On the 10th of July of this year, my girlfriend's father, Keith Colquhoun, died at the age of 82. He was an incredible man, full of facts, fictions, and tales of his journalistic travels. He also sported a particularly fine beard, and though it took me some time to gain his approval with regards to his daughter, he always appreciated my attitude to facial hair.

His wife, Sara, has written an obituary which appeared in the Guardian. There is also an obituary in The Economist, where he had worked on the Asia section and where he had also been, strangely enough, in charge of the obituaries.

As well as a journalist, Keith was a novelist - his most successful being Goebbels & Gladys, first published in 1981. You can buy his latest book, Five Deadly Words, published just before he died, on Amazon.

Whilst I was reading Goebbels & Gladys, I used to read Jessie my favourite lines from the book. She asked me if I could remember any of the passages that I had quoted from. I couldn't. So, today I have been going through the book finding bits that I like, in the hope that I'll stumble upon the quotable quotes that I discovered on my first reading. I thought I'd present a little selection here.

"Noel looked particularly pink this morning, although it might have been the light. I wondered if I would be doing him an ill-service if I took him to the pub this early. It would probably make little difference. Only an expert could tell Noel pissed from Noel unpissed. It would be a rare chance for Noel to do something useful for the newspaper. I raised my eyebrows interrogatively and made a drinking gesture. I don't know why I didn't just ask him to have a drink. I suppose television has made all of us visual."

"The operator said she wasn't getting any reply on Brooke-Kate's extension and she put me through to the features department. I spoke to one of the subs and asked him to tell Brooke-Kate that I was off to Tunis and would call him on Monday. 'My name is Verity, V as in virtuous. That's right. Thanks.' I hung up. To phone someone you don't want to speak to and discover he is out is a timely piece of luck."

"On the way back to the hotel I had a thought as we passed the crowds of Tunisians watching the caravan of cars. I said to Paul, 'A couple of owls like us have just shaken their president's hand and regarded it as part of the day's work. Yet had it happened to any of them they would have remembered it all their life.' Paul didn't say anything. He probably thought I was being facetious, but I wasn't.
  Smith said, 'I think that is a noble thought, Mr. Verity.' I hadn't meant it to be noble either. I sometimes feel I am misunderstood."

"Experience is pretty humdrum. It is art that gives it glamour. The spacemen made the moon sound like Little Rock. H.G. wells never went there and made it sound like Arcadia"

"Each one of us survives at the expense of others."

"The confidential euphoria inspired by alcohol is best left until the evening."