On 17 August 1930, nine-year-old Gerald Hughes was introduced to his new baby brother, Ted, born in the middle of the night by the light of a bright star. From the moment Ted could toddle, they were inseparable, with Ted following his older brother ...
everywhere: roaming the Yorkshire countryside, camping, making fires, pitching tents, hunting rabbits, rats, wood pigeon and stoats, flying kites, building model planes, fishing. All these adventures were to fuel the future Poet Laureate’s fascination with wildlife and the countryside, many of his finest poems having their roots in these early experiences. Those carefree, magical days are beautifully recalled in these pages, along with delightful portraits of the close-knit family Hughes Mam, Dad, grandparents and a host of colourful aunts and uncles. Although their paths were to diverge Gerald joining the air force as an engineer when war broke out and subsequently moving to Australia, Ted going to Cambridge, where he published his first poems and met Sylvia Plath they remained close to the last. Through his visits to England and their frank and regular correspondence, Gerald was privy to the vicissitudes of his brother’s life the traumatic lows, the triumphant highs and he writes about these later times also, drawing on Ted’s letters and on Sylvia’s, some hitherto unpublished, as well as on the recollections of their sister Olwyn and of Ted’s widow Carol. Gerald Hughes’ poignant and delightful memoir is further enriched by a touching foreword by Frieda Hughes, Ted and Sylvia’s daughter, as well as by the author’s own sketches, and by a wealth of family photos, many of which have never been seen before.