Well, it’s no enchanted cottage, the exhausted tramper thought, but it will do. His heavy pack rain soaked through, his feet felt made of bone and badger bristles from the chill. And it had been a very long, hard, steep climb over rocks, up to the high land of Holyoake Clearing Hill.
Twas a small, sheet metal hut, with rain barrel well, a long drop loo down a grassy path nearby. Godfrey stood alone amid the drifting mist and darkening sky. Canvas covered bunk, hot supper on the stove. A candle stub for light, Godfrey settles in to write.
Writes on the ratty pages of the hut book left for all who shelter there, looks for messages in Welsh or perhaps someone he knew passed by before. The floor is planks worn smooth by years of boots, damp wooly socks and sand tracked in. There is sign of possum’s rude midnight intrusion.
‘Enchanted Cottage’ it is not, a Canadian has written neatly, “So hot and dry, do not rely on stream beds for your water along the inland track” “There is half a copy of “Naked Came I” on the mantel in paperback, wrote another. Weather bound by snow nearly a week, the other half is in the hut down in Torrent Bay, the newish one built by the creek.
Godfrey had read “Naked Came I”, but not the tawdry “No Other Love” a tramper so kind had left behind. It was a warm and grateful vagabond read “No Other Love” until sleep in the tiny, dark hut. Firelight aglow, and soft rain that thrummed on the tin roof above..No other love, he had since a lad in Wales, dreamed of finding an enchanted cottage, the lure of walking paths and secret trails, drew him up the inland route un- fearing, scrambling over boulders up to Holyoake Clearing.
Morning dawning, already hot, looking out the hut door, all was a glow, gorse bushes, snow grass, the ocean and islands, golden beaches so far below. Even the tank water shimmered now, full to the brim. And the shabby old hut, painted horse-slobber-green seemed to speak to only him. “Enchanted cottage I may never be, but vagabond bold, where you roam, speak well of me.
For up Holyoake Clearing where waits time, I shelter all who believe- I keep safe the rugged who dare the climb, I shelter the seeker who make the climb….