Let’s keep the channel open!

It seemed like it took the whole of the 90 minutes of the “Paddy Chat” that took place yesterday evening just to get through our introductions to each other, such were the fascinating backgrounds and stories of the 16 or so people who attended. It was difficult to make an actual count with the continual movement of what I still see as the Potteresque images of a mass online meeting.

I think it fair to say that it was a tremendous success. We only scratched the surface of observations, experiences, and possible discussions given the professions and passions of the attendees including theology, archaeology, sculpture, the law, medicine, IT, meteorology, academia, writing, and much more. People were logging on from Canada, Germany, the UK, Brussels, Hungary, Italy, Romania, the USA; a good balance from many locations. Even my 20 month old grandson Mark made an apperarance. His first literary conference!

We all enjoyed listening to individual stories and discovering the connections between us that emerged. We heard the exciting news from Dan Popescu in Romania that he has two books imminently due publication covering exchanges of letters with Paddy during that less well known period of his time in Romania before the war.

Paddy is the obvious connection, but the conversation ranged widely and was not just limited to him. We discussed biographies about Paddy and Joan, with some agreement that Simon Fenwick’s Joan is perhaps the most entertaining and revealing. I appreciate that is a controversial statement!

There was no agenda for the meeting but attendees did make some suggestions about the format of future events. Yes, we agreed we would like to arrange others! I do hope that more people can attend on the next occasion, perhaps something in September after our summer of restriction-free travel 🙂

Personally I’m so glad I got round to arranging it. I did point out that there is nothing to prevent others arranging their own, especially where time zones don’t match particularly well (calling on Maggie Rainey-Smith and Brent McCunn to organise the Antipodean version 🙂 ). Please feel free to use me as a contact point and the blog as one of your channels of communication. I can create an events section with calendar for easy reference. If you like I can arrange on your behalf if you’d rather.

It would be great if you could add suggestions to the comments section and let’s take it from there. Clearly we can arrange events to discuss particular books (or even just sections of books), or have guest writers etc discuss their work.

As Francesca, an Italian lawyer living and working in Brussels, said at the end, thinking about future events, ‘this has been a marvellous event, and let’s keep this channel open!’


16 thoughts on “Let’s keep the channel open!

  1. dhpopescu

    Dear friends of Patrick Leigh Fermor,
    My two books are not very revealing on Paddy’s time in Romania before WWII. Let us say they are gradually revealing. The first is a bunch of essays on various topics as illustrated in Paddy’s work and correspondence. They are more or less scholarly, but not very scholarly. The second book is a selection of letters from Paddy’s correspondence with Rudolf Fischer, his Budapestan friend, with a focus on Transylvania and Romania.The third, the fourth and the fifth will be books of letters to and from some of his Romanian friends, but also somebody from the UK.
    I will let you know in due time about their publication this autumn (or late summer?)
    Dan Horatiu Popescu

    1. proverbs6to10 Post author

      We do look forward to that Dan! I’m planning another update meeting for September so maybe you’ll be able to give us 10 minutes or so on progress?

      1. dhpopescu

        Dear All,

        My first book on Paddy and his penfriends is going to print next week. It took me longer than I wanted, as I had some unexpected health issues in the autumn, when the book was ready, it only need correction and revision. Well, I am better now and I will keep you informed.
        One question, though! I just cannot rememeber if He drank from a different fountain is a quote and from where? Can you help me?

        1. proverbs6to10 Post author

          Hello Dan. Good to hear from you and pleased to see that you are now well. The different fountain idea is mine (I think!). The subtitle of the blog when I started was “The greatest living Englishman”. Obviously when he died that had to change. I did float a few ideas in some disucussions and ended up with this one. It being a play on “we drank from the same fountain” when talking to the General on Mt Ida. My idea was that Paddy was quite a different person to most of us, and that of all the fountains that we all drink from, his was fairly unique. I hope you get what I am tyring to get at! Please do send more details about the book so that I can come out of my winter hibernation and publicise it. Tom

        2. Katrina Hudson

          I think the quote ‘He drank from a different fountain’,may have been from Xan Wallace Fieldings Obituary?

  2. Francesca Siniscalchi

    Hello Tom, and participants! Thank you sooo much for having organised this successful event! It was my greatest pleasure to meet all of you. definitely I would very much appreciate if we could have another event after the summer, at everyone’s convenience. Thanks to Chelsea for mentioning cartography, it is something I could not talk about but that greatly fascinates me. And Tom if I may ask you for the meals of the participants that agreed to share theirs? It would be great to get in touch (and Wendy wants to meet in Rome, I think!)
    Many many thanks and I wish all participants a happy and sun kissed summer!

  3. Chelsea Gardner

    It was so wonderful to meet everyone and to share stories! Looking forward to the next one, and will keep everyone updated with CARTography Project updates related to Paddy’s journey through Mani!

  4. David Platzer

    Yes, it was a delight and I was sorry to see it end. Francesca brought up seveal elements from her own background that was of interest and I can recommend to her Ghislain de Diesbach’s book on the Gotha and. more generally, for Francophones, the same author’s biography about la princesse Bibesco ( I have translated a book of GdeD’s short stories into English and open to find a publisher — a “portion” of one tale is to appear on Turtle Point’s online magazine this summer). Congratulations on conceiving and organsing the event.


    I have enjoyed the videos so much, thanks Tom.

    My PLF beacon lit immediately on the two imminent books from Dan Popescu … definitely to be acquired ! Tom, perhaps you could give me some publication details … publisher ? when ? etc.. I expect they will fill the intriguing gap immediately before the war.

    1. proverbs6to10 Post author

      When we have them Jane I will post something. They wil lbe via his university press in Romania.

  6. Katrina Hudson

    I was very sorry notto make the meeting lasteenig but look forward tothe next time.
    I live in Worcestershire Uk.
    My uncle was one of Paddy’s friends,Xan Fielding and I would love to know more of their times together!
    Thank you forthis group!

  7. Mark Opstad

    I had been really looking forward to this but was suffering from vaccine side effects! Very much hope to participate next time.

  8. Chris O'Gorman

    I agree entirely, Tom, this was a very successful event! The diversity of backgrounds of the people taking part was definitely part of the richness of the event as was our shared fascination with, love for – and knowledge of – Paddy, the places he knew, and of course his writings. As a contributor said at the end, very movingly, I thought – the little group in its own way was a living embodiment of Paddy’s genius for friendship. I think in the future, if it became a periodic event, it we could try next to have a broad theme to guide and shape our conversation (e.g., to whose influence was Paddy most indebted? Or, what does Paddy continue to mean in the different countries and cultures represented on the call?). There are so many people who know so much about Paddy and about the many things he was absorbed by and engaged with, I am sure that 90 minutes of very stimulating conversation would pass by as if it were 10 minutes. All credit to you, Tom, for organising this and for facilitating it so skilfully! And best wishes to everyone who took part!


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