Tag Archives: Dolores Payas

El último aventurero romántico

A profile in Spanish from El Pais. The Spaniards appear to have a great interest in Paddy and his works, possibly encouraged by the translations of Dolores Payás, the author of Drink Time! which many of us enjoyed last year.

By Jacinto Antón

First published in El Pais, 3 July 2013

Es el efecto que provoca el recuerdo del viejo aventurero romántico, ¡diablo de hombre! Mientras hablamos de sir Patrick Leigh Fermor (Londres, 1915- Dumbleton, 2011) evocando sus hazañas, sus líos de faldas, sus viajes, la belleza de sus escritos, sus grandezas y debilidades, la admiración y, sí, el amor, que sentíamos por él, su amiga y biógrafa Artemis Cooper se pone de pie extemporáneamente y se pone ¡a bailar una danza griega! Yo diría que un sirtaki.

La escena resulta inesperada y sorprendente en esta tarde londinense en la pequeña librería Nomad Books de Fulham, donde tomamos los dos un té en tazas con portadas de Penguin rodeados de libros y silencio. La librera y los demás clientes nos miran con disimulo. La historiadora y editora Artemis Cooper, autora de la extraordinaria biografía Patrick Leigh Fermor, una aventura, recibida con unánimes elogios en Reino Unido y recién aparecida en España (RBA), es bien conocida en el barrio, donde vive con su marido, el célebre historiador militar Antony Beevor (inmerso, por cierto, en la batalla de las Ardenas), y su arrebato es recibido con británica flema. La observo danzar aferrado a mi cuaderno de notas, sin saber si he de sumarme al baile.

Hablábamos de la vitalidad de Leigh Fermor, el sensible y curioso adolescente que cruzó Europa andando en los años treinta, codeándose con aristócratas y domadores ambulantes de osos, el oficial de inteligencia, el valiente soldado de operaciones especiales que secuestró en un golpe de mano audaz al comandante de las tropas nazis en Creta, el guapo amante que conquistó a tantas bellas mujeres, el refinado, culto y políglota escritor que nos ha dejado libros tan hermosos como El tiempo de los regalos, Mani, Roumeli o Un tiempo para guardar silencio, el filoheleno émulo de Lord Byron que rescató las zapatillas del poeta y cruzó nadando el Helesponto a los 69 años. “Al entrar él en una habitación, todo el mundo se sentía más vivo, ligero”, recordaba la escritora. “En Atenas, cuando era pequeña, íbamos por las tardes a las tabernas y él hablaba con la gente, y pasaban cosas. Empezaba a cantar, canciones griegas que interpretaba de manera fenomenal. Y se ponía a bailar. Bailaba maravillosamente”. ¿Como Zorba?, le he preguntado interrumpiendo sus recuerdos. “Exacto. Mejor. Anthony Quinn bailaba de manera algo dejada, abandonándose. Paddy era más decoroso. Sus movimientos, majestuosos, enérgicos”. Y es entonces cuando Artemis Cooper, una mujer madura (1953), atractiva, culta y de refinada elegancia –no en balde, nacida como la honorable Alice Clare Antonia Opportune, es hija del segundo vizconde Norwich y nieta de Lady Diane Cooper– , ha retirado su silla con resuelta determinación, se ha levantado y ha ejemplificado cómo danzaba Leigh Fermor poniéndose ella a bailar. Observo que calza deportivas.

Read more here.

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Listen to Dolores Payas on the Midweek programme

Drink timeA fascinating, amusing and loving contribution from Dolores Payas, author of Drink Time! on BBC Radio Four’s Midweek programme.

Catchup and listen to the programme by clicking this link. Dolores’ main contribution starts at the 14 minute spot.

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

Drink Time! Dolores Payas on BBC Radio 4’s Midweek at 0900 26 November

Just a short notice to say that Dolores will be on Libby Purves’ BBC Radio 4 Midweek show at 0900 today. I presume talking about her time with Paddy in his last few years and her delightful book Drink Time.

More details here.

Thank you to my spy in Jedburgh for spotting this one.

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

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)

Two in one – Nick Hunt and Dolores Payas in Bristol 4 September

Nick Hunt, author of Walking the Woods and the Water is talking with Dolores Payas on the work of Patrick Leigh Fermor at Stanfords Bristol on 4th Sept at 6.30pm.

This is a great chance for those who live in the depths of the west of England to hear Nick talk about his walk to Dolores who has written a lovely volume about her time with Paddy at his house in Kardamyli. I will be reviewing her book, Drink Time, in September.

Tickets are nicely priced at £3.00 including a glass of wine. Too good to miss!

Details here.