There is so much to discover about Paddy and Joan’s life. The detectives are always at work, and I thought I would share with you this note I received from Alun Davies, an ex-Army man like myself who somehow has become the Honarary Consul in Wales for Hungary. How do these things happen? 🙂 Please share with us your memories or investigations. You can always contact me at tsawford [at] btinternet.com and I promise to reply, ever so slowly!
Dear Tom – here is a small piece of the jigsaw of Paddy’s life which you might enjoy. Each summer we go down to West Wales as a family and stay at Newport in Pembrokeshire. When I read In Tearing Haste I noticed a reference to Newport and asked Artemis if she knew more.
The long and short of it is that I have located the cottage in which Paddy and Joan stayed in the summer of 1961. This was not exactly difficult as on page 83 of ITH he gives the address as Cliff Cottage, Fforest Farm. In fact I know Fforest Farm but the property is now called Fforest Cottage.
I spoke to Joanna Ward who now owns the cottage – picture attached – who told me that her father had bought the property in 1963 from Rex Warner’s wife after he had died.
The footnote on page 84 of ITH says:
PLF had borrowed the house from Barbra Ghika (1911-1989), nee Hutchinson, who married the painter Nikos Ghika in 1961. She was married previously to Victor, 3rd Baron Rothschild 1933-46 and to Rex Warner, writer, painter and translator of Greek tragedies, in 1949.
I am wondering if Charlotte Mosley was right in thinking that the house was borrowed from Barbra when it seems to have been owned by Rex Warner and his later wife. Given Rex’s background in Greek classics, and the fact that he was the director of the British Institute in Athens after the war, Paddy must have known him well.
I realise this is not necessarily of great interest – but as I know that area well I found it interesting to follow up the lead.
Having posted on the Welsh house several years ago, and having since re-read my grandfather Rex Warner’s biography, I can now cast further light on Cliff House. This seems to have been owned by Barbara Hutchinson, Rex’s second wife, and Rex used to stay in it regularly until their separation in 1957. She must have sold it a number of years later. Rex and Paddy did indeed know each other well. Paddy was Rex’s deputy at the British Institute in Athens after the war. I think they somewhat lost touch after the separation, as is the way of these things, when friends side with one party or the other, but Paddy wrote very kindly of their time together, which seemed to consist of very little work, and much eating, drinking, singing and merriment. The two obviously shared a deep love of Greece – as well as ouzo.
I’m pretty sure that this house was never owned by Rex Warner or his first and third wife, Francis (confusing I know, but he married, divorced and then remarried Francis). It might, however, have been owned by Barbara and or her third husband, the Greek painter Nikos Ghika, so it could have been Rex who introduced Paddy to the property. Rex didn’t die until the mid-1980s, so the date cannot be correct either. Sorry to disappoint.
Introduction, post, names and subject epitomize the irresistible charm of British whimsy at its’ most enjoyable! Maybe futile, but very, very pleasurable and civilized! Thank you!