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Seas of Youth

Of all the jobs in the realm, very few are simultaneously as arduous and as thankless as that of the Dutch weatherman. His face, however, might soon become a welcome sight again.

Just last Thursday, conditions were forecast as generally cloudy, with a high of twenty-six degrees and possible spontaneous rain and hail throughout the day. What is a man to make of this absurdity? And what exactly is he to wear when confronted by it?

Nonetheless, change is finally afoot. Like a student who overslept the morning of his exam, summer’s jumped out of bed and seems to be pedalling furiously towards us. The hair might be a mess, and it may well have forgotten its socks, but all that matters is that it’s here now.

Nowadays, you awake to the calming melody of chirping birds, broken only by the ceaseless drilling and clanging of construction. Where once you slogged through the hours, you now go about your affairs with the nonchalance of a French bureaucrat on lunch break. Perhaps you’ll shut shop early, and while away a sunny afternoon with an old friend.

Like a student who overslept the morning of his exam, summer’s jumped out of bed

Ah yes, the highlight of the year. The cool air is thick with humidity, carrying with it the sweet scent of fresh blooms, the musky aroma of crackling barbecues, a whiff of far-off farmland, and the fruity-metallic hint of sunscreen. Frivolity is the order of the day.

The streets and terraces are packed to the rafters. Young women in bright dress and sandals mingle with young men in shorts and loafers. Shades, of course, are ubiquitous. Come midday, the parks turn into seas of youth. Scores are sprawled half-naked across lush green grass, roasting to a crisp – a pils or two at their side.

The more prudent amongst us, unsurprisingly, are still holed up indoors for the most part. Poring over the books and preparing themselves fastidiously for exam week. The end of the academic year, and for many, the end of an era, is approaching like a bellowing steam train. It always arrives far too early. This summer comes as a welcome reward for many a year’s labour.

You can almost feel the sunshine soak into your veins. For the first time in what seems like ages, all’s well in Old Grunn.

HRYDAI SAMPALLY

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