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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

wine-windowI am firstly going to take you to Florence as there are two things I want to tell you about.  Firstly, have you heard of the Wine Windows?  These medieval windows, of which there are more than 150, have re-opened to serve wine to the tourists!  This is most appropriate, because back in the late Middle-Ages these windows were created to serve wine to the people of Florence due to the Buconic plague or Black Death, that had swept across Europe, wiping out half of the population!  So these windows provided protection for the winery owners whilst at the same time serving the much needed ‘Italian Water’ to the populace.  There is actually a society that keeps all the windows registered and looked after.  At the following site you can find all the windows and where they are.  Fascinating stuff!  Wine Windows

Give by Loenzo QuinnSecondly, I was really taken with the installation of a beautiful sculpture in the famous Boboli Gardens in Florence.  It is called simply ‘Give’ and is the creation of  Lorenzo Quinnard.  Lorenzo had always wanted to have the honour of placing a sculpture in these gardens and he will tell you a lot more about this on his website.  I love the fact that an olive tree has been planted in the centre symbolising peace and love.  He also made the hands that appeared to be reaching up from the canal in Venice, holding up a building!  Lorenzo Quinn

band-relaxedMeanwhile, back in our little bit of the Chianti countryside, I was itching to get down to my sound studio to do a bit of singing.  You may recall that my man and I had tried to work out the technical side of things, linking the synthesiser to speakers and mics etc.  Well, the good news is, we seem to have it up and running.  To make things perfect I need to download backing tracks in the correct key for my voice.  Now, you may not be aware that each song will need a different key.  My voice is quite low and some songs, designed for men, are OK.  But most aren’t.  So I was delighted to get an email from ParisMusic this morning telling me they can adjust the keys on downloads without any problems!  Hurrah!   We have decided to go ahead with next year’s concert on 18 June 2021, with or without an audience.  Fingers crossed; I’ll keep you posted!

images.jpgAnyway, lets bring you down to earth and talk about wasps!  Here in Tuscany, this time of year is the busy building of wasp nests (Macro of wasp) and they can be a real problem, trying to set up home in the most inappropriate places!  My man found a nest attached to the outside of the kitchen door of the appartment downstairs, where we have the Sound Studio and Gymnasium.  So last night around 9pm he donned protective clothes and went down to spray it.  Now we hate doing this, but we have both been attacked in the past as they keep a sentry outside just waiting for anyone getting close!  I was relieved when my man returned unscathed and this morning confirmed it had worked.

download-1.jpgSo, what next?  Well, we are now overun with tourists, mostly from northern Europe: Poland, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Austria and some French.  Most are being strict with their face masks and distancing in our local village of Fiano, but I can’t speak for the more popular tourist hot spots.  Meanwhile, the locals are very busy using up the glut of tomatoes to make passatta, including my daughter who has run out of jars and is scrabbling around for more.  The countryside is pretty noisy, with constant strimming of the dried grasses and squeaky tractors cutting the meadow hay below our farmhouse.  We hear laughter from nearby swimming pools and the cicada’s continue to chirp away.  But it is far too hot to stay outside, between 35c and 39c this week.  So we batten down the shutters, turn on the air conditioning unit and fans and settle down to work in our studios.  But life eeez good, life eeez now.

OK, need to get back to the day job now, but will be thinking of you all.  Please stay safe and well!  Do drop me a line, I love to hear from my readers!

Salute June x

PS Visit my website at June’s Site

 

 

 

Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

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Archive picture – Packed like beached sardines on the Tuscan coast. La Repubblica.

Phew!  there’s no other word to describe it.  I’m talking about the weather here in Tuscany, of course.  August is traditionally a hot month and this year is no exception; many Italians have still rushed off to the seaside and up into the mountains to try and find a cool breeze, despite the restrictions.  But many haven’t.  I was talking to a very bronzed Italian friend in the village last week and he had no intention of taking his family to the beach, his tan was achieved working in his orto, vegetable garden.  There is considerable concern over the way people have been letting their guard down and what with the crazy tourists, its all a little scary.

download.jpgSo is Italy safe?  I hear you ask.  Yes, it is safe, perhaps less so in the north, just as long as you continue to take those all important precautions:  masks, hand cleansing and distancing.  Follow the rules!  My daughter was in her local town here in Tuscany, trying to go to the farmacia (chemist) and there was a crowd of tourists milling around with no masks and no distancing!  She had to shout to be heard when she asked them to give her room to get through!  It was so bad that the polizia (police) had to get out a loud hailer and ask them to put on their masks and to spread out!  Some people are just ignorant and others, quite frankly, stupid.  So it is down to you to remain safe and avoid busy tourist spots if you can!  Tuscany is so full of beautiful culture and countryside, it is not difficult to find many quiet and less touristy places to go.  The tourist industry is slowly recovering, but you will still find many lovely self-catering properties, like nearby Villa Il Pozzo with vacancies.  Villa il Pozzo

Peachy BreakfastAnyway, enough of that.  As I write this blog I am enjoying a delicious breakfast bowl of fresh fruit and some scoops of Mozzarella di Buffala.  The peaches are currently to die for, I love this time of year for the fruit and also new potatoes.  I have to admit that my man and I do eat out a lot at lunchtime.  I find the heat too exhausting to cook.  We have an air conditioning unit, but we still need fans as well.  So we remain grateful to Paolo at Ristorante C’era una Volta in Lucardo for his coolish dining room.

535346_251400000000_01_base_4Well, yesterday, just as the heat was getting to me in my studio, a Luisa Spagnoli email dropped into my inbox announcing a 50% sale!  Now, buying directly from an Italian designer, and Luisa Spagnoli is one of my favourites, can be expensive depending on your purse strings of course.  So a 50% sale is always something I can’t resist at least scrolling through.  Her models are mostly smiley or looking reasonable happy, so that helps too.  But, they are very tall!  I am your typical English wilting rose, five foot three and short waisted, so I have to be very selective in what I buy.  Midi length on me is ankle length, jackets and tops can come down to my knees, which is not the look one really wants to achieve.  I have recently managed to buy three frocks on-line from Next and M&S that actually fit and drop to a midi length, which I like.  But take a look at Luisa’s sale, if you love beautiful fashion, you will love her sale!  Luisa Spagnoli

cover-issue-2Back on the subject of food, there is nothing nicer than a big family lunch.  It also helps when you have a daughter and granddaughter who love to cook and they arrive at your house with a two course meal ready to serve!  All I had to do was lay the table beforehand.  This family get together was an extension of my daughter Sharon’s birthday as we did not get to see her on the day.  Sharon is the joint editor of EnvyItaly an upmarket luxury travel magazine, which can be downloaded on-line or bought in hard copy form.  I absolutely love this publication and if you have not aleady got a subscription, do take a look! EnvyItaly

OK, time to get this blog honed and off to you.  I will be cooking a light lunch as I just cannot face going out into the stifling heat today.  I am also supposed to start an alcohol free month as of now……

Have a great week and do drop me a line, I love to hear from my readers.  Also, do visit my website at My site

Salute June x

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

My feet.jpgYes, it’s yet another Beautiful Day in Tuscany and I’m feeling very chipper. Last thursday I finally returned to my lovely estetista Irene in Certaldo, for a manicure and pedicure. Now in normal times this would not be something to post that was really newsworthy, but when I look at my feet now, it’s like a gift from heaven! For me beautiful hands, feet and hair are so very important. What with my being famous in Fiano, I have to look my best! It’s also to do with that ‘feel good’ factor, which is so important in all our lives. What do you think? Things remain strict here in Italy, you know, masks, hand gels and distancing wherever you go, but this gives me much more confidence about going to these places.

0-1Now whilst this is not strickly about Tuscany, you will probably know that Italians love music and in particular Rock Music. I live in the music world here and many friends are mourning the passing of Peter Green at the young age of seventy-four. He was considered to be one of the UK’s greatest guitarists and was a co-founder of Fleetwood Mac.

0.jpegOn a happier note the world is celebrating the 77th birthday of Mick Jagger, hugely popular with Italians and who always includes Florence or Lucca on the Rolling Stone’s European tours.  More are planned for 2021; Rock On that man! The brilliant drawings included for both these guys were done by UK artist Gary Wing, whom I follow on Linked-in. I also own an original of his, not a musician, but my lovely cat Farty Barty who went up to the cat concert in the sky three years ago. Bless him.

downloadMeanwhile, back here in this beautiful part of Tuscany, we are not far from Toscana Resort Castelfalfi, a favourtite haunt of our son-in-law who is a keen golfer.  They have opened their new Country Club House and restuarants that look very inviting.  I am reliably informed that for people staying there, there are a few things not quite ready yet like the swimming pool and spa centre.  However, the re-opening will be welcomed by those who enjoy  luxurious facilities and a 27 hole golf course in the most breathtaking Tuscan setting.  Website

My man surveys his landAnd, what else?  Oh yes, on the subject of travelling, I hope you have a passport, because I don’t!  If I have to be marooned anywhere, it would be here in Tuscany of course.  This is fortunate because, having applied for a new passport last April and being told it was on the way at the end of that month, it never arrived!  You may already know that due to the Covid thing, there is a backlog of thousands of UK passports.  I only found out a couple of weeks that the secure delivery service given the task of bringing UK passports to Euopean residents, returned a whole batch of passports to London!  Meanwhile, Easyjet, in their effort to reward frequent flyers, like my man, made him a member of their exclusive Flight Club.  Unfortunately, they stupidly registered me as the member and not him.  So when I rang to change a flight free of charge, which is one of the benefits, they said no, we would have to pay £60!  So here we are, me with no passport and my man without a decent airline.  But we don’t care about that, life eeez good, life eeez now!  Here is a picture of my man gazing at the Tuscan countryside and dreaming of returning to the UK, I don’t think!

Well, enough of that.  Time to get this blog off to you and get back to the day job.  Do drop me a line, I love to hear from my readers, or visit my website at My site

Have a great week.

Salute June x

 

under the oak treeWelcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

Well, despite the need for facemasks and social distancing, we are thoroughly enjoying our early morning walks in the Tuscan countryside.  We have had some heavy rain but mostly sunshine, so the trees and plants are looking lush and green.  The farm labourers start work at around six in the morning now, as it’s a very busy time of year, strimming and clearing out the hedges and gullies.  So by the time we are out they have been working for two hours and are stopping for their coffees and pastries!

QuercetoWe have developed a liking for Il Bar Querceto, which is an easy walk for us.  They serve up the most delicious LavAzza Espresso and you get free biscuits too!  You can sit inside, but it is tiny, so for social distancing it is a maximum of four people.  The bar is rather beautiful with an inglenook fireplace and wall murals.  Over the fireplace is a painting of Oak Leaves from where the name of the bar is derived, The Oak Tree is called Il Querceto in Italian.  And, where is this bar?  Ah, now that’s our secret, can’t have the place filling up with tourists, now can we?  We still pop up to Fiano once or twice a week for coffee but things have yet to return to the easygoing breakfast visits we made every day before lock down.  However, there is a lovely new assistant called Ullie, who works from Monday to Friday.  She is Austrian and is trying to learn Italian; so we speak in English…..

Mozzie curtainsThis last week we made the decision to go to Brico and buy fixed framed mozzie curtains; Tende per Zanzare.  We bought three and allowed half an hour for each one as they have to be assembled and cut to size if necessary.  Three hours later we had managed to put together one in the kitchen, it was worse that putting together IKEA furniture and the instructions were severly lacking!  We worked out the hard way about measuring the opening!  What the instructions did not say was to reduce your upright measurement to cater for the plastic foot on the uprights and curtain roll container at the top!  Fortunately everything can be cut to size, but what a headache.  We have two more windows to do, but we’ll leave them till next weekend!  Phew……

TomatoesWell enough of that.  We have been enjoying lunch at least twice a week at Paolo’s, that’s Ristorante C’era una Volta for the uninitiated, and coming away with loads of Zucchini as his vegetable garden is overloaded this year.  Our daughter says her sweetcorn are five foot high and she doesn’t know what to do with the huge quantity of tomatoes!  There is a limit to the number of bottles of passatta she can fill!  So it’s a good year for the Tuscan ortos (vegetable gardens) and the fruit and veg markets too.  So, no need to grow my own, I just love it!

Well, I have a busy week ahead, what with the pedicure, manicure and hair colouring.  It’s so good to have everything opened again.  My poor feet are desperate for attention!  I must also try to relax after waiting on the phone to Easyjet for half an hour, trying to sort out the fact that they had given my man a frequent flyer ‘Flight Club Membership’ which means free flight changes, only to find that they had registered it for me and not him, even though he is the registered frequent flyer and has a Plus Membership number, so they would not make his changes free of charge!  So it’s bye bye to Easyjet, they have now completely blotted their copy book!

Well enough of that, must get this blog off to you and get back to work!  Do drop me a line, I love to hear from my readers.  june.finnigan@virgin.net or visit my website at My site

Salute June x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World

Zanzare huskSo sorry, but unforeseen circumstances prevented me from blogging last weekend.  But you’re not forgotten and here is a beautiful picture of the discarded husk of the reborn Cicada!  We found lots on our garden bench this last week.  Enjoy and I’ll be back this coming weekend.

Stay Safe, wear that mask.

Salute June x

Contact me at june.finnigan@virgin.net or visit my website at My Site

 

 

 

Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World

Well, things are definitely improving for our local restuarants, agriturismos and Hotels.  It is a slow process, but tourists are now making bookings and some are already here in near empty accommodation.  We met two nice Swiss guys at lunch last Thursday, who were the only guests at a large Castello near San Casciano!  Also a young family from Denmark staying at a local agriturismo.  And, yesterday our fellow diners were all from Holland.  One lone traveller was a long distance cyclist who had biked all the way from Holland on a recognised cycle route and was heading for Rome!  He had set out on 15th June and had just under 300 kilometres to go, phew, very impressive!  We were glad to hear that he had organised a bus ride from Rome, to take him back home with his bike on board.  I would love to do a trip like that, but I would need to be one hell of a lot fitter and it could be a little perilous on the Italian roads!  No offence to Italian drivers……but.

Cinema D'Estate CertaldoNow, one thing that has been missing over the last four months is entertainment and the Italians so love cinema.  So I was delighted to see that Certaldo Alto, which is the historical walled centre of our local town, is starting Cinema D’Estate from 9th July starting at 9.30 in the evenings in Palazzo Pretorio.  What a beautiful setting for some great films.  You can park down in Certaldo and get the funicular train up the hill, which runs until midnight or drive around the back of Certaldo Alto and park there.  You’ll also find some lovely places to eat and drink there too!  Picture from Facebook.  For more information and to buy tickets visit The website

Badger-30Back in our lovely little bit of Chianti countryside, the phantom digger has returned.  We have whittled the evidence down to being a badger.  It has very strong claws and is able to move some biggish stones and bricks lining one of the flower beds.  The badgers here are pretty big, we only got a close up once!  This one also has an attraction for the bottom of one of our acacia trees, having already destroyed all our Iris tubers.  There’s not a lot we can do about this really, just tidy up the mess it leaves behind.  During the four months of lock-down the wildlife became much more invasive!  But we don’t really mind, it’s lovely to see animals and birds that were previously very shy.

La DispensaWell, I have to say, it’s far too hot for me now.  The sun is scorching so if you are coming this week, slap on the protection!  We can hear the faint splashing of bodies in a nearby pool, so tourists are out and about in the sun!  This morning at our favourite alimentare and bar in Fiano, La Dispensa, we actually stopped for coffee seated at the one inside table.  It was quite busy, including tourists buying meats and if you are veggie, like us, you’ll find lots of fresh vegetables and cheeses too.  We were glad to see everyone still wearing masks and keeping a safe distance.

unnamedBack at my desk, I can hear the Ciccada’s making one hell of a din outside my window!  But I like it; it is the true sound of Tuscany in the summer, along with the squeaky tractors and the noise does not interupt my creative writing.  In fact, as soon as I finish this blog, I must get down to some more serious progress on   ‘Assassin’s List’, book four in the ‘Continuing Adventures of Joanna Wilde’.  I try and reserve Monday’s and Fridays for writing, however work related tasks are also becoming pressing.  But we don’t mind, life eeez good, life eeez now!  Nothing beats a long working holiday in Tuscany!  Foto Cicada Orni

OK, time to get this blog off to you. I’m sure there is a whole lot more going on outside that I haven’t told you about, but the heat is getting to me, so tune in for lots more news next week!  And, do let me know if you are coming to Tuscany this summer, you will be made very welcome by all our lovely Tuscan friends!

Oh and do visit my author site at My Site and/or drop me a line at june.finnigan@virgin.net

Have a good week

Salute June x

 

 

 

Welcome and Benveuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

Three girliesLast Tuesday was my official birthday.  My unofficial birthday is when I celebrate with The Rock Chick Band and perform in our garden surrounded by fabulous family and friends, but as you know, not this year.  I had a great day, spoilt by my family with cake and presents after a morning setting up my new Sound Studio downstairs.  More on that in a minute.  That’s me in the middle sending an air kiss and ready to go out with my beautiful party girls!

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Foto J Finnigan

In the evening we went to Osteria Casa Chianti near Fiano, which is just ten minutes away from our home.  It has a great outdoor setting with sunset views, a perfect place to go in a group as there is also an entertainment value in the way you are served at table.  Also very good local wines and a menu specialising in Tartufu (truffles).  I ate far too much, but it was sooo good! Website

Sound Studio June 30 2020And what about my new sound studio? I hear you ask.  Well, my man and I set about working out the complexities of strange yet familiar new equipment and linking it to bluetooth.  My man is a lot cleverer than me, so he was somewhat less confused.  Importantly, I wanted to play backing tracks and to sing along to them over the mic, so I could hear how good or bad I was sounding!  Wow, the big speakers blasted out really good quality sound, I was so excited! But the mic was very sensitive so some adjustments were needed.  I think we got the hang of it.  You saw the piano room before the equipment arrived, so here it is all set up as a sound Studio.  The other speaker is just out of shot on the left and the 6 Channel Mixer/Blue Tooth Player is the larger black box on top of the piano.  It’s all very neat and tidy!  Now it’s down to me to get to grips with it on a regular basis and write some more song lyrics!  Watch out for some active pics later on!  Wow, I am so lucky.

Radley BagNow it’s still my birthday month and today, Saturday, I succumbed to buying yet another handbag on line.  Now, I know I normally push everything made in Italy, but the odd Radley Bag from London does seem to occasionally slip into my collection!  Oh, dear, my man will be editing this blog for me, he reads all my stuff, and I will hear him groan when he reads this, because I haven’t told him yet!  But it will go with the lovely little Radley clutch bag he bought me for my birthday some years ago, which also has a ‘data dog’ running across it!  That’ll appease him and oh, the new bag was also in the sale; you must take a look!  website

ec113746abdae43199822e686db6465dAnyway, what you really want to read about is Tuscany, don’t you? Well, the Ciccadas finally arrived this last week, rather late but they do like the hotter weather.  So now we have both the chirping of these noisy but friendly insects and the toad’s chorus to listen to whilst enjoying an aperitivo outside.  We have just heard that our neighbour Paola has a full house of tourists next week in her beautiful Agriturismo, La Poggiolaia, so we’ll soon be hearing the distant tinkle of laughter and splashing in the pool too!   Visit Paola’s website Here   Yesterday we drove past a huge field of sunflowers, which previously had been a field of poppies! The countryside is looking really beautiful here now, so it’s a great time to come to Tuscany!

OK, time to get the pictures slotted in for you to enjoy!  And, please do send me your comments and good news!  Pop them on the bottom of this page or email me at june.finnigan@virgin.net   Oh, and do visit my author site at june’s site

Have a great week and stay safe.

Salute June x

PS  A very Happy Birthday to Sandra Cirri at La Dispensa in Fiano!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the world,

Golden OrioleThanks to our neighbour and friend the potter Terry Davis, we have finally been able to identify the bird with the most beautiful haunting song now in our garden.  We have heard it every year since we arrived in Italy, usually in the distance but never knowing what it was until now.  It is the Golden Oriele, almost impossible to spot, very secretive and beautiful.  We have plenty of birdsong in and around our garden but this song is really special.  You should google it and listen for yourself!  Picture downloaded from Facebook.

Rock My world cardMeanwhile, I have been enjoying my unofficial birthday.  Yes, I know, very Queenie like.  To be honest, I start celebrating at the beginning of June as, after all, I am named after the month I was born in.  Story has it that my mother casually said ‘Oh, lets just call her June rather than faff around looking for other ideas.’  I was a second child and the rebellious streak erupted as soon as I could walk.  Yes, I was a wild child and I’m still wildly rocking on.  Last Friday evening should have been The Rock Chick’s Band’s 10th concert.  My man and I sat outside the front of the house feeling very strange, afraid someone might turn up who hadn’t got the cancellation message! But no, we were alone with the birds, toads and occasional hornet.  So, I now look forward to my official birthday on 23rd.  My man has just given me this fabulous card, he saw it earlier in the year in London and realised it was perfect.  I think he’s perfect too.

POTS june 2020The weather here is also perfect and the house should be full of friends and family.  Instead, we are enjoying all the newly planted pots thanks to my darling daughter who not only came with me to buy them, she planted them too!  Afterwards she went down to Umbria for a couple of days staying near Lake Trasimeno; she deserved a nice relaxing break with the family, bless her.

Northern Europeans have arrived.  I went to Fiano last Saturday to find the entrance to La Dispensa, our lovely alimentare and coffee bar,  blocked by a big 4 x 4 and an overweight German family.  Now, I have to remind myself that the tourist industry is the life blood of our community, but I can’t say it’s always easy to deal with.  My man and I have actually enjoyed the peace and quiet of the lock-down, whilst at the same time feeling the anxiety of our Italian friends who rely on the tourist industry.  One has to find a compromise.

Gabor shoesAnyway, it’s my birthday tomorrow.  I have spoilt myself with new shoes from Gabor who have great styles without losing the comfort one needs to survive!  I’ve started drinking wine at noon and my man has planted three rose bushes in a nice trangular bed in the front garden.  Lovely.  Any minute now, DHL will arrive with all the electronic equipment I need to set up my new sound studio in the downstairs guest apartment, now that is really exciting!  I’ll send you a foto next week!

But for now, I need to organise a nice lunch for myself and my gorgeous man who’s hair is nearly long enough for a pony tail, bless him.

Have a great week and do drop me a line, I love to hear from my readers!  june.finnigan@virgin.net and/or visit my website at my site

Salute June x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

Wet morningWell, this morning’s walk around the boundaries was very soggy indeed!  Just when we thought things were warming up it was back to heavy rain and storms.  Now of course the vineyards and olive groves need rain, but it has become impossible to predict the weather in recent years.  Not much more than five years ago we were having months of drought, one year we went from May through to October without a drop of the wet stuff. Our daughter, who lives near San Gimignano. has just sent videos of the track to her house, which is now a raging river!  So enough of the rain, we want aperitivi in the garden please!

Big broken pot and GeraniumsNevertheless, sodden as it was, the countryside was glowing with various greens that against the grey sky seemed to be luminous and the colour of the flowers were extra vivid.  The dampened perfumes were also wafting over us, so it was still another beautiful day in Tuscany.

GuitarsNow, you will probably be aware that myself and the Rock Chick Band have had to cancel our concert for this coming Friday, 19 June.  This is very sad indeed as we would have been celebrating our 10th annual concert.  I got together with Stefano our brilliant lead in 2010, he organised the band and we performed our first concert in June 2011, to celebrate my birthday.  I enjoyed it so much we decided to do it every year, until now!  As you can guess, I’m feeling a little bereft, but am really looking forward to the arrival of a complete sound system for my piano room, which will be renamed the Sound Studio.  This means I will be able to sing to my heart’s content at the microphone, with downloaded backing tracks, whenever I choose.  Now my man has threatened to leave me if I don’t consult him first about my timing, as it will be very very loud.  I think thats only fair…..

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OK, back to the world outside!  You will be glad to know that all the borders are now open and you can travel the length and the width of Italy without restriction!  However, you must still remember the rules and are in fact laws;  wear masks, keep your distance and wash/cleanse your hands at all times!  Slowly, things are returning to normal but you will still find queues outside the shops, banks and supermarkets due to distancing restrictions.  We have been so well looked after by our local alimentare in Fiano for the last four months that I intend continuing to support the small shops, some of which are struggling, but with our support will survive.    Also, the Saturday morning fruit and veg market has reopened in Certaldo where they also sell locally made cheese.  What more do we need?

Back in the kitchen, I have a recipe for Aubergines called ‘White Aubergine Parmigiana’ the peculiar thing is it does not actually include parmigiana!  Anyway, it looks easy even for a dead head in the kitchen like me.  Aubergines are English for Eggplants or Melanzane in Italiano.  My man gets very nervous when I try something new, it will either be delicious or horrible.  If the latter it goes straight out the kitchen window and we have a liquid lunch.  I’ll let you know next week.

Have a great week and do drop me a line.  I love to hear from my readers!  june.finnigan@virgin.net or visit my website and leave a message there.  My site

Salute June x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the world,

PianoTo be honest, when the month of June arrived I felt a little deflated.  As many of you know it is my birthday month and I normally celebrate with a live Rock Chick Band concert in my garden.  But, for obvious reasons, we had to cancel.  Then I had an inspiration!  Downstairs we have a guest apartment which is only used occasionally and always when we have concert guests.  One room houses our old upright piano and nothing else but a tapa cloth hung on the wall, which we bought back from Fiji in 1984.  I know, the tapa cloth is just incidental, but it’s rather beautiful.  Anyway, what I was about to say was, I decided to make better use of the room and turn it into a sound studio!  Yes!  But I need all the right Tapa clothequipment microphone and speakers etc.  So I decided to spoil myself and thank you to our good friend John for his advice, I have ordered a PA System, a PreSonus PX-1 Large Diaphragm Microphone and a TC HeliconVoice Tone C1 Hardtune and Correction Vocal Processor.  Unless you are a musician, you will now be as confused as I am.  I am just a singer who is struggling to learn the guitar.  I have always left the technical side to the guys in the band and turn up when Stefano shouts ‘June, soundcheck!”  So now I am really excited, this wretched virus may have opened a whole new world to me, the real confusion will start when all the equipment arrives in about ten days time!  But I will have the help of my ‘long-haired lover from Bristol’  which is the name I have given my man who is looking like a long-haired rodie  from the seventies!

paul and june in facemasks 27.05.20OK, so what next?  Oh yes, so what has been happening in Tuscany this last week?  I hear you ask.  Well, the borders are now all open and it is a huge relief for those in the tourist industry.  Second homes owned by northern Europeans, who will be driving across the border at this moment, will soon be occupied.  It also brings with it a certain amount of risk as the virus here is by no means over.  But, at the end of the day, we must continue to be vigilant and the rules are still mask wearing and distancing, which the Italians have mostly supported without argument.  But how I long to see everyone hugging and kissing again, it’s been especially hard in Italy as Italians are a naturally demonstrative and warm.  We currently greet old friends by tapping elbows together or blowing kisses through our masks!  Hey ho.

Big oak tree and brollyBut you would never believe that there has been a lock-down in our little bit of countryside on the edge of Chianti.  Everything looks the same, from the land changing with the seasons to the wild life finding mates and reproducing.  The male toads in our pond have been incredibly noisy over the last few days and fascinating to hear, even if we can’t manage to spot one!  The number of birds in our garden, which has lots of mixed trees like our ancient Oak, has been incredible this year.  Just about every european species imaginable.  Bee Eaters have been gathering on top of the bare branches of an Acacia tree, woodpeckers, a pair of Jays, masses of tits, finches and redstarts.  Wood pigeons and Doves, I could go on but I am not an expert and could get some names wrong!  So we sit under our sun brolly every evening, with a nice aperitivo, to watch and listen.  Needless to say, it’s an absolute joy living here.

Now, I hope to venture out a little further next week.  I have so far stayed close to home and getting supplies from our local village of Fiano, where la Dispensa (translates to The Larder) has been fantastic support to the village for groceries.  Now the coffee bar has reopened too, but with the usual restrictions.  So I am going over to Tavernelle and the Co-op to get a few things we can’t get locally, but if there is a queue I won’t hang around, I’m not starting that lark!  Oh no.

42366139_2069341183116386_8416172868177494016_nMeanwhile, my man who miraculously ‘mostly’ enjoys my cooking at home, has agreed to go to the restaurant twice a week.  Now for some reason, during the last couple of weeks I have gone brain dead over cooking and have found it an absolute chore.  But I seem to have taken the pressure off myself by reading and writing again!  Yes, ‘Assassin’s List’ my fourth novel is flowing like a bubbling brook as my heroine Joanna Wilde goes off on another exiting covert mission!

So I guess I can honestly say, life in Tuscany is once again very good, not that it has ever been bad!  I will keep you posted on the progress with my Sound Studio and my writing.  And, don’t forget, I love to hear from my readers so do drop me a line.

Have a good week and stay safe.

Salute June x

Ps Visit my author website at My Site

 

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