8th April 2020

He was not there. The man in the tweed suit had not returned since I promised I would get him a bath plug! Stupid really because since Saturday I had been carrying the plug around with me. Last night in bed I thought of him and of the gentleman being helped into the ambulance away from his desolate wife. I wondered how they both were. I had slept that half-sleep of someone who has stayed awake most of the night worrying and worrying. Bizarre because in the end they were a couple of strangers.

The Prime Minister remains in a stable condition and has spent his second day in intensive care – there seems to be a sense of optimism that he will pull through. So that’s good news. Tragically though, the US have recorded the highest Covid-19 deaths in a single day. More than 1,900 souls. Although we were warned of the horror that was about to fall on the United States the numbers are terrifying.

I decided to go in search of the elderly gentleman’s wife. The weather was beautiful and it felt like summer. For no particular reason it reminded me of weekend cricket matches when I was first sent away to boarding school. The aroma of freshly cut grass, strawberry ice cream and homemade sponge cakes. I recognized the door and pressed on the bell. There was no reply. I knocked and it gently opened. What to do? So I half coughed and coughed ( maybe not the best thing to do right now). There was still no reply. ‘ Hello,’ I shouted. No answer. So I slinked away and just as I was a few yards from the door I heard a voice asking me if she could help. It was the woman I had seen last week saying goodbye to her husband. I immediately apologized for bothering her but then I asked the question that just by looking at her face I already knew the answer for. Her husband had died the following morning without her by his side. They had been married 45 years and he died alone. Her face so drawn that in front of my eyes it had turned plain without expression until she suddenly let out a smile like no one ever smiled before and she spoke briefly of her love for him.

‘ I’m so sorry,’ I said knowing that I was fool to have even bothered her. I wanted to ask a hundred questions but of course I didn’t. ‘ If there is anything I can do please let me know. When I come back from my walk, I will drop my name and number through your letterbox. Please call if you need anything….’

She said that she was being well looked after and thanked me for my kindness. As I started to walk away she surprised me. ‘ Did he seem scared to you?’ she asked.

God I thought, how do I answer. ‘ No, ‘ I replied, ‘ I just could tell that he loved you so much.’ These are indeed strange times.

I walked on and before I reached the corner I turned around. I saw her give me a half wave and I gave her a wave back. But then I realized she was ridding herself from an early morning wasp. Oh dear.

So this very morning, I had first-hand experience of the devastation this virus is causing. It was a sad day but I believe tomorrow will be better. I plan not to watch the news but listen to jazz to soothe my soul.

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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