11th May 2020

Darling Paloma,

I am not sure I understood what the Prime Minister was telling us yesterday.

He addressed the nation early evening. It was not live, as expected, but pre-recorded. The afternoon light was still glinting through the windows in the background. A live performance would have given it more focus or perhaps intensity. Instead, he ended up looking into the camera with the suspicion of the lion tamer with too many lions in his cage.

I had been looking forward to the announcement all day. But my dear girl what an anticlimax it was.

The Prime Minister spoke indiscriminately. It was an absolute mess – a perplexing message. When it was over, I swear I could hear a unanimous groan coming from the neighbourhood which sounded like a kick in the shins.

Reactions and interpretations buzzed over the networks. The BBC tried to give clarity – hastened journalists in a flash trying to put two and two together and most getting five. Members of the public lined up for an interview. One hotelier in Weston Super Mare could not disguise her dismay. Her business was drowning in the sea behind her and nothing she heard gave confidence that it could be saved. It was terrible to watch.

This morning’s walk to fetch my now “dreaded” coffee was even more difficult than in previous days. There was already a feeling that the lockdown was coming to an end. I saw a traffic jam for the first time in weeks and heard a deluge of hoots like a cacophonous orchestra tuning up for something they will never play. I hope I’m wrong, but yesterday’s lack of clarity will lead to trouble. It is not time to drop one’s concentration. A builder waiting for his coffee was laughing himself hysterically, a mule coughing in winter. I watched his spittle fly in the air into my direction. Thank God I was wearing a mask. And that was another thing I found startling, the Prime Minister not advising everyone to wear a mask outside or in an enclosed space.

The heat was excruciating this weekend; it could touch the mind. Today, however, did feel like winter. The sun has suddenly changed course and was heading away from our island. Warm weather will return before the weekend. I’m not sure that is such a good thing. Next weekend’s parks will turn into an unshackled celebration of freedom. People will appear like wasps to jam. Picnics, boozing and rousing music! The Police will have strict instructions not to let anything to get out of hand. For now, each side behaves civilly. Let’s hope it continues.

Sorry to moan. It’s not my style. The joy and excitement of meeting you in just five weeks from now! Yes, only five weeks! Gives me a lift when I lose faith in the world we are bringing you into. For that alone, I feel truly blessed.

With much 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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