Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Haarlemmer Dijk, Amsterdam.
Blimey from one extreme to another until yesterday it was very hot here, since then there has been quite abit of torrential rain.
Thought this is it that will stop this blazing summer heat but it did not seem to be happening after all.
Yesterday early afternoon the sun was out and it was trying to get as sticky hot as possible.
It did get very hot indeed but then the wind would pick up and it would cool down very quickly.
All very good, was pleased to see and feel the difference too.
Not sure today that I like it getting quite as cool as it has, but that is what has happened and will happen more as the planet is getting too hot.
As recent as last week was wondering what would happen, would we just get more of this languid and relaxed weather or would this heat wave turn into tropical storms.
Seems to have turned into tropical storms, with huge downpours of torrential rain followed with half an hour to an hour of cooler weather followed by hot sunshine and blue skies.
Very nice finally getting a hot and dry June the last one was in 1999; we were still living on the Haarlemmerdijk, a great street with lots of little shops.
The Haarlemmerdijk had the best croissant bakers, ice cream parlour, delicious cake shop, coffee shop (excellent coffee and teas) and excellent record shop.
It also has the best picture house in town The Movies and it a;so had a theatre until 1992.
It also had the most weird and wonderful tobacco shop as well as a good stationary shop and good bookshop (new and second hand) it also had an electrical shop so you could buy fridges etc as well as cassettes as well as three vegetable shops and a butchers and a fish shop.
There was also a good wine shop and a tiny delicatessen shop called Ensinck’s, owned and run by Leo Ensinck.
There were some good clothes shops and in fact the street had everything you could possibly want including a market on Mondays and Saturdays nearby.
The Haarlemmerbuurt was a good area to live, it had been the street that kitted out and supplied boats with goods and supplies for their journeys.
I went to Ensinck’s daily for milk and juice and other things like stilton or good goat cheese or spicy Italian salami.
I like many others also went for the conversation, once you visited the shop a couple of times you would recognise people and they you.
In the Summer Leo Ensinck’s and his staff would offer you a small glass of white wine in the afternoon, in winter you got a tiny glass of port.
Our dog Daisy (she died 2006) got slices of roast beef every day, if she came to the shop with me then she got given the roast beef slices otherwise he gave it to me to take home for her.
Always saying to me ‘’ don’t be eating it on your way home I will be watching you’’
He would often come outside and watch as I went to my front door three houses further up and went in, once I joked that I ate the meat slices on the way up the stairs.
This was discouraged and he would tell other customers how badly I treated Daisy and she would oblige by looking very hard done by indeed.
Great two old hams ganging up on me, nothing I could do but agree with him and the others that poor Daisy was sorely treated whereupon she would get her roast beef.
Ensinck’s was where the world got put to rights, there was always a small group discussing the latest outrages from the Dutch parliament.
Often Leo (Ensinck) would tell stories, now when he went to work in the morning he looked like he was going to work in a bank.
At work he wore a big apron, they all wore them, and he would spin great yarns about how he used to be a bad lad and a well known football hooligan.
He belonged to the notorious F siders, fans of, Ajax Football club, Amsterdam and his nickname was Leo the Knife.
The stories were so good I was on the verge of believing it, just at the moment I did believe it he started to grin.
He also advised I get the dogs vocal cords cut, this could be done at the local hospital, he had done it with his son.
It had done him no harm, at that moment his very good looking son walked in bringing him a parcel.
Leo carried on with his story saying here he is and as you can all see it did not harm him whatsoever.
We got the vocal cords restored as soon as he had got past the teenage years and was able to speak sensibly again.
His son smiled at us and went into the shop with the parcel he had brought round and departed for his office smiling and waving at us as he drove off.
He was obviously very used to his dad’s stories as he never batted an eyelid as he played along and then left the perfect stooge for his dad.
Did keep in touch for a few years after we moved in 2000, the last time I visited the shop was in 2004.
After the fall which broke my cartilage in my knee I could not get there so I used to phone regularly.
Have not done this now for the last year and heard that the shop is gone, a friend of ours who knows the shop reported in the spring that Ensinck’s had gone.
Gone but not forgotten just like the good cake shop and the tobacco and the record shop all gone not long after we moved.
All part of the evolution of a street, glad I experienced those shops with their colourful shopkeepers.
Well it is time for my shower and then the leg exercises with the Motomed and not too long after that Richie will be making some curry and frying fish and making roti’s’ a great prospect indeed.