28th March 2020

Darling Paloma,

It doesn’t feel like a Saturday. It feels like no particular day. I wonder when weekends will return to feel like weekends again.

The disturbing surge of case numbers can only be matched by the connected spirit of good will throughout the world .

On Thursday in Tangiers a friend sent a film he took from his rooftop after night had set in . He wrote, “Everyone is in lock-down and just like Italy and Spain, the citizens climbed to the rooftops, balcony and windows across Tangier and united in prayer and chants to God to save them from the virus. It went on for an hour or so.”

The same was happening over here. At 8pm neighbours all over London and throughout UK, many of whom had lived close to each other for years and never passed a word yet alone a half wave were out on their balconies or in the street cheering all those working for NHS. The following day, everyone agreed, even the type who tends to disagree that they loved this community spirit… let’s hope that this spirit continues when we begin to glue together the pieces to a new social order in a post coronavirus world.

I thought of our neighbours Pedro and Alexandra. We met a year ago. They are the type of neighbours you would hope for – inclusive, generous and very kind. When I took Lola for a walk last night, the streets was deserted except for a number of vespas at the ready to make food deliveries. I gazed up at their house. The lights were off and the house looked deserted. I can honestly say I missed them not being nearby. The solidarity of friendship close to where one lives. I do think that this connection within us is naturally growing. Life can at remarkable times conjure up for some of us far from easy words like companionship, nature, affection, praise and, above all else – yes – love.

And how I miss your brother. I miss him every day. I’m so tempted to get in the car to drive down to see him. All I’d want to do is give him a tight hug, hold on to his hand and say face to face “I love you” but I know I can’t. It is now we each have to take responsibility. I understand that. I sense it is a time where the danger could go either way.

Each walk grows more intense as if I needed to be reminded of this new world. Whether it is finding a moaning body lying in our street ( she was taken away by ambulance) or passing two men in protection gear decontaminating a house.

When I went downstairs to have my breakfast, I heard a slapping sound coming from the front door. An assortment of junk mail had been delivered strewn across the door mat like discarded betting slips.Yes delivered even during these days. I usually ignore them but one caught my eye mainly because of its accidental humour or madness ; a leaflet advertising a summer cruise. Yes a summer cruise! “Book early to avoid disappointment” was its headline, followed by a list of countries it would visit, ending with a peculiar warning about being careful not to fall overboard. Pessimistic or what? Do not try to swim, the last paragraph warned. Lie on your back. Save energy. You should be able to do this for twenty-four hours. The ship will eventually turn to find you. Perhaps this was a lesson about life: don’t flap, have faith, you’re always in with a chance of rescue. How reassuring!

Love Daddy.

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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