The diesel heater blues!

Just when I thought ‘Free’ was tucked up for winter in Amsterdam, what should happen?

“You’re not allowed to use a wood fire in this harbour… people will complain!” Said the Havenmeester.

“Oh dear!” Said the Viking Queen.

And so began a new saga, this time around the streets of Amsterdam in search of parts for my clapped out old diesel heater so shockingly installed four years ago by a company on the Thames that I used to work for; a man I respected and thought was my friend… They do have a habit of popping up don’t they? (At least, in my life)

How gullible was I, (statement not question).

Nothing in Amsterdam… What to do?

Go west young girl. West to Spaarndam.

Spaarndam, a little gem…

Spaarndam is a small village just off the Nordzee kanaal. Yes, the same one that I passed through on the way south to Haarlem and Leiden shortly after I arrived in the Netherlands. It is there that the only sellers of the ‘heatpol’ diesel heater are situated… unbelievable!

I left Amsterdam and miscalculated the opening hours of the dreaded ‘Rijkweg 9’ road bridge, which opens only five times a day. The result of this was a tricky approach during darkness, through Spaarndam sluis, and into the gloomy darkness of ‘De Reitpol’, home of the aforementioned heater.

The following morning I met fellow female sailor and employee Ursul, who was very helpful and offered me a competitive package; however, the price was still enough to induce a deep inhalation of breath. Still, what’s a girl to do… freeze? The worst aspect of living on a boat and the one most would be ‘live-aboards’ fail to grasp, is winter and trying to keep warm. You’ve never experienced true cold until you wake up damp, with ice on your face… trust me, I have the t-shirt.

Now Spaarndam is famous for something nearly everybody knows from primary school. The little boy who put his finger in the dijk, to stop the terrifying flood waters engulfing his village. As you can see there is a statue dedicated to him.

‘Just one little finger’

The village is a really delightful place and my visit was not totally without joy. I was also able to ride into Haarlem again on my beloved bicycle ‘Gretel’. This has to be one of my favourite towns in the Netherlands and returning was almost like coming home!

So now I will return to Amsterdam, hopefully able to survive the winter with my new heating. Of course, I do hope that if any of you are here that you call round for a coffee and chat or even an overnight stop…


About Viking Queen

I am a sailor and I live on my boat 'Free'. I have no home but originate from Tyneside. I have no allegiance, just a desire to do no harm and live with courage and an open heart.
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7 Responses to The diesel heater blues!

  1. Christian says:

    hope Harry is keeping you nice and warm and welcome to poppy’s family

  2. Viking Queen says:

    Harry say’s “Hi!”
    However, he does have expensive tastes at €1.50 per litre! This means on a cold night he can drink nearly €8! Without ‘Bilbo’ this is going to be a damned hard winter and all because some busybody doesn’t like the smell of wood fire.

  3. christian says:

    is there any other way to keep warm that’s not going to cost an arm and a leg. extra jumpers and thick socks. take care speak soon.

    • Viking Queen says:

      It’s always tough, but Holland is really cold in winter and the water freezes because it is fresh without salt. So maybe i would burn the furniture… but I can’t use Bilbo! Duh!!!

    • Viking Queen says:

      Oh… and by the way. You have to wear all that clobber as well. Unless of course you’re rich and have a million pound boat.

  4. lulu says:

    Good to see the website up and running and better than ever. I’ve been away for last 3 weeks hence no communication, will email ASAP.
    First time I visited Amsterdam as an art student many years ago, it was December, the bitter coldness once the sun goes down stays in my memory, wishing you a warm, cosy winter at minimal cost xxxxxxx

  5. Viking Queen says:

    Hey Lucy, lovely to hear from you again. God the wind, too! “Harry’ stays in during the gales which the other one never did. Last night I was rolling all over the place in the Marina due to the wind! It’s like a Mediterranean anchorage!

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