Yesterday it was 30 years since my father died. That seems like quite a long time to be dead – although in fact it is only the beginning of an eternity and a fate that we will all share someday. It is, however, a long time to be without a father.

It’s hard to exaggerate the influence of fathers. There is the obvious one: the genetics. There are enough resemblances in my nose, my teeth – and, some might say, my temper too – to mark me as my father’s son. But my father’s real influence on me has been in much less physical, less tangible ways. He taught me ethics, he taught me manners. He gave me an outlook on the world. He showed me right from wrong. Perhaps most significantly, he taught me how to laugh and, more than that, he made me laugh.

Thirty years is a long time to be without that laughter.

I miss my Dad.