This page is for you to add your comments to mark the centenary of Paddy’s birth. Feel free to wish him happy birthday, or make a comment about how his work has affected you. Maybe you have some links to interesting sites that you want others to see, or perhaps you would like to post your favourite quotes from his work. Feel free to add what you like; it is your page and hopefully will soon fill up with interesting, happy and celebratory material.
Whereas the “Your Paddy Thoughts” page was really in his memory after he died, this page is meant to be more upbeat, so please go ahead and beat up!
Start by entering something in “Leave a Reply” at the bottom of the page.
In 1945 my mother met Paddy on a repatriatian ship returning troops from Egypt to England, towards the end of WW2. She was 21, a recent war widow, was very beautiful and had two little children with her, my brother and I. I presume the journey would have taken a couple of weeks, enough time, I imagine, for them to get along very well as Paddy continued to write to my mother for many years after this brief encounter. She showed me one of his letters, which was festooned with flocks of birds.
I was introduced to PLF/ATOG about six years ago. I am good friends with a polymath who said I’d appreciate the history, prose and wanderlust in the book (even though he was never able to finish it himself!). I’ve now read that book (and the next two; thanks Artemis) at least three times each. I keep a pen or pencil handy and I’ve underlined the most expressive phrases or added my comments in the margin based on my travels or thoughts. Paddy would be one of the folks at my dinner table if I could ever invite a few interesting folks to join me for a night of chow, claret and conversation. I’d think JRR Tolkien would enjoy the night’s discussions as well, as he’d be the fist to arrive. Thanks for this website!
Thank you for this place. Just discovered Patrick by chance and not even finished yet to read through a first book, “Between the Woods and the Water”.
I am a Romanian, live in US and traveled Europe starting at 16, dancing Romanian folk dances (first heals and toes on an European stage were in the summer of ’76 at Billingham Folk Festival, UK). I read a lot of travel books since maybe i was in the 8th Grade, but I never experienced such a density of feelings, history facts, English vocabulary… skilled so perfectly into brilliant phrases. That while this is ‘just’ a travel book! The whole context in which this book was written, half of century after the events, probably makes it so priceless. It’s like a well preserved bottle of fine aged wine. The already hundreds of years the oak bared when cut to make the barrel, spun into the universe of flavors and scents that wine carries.
PLF, and his book Mani, quite changed the course of my life from 1976 on. Six months in Greece and Crete, and then 45 years of enjoying ancient Greece, the history, the geography and the classics since then. Thank you Paddy, and most recently Artemis Cooper for her biography of a most remarkable individual and adventurer. Bill Burley, Mt.Vernon, Washington
It’s about 3 years ago my Son Edward lend me Patrick Leigh Fermor’s book ‘A Time Of Gifts”. It’s hard to describe what I felt reading this book – I think what I found most astounding is that literally every sentence told a story – the richness of his vocabulary; his knowledge of animals, plants, literature and history; his incesable interest in people – their culture; languages, and acquiring some. I don’t know of anybody with such a memory. He could sing, draw; of course what gift for writing!, and above all a people’s person, ranging from peasant to aristocrat! I just wish I could have met this extraordinary man! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Patrick Leigh Fermor!
I have recently commented on Alan Odgen’s book ‘The Princess and the Vagabond’, but not sure how to send the same. So, I try again. Was looking forward to this book as I have read some Patrick Leigh Fermor’s books – -‘Time Of Gifts’, my first, being for me the best in the English Language, and giving me an insight of an extraordinary human being, but couldn’t have been more disappointed. The book actually telling very little what the Title indicates, but nothing but criticism of what PLF didn’t notice on his travels, or was even untrue. This was a young man undertaking an amazing journey, which we are privileged to read about what made an impression on him, not on Alan Odgen. This book should never have been allowed to be published.
In contrary to the above Robert Macharlane Andrew Merrill commenting on PLF’s writings is a TRUE account and very heartwarming. Thank you.
In 1986 I was given the chance to hitch hike to Spain from England. I jumped at the chance having read A Time of Gifts and Between Woods and Water. It was his writing, and Eric Newby’s, that gave me the confidence to travel alone and embrace those you met and what you saw. As I grow older I realise that my sense of adventure and desire to learn, is heavily influenced by Paddy’s books. Patrick Leigh Fermor will never be truly gone as long as his books exist and are read by others. Thank you.
I was given a battered and much thumbed paperback copy of ‘A Time of Gifts’ by Dr Robertson of St Luke’s Hospital for the Clergy in 1981. I still have it and it was the start of a life long move of his work, literature and erudition. I introduced his books to my late father who became and immediate fan. On the day that ‘Between the Woods and the Water’ came out, I was work as a police officer in central London and wondered over to John Murray in Albermarle Street to buy two copies, one for me and one for my father. As I was paying, a secretary came out of a side door and said to another member of staff and said ‘Mr Murray and Mr Leigh Fermor will have their tea now.’ I summoned my courage and proffered my brown paper package and said ‘Would you mind taking these in to Mr Leigh Fermor and asking him to sign them please’. She took them rather reluctantly and seconds later this diminutive and rather dapper man came bustling out, (utterly unlike the picture I had built up from ‘Ill met by moonlight’), shook me by the hand saying enthusiastically how good it was to meet a reader, signing the books with a personal dedication to each of us. Nothing seemed to be too much trouble for him. That civilised and civilising manner of his shone through and always inspires me. The world is a poorer place for his passing , but immensely enriched by his legacy.
I discovered PLF relatively late in life. Happily, he has joined Vaughan Williams, Miles Davis, Bill Bryson and the makers of Chimay: perfect strangers who, at very little expense to myself, have greatly enriched my life. If the pun can be excused, mani mani thanks!
I started to read Paddy’s books when I was about twenty three,a good few years ago now,I contacted Paddy who through our mutual love of Greece and it’s people invited me to visit Him and his lovely wife Joan. Sadly I never took the offer up, not wishing to intrude on their lives. Paddy’s books are part of my travel adventures beautifully written certainly have me spellbound. My association with Paddy and Greece will always remain in my heart. I know this comes late, but as I said never forgotten. Jenny Murphy
I discovered the writings of Patrick Leigh Fermor this year, and I feel that I have fallen upon a rich treasure of literature that will serve me for many’s a long day. I have been visiting Northern Greece for the past few years, Halkidiki and Thessaloniki, and my initial search bookwise was for some background to the mountain areas of Northern Greece. I came across PLF’s books initially then. I feel I have walked with him through so much of Greece that is yet to be discovered, in all ways; the diverse history, the remote places, the endurance of those “tribes” who crossed the mountains and made their living with very little of the modern world.
The beauty of his language, his ability to describe nature in its raw and in its tamed state, his profound knowledge of language and history, his appreciation of the natural world, will provide a resource that I will always turn to to take me away from the mundane and into the flight of the Gods. It is my deepest regret that I did not discover his writings whilst he was still living. A true poet, in all senses.
What a life, we are all richer, those travellers among us.
Only the passing of time will let us see the true stature of Patrick Leigh Fermor.
I was fortunate to see “Ill Met by Moonlight” when first released. Dirk Bogarde was my most admired actor in those days, I am sure that years passed with me being quite comfortable that Dirk abducted General Kreipe. It was on the QEII, between Dubai and Naples, I picked up a copy of Bogarde’s “For the Time Being”. From this I determined to obtain a disc of I.M.B. Moonlight.
During that process I discovered that Kreipes nemesis was not only still alive but among the greatest travel writers in our language.
As a New Zealander of British forbears I recognised traits that richly qualified PLF as an honorary New Zealander.
Beyond those, and there are plenty, it was his other gifts and talents that leaves one in awe.
Fortunately, with half his books still to be dipped into, my respect will only grow.
The treasure just keeps coming, have finished Nick Hunts stand alone classic, “Walking the Woods and The Water”Today.
Sitting there, next, on the coffee table, is “The Broken Road”. Thank you Colin and Artemis, treasure to come!
I feel part of a community enjoying that type of talent and extraordinary writing that seems to be not so common
but thankfully still to be found.
Thank you Sir Patrick, rest in the peace of a life lived in full measure.
Your role and reputation in the history of Great Britain can only grow.
What a remarkable man. I was given “The Cretan Runner” by my late friend, Reg Tarves (who served with the resistance in Crete) just before my first visit there in 1981. It fired my imagination and I’ve subsequently read Paddy’s books and have just finished “In Tearing Haste”.
I don’t think we shall see the likes of men such as PLF again. Where have all the heroes gone?
I only discovered Paddy’s writing this year and his Irish heritage. What a fabulous tale in Time of Gifts of a young brave spirit who did not conform and set out on his own path in life…brave boy. Happy Birthday and Slainte
happy centenary day Paddy!!
Well, I seem to be rather late for your birthday, but not to late to join the voices who remember you with kindness and thanks.
I visited St Wandrille de la Fontanelle, which you wrote about in ‘A Time to keep Silence,’ and wrote a small poem there in the August rain.
Knowing you were a member of The Travellers Club, I left a copy of the poem for you there, stamped for Mani, where I knew you lived.
Imagine my joy when you sent me a very touching postcard sometime later – my letter having tumbled behind your no doubt overflowing desk.
I keep it in a frame with your encouraging words and I am so grateful for this link to you. Peace be with you.
The poem appears on my website – http://www.healinggardens.co.uk
I waited twenty-five years for The Broken Road, and always knew we’d see it one day.
PLF, never stop walking.
Chronia Polla Paddy !
Mayanna and Boon
Happy Birthday Paddy!! I only recently discovered his wonderful writing, via various reviews, and they have made a long New York (Long Island) winter go more quickly. Just today discovered this web page! Wish I had been able to meet him in person. My 81 year old father is now reading every word of A Time of Gifts. Extraordinary talent, extraordinary person. Planning to share his books with all my reading friends.
Spent this grey day house-hunting and trying to remove green slime from the one we are selling .
This damn island is uninhabitable six months of the year , roll on Spring when I can get down to Greece again . Ho-hum .
I cooked fillet of fish ” Plaki ” style tonight ( Plaki = Flat ) . Actually from one of the Dodecanese isles , you basically take any fillets of fish and lay them in a dish to which you added a good glop of Olive oil .
You then get your big saucepan and make the standard Mediterranean tomato sauce ( chop and fry an onion and some chopped cloves of garlic , then throw in a tinfull of chopped tomatoes
( in Greek recipes you dont ADD ingredients , you ” throw ” them – Rixnete is the verb used )
then drop in a good grind of black pepper , a veg stock cube , a good squirt of tomato puree , and a soupspoonful of mediterranean herbs mixture , and let that simmer for ten minutes .
You can make about fifty different Greek things using this sauce as the base , but for the Plaki I drop in a mug of frozen mixed veg , and some frozen mixed peppers , give that a stir , top the fish-in-the-dish with it , cover that dish with foil , bake in the oven at about 180C for half an hour , and then dish up .
Naturally that came to table with a Cretan salad ( make a Greek Xoriatiki salad but include some little bits of rusk bread – I substitute Tesco’s Bruschetta nibbles ) and a bottle of something red and rough ( probably brewed in Algeria and never seen a grape in it’s life , despite the spurious Franglais label )
Now full and happy , and on a second Ouzo of a heartening size , with some hunked fresh fruit nibbles as the meze .
Stin H Geia Mas , Eviva ! ! !
On the subject of Demon Drink , I got a stoating recipe for a splendid winter cold remedy from the Polish Granny who lives around the corner , and who is teaching me Carpathian forceful language while making me things like white Borscht ( sort of milk+herbs+celery ) and sundry other traditional Slavic staples from east of the Vistula .
I now share this with you .
Take a bottle of ” Happy Shopper Everyday-value ” Vodka .
Drink about four good stiff ones . ( Immediately you will feel much better , or rather cease to care that you are expiring from weasel plague )
Top and tail a lemon , cut it into segments small enough to cram down the neck of the bottle , and thumb in a half dozen .
Add cheapo liquid honey ( those modern squeezy bottles are ideal ) until the bottle contents rise into the neck again .
Then pour in about a quarter of one of those little bottles of lemon flavouring you get from the Home Baking rack in the supermarket .
Screw the cap back on hard , and then shake vigorously until the honey dissolves and mingles in the spirit .
You should now have a bottle of something which looks like a spavined horse’s wee sample .
Put that in the fridge to fester for a week , and then take a stiff nip any time sniffles start .
First rate stuff , and it shines up your teaspoons a treat as well .
I think Paddy would have savoured it .
Sort of Cheering liquid Fishermen’s Friend , and winter-blues-banisher .
Cretan Greeks have a lemon flavoured Raki , and in the Aegean I’ve sampled Rakimelo ( which is a raki+honey mixture ) . I got given a bottle of homemade Raki+red wine+Oil-of-Cloves last autumn in Donoussa , and in Naxos the local speciality is a Kitron spirit distilled from the lemon tree leaves , all of those slip down a treat .
Aspro Pato ! ( lit means ” White ” [clear] , Bottoms , or in English , Bottoms-up !
and Xronia Pola Paddy mou ! May the earth lie lightly upon you .
Wonderful stuff Christos! I could do with some of that spoon shiner at the moment; I have a dreadful cold.
Hi Tom , you have my sympathies , it’s no wonder the Romans went home again to the sunshine .
I sent you details ( to your tsawford@btinternet email address ) regarding the forthcoming event here in Norwich at the University , but as my I T Skillset is ” Retard Hamster ” level I’m not confident that reached you , and so am taking the liberty of drawing your attention to it here ( please edit this to somewhere more appropriate ) .
The ” Voices from Greece ” annual event at the UEA has been resurrected ( after two years lull due to the non-availability of Greek Government Min-of-Culture funding , because of the terrible economic catastrophe there ).
This year’s event ( Sunday 22nd Feb in the main lecture theatre by the Uni Libriary , kicks off at 3.00 pm ) would have been right up PLF’s street , as its all about the Greek communities still extant since classical times in southern Italy+Sicily , Language ( Greko ;- a dialect of Greek+Italian ) , Music , Song , and Culture .
The format is a series of illustrated lectures and academic papers , followed by a live concert of music and song from the area .
If my email didn’t work you can probably see the details by Googling ” Voices from Greece UEA 2015 ”
We are well out in the provinces here but some blog readers might be interested , or closeby enough to pop over .
It’s a ” Free entrance , All welcome ! ” event ,
Louis de Bernieres ( who lives just down the road ) usually turns up , so bring your copies of Captain Corelli and maybe you’ll get them autographed .
Plus there is normally a ” Glendi ” ( dinner , drinkies , music and song ) in the evening , ( PLF style , but without the firearms ) which has been known to last until early dawn , occasionally with earnest Oxbridge Classics professors dancing the Pentoziali .
The slide you sent me says 4.00 pm start. Can you clarify?
Hi Tom , yes , what you have to bear in mind is that you are in ” Greek time ” with this , which can be a rather elastic concept .
Officially it’ll start at 4.00 pm, the reason I said come about 3.00 pm is that it is a big campus and the car parking / public transport stops a bit away , requiring some locating , on foot ( ask passing students to direct you to the Library , the venue is opposite ) plus people might want to get a cuppa and / or do some meeting and greeting before kick-off .
Happy Centenary Paddy!
I shall find a quiet moment to remember Paddy with a drop of raki, recalling when a few of us shared such a toast with him at his funeral. Chronia polla, na se heromaste Paddy