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About quokka

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  1. quokka

    PS Ch 20

    Nah sorry mate, I just have one added chapter to go.
  2. quokka

    PS Ch 20

    We ate lunch, while the yacht cruised down the river, before coming out into Macquarie Harbour, and started heading southwards and towards the other side of the harbour, and we arrived at the sheltered Double Cove shortly after 3 pm. Where the seaplane having already arrived, and the captain anchored about 50 metres offshore and about twenty metres from the plane. The crew got to work to get the tender into the water, and to go and collect our newest passenger, who looked to be in his 40’s but he looked very lean and physically fit, as I watched from my aft deck on the bridge deck. I informed Elizabeth that I would see Mr Atherton about an hour before dinner, as I wanted to get some more work done on the project, and I saw her greet Mr Atherton, and lead the way indoors, before I headed back to my office. For the trip so far, I have been making sure that I took plenty of photos, as I want to include some of them in the portfolio that will be given to the successful candidates who will be coming on this trip in early December. I wanted to have all of the planning completed before the end of the school holidays, so to start promoting it to the six schools in Northern Tasmania. I watched from the window as the plane took off and headed back to Strahan, and now with the yacht anchored, there would be no motion of the yacht, apart from the slight waves, created from the harbour and I got to work with my project. Shortly before 5 pm, I headed to my cabin to shower and change before heading down to the main deck. I heard a movie on the theatre, so I presumed my friends were in there, and I found Mum and Aunty Bea chatting to Mr Atherton, when I entered the main saloon. “Ah, here he is at last. May I present my son, Sir Edwin Crawford, BT,” Mum said to Mr Atherton, as I approached them and shook Mr Atherton’s hand, and signalled for him to take a seat, and I sat down next to Aunty Bea. “I hope you find your accommodation satisfactory?” I asked our guest. “Yes thankyou Sir, far more than I expected, you mentioned that there may be another trip in December, do you have any set date yet?” Mr Atherton asked, “Yes, December 6th looks like the start date, but I need to confirm a few things first, before setting the date in steel, I should know some more before you leave at the end of your stay with us,” I replied. “Best not to say anything while the boys are around, as one of them may be coming on the trip in December,” Mum added, and I nodded my head in agreement. “Have you met them yet?” I asked, “Yes, only briefly, are they class mates of yours?” Mr Atherton replied. “Yes former class mates, as I do my studies via correspondence mostly now, thanks to the media circus, they were also my security detail at school, even thou only they knew about my title at the time, even the teachers and administration had no idea,” I responded. “I bet that must have been a big shock to them when they found out?” Mr Atherton asked, “I would not know, as it was a Sunday when the news broke, and my friends alerted me to the media present at school, so I stayed away from that moment on,” I replied. The lads joined us about fifteen minutes later, and sat down in the saloon. “So, you said before that we are going up the Gordon River tomorrow?” Lucas asked me. “That is correct, now lads, this is Mr Atherton, he is an Outdoor Education specialist, who will be joining us for the remainder of the trip this week,” I said to my friends, before facing our guest. “I have obtained permits for us to travel as far up as the Franklin River junction, and the lads and I are taking the Eagle Creek track between the two rivers,” I informed Mr Atherton. For the next five days, we followed the itinerary that I had set out, and after taking each section of the trip, I adjusted the timetable to fit with how long it took us to complete each section of the trip. Mr Atherton led us with the three long distance hikes, firstly the Eagle Creek Track, the Bird River Track and finally the track to Sorell Lighthouse. On the last day, we anchored in Pine Cove, just below the mouth of the King River, where the Bosun took Mr Atherton to Strahan in the tender, so to keep the yacht out of sight. I sat down alone with Mr Atherton on our return journey, and gave a rundown of the plans for December, and he said that he would make sure that he and one of his staff are available for that trip, and he thanked me for such an enjoyable five days. Fifteen minutes after the tender left, the anchor was raised, and the Captain headed for the King River, and began cruising up the river, but this time we stopped about 600 metres before the Teepookana Bridge, to stay out of sight, and the tender returned just before dark. “By the way, we have been meaning to ask you, where have you been hiding from the media, since the news broke that it was you?” Lucas asked me, and the other two nodded their heads in agreement to the question, “For that information my friends, you will have to wait till morning when we go there to show you,” I replied smiling. “What adventure have you got planned for us next?” Brad asked me, “Well, I have nothing planned, but if you can handle a day and a bit of rough seas, we can be in Port Davey in less than two days,” I suggested. “How rough are you talking about?” Craig asked cautiously, “I am not sure, I will have to check with the Captain to see what the weather is going to be like for the trip,” I replied. After a few hours stop at home at the manor, where the lads were surprised at the hideaway retreat in the Tasmanian Forests, we did make the journey down the west coast. The journey was not as bad as I thought it would be, with an overnight stop anchored in a small bay, where we were rocked a little bit during the night, with Craig looking a bit peaky by the time we reached calm waters. Just over two hours after starting again in the morning, we entered the Bathurst Channel, just inside Port Davey, were it calmed right down, and half an hour later we entered Bathurst Harbour, and turned northeast. With our destination being Black Swan Island, were we would stay for a couple of days, and I had arranged for the seaplane to come and collect us all, dropping Mum, Aunty Bea and I at Pine Cove, where Charles would pick us up, and dropping the lads off in Strahan, so they can catch a flight back to Launceston. It was an awesome one and a half weeks with the lads, and they said that they enjoyed most of it, apart from the rough tri[p down the coast, but in all, it was great, and I didn’t tell them what I had planned for December, as I was not sure who the top two students would be. I had managed to complete all preparations for the December trip and this included a promotional poster, which I sent to all six independent schools in Northern Tasmania. “TOP TWO YEAR 11 STUDENTS GET TRIP OF A LIFETIME” was the title of the poster to grab everyone’s attention. “Sir Edwin Crawford BT, is proud to sponsor this six day luxury adventure cruise in Tasmania, for the top two year 11 students from the following six independent schools. Circular Heads Christian School, Leighland Christian School, Geneva Christian School, Launceston Christian School, Launceston Church Grammar and Scotch Oakburn College. As well as just twelve students, there will be four science teachers, two Outdoor Education specialists and two visiting University Science Academics, from the UK. The trip will involve seven days of exploring some unique locations, with hiking forest trails and white water rafting, as some of the activities, with it to be held after final exams in early December. Study hard and do your school and you proud, and you may be rewarded.” I had attached my business card to the poster, and as expected on the second day of the final term of school for this year, I received an email from all six schools. All of them were asking if this was a hoax or not, and requested a telephone call to confirm. That day I made the six telephone calls, speaking to the Headmaster of each school, and informed them that this was indeed for real, and I asked that he nominate one senior science teacher, to be part of this all expenses paid trip, and that four out of six nominations, will be selected to attend. Later that day, I received a text message from all three of my mates at Launceston Church Grammar. “Edwin, were you using us as guinea pigs last week, in preparation for this other trip mentioned on the poster, as some of the photos look like us from last week, Craig.” “Edwin, that was sneaky of you to use us to test the route for the end of year trip. I like the photos, Brad,” and the final message, “Hey mate, just seen the poster, looks like us in the photos from last week, I guess I have a good chance of winning this, maybe that is why you didn’t tell us, Lucas.” I smiled having read all the messages, before getting back to my studies, as I was supposed to be doing. Although I was missing seeing my friends each school day, I was still happy to be able to bring them along on the trip, and then and idea came to me. Picking up the phone, I dialled a number, “Hello Captain Hakney, would it be possible to allow for two additional crew members just for this cruise in early December?” I asked when the call was answered. “It depends, who are you thinking of exactly?’ the captain asked. “Two of my friends Brad and Craig, but not Lucas, as there is a good chance that he will be one of the award winners, as he has been top of our year for most of this year,” I replied. “I see no problem with that, but they will need to complete some basic training before then, I will send you the information, so they can get right onto it,” Captain Hakney said, and I thanked him before ending the call. When I received the email from the captain, I looked through it carefully, and checked up on the training courses that can be held in Launceston, which can be done on weekends as I had hoped, and I waited until just before 5 pm, before ringing Craig, and then Brad. Explaining my idea, I asked them if they were interested in being a temporary crew member, and happily they both accepted the offer, and I informed them to keep this to themselves, and not tell Lucas, who would most likely be one of the award winners. I told them to expect an email from me soon, regarding some training they need to do, and signed off. When I received an email from the six schools, nominating a science teacher to attend the event, I saw two familiar names, one was my former science teacher, two years back, who now teaches at another school who I and most other students hated. The other science teacher is at my former school in Launceston, who is also disliked by most of the student population. So deciding whom the lucky four science teachers are, was an easy task, but to be certain that was not a problem with students from those schools, I contacted the headmaster of those four schools. I asked their opinion of the science teacher and if he is liked by the students, and I was pleased when all fours headmasters said that their nominated science teacher are well liked by the students, staff and the teachers at their schools.
  3. An extra chapter has been added, so now there are twenty one chapters in total..

    45,420 words.


  4. quokka

    PS Ch 19

    Mum and Aunty Bea have suites on the next deck up, and I am on the Bridge deck. I haven’t had a chance to see that yet, as you interrupted it with your arrival,” I said to my friends, as I gave them a hug and back slap each, before leading the way through to inside, and showed them the cinema first, before showing the three queen guest cabins. “We have a cabin each?” Lucas asked looking very surprised, “Yes mate, and there are plenty to spare, this deck has five queen cabins and two twin cabins, for guests. On the next deck there are an additional four VIP cabins and two VIP suites,” I informed my mates. “Wow, this is outrageously awesome, how many crew do you have on board?” Craig asked, “Um, let me think, I have only just met them all, I think there is eighteen crew, four officers, plus five senior crew and nine general crew,” I replied. When the lads had looked at their cabins, we began to explore the whole yacht, except for the lower deck, which I told my mates, is off limits to all guests. When we reached the bridge deck, we headed aft entering a large private saloon, and out to my private aft deck, and going up the stairs, we came to a large sundeck, with plenty of sun lounges, a bar, and even a swimming pool, and feeling the water, we pleased to see that it is heated. Heading back downstairs, this time taking the stairs near the pool, which leads to the foyer, and passing trough another door, we stepped into a short hallway. On the right, we found a large office, and behind that is a library, with books and DVD’s. On the other side, is the Master Suite, and a door leading into a large bathroom, with a tub. Back in the hallway, the last remaining door, was at the end, which had “Bridge - Authorised persons only,” on the door, and I knocked and heard a faint call to enter. When I opened the door, I found a even shorter hallway, with a door on each side, one marked Captain’s Cabin, the other Chief’s Cabin, and ahead was another door, which was marked Bridge. I knocked again, and opened the door, where the Captain and First Officer were standing and they smiled. “Hello Sir, welcome to the bridge, please come in,” the first officer said to us. The bridge area was quite narrow; but goes the full width of the deck. It has a great view, of ahead of us, as we continued south away from Strahan. We thanked the Captain for allowing us to view the bridge before leaving and heading down stairs to the main saloon. “So my friend, what have you got lined up for us for the next two week’s,” Craig asked me. “Well I originally had a week of cruising around the area with a number of hikes, and that was to be on the smaller catamaran yacht, which we use for cruises and hikes. Now with this magnificent yacht at our disposal; I need to review and alter my plans for the second week, especially with the worsening problem with the media,” I replied. “Yeah, they have been a real headache at school, trying to sneak into the school to try and get some photos of you in class, which is funny, since the whole school knows that you are no longer at school, so the headmaster had to put them straight, and tell them you no longer attend the school,” Lucas said. “Which really peeved them off big time,” Brad added, as we sat down in the saloon. There was no sign of Mum and Aunty Bea, but that did not worry me at all, they were probably having a rest before dinner. “So tell us, what are we going in this tub,?” Craig asked me. “I have a full programme of events for you for this week, and this is not a tub. As you may have noticed, it is a lot smoother now, as we have entered the King River, and in about an hour we will be stopping overnight just before the Teepookana Bridge. In the morning, you will be able to watch the West Coast Wilderness Railway Train pass by as it crosses the river on its journey up river. Once it has passed, we will board the tender and take a trip up river to Dubbil Barril Railway station, and we should arrive there about the same time as the train. That is, as far up as we can go, as there are too many rapids after that, so we will head back down river to the yacht. Once back on board, we will set off down river and out into Macquarie Harbour again, and we will head for our next overnight spot, called Double Cove. The following morning, we enter the Gordon River, where we stop at Heritage Landing, and go for a short hike. From there, we continue upstream to Eagle creek, which will be our overnight stop,” I began, “Hang on, boats are only allowed to go as far as Heritage Landing,” Lucas stated. “Yes, you are correct, but thanks to someone I know, we have a permit to go as far as the Franklin River junction,” I replied smiling. “That would be my Dad, remind me to thank him for that,” Lucas replied. “On our second day on the Gordon River, while the yacht is making its way up to the Franklin River junction, we will be taking a nine kilometre hike along a hiking track to the Franklin River. That is where the yachts tender will meet us, and slowly bring us back down the Franklin to the junction of the two rivers, to meet up with the yacht again.” I announced. “Wow, you certainly have planned this whole thing out in detail,” Lucas commented. “Yes mate; and that is just the first few days, there is plenty more, and I will let you know about that in a day or two,” I replied, just as Mum entered. “An email for you from Edinburgh,” Mums aid to me as she handed over two sheets of paper. “Excuse me guys, I will be right back,” I said as I stood and followed Mum out of the room, and into the foyer. “Dear Edwin, I hope you are enjoying your new floating home, another gift from me with my best wishes. Now that you have this wonderful yacht, I am presuming that you would like to continue with your plans for straight after Christmas, or maybe straight after your exams. Thinking that you will be, I have managed to find an additional university lecturer who would be interested in an all expenses paid working holiday. Dr Marc Buchanan, Earth and Environmental Science, from London University, who comes from Aberdeen, and Dr Lachlan Drummond, from the University of Dundee, Biological Science, who comes from Manchester, I just need a set date from you, so as too arrange their travel plans. Regards, Robert.” “Wow, have you read this Mum?” I asked, “Yes, and I think it is a great idea of yours, and I am very proud of you,” Mum replied. “Let’s go up to my office so we can do some work on this,” I suggested, so we headed up one deck. After about half an hour of discussing the plans, the telephone rang, and we were informed that dinner is ready to be served, so we had to stop work and head down to the main deck stopping on the upper deck to get Aunty Bea. “Where did you disappear too?” Lucas asked when we entered the dining room, “Mum and I had some business to deal with, and we haven’t finished yet,” I replied. After dinner, the lads headed to the cinema to watch a movie, and Aunty Bea retired for the night, while Mum and I headed up to my private lounge to chat some more about the plans, and we eventually decided to that early December was the best time to have this cruise. We also decided to have two students from each of the six private independent schools in Northern Tasmania, to be awarded this prize, plus four teachers who specialise in Science subjects, plus two independent outdoor education coaches, and the two guest lecturers. Looking at the time, I saw that it was approaching 8 pm, as I checked my notes and pulling out my phone, I dialled a number. “Good evening, sorry to call so late, but I have a special request to make at very short notice,” I began when the call was answered, “Yes, go on,” the man said, who sounded a little peeved at the lateness of the call, but I ignored that. “I would like to have one member of your Outdoor Activity Coaches, join me on a yacht for a period of five days starting tomorrow afternoon, it would be for consulting purposes mostly, and leading a small group on a couple of hikes, and assisting my crew with activities. We will pay your fee, as well as providing all accommodation and meals for the time they are with us, plus transport to and from the yacht,” I said to the man, and there was a moment of silence, which made me think that he had cut me off. “Well this is very short notice, how will I get to your yacht,” the man asked, “I will arrange for one of the sea planes to fly your Outdoor Ed coach out to meet us,” I replied. “Yes that can be arranged, is there anything that I need to arrange to bring,” the man asked. “No just your coach, and luggage for a week, we will provide everything else,” I replied. “May I ask the name of this yacht, and who is speaking?” the man asked me, “Certainly, the yacht is called Calamity Jane, a 72 metre motor yacht, and my name is Crawford,” I replied. “Did you just say Crawford? As in Sir Edwin Crawford, of Wigan?” the man asked sounding a little shocked, “Yes that is correct, but I prefer that you not tell anyone about this job, as I want it to be very low key, plus it would lead to an extra job at the end of the year for two of your coaches,” I responded. “You have my company at your service to assist you, Sir Edwin, and it will be me that will be joining you tomorrow. My name is Paul Atherton, just tell me where and when, and I will be there,” the man replied. “Well Mr Atherton, I will have to wait morning to call the Sea Plane people, so just be there sometime after lunch and we will go from there,” I said. “I know the owner, if that helps, I can call him straight after this call,” Mr Atherton said, “Well that does help, ask him to fly you to Double Cove, we will be arriving there at about 3 pm tomorrow afternoon, so get the pilot to time the journey to match with our arrival,” I said. “Very good sir, and thankyou for selecting our company, good evening to you,” Mr Atherton said before ending the call. “Well that is sorted, we will have an outdoor education specialist joining us tomorrow afternoon, and if all goes well they will join us for the December trip as well,” I said to Mum. While Mum said goodnight and headed down stairs, I went to the office and typed up a email to send to Robert, to set a date of December 6th as the start of the cruise, which will have two students from each of the six northern Tasmanian Private Independent schools. The next morning, we had a late breakfast, mainly because it was hard to get my friends out of their beds, and shortly after we finished, we heard and eventually saw the steam train appear out of the forest and cross the bridge, before disappearing again. Once it had gone, we headed downstairs, where the deck crew already had the tender in the water, and we headed up river to the Dubbil Barril railway station. We would be arriving about 80 minutes later, and just as the train was coming into the station. After a fifteen minute stop, we turned around, and headed back down stream, and we made it back to the yacht, about fifteen minutes ahead of time that I had planned.
  5. quokka

    PS Ch 3

    Thanks for picking up those errors, I must have had a bad writing (Hair) day when I wrote this chapter. Q
  6. quokka

    PS Ch 18

    Charles and I decided that it was best to get the rest of our belongings before the catamaran returns, so well before lunchtime, just Charles and I headed back into town in the sports yacht, and moored to our jetty, we transferred all the boxes to the boat, and made the journey back to the Manor. When Charles and I had finished moving the last of our belongings to the manor, I went looking for Mum, who I found in the study, with the laptop on, and she was on her mobile. I soon realised that it was Beverly that she was talking to, so I just left her too it, and I headed to my suite to get changes, as I was a little damp from all of the drizzling rain. I was in the drawing room talking with Aunt Bea, when Mum appeared, “We have come up with a system to stay in touch. Beverly has worked out that I am the mother of the young man in yesterday’s paper, and has agreed to keep that knowledge secret, and she is happy to call me by my new name,” Mum said to us as she sat down too. “So, you are happy too keeps going working from home to keep that business running smoothly?” I asked Mum, “Yes son, I feel great being able to work in a business again, I forgot how rewarding it is. What about you, what are you going to do?” Mum replied. “Well I plan to contact the Headmaster at my school, and see if I can continue my studies via remote studies, and maybe join in the classes via video conferencing,” I responded, What about your other responsibilities?” Aunty Bea asked me. “Well, I received a email from Robert earlier, he has arranged for cousin Alexander to send me monthly reports on how the Haig Hall business is going, and in regards to my other properties, Cousin Robert is managing those, and he will send me a report every month as well,” I replied. Surprisingly for the next two months I was kept very busy, the video conferencing for all of my key subjects was working well, and all other subjects in class were being done via email. Lucas, Craig and Brad would Skype chat with me every fortnight, to keep me updated on all the news around the school, as well as on news about the media, who had given up hanging around the school and our old home. Our new home was been checked on every couple of days, to make sure everything was in order, and with the school holidays now just a few days away, our latest Skype chat was for me to check that all three of them are ready for an awesome holiday. I instructed them to be at the Launceston airport at 5 pm on Friday afternoon, where a chartered flight will take them to their holiday destination, where I would meet them. I had Mum check with Beverly, that everything is prepared for the one-week long charter, that I had booked, and I had given mum and Itinerary to forward on to Beverly, so Jacques and crew knew where they are going for the next two weeks. Using the existing cruises as a guide, I had expanded on it, to not only include both of them, but also include cruising up the Gordon River, and using the Dinghy to go and explore some of the Franklin River as well. With the assistance from Ranger Tom Decker, I was able to get the permits to allow us to go deeper into the Franklin - Gordon National Park, which will make this trip extra special. I had arranged for a taxi to collect my friends from the airport, and bring them directly to the jetty, and by dinghy to the yacht, which is anchored well away from town in Lettes Bay, where I was waiting for them, but I remained below to stay out of sight. Beverly had reported in that there seemed to be a lot more media people in town than usual, so I did not want to be snapped onboard the yacht. I had just been notified that the charter plane had been delayed leaving Launceston, and that it would be twenty minutes late, so I sat in the saloon enjoying a cup of tea. A few minutes later, the Captain himself entered, carrying the sat phone, “For you sir, call from Edinburgh,” Jacques said as he handed over the phone and left the room smiling, which made me wonder what on earth that was about. “Good evening to you cousin,” Robert said cheerfully, “Hello Robert, this is an unexpected call, is everything ok?” I replied, and I heard Robert chuckling. “What makes you think anything is bad going on, in fact I have some news for you,” Robert said. “Ok, I am listening, what surprise are you going to spring on me now? Are you here in Tasmania?” I asked, “Sadly no, I am not, but yes I do have a surprise for you, if you would like to go to the back of the catamaran and have a look at what is approaching,” Robert stated, and suddenly the phone went dead, which caught me unaware. I put the phone down, and made my way to the aft of the yacht, and stepping out onto the deck, I saw a huge luxury yacht approaching, and it was slowing down as it was going to come along side. “What the hell is all this, I wonder?” I asked myself aloud, and I jumped when a heard someone clear their throat behind me. “Sorry to startle you sir. This is a present from Lord Crawford, he has been closely monitoring the media lately, as well as getting daily updates from Lady Crawford, and he felt it best to have a more secure vessel that can escape the media’s watch a lot easier. So, I present to you your new yacht, the Motor Yacht Calamity Jane,” Jacques announced, as it came to a stop about fifteen metres beside the catamaran, and suddenly Mum and Aunty Bea stepped out on the aft deck. “Hello Dear, hasn’t Cousin Robert excelled himself this time,” Aunty Bea called out, and I saw a dingy coming over to the catamaran, just as the chief steward arrived with my suitcase and backpack, all packed and ready for the move over. Once I was on the new yacht, the catamaran crew waved and it set off back to its home jetty, and suddenly I was facing a group of new faces. “Good Evening Sir Edwin. Welcome aboard Calamity Jane, I am Captain James Hakney. This is my First Officer Andrea Sampson, Chief Engineer Louise Parker- Johns, 2nd Engineer Samantha Hart, Bosun Anita Channing, Chef Renaldo Lombardi, Cook Mari Conti and Chief Steward Elizabeth Boucher, the remaining four deck crew and five inside crew, you will meet as we travel,” the Captain announced. “Hello to you all, welcome and I hope to speak to you all soon,” I said to the crew, as the officers headed off, as did the minor crew, with just the chief steward remaining. “Sir Edwin, May I give you a tour of the yacht now?” she asked as I looked over to Mum and Aunty Bea, who had settled at the bar just inside, with cocktails in hand, so I nodded my head yes. “The yacht was built by Austal Ships, which I believe is a Western Australian company, she is 72 metres in length, 13.8 metres wide and has a draft of 2.1 metres, so your itinerary is still good for us, we will doing everything that you have planned,” Elizabeth said to me. “Tell me Elizabeth, what are the nationalities of all of the crew?” I asked, “Well sir, it is quite mixed, the Captain and the Chief Engineer, who are partners come from New Zealand, the first Officer is from port Lincoln, South Australia, the Second Engineer and I are partners are from Canada. The Chef and Cook are partners and are from far northeastern Italy, close to the Austrian Border. The Chief and second Bosun’s are Western Australian’s and they are married, with the wife being the Chief Bosun. Tobias is the Bar Steward, who doubles as the laundryman, with all the crew liking him as he is very entertaining, a good singer too, and the only crew from Tasmania. The leading deckhand is from Darwin, while the other two deckhands are from Queensland. The five remaining stewards are two from Adelaide, South Australian, one from Alice Springs, NT and one from one from Townsville in Queensland, Elizabeth replied. “That is quite a mixture of cultures, does that cause any issues?” I asked. “Not really, I fluently speak Italian and Canadian French, so I can understand what is going on in the galley, when they chat in Italian, and all nine senior crew have been on this yacht full time for three years now. While the other crew joined us about six months ago, and seem to get along most of the time,” Elizabeth said to me. “That is good to know, now tell me some more about this incredible yacht,” I replied smiling, “Well sir, all 13 crew cabins are all on the lower deck, except for the Captain and Engineers, which are on the Bridge deck, as well as the Master Cabin, which is your domain. As you see we are on the first of the aft decks and if we go through the doors, we enter the main dining area, and bar, with the main galley located directly behind it, which we are passing now, and this short hallway leads to the main foyer, and the stairs to the upper decks. Through this door on the left, we have a eight-seat movie cinema, through the central door; we enter in to the first of guest accommodation areas, which is where you friends will be staying for this cruise. We have five double and two twin guest cabins here,” Elizabeth said and she showed me two of the cabins. “Wow, they look very luxurious, my friends will be very happy,” I commented, and Elizabeth smiled, “The area forward of here is a crew area, and we will take these stairs to the next deck up,” Elizabeth said as she led the way. “Here we have two crew storage areas, and the main guest fitness gym, and through this door we enter another hallway, to the remaining guest accommodation area, with four VIP guest cabins, and two VIP guest suites, which Lady Petworth and Lady Crawford occupy. Through here we enter the upper deck lobby, those two doors lead to the rescue boats, in case of an emergency, and through here we enter the main saloon and bar,” Elizabeth, and I saw Mum and Aunty Bea relaxing here. “Hello dear, enjoying the tour of this incredible yacht?” Aunty Bea asked, “Yes thanks Aunty, how do you like your suites are you comfortable in them?” I asked, “Yes, very much so, they are very comfy,” Aunty Bea replied. A buzzing noise sounded, and Elizabeth stepped behind the bar and picked up a telephone, “Yes Captain, I will let him know,” we heard Elizabeth say before hanging up. “The captain has just spotted the tender returning, with your friends on board,” Elizabeth informed us, and I smiled, as I headed downstairs to go and greet them. I knelt on the day bed on the main deck aft, watching as the tender approached, and the look on my friend’s faces was good to see. “Hey guys, welcome to the Calamity Jane, my newest acquisition,” I called out to them as the tender came along the aft of the yacht. “What? You own this yacht! It is huge?” Brad exclaimed, “I do indeed, but I only found out about it just half an hour ago, and my family are on board also,” I replied, as I watched them step onto the landing deck, with the stewards help and take the steps up to the main deck. “Now without getting lost… hopefully, I will show you to your cabins, which are on this main deck
  7. quokka

    PS Ch 17

    Jungle? Maybe and maybe not...
  8. quokka

    PS Ch 17

    Between all of the chaos of moving house, I was thinking about the living situation with Charles and Elizabeth, and I decided that I needed to fix that as soon as possible, so after everyone had left, I pulled out the laptop computer. I did some web searching, and found that the same company that built the manor would be the best option to build two cabins, that are the same dimensions as the two master suites, and having a covered patio area between two cabins, which is also the boardwalk between the jetty and the manor, would be the best. For the rest of the afternoon, we just did the unpacking at a slow pace, so as too not tire us out, and on Sunday morning, we dressed to go to Chapel with it being a Sunday during term. We were on Invermay road coming into Mowbray, when I received a text message from Craig. “If you are coming to Chapel today, don’t come, there is a huge media presence outside the school, stay away,” the message read, and I groaned. “What is it dear?” Aunty Bea asked me, “The media, they are outside the school, the news is out that it is me,” I replied. “Right, we will have to go to an alternative, what do you suggest Aunty?” Mum said. “I suggest we go to the family church, the Church of Scotland, or the one closest to it, which is the Uniting Church, and I suggest the Pilgrim Uniting Church in the city, located on Paterson Street,” Aunty Bea replied. So, we continued on south towards the city, and parked about half a block away from the church and walked the few hundred metres to the church, where Aunty Bea stopped and looked at a bronze plaque and smiled. I stepped forward to look at the plaque, which caught me by surprise, “A relative?” I asked, “Yes, I think it is way back to the fourth child of the 9th Earl of Crawford I think?” Aunty Bea replied, “Wow, I will have to call Robert later and ask him about it,” I replied, as we made our way inside. We decided to stay low key, since the media was now on to me, so we sat near the back of the church, and it was a very nice service. At the end, we waited for the minister to walk down the aisle and when he came to near the back, he stopped and gave me a nod of the head, before continuing. “Looks like someone knows you are here,” Aunty Bea said softly, and I groaned. We waited until nearly everyone had left the church, before we exited, where the minister was greeting all of the attendees on departure. “My Lord, it is indeed an honour to have you here today, I hope you enjoyed the service,” the minister said to me, again bowing his head. “Thankyou Reverend, but I am not a Lord, I am just a Baronet, so I am addressed as Sir Edwin or Sir. May I present my Great Aunt, Lady Beatrice Petworth, and my mother, Lady Alexandria Crawford,” I responded, and the minister gently shook their hands. “Please join us for some morning tea in the adjoining church hall,” the minister said to us, “Only if you keep our presence low key, thankyou,” I replied. “Did you have to introduce me like that?” Mum whispered to me, and I smile. “I am afraid your son is correct, the mother of a Baronet is correctly addressed as Lady,” Aunty Bea responded, “Oh, I did not know that,” Mum said sounding a little shocked. “Alternatively, you can be addressed as The Dowager, Lady Alexandria Crawford,” I whispered to Mum, who screwed up her nose. “I think not thankyou,” Mum replied, as we approached the door to the hall, and suddenly all went silent, as we entered, and the Men bowed and the Lady’s curtsied to us. “Oh great, that was what I didn’t want,” I whispered, as I nodded in acknowledgement. “I’m sorry, but it was not possible to keep it quiet, once people noticed that I had stopped to greet you on my way out after the service. Please may I introduce you to our senior church leaders, who assist me with the running of the parish,” the minister said to me, and for the next twenty minutes, we met most of the people in the hall, and I was starting to get tired, when my phone buzzed with a message. “Where are you now? Mum and Dad said you can come and stay with us for a while just in case they find your new place, Craig,” the message read, “We attended church in the city, Pilgrim Church,” I texted back, and I showed the message to Mum, who nodded her head in agreement. “We will have to organise getting some clothes to you,” Mum whispered, before I texted back to Craig, “My Mum said yes, and she will need to organise some clothes for me,” I texted back. “Lucas says he knows the church, as that is the one that his family attends on alternative Sundays, see you soon, Craig,” a message came through. “Time to go Mum, my transport is on its way,” I whispered to her and we thanked those gathered around us, and we headed for the door, and walked quickly to the car. “I think it would be better if you disappeared into the forest, if you know what I mean?” Mum said to me, so I sent a message back to Craig. “Thanks for the offer, other arrangements are being made, which means I wont be returning to school, but I will stay in touch,” I texted before making a call to arrange a charter flight… to Melbourne’s International Terminal, and I instructed the company to make the flight without any passengers, as it is a diversion. “Head for home Mum, I need to pack for a long term holiday away from our new home,” I said to Mum who smiled and nodded, before changing directions. “Just passed your old place behind the school, where there is a big pack of media, LOL, they still think that you live there, Brad,” I received from my mate Brad. “Yep, so glad we moved when we did, I am going to be away for some time, probably for the rest of the school year, but I will keep in touch. Make sure the three of you keep the next school holidays free, as I am still going to treat you to that holiday that I promised,” I texted back. “You bet, take care mate, see you in September,” Brad sent back. Taking as many back roads as we could, we finally arrived home, and we were pleased to see that there was no media camping at our doorstep. “How much unpacking did you both manage to do?” I asked Mum and Aunty Bea, “Just the basic so far, why is that, dear?” Aunty Bea asked. “Because I think we all had better make this long term trip to the jungles, so there is no way of finding us,” I responded, and Mum sighed, “Yes son, I think you are right, we had better start packing all of our clothes, and any precious things we want to take with us for this trip,” Mum said. We spent the rest of the day packing everything, and over an hour after dark, Mr Ballard and Craig arrived, with a 6 x 5 foot trailer, as I had requested. After attaching it to Mum’s car, they helped to load up the trailer, with all of our belongings, and handing the keys over to Mr Ballard, they waved us goodbye, and watched as we drove off into the darkness. “Are you sure you are ok to be driving for four hours to get to Strahan Mum?” I asked, “Yes, I will be fine, as long as you keep talking to me, so I don’t fall asleep, and that I stop to stretch my legs every hour to 90 minutes. We need to be in Strahan and on the boat well before sunrise,” Mum replied. Although the journey was long and tiring, we arrived in Strahan shortly before 2 am, where we went directly to our private jetty in the Cove, where the catamaran was out, but the sports yacht was sitting. “Hello Sir, Lady Beatrice and Lady Alexandria, I am glad that you made it here safely,” Charles said as he approached the car. As suggested, Mum and Aunty Bea retired to a cabin each onboard the boat, while Charles and I unhitched the trailer and pushed it into the shed, with the car parked beside it, while the luggage was taken onboard. Once that was done, Charles started the motors and we slowly and quietly cruised out of the cove and down the harbour to King River. When we arrived at the manor, Charles knocked on the doors of the cabins to wake up Mum and Aunty Bea, to let them know that we have arrived, and we helped them off the yacht and down the boardwalk to the manor. Deciding to leave the luggage until morning, Charles locked up the yacht, and followed me to the manor, where I headed to my suite to get some sleep. When I eventually work up, it was well after 9 am, and I spotted my two suitcases, just inside the door, so I gathered what I needed and headed to the bathroom, to have a long hot shower. Once done, I dressed and headed downstairs to the dining room, where Mum and Aunty Bea were already seated, and Mum was reading a newspaper. “Good morning dear, you were on the front page of yesterday’s paper, no wonder there was a large media presence at the school,” Mum stated. Groaning in annoyance, I asked Mum to read it out to me. “Newly awarded the Baronet of Wigan is Tasmanian Schoolboy, Edwin Crawford. Second cousin to the current Earl of Crawford, Master Edwin made a trip to Scotland during the first term holidays, to stay with his cousin and visit some of his family’s former and current homes. This included Haig Hall, which is now his family seat, located just out of Manchester, Crawford Priory and a small Island in the Shetlands. Master Edwin is also a third cousin to the heir apparent to the Earldom, Alexander Lindsay, who owns and operates Archerfield Estate, in Scotland. Master Edwin has been a student at Launceston Church Grammar School for the past five years, and is in his second last year of high school studies. It is believed that he resides with his widowed mother and a great Aunt, but their home located close to the back of the school appears to be vacant, so his whereabouts is unknown at the time of printing, but we will continue to search,” Mum said as she read the article. “They seem to be fairly thorough with their research, thank goodness Cousin Robert purchased the land here under a separate company name registered in Switzerland, so they will have no luck in finding us,” I commented. “Charles, where is the catamaran yacht?” Mum asked, “Out on a cruise at the moment Ma’am, it will be returning later tomorrow,” Charles replied. Retrieving my phone, I located a number and pressed call, and moments later, it was answered, as I switched it to loudspeaker. “Tas Adventures, this is Beverly speaking, “Hello Beverly, without saying my name, do you know who this is?” I asked, “Yes sir I do, is your mother with you, as I have seen yesterday’s article,” Beverley responded, “Very good, ok from now on, you are to contact us only if it is urgent, for that specific reason, and also from now on, you should refer my mother as Ms Petworth. Furthermore, I need you to locate any documentation that has her married surname on it, even if it refers to me, which it should not, and destroy it all, shred it first then burn it. We need to stay low key for as long as possible, so if you need something urgent, call Charles at his place, and he will know where to contact us. Oh and one last thing, there is a car and trailer in the shed in the cove, we will be leaving it there for the time being, so can you organise a car cover to put over the car. In two days, and no earlier, I need you to contact a transport company to come and collect the trailer and deliver it to Mr Tom Decker at Parks and Wildlife in Launceston, he will know what to do it from there, thankyou,” I said. Once the call ended, I looked to Mum, “Did I forget anything?” I asked, “No, I think you covered all of it, and I guess this means another late night tonight, to collect the rest of our belongings from the boat shed,” Mum replied. “I am afraid so, yes,” I replied.
  9. quokka

    PS Ch 16

    “He is doing fine, now stop fussing and get on with your business,” Aunty Beas interjected from the kitchen, and Robert laughed again. “Always straight to the point, hello Beatrice,” Robert said. “Right, where was I? Oh yeah, I am sending Mum to Strahan for an unspecified time, depending on how things pan out, I want her to look at a better option for office location, as where it is now is hidden away. Robert, can you tell me who set up the website, and sho has control of it please?” I said. Robert told me the name of the computer company that hosts the website, and the name of the person, that set it up and manages the website, which is located in Launceston, which I was pleased about, as I can deal with that side of the problem. “Wait a moment, he is calling me right now,” Robert said and we were put on hold, and we waited for Robert to return to our call. “Hello are you still there?” we heard Robert say, “Yes, go ahead,” Mum responded. “It appears that the women that Jacques has employed to run the office have just crashed our website, I suggest that you get Jacques there pronto to see what has happened,” Robert said, and I grabbed my spare mobile and dialled the number for the sat phone. “Hello Jacques speaking, who ever you are, can you please call the police in Strahan, and tell them to get to number 2 Harold Street, Strahan right away,” I heard Jacques say before the phone sounded liked it dropped, and all we could hear was a lot of crashing and banging going on. Wanting to keep the phone line open, I dashed to the house phone and called the police, and reported an urgent matter happening at the address of the office, and I put the mobile to the phone so the police could hear for themselves. Once the call to the police had been made we continued to listen to what the sat phone was picking up at the office, and moments later there was a loud shrieking scream that made all of us jump in fright. Robert said that he would call back later when we know a bit more about what was happening, he ended his call, we continued to listen, and suddenly everything went quiet, as we waited to hear what happens next. After a few minutes we heard footsteps, and the sound of the sat phone being picked up, “Hello, is anyone there?” a male voice asked, “Yes, this is Alexandria Crawford speaking. Business Executive for Tas Adventures,” Mum responded. “Ms Crawford, I am Officer Liam Dunn, do you have any idea what happened here, there is a man unconscious on the floor, and the place has been ransacked,” the officer asked. “Yes, we have been in contact with Jacques who is the skipper of our Catamaran Yacht, as he was having some issues with the women running the office, I think her name is Angela Prentis,” Mum said. “The Ambulance is here now, so the gentleman is being looked after, and it looks like he has just regained consciousness,” the officer informed us, “What happened, who are you talking too?” we heard another voice say, “Jacques, this is Edwin speaking, are you ok?” I asked over the phone. “Yes sir, just a bump on the head, where that crazy woman hit me with something,” Jacques replied, “We will take it from here, thanks, goodbye,” one of the officers said before ending the call. It was nearly two hours later, before we received a call back from Jacques, informing us that he had a check up with the medical centre, and that he only had mild concussion. He also informed us that Angela Prentis has been arrested and charged with criminal damage, and assault causing grievous bodily harm, and was not allowed bail, and was being sent to the women’s detention centre near Hobart. Mum informed Jacques that she would be travelling down to Strahan in the morning to try and get things sorted, and try and get a better person to run the office, and Jacques was pleased to hear this. The next morning as I prepared to go to school, Mum was making sure that she had everything, and I reminded her to take the phone, also to take my laptop computer, so she can use it for work. After saying that, I wondered if I had anything on the computer that Mum would disapprove of, but it was too late to worry about that now. At lunchtime, the lads and I went outside to eat our lunch, because it was a nice day, and I needed to call Mum. “Tas Adventures, Alex speaking,” Mum said when she answered the call, “Hello Mrs Crawford, can I make a Lunch order please,” I said, “Very funny son, Aunty Bea gave you your lunch, now what are you calling for, if it is about the business, I have everything in order, or getting that way,” Mum said. “Sounds like I chose the perfect woman for the job,” I replied. “I called in a cleaning team to clean up the mess, and the office is now back to what it was or close to it, and since there is no cruise on for a few days, Jacques has been in here helping me. I have met all of the crewmembers, who are all very dedicated young people, I have located a better building, that is more out in the open, and it is on the Esplanade, in what used to be the Coffee Shack. It has been vacant for only a short while, and it will be perfect for the business, and instead of leasing it, I was able to purchase the building outright, which makes it a better outcome in the long term,” Mum announced. “Sounds good, what do you need to get the place in order, before you can move into the new location?” I asked, “Well a fresh coat of paint, inside and out, and I have asked the local council permission to build a free standing carport at the back of the building, which has been granted,” Mum said. “Good, I will also arrange for the purchase of a vehicle and have it trucked down to you, which can be shared between you, Charles and Elizabeth. Anything else, just put it on the card, and we will see later if it is a business expense or just a family expense, I will leave it all up to you,” I said to Mum. “I have one other bit of news, I was peering at a window of a real estate agency, and stumbled across a bit of property that would be an asset to the company, it is a shack & shed located on the shore of Risby Cove, opposite town. Located on the esplanade, number 48 to be exact, it has its own private jetty, so I went ahead and purchased it, and the yacht now has a permanent mooring,” Mum announced. “That is great news, I have to go now, and finish my lunch before the bell sounds, I will talk to you later,” I said to Mum. Later that afternoon, Mum called me on my mobile, shortly after I walked in the door at home, and we chatted for a good hour about things that Mum wanted me to know. The website was back up and running again and all of the bookings had been restored, including my two bookings, which I was pleased about, and Mum had found a woman that was almost her age, who wanted to get back into business, now that her children are all grown up and left home. Beverly sounded like she knew what to do and do it well, and Mum was very happy with her, and together they were working on getting the new premises painted and furnished, ready for the move over to the new office in a few weeks time. Jacques was happy with the Yacht’s new mooring, and he moved into the shack next to the shed, while the crew elected to stay in their cabins on the yacht when working, as the Cove was a lot smoother than where it was anchored before. Mum ended up staying at the manor on the weekends, with Charles going to collect her every Friday evening, and after nearly three weeks away, she called the evening before to say that se was ready to come home. After some continued delays, the house that I bought on the corner of Rosella Road and Jetty Road had finally been settled, and with Mum now back from Strahan, we began the task of beginning to pack for the move. We spent the whole weekend keeping busy with the occasional stop to allow Mum to talk on the phone with Beverly down at Strahan. Aunty Bea concentrated on carefully packing all of her valuable ornaments that we had collected over the years, and I was assigned to pack my entire bedroom, followed by everything in the store rooms. By Sunday evening, we were all exhausted, and after a light dinner we retreated to our rooms to rest. Mum had a battle to get me out of bed the next morning, and complaining that was not feeling very well she allowed for me to stay home from school, and she let the lads know when they came to collect me. During lunch time, I didn’t eat very much and headed back to bed and fell asleep again, as I was a lot tireder than I had thought. By mid afternoon, Mum woke me up with the Doctor standing next to my bed, and he checked me over, and found that I had a slight temperature and nothing more, so I was given a medical certificate to allow me two days off school, to get better. With packing and moving on hold, until I am better, Mum and Aunty Bea were able to take it easy, and concentrate on looking after me, which started to annoy me with all the fussing. On the Saturday morning, after returning to school for two day, a knock on the front door at 8 am brought a big surprise for us, as a group of men and teenagers stood there. “What on earth is going on here?” Aunty Bea demanded when she opened the door, just as I was staggering out of my bedroom still in my pyjamas. “Hello Ms Petworth, we have come to assist with the moving, just point us the way, as we will get started,” Tom said. “Tom, what on earth are you doing here, and… wow, hey Mum, get out here, we have visitors, a whole team of them to help with the move,” I called out to Mum before heading back to my room to get dressed. Both Mum and I reappeared a few moments later, where Tom and Lucas Tucker, Craig and Mr & Mrs Ballard, Brad and Mr & Mrs Cooper were all gathered. “We have come to help you with the move to your new home, if you will allow us,” Tom announced, “That is very kind of you but who organised this?” Aunty Bea said in response, “My guess is my good three friends here, Aunty Bea,” I said, and all three of them nodded their heads. “Right, well we have three vehicles all with trailers, so show us were to begin, and we will get started,” Mr Cooper said, and moments later we had people all over the house, helping with packing and loading the boxes onto the trailers. The first load from each vehicle went in convoy to the new house, with Mum leading the way in her car, and parking near the back of the driveway, which has to entry points, one on each road, since it is a corner block, Mum stood at the back door and directed us to where every box is to go. Mum and Aunty Bea stayed at the new house to start unpacking while the rest of us headed back for the next load. Leaving the heavy furniture till last, by the time we delivered the second load, we knew that we only needed one last trip to finish the job, and stopping at lunch time after the second trip, I ordered some pizza to feed everyone, although Aunty Bea was a little cross at me for doing so. After lunch, we finished the last trip of the move, and once all of the heavy furniture was place in their new locations in the house, we thanked everyone for their work today, and let them get back to their weekend.
  10. quokka

    PS Ch 15

  11. 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.
  12. quokka

    PS Ch 14

    It was a repeat of the chapter, which I have fixed.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. quokka

    PS Ch 12

    I must be able to predict
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