I don't smoke and I don't drink - in fact nothing really turns me on except food. I've always had a bit of a problem with indigestion, but three years ago it started getting really painful. After I won the court case in 1987 [when she was found not guilty of controlling prostitutes], I started giving after-dinner speeches. I'd tear around on trains and taxis getting stressed out, plus I'd eat a lot of food late at night. Eventually, it all took its toll on my digestive system.

I haven't got time to go to the bloody doctors, but I nearly did a couple of years ago because I thought this horrible feeling in my stomach might be an ulcer. I decided it was just terrible indigestion and started experimenting with what I could and couldn't eat. Fresh cream and ice cream are no-nos and I can't drink coffee or eat large portions of food because I get a burning sensation and have to take all these indigestion pills. I used to like settling down with a book and munching through four packets of plain crisps before going to bed, but I've stopped that now and it's made a difference.

It helps if I drink water after eating and, funnily enough, a little bit of chocolate helps as well. I find it calms my whole stomach down. I like Italian and Chinese food. Rice and pasta are ideal and roast dinners with plenty of fresh veg give me no trouble. I feel better now and I think I may have lost weight.

I've just got back from the 1997 International Conference on Prostitution at California State University. The only good thing about the bloody awful hotel food was that I didn't get much indigestion because I couldn't eat it. But I do love my food. I get taken out for dinner at the best restaurants and it upsets me that I can't eat large portions. Some people love a drink, but I like going out to a nice restaurant and having a three or four-course meal to lift my spirits. I used to do it in the old days, but can't now.

I'm probably taking on too much, but I can't imagine sitting at home watching television or looking after my grand-children. I know I should settle down, but I don't want to.

Interview by Cayte Williams

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