Dr John Smith

Dr John Smith has been selecting his desert island discs
Dr John Smith has been selecting his desert island discs

A few months ago I was asked if I would choose my desert island discs for a charity evening run by the Save the Children fund.

Easy, I thought, pen, paper, five minutes and I would have my eight records. No such luck.

It took weeks before I had compiled a list. It was not just the music, selecting what I like, it was the memories that went with it.

Music invites an emotional response and it is often our feelings about it that makes it memorable.

The exercise of choosing eight pieces of music thus became like opening a diary that I never knew I had and had not written in either.

The emotions I felt ranged from absolute misery and sadness to overwhelming joy. Events I’d forgotten came flooding back.

I now realise the things that are important to me in my life are important because of the associations that I have with them.

A piece of wooden furniture bought 40 years ago in Pembrokeshire, an oil painting of two children on a staircase, a candlestick, a picture frame, a book, a poem, a pot in the garden.

Nothing particularly important about any of them but all tied up with the life that I have led and the people that I have lived that life with.

It is what they mean that makes them important, that makes them valuable beyond price.

They sum up for me what has been important. Of course, there are the more obvious things, photographs, old Christmas cards, children’s paintings and poems – they do not get forgotten.

But it is these other things that suddenly awaken memories and feelings.

If we ever have to move and downsize, the thought of all our clutter fills me with nightmares.

But when push comes to shove it is just a few things, some books, poetry and music, a picture or two, a favourite pot and the odd photographs that will make me content and, of course, the memories and the emotions that go with them.