I’m reading the autobiography of travel writer and semi-toff Patrick Leigh Fermor written by full-on toff Artemis (yes! really!! it’s a woman’s name in case you were unsure) Cooper.

She is of the opinion that Leigh Fermor struggled financially for much of his life; only a toff could believe that of someone who lived in hotels, gadded around the world whenever it took his fancy and had an architect-designed house built for him in the Greek islands.

And whilst I like his writing he must have been a right royal pain in the arse to work with – commissioned to write a 5,000 word piece in 1966 he turned it in 11 months after deadline and 31,000 words over the word count.

It gets worse. A few years earlier he wrote a 2,000-word piece for an American mag called ‘Holiday’ (holidaying being something toffs are very good at) – except it ended up 84,000 words long and was delivered two years after the deadline.

Stap me! That means that for every word Leigh Fermor was commissioned to write he knocked out 42 instead.

Rather begs the question of how a hard up writer can afford to indulge himself thus. Methinks ’tis only because Mr Leigh Fermor was an honorary member of the tofferati, where being hard up means you can only afford a holiday every other month.


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