I'm still sad because of losing Monty Don from Gardener's World.
It got me to wondering what is it that made my heart sing as soon as he opened his mouth on the show when other presenters are "fine" - they know their stuff but just don't make you feel great in the way that Monty does. You know they are capable, their advice is wise and compelling, yet you just don't feel the same attraction.
Can you "love" someone who you don't know based on their appearances on TV or their books? As surely as I feel compelled to type this, I feel that I can truly say I love Monty and loved Geoff Hamilton in the same way, yet I just don't feel the same way about Carol, Joe or any of the other presenters.
I've come to the conclusion that it's a heady mix of pure charisma, animated enthusiasm and my own receptiveness to the way that these two men relate to their gardens. I see myself in them. I know that I would not have become a passionate gardener if Geoff hadn't captured my imagination so comprehensively. After his death, I felt as though I was fighting my way through the wilderness with nothing more in my armamentarium than his written wisdom (yes, I have every book he wrote). I couldn't relate to Alan Titchmarsh or any of the others.
Then an idle flick through the channels revealed Monty doing his stuff and I was hooked again. He shoved his hands into the soil and my world felt right again. I don't know what it was, a mix of the twinkle in his eye, the sheer exuberant joy of his style or the fact that I felt a kinship with him. It was only after he announced his decision to leave the show after suffering a stroke that I realised that he too has known clinical depression. Perhaps, as I said before, "it takes one to know one". In the "Jewel Garden" his wife Sarah describes him as "loony" and I smile. If he is, then I am too and proud of it.