Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Party Animal

Catching Ginger with the Camera is not easy! Not when he has a balloon to chase, that is!

This past weekend, we had a birthday party for Kevin and at some point, Ginger noticed that we had balloons and paper streamers everywhere. He first tried to make the balloons come to him by barking at them. When that didn't work, he pleaded with us to give them to him.

Eventually we relented and tossed the dog a balloon. It was a laugh-riot watching him head but it when he was trying to bite it! It would go skittering off in every direction and he would just chase after it and try and catch it again. Poor dear! He was so worn out by the time he finally caught it, he didn't have the strength to try and kill it!

He let it lay there a little while and we finally took it away from him. Later, he got his second wind and tried to catch it again. This time, he successfully done it in! It popped and we took the plastic shards away from him. It was really a sight to see. (Click that link and see for yourself!)

I hope that your weekend included something that was as entertaining!

Don Bergquist - 31st May 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

...and a good time was had by all.

In the small towns throughout the Midwest you're likely to get a call once a week from the local busy-body asking for your news. I do not mean to use that word, "busy-body," in any derisive manner, I mean it simply as a statement of fact.

The local news column writer tends to be someone who enjoys knowing what is going on and who is doing what. They call and ask if you've had any visitors or had any events occur recently and then they write it up. A typical entry may be something like this:

Denny and Florence Bergquist were visited by three of Denny's four children this week, to celebrate Denny's seventy-second birthday. Present were Mary Bergquist from Florida, the Denis Bergquists from Alabama, and the Charles Bergquists from down in the cities. Absent was Denny's son, Don, who is in London on business. On Sunday, the couple hosted their annual spring party with guests from the family relations all over the state. There was a picnic lunch and a good time was had by all.

This last few words will be in every article of this ilk. The party may have ended in a loud and obtrusive slanging match (not that any of my family's gatherings ever has) and the article will still end "...and a good time was had by all." It is absolutely obligatory in the medium of local papers to use this phrase.

My weekend was quite nice, thanks for asking. On Friday night I mowed the lawn before heading out for a bike ride and in to the pub. The only thing special about this was my brush with a stinging nettle that left me itchy and sore for most of the weekend no matter how much antihistamine and witch hazel I used.

Saturday was fairly uneventful, I cleaned-up the house after my co-workers left and did some general around-the-house stuff. It rained most of the day, so I was glad to have things to do inside.

Sunday was just gorgeous and I went over to Molesey for a friend's birthday celebration. Monday, though the day started out miserable, it turned out quite nicely. I helped a friend move a piece of statuary he had acquired into his back garden, rode my bike a bit and then hit the pub.

Basically, I had a full and uneventful weekend, and a good time was had by all.

I hope this past holiday weekend, you had a good time, wherever you were!

Don Bergquist - 30th May 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom

Monday, May 29, 2006

Bank Holiday

It is a bank holiday here in the UK. Nothing pretentious like Memorial Day. (...Or is it Veterans Day? Or perhaps Labor day... I can never keep straight which holiday goes where!)

That is the cool thing over here. I am pretty sure I can keep the May Bank Holiday and the April Bank Holiday straight in my mind. I would have no problem distinguishing between those and the August Bank Holiday. Why not just call 'em what they are? An excuse to take the day off work and go to the big furniture sales?

If the holidays meant more, and were practiced as more, I might be able to keep them straight in my mind. But, don't go changing anything on my account.

I hope wherever you are, you are having a great holiday (whichever it turns-out it is!)

Don Bergquist - 29th May 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Beautiful Sunday!

I know this is Cliche, but: What a difference a day makes! It is an absolutely gorgeous day out. Today is as pleasant as yesterday was foul! I know it won't last, but it is nice that it is so pleasant out today. My friend, Kevin is having a barbecue today. It looks like the weather is going to cooperate!

I have the house open this morning and am just enjoying the wonderful day!

Had I not mowed the lawn a couple days ago, I'd have been tempted to do it this afternoon. As it is, I'm lucky I have done so. I have a party that I am going to this afternoon. My friend, Kevin, is turning 44. He is having a barbecue and then we're moving the party to the pub. It should be a good time.

I hope wherever you are today, you are blessed with wonderful weather for whatever you want to do!

Don Bergquist - 28th May 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom

Happy Birthday to my friend, Kevin!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Nerve!

At the risk of sounding like a fogey, I have to say that if you cannot hear what is going on around you, your damn music is too loud!

Yesterday I was on my lunchtime ride; along the A309 I came upon a kid bee-bopping along listening to his MP3 player. I have nothing against people who listen to their music, at least he wasn't trying to sing like whoever it was he was listening to. The problem is that he wasn't paying attention to anything but the music being pumped into his head. Oh, yes... And he was taking up the entire bike path rather than keeping to the walking side of the path.

"Now be fair, Don!" I hear you saying. "How do you know that he wasn't listening to the news, or a recorded book or something?"

You're right. I guess he could have been listening to BBC 4. Tony Blair's latest speech, I understand, had quite a nice beat to it; quite a danceable oration! I did mention that he was bee-bopping along the path!

I tried passing while the path was still pretty wide, before we reached Summer Road (after that, the path narrows significantly). Unfortunately, as I pulled into the walker's path a group came around the corner and I had to fall back. By the time I was able to get back near him, he was on the narrow path south of Summer.

"Passing on the right." I called to alert him to my intention to pass. His response (if, indeed, he heard me and was responding) was to drift even closer to the center of the path and take-up more of it. I would have passed but for the barbed-wire fence to the one side of the path and the curb to the other. The bus stop ahead also constricted my option to pass.

"I need to pass..." I called again, a bit louder. I was now not more than ten feet from the kid as he traipsed obliviously along.

"Room to pass, please!" I called again but with no better luck than my previous two attempts had had.

"HEY! YOU!" I finally yelled. At this point my speedometer was registering 2.5 mph.

"The nerve! How rude some people are!" The kid said, turning around to glare at me.

"I agree, some people have no manners at all." I agreed.

Of course, I mentally seethed all the way back to the office, thinking of things I could have said... I have the feeling, though, most of them (If you'll forgive the intentional pun) would have fallen on deaf ears!

I hope that wherever you are today you're surrounded by polite people!

Don Bergquist - 27th May 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom

Friday, May 26, 2006

More Lessons Learned

Back in January I wrote a column on the lessons I have learned from my mother. Today, being my father's 72nd birthday, I figure that he is now fair game! Anyone who knows me knows that I often tell stories about my childhood. Well, the lessons those experiences taught me make me (in no small measure) who I am today!

So, who am I? Here is a quick precis:

I am someone who drinks my coffee black. Dad always has had his black and often derided the way some of the boys in my scout troop drank their coffee as being more of a milk-shake than a cup of coffee. To this day I prefer black coffee to a latte!

I believe that driving cross-country is a great way to have a vacation! Okay, I guess that this was more of a practicality and expense thing; there were the six of us and the dog to consider! (But I still love driving long distances and setting out on long trips by car!)

I find it nearly impossible to look at something without thinking about fixing it. There needn't be anything actually wrong with the thing for me to want to fix it either. Oh, and I really don't actually need to know anything about the thing either. Lack of acumen is no hindrance. (I do, however have better sense than actually trying to fix whatever it is. Another lesson learned - wanting to do something does not give one the ability to acually do it.)

I am gregarious. I will talk to almost anybody about anything. If I have no personal knowledge on the subject, I will listen and fake it as best I can. If all else fails, I'll just make something up. (Making stuff up is another trait I inherited from Dad!)

As long as you don't mind if I embelish a bit here and there, then I'm your go-to guy if you want something explained. If embellishment is okay, I can explain anything to anyone. (Okay there was that one time I tried to explain what Binary Code was to a co-worker, but that wasn't really fair!)

I think of creative solutions to difficult problems and tend to deliver solutions everyone can live with. Here's a tip from dad's book: Your kids won't wash their faces? No problem. Invite them to shave with you! Get one of those old-style safety razors that had the blades that could be removed, get the kids to play with the water a bit, splashing their face, then slather them down good and thick with shaving lather. (It is mostly soap after all; as they scrape it off with the empty razor, and later rinse it they're washing their faces!)

But I think the most obvious thing I have learned from my dad is how to tell a story. I love telling stories! And of course, they are all true! ..And if they aren't now, they ether once were or one day will be! Dad, I love you! Have a happy birthday!

I hope that wherever you are today you have a role model to look up to!

Don Bergquist - 26th May 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom

Happy Birthday to my twin Cousins, Calista and Levi

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Road Less Traveled

It is exactly 0.6 miles from the niche under the stairs where I park my bicycle to the parking shed where I store my bike at the office. (It's nice having an odometer in the bike...) but this morning, with the sun shining and the birds singing, I decided to chuck the direct route and take an nice long bike ride into the office.

Well, okay... To be honest the sun was not shining, at least not in any way worth writing home about. It was grey and overcast but at least it was not raining. There was definitely rain in evidence; puddles were everywhere. But the sky was not actually spitting down raindrops.

So, with the morning sky getting light earlier, and no real pressing need to be in the office at my usual 06:30, I turned left instead of right out of my forecourt and headed east along the Portsmouth road. My destination was Kingston and the Kingston Bridge . I wanted to ride in along the tow path that follows the Thames. Why?

As I have said, it was a nice morning. Well, it was a relatively pleasant morning... Well, it wasn't raining. (Yet!)

It was cool and dry and relatively wind-free this morning and as I have said, I had no pressing need to get to the office at 06:30, I usually am there at that hour, but that is mostly a matter of personal preference.

The ride was fine! There was practically nobody on the roads at that hour and my trip into Kingston passed very quickly. I stopped on the Kingston bridge to take this view of the Thames to show you what the weather was like. Yes, it was cloudy, but it wasn't raining!

The other reason for taking "the long way" to work this morning was to get onto the tow path before there was a lot of traffic on it and try to catch some pictures of the rabbits!

For the past few days as I have been riding the tow path more often, I have noticed there are rabbits (hundreds of them) along the path. Most of the time they skitter along out of your way, but a few of them are brave (or stupid) enough to just sit there and let you walk up to them.

I brought my camera with me last night with the intention of taking some pictures but the traffic on the path was too heavy for me to get close. Joggers and bicyclers kept zooming by and scaring them away. This morning, though many of them scampered off before I could shoot them, I was able to get a few good shots! (Most of the ones I shot this morning, are well after the rabbits had hopped out of frame. I guess that is why we have the phrase: "Quick Like A Bunny.")

I take the title of today's entry from the poem by Frost, not because I wonder what would have happened had I come directly to the office, but because I wish I could take both roads every morning!

I hope wherever you are today, you are faced with nothing but pleasant choices.

Don Bergquist - 25th May 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


I guess there will not be very many more sunrise pictures from me any time in the near future.

The 23-degree tilt in the earth's access and the location of London 51-degrees north of the equator, means that the days are long here in the summer. Real long! The sun is rising before 05:00 local time now. I am an early riser, but not that early! I am not planning on getting up that early to take pictures of sunrise.

Now, I may still be up at that hour some morning...

The benefit? Well, with a sixteen-hour day, I can get to the pub before taking sunset pictures. Now, that may be a good or a bad thing... It depends if we ever get a nice relatively rain-free evening. And besides, it's all how you look at it, isn't it?

I mean everyone's sunset is just someone else's sunrise! Perhaps if I take some sunset pictures this week, I can refer to them as sunrise in the negative!


I hope wherever you are today you have a chance to look at something a bit differently.

Don Bergquist - 24th May 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom

What 06:30 Looks Like In The Late Spring

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Conversations in the Rain

I rode my bicycle to Norbiton on Sunday. It was nice to get to see places I do not normally ride. On the way, I got caught in a sudden downpour. I was wearing my rain gear, but I decided to take refuge in a shelter for a while while it blew over.

While there, a couple kids (teens would be my guess) popped off a bus and were hold a rather loud and obnoxious conversation for all the world to hear.

"I just cannot believe those American children!" the boy exclaimed. "They're so obnoxious!"

"I cannot believe how inappropriately they behaved." the girl responded.

"And their screechy little voices! They have those annoying screechy voices that are so irritating." the boy continued, his own voice starting to crack with excitement.

"And they never shut up." the girl droned on.

From there as is probably fairly obvious at this point, their conversation droned-on in this vein as they talked incessantly in annoyingly loud voices about how American children (apparently they had been on a bus with them recently) were loud and obnoxious. We always hate the things in others that we, ourselves are. Don't we?

I personally hate it when others are witty, intelligent, and devastatingly good looking!

They eventually got on the bus, and as they walked past me to board, I leaned over and said (in my heaviest southern drawl) "Ya know, it ain't only American children who are rude, loud and obnoxious." It was the first thing I had said to anyone currently at the bus stop. They went white, and boarded the bus. Out of the corner of my eye, I say the gentleman who had been trying to read his paper snicker and shake his head.

The other conversation mentioned in the title of this piece happened yesterday. As I was waiting for someone to arrive at the train station (I was going to show them the way across the village to the office.) the other day, I stood under my umbrella waiting for the train to arrive. The woman standing to my right said to her companion: "I hate all this rain. God! I cannot wait for this drought to be over."

To be fair, she was not in my line of sight and she could well have been being sarcastic (It is sometimes hard for me to read voices over here; what with having to translate everything they say into English and then having to compensate for their foreign accents, it is sometimes hard to even understand what is being said!) but the nonsequitir just struck me as odd! It was a little like complaining about how hot it is whilst turning-up the thermostat!

I hope that wherever you are today it is either raining, or not. (or both) as per your liking!

Don Bergquist - 23rd May 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom

Happy Birthday to my pseudo-nephew, James

Monday, May 22, 2006

Lovely Evening!

What a great time!

We have some scrumptious food, shared great stories and had a blast last night. Terry outdid himself with a lovely bunch of ribs, which he later admitted had come from the butcher ready to bake and serve, sauce-and-all. The pub was a bit slow when we got there, but we had a lovely time anyway.

I got up this morning and tried to get a quick ride in before the rain started. I failed at that task. It was raining by seven. I believe that I will have to wait until later for my ride. I spent part of the morning cleaning. Today I have people arriving to take rooms in the house. It will be a full house for the week.

My plans for the day? None really. The weather has turned so cold that I have had to turn back on the radiators. When I first arrived a bit over a week ago, it was warm and dry. Since then it has gotten progressively colder and wetter. I am not complaining, mind you. You cannot throw a scone in this country without hitting a weather person doing a story about the drought they are in, but it is late in the spring with summer approaching. I should not have to be breaking out the jacket to go bike riding.

Then there is the rain! I love the rain. I am sitting here in the living room with my coffee and toast watching the rain fall in the back garden. I have the back French doors open and the blanket wrapped around my legs. Days like this, a fire would be nice, but as the fireplaces in the house look to be for decoration only, I'll content myself with the cold, wet air on my face, the warmth of the radiator at my back and the blanket snuggled around my legs.

Later-on I will have to do some shopping for groceries, but for now, I am content to sit and watch the rain.

I hope that wherever you are today, you are having as pleasant a morning!

Don Bergquist - 22nd May 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Weekend Ending Well

After a fairly shaky start, the weekend seems to be on track to end well. We had heavy rain and hail this morning early, but since then it has been lovely with scattered showers all day. It is a bit cold, but not too cold to go for a ride to the park with a stop by the pub on the way back.

I haven't too much to write today. It is a pretty standard weekend.

I hope that wherever you are today, your weekend is going well!

Don Bergquist - 21st May 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Weekend Starting Well!

Well! This is a pleasant way to start a weekend!

It is about 09:00 on Saturday and I am sitting in the back garden admiring my handiwork. The skies have been threatening rain all morning and cast down a few taunting droplets as I was finishing-up the mowing of the lawn. Other than that, it is a cool and cloudy morning.

I have been on my morning ride, today I went along the tow path and then over to Teddington. If it looked less like I would be caught in a sudden downpour, I would have brought the camera gear.

I have my cup of coffee, my feet up on the chair I have dragged out to the lawn, and my paper. That and the smell of a fresh-mown lawn and what more could a guy need?

This afternoon I am headed over to meet-up with my friends in Molesey. No special occasion, that I am aware of, it is just a get together to have fun and socialize. Perhaps we will be going to the pub later-on. (Yeah, right! As if there was a doubt!) For now, I am content with my coffee, and the quiet of the morning. I am sure that this too will end soon as well but while I have it, I'm going to enjoy it!

I hope that wherever you are today you have time to relax and enjoy the simple pleasures.

Don Bergquist - 20th May 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom

Friday, May 19, 2006


Everywhere here, I am reminded of how much older (as a country) this place is than where I am from. The church across the road from my office here in Thames Ditton has been there since before the rebels in the colonies decided that they're rather not be under the thumb of George III. Some structures, go back centuries.

Then of course, there are the sights to see that remind us that people have been living in communities and leaving their mark on the landscape for millennia. When I visited Stonehenge on my first trip here, people asked me why I would want to. "It's just a pile of old rocks!" one person told me. I guess that is true, in much the same way that La Giaconda is just a bunch of paint splashed on an old piece of canvas!

But then, I guess you get jaded to anything eventually. I mean, the Rocky Mountains are also just a pile of old rocks. In much the same way that American Gothic is just a bunch of paint splashed on an old piece of canvas.

It's not like we don't have piles of old things lying about in the states! It may not have been built millennia ago, but Carhenge (in Alliance, Nebraska) is, in its own unassuming way, as impressive as Stonehenge.

Stonehenge leaves one with a feeling of awe, wondering as to who built it and why. Carhenge, by contrast is awesome! (What a tongue-in-cheek statement of how far we have come!) It leaves one wondering ...

All-in-all, my two homes are not that different! I have grown to love both places and am still finding great new and exciting things in each. I can't wait to get out and explore more this weekend!

I hope you have something to look forward to this weekend!

Don Bergquist - 19th May 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom

Thursday, May 18, 2006

A Lovely Morning!

It is the start of another lovely morning here in the UK. The sun is up, the air is fresh, the birds are singing. How could anything be amiss on a day like this?

Other than the pile of work sitting on my desk at the office, I cannot think of anything impeding my having a truly lovely day. Oh, yes! There is that pile of work at the office. I guess I had best wrap this up and get my bicycle in gear!

I hope there is nothing in the way of your having a great day today!

Don Bergquist - 18th May 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The River Thames

The river plays such a huge role in the lifestyle around here.

Along the northern banks of the Thames (running between the river and the grounds of the palace) is a tow path that has been converted to a bicycling and jogging path. Along the southern bank is a lovely riverside walk that has boating slips. Every weekend you'll see people picnicking on the banks of the river in the grassy areas preserved for public use. Every day you will see people rowing and paddling boats of every description.

It did surprise me, however, when I came across the sailboats this past weekend! I guess it really shouldn't have, I mean we have people with sailboats in Colorado on lakes that have far less surface area than is available in the Thames. I am just having a hard time getting over the built-up bias from years of living in Florida.

Whenever I see someone put into a lake in Colorado I ask the same question that I asked when I saw the sailboats on the Thames: "Where can you go from here?" The lakes have no outlet. The Thames has a low bridge less than a mile downstream and only a couple miles upstream. All they can possibly do here is tack to and fro across the width of the river.

Whatever the attraction, the English are drawn to the river. I am too. I ride along the tow path daily. It is a lovely ride with occasionally inspiring scenery!

I hope wherever you are, you have something inspiring to do today!

Don Bergquist - 17th May 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

British Gas

"I am sorry you were out when I called."

What a crock!

I got a card through the mail slot when I returned from work last night. It read: "I am sorry you were out when I called. Please contact my Service Centre today and we will be happy to make another appointment suitable to you."

My landlord had scheduled the appointment and at the last minute told me when it would be. I was here five minutes after they called. British Gas has my mobile number. My landlord gave it to them. But when I called the Service Centre to reschedule the specifically asked for it so that they could let me know they were on my way.

"Why didn't you call today then?" I asked. "I work three minutes from here and would have been here rather than having to work from home two days in a row."

"We're sorry sir," the operator responded, "Our drivers can not be responsible for calling you."

"Then why do you want my mobile number?"

So, there it is, the boiler needs to be serviced. British Gas will be here again today some time... And they may or may not call the driver cannot be responsible.

I hope that wherever you are today you do not have to deal with British Gas!

Don Bergquist - 16th May 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom

Monday, May 15, 2006

Chestnut Sunday in Bushy Park

Last year, this celebration coincided with the 60th anniversary of the celebration of VE Day which is probably why I didn't remember what it was all about yesterday whilst writing my entry. The celebration is one that has been going on for years (and years, and years, and years) according to what I was told.

Apparently, in olden days the locals decided to get dressed-up in their finest attire and parade up and down the main boulevard through Bushy Park on a fine Sunday morning in spring. Eventually, this became an annual event and the whole town turned-out to see the well-to-do members of society touring down Chestnut Avenue.

In recent years, the length and excitement level of the parade seems to have waned a bit, but there is still a pretty good turn-out to watch the festivities. My personal favorite (aside from the antique cop cars, which were interesting mostly because one of them stopped to harass my friend Kevin) was the antique bicycles. There have been some interesting contraptions both years I have seen the parade.

Of course no Sunday afternoon would be complete without spending it in the company of friends and having a pint at the local pub so that is exactly what we did after the parade.

I hope wherever you spent your Sunday, was as pleasant!

Don Bergquist - 15th May 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Worm Turns

It was lovely until at least 16:00 yesterday. I was out in it all day!

I popped down to the bike shop to see if I could get an estimate on some work I need done, and then popped over to the park to ride around a bit. On the way home, it was off to Sainsburry's to do the weekly shopping and then I rode up to Kingston to buy my vegetables in the farmer's market. It was just the chilly side of pleasant as far as the temperatures were concerned and I had a lovely time.

Then last night, after napping a little while on the couch, I got up to go to the pub and discovered that it was pouring! Good thing I have rain pants and water-proof riding togs! I got weather-tight and headed out to Hampton Court. I had a lovely time chatting with my mates at the pub and getting home at a reasonable hour.

Today is Chestnut Sunday and there is a parade in Bushy Park. We're meeting-up at 11:30 to go and watch the parade. I am not really sure what Chestnut Sunday is or what it celebrates, but I will be there and will report tomorrow. I am bringing my cameras although it looks like it will probably rain today.

I hope wherever you are today you have lovely weather and time to get out and celebrate the day, whatever day it happens to be!

Don Bergquist - 14th May 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom

Happy Birthday to my Step-Niece, Heather

Saturday, May 13, 2006


What a lovely morning!

Yesterday, having completed my second day of work for this trip, I went out and purchased a SIM card form my cell phone (uh, I mean mobile) so that I would have one to use over here. I then came back to the house and waited for my friend, Terry to come by. He and Angie kept the bike in their garage for me.

Thus restored to my bicycle, we all went to the pub. It was nice to ride again, but I have work to do on the bike. The new bearing is clicking. It seems to have reduced a little now that I have done some chain cleaning and maintenance... Perhaps it just needs some lubrication.

I have lots to do today. There is a lawn to mow, and the shopping to do. Later we are going to the pub. But first there is a list. Good thing it looks like a lovely day to do everything in! It's like that song mom used to sing us:

It's a lovely day today
So whatever you've got to do
You've got a lovely day to do it in, that's true
And I hope whatever you've got to do
Is something that can be done by two
For I'd really like to stay

It's a lovely day today
And whatever you've got to do
I'd be so happy to be doing it with you
But if you've got something that must be done
And it can only be done by one
There is nothing more to say
Except it's a lovely day for saying
It's a lovely day

I hope that wherever you are, it is a lovely day!

Don Bergquist - 13th May 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom

Friday, May 12, 2006


After a brief hiatus, I am back in London. Things are pretty much how I remember them. Okay, so all the plants that are blooming are different than the last time I was here. The irises and daffodils are all gone, the wildflowers are starting to take over the wilderness. Wisteria is in bloom everywhere.

Sitting at my kitchen counter having breakfast this morning I noticed that the vines on the house across the road are really filling-out. The house should be in bloom soon. I over-slept this morning. But I guess I am entitled. I did travel all day yesterday (and a good part of the day before) and was therefore up for nearly 40 hours before getting back to bed.

I know I popped into the pub yesterday after work and although I had only a couple beers, I am a bit fuzzy on the details. I guess I was more tired than I thought when I popped in.

Well, I hope wherever you are today, you have pleasant memories of yesterday and a lovely day to look forward to today!

Don Bergquist - 12th May 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Making Friends

DISCLAIMER: The following entry in my blog is a fantasy. No actual violence as described took place, is condoned, or will be rewarded.

All it would take is a pillow over his face! I am sure that no jury in the world would convict me!

It is the middle of the night and I cannot sleep. Oh, it's not just the regular can't sleep because I am on a plane, thing! This can't sleep is far worse. The tosser in front of me has been banging against my knees since we left Minneapolis. The yelp of pain the first time he slammed against me was not enough to tell him that he had put his seat back as far as it could go without doing me damage.

He waited until I was out of my seat (an operation that involved wrenching myself sideways and then leaning back as I stood-up) and then he fully reclined his seat. I got back and could only return to my seat by forcibly jamming my knees into the center of the back of his chair. Look at him! Sleeping! It is fitful, to be sure... He has been tossing and turning all night. Could be that he has leaned back so far that the knees pressed into the back of his chair can actually be felt.

He is so close that the revolting reek rising off him is either the world's worst cologne (or far too much cheap cologne) or something has died and they've yet to locate it. But I am being to harsh, perhaps he is reclining because he just wants to be closer to me! Perhaps this is his way of making friends.

Perhaps I should show him the patented plastic bag over the breathing orifices way I have of getting closer to all my best friends. Perhaps it would be easier to write on my PDA if I were to first roll-up the World Traveler magazine and hit him over the head with it. Oh well, there are only three hours left to this flight.

I hope wherever you are at the moment you have lots of room to spread-out and relax!

Don Bergquist - 11th May 2006 - Somewhere over the North Atlantic

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Somehow, She Knows!

Saga may be only a dog, but she knows that something is going on. I am sitting in the airport and thinking about how she behaved this morning. It was almost as if she thought I was punishing her for something. She skulked about and avoided me wherever I went. I dragged a piece of luggage to the living room, she bolted upstairs; I went upstairs to make sure things were turned off, she popped downstairs.

Unless I actively attempted to engage her, it was a game of avoidance. She didn't snap at me or anything, I think she saw the luggage and put two and two together and sussed out that I was leaving again. I feel bad. She did come and sit down with me on the bench outside as I waited for the arrival of the car service, but she was pretty sedate all morning.

I miss you, too, Saga! I hope that wherever you are today you are not leaving the ones you love behind!

Don Bergquist - 10th May 2006 - Denver, Colorado

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Well, it's almost time for me to leave my home and return to my home.

My first home, of course, is here in Colorado. My second home is back there in London. If only I could take Saga with me it would be more like home there too! I am missing her already!

I have a lot to do today before I head off. I still have to run a number of last-minute errands; laundry to run through the machines, and all that packing! I am working from home today so that I can keep the laundry running; advancing the loads when I head downstairs to get coffee. At lunch time I will get all the errands done but the one that will take the longest. That one can wait until tomorrow morning before I head-out.

Since that last errand is the one that I will enjoy the least (not to mention that Saga will hate it - it is taking Saga to the dog wash!) I am avoiding it. Well, I have much to do before I can call it a day so I had better get started.

I hope that wherever you are today, you have a bunch of fun things to do on your to-do list!

Don Bergquist - 09th May 2006 - Lakewood, Colorado

Monday, May 08, 2006

Drawn Toward the Mountains

I had a wonderful drive in the mountains yesterday. I'm glad that I decided to take the time to go. The weather was lovely and the roads were good. I brought a beach towel, a book, and a bathing suit with me and arranged my route to take me past my favorite place for hanging-out and sunning myself.

It has been almost a year since I was up there in the mountains above boulder falls. The last time I was there, I fell and tore my ACL. I took it easy this time and made a bee-line for my favorite precipice. I changed into my swim suit and lay out to get some sun and read my book of Robert Service poetry.

With the exception that it became a bit windy and I had to dress for a bit of the time I was there or freeze, it was a lovely afternoon. I got a nice bit of sun (not enough to burn) and got to read my favorite poetry in one of my favorite places. I'd like to leave you today with a quote from one of Robert Service' poems: The Spell of the Yukon. It was written about northwestern Canada, but it equally-well applies to Colorado. (At least, I feel it does!)

It's the great, big, broad land 'way up yonder,
It's the forests where silence has lease;
It's the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It's the stillness that fills me with peace.

I hope wherever you are today you have a great place to find peace and harmony!
Don Bergquist - 08th May 2006 - Lakewood, Colorado

Happy Birthday to my Sister-In-Law, Allyn

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Conflict of Interests

I've got big plans for today!

It is supposed to get into the mid '70s today with a party cloudy sky, slight chance of thunder showers, and almost unlimited potentials. So what are my big plans? Laundry, cleaning, and prep-work for my upcoming trip to London. What I would love to do is to go and take a drive in the mountains with my cameras and with my dog, but I have so much to do to get ready to head back to my second home, that I can't possibly.

I did a little prep yesterday but then a friend called and said that he was having a get-together last night so I curtailed early my organization and went out to have a good time with my old friends. It was fun, though! I have not seen them for a long time.

We chatted, had a couple drinks and a bottle of port I had brought back with me from my trip to Belgium, and played a couple games. It was a lovely evening! I am glad that I took the time away from my planned activities to spend it with my friends.

I leave on Wednesday so I have to make sure that any big, time-intensive projects I have left on my list (like making sure the rugs get shampooed and taking Saga to the Dog Wash) get done today.

Speaking of Saga, she must be at least a little psychic! She has just walked into the office and is desperately trying to get me to pet her. She does this occasionally. She will sit at the side of my office chair and nose my arm until I stop typing and pet her. Once I have her full attention, she jumps in my lap and waits for me to praise and pet her.

Heck, I guess I can lose a bit of the day to spend with Saga-Roo! I'll avoid the plan for the morning. I'm off to the mountains!

I hope that wherever you are, you have someone around to persuade you to put aside your plans and enjoy the day today!

Don Bergquist - 07th May 2006 - Lakewood, Colorado

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Mixed Messages

Perhaps I am just slow, but I am really confused by what the big protest yesterday was all about.

I have heard variously that it was for immigrant's rights, that it was for rights for migrant workers, that it was for recognition for the contributions that immigrants make to this country and that it was in protest of the immigration reform that is going through congress at this time. If this last was the point, then I have issues with the whole affair.

Let's ignore the fact that the bill in congress is a pretty bad idea. I am personally opposed to any bill that decriminalizes illegal immigration. The protesters yesterday made some truly specious arguments. I'd like to address these today.

Argument: You're trying to make us into criminals.
Rebuttal: What part of the term "Illegal Immigrant" are you having problems understanding? If you broke the law to enter the country you are here illegally and hence, you are a criminal.

Argument: We just want the rights we deserve!
Rebuttal: What rights would those be? If you are here illegally, you have no rights. Your argument is akin to the burglar who just broke into my house complaining that his rights are being abridged when I call the cops.

Argument: We demand our Human Rights!
Rebuttal: Well, there's an ambiguous demand. We're not challenging your rights as a human. Nobody has proposed to enslave you, to torture you or to kill you. We've only proposed to return you to your country of origin.

Argument: Take a look at your own family tree!
Rebuttal: What? My ancestors entered this country legally. They immigrated from Prussia, The British Aisles, and Scandinavia in accordance with the laws that were in place at the time they came over. (I cannot even believe that this argument was made! I heard it on three different newscasts yesterday!) The speaker appears to be implying that everyone is here illegally. Either that or they think that this rally was for rights for legal immigration, something that it was not about.

Argument: We're just trying to get the rights to immigrate legally
Rebuttal: What? We have legal avenues for immigration. If you're here illegally, you ignored the legal ways to get here.

I guess I should get off my soap box. One of the major issues I had was the blinding contradictions in these situations. While claiming that they want to be Americans and that they want to fit-in and be accepted by the country they claim they want to be in, they wave the Mexican flag, fail to even try to learn English and refuse to try to fit in.

I hope wherever you are today, you are somewhere you want to be!

Don Bergquist - 02nd May 2006 - Lakewood, Colorado

United States of America