Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Witch's Cottage

Walking through a village in the Cotswolds finding a cottage of perfect proportions and fairy tale beauty, with a broom propped by the blush still buzzy bee pollen dipped legged visited roses and a battered and bent almost pointed hat hung up on a wooden peg in the ramshackle porch. Rambling wild garden filled with colour and scent, some of it musty, some of it dead, seed pods and haws with a prickly bramble hedge. Nature's apothecary gathered each morning after nasturtium tea and nettle bread, a pinch of dog rose hip and a dash of dahlia petals. By lunchtime a whisp of purple smoke circling and snaking under the wisteria, a slight spicy smell and cross words uttered as a spell doesn't work. Not enough dawn dew collected or was it the addition of blue berried badger scat. Try again.

Not a black cat here but a pudgy tabby with paws like a tiger cub and battle worn ears from many an alley altercation with the neighbourhood mog or a swooping peck from the great tawny owl of the spinney where the witch gathers her kindling for the fire. He's happiest when the pot is bubbling away, pop pop pop bursts of love potions and incantations for neighbours who quarrel and gossip. For whilst trouble and kindness are brewing, he is ladled warm milk and has the whorls on his belly tickled by the cloak of our spell maker as she dances around the pot.  

Standing outside I heard a gurgle and a hiccup, then a cackle like old saw teeth cutting through wood. Thin skin and fingernails grab the hat which gleans like the carapace of a stag beetle in the chink of afternoon sunlight. Through blowing curtains, I caught the outline of the crone and her cat, perched aloft over her shoulders. Clouds drifted across the autumn sun, a gauzy layer, a gloomy edge, a feeling of something about to happen and then it did....... For a witch also flies by day and out she shot on a tatty old broom, with her tatty old cat and her tatty old hat, out of the front door and way up high, with a smile, a cheeky curse and a winking eye. 


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