Friday, August 31, 2007

Sunny Afternoon

With apologies to my friends, family, readers for delaying my post today, I really wanted to get into the office, get my reports out, and get out today. The weathercasts this morning said that today would be the last good day of the weekend. It is supposed to be cold and raining this weekend and I wanted to get some serious cycling time in before the weather turns.

As it was, I have had a lovely day! I didn't get out of the office until about 11:00 and when I did get out, Saga and I went for a nice, long walk in the park. It was lovely. I then took a long, leisurely ride. Each time I got home, I started a load of laundry.

So here it is, Friday afternoon, almost time to get Saga into the trailer and head to the pub for the evening. I've finished with my laundry for the weekend, I've done all the housework that I intend to do except for my weekly gardening. I have nothing pressing to do this weekend but have a nice, slow weekend.

Ah! How lovely to have nothing pressing to look forward to!

Wherever you are this afternoon, I hope you've had a productive week and have a relaxing weekend!

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

Happy Birthday to my friend, Sam

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Look! I know that I have lost weight over the past two years whilst I have been on assignment to the Thames Ditton office, but not enough so as to make me actually invisible! I am beginning to wonder if Hawaiian shirts and ringing of bicycle bells are somehow a form of stealth here in Surrey. I can only suss-out that either this is the case or that there are some truly rude and/or stupid people here in Surrey.

Today's tirade is brought to you by not one, but two groups of idiotic pedestrians who obstructed the cycle paths yesterday during my rides. Had it happened only once, I could have excused it… but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Ding - Ding

The two cyclists about ten yards ahead of me rang their bells as they approached the gaggle of giggling women walking along the tow path. As they broke their four-abreast line and marched in twos on one half of the path, one of them looked straight at me. The two cyclists made their way through the opening and the walkers closed up ranks and returned to imposing their presence across the entire width of the path.

Ding I rang my bell as I approached from behind. No effect!

Ding - Ding
No effect!

Ding! Crunch! The last was my tires braking to stop behind the quartet. I could not have gone around them because I was at a part of the path where there was a tree to one side and a three-inch tall rude curb made out of the turf and dirt off to the side of the path where the path had been graded. I could not go off either side of the path at that point. So I braked and came to a stop behind the four of them.

Had they not been drifting left to right and back again I could have made it between them. But they were apparently doing everything in their power to obstruct the path from anyone else' use.

"My Word!" the one on my right said with a start, apparently noticing me for the first time. "Don't you have a bell?"

By this time, I had rolled through the gap she created for me and was accelerating away. "I do!" I replied. "I rang it repeatedly after you looked at me and then got into my path!" Any response she made was unheard as I accelerated away. Had that been it, there would have been no reason for me to write about it today but later yesterday afternoon, it happened again!

Well, no. Actually, the second time was even worse than the first. I could have excused the first as someone being oblivious or rude; impressing the fact that pedestrians have the right-of-way on the tow path (even though it is a marked cycle route), the second time, I had the right-of-way and the offending gaggle was facing me so they could not even claim ignorance of my presence.

This time, there was a trio of tarts. (I assume they were tarts. They may have been perfectly innocent prostitutes, dressed the way they were.) I encountered the bitches of Eastwick as I was riding down the cycle lane along the Hampton Court Lane.

As I was riding along the path, the trio came walking my way from the direction of the station. They were chatting, and laughing and shooting glances in my direction the entire time. (Which is good, I suppose, as it was the direction in which they were walking.) I slowed as it became apparent that they had no intention of moving over to their side of the path. We met where I could not get around them as there was a signal box to one side of the path and a fence to their side.

I screeched my brakes stopping and came to a stop so that my bicycle obstructed the entire cycle path. They were less than a foot from me and they came to a stop. (Had this been the old west, we'd have been in a Mexican standoff!) They stared at me.

"You're in our way. Move!" one of them demanded.

"You're obstructing the cycle path." I said, pointing at the bicycle icon painted on the path.

"You don't own the path!" another one said

"You're right." I agreed. "I do have the right-of-way, however. This is the Cycle Path. You saw me coming. You should have stepped back across the line to the footpath."

"Fuck off!" another one of them said.

"Nice!" I retorted. "By the way, your costume for the fancy dress party is complete. People would truly believe you're a tart with language like that!"

"Well, I never!" she sputtered.

"Dressed like that? I can't believe it!"

"Fuck off! Asshole!" another retorted.

"Now we see the benefit of an elementary school education!" I offered. "Such a broad command of the language you have! By the way, you've already used the 'Fuck off' repartee."

"Move!" the one in front of me demanded again.

"I have nowhere to be this afternoon…" I rested my bike tire against the traffic signal control box, squeezed the brakes and rested on the saddle of my bike to wait. "We'll see who gets bored first." At this point I put on my earphones and started my mp3 player. Out of the corner of my eye I saw them consult and finally walk around me on the foot path. I heard a number of things (or barely did) that I am certain were meant as insults. (I take that interpretation based on the hand gestures that accompanied them…)

They finally made their way around be (in the foot path) and went on their way. I have no idea how middle school children get so rude (or can afford such trampy clothing) but I suspect is has something to do with their parents.

I wonder why someone would think that an insult unheard and un-reacted to is in any way effective. But there it is. They left - probably to tell their other trollop friends about the rude American who refused to stand in the street and let them pass. Little did they know that I can tell far more people than they about their rudeness.

Wherever you are today, I hope that all the people you meet are pleasant to deal with!

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

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hump Day

It seems strange to be looking forward to the weekend so soon after a bank holiday, but I am!

The day has dawned clear and cool. The morning looks like it will be lovely. Saga went out without any argument this morning and I am up and ready for the office with plenty of time to get a nice ride in before I have to be at the office.

I would love to take a nice long ride, and then come back for a nap. Too bad I do have things to do at the office today. Ah! Well, at least it is the day I leave at three to go into Central London.

Perhaps the day will go by quickly. I had better get it started so that I can get it over with.

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

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

Happy Birthday to my friend, Becky

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


What a whirlwind visit!

I have had a great week with my friends visiting; they had a great time visiting the UK. Some of my Florida friends got to meet some of my UK friends and I hope that everyone had as great a time as I did!

My as a finale to the week, my friends Angie and Terry threw a barbecue at their place in West Molesey Sunday. There was plenty of food and drink, conversation, music and it was a great time! We arrived around three and the party was still going on when I left for home around eleven.

My friends suggested I go home, sort-out the dog, (perhaps even bring her back) and then return to the party. But dog-gone-it! I'm a responsible sort. We had to get to the airport relatively early yesterday. We got to the airport and I saw them to the check-in and headed home.

For the rest of the day yesterday, I did a lot of nothing much. I relaxed and read the paper; I sat in the back garden in my recliner and read a book; I drank coffee and had a lovely morning. After noon, I went out for a nice long bike ride and made it an early evening.

This morning has dawned clear and bright. It is sure to be a lovely day. According to my calculations, Janine and Fritz should be landing in South Florida any time now! I guess I had best get into the office and start my week.

Wherever you are, I hope you’ve had a great weekend and you have a wonderful day!

Don Bergquist - 28 August 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Happy Birthday to my cousin, Todd

Happy Birthday to my cousin, Tim

Monday, August 27, 2007

Pub Crawling

As if we hadn't had enough pub crawling, we decided to hit a few pubs to finish out the week in style. So, Friday after work, we headed out to hit a few pubs in my neighborhood.

I had planned on hitting the crawl and seeing the inside of seven-or-eight pubs stopping mid-crawl at the villa for a dinner of curry. As these things often go, we didn’t start the crawl until almost 21:00 and we only had time to hit three pubs before they closed.

So Saturday we headed out early (before noon) and headed into town to hit a number of the pubs they had on their list that we had yet to hit. This included one that advertises itself as the oldest pub in London. (That’s a doubtful claim, but what the heck! Who am I to judge?)

It was a fun day, we hit four-or-five pubs and headed back for dinner (leftover curry) at the villa around nine. The highlights of the day were of course, the time spent with friends, and the buskers around the Covent Garden tube stop. This living statue (for a small contribution) offers to symbolically decapitate his patrons. (I got a huge laugh from the crowd when, as he was mimicking the beheading of one little kid, I yelled-out "How much to really do it?")

Fritz and Janine hit the clubs after dinner, taking the train back into Central London. Call me a fuddy-duddy, but I decided to spend the night sleeping instead. Around 06:00 I got a text that they were stuck at Clapham Junction waiting for the first train of the morning. They're learned the pleasures of having no late-night/early-morning transportation. Sure the clubs in Central London stay open until early morning, too bad the trains stop well before the clubs do!

I got a call about half an hour later, they were on the first train to Surbiton. Off I went to go and get them. (Too bad they snoozed through the station and I had to go and get them at the end of the line in Hampton Court.)

They went up to snooze for a few hours before we headed over to Terry and Angie's for a barbecue. It was a lovely day that I spent relaxing and playing with the dog.

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

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

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Dover Castle

On Thursday morning, I went to the office, filed some reports, did a few hours of work that I needed to get done and returned to The Villa around lunchtime. We were off to Dover to tour Dover Castle.

In a classic Good News/Bad News moment, the weather cast last night was for blue skies to return to southern England early this morning. The Bad News? Well, the bad news was that the forecast was about as accurate as any that have been given on the BBC this week. Once again, the forecast was about as accurate as the president's claims that we are "winning the war."

We headed south on the motorway to the southeast coast. It was a great. Well, except for the constant rain. The traffic was not bad, the directions we had were pretty good and we made it to the castle in just over an hour.

We toured the castle and grounds in the rain. We hoped that the rains would give way to, if not sunlight then at least to, a gray overcast. But it was not to be. We decided at mid-afternoon, the rain was too oppressive to keep touring. So we did the only thing we could count of to make the afternoon pick-up. We went looking for a pub.

Unfortunately, the only pub we could find was closed and we headed back to Thames Ditton without the beers and bar snacks. All-in-all, though, it was a great day.

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

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

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Our third stop on Wednesday was the Stone Circle at Avebury.

Avebury sits about an hour north of Glastonbury via a few pretty narrow "B-Roads" and a few winding "A-Roads". It was a lovely drive and we arrived shortly before sunset. Our first stop in the area was Silbury Hill. Silbury Hill is the largest barrow in Europe. It is impressive to think that something so large was built by hand in prehistoric times.

We then drove into the ring of stones at Avebury and walked around. It was lovely! Unlike Stonehenge, it is open to walk about and shoot from any angle you can get to. Also unlike its more famous cousin to the southwest, it is open for the sheep to walk around wherever they please. (Therefore, it is pretty important to watch where you're walking when touring the Avebury Stone Circle.)

We arrived around sunset. What a lovely area! We then decided to have a quick drink at the Red Lion Pub. The pub (as well as much of the village) is actually inside the stone circle.

We had a beer and a snack and then hit the road for home. Sure enough, as soon as we left Wiltshire, the rains started and we drove through the rain all the way back into London. Yuck!

Still and all, we made great time. It was a busy day and full of things to do and to see. We arrived back at home, ate a quick dinner of leftovers and headed off to bed. Thursday was, after-all, a work day for me.

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

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

Friday, August 24, 2007


Our second stop on our circle tour of the west was Glastonbury. Wow! What a beautiful area of the world! The drive from Salisbury to Glastonbury was uneventful and speedy (considering it all took place on "A-Routes".

I'll say it again, what lovely countryside! When I was in high school, I first read the J. R. R. Tolkien book, The Hobbit. The cover of the book showed a verdant hilly countryside meant to be The Shire, where the hobbits in the book lived. I was not at all surprised to find that Tolkien had lived and died only a few miles south of here and had visited the area many times while teaching at Oxford. This place really is The Shire.

By the time we arrived at the car park in Glastonbury the rains had stopped. The cloud cover had lifted and the day was lovely! It was absolutely gorgeous! Tending a bit to the warm side, but the winds at the top of The Tor (our next stop) would make us glad that the day was a bit on the warm side!

Once we had walked around a bit, we decided to take the bus to the bottom of The Tor. The Tor is a hill just outside of town which is crowned by a fourteenth century stone tower; all that remains of an earlier stone church.

We walked up the hill (snapping pictures all the way) to the summit and drank-in the landscape. It is easy to see why so many legends of ancient magic and mystery have been borne by this place! Legend has it that when the water table was higher (in the fifth and sixth centuries, before the downs were drained to make them arable, the valleys, filled with water, shrouded in mists, gave rise to the myths of Avalon.

I can certainly see an enchanted maiden lying in the beauty of these surroundings and selecting Arthur as the rightful king of England! If any place has magic, this place surely does…

…Even now that the cows have taken over.

If my uncle had had this kind of a view on the dairy farm back in Minnesota, I'd have volunteered to work summers for him far more often in my youth! We spent a good time at the top of The Tor, shooting photos, people watching, enjoying the day, and basically just screwing around. Well before it got old, we decided to head into town, walking down the other path and back to the town center, and have a proper English Cream Tea: Tea, Scones, Jam and Devonshire Clotted Cream. Yum!

Our next stop of the day was to be a place far older and far more mysterious. And we'd get there by sunset. But only if we got moving...

Wherever you are today, I hope that you've encountered beauty and mystery today, and I hope that you've done it in the company of friends!

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

Thursday, August 23, 2007


I am so thoroughly knackered!

Yesterday we drove all day. We started out pretty early (not as early as I would have planned, but not late by any means) and headed west on the M-3 motorway to our first port of call: Stonehenge.

The drive was pleasant enough, the rains fell intermittently, and the cloud cover continued to press down on the countryside. I used the wipers almost all the way to the Salisbury plain and it looked as if we would be walking around the stone circle in the rain.

As we pulled into the car park, the rains stopped, the winds kicked-in, and the day became, a bit breezier, a bit cooler, but far more pleasant! We had a great time touring the stones and listening to the cheesy commentary on who made it and why.

I've now been to Stonehenge five or six times, I love visiting there. I enjoy looking at the stones and wondering what the purpose of it all is. I've heard all the theories and (quite frankly) the little commentary that they give you on the audio devices adds little to the knowledge I already have.

In a move calculated to parody the yahoos that you see all the time over here, the ugly tourists who think the world is their personal Disneyland, Fritz wanted to be photographed in front of one of the world's wonders drinking one of the worst American beers.

Because we made so many ports of call yesterday (and because I have to get to the office) I have broken-up yesterday's road-trip into a series of reports. More on Wednesday's trip tomorrow!

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

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

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Visiting Brighton

One of our first daytrips (our first by car) was to the south coast of the UK. We went to the Brighton Pier.

I've been here before, but I still love it! It is deliciously cheesy and touristy. It is the kind of thing you'd think a native Floridian would avoid like the plague, but I love it. The pier has dodgy food stalls selling fried doughnuts, fried burgers, fried potatoes, fried sugar… if you can fry it and put it on a stick, it is there. They also have extremely overpriced carnival rides, overpriced souvenirs, and overpriced drinks. All of which we wasted our money on.

We drove to the pier (the weather foreboding and drizzly all the way to Hove) and arrived to an afternoon with broken skies and interesting lighting effects on the water. Once there, we lucked into what could almost be called "Rock Star Parking!" We were in the first lot and not a long walk from the actual pier.

My first target at the pier: The Crazy Mouse! I love this roller coaster. The other roller coaster is nice, but The Crazy Mouse is still my favorite.

After a few rides, a few drinks, a few hours looking around, we decided to quit the pier and start a ride cross-country up the coast to the town of battle (where the battle of Hastings - 1066) was fought. We got there, unfortunately, too late in the evening to actually do anything or see anything while we were there, but there it is. After a drink at The Pilgrim, whose sign looks amazingly like the card The Fool from the Ryder Tarot deck, we headed off to Bodiam Castle.

This also being closed, we crossed a style into an adjoining pasture, walked up a stream for a while and took some pictures before heading back to Thames Ditton. (The pictures from Bodiam Castle are a bit dark, but I have a pretty good camera. On a cheaper camera, I would have gotten nothing.)

We didn't get to do everything we wanted to yesterday, but hut hopefully we got enough in that everyone had as good a time as I did. Today, we are off to the west. Oh, and yes! It’s raining even though the weather prediction was for the rain to end some time last night!

Wherever you are today, I hope you're having a great day and doing all the important things on your agenda!

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

Happy Birthday to my cousin, Erik

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Rains

What horrid weather we're getting for their visit! They may never believe that it is as nice over here as I have told them it can be. After a rainy weekend and a prediction for the rain to stop around midnight Sunday, the promise for better weather was there. Alas! Yesterday it rained all day! It is raining now! It will probably be raining in a few hours when I return home after work. I hope it stops raining before we go down to Brighton!

Janine and Fritz headed into Central London on their own yesterday as I went to the office. The rest of the week, I am taking half-days of vacation each day. Today I have a car coming to the office. I am renting a car so that we can hit a bunch of the outlying areas that they want to see and that I want to show them. I have to get to the office and get to work so I can get home. It is still raining and I think I will walk with an umbrella rather than riding and leaving my bike at the office for the week.

Ah well, at least the rainy morning will be good for them to sleep-in and recuperate after their day of shopping, sightseeing, and pub crawling.

I hope that wherever you are today, the weather is amenable to the activities you have planned.

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

Monday, August 20, 2007

Tour Of London

After breakfast yesterday, we sat down with the lists of things to see in London and organized a plan of attack. We put the things that they most wanted to do in the order that it made sense to do them. Many of these things were pubs that friends of theirs back at home suggested that they visit. Some were just plain touristy things.

So, after a brief walk, we arrived at the Surbiton Rail Station. Here, I explained to Janine and Fritz how the train system worked and we talked about our itinerary for the day. One of the tips that I gave them was this: Look at the train schedule. Count the stops between you and your destination. If there are two or more options that have a different number of stops, count on each station stop to take about two minutes. If the number of stations (times two) is greater than the difference between difference in the scheduled time of the train, it may be better to take the later train with fewer stops.

Our first target of the day was Abby Road. The plan was to take our picture as the cover of the album showed the beetles. Now, this is not particularly original, in fact, I would hazard the guess that this is perhaps the most photographed zebra crossing in Europe. (At Least it is the most photographed by tourists…)

But some of the more interesting pictures (and the far more interesting pastime) was watching the other tourists at the crossing. Including the family (from New Jersey if my ear for accents hasn’t lost its edge) who took a cab there and had the car wait for them.

We then walked along Abby Road looking for a pub that had been recommended to Janine and by dint of following the directions she had and the clarification of a cabby we asked, we eventually found ourselves not in Westminster, but in Camden.

The afternoon was great! We got to see a number of things on their list and I made sure that they got to visit a few pubs and have a few beers. We even made it to Trafalgar square. The rain, however made it difficult (and unpleasant) to continue. We stopped our activities around 19:30 and headed home to a curry I cooked for dinner.

High Point of the day (for me): Watching the tourists in Abby Road.
Low Point of the day: The rain and the crowds.
Quote of the day: "Did anyone in this car hear anything unusual. A loud 'bang' or unexplained noise?"

The quote was spoken by a London Transit Police officer while the train was being delayed in the Regent's Park tube station. I must say, after he left there were a number of people looking at each other nervously and there were a few nervous chuckles to unheard comments. A couple people actually decided to get up and get off after the comment. We never did understand what the reason for the question was, but after they police had visited every car, and had chatted with the driver on the platform for a while, the train resumed its trip.

Today they will be going it alone as I am at the office (which I should be by now…) I had better post this and get going, in fact. It does not look (as I write this it is misting pretty heavily out back in the garden) like they will get the sunny day that the BBC predicted last night in the weather forecast. Oh well!

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

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

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The First Morning

The guys are still asleep. The house is quiet. Or rather, the house would be quite but for the fact that I have some music playing and was recently making a racket in the kitchen preparing the traditional Full English Breakfast for my friends. It's a beautiful morning.

I awoke a bit late. (We were at the pub until closing last night and then, after taking a cab home, we sat-up telling tales and having beverages until well into the morning.) When I awoke at 07:00 and it was raining, I turned over and went back to sleep. By eight, the rain had stopped and I dressed, went for a short (10 mile) ride and then did a bit of grocery shopping.

I've finished all the prep-work for the fry-up and am ready to cook the eggs when my friends re-join the land of the living. Today we're going to play tourist and see some of the sights of London. They both have lists for the specific things they want to see. I'm pretty sure we won't hit them all today, but as I have to work tomorrow, at least I can show them how to get into London and get around.

Start another pot of coffee and see if they are stirring. We should be getting into Central London.

Wherever you are today, I hope you're having a leisurely day!

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

Saturday, August 18, 2007


Who knew! Who knew that they had changed what terminal US arrivals arrive at!? In the three years I have been coming here, every flight I have ever taken (or met) that was coming into Gatwick from the US has landed at Gatwick South Terminal.

My friends arrived from the states on a Continental flight at around seven this morning. I got up early and caught the train out to Gatwick glad that I'd given the pub a miss yesterday and got the extra sleep. (Thank you, yes, I am feeling much better!)

I arrived when their plane was supposed to land and planted myself at the coffee shop at the exit to the international arrivals are of the airport where I told them that I would meet them.

By 08:00, I was beginning to wonder what was going on. Had they missed their connection in Houston? No. They called me from Houston last night and they had made it to the airport in plenty of time to make a stop for food and duty-free shopping. Perhaps the plane was delayed. No. When I checked online a couple hours ago, they were predicting a slightly early arrival. Did I somehow hypnotize myself into thinking they were arriving at Gatwick when they were tight now searching for me at Heathrow? The Pac Man theme and sudden vibration on the table next to my coffee cup pulled my attention from my reveries.

"Hello." I said into my mobile phone.

"Donald!" the cheerful voice on the other end of the line, (Can you call it a line when you are on a wireless phone?) "Where are you?"

"I'm at the coffee shop. Where are you?"

"We're at the Costa coffee right outside the duty free!"

I turned to scan the crowd. Had they somehow made it past me? No! I saw no familiar faces in the crowd. "Really?" I asked. "Where?"

"We're over here below the escalator." He said.

(Escalator? What escalator? There is no escalator here!) "Uh, which escalator would that be, Fritz?"

"I assume it is an escalator. The big blue ramp right over the coffee shop."

(Blue? Gatwick is done-up in a sort-of tired maroon color. Maroon… a strange color to do an airport in.) "Blue?" I asked… "Uh, everything in this area is maroon. Let's try another question. What airport are you in?"


Well, after going on in this vein for a while, it turned-out that some of the US flights are now being shunted over to the NORTH terminal… This morning I made it to the north terminal for the first time. Oh, and it is blue.

They're here, unpacked and taking a quick nap… or chilling, or both… I think I will post this and head up for a nap myself. It's a miserable day out but we're going into Kingston today to look around.

Wherever you are today, I hope you have pleasant weather and a great day!

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

Friday, August 17, 2007

Feeling A Little Better

Well, not really… but "Hoping To Feel Better" isn’t as positive.

Went to the office today because I was able to get myself out of bed and get going. I left around lunchtime and headed to the doctor. He agreed, what I have is definitely a sinus infection. I'm now on a couple different antibiotics and decongestants. I hope to be feeling better soon… My friends arrive from the states tomorrow. I have to feel better!

Wherever you are today, I hope you're either well, or getting well!

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

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Back Tomorrow (I hope)

Sorry, guys! I am feeling just horrible.

I've been asleep for most of the past day. It is now just after seven o'clock at night and I called-in sick today. My sinuses are killing me. If I am not feeling better tomorrow, I am headed to the doctor.

Wherever you are today, I hope you're feeling better than I am!

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

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

That's Timing!

The morning was great! I awoke to the sound of a rainstorm (actual noisy rain) this morning around 04:00… "Great! I'm going to have to ride to the office in the rain!" I thought before I rolled over, gathered-up the duvet around my shoulders and went back to sleep.

Somehow, I incorporated the news that came onto my radio at 04:45 and the active little tune that my phone plays (that I use as an alarm clock) at 05:00, and then again at 05:20. It was not until half-way through the marine forecast that I realized I was still asleep and working the radio into my dreaming…

Thus being brought back to consciousness, I dragged myself out of bed, took my shower and dressed, and headed down to make breakfast and coffee. Saga had to be coaxed out as it was still sprinkling out. The great thing was that the rain had slacked a bit and the day was looking better.

Now that it is 05:55 and it is time to head out, the rain has stopped leaving a broken sky and a few puddles but nothing serious to contend with on my way to the office. So, I suppose that I should post this and get the bike out and get to the office!

Wherever you are today, I hope your morning comes together for you!

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

Happy Birthday to my cousin, Nathan

Happy Birthday to my brother, Denis

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Return of the Rains

Well, it's been a nice run of beautiful weather, but it has ended. Good thing too! The garden is looking a bit dry and I'd rather have the water fall on it from the sky than to waste treated city water!

The downside is that it makes riding miserable. The rain, more of a heavy mist than a rain really, is constant and light enough that it really doesn't pay to put on my rain gear. The waterproofing is good, but it doesn't breathe so I'd be wetter from sweating if I wore it, than I would by just riding the half-mile to the office.

So, I rode to the office in a mist, I rode home for lunch in the mist. At least during the day it actually rained (what I would call a sprinkle, really) fairly substantially while I was at work. Now that the day is over and that I am sitting here at the villa, the weather has gotten gloomy but at least the rain has stopped falling. The weathercaster said that we had about 2.5mm of rain today, but it really doesn't look like it. Tomorrow is supposed to be even wetter!

Ah, well, it's good for the gardens!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you’re having whatever you consider to be a beautiful day!

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

Monday, August 13, 2007

Monday, Monday

It is another Monday. The weather report says it will be beautiful today and then we're in for a few days of rain. That's okay. We really need the rain. Besides, it makes it easier to go to work if it isn't perfect outside.

The mornings are getting darker. For the first time in weeks, it was too dark to see clearly in the garden at 04:50 when Saga and I went out this morning. The sun is up now and the road is calling. I am going to take the long way into the office this morning because it is possibly the last time this week that it will be a good day to do so.

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

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

Happy Birthday to my cousin, Greg

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Wildlife Rescue

Poor little guy!

I was passing through Berrylands (just passing the Berrylands Pub, in fact) on my morning ride when I came across them. They were a young couple; she pregnant and in stretchy maternity clothing, he in a pair of sweats and trainers. They had apparently been pushing their kid on a walk, when they stopped.

As I approached down the hill toward the roundabout, I saw them standing in the road with their pram-bound child sitting on the walk (occasionally throwing a toy or two out of the pram). I slowed to a stop to suss-out why they were standing in the road.

The answer was there at her feet. A small hedgehog, scared, possibly hurting, was sitting on the pavement. They were trying to block its progress onto the street with their shoes.

"You don't have a pair of gloves or something to pick it up with, do you?" she asked as I pulled to a stop.

Spotting the animal, one that I have never actually seen before just then - except in children's story books, I asked, "Is that a hedgehog?"

"Yes." He replied. "We're trying to get it back off the road and into the gardens."

I considered the option of making the obvious joke, all we need are some over-sized playing cards and a flamingo to move a hedgehog… but with their kid looking on, I thought perhaps that would be impolitic. "I could probably scoop it up with the edge of my bike tire…" I offered.

A short while later, the hedgehog, who had taken the relocation with no sign of trauma, lay curled at the base of a wall, under a shrub, and appeared to be sleeping. I suppose that I had done my good deed.

Wherever you are today, I hope you have a chance to do a good deed.

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

Saturday, August 11, 2007

What a Lovely Morning!

I got a nice, long ride in… a couple in fact!

The morning started by trying to get Saga to go out for a walk. I think that she was a bit over-excited by the trip to the pub last night. As normal as she appears to be, she is still suffering the after-affects of the false pregnancy. Poor thing!

It was a struggle to get her out of the kennel this morning for a walk. As soon as we were out she wanted to get back in.

We had a new washer delivered to the Villa this morning, so my first ride was up to a hardware store to get a 10mm spanner so that I could install it. I've done two loads of laundry and had a bike ride during the four hours each ran. It is a lovely day, a bit warm, but lovely!

The flowers are in bloom and the skies are all but perfectly blue! My first ride was around the loop that I always ride (New Malden - Kingston - Hampton - West Molesey - Home) my second took me across the Kingston bridge, along the tow path up river along the Thames until the weir at Sunbury. I cannot believe how beautiful the day has been!

It is now late afternoon, I've got a third load of laundry in the machines… it is time to take my book bring the recliner out to the back deck and do some serious reading. And today is the day for it!

Wherever you are today, I hope that your day has been a lovely one!

Don Bergquist - 11 August 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Friday, August 10, 2007

Threshold of the Weekend

There are no big plans for the weekend, of course, a little thing like forty-five years of history have shown me that there is no point in making plans. I hope to get a ride or two in, and do a little work in the garden. Other than that, there are no plans.

My weekend will not start until a little later than usual this week, however, as I took my early day on Wednesday to go to the beer festival. So, after my ride this morning, I will have to work until at least three to complete my fifty-hour week.

It isn't as if there is no work to be done today; there is plenty of testing to do and there is a threat of thunderstorms today. So there is no reason I should feel blasé about going in, but it is Friday and being eager to get to the office is just wrong for a Friday. So I will have to affect an aspect of malaise get on the bike, take a ride into the office and get to it.

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

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

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Great British Beer Festival

The festival was great!

My friends and I met-up at the pub for breakfast (lunch) before catching the train into Earls Court for the CAMRA Great British Beer Festival. There were tons of beers to choose from and I never once had a beer I had had before.

The hall was fairly empty when we arrived but started getting busy around 16:00. By the time we left at 17:30, the place was packed.

Aside from the beer, there was food, bar games, and merchants to visit. I held-out as long as I could and then bought myself (and a couple people on my gift list) some tee-shirts. On of my favorites, was this Salvador Dalek tee. (Playing on my love of surrealism and Dr. Who!)

After a day of half-pints, we returned to the pub for a last pint and then I headed home around 21:00 to head off to bed. This morning, I need to make sure I take the long way to the office and make time for a nice-long bike ride at lunch. I've got to work off all that beer somehow!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you're having a good day!

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

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Short Entry: No Time To Write

No time to write this morning. I am headed off to the office a bit early today because I am taking off of work at lunchtime. The gang from the pub and I are going to the Great British Beer Festival at Earls Court this afternoon.

Look for stories on the festival tomorrow.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you're having a great morning!

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

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Quiet Morning

Lying in bed this morning, it was hard to get up. The morning was so still and lovely out the window. I looked at the clock: 04:30… I can wait a few minutes.

In the distance, I hear the clock tower on The Home of Compassion tolling the hour. I look at the clock: 05:00… I roll over and listen to the news a bit more. There is another case of Hoof and Mouth disease that has been discovered here in Surrey, that cannot be good.

For a while, it seemed that they would be closing Bushy Park (to protect the herds in the park from getting it) but I received an email last night telling me that the park will remain open. The news says that they still haven’t discovered how the first case happened but they are looking at the recent flooding as a possible mechanism for spreading the virus.

I look at the clock: 05:19… The shipping forecast is about to come on. Time to get moving…

I look at the clock: 05:30… What? Oh, I guess I was dozing.

I did finally get up and get ready to start my day. I am now enjoying my coffee and thinking it is about time to hop on my bike and get to the office.

Wherever you are, I hope you have a relaxed start to your day!

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

Monday, August 06, 2007

Monday? Already!?

Where did the weekend go?

I mean, it was pleasant and all, but it was over way too quickly! I did get some reading done, and had some pleasant bike rides. I have been reading a book a friend gave me and I am about half way through it. But even with all that, I cannot believe it is Monday already!

Can I take a mulligan on the weekend? Let's just call today Sunday and see if anyone notices!

Then, again, looking out over the back garden, there are clouds gathering in the west. Perhaps this is not going to be the day that yesterday was. Ah, forget it. I'm hopping on the bike and heading for a ride to the office the long way.

Wherever you are today, I hope that your week starts off well!

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


They are predicting today to be the warmest day yet this year. (That isn't really saying much as the year, this far, has been pretty mild!) My morning started early because about 05:30, I heard Saga outside the bedroom door sniffing around and whining quietly. Hopefully, I got up quickly enough to prevent her from waking-up the housemates.

Saga is feeling much better, the drops I gave her have really reduced the affects of her false pregnancy and she often now gets out of her kennel and walks around the house to see what is going on.

Waiting for her downstairs, I discovered that I had had enough sleep for the night so I decided to watch the morning news and check my email. Saga (nearly her old self) came to see if whatever it was I was doing at the computer had something to do with food. Satisfied that the mouse was not a Saga-Snack, she went off to take her morning nap.

Having heard on the BBC that the weather was going to be hot and clear, I popped back upstairs and got into a pair of shorts and a light weight shirt. I was on the road by 08:30. By ten I had already been through New Malden, Kingston, and was on my way through the park. It is lovely out today but even as I was approaching the 20-mile point in my ride I could tell that this afternoon is going to be a hot one.

Now that I am home, have showered, and have a third cup of coffee at hand, I have to make plans for the afternoon. Perhaps I'll take a nap and then a nice lie-in in the recliner out back with a book.

Wherever you are today, I hope you have pleasant and relaxing plans for the afternoon!

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

Happy Birthday to my brother-in-law, Corey

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Yard Work

I've recently heard of a book that I have added to my reading list. The World Without Us by Alan Weisman, is a look at what would happen to the planet should, for whatever reason, humanity simply disappear. The reason for our removal from the planet is not the point of the book, it is about how nature goes about reclaiming the land once we're gone.

Apparently, the natural waterways that have been tamed in Manhattan rather quickly, reduce the towers to rubble and the island in a matter of a few decades becomes more like the wilderness it was when the Europeans arrived. In the chapter(s) where he talks about the UK, I am betting that he says that the entire island becomes one huge blackberry bramble!

Geez! This stuff grows everywhere! I mean I like blackberries and all (the fruit, not the annoying yuppie appliance), but this is ridiculous! There was (when I moved here a couple years ago) one nice little vine that was planted along the northern side of the garden. As of this weekend, the bramble had encroached a good three feet into the yard and made mowing the northern side of the lawn hazardous.

I found a pair of clippers in the shed and went to town thinning it back. While doing that, I also cleared out a couple vines that have volunteered in the southwest corner of the garden and a couple that are now sprouting in the shrubs in the southeast of the garden as well. There is also a bush that is coming over the neighbor's fence that used to canopy the garden bench. It now oppresses it.

A morning of pruning later, the back garden is tamed again, the bench is once again shaded by the neighbor's bush, the blackberries (while much larger than they were) are once again under control. The yard, as I sit here writing on my laptop, sipping a Pimms & Lemonade, looks inviting.

For the rest of the day, I have planned a relaxing session of spreading lotion on my bramble scratches and reading in the shade under the pergola. Cheers!

Wherever you are today, I hope you're having a pleasant day!

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

Happy Birthday to my cousin, Kristen

Friday, August 03, 2007

Friday Musing

Writing my response to my aunt's correction on yesterday's article made me think of two things. My first thought was: "Heck! Someone is actually reading these posts! I may be held accountable for mistakes." But then I realized that with the disclaimer (q.v.) I've pretty much covered myself. I needn't worry too much any "mistakes" I make can be attributed to "artistic choice."

I suppose I could use a fact checker or something, but then I think to myself, why should I do something that Fox News doesn't bother to do. The only difference (besides the billions of dollars they make pedaling their tripe, eh, news) is that I make no pretense at being a source of wholly factual information. (I retort, you deride!)

The other thing it got me thinking of was Mom. I was mentioning how mom used to point at the capital dome in St. Paul and tell us that it was where my sister had been baptized. Every time we were passing through St. Paul, she made the same mistake. It was like clockwork!

She could also turn a colorful phrase. And it wasn't just the normal challenges that every parent eventually hurls at their child: "If you fall out of that tree and break your leg, don't come running to tell me about it!"

No, mom used to come out with some spectacularly colorful phrases. "You kids make me so mad I could stand on my head and spit-out candy bars!" I'm not sure that mom realized that for us kids, this wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.

Follow-up: I've heard back from most of my relatives in the twin cities. Everyone is accounted for.

Wherever you are, I hope you are having a good day and that you'll have an excellent weekend!

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

Thursday, August 02, 2007

News Of The World

I may be a quarter of the way around the globe, but I still hear the news from home occasionally. The top story this morning on Radio Four was about a bridge collapse in Minneapolis. (Wouldn't it between Minneapolis and St. Paul? I was taught the river divided the two cities. But who's quibbling?) The story was pretty shy of details, but perhaps that is because the story is still in its early hours.

It is interesting how fast things change. I wouldn't have known about this for days back just a few decades ago, had this happened at the turn of the last century, had I learned of it at all, it would have been weeks, if not months, later. Today, I can fret about the news for HOURS before I can call home without waking-up people to see if they are all alright.

Wherever you are, I hope you're doing well and are safe and sound!

Don Bergquist - 02 August 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


What a lovely day!

I heard a weatherman on one of the local newscasts say that summer had finally arrived. If this is summer (high temperatures in the mid-seventies), I'll take it! I remember all to clearly all the heat and humidity of last year.

I am going to leave early for the office this morning and take a nice long ride into work.

Wherever you are this morning, I hope it is a lovely day dawning!

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