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    quokka
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Fordell - 1. Ford Ch 1

With everything that happened, with my title and all of the media chasing after me all the time, in my final year of high school, I wanted to do something that would not attract any attention, and Cousin Robert suggested that I attend University in Switzerland, and that is exactly what I did. After alot of thinking, I decided to study Physics and Mathematics at the ETH University, better known as the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, which is located in Zurich.

Although they spoke English there, German was also the main language of the country, so I had to do an intensive course in learning another language, very quickly. Doing a double degree meant that I had a huge workload, and with the four year course, I would be away from home for some time.

Mum and Aunty Beatrice would travel to Switzerland each year, to spend Christmas with me, at my four-bedroom apartment in the suburb of Horgen, which is 15 kilometres from central Zurich and the university. For my last two years, I have shared my apartment with a classmate Marc, who is from South Africa, whom I feel has no idea that I have a title, which is good.

After the first two years of studies, I took on more of a workload, with a Diploma in Computer Science. When it came to graduation day, after four years of solid studies, which was just three weeks before my 21st birthday, I was pleased to have finally completed all of my studies, and I hope that the media has lost interest in tracking me down. Cousin Robert was there to see my graduate, which was a bit of a surprise.

After graduation, Robert, Marc and I went out to a restaurant to celebrate, our graduation and Marc arrange for one of the staff to take a few photos of us. “You know you look very familiar, but I just can’t quite figure it out who look like,” Marc commented during dinner, Robert smiled and winked to me, “I am sorry, but I am just an ordinary retired gentleman from England,” Robert replied.

When we returned to our apartment, I was tired and looking forward to returning home to Tasmania. I would close up the apartment, and just use it for holidays when I am in Europe or maybe rent it out. Robert stayed for two days, before heading home to England.

During my four years in Switzerland, I did make a two trips home, sneaking in a best as possible, to check on the changes that I requested to be made to the manor, which included extending the billiards room and drawing room, using up some of the verandah space. Also turning the billiards room and lower level of the library into one big Ballroom, for any functions that may take place in the future.

On the first floor the guest lounge were extended over the area of the verandah, and the upper library had wide balconies installed for better access to the books, which are now all on that level.

After returning to the apartment, after seeing Robert off at the airport, Marc was pacing, and he had a very worried look on his face, and when he saw me entered I could see that it was very serious. “I… I am terribly sorry, if I had known, I would not have posted the pictures on Facebook, as soon as I saw the comments, I took the photos off right away.

Is it true, are you a British Aristocrat?” Marc said to me, and as soon as he said that word, I groaned in annoyance, “Yes, I am but I prefer to stay low key, as the damn media can get really annoying sometimes,” I replied, “Oh, well I didn’t know so…” Marc said, “It is ok mate, I should have told you,” I replied.

“Wait a minute, now I remember, your cousin, he is an Earl isn’t he?” Marc asked, and I chuckled at this, “Yes he is, the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres,” I replied, “What about you, do you have a title?” Marc asked, “Yes, I have a minor title, I am the Baronet of Wigan,” I replied.

“So, what do I call you?” Marc asked, “Just what you call me usually, I don’t like being formally addressed, unless it is for an official event,” I replied, just as my mobile began to ring, and I frowned, when I saw that it was Robert calling.

“Robert, you are meant to be on a plane on the way home,” I said as I answered the call, “Yes, I am still at the airport, Alexander has fallen ill, can you pack and get here as soon as possible, I have chartered a private aircraft to get us back to the UK,” Robert said to me. “Sure, that’s not a problem, anything for family. I will be as quick as I can, bye,” I replied.

“What is it?” Marc asked me, "My third cousin, and Robert’s heir has fallen very ill, I have to get to the airport, and I guess I won’t be back by the time you leave,” I commented. “Oh, that is not good, I hope he recovers, and we had our celebration dinner the other night, which can be our farewell dinner too, so off you go and get organised, I will leave the key on the bench when I am leaving for South Africa,” Marc said.

I pulled Marc into a hug, “You have been a great friend and house mate, you take care of yourself, and you never know, I may come down and visit you one day,” I said to him. “I have learnt a lot from you, thanks for being a great tutor when I needed one, without you, I may not have passed all of my classes,” Marc said in reply.

Half an hour later, the taxi arrived at the private charter terminal of the Dubendorf regional airport, where Robert was waiting for me. Once I had passed customs and passport control, we boarded the plane and were soon in the air, for the 2-hour flight bound for Scotland.

Once we had cleared customs there, we were taken to a separate entrance, to avoid the media, who had got wind of my arrival in Scotland. When we arrived at the private hospital, we were escorted to the floor where Alexander is currently been looked after in Intensive care, where Alexander’s wife and children were seated in the waiting lounge.

After some discussions between Alexander’s wife, Robert and me, we decided that I would assist as much as possible with keeping the two businesses going, while Alexander is in hospital. With one of the businesses being my own, I had a commitment to look after both of them,

I was informed that I could reside at the gatehouse on the corner of Manse Road, just on the edge of the village of Dirleton, which had been vacant for about three months, due to a staff member retiring and moving away. The gatehouse cottage was just two kilometres from Archerfield house, and the start of the golf course.

The problem was that I also needed to keep tabs on my estate just out of Manchester, which Alexander had been minding for me, which is 345 kilometres away by road. “If I may suggest something,” Robert said to me after I mentioned to him about all the long distance travelling.

I am all for any suggestions, cousin,” I replied, Archerfield has its own grass airfield that is 600 metres long, and if he has little time, Alexander often charters a plane to fly from Archerfield to Manchester,” Robert said to me, “That is a great idea, do you know the company that he usually uses for air transport?” I asked, just as Robert handed me a business card.

I guess there is no simular private airfield at Wigan Estate?” I asked, “No, but I am sure that you will solve that issue fairly quickly,” Robert replied smiling. Over the next few weeks, I was getting to know the business and assisting with keeping everything running smoothly, and I was not fussed about getting down and dirty with any manual work, and it seems that the staff on the estates like that.

Purchasing a neighbouring farm to the southwest of Haig Hall, just out of the town of New Springs, I had the four paddocks made into a 650-metre long airfield, with three rows of trees and shrubs cleared for a distance of fifty metres, to make space for the runway.

The farmhouse became the residence for the airfield manager, who I had employed, and the sheds were used to assist with keeping the runway ready for use, with tractors, mowers and a heavy roller to keep it well compacted during the winter months.

What I thought would only be a two-month stint of running the properties, ended up being for five months, while Alexander recuperated from a bad case of Malaria, which he contracted while on a recent business trip to Singapore.

I ended up spending three weeks at Archerfield followed by two weeks at the Haig Estate, and with all of the travelling between the two properties, as well as checking on my two smaller properties at Cupar and Crawford, I was pretty much working six days a week during those eight months.

As Alexander was getting better, he took on some of the office work load off my hands, and I was able to spend a lot more time outdoors, and Alexander was a little surprised by this, and when he asked me about it, I just told him that I enjoyed working outdoors with my hands, as I found it relaxing.

Once Alexander was able to return to work full time, I concentrated on my part time project of getting Crawford Priory restored back to its original state, which was taking a lot of time and a hell of a lot of money to get it restored.

The priory is now to a stage, where it now has a brand new roof, all external walls have been strengthened, and all internal walls and stairs have been rebuilt using the original stones, all windows have been installed and there is even a new front door that was made to the same design as the original door.

Now all locked up, the Priory will now last at least a hundred more years, as long as maintenance is kept up on it, and at this stage, I have decided to keep all the rooms empty, until I can build up my finances to fund the rest of the project.

Apart from the main building, work had also been done on restoring the sundial and the Mausoleum located on the grounds, and Crawford House, which is located just down the road from the Priory. I was spending dinner every Saturday evening at Balcarres House with Cousin Robert, since arriving back in the UK, and as e finished desert, he cleared his throat.

“Don’t tell me, you have another surprise for me,” I commented off hand and not really meaning it, “Actually, I wanted to let you know that I received an official invitation today, and I was wondering if you would like to attend with me?” Robert said to me.

“This sounds suspiciously like a big surprise to me,” I responded, “well it is, now that you mention it,” Robert said, “Go on” I said smelling that I was about to be landed into something big, and it was not a smelly cow pad. “It is a letter from Buckingham Palace, requesting the presence of the Baronet Wigan and his cousin the Earl of Crawford to attend an informal award presentation at Windsor Castle in two days time,” Robert said to me.

“I knew it; you have set all of this up haven’t you. I’ve told you before, I do not like surprises, and definitely ones where I have to face Her Majesty yet again,” I groaned. Robert chuckled at my little outburst, even if it was in a soft voice, “Is there more to this surprise?” I asked.

“Yes, of course there is, but at least this time you get told a few days in advance,” Robert replied. “What exactly is this award ceremony?” I asked, “You are been presented with a new title, for your work into restoring historical buildings, namely the Crawford Priory, and returning Haig Hall back into a country residence, instead of an ugly expensive hotel,” Robert announced.

“Oh, well that was all done in keeping my properties in good order, nothing more, so what exactly am I being awarded?” I responded. “Before I tell you that, I wanted to tell you of my latest investment, which I am gifting to you, and although it has no family links, I thought this would be your main base in Scotland.

It is called Fordell Castle, and it is located just 26 kilometres northwest of Edinburgh by road, and just 46 kilometres from here at Balcarres. It is a 16th century tower house, with a chapel known as St Thereota’s, and landscaped gardens on 210 acres of land, of which 90% of the land is wooded,” Robert announced.

“Wow; that sounds like a nice place, will we bee seeing the property soon?” I asked, “Yes, tomorrow actually, we will be driving down there since it isn’t that far away, and your new title will be, The Right Honourable Lord Crawford, Baron of Fordell,” Robert announced.

“Wow; that is a mouthful,” I commented, and Robert smiled, “It is, and I think with all the work and money you have put into restoring the Priory, that you have earned it, and now you are just one two ranks below me, instead of three,” Robert said to me, and I groaned at hearing this and Robert laughed.

The next morning during breakfast, I telephoned home to Tasmania, “Hello,” came a cautious voice as they answered, “Is that you Aunt Beatrice?” I asked, “Yes, of course it is me young nephew, how are you, it is great to hear your voice,” Aunty Bea said happily.

“You are on loud speaker, as I spent the night at Balcarres House, and Robert and I are just finishing breakfast,” I said, and I heard Aunt Bea call for Mum, “Yoo-hoo! Alexandria dear, come quickly, Edwin and Robert are on the phone,” we heard her say, and soon footsteps could be heard coming down stairs.

“Hello Edwin and Robert how are you both?” I heard my mum say in a puffed voice. “Good thanks Mum, Alexander is all better now, so he has taken over again, and I have been working on a few projects of my own, including restoring Crawford Priory,” I replied.

“He has been recognised for all the work he has done to the Priory, and the Queen is bestowing him another title,” Robert announced, “Oh; that is nice dear, what is he getting this time?” Aunty Bea asked, “He will become the Right Honourable, Lord Crawford, Baron of Fordell, and as a gift from me he is getting another property, known as Fordell Castle, which is just northwest of Edinburgh, which we will be going to see today,” Robert replied.

“Make sure you take plenty of photos, so we can see what this new property looks like,” Aunty Bea said, “Why don’t you both fly up here, and we can show it to you,” I suggested. “Oh, I am not sure about that dear, the last trip to Switzerland pretty much wore me out, but I am sure that your mother would be glad to come, since Christmas is fast approaching,” Aunty Bea said to me.

“If that is alright with you Bea, I would love to come, and I will make sure that the staff here takes good care of you while I am away,” Mum said, “Good I will arrange everything for you, I will send and email to you as soon as it is all finalised,” I said.

After the phone call, we cleaned up before heading out, with Robert deciding he would drive himself, in the second car, so they are not so obvious, especially since I was trying to keep out of sight of the media, which I had managed to do quite well in the past five months.

We stopped off in the small village, to collect the master keys for the property, in the nearby town of Dunfermline, and we stopped off to have a look at the very impressive, Dunfermline Abbey, which was definitely worth seeing. “One day the priory will look this magnificent, I just hope that we can do it in your lifetime,” I said to Robert. “Yes, that would be nice,” Robert, responded.

Copyright © 2020 quokka; All Rights Reserved.
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Fantastic chapter and beginning to the story. Alexander has now recovered from his bought with malaria and is now working full time again. Edwin has been busy with his projects as well, restoring the Crawford Priory, returning Haig Hall to it’s original use as a country residence instead of the hotel, along with purchasing some farms south of the Haig Estate and turning them into a airfield making it easier to travel around to check on the other properties. Now Robert has bought another property and gave it to Edwin and his new title is the Right Honorable, Lord Crawford, Baron of Fordell, and he is receiving his new title from the Queen this time at Buckingham Palace which he and Robert have been invited to. I can understand why aunt Bea answered the phone the way she did when Edwin called to talk to her and his mum so that he and Robert could tell them about the new title and property and to invite them to come see it for themselves with the media the way they are.

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Awesome chapter and a great beginning to the story. Edwin is awarded a new title for his work restoring buildings. He becomes Lord Crawford, Baron of Fordell. I look forward to reading Edwin's further adventures as the Baron of Fordell.

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3 hours ago, Butcher56 said:

Fantastic chapter and beginning to the story. Alexander has now recovered from his bought with malaria and is now working full time again. Edwin has been busy with his projects as well, restoring the Crawford Priory, returning Haig Hall to it’s original use as a country residence instead of the hotel, along with purchasing some farms south of the Haig Estate and turning them into a airfield making it easier to travel around to check on the other properties. Now Robert has bought another property and gave it to Edwin and his new title is the Right Honorable, Lord Crawford, Baron of Fordell, and he is receiving his new title from the Queen this time at Buckingham Palace which he and Robert have been invited to. I can understand why aunt Bea answered the phone the way she did when Edwin called to talk to her and his mum so that he and Robert could tell them about the new title and property and to invite them to come see it for themselves with the media the way they are.

Windsor Castle, not Buckingham Palace.

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Glad to see Edwin back again in this latest story, Preston.

Now, with his latest good works in historic property restoration, and other ventures, Edwin has been recognized by HM, with his new and expanded titles of,  The Rt Hon (proper shortform usage BTW) Lord Crawford, Baron of Fordell. :worship:

Hopefully we'll see Edwin reconnect with his long-time mate Lucas?

Stay Safe. Socially Distant. (2m or broadswords apart?) and #WearTheDamnMask.

:thankyou:

 

 

Edited by Anton_Cloche
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47 minutes ago, Anton_Cloche said:

Glad to see Edwin back again in this latest story, Preston.

Now, with his latest good works in historic property restoration, and other ventures, Edwin has been recognized by HM, with his expanded new and expanded titles,  The Rt Hon (proper shortform usage BTW) Lord Crawford, Baron of Fordell. :worship:

Hopefully we'll see Edwin reconnect with his long-time mate Lucas?

Stay Safe. Socially Distant. (2m or broadswords apart?) and #WearTheDamnMask.

:thankyou:

 

 

We don’t have to wear masks in my home state. The border has been closed to the rest of the country, so we no longer have any community infections of COVID here. With my home state having deserts along its only land border, with SA and the NT, we only have a few roads that cross over, and they are shut down.

Edited by quokka
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Just a note: Singapore is not Malaria country. Although Dengue fever is a bother there currently. 

In most European countries a title is nothing of public interest Not a paltry Baron, Count or Earl anyway. Her Princes and junior members of Royal or even Imperial houses move freely, never bothered by the media, and the general public has nominierest whatsoever. Other than juicy scandals in the yellow press, you don‘t ever hear or see them, they go about their daily lives unencumbered...school, university, professional environments. No one bats an eyelid upon introduction.....Might be something very exciting in Wa though, I wouldn‘t know...

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1 hour ago, IBEX said:

Just a note: Singapore is not Malaria country. Although Dengue fever is a bother there currently. 

In most European countries a title is nothing of public interest Not a paltry Baron, Count or Earl anyway. Her Princes and junior members of Royal or even Imperial houses move freely, never bothered by the media, and the general public has nominierest whatsoever. Other than juicy scandals in the yellow press, you don‘t ever hear or see them, they go about their daily lives unencumbered...school, university, professional environments. No one bats an eyelid upon introduction.....Might be something very exciting in Wa though, I wouldn‘t know...

Two things, malaria is only mentioned in chapter two

in my research malaria is in Singapore, but in a small way

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