17th April 2020

Darling Paloma,

Three more weeks! Three weeks more weeks of lockdown! I am not surprised but even I feel hemmed in by the announcement – And I think we all know, the lockdown is going to continue long after that. June 1st is my guess for life to start getting back to some sort of normality? And normality meaning schools getting back to finish the term. Which means your due date is edging closer to the reopening of the country.

Yesterday I took your mother to where you are going to be born. It wasn’t a difficult choice; The Lindo Wing is where your brother and I were both born. Each a Gemini like you. We found a photograph of me leaving the hospital with your grandmother and nurse And I’m also attaching another photograph of your mum’s visit. I called out to her from the car. She turned and waved and then disappeared with you inside her through the famous doors to meet the midwife .

The last time I had been there was twenty six years ago when I picked up your brother. I found the way without any trouble. It was as if our road had been lit by the early morning flecks of light and all I had to do was follow – there were very few people about so that we made the journey in short time; ten minutes from door to door.

While I was waiting in the car outside ( I chose not to go in as I tend to talk too much to the obstetrician) I looked up at the Lindo Wing. The entrance had not changed since I was first carried out of those doors. And my mind started to wander and asked myself whether any of us is responsible for anything. That everything is ordained and whatever we might have done, you were always going to come into our lives this year and during these days? I saw a couple pose with their baby at the door. The loud racket from the building work opposite spoiling the tenderness of the moment. I saw five workmen huddled together with no thought of social distancing having a laugh. They were a mere twenty yards away. I looked at the ridiculousness of it – the gulf between a new life and the stupidity of the old – will we all learn a lesson from what’s happening or we not take heed and carry on as before – I hope not.

Your mother came out smiling as she had done going in. She was elated with a feeling you may get once in your life. She had not slept well and the appointment was early so she felt exhausted but it did not stop her excitement. How lovely it was to see her look so happy following a day of sadness.

Everything is good. You are in a breech position so your mother was unable to take a good photograph of you but she heard your heart and it is strong. The doctor assured us that everything is good.

Again I am a little nervous to discuss such things. But when I got home and sat alone on the terrace, I laughed and birds sang in my soul; the song has not always been intelligible for someone who has spent much of his life avoiding intimate feelings but for the first time I heard the words distinctly and felt blessed and felt grateful.

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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