29th May 2020

Darling Paloma,

Your mother went for another scan yesterday. You’ll know this, of course, as you were rudely disturbed and grew a little bothered. But who can blame you? There you were, curled up in the warmth of your mother’s tummy, and this contraption (it’s a scanning device by the way!) was being rolled over you. I’m sorry for the irritation, but we have to check that everything is going well. It is so extraordinary to see you. The tantalising sight of our girl growing in front of our eyes. And in my imagination expressing joy, excitement, screaming so loud as yet not heard; the lungful of breath and words still waiting to greet us. It is truly a miracle. I tried to catch a photograph of you, but you curl up before I can capture you properly, and then as you turn, and I see your face, so brief that before I register your beauty you curled again and I’m not sure what I saw in the first place.

The days are rushing by. A cliche for sure but it is true. We are heading for another weekend just when I thought the last one had just passed. Time is playing games with us. You will, of course, know that you have turned from your breech position to head down and ready to make your entrance. Your timing is impeccable although there is a problem with your choice of the month. The Lindo Wing sent us a letter warning us that I can be in the room for the birth, but directly afterwards I will have to leave the hospital and not return until you and your mother are ready to come home. Even then I won’t be allowed back into the hospital and will have to wait on the famous steps until we meet again.

It is no one’s fault, and I refuse to get upset; I suppose we can share some face time, and you will meet your brother in surreal circumstances, but I know he will understand.

This morning at breakfast, two magpies sat next to me – so close I could have touched them without reaching. I’ve always been superstitious of magpies—one for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy… I have this habit of saluting the one magpie’ good morning’ to ward off bad news. So I took the proximity of the two magpies as good luck!
It is peculiar how, in such subtle ways, our superstitions are born. There are many I now thankfully ignore: keeping my footsteps exactly on the cracks of the pavement, when the last of the contents of a bottle fit to just below the rim of the glass, opening an umbrella inside; yes, we all have signs! They help us to have faith when we have no hope, to quasi believe a little when we can’t believe a lot; they serve as private if nebulous links between today and those delicious ages of yesteryear.

Luck is definitely with us, and by the time our day arrives, I think a new set of rules will be in place and everything I’ve written today of being sent out of the hospital will be a short and distant memory.

With much love

Papa


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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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