Lorna was the least selfish person I ever met. She was hardworking and stoic.  Although she certainly deserved much better treatment, Mum’s approach was to ‘make the best of a bad job’.

She could be stubborn and strict but she was never unkind. I could always tell, when small, that she was planning some treat -barm brack toasted at the fire or, on special occasions, iced caramels. Her ‘maybe’ was, for me, actually a guaranteed ‘yes.’

Lorna was a good listener and someone with a rare sense of fun in a dour, tight-lipped time. It was a pleasure to make her laugh that infectious laugh. Actually, it was a great pleasure just to have a conversation with her. When younger (she looked like Ava Gardner) there was a fierce determination not to let standards slip. You couldn’t get away with bad manners or poor grammar.

She always did what she thought was right and was confused and saddened by cruel behaviour.

I can recall her perpetually baking, cleaning, gardening, knitting and making an endless stream of toys – from sandbags for Action Man to secret red indian headdresses, late into the night on the run up to Christmas. Her stuffed steak was incomparably delicious.

My mum came to hate Christmas and family holidays, however. These relied on her preparing and cooking and packing entirely alone. She seemed emotionally unsupported throughout long stretches of her life.

Even at five, I realised that buying her birthday earrings, on behalf of my father, offered no comfort.