22nd June 2020

Darling Paloma,

What news can I tell you today? Well, let’s start that it is all set for you to join us on Thursday at around lunchtime. I have to admit, though with the date looming, it makes me nervous to just write that down.

The scan at the end of last week was perfectly average, which of course is good news. The obstetrician was in a cheerful mood. He first talked about his family’s new arrival, a Maltese puppy, before turning to your mother. He complained that the puppy had overtaken his household. ‘ I want my wife back,’ he pleaded; I wasn’t sure I could help him.

We heard your heartbeat sound like a big bass drum. ‘ It has been a perfect pregnancy’, the doctor said when I asked him how he thought things had gone.’ But we still have the biggest hurdle to clear,’ which made me nervous, but he spoke with a calm assurance. It gave us the impression that we had chosen the right man to bring you into this world.

You mum has to go into hospital on Tuesday for a short visit to have her Covid19 check. I would be shocked if she was carrying the virus. As I write, she continues to have no symptoms and looks radiantly well. The other piece of good news is that the rules are changing “today”. I am now allowed to return to the hospital the following day from 12:00 to 7 pm. So it looks as if you will be spending your first days in this world with both your parents.

Yesterday was father’s day. Your brother called in the morning, and we decided to meet in the afternoon for a short walk in Holland Park. It was one of the parks we spent time together when he was young. I used to buy him ice cream from the store near to the playground. Then we would sit down and talk about so many things—your beautiful brother, who was and is so beautiful because he is kind. Don’t forget, and this may sound like a cliche but, “beauty and kindness go hand in hand.”

Looking back the moments we spent in London parks were times of bonding—your brother still of an age to listen to what his father had to say, and perhaps he always does, and I am harsh on myself.

Holland Park on a quieter day

The park was full of people enjoying their Sunday outing. The memory of a pandemic retreating even further into the background. People now free from isolation were all of a sudden transfused with new energy. It was as if an alarm clock had gone off in a monastery. Most were not wearing masks, and many paid little attention to give each other safe space. I waited for your brother to leave so as not to embarrass him before asking someone why he thought so many people were behaving with such lack of care. I approached a man who I thought would give me a sound answer; he didn’t disappoint. He at first tutted in the way some people do at the start of a sentence. The type that spends their life driving people into the ground, tutting at their every infringement of their own petty parochial rules.

He looked at me inquisitively and gave me a quote which I had heard before. I had to look up who it was from – an 18th Century politician whose name again escapes me: ‘ He that leaveth nothing to chance will do few things ill, but he will do very few things.’ He then marched off with his Pekinese without another word.

I looked at your mother today as she slept. She looked adorable, positively pre-Raphaelite. Seraphic. I sometimes hear her laughter coming from the top of the house when she is talking to her Spanish friends. I know they are so happy for her. It seems everyone is. It has always been her wish to meet you, and yet there was a time not so long ago when it didn’t seem possible. But now you are finally getting here and for that alone, making your mother so wonderfully happy, I will be forever grateful to you.

Sorry, I am being sentimental but if you can’t be sentimental on a week like this when can you?

With love,

Daddy

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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