After a lovely night curled up before the hearth at Brandy Hall with my beloved, we set out with ponies into the Old Forest. The oaks and ashes looked magical gleaming crystalline in the early sunlight. The snow was already beginning to melt by mid-morning, so we were glad for Elanor's magical maia cloaks to protect us from the droplets descending from the trees. Then sure enough, we began to find ourselves among firs and the path leading us to the right and downward.
We stopped to camp in a sun-dry clearing to have noonsies and I broke open the special expresso I brought just for the occasion. Then we preceded on into the Withywindle Valley and into a sea of willow trees that seemed to have weathered the summer fires fairly well, being in the low wetlands. And it's a good thing we were wired on expresso because the willows were humming the most awful blend of House and Industrial Dance music that would have put anyone less caffeinated to sleep. Quite a devolution for the Old Forest! Where was the ABBA, B-52's, and Tina Turner hits that the willows were swaying to in my youth? Old Man Willow must truly have been lost in the fire or was finally fast asleep to allow that. Most dreadful it was, but we made it through.
A bit wearied, we made our way along the Withywindle out into the hill lands where we saw one of the Big Folk wearing a blue coat and yellow boots and driving a power mower over the well-tended lawns. We passed Old Bombadil's cottage--I would have liked to have visted, but it was late and I'm sure they've been inundated with visitors for Fellowship Week. So we proceeded over the hill to the next valley and came upon our destination for the next two nights: the House of Bombadil, a fine inn officially endorsed by Bombadil and the River-daughter, proceeds going to the Old Forest Preservation Fund.
We were led to our room by a hobbit from Bree with long blond hair and wearing a green gown with a waterlily belt, a nice lass who said she was working her way though school at the University of Stock. Anyway, the room is just lovely, done up all cottage-style and smelling of apple-wood. There's fresh bread, honey, butter and happy-yay juice on the table and rushes strewn across the wash room floor. And the specially-made River-Daughter Co., water bed is surrounded by earthenware vessels holding water-lilies, with two pairs of green fluffy slippers at the foot. I just lit the centerpiece of candles on the table and put the muffler over the pipe feeding "Tom and Goldberry's Greatest Hits" into the room at all times. This bed is blessedly relaxing. And there's the most beautiful hobbit I have ever laid eyes on standing beside it. Oh, would that he were in my arms! Come, melamin, the water's perfect. (-;