Weaving the Wildwood

All she wants is a place of her own.

When Alison Porter finds a tiny cottage for sale, she thinks her dreams have come true. Inside virgin bushland, “Crow Cottage” sits on the smallest parcel of cleared land.

It’s old. It’s run down. It’s keeping a secret.

Stumbling through a mysterious portal in the garden, she finds herself in a place of mystery and intrigue. As the past, present and future collide, she must unravel the secret, for only then can she reweave the tapestry of time.

If you love a story of twists and turns, where nothing is what it seems, grab Weaving the Wildwood today.

Available in

  • Hardback (ISBN: 978-1-922744-90-6) MSRP US$24.99
  • Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-922744-91-3) MSRP US$13.99
  • eBook (ISBN: 978-1-922744-92-0) MSRP US$5.99
  • AI Generated Audio (ISBN: 978-1-922744-93-7) US$6.99

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Chapter One

Alison Porter was on a mission to collect an emergency printing job.

Driving the tiny steel grey company car along tree lined secondary roads (because they don’t have traffic lights), and a little over the speed limit (because it was an emergency).

Jamming the brakes on when she saw the red and yellow For Sale sign.

Stopping to look at the overgrown street frontage.

She wouldn’t have noticed the property without the sign.

Even potentially with the sign.

Despite having spent the last few months looking for something she could afford to buy on her tiny salary.

Having developed the ability to spot a For Sale sign three hundred metres away at sixty-five kilometres per hour.

Or given her penchant for speeding, even more than five kilometres per hour over the speed limit.

And in any case, this sign was designed to be noticed

A quick watch check told her she had a little time to spare (the unexamined benefit of speeding), so she pulled over, parked on the verge, and power-walked up the steep drive.

The weather-beaten raw plank house was towards the back of the block. The placement was odd enough to make her think it was part of a larger parcel of land sold away in drips and drabs by past generations.

Unusually, the block hadn’t been significantly cleared or cultivated.

Alison paused to imagine the delight of living within intact virgin forest as she surveyed the impenetrable vista of grey peeling trunks, pastelly minty green leaves, and the odd yellow nut that hadn’t yet fallen away in the last season.

The tiny cottage sat on the smallest possible package of cleared land, protected, perhaps from the forest, by an old battered, twisted, and partly decayed three-bar post and rail fence, with a squared off arch over the gate that reminded her of a Japanese shrine.

Underneath it, a wooden sign naming the property “Crow Cottage” hung by one of a pair of chains, the other nowhere to be seen.

A path led under the arch and into the forest.

She knocked on the weirdly large and brightly coloured scarlet door, hoping to score a guided tour, but luck was not with her.

The short walk up the drive had reminded her it was a stiflingly hot day. A grove of eucalyptus trees cast their dappled shade over the sun-faded tin roof, and this, along with the cottage’s retro details, was equally charming.

Not completely in love with the front door, which looked faintly ridiculous against the weather-greyed planks.

Did not even notice the pendant light hanging above the door, festooned with cobwebs as it was.

Taking a step back from the door, she looked along the wide, apparently sound wooden planks of the verandah fronting the house. After double checking to be sure no one was watching, she walked along it.

The exterior looked to date from the early twentieth century. As she circled the verandah, peering through the windows, it looked as though the interior dated from that time too. Had someone abandoned the house?

It was all too easy to imagine her friends trying to hide their jealousy as they sipped cocktails on the verandah, watching the sun set on warm summer evenings.

And somewhat more prosaically, as she realised she was looking at an old-fashioned pulley clothesline system. So she imagined hanging her washing under cover on rainy days too.

Alison guessed it would take a lot of time and money to update the property to modern standards, which would scare off buyers. And that would place it squarely within her inadequate price bracket.

She called the agent.

Who agreed to meet her on her way back from the printers to show her around.

A couple of hours later, she was inside, looking around. Surprised to find the house was cool inside, thanks to the high ceilings and low thermal properties of the unfinished floorboards. It didn’t smell stale or mouldy, and all the walls and windows appeared intact.

The cottage wasn’t exactly huge. At the front, there was a combined kitchen (with electric appliances), diner and lounge facing north to the street. At the back, two good size bedrooms and a large one room bathroom, including the toilet.

The pipes clanked and hissed, grudgingly producing both hot and cold water. Though it would probably require boiling as well as purifying before drinking.

The wood heater in the centre of the public rooms promised cosy winter evenings drinking hot chocolate as she snuggled under a blanket to read.

All set on ten acres of dense, lush bush land.

Sure, it was run down. The wallpaper reminded her of maps found in epic fantasy novels and would have to go (because it was giving her a headache), but that wasn’t much of a deterrent.

Alison was young and energetic (or so she thought, though people younger than her would’ve snorted at her self-definition). It wouldn’t take long to give the place a thorough clean and a lick of paint.

And even luckier for her, the property was close to a National Park. And that meant stringent planning and building controls that would deter property developers.

She finished her tour and put an offer in.

A cheeky bid, well below the asking price.

And was delighted, rather than suspicious, when the vendors accepted without negotiation.

She assumed it was a deceased estate, thanking her lucky stars for squabbling children desperate to sell.

Stretching her luck, she asked if she could move in early, and they said yes.

Without charging her any rent!

The agent set a date, and she happily gave notice on her rental.

Opened a new page in her already bulging bullet journal for a house to-do/buy list, and started packing.

First on the list, get rid of the wallpaper; she couldn’t look at that every morning while she made coffee.


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