This morning, I opened my computer to eleven emails alerting me to the news that Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor has died.
In 2007, I had the great good fortune to catch a bus to The Mani, seeking inspiration for my third novel, a Greek New Zealand story for which I am currently seeking a publisher. Believe it or not, back then, I had not heard of Sir Patrick (call me Paddy) Leigh Fermor. I was living in Kalamata in the Southern Peloponnese for two months, searching for the muse, and one day I caught the bus to the Mani and stopped in Kardamyli and ended up staying there for ten days, and discovering not only Paddy’s book on the Mani, but the man himself.
The article I wrote about this encounter was published in the Herald on Sunday
At Paddy’s house, I took several photographs both inside and out, but felt afterwards that perhaps I had naively overstepped the mark taking such liberties. I was so excited and had no thoughts of writing an article or publishing photographs, just in thrall to the man, his writing and his beautiful home. Today it feels like the right time for me to share my amazing morning with the man himself, his generous hospitality and indeed, his bookshelves. I hear that his home has been purchased by the Benaki museum, and so hopefully this will mean that many devoted fans, travellers, and writers will get the opportunity to pay homage and visit this beautiful sanctuary, of a much loved Englishman, war hero, practically a Greek Saint, the man from the Mani.
My photos, taken on Paddy’s Name Day in November 2007 include a few movie clips of the local women singing and at one stage Paddy pretending to fire a pistol. I have hesitated in the past to post any of this intimate and personal images, but because Paddy has died, I am hopeful that the locals featured in these clips won’t mind being part of history.
And, here is a link to an obituary by Artemis Cooper