1st May 2020

Darling Paloma,

We went out at eight pm last night to cheer our carers. It seems we are living in the most deserted part of London. Only three others joined in with our applause. Two police officers standing by their squad car and the vagrant I mentioned yesterday clapping and hooting louder than any of us.

It is proving to be a lovely tradition. There is a sense of community supporting those working on the front line. I’ve noticed in myself a renewed sensitivity during these days. When I was out for my last walk of the night, I heard from a nearby house a brief snatch of opera and the voice of a man, the sad voice of a young man who I felt had been touched by loss. I wonder if I would have noticed his pain months before.

Boris Johnson addressed the nation. We sat, waiting to see what he would reveal. But as he walked to his podium, it was evident that this was not going to be the big announcement we had been hoping to hear. Any news about the loosening of isolation restrictions would have to wait until next week. The microphone met the Prime Minister’s dry lips. He spoke as if talking to a vast auditorium. He said that we had done an excellent job in a “we are all in this together” style and the country had now passed its peak. He shows the skill of someone expert to carry simultaneous conversations. One going on in his head while at the same time saying ‘yes, yes, yes,’ to whoever is in front of him. My father had that skill when playing hide and seek. He’d count to ten, and we’d dash off upstairs to hide. He, in the meantime, remained downstairs to read his paper and would noisily turn the handle of the drawing room and yell ‘I’m coming to find you, ‘ which would keep us happy.

Leadership is going through a low point. I think it’s fair to say that we have lost trust in our leaders. I believe the actions of most at the beginning of the pandemic is a perfect example. Everyone hesitated at the start like sheep waiting to go through a gate, no one wanting to go first; but once one goes through, the whole flock follows. I was looking for a flicker of change in the Prime Minister’s face and attitude after his near-death experience; still, I didn’t glimpse it for a moment. When he was asked “how he was feeling” it was a perfect opportunity to say that he never expected to get it and did not protect himself adequately. If he doesn’t see it as a plague, then a few can. He should have looked straight in the camera and say,’ I nearly died. I would have missed so much, first and foremost, the birth of my son this week… None of which would have been a lie but he didn’t. Instead, he tried to erase any fear or vulnerability with an expression on his face, and a gesture with his arm, of complete apathy.

You probably know this, but the scan went well yesterday. As our fetal consultant Elena Greco said, it is the only time you want to hear that everything is average. No surprises are needed, and thankfully, there were none. You are a perfect weight, length…everything.

What I did find disturbing is that Elena was still waiting to be tested for Covid-19. Can you imagine? A woman who works closely every day with pregnant women. I rang a close friend who is involved in organising tests for antibodies and arranged one within hours. Thank you! She was found negative, as was I after my test on Tuesday. I’m not sure if that is good or bad news? There was a part of me that was hoping I had got it and was so light that I hadn’t noticed. Oh well, at least for now I remain healthy.

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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