Life at the end of the road

December 14, 2012

Things I like about Holland :-)

Filed under: daily doings, New hybrid ferry — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:11 pm

Wednesday already and I’ve certainly had no problems sleeping the last two nights. In fact to be honest I’m ready for my bed right now and it’s not even 21:00.

Whoops, it’s now 22:00 on Thursday, I fell asleep last night Sad smile It really has been just a case of work, eat, sleep, OK the eating bit averages about three hours, but to be honest that’s just one of the things I love about the Dutch, the efficient yet unhurried service Smile Every night we’ve met in the bar about  18:30, around an hour after returning from Imtech and not finished dinner until going up for 22:00. Some of the chaps have had enough energy to have a wee wander around Rotterdam for an hour or two but not me. No, I’ve headed straight for my bed even though it’s only actually 21:00 GMT, me, I’m just too old for all this carp, which is a tragedy really, for there is so much going on within a few hundred meters of the hotel. There are at least two museums within sight and who knows what else if I could be bothered ‘Googling’ but I’m just plain shattered.

I’ve lost track of when I actually posted last, or even what I said but suffice to say that the only daylight that I’ve seen since Glasgow has been through the Imtech canteen frosted glass windows Sad smile 



Though I did manage to get a glimpse of the Rotterdam skyline once or twice around sunset Smile



I can’t say that it’s a beautiful city because it’s flat, busy, noisy and very modern, things that I don’t particularly like, however it’s also friendly, clean and everyone that I’ve met speaks English Smile Not only that but I’m refreshed by the total lack of soup spoons, you have no idea how much I hate soup spoons. What is the point of a flipping soup spoon???? OK, I know I promised to stop swearing but I’ve always hated those stupid implements with vengeance and it has been such a pleasure not to be confronted by one at meal times. Could someone please explain to me the purpose of something that you eat with but cannot actually fit in your mouth, a tool that you have to put to your lips and SLURP rather than just insert in you gob and quietly swallow off.

I have to confess at throwing many such a piece of cutlery over the side of the MV Loch Striven and always picking up the dessert spoon to drink my soup if at all possible. Who on earth invented such an impractical tool and why in heck do we put up with it????? I know, I know, I’m swearing again but you might as well use a straw as a soup spoon and I despise them. Continental common sense seems to have decided that they are an English eccentricity that should be scorned and left at the other side of the Channel along with ‘full English and full Scottish’. Now don’t get me wrong, there are few days that I don’t start the day with a portion or variation of either but it’s no wonder that Glasgow is the ‘heart attack capital’ of Europe when you look at a Dutch offering.



Much as I love to start a day on the croft with bacon and the marag dubh (black pudding) I can’t help thinking that smoked salmon, cold meats, salad and olives are a healthier option Smile

Somewhere over the English channel

Well that was a pretty lame effort, it’s now Friday and I’m at 38,000ft on my way home having spent £10 in a whole week and £5 of that was by accident Smile Not that I’m particularly frugal or anything, just that we’ve been spoilt, and after dinner I’ve usually been in my bed before 22:00. However I am at last on my way home leaving behind all those things that I love about Holland,

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like proper towels and none of those silly air driers that leave you wiping your hands on your trousers. Not that I mind using my combats as a towel but it usually leaves me looking like I’ve wet myself Smile Other things I like are men with shaved heads and people not afraid to roll their own cigarettes Smile Not that I’m gay or smoke but a shaved head just seems so practical and home made ‘coffin nails’ have so much more style Smile Thousands of cyclists without the now obligatory crash helmet imported from China also impressed me, as did the light switch inside the bathroom. Are the Dutch less prone to head injuries and electrocution or are we just a little obsessed with ‘elfin safety’ here Smile

Other things that struck me as notable were the lack of overweight people and 4×4’s, of course Holland is pretty flat and the authorities probably quite capable of clearing the roads, so that may have something to do with it. However I noticed the same thing in Italy a few years ago and that country can hardly be described as ‘level’ or having competent officials. It seems that in the UK we need a 4×4 to take the kids to school rather than let them cycle or walk Smile Me, I had free transport to and from school but seldom used  to catch it home, even though it was well over a mile to walk.

Somewhere in Barrhead

Sorry peeps, I’m kind of losing the plot a little here, this blogging carry on is fine if you start with an idea and then finish it, but I’ve been writing this one now for three or four days and keep getting distracted Sad smile Anyway, I’m sure there were more things I liked about Holland, like the total lack of Christmas hype, hard hats, fluorescent vests and half eaten ‘take away’s’ left on the pavement but I’d better move on.

It’s now after 21:00 and I’m determined to get this finished Smile 

Like I said before, the week was pretty intense both in the classroom and down in the workshop, as we learned all about the various systems on the Imtech designed hybrid drive  for the MV Hallaig.


hybrid arrangement

The lithium iron phosphate (LiFePo4) batteries, variable frequency drives, 375Kw electric motors and their various methods of connection to, and independent from, both shore power and diesel generator were covered by our excellent Dutch tutor.


hybrid arrangement 2



We were also shown how to take out of service and replace the individual battery modules,



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using specially insulated tools and PPE.

Excellent grub

As Thursday was our last night we ‘pushed the boat out’ and dined in the restaurant rather than the ‘Brassiere’, though I’m not actually sure there is any difference in quality or price but they certainly seem to look after you better Smile Not that the service at Inntel Rotterdam was anything other than fantastic and the food of the highest standard.

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A tiny ‘pre aperitif’ of a smoked mackerel soup was delivered to all prior to our starter, and for me I chose ‘steak tartare’ . Now this is basically raw mince covered in raw egg white and some spices, I know, I know, it sounds disgusting but I nearly reached a state of orgasm eating it, it was delicious.



Eventually, after that I had a paella, and once more you can see that the tuna is raw inside, truly awesome Smile 


No wonder we’re all smiling, for whatever you decided to eat, it was first class, un hurried but well worth the wait. I think the quickest meal we had at Inntel was around two and a half hours. However we all had great ‘craic’ and it was always well worth the wait, lets be honest, if you’re getting food any quicker it has already been prepared, but not here Smile

Well, it’s after 22:00 now and the pork chop, chips and peas that ‘mum in law’ dished me up in Barrhead was just as good, well it certainly felt that way eating it in Scotland Smile Anyway, it’s time for bed so I’ll just leave you with this ‘dogs breakfast’ of a post as i slurp my last mouthful of red wine and head upstairs.

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