I finished a book this morning that told the life story of Paddy Fermor. It was written by Artemis Cooper. Although it contained a bit too much detail about Patrick Leigh’s social life, I loved it. Fermor traveled constantly. Greece became his 2nd home. His last trip at the age of 92 was to Vergina, where he saw the tomb of Alexander The Great’s father. Ruth and I visited Vergina last May.
Paddy didn’t do well in school. He often had trouble focusing. At the age of 18 he left home in England and walked to Turkey. Well, he mostly walked. Tall and very good-looking, he had many adventures along the way involving castles, ladies, local notables, etc. Later in life he tried to put the story of this trip in book form and completed 2 of 3 volumes. His many other books, none of which I have read yet, were about his travels to Asia, South America, etc. Travel and commitments kept him from completing #3.
During World War II he was sent to Crete where he oversaw the capture of a German general. He married the love of his life when they were in their fifties. At the age of 69, he successfully swam across The Hellespont. Fermor lived well into his 90s despite smoking up to 90 cigarettes a day well into middle age and surviving tongue and other smoking related cancers.
Over the years, people with awe in their voices have asked me if I’ve read any Fermor. The answer was always, “No.” I told a friend who had never heard of Fermor about him, and David looked him up and wrote back “Quite a guy!” Indeed.
p.s. I didn’t post yesterday because a Northwest wind storm knocked out our power for 3 hours. This gave me the chance to finish Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure.