Endless excitement and optimism: the perfection of holiday build-up | Jack Marshall's column

Looking forward to things is one of life’s great treats.
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Looking forward to things is why Monday mornings drag like a bag for life full of breezeblocks and why Friday afternoons are pleasantly breezy - everything goes from being transactional to being tinged with that edge of bubbly anticipation of good things to come. The open-endedness of potential is exciting.

I’m writing this column in late June. I’m looking out the window and the weather is, yet again, disappointing. It has been for much of this year, which is powerfully anticlimactic because this summer was supposed to be about beer gardens and sunglasses, friends and family over the course of our first collective tie-loosening post-vaccine rollout. But no. Grey skies.

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Anyways, no doubt you’ll have realised that it isn’t late June anymore. But I’m writing this column so aggressively ahead of time because it’s all about looking forward to things, specifically my first proper holiday in three years. As you read this, I’ll be travelling from Tuscany to Rome, veins bursting with red wine and arteries clogged with tagliatelle.

A plane coming in to land. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA WireA plane coming in to land. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
A plane coming in to land. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

As you can likely tell, I’m looking forward to it. So I wanted to try and capture that sweet sense of anticipation and of excitement as plans are giddily drawn up for sightseeing in Florence and excursions to vineyards. For kayaking on Italian lakes and bike rides along cypress tree-lined roads cross-crossing olive groves. For dangerous amounts of pizza.

It could feasibly rain for two weeks solid. It could be a procession of overpriced carbonara, watered-down Peroni, and heaving throngs of fellow tourists desperate to snap a pic of the Ponte alla Vittoria or the Castel Sant'Angelo before trudging off to cause footfall traffic jams elsewhere. But not in my mind, where everything is in ‘looking-forward-to-it’ mode.

In my mind, Florence is ringed by a halo of ancient haze in the mornings, the pink and yellow facades gently blinking as the sun lands on them. The Tuscan countryside is flawless and terracotta, an endless panorama of peace and chirping cicadas. Rome is grand, powerful, history brought to life and opened up to me like a lily. By now, I’ll have found out.

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