The Swamp Cottage

I’m starting a new round of One Day at a Thyme and drew ‘swamp’ as the location for my cottage.

Yes, I live in a swamp, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. My cottage is set on a comfortably-sized hillock/island in the middle of the Everwhere Swamp on the eastern edge of Wayfair, which in turn is on the eastern edge of the Five Kingdoms.

It’s warm all year round, I always have water, and fish, and my garden grows a range of plants very well.

Yes, yes, fine, I have a ward around the island that keeps out the mosquitoes and I might have a helpful little spell that draws my drinking, cooking and washing water out of the air within the ward that means the humidity really isn’t that bad, cools the place down a little too.

The cottage is a nice sturdy wooden piece that I’ve deliberately disguised. It looks like it’s set to collapse into a heap of half-rotted, overgrown planks at the smallest sneeze, but I’ve seen it withstand a typhoon that decided to take unusual (and probably unnatural) detour a number of years ago.

Of course the nicest thing about my swamp home is the lack of uninvited visitors. If someone wants the wise advice of some witch or wise woman, they much prefer trudging up a mountain or through a dark forest than having to wade through knee deep water just this side of mud and fend off the most ravenous mosquitoes in the whole of the Five Kingdoms. That ward has been my saving grace in all number of ways.

Of course getting in and out is a bit tedious. I’m all for other people having to deal with swamp – they need to earn the priviledge of hearing my wisdom after all. Ha! That makes me chuckle every time I think of it. What have I done or been that warrants such reverence for my opinion? Nothing I know of, I can tell you.

Anyway, as I was saying, getting in and out. I do need supplies beyond fish and the various crops I coax out of my garden. It’s a mix of garden and orchard to be accurate. The ward makes for a perfect climate for a number of fruit trees and a funny range of vegetables as well, but variety is healthy and it’s best to have some form of relations with the locals so they know who to send your way and who to divert.

So, I need to be able to travel beyond the reaches of my little world, without slogging through the swamp. How do you think I do it? Answer is, I have multiple modes of travel. There’s a portal in the garden shed that links directly to the main hub in the Capital. For quick nips to the local village, I water-walk. It’s a neat little adaptation of my ward. I create a sort of bubble around me and simply trundle my way across the top of the swamp until I hit dry land. It isn’t the most elegant of modes but it gets the job done. And for the market town where I most often want to go? Sometimes I walk, if I want to stay out of sight and collect information, other times I call in a favour with a charming Kelpie who moved down from the mid-north a few years ago. He’s more than happy to convey me to market if I buy a few little odds and ends for his larder.

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