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Blog: Never go without your stress residue medicine
So, we’re in a beer garden in Looe, Cornwall. The kids and I have spent eight hours on the quayside hauling crabs up the harbour wall using a long line.
My tape recorder has me describing Looe as ‘like Venice...with chips’. But that’s unfair – it’s a drink-distorted exaggeration and a side-effect of ‘stress residue medicine’.
The Buddhist Big Sister had been insistent: “On holiday, you have to get rid of stress residue.”
“Stress residue is what’s leftover from work in your body that remains in your system when you start your holiday,” she explained.
Apparently, if you don’t get exorcise it, ‘stress residue can toxify with travel stress and you can’t switch off’.
She’s got a GCSE in mindfulness and that pretty much makes her a surgeon in our mam’s book.
The cure involves me being left with both kids for the day while she hunts down outlets serving stress residue medicine (aka pubs).
Quite often, after indulging in stress residue medicine, the big sister would head back to the cottage then ‘meditate’ for hours on her bed. In a faraway trance and emitting a mystic mantra which sounded exactly like snoring.
But it doesn’t matter – me and the kids love Looe.
It’s a hustling, bustling harbour town where huge muscular seagulls with dead eyes strut the length of parked cars like fearless youths.
We become proper tourists. I get four Cornish Pasties and the sister buys a gallon glass jar of cockles. Sipping a drink and scanning the hillside apartments, she says: “I could live here.”
“So could I,” I reply. “And property prices have got to be cheaper than the Lakes…”
Later, we have a nosey in an estate agents window.
As her eyes slowly rise to the top, mine slowly fall to the bottom. I secretly vow to start pinching sugar from service stations to save money.
We head for the bus stop but other holidaymakers are fretting about the bus being late.
“Chill your beans,” the Big Sister tells them. “You’re on holiday!”
At the last minute, late tourists arrive and swamp our ill-defined queue.
The Big Sister turns territorial – sucking us all into that cringe-worthy ‘we were here first’ bus scrum.
Using her superior upper body strength, she’s among the first on the bus but fatally clanks her carrier bags in the process.
To the delight of the kids, the whole back seat of the bus is ours.
But on the first steep hill going down, the sister’s cockle bottle escapes its carrier bag, rolls agonisingly down the aisle and smashes with a loud crash in the footwell near the bus driver.
Every passenger turns round as the whole sweaty bus fills with the overpowering reek of cockles.
The sister flicks her shades down over her eyes. “I could murder a pint of stress medicine,” she hisses.
I cut her short: “I think you’ve had quite enough for one day, young lady.”
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