The Journal is an online collection of articles and essays written and curated by writer & photographer Thomas W Coombs, published bi-annually.

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Issue 37; A Little Old Fashioned

Picture the scene if you would be so kind, myself, sat on the soft sofa, Christmas tree shining before me, turntable beside me, a nice mellow Gregory Porter song emanating from the speakers, slippers on and an Old Fashioned in hand.

Why I asked you to picture this, is it most always brings a picture of warmth to your mind, that classic picture of a living room at Christmas, old world styles of leather and wooden beams, lots of reds and browns and for me the smell of cigars.  A similar picture was happening at the time of writing this article, my mind in a place of age old comfort and warmth on a cold December night.

I had sat down to write about a thing, an item of love, something that settled into the idea of gifts for the issue, but my mind was blank.  I was comfortable and without want, that perfect moment in time that could have been captured by a painter to be hung in a stately home.  A scene from something more Dickensian in nature, my comfort written across my slouched happy demeanour.  There was an old fashioned feel to my mood as the crackle of the vinyl playing chirped in my ears, sipping the drink so perfectly named for this mood.  The Bourbon adding its warmth to my comfort with the perfect amount of bitters and sweetness.

I sat looking at the tree, the base already piled with gifts to be opened on the big day, a  melancholy feeling hitting me, which for me is odd, but especially this year it was apt, I believe the drink was kicking in.  I was missing friends, the thought of one lost this year, the wedding pushed to 2021, the times out that had to be put off, the catching up with friends rainchecked.  The turbulent year that we have all lived through was coming to an end, anticlimactic in its own way, the thought of what 2021 would bring.

But with many thoughts, as the second drink was coming to an end, they end on a happier note.  You see we have all had some hardship this year, some more than others.  We have missed our favourite bars and eateries, we have longed to shake friends hands, we wish to celebrate this time of year closely rather than from distance.  But you are reading this, and for me I am writing this, we are here, we are ready for 2021, which currently is filled with hope.  We have ourselves and many of our loved ones safe, you can’t wrap it, but what a gift to have.

Without writing about a gift I have now written about a gift, an old fashioned gift, brought to my mind by an Old Fashioned of all things, a gift which has been around forever but one we do forget about from time to time.