Patrick Leigh Fermor, ‘Paddy’ to his many friends as well as to the numerous readers for whom he became an admired and much-loved figure, died on June 10th at the age of 96. He had fallen gravely ill in Greece towards the middle of May; when the end became inevitable, he asked to be flown back to England, arriving with less than a day in hand.
Paddy was loved as much for himself as for his writing, not only in England and Greece, his adopted second country, but seemingly also everywhere in the world his books had penetrated. It is almost impossible to think of an equivalent public figure of whom it could be said that throughout a long life lived at high physical and intellectual intensity, he showed true malice towards none, encountering little if any in return.
This delightful sketch of himself in Cretan dress was penned at the top of a letter to my mother dated 17th November, 1944; as he explains, "I have been lost again in a forest of whiskers for about three weeks, and my old mountain chums are down in the plains now, looking incredibly wild and shaggy". Ελαφρύ το χώμα που τον σκέπασε.