When the kettle whistled it reminded me of her. And the times when we’d have coffee together. The morning coffee time was always around 11 am. That was when both of us had finished our early morning regimen and chores, looked into whatever it was that needed looking into and settled in the living room to have our cuppa Joe with a bit of idle chatter.

Our way of making it was clear. Defined. And shared. Boil the water first. Put the freeze-dried coffee granules in the mug. Then pour the boiling water straight into the mug on the granules. Oh the swirl, the spires of vapour and the smell! Well, the intoxicating aroma of coffee as it rose lazily to enchant your nostrils (and went straight to work on those coffee-affected fellows in your brain). You then topped that mysterious, black brew with a ‘spot of milk’.

The blue and white mugs would then be carried out into the living room. We’d decide where to sit. On the sofa with the mugs on the coffee table (yes that’s probably where it got its name from) or the dining table. One sip of the hot brew and the conversation would begin.

We’d chat about everything. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. The children. The house. The future. Politics. Upcoming Olympics. Even Wimbledon. A project I was working on. And yes, how a 30-second commercial took days and sometimes months to complete from beginning to end. And of course, what we’d make or have for dinner.

Such was my relationship with Mamma, my mother-in-law. I couldn’t have coffee without tearing up for almost a year after she was gone.