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Swish! Swish! Swish!

Patrick LeighFermor: The Mani Olive Harvest, 29 July 2021

... Where are you off to? Sit down.’ One of the two cheerful old men, who were smoking crosslegged under the branches, patted the ground beside him. Silvery vistas of gnarled and half-hollow olive trees opened fanwise all round them and there was a cicada grinding and scraping on every branch. A donkey under a wooden saddle grazed a little way off, trailing his long rope through the stubble ...

Don’t forget your pith helmet

Mary Beard: The Tourist Trap, 18 August 2005

Roumeli: Travels in Northern Greece 
by Patrick LeighFermor.
Murray, 248 pp., £8.99, July 2004, 0 7195 6692 4
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Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese 
by Patrick LeighFermor.
Murray, 336 pp., £8.99, July 2004, 0 7195 6691 6
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Words of Mercury 
by Patrick LeighFermor, edited by Artemis Cooper.
Murray, 274 pp., £7.99, July 2004, 9780719561061
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... seen from a marginal comment scrawled by a racist reader in a copy of the first (1966) edition of Patrick LeighFermor’s Roumeli: Travels in Northern Greece held by the Cambridge University Library. Where Leigh Fermor refers to the modern Greek language as being the ...

He is English, after all

Neal Ascherson: Unboreable Leigh Fermor, 7 November 2013

The Broken Road: From the Iron Gates to Mount Athos 
by Patrick LeighFermor.
John Murray, 362 pp., £25, September 2013, 978 1 84854 752 0
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... ended with ‘To be continued’. The second with ‘To be concluded’. But the third book of Patrick LeighFermor’s famous walk from the Hook of Holland to ‘Constantinople’ was never completed. He died two years ago, rewriting and correcting and adding and tweaking almost to the end. The manuscript, some ...

Lament for the members of a class of masters

Gabriele Annan, 6 December 1990

The Snows of Yesteryear: Portraits for an Autobiography 
by Gregor von Rezzori, translated by H.F. Broch de Rothermann.
Chatto, 290 pp., £16.99, November 1990, 0 7011 3666 9
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... the outposts of empire, more like the British in India than like the magnates who entertained Patrick Leigh-Fermor when he passed through the Balkans. There was Italian blood on the father’s side and Romanian-Greek and Irish on the mother’s. Rezzori is very much concerned with blood and racial inheritance in ...

Gentlemen Travellers

Denis Donoghue, 18 December 1986

Between the Woods and the Water 
by Patrick LeighFermor et al.
Murray, 248 pp., £13.95, October 1986, 0 7195 4264 2
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by Jonathan Raban.
Collins, 301 pp., £10.95, September 1986, 0 00 272119 8
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The Grand Tour 
by Hunter Davies.
Hamish Hamilton, 224 pp., £14.95, September 1986, 0 241 11907 3
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... Henry Miller in Greece. In December 1933, leaving his father in Simla and his mother in London, Patrick LeighFermor set off to walk from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul. He was 19, an engaging lad, especially attractive to aristocrats who lived in castles and had similarly disposed friends further along the way. His ...

Short Cuts

Rosemary Hill: Successive John Murrays, 8 November 2018

... included some of the best and most popular authors of their day, from Byron and Walter Scott to Patrick Leigh-Fermor and Freya Stark. It was Murray’s reputation for solid, conservative values that led both the geologist Charles Lyell and then Darwin to publish their potentially disruptive theories under its ...

The Art of Self-Defeat

Noël Annan, 19 July 1984

Faces of Philip: A Memoir of Philip Toynbee 
by Jessica Mitford.
Heinemann, 175 pp., £9.95, July 1984, 0 434 46802 9
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... with irrepressible Mitford brio. There’s a high-spirited acknowledgment of help received from Patrick Leigh-Fermor (easily the best of her correspondents) in removing from her MS such campus jargon as ‘on-going’, ‘explicate’ and ‘comedic scenarios’. I only wish he had cut out ‘long-remembered’ and ...

Dykes, Drongs, Sarns, Snickets

David Craig: Walking England, 20 December 2012

The English Lakes: A History 
by Ian Thompson.
Bloomsbury, 343 pp., £16.99, March 2012, 978 1 4088 0958 7
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The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot 
by Robert Macfarlane.
Hamish Hamilton, 432 pp., £20, June 2012, 978 0 241 14381 0
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... Borrow, who captivated Victorian readers with his tales of Spain and Wales. In our own time, Patrick LeighFermor walked from the Hook of Holland to the Balkans in the 1930s and Rory Stewart (and dog) walked through Afghanistan in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Macfarlane is a member of this group of ...

Who is Lucian Freud?

Rosemary Hill: John Craxton goes to Crete, 21 October 2021

John Craxton: A Life of Gifts 
by Ian Collins.
Yale, 383 pp., £25, May, 978 0 300 25529 4
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... the painter Arshile Gorky, with whom she had a turbulent marriage until his suicide in 1948. Joan Leigh Fermor, a former secretary to Osbert Lancaster, was the wife of Patrick LeighFermor, famous at that time for his activities during the war, including the controversial ...

Unmuscular Legs

E.S. Turner, 22 August 1996

The Dictionary of National Biography 1986-1990 
edited by C.S. Nicholls.
Oxford, 607 pp., £50, June 1996, 0 19 865212 7
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... lines which caused Mark Boxer to be sent down from Cambridge. Well-matched to their subjects are Patrick LeighFermor on Lawrence Durrell (‘He put new oxygen into the air; nothing seemed impossible’) and James Lees-Milne on the last of the Sitwell gang of three (who else but Sir Sacheverell has ever been made ...

The Undesired Result

Gillian Darley: Betjeman’s bêtes noires, 31 March 2005

Betjeman: The Bonus of Laughter 
by Bevis Hillier.
Murray, 744 pp., £25, October 2004, 0 7195 6495 6
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... when this volume begins, Betjeman was feeling the anxiety of the ageing writer, well expressed by Patrick Kavanagh, a friend of his from wartime Dublin: Give us another poem, he said Or they will think your muse is dead; Another middle-aged departure Of Apollo from the trade of archer. In January 1960 Evelyn Waugh declared that he and Betjeman, along with ...

Lady Rothermere’s Fan

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 7 November 1985

The Letters of Ann Fleming 
edited by Mark Amory.
Collins, 448 pp., £16.50, October 1985, 0 00 217059 0
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... than she gave. She spent a week in a nursing-home because she’d been drinking too much; and told Patrick LeighFermor that Diana Cooper had rung her there ‘and said, “Hear you’re in a home for inebriates”: she then came along, seduced all and sundry and left after booking a bed to die in; my prestige much ...

Don’t teach me

Gillian Darley: Ernö Goldfinger, 1 April 2004

Ernö Goldfinger: The Life of an Architect 
by Nigel Warburton.
Routledge, 197 pp., £30, November 2003, 0 415 25853 7
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... family lived in Budapest and summered on the family estates in the southern Carpathians – which Patrick LeighFermor has called ‘the most resented frontier in Europe’. With the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the onset of political and racial turmoil, the Goldfinger family moved to Vienna. In ...

Herberts & Herbertinas

Rosemary Hill: Steven Runciman, 20 October 2016

Outlandish Knight: The Byzantine Life of Steven Runciman 
by Minoo Dinshaw.
Penguin, 767 pp., £30, September 2016, 978 0 241 00493 7
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... civil war, but society was lively. Among his compatriots were Osbert Lancaster, Rex Warner and Patrick LeighFermor. Maurice Cardiff, the army officer who ran the council temporarily before Runciman arrived, recalls him vividly dealing with his improbable staff as they all gamely muddled through. ‘He had two kinds ...

Making history

Malise Ruthven, 19 June 1986

Gertrude Bell 
by Susan Goodman.
Berg, 122 pp., £8.95, November 1985, 0 907582 86 9
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Freya Stark 
by Caroline Moorehead.
Viking, 144 pp., £7.95, October 1985, 0 670 80675 7
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... and she has an aphoristic way of concentrating layers of meaning into her sentences, which, as Patrick Leigh-Fermor has remarked, ‘always fall on their feet with a light, spontaneous and unfaltering aptness’. Gertrude’s wealth insulated her from vulgar professionalism: had she been born poor, or a generation ...

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