20th March 2020

Darling Paloma,

I went to Whole Foods this morning. The one on Kensington High Street. It was about 11am. No sight of the frantic buying we are reading about in various stores around the country. It was all rather civil as if nothing was going on. Even the check out lines weren’t particularly long. It was only when I went upstairs that I saw anything different. A man was sitting alone praying. I didn’t want to photograph him but I couldn’t resist . He exuded such peace that anyone who felt fear would have felt it fade. I did not find it disturbing at all. I found it beautiful.

When he had finished this woman brazingly went up to him.

‘What are you doing?’ she asked, knowing.

‘I’m praying,’

‘Why, for heaven’s sake?’

‘Because prayers work,’ he said phlegmatically.

In the afternoon I went to pick up your mum from work today. She is still working and had to be persuaded to come home. I walked into Hyde Park by the Serpentine. the

Everything looked so normal so calm. Calm during the blaze of war or calm, calm, calm before more war, a worse war? Motionless, except for the crows’ nests of the trees, which gave the slightest sway.

The streets around Bond Street were empty. Maybe it was because it was a Friday. Maybe the news is finally sinking in. A man in Berkeley Square looked very unwell. I heard him chunder. Head bent down. Poor man. He of course may have just had too much to drink but I doubt it.

I was happy to see your mother although we had been apart for just a matter of hours. I immediately felt safe. She does that for me. She is all I ever wanted or shall ever want on the face of the earth.

I will write again soon.

I love you.


Published by Simon Astaire

Simon Astaire was the youngest agent ever employed at ICM starting the Music department and representing a variety of clients before turning to head a PR agency where his clients included brands such as Bulgari, Armani and celebrities and members of the Royal Family. He is regularly quoted in the press and has been described in The London Times as a PR Prince. He had a regular column in the Sunday Telegraph called Station to Station where he interviewed a diverse mixture of high-profile individuals on their imaginary last train journey. He has written six novels and two biographies including soccer star Sol Campbell when he was nominated for best new sports writer. His latest novel The Last Photograph, was made into a film of the same name. It had a US theatrical release in November 2019 and is now available on all platforms. His blog ' Letters to my daughter' began March 19th 2020.

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