Just like Cary Grant

Jen and I booked our next holiday yesterday. We've decided to pay a return visit to Florence. Cool place. But get this…

We're going by train.

Yes, that's right: train. All the way from Hippy Central to Florence, Italy.

Now, before we're accused of being a couple of tree-huggers who naively think we can save the planet all on our own by refusing to fly, I think I should point out that such accusations are utter bollocks. We chose to take the train because:

  1. As far as we could work out, there are no direct flights to Florence from anywhere in the North of England.
  2. Even the direct flights from Gatwick to 'Florence' actually go to Pisa, so we'd still have to get the train (or fly) to Gatwick and then get the train from Pisa to Florence.
  3. We hate the hassle of travelling by plane. I mean really hate it. Whether the train is any less hassle remains to be seen—although somehow I doubt it.
  4. The last time we travelled to Florence, it was from Rome, First Class, on the train, and it was bloody fantastic (apart from the loud-mouthed elderly American lady in the seat opposite). This is the life, we said, supping our expresso coffees and joking that we should travel all the way to Italy by train next time.
  5. … OK, so this is the real reason why we are travelling by train: I have always secretly wanted to travel overnight in a sleeper train, like Cary Grant did as Roger O. Thornhill (mistakenly believed by the baddies pursuing him to be the elusive secret agent, George Kaplan) in one of my favourite films, North By Northwest. This, of course, would mean that Jen would have to play the role of Eva Marie Saint—which is no bad thing.

So much have I got into the North By Northwest spirit that, when I ordered our tickets over the phone yesterday, I was sorely tempted to give my name as Richard O. Carter, hoping that the woman at the other end of the line would ask me what the 'O' stood for: "Nothing," I would reply, enigmatically—just like Cary Grant. But then it occurred to me that it would probably be best if the name on my ticket actually matched the one on my passport. Pesky border control!

So, anyway, that's why Jen and I will be travelling to Italy by train. Because I secretly harbour ambitions to be Cary Grant in North By Northwest. It has nothing at all to do with saving the planet.

Which is a damn good job, as it's a bloody expensive way to go about it.

See also: A-maize-ing

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


  1. We're going to Chicago in June& intend to travel by yak. Apparently, they are very good swimmers, although they do smell a bit when they get wet!

  2. Right, that's it! I'm inspired! We're heading to Barbados in March, and I'll be using my eyelids to swim there!

    Roger Thornhill hid from the Police in an overhead bunk...I don't suppose that's on the cards for you and Jen!

  3. I'm sure it's no consolation but to be frank you need the FA Cup like you need a hole in the head. If he's the same manager that won you the European Cup he should know how to inspire his team Right Now!

    P.S I think Liverpool forced us to evolve tonight. You are the better team and we won't gain in confidence until we play the better teams on a regular basis so thank you for that.

    P.P.S I'm not being disingenuous but I am Happy!

    P.P.P.S To paraphrase Cary Grant "Everyone wants to be Liverpool. Even I want to be Liverpool.

    P.P.P.P.S Actually scrub that.

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