He Drank From a Different Fountain

I was going to wait a little longer to change the subtitle of the blog but I have decided to go ahead now. Clearly “The Greatest Living Englishman” is, sadly, no longer appropriate.

My proposal, which is currently on display in the header, is to change it to “He Drank From a Different Fountain.”

This is a clear reference to Paddy’s description of the bond he recognised had developed between himself and General Kreipe as they quoted Horace on Mount Ida during the evasion phase post-kidnap. I also think that it reflects the passing of Paddy and those of his generation who definitely had different values to those seemingly valued by Western society today. Perhaps also a melancholic recognition that we who remain will not have the same opportunities, no matter how much we might wish otherwise.

I am very open to other constructive suggestions and this change is not final. If you feel you would like to suggest an alternative please add a comment here or email me. All will be considered.

On a slightly different point I should like to say how appreciative I am for all the kind words about the Blog over recent days. Many of you have said how valuable it has been to you. Please continue to add your comments and carry on making suggestions for articles and links to other sites. If you have any personal anecdotes they may well be of value to those who wish to carry out research in the future.

Since Friday there have been over 25,000 visits, and it has surpassed 100,000 since I started it just over one year ago. It goes to show the level of interest and respect that there is for Paddy and his friends and wartime colleagues. They were great men and women who did indeed drink from a different fountain.

13 thoughts on “He Drank From a Different Fountain

  1. PaulD

    It’s not a criticism, just an observation, but wasn’t the sharedness of the same fountain one of the key things about Paddy?

    He spent his whole life showing how every manifestation of the culture which we share is related to all the others.

    I think that this is why I never liked the emphasis on ‘Englishman’. Of course he was very English from one perspective, but I bet he himself would have chosen lots of other, equally valid, perspectives, and if he ever drank from a different fountain, I’m sure he immediately invited everyone else to join him.

    1. proverbs6to10 Post author

      I don’t know about you Paul, but I feel that I may have drunk from a similar fountain, but not the same as the generation of Fermor, Fielding, Kreipe etc.I think those fountains may even have run dry now ….

      He could have taken Greek citizenship but did not. He remained British and nothing else until the end, and wanted to be here, with Joan undoubtedly, when he died. But as a Briton, he was defintiely an Engllishman, which has a particular meaning .. at least to me.

      I will go further, and right out on a limb here to say that I don’t think anyone other than an Englishman of his generation could have done what he did or lived the life that he did. They had a particular quality of character.

      1. PaulD

        Your comments are perfectly valid, Tom, but there is still something I’m trying to express, which doesn’t contradict you, but is also not negated by what you say.

        Maybe it’s whether you look at attributes in terms of exclusiveness or inclusiveness.

        Paddy gave generously from whatever he was (English and lots more besides), and took greedily from whatever he found. I don’t think he was a friend of exclusivity. He was, of course, a great friend of names and labels and lists, but always to connect, not separate.

        He span a web, he didn’t build walls. And what a great way to live!

        1. proverbs6to10 Post author

          Yes Paul – I understand and agree with that. His generosity did not have boundaries and he embraced inclusiveness. Yes.

  2. LauraDAL

    Hi Tom, I’ve been following your recent postings and, though very recently acquainted with the subject, dare to suggest a new line for your blog’s header. I feel the word “drank” is a little too earthy, and the line doesn’t reflect the eternal presence Mr Fermor’s life, thoughts and accomplishments deservedly have earned. Plus, you dropped the “Englishman”. How about “An Englishman transcending times” or some line with the transcending concept in it. Just a small contribution from the deep South.

    1. proverbs6to10 Post author

      Good points Laura. Too earthy? I will think about that. It is what Paddy said about Kreipe and their shared love of Horace … this is not easy!

  3. Rory Cooper

    I think it’s a great idea, although why not keep the greatest living Englishman, as you can’t say a person is dead until he has been forgotten, which it appears is far from being the case with Paddy. However, the new subtitle is thought provoking, poetic and inspiring. Good call Tom!

    1. proverbs6to10 Post author

      I had toyed with the idea of keeping it Rory, and he will not be forgotten for a very long time, but maybe it would have been a little too cliched.

  4. Erik Bruns

    Different fountains than most people drink now from.. after all, i am sure; were a modern backpacker to meet a modern German general somewhere, little chance they can quote Horace..

  5. Chris Lawson

    But what he said about his shared knowledge of Horace with Kreipe was that both of them had drunk from the SAME fountains long ago (in their respective youths). I think your new title is confusing!

    1. proverbs6to10 Post author

      Chris – a different fountain from those of us left behind. At least I think that is what I said, and certainly what I meant. Don’t be so literal!

  6. Sweety

    I began reading Leigh Fermor about two years ago on the recommendation of a local bookstore staff (owner?). I had gone in quest of a “good” book after despairing of reading one on a recently gifted Kindle. One book only was suggested “A Time of Gifts”. I took it home on the good faith such stores inspire and devoured it… and its successor… and everything else I could get my hands on including “Traveller’s Tree” and “Cretan Runner” and “In Tearing Haste”. What I want to say is how lucky I feel to have read these books while the author was still alive. There’s something special about reading PLF and knowing the author is in the world with you.

    Now my recommendations are to people who will know him simply as the “late…”

    Thank you for maintaining this intimate experience of community around a beloved writer.


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