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About quokka

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  1. quokka

    PS Ch 15

    “Well done mate, and welcome to my security detail,” I whispered to Lucas. “You don’t get paid, but you do get some rewards. What sort of phone do you have Lucas” Craig said to our newest addition. “Just an I-Phone 7s, why?’ Lucas replied. “He asked, because all of my security detail get a band new I-Phone 11 Pro, and since you are now part of the team, we will be going shopping to get one for you,” I responded, as Brad and Craig showed their new phones. “Holy Cow Pad, really?” Lucas asked sounding shocked, “Yes, really, and that reminds me, when we have our next school holidays in late September, I would like you all to keep the whole two weeks free, as I have a special holiday planned for the four of us,” I announced. “Can we ask where we are going?” Brad asked, “No, because it is a surprise reward, you only need to pack some clothes for a week, and include swimming trunks, and look forward to an adventure with a bit of a difference,” I replied. When I arrived home that afternoon, I informed Mum and Aunty Bea of my plans for the next school holidays, so when my friends parents telephone to ask about this trip, they could let them know that they will be kept safe, and will be well looked after, and that the holiday was in Tasmania. After changing out of my uniform, I called the sat phone number for the catamaran yacht. “Hello Captain Jacques speaking,” the voice said when the call is answered. “Bonjour Captain, this is Edwin speaking,” I responded, “Bonjour Sir Edwin, how may I assist you today,” the Captain asked. “I need the yacht to be booked for me and a party of three for the entire school holidays in September please, and can you arranged for a steward to be employed for that period,” I asked, “That two week period is free, so I will reserve that two weeks for you, and we already have a full crew. With Nicolas and Patrick still doing deckhand, and assisting with steward duties, and we have a chef with us now, by the name of Miranda, who is a cousin of the boys, and her older sister – Olivia is our chief steward, so it is a real family crew,” the captain said. “How have the booking been for your cruises, and do you have a set destination that you go to?” I asked, “Well, the bookings have been steady now, averaging one a week on weekends mostly, but once it warms up again, they will increase to the max of three a week like before. We have been concentrating on two of the main walks in the area, the one at Kelly Basin, with a twelve-kilometre hike to the Bird River Bridge, and the Birchs River Jetty, where the Low Rocky Point Track begins, and the guests do a nine kilometre return hike from there. We have two cruises available, the first one involves both walks and is a two and a half day trip, and the other involves the Kelly Basin walk, as well as the Cape Sorell walk, which is a two full day trip. Both trips seem to be just as popular as the cruises down the Gordon River, which we stay clear of,” the Captain informed me. “Well, I am very glad that you have managed to capture a niche of the cruise business that is more adventurous than just a plain cruise. I look forward to this two week holiday, which I think we will include the two cruises in our itinerary,” I replied. “Is there anything else that you would like to include during your stay?” the captain asked, “Well yes there is, but I am still trying to work out the timetable for it, so I will get back to you,” I replied. “Very good sir, you can contact us on admin@tasadventures.com, and I will forward to you a confirmation of the booking for September 26th for two weeks,” the Captain replied. After the phone call, I went online to check out the website, and I was pleased to see a good-looking website, with plenty of photos of the areas that they travel too. There was also a good booking system and when I checked the dated of the next school holidays, it showed that the whole two weeks were already booked, and I hoped that it was my booking. Next, I checked the dates for early January next year, and I was pleased to see no booking at all yet, so I marked from Friday January 5th to Thursday January 18th and entered my details for the booking, and confirmed them. Moments after I had confirmed the booking, my mobile rang. “Hello Mr Crawford, this is Angela Prentis from Tas Adventures, just wanting to confirm your booking for two weeks in January, is that correct?” a female voice said to me, “Yes that is correct, and I also have a booking for two weeks during the September school holidays,” I replied. “Ah yes, I see that Captain Jacques took that booking for you, how will you be paying for these bookings please?” the woman said to me. A little annoyed, I ended the call, and dialled the number for yachts sat phone, “Hello Sir Edwin, how may I assist you,” the Captain asked when he answered. “You can start by telling that lady, Angela, that I am the owner of the business and that I would not be handing over my credit card details over the phone,” I said. “Oh, yes I am sorry about that, she has only been with us for a month now, so she does not know who the business owner is, I will fix that for you, and sorry about you having to deal with her. I will speak to… what the heck is going on? Sorry boss, I have to go, something is going on with the website, and I need to get right onto it, bye for now,” Jacques said to me before ending the call. I checked the booking page of the website, and saw that both of my bookings have been removed from the website, and that another booking has been put in the place of the school holiday booking. I headed to the kitchen where Aunty Bea was working on dinner, and Mum was reading a book in the lounge room. “Aunty Bea, would you mind if you looked after me on your own for a week, as I have an important job I need Mum to do for me?” I asked her quietly, “Yes dear, that is fine with me, you are mostly and angel, so I think I can cope,” Aunty Bea replied. “Mostly?” I asked and we both burst out laughing, “What are you two up to in there?” Mum called out, “Nothing Mum, just some Aunty & Nephew business, that is all,” I replied, as I walked over to the lounge room. “Mum, I need you do deal with some business for me in Strahan, Aunty Bea said she is fine to look after me, while you are away, and I can’t miss any school, so you are my next option,” I said to Mum. “Go on, I am listening?” Mum said to me, having stopped reading and sat up in the lounge chair. “I have just been talking to Jacques, our skipper of the catamaran yacht, I had been arranging for booking the yacht for the school holidays in September, and again in early January. He has informed me that he has a full crew now, and that the cruises that he has going are doing well, but there is a problem at the booking office in town, and that is what I want you to fix. The woman saw it fit to remove my bookings from the website, and I called Jacques back in regards to that, and he said he was going to look into it, but I would prefer that you look into it for me, if you do not mind. Oh and all expenses will be paid for by the company,” I said to Mum. “Yes dear, I would be more than happy to do that for you, it has been some time since I was doing office work, and it will be good to get back into it again. When do I go?” Mum replied. “Have you got any business wear for this, if not you need to do some shopping, I will book the charter flight for 9 am tomorrow, and organise the hotel accommodation as well,” I said as I pulled out my wallet and handed over the second business credit card that I have for extra expenses. “Well I better get moving before the shops close, I will quickly change and be on my way,” Mum said as she dashed to her room, and ten minutes later she came out ready, gave me a kiss on the cheek and a wave to Aunty Bea. “Mum, splash out a bit, and get a few sets of business wear not just one,” I called out to her as she left. “When Mum returned, not only did she have armfuls of shopping, but she also had a new hair do as well, “Looking very nice Mum, you will pass easily as my business associate,” I said smiling, as she headed to her room to get packed for the trip. I headed to my room and retrieved my old mobile phone, which was still in good working order, and I inserted a new Sim card, which I have held onto for a few weeks, and inserted it into my old phone and plugged it in to charge. While I set up the phone, I deleted all of my old phone numbers on it, before I entered my new phone number, as well as the Sat phone number for the Catamaran Yacht, also Cousin Robert’s phone number in Scotland, our home phone number and the mobile phone number for Charles and Elizabeth. Once I had done that, I called the Airline Charter Company, and book a plane to fly from Launceston to Strahan in the morning, and then I called Franklin Manor, and booked a room for a week for Mum at that location. Going back to the Tas Adventures website, I checked to see where the office is located, and found it to be at 2 Harold Street, and looking at Street view, I saw that it is a neat house, tucked behind a huge corner building that is two stories high. There is just a sign in the front yard advertising the company, which was all to promote the cruises, and nothing on the main street advertising its location. Grabbing the send mobile and my laptop, I headed to the dining room, and after plugging the phone back on charge, I sat down, and started typing some notes, on things that need doing while Mum is in town. When Mum reappeared, she sat down next to me. “This is the website, I am not sure who set it up, but I like the design, and it is easy to brose through it all, when you get there, we need to make one change, and that is that all cancellations have to be approved by management, that is you or me. I will see who set it up and has design control of the website, and let you know. I have done a check of where the office is located in Strahan and it is tucked away behind a large commercial building on the corner of the Esplanade and Harold Street, you may need to see if we can find a more tourist friendly location. That mobile on charge is yours to use, so we can keep in touch, I have added all the numbers that you need including my new number, as well as Cousin Roberts, but don’t forget they are 9 hours behind us in time. And also the number for the sat phone on the yacht, Charles and Elizabeth’s mobile number and the number for here,” I said to Mum just as my mobile rang. “Speak of the man, I was just talking about you, how are things in Scotland?” I said when I answered the call, and put it on laud speaker, so Mum can hear, and Robert laughed, “Hello Cousin, I called because I have received a call from a much stressed sounding Jacques, who has some problems with them office lady,” Robert began. “That is part of the reason why I am talking to Mum at the moment, I am sending her to Strahan tomorrow to try and deal with that and a few other matters,” I said. “Hello Robert, good to hear your laugh again,” Mum said smiling, and Robert laughed again. “Hello dear lady, how has your son been behaving?” Robert asked, as Mum smiled.
  2. quokka

    PS Ch 14

    It was a repeat of the chapter, which I have fixed.
  3. quokka

    PS Ch 14

    “In that case, you had better get you bags packed, and we will take them with us, I will go and suggest the same with Lady Alexandria and Lady Beatrice, as they will have to come with us for the day trip, so they don’t get stranded,” Charles said as he went to organise the rest of the family. Half an hour later we were all packed and Elizabeth had packed an overnight bag for herself and Charles, in case they cannot get back to the Manor tonight, and we set off shortly after 8 am, heading for the Gordon River, which would take us about two and a half hours. Elizabeth had packed a picnic basket for us, to keep us well fed for the day trip, and I was looking forward to exploring the famous Gordon River. When we finally arrived at the mouth of the river, Charles slowed the boat down, due to the speed restrictions, and we spent the next five hours cruising up the famous Gordon River, until Charles stopped near the junction of another River. “This is the start of the Franklin River, and the boat navigations tell’s me that we can only go a short way, but since we have to get back to Strahan before dark. We will just spend fifteen minutes looking at part of it before we will need to turn around,” Charles said to us, as we were just finishing our picnic lunch. We arrived at Strahan just before sunset, where Charles had booked us all into a hotel for the night, with us leaving first thing in the morning to drive back to Launceston. When we turned the last corner on our way home, I saw that Brad and Craig were sitting on the wall waiting for us to get back. “You go and spend some time with your friends, we will deal with all of the luggage,” Mum said to me, as we came to a stop in the driveway, “Thanks Mum, your a legend,” I said before climbing out of the car. “Hey you, where on Earth have you been, we have tried calling you a few times, and all we got was that your phone was out of range,” Craig said to me. “Sorry about that guys, I was down in Strahan, and we went on a few cruises and trips, so yeah, I was out of mobile range a fair bit,” I responded, “Anyway, you are here now, so how was your holidays?” Craig said to me. “Not bad, I did a fair bit of hiking and camping out, which was great, there are some awesome walk tracks down that way, and yesterday we did a private cruise up the Gordon River, all the way up to the Franklin River, which was amazing,” I replied. The next morning, Craig and Brad were at my front door as usual, and we walked to school together, but this time we were surprised to see one of our classmates, who is probably the brightest in our year, sitting on the stonewall waiting for our arrival. “Ok you three, I have had enough of all of this secrecy, what the hell is going here, that has made you three stick like glue for most of the school day, ever since you Edwin returned from Scotland. Don’t tell me that it is just protection from the bullies, because I won’t accept that, especially after hearing my father and his work mate talking about their interesting weekend down near Strahan,” he said to us, and Craig and Brad looked at me with concern. “Who exactly is your father, what does he do for work?” I asked, “He is a National Parks Ranger,” Lucas responded, and I groaned, “Your father is Tom?” I asked, “That is correct, so you do know my Dad?” Lucas said, “Shit” I said a little too loudly. “Crawford, I heard that, come to me at once, and minus your protective squad too,” we heard a teacher call out, and I groaned. “Should I call your Mum?” Craig whispered to me, “No mate I can handle this, but stay within hearing range if I need you, ok?” I replied, “Sure not a problem, Brad replied. “Ok, what the hell is going on here?” Lucas asked sounding frustrated,” “You can join Crawford, Mr Decker, and move it, I don’t have all day,” the teacher called out as Lucas and I walked down the hall, with Craig and Brad following slowly behind us. “Get a move on you two, or I will get the cane out on you?” the teacher threatened, “You do that sir, and you will be charged with assaulting a pro…” I stopped short, realising that I had already said too much, “Pro what Mr Crawford that defiantly didn’t sound like Minor, so what were you going to say?” the teacher said, “I can not say sir, as it is confidential,” I responded. “Confidential, I will give you confidential, now move your backsides to the headmasters office right now,” the teacher said to us, and I glanced back at my mates, who were now following close by, until the teacher stopped. “What are you two following for, go about your business, this has nothing to do with you,” the teacher said. By now Lucas and I had stopped and turned to see Craig and Brad just a metre away from the teacher, and they were not going to budge. “I am afraid it is their business sir, but I will not reveal the reason why, they will be following me, whether you like it or not,” I replied, before starting to walk again towards the administration building. I noticed that Lucas was typing madly on his phone, and I watched him as he nearly bumped into a few junior students as he was doing it as walking with me at the same time. When I heard a beep come from his phone, I watched as he read the message and smiled. “Help is on its way,” he whispered to me. At first I was not sure who he meant, then I realised he must have messaged his father, and I nodded in response, as we entered the admin building. When the teacher attempted to lock Brad and Craig out of the reception office, I suggest that you let them in sir,” I said to the teacher.” “Mr Decker, I have just had a phone call from your father, informing me that he is on his way, and that nothing is to happen concerning Mr Crawford, until he gets here, would you care to explain?” the Deputy Headmaster said. “Sir, Lucas is not aware of the situation, only that his father Mr Tom Decker, who is a National Parks Ranger, knows. I admit that I said a swear word, and that the teacher Mr Hunter heard me say it, but he has no right to verbally threaten too cane me, or anything else for that matter,” I responded. “Did you threaten Mr Crawford with the cane?” the deputy headmaster asked the teacher, “No I did not, that is ridiculous,” the teacher snapped, “That is not true sir, both Craig and I heard him say it as well as Lucas,” Brad said, having managed to get the door open and hear the last part of the statement. “They are part of Crawford’s trouble maker team, I told them to leave, but they kept following,” the teacher said, “There is a good reason for that sir, but I will not say anything about it in front of him,” I replied, just as I saw Tom coming down the passageway, in his Ranger uniform. “Mr Deputy Headmaster, if I may ask to speak to you in your office along with Master Edwin please,” Tom said as soon as he entered, and when he said that all eyes were on me. “Very well, if you think it is that important, this way please, and boys just stay here in reception, until I return,” the deputy headmaster said to Craig, Brad and Lucas. Once in the office, Tom stayed near the door, and a few moments later, he opened the door, and we found the teacher right next to it. “I suggest you go back to your duties, I will speak to you later, and I do not want to see you lurking around my door,” the deputy headmaster said sternly to the teacher, who was annoyed that he was caught trying to listen in. I gave a short sharp whistle, and seconds later, Brad and Craig were at the door and they closed it shut. “Sir, if I may reveal to the Deputy Headmaster who you are?” Tom asked, and I saw the deputy head open his mouth to speak, when he realised that Tom was speaking to me. “You have my permission,” I replied, “Mr Deputy Headmaster, may I present to you, Sir Edwin Crawford BT, Baronet of Wigan, and second cousin to the current Earl of Crawford, Scotland,” Tom announced and the Deputy Head sank into his chair. “A baronet, in my school? Crikey’s,” the Deputy Headmaster said eventually, and Tom and I both chuckled at this, “Sir, Craig and Brad are my security detail when I am at school, they know about my title, and have been doing very good to keep me safe. Lucas had over heard his father talking about me to his colleague last night, so he only knows that something is up but not what,” I explained. “So it is true that the teacher verbally threatened to cane you?” the Deputy Head asked, “He did what?” Tom exclaimed in a loud voice, which brought Craig and Brad rushing into the office, with Lucas following behind. “It is ok lads. Mr Decker got a little shocked at what the teacher had said. “What the… blazers is all this Dad?” Lucas asked, and Craig leaned over and whispered in his ear, and the expression on his face was surprised and shock, with very wide eyes, which made me chuckle. “Holy Cow pads,” Lucas exclaimed; which has us all laughing. “The less that know about this the better, although I received an email from my cousin in Edinburgh last night, stating that the media in the UK have found about my investiture. That is why apart from family and my staff, as well as Tom and Bill, and now you too Lucas, know about my title. I have always been a aristocrat, but I only found out about it this year, and now I have this minor hereditary title, which I received early this year during my trip to Scotland,” I said to all present. “So is that why you went to Holyrood Palace?” Lucas asked me. “Yes mate, my 2nd cousin Robert, the current Earl of Crawford sprung the surprise on me, giving me one of his very minor titles, “ I replied. “From the Queen?” Lucas asked in a squeaky voice, “Yes mate, by Her Majesty the Queen,” I replied, “Wow,” was all that Lucas could say in response. “Now getting back to the matter in hand, I will be writing a letter to the school board, requesting that this teacher, be disciplined for what he did today, and I suggest that you Master Edwin write a letter of apology for swearing out loud in school?” Tom said to me. “I am in agreement with you Mr Decker, and thankyou for taking the time to come here today, on behalf of Master Edwin,” the Deputy Headmaster said, as he stood and shook hands with Tom. “Ok boys back out you go, the bell will be sounding shortly,” the Deputy Headmaster said, and we walked out of the office and the administration building, where we saw the teacher glaring at us. Tom had remained in the office, so we headed to our lockers to collect our books, just as the first bell sounded. “Remember Lucas, not a word to anyone, ok,” Craig said to Lucas, who nodded his head in understanding. At lunchtime the four of us sat down together in the cafeteria, “What happened to the teacher? I haven’t seen him all morning?” Lucas whispered, “There are rumours that he was suspended from school for what he did to you today,” Craig whispered. “What are you morons whispering about?” the school bully said from close by, Lucas, who is one of the tallest kids in school stood up and faced him. “None of your beeswax idiot, so be on your way like a good little turd that you are,” Lucas said in response, and they both stared at each other, before the bully walked away, and Lucas sat down with a big grin on his face.
  4. quokka

    PS Ch 13

    “I see, well I am Tom this is Bill, we are from Tasmania Parks and Wildlife, we thought we were here to rescue you, but it looks like you don’t need it,” one of the men said and I chuckled at this. “I appreciate the time that you have put in to come and find me gentlemen, and I am happy to pay any fees to pay for your time looking for me,” I said. “Yes well, there usually is a fee for us finding people, but it looks like that you did not need it, so we will not worry about that. Now it is getting too late to head back to our vehicle at the road, so if you don’t mind we will camp with you tonight, and set off in the morning,” the first man Tom said. “It is your park, you are most welcome, and my name is Edwin Crawford and I am 16 years old,” I said smiling, as I led the way into my shelter. “Well you certainly have done well with building a shelter to keep out the wild weather,” Bill stated as both men looked around my small campsite. “Yes, well I did learn a lot of bushcraft in my first few years in high school in Launceston, and our outdoor education teacher said I was a born survivor, so I made sure that I came prepared, plus I did a number of overnight hiking trips first before embarking on this multiple day trip,” I replied. “Yes, that is quite obvious, so what have you been doing in the way of food and water?” Tom asked me, “Well I carried a lot of water with me, but I also have collected water from a nearby creek, and treating it, before using it. With food, I have been using the freeze dried meals, and to supplement that, I have hand caught a number of brown trout in the creek,” I replied. Hand caught, not with fishing line and fish hooks?” Bill asked, “No, just by hand and a lot of patience,” I replied smiling, “Well we have to congratulate you on that, especially since you need a licence to go fishing in the national park, but since they were hand caught, there is nothing in the books to say that you can’t do that,” Tom responded. “If you would allow me, we still have time to try some hand fishing?” I suggested. Fifteen minutes later, we were done in the creek, knee deep in the creeks freezing cold water, and in the last twenty minutes of daylight, we managed to catch five fish, three by me and one each by the rangers. Back at camp, with the help of just torch light, and the light coming from the fire, we gutted, scaled and cleaned the fish, before putting them on my smoking rack to cook, while I went and buried the remains well away from camp. Over the next two hours, we ate, talked and cleaned up after our meal, and eventually bunked down for the night, with the rangers rolling out their camping mats and sleeping bags around the fire, while I settled into my tent in the hollow of the tree, where it is a lot warmer. The next morning, I had the fire going and cooking my last three rations of breakfast when the two men eventually woke up, and I handed them a cup of tea each, to help them warm up. “Which of you is the snorer?” I asked casually and Tom laughed, “That would be me,” Bill admitted, and I just smiled. “I think you have found a wonderful campsite here young Edwin and I would like to suggest that you leave it up, as a future emergency shelter for anyone that gets stuck out here,” Tom suggested. “I am fine with that, but as you see the waterproof bit is only a Hootchie, so it won’t last any longer than one year at the most. “Now we know where it is, we will see to that, and leave a few small markers around letting people know that an emergency shelter is located close by,” Bill said, and once I had packed up my tent and backpack, we set off for the main access road, which took us a bit over an hour to reach. “Your Mum said you are on a property a bit out of Strahan, tell us where and we will take you home,” Bill asked me and I laughed, You can’t get there by car, only by train or boat,” I replied, and both men frowned, “What you mean not by car, where exactly is this place?” Tom asked. “Have you heard of Camp Spur?” I asked, “Yes it is on the Wilderness Railway line, but that is all National Parks Reserve,” Bill replied, “Yes all but 38 acres, which is owned by our family,” I replied. “Wait, I remembering reading some memo from Hobart head office about this, land bought by an Earl of somewhere, to be the holiday home of a Baronet, if I remember right,” Tom said. “That is correct, the Earl of Crawford from Scotland, who is my second cousin, and I am the Baronet of Wigan, but only family and staff know about that,” I replied smiling, “Holy crap, we are in the presence of aristocracy!” Bill exclaimed, ‘Err, what we call you?” Tom asked, “Just Edwin will be fine, as I don’t want anyone in Tasmania or Australia for that matter, to know that I am a Baronet, but just to let you know, in the line of order, I am below a baron and above a knight,” I replied. “So it would be Sir Edwin then?” Tom asked, “That is correct, for official regal events, but to everyone I am just Edwin, a Tasmanian teenager, who attends a grammar school in Launceston,” I responded. “Ok, so where do we drop you off, Just Edwin?” Bill asked, and I laughed. “In Strahan will be fine, I can be collected from there,” I replied, it was a one-hour drive from where the vehicle was parked to Strahan, via Queenstown, and as we drove through Queenstown, I sent a text message to Charles. “Park Rangers collected me from my campsite, bringing me back to Strahan, passing through Queenstown now, can you collect me in the boat in 45 minutes please, Edwin.” A fast response came back, “Glad you are ok, your mother and Aunty Bea were very worried, see you soon, Charles,” and I smiled at this before putting my mobile away. “Transport is organised, someone will collect me from Strahan,” I said to the two rangers. When we arrived in Strahan, I thanked Bill and Tom for their assistance, before walking down to the main boat jetty, where the sports boat was waiting for me, and I grabbed the rear mooring rope, before jumping onboard. Ready to go thanks Charles,” I called out, and we were soon on our way down Macquarie Harbour, towards the King River. When we arrived back at the manor, I received a group hug from Aunty Bea and Mum, and told not to scare them ever again. I promised that I would take more care, and that I was never in any trouble, as I was about to head off from my campsite the next morning, when the rangers arrived. I assure Mum that I would take a personal EPIRB with me next time, in case of an emergency, and that seemed to calm down a bit. After putting my dirty clothes in the wash, I had a hot shower and changed into some fresh clothes, before checking for emails, and I had once waiting for me from Robert. “Hello Edwin, I am afraid that the news has got out some how, that a relative of mine has recently been bestowed the title of Baronet of Wigan by Her Majesty, while she was in Edinburgh, so it won’t be long before the media work out that it is you. “I will do my best to keep any mention of you out of the media, but I can only do a little. On the long stretch home, I thought about a scholarship idea of yours, and came up with an idea. “You have the catamaran which has a total of five guest cabins, as well as two crew cabins, the captain’s cabin and owner’s cabin, so you could do a smaller version of your idea, using the catamaran, and localise the journey so that you are in protected waters. If you want to keep your identity secret, one way in participating in the scholarship trip, is to gain your boat skippers licence, or whatever way they call it there, that way you can be a crewmember and skipper the runabout tender for smaller waterways that the catamaran cannot get too. I will leave it in your capable hands to organise it all. I have a friend here in Scotland, who is a University lecturer in Environmental Science, who has travelled all around the world for research, and he would be glad to have the opportunity to spend some time in Tasmania’s wilderness forests, as well has hold a number of lectures. I have passed on your email information to him, so he will be in contact soon. Good luck with it all, and keep me posted on how the planning is going. Regards, Robert.” After reading the email, I went looking for Charles who I found out sweeping the verandahs. “Hey Charles, the catamaran, that Cousin Robert brought us here on the first time, Robert say’s that I own it, where is it being kept, and what is the river level limit for it to be able to fit under the bridges?” I asked. “Well Master Edwin, the catamaran is anchored in Morse Bay, north of Strahan, and to check the water level, we need to take a walk down to the jetty,” Charles replied, as he put the broom away and led the way through the manor and down the stairs, to the boardwalk. Soon we were standing on the jetty, with the sports boat tied up on one side. “Well Master Edwin, it appears that the river has risen quite a bit since I last checked, and it is now too high to get the catamaran up to the manor at this present time. If you take a look, on the other side of the river, you will see a marker post, with red painted lines and a number next to it. To get here in the catamaran, the river level needs to below a yellow line, which at the moment is not visible, as it is 1.5 metres below the water at present. The upper rail bridge is the one that has the lowest clearance, so the river needs to be below the yellow mark,” Charles explained. “Ok, that sounds fair enough and easy to understand, I will keep an eye on that marker now that I know it is there,” I replied, as we headed back to the manor. “I saw a light green mark higher up on that post, what does that mean?” I asked. “The river needs to be below that mark, to be able to get the sports boat under the two bridges,” Charles replied. “That looked fairly close to that mark already,” I stated, “Yes, that is why I did some additional shopping while waiting for your arrival, just in case we can’t get to town for a few days,” Charles replied. “I have been working with Cousin Robert on a project, and I am wondering if I can get you help with it?” I asked Charles. “If you are referring to the scholarship, then yes I have been fully briefed on it, and yes I would be happy to assist in any way,” Charles said to me. I opened my mouth to say something, then closed it and smiled. Once back in the manor, I retrieved my laptop and headed to the study, to try and come up with an alternative travel route for the catamaran, which entails no open water travelling. Half an hour later, there was a knock on the door and it opened a little. Dinner will be ready in twenty minutes Master Edwin, “Thankyou. Charles, since tomorrow is our last day here, if the water level stays below the green marker, could you take me out on a day trip up the Gordon River. I want to explore some options for this scholarship idea?” I asked, “Certainly Master Edwin, I would be happy to do that, if all is good with the water level, we can go straight after breakfast,” Charles replied, before he closed the door. “The next morning, I was up early, and after getting dressed, I dashed outside and headed for the jetty to check on the water level, and I wasn’t too happy to see that it was just below the green mark, as I headed back to the manor. “What is the water level like?” Charles asked me as I entered the dining room, where breakfast was laid out for me. “Not good, it is very close to the green marker,” I responded.
  5. quokka

    PS Ch 12

    I must be able to predict
  6. Sorry about the delays, my ISN provider has been having issues.

  7. quokka

    PS Ch 12

    When I woke the next morning, I felt that it was still quite cold outside of my sleeping bag, and while still fully clothed I stepped out of the hollow to be faced with deep snow surrounding my campsite, with some of last night’s campfire partially buried. Thankful that I had collected some extra wood and kindling to make a fire for breakfast, which had managed to stay dry, I soon had my fireplace going again, and began to heat up some water to make a cup of tea. While waiting for the water to boil, I trudged through the snow to relieve myself, and after using hand sanitiser, I went looking for some more wood, that was not too damp from the snow and rain, which I knew would be a hard ask. Finding a fallen tree with plenty of dead branches on it that were off the ground, I began breaking off pieces, large and small, so as to have a good supply of wood, since it looks like I would be here for a day or two at least. I only had enough food for six days in total, so knew that I needed to conserve what I have left, so I decided that I would skip my lunch meal, to try and stretch out my supplies some more. While collecting some wood, I heard the sound of running water, so I headed back to my camp with what wood I had collected. With the firewood stacked off the ground and under cover, I grabbed my canvas bucket, and headed for towards the sound of the river, using my multi took to make the trees as I go, so I can find the camp again, and when I finally reached the water source, I was surprised to see that it was a small river or creek, with plenty of rocks in it forming rapids. As I was filling the bucket with fresh water, I heard a splash sound and after looking around, I saw a fish jumping out and splashing back into the creek, and I smiled, knowing that I now have another food source, and all I had to do was catch it. I stood in the freezing cold water in my bare feet for a good twenty minutes before I had caught my first fish by hand, and shortly after that, I caught two more. “Happy with that, I put my boots back on and headed back to camp, which I was glad was quite easy to see, as my fire was now producing a fair amount of smoke from a slightly wet piece of wood, that I had placed on it before leaving the camp. When I arrived back, I was shocked to see that part of the Hootchie had melted from the heat of the fire, and I cursed at my stupidity of allowing for this to happen, and placing the fish on the wood pile, I undid the ropes, to release the destroyed Hootchie, and I put it to one side, while I retrieved the spare one, and this time, I tied a rope between the two trees, at a height of about two and a half metres off the ground, which was as far up as I could reach on the second tree. With that done, I attached ropes to each corner, of the width of the Hootchie, and tied them to two other trees about a metre away from the rope strung between the two big trees, and once I had the Hootchie over that centre rope, I used the stakes I had made to peg the other end down to the ground, so it now provided a one end enclosed area between the two larger trees and an open area on the other side. Once I had done this, I emptied my backpack and headed back to the creek, where I managed to find some good-sized rocks that have at least one side that is flat, and I hauled them back to the campsite, which was quite a task. Now with better rocks, I made a better camp fire in the centre of the shelter, so as to try and contain the heat a bit more, and not have a repeat of last time, and once that was done, I kept my backpack on my back and headed off to where I had seen some good size tree branches, that would help to improve the shelter. For this hiking trip, I had increased the number of supplies that I had with me, so apart from the water bucket, I also have a wire saw and a hatchet, and with these two items with me, I was able to cut some good-sized branches, that are fairly straight, some at about two metres and a few at three metres long, with some of the short ones having a Y shape at the top, and strapping them to my backpack, I made my way back to the camp. Once I had the branches stacked up, I began to scale and clean the three brown trout, that I had caught, and with some green twigs, I weaved a mat, with some good gaps between the, and with that done I found four green branches with a strong side branch, and after cutting it to size, I dug four holes around the edge of the fire pit and buried the sticks about two feet down, with rocks around the base, before placing the stick mat into place over the sticks, and made a few adjustments until I was happy with it. Placing the fish on the weave mat, I placed it to one side, and started up the fire again, this time keeping the flames low, so as not to melt the Hootchie. Once I had a great feed of fresh fish, I cleaned up the campsite, and well away from the campsite, I dug a hole to bury the remains of the fish. Back at the campsite, I used to of the sticks with a short Y on the top, to prop up the rope that supports the shelter, and I used a longer length as a cross bar. Once that had been done, I used the longer lengths, to lean against the cross bar, on the inside of the shelter. Once I had done that, I headed out and found a heap of fairly straight thinner pieces of sticks, and back at the campsite, I weaved them through the upright sticks, so I now have a support wall & ceiling for the Hootchie. Heading back down to the creek, this time with my empty backpack, where there is a huge amount of bracken fern, I have to work to cut as much bracken fern that I can carry, both in the backpack and in my arms, before heading back to camp. With all of the green bracken fern, I weaved it into the wooden support wall, so as to create a protective layer between the fireplace and the Hootchie roof, which would allow me to now have a bigger fire to stay warm. After temporarily packing up my tent, I used all of the left over bracken leaves, to soften the floor of the hollow tree, as it was fairly hard to sleep on at night. When done, I put the tent back up inside the tree, and laid out my sleeping bag once again. With daylight fading quickly, I got to work making a weaved screen form the rest of the larger sticks, until I had a two metre by three metre wooden screen, which I will use to partially block of the open side of the camp. This will help to keep the snow, rain and cold wind out, and using some rope, I attached it to the eyelets a quarter of the way along the Hootchie, so that it will stay upright in strong winds, and I pegged the bottom of the screen down to the ground. With a fair amount of wood stacked up against the shelter wall, I stoked up the fire, as the temperature again plummeted quickly, so I sat on a log end that I had found near by, and kept close to the fire for as long as I could, before heading into my tent, to stay warmer, inside my sleeping bag. Using my small torch, I took out my compass and topographical map, and I looked at it carefully, to try and work out exactly where I am, as this is my third night in the forest, and I needed to start looking at finding a way to get back to the manor, before Mum starts getting worried, as I am due back no later than the day after tomorrow. I decided that I need to go for a long hike tomorrow, to get to higher ground to pinpoint my location, then from there I should be able to get to the Mt Jukes Lookout on the Mt Jukes Road, and once on there I can hike west along the dirt road to a nearby Hydro-Electric power station. As expected it began to snow again during the night, and when I woke in the morning, it was a lot higher than the previous morning, and I was now very glad that I had built the screen, as there was snow banked up against it, and virtually no snow in my camp area under the Hootchie canopy. After getting the fire going again, I cooked up one of my breakfast packets, which do not look very appetising, but they do taste fairly good. Once I had eaten, I heated up some water, and gave my self a brisk sponge bath, with the warmth of the water disappearing quickly once it cold air got to it. Once I had changed into my only spare change of clothes, I cleaned up the campsite, stoked up the fire with a mixture of dry and green wood, before grabbing my water bottle, compass and map, and I started heading northeast up the nearest ridge, so get a better idea where I am. When I felt I was near the top of the ridge, I turned around, and all I could see was just trees, as it was just as thick with vegetation as it is further down, so after a little bit of searching, I found a tree with enough lower branches, that I could climb up it, and when I was about 6 metres off the ground, I was finally able to look around me. I could see the smoke of my campsite due south of me, deep in a valley, and I smiled about that, looking to the northwest I could see the King River, and looking to the east I could see a gravel road, which I presumed to be the Mount Jukes Road. Once I had climbed back down to the ground, I retrieved my map, and using what I saw up high, I was able to pinpoint the hill that I am standing on, and where the camp site, and I was able to work out that I was less than three kilometres away from the road if I remain in the valley and follow them towards the road, on the map. Satisfied with what I had achieved, I headed back to my campsite, where I would spend one last night, before packing up and heading off for the road in the morning, hopefully with less rain this time, as I was finding it hard to walk through it, where it hadn’t melted, which was about 50 metres higher than the campsite. Once back at camp, I carefully pulled off the green wood, and put it to one side, and I stoked the fire with dry wood to heat up some water for a well-earned cup of black tea, and a late lunch meal in a packet. Once I had cleaned up, I laid back and enjoyed the peaceful sounds of the forest. I must have counted about twenty different bird sounds over the time that I sat there, and just as it started to get cold again, I heard a distinct snap of a branch, which was definitely not made by a bird, and I froze still waiting to see if I would hear any more. I heard another snap, but this was quickly followed by the sound of a kangaroo or wallaby bounding away from the sound, but it was heading in this direction, so I stayed still. When I heard it stop close to the camp, I carefully looked in that direction and saw a wallaby looking back in the direction that it came, and a loud crack of another dead branch made the wallaby start off again, bouncing right past my camp and disappearing into the forest down near the creek. “Seen anything yet Bill?” I know he must be here somewhere, I saw the smoke clearly about an hour ago,” I clearly heard a voice say, “What? no, just a wallaby scaring the crap out of me just ahead,” the second voice replied, and I heard a chuckle coming from the first man, as I stood up, “If you are looking for me, I am right here,” I called out. “Mr Crawford is it?” one of the men called back, “yes, that is me, why?” I responded, “We came looking for you, as your mother was getting a little concerned, especially with this sudden storm that appeared out of know where the other night,” one of the men said as they approached. “Oh you are just a teenager, your mother didn’t say what age you were, only that you were an experienced outdoor bloke, who maybe in trouble with this storm,” one of the men said as they appeared out of the forest. “That is why I found a good spot to shelter, and after today’s check on my surrounds from the ridge to the north, I know exactly where I am, and I was going to head for the Mount Jukes Road and the Hydro plant tomorrow,” I responded.
  8. quokka

    PS Ch 10

    I’m not sure how to respond to these feed comments, so all I will do is acknowledge them and take them under advisement.
  9. quokka

    PS Ch 11

  10. quokka

    PS Ch 11

  11. quokka

    PS Ch 11

    The ship has five decks, it has three separate lounges, a library, lecture lounge, a gymnasium, and a gift shop, which we could utilise some other way, and there is covered or open outdoor deck areas on each deck, plus two explorer tenders and six tenders. I suggest that we add a few double and single kayaks to the list,” Robert announced. “What is your suggested travel route, if we do go for this way?” Hunter asked, “Well, I was thinking of a fourteen day circumnavigation of Tasmania, including Flinders and King Islands, with a mixture of adventure and education being the key aim for the trip,” I replied. “I have decided that I like this idea so much, that I am prepared to financially support this scholarship, which we will discuss in some more detail later. Firstly we need to secure the ship and crew, and work out an itinerary for the scholarship,” Robert replied. For nearly two hours, the three of us were in discussions until we heard Mum and Aunty Bea coming inside. “Hello, what have you three been up too?” Aunty Bea asked. “Oh, just business mostly, since Robert is heading back to Scotland at the end of the weekend,” I replied. After lunch, Hunter received a call, and straight afterwards, he spoke to Robert quietly, “I am sorry, but we have to head back to Scotland, Alexander has been rushed to hospital urgently, and I need to be there, I will ask Charles to take us back to Strahan while you stay fort he rest of the weekend. I will make sure that the plane comes and collects you at 3 pm tomorrow, to take you back to Launceston,” Robert announced to us, understanding that it is a family emergency; Aunty Bea wished them a safe journey home, and we did the same. Less than an hour later, I received a text message. “Hi Edwin, just a quick note, I heard back about my enquiries about the ship, which is no longer available, I will keep looking, but maybe you could look at other options, Regards Robert.” Although a little disappointed about not having a ship for the scholarship, I knew that it was a long shot, and so I headed to the study with my laptop to look at other options, as Robert suggested. We ended spending the rest of the time at our holiday retreat relaxing and taking walks along the boardwalk through the forest, before flying back to Launceston, so I could complete my final week of school term. Mum and Aunty Bea agreed that they enjoyed their stay at the retreat, especially with Charles and Elizabeth doing all the work looking after us, and they agreed with me on the idea of spending the two weeks of the school holidays back at the retreat. I decided to keep the existence of the retreat to Craig and Brad for the time being, and they had organised a trip to the Snowy Mountains for the holidays, so when the last day of the school term came to and end, I headed straight home, where Mum and Aunty Bea had everything packed for the two-week holiday. Instead of chartering a plane to fly there, Mum decided for us to drive down there, which is a four-hour journey, with an overnight stop at a lodge in the Central Highlands, which is about half way along the journey. Charles would be collecting us at about 10 am on Saturday morning, to get us to the retreat in the sports boat, which is a great ride, cruising up the river in amongst the forest. I was beginning to enjoy these times in a remote forest location, even though it is less than half an hour away by boat to Strahan. The walks along the boardwalk gave me plenty of time to think about my future, and especially with all of my properties in the UK, and I realised now that maybe after school, my future would be in Scotland, with Haig Hall as my possible home base, and this was something I need to discuss with Mum and Aunty Bea. With the property being thirty-eight acres in area, with the centre of the property being twenty to forty metres higher than the riverbanks area including where the manor is located, which is about fifteen metres above the river water level. The boardwalk has no steps, and only has mild slopes to make it the walk over the peek of the hill. The first sixty metres of the boardwalk goes directly to the railway line, ramping down to ground level on the edge of the forest. Stepping over the railway line, the ramp up to the boardwalk begins once again on the edge of the forest, before splitting into two directions, one heading on the west side of the hill, and the other heading to the east, along the edge of the first cleared area. The east boardwalk goes for another 90 metres before reaching the edge of the second cleared area, and going on til the northern boundary, were the boardwalk starts to Zig-Zag up the slope to the top and back down on the other side. It meets up with the east side of the boardwalk near the first clearing, with it being one point six kilometres long in total. I found it a good source of exercise, each day at the retreat, and I found that I needed to take a rain coat with me on most walk’s as there were regular light showers or rain during the walk. On my third day back at the retreat, on my daily walk, I stopped at the second clearing to have a better look around. As I had a good look, I realised that this would be an ideal location for guest accommodation, to help pay for having the land in a remote location, and maybe this could be the location for the scholarship to be held. When I returned to the manor, I asked Charles to take me into town, as I wanted to do some shopping, for some hiking gear, as I wanted to explore some more of this area. By the end of the afternoon, Charles brought me back to the manor, with shopping bags full of hiking gear. This included a good-sized hiking backpack, a flint & steel, a pocket multi tool, a first aid kit, a lightweight thermal sleeping bag, a compact hiking towel, water bottle, a compass, hand sanitiser, emergency blanket and waterproof jacket. I already have a good pair of new hiking boots, thick socks, as well as gloves and thermals, which I brought back with me from Europe, so I now felt ready to try a day out of hiking, with the possibility of overnight camping, if I need too. When I announced my planes to my family, they were a little concerned that I was going to be hiking in the thick forest on my own, but I assured them that I would be fine. Over the next few days, I did a series of daily hikes, returning to the manor just before dark each time, each time going in a different direction. When I was confident that I knew the area fairly well now, I announced that I was going to try a few overnight stays in the forest, with two Hootchie canvases and cord, to provide me with shelter if I need too, but so far all I have had to deal with is light rain on the hikes I have done so far. The first overnight stay after a half day hike went very well, and I returned to the manor mid afternoon, and with only a week remaining before we had to head back to Launceston, I wanted to do a full day of hiking and an overnight stay in the forest, so five days before our departure back to civilisation, with my backpack loaded, with everything, including plenty of fresh water and freeze dried food packs and snacks, I set off early the next morning, after a large breakfast. This time my direction was going to be East-North East to Mount Jukes Lookout, which in a straight line is just over seven kilometres, but between that is some very rugged and steep terrain, with approximately 7 ridges to climb up and down, as well as the thick forest to deal with, and this time I would be carrying a compact pop up tent with me. I knew that it would be tough going, but I also knew that I was fit enough, strong enough and fairly well prepared to be able to succeed. What I had not taken into account was that my one and only silly mistake, was that I did not do a final check of the weather report before leaving, and that I was about to hike into one of the worst winter storms that Tasmania has experienced in a decade. After my first full day of hiking, I estimated that I had only travelled about five kilometres, as I had decided to take a longer route, following valleys, where the climbing would not be so steep, and I set up camp just above a creek, which according to my map is the Garfield River. This would get me nearly half way to my destination of the lookout, but I firstly had to find the access road that leads to it. My first day of hiking in this direction had given me plenty of challenges, apart from fighting through very thick forest, there was always plenty of large fallen logs to cross over and small creeks to cross. When I woke in the morning, I realised that the temperature was still quite low, and there was a thick misty fog in the valley, as I heated up my breakfast, and had a cup of tea, before packing up everything and setting off once more, checking my compass and the map, before surveying the hills around me, to get a basic idea of my location. I had travelled in a mostly Easterly direction yesterday, so I needed to follow some valleys that go in a more northerly direction, if I am to find the access road, hopefully some time late in the afternoon, but I would not be too concerned if I do not stumble across it until tomorrow. It was almost dusk by the end of the day when I decided to finally stop, having not found the access track yet, even when I was going mostly in a northeasterly direction for most of the day. Earlier when I was on top of a ridge, I could see a number of high mountain ridges, some close and some a lot further away, so I knew that I must be fairly close to them now. I was now on a eastern slope of a small ridge, where I had managed to find a flat area, protected by three large trees, with one of them having a hollowed out area, that is about two and a half metres in diameter and about half a metre above the ground, which I decided was a perfect shelter. It took me about half an hour to level off the inside of the hollow, which was filled with most, rotting bark, and some charcoal, left from when there must have been a fire through the area a decade or two ago, as the area was still fairly well regrown back, with plenty of high foliage cover. Once I was satisfied that the hollow was fairly flat and smooth, I set up my pop up tent inside, and once I had my backpack inside and my sleeping back laid out, I grabbed one of the Hootchie and rope, and began to secure one short end around the tree trunk. This was a little difficult because of the girth of the tree, but after a few attempts and a few adjustment to how to get the rope around the tree, then standing inside the hollow, I lifted the rope till it was just above where the hollow ends, and pulled it tight, so it would not slip down, with a small notch in the tree assisting me with achieving that. The other end of the Hootchie I secured to the ground after making some stakes, near the base of the other two trees, using my multi tool, and used some more rope and stakes in the ground to keep it tort. Happy with what I had achieved, and with it now almost dark, I quickly found some rocks and fallen wood, to make a small fire to cook my dinner. Feeling the temperature drop quite quickly, I gave the pot and plate and cutlery a quick wipe with a tiny bit of water, before retreating to my tent, to stay warm. Being raised off the ground and inside a tree hollow helped with keeping out the cold, as there is only a one-metre wide and two metre high gap in the tree, making it a nice and cosy tree cave. I woke up shivering sometime in the night, and while still in my sleeping bag, I retrieved an extra woolly jumper and the emergency blanket, to cover me, to help keep me warm, and happily I was soon fast asleep again.
  12. quokka

    PS Ch 10

    We were amazed at how thick the forest is, with us not being able to see anything beyond more than twenty metres in When we approached a second bridge, the yacht slowed down to a crawl as it went under it, without touching the underneath of the bridge, but I estimated that it would have been a very close call. After another 45 minutes, we began a sweeping turn, suddenly the catamaran turned into a small jetty that was well hidden amongst the trees, on the inside of the turn, and we were soon moored at the jetty. “What are we doing here?” Aunty Bea asked. “I thought we could take a little walk along a set trail in the forest to see what it is like further inland,” Robert replied as we headed down the spiral stairs, and off the yacht. The jetty is about two metres wide, and I was surprised that we walked about thirty metres along it before stepping onto a raised boardwalk, already deep in the forest, with the yacht barely visible behind us. “How much further can this yacht go up stream?” I enquired, “Well the next train station is just four kilometres upstream, and there is a small jetty located 50 metres down from there, as there are small rapids just after the jetty, stopping us from getting any closer,” Robert replied. We walked along the boardwalk, for about eighty metres until Hunter who was leading the way came to a stop, and turned a faced us. “Sir Edwin, I would like to present to you, your holiday home, Wigan Manor,” Robert announced. At first, I did not notice anything, because of all of the thick forest vegetation, then I noticed what looked like a large steel pole, and then I spotted a second one, “What the heck is this?” I asked as I walked up to the closest pole and gave it a thump with the side of my fist. When I heard a sound, I jumped back in fright, and suddenly a building appeared out of the sky, or that is what it looked like at first. When the motors that managed the building height adjustments came to a stop, the building was now in full view, with it looking to be about eight metres in width, as it stopped three metres above the ground, and another sound, soon showed the arrival of stairs. “Wow, this is incredible, how do you do all of that?” Aunty Bea asked, “Simple really, the manor is located on a raising platform, which is usually used on water, but I have had it airlifted into place, as were the three sections of the manor. She is eight metres wide and eighteen metres long, with 3 levels, and after these entry stairs, you have a choice of stairs or a lift to get to the other levels. I have employed a caretaker couple, who look after the manor, and they have done an excellent job of looking after Hunter and me during our stay here,” Robert announced, just as a couple appeared at the foot of the stairs. “Baronet Wigan, welcome to your new home, we hope you enjoy your stay. Welcome to Wigan Manor, Lady Petworth and Lady Crawford. Welcome back Lord Crawford, and Master Hunter. My name is Charles and this is my wife Elizabeth, please follow us upstairs,” the Gentleman said who was wearing a full suit, while the Lady was wearing a simular formal uniform, and Charles took over carrying some of the luggage, while Hunter brought the rest. Arriving on the first level, we were on a wide verandah, and large glass windows gave a magnificent view of what is inside, a very grand looking living area. “As you can see we have the living room in the centre, on once side is the drawing room, and on the other is the Billiards Room. Behind the living area is the elevator or lift as you call it here, stairs, as well as the main access hallway, with the staff quarters and stores behind that. Behind the Drawing room is the formal Dining room and adjoining Kitchen and pantry, while behind the Billiards room is the library,” Robert informed us as we entered the living area. On the next level up at the front, there are two guest suites and two guest bedrooms, all with private bathrooms, plus a guest lounge room. The access hallway behind it goes to the central elevator, stairs, as well as the upper level of the library, a study, computer room and music room, plus some storerooms. The top level has the two master suites. The manor is fully self sufficient, with a composting biodegradable waste system, a number of fresh water tanks, with water collected from the roof for drinking, as well as filtered water from the river for the rest of the required uses. “For power, the manor has solar panels on the roof, as well as two wind turbines that provide all the power needed, which is stored in a bank of huge batteries. Usually during the day, the manor is down at the level it is now, and at night it is raised, so as to collect wind power,” Robert announced to us. Hunter showed Aunty Bea and Mum to their guest suites on the next level, while Robert showed me to my master suite located on the upper level. “Wow, you went all out with luxury with this place,” I commented as I stepped into my suite private lounge, and into my bedroom suite. “Only the best for my cousin,” Robert said after a short chuckle. “Where does Hunter sleep?” I asked, “Oh he sleeps in the dog house,” Robert commented, “I heard that My Lord,” came a quick response from Hunter, and I laughed at that, and Robert smiled. “He sleeps in one of the guest bedrooms, which are just as comfortable as the suite, just a little smaller,” Robert answered to my question. How long have Charles and Elizabeth been staying here?” I asked, “They moved in as soon as the manor was fully in place just over a week ago, and they have been busy preparing for your arrival,” Robert replied. “Are they here full time?” I asked, “Yes, and if you didn’t notice, there is a smaller boat that they use to get into town to do the shopping and other supplies when needed. I have set up a housekeeping account, which they use to pay for all household costs, including fuel for the small boat, which is a fifteen metres sports motor yacht, which is much faster and manoeuvrable than the catamaran,” Robert replied. “I would like to have a private chat to you about an idea I have, that could be beneficial to not just my school but other independent schools in Tasmania,” I said to Robert as I exited my suite. “That sounds very intriguing, let’s take a seat here in the hall, and we can discuss it,” Robert replied. “Well, after some research, I worked out that there are a total of nine independent senior schools like and including the school I attend. Six of them are in Northern Tasmania, and the other three are in and around Hobart in the south of the state. I was thinking of doing a special bursary award for the top Year Eleven Students at each of the Christian independent senior schools. I was thinking that since some are co-ed and some are just boys schools, maybe we should make it for boys for the first one,” I began, thinking more about how it could work as I spoke. “Go on, I like what you have come up so far,” Robert encouraged me, “I was thinking of it being a two week long adventure and educational trip. With guest lecturers from universities, in fields like marine science and environmental science, plus specialist coaches in outdoor activities like scuba diving and such,” I said. “Keep going, I like what you have come up with so far, and I want to know more, like where would this trip be held?” Robert said to me, “This is where things are getting a little tricky, I was thinking of maybe purchasing if possible a small cruise ship, with a maximum of about 120 passengers, which will be used as the base for the two week trip. Maybe have one or two teachers from each school in attendance, as well as the lecturers and coaches,” I suggested. “Well, you have put a fair amount of thought in this haven’t you? I am fully supportive of this idea and will gladly help in anyway to get it happening,” Robert responded. “I am so happy to hear that, thankyou Cousin Robert,” I said happily. “Any idea what you would call this award?” Robert asked, “No not really, but maybe I could name it after my title, without revealing that it is me,” I replied. “What about something like the Wigan Academic Scholarship,” Robert suggested, “Yes, that sounds fairly good, I will do some more research and see what needs to be done to get things started,” I replied. That evening, after dinner, we all sat on the verandah listening to the wildlife in the forest, and it was so peaceful and relaxing, I was now very glad that Robert had decided to locate our holiday home in the Tasmanian Forests on the west coast. “When will you and Hunter be heading back to the UK?” Aunty Bea asked Robert, “We will be flying back to Launceston with you, then onto Melbourne, before boarding our flight back to Edinburgh via London,” Robert replied. The following morning, after a bit of a sleep in, I woke up to the sound of a steam whistle, and I realised that it must be the Wilderness Railway train, and I quickly dressed and headed out to the verandah to have a look northwards. I strained to see if I could see the train with the railway line being just 60 metres away from the Manor according to Robert, but all that I could see was the black smoke coming from the engine, because the forest is so thick. I also realised that the Manor was back down at the lower level, so the verandah is just slightly below the level of the treetops. After hearing the train get further away, I headed downstairs for some breakfast. “Good morning Sir Edwin, the others have all eaten, but I have kept your breakfast warm for you,” Charles said before heading into the kitchen and returning moments later with a cooked breakfast. I was about to ask where everyone was when I heard Robert’s laugh, coming from the direction of the billiards room. After breakfast, I walked into the billiards room to see Robert and Hunter playing billiards. “Good morning sleepy, did you have a good rest?” Robert said when he saw me enter. “Yes thanks, so peaceful and quiet, I only woke when I heard the train whistle, and when I went out to look, all I could see was the smoke from the engine,” I replied. “Your Mum and Bea have gone for a walk, as I have some raised boardwalks constructed,” Robert replied. Can we have some more discussions about my project, while there is no one around?” I asked, “Oh so I am a ghost am I?” Hunter said, and Robert smiled, “No sorry, I just meant… Never mind,” I said and Robert laughed. “It is alright, Hunter knows about your scholarship project, and together we have already started working on it, firstly with a plan of action, so let’s stop this and take a set in the study, so we can get to work,” Robert said. Once settled into the study, Hunter pulled out his laptop computer and booted it up. “Right to start off, we have looked into the idea of using a small cruise ship, and we have found a possible suitable ship. She is 93.5 metres long and 17.2 metres wide, with a draught of 4.5 metres. It has 54 guest cabins and 6 guest suites, 22 crew and 4 officers cabins for a total of 48 crew, although with this not being a cruise, and more of a private ship, you may be able to cut the crew numbers down, so it is not so costly.
  13. quokka

    PS Ch 9

  14. quokka

    PS Ch 9

  15. quokka

    PS Ch 1

    Thanks mate. I haven’t been to Scotland, but it is high up on my to do list, as my ancestors come from there.
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