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The Memory Experience

Listen to The Memory Experience

Saturday 22 July 9.00am

Mariella Frostrup and Dr Mark Porter

BBC Radio 4 rips up the Saturday morning schedule as Mariella Frostrup and Dr Mark Porter launch the biggest ever experiment into collective memory. With contributions from listeners, specialist guests and celebrities, they set out to create a national conversation on memory and examine what we remember and why.

Expect tips on how to improve your memory from Professor Roy Jones, director of the Research Institute for the Care of the Elderly. Listeners will get a chance to win a great prize in our interactive auditory memory competition and we'll hear from Claudia Hammond how experts at Leeds University have teamed up with the BBC to create a unique online experiment which you can contribute to.

Guests include novelist Esther Freud who joins the team to discuss her childhood and how it's affected her own experience as a parent; Former MP and Speaker of the House Betty Boothroyd shares her memories of great commons moments, the legendary Murray Walker, the voice of motorsport for 50 years, discusses some of his greatest memory gaffs and we'll hear celebrity memory drop-ins from the likes of Bob Geldof, John Humphrys and Ken Clarke amongst others.

Meanwhile Mark Porter goes on location around the UK to explore memory through the different stages of life - from before birth to old age.

He talks to Professor Peter Hepper from Queen's University Belfast on the memory in the womb and to Dr Eileen Tracy on how best to revise for exams. How can we protect our memories from information overload?

It is scientifically recognised that 'Episodic Memory' - where we parked the car, or what we did yesterday - starts to change for people in their 30s. Prof. Roy Jones explains why the scientific understanding of why this might be and suggests techniques to cope with it.

Throughout the programme Mark and Mariella want to hear from you, the listeners. Share your tips and techniques, your most embarrassing memory lapses and your fondest childhood holiday moments plus take part in the Kim's game memory test live.


This page is now closed to new commments

Our memory survey is still open for your autobiographical memories

In teaching, we have to try to accomodate the students, and different people learn and presumably remember in different ways. We can learn by visual means, aural means or kinetic means. Some people remember by listening, others by seeing something, and others by doing it. For most of us, memory is a combination of those 3 - but maybe one is dominate. So memory seems to work in different ways. Scent is very powerful.

susan stoecker
My earliest memory is staring at the wallpaper from my cot,it had pictures of Bo Peep on it. I dont remember much from my childhood at all, but I do remember hearing music on the 'radiogram'- 'Hey Jude' and watching the curtains blow at the open window. Smell also helps me to remember;my grans soup, her perfume, the smell of a coal fire.I feel that I have a bad memory, I seem to remember snapshots, and big chunks are gone. I can read things from a diary that i wrote and have no memory of doing that or being there.Even now my husband says 'you know this' or' you told me this'.Sometimes I think he does it just to annoy me,because he remembers everything - every teacher, every house, everything he ever did!I really cant remember if I did or not.I am quite good with numbers, but hopeless with names and faces.I think I see people that i recognize, but as I live in the US now, its people I knew in Yorkshire or Scotland, so I know it can't be them. I have a terrible sense of direction; driving often nothing looks familiar even if it should be. In hospitals or large buildings I will always turn the wrong way down the corridor.Even knowing which lightswitch turns off the hall light. I have been unpunctual all my life not much just a few minutes,sometimes longer but rarely punctual. However soemetimes if I have to guess what the time is Its almost spot on even if I dont have a watch on.Is there any truth that there is a form of dyslexia that ties lack of sense of direction and being unpunctual?I am not sure about the bad memory part.

Dan Jon (Cz)
I can recall some situations from my childhood when I was a two year little boy (now I am 29). The most interesting thing is that I can still see those situations very clearly in my head today, I can even feel the specific emotions which I felt that time. All the more strange is the fact that nowadays I have a lot of problems to remember where my wallet is or what I wanted to buy when visiting a shop. Why are we often able to remember very old things whereas some events a couple of hours old disappear like a puff of smoke? The memories from early childhood may be better stored just because the emotion from experiencing something new is strong enough to mark memory forever. At all events, the human brain is an amazing tool and I guess it will probably stay a mystery for some time.

Chris Baldwin
I was 2 years and 11 months when my younger sister was born at home - I remember entering the bedroom upstairs with my older brother and sister to find my Mum in bed with a baby in a carry cot at her side. Mum said to look in the foot of the carry cot and there we found little gifts that the baby had "brought with her!" Mine was a little box of blue lego pieces but my brother's was a box of yellow pieces and I really wanted them instead... life is so unfair at that age! We grew up in Woodcote Road in Wanstead, E11, and I remember the cows going down the street to graze on Wanstead Flats and eating the hedge as they passed...

Joyce Yendole
This morning's programme about prospective memory 'rang lots of bells'!! with me! As my MS has progressed, I find I need more and more triggers! Even though I know perfectly well what medication I have to take and when, I always have back-up from my mobile phone to remind me. Normally, my tablets are on my tray besid my food, and anyway I know to take them with this or that part of my meal. But away from home? Ah!! My usual triggers are not there - food is different, eating out, conversation with others, all transpire against me. Even the noise levels in the room prevent me hearing the phone, if it is my bag! I have found that my phone works best when IN my pocket, because I am then aware of its vibrations. And I have to act on it stright away, or I'd be so distracted with my surroundings that I'd forget again! I'm afrtaid I use my phone to remind me of all sorts of important and trivial things, simply because, even if I DO remember things, I can't rely on doing so! It's fine if I can do it straight away when I remember, but that isn't always possible - hence the chaos which would ensue if I were ever to lose my mobile!!?!

Chris Horrobin
A man on the Wed 16/8 programme quoted a book title "The Machine Stops" as being by H G Wells. That apparently Wellsian story was actually by E M Forster. Now was that an example of incorrect knowledge, or a momentary slip on the basis that Wells was a more likely author of such a science fiction plot.

David Siebert
On the program on 16 August, a speaker stated that "The Machine Stops" was written by H.G.Wells. His memory failed him. It was, of course, E.M. Forster.

David Coxell
Being a regular Radio 4 listener, I always hear each episode of The Archers twice. When the repeat is broadcast, I immediately visualise where I was or the car journey being undertaken when this episode was first broadcast the pprevious day.

Maurice Green
I can't understand why Mariella was surprised that a professional musician can remember 18 hours of music. As an amateur guitar player I can learned one bar at a time because my sight reading is no good - the score was for reference. I may be no great guitar palyer but the little I learned had some feeling undistracted by the score. I learned Scot Joplin's "The Entertainer" - all four rags - twelve years ago by heart and can remember the intro and first few bars only now ( affected by alcohol). I arranged Bach's CM pre3lude (1st from WTK) myself and can remember more than that.

John Osborne
If I fail to recall a name easily I deliberately do not bother. The ? goes into my subconscious. Frequently the answer pops up unbidden later, maybe hours or days later.

I've just read a comment from someone who remembers things after a period of "not trying to". I have the same way of dealing with a lapse of memory. If I'm trying to remember a composer's name while listening to the music, I try for a few minutes then say to myself, give up and relax your mind, just think of nothing. Amazing how it appears just like that, almost as if I've given the thought time to find the bit in my brain where the name is stored! Weird.

Alison B
If you still would like earliest memories, mine is of the interior of a cottage where we were evacuated in 1944 so I was 18 or 20 months. The staircase opened directly into the sitting room, & years later the family confirmed that this was so. I also remember the white fringes on the canopy of my pram, which was returned to the lender before I was 2. I do hope there'll be opportunities to hear your series again: we've been swamped with visitors & unable to listen. Many children must remember patterns: my earliest was of wide formations of silver shapes in the sky, moving at identical rate and in one direction. As this was towards the end of the War, presumably they were heading to Germany.

Hi Alison - yes we would still like memories, please send them to the survey via the share section of the site

I was once hailed in a busy street by someone whose face I didn’t recognise in the slightest. He addressed me warmly by my first name and launched into telling me how so-and-so was doing, asked me how so-and-so was and so forth. Embarrassed because I simply couldn’t figure out who he was but because he seemed to know everything about me, I stalled for time. The only clue I could ascertain after five long ridiculous minutes of this was that he was a musician, like me. He then invited me to join him for a drink. In the bar I endured the strange discomfort of being unable for the life of me to establish who on earth this person was for the course of two whole pints of beer but as the conversation had steered off into more general topics of the music business, politics and the like, it didn’t seem to matter. Tantalisingly however, I’d figured out he was a drummer by dint of a casual reference he’d made. I soon found myself enjoying his company and left my seat to other a third round. It was standing at the bar when the penny finally dropped. The barman put on a popular CD and winked at me significantly. My ‘friend’ was now a household name in the entertainment world and the connection was we’d actually gigged together in a garage band in the comparatively recent past.

Ann Johnson
My earliest memory is at 2-3 yrs of age looking out of a small plane and seeing tiny boats with sails. (My mother had apparently taken us on a flight over to the Isle of Wight). The next memory is presumably on our return when I saw my mother put the toy scottie dog in the black boiler which sat in the corner of our kitchen because I had been sick over it. I often get very worried when viewing birds that look as though they are not alright - often incorrectly! My mother told me (although I do not knowingly have this memory) that at the age of two she and I were in a local park and standing with the park/game keeper. I was looking at a bird just nearby when the park keeper raised the gun he was carrying and shot the bird. As I say I do not have this memory but it seems it did have an affect of nervousness with birds that appears in trouble. All this was 67 years ago!

Chris Martin
My wife and I have had a long standing dispute where she says I have a bad memory because I forget to do things at a certain time. I dispute this as I think it has nothing to do with memory, I am just preoccupied doing something else at the time! There does not seem to be a word to describe this effect and "bad memory" is just not suitable. I can remember names and past events better that her, but she won't have it!

I have noticed that if something happens when I am drinking, I may not be able to recover that memory again until I reach the same level of intoxication on another occasion, and then the memory comes forth unbidden. This has happened consistently enough not to be just a co-incidence.

Bryan Fletcher
A some stage in my youth, I'm guessing at 8 or 9, I saw fit to learn the alphabet backwards. I have no memory of the process of learning it. I think I took the trouble to do so as a result of a 6d bet with my grandfather. I can sill remember it (I'm now 69), though my memory generally now is poor for day to day things (losing keys, wallet, diary) I do not recall a single instance of the knowledge being useful.

My problem is not remembering, it is not being able to forget. At 78, my most enduring memories are of things I would sooner forget. Embarrassing moments, going right back to childhood, come unbidden to my mind, complete with all the associated emotions. I have to quickly find some absorbing activity to make them go away.

I fear your explanation that 40 year olds' memories are primarily impaired by busy lifestyles doesn't ring true. I'm 44, living in China and have a very unpressured lifestyle - 20 hours' work a week, no phone, no family, but plenty of healthy food & exercise. Yet my once good memory has demonstrated real decline in many forms - recall of once-familiar English and French words, accumulating and retaining Chinese (written and oral), absent-mindedness in daily activities. At the same time, I continue to get regular unprompted flashbacks from nowhere of cricket grounds I played at or country lanes I cycled down or houses I visited in the course of my work over the last 30 years. I clearly have a lot of things still in my head, but diminishing control over their retrieval - but stress is not a cause of the impairment.

I have just listened to the part about studying whilst listening to music etc. The presenter was very definite that teenagers should study in silence. I think that paople's brains work differently and that what works for some doesn't work for others. My husband and I are both in our fifties. I have always found, going back to 'o' and 'a' level days right up to the present time, that I work best with background music. This fades into the background but stops me being distracted by little noises or just'nothingness'. My husband on the other hand hates any external radios etc and likes to have silence.

david john
my most annoying memory loss at present is in "mislaying " THINGS! I can "lose" my secateurs many times a day in the garden. I have to retrace my steps if I can remember them & usually find them. My wife is no help at all "saying" Where did you have them last!

Spelling - Auditory versus sound memory I studied to degree level and never had a problem with idiosynchratic English spellings. When I was about 30 I studied and passed A Level English. The process of studying poetry seemed to allow me to open up to listening more to my feelings/intuitions and gut reactions and that had a huge impact on my life. In addition, since then I noticed that when writing using a pen rather than a keyboard, I sometimes begin a word with the second or third letter. Secondly, increasingly I am inclined to spell phonetically rather than using the spelling I have learned. I discussed this with a friend who has studied learning difficulties including dyslexia and she suggested this was because I am now using auditory memory (based on the sound of the words) rather than the visual picture of the spelling. This makes a lot of sense.

Gloria Brown
Looking for my key to unlock my front door, I was sure that I had forgotten something whilst shopping in my local shops. Checking my handbag to see if I had my purse, just couldn't think what it could be. Suddenly I went cold as I thought of my very new baby lying in the pram outside the grocers. I had forgotten him and ran as fast I could back to the shop. Fortunately he was still there - fast asleep. Didn't do it again.

terry telford
I think it is easier to remember the answer to a multiple choice question than to a straight question.

Michelle Nolan
I'm 43 and often go upstairs when i'm doing the housework and forget what I went up for. ( Hope this is normal at my age ! )

david white
I have a terrible memory for names but amaze myself with remembering a persons voice,particularly on the telephone when obviously I cant see them and even when I havent spoken to them for a long time- sometime years ago.Very rarely am I wrong but would be very hard pressed to describe any one voice.Is this an unusual ability and how come each of our voices are so distinctive?

jill freiberg
Although I thought I would find the programme on Saturday fascinating, I did find that listening to accounts of other people's memories was as interesting as listening to other people's dream accounts. In other words, of great significane to the teller, but less than riveting for the hearer. I did find the factual content, ie, research, extremely interesting.

Wendy McMullan
Re the problem of finding things you have put "somewhere safe" but which you cannot find again, what about labelling a big box "SOMEWHERE SAFE", and putting everything you want to keep inside it?

Gaynor Daniel
My contribution to the programme was dismissed by the guest professor who stated old people remember good and bad. I did not state otherwise. My comment was based and concerned with the fact that in an emi (elderly mentally ill) unit that i worked in, residents who, because of mental illness appeared not to have active and conscious control of their thoughts, displayed repetitive stress about traumas or distress that had happened in their lives. These stresses varied but nevertheless the communication was on the down side rather than the up. It prompted me to question the american research that several years ago said we only remember the good. If that is true under normal circumstances does a form of mental illness restrict the ability to suppress traumatic memories. Bernard t smith (this site) claims we have no consciousness (nor subconcious) without memory. That is my interest that without apparent conscious control i.e the ability to initiate a conversation, the verbal communication (not conversation)was often about something that had caused stress in their lives and that memory surfaced repeatedly.

Stephen Shelley (Wales)
Personally, I found it much easier and succeeded in getting a good grade degree by reading and revising whilst travelling, especially on trains. I would read the script and then try to remember it, as I looked out on the scenery. When in exams, I used to go through the stages of the journey where the detail of my study would have merged into the scenery.

mark London
I often tell the story of how I read To the Lighthouse by Virgina Woolf about six years ago and went round telling all my friends what a marvellous book it was. About six months later, while leafing through stuff left over from university, I found I had written a 5,000 word essay about it about 15 years previously. Reading this didnt jog my memory at all, it was if my memory had been completely wiped. I should say I have a 'bad' memory generally for past events, people etc and always have.

David Seymour
Some years ago, my job involved production of a tape recording each weekday. One day on arriving at work, I noticed that there was no recording for the previous day. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't remember what had happened that day to disrupt my work - in fact I could remember nothing of the day. Remarkably, on asking a number of colleagues what had happened that day, none of them could remember anything at all about the day either!

Barbara Kearney
My husband and I were going on holidays to the Lake District a few years ago. We very carefully packed a small suitcase with the bare essentials - and then just as carefully completely forgot to put the suitcase into the car! This was only uncovered when we got to the campsite, pitched the tent, had a barbeque and then started to hunt for our pyjames.

Rosemary Nelson
I have an underactive thyroid which affects concentration and memory. I'm not alone in this as there are many people like me who, for example, used to enjoy quiz shows but are now reduced to knowing they know the answer but are unable to access it!

Pam Dudley
I was 9 at the beginning of the war and I have a vivid memory of the day war was declared. I was helping my aunt put up a black-out curtain in the downstair's loo when it was announced over the radio. Can't remember anything else except when we were evacuated on the Warwick Castle to South Africa.

Kathy J
I remember going to the circus, aged 3. The clowns came out of the ring into the audience. I was terrified and hid under the seat. My next memory is when George VI died in 1952 - I was 5. I was with my Granny on a bus and she cried - I couldn't understand why.

Helen Olry
Found your programme most enjoyable - well balanced between serious information and more lighthearted stuff such as the anecdotes. Hearing other people's experiences and preoccupations as well as your specialists remarks was reassuring ! I think the idea that we are all much busier today is valid. It is true that we are racing around, often trying to pack numerous activities into our lives that are already more than exhausting thanks to professional and domestic duties. I'm sure I am not the only person to frequently find myself doing one thing, talking about another and reflecting on a third topic simultaneously ! And this I find makes me forget things - especially domestic issues - but it's more because I wasn't paying as much attention as I should have been. One thing is sure, at 47 my ability to learn and memorise is waning but I persevere and know I will have to do so forever if I want to remain alert. For example I started learning Spanish two years ago and was quite startled by how difficult I found it to memorise conjugation and this despite a fair amount of experience with relation to learning a foreign language (I speak three other foreign languages). Anyway, it's a challenge and one I'm prepared to take up ! I look forward to the other programmes on the subject.

Sue Beach
first memory from childhood that I know was mine rather than one I was told was a visual memory of my wallpaper in my bedroom. I remember staring [with my nose almost touching the wall] and I think I can remember standing on the bed feeling a bit wobbly and supporting myself with my hands on the wall. The memory is of the pattern of the wallpaper - it was very ungirly! - a repeated pattern of a tallship with masts and sails, made of wood. I can still produce a mental image of this ship if I close my eyes. memory lapses procedurally going to a cupboard that used to contain the items I am looking for when those items (plates) have recently been moved to a new cupboard. Know this explicitly but procedural memory overrides - habitual. car position in a car park when you park it somewhere different every day familar face but in a different context can't place the name - recently had a conversation on campus with someone I thought was a student - only to realise half way through the conversation that she was the wife of a friend! She just happened to be doing a course at the university.

James Knight
Fantastic programme I would NEVER forget anything that Mariella told me!

neil gilroy
Often transpose phone nos given to me particularly in the second set eg 832 no prob next set 4356 I will write down 4365 is this common?.16yrs old swore could not remember Man U 1st team of the day but did so by repeating names constantly and can still remember now(66yr sold)but cannot remember names period of friends old,nor can I bring up appropriate words that I know, nor Film names(I love Film)when I want them.yet at age 14 memorised full page of Science study for an exam.basically lazy minded in sense that I am interested in the immediate and what I can effect,not so much the nostalgic though I do get affected when that kicks in. The Brain appears to be a complex organ that is like a car its only as good as its driver the learning process needs to be structured in an interesting way,it encourages it(the brain)to absorb the subject.

Keith Walker
First to arrive at school one day I tried to disarm the school alarm (only 30 seconds to do it). After 30 seconds and several attempts the alarm went off. I'd been putting my cash card pin number into the keypad instead of the correct code! "Senior moment?"

Peter - London
At last! recognition that the "safe-place=sock-drawer" syndrome has value.

louise ellis
my first memories include. listening to the light service eating lumpy poridge before going to school on cold dark wet mornings by a warm coal fire.I must have been about 5 and this memory is happy and includes my mother, brothers and sister. I can remember being ill, (not going into too much detail), and not being able to go to nursery I must have been 3.I also remember moving house at this time. Infact I remember lots of things at this time. Going to the pub with my grandfather on a horse and cart and being given lemonade, then the horse taking us home with no instruction it knew the routine. I love the smell of pubs could be my outings with Grandad but also my Mother was a barmaid and I often visited her as at work as a child. Infact I could write a book of my memories as a child. Now at 53 I forget, names of people and things,where I've put things, appointments, recent events, what I've learnt on training days and things I've read. Lists and diaries help. It's depressing to feel out of control, sometimes I am amused by my own memory failings but its serious if its work or effects others. Good to know I'm not alone, seems most of the country have memory problems. I can remember 1 particular year at school better than I remember last year.

A Acharya
I really liked the programme. I have been researching into autistic savants, and many of them have "eidetic memories" (photographic). Often it comes in cases where the temporal lobe has been damaged. In fact one savant can recount pi to 22514th digit! Further, some people have been hypothesising that we could all have these fantastic memories but due to our "normal" function it has been surpressed

Some observations: 1) prospective memory (eg. remembering to do something tomorrow, or rather forgetting to do it) is the weakest link, hence the "to do list".2) what's the earliest memory ? ie is it possible to remember things that happened when you were 2 years old. One of my earliest memory, from when I was about 4, is seeing a speedboat race across a moonlit sky. Honest, it's there in my mind's eye and I can even remember thinking that's wierd when I was young. Either it really happened or I'm confabulating.

Katrina Campbell
When I returned to work after maternity leave, I found I had forgotten my computer password. However when I sat at the computer, I found that I could remember the finger movements necessary to type the password. By watching which keys my fingers touched, I was able to find out what the password was. It was a very strange experience

a sutherland
Two points related to sat 22 July 9.00 am R4 programme: 1. Will we ever know how many elderly folk have memory problems caused, or at least aggravated, by medication? So often GP's hand out different pills like handfuls of smarties to troublesome elderly patients. What studies have been made of the effects of even " harmless" everyday drugs like aspirin on memory? 2. Is having a problem with the ever-present and loud "background" music to most TV and many radio documentaries these days, related to age? At 74, I find such music intrusive, irritating, trite and often an insult to the high standards of filming and commentary. Importantly, it also interferes with my memory of the programme contents. Perhaps it has the opposite effect on younger folk, especially if most of them, as the R4 programme suggested, are quite used to having music with everything, and actually use it to improve memory during exam revision? ( I can't help wondering how long before we even get the news read out to a deafening accompaniment of mood-setting "background" music.........)

Was listening to the programme on Listen Again and got a little embarressed when they started talking about listening to music while revising for an exam, as that's precisely what I was doing to while I was listening to them! They'd probably say speech programmes were worse in any case, however, it's a Maths exam and everything I'm reading is in German. I can't tell you if seperating aural and visual stimuli into different languages helps, but I had to switch off the radio to write this and I couldn't remember the word stimuli for a couple of minutes so no, probably not.

Beverley Fielden
Dear BTS, Human memory involves a much more complex phenonemon than simple mathamatical algorithms can describe. Memory is fallable and subject to many influcences and mistakes. Memory is subject to confabulation, misinformation, and the socialisation pocesses. Memory is not just a simple liniar process of nuerons in the brain. I do not believe that AI can mimic the diversity of the human processes of memory.

Todd Landman
Memory is best improved using mnemonic devices. The world of mentalism (magic effects parading as paranormal powers) has a variety of really effective mnemonic devices to make the magician/mentalist appear to possess extraordinary powers. The best mnemonic device is to have a good system of 30 tags that you know and to which new pieces of information can be added using visualisation. Mentalists have used this technique for ages (

Jan Prince
Part way through a series of therapy sessions to improve my communication skills, my therapist referred to my childhood sexual abuse. I have no memory of this and told her so, and asked her why she thought I had been sexually abused, and she said that I had all the symptoms of sexual abuse. When she realised I was totally unaware she moved the therapy session into different areas. I have always remained intrigued as to whether I was sexually abused as a child, and if so, what affect it is having on me now.

Nick Taylor
For as long as I can remember I have believed that my earliest memory is of falling into a pond aged about 2. I am nearly 55 and thinking back, however, I no longer remember the actual incident. What I can remember is the family tradition that it happened and it's really hard to get behind that to the real memory - if such a thing exists.

I have an enduring memory failure which is pretty shameful: I get my children's names muddled up. For nearly 15 years I have called my younger daughter by her much older sister's name. I have even introduced her to people by the wrong name, and only last month I wrote a note to school explaining the absence of her 28 year-old sister. Oh dear.

my recent memory lapse was a work one, I was writing out an appointment card for a client of mine. On the card is space for my telephone number in case they need to contact me e.g. to cancel. I wrote my office number then added my mobile number as much of my work is peripatetic. My mobile number is 11 digits long, I have always been able to recall it, I have had the same number for 8 years - I wrote (fluently) the first 10 digits and the pen stopped - I could not recall the last digit, I began to recite numbers 0-9 in my head in the hope that a flash of inspiration would come - it did not, I had to look it up - luckily I had written it in the front of my diary in the 'information' section, although it took me some time to remember that I had written it there. Embarrassing!!!

i recently remember reading about the watergate scandle. (In a Nieser book)

How come John Dean could testify about Nixon and the conversations had in the whitehouse with such clarity??

Is it that he used Mnemonic devices? Or is it that he had amazing recall for the jist of the conversation?? Or did John Dean simply have recall because he had several coversations about what happened in the whitehouse??

I would like to open this subject for debate

?Selective memory loss?

As I was listening to the programme this morning I was bugged by being unable to remember the name of a woman I saw at the theatre last night. I know exactly who she is - we worked together for many years in a hospital, she is a fine actress, I've even stage managed plays in which she acted. The odd thing is that I can never remember her name whilst I'm usually pretty good on names. I have blank spots about a few other people too. They don't seem to relate to anything negative. Scrolling through the contributions to this web page I chanced across someone with her christian name, and instantly I had the surname too!


Suzee Moon
I enjoyed the programme, then realised that last night my friend G and I (yet again!) were discussing frailty of memory and I forgot to mention this series of programmes that I knew about and to which I intended to listen!

I am interested in issues around recovered and ‘false’ memories although I have mixed feelings about issue of false memory. I do know memory is open to ‘corruption’ and stuff I have read elsewhere confirms this. I worry about the use of ‘false memory syndrome’ as an instrument to undermine the levels of abuse I believe to exist, but I have actual proof of an innocuous false memory of my own.

I ‘remember’ that I went to see the film ‘Carrie’ with friends and that a certain occurrence in film startled me so much that I swore out loud. And I remember my friend M laughing hysterically. M swore she wasn’t there, but I remembered her presence. Later I was looking through my diary and I’d listed those who went to cinema – And M wasn’t there! So although I ‘remember’ her presence I know it is a false memory. I know enough about memory to realise that we tend to remember the retelling of the memory more powerfully than actual memory, so of course the anecdotes of my false memory actually strengthen the image of it!

Jonathan B
After at least a year of using the same code on a door lock at least two times each week, one morning I had a complete mind-block. I just could not remember the code and had to ring someone else to remind me! That was a few months ago now and it hasn't happened again. Odd!

mary vanderpump
When listening to the sounds you recorded to identify the missing sound I couldn't immediately recall it but on listening to your programme via listen again, it suddenly came to me - 'wimbledon' - well tennis at least. Is there any reason why I could recall this much later in the day but not immediately/

How? Can I have forgotten already - what was Dr Eileen Tracy timetable for best revision.

It was at four intervals, but what intervals?

After a Day? Week? Month? Term? Year? Err- that's 5 - so somethings wrong.

Mike Curtis
Memory ability makes a huge difference in life. eg. Career progression through passing exams.

I think that 'memory skills' should be a subject at school.

John Healy
There are three aids to help improve your memory. 1.Memorise a short text daily on a subject of interest. 2.Write down things you need to remember.

peter portsmouth
Excellent programme, but where do you answer the missing sound quiz? It was the cricket match

Suddenly, music playing in a hotel lobby in Bloomsbury; Sinatra, singing "The Summer Wind". I'm transported back over thirty years to Christmas of 1969. Nearly at the end of primary school; getting ready to move house and part from old friends. I buy the CD, play the song - nothing. Well, maybe not nothing - but certainly not the intensity of emotion felt when taken by surprise.

Christine S
From August last year, My memory suddenly got worse, (Mot very good when i was trying to learn Spanish. this went on for a few months. In Dec after coming back from holiday the smell of gas was very strong ( I thought I could smell it after the meter was changed in August, my husband said that everything had been checked). I called the gas emergency, and yes there had been a leek all along! Needless to stay thank goodness i'm alive and my memory has returned to my normal.

Cathy Pemberton
Fascinating programme this am [R4, 9.00-11.00]. Missing sound was sound of cricket match (ball on bat).

Paul Curry
What about the phenomenon of room reminders? When you forget something and return to the room where the thought was conceived,the memeory is miraculousy retrieved.

very worried about Matthew Hutcheon's ability to pass his exams based on his spelling! It's interesting to see the differences ( in spelling ) between this entry & that from obviously older people. Is that anything to do with memory or how we oldies were taught?

Hi, I bought a book forty years ago called "How to develop a super power memory" by Harry Lorayne. One of the demonstrations in the book was a table of 100 four digit "pin" numbers. I can still remember all these numbers perfectly. The phonetic memory system is very easy to apply and really works!

Daphne Henry
I listened to your programme this morning and found it most interesting. Very well presented. I have suffered from memory loss over the last four years - ever since my hip replacement operation. The medical authorities said that it was due to the anaesthetic but offered no advice or help. I would appreciate knowing whether this is a valid reason and whether the effect will be permanent

Agreeing with Eva, wondering why so many people think what they remember and what they forget is so interesting when so much of it is just the same old drivel.

Chris Giles
My father fell off his bike on his way to work and bumped his head. He then went on his way. He arrived at work (some 5 miles away) and seemed a little confused and was made to sit down and rest. When he 'came round' he had forgotten how he had got there. Later, someone who had seen him fall and asked him where he lived, called to see if he was OK - despite the fact that the address my father had given was not his current address but that of his childhood home, and where he hadn't lived for over thirty years.

Theo Spring
Interesting programme but why oh why when you are discussing memories did you only give out the telephone number for the quiz, once - the first time, and no mention of it the second! Where is it on your website - couldn't see it anywhere? I got the answer right and was very frustrated at not memorising the number. If you did not get the response you hoped for, may I suggest that is why!

LucyAnn Palmer
I was interested to hear Emma Johnson talking about the process of memorising music. My daughter Ruth Palmer is a young professional violinist and has just recorded a "pack" which includes a CD of her recordings of Shostakovitch Violin Concerto No. 1 and his Violin Sonata as well as a DVD which is a documentary following her learning process of the concerto, including extracts from consultation lessons with Professor Andrievsky who heard the premiere of the concerto, given 50 years ago by David Oistrakh; seeking guidance from Gerard McBurney, a composer and expert on Russian Music, interviews with Shostakovitch's widow, Irina Shostakovitch, and with Shostakovitch experts in St Petersburg. Ruth talks about what memorising techniques work for her and why the work is significant for her. Well worth watching the DVD and the CD is fantastic too - and I'm not just a biassed mother!

Peter Eastwood
It isn't only the elderly who forget things! I came home one evening and was surprised that our Border Collie Jess didn't come to welcome me. When I asked where she was my 15-year-old son Jon said "Oh no! He had been to the local supermarket two hours before with Jess and had come home leaving her tied up outside. We dashed down to find Jess anxiously watching the door waiting for Jon to come out. We got a real welcome from her!

Fiona Seltzer
if i am listening to a radio play while doing a jigsaw, then redo the jigsaw years later the play comes back to me.

joy milligan
This is not a memory but an observation . My mother had Alzheimers disease and lived in a care home. In the last few years of her life she didnt recognise her family, nor did she remeber how to construct words,yet when the signature tune of Home and Away came on the television she sang it clearly and correctly from start to finish. She also remembered the words to hymns. i often wonder how this happened.

Peter Eastwood
Hugely encouraged because I remembered the Sounds of Summer with no problem. Waves, ice cream van, tennis match (missing on replay), bees, Surfing song, beach or playground children playing, blackbird, garden mower. Not sure where people heard the cricket match!

Penny Hatfield
I have recently been away for a 6-month tour of Europe in a campervan. On my return I could not find my car keys. I searched in all the places that I would normally have left them. In desperation I sent a text to my son asking if he had any idea what I had done with them. To my absolute horror he told me that I had phoned him on the day of my departure, discussed what I would do with them, and decided to leave them in the biscuit tin in the pantry from where he would collect them on his routine trip to the house to check all was OK. I had absolutely no recollection of either the phone call or the decision to leave them in the pantry! I am 65 and beginning to worry about these lapses!!!

Thea Quinn
I think it is important to say that two years ago (aged 52) I lost not one but two jobs because of memory and concentration problems. I was very worried as my mother died after at least 10 years of Alzheimers and we felt she showed signs much earlier than that - in her early fifties. I went to my GP who took an armful of blood tests and referred me to the local memory clinic where I was told by the consultant that I almost certainly didn't have Alzheimer's but she referred me on to a neuro-psychologist. While waiting for this second appointment the results of the blood tests showed that I have an under-active thyroid which has a significant effect on memory and concentration. I have also had Fibromyalgia since childhood.

When I saw the neuro-psychologist she ran extensive tests from which it was obvious - to me, never mind the consultant - that there was only one small area of memory that was at fault - retention of a sequence of new information. This is the short term memory loss common in middle-aged people. Boy was I relieved to discover I was "normal". I've been on thyroxin for two years now and can say that my memory and concentration is significantly better than it was before I started taking it. I do still have minor problems; for instance I have been teaching one lesson a week for the last 11 weeks, to a class of 26 14-15 year-olds and there are still several students whose names I either get muddled up or simply don't remember. Tricky for class control, but nothing like as frightening as not being able to remember where I was in a work task in which I was interrupted or what my boss had just said to me - something that doesn't happen any more. I hope the Memory Experience will cover conditions affecting memory and concentration particularly those which can be improved with medication. For professional reasons I have used a pseudonym.

Nicola Wilks
Optimise results from your revision and cramming while in the exam room:- Keep a sheet of paper to note down all the bits of information that come to mind 'at the wrong time' - i.e. that are relevant to other sections of the exam paper that you are not actually writing about at the time. When you get to the other section you have bits to refer to that you may not otherwise have recalled at the 'right' time. This is a great technique. It reduces exam sress because you are not trying to remember information for all the sections as well as write up the one you are on. You can think in a far more relaxed and focused way. Pass it on...

Helen D
I am very interested in memory in all it's aspects, and will have to find time to listen to all the programme at a later date.

When I was pregnant with my daughter Anna, we attended a Beach Boys concert in San Fransisco, where we were living at the time. It was held in a large hall normally used for boxing events, and the chairs were of a basic metal tubular structure. As you can imagine the amplification of the music was extreme and you could feel the 'Good vibrations' of the rythmn through the chair and your body. The unborn Anna spent most of the time I was at this concert, wriggling around. I was, therefore, most interested when in her early teens as she begun to choose what music she wanted to listen to, she played the Beach Boys a great deal!

Arthur Powell
I am seventy six and the only school teacher I can remember is a Miss Thomas who used the shaep edge of a ruler when we did not do as told. Is this because the punishment received. My earliest memory is being taken to a Chemist at the age of two to collect medicine for my mother who was ill following my farthers death, once again a sorry time.

Sheila Pinner
Is there anything that can be done to improve a person's ability to not get lost? I find it very difficult to find my way around and even have to have a coping strategy work (not a big place) for getting back (if there is a window it is wrong ie W W window wrong!) Sheila

Golda Conneely
The first time the sounds were played I could not name the missing one, but the second time I knew at once it was the tennis match. By the way, to remember which is whch between stalactites and stalgmites, the former have to hold on tight to the roof, and the latter might grow up to the roof.

ros clements
I'm finding your programme fascinating: I tried to associate the summer sounds with personal experiences; The first time they were replayed, missing one out, I found it impossible to remember the missing one, although I knew where it was placed in the sequence. On the second playing, I could remember which it was, but couldn't remember the phone number to ring, which wasn't repeated. Well, really!!

what about the "deja vue" experiences, any feelings on this?

Dave - Bolsover
Oh great! A competition that rewards people with good memory and deductive powers.

Just the thing to make those of us without those skills feel even worse about the fact that our memories are not very good and cannot instantly identify and remember what a sound relates to.

Not content with making us feel even worse about ourselves, we then are beaten over the head with the fact that we cannot remember what is missing!

Whose bright idea was this one then?

Clare Furlonger
Memory loss is not inevitable as people age. My mother is 82 and has a brilliant memory - particularly for general knowledge. She can recall specifics from a very wide range of subjects - far better than any of her 4 daughters who are all university educated professionals. She is reasonably active and reads a lot but does watch a lot of TV. We think that Who Wants To Be A Millionaire should have a special series for the elderly to help others realise that memory loss is not inevitable.

Sandy Glover
Memory lapse? Who forgot to tell listeners the number to phone for the memory test? Please ask someone to repeat it on air.

Mike from Maidstone
I have, this morning, returned from Cambridge to Kent and have enjoyed your prog. Last Thursday, I went to the Cambridge Arts Theatre and heard Ken Dodd (age 78yrs) give a 5 hour monologue performance with only about 40 minutes break! He finished at 12:20 a.m.!! How about that for a memory!

Charles Savage
There is a name for memory loss in the over sixties, CRAFT's Disease where Craft is C(Cant) R(remember) A (Flipping, in polite society) T(Thing)

Jim - North Lincs
I got the missing sound but then could not remember the telephone number to call !! It was the sound of the tennis (becuase it was placed in the kitchen).

Marion Dewar
And again. You have to keep working at memory. My mother has dementia and when I visited the Memory Clinic in Bath with her I decided on reaching 60 to present myself. I was pleased to get a result of 100 out of 100; but I have to say, that I read a lot (still lose the plot sometimes!) but use the computer a lot; using a variety of programmes and internet for research. All grist to the mill.

Boxed eggs are useful - a mnemonic for spelling beauty/iful that we learnt at school many years ago.

Linda Firsht
My earliest vivid memories are when I was between 18 months to two years old. They were verified by my mother. I remember incidents, the clothes I was wearing and what happened to me. Is this very unusual? I am now very close to receiving my London Freedom Pass so quite a time ago!

john williams
On embarrasing memory lapses. I was once a witness in a minor court case involving a trader selling items but failing to declare his earnings while in receipt of benefit. It had been some time in reaching the courts but at last my big moment came and i had a chance to read my statement just prior to taking the stand so was confident I would give a good account. All went well as i described what I had had seen and had even tackled well questions from the Defence. However at the last moment the judge asked if i recognised the trader ( yes sir) Is he in the court today (yes sir, indicating the accused) What is his name? My mind became a complete blank and it felt that every eye in the court was upon me, after what felt an eternity from some forgotten chamber of my memory a name came forth and escaped my lips all were then satisfied. Even now after that mini trauma, I have once again forgotten that name.

My friend Bunty had just bought a house with a very overgrown garden. She had the bright idea of inviting all her acquaintances to a garden clearing party. The reward would be a delicious meal based on a Hawaiian luau. The property ran down to a river, and on the day of the party Bunty dug a trench, made a fire at the bottom of it, placed a piece of corrugated iron on top of the coals and put several foil-wrapped stuffed sucking pigs on top. These were then covered and the trench was filled in. Everyone worked hard all day, scything grass, weeding flower beds and lopping trees. Finally it was time for the meal but there was just one problem. Bunty had forgotten where she had dug the trench and hadn't marked the spot. It was almost midnight and most of the riverbank had been dug up before the food was finally found. It was the most delicious meal I have ever eaten - but maybe that is just because "honger is die beste sous" (hunger is the best sauce).

I can't remember my card numbers, my bank account number, and it took me a long time to memorise my mobile phone number. But I remember the address of the house I lived in until I was 4 years old, the registration number of our first three cars - AVY 688, RKA 543 and SLV 943 - my grandmother's Coop number - 183508 - and the names of all the children in my form at prep school. I remember a bomb exploding near my grandmother's home in Liverpool, where my mother and I were living (my father being away in the RAF). I remember being terrified of vacuum cleaners, because their noise reminded me of an air raid siren. I remember the Suez Crisis, and our history teacher Mrs Buchanan striding into the room and announcing dramatically: "Israel has marched into Egypt." A baleful silence descended on Lower 4 A.

Marion Dewar
Again: Oops I've forgotten what it was I wanted to say. Ah yes. I have noticed that people don't seem to listen properly. The number of times I tell people things e.g. so and so's brother in law came to such and such; and in the next breath the person being spoken to is way behind in comprehension and obviously didn't take in the information. I think this happens with most ages. I recently heard a young presenter asking a woman where she came from when the woman had just provided this information! I think in this fast-moving society people really don't listen to each other.

Lynn Cooke
Because I have Barrats oesophagus,I have to have an endoscopy every two years. I always have a throat spray rather than an anaesthetic,to minimise the after effects. I had an appointment in April this year, my husband drove me to the hospital and after quite a long wait I went in for my proceedure. When I came out my husband felt I was confused but I said that I thought I could go home.On our way home we had to pick up a new car from a local garage but I had no memory of us having made arrangements for this. As I was asking more and more questions about this my husband became increasingly worried so took me to see my GP who, thinking that I had had an aneasthetic, assured him that the affects would wear off. I remember none of this. During the evening I apparently became increasingly distressed as I could not remember anything which seemed important to me. For example,I could not remember recent events such as that we had a new grand daughter, or that we had been to San Francisco for a holiday, indeed anything at all that had happened in the previous six to eight months. I was asking the same questions over and over, every two minutes. My husband wrote out the questions I was asking and the answers and told me to carry it around with me as my memory. I woke at about 2.30 in the morning again very distressed but now able to remember some of the previous six months. I still have no memory of the proceedure itself or any events until 2.30am on the following day, in all about 12 hours. The hospital have since confirmed that I only had a throat spray and that this would not have caused my memory loss. My doctor has refered me to the hospital to investigate what happened but he has wondered if I had a temporary blood loss to my brain during my endoscopy which disrupted my memory.

Martin Hillman
"It's not that we lose our memories as we get old, it's just that we can't access them," to paraphrase one of the people on the programme. But there's really no distinction between the two in English – memory really means the things that we can bring out and talk about, not the mysteriously stored data.

I was worried I was losing the capability to remember things, especially in work and working in a pressurised academic environment this was not good! One morning I was making some tea in the kitchen at work and a senior lecturer in Mental Health Nursing came in and asked me how I was doing. My response was that I felt okay, but was worried I was losing the some of my memory capacity. I explained that most of the time, information I was given was not staying in my mind. She could see I was quite upset by this, but then went on to explain that I wasn't going mad or anything, but that the brain can only take in and absorb so much information. Obviously everybody is different, but when the brain is given too much information it will only remember certain bits. It is the persons way of 'coping' with information overload. We went on to discuss this point for a while and what a relief I felt!

Bob Roberts
Ok - I know what the missing sound was. But I've forgotton the phone number to enter the competition.....

victoria fontaine-wolf
I am a portrait painter and one weekend I was at a party and a very pretty girl greeted me. I couldn't recall her face at all but pretended I knew her, It turned out that I had spent 2 hours the weekend before drawing her! At the time I was doing many drawings up to 12 most weekends.I wondered if my brain was automatically deleting my subjects as unneccessary information? Victoria

Bob Greenland
Although your presenter has an unusual name, it is not her name that i remember but her vary pleasant and distintive voice. i believe she presented a programme a few years ago called a small country living. Am I right?

My own memory is appalling. I completed two years as chairman of a tourist consortia and was giving the annual report. As I was speaking I knew that i wanted to thank the secretary who I had almost daily contact with, sitting beside me. I forgot her name and waffled along far longer than planned in a vain effort to remember. Eventually, I had to admit to the audience and her my memory lapse. More recently i was introducing my only son to a group of people and introduced him as Stephen instead of James. Where Stephen cam from I have no idea.

John Ryan
When a teenager ( in the '50s ) I used to listen to music whilst doing maths & science homework - often by trawling the short waves for a "suitable" station ( often nice Middle Eastern music ) - or by listening to "Europe Numero Un" - a French station on the long wave, which seems to have helped my occasional uses of the French language, as it exposed me to people babbling francais.

I wasn't given much advice on exam technique either at school or University. What did work well was advice I received when studying for a professional body in my mid '30s. This advice I have subsequently given to HE students, with the commendation that, if followed, " it will enable you to pass from a position of total ignorance!". And some did! The advice was aimed at getting students to give themselves enough to do in the exams I set them, including an initial task, that, by the time they were running out of steam and freeing up mental capacity for panicing, it was now too late, and they had already got enough scoring work om paper to cause them to pass.

I'd like to tell you about my worst memory lapse - but I can't remember what it was. The one I still regret a lot was leaving a Czech-English dictionary ( bought in Praha ) and 'phrase book ( birthday present from late wife ) in a bar in a hotel in the Tatras, and not finding out till we got back to Prague, when the vicissitudes of getting the books out of the locker of the barman who found them meant that we had to abandon them.

Jackson Marshall
Just listened to the sound memory quiz - I listened and struggled to think what the missing sound was, however I knew exactly where it was missing from - the bees sounded wrong coming after the ice cream van!! The more I tried to think what summer sound I was missing the more I couldn't remember it! I decided to give up and started to tidy up when the word suddenly popped up in my head - I had not been consciously trying to remember it and had already decided I couldn't remember. It's a 'technique' that has worked in the past - not that I consciously thought of this at the time. Is this a way we recall memories that are hard to find? My only problem now is I can't remember how to let you know the missing sound and get the chance to sponsor an elephant!!

mike wilson
Often when not remembering a name, or place, etc My wife and I are sure we know the word begins with a particular letter say for example T. We trawl through names beginning with T and usually find the name we are trying to remember !

Norman Sprigitt
I really wanted to listen to The Memory Experience, but I forgot what time it was on.

Adrienne Fry
Where do I find the telephone number to respond to the quiz on Summer sounds? I cannot remember it from when Mark Porter last said it. I do remember the day Mark Porter visited me at home in my sick bed as my doctor and bumped his head on the rather low beam leading into my bedroom. I'm sure he doesn't remember that. What is the significance of certain things we remember that others forget, having experienced the same experience, albeit from a different angle!

Tony Thomson
In general I have an excellent memory, but I make absolutely furiating (for me) slips. I will know the name of someone, but as I speak it I realise that what I am saying is incorrect. I don't understand why this happens. It is equally true for other words (typically nouns). I am fully aware at the time that the word is not "connected" to the memory, but I seem to be powerless to prevent it.

Tony Sturley
Two couples met to have dinner at the house of one. While the wives were making the final preparations, the two old boys were chatting. One old chap told the other that he and his wife had had a great meal out the night before. "Where was it?" asked old boy number two. "Oh, damn, I can't remember" said old boy number one, "but wait a minute...what's the name of that plant with thorns and flowers with a nice perfume?" "Rose?" suggested old boy number two. "That's it." said number one "Hey Rose" he called "where was that restaurant we went to last night?"

Chris, Bristol
An example of where remembering something is not always advantageous -a couple of years back I placed a radio on the car roof while we loaded it up. A short time later I was driving home and suddenly remembered the radio, which was still on the roof. I of course stopped immediately .....unfortunately in my enthusiasm I stopped a little too sharpely, and was presented with the site of our radio sailing over the winscreen and crashing into pieces in the road ahead of us!

Tim Cousins
Listening with interest, I have had problems remembering all sorts of events that I have been involved with. I only discovered this when I was around 14 or 15 when the dishwasher broke down. My only memory of this event is the man coming to fix it, he was very annoyed with me as he had been several days before and fixed the machine and I had let him in and it had been fixed on his first visit. I have no recolection of the first visit. I am now 42 and my wife mentioned an event that we took part in a few years ago and I have no recall of this either. I try not to be too disturbed by this. I am dyslexic and have a visual based memory. has this anything to do with my memory lapses

Lynn Hunt
I always considered that I had a good memory until I was pregnant with my first child at 24 years old. My good memory disappeared overnight. I could not recall where I had put an object 2 minutes beforehand! I spent ages looking for my purse one day. I suddenly realised what I had done when I found the butter dish next to my handbag and knew to look in the fridge! I have always believed that my memory has never recovered from pregnancy. Am I right?

chris from Nuneaton
Re: hiding jewelery My husband took me away for my 40th and I couldn't decide whether to take a gold bracelet that was my grandmother's, in case I lost it, or whether to hide it in case we were burgled. Months later I couldn't find it and eventually I assumed that I had taken it with me and lost it. It had great sentimental value so I was a bit upset. I found it 11 years later - at the bottom of a pair of fishnet tights buried at the back of the underwear drawer (always useful for dressing up) Don't give my name cos my Mum will find out!

Emily Anderson
We have heard that REM sleep, when vivid dreaming occurs, is crucial to memory. Is there a correlation between good waking memory and memory for dreams? I never remember a dream, or even that I have dreamed. This contrasts rather sharply with the ability of some friends to rattle off full narratives. I'd be interested to know whether there's an explanation for inability to remember dreams and, also, whether it has repercussions for waking life.

Barbara Maines
Very important to consider how you access the data - whether you use visual, auditory or kinaesthetic input. We all have preferred channels of input and these will significantly effect the short term and long term storage. Easy to test - attention to this can help us all, epecially children learning more slowly than their peers.

Firstly - a poem learned as part of French revision almost 40 years ago - I don't remember much French but I still remember this. Always conjugate with etre, rester, tomber, mourir, naitre, all reflexive verbs you know, devenir and come and go.

Secondly - a question. Has any research been done into whether childhood memories are stronger in closer knit families, who perhaps stay in the same geographic area? I often wonder how much is actually remembered and how much is something that is talked about over time and then remembered.

Hi I am Dyslexic and have a very poor working memeory. I constantly forget words , names etc. often in a conversation at work, i might try to ask for a copy of the risk management report,have risk management on the tipof my tongue, catch sight of the office frigde and end up asking for the fridge mangement report. I do spoonerisms all the time when i dont want to. it cna be embarrssing when you ask the mangaer about the winimum mage. and as for newmonics-foget it! i can't even spell it!

I felt a rush of pleasure at seeing a familiar face from the past in the high street. The woman standing outside Marks and Spencer store with friends and been at college with me, hundreds of miles and quite a few years before. I rushed across and greeted her warmly, apologising profusely for not being able to recall her name or which of the several colleges I named I could remember her from. She looked at me in puzzlement for a few moments and then said, as she and her friends collapsed with laughter, 'I'm Shona - from the office!' I'd last seen Shona the day before - at work !

Ian Lee
My earliest memory was when I suddenly clicked into existence. I was laying in my pram outside the front door. It was just 'me' suddenly there and I have been here ever since. I remember laying in that pram a lot, the things on a string stretched across in front of my face, being wrapped up tightly, urinating into my nappy - the pleasant warmth followed too quickly by the cold. The absolute relief of defecating and wondering how it could get out with that nappy in the way. Later, sitting in a highchair I remember when all the fuzzy background noise of parents talking suddenly clicked into recognisable speech. I remember the moment I stood up from sitting all on my own on the step on our garden path and walking unaided for the first time. It was just before my 2nd birthday and I was getting a lot of pressure to do it. I think I just didn't want to, I wasn't ready. Apparantly my mum was very worried and the doctors thought I might have got brain damage from a premature birth. I remember walking the full length of that path and the people next door clapping and cheering when they saw me. Lastly in later years whenever delerius with fever from flu or various childhood diseases I would always have a very vivid dream of my actual birth. It was always exactly the same. Whether this was a memory coming through I don't know.

David Wilson
The answer to your missing sound competition is "cricket". Why am I submitting it here? - Because I forgot your phone number!

marek gabrysch
regularly forget my blind and slightly deaf dog. left her in a car park last week. remembered the tennis sounds were missing but can't recall the phone number to call I have sporadically taught night classes but have been unable to recall student's names after three terms. It gets to an embarrassing point that beyond which I cannot continue to ask them to remind me. I need to see names written down to remember them. I find that there is an instant forgetting of names if I am speaking or engaging in introductions but as a third party I have more success

RIchard Harris
I remembered your sequence of sounds perfectly and identified the missing sound instantly. Then, between reaching for the phone and dialling, I forgot the programme's phone number... (and it isn't on the web site)! Richard

Sandra Lovegrove
(1) 5 years ago we went away leaving builders working in the house, so for security I wrapped my jewellery together in a small plastic envelope and hid it away, saying aloud "no-one will think of lookiong in there". 5 years later ellery is still missing.

(2) Walking to the station oned morning I was joined by a young woman who greeted me by name and chatted to me for the 5 minutes walk. Her face was familiar but I could not identify her, I excused myself for being late for work etc. and only days later when I saw her again I realised she was my next-door neighbour.

(3) I attended a lecture and was approached by a man who called me by name and asked me how my work was going etc. I apologised for not knowing him. He was had been working in my office for a couple of years - only 8 of us - I had even kissed him on the cheek at a party!

Ciaran Brady
Really interesting program and to be honest I felt a sense of relief after listening to Ken Clarks "brief" memory comment. I am a software engineer who can work on a project and know every line of code intimately. Every nut and bolt will be in my head. When I break from that project and start work on another, within a very short time, all the detailed knowledge of the first project will just slip away. I can revisit the software, and within 2-3 days get a degree of familiarity - but I always feel like my memory tends to hold this knowledge in a box and when I start a new project, the box gets largely emptied, ready for the new knowledge. Great program

I think the missing sound is children playing, I had to email because I've forgotten the phone number!

Jude Elliott
I work with people who have dyslexia which often means a difficulty with working memory. Strategies that work for remembering how to spell a word for example, are multi sensory, i.e. using as many different senses (visual, auditory, kinesthetic etc.) to get the information into the brain. Choose a strategy that works for you as an individual and over learn (repeat) it. So the number of s's and c's in spelling 'necessary' may be remembered by drawing a picture of a shirt, writing down 'necessary; one collar, two sleeves' using the correct spelling of the word. You can even highlight in colour the c in the word and the collar on the picture and in a different colour the s's in the word and the sleeves on the picture.Thus you have a visual reminder, and an auditory reminder, as you repeat the word, the spelling and the strategy out loud. Strategies like this are good practice and work for many people, not just those with dyslexia.

Helen Day
I often forget words (eg several years'ago a crossword clue 'if you supply the turkey he will stuff it, I knew the answer was 'taxidermist', but at that time couldn't think of the word).I am aways worried that it is alzheimers (or as my husband says, Junior Dementia); presumably menopause could be a culprit. Lack of sleep certainly could be a culprit as I sleep badly - waking in the the night, often for several hours. Is sleep aided by sleeping pills as valuable as natural sleep?

Bev Holt
Memory test answer Hello there, I think the answer is somebody playing tennis (Wimbledon?. I had to laugh, as I think I may know the answer, but couldn't remember the telephone number when you gave it out (what does this say about my memory?). Great show Many thanks Bev

Pat Harrison, Godalming
A few years ago I ate about 3 plums straight from the tree in our garden, without washing them first. Not long afterwards parts of my memory began to fade - I couldn't remember how old I was, or my husband's age, and at one point could not remember who I was. Thank good ness my memory came back after about half a hour and I haven't experienced that kind of lapse since. Needless to say I now wash plums before I eat them. Does Dr Porter know anything about this kind of lapse? Some sort of fungus on the fruit maybe?

Henry Jones
Many years ago my mother, whilst busy in the kitchen, was asked by my eight year old brother where he might put the leftovers of his supper; these usually went into our dog Badger's food bowl. Distracted and hands full my mother looked at the floor where the bowl was and snapped "Put it in Rupert's Handbag like we normally do." We stared...

Ian H Robertson
Wierd drunken memory twist. I 'remember' going to a cash machine when inebriated and convinced that the dang machine was faulty as it was not recognising my PIN number. It was only the next day that I realised that I was using my PREVIOUS PIN number that I'd not used for several years. Was I living in a time shift?

Anne Osborne
Kim's Game answer: The sound omitted was the cricket match.

lapses of memory? I'm sure if my memory was better I could remember more examples of the things I have forgotten !!

I really thought this programme would be interesting, but I've never heard such old drivel! Boring people telling 'amusing' memory stories, which are just everyday things that happen to everyone. My mum left my sister outside Boots in her pushchair, someone just told that same story as if she thought it was interesting to complete strangers in some way. All those memory aids are ones I was using when I was at school (I'm now 40). Can we have more interesting discussion and less 'real people' nonsense. I thought you'd got rid of Home Truths because people don't want all that cr*p. I was looking forward to new developments and understanding on how things work.

Alison Bradley
The missing item was the game of cricket, but you gave the phone number too quickly for me to digest it as heard on a rather crackly radio!

Matthew Hutcheon
Regarding the coments made on the earlea program about revising for exams. Whilts revising topics at 1 day, 1 week and one term intavals sounds a good idea, most GCSE students (i am one) only finish there cource a few day befor the exam. Ofen i fing the most importants bits, the summing up etc, are in that last week.

Smell seems to be the sense that brings back memories most immediately. Think of holidays abroad or Christmas trees. Many students use lavender to help retrieve what they've revised. This is user friendly as you can just have a few drops on a handkerchief to sniff as you're studying and again in the exam. However, many 'experts' suggest listening to Baroque music while studying - as the 'beat' is supposed to be the same as that of the heart and has a calming effect. What they don't seem to explain is why this works with the generic 'Baroque' when this style of music, as all others, has many variations of speed/beat!! However, this does seem to work when the beat is 60 (as the heart beat). Has anyone tried an experiment where students are given a tape of music all played at this speed which is then played in the exam room as well? As one of the guests said, if the students have been listening to music while revising, they find it hard to retrieve the information in silence. The problem would be getting them to listen to music chosen by their tutor!! On a completely different area of memory - those of us who can't remember what we went upstairs for until we come back down shouldn't worry. Think of it as nature's way of keeping us fit!!!!

Jayne Lewis
I have just listened to the sounds quiz. I think that the sound of the cricket match was missing but have forgotten the telephone number to ring!

One morning I looked out of my bedroom window and couldn't see my car anywhere on the road. I thought it had been stolen. While I was wandering whether to report my car stolen I suddenly remembered that I had driven it to the local coop shop the day before and walked back home completely forgetting that I had taken the car. Fortunately it was still there.

Norman Russell
now aged 76, is it usual for persons of my age to have extreme difficulty in remembering immediate events, i,e have I cleaned my teeth having just entered the bathroom, the remarks about finding a car in the car park is typical, long term memory is recalled with ease, I am very concerned about alzheimer's with the tradic long term results.

Anthony Parson
The missing sound was the tennis game

Bill Cawley
I have a very good memory and can recall memories from the past clearly. I am 51 and I remember at the age of 5 with my parents being in Trafalgar Square and being caught up in a Committee of 100 demonstration against nuclear weapons. People were sitting down and being arrested all around us as we hurried through the Square.

Another experience on that visit to London at the time was amusing tourists in Madame Tussards by giving a little lecture on the Kings and Queens.

BT sats you are giving out the wrong phone number - please give it again for the competition

Elizabeth Bailey
I remember being at a party and telling someone an anecdote about my best and oldest friend whjo I have known since I ws about four years old -I'm now nearly 42. 'What's your friend's name?' asked the person. Blow me, I just couldn't remember! 'Can't really be a good friend,' said the person sniffily - but she is, my mind had gone completely blank! I had recurrence of this symptom when I became pregnant and my head emptied of all useful facilities...

Diane Marks
Hi, I'm the other aspect. I lost my sight 9 years ago and if anything my memory is certainly much much better when remembering phone numbers, university worketc. The one thing that seems to affect me is that as I have no light perception whatsoever i cannot remember people's names as I battle to put voices to names If I'm around those people all the time then yes, I remember! I learnt how to touch type in two weeks and learnt to read braille in eight months after my sight loss! Isn't neuroplasticity a fantastic thing! ! !

John Radford
OK Memory Lapses - How come we remember them? 1) I know what sound was missing, but cannot recall the number to call. 2) I put the electric kettle on the gas stove 3) I used to get to the fridge and open it, look blankly inside as I couldn't recall what I had come for. 4) Driving to the office on Monday morning, I parked the car, locked the door and was about to walk into my squash club ... 5) The day the wibbly wobbly bridge opened, I had organised a meeting in the office but stood in the queue to go over the bridge, and totally forgot about the meeting I had organised. John Radford

Jenni Fleetwood
I was giving a talk to a writing group. The man running the group was Mr Harris and I knew that at the end of the session I would have to thank him for inviting me to speak. I am hopeless with names so I thought I would try the trick of imagining him in a setting that would act as a trigger. So I dressed him in a kilt and had him playing bagpipes on a Scottish Island. At the end of the talk I stood up and fervently thanked Mr Lewis.

p> colin whyles
Look! I know the answer to the memory quiz but Mark said the number to call so fast I cannot remember it! Not fair!!

Sara, Wiltshire
During conversations, a word will just go out of my head or I completely forget what I was going to say. This is causing me a lot of embarrassment. I read a while ago, a report saying that hairdryers may be a contributory factor to poor memory, is this true?

Ann from Cheshire
How do professional dancers memorise so many dances? Is it triggered by the music, or 'muscle memory'

gabrielle perry
I am really enjoying the programme here in dublin. I have my own embarassing memory lapse to share, here goes! several years ago i finally did my driving test, to say i was terrified was an understatement even though i passed the theory test with full marks. on the big day i spent the morning revising safe distances, speeds, road conditions and felt confident enough. I met my instructor and we went into the test center. there were five or six other people waiting all much younger than me. they were all worried and i heard myself telling them not to worry they would be fine. soon the examiner came in and called out a name and we all sat there waiting.He said the name again and we were all looking at each other. my instructor nugded me and said "thats you". i was so embarrassed when I stood up but everyone laughed and i passed the test first time. imagine not knowing my own name.

Cherry Williams
Shortly before my son's wedding I dreampt that I was driving up the M4 to the wedding, when I realised I had forgotten my wedding clothes. I told everyone about the dream, on the theory that once told it wouldn't happen. The following week driving along the M4 to aforesaid wedding, I remembered the dream and almost simultaneously that my wedding clothes were still at home hanging in the wardrobe.....!

Neil Povey
I once forgot to attend a friend's wedding. I have no idea why - it just totally slipped my mind until it was too late! Some years later, I forgot another friend's baby's baptism and felt so awful. Things are getting worse however - this year I forgot my wife's birthday, though on the plus side, it was while we were away at a friend's wedding!

I remembered the missing sound...but couldn't remember the phone number!

Jim Boff
Another mnemonic for mnemonic Memory Needs Every Means Of Naming It Correctly

Mary P
I am 59 and my husband died earlier this year. I have got through by keeping myself extremely busy but have found that since then my memory has been a lot worse - although it wasn't brilliant before then. However I have just recognised which sound was missing. So maybe its to do with not storing memeories well - or that things are looking up - lets hops so.

Is it true that we have to deal with as much new information in a year that a Victorian had to cope with in a lifetime?

At 64 I can remember with absolute clarity the number plate of my father's first car when I was 4 - Crk 589 Ditto for his next car just a few years later - HLR 660 I have had my current car for over ten years. Its number? it begins with M! I couldn't tell you more than that!

Amanda Bonnick
I am an actress living in Worcester, currently in rehearsal for Twelfth Night and learning lines is a big concern at the moment. I think that one of the keys to remembering is that what you want to remember has to matter to you and has to haave some meaning - some obscure or strangely punctuated lines are much more difficult to learn. Plus, on the night of performance, one of the tricks is to trust your memory. On the painful occasion of drying on a first night, I can trace it to trying to hold the whole play`s worth of my lines in my head at one time and panicking because I couldnt. When I relax and have faith that my memory will provide the next line, it comes! This is linked in to remembering through physical cues as well, moves and responses to other actors, so it is easier to learn lines when they are linked to moves developed through rehearsal.

Val Smith
Is their such a thing as a 'dyslexia' for recognising faces? I have a very poor memory for faces and my brain seems to take a while to interpret them. Sometimes, in that few seconds while my brain is taking in a person in front of me,I make the wrong response, giving the person the wrong impression of me. I have been known to walk past people I know well with no recognition or start up a conversation with a complete stranger thinking they are someone else. In fact, on one occasion at work I saw someone waving at me and it was a while before I recognised the girl as my daughter!

Peter Wise
The bees are missing

Neil Povey
With regard to how listening to music affects concentration on a task, I find that it is more of a distraction than an aid. However, I have also found that white noise from, say, the dishwasher or washing machine, is a huge help. The constant watery rushing noise seems to prevent unwanted random thoughts from creeping in and allows me to pay full attention to the task.

Corinna Jane Flight (MS)
Tennis Match (Wimbledon?)

John Wolstenholme
I work as a Hypnotherapist in Winchester. Sometimes I’ll have people come to see me to try to remember something that they’re desparate to remember. I developed a method for addressing this, which involves:
- Relaxing (very important for remembering).
- Taking the person through the physical context of the loss – getting their imagination to go over the clothes they were wearing, the weather, who else was there, the situation, etc.
- Taking the person through the physical attributes of the item, using all of their senses (its texture, its sound, its smell, etc).
- Taking the person through their emotions at the time (eg, rushed, calm, angry, etc).
- Using a ‘pin-point’ technique to quickly focus the subconscious on the lost information or item.
A typical use was a lady who lost the number to a combination lock. Within half an hour, using this technique, she’d remembered the number. She actually didn’t believe it was the right number and immediately went to try it. It was of course correct (and I made sure that she’d recorded it!).

Paul Patrick
Sometimes it is not the memory that you lose but the context and that can have equally disasterous results. Once, at a late night AIDS benefit I enthusiatically greeted two long lost friends at the theatre bar - "How are you?" "Fine and you?" "It's been ages." This went on for some time when I suddenly realised I didn't know them at all. They were two actors with prominent parts in one of our more popular soaps! As I embarassingly climbed down from this false intimacy they laughed and said not to worry it happened all the time.

Caroline Andrews
I have a terrible memory for just about everything. I can never remember any of those mnemonics for remembering things either!

One of the worst manifestations of this is that I can't remember faces or names. I get people coming up to me in the street and I chat away to them, praying that they will drop some sort of clue as to who they are. Most of my friends are very kind about it and don't get offended.

I once went up to a woman I thought was a friend of mine, but who turned out to be a stranger. We had a nice chat and went our separate ways. A few minutes later I saw my friend and went up to her to tell her about my gaffe. It was the same woman!!! Fortunately, she was very nice and we had a good laugh about it.

I sing and I used to enter competitive music festivals. Once I was singing Elgar's "Where Corals Lie". It's divided into several sections, two of which are very similar - but NOT the same. I got these two mixed up and I could see the poor pianist flipping through the music to keep up with me. I decided to keep going and we at least finished the piece together!

As for remembering where I was when Princess Diana died. I'd been out to a dinner with my former employer, his wife, my colleague and her husband. The firm was going down the drain and our boss had had to let us go, so this was a farewell dinner. I got back home in the early hours of the morning, clutching the lovely book on paintings which I'd been given as a parting gift and as I was getting undressed ready for bed I turned on the radio and caught a newsflash about the accident.

I'm very good at languages and can learn a language in a blindingly short time, but I can't remember it unless I keep it up. I learned Flemish from scratch to a commercial translation standard in less than 6 months but now, after 9 years, I can only remember a few words. The same with Greek and the seven other languages I used to know. Yet, if I go to back to the country, I remember the language and am fluent again within a few days or so.

Angela Mackworth-Young
ELLA FITZGERALD and MAC THE KNIFE ... ... forgot the lyrics when she was performing 'Mac the Knife' live. AND it was being recorded. But it's become one of her most memorable songs because she continued, despite the memory lapse: 'What's the next verse To this song now? This is the one now I don't know. But it was the swinging tune, And it's a hit tune So we tried to do, Mac the Knife.' And on she went for three or so more verses, her band accompanying her as if she was singing the right lyrics, until the end when she got a standing ovation!

Cathy Guthrie
More a question. The discussion about listening to music and studying/revising was very interesting. I have a 14 yr old daughter who insists on having the TV on while she is doing her homework. She's starting on the curriculum for her Standard Grades (we live in Scotland) when school goes back - I am seriously contemplating the first ever real tough love decision to find a way to stop the TV being on while she does the homework from here in. I'm convinced it is far more distracting than even talk radio - what is the expert view?

Phil Brassington
A mnemonic for necessary, based on the old detactable collars my father used to wear - one collar two studs - one C two S.

Martin Holloway
I was making coffee when your summer sounds memory test started so I didn't switch the kettle on as it's noisy. At the end of the test I poured cold water onto the coffee - forgot I hadn't boiled it!

John Ledbury
When I was younger and asked to recall something I had a huge feeling of certainty when I recalled the right answer. Now older I notice the feeling of certainty is just as strong but the answer isn't always right. What is this feeling of certainty, and how does it attach itself to a memory?

Francis Dunstan
1) I was leading prayers at Church and half way through the Lord's Prayer forgot what should come next. (from then on, I always had the text open in front of me).

2)I always have problems remembering people's names when being requested to introduce those I've known for years to others.

Paul C
I listened to ? Naughtie's report from Alexandria yesterday re Suez. What struck me was a childhood memory I've always had of climbing into my parents' bed as normal before getting up for school. My father was reading the paper which had a fullspread photo of the Suez invasion - as we lived near an airfield that still had Lancaster bombers which flew over our house I could relate to the photo and found the prospect of waves of bombers flying over the house exciting. I can remember my pacifist father's disapproval which has stayed with me for life. For some reason during later life I thought I had had a "cold" untouchy feely childhood. But I would have been 9 when Suez was invaded and climbing into my parents bed before getting up was so normal it meant nothing until now. My earliest memory is of my father pushing the pram with me in it when I must have 3 & that was in 1950 - a thoroughly modern father.Meanwhile I cannot remember ? Naughtie's first name although I have listened daily to the Today programme for 30 years.

Here is an intersting mnemonic, that I taught my children when they were very young.... Now I, even I would celebrate,
In rhymes inept,
The great immortal Cyracusan
Rivaled nevermore,
Who, in his wondrous lore
Passed on before,
Left men his guidance,
How to circles mensurate.

remembering this poem, enables you to memorise PI to 30 significant figures!!!! (i.e the number of letters in each word is the next digit of Pi.. 3.1415926 etc... gettit?) But here is the big question: How many of us, during our life time, have had to know PI? Yet alone to 30 significant For me it has never been a crucial piece of knowledge. But there is an autistic 'Savant' somewhere in this world who has remebered Pi to at least 22,000 figures... How is it that these savants can do it? It certainly reveals the power of the human mind.. how could we ever forget?? Regards
PS. I'm looking forward to the 'sound' memory test... I attached a rhyming word with each sound.... but the rhyming word was linked to the order of the sounds. E.g 1 rhymes with gun..and I have a gun floating in the front of the waves as flotsam.. 2 rhymes with show...this I had in place of a ballerina circling round instead of the ballerina 3 , treee. I have a HUGE tree planted in the exact middle of a tennis court etc....... I will know the missing sound as soon as the next sound arrives..

Pam Laurance
I'd like to put in a positive word for having a bad memory. At work I am known as very reliable in terms of doing what I have said I will do. Why? Becuase since I know that I am quite unlikely to remember I WRITE IT DOWN!

Robin Dunn
Three memory comments:

1) I can still look at an exercise book I was working on (as homework) - particularly pictures - some 40 plus years ago and recall the radio programme I was listening to at the time including (sometimes) the content. One was Take It From Here. There seems to be an inextricable link between the picture and the radio programme.

2) A disturbing one - most of us experience. Driving along a motorway one suddenly thinks "Which road am I on; where am I going?". Quite frightening. A similar one is where one is going to a particular place but the route takes in one that you have previously regularly/daily used - and you go into auto-pilot and follow the familiar route rather than the 'new' one!

3) As an actor one is required to learn lines. People ask how it is done. The answer is "I Don't know". But somehow the words go in. Sometime easily, sometimes less so; it can even vary with different parts of the script - some bits you never quite get. What is interesting is how you think that you quickly forget the lines once the show is over and you move onto another (like the barrister). However if say two/three years later you return to the same role - the lines are still lurking somewhere in a corner of the brain and quickly return.
Robin Dunn

Dr R. Davis
Please, please, don't fall into the habitual BBC love affair with neurological explantions of complex cognitive phenomena. Brain states are NOT mental states. Brain states are NOT memory states. This is a basic category mistake into which the BBC falls daily. How about a good philosopher of memory, who can relate it language, narration, association?

Jenny Newsom
I keep 2 or 3 pieces of more valuable jewellery in a special box and rarely wear them. The occasion arose one day and the box was not where it should be and was nowhere to be found. I remembered when I last wore it some months ago, hunted high and low and after a few weeks reported the loss to the insurance company, who interviewed me, processed a claim and the jewellery was replaced. A couple of months later, to my dismay and delight, I discovered the original jewellery hidden behind some books on a book shelf where I must have hidden it myself before going on holiday, in case I was burgled again. One of my most embarassing moments was ringing up the insurance company to explain what I had done!

Lis Davies, Llandrindod Wells
A hint for the person who hid and lost her credit cards: I have a theory that the part of the brain that hides is not the one that seeks. So, don't try to REMEMBER where you put them. Mentally place some more cards in an identical envelope and hide it; you may find the other lot already there. This only works if you blank out the anxiety about seeking the other ones!

29 years ago, when my son Ben was a baby, my mother took him out with her shopping in town. There she was, the proud grandmother, pushing the pram down the street, acknowledging the smiles of her friends and neighbours with pleasure. She goes into the very first shop she needs to go to, and (in those days in our small town this was a quite safe practice) leaves the pram, with Ben sat up in it, outside the window where she can keep an eye on him. Out she comes and continues with her shopping. She visits several other shops, and then loaded down with shopping heads home. Half way down our street she begins to think that she's left something behind...."I feel sure I had something else with me when I came out...."....finally, as she opens her front door, she remembers: "Oh my God! Ben!" and dumps the bags in the hall, rushing back off to the first shop in a blind panic, depserately trying to work out how exactly she is going to explain that she forgot her grandson. Of course, he is still exactly where she left him, still sat up, still looking happily about him. It took her sixteen years to own up to this particular little memory lapse!!!

Ivor Hunt
With reference to the hiding of valuables my Grandparents (now sadly no longer with us) used to put all their valuables and cash into a biscuit tin and bury it in one of their 4 green houses in the back garden. Unfortunately the first time they did this they couldn’t remember which greenhouse they had put their stash in so had to dig a few ‘test pits’ before they found it.

To stop this happening again, whenever they went on holiday they would write the location of the tin on a piece of paper and put it under the clock on the mantle piece!

Patrick Boylan
Sorry I can't remember his name(!), but one famous American General (was it Eisenhower?) was well-known for his technique for dealing with forgotten names during his frequent walk-abouts among his troops.

General: "I'm very sorry, but my mind's suddenly gone blank and I can't remember your name."
Soldier: "Major Jenkins, General."
General: "I known that of course: I meant what's your first name?"
Patrick Boylan

Dave Ackrill
What about those of us that never could remember names?
My Mum tells me that I couldn't remember names of the children in my class at 5 years old. It's been a problem all of my life, I rely upon a diary that I read before going into site visits, so that I know who I am going to see. Everyone seems to be assuming it's something for only the over 40s!

Marion Dewar
Having the same on-going probs with memory that many others of certain age do, I solved some probs by having a white board fixed in kitchen (not just for shopping list), and noted where I have put a neighbour's spare key,and date I opened the mayonnaise.Things like that.Very useful.

janey King in Surbiton
I am 52 and over the past decade or so have done various adult education courses...did a Photoshop computer software course over a term about 2 years ago and can hardly remember anything. Computers arent logical and very pedantic..I need a manual to work from. I did an exercise class with a teacher facing me and found it difficult to learn complicated steps because I was unable to mirror the body. I also find I have to turn the map round so that it faces the way I am. Is this a problem of middleage memory or my brain?

Mark Ter-Berg
Snoring affects your ability to learn
Doctors and Scientists often ignore the importance of sleep breathing disorders both in adults and children. If your deep sleep is being interrupted by interruptions in your breathing you will have decrease in the ability to process between the hypocanthus and the cortex. Children’s sleep is incredibly sensitive to interruptions in breathing and children with sleep breathing disruption and there are many of them exhibit ADHD like symptoms which go away when their tonsils and adenoids shrink aged 10-11. Unless of course they have their T&As removed. Adults with obstructive sleep apnoea have profoundly affected cognition and when you think of that 4% of adults males have the problem we are talking big numbers. Mark Ter-Berg Norfolk Dental snoring and sleep apnoea clinic

Ask a Psychology student what Freud's stages of development are and they will say "old age pensioners love greens" which helps them remember "oral, anal, phallic, latent, genital". This works but I was amused by one student who remembered "old age pensioners love genitals!!" when the mnemonic was mixed with the actual material to be remembered. Or perhaps a Freudian slip.

Richard Chivers
Here's a mnemonic for remembering which is latitude and which is longitude. Latitude is flatitude and longitude is the other.
Cheers Richard

Barbara Evans
I forgot I'd had a baby! When my daughter was just a few days old I went to the local post office and parked her outside in her pram. I was about halfway home (awalk of about fifteen minutes) when I remembered I'd left her behind. I ran as fast as I could back to where I left her and was so releived to find her still there, dfast asleep. I've told her about the incident since she's grown older and she is quite discusted with me.

Marion von Seld
When I listen to a repeat (play, talk etc.) I find I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing the first time, even months or years later!

Etienne Bol
Not so much memory lapse but rather, as a true bilingual that is operating in French while in France and English while here (home) the memory of an experienced event is recorded only in the language used during the experience but also seem to be placed in a different compartment of the brain. This makes it extremely difficult to recall a memory directly in the language not used at the time of the experience; one must first recall the memory in the original language and then translate into the other language (this works both ways) I have spoken to other true bilingual people of various origin who all seem to confirm my own findings. I hope these few lines make some sense... regards

Patricia from Caterham
Referring to the ladies who hid things and can't remember where. I usually write the location in shorthand on the kitchen pad, suitably disguised among other lists. If you can't do shorthand, it's quite easy to invent a simple code. The very fact of writing things down helps the memory I think Patricia

I am now 37. When a lot younger I did as millions of others and indulged in recreational drugs, namely MDMA (ecstacy). This often led to complete memory loss of large portions of the 'high' period. What causes this and can it cause long term problems with memory?

Isobel Madden
… parents, who couldn’t find the dog when they got back to the car in the supermarket carpark, started a huge search, involving the entire staff, and got home to find the poor dog sitting dolefully in the drive, where they had forgotten to put him in the car. My friend who returned from a party to realise that she had left her three year old behind, and had to sneak back to the party and pretend she had been there all the time! And me? Sitting in the Barbican listening to Puccini and realizing I had forgotten to turn off my hot brush, which was lying on the dressing table in the hotel. Also, having to leave the Arts Theatre in Cambridge and dash back home (luckily close to the theatre) to turn the soup off.

Avtarjeet Dhanjal
Many years ago, I was coming back from European travel, I planned my journey to stop in Lausanne, Switzerland, where I intended to locate and meet a writer whose book I had read.
I arrived Lausanne late morning as I planned to give me enough time make enquires where this writer lived/worked. I put my bag in the locker and picked up the local map, but forgot why I was there. So I just visited some galleries and came back to the station in late afternoon, and got overnight train to Paris.
In Paris I was visiting a friend, who originally lent me the book, whose author I wanted to meet in Lausanne. When I entered her room I just remember why I was in Lausanne the day before. I screamed at my friend and told here what happened to me day before. Avtarjeet

C A Mann
I have no trouble remembering written information for exams but I don't know where to start when memorising music to play a concerto or sonata from memory.

Why is this? Any suggestions how to achieve it, I'm now in my 40's so will this affect how I tackle this problem?

Bernard Wynne
What utter rubbish, totally unmemorable, boring and apallingly presented - who are these people and where did you get them, surely you can do better then this?

A programme of this nature if worth doing is worth doing well. I trust you will not be subjecting us to more of this in future -

Yvette Gonley
I loved the "Mrs D, Mrs I" way of spelling 'difficulty' because it's a more rhythm and sound-based way of remembering, which is my particular leaning. If I'm in the loo and my 40-something brain suddenly remembers I have to phone someone, I sing the words of their name to a well-known tune (whatever comes up!). When I get downstairs my brain may have moved on, but I'm still singing, so I remember what I wanted to do.

martin thomas
hello, i'm a psychology student in winchester. memory experiences can be determined by the language used. if a car accident is witnessed and one person hears 'did you see those cars smash into each other' and another person hears 'did you see those cars bump into each other', the first person will have a memory of a more severe accident, greater speed etc...Thanks, Bye...

fergus brazel
I worry about remembering simple words as I speak and so am always stopping mid-sentence or at the end of a sentence and find that people start to fill in the blanks for me. Why is this happening to me?

Olliver Robinson
Regarding your piece on mnemonics

My geography is so poor I didn't even take it for o-level 29 years ago when I was 16. One thing I do remember though, is that stalagmites stick up from the cave floor, and stalagtites hang from the cave roof. Why? Because as every schoolboy knows, tights must come down.

Ann Inman
A few days before Christmas in 1999 I lost my engagement and eternity rings. I searched the house repeatedly, in likely and unlikely places. I rang the hotel where I'd stayed on business to see if I'd left them there. Nothing turned up, and over the following months, I gradually lost hope of ever finding them. Twelve months to the day of my loss I put on a little used chef's apron to make the Christmas mince pies and, you've guessed it, the rings were in the front pocket. I had no recollection of putting them there and, as a result, had never looked at the apron, although I'd looked many times in the drawer where it was kept!

Davi Evans, Sheffield
When I was at University, I had a part time job at the local cinema at the front kiosk. I was working one day, had started my shift early during the day and it was approaching the afternoon. It was a very quiet day and looking for something to distract me from the boredom and quietness. I picked up the staff diary in which we wrote in notes such as day of requests, when we'd prefer not to work etc, and I was flicking through the pages and decided to have a look at the page for today, see who would be working later on. To my horror, I noticed that in big letters at the top it said- Davi- Exam- AM. I'd totally forgotten all about the exam despite doing the revision and organising the day off for it. How I ended up working that day is unclear but exam-wise, an allowed resit was to follow!

When I was a baby my mother forgot I was with her and left me in my pram outside Woolworths. She went home on the bus, walked in and only realised what she'd done when my father said "where's the baby?"

Vans M
Does the medium or sense affect memory? I listen to audiobooks and read books. I find I can concentrate for extended periods on an audiobok but still feel I retain more information by reading.

Similarly I can retain travel directions better if I see the route on a map rather than being told the route.

Finally I remember PIN numbers by the pattern they make on the keypad

I suffer from Fibromyalgia, which has a great term for the constant loss of memory which is associated with the condition: Fibro Fog! The meetings of FMS sufferers are a hoot sometimes as so many of us lose the thread as we are speaking!!

I am also concerned between the link of memory with Electromagmetic influences. For example Digital DECT phones, and the pulses from police TETRA masts. Am sure they make my condition worse.

I forgot my 2 week old baby back in 1982. I had a beautiful silver cross pram and enjoyed the 2 mile walk into the town centre, did some shopping (in the days before we had a supermarket here) last on the list was the butchers, so after buying the meat I walked to the bus stop and caught my usual bus home, sitting there, it I had a dull feeling that I had forgotten something, and then I realised I hadn't caught the bus into town, why not, i sat musing for another few minutes when theHORROR hit me. I jumped off the moving bus (it was going VERY slowly) and ran all the way back to town, there was my daughter still fast asleep outside the buthcers, I feel cold and sick even now thinking about it, and didn't tell anyone for about 20 years!

Dominik Spitzer
Yesterday I had the unnerving experience of wandering into the kitchen and remebering what I had gone in for!

margaret shaw
three forgetful moments: 1. I left my new born outside Boots asleep in his pram (40 years ago) and it was not until my mother asked if I had fed him that I remembered where he was.
2. Driving through Wales to a meeting I had to stop the car to think where I was (all those rural roads look the same) and where I was going.
3. A phone call from someone, when asked 'who was on the phone' I couldn't remember and to this day I still don't know.

After the last two I was so worried I went to the Doctor, who smiled and said if you were suffering from demintia you would not remember having forgotton, you are just suffering from stress.

Rachel Chown
Once, I had a very striking experience of memory loss. I was on the phone to a woman who was speaking to me in a very harsh, critical way. She asked me for my telephone number (which I was quite happy to give to her). My mind went blank, and I had to think for an unusual length of time to recall the number. This has never happened before,and I'm sure it was because I felt inadequate in the face of the person I was speaking to, that my memory suddenly failed.

R Jeffery
Dr Spooner of New College Oxford well known fior his "Spoonerisms" once said to someone " I know your name but your face escapes me" .

margaret strother
Fifty years ago I took four driving lessons to polish up how to pass my test. My instructor's technique was a running commentary on each move necessary to achieve slowing down at crossroads, turning left, backing into space, emergency stop and so forth. When it came to the test day, I remembered my instructor's voice - and I passed. Memory certainly helped me then.

Graham Charlton
There have been occasions when I've been driving somewhere and for perhaps 10 or 15 seconds, there are no visial clues as to where I am and I can't remember where I'm going. There is a moment of near panic before it comes back.

Brian R. Marchant
I am now 55 years of age. However, apparently,I can still remember in my infancy pulling myself up in my cot and tipping it over onto my parents' bed. I must have been in my first year! I am convinced that this is not a false memory. Is it possible to recall events from our first year of life?

steve west
the Mnemonic for Mnemonic is 'Mnemonics neatly eliminate man's only nemesis - insufficient cerebral storage'

Susie Schofield
On old Olympus towering tops
A Finn and German viewed some hops
An acronym I once was taught
For usefulness it came to naught
For though it should have let me know
The dogfish nerves and how they go
I never could get past the O
Olfactory, optic oculo?
And from a pedant I once heard
“An acronym must make a word”
Ooottafgvsh? It made no sense
This aid to learning’s all pretence!

Ken Bromfield
Beat this for an embarrassing lapse of memory!
In front of the great and the good at a King's College Council meeting I gave an eloquent obituary on behalf a remarkable technician in our Pharmacy Department. When the minutes secretary asked me his name, I had to confess that I could not recall it! Oh chasm please swallow me whole. (For God's sake do not use my complete name!)

mary ross
There is a mnemonic for mnemonic! Many Nuns Enjoy Monks Only Not In Convents

Rob - Radio Caroline
I work for a radio station and suffer from a chronic and often painful illness. I regularly take some pretty potent painkillers that interfere with my short term memory. Usually this isn't a problem as most of my programmes are recorded in advance and can be edited, but on one occasion I had to introduce a band on stage. I had taken some painkillers and had made a point of remembering the band's name in advance. The problem occured when, on the spur of the moment, I decided to thank the support band too. It was a band I had never heard of before and they had a very odd name. I found myself waffling away whilst trying for the life of me to remember what it was! In the end I did, but I'm sure it wasn't before everybody realised what my problem was. Now I'll never take painkillers if I have to introduce a band on stage!

In a gym a couple of years ago in a gym I met a guy who I new but I just could not remember his name and when we started chatting I had to embarrassingly ask him name. When he told me I felt like an old so-in-so as it was only 8 weeks previous that I had been working with him at a cycle course.

The reason I failed to recognize him is that he was ‘out of context’ and in overalls – I can only assume my sub-conscious did not expect to meet him in a gym!

Mark Forsbury
Embarrasing moment: Back in 1989 I was working as a station announcer at Edinburgh Waverely. I rolled into work for my 06:00 start only to find a colleague already seated at the desk. It transpired that I was actually on an afternoon shift. I drove the 17 miles back home feeling somewhat disgruntled. Trying to make the best of a bad start to the day I got stuck into domestic chores and things I'd been meaning to do for ages. At around 2'oclock I get a call from work asking where I was!! Well, Im on 3 to 11 shift I replied, no, your on 1.30 - 9pm!!! Oh dear. I arrived back into work around 2.45pm and felt that I should apologies for the late arrival of the Station announcer due to.....

Barbara Cummins
Forgetting. Mariella's keys. I was in a hotel in Cambridge working for a few days. Didn't need car so put the keys somewhere safe. When it was time to go, I couldn't find them. I tried everything. There was no method to open the car/drive home (police, RAC, car dealer etc). I had to get the train home to Sussex to collect the spare. I met the same people the next year, & told the tale. A friend asked if I found them "bet you put them in your toilet bag". I did! Where was he when I needed him?

Jane Burton
The first time my son went to a cubs meeting, I dropped him off, a tear in my eye at his excitement and how grown up he looked in his uniform, only to recieve a telephone call at 8.15 asking my why I had,nt picked him up at 8, I cried again in mortification and shame!, I think that habit and memoey loss went together that evening, I was used to him being in bed by 8, I'd just forgotten he was out.

Mrs Margaret Hall
I am now 73 (born 1932) In 1981, I had a complete memory loss about a bank account! I received a bank statement of which I had no memory. I had no memory of opening it or paying in, although it was shown to me that I had run it for about a year, as a savings account for a new car. The bank had to show me paying slips with my undoubted signature. I had to accept that they were right, but to this day, I cannot remember how I dealt with it. It was a stressful year-just after my mother died, and I lost an old friend, and I was probably menopausal. Since then, I have never had such total memory loss, but it was scary at the time!

Gary Atkinson
During a recent conversation with my eighty-year-old mother I was astonished when she told me that she could quite clearly remember being born! She described the traumatic experience of being surrounded be bright light and noise “like someone suddenly turning the volume right up on the television”. She remembered it as being loud voices and her mother crying. She also remember become calm and settled and said that this was as she was given to her mother by the nurse. Her memory then skips forward by several months. Unfortunately, this is not genetic and I am known for having the greatest of memories.

PAm Bone
Cooking - never on a Sunday!

I returned to the meat I'd marinaded the night before and thought .... I'll just check in Delia to see id I can add anything more to make it tastier .... I looked at it, mind a blank .... the visual image of Walt Disney's bambi came to mind ..... then the words cow/beef, sheep/lamb ..... Bambi - What's bambi called? 10 minutes later a breakthrough .... the word deer popped into my head, so I looked it up in the index, no reference. But Delia covers everthing! I gave up and left the kitchen to do 20 minutes more gardening - the work appeared - venison! Why does it have to be so complicated.! Girlfriends have turned a smile at the story.

Bernard Fisher
I once bought Harry Lorayne's "how to develop a super power memory". Such a compelling book I couldn't put it down. When I did called away to eat or something. It had a very uninspiring cover and I couldn't remember where I put it. It turned up 3 years later when I came across it flat on a shelf.

Ema Lou Rowe
When I was doing my vet nursing revision a couple of years ago, I found the only way I wouldn't be distracted was If i had classic Fm Tv on. I haven't watched it since. But it distracted my active part of my brain. I did still feel the need tidy my house every 5 mins so some things don't change!!

A few years ago I met the famous snooker player John Virgo in the foyer of a Blackpool hotel. We were both waiting for taxis and got talking. I asked him if he still performed his impersonation act and he said he did. I suggested to him that he should include a take on his own performance and should introduce it with the words "and this is the wasy the shot would be played by the one and only..." But for the life of me I could not remember his name. So after a pause I added the words "and here you would insert your name". But I dare say he realised what had happened. Talk about feeling embarrased!

Christopher Bentley
I can remember precisely what I did in the run-up to the death of The Princess of Wales, unlike what I heard on the programme. It is most assuredly NOT wiped from my memory.

On the Friday evening I went to see the Motown musical The Grapevine at Derby Playhouse, met and had a brief chat with someone with whom I'd been at college some decade and a half before that on the way home at Derby Railway Station.

On the Saturday afternoon I went on a walk with my parents' parish church walking party along a stretch of Dovedale and met and talked with a party from Konstantz on the German-Swiss border, since it was a good opportunity to practise some German.

On the Saturday night I had a bit of a 'record recital' of some of my Northern Soul 45's and the very last record I played during Diana's life was 'March (You'll Be Sorry)' by The Shirelles, which ironically had the following lyrics amongst others:

"March!, hold your head up high, March!, you'll find another guy."

I think that represents quite an impressive array of pre-Diana-Death memories.

how do the musical revisers cope in the silence of an examination hall?

Penny Tomlinson
Some years ago when my sons were small and we were away travelling in the summer I couldn't remember at all when the new term began, however i tried a bit of calculation and we duly returned from a great summer trip on said date late to bed dirty and tired , up early the next morning, clean faces, sort of iorned uniforms, piled into the car to the school gates - locked - we were 1 week early, my sons now in theie 30's have never let me forget it

Adrian White
People out of context:

I used to work for a company based in Greenwich. One day a colleague and I had to travel up to central London on the train to do a job. As I stood in the carriage, a smartly dressed woman got in, smiled and said 'high, how are you, etc.' and started chatting away. I knew that I knew her but I just could not figure out where from and it was really embaressing holding a conversation whilst all along I was trying to figure out who she was. After about 10 minutes, something she said suddenly made everything 'click' into place. As well as my usual job, I used to have stall in Greenwich Market at the weekend and I realalised that she was a fellow stalholder. The problem I'd had was that I was used to seeing her dressed in colourful clothes from Tailand - not the smart business suit that she was wearing to go to her day job in London.

Scarlet Bruce
I'm really surprised about your - largely - negative - comments about listening to music whilst revising. I listened to a particular album (classical) whilst revising for O levels.. whenever I hear that music (30 years later!) I remember many of the facts I was trying to install in my memory at the time! I also remember knitting a rather Dr Who style scarf whilst watcing TV. For a very long time I could remember exactly what programme I was watching for each coloured stripe!

Julie Smith
There's only 17 months between me and my younger sister, so you would expect us to share a lot of childhood memories, but it isn't always the case. I will say to her, 'do you remember that we used to have a fire in our bedroom in the winter?' or 'do you remember when we woke up one very early one Christmas morning and unwrapped our stockings, then re-wrapped everything and went back to sleep?' These are vivid in my mind, but she doesn't remember these occasions. Her memories are also vivid and she is often astonished that I can't recall the memories that are special to her. One of the things that bothers me now, just as you are discussing teenage exam angst is this: I am now 61 and will be taking an exam in October. I've reached the stage of walking upstairs & forgetting what I've gone up for & I'm extremely anxious that I'll be looking at my exam paper and will completely forget the name of Eliot's Middlemarch heroine. Any tips for this please?

Klara King
I had a famously absent-minded friend who was always losing things or making plans and forgetting some essential bit. She outdid even herself, though, on the occasion of her daughter's christening. All was arranged, the ceremony, the party afterwards, the church, the priest, a family friend, was coming - all this near New York. It was only the night before that she remembered: she had left the baby with family in Canada!

Ruth Elizabeth Hunt
On the subject of Random access memory, and being able to do more than one thing at a time, I often say that men can't think of more than one thing at a time, and women can't think of more than 3 things at once.

joyce burlinson
My sister & I are twins in our 50s. She has vivid memories of things from our childhood - at school holiday friends etc - that I have no recollection what so ever

Alex Gillespie
My boyfriend's Dad is a vicar. He once forgot to go to a funeral he was meant to be officiating. He was away at the time and remembered the next day!

Ken Goddard
I have three memories from when I must have been very young. The first is laying in my pram looking at the row of plastic toy-things strung across the front of the hood, which was up. The pram was outside (I was born in June). The second is sitting in the hearth of the fireplace of my parents' house in Canterbury and poo-ing myself and getting a so-called 'thrashing' from my mother (this sort of thing was normal in those days I think). It must have happened as my mother was trying to potty-train me - and I know she did that earlier than is the norm these days. The third is later, standing in one of those old-fashioned wooden playpens that we had, looking out through the bars at the room on the other side. Perhaps I was two by then.

Isobell Jackson
Taking the cat to the vet. You guessed it. I didn't quite get as far as the vet but sat in the car thinking I'm sure I've forgotten something. I went theough the usual subjects i.e. car keys, house keys, hand bag, money, credit card just in case I didn't have enough cash. Coudn't find anything missing so decided to go. I looked on the back seat to check on the cat.... oops no cat. Slinked back into the house where he was sat quietly in the cat basket.

matthew hughes
can i get a pod cast of the memory show ?

R. Jerman
Yesterday my girlfriend went to give support to her mother during a visit to her fathers gp to hear about how bad his memory was and was going to get and the long term associated problems with having alzheimer's. I knew this was going to be a stressful visit for my girlfriend yet i completely forgot about it until she came home upset and reminded me. I knew it was important but still i forgot and it keeps happening. I will be following your programs closely.(i'm in my mid 40's)

paul arnold
With the exception of a few snatches from my very young childhood I have no memory till I reached 16 and left school. I am 60 years old and this has been the same for many years. I have no problems recalling any other period of my life!!

Bill Dixon
I have very clear memories of Bob Geldof praising himself, insulting those who dare to challenge his Blairite views with foul phrases, and I can just about remember his one and only hit record. I also remember how he latched on to the African famine issue as a way to keep in the public eye and how he tried to take over the anti-poverty G8 protests last year in the last five weeks before the meeting.

"Not perfect", Mariella? Not by a long chalk.

Geoff burn
How do I know I will be able to remeber something? Sometimes I know there's something I should remeber but I can't remember what it is

Ge......I am sure I can remember

barrie singleton
Names seem to defeat recall more widely than any other memory. Has anyone defined what it is about names that make this so? One might expect the opposite as human appearance, character, voice etc leaves a singular impression. Could it be that individuals do not repeat their name during conversation?

Pat Drake
I was about 45 and having a party at home before Christmas in my little house. I was introducing a circle of about 10 people to each other - these were mainly folks who I worked with & didn't know very well, but there was also in the goup my brother and sister-in-law who'd travelled a long way to be there. When I got aroud the circle to my sister-in-law Jean I just froze as her name would not come out of my mouth. I was as if my brain had stuck. She was very offended I know - although she tried to make a joke of it, laughing that we'd only known each other for 15 years.

Suzanne Hinton
Mnemonics! Forget it!

Job interview. Suzanne strides in, confident she has memorised the names of the interviewer. She's used a mnemonic.
"Good Morning, Mr Flowers" says Suzanne.
"Actually it's Mr Meadows" says he.

I rest my case against mnemonics.

Malcolm Alexander
One of my best memory memories is of one of the presenters of Today about to introduce the topic of Alzeimer's Disease. As he was about to say "alzeimer's" his memory went and he couldn't say the word. His embarrassment was fascinating to listen to.

Mo Norrington
Unbelievable!!! I've been searching for a bank card for weeks - having moved it to a "safer place" - and had given up.
It was the "sock drawer" comment that did it ... off I dashed to my undies drawer and there it was
Thank you thank you thank you !!

Kim Booth
I want to know how to make my memory less efficient. I get so clogged up with all sorts of junk that I will never need to know again, and stuff I wish I did not remember through embarrassment. One needs to clear space of such junk to create room for things that really matter. Better memory is a curse.
Kim Booth

I once took my son to school with the baby in her pram. I went home only to get a phone call from the school wondering if I had forgotten something? The baby!!

Andy Birch
Moral: don't refer to your new-born child as "the baby". I did, and when someone congratulated me about six weeks after he was born I actually forgot his name for about ten whole seconds, before spluttering out "Tom!, Tom, yes, that's right" - and spent the rest of the evening worrying about marbles, as in loss of.

My earliest memory is actually of a dream I had. How pointless is that?? But actually I think that the dream is somehow incredibly significant and one day I'll find out why.
The dream is: I am about 3 years old, I go out the back door of our house pulling my toboggan behind me (even though there's no snow), and I see an electricity meter sliding up and down the drainpipe of the house next door.
Er,... that's it.

Your programme this morning goes into detail about ways of getting children to remember: rather than finding ways of making sure that children remember things in detail, have you considered that there's some advantage to children's inability to remember easily? How do you know that you're not actually doing harm by interfering with that natural process?

joe frog nottingham
i can remember long tracks from plays i did 20 years ago - anyone's phone number - infact i can remember almost anything even the most trivial of facts i speak french spanish russan and german- two thing i can never recall - The fist is names some oe cal tell me any name and i will not remember it 30 seconds afterward i forget names of people i have know for years and its not just peoples names - it's not just people's name its the names of anything the other is, as you may have noticed i can not remember how to spell - i have no problems reading but when it comes to writing it down i can not recall even the most simple of words

Katherine Tomlinson
My mother's memory failed her one day. One of the churchwardens in her local church was called Ted Partridge and Mum used to call him Ted or Edward every Sunday. However, one week there was a joint service with the local Methodist chapel and Mum went and saw Ted at the door so she said hello. Ted said hello and then said "You haven't met my wife have you?" and Mum (being rather short in stature) looked up at this tall, elegant lady and said "Lovely to meet you Mrs Pheasant, no I mean Mrs Parrot" to which the lady said "The name's Partridge and we live in a pear tree". Mum wished the ground would open up and swallow her there and then.

Geoff Chessum, London
Here's a memory question: How do we know when we don't know someone? OK, we all know our friends, family etc - but we pass thousands of people in the street every day and we know in a nano-second they are strangers. Does the brain check each one in that nano-second against a life-long memory bank? Can't do, can it? So, please explain the 'no knowing' the negative side of our recongnition.

Joe Bloggs
Often in the shower I will wash my face and or hair several times due to forgetting that I have actually already washed it. His also happens with my teeth.

Sandy Burns
I remember the Queen's Coronation Day. A stage was set up in the road where I lived in Percy Road, Shepherds Bush and we had talent competitions. I sang 'In a Golden Coach', a song about our Queen. I also sang 'All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth'. I was aged 7 at the time and of course had two front teeth missing. My prize was an orange and an apple! It was a day I shall never forget. The long trestle tables set out with party food and the coloured buntings hanging high across one side of the road to the other.

Bernard T Smith
I am sorry to burden you with a further email. I should have pointed out in my earlier email that my book " A Philosophy of Information" also asks; - what exactly is memory; and, though it is "processed" in the brain, where is it located? It would be very interesting to hear the views of your main speakers and your celebrities as well as your listeners on this very important aspect. My book suggests that human memory like computer memory is a substance (particles of matter)that can reside in other places in the body and even beyond. Once this idea is accepted, the way is open for the explanation of many strange events in all our lives in which memory is the major element. BTS

Patricia Whitehead
As a youngest, in the mid-fifties living in Potters Bar,where the M25 is now, I remember very clearly fetching a herd of cows (with the aid of a sheep dog) from a field behind my council house, taking them to the milking shed, attaching the milking machines to the udders and watching the urns fill. I then helped in the dairy, by filling the pint bottles with the cooled milk, fixing the tin foil tops and finally helping the farmer deliver his milk (Saturdays only) to the local houses including my own.

Another very clear memory was chasing the bull down the road on a bycycle, with lots of other childing, until someone caught up with him and led him back using the rope attached to his nose.

Bernard T Smith
I will listen to your programme with intense interest. I have just had a book published by Trafford,, which is all about memory. The book is called "A Philosophy of Information" (The power that drives and controls Us All). My excitingly new theories about memory are the result of a lifetime of work on Computers, Communication and IT (CCIT). So far as human beings are concerned all Information is memory. Computers and people do in fact both call it memory. Memory is the basis of all human existence and experience and is at the heart of all that computers and ourselves think about and do. We have no consciousness (nor subconscious) without memory. Many normal; and some, not so normal (many even scary), applications of memory are described in my book. BTS

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