4th April

Darling Paloma,

Maybe this is how you are going to throw dinner parties in the future. Gossiping with friends through the screen of your laptop.

Everyone sort of turned up on time. One guest had trouble with their internet but fixed it and joined in without missing too much.

There we all were, sitting at our separate tables. Our friend from Boston at the end of a long table in his apartment overlooking Boston Common. It is a beautiful eccentric apartment which personifies his beautiful eccentric character. Our friend in New York in his 80th floor apartment in Hudson Yard overlooking the Hudson River. When he turned the camera towards the city below, you could see even high up how sorrowful and abandoned New York looked. While our other guests joined us from their 16th century manor in the South West of England. ‘ How lucky and privileged we all are, even in isolation, to have homes such as these,’ our New York friend noted.

An assortment of food and drink were on the various menus: the couple in England had curry, we were having mushroom risotto, our friend in New York had a t-bone steak and our friend in Boston had a glass of scotch. We tried to laugh and I think we did but the underlying conversation was naturally of dismay and sorrow of what is happening to our world. It was good to “see” close friends again and we promised to make it a regular dinner date . Next time we will dress for the occasion. When we said our goodbyes, we agreed to meet at the same time same day the following week.

The virus has already formed its own personality. Its mean spirit. Showing signs of combat with its merciless conniving attacks which we at first underrated but now hopefully recognize although after our walk in the park this morning I still have doubts. Many have been doing their best to ignore the storm that’s been building even before the virus. Ignoring our ability to create floods or droughts at will, with all those forests being chopped down, puncturing the ionosphere so that ultraviolet radiation ruins crops, spreads cancer, causes havoc. It is becoming clear we all had lessons to learn.

When I took a break from writing, I read that one of India’s biggest slums is reported to have had their first coronavirus death; Indian doctors are telling the country to prepare for an “onslaught” of cases. I shuddered when I read those words. And poor poor Italy is reporting that deaths are increasing now in its southern parts. Italy has always been an important part of your father’s life. During these days whenever tragic news is reported, I weep for all Italians and their ravishing land.

On a more positive note your mother’s aunt is recovering. She has been transferred from hospital to a medicated hotel which she will stay until she is safe to go home and quarantine. Also my school friend Andrew remains in quarantine but his temperature has gone and he is getting stronger. So within these bewildering days there is some good news to report.

I touch your mother’s stomach and send you love,


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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