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    quokka
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Fordell - 5. Ford Ch 5

After checking into a five star hotel, I walked into the accounting office where Brad works, shortly before 4 pm. “Can I help you sir?” the reception lady asked, “Yes, I would like to see Mr Brad Cooper,” I responded, “I am sorry sir, but he is in a meeting all afternoon, and cannot be disturbed,” the receptionist replied.

“I suggest that you go and see him and tell him this one single word – Wigan, and I can guarantee that he will want to see me,” I replied, and the women left her desk and went down a narrow passageway and around a corner out of sight. Less than a minute later Brad appeared smiling, “Man it is so good to see you again, welcome back home,” Brad said as he wrapped me in a hug.

“Oops sorry Sir, I got a little carried away,” Brad whispered as he released me and stood back. I chuckled at this and smiled, “It is fine mate, we are good friends, so you are forgiven… this time, but next time, I am not sure,” I replied, as I watched the reception woman frown as she took her seat.

The boss wasn’t to happy about us being interrupted, but as soon as she said the word, I jumped up and left the conference room, much to the bosses displeasure,” Brad explained, “Well if you get fired, I could do with a good accountant,” I said to my friend.

“Really, that would be totally awesome. Would I have to wear a suit?” Brad responded, “Nah, board shorts, singlet and thongs will do, and surf board is optional,” I replied and we both laughed. “What is the meaning of this Cooper, we are waiting for you to return, and we don’t have all afternoon,” a man bellowed from down the hallway.

Brad looked over his shoulder briefly, before looking back at me, “Can I quit now please,” he whispered to me, and I gave a little nod of my head, and Brad smiled broadly, before turning around. “Sorry sir, but your company sucks and I quite effective immediately,” Brad said to his now former boss.

“You will never work in this industry again if you do that, I will make certain of that,” his former boss called out, “I wouldn’t agree with that, my friend has far greater and more powerful contacts than you would ever know, goodbye, and good riddens,” Brad said, as he walked down a different passageway, and I followed him.

Entering a very small office with two desks, Brad grabbed the awards that were on the wall behind his deck, his coat and headed for the door where I stood. “Where are you going in a hurray, a lady at the other desk asked, “I am out of here, I just quit, as I have a better offer,” Brad replied, as he exited the office and I followed him out.

What now Sir boss?” Brad asked after we had exited the office, and I laughed at this, “It is Lord Boss now, as I was given a higher title while back in Scotland, I am the Baron of Fordell now,” I replied. “Crumbs, when did all of this happen?” Brad asked, “While I was in the UK, I spent four years studying in Zurich, before heading back to Scotland to help with the family businesses for a while,” I replied.

“Yes, Craig mentioned that you have degrees in Mathematics and Physics and a Diploma in Computer Science, but nothing about becoming a Lord,” Brad said. “Very sneaky of him, I will be going to visit him after I have stopped over at home in Strahan for a few days. Now do you own or rent the place you live in?” I asked.

“Rental, I have been there for a few years, and the lease agreement has gradually gone from six months to three months to just monthly now,” Brad replied. “Good, when you get home give them notice of you leaving and start packing, as I will be getting you to move down to Strahan,” I announced.

“That sounds great, where will I be living?” Brad responded, “I will find a trashy old place for you… just kidding, I will find something before your month’s notice expires,” I replied. Two hours later, went for a celebration early dinner at a classy restaurant, and Brad felt a little uncomfortable about this.

“I would have been happy with just a burger,” Brad said to me, “Sorry mate, but you are now working for aristocracy, so you have to get used to it, just like I did,” I replied quietly. “Me and my big mouth, I wonder if I can get my old job back,” Brad commented, and I chuckled at this just as my phone rang, and I saw that it was Robert calling.

“Hey cousin, how are things going at my place, have all the changes been made?” I said when I answered the call, “Yes cousin, your Mum is now relocated into the second master suite, with a big of protest, saying I should be in that suite, but I am happy staying in the guest suite for my short stay. How long before you arrive home?” Robert replied.

“I am staying overnight in Launceston, catching up with one of my old friends, who has agreed to come and work for me,” I said to my cousin. “Which one is it? Brad or Craig?” Robert asked, “Brad, he is the one who is an accountant, and business manager, he will be perfect with helping me keep track of everything,” I answered.

“In that case, I suggest we find a place to set up a business office, maybe the guest lounge would be the best location,” Robert said to me. “Yes, that sounds perfect to me, and he can have the other big cabin opposite Charles and Elizabeth,” I suggested.

“Not possible, that is already taken up by your new security chief, I have reassigned Hunter to remain here to look after you, whom he is very pleased about,” Robert announced. “Ok, but wouldn’t it be better if he is closer to me in one of the guest rooms on the first floor?” I asked.

“Yes, you may be right there, I will discuss it with Hunter, and a decision will be made before you get home,” Robert replied. “How are things going with the catamaran and the yacht? I asked, “Well the cruises seemed to have dramatically reduced, so there are only one or two small cruises per week now.

I will be spending a few days onboard the yacht as a short holiday, before I fly back to Scotland next week, so I can see some more of this magnificent island,” Robert said to me. “That is good to hear, you deserve a well earned holiday, I will see you all tomorrow,” I replied, before ending the call.

“How about you come and spend a few days at the Manor, so you can get your bearings, Cousin Robert has suggested turning the guest lounge on the first floor, into an administration office for you and I too work in, which I have agreed to. You will be living at the manor, either in one of the guest cabins or one of the guest bedrooms in the manor, and Hunter will be staying on here, as my security chief,” I said to Brad.

“So how many staff do you have now?” Brad asked me, “Including you, I have four, Charles is my chauffeur and butler, his wife Elizabeth is my cook and housekeeper, Hunter who you already know is my security chief, and then I have a scallywag by the name of Brad, who runs my office,” I replied.

“Scallywag My Lord, I thought I was your joint best friend along with Craig,” Brad replied, and I chuckled at this. After dinner, I asked Brad to pack for about four days stay at the Manor, and that he would return to Launceston to finish packing, before I arrange for him to move permanently down to Strahan.

“Since tomorrow is a Friday, I was thinking we may pop in and surprise our old school,” Brad suggested, and I smiled, “Yes, an excellent idea, best suits for that I think, and we can time it so we arrive just as assembly starts,” I replied smiling.

The following morning, after a early breakfast, with Brad coming to the hotel early to join me, we set off in a taxi for the front entrance to the school, and we entered the reception office together. “Mr Crawford and Mr Cooper, nice to see you both again, what has it been five years since you both graduated?” the friendly receptionist said to us, “Yes, ma’am, it has been that long exactly, we have come to spring a surprise visit on the school just in time for assembly,” I replied.

“I am sure the headmaster, chaplain and deputy headmaster will be pleased to see you both,” the receptionist said, as I retrieved my wallet, and pulled out a business card, and showed it to Brad, before handing it to the woman. We watched, as he eyes grew large at what she had just read on the business card.

“Is this why you went to Scotland, because you now have a title… err Sir?” the woman asked, “You address him as My Lord or Your Lordship,” Brad said to correct her. “Oh, my apologies, your lordship, I sort of get tongue tied with that sort of stuff, just like I did when your cousin arrived here those years back,” the woman said.

“That is perfectly fine, now would you like to go and make the announcement of our arrival, and keep the card for reference,” I said to her, “Thank you My Lord, by the way how are your mother and great aunt?” the lady asked.

“My mother - Lady Alexandria is very well thank you, but my great Aunt – Lady Beatrice passed away in her sleep while staying at the family home in Scotland last month,” I replied.

“Oh, I am sorry to hear that, I met her a few times, and she was a lovely lady to know, my condolences on her passing,” the reception lady said. “Thankyou for that, and I think Aunt Beatrice wanted to be there for her passing, as it is where she spent a lot of her time at Balcarres Castle, and it was New Years Day morning when she passed away,” I replied.

Five minutes later, the reception woman entered the stage area, where assembly was being held, as we watched from gap in the door, at the back. “Really, he is here?” we heard the Headmaster ask as he read the business card, and we saw her nod her head yes.

“Teachers, staff and students, we are honoured to have with us today two former students from this school, the first is Mr Brad Cooper, an Accountant and Business manager. The second is his classmate, the Right Honourable Lord Edwin Crawford, Baron of Fordell, Scotland,” the headmaster announced, as Brad and I opened up the back doors fully and began our walk to the front of the assembly hall.

When the staff and teachers on stage stood, the whole school did the same, as we walked down the middle aisle, and when the Headmaster bowed as we approached, the teachers bowed and curtsied, as we walked up the steps to the stage.

“Thank you for your warm welcome, you may take a seat. If I may Headmaster, I would like to give a brief talk on what has happened in my life from my second last year here at this school,” I said, looking to the headmaster who nodded his head yes.

“My father had died when I was young, so it was my mother, and my Great Aunt Beatrice who brought me up, and we lived in a small but comfortable cottage on the street just behind the school. In year 11, our history teacher, gave us an assignment, which started a roller coaster ride of changes in my life.

The 3500 word assignment was to be the history of a member of our family, and we were to get as much information as possible. When I informed my mother and great aunt about this assignment, they told me about my great, great grandfather, who was an army officer in India and who refused to fight, as a result he was declared insane, and was sent to a very remote island, in northern Scotland.

I also learnt, that this army officer was the younger brother of the Earl of Crawford, and that I too was a member of aristocracy. I spoke to the Earl by telephone, and at the start of the school holidays, he made a surprise visit here to Launceston, and the school.

During those school holidays I travelled all the way to Scotland, where I saw a lot of the family ancestral homes, of which there were many, some still in the family and others sold off many years before, plus one known as Crawford Priory that was in ruins. I am pleased to say that the priory, has recently been fully restored and was recently the location for the funeral of my great aunt.

Although I did not have a title, that was soon rectified, when my cousin the Earl of Crawford, asked the Privy Council, which are the people who advise the Queen, to give me a title from one of his minor titles, and so I became the Baronet of Wigan,” I said, as I looked back at my former History teacher.

“For that assignment, I was given an A minus, because my history teacher felt that I had deliberately withheld some information, which he has now only just learnt about,” I said and the history teacher was smiling broadly. “I now understand why you didn’t, and I am guessing that was for your own protection,” the teacher said loud enough for all to hear, and there was a bit of laughing about this.

“Yes it was sir, apart from my family only two people knew about my title, when I handed in that assignment, and one of them is standing next to me now,” I said as I indicated to Brad, who walked up to the lectern.

“Thankyou My Lord… Headmaster, teachers, staff and students; thankyou for allowing us to be here today. May I say what his lordship has not mentioned is where his title was presented to him at Holyrood House, the Scottish residence of Her Majesty the Queen, who presented it to him.

I have also learnt that while at Windsor Castle recently, her Majesty presented his Lordship with most recent title, of Baron of Fordell. Since leaving school here, His Lordship has completed a double degree in Mathematics and Physics at a University in Zurich, Switzerland, plus learnt two foreign languages, and obtained a Diploma in Computer Science.

For me, I have remained in Tasmania, where I have obtained a Diploma in Accounting and a Certificate 4 in Business management, and until very recently I was working for an Accounting firm in Launceston, before accepting a position with his Lordship.

Our good friend Craig Ballard, who also knew of His Lordship’s title and who along with me became his minders, is a TAFE Lecturer in Devonport, after gaining a double Diploma in Graphic Arts and Music, and a Certificate 4 in Training and Assessment.

If you study hard, you never know what the world has to offer you, so I say good luck to your all and best wishes for the future,” Brad said and the assembly hall soon filled with applause. “Thankyou Lord Crawford and Mr Cooper for your talk today, that is all we have for assembly today, normal classes will start in ten minutes,” the Headmaster said to close the assembly.

Some of the senior students waited back and moved towards the stage, as we were introduced to three new teachers to the school, since we had graduated, and when I noticed the senior students, I approached them. “Sir, your lordship, may I have your autograph?’ a female student asked me, as she held out her folder and a felt pen, “Certainly young lady, what is your name?” I replied.

“Annabelle MacKay,” she replied, “Is your mother Tracy MacKay?” I asked referring to a former classmate of ours, “My aunt, your lordship, I am the oldest daughter of her older sister,” the girl replied, I opened the folder, and on the inside cover I wrote – “Annabelle, may the future lead you to greatness, don’t let anyone tell you that it is not possible. Regards Lord Crawford of Fordell, BN.”

I wrote the same for nine other students, before the headmaster announced to the students that it was time to head to class, and they headed out of the building.

Next Chapter on Monday evening Australian WST

Copyright © 2020 quokka; All Rights Reserved.
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Such an excellent chapter. I think the idea of just showing up to their old school just as the assembly is getting started was great. The receptionist was very humbled by the fact that she was in the presence of a Lord who happened to be a former student at the school. When she took the card to the Headmaster and he read it in surprise he introduced them to the school and during the time they were talking to the school their former history teacher found out the reason for the omissions in the paper Edwin turned in and the teacher said that he now understands why he did it the way he did and that it was for his protection. After the assembly some of the students came up to Edwin and asked for his autograph which he gave them without hesitation. I think Brad will be great in his new job as business manager for the Baron of Fordell.

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Awesome chapter. Brad will do well in his new job working for Edwin. I'm glad that Edwin and Brad popped into there old school, there visit will inspire the seniors to work hard in there studies.

Edited by chris191070
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Another fantastic chapter, good to see Edwin back in good old Tassie again, my next trip will be to Queenstown and Strahan, as have just been to Cradle Mountain national Park and also Stanley up in the far North West of Tasmania.

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