'There's always a fuss when there's a rise in farm deaths - but does anything change?'
Published 26/11/2016 | 06:00
There are many similarities between farming in different parts of the world.
I have just read a powerful short story set in Australia. Two 11-year-old boys, Sam and Digby, live on neighbouring grain farms.
Maddison Smith tells a not-unfamiliar tale of a relaxed outdoor upbringing. Where Sam went, Digby followed, climbing trees, exploring wheat silos, joyrides on tractors, "though they had never acted too impulsively".
One hot day, Sam said he wanted to jump in the silo again. It always gave them a great adrenalin rush.
They knew about the dangers of playing in silos but they were playing safely, weren't they? One would jump in and they would see how far they could sink before the other would throw in the end of a rescue rope kept on the top ledge.
Digby wanted to get it over with. "You always get to go first, now its my turn," Sam reasoned and stepped back to take a great leap into the wheat. "No, wait!" Digby cried, and jumped in first.
Or so he thought.
With a sickening jolt, he realised they had both jumped almost simultaneously. The rope was still coiled on the ledge "like a sleepy brown snake".