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29 October 2007


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I've just listened to the Ted Hughes programme while driving back from Buckfast. Excellent! It gave a new insight into the very complex relationships Hughes had and made me feel far more sympathetic towards him. I've had a biography of Ted Hughes on my shelf for a couple of years, I'm encouraged to read it now.

As I've got older and learned more about life and relationships generally, I have become more sympathetic to him as well. The letters we heard today confirmed that for me. And what about that astonishing poem that he wrote when he was just 19?

Some distant relatives of mine live in the same village in which Ted Hughes and his wife Carol lived. They (the rellies) are not at all bookish and knew him simply as a friend and neighbour. He was, they told me 'a lovely man'.

I had listened to the R4 Ted Hughes programme not long before reading this. Very well done, I thought. I hope to listen again before it disappears from the website. Thank you so much for highlighting the work of Jackie Morris - absolutely beautiful and enchanting - her watercolours of birds with the gilded backgrounds (of which the swans you feature is one) are indeed breathtaking. I recognised her style from cards and books, but had never noted her name or seen her other work. Definitely 'find of the week' for me, so thanks again.

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Thought for life

  • The House of Breath, William Goyen
    We are the carriers of lives and legends - who knows the unseen frescoes on the private walls of the skull?

Thinking about . . .

  • Daniel Klein, Travels with Epicurus
    I too listen to music more and more. Throughout my life, music has stirred me more than any other art form, and now, in old age, I find myself listening to it almost every evening, usually alone, for hours at a time.
  • Julia Blackburn, Thin Paths
    I began writing because I liked to write things down. I learnt foreign languages because they seemed to enter my head by a process of osmosis.
  • Joan Bakewell, Stop the Clocks
    I live contentedly alone. It's better that way and I am often thoughtful about what has been and what might have been. There are many like me.
  • Patti Smith, M Train
    Oh to be reborn within the pages of a book.
  • Patti Smith, M Train
    Why is it that we lose the things we love, and things cavalier cling to us and will be the measure of our worth after we’re gone?
  • Judith Kerr, Observer Magazine, 22 November 2015
    I don't believe in God. I find it much easier to believe in ancestors. I like to imagine they are pointing us in the right direction.

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