I have been a fan of Desert Island Discs for a long time, as you can tell so much about a person when you hear their choices, as well as discovering new tracks and artists. My favourite episode is David Nott War Surgeon, who works at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and spends his holidays training surgeons in war zones. When David Nott met the Queen, he choked up when speaking about his work, as he was still traumatised from his latest trip. The Queen told him not to worry about talking and to his relief called the corgis in for him to pat instead. You can listen to this episode here.

I have chosen some of my favourite tracks, as well as tracks that helped me to stay positive during the worst days of the leak. You can click on the titles to listen to the tracks. I hope you enjoy them.

BE THE MAN by Rag n Bone Man

I have a leak caused by disc surgery that has been patched up nine times with glue, muscle, fat and blood patches. I have gone from being able to be up for 15 minutes, to being able to be up for six hours. I found that on the way to see the Neurosurgeon for a post-op eight week check, when I knew the patching had failed, it had to be Rag and Bone Man up full blast – Clive never daring to suggest we turn it down just a teeny fraction! It always has to be a sad or soulful song for me when I have to face something tough. The Happy Song would just be all wrong at a time like that.


This song makes me smile and conjures up the feel of the Caribbean. I really enjoy the trumpet part. Many happy memories of singing along with my boys James and Chris in the car to this one.

by Chumbawumba

The ultimate anthem to lift you when you are down, but not quite out. A great sing-along anthem at parties too, arms raised in defiance. Trumpets again in the instrumental at the end. I love a bit of brass and used to play the euphonium in the British Legion band until it got too embarrassing as a teenager.


This brings back so many happy memories of the 2012 Paralympics and watching the Last Leg late in the evening every night for a humorous round up of events. We went to the Paralympics and couldn’t believe the wheelchair basketball, the guys wheelchairs crashing over and then their immense arm strength flipping the chair back up. As a Physio, I couldn’t bear to even watch the Murderball (wheelchair rugby) on TV – brutal on the body! I loved hearing all the back stories of the athletes, which Clare Balding rarely even needed to check her notes about when she was chatting with them – amazing woman. I just loved that 2012 bonded us Brits together and made us proud again. So glad that Seb Coe is type A and did such a perfect job in charge! Favourite characters from the games Ellie Simmonds and Nicola Adams..


From the very first note this makes you feel so good. Okay yes, another London 2012 Olympics anthem, this time from the closing ceremony. We had our 30 year Physio reunion two years ago and my flat mate Sue chose this. She is a real triumph-over-adversity character. She became pregnant in our third year of training (she took the Doctor’s words ‘you have had a ruptured appendix and could be infertile in the future with all that scar tissue’ a little too literally). She took her written finals at eight and a half months pregnant, then had the baby and four weeks later took her practical exam. I have a picture in my mind of us preparing for the practical, with Sue sitting with her notes on one arm of the chair, baby in her lap, spag bol on the arm of the other chair. Sue happily revising, eating and dropping pasta on little Sophie. She still seemed to have limitless energy and enthusiasm and even got a merit in her practical. Inspirational.

WILLOW - Joan Armatrading

Two of our best friends had this as their wedding song – a very happy day and I love to sing along to it. I have a deep - and Clive says quite terrible - voice, so no high songs for me. I saw Joan Armatrading in concert and this track and Love and Affection generated such emotion. It’s funny how crying at music can be so enjoyable isn’t it?

YOUR SONG - Ellie Goulding

After three years of trying to have a baby, I remember hearing the Elton John version of this on the radio in the car after visiting some friends and their three super lads. I thought if the miracle occurs, this will be my song for them. I have chosen the Ellie Goulding version because Clive loves it and it will remind me of him on my desert island and of course James -now 17 and pushing every teenage button - and his brother Chris 15 and super chilled. (Sometimes I fear Chris would actually flat-line if they put an ECG on him).


The Highlander and Outlander series kept me going through several ops and I love this haunting song. We have some great Scottish friends who took us to look at the magical snow-topped Isle of Skye this year for Clive’s 60th. The song also reminds me of my favourite concert of all time – the Edinburgh Tattoo. The Lone Piper in the mist on the battlements was spine tingling. I always think it must be great to be Scottish.


Our family love James Bond and Aston Martins and this is our favourite Bond film – we love the Scottish scenes at the end, though very sad to see Judy Dench’s M killed off. Clive had an old DB4 in bits for many years that he couldn’t afford to get done up. He sold it to help buy our first house….if only he had kept it! Again more trumpets in this one….


This track Clive used to play to the boys in the car on the way to all their football matches when they were young. I love Queen and this makes me remember Freddie Mercury and many happy Sundays watching the lads play football.

Now the hard part - which disc would you save from the waves? I think it has to be Omi and Cheerleader as I am on a sunny desert island and it will conjure memories of the family singing along. Luxury item would have to be my pillow. Book choice – a learn to draw and paint book with artists materials and paper – I am rubbish at relaxing and love a project. I found the lying down regime after leak repair ops excruciatingly frustrating, and at one point when they were trying to avoid more surgery, I had to lie down for 22 days, only getting up to go to the bathroom. Ultimate test for a fidget, especially as it made no difference at all to the leak.

Would I do well with the practicalities and solitude of a desert island? I am pretty practical – as a child my favourite book was 365 things to make. My Mum was not a great fan of craft and having her table glued, so the book used to mysteriously disappear. I would definitely miss people. My friends and family have been amazing over my rehabilitation from the ops – dropping in to make me laugh and bring dinners. Clive is an old-fashioned Welshman and has two basic dishes – beans on toast and toast under beans.

Thank you so much, Sandie for such a super article! If you would like your Desert Island Discs to be included, please write to us at newsletter@csfleak.info

Smiling woman sitting on a couch.

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