My Desert Island Discs

“So, Miriam Drori,” says Kirsty Young and I’m thinking: why isn’t Roy Plomley here? because his is the name I associate with this radio programme. “As a lover of music, you must have had a hard time choosing just eight pieces.”

“I certainly did,” I answer confidently, because of course this is all made up, so I might as well make myself and my communication abilities up, too.

“How did you narrow your choices down to just eight?”

“I chose pieces connected to my life,” I say, because it’s what they all say and it happens to be true. Turntable-floating-view

I continue to answer Kirsty’s questions with ease and to explain why I chose these particular pieces of music.

  • Ledavid mizmor… (the prayer): The synagogue played an important part in my childhood, and my father often led the services there. I particularly remember this tune, for a prayer that is said only on special occasions. Most of the members of the congregation didn’t know the tune and so my father’s beautiful tenor voice easily rose over the rest. (I listened to several Youtube videos but couldn’t find the tune I know.)
  • Ma Nishtana: The seder night – the first night of the festival of Passover – was a specially fun time in our family. I enjoyed my moment of fame with this song, traditionally sung by the youngest person present. I was always the youngest.

  • Beatles – Here Comes the Sun: I grew up with the Beatles. I had to include them in my list. So I chose one that’s lively and good to dance to. I expect I’ll do plenty of dancing on the desert island.
  • Bach’s Double Violin Concerto: This is one of the pieces I studied at school, and it’s one that I love.
  • Paul Simon – Something So Right: I’ve always felt this song is about me. “They got a wall in China. It’s a thousand miles long. To keep out the foreigners they made it strong. And I got a wall around me that you can’t even see. It took a little time to get next to me.”
  • Rolling Stones – Brown Sugar: At university, this was the song I loved dancing to the most. I had no idea what it was about; I just loved it.
  • Back Street Boys – I Want It That Way: My daughter was just six when this song was popular. But she heard it a lot because her big brother liked to play it. So she learned it – words and all. No wonder she became a singer!
  • Vatikach Miriam: I had to include a song from the many I’ve danced to at Israeli folk dancing sessions. And why not one that’s lively and includes my name!

“Thank you, Miriam Drori, for letting us hear your Desert Island Discs.”

“Thank you for inviting me,” I reply. “I’ve enjoyed it immensely.”


Author of the Day

Stella Hervey Birrell knows about being concise and keeping to rules. All the posts on her blog are exactly 140 words long. She also draws simple pictures to accompany the posts. When I submitted a guest post for her blog, I managed the first but not the second, and was delighted with Stella’s rendering of Neither Here Nor There. Stella writes women’s fiction and is the author of How Many Wrongs make a Mr Right? – a novel I enjoyed and recommend.

Books Letters from Elsewhere

Letters from Elsewhere: Melissa

Letters from Elsewhere

Book Cover.


I’m delighted to be visited today by Melissa. I loved reading her story in Stella Hervey Birrell‘s novel, How Many Wrongs make a Mr Right? published by Crooked Cat.







Dear Bella,

Letters from Elsewhere picture 1The wee one is napping on me and all I can reach is this piece of paper and a pen, so I thought I’d write and say hi. How are you? What’s new in Edinburgh? I miss it – I miss you!

I’ve been really tired: he keeps waking me up in the middle of the night, bad dreams. About his Daddy mostly. I don’t know what to say to him, but I can’t sleep with him in my bed either.

Then in the day time he’s into everything, every minute has to be filled with something: by the end of the day there’s playdough out and drying, pens scattered in a jumbled rainbow, cereal crunching under my feet. Sometimes I just shut the kitchen and the living room doors, and go straight to bed.

Letters from Elsewhere picture 2How’s the new flat? And what’s it like, finally living with Darren? You looked so happy together at the christening, thank you for coming and for the gift. Ornaments are all very well, but your Boots voucher will be much more useful and I’ll never have to dust it.

I’m sure I’m meant to be a grown-up now. I feel I’m just pretending to know what I’m doing, parenting this wee thing. I miss just hanging out at the pub. And going dancing, although I can’t imagine staying awake for long enough. You want to see him sleeping on my shoulder, you would never think he gets up to any mischief. I’ve got a dead arm now, where he’s sparked out on it. I don’t know whether I should let him sleep just now either: will he be awake at night again? I’m just making it up as I go along.

Letters from Elsewhere picture 3But maybe that’s all any of us does. And maybe it’s better to wing it; if I don’t have a plan, it doesn’t matter when it all goes wrong. Like yesterday, when we ‘had’ to do potato printing (his words), and there were no potatoes, no paint, we’d even run out of paper. Lots of wrongs. So we went to the shops, and I looked up how to make them, and we did it together, after arguing about whether I was going to let him use the sharp knife. Maybe I am getting it right, some of the time.

Letters from Elsewhere picture 4I hope potato prints and cereal and rainbows are enough. I love him and all that, but sometimes I’m just too tired to show it!

Come and visit soon?






Stella Says

17.11.2015. Stella Hervey Birrell.
Stella writing at home.

Thanks for reading! If you’d like to find out what happened to Melissa, all is revealed in How Many Wrongs make a Mr Right? which is available from UK Amazon US Amazon Kobo Nook and iBooks.

How to find me: please come and say ‘hi’ in one or more of these places.