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Fordell - 6. Ford Ch 6

“I would be honoured if you could come and teach a few classes to the senior students, if you have the time,” the Headmaster said to me, I glanced at Brad, before responding, I actually have plans, of developing an online education programme in Physics and Mathematics.

So yes, maybe once I have done that I should have time to do that. I am planning to do the Certificate 4 TAFE Course in Training and Assessment, so I can teach at TAFE colleges, so that should give me a better understanding of how to teach,” I replied.

Once we had left the school, we called into Brad’s apartment to collect his luggage, and to the hotel to collect mine, and we headed to the Launceston airport, where I had chartered a flight to take us to Strahan. Before leaving, I telephoned Charles, to let him know that we were soon on our way home, so he could arrange to collect us.

Using a taxi service to collect us at the airport, we were driven to nearby Mores Bay, where the Dinghy from the catamaran was waiting for us, to transfer us to the Catamaran, which was waiting anchored just off the Meredith street jetty.

Once we were onboard and the dinghy was secured, we raced out to the harbour, to avoid been spotted by the media, and once in Lettes Bay, where we transferred to the speed boat, and we headed for the King River and home, while the catamaran returned to Risby Cove, where it and the larger yacht are permanently based.

Mum and Robert were standing at the jetty when we arrived, “Robert, do you remember my good friend Brad Cooper? Brad, this is Lord Robert Lindsey, the Earl of Crawford,” I said making the introductions, “Nice to meet you again My Lord, and Lady Alexandria, it is nice to see you again too,” Brad said.

After a short walk, we soon approached the cabins, but instead of just two, there are now four. “You have made some changes I see,” I commented to my Cousin, who smiled and nodded his head. “I have, Brad you have the second large cabin, opposite Charles and Elizabeth who are the house staff, Robert informed my friend.

“Thankyou my Lord, if you excuse me, I will get settled in and see you later,” Brad replied, as Mum handed him the keys to his new residence, and we continued walking up to the manor.

“It took a bit of convincing, but Hunter is now living in the Manor, in one of the guest bedrooms on the first floor, and I am currently in one of the suites on the same level, now that your mother is settled into the other master suite on the top floor,” Robert announced.

We walked up the stairs, where we found Hunter standing there, and he gave a slight bow, “Welcome home My Lord,” he said to me, “Thankyou Hunter, it is good to be back after a long period away,” I said, as Charles collected my luggage and took it upstairs, while we settled in the living room.

“What are the plans for the business office?” I asked, “We decided that the Guest lounge was too big, so we have made the computer room into your office, and the study into Brad’s office, so you have your own space,” Mum replied.

“That sounds fine by me, I just hope not to be spending too much time in there with business work, and more on my future plans which is teaching Mathematics and Physics to adults,” I replied. Three days after I arrived home, Robert set off on his four-day holiday onboard the yacht, with Hunter travelling with him for company and security, since I have Brad to act as my minder while they are away, and there are eight paying guests on this trip.

With Robert allocated the owners suite on the bridge deck, the guests were two decks down on the main deck, while Hunter was allocated a VIP Suite on the upper deck.

While Robert was away, Brad and I settled into a routine, firstly showing Brad all of my business interests in the UK, and together we made calls to Alexander, for a conference call, then to Balcarres House Business office, to have some discussions with them.

After that, I left Brad to do some research to get an understanding on UK business laws, as that is what he would be dealing with mostly, apart from the Macquarie Harbour cruises that the yacht does once or twice a week. With the yacht due back on Thursday, firstly dropping off the paying guests, before sailing to the mouth of the King River, where Charles would collect him in the boat, I was planning to invite Craig to spend the weekend at the Manor, and I sent him a text message.

“Hey mate, I am back home now, Brad has become my business manager and is residing in a staff cabin near the manor. Can you come and spend the weekend with us at the manor, if I organise transport to collect you, regards Edwin - Lord Mate.” A few minutes later, I received a reply. “LOL, yes sure, Lord Mate, it will be great to catch up with you and Brad again, and yes I know about his new job, as we spoke on the phone the other night. See you soon, Craig.”

I told Brad about Craig coming to stay on the weekend, and I arranged for a charter flight to collect him from Devonport, and fly him to Strahan, where Charles will collect him in the boat from the Meredith Street Jetty, and bring him directly to the manor.

On the Thursday morning, I received a call from the yacht, with Robert asking me to arrange a charter flight back to Hobart on Friday evening, which was perfect, as he can take the charter flight arriving from Devonport with Craig, to get to Hobart. Robert had an evening flight to Sydney, with an overnight stay, before setting off back home to Scotland.

I decided to go with Charles to collect Craig, and to see off Robert, while Mum remained at home at the manor, were she was relying on Elizabeth a lot more now that Aunt Bea is not around to keep her company. After saying good-bye to Robert, I saw him to the taxi as it arrived, and I waited until the vehicle drove off back to the airport, before saying hello to Craig.

“Was that your cousin, the Earl of Crawford?” Craig asked, “Yes, he flew back here with Mum, as Aunty Bea passed away a few weeks ago, and is buried in Scotland. I had to divert back to Zurich to clean up my apartment and pack my valuable things up, as I am leasing out the apartment now that I am back in Australia,” I replied, as we headed to the jetty, where the boat was waiting for us.

During Craig’s two-night stay at the Manor, we discussed a few things in regards to teaching in TAFE colleges, which I found very helpful, as I had already applied to do the Training and Assessment course online, since there is no college close by.

The day after Craig flew back to Devonport, Mum received a letter from a law firm, informing here that she was the sole heir to Great Aunty Bea’s estate, which consisted of three homes, of which one was our former home, the adjoining four units, some investment stocks and 22 ounces of Gold coins, which is worth about $32,000.

After some discussions with me, Mum decided to sell all of the properties, and keep the gold coins in the Safe at the bank where it is been held. I decided to buy the land from mum, as I had some plans for the three older properties.

Since moving to the Manor, we have been renting out our temporary home located out at Dilston, which we decided to sell, as I could see now that it would be far better if she lived somewhere like a lifestyle village, were she would have people her own age around her.

This is when I thought about looking into establishing a lifestyle village in Strahan, and as I was looking into this, I came across a business that was for sale, that has ten villas, and I asked Brad to have a look at it, and see if it would be suitable for turning into a lifestyle village.

Taking the boat into town, with Charles skippering, Brad had made an appointment with the real estate agent, to view the site for sale, which along with the ten villas, there is a managers residence, and a maintenance shed and approximately 1 ¾ acres of land, that can be used for recreation space.

Brad took plenty of photographs, which he sent to me to view, and we discussed it over the phone while Brad was still there, and I was happy with what Brad had reported and asked him to make an offer on the property 20% more than the asking price.

By the time that Brad had returned to the Manor, he had received news that the offer had been accepted, with a six - week settlement date. The following day, Mum and Brad went into town to pay the deposit to secure the deal, and Mum signed all the required documents, on behalf of Wigan Investments, which was set up by Cousin Robert, to own and manage all of my Australian Interests.

While in town, Mum had a chance to view the property, and she was very please with what she saw, and put forward her option of villas, with the biggest one, which is three bedrooms, and located near the back of the property. All but one of the villas is all in a single line, with a sealed road and a concrete footpath, with the biggest villa located opposite the last one.

There is also room for an additional four more villa buildings at the end of the property, as well as room for a tennis court, a three-lane lawn bowls green, and a community centre. The centre will include a library, an activity room, a function room and kitchen, undercover outdoor area, a men’s activity shed and an undercover heated swimming pool.

After Brad and I had viewed hundreds of different lifestyle villages, and how they are run, we put together a system that is very fair and reasonable, for all of the future residents to the village. Once the settlement was completed, and all of the council approvals had been given, work began on building the additional four villa buildings, which will give another eight residents, to make eighteen units available for residents.

Building work also began on a proper boundary fence to make sure that the property was fully secure after hours.

The boundary fence would consist of a thick limestone block wall that is 1.5 metres tall; with a ½ a metre high steel bar fence on top, and security gates would be placed at the front, to keep unwanted vehicles out.

Brad asked if I would consider appointing him as the manager of the Lifestyle village, and after some discussions with Mum, we agreed, and a week later Brad moved into the manager’s residence, were he would monitor the progress of the building improvements.

With it been just 700 metres from the centre of town, and just 400 metres to the supermarket, the village would be ideally located for easy access to the village residents,

There is a vacant block of land next door to the villas, which Brad mentioned to me, which I put in an offer for that land as well, and that soon became part of the same property, with the boundary wall now being built around the north and eastern side, plus along the roadside.

With this newest purchase, I made an early evening visit to Brad, he showed me around the property for the first time, and we decided to put the tennis court and the bowling green at the front of this new block of land, even though it is a little distance away from the villas.

This would allow for an additional four villas with eight units, to be built, and the community centre and swimming pool will be located at the back corner of the original property, with wide footpaths to be added for easy access for everyone, with 26 units now.

I also asked Brad to put in a submission to the local government West Coast Council, with Wigan Investments prepared to pay 75% of the costs of installing a wide footpath from the village, all the way to the shopping centre, and Brad receive a letter about a week later stating that the Council would consider the offer.

For two months, Brad was busy with getting the village established, and he spent Friday’s and weekends at the manor, as to do some work for me. With the boundary wall and entry gates built and installed, work was now well on its way to build the extra villas, plus all of the planned recreation facilities, and a big sign had already been made and installed at the front, advertising the location of the new, Strahan Lifestyle Village.

Brad had a website and email address set up promoting the village, and he was already getting a few enquiries about when it will be opening up for new residents. Mum had been to the village a few times already, and had contractors in to make a few minor changes to her new home, and she was the first to fill in the application to become a resident, using her maiden name, so to not attract attention on her son or herself.

Brad had difficulties at first calling her Ms Alexandria Lucas instead of Lady Alexandria Crawford, and Mum would gently remind him to keep calling her by her maiden name, which I often found amusing. One other matter that I had been looking at was that Strahan has not had a permanent doctor for some years, and that locum doctors on short contracts have been filling in, and have not always been available.

Just two weeks after everything was completed in the village, Mum moved into her new home, and Brad visited her every evening, to check on her for me. Two days after that was our big Village Open Day, with Brad now got a girlfriend – Natalie York, who works part time at the village, doing all of the cleaning of the community areas.

Meanwhile Natalie’s younger brother – Chris has been employed part-time as the Groundsman, where he keeps the swimming pool clean and properly treated with chemicals, as well as planting new native shrubs and ground covers around the village and mowing the small amount of grass.

The open day at the village was a big success, with three new residents signed up to move into the village, which Mum was very pleased about, and she has been keeping busy, having bought a spinning wheel recently, and some processed wool, which she has been spinning into yard.

Once a week, I would get Charles to take me into town in the boat, with it being dark; it was harder for people to recognise me. Brad would come and collect me, and take to the office for a brief meeting with the admin manager, who is running the office for the harbour cruises.

I had also invested in some land in town, to build some apartments for all of the staff that work for me to live in, although the admin manager had a place to live, I thought it best to have places for the catamaran and the big yacht to live, so they are not living onboard all the time.

I found a block of land across the road at Piners Point, just one block down the road from the shed and jetty, where there is an old shed and a good sized patch of land of one and a bit acres, which I made an offer on and it was accepted.

Once the plans had been accepted by the local council, I employed a building company from Queenstown, to build six – two-bedroom units for the officers of the Calamity Jane and the Skipper of the Catamaran, and sixteen – one-bedroom units for the crews of the two yachts, with some units spare for the future.

Next Chapter on Tuesday.

Copyright © 2020 quokka; All Rights Reserved.
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Great chapter. Edwin seems to developing quite a nice business in Australia. His lifestyle Village has taken off, with Brad as it's manager and his mum, using her maiden name as one of the residents.

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