OrnaVerum
v 6.20.00
20 Mar 2021
updated 8 Jul 2021

(His half-brother Peter Zinovieff's recollections)

My dear brother Patrick.

Well, l have known him from a long time. 78 years – all of his life and most of my own. I first met him as a baby but my memories of then are mostly of being forced by his father to sit for hours on an outside lavatory.

I suppose I really got to know him after the war when our mother came back after internment by the Nazis in France and he was released, fatherless, by the milkman's mother-in-law. My mother would occasionally visit Ian and me while we were being brought up by our Zinovieff grandparents in Guildford, She brought Patrick with her. Sometimes we would go rowing on the river Wey and eat white bread incredibly tough horse or whale meat sandwiches. The first time was my first real meeting with Patrick. He 8, and me 13 years old. He remembered falling in the river from the boat and becoming very ill and going deaf as a result. His first encounter with his eldest brother. However neither Patrick nor our mother was welcome at my grandparents' house so these meetings always had a sort of in clandestine air about them. But it must have been in those years that Patrick picked up some of our mother's mannerisms for instance "Ooh, Yeees". We also discovered an unexploded doodle-bug in a wood and put out a railway embankment fire for which we were officially thanked.

The next great adventures we had together were staying with our mother in Gif-sur-Yvette where somehow we had two mobylettes – sort of motorised bikes - and we used these to go all the way to Paris, some 20 miles or so, where with my accordion we would busk for pocket money. Patrick would have been about 15 then. That was when we became real friends.

Then I went to university at Oxford and for much of the 7 years I spent there, Patrick was in and out of my life. I was his guardian. Macdolgaskipzins.

He got a job at St. John's College student bar where in those rather snooty days people enjoyed a baronet serving them gin and tonics.

We hitchhiked to Naples, busking with my little Swiss button accordion and wearing a kilt but sometimes using a brilliant technique of getting onto an express train without tickets and being ejected at the next stop – often hundreds of kilometres towards where we were aiming.

We were arrested in Pompeii because I was cleaning my nails with a penknife and we lingered [a] bit scared for a few hours in the local jail.

I then started my doctorate on the complex petrology of the Cuillin Mountains in Skye. Patrick often came up to help me with the field work. This was incredibly tough, now I look back on it. We would establish a base camp in some remote corrie and spend sometimes as long as ten days without seeing or talking to another person, climbing difficult rock faces and gradually geologically mapping this remote area. I have never spent so much uninterrupted time with anyone else. Indeed, I suppose very few people ever do. When we got back from these sorties carrying Sherpa-like loads of newspaper-wrapped and labelled rock specimens, the locals would push us around the bar at Sligachan Hotel because we had become so light shedding our loads that we actually floated above the ground.

Another event stuck in both our minds. One night, I had a nightmare and I apparently shouted at him to urgently find "the thing on the end of it". When I finally woke up Patrick was scrabbling around in the freezing pitch dark, lighting damp matches, under the bed in the bothy on Skye in which we were staying, looking for "the thing on the end of it". We never had any idea of what I had originally meant but this became symbolic of our individual occasional life's frustrations or dead ends.

There are many episodes I can remember from these Oxford days, even competing for the same girl-friend ... Patrick establishing himself for a stay under my grand-piano at Folly Bridge ... taking the blame for me shooting with a .22 rifle and thus saving me from being sent down and so on. After Oxford I went to Cyprus as a geologist and Patrick came to stay for some months. It was dangerous times but I refused to have a revolver and we carried a Greek flag on my lovely bright yellow Austin Healey Sprite. We trained a labrador to dive; maybe it was in the Troodos mountains, looking for copper that Patrick finally chose geology as his career. I hope he did not regret it.

Later in life we were in constant touch, visiting our mother in Cornwall insisting on hard-boiled eggs for lunch rather than the disgusting food she had taken to making as she grew older, visiting him in Saudi Arabia where we together chose a little Kilim rug which is in front of the sitting room fire at home, episodes in Frithville and the Chelsea Arts Club in London - however we drifted apart although with occasional visits to Donnery to stay with him, Martine, Grey and Louis, and he to visit us in Cornwall, Paris and Cambridge where he became good friends with Jenny.

The last time we three brothers were together was last December for Ian's 80th birthday party. The time before that was at our mother's funeral, 20 years ago. We were not a very united brotherhood.

Poor Patrick, we will miss him.