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Dr John Hawkins

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John Barleycorn

Posted on 2005/01/25 09:09:19 (January 2005).

[Sunday 23rd January]
Some of my favourite days are like this, those that are driven by whims. Having been recently researching Burns poetry for my forthcoming Burns Night, I'd obviously come across "Ode to a Haggis" - perhaps the most important poem for that particular occasion. On one site there was a footnote at the bottom of the poem noting that the last stanza was originally written:

Ye Pow'rs wha gie us a' that's gude
Still bless auld Caledonia's brood,
Wi' great John Barleycorn's heart's bluid
In stoups or luggies;
And on our boards, that king o' food,
A gud Scotch Haggis!

For some reason this stanza had been completely changed, and the reference to John Barleycorn removed, making the name all the more enigmatic to me. Anyway, that mention of John Barleycorn here struck a chord - there's a pub called that in Goring. It turns out that John Barleycorn is in fact the subject of another piece of Burns poetry:

There was three kings into the east,
Three kings both great and high,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn should die.

Anyway, after a certain amount of (quite uncharacteristic) poetic research, I decided we should make our mission today to forge a pilgrimage over to the John Barleycorn. Better still, we'd do it on foot. The walk was a little longer than we remembered - getting on for 2 hours - and towards the end Chie was clearly starting to get a bit fed up with the cold and everything...! But I'm sure it was worth it in the end - on arriving at the John Barleycorn I was filled with that wonderful sense of achievement you get when engaging in one of these whim-driven pursuits. Had a few very nice pints of Brakspears whilst there, and also stayed for dinner. They're under new management, and the new people were extremely friendly, the beer was excellent, the food was very nice (apparently they have grand plans for a fish restaurant or something) and altogether we had a very nice time there. Lovely.

Comment 1

Nice shots John! I notice from the file-names you have a Sanyo digital camera (?) Why do we not see these generally for sale in the UK, do you suppose? Did you perhaps buy it abroad? I've just invested in a Nikon Coolpix - and am still trying to master al the functions (even on automatic!)

Posted by Nigel at 2005/01/29 15:38:19.

Comment 2

Thanks Nigel! When I bought my first digital camera (a Sanyo), back in 1999, it was surprisingly from a Dixons, and I think at that time Sanyo was a none-too-uncommon brand for digital cameras in the UK. By the time I came to get my second one - again a Sanyo - in November 2000 - no shops seemed to have heard of Sanyo as a manufacturer of digital cameras. Some time later I found that apparently many other brands' digital cameras were in fact Sanyo cameras rebranded - particularly brands we associate with photography, but not necessarily technology, like Agfa, Kodak, and Olympus. So on a global scale, Sanyo obviously made a decision to do the behind the scenes stuff - perhaps because people tend to associate Sanyo more with other kinds of electronic device. For a long time Sanyo declared themselves "the world's biggest digital camera manufacturer", which they were, only most of the cameras they manufactured sold under different names.
In Japan, however, there are still Sanyo cameras available under the actual Sanyo brand. Still though, when you mention Sanyo to a Japanese person they tend to think of washing machines before they think of photography.

Posted by John at 2005/02/05 14:14:30.

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