'I have now done 18 wars and I'll take any of them rather than the dentist's chair': Under the microscope with Martin Bell

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UPDATED:

01:33 GMT, 12 June 2012

The former war reporter and MP, 73, on his war wounds, losing over three stone in the past two years and when sex is important
Is sex important 'Only if it means something. Only as an expression of something else,' said Martin Bell

Is sex important 'Only if it means something. Only as an expression of something else,' said Martin Bell

HAVE ANY WAR WOUNDS

I was wounded in Bosnia in 1992 by mortar fire, and the big bits of shrapnel were taken out at the French field hospital. When I came to after the anaesthetic, all my money had gone. I managed to get wounded by the Serbs and robbed by the French on the same day. That’s distinguished!

HOW DO YOU KEEP FIT

I swim nearly every morning in the local pool, where all the old men in the changing room enjoy discussing their ailments. I go in feeling very hearty and come out feeling quite depressed. But at least I have done my necessary number of lengths.

EVER DIETED

Not as such, but I’ve lost about 3lb in the past two years — I’m now about 14 st 6 and 5 ft 11. I adore the great English breakfast, but my doctor takes a very dim view of that. She wants me to become one of her fit 90-year-olds. So I have toast and coffee now.

SO EVERYTHING’S IN WORKING ORDER

My blood pressure is just about OK — I have to be careful and not get stressed. What stresses me People being late for things. But for an old bloke with two metal hips and a piece of shrapnel in me, I’m doing all right.

Biggest phobia 'Dentists. I have now done 18 wars and I'll take any of them rather than the dentist's chair,' said Martin

Biggest phobia 'Dentists. I have now done 18 wars and I'll take any of them rather than the dentist's chair,' said Martin

WHY DID YOU HAVE YOUR HIPS REPLACED

I had some more X-rays when I got back to Britain after being wounded in Bosnia, and they showed I had arthritis. /06/12/article-2157842-1383AF5A000005DC-359_233x368.jpg” width=”233″ height=”368″ alt=”'All my dreams are not about war zones or bloodshed – they are about losing my baggage,' said Martin” class=”blkBorder” />

'All my dreams are not about war zones or bloodshed – they are about losing my baggage,' said Martin

IS SEX IMPORTANT

Only if it means something. Only as an expression of something else.

BIGGEST PHOBIA

Dentists. I have now done 18 wars and I’ll take any of them rather than the dentist’s chair.

SLEEP WELL

I’ve become a really light sleeper but all my dreams are not about war zones or bloodshed — they are about losing my baggage, or wandering around with a camera crew and not finding any news. Or addressing a camera and someone taking the script away.

LIKE TO LIVE FOR EVER

Sure. If I could keep my health I wouldn’t mind at all. I enjoy my life far too much to wish to end it at any time.

Martin Bell's book of poems — For Whom The Bell Tolls: Light And Dark Verse is published by Icon.