irish raiders in the 6th century. There will be a parade to his stone on the 17th, worth attending.

Gareth E. Williams

Sorry for butting in, not that this has anything to do with the topic, but I’ve just watched the rugby which was followed by Songs of Praise. On which the presenter proudly proclaimed St Patrick as an Englishman who always longed for England.
Have I been wrong all these years, or is this a willful misrepresentation of the facts?

Frank Little

I realise that as a monoglot Briton born in England I will be one of the first in the line of fire if you ever come to power, but at least I can share this memory of yours:
> I was a North Banker myself back in the days of Harry Griffiths and Herbie Williams, Keith Todd and Brian Evans, Lennie Allchurch and Jimmy McLaughlin.


Jac, you are getting mellow with age !

Just joking, but for Frank’s benefit it should be made clear that Anglos as such do not represent a problem. It is the perverse values that some of them bring with them, the notion that it’s business as usual regardless of the nature of the new community they have joined. People like Frank probably melted into the Swansea community, as people did 40 – 50 years or more ago, but since about 1969 ( ? !) we have seen quite a change in the general stance and manner of incomers ( much written about in these columns). Anyone not seeing that impact is willfully ignoring reality or participating in the process.

Daley Gleephart

I don’t think that there were trickles like this when you were a lad: http://www.getreading.co.uk/news/reading-berkshire-news/wokingham-family-uproot-wales-after-10944829
btw Did you ever go to Norton House when it was the West Cross Country Club? Apparently, it had an extended drinks licence because it provided a hot dog meal for members.

Daley Gleephart

The couple are angry that their daughter isn’t close to her friends during school time, so they’re moving 125 miles away from them.
Reading 2 Bridgend 0

Alex Collins

Nice read…and there’s a good chance I served you in the White Rose!

Ian Perryman

I have some fond memories of Swansea.
I lived there for 12 months when I was younger.

We used to keep fit by doing the Mumbles Run once a fortnight.

I went back once or twice afterwards.
I seem to remember there was a bar with topless waitresses.
I can’t remember the name of the bar – but I remember the waitresses clearly.


There is a family of perfectly respectable life long Swans fans from Bristol who always bring a union jack to Swans games. I’m not suggesting thats the greatest idea in the world but I would hope that you haven’t mistakenly labelled an innocent family as Fascists.


Well firstly I don’t have to establish anything but I would point out the following

As a long term Swans supporter who clearly gets to more games than yourself during a period also stretching back to watching the aforementioned Ivor and his brother Lenny Allchurch I was also intrigued as to why anyone would take a Union Jack down to a Swans game.

So I took the trouble to politely enquire one day of the gentleman and his family who used to display it at the centre stand down the Vetch as to the reason why he displayed a Union Jack down the ground, The Gentleman was English and from Bristol and explained that for various historic reasons he and his family had always supported the Swans and displayed the flag to show that there was support from areas outside of South Wales.

The handful of Bozos that you are referring to in photos all over the internet ( well known shaven headed Swansea hooligan and his moronic associates) would have never have set foot outside the bottom corner of the North Bank in those days that I enquired of the gentleman from Bristol and certainly wasn’t the guy that I spoke to.

I also came across a nice young lad in the West stand of the Liberty who had a black and white Union Jack hung up on the back row and I asked of him and his sister who was with him why they took the black and white union Jack down the ground (in a very convivial manner I should add) and must confess that I can’t remember his answer now but it certainly wasn’t for any sinister reason and the lad was very nice and polite and certainly no hooligan or far right nutter.

When the Swans transferred to the Liberty I spotted the large Union Jack over on the halfway mark of the East Stand and remarked on it on the Swansea fans message board and someone replied that it was a family from Bristol that displayed it, I presume the same people that I spoke to down the Vetch.

So my point is that although I cannot categorically state that anyone displaying a union jack down the Ground is not a shaven headed racist nutter I am aware that there are one or two perfectly respectable nice people / families who do display the odd Union jack for whatever reason and these are not for far right nutter reasons.

I don’t particularly like seeing even the one Union jack down the ground by the way and don’t really understand why anyone would display one at the home of a Welsh club but as I have stated the two sets of people that I have spoken to who do display these flags have no connection to the nutters that you are referring to who I am perfectly aware of along with their despicable history.

By all means revisit the ground or blow up press photos and demonstrate that the large flag that you are referring to has a shaven headed thug sitting behind it but as I reiterate you can’t automatically assume that any union jack brandished down the ground is there for the reasons that you have automatically assumed.


In regards to your observations about what I do or don’t feel about the Union Jack Royston, as Wales is not represented on it I am not a great fan in any way shape or form, I don’t really need to justify my opinion on that to yourself or anyone else for that matter, you really have to stop attributing your own imagined views to other people its not really your nicest trait is it?

Neither is your jumping to your regular nasty often ill-informed conclusions such as this Union Jack nonsense down the Liberty, a bit rich from someone who admits to rarely ever attending a game down there although I do.

I’m just enlightening you as to the very plausible reason for you witnessing one down the game Saturday as not being a regular watcher of games It’s understandable that you have no idea of whats what down the Liberty.

As you appear to be the only person who actually comes from Swansea and able to comment on that fair city I’m sure that the neighbours of the house where I was born and raised in Pennard Street in Manselton will be most put out that one Royston Jones doesn’t consider them to come from Swansea either.

And yes I am old enough to remember Ivor returning to play for the Swans and my favourite all time Swans player is actually his brother Lenny and I have watched every generation of Swans players on a regular basis for over 50 years now.

As well as being previously jointly responsible for the creation, naming, writing, and selling of the long running not for profit Swans Fanzine ‘A Touch far Vetched’ that raises thousands of pounds each and every season for kit and equipment for local underprivileged youth football clubs around the Swansea area as well as large amounts for other good charitable causes.

It’s something that I did for years in conjunction with others and my good friend the current editor.

You see some people spend their time contributing to good things for their hometown rather than sitting in their back bedroom spitting out vitriol boasting about their friendship with their sad old mates parading round in ill fitting army surplus uniforms embarrassing themselves and Wales.

You should try the more positive and productive route more, I’m sure that you’ll feel a better person for it.


Not really quite sure why I have to explain where or when I was born but here you go for my last reply on the topic of hoping that you weren’t being unfair to what I’ve no doubt is a decent harmless family or individual who misguidedly in my opinion take a Union Jack down to Swansea City’s football matches.

Just for you Royston as I’m sure that no one else is particularly interested I was born and raised in No 1 Pennard Street as previously explained, my first school was what appeared to be a terrifying monolithic edifice on a hill for a 5 year old just starting school, Manselton school just down the road from my house.

My parents both from Townhill before moving to Manselton moved with my fathers job as he worked his way up from a youth in training with the then GPO in Swansea and I was raised from the age of 9 in Sully where you correctly point out I attended Sully County Primary school before progressing onto Stanwell.

As regards me not boasting about donating my own time, writing contributions and money to raise money for charity and local youth football I suppose that I don’t really regard my efforts as anything to shout about I just did it because I wished to.

Only a twisted individual such as yourself might suggest that is something to be ashamed of I guess.

Anyway keep trotting out your fascists waving Union Jacks down the Swans line as it probably sits better with your usual vitriolic bitter uninformed guesstimate view on life than what I suspect is the reality on this occasion.

i’ve no doubt that you’re sad enough to already be planning to speed down South for the next Swans home game against Aston Villa determined to identify and question the person or persons sitting behind the Union Jack in order to hotfoot it back to North Wales dash into your darkened back bedroom and triumphantly tap out your findings that the flag does indeed belong to a hardened shaven headed supporter of the EDL/WDL/BNP (take your pick)


Union Jack has every right to be in our country, were all the men fighting Hitler under than banner fascists then?

While you were watching the match did it not occur to you Swansea aren’t even plying their trade is Wales’ football league but England’s?

St Patrick couldn’t be Welsh because neither Wales or England existed in those days so he could only be Roman-British.

Often fun for Welsh nationalists to insult the English by calling them Germanic mongrels but I would expect a man of you knowledge to know DNA doesn’t lie, unfortunately nobody is pure we’re all Euro mongrels and there’s not much difference across the southern half of Britain and virtually non in the western part of England to Wales, even east Anglia has much lower Germanic influences than was expected. Saxon influences were linguistic and cultural rather than genetic.

I wouldn’t expect sorry old men who fantasise about lunatic mates parading around in ill fitting surplus army uniforms to agree though.


Hand full of lunatics (assuming they are) doesn’t justify your hatred for the Union Jack any more than my hatred for the Welsh flag because Welsh nationalists burned English peoples homes down.

DNA doesn’t lie, it just kills any argument that the Welsh are are different race thus justifying ethnic nationalism which you support.


no shocks to read that Quisling organisations like FAW and WRU tend to take a severe stance on flags like the 2 historical banners you have noted above. The WRU is such an extreme den of Masonic loyalists ( or is it the other way round ? or does it even f***in’ matter ? ) that I’m surprised we still have the Dragon as I’m sure they would much prefer the 3 feathers of the Germanic mongrels that passes for royalty. True they manage to trot out a fair proportion of Welsh speakers, most coached to speak it badly so that they don’t scare the phobes who never got round to understanding the language, or anything else native.

Frankly I have slightly modified my stance on UKIPpers on regional lists. If they choose to run with Hamilton and Ratface then the response of the Welsh electorate will be a good indicator of how far we have sunk into the ditch. Indeed having some of these muppets in the next Senedd may serve to highlight the risk they present to any ambitions we may harbour, and that should present Plaid Cymru with a possible springboard from which to drive a recovery. Subject of course to its leadership undergoing its own Damascus road experience !!

Or am I hoping too much ?

Chris Corrigan

I’m pretty sure I remember your powder blue suit (didn’t it have wide lapels, with Brain’s Dark stains down them?).
I also remember Len Allchurch, and watching him and brother Ivor play for Wales at Ninian Park.
As you know I’m a Cardiff boy, but have always been aware that the best Welsh footballers, or most of them, came from the Swansea area.
It’s a shame that Swansea City allow the union jack to be paraded for clearly political purposes. At the Millennium Stadium (as was) they refused to permit rugby supporters from Cornwall to display the Cornish flag.
Shame to hear, Jac, about Swansea these days, denuded of those wonderful pubs. Best to admire it from a distance now.
As a golfing friend, who’d been playing on a brilliantly sunny, winter’s day at Porthcawl not long ago, later remarked to me – Swansea Bay looked like Naples!


Enjoyed the story of the trip to your hinterland but by God, that vino was expensive. Look Jac, why don’t you stay next time in this place, just a mile or two from my house? Me and Mrs Stan could take you and the wife into Neath where you can really see some sights denied you in the more sophisticated and metropolitan town of your boyhood.


You’ll note that despite this luxurious hideaway being a Neath address it was advertised as a Swansea cottage, near the beach. But if it’s cold you’ll have the luxury of burning as much oil as you like to keep you and the wife warm – it’s all included in the rate. And you might even get to meet its famous owners. They are of course Mr and Mrs Hain, who rented out same while he was an MP, claiming all those megabucks for heating oil – keeping his f*ucking guests warm! No wonder he always had that warm glow and that shifty smile.

Feeling particularly narked right now having read about the UKIP lunatic fringe that has been foisted on us. I’m sure you’ll be picking up on this one in your customary style, and I’m sure that’ll cheer me up.

Daley Gleephart

“… despite being a stone’s throw from the beach no rooms offer sea views.”

One look at the bar prices in the Marriott should have sent you to The Queens. Try the Norton Lodge next time you want to book a room – It’s more your era 😉

Daley Gleephart

Of course, it’s Norton House. Norton Lodge is a day centre for the elderly. How could I confuse the two places when thinking of you? 🙂
Norton House – “… a short drive from the spectacular Gower Peninsular (sic)” http://www.nortonhousehotel.co.uk/