Former prime minister John Howard was indulging in his lifelong passion for cricket in England when his loyal deputy from the Coalition's time in office died last week.
But there was never any danger of him and wife Jeanette missing Tim Fischer's state funeral held in Albury yesterday. Mr Howard felt the occasion befitted the large contribution Mr Fischer had made in his political and personal life.
"It was what Tim would've wanted," Mr Howard said.
"It illustrated the diversity of his life, his special characteristics, his idiosyncrasies and above all the essential role his family obviously had in his life.
"Also his tremendous dedication to the local community came through so well. It was Tim to a T."
Mr Howard said the mutual respect they had for eachother ensured they led a stable government.
"He was a wonderful colleague and we worked together very closely," he said.
"We had a successful government because we had close co-operation at the top.
"It was the key and he was a great Coalition man.
"I greatly valued everything he did."
Present National Party leader Michael McCormack said he was able to achieve much because he had respect on both sides of parliament.
"He was a person of his word, he kept his word, he stayed true to his word and he always stayed true to country values.
"For him regional Australia was everything, but he never forgot the national interest."
Mr McCormack's predecessor Barnaby Joyce said Mr Fischer's "compass of values" helped guide him through some political storms.
"He was a person who had the conviction and capacity to go up and stand behind it and take the hits because of it," he said.
"A lot of people will see an example of that in the gun debate and to be honest it was very unpopular in a lot of country areas.
"But that wasn't Tim and Tim was someone who saw a sense of duty to his nation, a sense of duty to what was right and he had the fortitude to go against the mould and come out and say 'this is my position and I'm sticking with it'."