“Very good work with getting around the answer of having a title,” Brad whispered to me, as we sat under a tree to eat lunch, “Yes, I thought so too, and I am glad you didn’t expand on the bit about Holyrood Palace,” I replied. “All in your service Sir Edwin,” Craig said softly smiling.
“By the way what sort of mobile do you both have?” I asked, “Old I-Phones, why?” Brad answered, “Mine is an I-Phone 6s,” Craig added, “Ok, we have a free lesson straight after lunch, so let’s eat up as I want to do some fast shopping,” I responded.
“You mean sneak out of school?” Brad asked, “Yes, I mean that, I think this is important, and we have sports straight after, so it won’t matter if we are a little late getting back,” I replied, as I pulled out my phone, and dialled a number.
“Yes, can I have a car to the corner of Joffre and Banks Street, Mowbray going to Launceston please,” I said when the call was answered, and ended the call when the request was accepted and smiled at my two friends. “Ok, what are you up to?” Craig asked, “Wait and see mate, just wait and see,” I replied, as we stood and headed to the back corner of the school.
Less than fifteen minutes later, we arrived in Launceston, as we exited the taxi on Brisbane Street, outside the Telstra phone shop, and I led the way inside. Thankfully, it was quiet so we were able to get service right away.
“I would like to purchase an I-Phone 11 plus for my two friends here please,” I said to the customer service man, which firstly looked at me suspiciously, and then at my two friends, who looked shocked at my request. “You got to be sh… kidding me, do you know how much they cost,” Craig said to me.
“Yes I do, and I have a healthy credit card to pay for them, and it is my gift to you for your support now and in the future,” I replied smiling. “Wow, thanks dude, but do you really think it is necessary?” Brad asked, “I do, especially if we have trouble like first thing this morning,” I replied.
Twenty minutes later, we walked out of the phone store, with my friends now owners of brand new phones, and the smiles on their faces was great to see, as we headed for the nearest cab lane, to catch a taxi back to school. On the trip back to school, Brad and Craig kept busy setting up their new mobile phones, and transferring everything from their old phones.
At my suggestion, they shut down their new phones before arriving at school, they would wait until the end of the school day, before taking them out again, and both of them decided to keep it secret about their new phones, so as not to get me into any trouble for spending so much money on them.
I was pleased that the next day, the bullies decided to leave me alone, and started picking on other students younger than themselves, which was not good, but I have my own worries to be concerned about, so I tried to stay away when they were around.
As much as I wanted the time to pass quickly, until the next school holidays, it did not work out that way. I received a call from Cousin Robert every fortnight, informing me of what interesting things are happening in Scotland and other parts of the UK. The main news I told him was that I received an A+ for my assignment, and that the teacher would have given me a distinction, if I had filled in some of the blanks spots with more detailed information.
With just over a week left of second term remaining, I was caught by surprise to see Cousin Robert sitting in the lounge chatting to Aunty Bea and Mum when I arrived home on the Thursday afternoon. “Well hello Cousin, this is a nice surprise,” I said, as I dropped my school bag and went and shook his hand.
“Yes, I thought it might be best to come and say hello, since I have been back in Australia for almost two weeks now,” Robert replied. “Wow, what have you been doing in all that time?” I asked as I sat down next to Mum, grabbing a cream and jam filled scone from the plate before I did sit.
“Well as I mentioned to you before, I wanted to organise a place for holidays for my Australian family, and yes I did consider your request about the disused railway line, and I have decided to do both. So for the past two weeks, I have been looking at a few places for your holiday home,” Robert said to us.
“So have you found anything interesting, and what about the railway line?” I asked excitedly. “Well I may have a place lined up, but you will have to wait until the weekend before we can check it out,” Robert replied.
“Are you just taking Edwin, or are we all going?” Mum asked, “All of us of course, so pack a bag ready to leave straight after Edwin gets home from school tomorrow, as we have a 4.30 pm flight to Strahan, where we will be spending two nights,” Robert replied.
With Robert staying for dinner, he announced that it was the best home cooked meal he has had in a very long time, which really pleased Aunty Bea, since she did most of the cooking in the house, and Hunter was outside in the limo when it was time for him to return to his hotel suite.
“Hiya Hunter, how are you enjoying the Australian climate?” I called out to Cousin Robert’s butler, “Real beaut thanks cobber,” Hunter replied with his best imitation Australian accent, which had me in fits of laughter.
“Did I say something wrong? Maybe I need to study the book a bit more,” Hunter responded, looking a little confused by now, as I was sitting on the ground just outside the front door laughing my head off. “Edwin, that is not the way to behave, for an aristocrat, get off the ground this instant,” Aunty Bea said scorning me for how I was behaving.
I tried my best to stop laughing, but I just couldn’t and it tool me a few minutes to get back to normal state and eventually stand up. “No mate you did it perfect, it is just that with a Scottish accent…” I could not finish the rest, as I rushed inside and began howling with laughter, and I headed to my room to try to calm down.
Once I finally had, I headed to the bathroom for a shower, and prepared for bed. “Robert and Hunter will be here at 7 am for breakfast, so get to bed and no more silliness,” Mum said to me from the doorway of my bedroom, “Yes Mum, I am sorry, it was just so damn funny,” I replied.
The next morning, Hunter and Robert had already arrived by the time I entered the dining room, “Good morning,” I said as I tried to keep a straight face, and I quickly breakfast as I was running late for school. “Have you packed your bag for this weekend?” Mum asked me as I left the table and stacked my dishes in the dishwasher. “No sorry Mum, I was a little distracted last night,” I replied, as I went to retrieve my school backpack and headed out.
When school was finally over for the week, I dashed back home managing to avoid the bullies who had started hassling me again, when they managed to catch me alone, with the limo already parked outside the house.
Mum had packed a bag for the weekend trip, and where everyone have gathered in the lounge waiting for my arrival, and once I had quickly changed out of my school uniform, we set off for the airport. When we arrived at the airport, I was surprised when Robert announced that we were taking a chartered plane, as there are no direct flights from Launceston to Strahan.
“So you have gone ahead with the idea of a remote forest holiday home then?” I asked my cousin. “Yes, in a way, all will be revealed soon when we get there,” Robert responded.
When we arrived in Strahan, Robert had arranged for a taxi bus to collect us from the airport, and transport us to the Manuka Yacht marina, and with some uncertainty, we followed Hunter and Cousin Robert down to one of the many jetties in the area. There we came up to a catamaran that looks to be about thirty metres in length and about ten metres in width.
“I have decided to give you a short cruise before we go to your new home, which is located on a river. I bought this for you to use for getting to your home, and also as added income, providing river cruises, and it comes with a crew of three full time staff,” Robert announced, as he led the way onboard.
“So are you paying for all of this, and how are we to keep its upkeep?” Mum asked, and Robert chuckled, as we gathered in the main foyer.
“You are not aware of this, but your son is quite a wealthy young man. As well as earning a lot of money that he was unaware he had, from income produced on the 1,900 acres - Fair Island in Scotland, he also has three farming properties.
One of just 78 acres, located near the town of Crawford, on the banks of the River Clyde, south-west of Edinburgh, Scotland, one of 250 acres just north of Manchester and the other is 270 acres near Cupar, just north west of my home in Scotland,
The property near Manchester is one of the original family homes, which we have just repurchased, and the home, which is known as Haig Hall is an operating hotel, along with a golf course and parkland, including a miniature railway line.
I have transferred ownership to young Edwin here, as that is now his official residence when in the UK, and my nephew who owns and runs a hotel and golf course Archerfield, near Edinburgh is now managing the Haig Hall property for Edwin,” Robert announced.
“That would explain the large amount of income going into my Swiss bank account, which I was meaning to ask you about,” I stated, “What is this about a foreign bank account?” Mum asked.
“Well I set it up shortly after Edwin received his Baronet title, while we were in Switzerland, on a two day visit for Edwin, and all of his income from his properties go into that account, once all bills have been paid,” Robert responded.
We were directed to go up stairs, where we took seats in the small lounge area, as the catamaran started up and was soon heading out of Strahan into Macquarie Harbour. Less than half an hour later the catamaran, which is named Forest Explorer, slowed down and turned to enter a river, as the two deckhands arrived with trays of soft drinks and snacks for us all.
“This is the King River, which is where the West Coast Wilderness Railway line follows for quite a bit of the way, and we will be passing under the railway bridge a little way upstream,” Robert announce to us, as we slowed own to a slow cruising speed as we headed upstream. Just over an hour later, we saw an approaching railway bridge.
“Will we fit under that bridge?” Aunty Bea asked sounding a little concerned, “Yes Beatrice, the communications and radar section folds down to allow us to slide under it comfortably, as it has for the past week, since I have been making a few trips up this way to explore this amazing area,” Robert replied.
“Folks, this is Teepookana, the site of a milling operation at the turn of the century, which you can see from the cleared area on the right hand side of the yacht.
In about 500 metres, you will see amongst the trees, the Teepookana Railway station, which is used by the West Coast Wilderness Railway,” a voice announced over the PA system.
Copyright Preston Wigglesworth All Rights Reserved July 2020