Drink Time! by Dolores Payás

Drink timeOne of the privileges of running this blog is that from time to time I get to meet some of Paddy’s friends and relations. At the relaunch of Billy Moss’ War of Shadows in May, I was introduced to Dolores Payás who was Paddy’s official translator into Spanish. She and her publisher told me that she had a book coming out in the summer called Drink Time!: In the Company of Patrick Leigh Fermor: a Memoir which was an account of her time staying with Paddy at Kardamyli over the last two years of his life.

Before I went away on holiday to France a copy of the book arrived in the post and I took it with me and it turned out to be a great choice for holiday reading. It is a short book at 111 pages but always entertaining.

Dolores stayed with Paddy for extended periods on a number of occasions in the two years before his death. She was given Joans’s room which appeared to remain a highway for the numerous cats that continued to live in and around the house. They were often alone with only Elpida for company as she prepared meals and looked after the house. At other times Paddy still hosted dinner parties which were always lively and went on into the early hours. He was as ever the kind host:

He was grateful for whatever gifts life brought to his door, whether in the way of quality conversation, a tasty meal, books, the sun that rose every morning, and the sea roaring at his feet. Life was generous to him and he responded in kind, offering the world his own universe by way of exchange.

Whatever they were doing there were two times of the day when Paddy would interrupt proceedings and announce it was drink time, and promptly move into the living room and help himself to a large drink be it vodka or gin. These times gave some pattern to the day and we are told that Paddy looked forward to them enormously. His capacity for drink appears to have remained undiminished even to the end.

Dolores and Paddy became close friends and she delights in offering us a very intimate portrait of the man. For true Paddy fans this book will be a very welcome addition to our bookshelves. Unlike the biography which lacked the personal touch, this book is quite intimate, and about two people, both of them deaf, enjoying time together even on the occasion of a strict telling off by Paddy’s Greek doctor. We get quite close to Paddy and Dolores is able to reveal something of his character and some of his more personal thoughts as he came towards the end of his life. If you want to understand more about Paddy the man, not the writer or bon viveur, you will enjoy Drink Time!

Drink Time!: In the Company of Patrick Leigh Fermor: a Memoir by Dolores Payás (translated by Amanda Hopkinson)


10 thoughts on “Drink Time! by Dolores Payás

  1. Nikos Galousis

    Just bought the book from “Public” store in Athens! I was pleasantly surprised by the dedication in Greek to the author’s mother and the Greek chapter titles (never mind the wrong intonation in some titles)

  2. Tim

    My local bookseller, and I mean one of those few surviving local and independent booksellers, had a stack of Paddy’s paperbacks on the floor when I called in today, ready to go on the shelves. It seems that Roumeli and The Mani continue to sell well, and The Broken Road has just come out in paperback.

  3. JulianA

    I enjoyed this book very much. It’s a very gentle insight into Paddy’s life in his last couple of years, with some amusing anecdotes. It’s a little sad, but that’s to be expected. I’m glad to have a copy and will re-read it with pleasure.

    Lovely story above from John Chapman. Quite typical, I should imagine!

  4. John Chapman

    The one and only time I met Paddy for any length of time it was tea time. In that room. We had nice tea from very nice porcelain cups and saucers, none of which seemed to match. I had taken him a bottle of Ploumari ouzo, from Mitilene, the best. After we’d finished the tea he looked at the ouzo and asked if we four guests wanted one. We said Yes. But aren’t you having one? I asked. No, no he replied, I’ve writing to do, much too early for me…He poured four generous libations and got ice to go with it. We drank his health. After about four minutes he gazed wistfully at the bottle. Looked at his cold tea. Thirty seconds later there was the plop of the stopper being extracted and a glug, glug, glug noise shortly followed by the tinkle of ice. Cheers!

  5. anthony weldon

    The “Drink Time” publisher here. I am sorry that N American friends have to wait for the book until January but this is for logistical reasons. Our American distributors have a different selling cycle that is always a little behind ours in the UK. Hope that helps.

  6. Γιάννης

    Friends of Paddy living in the U.S. can pre-order “Drink” Time from Barnes and Noble or Amazon, for delivery in the U.S. beginning Jan. 1, 2015. Perhaps I should had said “patient” Friends of Paddy but we have all learned to wait for Paddy, haven’t we?

  7. JulianA

    Kindle version purchased. I shall look forward to reading it. Better get some reading done before the next two books appear!


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