My favourite Holiday: Playwright Alan Balfour on donkey rides and a speeding toboggan​

ACCLAIMED playwright Alan Balfour has been writing since the ’60s.

Now, as A.S Balfour, he has written his first novel, Waiting For Walter.

It’s a love story spanning 40 years, inspired by his own experience of being a Jewish lad who fell in love with a German girl at the end of the Second World War.

Alan, 78, lives in London with his wife Vivienne. They have two children and two grandchildren.

Tinos Island Village

A COUPLE of my earliest memories were of America and Greece.

My mum was American so I remember going to Miami.

In some ways it became very different as I noticed later that a lot more Spanish speakers arrived to make the place home.

So the culture changed a bit, although the views were still the same.

The Greek island of Tinos was another memory and I’d imagine that would be very different, too.

Back in the 1950s, there were no hotels, so I stayed with a family and got around the island on a donkey!

What I do remember is that despite not having a lot, the people were so generous.

Places you go to stick in the mind for different reasons and with Engelberg in Switzerland it was because of the romantic experience of being there with the German girl.

I was 20 and in love and one of the unforgettable moments was taking a crazy toboggan ride.

Some boys were going down a slope and I decided I’d do something far grander to impress her.

I went very high up and she was imploring me not to go. The more she did that the more I thought I’d impress her with my skill – but the moment the toboggan left the top of the hill I knew I’d made the most terrible mistake.

I was shooting down about 40mph, hanging on for dear life.

I put my leg out to brake and went straight into an icy pond from where I had to be rescued – which was hardly impressive.

Another memorable place is Jaffa in Israel, which I go to because my daughter lives there.

It’s a lovely place where everyone seems to live happily together, but the first time I visited was on a Romanian refugee ship.

When we arrived I saw hundreds of the refugees kissing the ground, exactly as I’d seen on the Paul Newman film Exodus just months before.