One of my oldest and very best friends Richard Zatloukal has died in Thailand (where he has lived for years) – too early, of course, at the age of 67.
This always amiable, chain-smoking, hyperactive eccentric had extraordinary intellectual curiosity, was a brilliant wordsmith, a talented painter and had one of the best brains I have ever encountered. In the dim and distant past he was a London barrister, but his interests were legion and he was an authority on, amongst other things, Japanese netsuke, beetles, poultry and – yes, you have guessed – herbaceous perennials, about which he was passionate. His amazing book – about which Beth Chatto was most complimentary and found useful – can be accessed via http://zats-perennials and is a good read, erudite and rich with Zat-ish observations. Do have a look and post a comment here, if you will.
Zat was truly a one-off (he would have hated the cliche and taken me to task for using it). All those of us who knew and appreciated him – his close family in France, in Thailand and in England and his ex-wives of whom he was very fond – will miss him terribly.