Personal and undiluted views
James Bond

1880 days ago

5 O'Clock Today - we manage to secure access to Paddy Leigh Fermor's house

I have written before about the war hero and writer Paddy Leigh Fermor. He was an all round superhero and also Mr Mani, not just for writing the book "Mani" but because he built his house here in Kardamili. There are plans to turn it into some sort of writers retreat. Those who have seen the Before Sunset trilogy with the lovely Julie Dlspy will know Paddy's house well from the final film set here in Kardamili, Before Midnight. The scene below sees Paddy ( played by an actor not the man himself) holding court.

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2504 days ago

Paddy Leigh Fermor, The Mani and Kambos

Back in the 1960s my uncle visited the Mani on his first honeymoon. Oddly he and his wife were joined by another couple and within months his wife had run off with the other man. That is an aside. It took my uncle more than two days to get from Athens to the Mani so remote and cut off was the region. 

Here in Kambos the dirt track to Kardamili became a road back in 1965 (two years after that fateful honeymoon), roads south from there were built later. The man who brought this peninsular to the attention of the wider world was Paddy Leigh Fermor, a truly amazing man once described as a mixture of Indiana Jones, James Bond and Gerald Durrell.

Though incredibly clever, Paddy was no academic and so after being expelled from school (issues with a young lady) in 1933 he walked through Europe to Greece. Along the way he noticed that something was not quite right in Germany. When war broken out he signed up immediately and was sent into Greece since he spoke the language fluently. His most heroic exploit was in Crete where – with the partisans – he captured a German general on the North of the island and transported him across Crete to the South where he was lifted off by British Destroyer. The film, based on the episode, has Leigh Fermor played by Dirk Bogarde

In the war Paddy’s code name was Michalis. After the war he stayed on in Greece fighting with the Royalists in the Civil war. He refers to this in his two classic books on Greece

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3193 days ago

Skyfall 50 years of Bond (still not sure) & Downton Abbey ( likewise) – Dallas still to come

I still have one episode of Dallas and one DCI Banks to catch up on. That treat can wait until tomorrow. Meanwhile, my programme of trying to watch a film a week while watching only quality TV ( i.e. nothing made by the BBC) continues and – having watched every Bond film ever made – I troop along to see the latest offering: Skyfall. Half a day later I am still not quite sure what to make of it. It was very different to all the other recent Bond movies. It is worth watching but it is… different.

Daniel Craig’s Bond is exposed for the wreck that he has become. Drink has become a real issue and his personality flaws, driven perhaps from the childhood loss of his parents are laid bare. This is perhaps the most personal Bond film ever made. And that makes it different.

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