The kitchen is the heart of the house. The family is together there every day. The kids know more than they ought to about life and death but, with their ability to live in the moment (an ability which many grownups seem to have mislaid) they also know where the food is at.
After Laura, I often felt that just about the only constructive thing I could manage was to put a meal on the table. I couldn't bring Laura back but I could make sure my family was fed. Not the most naturally domesticated of men, I could at least do this thing. I found solace in butter, white wine and finely chopped shallots. Mostly the kids just wanted pasta but that was fine too.
I heard an Irish American comedian on the radio recently, talking about his upbringing. He said that his parents never mentioned or demonstrated love; it was meant to be inferred from the feeding. That struck a chord.
The other thing I could do was take pictures. I have more cameras than perhaps I ought to and I spend more time than I should at family gatherings peering through the viewfinder and twiddling the knobs in the vain hope of making something that's more than a snapshot. I have created a vast family archive in which I am almost completely absent. My presence, like the love – like Laura – is to be inferred.
At home, in the kitchen, my presence is more, well, present. With my wife, Louise, (yes this month's guest editor), Alannah, Michael and Oscar, the daily routine, the logistics, the noise, the demands for nice food - not the slop with the shallots and white wine - can almost make me feel normal.