2nd May 2020

Darling Paloma,

When I woke up this morning, I promised myself that I was going to write something positive or at least try. I looked out of our bedroom window and saw how crystal clear the day was. The rain over the last few days had changed my mood. I had become somewhat subjective, and I know what that does to me. So again I promised myself to keep my mind on the world’s beauty and let go of any recent negative thoughts where humankind seems at times bent on talking itself into trouble, pressing the communal self-destruct button.

I looked at what I had written in my dairy precisely five years ago today. I remember it not being the best of times and wondered how I had described my mood. Instead of noticing grammar and punctuation and prosody and syntax and style and solecism and tautology and pleonasm and litotes and mixed tenses and long-windedness and overindulgence and lack of narrative and inconsistent characterization and dittography and repetition and repetition and repetition. I discovered, after a few lines, that although dark I liked what I read and was surprised by my observations and the sharpness of my pen – Good I thought – my mind had been working far better at that time than I remembered.

For that is the problem with days and months like these. We tend to forget and rewrite what transpired. And why does fate and nature put obstacles in our way?
And I searched for an answer: To teach us to appreciate better the times when there was no virus and potential of death in so many of our lives; to think more often of those who, perhaps through no fault of their own, suffer for most of their lives; to give us a glimpse and therefore a warning of what hell – would be – will be like; and to remind us that there have been and are and always will be plenty of opportunities for each of us to create our troubles… anywhere. Phew! Stop it!

The drive to St John’s Wood and walk on Primrose Hill was what I needed. First, I was able to get your mother smoked salmon, bagels and cream cheese from Panzers. If there is anything she craves for, during her pregnancy, it is smoked salmon! Quite surprising for a Spanish girl. I have been going to that supermarket ever since I was a kid. It is quite an experience. Like always and even in the middle of a pandemic, locals rush to be served first. The prize and it’s a big prize is to get out without the virus and to buy the second-best smoked salmon in town. The best is from Browns the old fashioned fishmonger just five streets away; unfortunately today it is closed.

The great white properties at the bottom of Primrose Hill, although still early were blazing with the reflection from the morning sun. It was as if the owners had been pruning and preening their homes so that they were spick & span, ready for the weekend.

Nature had once again come to the rescue. And with all the questions and search of answers today, I saw little else I hope to achieve in this life for you and your brother other than to leave the earth and sea a smidgen more bearable and more beautiful and more of a paradise for those who are to come . . .

With all my love,

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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