Wednesday, July 08, 2009




Leo Ensinck.











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.

http://www.spottedbylocals.com/amsterdam/area/canals/bars-canals/the-movies

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.

13 comments:

Rain said...

Hi Herrad!!! I love how I can view your blog again, where there is MY will, there is a way! LOL

Okay, I had to read your post twice because the first time through, all I could focus on was "cake shop", "wine shop" and "Stilton"....lol When I worked at an English Pub (in Montreal) as a bartender for many years, we used to indulge in port wine and Stilton...just decadent and yummy! Leo seems like he was quite a 'teller of tales'...I love people like that who have so much fun and they spread it. It's too bad that these shops close down, but you're right, it's evolution of the street and the neighbourhood. I'm glad you have such nice memories, the story about Daisy and the roastbeef is so cute!
Hope you are having a wonderful evening! Rain and high of 15 today...15???? in July??? Ugh! Sunny skies are on the way though. Oh, Herrad, I pulled my left pectoral muscle the other day doing weight lifting, so I'm home bound for a while, boo hoo. I'm on painkillers right now and have an appointment with a sports-physio-guy on the 20th...until then, I'm grounded! We'll see how long that lasts with the sun on its way though! :) I'll be careful, I promise, but the mountains will be calling my name!!

Celeste Maia said...

Herrad, what a lovely part of the world you live in! Always enjoy your photos, Amsterdam is such a civilized place.
I also enjoy very much your stories, especially the stories about Ensinck, how very nice and amusing to have people like him. Too bad his shop is closed, but as you wrote "gone but not forgotten". Of course not.

Stephany said...

Oh what a great story, Herrad! Stilton, wine and salami....ahhhhh!

I LOVE stilton. What a great place to have had to go visit, eat, drink and shop.

lots of love
Stephany

Sita said...

Herrad,
Leo sounds like a wonderful character for a novel--hey--and you are a marvellous story teller.
Hope you had a great meal.
Love, Sita

Herrad said...

Hi Rain.

Brilliant you can see my blog again and can leave comments.

Leo was and I hope still is telling good stories, think he retired hope he is having a good time on his boat with his partner and kids and grandkids.

He is a lovely man, he was my mentor for awhile when things were not going so well for me.

Would go to the shop and we would talk about the day and things would fall into their place.

Sorry to hear you are in pain hope it gets better soon.

Hi Celeste Maia,
The Haarlemmer Dijk was a good place for me in the 1980's.

Ensinck's was a good shop, he also had good Spanish cheese and ham which was nice.

He was a very kind and very amusing man.

His staff were very fond of him.

Hi Stephany,

Really missed the shop, Leo especially and his staff and the other customers when we moved in 2000.

It was good to be able to go there everyday.

The port and stilton was very good.

Hi Sita,
Leo is a great fellow, a real Trini story teller which is why I like to lime in his shop.

Thanks for saying I am a great story teller, I notice how much I enjoy writing everyday.

Going to focus on my writing and really enjoy it.


We had a great dinner, as always Richie made good food we had fried fish,hake, in a lime and pepper marinade and fried in a light batter with rice and mixed veg: carrots, tomato, aubergine, cabbage and plenty of fresh coriander.
And a good evening hope you are also having a good evening.

Love,
Herrad

robert said...

Good morning Herrad,
hope you had a nice day. Owe you many thanks, probably most of all for the cookies as he liked them very much and is quite most of the night, seems indeed that he might have been hungry. Also would like to thank you for the photography of yours, being from a city in Nothern Germany which is close to the Netherlands it is always a pleasure to see such pictures and such calm city life - unthinkable to say of Athens, Greece.
Please have a nice evening. Hope you enjoyed the Curry.

Cranky said...

Herrad - with Skip's health, I doubt we'll ever visit Amsterdam. But, when I read your stories, I get a great flavor of the city. All your stories and photos paint a wonderful picture.

Except for the Richie/dog terrorist, sounds like a lovely city. BTW, I hope the aggressive bully has moved on.

Herrad said...

Hi Robert,
Good to hear from you, I had a good day yesterday hope you did too.
Great to hear your neighbours dog likes the biscuits.
Curious where you are from in Germany, is it Aachen?
Think it is a shame they do not have apple trees round town instead of only decorative trees.
Really liked that in Volos there were lemon and orange trees in town.

Hi Cranky,
Shame you can't come over here but guess it would not work as the plane only works if you can transfer from wheelchaire to seat.
By they way the aggressive man was seen and confronted by a neighbour and he told him he was sorry, he seemed very upset about it, and said he had been having a bad time.

Before our neighbour saw him in the street he had a visit from a squatters group who went to talk to him about his behaviour and to remind him that he was risking eviction for everyone if he went round the neighbourhood attacking his neighbours.

So both seem to have had a result and Richie can leave the house and walk around freely in the neighbourhood again.

Hope you both have a good day.
Love,
Herrad

Cranky said...

Herrad - great news about the aggressive neighbor! So glad for Richie. Thanks for the update.

Love - Cranky

Erika C. said...

Thanks for the beautiful photos and stories. Hope you are well.

Sorry I have not visited for a while. I am preoccupied with finding a balance between my creative life and my mom life.

Today I have a whole day at my favorite coffee shop to write!! SO wonderful.

love,
Erika

Herrad said...

Hi Erika,
Thanks for coming by it is lovely to hear from you.
Hope you had a good day today and gor some writing done.
Love,
Herrad

Kris said...

Those treats look tasty! How are you?

Herrad said...

Hi Kris,
Always a treat going to Ensinck's.

At the end of the day was nice to get a wee sip of port or a glass of white wine.

Thanks for asking how I am doing, at the moment I am dong ok.

It has been a good summer hope to be able to experience it for myself soon.

Have a good day.
Love,
Herrad