Tuesday, July 31, 2007


My poor little one!

Saga is now feeling poorly. It is heart-rending to see her feeling bad! She is suffering a false pregnancy. She'll need caring for with kid-gloves for the next couple days. Yes, "days" not weeks!

You see, I took her to the vet because I had scheduled the appointment before I discovered she was in a false pregnancy. The vet after the exam asked if I wanted to give her a drug to stop the false pregnancy.

"Or are you going to let it run its course?" he asked.

"I have a choice?" I asked incredulously. "In the years that she has lived with me, no vet has ever told me that I had the option! I'd love to save her the trauma of the false pregnancy."

He gave me drops I administer every day. I gave her the first dose when we got back from the vet this afternoon. He said that she should be herself again by the end of the week. It will be good to have her feeling better!

Wherever you are today, I hope you are feeling well.

Don Bergquist - 31 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Happy Birthday to my aunt, Jennifer

Monday, July 30, 2007


You'd think that, having grown-up in Miami - tourist Mecca of the southern US, I'd have grown a tolerance for the idiocy of the tourist. Doe people leave their intelligence and their manners at home when they travel? Today's rant is brought to you by the Polish tourists that irked me at the hotel this weekend.

I didn’t want to spoil the reports of the lovely weekend by complaining about the idiotourists who shared the hotel this weekend. I first got the idea that they were going to be a problem as I checked into my room on Friday afternoon. The couple was standing in the middle of the lobby smoking. Now, normally, this would not be a problem for me. I am not one of those militant ex-smokers who think everyone should quit.

It was more annoying that they were standing in the middle of a traffic area obstructing the passage of the other guests of the hotel through the lobby, than that they were disobeying the law by smoking in an enclosed public space. As of 01 July 2007, it is illegal to smoke inside an enclosed public space. Why they chose to ignore that, I do not know.

They really got my goat on Saturday morning, however, when I went to breakfast in the hotel restaurant. The restaurant had a breakfast buffet set-up with the breads at one end of a long table, cereals and fruit in another area and hot "Traditional English Breakfast" foods at the opposite end.

I arrived to see the bread baskets were empty so I asked one of the restaurant staff (behind the buffet table) if they could put out some more bread rolls. I was told they would and she walked off to get them. So I stood there, plate and tongs in hand, waiting for the woman to return.

"Are you going to go?" asked the voice to my right, displaying what I took to be more than a trace of annoyance.

"Yes, they’re getting more rolls." I responded, indicating the returning restaurant employee with the bread baskets.

"Then do you mind if I start?" she (the rude tourist) asked.

I looked around at the tables spread around the end of the room. "Not at all, please do." I started reaching for a roll when the basket came. For reasons I cannot begin to fathom, the woman decided to push her way past me between the table and the tongs, knocking my hand out of the way rudely in the process.

Why she felt it necessary to walk along the curve of the elbow in the tables rather than just stepping directly to the foods she wanted further along, I will never know. I helped myself to a roll and stepped along the curve to where the preserves were and helped myself to some marmalade, drawing an acid glance from the tourist in the process even though I was in no way impeding her progress as she piled half-a-dozen fried eggs and as many sausages onto her plate.

Ah! Well, no need to allow the tourists to spoil my day!

I hope that wherever you are today, you're having a great day!

Don Bergquist - 30 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Day Of Rest

Ah! Well, at least I was right! I overdid it yesterday!

All that walking was not good on my bad knee! I hardly slept last night because of the pain. I forgot to pack my Naproxen Sodium. So I tossed and turned in the hotel all night. Oh well!

This morning, Pieter and I had breakfast and then I saw him off and made my way home. Saga was glad to have her Daddy home. Although she loves visiting her friends (I owe huge thanks to my friend Elaine and her family for watching Saga whilst I was away), she loves having her Daddy to fawn over her. I think she intentionally plays-up the "you left me behind" guilt to make me give her cookies!

It was a lovely weekend. I have some other friends who came into town yesterday that I hope to get together with tonight so I am spending the day reading the papers in the back garden. Relaxing and recharging my batteries is the plan for the day!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you have a very relaxing day!

Don Bergquist - 29 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Saturday in London

I could not have asked for a better day to visit Central London with my friend, Pieter. The weather was lovely, just enough cloud cover to make the sky photographically interesting, but not threatening. Cool enough to be comfortable but warm enough not to need too many layers.

I've been to Central London a number of times with Colleagues and Friends who are visiting and it never seems to be the same. This time, there was a temporary display of art made from lava rocks and water. (There are pictures of it at the link above.)

We also took in a show at the Tate Modern gallery. (They had a wonderful retrospective of the works of Salvador Dali!) This picture of the domes of Saint Paul's cathedral was taken from in the front of the Tate Modern. I love the juxtaposition of the ancient cathedral with the modern skyline which is so new it is still under construction.

After the show and the walk, we crossed the Millennium Bridge and made our way back toward the hotel. I paused to take this picture from a point of view that few people stop to notice. The lines of the bridge passing over the supports, I though, were interesting. The obelisk that you see is a time-line of British invention. This was not an easy shot to get! I wanted to get a picture without people in it. Unfortunately, owing to how nice the day way, the walk along the river was bustling and I had to stay ready to snap. There are actually people just out of shot on both sides of the frame.

The gardens of Central London were in bloom, there was interesting art and buskers to enjoy on a walk along the Thames. It is surprising where to find things to look at when you are walking along the Thames. There are little niche gardens tucked into hidden little corners along the walk. I found these lilies in a lovely little garden tucked into an alcove along the river by the Blackfriars Tube station.

It was a lovely day, but I walked to much. My tricky knee is going to hurt tomorrow!

Wherever you are today, I hope you've had a day you can enjoy!

Don Bergquist - 28 July 2007 - London, England, UK

Friday, July 27, 2007

What A Difference

The weather today looks promising! The day dawned blue and clear. The skies are beautiful. That's a good thing. I have friends visiting the UK this weekend and I was worried that they would get here to the rain and cold that we have had.

Well, I need to cut this short today. I am taking off early to meet a friend and act as tour guide to London. I hope to see some things that I have never seen too! I've gotten a list of walks to take in Central London. We'll see what interesting stuff there is to see.

Wherever you are today, I hope you're feeling well and that you have a great day!

Don Bergquist - 27 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Under The Weather

Perhaps it is because the weather has been so crappy lately, perhaps it is because of the stress that I am under (a story for another time), maybe it is just that I need to take a day and sleep. Whatever the reason, I am feeling truly under the weather today.

I awoke to a headache and light-headedness. I thought after a cup of coffee and a bowl of cereal I would get to feeling better and get with the program, but having eaten and headed into the office I felt no better. So, after a few hours at the office, I returned home to take a nap. I then slept for six hours uninterrupted.

It's now early evening and I feel a lot better. The weather is still crap, but you can't have everything. I think I am going to eat something, walk the dog and go to bed. Good night!

Wherever you are today, I hope you're feeling well!

Don Bergquist - 26 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Head Above Water

Try, try, try I'm holding on, holding my
Head above water
It's so hard to keep my Head Above Water
Despite what Hall and Oates have to say about the subject, it is pretty easy to do here in Thames Ditton. In response to the emails and calls I have received from a number off you, I wanted to write in my blog that yes, I am okay, and still high and dry.

Sure there has been a lot of rain and I have been unable to ride as much as I would have liked to, but the area that I live in is not one of those that you have heard about in the news. Most of that rain is over in the west country, Cheddar, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Wales, etc.

Granted, the very name of my village: "Thames Ditton" means "Low-Lying Wetland on the Thames" but we're doing okay right now. Farm Island (which I understand has historically taken some pretty bad hits in flooding time) is still high and dry, relatively speaking. This picture was taken this morning.

A few of the home owners over there have been inserting the barrier doors into their flood walls, but most that I can see haven't. Checking this morning, there is still about four or six inches before the green at the end of the bridge goes under.

Ye Olde Swann, on the other hand, is not in as good shape. Their dining wharf (usually on the river) is now a part of the river. But even this is a misleading photo. Sure, their dock is under four inches of water, but that wall you see, is topped by their parking lot. They have feet to go before anyone gets their tootsies wet in the Swann!

Harris Corporation is faring well, the entry to the building is about five feet higher than the car park at the Swann; the first thing to go at the office would be the cycle hut where I park my bike each morning. But even that is three feet-or-more over the current river level.

The Villa, being a quarter-mile further inland, is far from being in any direct peril. All this could, of course change, as the flooding of the previous weeks makes its way down the Thames and the predicted rains of this week take their toll.

Wherever you are today, I hope you’re high and dry and happy!

Don Bergquist - 25 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Head Above Water
Hall & Oates

Oceans emotions yeah we all feel the same
Afraid of undertow and great tidal wave
may go under many hundred of times
keep on kickin', baby throw me a line
C.C. Sick, Mai de Mer
Try, try, try I'm holding on, holding my
Head above water
It's so hard to keep my Head Above Water

No never envy the big fish in da Pond
It's deep and dark when all the surface is gone
My kind of humor kind of keeping me dry
On the horizon, water touches the sky
C. C. Sick, Mal de Mer
Try, try, try I'm holding on, holding my
Head Above Water
It's so hard to keep my Head Above Water.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Prospects Are Looking Up…

After the wet weather lingered this morning, the prospects are looking up. The clouds were breaking as I was getting ready for work. Since it looks promising, I think I'll leave early and take the long way in.

It would be nice to be able to take my time, but we have a huge release going out the door this week and I have a lot of testing to get through so I still want to get in as close to on-time as possible. So I had best post this and get moving.

Wherever you are today, I hope you'll have a great day!

Don Bergquist - 24 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Monday, July 23, 2007

Monday, Monday

The Mama's and the Papas were right! Mondays suck.

Well, okay, they really didn't say just that. But you get the idea. After what was a bit of a wet and miserable (weather-wise) weekend, we're in to a wet and miserable Monday morning.

The forecast is for continued rain and miserable weather. But that's okay. I have a pile of testing to do on my desk at the office. So at least I won’t have to deal with it.

Wherever you are today, I hope you'll have a good day, despite the fact that it is Monday!

Don Bergquist - 23 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Molesey Regatta

Yesterday was the annual Regatta at Molesey.

I was first introduced to Molesey Regatta this time last year. It was a fun time (please see my posting of 15 July 2006) and I knew that I would have to make it back here this year for the Regatta even if I had gone home by now.

Well, I'm still here and this year could not be more different than this time last year. Last year we were in the grip of a severe drought and there were hosepipe bans. Afternoon temperatures were hovering around in the low thirties and there was no way I was going to leave on my light cloth summer coat.

This year it is pouring, we have flooding all over the place, and the temperatures struggle to reach into the twenties. The rain could not dampen the spirits of my friends and I. We were determined to have a good time at Regatta regardless.

Once again, Phil and Lucy hosted a wonderful pre-Regatta gathering at their house in East Molesey. We gathered around noon and had a few glasses of fizz while waiting for the cabs that would carry us to the park. The rains started just about the time the first of the cabs was due.

By the time we reached the Lunch Pavilion the rain was falling in earnest. The lunch, the same menu as last year, was very nice and the beverages were shared and enjoyed by all. In the brief breaks in the rain, we went down to the river to watch the races…

This was the winner of the first race. You can see that this guy trained all his life to win a Regatta. You've got to admire such determination. Sure, there were charges that he was taking performance-enhancing feed, but the charges ran off him like water off a duck's back.

A little later on we went back to the river to have another gander. This race was a much closer finish. One person was trying to challenge the finish results, but the judges called the guy a silly goose and told him to drop it.

After enjoying a rainy afternoon at the park, we all headed to Kevin's place for an after-regatta party. We all have a lovely time and I've already got it in my calendar: Third Weekend in July - Molesey Regatta!

I hope that wherever you are today, you're having a wonderful weekend!

Don Bergquist - 22 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Weekend Outlook

The outlook for the weekend is not very good. The BBC is suggesting that the weekend is likely to be a long, wet one. Right now it is lovely, but the skies are definitely threatening.

On my ride this morning, the temperatures were pleasant but it was a bit breezy. The skies were partly cloudy. The cloud cover was a lot thicker by the time I got back and got ready to leave for the Regatta. With all the rains and the flooding upstream, I'd be interested to see them actually boat this year. (As you may remember from this weekend last year, there are actually boar races at the Molesey Regatta.)

So, the weather looks like the Regatta may be a bit wet. And not just on the bottom of the boats. Look for pictures and reports tomorrow.

Wherever you are this weekend I hope the outlook is positive.

Don Bergquist - 21 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Friday, July 20, 2007

Rainy Morning

This morning there is no guessing what awakened me before the alarm. It was the thunder. There was one thunderclap (that I heard) just before 04:40 that roused me. I was awake. I lay listening to the rain hitting the windows and the wind blowing the tree outside my window around.

It was a pleasant way to spend a few minutes before the clock came on and played the news on Radio Four. The good thing is that the garden needs the water. The bad thing is that Saga really hates the wet. She went downstairs anxious enough but had to be coaxed to actually go outside. She is spending the morning in the vestibule because she kept running right back inside.

The other upshot of the rain was that my ride in will be a bit wet. I think I will take the short, direct route into the office today. I hope the rain ends by tonight… Molesey Regatta is tomorrow!

Wherever you are today, I hope your day is lovely!

Don Bergquist - 20 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Rest Of The Story

"What kind of cloud is that?" she said.

"Where?" he said. I could view him leaning toward the glass of the train window, one hand shielding his eyes, like an Indian scanning the horizon in those old Cowboys and Indian films of the fifties and sixties.

"There!" she said, apparently pointing somewhere in the sky. "That long straight one."

I have to explain, I could not see them because they were sitting behind me. The train was crowded and I was sitting on the second row of backward-facing seats in the front of the train.

"What?" he said, apparently spotting what she meant "That one that is pointing toward the aeroplane and growing as the plane moves?"

"Yeah." She said. "That one."

"That's smoke coming out of the aeroplane's engines."

What!? Ah. They are definitely not the teachers I had thought they were earlier in the trip. Or at least they are not teachers of mechanics of meteorology. Were they mechanically inclined, they would have known that to leave that much smoke behind the plane would have to burn a hell of a lot of oil or would be really inefficient at burning its fuel. Besides, were it actually smoke coming out of the engine it would be visible coming out of the engine and not just as a trail that forms behind the plane.

Were they meteorologically inclined, they would have noted that contrails only form under certain conditions, generally when the air is cool and still. My understanding is that they are caused when a jet has gone through a patch of cold, still air and are formed by the difference in pressure that is caused either by the hot, high pressure jet exhaust suddenly expanding in the rarified atmosphere or by the sudden clash of pressures in the wake of the wings.

Were I a bit more gregarious (or if I wanted to let them know that I had been eavesdropping) I would have explained it. Oh well, they'll be blissful in their ignorance.

Wherever you are, I hope that you have a wonderful day!

Don Bergquist - 19 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Conversation On A Train

It's not really practice to wantonly eavesdrop on people, although I have been known to use my fellow passengers on the train into London as a source for my blog. Last evening, however, there was no way to avoid it.

The train was fairly full as I boarded at Surbiton, and I got one of the few remaining seats left. It was a rear-facing seat right at the front of the train. There were 16 seats in the area of the train ahead of the first doors and all but two were full. I took one of the empty seats and the train pulled out of the station.

For a few minutes, the car was fairly quiet. The conversation started innocuously enough. It was a droning discussion of how she was going to San Francisco on vacation although she never went the same place twice. He was going to miss her, though not so much as to want her to cancel her trip.

From here, free-ranged onto the people she gossiped about, what his opinions of her as a manager was, her feelings about kiss-up employees, his belief that we were running late on the scheduled journey, and other un-fruitful grist for my column. I was intermittently listening to their conversation (possibly dozing) when she said. "None of the clouds looks like anything! Do you remember when you were a kid and all the clouds seemed to look like something or other?"

"Sure then do." He replied. "That one there, for instance, looks like a cat. Or perhaps it's a squid."

"Which one? Where?" She asked. I could picture her leaning over him to look out the window.

"Right there!" He said; I was picturing him pointing at some random point in the sky.

"What? That big triangle? Nah! That looks more like a dog. But look there! A whale!"

"I do believe you're right! That is certainly a whale."

Casually, I glanced out the window… aside from a randomly amassed collection of water vapors made visible by the condensation driven by the changes in pressures and enhanced by the late afternoon convection, I saw nothing. Nothing was up there but a bunch of clouds. (Though, to be honest, one of them did sort-of look like a carnival serving of cotton candy!)

Their game went on for a while punctuated periodically with comments from her or him such as "Can you believe it? Here we are, two adults, playing 'see things in the clouds' as if we were school children."

I was about to lose interest again when he said "Look, that one there!"


"There! It looks just like an aeroplane!"

"My yes, it does." She responded, chuckling. "Look how well defined it is! And how fast the wind is moving it."

This brought their game to an end. He was pointing at a jet coming into land at Heathrow about twenty miles away. It was fun while it lasted, but then the train pulled into the station and we went our separate ways. They'll probably never know how their innocent, childish game inspired me to write this article. To them (should they ever trip across this): Thank You! I enjoyed it!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you'll take time to notice the wonders around you with child-like abandon!

Don Bergquist - 19 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Another Lovely Day

I was awake before dawn again. Could it be that my body has grown attuned to the zeitgeist of Thames Ditton? Am I perhaps sensing that the day will be particularly nice and that I shouldn't waste even a minute of it? Eventually, the good weather will be gone, the rains and cold will return and reassert themselves.

But right now it is so lovely out. I ate, showered and dressed quickly and have put the dog out. (I am writing this while she is out sniffing around.) I think even she can tell that it is going to be a particularly nice day. When I let her out she tore up the stairs and disappeared into the back yard. She didn’t even come back down as I was making and eating breakfast.

She is now out there walking around the garden taking far more time than absolutely necessary. It's obvious she is enjoying being outside on this lovely morning. I think I'll give her ten more minutes and then will have to hop on the bike for my morning ride.

Wherever you are, I hope you're enjoying your morning!

Don Bergquist - 18 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Too Much To Do

I had underestimated the number of things that would accumulate on my desk over the weekend. Yesterday, after getting to the office, I did my normal administrative stuff, and got my day organized. After my second cup of coffee, I didn't get up from my desk or really become aware of time passing until nearly 13:00.

I am taking a French class at the office and so I need to be at the office by that time so that I can make it to class. (I'm doing okay in French Class, but having learned Spanish when I was living in Florida, is making it harder rather than easier. Sure, a lot of the words are similar enough to recognize, but French is pronounced nothing like Spanish and therein lie my problem.)

After lunch I was at my desk again and working until 17:30 when I finally realized the time. Saga and I went for a walk after I returned from my evening ride. This morning, they're predicting an afternoon of thunderstorms. I suppose it is time to get my ride in in the morning again!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you're getting things done!

Don Bergquist - 17 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Monday, July 16, 2007

Change In The Weather

The forecast for today is that the weather, though it will start nice, will get warm and stormy by afternoon. That being the case, I am going to ride before work and that means I have to get moving this morning.

Sorry for the short entry today, but I have a massive amount of paperwork that I have amassed over the weekend.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you have a great day!

Don Bergquist - 16 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Lovely Morning

I had a lovely ride this morning!

The weather held-off until about lunch time allowing me to get about twenty-five miles in. Other than the wanker who walked into the street as I was riding past him and then blamed me, it was a great ride. I kid you not! As I was riding up Surbiton hill (by the Surbiton Rail Station) this total tosser goes and steps off the curb without even looking. No indication that he intended to cross the street, nothing! He was walking along the road and suddenly turns and steps into the street!

"Bloody Hell" he yelled as he kicked my tire, "Watch where you're going! You're a menace!"

(Well, isn't that the pot calling the grass "dope"!?)

Other than that, the entire trip was lovely. I even included a trip down to Walton upon Thames to my ride because the weather was so lovely.

Riding through Bushy Park, while there was another brief encounter with a yobish jogger (he decided to play chicken with me and eventually I was driven off the path) but otherwise, there was nothing to spoil the beautiful morning.

As if to underscore how lovely and relaxing the weekend days could be, this group of deer were seen chillin' out under a tree in the park. They've got the right idea. It put me in a mood to set the folding recliner out in the back garden when I got home and spend the afternoon reading the papers.

But that was not to be. After a long and thoroughly enjoyable ride, Saga and I went for a walk and that was about as long as the weather was going to hold-out for us. Not twenty minutes later, the rain started falling and the rest of the afternoon was on-and-off showers.

Instead of relaxing in the garden, I worked on my computer; organizing files that I have been meaning to set in order and doing some writing (getting my blog ready to post, etc.) instead.

Wherever you are today, I hope your day has been enjoyable, productive, relaxing, or a combination of the three!

Don Bergquist - 15 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Happy Birthday to my friend, Phil

Happy Birthday to my cousin, Nick

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Around Long Ditton

Saga loves to go to Long Ditton Park in the afternoons and reassert her ownership of the village park. On Saturdays, the Dittons Cricket Club plays games in the park and it is fun to sit and watch for a while.

Of course, all she sees is that people are running around where there are so many interesting things to get out and smell (and occasionally to roll in!) but I enjoy watching the game for a while. (Okay, a very short while. I can see that this game is one that is definitely improved by the consumption of beer! The game is a bit dull, when you come right down to it.)

After allowing me to sit and watch the game for a short while, Saga reminds her daddy that it is time for her to run around and sniff things, pee on things, and generally make the park hers again.

The clouds are threatening rain. If it holds, Saga and I will go to the pub tonight.

Wherever you are today, I hope you have a chance to take time out for yourself.

Don Bergquist - 14 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Friday, July 13, 2007

Silent Morning

What a strange morning it is. I was awake well before my alarm; there was no reason for it… I just was. I rolled over and looked at the clock and it was just after four. The false dawn was bright in the sky and I could see the houses across the cul de sac in the bright, pre-dawn light. It was still quiet out and any noise that may have awakened me was over by now.

The rains predicted for today, have yet to materialize, which is nice because it enabled me to take a nice, long fifteen mile ride before work. I had thought to take the normal six-mile route across the Kingston bridge and along the tow path, but the world was still this morning and quiet! There was no traffic as I crossed the Thames so I decided to ride around Bushy Park.

I began to wonder as I entered the park if the whole country was celebrating some sort of bank holiday that nobody had told me about. It is usually quiet at the time of the morning that I ride into work, but this morning it is almost too quiet. It occurred to me that other than a milk float (which runs on an electric motor so as to not wake-up the whole neighborhood) and a parked police car, I had not seen another person on the street.

My musings as I rode through the park ran to a statistic that I heard once. Apparently, except for some of the more remote parts of Alaska, the Sahara, and the two arctic circles, there are very few places on the planet where one cannot hear some sort of human-made noise.

Perhaps it is because, having finished the audiobook I had been listening to, I wasn't using my MP3 player, and perhaps it was because it was unusually quiet. Whatever the reason, I was aware that there were very few sounds. I heard the wind in the leaves. The occasional sound of a jet taking off (Heathrow is less than ten miles from where I now sit in the office) was the only thing to shatter the illusion that I was alone in the world.

It was a lovely, quiet, relaxing morning. Of course, now that I've arrived at the office, the noise of the village is starting to pick-up and be noticeable. But at least I have this lovely, quiet morning to remember.

Wherever you are today, I hope your day has its moments of quiet.

Don Bergquist - 13 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Game Night

Last night at the game club I go to, I got the opportunity to test play a new game that one of the guys I have met before brought in. He is a game designer and is working on a game that is sort-of like Clue on Steroids.

The basic premise is that you are the suspect in a murder mystery. (So is everyone else in the game.) You have to establish your innocence beyond a doubt so that you can prove your innocence at trial.

The game is played on a map of the town and you and your opponents travel around the town trying to gather evidence that your have alibis for the time the murder was committed, that you have witnesses that can substantiate your alibis, while trying to get rid of any evidence that may tend to tie you to the crime scene, the victim, and the murder weapon.

There are also motives that are randomly collected. If you get on, you either have to transfer it to another player or collect a friend who will offset the motive by vouching for you. Additionally, there may be witnesses that can place you at the scene of the crime. These witnesses have to either be bribed to vouch for you or otherwise "dealt with."

It was a fun game, I am not sure about the mechanics of the trial at the end. I have a basic issue with the fact that there is no winner, per se. The point of the trial is to determine who is the least successful at getting rid of the evidence against them and collecting exculpatory evidence. There is no mechanism to determine who was the best at this.

It was, none-the-less, a good game and I cannot wait to see the next version that the designer comes up with after the input we had for him.

Wherever you are, I hope you're having fun today!

Don Bergquist - 12 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Saga is sitting on the rug at the base of the stairs down into the kitchen. She is really going to town on the rawhide bone I gave her a few minutes ago. It's breakfast time and I am sitting at the island eating my bowl of fruit, cereal, and yogurt and thinking about what a nice morning it would be for a long ride into the office.

The skies are overcast but the wind is dead. The temperatures are still in the mid-fifties so, provided I can get out of here in the next few minutes, I would have a good three-quarters of an hour to ride before I am due at the office. But that would require that I stop sitting here watching Saga gnaw on that bone.

She is just so cute, laying there, trying to get the position on the green-and-beige bone just right so that she can shred it with her molars. When I gave it to her, she stared at it intently, as if trying to suss-out exactly how to best attack the bone. For the past ten minutes, as I was making my cereal and coffee, and as I was getting the counter cleaned-up, she has paid attention to nothing but that bone.

I'm not quite sure how I feel about that… she isn't begging, that's good… but she is not paying attention to anything but that bone either. I tired offering her my yogurt carton (a treat she often attacks as soon as offered) but she had no interest in it today. Today, she has eyes only for that bone.

Repositioning herself and the stick or chlorophyll and pig skin so that she can get its point deep into her mouth for a better chew, she is in her own little world. I guess I may as well get the breakfast dishes into the dishwasher and get on the bike trail. (The only thing I have to figure out is how to get the bike out without disturbing her; she is directly in front of the bike's storage area.) I guess I'll sit here a while longer. She is fun to watch!

Wherever you are today, I hope you have something that can hold your attention.

Don Bergquist - 11 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


It is funny the things one gets used to through repetition. Things that you never thought you could live with you find yourself not even noticing. For example, I used to live in Memphis, Tennessee in a cheap little apartment off the MSU campus. I wasn't a student; just poor… it was the best I could afford.

One of the things that made it so cheap was that not twenty-five yards from the spot where my head hit the pillow every night was a major rail line. The Southern Railway's main switching yard was just a half-a-mile up the tracks to the west and trains ran past my apartment day and night on an average of four per hour.

If you have never lived on a rail line you really can't appreciate the noise that they make as they pass. Tons of locomotive, thousands of horsepower of diesel-electric generators, and their cargo going past a stone's throw away from you gets your attention, at first…

Visitors to my home used to comment on the noise. "Doesn't the noise of those trains drive you crazy?" visitors who had come over for dinner or to play cards would say as the dishes in the cabinets danced.

"What train?" I would ask completely seriously.

The point is that you get used to things. Quite seriously, if you are exposed to anything you get used to it. This is a good thing if you live next to a major freight rail line. Not such a good thing if you start missing the cool thing that are going on around you because you've gotten used to them.

I got to thinking about this the other night as I was taking a nighttime ride home from the pub. It was about eight and the sun was still an-hour-or-two from setting. It was a cool evening and as I was making my way across the village the clock in the Home of Compassion clock tower struck the hour. It suddenly occurred to me that I hadn't heard that in a while.

Sure, I had heard it… by which I mean the vibrations in the air reached my ears, but I hadn't heard it! I had become accustomed to hearing it. When I first got here, it was one of the things that I thought was really cool! The village clock tower, chiming the hour so that everyone knew the time. I'd be lying in bed at four fifty-something and wondering if it were time to get out of bed when I would hear five bells toll from across the village.

I've decided not to take things for granted. It is going to be hard not to get used to things and take them for granted, but there it is… A mid-year resolution if you will: Don't take life for granted.

Wherever you are today, I hope you'll take a minute to appreciate the great things that surround you that you've started to take for granted.

Don Bergquist - 10 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Happy Birthday to my cousin, Becca

Happy Birthday to my cousin, Dirk

Monday, July 09, 2007

Back to Normal

I'm happy to report that the friggin' flower show is over! My fellow cyclists and I are back to only having to contend with the few small groups who occasionally amble along the tow path and block the cycle route. Usually, they are pretty good at getting out of the way when you ring your bell.

To celebrate the end of the Hampton Court Flower Show, some friends of mine and I went to The Albany (a pub on the river) to watch the people who went try and get out as the show ended. We sat on the river, sipping our beers and watched as the queues for ferries or tried to make their way along the towpath carrying armloads of various vegetation purchased at the show. To show that it isn't just he inability to reason how the cycle paths work that visitors to the show lose. They also lose their money sense.

As Terry pointed out, as we watched the huge queues slowly dissipating as the ferries came and went, you could get a ferry from one side of the river to the other for a pound. But if you got the one that dropped you at the train station, it would cost you £1.50. The extra fifty p apparently to save you the two-hundred-yard walk along the tow path and across the bridge.

Usually, however, there is no problem getting through the bike path. Personally, I am so happy about the end of the flower show that I took the long way (along the river) to work, then again today at lunch time. What a lovely day! They are predicting that the weather will fall-apart around the time I plan to leave this evening… just the way, eh? Oh well, as my friend and mentor, Ruth used to say: "We'll just have to jump off that bridge when we get to it."

To close this I think I should quote a book; the last line of Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco: "Right now, it's so beautiful"

Wherever you are today, I hope you're faced with lovely weather - whatever "lovely" means to you.

Don Bergquist - 09 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Weather Holds

It has been a lovely weekend this far! The break in the weather is holding and the day (though again, the BBC insists that this cannot last) is fantastic!

I've already had a nice two-and-a-half hour cycle around the area. (Trying but not succeeding to avoid the damn flower show! Grrr!) But the day is so lovely that even having do deal with the idiots going to the flower show who are clogging the paths and the roads as far away as Hampton cannot put a damper on the mood.

What the afternoon holds is still up in the air. A colleague of mine went up to Wimbledon to try and see some of the tennis. That prospect was about as appealing to me as dealing with the idiots who go to the friggin' flower show and cannot figure-out that standing around paying no attention whilst standing in the middle of an active bicycle path is a bad idea!

Saga and I have been on walks both yesterday and today. She and I went over to Long Ditton where she renewed her lease on the park. We also hung-out briefly today in the Giggs Hill Park where we watched (briefly) a cricket match. (I say briefly because I am told that they can go on for days, and without beer involved, it could only manage to hold my attention for about an hour.)

As it is, the weathercasts continue to predict rain for the afternoon and bad conditions, I think they're hedging their bets.

Wherever you are today, I hope the weather you're faced with is excellent!

Don Bergquist - 08 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Happy Birthday to my friend, Tracy

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Brief (?) Respite

After a week and some days of rain, cold, wind, and generally unpleasant conditions, today is just gorgeous! The sun has come out again and the temperatures are on the cool side of absolutely perfect. According to the BBC weather forecast today I need to get moving because this will not last.

It has already lasted long enough for a beautiful ride on the usual 20-mile route. It was beautiful out. (As you can see in this picture taken on the bridge crossing the small creek in the village park up in Berrylands, the clouds are still around, so perhaps the BBC is right.)

I think I may be over the malady that had me under the weather for the past couple days. Although, when I got to the pub Friday night, I was still pretty whipped. I didn't stay long, I couldn't. I'm feeling much better today, though! I think I will take it easy, lay in the recliner with a book for the afternoon. If I am still feeling good this evening, I may get Saga into the trailer and head to the pub. Then again, I may not. Either way, I'm sure to have a pleasant and relaxing afternoon.

Wherever you are this afternoon, I hope you're having a great day!

Don Bergquist - 07 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Happy Birthday to my uncle, Larry

Friday, July 06, 2007

Continued Cloudy

Whew! It is amazing what sleeping thirteen hours can do for one! I am feeling a bit better. Not quite up to par, but definitely able to get up and out today. Which is good, I have a couple reports that I have to file today at the office and then I have one project that I am about to wrap-up.

The weather was perfect for sleeping all day, it was cloudy, there was occasionally heavy rain, there was rain falling pretty much all day punctuated by occasional heavy rain. At least that is what I saw of the day. I wasn't feeling well yesterday at the office, so I finished the stuff I had to do as quickly as possible and headed home.

I got home yesterday at about three and went straight to bed. Even the limited activity of the day had left me completely knackered! Around nine last night I woke-up and realized that I needed to let Saga go out so off I went, heading downstairs, rounding her up and herding her out the door. That accomplished and her back inside for the night, I headed back up to bed and slept uninterrupted until four o'clock. I then lay in bed dozing until the shipping forecast came on radio four.

It's nearly six now and I am getting ready to head into the office. Once I've completed what I have, I think I'll head home and take a nap. The weather outside looks like it is going to be a good day to sleep.

Wherever you are today, I hope you’re feeling well!

Don Bergquist - 06 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Happy Birthday to my cousin, Ron

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Out of It

My allergies are really acting up this week. I think the continued wet weather is something that my sinuses were not really ready for. I may have developed a bit of a sinus infection. For the past couple days I have been suffering a touch of vertigo periodically.

Today, I am not really all here, if you know what I mean. It could be because I was up late last night celebrating, with some friends, the 231st anniversary of the signing of the declaration of independence. It could be the on-going problems I am having with my sinuses. Either way, I am going to head into the office and try and hang-on as long as possible.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you are feeling well!

Don Bergquist - 05 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day

About 230 years ago, King George II made some of his subjects so militantly unhappy with his reckless disregard of their wants and desires in his governmental style that they revolted. The taxation without representation, the imposition of the his world view upon his subjects, the intolerable acts all led the founding fathers to declare independence from England on July 04, 1776.

Two hundred thirty-one years later, George II of the United States sees himself as a king, immune to the will of the people rather than as the elected chief executive of a representative republic. (But then, to be fair, many of his alleged constituents have a hard time seeing him as an elected anything! But I digress…)

Granted, as Wanker in Chief, he has the constitutional right to commute sentences, or otherwise grant clemency. To anyone he chooses. But please, under the tenets of the religion he professes to be a practitioner of (far too often for my taste) lying is a sin. Therefore, he should come clean and not try and blunt his transparently partisan back-scratching by claiming that he has done soul searching and careful consideration and decided that the punishment was too harsh.

(Well, I guess it is not as if he had any credibility left to lose! Hands up, who really thought that Scooter would spend a single day in prison? Anyone think that he will really ever pay the fines? That's so cute! You with your hands up are so trusting!)

The plain, simple and readily apparent truth is that he was paying Lewis Libby back for covering-up the fact that the administration had intentionally leaked the name of an undercover CIA agent to the media in violation of federal law. Can there really be any doubt as to who in the administration thought he was above the law? Who has recently declared himself independent of his branch of government so as to avoid the rules?

I guess that the vice president just started celebrating Independence Day a bit early!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you'll have a wonderful day to celebrate!

Don Bergquist - 04 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Happy Birthday to my friend, Chris

Happy Independence Day

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Obstinate Bitch

It has become a battle of wills. Sooner or later Saga will learn that she cannot refuse to go outside just because it is wet. She lives in England for the time being. It is wet here. Granted, it is wetter than it should be for this time of year, but that is beside the point.

This rant is brought to you by the fact that every time I have tried to put her out she looks at me as if I were completely mental. It's almost as if I asked her to do higher-level mathematics or something. I can picture her (in her little doggy mind) saying "Are you crazy? It's wet out there! You like the wet, you go out there!"

This intransigence has not led to any accidents, but it cannot be healthy for her to hold it for the longish periods of time between when she finally goes outside! Oh well, she will learn. She will have to if this trip (and this odd "summer" weather) lasts much longer.

Wherever you are today, I hope you have little intransigence to deal with.

Don Bergquist - 03 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Monday, July 02, 2007


To : My Family and Friends Back Home
From : Me
Date : 02 July 2007
RE : Reports of Terrorism

Hello all!

To those of you who have called and/or emailed me over the past couple days, I just wanted to drop you a quick note. I am fine. The attack on Scotland was way across the island. It's about the same as me calling my sister while she is in Miami if I hear that there was a shooting in Tallahassee. There is a great deal of distance between Thames Ditton and Glasgow.

As to the two car bombs found Friday, the Metropolitan Police force have the situation well in hand. They are on the ball and have five people in custody; there are more arrests imminent according to the BBC. Besides, I am never in that part of town. And the point of terrorism is to make you worry unduly about going about your daily routine. You change what you do, they win!

To quote a famous comedian over here: Tony Blair (Well, he was actually quoting Catherine Tate, to be fair…) "Look at my face! Do I look bothered to you? Face! Bothered? Face! Bothered? I ain't bothered!"

Wherever you are today, I hope you can say you ain't bothered!

Don Bergquist - 002 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Editor's note: I'm told that the Catherine Tate line is said in an Islington (though I thought it would be oene of London's seedier neighborhoods) accent. "Bothered" comes out sounding like "bovered"

Sunday, July 01, 2007

False Sense of Security

I have been lulled into a false sense of security. After a day and a half of non-stop rain, I decided to chance it this afternoon!

The ride, while the weather held out was lovely! I got to take some pictures, I had a lovely ride and generally enjoyed the day. But it was not to last! It was too good to last! The rain stopped! Oh! Joy! At 11:15 it was no longer sunny and the skies were clearing. Half-an-hour later it was bright and clear. I grabbed my bike and headed out for a ride. Wouldn't you know it! At the farthest point in my ride from the villa, the skies opened! It poured.

I grimly kept going. What could I do? I was in the middle of a field and it was pouring. I headed home. Arriving as the rain stopped. I popped down to the Newsagent's for a can of soup and some rum. I've now showered and changed into dry, warm clothing with a bowl of hot soup and a hot toddy. I am warm, dry and happy. I am now just waiting for the season finale of Dr. Who to come on to round-up the wet, miserable weekend on a high note.

Oh well, the best I can say is at least it wasn't snow or hail!

Wherever you are today, I hope you're warm, dry and happy.

Don Bergquist - 01 July 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK