Zen and the art of elemental living…

A long, hot summer has graced the north of Sweden, but there are always reminders that the weather can change at any moment into a fusion of elemental pulses. This week have seen two low pressure systems camped over Norway, birthing some wild and unpredictable winds plus some welcome rain.

Changes are rapid up here on the Jungfrukusten (Maiden’s Coast) and one has to adapt with philosophy by preparing the living space of a boat with enough domestic comfort to allay the sudden arrival of damp, challenging climatic conditions.


My friend Roger Lundqvist and me taking a coffee break in Borka Restaurant while fitting another heating system!

Many of you who have ‘sailed’ with me on the ‘Viking Saga’ over the past few years will be aware of the struggle I have had trying to adapt Free to a heating system that promotes as much comfortable living as is possible on a battered old motor sailer! Much of this may be of interest for potential live-aboard sailors and I would caution you to pay close attention as to how you intend to survive severe conditions before buying an appropriate vessel.

When I bought Free she was equipped with an awful, unreliable Eberspacher hot air blower which barely worked, despite having recently been overhauled, and had the unpleasant habit of trying to gas me every time it started. Solution… watery grave in Marmaris Bay!


Roger attaches the exhaust from my new Wallas heating system.

Next I tried Harry, the Dutch Heatpol diesel, gravity drip-feed heater, which I had to purchase due to my lovely solid fuel fire, Bilbo (I know, you must be questioning if I am even sane… But I have to talk to someone during my long solo periods afloat!) being out of bounds during a bitterly cold winter in Sixhaven Marina, Amsterdam. Those in command were insistent that diesel fumes are more healthy than wood smoke, so like it or lump it. I needed to spend yet more money for something I never really wanted.

Poor old Harry did his best but alas, burned a huge amount of fuel for very little heat. Now he has been bought by someone down in Gävle thanks to my friend Roger selling him for me.


No… it isn’t a ‘snake dance’, just the heating pipe for the new heater, which now needs to be threaded around the saloon and front cabin, allowing the warm air access to the living area.

Finally, I decided on a Wallas system that hails from Finland, which has similarities with the Eberspacher, although allegedly much better for marine use. Time will tell, I suppose. Needless to say a new name is needed and what better than Willie, after the great Scottish and Celtic footballer, Willie Wallace? (Wallas… Wallace. Get it? Sorry!)

Hopefully, some of the great man’s  panache will rub off on the chilly nights and warm me up, with great memories of footballing glory! Let’s not consider the alternative…


The final touches. ‘Willie’ will soon be doing what he should do best… pumping hot air into my living accommodation. Hope he will be as good as his namesake!

Soon the Autumn will arrive. The Rowan tree in Kjell-Arne’s garden is pregnant with berries foretelling of a bitterly cold winter to come. Who knows? A really cold one is due though. Free will hopefully return to her natural element next May and then it really must be time to sail again, but this time south towards Poland, a final departure.

As usual, I will go with the spontaneity of the freedom that is my blessing and whatever comes will be as it should be. I care nothing for the future and very little for the past, except to carry the special, memories of my Scandinavian sojourn in my heart and give thanks for the special folk left in my wake.


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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10 Responses to Zen and the art of elemental living…

  1. Roger Lundqvist says:

    Well done Poppy. It has been a real pleasure for me to helping you with the installation of Willie, and I hope he keeps you warm in the future.

  2. Viki Moore says:

    Hope Willie keeps you nice and warm!

  3. ‘A final departure’? That sounds scary!
    I don’t know, I presumed that coast would not have been as welcoming…. Please prove me wrong.
    My best of best wishes and hopes will go with you, no matter what.

    • Viking Queen says:

      That’s the thing about this life, Michael. I’ve been cosy up here for a little too long and if I don’t get sailing again soon, will lose my ‘hard edge’. This is necessary when one sails a heavy vessel like ‘Free’ alone. With a crew there is always some relief from elemental hardship, but not alone… I’ve always found that folk tend to reflect one’s own consciousness, mirror-like if you will. You tend to get out what you put in. There have been places I’ve visited that have received a terrible review by some folk, which turned out to be wonderful, albeit challenging!

  4. Just sent you warm greetings from all angles, hope it arrived. Sounds a good solution and bodes
    well for winter comfort. Good pictures too.
    Just been to Yorkshire and relished the northern character again.
    Summer is here too!
    Hope all goes well .

    As ever,

  5. Deb Spanton says:

    Always love reading of your life and travels and challenges. Stay fit, well and warm! Deb xx

    • Viking Queen says:

      Hi Debbie! Lovely to hear from you! I’glad you haven’t forgotten me, as I tried to rustle you up on Facebook but with little success! We have a long overdue coffee date Ma’m!

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