Celebrity stress busters;Interview;Diane Abbott;Mind amp; Body

17th April 1998 at 01:00
MP Diane Abbott enjoys reading, both for her son and herself

Playing with my six-year-old son, James, helps me wind down. Young children counteract stress at work because they force you to put things into perspective and tune into their world and their concerns.

At the weekends James and I do family things such as going to the park and playing on the computer. I read to him a lot. He loves Thomas the Tank Engine - we have the full set of books - and I read them to him over and over again, doing all the funny voices. My time in school drama society has been quite useful for that.

I wind down by reading myself. I recently enjoyed biographies of J. Edgar Hoover, Conrad Black of the Daily Telegraph and Clare Booth-Luce, the glamorous wife of the founder of Time magazine. I read fiction, too. I like women writers like Fay Weldon, Terry MacMillan Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou. The last thing I read was Murder in the Cathedral by T S Eliot, which was good for reading on the train because it is kind of snippety.

In the summer we go away for four weeks and I am not contactable by anyone. I stay with my family in Jamaica. I don't read the British newspapers and my secretary has strict instructions not to call me.

Diane Abbott, Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, was talking to Pamela Coleman

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