7th April 2020

Darling Paloma

He’s been looking worn out. His daily briefings have been difficult to watch. He was as white as a shroud but still tried to give that look of such self assurance. And yet when he turned to leave, his shoulders slumped and he slunk away like a retreating army. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one noticing . ‘ Are you alright?’ Those close must have asked offering a little sympathy. ‘ I’m absolutely sure I feel alright.’ He’d reply looking friends and advisors straight in the eyes. When left alone (because all leaders are left alone at times!) he’d sit down and put his head between his hands and curse his luck ( which had been so good of late) that he had the virus.

It is all conjecture how our Prime Minister is at the moment. The press office at Number 10 continue to release insipid statements telling us as little as possible. What we do know is that he is in intensive care and there are whispers that he’s on a ventilator. How cruel for someone who has opened his mouth most of his life, to speak, to catch his breath and now has a machine that provides mechanical ventilation by moving breathable air into and out of his lungs; it is a tragedy what is happening to him and hundred of thousands around the world. He is not universally loved and many blame him for taking this country down the wrong path but when you see your leader vulnerable much of what has gone before is partly forgotten and brings out the deepest sympathy for what he and thousand of others are going through. And from what I hear from your uncle Mark, very few of us can truly imagine the horrors that the front line is witnessing. Some patients who move into intensive care fall quickly like a lump of lead; those who have seen many horrors before says there is little comparison to what they are experiencing. A cousin of ours is an intensive care consultant at The Royal Free. Every day from seven in the morning to seven at night she tries to save lives. Then she goes not to her own home but to a rented apartment to be close to the hospital and to protect her family. My brother who lives nearby leaves food outside his door on a tray for her to eat some dinner. She doesn’t ring the bell. She just sits and gulps down the gift of food to regain the strength she has lost from the day’s work. My brother before going to bed looks out to find her empty tray. No words, no need for a thank you, no need to define it. No one on the front line needs to go hungry. It is simply a gift from one family member to another.

Te quiero mucho

Papa

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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