The man (accompanied by his three-legged dog) has just been to town to celebrate the milestone with a coffee, a virtual date with his wife who resides in Geelong for work.
He calls at the farmhouse before he returns to the bush to find a Sunday Telegragh crime reporter talking at the farm gate with his elderly parents about Brendan Tarrant.
Brenton’s grandfather owned a property on the hill just past the village and for a time Brenton and his family lived in the last house on the left before Southgate, just two kilometres from our farmhouse.
And so it is that within two kilometres of each other once lived a man who has just yesterday taken, at last count, 49 innocent lives, and another whose extracurricular work has the potential to turn the tide on preventable iatrogenic misadventure, the third leading cause of death in the western world.
To further the juxtaposition, Brenton’s terrible legacy in Christchurch is the dark side of Southgate, whilst in Dunedin via the work of Ash Kirk, the unlikely other has provided the inspiration for the adoption of our language based safety tool that will value-add to the safety culture of Dunedin Mercy Hospital and beyond.
To Ava, crime reporter, this is the yin and yang of society.
And in this forgotten backwater in rural northern New South Wales, the barefoot scraggly farmer she has a chance encounter with is a curious counterpoint to the evil she strives to understand, on one hand mass murder and on the other a lifelong oath to ease the suffering of all humankind regardless of race, status or creed.
The retired nurse and dirt-encrusted farmer is me and my only weapon is my compassion.
I can say without reserve that together, myself and John and every member of our Below Ten Thousand community send our sincerest sympathies, condolences and compassion to victims, families and friends of the atrocity in Christchurch.