from The Essential Paradise, series sourcebook
Doc. 7.91.11. Edit
The island, second-largest of the three islets included with the Camelot estate, is about 250 m wide and 140 m deep, being roughly a lozenge in shape, and comprises about 2.95 hectares (7.3 acres). Its highest elevation is over 65 metres, however; and few viable potential building sites are evident. Most terrain is steeply inclined and lush with trees, mainly island cedars, palms and others.
Being located between two other islands, the beaches of Seagull Cay remain small, narrow and relatively calm, of smooth, fine sand, though punctuated with purslane, dune grass and some rock. Though it is possible for one to walk round the whole fringe of the island, such is rarely accomplished without some wetting of the feet. The beach to the west is noted for being sunny, quiet and airless, especially after midday, and populated with both coconut palms and banana trees. It is not entirely private as the view is of the entrance channel to Pirates’ Cove and the bay, from which it can be scanned by locals, fishermen and tourists in boats.
The cottage Edit
The hilly terrain necessitated the construction of a building with a compact footprint to be built on a tall, deep, poured-in-place concrete foundation. Jonathan Cavaliere (now Lord Paradise) ventured an original design for a multilevelled miniature castle, with three wings radiating from a central tower, that predated the whole scheme for the estate and was adapted to work on the hilly, wooded site.
General arrangement Edit
The cylindrical 4-metre tower provides eight-riser half-flights of curving stairs around an open centre, serving the three equal-sized wings, each radiating at 120 degrees from the others, each with steeply-pitched tiled rooves. From the cableway landing, eight risers lead down to the bedroom suite, facing the lagoon to the east. Next lower, clockwise around, is the parlour, facing south towards Seagull Channel; its roof ridge is parallel to and very close beside the route of the cableway. Next lower lie the dining room and kitchen. Under the upper bedroom is a second suite; and eight risers below, under the parlour, are storage rooms and a spa with sauna; and under the kitchen is a small suite for a household attendant. The lowest level is just an entrance landing from the beach to the east, where a circular pool with fountain is visible down the entire shaft inside the tower.
At the top of the tower (up fifteen risers from the cableway landing) is an observation room with a passive exhaust fan within its conical roof. Unlike most structures of the estate using the 4-metre cylindrical tower, the Seagull Cay cottage has no lift, as the multiple half-level landings at 120-degree intervals would make lift stops unacceptably complicated.
The kitchen is compact but efficient, comprising two parallel counters including electric three-ring cooker with convection oven below and microwave oven above, mid-sized refrigerator, double-basin sink and, unusual for outlying accommodation on the estate, electric dishwashing machine. There are no windows but an adjacent landing, to which the kitchen is open, contains a diamond-paned window into the trees under the cableway and gives access to the dumbwaiter, connecting the kitchen, pantries, and cableway landing. A tightwinder stairway leads down to the staff suite.
The dining room is over six metres long and is furnished with a long narrow table, reminiscent of some Jacobean refectory tables, and eight tall-backed chairs with padded seats, the one to the kitchen end (facing the window at the end of the room) with arms. A fireplace stands to the northwest, opposite three tall windows give a view over the trees to the channel below.
The parlour is lightly but elegant furnished, mostly in red-stained Asian mahogany, and includes an American-made Baldwin grand piano which was transported in pieces via boat and reassembled in the parlour where it remains. All three wings feature pleasant Palladian windows at the gabled end, each fitted with fanlights above and sidelights flanking 44-inch double-leafed French windows fitted with aluminium railings effectively making the whole room into a balcony. Articulated interior shutters for these can be fitted over these windows for protection during storms.
In the upper bedroom suite stands a beautiful dark-stained carved-wooden bedstead having four corners and a canopy frame, left open for the effect of the ceiling fan, to one wall and a dark-stained carved-wood fireplace breast opposite. Other furnishings complete the look of a 17th-C northern-European castle. This bedchamber is a popular preference for many guests to the estate and has been photographed for architectural and decorating publications.
Cableway approach Edit
The cableway arrives at a landing between the tower and the pitched roof of the dining room where a round window in the gable gives diners a view of the gondola as it stops. The landing is noted for being impressively high amidst the trees; more than once riders in the gondola have to bat branches and fronds out of their way as they pass. The landing is only about 2.5 m square and is served by a doorway to the tower and an external cupboard door to the dumbwaiter.
Waterine approach Edit
Before the cableway was constructed, the only access could be by boat, requiring a landing on the calmest shore, in the currents of Seagull Channel, extending from eastern Pirates’ Bay between the islet and the greater island of Treasurers’ Cay to the lagoon. In the course of the cottage’s construction, a concrete jetty and pontoon were installed on the southern beach, though rocky and narrow, where two or three small to-mid-sized boats can be moored safely out of the prevailing easterly wind.
Arrivals by water ascend a broad but often steeply-inclined path through the woods to an entrance door in the second half-level of the tower, between the kitchen and parlour wings, where furniture and bulky supplies are received in storage rooms and refrigerated pantries.
Seagull Cay is frequented by Camelot castle household staff who change linens and clean, restock food and supplies, collect laundry for the washing (typically done at the castle) and maintain the cottage as circumstances warrant. Staff almost always reach the cottages via the cableway from the railway stop at Swashbuckler village.
Appearances in the stories Edit
The Cavaliere siblings’ Strategy-game operations often make use of the little castle as a secure or clandestine base.
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