We were amazed at how thick the forest is, with us not being able to see anything beyond more than twenty metres in When we approached a second bridge, the yacht slowed down to a crawl as it went under it, without touching the underneath of the bridge, but I estimated that it would have been a very close call.
After another 45 minutes, we began a sweeping turn, suddenly the catamaran turned into a small jetty that was well hidden amongst the trees, on the inside of the turn, and we were soon moored at the jetty. “What are we doing here?” Aunty Bea asked.
“I thought we could take a little walk along a set trail in the forest to see what it is like further inland,” Robert replied as we headed down the spiral stairs, and off the yacht. The jetty is about two metres wide, and I was surprised that we walked about thirty metres along it before stepping onto a raised boardwalk, already deep in the forest, with the yacht barely visible behind us.
“How much further can this yacht go up stream?” I enquired, “Well the next train station is just four kilometres upstream, and there is a small jetty located 50 metres down from there, as there are small rapids just after the jetty, stopping us from getting any closer,” Robert replied.
We walked along the boardwalk, for about eighty metres until Hunter who was leading the way came to a stop, and turned a faced us. “Sir Edwin, I would like to present to you, your holiday home, Wigan Manor,” Robert announced.
At first, I did not notice anything, because of all of the thick forest vegetation, then I noticed what looked like a large steel pole, and then I spotted a second one, “What the heck is this?” I asked as I walked up to the closest pole and gave it a thump with the side of my fist. When I heard a sound, I jumped back in fright, and suddenly a building appeared out of the sky, or that is what it looked like at first.
When the motors that managed the building height adjustments came to a stop, the building was now in full view, with it looking to be about eight metres in width, as it stopped three metres above the ground, and another sound, soon showed the arrival of stairs.
“Wow, this is incredible, how do you do all of that?” Aunty Bea asked, “Simple really, the manor is located on a raising platform, which is usually used on water, but I have had it airlifted into place, as were the three sections of the manor.
She is eight metres wide and eighteen metres long, with 3 levels, and after these entry stairs, you have a choice of stairs or a lift to get to the other levels. I have employed a caretaker couple, who look after the manor, and they have done an excellent job of looking after Hunter and me during our stay here,” Robert announced, just as a couple appeared at the foot of the stairs.
“Baronet Wigan, welcome to your new home, we hope you enjoy your stay. Welcome to Wigan Manor, Lady Petworth and Lady Crawford. Welcome back Lord Crawford, and Master Hunter. My name is Charles and this is my wife Elizabeth, please follow us upstairs,” the Gentleman said who was wearing a full suit, while the Lady was wearing a simular formal uniform, and Charles took over carrying some of the luggage, while Hunter brought the rest.
Arriving on the first level, we were on a wide verandah, and large glass windows gave a magnificent view of what is inside, a very grand looking living area. “As you can see we have the living room in the centre, on once side is the drawing room, and on the other is the Billiards Room.
Behind the living area is the elevator or lift as you call it here, stairs, as well as the main access hallway, with the staff quarters and stores behind that. Behind the Drawing room is the formal Dining room and adjoining Kitchen and pantry, while behind the Billiards room is the library,” Robert informed us as we entered the living area.
On the next level up at the front, there are two guest suites and two guest bedrooms, all with private bathrooms, plus a guest lounge room. The access hallway behind it goes to the central elevator, stairs, as well as the upper level of the library, a study, computer room and music room, plus some storerooms. The top level has the two master suites.
The manor is fully self sufficient, with a composting biodegradable waste system, a number of fresh water tanks, with water collected from the roof for drinking, as well as filtered water from the river for the rest of the required uses.
“For power, the manor has solar panels on the roof, as well as two wind turbines that provide all the power needed, which is stored in a bank of huge batteries. Usually during the day, the manor is down at the level it is now, and at night it is raised, so as to collect wind power,” Robert announced to us.
Hunter showed Aunty Bea and Mum to their guest suites on the next level, while Robert showed me to my master suite located on the upper level. “Wow, you went all out with luxury with this place,” I commented as I stepped into my suite private lounge, and into my bedroom suite.
“Only the best for my cousin,” Robert said after a short chuckle. “Where does Hunter sleep?” I asked, “Oh he sleeps in the dog house,” Robert commented, “I heard that My Lord,” came a quick response from Hunter, and I laughed at that, and Robert smiled.
“He sleeps in one of the guest bedrooms, which are just as comfortable as the suite, just a little smaller,” Robert answered to my question. How long have Charles and Elizabeth been staying here?” I asked, “They moved in as soon as the manor was fully in place just over a week ago, and they have been busy preparing for your arrival,” Robert replied.
“Are they here full time?” I asked, “Yes, and if you didn’t notice, there is a smaller boat that they use to get into town to do the shopping and other supplies when needed. I have set up a housekeeping account, which they use to pay for all household costs, including fuel for the small boat, which is a fifteen metres sports motor yacht, which is much faster and manoeuvrable than the catamaran,” Robert replied.
“I would like to have a private chat to you about an idea I have, that could be beneficial to not just my school but other independent schools in Tasmania,” I said to Robert as I exited my suite. “That sounds very intriguing, let’s take a seat here in the hall, and we can discuss it,” Robert replied.
“Well, after some research, I worked out that there are a total of nine independent senior schools like and including the school I attend. Six of them are in Northern Tasmania, and the other three are in and around Hobart in the south of the state.
I was thinking of doing a special bursary award for the top Year Eleven Students at each of the Christian independent senior schools. I was thinking that since some are co-ed and some are just boys schools, maybe we should make it for boys for the first one,” I began, thinking more about how it could work as I spoke.
“Go on, I like what you have come up so far,” Robert encouraged me, “I was thinking of it being a two week long adventure and educational trip. With guest lecturers from universities, in fields like marine science and environmental science, plus specialist coaches in outdoor activities like scuba diving and such,” I said.
“Keep going, I like what you have come up with so far, and I want to know more, like where would this trip be held?” Robert said to me, “This is where things are getting a little tricky, I was thinking of maybe purchasing if possible a small cruise ship, with a maximum of about 120 passengers, which will be used as the base for the two week trip.
Maybe have one or two teachers from each school in attendance, as well as the lecturers and coaches,” I suggested. “Well, you have put a fair amount of thought in this haven’t you? I am fully supportive of this idea and will gladly help in anyway to get it happening,” Robert responded.
“I am so happy to hear that, thankyou Cousin Robert,” I said happily. “Any idea what you would call this award?” Robert asked, “No not really, but maybe I could name it after my title, without revealing that it is me,” I replied. “What about something like the Wigan Academic Scholarship,” Robert suggested, “Yes, that sounds fairly good, I will do some more research and see what needs to be done to get things started,” I replied.
That evening, after dinner, we all sat on the verandah listening to the wildlife in the forest, and it was so peaceful and relaxing, I was now very glad that Robert had decided to locate our holiday home in the Tasmanian Forests on the west coast.
“When will you and Hunter be heading back to the UK?” Aunty Bea asked Robert, “We will be flying back to Launceston with you, then onto Melbourne, before boarding our flight back to Edinburgh via London,” Robert replied.
The following morning, after a bit of a sleep in, I woke up to the sound of a steam whistle, and I realised that it must be the Wilderness Railway train, and I quickly dressed and headed out to the verandah to have a look northwards.
I strained to see if I could see the train with the railway line being just 60 metres away from the Manor according to Robert, but all that I could see was the black smoke coming from the engine, because the forest is so thick. I also realised that the Manor was back down at the lower level, so the verandah is just slightly below the level of the treetops.
After hearing the train get further away, I headed downstairs for some breakfast. “Good morning Sir Edwin, the others have all eaten, but I have kept your breakfast warm for you,” Charles said before heading into the kitchen and returning moments later with a cooked breakfast.
I was about to ask where everyone was when I heard Robert’s laugh, coming from the direction of the billiards room. After breakfast, I walked into the billiards room to see Robert and Hunter playing billiards. “Good morning sleepy, did you have a good rest?” Robert said when he saw me enter.
“Yes thanks, so peaceful and quiet, I only woke when I heard the train whistle, and when I went out to look, all I could see was the smoke from the engine,” I replied. “Your Mum and Bea have gone for a walk, as I have some raised boardwalks constructed,” Robert replied.
Can we have some more discussions about my project, while there is no one around?” I asked, “Oh so I am a ghost am I?” Hunter said, and Robert smiled, “No sorry, I just meant… Never mind,” I said and Robert laughed.
“It is alright, Hunter knows about your scholarship project, and together we have already started working on it, firstly with a plan of action, so let’s stop this and take a set in the study, so we can get to work,” Robert said.
Once settled into the study, Hunter pulled out his laptop computer and booted it up. “Right to start off, we have looked into the idea of using a small cruise ship, and we have found a possible suitable ship. She is 93.5 metres long and 17.2 metres wide, with a draught of 4.5 metres.
It has 54 guest cabins and 6 guest suites, 22 crew and 4 officers cabins for a total of 48 crew, although with this not being a cruise, and more of a private ship, you may be able to cut the crew numbers down, so it is not so costly.
Copyright Preston Wigglesworth All Rights Reserved July 2020