Happy Birthday Filedem! Born 100 Years Ago Today

Paddy after the war in Byronic costume; Filedem? Courtesy of Benaki Museum

Paddy after the war in Byronic costume; Filedem? Courtesy of Benaki Museum

Happy birthday Patrick Leigh Fermor born on this day, 11th February 1915.

This has to be one of the most difficult occasions to mark. Should we go big or just keep it to something more modest? Perhaps it is the latter for today but something will be arranged for later in the year with the Patrick Leigh Fermor Society to properly celebrate his life and achievements.

To record your thoughts in this special year we have a new page “Marking Paddy’s Centenary”. Add your comments, birthday wishes, your favourite quotations from his works, or links to things of interest. It is your page: do with it as you will but do remember to play nicely.

Remember that Nick Hunt will be speaking and signing his book Walking the Woods and the Water at Hatchards in Piccadilly tonight 11th February.

Paddy as Filedem?

Paddy as Filedem?

To make this a proper celebration we need to sing. A very long time ago Marina Petsalis-Diomidis sent me a link to the song Filedem. As Paterakis recalls on camera during the 1972 reunion (see video section), Paddy liked the song so much that his comrades in Crete started calling him Filedem as a nickname. The song is a traditional Cretan song. Filedem -Φιλεντέμ – the name “File Edem” means “My friend Adam” in Turkish. The song is accompanied by some lovely scenes from Crete and Cretan hospitality. I have found an English translation of the words – it is all very racy and so typically Paddy – but you don’t need them to sing along loudly with the chorus in Greek.

The English lyrics in summary:

I am in love with a married woman
May God guide her
I am in love with a married woman
May God guide her

To renounce her husband
and love me.
To renounce her husband
And love me.

Filedem filedem..

White roses in your yard
How can you sleep alone
How can you sleep alone
White roses in your yard.

Filedem filedem.

I am in love with a married woman
And she has two small children
I will be sending one (to fetch) water
And the other one (to fetch) wood.

Filedem, filedem

White and big roses
How can you sleep without a man
How can you sleep without a man
White and big roses.

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10 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Filedem! Born 100 Years Ago Today

  1. Pietro

    Could not do anything special at the time but booked a flight to Greece, where I’m now, having toured Mani once again all the while trying to remember Paddy’s words and descriptions. Was the girl who took him to Vathi carrying a lamb on her shoulders?

    Reply
  2. John Edward Youde

    Happy Birthday for Yesterday Mr Leverman – Paddy Leigh Fermor. I liked the bit by Xan Fielding in his book Hide and Seek when he said on page 88. Quote “I returned at once to the station above Alones, notified HQ of the proposal, received a reply consenting to it, and a few days later Paddy joined me. He stayed with us only one night, for he was anxious to push on to Vaphes as soon as possible. But his short visit was memorable. He had brought with him a litre of raki – unheard of luxury for the regular inhabitants of the Colonel’s austere hide-out – and after we had all drunk each other’s health, wishing success to the mission of the new arrival and fair winds for those about to depart Paddy and I finished off what was left while the rest of the encampment slept” Unquote. Rest in Peace Paddy – and look down on those who want to remember your Wonderful, Courageous Life.

    Reply
  3. JulianA

    Hoping to visit Paddy’s and Joan’s graves on 12th February as that’s the closest day we could get there (on the way home from a family funeral). Sad times all round.

    Reply
  4. Elisabeth Whittaker

    It was a dreek day but the snowdrops proliferated in the graveyard, even on Joan’s grave. There were some new flowers on Paddy’s grave and a couple of rather poor primulas. I planted some English snowdrops which I hope will multiply and flower every year on 11th February. I have photos but don’t quite know how to upload them.

    Elisabeth

    Reply
  5. Tim Todd

    I have to say that I was pretty disgusted to learn today of all days, that someone who had claimed to me that he was a great admirer of Paddy, should choose to make the Greek situation the basis of a stupid joke. See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2948470/Porn-barons-Shady-financiers-Hedge-fund-kings-Welcome-secret-Tory-ball-ANDREW-PIERCE-reveals-went-closed-doors.html
    Unfortunately this man is my MP. For a Foreign minister he seems to have little appreciation of the suffering of our Greek friends

    Reply
  6. Elisabeth Whittaker

    Today I am in the Cotswolds and intend to make a pilgrimage to Dumbleton to pay my respects to Paddy and Joan with thanks for all the fun and pleasure they have given me. If there is a pub in the village,I’ll be there at lunch time and hope to meet up with any other carousing pilgrims?

    Elisabeth W

    Reply
  7. Terry Moyemont

    Thank you for this. The voice of Nikos is very special to those who have lived around Psiloritis. I lived in Vizari on the Amari side of the mountain.The scenes you chose are perfect…they go deep into that life.

    Reply

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