As I was cycling past, I saw a woman cleaning out the trunk of her car. A couple of suitcases, a large overnight bag, and another and what looked like a wrapped balloon. Nothing special at all. But what made my heart skip a beat was the straw hat, which was already at the bottom of the tank. Such a simple one, with a red band around it. Although, you never know with those things. Perhaps it was one of those haute couture copies of a few hundred euros.
Doesn’t matter either. So that hat. It opened a hatch in my head. I saw in front of me in the south of France, fields of sunflowers, a country road, a deux-chevaux with an open roof. Oh man, vacation. And where I said France, you can also fill in Spain, Greece, Germany or the Veluwe.
Okay, given the developments of the last few days, it might be more Veluwe than all those other sunny destinations. It could be a very homely summer for many. That’s a bit of a swallow. But hundreds of readers wrote to me in the past year about how pleasantly surprised they were with the rediscovery of their own country. A small consolation perhaps.
We are going to try to reach Germany. The RIVM still has not found my second vaccination. So I’ve been practicing in high German for days: ‘No, sir, the police officer, I have really been vaccinated twice, but the RIVM cannot find my data and my GP did not want to fill in the yellow book.’
We’ll see how far we get with our trunk full of clothes, stuff and games. Not a straw hat, by the way. I sometimes have doubts about such a stall with summer stuff. While my wife stoically walks by, I give in to the secret lust for such a thing. I yell after her, with that hat on my head: ‘What do you think?’ She turns around and says, “If you really want to.” Then I know enough.
Monday, August 16, I’ll be back in this spot, or a few pages forward or back. You just have to look for it by then. But I don’t want to end this season until I thank you. For the attention, for the letters, the emails, the cards. It was a pleasure to write for you and I think we made something beautiful out of it together. Until August 16.
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