Monday, April 30, 2007

Monday, Monday

It's back to the office after a lovely weekend, but I don’t know! It is far too lovely out to want to head into the office! I am thinking that I want to delay this. It is 05:45 and I am sitting in the lounge, just finishing-up my breakfast, checking my email, writing to my friends and thinking of what to do with my blog today.

I cannot believe, here it is the last day of April already. Is this year flying or what? I have already been here five of the seven months that I was given for this trip. So much has been accomplished, there is so much more to do.

Screw it! I'm going to take the long way in this morning! It is a lovely day and I need to get out and stretch before I get into the office I think I will ride over to Richmond before I go to the office.

I hope that wherever you are today, you take some time to do something you want to do before you take the time to do the things you have to do!

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

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Late Night, Again!

- Or -
Just Count The Fish!

Why is it that no matter how many things I see that are completely insipid, there always seems to be more! Grrr!

Last night, after returning late from my wending about a tour of some of the pubs I don't get to visit all that often, I watched the end of a movie with one of my colleagues who was still up and checking email online.

After the show had ended, and Mark had finished getting his email fix, we were finishing a round of beers when this god-awful show came on. It was so horrible that one could not help but watch. It was hypnotically bad!

I have no idea what the show was called… (Cash Call or something…) but it consisted entirely of a head shot of a young woman (admittedly a nice looking young woman) on the right of the screen and a text box with a riddle on the left side of the screen. She kept pointing at the box with her eyes and her nose saying "It's all in the box, just count the fish." And urging the audience to call in with the answer.

The problem was that the riddle was so amazingly vague that the answer could have been anything from "1" to "Millions" to "Blue!" There was no way of knowing what the producers of the show wanted you to say. All the while, we kept wondering why there weren't more people calling in. it was just the woman, the box, and "It's all in the box, just count the fish."

After we'd watched this for about five minutes, and were certain that they couldn't prolong this very much longer, our other housemate came in from his evening and explained the thing to us. They only let about 1% of the people who call in actually guess (he demonstrated this by calling the number on the screen - at a cost of 75p - and letting us listen to the computer voice telling us "Sorry, not this time. Try again later!")

Having been up for the past couple nights later than is usual for me, I must have dozed off… (Or perhaps it was the hypnotic eyes and the droning of "It's all in the box, just count the fish.") I awoke about a half-hour later; this damn show had been on for at nearly an hour. I went to bed.

Before seeing the guys this morning, I had assumed that I had dreamt the whole thing, but when I saw Mark, he told me that they watched for a while longer and never discovered how many fish were we were supposed to be counting! It wasn't a dream! It really was Television aimed at the drunk and/or stoned! What will they think of next?

I hope that wherever you are today, you'll find something nice to watch on the tube (or at least that you'll turn it off and do something else if there is nothing on).

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

Happy Birthday to my friend, Scott

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Saturday, Ah! Saturday!

It is a lovely weekend here in Thames Ditton. I have lots to do today, the women who have been here for the past week fly home today and a new group of coworkers come into the house next week.

I suppose it is inevitable that now, after over a year of residence in the corporate house, my coworkers would start to see me as a sort-of house manager. I'm going to run out and get some supplies for the house today and need to mow the back garden. I also am going to get out there and ride today. It is an absolutely lovely day out there.

We had talked last night, on the train on the way back from Central London, of going to a local pub/guesthouse that does a wonderful breakfast. Unfortunately, everyone was abed far too late for that to be practicable. So I think, as a nice thing to do for my departing co-workers, I'll go and whip together a traditional English breakfast.

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

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

Friday, April 27, 2007

A Birthday Celebration

One of my colleagues who is staying at the villa this week had a birthday today. She allowed us to celebrate her [AGE REDACTED] birthday today. Because I was late getting in last week, and because the London Marathon was running on Sunday, we decided to forgo our planned tourism activities last weekend. This birthday gave us the choice opportunity to get a quick tour of London in as well as celebrating Joanne's Birthday.

We started by gathering at The Villa and then piling into Robin's car for the short ride down to the Surbiton Rail Station. We had a round of beers in a pub, took the train into London and took a ride on The London Eye, walked along the Thames and then had a round of beers in a local pub.

Later, we walked around Westminster, had some beers in a pub, and took a walk through St. James Park to Buckingham Palace. After walking along the Mall (pronounced by the locals "mal" with a short "a," the queen does not live at the end of a shopping center!) and found a pub to have a round of beers.

After walking around Covent Garden and seeing St. Paul's cathedral, we found a restaurant and had dinner. (…and you thought I was going to say "we found a pub and had some beers" didn't you! We did have wine for, er, I mean with dinner, though!)

After dinner, we found a pub and had some beers! (Just kidding… we actually, walked down to Charing Cross station and caught a train back to Waterloo to catch a train back to Surbiton. There we found a pub and had some beers.

It was a late night, but I think that we all had a great time. Some of the highlight included happening into a pub and coming across a birthday party in progress for a woman celebrating the same birthday Joanne is celebrating. They sent a bottle of Champaign (and rather nice Champaign at that!) to our table. As we were leaving the restaurant, we came across this sign on a door in the area. I'm not really sure why we should "beware the public" specifically, but in general, it seems like a pretty good idea.

Oh, yes! And on the train back, a group of Goth children struck up a conversation with us on the train from Charing Cross to Waterloo. They wanted one of the "Discs" that was in my back pocket. (They were, in fact, the souvenir maps from the London Eye. One of the girls; obviously drunk, stoned or both saw the foreign maps on the back (the ones that tell you what languages the maps area available in) and said "Dude! This isn't a local map this is a map of Taiwan! Why would you want a map of Taiwan?"

"We're not in Taiwan?" I asked in alarm "Guys! We've gotten on the wrong train! Somehow, we've left Taiwan! I told you we should have gotten of the train at Hsin-Chu!"

The Goth children completely missed the sarcasm and apparently really thought we'd caught a train to Charing Cross from Taiwan! We had a laugh about that all the way back to Surbiton!

I hope that wherever you are today, you have something to celebrate and someone to celebrate it with

Don Bergquist - 27 April 2007

New Self Portrait

This portrait was taken at the Surbiton Rail Station.

Happy Birthday to my colleague, Joanne

Happy Birthday to my cousin, Steve

Thursday, April 26, 2007


This evening as I was leaving the office, a colleague stopped me in the bike shed…

"My shifter has been bent and is rubbing against my tire. Can you help me?"

Luckily, there is nothing too tricky to maintaining a bicycle. I work on my own and it is no big deal, assuming the repairs are not to major. "Let's have a look at it." I said.

"Ah, this isn't too bad, but I'll need some tools." I showed that the damage was luckily not too bad, someone had bumped the derailleur against something hard and it had shifted. The mounting was loose enough that the bump had caused the derailleur to twist without damaging it.

My colleague went and borrowed some tools from another cyclist (that is one of the things I love about living here… people cycle to work!) and it was short-order to loosen the fitting holding the derailleur on, re-position it to the proper place and do a bit of minor tuning to is so that it worked properly.

She left for home with an operable vehicle and I left with the feeling that I had done something nice for someone.

I hope that wherever you are today, you have the opportunity to do something nice for someone.

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

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Still Raining

It is spring in London.

I awoke to a drizzle this morning and got ready for a wet ride. Then I decided that perhaps I would have a second cup of coffee and see if it would stop raining around sunrise as it has been for the last couple days.

An hour later and now it is still raining so I suppose I should bite the bullet, don the rain gear and head into the office.

I hope that wherever you are today, you're having a warm, dry day.

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

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


On the way to the airport last week, I noticed this lovely field of mustard in full bloom.

The British countryside is so lovely this time of year! Even the roads that I have been riding down as a part of my daily exercise are colorful with the blossoms of spring. I absolutely love this time of year. Of course, the fact that I saw an allergist to get new prescriptions, makes it tolerable that I'm apparently allergic to everything I am passing.

Oh well! I think the beauty outweighs the sniffling!

I hope wherever you are this morning, it’s a lovely day! (It's raining here.)

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

Monday, April 23, 2007


I'm sorry! I hadn't realized that TSA stood for Thieves, Sneaks and Assholes!

I got in yesterday and unpacked my bags in Thames Ditton only to discover one of those TSA slips telling me that "for my security" my baggage had been opened and searched by Homeland Security's Travel Safety Administration staff.

Apparently, it was also in the interest of my safety that TSA had removed the five bottles of Tabasco Sauce that I had packed in that case for my friend in the UK. I suppose that it was in the interest of public safety that the TSA opened a sealed box of prescription medication, opened the bottle within the box, opened the tamper-proof lining inside the bottle cap and left it to spill the allergy pills all over the inside of my suitcase!

Explain to me again… why is it I like to travel?

I hope that wherever you are, your luggage is intact.

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

Happy St. George's Day!

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Grrr! I am beginning to wonder why I like Northwest Airlines so much.

When I checked in yesterday, I was given a free upgrade to First Class for my trip from Denver to Detroit because of my Gold premier status. I was also told to ask for a waitlist position on the flight from Detroit to London.

So, when I got to Detroit, I asked to be put on the stand-by list. I was told "we don't do upgrades on international flights" by a snooty gate agent.

"Really? Is that a new thing?" I asked.

"No sir. We haven't done international upgrades in years." He told me.

Funny! Of the eight trips I took to London last year, they had upgraded me on three of them. Hmmm!

Later, while waiting for my flight, I was called to the counter and asked if I would mind giving-up my bulkhead isle for a middle seat further back. I demurred explaining that, being six-foot-four I would prefer not to have anyone ahead of me. The problem is that I really didn't want anyone leaning their seat against my knees all the way to the UK.

Unless they had a different bulkhead or had an upgrade available, there was no way I wanted to change. The gate agent thanked me and said she would try and get someone else to move. (As an aside, no sooner had I sat down the gate agent announced that they were still looking for a volunteer to be routed through Amsterdam to London Heathrow. They offered a First Class upgrade all the way to London and a voucher for future travel… I tired getting back up there, but someone beat me to it.

So here I sit, next to Abby and her family. Abby is a precocious three-year-old. No, not "precocious…" what's that word I want? Oh yes! "Obnoxious!"

Whoever put fresh batteries in her yesterday should be shot. Now, granted! I never sleep well on planes, but tonight I have not slept period. How can I with the chanting of the Abby all evening.

"Abby, don't do that!"

"Abby! Sit down!"

"Abby! Don't jump on Mummy's lap!"

"Abby, leave that man alone!"

…and so it goes. I have possibly heard Abby's name called a thousand times in the past two-thousand miles. The good news is that there are only three thousand miles to go.

Bill Cosby has a routine he used to do about a little boy named "Jeffery" that he met on a plane whose mother didn't stop saying Jeffery all the way from New York to Los Angeles. I remember that routine so well, and can sympathize with him. I am about to ask around and see if anyone has a knock-out pill that we can slip to Abby!

I suppose that I should have known that there was going to be a problem when the Abby's mum said to her husband as they were settling in "What? This flight is only eight hours long? Well, I guess we won't get any sleep. The flight isn't long enough!"

Oh well, I guess I will try again to read for a while and hope that Abby settles down. Can this flight really be less than half over?

I hope wherever you are this evening, you're able to sleep!

Don Bergquist - 22 April 2007 - Northwest Airlines Flight 32, Somewhere over the North Atlantic

Happy Earth Day!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Once More, With Feeling!

Looking at the dateline, you and the picture, you may wonder what I am doing filing a report from Denver, Colorado the day after I left for the United Kingdom. Funny story, that! Yesterday afternoon, after sitting on the concourse for three hours and then waiting some more, the flight to Detroit was announced as being late. But I am getting ahead of myself.

My flight to London consisted of a flight Denver to Detroit and then a connection from Detroit to London Gatwick. The layover in Detroit was about an hour and a half. Because my ultimate destination was international, I had to be at the airport at least 2.5 hours early for my flight (as per the TSA guidelines) and since I was on a shuttle, that worked-out to about 3 hours before my flight. I sat there reading my book and sipping my diet coke to pass the time.

The plane that I was taking to Detroit arrived and disgorged itself of its passengers around 14:00. About twenty minutes later, we should have started boarding for the flight. The gate agent announced that we would begin pre-boarding and then made a second announcement almost immediately that the pilot had found a problem with one of the tires on the plane. They were going to have a technician look at it and there would be a status update in about twenty minutes.

Now, Denver is not a hub for Northwest Airlines. The number of flights I can get out of Denver on NWA is fairly limited. There were however, at that point, three Northwest planes sitting at their three gates. I walked over to the phone bank and called the reservations line to see if I could preemptively re-route myself either on the flight to Memphis and then up to Detroit to catch my flight or on the flight to Minneapolis and then on the other flight to London out of Minnesota.

"I'm sorry sir," came the answer to my queries, "the flight you are on is not showing as delayed or cancelled at this time so to change your routing at this point, would incur the change fee and would require you to bay the difference between your charge and the current fare."

"You don't show that the plane is delayed?" I asked. "But they just announced that it was going to be late at the gate. So you may not know it, but anyone in the concourse does."

"I'm sorry, sir." Came the reply. "You'll have to wait until your plane is delayed and then we can re-route you."

"By then there will be no possible re-routings available." I replied.

Five minutes after the second of the two flights left the gates - the two were not the one I was set to board - the gate agent made the announcement that our flight was to be delayed by four hours while they flew another plane in from Minnesota. I was fourth in line to be re-routed and as I had predicted, there was no way to be re-routed to be in London this morning. So instead, I awoke in my own bed in Lakewood and had a nice, leisurely morning walking around and taking pictures of the fine spring morning in Colorado. Ah! Springtime in the Rockies!

Oh well, I suppose I should shut-down, and get ready to go. The shuttle should be here soon. I'll post this when I get to London.

I hope that wherever you are this morning, you're having a lovely day!

Don Bergquist - 21 April, 2007- Lakewood, Colorado USA

Friday, April 20, 2007

Travel Tidbits

It is a lovely spring morning here in Lakewood, Colorado, so of course, I am leaving it! I got-up this morning to get some photographs of the lovely day that I am leaving behind. I then finished packing and got ready for the shuttle.

I was planning on writing about what a lovely day it is here, but instead, I think I want to write about the conversations it is possible for one to overhear in the train on the way to one's concourse in the Denver Airport.

Terminal to Concourse A:
"Hurry, Dad!" The small child shrilled, coming-up behind me suddenly. "The train is coming!"

The train was, indeed, coming. It was just about to pull into the station and as such, there was no real hurry. The train, once in the station would open the far doors and disgorge itself of its passengers before opening the doors facing us, allowing us to board.

"I call that side!" shouted a second child coming up to the first child who was now standing, nose-to-glass, against the doors through which we would eventually board the vehicle.

"No fair!" called a third stumbling against the first two as he tripped over his own carry-on.

There were, actually, four in all, but the little girl who came last was quiet and said not a word for the entire time. It was a hoot watching them on the train, the perched at the front of the train and watched in wonder as it automatically switched onto its outbound track.

"Look here come the fans!" One of them called.

"Those are so cool!" Piped in the second boy.

"Lean forward or you'll be blown over backward." Said the third boy, wrapping his arm protectively around his little sister's shoulders.

Even the seasoned travelers in the train had to smile in the vicarious delight spilling off the children as they watched in awe all the short journey to the A concourse.

Concourse A to Concourse B:
"What terminal are we going to?" The woman asking the question is loaded down with a large purse, a carry-on, and has toys stashed under each arm. The woman answering has a similar load. The little girl between them is perhaps seven or eight years old and is unencumbered.

"B." Replied the first woman's traveling companion, checking their boarding passes.

"When are we going to be there?" Asked the little girl.

"One more flight." Answered the first woman. "Are you looking forward to Disneyland?"

"Aren't we going to Disney World?" Asked the girl. (Alright! At least it isn’t just me who is a stickler for accuracy!)

"That's what I meant." Replied the first woman.

The second woman stood there still looking at their boarding passes.

"Better check the tickets," The first woman said. "They're in opposite directions from here."

Concourse B to Concourse C:
"I want to sit by the window!" This was said by a child of perhaps seven or eight to another child of approximately the same age as they entered the train at concourse B. They gave the impression that this discussion had been going on for a while, an impression that was heightened by the war-weary look on the faces of the parents of the children.

"No!" Complained the second child. "I want to sit by the window!"

"Nobody gets to sit by the window." Said the dad. "We're going to check you two as luggage!"

It is amazing what you hear if you keep your ears open.

I hope that wherever you are today, you are aware of your surroundings.

Don Bergquist - April 20, 2007 - Denver International Airport, Aurora, Colorado USA

Time To Travel

I guess you could say that I have always been on the go. I don't know why this is, it just is. Ever since I was a little kid I have always wanted to be headed somewhere. And when I couldn't be actually going somewhere, I would be thinking about going somewhere.

We traveled a lot when I was a kid. Every summer Dad and Mom would pile us kids (and the currently resident Schatzie) into the station wagon, hook-on the travel trailer and off we'd go. I guess you could say that I got my wanderlust from my parents.

But even when it wasn't time for the family vacation, I'd want to get out and go down to the scrub hills behind the church to play in the "jungle" that grew back there. My friends and I would ride our bikes up and down the paths that had been cut through the palmettos and ficuses. We'd make forts in the tree branches that had been piled-up by the bulldozers that were clearing the land for development. Or, we'd head further down Bird Road into the very periphery of the Everglades.

Those where the days when children could still be free-ranging without concern. My friends and I never really gave it a thought that we were heading out to the end of the Bird Road Extension. Well, not until we got to the parts of the road where the potholes covered more of the surface area than the hard-pack did. Then the bike riding became a bit more difficult and we had to pick our way more carefully.

I think of this because someone asked me yesterday whether I ever got tired of traveling. Sure! I do! Really, I do! But the destinations and what is at the end of the road keep me going again and again.

Ever since I took that first airline flight with my Dad when I was very young (four? five?) I knew that I wanted to travel when I was grown-up. Now, here I am, not quite a grown-up, but older…

While, I have to admit, Business Travel is not glamorous (and is downright tedious at times - consisting as it does, mostly of waiting) I still do enjoy going places. So, today, I am off to the UK again.

I hope that you are having a great day, wherever you are and wherever you're going! Life is a journey, have a great trip!

Don Bergquist - April 20, 2007 - Denver, Colorado USA

Thursday, April 19, 2007

So Much Time ~ So Little To Do!

(Strike that! Reverse it!)

Well, it's been a quiet week in Lake Woebegone! (Not!) My officemates back in Thames Ditton think that this was a week off for me or something. They all (well most of them) told me to have "a good week off" when I took off last week.

Far from it! Aside from the business reasons I had for coming home to Colorado this week, I had a list longer than my arm! I have, luckily, finished all the things on my list save finishing my laundry and packing.

I guess I had best get into the office, post this, and then get what I can done from my testing list today. I guess I should toss a load in the laundry and head out.

Wherever you are today, have a great day!

Don Bergquist - April 19, 2007 - Lakewood, Colorado USA

Growing Older But Not Up

Jimmy Buffett
(For all those who don't feel as old as they are and never will)

I rounded first never thought of the worst
As I studied the shortstops position
Crack went my leg like the shell of an egg
Someone call a decent physician
I'm no Pete Rose, I can't pretend
Though my mind is quite flexible, these brittle bones don't bend

I'm growing older but not up
My metabolic rate is pleasantly stuck
Let those winds of time blow over my head
I'd rather die while I'm living than live while I'm dead

Sometimes I see me as old manatee
Heading south as the waters grow colder
Tries to steer clear of the hum-drum so near
It cuts prop scars deep in his shoulder
But that's how it goes (that's how it goes), right to the end
Though his body's quite flexible, that barnacle brain don't bend

I'm growing older but not up
My metabolic rate is pleasantly stuck
Let those winds of time blow over my head
I'd rather die while I'm living than live while I'm dead


Now don't get me wrong
This is not a sad song
Just events that I have happened to witness
And time takes its toll as we head for the goal
And no one dies from physical fitness
So what the hell, we'll take it right to the end
As the days grow more complicated the nightlife still wins

I'm growing older but not up
My metabolic rate is pleasantly stuck
Let those winds of change blow over my head
I'd rather die while I'm living than live while I'm dead
Let those winds of time blow over my head
I'd rather die while I'm living than live while I'm dead

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Nothing Much To Report Today

It's just another day at home in Colorado. We got some rain yesterday, but not much; it was just enough to make walking at lunchtime a bad plan.

For reasons I have no time to really consider, the phone company didn't reconnect the phone at my home or my mobile, the only phone I have active at this time, is my London mobile. That's okay, though, whom do I have to call?

Today, the gang from the office and I are heading out at lunchtime to go to Tom's Cabin, a wonderful soul food restaurant down in five points. Tonight, I am getting together with friends for Chinese after work. I've all but finished the stuff I needed to do here at the house, so I guess I am now just waiting to head back to London.

Well, that's about it for today, I have lots to do at the office, but that is too boring to make it into the blog.

I have a picture of Saga and me on my desk, it is a self-portrait I took a few years ago up in Devil's Pass. I find I keep looking at it and missing Saga Roo! Oh well, I am informed that she isn't missing me. She is apparently busy acquiring territory all over Molesey! I guess that means her plans are going well too!

I hope that wherever you are today, your plans are coming together!

Don Bergquist - April 18, 2007 - Denver, Colorado USA

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Missions Accomplished!

What a productive day; busy, to be sure, but also successful! I got everything that was on my list to be done for Monday done. There were also a couple things that were on my list for Tuesday that I also got done. I now have basically, laundry, packing, and a bit of shopping left and I am ready to head back to London.

(You see, unlike my president, I know what that phrase means!)

I have to say, what wankers at the DMV! They really need to get their act together. Two of my trips yesterday were unnecessary and one was a complete waste of my time. My car is a Honda Civic Hybrid. According to Colorado Law, these vehicles are exempt from the requirement for emissions testing. It came with a big sticker on the windscreen saying so.

This spring, I got a card saying that I had to renew my registration and the card was marked with a bright yellow stripe saying "EMISSIONS TEST REQUIRED." I, knowing it to be an error, sent my payment, the card, and a note explaining that my car was emissions testing exempt, being a hybrid and all, to the county well before the deadline. Instead of getting my stickers back, I got a note explaining that I had "forgotten" to include the emissions testing results.

So I went to the emissions test center yesterday and tried to get the test. They refused to test it as the car is exempt from the testing. I then went to the county offices to get my stickers and they asked me for the emissions test results. I once again explained that my car was exempt and was told to go get it tested. I waited for that person to get busy with someone else and tried explaining it to a different person. This person was positively obsequious.

"Yes, sorry, Mr. Bergquist." He explained. "When your car was bought, we Hybrids were still new and we thought that they would be exempt only for five years. The state senate has decided to make them exempt in perpetuity."

I explained that he should let his colleagues know that, explained the problems I had and was apologized to again. Ah, well. I still finished my agenda and got ahead of the stuff I needed to do.

All-in-all, a good day!

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

Don Bergquist - April 17, 2007 - Denver, Colorado USA

Happy Birthday to my step-brother, Paul

Monday, April 16, 2007

Busy Day

Hey, all!

I have a very full agenda today. At 04:00 this morning I was in the office. (That's like 11:00 London time.) I decided to try and stay somewhat used to the BST time zone since I am returning there at the end of the week.

I rolled over this morning and looked at the clock; it was just after 01:00. This was a bit early for me to start stirring, so I tired napping for a while. When I couldn't get back to sleep immediately, I decided to get going.

I'll be leaving the office at 07:00 (or so) this morning for my first appointment (at the dentist's office) and then have appointments every two hours or so for the rest of the day. At some point I have to go check and see if my car has been fixed yet or not.

Anyway, I have a full schedule so I guess I had best get going.

Hope that you, wherever you are today, have time to hear yourself think!

Don Bergquist - April 16, 2007 - Denver, Colorado USA

Happy Birthday to my friend, Fritz

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Early Riser

On a fine spring day in 2001 I first set foot on land that was not a part of the North American Continent. It was the furthest away I had ever been from home. I arrived at Honolulu for a consulting visit and was almost immediately made aware of the problems of traveling that far east so suddenly.

The problem is that I was ahead of the residents of Oahu by a good five hours. The time change was not to hard for me to take, except that I wanted to be up at three-o'clock every morning. That is not too bad as the hotel I was staying in was full of tourists and many of them were suffering from the same jetlag I was. It also wasn't so bad because I have always been an early riser.

It is worse when you are returning home and you are seven-hours out of synch with the locals. I say this because I am sitting in my office. It is just after 04:00 and I am sitting in Downtown Denver at the office. I have some paperwork I need to do today but I wanted to put a couple postings out there for you guys.

It is pretty strange at home. I keep expecting Saga to come bolting down the stairs whenever I walk into the kitchen. The ability to cook a meal without being molested by the dog is overrated!

Oh well, I had best get to my paperwork!

I hope wherever you are today, you're sleeping soundly. (It is really early, after all!)

Don Bergquist - April 15, 2007 - Denver, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to my friend, Sarah

It's Tax Day!

Your US Taxes (or request for an extension) must be post-marked by midnight tonight.

(Well, as it is Sunday, I guess you have until tomorrrow!)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Good News/Bad News

What a way to start the weekend! I arrived at my home in Lakewood around 23:00 last evening and fell almost immediately into bed! I conked-out and was dead to the world for the next few hours. I awoke to see that the weather had held.

Yes! The weather in Lakewood this morning is absolutely lovely, which is a good thing because I was truly concerned that I was not going to make it back home in time to do any of the things I needed to get done this week. The weather service had a sever weather storm warning for the region of Colorado I live in.

The good news is that the storm moved to the south of us and the roads are clear, the skies are blue and the temperatures are clement. The bad news is that my damn car is dead! I have to take it into the shop to be checked out. It isn’t just the battery being discharged. I had it jump started and it was running fine for about 20 minutes and then I got in it to drive to the first appointment I had made myself but it died a block from home.

Luckily, I paid for a service that my dealership offered that gives me free replacement cars whenever I have my car worked on. I am driving a Toyota while my Honda is being serviced. Of course, I cannot get my car inspected so I cannot get my plates renewed, but there are plenty of other things on my list today!

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

Don Bergquist - April 14 2007 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Friday, April 13, 2007

Something's Missing

There is something missing this morning. I can't quite put my finger on it. Perhaps it is that I didn’t get attacked in the kitchen as I made breakfast this morning. There were not furry little paws propped up on me to say" "good morning" as I made coffee.

There was no demand for attention at all. Perhaps that is because Saga went to stay with my friends in Molesey who will be looking after her whilst I am in The States. I'm sitting here at the computer unmolested. There are no pleas for my attention.

It's nice and all, but on the whole, I miss Saga! Oh well, my car should be here shortly and my travel day will commence. I guess I should post this, shut-down and get ready to leave.

I hope wherever you are this morning, you are greeted by those who love you.

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

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Sentry

Who needs a security system? We have a sentry!

As I was leaving the villa yesterday, I noticed that Saga had already assumed her place at the base of the stairs on the first floor watching the Portsmouth road making sure that nothing nefarious was going on.

She will brook no monkey business in her street. (We all know it is Saga's street. She has peed on it!) With Saga around we can all rest easier knowing that no other dogs will be allowed to walk down the road unchallenged. Nobody will be able to roughhouse in that particular way that sets her off. There will be nobody walking past with visible bits of food that look tempting to her. At least there won't be without her telling us all about it!

In this, I think, Saga is as human as most people. She is quite willing to bark and raise a ruckus at even the golden retriever that lives across the road from here in the safety of the villa. But get her into the park at the same time and she is the very picture of the coward.

C'mon, be honest. Who hasn't experienced (in the words of the Roger Waters song) the bravery of being out of range? Ah well, I prefer to think of it not as cowardice but as "self preservation."

I should close this and get into the office. I am flying to Denver for a quick trip tomorrow so today is my last day in the office.

I hope wherever you are today, you fell safe and comforted by your surroundings!

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

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Bit of a Rush on a Lovely Day

It is a lovely morning, but I have a ton of things left on my desk from yesterday. I'm in a bit of a rush because I know I have to get everything done today that I can. I have to keep reminding myself that it is Wednesday, the day that I leave by 16:00.

I head into Central London Wednesday afternoons. But that doesn't mean that I can slack off! There is a list full of projects for me to try and get through so I had best just say good morning and get to the office. There is a lovely sunrise going on, so I think I'll get a snap of it and add it to this post when I get into the office.

I hope that wherever you are today, your morning is lovely!

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

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Language Lessons

I speak a language called (by most) "English." Currently, I (currently) live in a country called "England." While a distressingly large portion of the residents of my home country (the USA) haven't ever made the connection between the two, they’ve also never lived here.

I am constantly reminded (not always politely) that they invented the language; therefore they must know how it should be spoken properly. (This from people who think this character: H is "an haitch.") Well, to the citizens of my host country, I offer this friendly reminder: There is more than one dialect of the language and no one is more or less "proper."

Forsooth! Woodst we to speak the original English, we'd all be speaking a language long-since dead! Get over it! We speak different versions of the same language. It's the same language with regional varieties. Hell! Even in your little island, you cannot agree from one end to the other how to speak the language.

What set me on this tirade today?

I was recently wound-up by a colleague on the style of my writing, speach and grammar. My colloquialisms and grammar were the target of the discussion. Just the next day while visiting a museum, I was once again berated for using a split infinitive. Not once, twice!

While I have found no support for the colloquial usage that I as told was "wrong" (I'm still researching that one), I have plenty of support for my grammar style. I maintain that there is nothing wrong with split infinitives!

Every style guide and grammar guide I can find tell me there is nothing wrong with this practice. Here is a discussion from

Split Infinitive

–noun Grammar.
an expression in which there is a word or phrase, esp. an adverb or adverbial phrase, between to and its accompanying verb form in an infinitive, as in to readily understand.
[Origin: 1895–1900 ]
—Usage Note: The “rule” against placing a word, especially an adverb, between to and the verb in an English infinitive (To really learn a language, you have to stay in a place where it is spoken) is based on an analogy with Latin, in which infinitives are only one word and hence cannot be “split.”

The modeling of English style on Latin has in the past often been considered the epitome of good writing; the injunction against splitting the English infinitive is an example of the misguided application of this notion. Criticism of the split infinitive was especially strong in 19th-century usage guides. Nothing in the history of the infinitive in English, however, supports the so-called rule, and in many sentences, as in the example above, the only natural place for the modifying adverb is between to and the verb (To really learn …).

Many modern speakers and writers depend on their ear for a natural sentence rather than on an arbitrary rule. Writers who ordinarily prefer not to split an infinitive will occasionally do so, to avoid awkward or stilted language.

Okay, I can hear it now… "That's an American dictionary." Fair enough.

The Oxford English Dictionary agrees:

What is a split infinitive, and why should I avoid using one?
This is a split infinitive:

To boldly go where no man has gone before!

The infinitive is to go, and it has been 'split' by the adverb boldly. Split infinitives have been the cause of much controversy among teachers and grammarians, but the notion that they are ungrammatical is simply a myth: in his famous book Modern English Usage, Henry Fowler listed them among 'superstitions'!

Split infinitives are frequently poor style, but they are not strictly bad grammar. In the example above, to avoid the split infinitive would result either in weakness (to go boldly) or over-formality (boldly to go): either would ruin the rhythmic force and rhetorical pattern of the original. It is probably good practice to avoid split infinitives in formal writing, but clumsy attempts to avoid them simply by shuffling adverbs about can create far worse sentences.

When you come to America, I promise not to correct your usage of the name "zed" for the letter zee. If you'll just stop correcting me here!

I hope that wherever you are today, you have a day you can say is lovely!

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

Monday, April 09, 2007

Plans Change

Some times plans change. Some times, I find-out about it.

After a lovely nap yesterday, I took a bike ride, and then had a shower, dressed, and headed to The Albany. It's a lovely pub in the neighborhood on the river. I don't know why we don't go there more often. It's a nice enough place.

So, there I was. I beat my friends to the pub and waited on the dock. On such a lovely afternoon, the river really draws people out. They were out in droves yesterday. After waiting a short while, I sent a message to my friends to see where they were.

"Oops!" Came the response back. "Plans have changed. We've been invited to a barbecue this afternoon. We're meeting at the Albion."

So, the plans had changed and the person who was supposed to tell me got distracted and forgot. No problem. I cycled back to the villa, parked my bike and called a car. (Not knowing where the party was, I decided to take a car rather than cycling. Good thing too; the party was over in Hampton.)

It was the first time I had been to this friend's house and it was lovely. Their garden was in bloom and the meal was wonderful. We stayed there late last night and I literally fell into bed completely drained last night.

This morning I had a nice leisurely breakfast, brushed Saga and watched some television, having a nice, pleasant morning. After posting this and uploading my pictures this morning I am definitely going for a bike ride. This afternoon, I have no plans and what bliss!

I love bank holidays!

I hope that wherever you are today, you're having an excellent day!

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

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Midway Through The Weekend

You've gotta love the concept that this weekend will be four days long! I've already had a full two-day weekend and am embarking immediately on another.

Last night I got to the midway in time to see the sunset and take pictures before and after dusk. I've always loved light-trail pictures (when done well) and so I wanted to take some pictures of the midway while active.

My shoot was pretty uneventful except for the short period of time when these three yobs came up to me on the midway as I was waiting for a ride to start so I could take one of these pictures.

"Wha's at?" One of them slurred lazily at me, indicating my camera. I shook my head, rolled my eyes, and ignored him. One of his mates came up to my right and repeated the question.

"Yeah, Whazzat?"

"It's a camera." I replied tartly, continuing to get ready for the shot.

"Take my pitcher." The third one said placing his nose within an inch of my camera's lens.

What is it about people having a camera in public that makes people think they want to take your picture? I happened to me a few times last night. Complete strangers came up to me and told me to take their picture.

Well, the yobs were not taking "no" for an answer. Among their inanities they spewed in my direction, they offered to buy my camera from me for £10 (which I doubted they had), they told me the could easily steal it and run away, they told me that their mobile was worth £800 and offered a trade.

Luckily, my friends, Angie and Terry came up and the yobs beat it. I finished my photography, took a couple rides, and then headed to the pub. We were there until closing bell.

This morning, I am resting. We're having dinner at a local pub down on the river. I have no real plan for the day, but my allergies are acting up. I think I ill take a pill and a nap before dinner.

I hope that wherever you are today, you're having an excellent Easter!

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

Happy Easter

Saturday, April 07, 2007

England in Bloom

Spring is in full swing in Thames Ditton. The daffodils days are coming to their end. All manner of other flowers are coming into their own.

Today on my bike ride, I came across alyssum, poppies, violas, and others. There are trees in bud and in bloom. There are grasses pushing their way up, soon to be mown again. In short, it is almost time to worry about allergies.

A friend asked me over this morning to help me work on my bike. (I'd last night that I needed to get off a kick-stand that was inoperable but had no tools to do it.) Joe and I worked to try to loose the bolt holding it on. In the end, we used a hack-saw, hammer and screwdriver to cut and break it off.

My new (operable) kickstand in place, I went off on my ride. It's another great day here in Thames Ditton! The skies are blue and clear. The winds are light and the temperatures are in the high sixties! What a great day for a weekend!

Today I saw a dandelion puffball that was in bloom in front of the dandelion blossom. I kind-of reminded me of the picture (from 2001: A Space Odyssey) of the sun rising behind the earth as seen from the moon.

Tonight I am heading to the fun fair and then the pub with my friends. More pictures tomorrow.

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

Don Bergquist - 07 April 27 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

Friday, April 06, 2007

Bank Holiday Weekend

God Bless The British!

There may be controversy about this, but the best thing in the history of humanity the British are responsible for the best thing to ever be invented b humanity.

I am, of course, talking about the bank holiday weekend!

Every spring, there is a wonderful four-day span that is called the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. It's great! A couple days added to the normal weekend for the benefit of the working man! What bliss!

If the weather is nice (as it is today), all the better! I took the morning to myself and went for a nice long bike ride. There are dandelions in bloom and although they are a pernicious weed, they are still pretty.

After my ride, I had a nice lunch and then uploaded my pictures. My friends from Molesey have invited me to their place for dinner tonight so, on this lovely, sunny day, I think I'm going to take a book out to the back garden, lay out a blanket and read.

I hope that wherever you are today, you're having a beautiful one!

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

Happy Good Friday

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Being Diplomatic

Those of you who read my blog regularly (and I have no idea why anyone would, it has often been observed that I obviously don't - but I digress) may recall a few weeks back when I discussed the ill-mannered child I came across on a canal tour of Amsterdam. (See: Travelogue Amsterdam: Part V - Sunday) I really was harsh on this kid. I mean, really! Making a spectacle of himself and giving American children everywhere a bad name.

I suppose I owe the kid an apology this morning. But I am getting ahead of myself.

I left the office a couple hours early yesterday because my passport was running seriously low on visa pages. (I guess I have been doing more travel than I had thought.) doing a bit of research, I discovered that I could head into the US Embassy and get pages added. So off I went.

I guess I have been here long enough that I didn't really give navigating my way to Grosvenor Square is no big deal. You take the South West Rail train into Waterloo station and catch the Jubilee Line tube to Bond Street. Then it is just a 400 meter walk to the embassy.

Arriving at the embassy shortly before it closed, I went through security and was relieved of my mobile, camera, seven flash memory cards, and two flash card readers. I then made my way to the passport and visa office. I think they were trying to make me feel homesick for Florida. The fist thing that I noticed was how hot it was in the room. The second thing that I noticed was that the room was full of screaming, boisterous children. There must have been ten or twenty of them. (But they were making noise enough for a hundred.)

I decided at that moment to be diplomatic no matter what happened. It seemed only right, as I was in an embassy. So no matter what, I was going to ignore the reenactment of Lord of the Flies that was going on around me. Let's see how long that resolve lasted.

I made my way, as directed to window number one and handed-over my paperwork and passport. I was issued ticket number 93. Not before I was hit in the back of the head by a small flying toy. I turned and glared at the child who had thrown it. I retuned my attention to the woman who had been dealing with my request when we had been interrupted.

"It takes a few minutes. I do need you to give me an address here in the UK for our records." She said passing the form back to me. It was for this reason that the next toy missed me as it went crashing into the Perspex of Window number one. "I'm sorry." Said the woman behind the counter.

At a time like this, I think back to the lessons my parents taught me when I was young. You can deal with your problem children in two basic ways. The first (the one I call the Jeanne Bergquist method) is to grab them (or have your husband do it) and forcibly sit them down and make them behave - swatting them occasionally for emphasis. The other is to hide, hope and pray that nobody saw you come into the room with the wild creature that you spawned and plot to leave them behind in a bus or train station somewhere. The progenitors of these wild beasts must have opted for the later.

"Not a problem." I said cheerfully. "Unless these are your brats!"

The gentleman behind me in queue said something harsh to the kid who hit him with yet another thrown toy. But I didn't hear it. I was making my way to take a seat in the waiting area. I tried to concentrate on some paperwork I had brought with me, but after the next toy hit me and a couple more hit the woman next to me, I gave up.

The woman, on the other hand, didn't. She took the toy that hit her and kept it. When the kid who had thrown it came to ask for it (with a definitely British accent, much to my relief) she told the kid off and sent him away without it. She did tell the kid that he could have it back if he brought his parents back to ask for it. I looked at her and gave her the golf clap to show my approval for how she handled it.

As I sat there, staring blankly at my files, unable to concentrate, I decided that my initial image of the embassy had been wrong. They weren't trying to make me homesick for Florida, but for Colorado. What with this pack of wild Indians milling about, it reminded me of the old west.

I received my altered passport back and left the embassy just after five. The whole process took slightly more than an hour. I came away secure in the knowledge that MOST of those brats had been with their families trying to get visas for visits to the US... so at least they weren't Americans!

I hope wherever you are today, you have a peaceful day, free of projectiles!

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

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Website Update

I spent much of last night, while watching Shakespeare Retold, updating my Frost Lake Photography website. While it is not a comprehensive collection of my photographs, it is a collection of some of my favorites over the years.

A more complete collection is available by following the links on the various blog entries over the past couple years. Perhaps some day, I'll subscribe to an indexed photo sharing site. My friend Mike uses SmugMug and seems to like it.

Well, that will happen in all the copious free time I have, I am sure! It is a lovely (but bitterly cold) morning here in London. Saga at least went out without prompting today. I'd best get the past of the pages for Frost Lake Photography updated on the web and get to the office. Please stop by and let me know what you think of the new look.

I hope wherever you are today, you'll have a lovely and productive day!

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

Happy Birthday to my cousin, Chris

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


What a miserable day! I'm curling up on the couch tonight with a cup of soup (I put some lentils on when I came home for lunch) and perhaps a hot toddy and staying in for the evening. It's wet and miserable out there!

I plan to watch the BBC Series Shakespeare Retold tonight. There are a couple that I haven't seen on On Demand so I think that is my plan for the evening. Oh, and thinking of California whilst riding through the rains in London doesn’t make London warmer... it only makes you more aware of the cold and wet around you.

Oh well!

I hope wherever you are this evening, you'll have a warm, snug and cozy evening!

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

California Suite

Having lived her for the past year, I am reminded of a line in Neil Simon's California Suite. It's the story of five rooms in a California hotel and the people who have come to spend the weekend in them. You get to know the reasons they are there, what little of their back-story is necessary to understand what is going on and see the interactions from a fly on the wall perspective.

One of the couples, the visitors from London Diana Barrie and Sidney Cochran (played by Maggie Smith and Michael Caine), are there to attend the Oscars. Diana has been nominated for a part she played in a movie. While getting dressed for the event, Diana complains that she has no idea what to wear in Hollywood. "We should never have come. I never know how to dress in this bloody country." she complains, " It is so easy to dress in England. You just put on warm clothing."

That's true today! It is certainly not a day in southern California! The temperatures are predicted not to get out of the forties and it is supposed to be spitting down this drizzle all day. Saga refused to go out to the back garden this morning because it was cold and it was wet. I had to push her out the door and then close it behind her until she had gone out and "taken care of business."

The ride to the office is going to be miserable, so I guess I have delayed it as long as I can. I hope that wherever you are today, you'll have a wonderful, sunny, warm day. (As for me, I'm going to pretend I am in California today and perhaps I won't notice the cold and rain.)

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

Monday, April 02, 2007

A Lovely Weekend

What a beautiful weekend! I am basking in its afterglow this morning as I write by blog and sip my coffee.

Saga is being particularly friendly this morning. She watched me making my breakfast and is watching me as I sit here writing my blog entry. Poor thing, I think she knows that I will soon be mounting my bike for the ride into the office. I think she has been spoiled by all the time I spent with her this weekend.

It was a lovely weekend. I saw these lovely blossoms growing along the road to into the village this weekend. I grabbed my camera and took this picture. I am not sure what they are, at a guess, I'd say plum blossoms, but I am no horticulturist.

I do have a lot of things to do today when I get into the office and it is nearly six o'clock so I should finish my coffee, make sure Saga has food and water and head into the office.

I hope that wherever you are today, your week starts out well!

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

Happy Birthday to my cousin, Catarina

Sunday, April 01, 2007

April Fools' Day

I cannot remember if I was here or not this time last year. If I was, I do not remember the UK being this into April Fools' Day last year. BBC four had an entire program this morning on what stories were likely to be bogus in today's papers.

I do miss the annual April Fools' Day story on NPR. I wonder what it was this year.

My afternoon is full of plans to do nothing in specific. I have nothing planned, nowhere to be, nowhere to go, left over Curry from last night's dinner with my friends, Lucy and Phil and a book to read. I am thinking of heading out to a park to read a while and then coming home to catch-up on some of the programs I missed this week. (The new season of Dr. Who started last night.)

I hope that wherever you are today, you have pleasant plans for a lovely day!

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

Happy Birthday to my friend, Peter

Palm Sunday