1st April 2020

Darling Paloma,

Your mum nodded her head. She can tell that I was still thinking of the image I saw yesterday morning. It was on my daily walk to the park. An ambulance blocked the road leading to a neighbouring square. All yellow with flashing blue lights (what happened to the all-white ambulance that I was brought up with?)

A paramedic supported an elderly man under his arms and escorted him from his house to the waiting ambulance. Poor soul! He looked scared and his clothes looked drenched by sweat that seemed to be literally oozing from his body. He was the epitome of sickness. And yet he walked upright as if his innate duty was to walk to the ambulance like an English gentleman. And then I saw his wife. His beautiful wife standing by their front door. Her glistening green eyes as green as grass after rain. She was waving goodbye in her white dressing gown unable to join him because she had to remain in isolation. It felt they had shared a long life together. He turned just once and that was before climbing into the ambulance. He didn’t say anything, he just smiled. I stood back trying not to be noticed. When the ambulance drove away she looked up to the sky in prayer; it was as if she offered no resistance. She was numb, anaesthetised. He had gone. Then she turned and walked slowly back into her house.

Who can be angry by what is happening to us? Should I be angry, because we are bringing you into a world that’s unsafe? Do moments like these simply make it all a little bit more real rather than listening to the news and reading the increasing number of deaths? I am trying to find answers to my questions but mind resembles yesterday’s weather. There was not much sun, just a half mist, half- drizzle clouding all the details. The renewed spirit that I experienced over the weekend had temporarily evaporated and my breath which I have consciously listened to had grown a little weaker.

Today as I walked to the park, I looked up to the house half expecting the shutters to be drawn and for it to be dark. But I was wrong. The windows were wide open and the bright mid-morning sun was shining against the white walls. The park was particularly empty not crowded as on previous days. I was tempted to sit on one of the benches and have a short nap knowing that I would not be disturbed but instead I walked along Rotten Row, a broad horse track, in silent communion with the distance and dust taking comfort of how beautiful this world is.



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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