We met him for the first time in early 1990, just before we set out to walk from Poland to Istanbul. My aunt Judy asked him over for a drink. Impeccably dressed – touch of the dandy, old school, Guards… Shabby chic was not his style.
We told him our plan, to start walking from Gdansk. There was a cargo ship that made the passage to Gdansk from the Thames each fortnight, and offered berths. From the Baltic to Czestechowa, then Cracow, over Slovakia into Hungary…. It was a wonderful moment to start out across the lost lands of eastern Europe. Paddy had known them so well before the curtain dropped, and we would be among the first to go in again, to see how this disjointed Europe might re-unite. To see what and who was on the Other Side.
‘What a marvellous idea!’ he exclaimed, as if – well. As if we were the very first people ever to think of it.
The result was On Foot to the Golden Horn.
Funnily enough, today I dug up a letter from the father of an old friend: ‘I just wanted to say how enormously impressed I was by it, both as a record of an epic walk and as a book so full of insights and [points? punks?] as to put your competitors to shame. I enjoyed it from beginning to end. Thank you for it.’
Here’s the book in its e-book colours: