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Celebrity stress busters;Mind amp; Body;Interview;Nina Bawden

Come in, the water's wonderful, says Nina Bawden

Swimming is the most relaxing thing I know, especially in southern Greece where my husband and I have had a home for the past 12 years. We spend five months of the year there, and I find it a wonderful place to work. I find writing relaxing too, especially when I am allowed to work when I want to.

Our home is 10 minutes' walk from the sea, but often we take the car and go over the mountains to the beach at Plaka. We park in the shade of an enormous eucalyptus tree by a taverna, put on our shoes to walk across the pebbles and throw ourselves into the bay. Beyond the pebbles is sand, and in high summer it is like swimming in a warm bath. In May it's chilly, in June it's getting nice.

I'm a long-distance breaststroke swimmer. I have been swimming since I was four. I went to the local baths in Ilford as a child and for a short time was trained by an Olympic trainer.

After our swim we pop into the taverna and order the fish dish of the day, washed down by wine, then it's back home for a siesta.

This year we were in Greece for Easter, then came back for a while before driving down in May. We'll stay until it gets hot and then come back to our home in Islington and return to Greece in late August when the weather there is cooler.

Nina Bawden's latest novel for adults, 'A Nice Change', was recently published in paperback by Virago. Her latest novel for children is 'Granny the Pag' (Hamish Hamilton). She was talking to

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