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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers around the World

Well, I’m starting off today with the music scene, here in our lovely bit of Italy.  I could write the whole blog and never leave this particular subject, as so much is going on musically.  But worry ye not, there is much more to read about below.  But I am sure you would want to know that the aging Bob Dylan will be gracing us with his presence on 7th April, appearing at The Nelson Mandela Forum in Florence.  I was interested to read that last year he was made Poet Laureate for his song lyrics, unusual choice, but open to discussion. Foto Tour promotions.  For details of all his Italian concert dates go to Here

2018-02-08 09.50.31Also touring during February and March is the hugely popular gravelly Italian  singer, Zucchero.  Zucchero translates to sugar, and a very sweet man he is too.  His real name is Adelmo Fornaciari and is described as a blues artist who has sold more than sixty million records in his lifetime!  At sixty-three he’s still going strong.  Foto La Reppublica.  Buy tickets at Here

Back here, in our beautiful bit of countryside near Certaldo, the last week has been full of wildlife.  Firstly, we came to a sudden halt on the main road to Certaldo, to wait for a herd of Cinghiale (wild boar) that were racing across countryside to our left and were obviously going to cross the road in front of us without stopping.  There were twelve or thirteen, led by a big male followed by a few adults and a lot of youngsters.  They thundered across in front of us in single file and at a terrific speed.  We were very pleased to find a group of hunters further down the road, facing in the wrong direction; the cinghale were long gone!  Then, during the same week, we twice came across a herd of deer, crossing the track between our house and the main road, again keeping out of the hunters’ way.  It is a sad thing that these beautiful creatures are hunted so fiercely this time of year.

2018-02-17 08.59.22Anyway, on a brighter note, I found this gorgeous Sodini handbag in La Reppublica’s weekend magazine.  I think it is truly beautiful and it’s so nice to have a relaxed happy model in the picture.  Oh, dear, I have just discovered that the brand can be bought in Certaldo, at Magnolia in Via Giugno.  What to do?  My man will kill me if I buy another handbag!  I’ll have to find an excuse somehow!  Visit website  Also shown below is a beautiful outfit, again with a relaxed happy model, wearing a MaxMara number, which is right up my street.  Perhaps I’ll refrain from checking where I can buy it; on the other hand.  Ooops, just did, far too expensive, but never mind.  Go to website      2018-02-17 08.57.39Just lately, I have been getting really put off the fashion shows as so many designers use these awful miserable looking models that don’t even seem to be enjoying the clothes they are wearing!  Sorry, I just don’t understand it.  They may as well just use remote-controlled robots, that would at least be more interesting.

Well, enough of that.  What with all the election rallys going on and famous, or should I say infamous, people turning up locally to drum up votes, it’s been a little difficult to ignore.  Alessandra Mussolini, granddaughter of the original, has just visited Certaldo, trying to help drum up support for Forza Italia and its local candidate Stefania Scarpati. 

2018-02-17 08.52.07This is also Silvio Berlusconi’s party, which is currently holding third place in the opinion poles.  Posters are now appearing on the big metal boards erected a couple of weeks ago.  Although we are residents here, we don’t appear to have voting rights.  Mind you, I would not have a clue as to who to vote for, but then I felt the same way when we lived in England in the distant past!  I’ll keep you posted.  Foto La Nazione.

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The Rock Chick Band 2017

OK, time to get the pictures into this blog, then to get it off to all you lovely people.  Do drop me a line and if you would like to be added to The Rock Chick Band’s invitation list for our concert on June 22nd, drop me an email at june.finnigan@virgin.net.  Initial invites will go out shortly.

Have a great week.

Salute June x

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

2018-02-11 09.27.41OK, I have warned you about Italian Romeos in the past and this week girlies of all ages should take extra care.  Anyway, from now up until the fourteenth, beware of Italian men offering you red roses.  One rose is supposed to be very romantic, however, it might also indicate the size of his wallet!  Ask immediately if he lives with his mother.  If yes, then he’s probably after a bit of slap and tickle.  If he gives you a sob story about his aging or ailing mother, he may be looking for a replacement!  Either way, if he’s good-looking and invites you to dinner in a decent ristorante, why not!  Enjoy!  Foto La Nazione.

2018-02-11 09.30.28Meanwhile, the papers continue to be full of the forthcoming elections.  Villages and towns have had the big metal boards erected ready for the posters that go up shortly.  Matteo Renzi, the former Prime Minister, seems to be talking himself into a big political hole, rather like David Cameron did in the UK.  Both he and Silvio Berlusconi are now paying heed to the female political advisors, I’m glad to say, however, no sign of a likely candidate from their ranks for PM yet.  Foto La Repubblica.

Meta and Moro suspended

OK, so how did the Sanremo Music Festival end? I hear you ask.  Well, the winning act was Meta and Moro.  Meta was obviously doing a Doctor Who impression, aka Tom Baker!  The guys nearly didn’t make it after they were suspended pending allegations of violations of the festival’s rules by the song presented by them.  But all turned out rosy in the end.  To watch the video and get an idea of how ‘high’ the standard of entries were, go to Youtube Video No comment.  Would you believe, 12.2 million Italians watched the final on TV , the highest recorded since 2002!  Foto Sanremo official website. 
2018-02-08 09.49.27Guest appearances at the Festival included Sting.  The music man is fully entrenched into Tuscan life having a villa and land just a few valleys away from us, and the Italians love him.  His music is regularly played on the radio and he holds the occasional private concert party in his garden.  He has obviously taken a lead from me and my Garden Rock Concerts in June each year.  More news on that soon!  Foto La Repubblica
2018-02-11 09.32.36Well, back here in our beautiful bit of Chianti, it is cold and raining.  Contrary to popular belief outside of Italy, February can be chilly and wet.  Despite that Crocuses are beginning to show their heads, the Mimosa and some Cherry trees are in full blossom and life is good.  Local towns and villages are finally getting over the Carnivale Period and things are finally a little quieter; until the elections of course!  Foto La Nazione.
Soon, you will have more news about my books.  I will shortly finish and publish my short story, The Man in Black, and am making big strides with the fourth book in the series ‘The Continuing Adventures of Joanna Wilde’ called ‘Assassins List.‘  So watch this space!
Have a great week and do drop me a line; I love to hear from you.  Oh, and do visit my official author site at June’s website
Salute June x
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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World

2018-02-05 09.21.12Yes!  Rugby Six Nations has started and whilst I don’t intend bombarding you with unnecessary results of the first weekend, I do want to mention yesterday’s match between England and Italy in Roma.  Now, whenever I watch these two teams play I am torn between them; who am I supporting I ask myself?  My man has no such problems, he is English and an ex-serviceman, so Queen and country naturally makes him a supporter of England.  I am also English, but after nearly fourteen years in Tuscany, I am cheering both sides on and delighted with every try, conversion and drop kick.  And Italy put up a really good performance, they even scored the first try, only to lose in the end to the stronger team!

2018-02-05 09.17.28Anyway, back in the world of politics, and whilst enjoying my morning coffee at La Dispensa in Fiano, I read in La Republica  that eighty-seven year old politician Lilian Segre, has been nominated ‘Senatrice a Vita’ by the Presidente della Republica Sergio Mattarella.  Now, this either means she has been given a life sentence or made a Senator for Life.  In the picture she appears to be in a state of shock, poor old thing, so take your pick!

2018-02-01 09.19.29But let’s turn our thoughts to the world of music, which is close to my heart as you all know.  We are in the run-up to the Sanremo Music Festival.  This is a hotly contested song contest which, over five days will find a winner selected by a celebrity panel.  Of course this makes for very popular TV watching, however, if you do attend the Ariston Theatre in Sanremo, or watch it on the box, you will have to sit and listen to some pretty awful music.  The Italians are crazy for it!  A guest appearance will be made by Ornella Vanoni.  Who?  Ah, well she was a hugely popular singer donkeys years ago and this will be her first appearance in nineteen years.  Good for her, I say.  If you would like to learn more, or even buy tickets you should go to The Website

2018-01-29 09.24.39Meanwhile, at number two in the album charts, you will find the lovely EMMA, with Essere Qui, which means ‘Being here’.  Born in Florence, she is currently a bit of a Blondie lookalike, but her voice is very different.  Husky and very much a singer of the modern age, she became popular after winning Sanremo in 2012.  She also plays acoustic and classical guitar; impressive!  Hear her sing here video

OK, so what else.  Oh yes, Amore of course.  It is the run up to Valentines day, which single Italian men love and married men don’t bother with once they have snared you.  Well, so I’m told!

Well, enough of that.  Must get this blog posted to you and organise some lunch.  Have a great week and do drop me a line.

Salute June x

PS Don’t forget to visit my official author site at June’s site

NB Fotos from La Repubblica.

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

20180128_151859When we first moved into our lovely new home in April 2015, one of the first things we did was to plant three young Mimosa trees.  All are doing really well and already in full blossom.  Once again this is a little too early in the year, as the blossoms are normally presented to the women in one’s life, on La Festa Delle Donne in March, that are deserving for reasons of kindness, love or simply being a nice person who might have made a difference over the previous year.  So let’s hope that there will still be a few flowering trees around on the day.  A couple of days ago, my man also spotted the first daffodils as we whizzed back from a trip to Certaldo; lovely.

2018-01-23 09.17.13Meanwhile it is the season for that delicious dark green cabbage, Cavolo Nero, full of iron and vitaminsCooked in various ways, however, I just like to steam the leaves then toss in a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sea salt.  For some really great recipes visit the website of my friend and neighbour, the Celebrity Cook Judy Witts Francini.  Judy’s website

2018-01-22 09.43.08Also in season are the lovely Italian New Potatoes.  Now I’m a great fan of potatoes and we Brits cook them in so many different ways.  Whilst I love them just boiled and tossed in butter (lessato), the Italians mainly cook them chopped into small pieces and roasted with oil, Rosemary and garlic (Potate Arrosto).  You will also find a recipe for this in Judy’s book.

‘So what’s going on in Florence and Tuscany?’ I hear you say.  ‘A lot, as always’ I reply.  Firstly, here is an extract from What’s On in Florence and surroundings in February, courtesy of The Florentine.

  • Visual artists will love the Villa Bardini exhibition From Pinocchio to Harry Potter. 155 years of Italian illustration from the Salani Archive since 1862 (February 12-June 3).
  • The Franco Zeffirelli International Centre for the Performing Arts will start the scholastic side to the uber-popular museum, shop and tea room, which opened last July. Students from around the world will study set design in Palazzo San Firenze, the city centre’s former courthouse. In the spring courses will also begin for opera singers, while music lovers are in for a treat with the San Firenze concert series: on February 9, Conservatorio Luigi Cherubini students will perform cinema-centric music by Rota, Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Milhaud.

certaldo stationAnd how about our local town of Certaldo and other nearby towns?  Well, I’m going to have to research this as, whilst all the locals seem to know whats going on, probably by word of mouth or they are actively involved anyway.  So I’ll be back shortly!  Ok, I’m back and the very best site to go to is Discover Tuscany, where you will find all the exciting events including wine tastings, galleries, exhibitions, dance festivals, food festas; the list is endless.  So if you are going to be in Tuscany in February you will be kept very busy!  You can start your tour at Certaldo Station, the rail and bus links are brilliant!  Foto P Finnigan.  Go to Discover Tuscany  Website

OK, time for an aperitivo with my man and then I’ll get my head around lunch.  Do drop me a line, I love to hear from you and don’t forget to visit my Official Author Site at June’s Site

Salute June x

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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers around the World

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Daybreak in Chianti. Foto J Finnigan

Well, what can I say other than “Yet another beautiful day in Tuscany!” and this is despite the recent grey clouds, mist and cold.  You see, here in our little bit of Chianti, there are always reasons to be cheerful!

2018-01-20 08.29.58Meanwhile, last week was a celebration of Men’s Fashion in Italy and this week we are celebrating Kid’s Fashion.  Now, Italian children are extremely fashion conscious and from a very early age.  The shops are full of funky clothes for kids; it’s not unusual to see a three-year old toddling around in a designer leather jacket and hi-tech trainers.  Italian boys are constantly checking their reflections in shop windows and adjusting their designer haircuts!  Sunglasses and top of the range cell-phones are essential accessories.  I have some mixed feelings about all this, but the kids are mostly happy and as long as they are not draining the pockets of their hard-working parents, why not.  What do you think?

2018-01-07 08.44.47Back in the world of politics, Italy’s general election will be on 4th March.  Yes, another one!  Don’t worry, I am not going to say much about this, but here is an article from La Repubblica Magazine showing The Cinque Stella movement currently in the lead, with The PD Party close behind.  Mind you I would not rule out a sudden percentage rise for Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia Party, currently in third place!

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And what’s going on in the world of music? I hear you ask.  Well, would you believe that an exhibition has been opened in Rome by the Mayor, dedicated to Pink Floyd! No, I’m not joking!  Two aging members of the band turned up and were greeted with great enthusiasm by hoards of Italian fans.  Yes, Italy loves Pink Floyd! Also making a few appearances in select cities is U2; not quite so aging but getting on a bit.  Bono also has a big following.  If you are an English or American Rock star, the Italians are likely to flock to your concerts.  I’m still working on my own Rock Star status, at least I’m nearly old enough to qualify.  foto La Nazione

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Meanwhile, back in our lovely converted monastery farmhouse, in the hills above Certaldo, I am forging on with the completion of a short story called ‘The Man in Black’,  which is inspired by my own man and will be published in the next few weeks.  It is a mystery thriller based in London’s theatre land.  I am also well into the fourth book of the series ‘The Continuing adventures of Joanna Wilde’ called ‘Assassin’s List‘, which will hopefully put the final headstones on the nasty Assassins still out there.  Visit my updated website, add yourself to my list of followers and be the first to hear my book news.  June’s site

2018-01-21 13.27.30Finally, something close to my heart, which is good Tuscan food and preferably cooked in a restaurant.  We have just returned from C’era Una Volta in Lucardo, having enjoyed a lovely big bowl of Paolo’s Leek and Potato soup, which really warmed me up, followed by pasta with Pesto di cavolo nero.  Absolutely yummy.  But enough of that.  Foto J.Finnigan.  Visit C’era una Volta

Do drop me a line, I love to hear from you.

Have a great week.

Salute June.

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The Trilogy – The Continuing Adventures of Joanna Wilde.

 

 

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

Now, if you read my blog on a regular basis you will know that it is very rare for me to grumble.  However, I hope you will allow me one gripe having almost got past the final Christmas, New Year and Befana celebrations here in our little bit of Chianti.  As you know the Italians love festas.  That is the excuse to take time off for a day or more and celebrate with family, friends, good food and wine.  Nothing wrong with that, I hear you say.  Last Sunday was the final celebration called Befana, when the good witch pays a visit to all the Italian children to check if they have been good or not, and then award them with presents or a lump of coal.

2017-12-31 09.35.11The next day I thought, hurrah, we can get back to normal, ditch or plant the Christmas trees that many of us are allergic to, the shops will all be open and the post office will be functioning.  How, after nearly fourteen years living in this beautiful bit of the world, could I forget that Befana also heralds the start of a week’s holiday for thousands of Italians, when many shoot off to ski destinations!  Last Monday I found a note in my post box, telling me that a long overdue Christmas parcel was waiting for me at Certaldo Post Office.  So I waited in the usual queue and arrived at the counter feeling pretty relaxed.  “Sorry Signora” the male counter assistant said, in Italian of course, “The sorting office is still on holiday, you will have to come back tomorrow!”  Take note, the date was 8th January…..  I took a deep breath and walked back out into a hail storm and did not have a brolly with me!  OK, grumble over, I went back the next day and got my parcel.  Foto La Repubblica

2018-01-15 08.55.09And on the subject of skiing, you would love the Dolomites in Northern Italy this time of year.  Very crowded mind, although from next week onwards most of the Italian tourists may have finally returned to work.  Meanwhile, a little further north in Austria, our brilliant female ski team have just won the World Championship and good for them I say!  Are you a keen skier?  I have always wanted to ski, but never got round to it.  Too many other priorities I guess.  My man skied in Norway with the military; when you next see him, ask him about his experiences, he loves to talk about his wooden skis!

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Meanwhile, back in our local village of Fiano, we continue to enjoy morning coffee and despite the owners, Fabio and Sandra, being on holiday, their lovely daughter Rossella (on the right) was running things at La Dispensa.  She and I always speak in English and at normal speed so that she can even further improve her very good command of the language.  Relaxing over coffee and the newspapers here, always starts my day off brilliantly. Foto J Finnigan.

Well, must get my head around completing my column for Expat Focus and complete a short story called ‘The Man in Black,’ which I started a few years ago.  My man has, over the last few weeks, inspired me to go back and finish it.  So watch this space for news of its publication.  Or, if you have not yet registered for updates on my website, go to June’s Official Website

Do drop me a line, I love to hear from you.

Salute June x

PS My fourth novel ‘Assassin’s List’ is also progressing well!

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Benvenuti to all my lovely Friends, Family and Followers around the World

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As the last sunset of the year settles into a wonderful fiery horizon after a week of stormy clouds, we look forward to a year of wonderful achievements and even greater love, good health and friendships.  Here in Tuscany we raise a glass or three to those who cannot be with us this evening, but will be soon, and to those around the world no matter how far away.  fotos J Finnigan and La Nazione.

Have a wonderful 2018 and do drop me a line; I love to hear from you,

Salute June x  My Official Website

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