"We must achieve the character and acquire the skills to live much poorer than we do. We must waste less. We must do more for ourselves and for each other. It is either that or continue merely to think and talk about changes that we are inviting catastrophe to make. The great obstacle is simply this: the conviction that we cannot change because we are dependant on what is wrong. But that is the addict's excuse, and we know that it will not do."
—Wendell Berry

Saturday, 24 August 2013

The kindness of strangers.

A few weeks ago I received a most wonderful gift from Jim who reads this blog and frequently comments with his very good advice. I had, a while back, mentioned that I was after some certain varieties of Fig trees and to my delight the package contained eight fine healthy Brown Turkey suckers.
Very gratefully received, thank you Jim.
I potted the suckers up expecting them to spend the winter dormant but they were having none of this and have immediately put out good healthy shoots. I guess they consider it a lot warmer here that where they come from. Better plant them out and soon!

Kindness to strangers goes around like good karma. You should take as you give. On Thursday I was digging a trench for the new grease trap when my wife came running in from her car.
"Quick, there has been an accident on the road to town and no one know what to do".
So we climbed into her car and sped to the scene. There we found two vehicles which had collided head on, one vehicle had rolled onto its side and the other had its front end completely staved in. Both drivers, elderly men, were trapped. The one on the side had his right foot crushed under the accelerator and the other gentleman had both legs up to the thighs securely pinned by the crumpled front end of his car. Three stunned onlookers stood by in silence.
Now my wife had raced home to get me because nobody there knew what to do. While I might be flattered by this I want to make it clear that I am no expert in these circumstances either. Nevertheless I do have a modicum of training and I am no stranger to blood or violence in my line of work -so I suppose I was the best there was going at the time.
I firstly made sure that the emergency services had already been alerted and told the full details of the situation. I then checked each victim for their response and immediate vitals and made sure any further risk was averted. I determined as best I could that the man in the vehicle on its side, while uncomfortable, was not in too bad shape. The man with both legs trapped looked in a much worse position. I set helpers to monitor and reassure the other fellow and stayed by the worse case to do what I could and possibly provide CPR should it become necessary.

I said to this gentleman "I am here for you and I will not leave. No matter what happens today I will be here until this is over and you are out of there".

Fortunately a paramedic arrived soon after and took over. He must have agreed with my own view as he was quite concerned with the same man and spent most of his time with him thereafter. Soon after another ambulance arrived, followed by fire-rescue, police and rescue helicopter with an emergency doctor on board.
I don't know about the two patients but I certainly couldn't be more relieved! It was wonderful to watch them all swing into operation and I was impressed beyond belief with the kindness and care shown.
I was also quite surprised when I was asked to stay and assist, I was expecting to hand over to the professionals and move to the sidelines. Instead I became the note taker for the first paramedic writing down all the vitals and patient details and then when the rain came down I held an umbrella to keep the patient dry and was perfectly happy to do so.
Releasing the men from their crushed vehicles took about an hour and a half. The man in the vehicle on its side appeared to not be too badly hurt (in my uneducated opinion) and possibly had a broken leg. However I was quite appalled at the extent of the other mans injuries. Both legs crushed and the bare bones of the knees exposed, both legs broken in multiple places.
Both men were taken to hospital, the worse of the two flown down to Cairns by helicopter rescue and from there I understand he was taken to Townsville intensive care.

Now understand that I know neither of the two victims at all. I will most likely never meet either of them ever again. That is fine by me, I do not expect thanks or praise, I did not do this to make the world a better place, I did not do it because one day it might be someone I care about.
I did this for no other reason than someone needed help.


  1. I have always had a belief that the majority of human beings are fundamentally good. Given the opportunity, people will help complete strangers. I have seen this again and again, most notably in the aftermath of the Brisbane floods in 2011. Thanks for reinforcing this belief yet again :)

  2. It is great to see your figs have taken off Ulf. Hope they continue to grow well and produce. In fact it looks like you have one breba on already.
    Mine have just started to move this past couple of days. After a major frost just a fortnight ago and spotting brown tips on the ends of the branches I thought we might not get too much this year. But I have seen a few brebas showing up and hope the tips will grow well so we can get an autumn harvest too.
    For those not knowing what a breba is: This the crop which shows up on last season's wood and begin to grow in spring then harvest in mid to late summer. Not all varieties have a breba crop. The main crop shows up on new season growth and develop so they start to harvest at the end of summer and go through autumn and in some years at my place I have been able to harvest some very early in winter.
    Yes Ulf it is a pleasure to share....whatever it is we have to offer. Most of our problems establish from people being selfish and not sharing.