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  • The summer-city smells like Berlin, although we are in Amsterdam.

    "Smells like Unter der Linden".

    The air is heavy with the heady honey-sweet scent of linden blossoms, lime-tree blossoms.

    The first time I became aware of this aromatic scent (how could I have missed it) was on a visit to Berlin in the summer some years ago. Now whenever I smell this fragrant perfume I have an immediate association with Berlin.

    It's a real summer-time smell.

    Yesterday I parked my car on an avenue lined with lime trees and delighted in the scent as I walked off through the dappled sunlight.

    Got back a few hours later to discover the car completely covered with a sort of sticky nectar. All the lime-tree
    blossoms had also decided to release all their stamens to the wind and these too were stuck to the roof and bonnet (hood) of the car. ...Hmm.

    So, I was really pleased this morning to discover it was raining; a beautiful soft summer rain.
    And it looked like it was in for a few hours at least.

    So we had breakfast and let it rain. I read the newspaper and let it rain.
    I let it rain and let it rain and later again I announced," I'm off to wash the car."

    I put on my rain jacket and my camping-crocs.
    Armed with a bucket of warm soapy water, my micro-fibre-car-wash-mitten and the large tomato-red watering can filled to the brim with fresh rain water I headed outside.

    It must be one of lifes great pleasures; happily washing my little car in the rain.

    The grime and grit releases easily to the soft warm soapiness. I'm wet, the car's wet, we're having a great time.

    I know it's raining, but still, there I am busily rinsing the soap off the car with the large tomato-red watering can.
    I'm engrossed, but then I hear someone is speaking to me.

    I look around, but I can't see anyone, the hood of my rain jacket is pulled down tight over my eyes.

    I carry on watering the car with the tomato-red watering can.

    Now, hearing the voice is coming from above, I look up.

    A woman is hanging out of her forth-floor window.

    "Hey mister," she asks, nodding towards my car, "d'you think it will grow?"

    Before I can reply she adds:

    " 'Cos if it does, let me know."

    "I need a bigger car."
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