“Good morning Lord Lindsay, good to see you again,” Robert was greeted as we entered, “Good morning Thomas, this is my second cousin from Australia, Edwin, Baronet of Wigan,” Robert responded, “Welcome to St Andrews Sir Edwin, I hope you have an enjoyable visit with us,” the waiter said, before leading the way to our table.
After the early lunch, we set off to play a round of golf, and with the help of tips from Robert, I was not as bad as I thought I was in the game, as we started with nine holes of golf and continued on to complete eighteen holes, by which time I was getting better at the sport.
I think I will play a lot more golf when I get home, as I have enjoyed today very much,” I said to James as we walked back to the clubhouse. “That is good to hear, maybe we can have another game before you leave next week,” Robert replied.
The following morning, Hunter drove us to the Kirkcaldy train station, and for the next four hour’s we travelled south to Wigan, just north of Manchester, where Robert had arranged for a limo to collect us and take us the eight kilometres to Haig Hall.
On arrival we were greeted by the doorman, “Good afternoon, we have made an appointment to view Haig Hall,” Robert said, “I am sorry sir, but we are in the process of closing down the hotel, with plans to sell it,” the doorman informed us.
“I see, well I still would like to speak to the manager please,” Robert asked, “Who may I ask is enquiring?” the doorman asked, Lindsay of Crawford,” Robert responded, “Yes Mr Lindsay, please follow me, the doorman said as he began to turn to head inside.
I cleared my throat loudly, and the doorman turned to look back at us, “That is Lord Lindsay, Earl of Crawford to you,” I said with a frown, “My apologies My Lord, please follow me, and I will inform the manager of your arrival,” the doorman said, and I heard Robert chuckling beside me as we followed.
“I understand, that you are the Earl of Crawford, whose family built this magnificent house,” a man who was dressed casually said in a strong southern American accent, as he entered the drawing room. “That is correct, Lord Robert Lindsay, 29th and current Earl of Crawford, and this is my second cousin from Australia, who is on holidays, and is Edwin Crawford, the Baronet of Wigan,” Robert replied.
“It is a pleasure to meet you Lord Lindsay, and you too Baronet Crawford. It is my day off today, but I would be happy to give you a tour of the house and the grounds,” the American man said. “I have been here a number of times over the years, I am just here to show my cousin one of our original family homes,” Robert commented as we began the tour of the house.
Although the American tried to give a history of the house and grounds, Robert had to correct him a number of times, including that the land was in the family from the year 1787, and that the current Haig Hall took 13 years to build from 1827 to 1840 by the 7th Earl of Balcarres.
We learnt that Haig House plus the 250 acres of land, including the gold course, fun park, miniature railway and the woodlands, would be for sale, and Robert was given the name of the Estate gents who are handling the sale. “During the ride back to of Wigan, we just watched all the scenery around us, and at Robert’s request, we were dropped off at the Real Estates office in town.
While Robert was in there, I went to the nearby museum, to see what it has there, also the park across the road. About half an hour later, I received a text message from Robert. “Meet you at the Wigan Train station in fifteen minutes,” and once I had my bearings, I headed for the train station, which was a good fifteen minutes walk away.
On the train journey northwards back to Scotland, Robert informed me that he had made an offer to purchase Haig Hall, but at a far less amount than they were asking for, and that he would have to wait until the company’s board meets to discuss the offer.
It was almost dark when Hunter collected us from the train station at Kirkcaldy, and it was well and truly dark by the time we arrived at Balcarres House.
While eating dinner, I stopped for a moment and frowned as I tried to work out how many days it has been since I arrived in Scotland. “How many days have I been here?” I asked my cousin, “Today is day seven, but it has been eight days since you left home,” Robert replied.
“When have you got me booked to fly back, and will you be coming too?” I asked, “Tomorrow we go and meet your other relatives at Archerfield, where we have been invited for lunch and a game of golf afterwards, and we will be staying there overnight, before heading back to Edinburgh in the morning.
Once there, we will have a few hours to relax and have a better look around Edinburgh, including having some lunch, before we board an afternoon flight to Zurich, where we will spend two days. From there I will send you off home, on your own, and I am sure that you will be perfectly fine travelling on your own, and Alexandria, your mother knows of your return travel plans,” Robert said to me.
“Wow, two days in Switzerland, that is a real treat,” I responded, and Robert chuckled at this. “I own a two level modern villa on one and a quarter acres of land, just out of Zurich, which I use for a summer holiday each year, and the rest of the time it is rented out, so that is where we will be staying,” Robert informed me.
“So I have to be fully packed before we leave for Archerfield tomorrow?” I asked, “That is right, I will be taking a week’s holiday in Zurich after you have gone, late morning on Wednesday next week,” Robert replied. “How long is the trip from Zurich to Melbourne?” I asked my cousin.
“Well it is twelve hours to Singapore, and there you have a two hour layover, before flying to Melbourne, which will take seven and a half hours, arriving at 5.15 pm Melbourne time on Thursday, that way you have a few days to recover from jetlag, before returning to school,” Robert said to me.
“When will I see you next?” I asked my cousin, as I realised that I was sad that my trip to the UK was almost over. “I plan to travel to Australia in time for your next school holidays, so we can explore Tasmania, and see about getting a family retreat somewhere, so your family can take holidays,” Robert said to me.
“The mid year holidays start on July 12th for two weeks,” I responded, “That is good to know, and I will look forward to seeing your mother – Alexandria and your Aunt Beatrice, again,” Robert said, “I am sure they will be glad for you to come and visit again, especially Aunt Bea,” I said smiling.
When we arrived at Archerfield the next day, Robert’s nephew – Alexander, and his wife Margaret were there to greet us, and after been shown to our accommodation suites, we sat down for a family gathering for morning tea, along with Alexander and Margaret’s children. James Robert who is ten, Julia Margaret who is seven, Emanuel Robert who is four and Andrea Margaret who has just turned one year old.
After morning tea, Robert and I were given a tour of the main house, the stables, the golf club house and once saddled up, we took a horse ride around the park, and although it had been a long time since I last rode a horse, I really enjoyed being in the saddle again.
After dinner, while I entertained my cousins, Robert and Alexander talked privately in the study, what about I was not sure, apart from it being to do with business. The next morning after a delicious breakfast, we said farewell to the family at Archerfield, with Hunter collecting us in the Bentley, we headed to the city of Edinburgh to do some shopping, with Robert suggesting that I get some warmer clothing, as it gets quite old in Switzerland, even in the spring.
A little before 11 am we boarded our flight to Zurich, with all of my luggage, and the small amount of luggage that Robert brought with him, and Hunter brought with him. We were soon in the air heading southeast for Switzerland, and just over two hours later, we landed in Zurich, Switzerland, where I could hardly believe that I am here.
The next two and a bit days few by so quickly, with Robert and Hunter showing me lots of wonderful places, and it was very sad for me when it was time for me to catch my flights home to Tasmania. “I thanked Robert for such a wonderful trip and thanked Hunter for providing the transport to see all the wonderful places that I had seen in the past week and a half.
“You are most welcome cousin. It has been a great pleasure to have you here with us, especially since I have not laughed so much in such a long time. You have done a lot more for me, than I for you. Remember you still have that credit card, spend the money wisely, and I will see you again in mid July,” Robert said to me, as he handed me my airline tickets, and I was a little surprised that they were for first class seats to Melbourne.
The long flight from Europe to Australia, via Singapore, was quite a treat, with my own private cubical, and I enjoyed every moment of it, including a good night’s sleep for the first segment of the trip. By the time I arrived in Melbourne, I was feeling great, having got plenty of sleep and now adjusted to eastern Australian time.
When we arrived in Singapore, I had very little time to do anything, as the plane was a little late landing in Singapore, so I had to go directly to my next flight. In Melbourne, I had four hours before my flight to Launceston, and after passing customs and quarantine; my luggage was transferred to my next flight.
I had just my back pack, with my laptop, tablet and a change of spare clothes in it, as I headed into the city for a little bit of a wander around, before catching the train back to the airport. When I finally arrived in Launceston, I was pleased to see Mum and Aunty Bea there waiting for me, giving me a big hug.
“I received a call from Cousin Robert this morning; he said to ask you about your visit to a special place in Edinburgh? What on earth is he talking about?” Aunty Bea asked, and I smiled before retrieving my award from the inside pocket of my backpack, where it has been kept safe for the trip home.
Contained in a ten by twenty-centimetre presentation box, that has a felt covering, I handed it to Aunty Bea, and with Mum looking over her shoulder, which was not hard to do, as Aunty Bea was a lot smaller in height, she carefully opened the lid, to reveal the Baronet Medallion attached to an orange-tawny ribbon.
“What on earth is that Edwin?” Mum asked, “Oh my, I know what this is, did Robert recommend this to you, and did you go to Holyrood to receive it?” Aunty Bea asked, “Yes Aunty to both questions, and he kept me in the dark about it right up to the last moment, and it happened on my second day in Scotland,” I replied smiling.
“What is it, will you please tell me what this is Edwin?” Mum said sounding a little annoyed, “Now, now, dear, calm please. From now on, at official events, you need to address your son as Sir Edwin Crawford, BT,” Aunty said to my mother quietly, and I nodded my head to signify that it is true.
“What? What do you mean Sir Edwin, and what on earth does BT mean?” Mum asked, “It means mother dearest, that Cousin Robert gave up one of his minor titles, so that I could receive the title of Baronet of Wigan,” I explained.
“He did what!” Mum said sounding shocked, “Come dear, let us get your honourable son home to relax, after such a long journey and between us we will explain,” Aunty Bea said. “Ok, but I want to know everything, and… wait a minute, your said something about Holyrood… isn’t that the Scottish residence of…” Mum said stopping short of saying it all.
Copyright Preston Wigglesworth All Rights Reserved July 2020