In the spirit of Advent +2022 I thought this image of the Rope Bridge at Heligan was a good visual metaphor for this period between Christmas and New Year. The anticipation of stepping into an unkown 2023, which is represented here by sun bleached rope, from the slightly wobbly but verdant certainty that is our lived experience of 2023. Last night I experienced a little bit of my 2023. We were forced into a bar by bad weather during the evening dog walk. It was my third drenching of the day. My drink order rumbled up, from deep within my Christmas archive of things to enjoy over the festive period. Inexplicably I ordered a port and lemon.
The cosiness of my grandparents country pub was the inspiration. Ordinarily the pub was filled with farmers, American servicemen and the passing trade of a not-too-busy road between a market town, a few villages, and an airbase. At Christmas time the pub took on a more glamourous feel, women who were dressed up came into the pub on the arms of the same men or sometimes in large work groups. At this time of year customers became very generous and brought my grandparents a drink when they bought a round of drinks for their companions. My grandmother always chose a Port and Lemon in winter. In summer her tipple was a Booth’s Gin and Tonic. I wonder now if they were buying her silence and discretion. In a small country community all sorts went on, much of it in the pub.
I really have no idea why the words, port and lemon came out of my mouth yesterday evening, perhaps prolonged rainfall has softened my mind. Regardless of the cause the effect was very pleasing, a simple refreshing drink, hopelessly old fashioned and probably rarely requested. I may order one, more often in 2023.