My name is Tom Sawford and I live in Winchester, Hampshire, England.
I first became aware of Paddy quite late in life; I guess he is an acquired taste. Maybe you need to have some awareness of the broad range of subject matter that he can, often without warning, cover in his books. Perhaps it is only after formal education, reading widely, developing a broad appreciation for history, and just plain living that you have the ability to grasp some of what he is getting at. A strongly developed vocabulary is also a boon; or at least a dictionary and of course now with access to Google it is possible to quickly research some of the more obscure topics that Paddy assumes mere mortals will be aware of. I remember the first time I read A Time of Gifts and being amused that Paddy clearly expected his readers to have at least a schoolboy/girl grasp of Latin as phrases pour out with no explanation or translation.
But surely that is the attraction of his work. It aims for the highest pinnacles of linguistic and intellectual endeavour and if you like what you read it drags you along with it, drinking from the cup of knowledge that Paddy offers.
He was of course so much more than a writer. It has been said that he was the ‘greatest English travel writer’. I don’t agree with that. I believe he travelled to write, having so much more to say than to merely discuss the merits of one hotel over another or the quality of food in Greek fishing villages. In my view he was the “Greatest Living Englishman”. Not that we don’t have other great Englishman ( perhaps less than we once had), but more than that he is that unique person who personifies what was once the mark of an Englishman; educated; heroic, handsome, generous; and modest (to a degree).
Sir Patrick Michael Leigh Fermor DSO OBE lived a full life, and had experiences that few others will likely ever have again. He lived a pretty full life before the second world war, even living with a Romanian princess who was older than he, and during that war he applied his skills to fighting behind German lines, and was unique in achieving the capture, with “Billy” Moss, of the German Garrison Commander of Crete, Major General Kreipe. After the war he travelled, wrote, married, developed long-lasting friendships, and built a house in Greece a. My epithet stands because few can match what he achieved and the manner in which he did it.
The purpose of my blog is to bring the life and work of Paddy, and his many friends and colleagues, to the attention of a wider audience, and to create an archive of on-line material that can be used for research and enjoyment. He and his friends deserve to be recognised and remembered in a world that changed much during their lives, but would be the poorer without them.
If you would like to help with the blog, contribute an article or anything else, please contact me tsawford[at]btinternet.com
or join me on Facebook.
Please visit my other blog on the subject of Byzantium; it too is full of interesting articles and photographs of beautiful Byzantine art from my travels.
Some words about use of the comment facility on this blog:
I have had to ban two long-term blog readers from posting comments on the blog as they had repeatedly posted offensive and potentially libelous comments even after they had been asked privately to cease.
The comment facility is open to all. It is sometimes a source of good information; fellow readers help each other out with something or other; and at times is can be a forum for animated debate. There are occasions when fellow readers will argue passionately about some minor fact, and often come close to blows, but on nearly all occasions people know where to draw the line. All good knock-about fun. In the case of these two individuals they forgot the rules and did not play nicely with the other children.
I am able to see all comments and will not tolerate any behaviour that is these days called ‘inappropriate’ ie just plain bad. You can debate as much and as hard as you like, but I will not tolerate any comments that are racist, homophobic, insulting or libelous. These are red lines and I will apply a zero tolerance policy. If you are asked by me or another reader to desist, remove a comment, or apologise then please take stock, think about it, and act in a way that respects others, and also very importantly respects Paddy’s memory.
If anyone has any issue with the above, or wishes to seek further clarification please contact me through any of the usual channels including the comment facility.