Source: The Times
Publication Date: 26th December 1992
Where would you go?
To Italy. I love the people, the climate, the language, the food and the light, and I always feel happy there.
How would you get there?
On the Orient Express. Alternatively, I would like to be faxed there, which would be immediate and, I hope, painless!
Where would you stay?
In the beautiful house my great-grandmother bought after the second world war and which the whole family now shares. Up in the hills overlooking Florence, it is a sort of Howard’s End. Going there instils in me a profound sense of contentment and well-being.
Who would be your perfect companions?
My three friends, Debbie, Allie and Martha. We always have a ball.
What essential piece of clothing or kit would you take?
My glasses, so that I could slob around and not bother with my contact lenses.
What would you have to eat?
As well as lots of different cheeses and ice cream, I’d eat gnocchi, bread and miles of pasta with dollops of pesto.
What would you have to drink?
Champagne and any local red wine.
Which books would you take to read?
Since I’m doing Trelawny of the Wells, I’d take The Invisible Woman by Claire Tomalin. A biography of Dickens’s mistress, Nelly Ternan. The book gives a glimpse into the world of a 19th-century actress. I’d also take a dictionary for communication purposes.
What music would you listen to?
Some Puccini as I am in Italy and some oldies by Cole Porter.
Would you play any games or sport?
What luxury would you take?
A hot water bottle. I know it sounds geriatric and feeble, but I like having one around.
What three things would you leave behind?
My watch losing an awareness of time creates a sense of holiday; my scales; and any sense of obligation to do anything.
What piece of art would you like to have there?
I wouldn’t bother transporting anything as there is an abundance of art in Florence anyway.
Who would be your least welcome guest?
A critic I’m allergic to them.
What three things would you most like to do?
1. Go dancing or put some music on and have a mad dance in the house. 2. Visit the grave of my great-grandmother’s second husband. She had him buried on a hillside. My brother visited it recently and the headstone had been stolen and replaced by a Fiat car! 3. Go to Piazza Signoria to try to find Lucca, who was the carriage driver in A Room With A View and took me to George for the kiss. I’d like to see if he has had the ear job he said he’d have with the money he got from the film.
To whom would you send a postcard?
Mum, Dad, my veteran school friends and the film production company, Merchant Ivory, for old times’ sake.
What souvenir would you bring home?
Olive oil and fresh gnocchi for Mum and Dad, and lots of photos.
What would you like to find when you got home?
No mail or bills, and a job. Alternatively, I’d like a return ticket to Florence.
Helena Bonham-Carter is appearing in Trelawny of the Wells at the Comedy Theatre