Notes from Holland


Favourite Dutch supermarket: The Jumbo….(pronounced Yumbo). Maybe the brand’s yellow livery reminds The Wattmeister of the maillot jaune of the Tour de France. In the supermarket hierarchy of Holland, The Jumbo probably sits below Albert Heijnbut above Hoogvliet in the public perception.

Naturally, The Jumbo, like all other supermarkets, has more provision for bike parking than car parking, and so, in order to indulge in the sheer pleasure of safe urban cycling, The Wattmeister fixed a couple of panniers onto his Salsa and headed off to do some shopping.

Trundling around the aisles of the Jumbo in search of krentenbollen, ossenworst, hagelslag and other protein packed delicacies, The Wattmeister discovered an alcove with a wooden bench, a small table and a coffee machine, which dispensed FREE Douwe Egberts coffee for shoppers, baroudeurs and anyone who passed by….how civilised. A fleeting thought flashed through his mind, a Eureka moment….”I could live here, in The Jumbo!”.

At some point in the proceedings, The Wattmeister parked his own trolley in the beer aisle and mistakenly loaded up another shopper’s trolley with huge quantities of alcohol.

He then parked THAT trolley by the pharmaceutical section (on behalf of MHP N10 CC) only to find that someone had pinched it. After a frantic search around the labyrinthine layout of the supermarket, he spied another unattended trolley and headed off to the checkout. Flustered and somewhere in heart rate Zone 7, he failed to notice that the beer, wine and spirits which he had been sent to purchase on behalf of The Wattmeisterin were absent from the trolley.

Nevertheless, outside the Jumbo, heart rate now subsided to Zone 4, he took the obligatory photograph of Bike Parked Outside Shop, all the while thinking how strange that the Dutch do not seem to participate in this perfectly normal ritual.

salsa shopping 2

On returning back to the temporary Wattkasteel, the Wattmeisterin was vexed to see that her incompetent husband had forgotten the booze…..although he was certain that he had loaded it into the trolley. After hours of detective work, they realised that what had occurred, and The Wattmeister was sent back to The Jumbo to complete the mission.

All’s well that ends well!


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