With a bit of luck, a fair wind and a tank full of petrol, by the time you read this I should just about be back from a short trip to Helmsley In Yorkshire. Don’t worry if you can’t think where it is because the last thing The Manager and I want is for everyone to start trooping off there filling all the parking spaces and emptying all the shops.
I dread seeing some over overpaid celebrity (Stephen Fry one step forward please) advocating its delights and telling us that holidays in the UK are socially acceptable because he says they are (before catching the next plane out to somewhere far more exotic).
I’m glad we got to Bridlington last year before the bus loads of Hockney Hunters (as in David, the artist, who lives there) descended on the place – and we’re keeping our own tour of the Wolds and surrounding districts later this year a closely guarded secret just in case we are mistaken for travel guides and end up being trailed by an extended family of camera toting Japanese tourists.
I’ve mentioned before that my reluctance to go abroad these days is more based on a dislike of queuing days in advance for aeroplanes which may or may not reach their planned destination or ocean going vessels which may or may not remain floating until the end of their voyage, than it is on any sweet talking celebs and their pre-scripted praise of all things UK.
Nevertheless I was intrigued to read that Kuoni Travel is seeking six volunteers to help understand the physical and emotional changes brought about by a holiday. They are offering free exotic trips to three couples prepared to take physiological and psychological tests before, during and after their journeys. Together with healthcare charity Nuffield Health they want to measure the impact of a holiday on the mind and body.
Now I’d always thought holidays were supposed to expand the mind and relax the body but it seems there’s more to it than that.
Researchers will assess stress levels, blood pressure and mood before and after a trip and compare measurements with day to day living. It all sounds so simple.
Not so. After being assessed and selected the couples will be assigned to one of three types of holiday - an Indian Ocean beach trip, a research expedition in sub Saharan Africa or an Asian cultural experience. The holiday will last two weeks and there will be daily checks and a “mood diary” as well as having to record the quality of their sleep a detail the amount of tea, coffee and alcohol consumed. What about sex?
Half a dozen “less fortunate individuals” will be assessed the same way undergoing their daily drudge. Results are expected this autumn.
I think I’ll stick with Helmsley.