Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Clouds Part

The morning has dawned cool and clear. The rains of the past few mornings have gone (for the day). I have a few colleagues from the states coming over to stay for the week at the villa. So, this morning I got up and made a big pot of chicken noodle soup and did a little straightening-up.

I really should get out and mow the grass in the back garden. I have not been able to get back there yet this week because of the rain. Perhaps if the weather stays cold as it has been, the grass will figure-out it is fall and go dormant. As it is, the lawn is looking a bit long and shaggy and should really be cut.

Later today I have a project I need to work on, organizing my music files on my computer. I have been using one jukebox program to organize my MP3 files for quite a while. But now that I have an iPod, I am going to be using iTunes to sync to. The problem is that not all the settings that are recorded in my old program transfer.

Later this afternoon, I will also get a bike ride in. But to get any of these things done, I should really quit screwing around with this and get to work.

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

Don Bergquist – 30 September 2007 – Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Another Wet Morning

Okay, today I can stay under the duvet all day if I want. It's cold and wet again. I almost did stay in bed longer. When I rolled-over this morning and saw that it was pissing down rain, I simply rolled back and caught a few more winks.

I've now been up watching the rain for about an hour and enjoying the cool, morning air. I've got the garden door open and am watching the rain in the back garden. Saga has come up to the door and sniffed the air a bit and then went and lay down in the middle of the rug by the door. I am sure that eventually she will get up and go out when she needs to.

The afternoon is supposed to clear-up eventually. When it does, I'll go out for a ride. For right now, I'm content to just sit here, sip my coffee, and listen to the rain falling. It is a peaceful way to spend a morning.

Wherever you are, I hope that your morning is a peaceful one!

Don Bergquist – 29 September 2007 – Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Friday, September 28, 2007

It's Raining Again

It's cold and wet again this morning. The weather reports say that it will be raining on-and-off all day.

Except for going to work this morning and then to the pub this afternoon for a going away do, there is nothing that I have planned. If I didn't have to go to work this morning, I'd get back into my pajamas and head back upstairs. I am not looking forward to riding into the office in this!

Saga really didn’t want to go outside this morning. When I opened the door and said "Out!" she just looked at me as if to say "Are you nuts? I'm not going out there!"

So I shoved her out the door and closed the door, watching to make sure she got the message. She eventually went and did her thing and came in for breakfast. She's now glowering at me as I write this. (Either that or she thinks that she's getting some of my yogurt.)

Well, I guess at this point I am acting like Saga myself. I think I had better quit stalling and head off to the office.

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

Don Bergquist – 28 September 2007 – Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

It's Raining Again Lyrics
by Supertramp

Oh, it's raining again
Oh no, my love's at an end.
Oh no, it's raining again
and you know it's hard to pretend.
Oh no, it's raining again
Too bad I'm losing a friend.
Oh no, it's raining again
Oh, will my heart never mend.

You're old enough some people say
To read the signs and walk away.
It's only time that heals the pain
And makes the sun come out again.
It's raining again
Oh no, my love's at an end.
Oh no, it's raining again
Too bad I'm losing a friend.

La, la, la...

C'mon you little fighter
No need to get uptighter
C'mon you little fighter
And get back up again.

It's raining again
Oh no, my love's at an end.
Oh no, it's raining again
Too bad I'm losing a friend.

La, la, la...

C'mon you little fighter
No need to get uptighter
C'mon you little fighter
And get back up again
Oh, get back up again
Oh, fill your heart again...

(It's raining, it's pouring)
(The old man is snoring)
(He went to bed and bumped his head)
(And he couldn't get up in the morning)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

No, Cold!

The weather forecasts were right… it has been cold and clear!

There were short bursts of showers yesterday but nothing major. Today it is once again cold and clear! I wish I had put the heat on yesterday. I will be putting it on today. It was really hard to get out of under the duvet this morning.

When I finally did get out and dash across to the windows to shut them, it was chilly! I popped over to the window and dove back under the covers. Ten minutes later I was finally able to drag myself out of the bed and get into the shower. The weather forecasts this morning said that the northern breezes today are binging still colder temperatures. I may even have to wear a light jacket on my bike ride in today.

Saga is funny. When I let her out the past two days, she has tentatively sniffed at the air before going out. I think she is afraid that the outside is wet as well as cold. It isn't, though. It's just cold.

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

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

Happy Birthday to my cousin, Charles

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bright and Cool

Now that the front has gone through, the weather forecast has warned that it is time to turn on the heater. The morning is dawning bright and cool. I know it will be bright because the skies are absolutely clear. When I went out with Saga this morning the stars were shining brightly and the breezes were cold. The light was just showing in the east as I came back in.

It's going to be a busy day. I have a lot to do at the office and, as it is Wednesday, I have a short day at the office so I had best get going.

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

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

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Junk Store

I've sussed it out!

It has taken me nearly two years, but I have finally put my finger on it! Every time I go into this one newsagent in the village I get this uncomfortable feeling of déjà vu. I know that I could never have been in the shop before November of 2004 but that unsettling air of familiarity was there every time I walked in.

This morning, as I was passing through the village, I popped in for some thing or other that I needed, expecting the déjà vu to hit and instead my mind presented me with the source of the déjà vu instead. It is uncanny, but the shop has the air of Mr. Wally Block's store on the main street in Parkers Prairie, Minnesota.

Granted, Block's Mercantile was much larger than the shop in the village. (Heck, it may have been larger than all the shops in the village combined!) I have to properly use the past tense because Block's has long-since gone the way of the dodo. How nice to know that it has popped-up again somewhere (in spirit at least) and still exists.

Now that I had a reference for the déjà vu, I could see it clearly! There was is a carton of dusty boxes of Christmas Cards on the top shelf. I have no idea how long they have been there… it is anyone's guess but they are at least two years old, they've been there since I first entered the store. There are cheap plastic toys hanging on the rack at the back of the store. The kind of thing that every child wants (and has to have) for at least the first ten minutes they own them (or until they break – which, given their cheap manufacture may or may come first). There are boxes of cookies which (I have been told) they no longer make, the factory having burned to the ground about five years ago.

All that is missing are the sacks of Halloween candy from last year and the illegal fireworks. (Though fireworks are legal here and the candy would be back in season now, so I guess this makes sense.) Ah! The memories! I spent some good times (and a goodly portion of my allowance) Block's - exploring and acquiring cheap toys and out-of-date candy. Damn! Now I have a hankering for stale peanut butter toffee.

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

Don Bergquist – 25 September 2007 – Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Rains

Yes, the autumn brings the rains. Autumn also brings the winds. It is supposed to be windy and rainy all day today. Well, okay, it may not technically be autumn yet, but you'd be hard-pressed to tell from looking outside.

This morning as I awoke, I could hear the sound of the rain blowing against the window and could feel the wet, cold breeze blowing through the room. It is certainly a fall day here in Thames Ditton. That's good though, I have lots to do at the office and really do not need the distraction of wanting to be out and playing on a nice day while I am trying to get things done.

So, I suppose I should finish my breakfast, get Saga Roo to go out and get myself to the office. It's Monday again. (…which means Saturday is only five days away! – What was it mom used to say about "wishing your life away?")

Wherever you are, I hope you have a lovely day – even for a Monday!

Don Bergquist – 25 September 2007 – Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Well, the year has turned full circle again! The day/night terminator has gone nearly vertical again across the map on my world clock program; the autumn is truly on its way! The days are starting later and the nights are getting longer. It will soon be autumn again in the United Kingdom.

I think of the year beginning and ending at this time of the year of late because it is this time of the year in which I first saw the United Kingdom. My first view of the UK was on a cold, clear day in November 2004, a day much like today. A day which was cold and clear and beautiful; a day on which it was far too nice out to be sitting at this damn computer!

I think I will get out the bicycle and go for a nice long ride! I have nothing planned for the day and except for the wind, the day is perfect for being out and about.

Wherever you are today, I hope you’re having a day that is perfect for whatever you have planned! (…if you, in fact have anything planned!)

Don Bergquist – 23 September 2007 – Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Autumnal Equinox

Saturday, September 22, 2007


There is just something about a Saturday morning that makes one feel like a kid again! Perhaps it is the freedom to do whatever strikes your fancy, perhaps it is the knowledge that you have no agenda that you didn’t make yourself, perhaps it is the inane cartoons on the television that draw you in and hold you captive for the morning.

Whatever it is, there is something magical about a Saturday morning. Especially one as lovely as today is. I have the doors to the garden open and am listening to the television in the background as I am downloading the podcasts I will listen to today on my bike ride. (Yes, what Saturday morning would be complete without hearing my mom's voice in my head: "It's a lovely day out! Go out and play!)

I'm even blowing off doing the garden today because, there's always a weekday evening for that.

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

Don Bergquist – 22 September 2007 – Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Yom Kippur

Chag sameach!

Friday, September 21, 2007


In his book The Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need By Dave Barry, Dave Barry makes the astute observation that "…no matter where you go, no matter when you go there, there is one thing for certain; the dollar is getting weaker."

Granted, these words of wisdom were penned (or typed or worked into a word processor or whatever) well before we had the current addled-minded administration in the US. After hearing of the near collapse of the economy, and watching the dollar fall to all-time lows against the pound sterling and the euro, it should not surprise me (but it does) to hear that the Canadian Dollar was at parity with the US Dollar.

Other than having the opportunity to spend Canadian Dollars as if they were US Dollars at the touristy shops in Buffalo and Niagara (and other border towns in touristy areas) I have never before seen the US Dollar and the Canadian Dollar at parity. Heaven help us all! I hope the next administration are not so fiscally irresponsible as to be able to turn record budget surpluses into record deficits!

I guess I can no longer consider Canada to be North America's largest garage sale. See what a little fiscal ineptitude can do for an economy?

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

Don Bergquist – 21 September 2007 – Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I remember reading somewhere that a surprisingly large number of Americans never live more than fifty miles from the spot where they were born and seldom travel more than one hundred miles from that same spot. When you consider that a footprint like that can keep a person within one of the fifty states, and that the US is only one of the countries in the world…

Wow! This may be an inaccurate statistic to start with, but I have read (on the US State Department Website) that only about 20% of Americans have a passport, and of those, only half of them have ever used it to travel abroad. (Why anyone would get a passport and then not use it to travel is beyond me, but there it is!)

I'm thinking about travel because some friends of mine and I are going to South Africa on holiday in a few weeks and we’ve been making plans of late. It is all very exciting and I am really looking forward to it! But while thinking of it, the "Americans don't travel" idea keeps coming to mind. I decided to look at what my world footprint is.

So, I went out to Google Maps® and drew this polygon. What it represents is that I have been to 49 of the 50 US States (Sorry, I have no clients in Alaska and haven’t had the opportunity to visit it yet!), I've also been to all the provinces in Canada except Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. The northernmost point I have visited is Copenhagen, Denmark, and the southernmost is Randburg, South Africa. (Randburg is also the easternmost point I've been to.)

On our "Safari" this will change as the southernmost point I'll hit is Cape Town, and we'll be going to Durban which will then be the easternmost point I've visited. It's a mite further down the road than fifty miles. For comparison, any capital "A" on the world map (right) is around 400 miles tall. (A fifty-mile circle is about the size of the dot on an "i."

I will have to get further into Europe (and possibly as far as Asia) while I have the chance. Hmmm…

Wherever you are today, I hope you'll take an opportunity to broaden your horizons.

Don Bergquist – 20 September 2007 – Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Yesterday was my 18th anniversary with my current company. Cool, eh? I have it on my calendar, but because I am seven hours ahead of my time zone, it didn’t pop-up on my screen until later in the day.

It is hard to believe that I have been here that long. I can still remember my first day, it was a rainy day in Memphis, Tennessee and I showed-up to start my training in the old Cross-over Lane building. It was eye-opening. After having been a user of the system for four years I thought I knew it pretty well… there was so much more that I had to learn. I'm still learning. Life is learning!

Wherever you are today, I hope you're given the opportunity to learn something new!

Don Bergquist – 19 September 2007 – Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Chilly Morning

It is a chilly morning. The newscasts last night all talked about how cold it would get last night. I decided to leave the windows mostly closed last night when I went to bed… looks like that was a good choice.

I originally had thought I would leave the door open while I was writing my morning missive and let Saga come back in (from sniffing every square inch of the garden) at her own leisure. No sooner had I sat down then a chill breeze whipped around my legs and I decided, no! I think I'll close the door.

The heavy cloud cover (which explained why it was so dark yesterday morning) has lifted and the western sky is showing signs of orange over the houses to the east. I think I had best go and find a light jacket to wear into the office today.

Wherever you are today, I hope your day dawns bright and clear!

Don Bergquist – 18 September 2007 – Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Happy Birthday to my cousin, Theodore

Happy Birthday to my cousin, Aimee

Monday, September 17, 2007


It is dark enough that I cannot see Saga Roo at the bottom of the garden. It is about 05:15 and I am in the lounge looking out over the darkened garden and I really cannot see Saga out there. Granted, she may be out there under the bushes at the far end, or over behind the bushes to the left, by the shed, but when she tore-out of the door, I lost sight of her almost immediately.

The mornings are getting darker and I will probably need lights for my ride to the office this morning. Plus, according to the weather report, it is supposed to be cold today. Ah! It must be almost autumn! I am soon going to have to get out a light jacket for my morning ride.

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

Don Bergquist – 17 September 2007 – Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Recuperation Mode

Any other day my outlook for today would be what I like to call "Slug-Mode." Today, having just gotten over that nasty bug, I think I will call it "Recuperation Mode." There is no real reason for me to be going anywhere nor is there any reason for me to worry about not wanting to go anywhere.

It is a lovely day. Yesterday I didn't do much of anything; the bike ride was more than I was worth. I came home and took a nap. Perhaps today I will eschew the bike ride and go straight for the nap. It's all good.

Wherever you are, I hope you do today only what you want to do.

Don Bergquist – 15 September 2007 – Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Lovely Morning!

Saga is pacing the lounge wondering if Daddy is up for good this morning or is heading back to bed. With the exception of the few brief times I was up yesterday (to file some paperwork for the office, and to check my email) in the brief periods of consciousness, I've spent the last thirty-six hours asleep.

I'm feeling much better this morning. The day is chill and lovely. The skies are blue and I think, I'm going to take a nice, relaxing morning and spend it doing not much of anything. I think I need to take the time to recuperate.

I may take a bike ride this afternoon. I will be taking a walk to the park once the dew has had a chance to burn off the grass. (Saga doesn't like wet grass.) Other than that, we'll see what the day has in store for me.

Wherever you are, I hope that you'll have a good day!

Don Bergquist – 15 September 2007 – Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Friday, September 14, 2007

24-Hour Bug

Thank god this is a 24-hour bug!

With the exception of a trip to the supermarket this afternoon to allow the house cleaner time to get through the floor my bedroom is on, I have been asleep more-or-less the entire time since three-o'clock yesterday afternoon.

It is now just after ten and I've awakened to have a cup of bouillon and some toast while letting Saga out for her evening inspection of the back garden. I'm thoroughly whipped and headed back to bed once she has been given her evening cookie.

This bug has been making the rounds of the office for the past couple weeks and I've been lucky to have escaped getting it this long. So, yesterday when the sinus headache started and my throat started getting sore, I left.

On returning home, I took some Vitamin C, Echinacea, a Zinc lozenge or two and a carton of grapefruit juice and headed up stairs to go to bed. Last night the chills and shakes set-in and this morning, the body aches.

Right now, I'm feeling much better but still not feeling up to much activity. I think I shall head back up to bed and take a nap.

Wherever you are today, I hope you're well. I wish you health!

Don Bergquist – 14 September 2007 – Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Happy Birthday to my step-sister-in-law, Suzette

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Chill In The Air

There's a chill in the air this morning. The temps are low enough that it is almost too cold to ride to the office without a jacket. But since the afternoon temps are going to be around 22c (about 72°) and that is way too warm to want a jacket! (Though, as an aside, you do see people here wearing sweaters – or jumpers as they call them here – all year 'round. The other day, I saw a guy walking along wearing a parka.)

It's okay if I wear a long-sleeve shirt and ride fast… the exercise warms me up. I think that is what I'll do. I'm off to dress and head into the office.

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

Don Bergquist – 13 September 2007 – Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Rosh Hashanah

Happy new year and well over the fast!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Last Night In Town?

I cannot believe we are nearly half-way through September already!

I am thinking about it because my boss and I had dinner last night. Martin is over on his way back to the states from the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam.

At dinner last night we were chatting and he asked me if I had any plans for trips abroad in the works. That got me thinking: I had had the grand plan to make a side-trip each month. I guess I let that slide and now I am less than two months from the end of this trip and whether the trip and/or the assignment gets extended (yet again) is uncertain. I've not heard so I am steadying myself to the realization that I may be headed home to the states at the end of my holiday. (That puts me back in the states for the holidays.)

But this is not the first time I was convinced that I was headed home for good. Every time I have been told I was leaving, I was right back here again before my seat in the testing team office was cold.

It reminds me of that song by Ben Folds Five: Steven's Last Night In Town. Every time they think that I'm gone, I come back again. (I'm just hoping that it's not wearing thin with my friends and mates back here!) I guess the thing to do is to start thinking of every day as if it were my last in the UK and get to doing the things I want to do while still over here.

Ah! The possibilities!

Wherever you are today, I hope you're taking full advantage of the day!

Don Bergquist – 12 September 2007 – Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Steven's Last Night In Town

Steven's Last Night in Town
Ben Folds Five

everyone gather 'round now,
sing us a song
just in case by tomorrow
it happens he's gone
for two weeks and seven days our
fair foreign friend
I had this feeling we might
never see Steven again
but we thought he was gone
and now he's come back again
last week it was funny
and now the joke's wearing thin
'cause everyone knows now,
that every night now will be Steven's
last night in town

he's charmed everyone here,
except Tamara Easter
who later revealed to him
her innermost secrets
won us over with stories
about Linda McCartney
lost points
with the ladies for saying
he couldn't love a woman with

but we thought he was gone
and now he's come back again
last week it was funny
and now the joke's wearing thin
'cause everyone knows now,
that every night now will be Steven's
last night in town

we were talking 'bout something,
seems like it was funny
and then Steven got quiet
I think Steven was mad
maybe he wasn't mad,
but we felt very strange
in the moment
but the moment was passed and
forgotten about

we thought he was gone
but he's come back again
last week it was funny
and now the joke's wearing thin
'cause everyone knows now,
that every night now will be Steven's...
last night in town (ha, ha!)

Happy Birthday to my cousin, Sylvie

Happy Birthday to my uncle, Terre

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


It's like the bath thing never happened. All is forgiven!

Saga met me in the kitchen this morning and, seeing the empty yogurt carton, sat expectantly as I took my bowl and coffee cup to the table. I returned to the counter and gave her the carton. She rolled around on the floor with it a while trying to extract the last yogurt atoms from the bottom.

What a heart-warming way to start the day, watching her enjoying herself – stalking the wily yogurt drops as they hid at the bottom of the cup. But I have to go to the office. She'll have to enjoy that in private.

Wherever you are, I hope you can enjoy the simple pleasures this morning!

Don Bergquist – 11 September 2007 – Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Monday, September 10, 2007

Monday Again

Phew! Some time yesterday while I was at the park with her, Saga found and acquired a new perfume. I have no idea what she found, but she has earned herself a bath!

She hates the water! She hates the cold, she hates the wet… Oh well! There's no reason her week shouldn't start off with something she hates. I'm sorry that I am making her Monday unbearable, and the look of abject misery that she has on her face when the water hits her is pitiful.

But once the bath was over, she was all smiles and grins. She loves daddy and will certainly take the cookies he is offering as payment for the torture. What a mean daddy!

Wherever you are today, I hope your Monday is not too arduous.

Don Bergquist – 10 September 2007 – Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Happy Birthday to my cousin, Michael

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Blood Sport

What a lovely weekend! I took a ride with the trailer and the dog down to Bushy Park to attend a charity cricket match to support the local children's football (soccer) club. It was a lovely day, and very colorful. The blue of the sky, the green of the grass, the white of the uniforms, the red of the blood…

Who knew Cricket was such a violent game? I've seen hockey matches with less blood!

The first casualty of the game came when one of the players turned a knee aggravating an old injury whilst running the wickets, later, one of the fielders tried to catch a ball with his face and suffered a broken nose.

For all the injuries, though, nobody was seriously hurt and it was a good day out in the park. There was a drawing for prizes and beer and a cookout after the game. Saga and I didn’t stay for the cookout, she was getting a bit antsy and starting to act a bit whiny so I decided it was time to head home.

All-in-all, it was a lovely day; we visited with friends, had a few beers, watched the game. The Bush Park Gardeners against the Safer Parks Council and Metropolitan Police team. The Police lost. (I think they lost… who can tell?)

Wherever you are today, I hope you've had a lovely day and have a great night!

Don Bergquist – 09 September 2007 – Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Bicycle Maintenance

Now I see why they were so keen to push the idea that once I had had the bicycle for three months I could bring it back and get a free safety check/maintenance session for it! They never expect anyone to take them up on it!

"I'd like to schedule an appointment to get my bicycle serviced." I said when the service counter answered their phone.

"We don't give appointments, mate." The guy answered. "Bring your bike in and leave it with us. The current queue is about five days long."

"You want me to leave my bicycle with you, where it will sit untouched for five days before you get to it?" I asked incredulously. "I was told you made appointments."

"You were told wrong."

Ah! The United Kingdom, what a service-oriented society!

So, instead of having left my bicycle with the shop and getting the free service (or paying £35.00 for the service had I not had the free-service coupon), I spent £25.00 on gear to service it myself and have spent the entire morning fiddling, and fooling around with the bike. It's kind of fun getting all greasy and dirty while making sure my bike is in top shape.

After finishing the tune-up and check-out, I took her for a spin. She rides great. Her brakes are squeaking a bit though… I suppose I should replace the brake pads. Ah well… that's a job for another day.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you're having a great day and doing something you enjoy.

Don Bergquist – 08 September 2007 – Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Friday, September 07, 2007

Friday! Friday!

I love Fridays for so many reasons. It is the start of the weekend… my time to do my things at my pace. It is the day (ever other week) that my paycheck gets posted to my bank. (So I have pub money.) It is also the day that I take French class at the office.

Yes, I am taking French classes. It is interesting to see the linguistic connection as the romance languages spread out from Rome across Europe. Linguistically, I am seeing the connection between French and Spanish, which I learned to speak whilst growing-up in Miami.

Many of the words are the same or very similar. You would think that this would give me a slight advantage. But it really puts me at a disadvantage. Far from the one letter – one sound idea that Spanish has, French is composed of a number of rules for pronouncing a letter or not and how to pronounce it. it's all so confusing. I'm always getting it wrong and pronouncing the words as if they were Spanish.

The Italian-Spanish connection is much closer. Not too long ago, I was sitting in a coffee shop, waiting for a friend I was going sightseeing with, when I overheard from the next table a strange conversation. It caught my attention because it was in a language that was not one I am used to hearing over here. It wasn't English or French.

One side of the conversation I had no problem following at all, the other, was giving me trouble because the accent was odd as were the idioms. After listening a while – it wasn't a particularly interesting conversation, how's the family? Was the train ride good? How long are you staying? That kind of thing. I finally sussed-out why I was having problems following one of the speakers. One of the speakers was not speaking Spanish.

Speaker 1 was speaking to the friend who had just come in on the EuroStar in Spanish but Speaker 2 was responding to him in Italian. My suspicion was confirmed when speaker 2 made a statement switched to Spanish and said "Your Italian can't be worse than my Spanish."

I am not bad at translating from French to English, but has got to be slow and clear… and my vocabulary really needs building!

Wherever you are today, I hope you're enjoying your Friday!

Don Bergquist – 07 September 2007 – Thames Ditton, Surrey. UK

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Shipping Forecast

It is a lovely late summer morning. The sun has not yet risen and I wish I hadn’t either.

It was hard to get out of bed. I lay there listening to Radio Four and pretending that the shipping forecast meant anything to me. The shipping forecast (a strange collection of place names – at least I assume they are place names – and weather conditions) drones on for bout fifteen minutes:

Cromarty Forth Tyne:
West or southwest 3 or 4. Slight or moderate. Mainly fair. Mainly good.

Northwesterly 3 or 4. Slight or moderate. Mainly fair. Mainly good.

Northwest 5 to 7. Rough. Mainly fair. Moderate or good.

…and so forth.

The reader reads the places and forecasts in a steady, plodding pace. (I can picture, as I lay there sailors in their ships listening to the radio and writing the forecast into a log book… or spies listening for secret messages – get out your decoder rings!)

The forecast ended and it suddenly occurred to me that I had almost been lulled into a slumber by the cadence. I jumped up and took a quick shower, shave and shooed the dog out to take care of her morning routine. (Sniff that bush… Hey look! A tree… What's this thing? Was it here yesterday?)

While waiting for her to do her thing, I made myself a bowl of cereal and came up to write my blog. The mornings are staying dark longer. It'll soon be time to "Fall Back" on the clocks but for now, I guess I'll have to use my lights to ride into the office.

Oh will, right now it is such a lovely morning.

Wherever you are, I hope that you’re having a lovely morning!

Don Bergquist – 06 September 2007 – Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A Lovely Morning

There is something to be said for things going right. I was up before the alarm went off. I was able to get a hot shower this morning without starting the boiler. Saga went out without my threatening her. The day is cool (on the verge of being cold) and dry. Yes. It is a lovely morning… You just know something is going to go wrong!

Wherever you are, I hope you're having a lovely morning.

Don Bergquist – 05 September 2007 – Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Calendar Girl

(With Apologies to Neil Sedaka.)

I love, I love, I love my calendar girl
Yeah, sweet calendar girl
I love, I love, I love my calendar girl
Each and every day of the year

(January) You resolve not to whine
(February) You ate little valentine
(March) I'm gonna march you in the park with a smile
(April) You bark at the Easter Bunny for a while
Yeah, yeah, my heart's in a whirl
I love, I love, I love my little calendar girl
Every day (every day), every day (every day) of the year
(Every day of the year)

(May) Maybe you're barking at a ghost out there
(June) Did you roll in a dead skunk somewhere?
(July) Like a firecracker all aglow
(August) At the pub at night you put on a show

Yeah, yeah, my heart's in a whirl
I love, I love, I love my little calendar girl
Every day (every day), every day (every day) of the year
(Every day of the year)

(September) You con my friends for cookies and hugs
(October) You protect me from the trick-or-treater thugs
(November) I'll give thanks that you belong to me
(December) Growling at a present 'neath my Christmas tree

Yeah, yeah, my heart's in a whirl
I love, I love, I love my little calendar girl
Every day (every day), every day (every day) of the year

The reason for me waxing poetic?

I have just learned that Saga Roo will be the cover of the 2008 Calendar for the Canaan Dog Rescue Network. The CDRN is a group dedicated to making sure that Canaan Dogs get to good, loving homes. Please see their website at the link above. And, if you're a dog lover and in need of a 2008 calendar, help them out with a donation.

Wherever you are, I hope you're with someone who makes you happy each and every day of the year!

Don Bergquist – 04 September 2007 – Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Monday, September 03, 2007

The "A" Word

Oh, my goodness! Where does the time go?

This morning on Radio 4 someone said the "A" word for the first time (that I can recall) this morning. I guess it was to be expected. I mean all the clues were there. The sun is rising later every morning. This morning I needed to turn-on the light in the bedroom to find clothing to wear.

Yes, autumn is almost here! And here we are, we've never really even had a summer! Drat!

Well, I guess that I should be thankful that, at lease, it wasn't too hot this year (as it was last year) and that, at least, we didn’t have water restrictions imposed on us. I guess soon we'll be falling back on the clock and then the Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms will start to manifest.

But that also means that the holidays are on their way! Oh, and speaking of the holidays: I now have proof that it is not just in the US that we start thinking of Christmas way too early. This weekend I saw an ad for a Christmas catalogue.

I see they celebrate the holiday in the commercial spirit here too!

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

Don Bergquist – 03 September 2007 – Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Happy Labor Day

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Absolutely Lovely!

It has been an absolutely lovely weekend so far! After an energetic start to my weekend yesterday morning, I slipped easily into sloth mode for the rest of the day; I set-up the recliner in the back garden after doing the gardening and read for much of the rest of the day. (Okay, more than once I slipped into sleep and napped in the sun for a while.)

This morning has dawned (once again) cool and clear and I think that I will probably waste a bit of time this morning playing computer games and then take a ride. Perhaps I'll hit the pub tonight… probably not. I have no agenda for the day!

Wherever you are today, I hope you'll have a beautiful and relaxing day!

Don Bergquist – 02 September 2007 – Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Early Riser

I often get incredulous responses when I tell my friends here in the UK that I get up for work before five every morning and am often up on the weekends at what they consider "indecently early" hours.

"Why don't you sleep in?" I am often asked.

But, you see, I do! When you're used to getting up at 04:30 - 05:00 every morning, not getting up until 07:00 is sleeping in. Sure, I sometimes sleep in until later, 09:00 or 10:00, but usually it is some time around 07:00 that I arise on weekends.

It's always been this way, though! I remember when I was a kid my parents used to beg, cajole, plead, and threaten. Anything to try and get me to stay abed until a "decent" hour on weekends…

But when I was a kid, there was the thrill of Saturday morning cartoons. There was the exquisite naughtiness of getting outside and playing when the dew was still on the grass. There was the opportunity to have the house to myself!

I still get that thrill when I am awake early. It is wonderful getting out and riding my bike in the early morning when the streets are empty. (It's far safer too! These wankers who drive here in my neighborhood don't seem to get the whole "Share the Road" concept.)

So here it is, just after 10:00 and I've already been for a nice bike ride, and now I am enjoying my coffee and planning my day. I guess I should get the garden work done before the predicted rains. (Though it looks like the weather reports were wrong. It looks like it will be a lovely day!)

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

Don Bergquist – 01 September 2007 – Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK