A family of four returns from its prematurely interrupted ride through the polder and bikes straight into the bustling market. The mother leads and the father closes. They are all wearing brightly coloured rain gear, with the hoods drawn closely over their heads, making them look like mutant smurfs.

The rain is going rat-tat-tat on the leaves of the trees of Sarphatipark. Thousands of drops on thousands of leaves, like drums at a convention of monomaniacs.

Then wilful gusts of wind tear apart the clouds overhead, and suddenly parts of the street are ablaze in the sunlight. Pedestrians have to shield their eyes from the bright reflections in pools.

Near the park, a front door opens in a stately house, and a small child is let out. It starts stomping its rubber boots with joy in every puddle it can find, while its mother tries to extract a carriage from the house.

For the first time in weeks, the streets smell like streets.

There are those who moan that “this is not summer.” I don’t think I understand them.

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