Every day I celebrate the fact that my life has included great friends among the many good people I've met over the years. One of those is an automotive journalist called Patrick Paternie.
Patrick was a journalist par excellence - a great writer, who was versatile, knowledgable, honest and reliable. He was a true car enthusiast and he travelled with me many, many times on various product introductions for Bentley Motors. We walked the circuit at Le Mans, drove through the mountains near Santa Ynez, toured the Italian and Swiss Alps in a Bentley Arnage convertible, and generally enjoyed ourselves, and each other.
Patrick was also a true gentleman. He dressed well, had an eye for fashion and trends, was a discerning art lover and wonderful husband to his wife Linda, who he helped survive a battle with the big C. He talked often, with great pride about his son Patrick, and you knew on meeting him that he was genuine, and a man to be admired and respected for his achievements.
Patrick, 65, succumbed to a heart attack this past weekend, at the Willow Springs race track just outside Los Angeles. He and Linda had gone to race his vintage 1968 Porsche 911, so I guess if you've gotta go, that's the time and place to be.
We had a wonderful mutual affection for each other, and my final face to face meeting was last year at the Geneva Salon, where we sat down to a coffee and chat on the Alfa Romeo display. It seems an entirely appropriate place for me to remember him. So long, Patrick, I'll miss your smile, your sense of humour and your friendship. Didn't we have fun together.