I LEARNED early that I work best under pressure; I never ...

Date: Friday 10th November 2017
Claire Driver
Claire Driver

I LEARNED early that I work best under pressure; I never planned it that way, but every Christmas I’d find myself at the last minute rooting around in drawers and cupboards for inspiration and materials for something to make for my mother.

My ambition usually outstripped my skills, so when, at the age of 10 or 11, I decided to make her a lavender-filled cuddly cat, I knew I’d need time.

Needless to say I prevaricated, and on Christmas Eve the attic was filled with the sound of granny’s old Singer thumping along as I frantically tried to adapt a teddy bear pattern into something vaguely resembling a feline.

It started to take shape in the pretty pinks and purples I’d dug out of the fabric box; it was turning out to be a very fat cat, oddly teddy bear-shaped, but with the requisite pointy ears and long twitchy tail.

Its paws were a bit “one at each corner” and its face was a picture of quizzical bemusement, as if it couldn’t quite work out how its life had come to this.

Whiskers were guitar strings that looked as if they’d been permed, but when I presented Mum with my efforts, she beamed with delight and I felt that overwhelming sense of joy that comes only from creating something for the people you love.

I chose simpler projects after that, although there was the time I decided on fruit jellies and presented the family with what can only be described as delicious ectoplasm. We ate it slowly, with spoons.

Alston and East Fellside county councillor CLAIRE DRIVER