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European Nightjar

The Nightjar dozing during the day.

“So why is a Nightjar still calling out when the sun is already up?  Do you think they are on shifts?”  My man asks as he sips his fresh orange juice.  “Well, anything is possible, why not?”  I smile and open my Kindle for a ten-minute read of ‘Contract to Kill’ by Andrew Peterson.  We have been sleeping with the window open and enjoying the Tuscan fresh air, whilst the Nightjar and the crickets trill their way through the nocturnal hours.  I have yet to see a Nightjar, but they are very shy and their camouflage is incredible.  They can settle down on a branch and sleep all day, right under your nose, and you would never know they were there!  But then you bright sparks probably already know that!

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The Obama’s in Tuscany. Photo La Repubblica

So, it is Sunday morning and La Dispensa, our local caffe bar/alimentare in Fiano, is full of locals, buying their Sunday joints and generally passing the time of day.  We grab the newspapers, before someone else does, and take up our usual position at the long wooden table.  Well, so now we have the Obamas here on vacation, it says in La Repubblica and apparently, they love Tuscany.  Who wouldn’t, I say.  I notice that they are staying near Siena and there is some mention of Bibbiano Wine, which is our current favourite.

Beautiful art by Olga Niescier at Certaldo Alto. Photo J Finnigan

On the subject of wine, last Friday evening we went to Certaldo Alto, the old town up on the hill.  (The cover of my latest book features a silhouette of the town against the backdrop of a stunning sunset which, by the way, I took myself.)  We were there to visit an exhibition of paintings and works by Olga Niescier & Andrei Reggi and to indulge in a little wine tasting.  The artworks were fantastic but sadly, the event itself was rather confusing.  www.vitalitart.it  Nevertheless, we enjoyed ourselves and then whizzed off to C’era Una Volta in Lucardo for cena.  This time of year there are a lot of events going on, particularly wine tastings.  The American tourists love them.  They arrive by the planeload into Roma and get bussed up to Chianti.

The view from here with two newly planted Jasmine. Photo J Finnigan

Meanwhile, back in our own little bit of Chianti, it is the time of year for the rattle of old tractors trundling up and down between the vines and the sound of strimmers clearing the ground around the olive trees.  We bought a load more plants on Saturday morning and now have bright colours in the garden pots and a couple of climbing Jasmine to cover a bit of fencing.  The evenings are perfect for sitting outside for aperitivi, with a nice feeling of satisfaction having done the outside work.  If you are coming this way, there are a few mosquitos arriving, so be prepared.  But we don’t care about that, life eeeeze good, life eeeeze now!

The Rock Chick Band – 2016

Well, doesn’t time fly!  Only five weeks to our next Rock Chick Band concert and I must get on with those daily voice exercises.  We’ve got a few new songs in the repertoire this year and are being joined by an English bass guitarist, which will be fun.  As I always mention, if you are in Tuscany on the 24th June and would like a personal invite, drop me a line at june.finnigan@virgin.net

OK, time to organise those aperitivi and relax with the Tuscan sunset.  Have a great week and do get in touch.  I love to hear from you.

Salute June x  PS Visit my author site at My author site

2017-05-07 17.25.58

Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers

This morning will be noted in my diary as the first real day of early summer.  Why, because finally, it was warm enough to wear flip-flops to our local village of Fiano for coffee!  This gave me a huge lift.  The only sad thing is that my favourite biker jacket may have to be put in mothballs until the Autumn.  But it’s still a strange time of year, here in Tuscany, the clouds can suddenly come over and it changes from hot sunshine to a cool breeze.  As a rock chick, I’m never quite sure what to wear, particularly as one needs to keep that ‘famous in Fiano’ image going.

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Mick soon to be rocking in Tuscany.  La Repubblica.

The most exciting news of the week was the announcement in the papers that The Rolling Stones will be in Lucca, which is just north of Pisa, in September.  Tickets went on sale yesterday on-line, and were sold out in two hours!  My good friend Flavio, who loves rock concerts including my own, told me that the Piazza Arena in Lucca only holds twenty thousand and a Stones tour generally needs space for more than twice that number!  So it was not surprising that it was a sell out so quickly.

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My delicious breakfast.  Photo J Finnigan.

Anyway, back to the relative calm of our lovely old monastery farmhouse, where my man and I are enjoying big bowls of fresh fruit salad for breakfast.  The markets are full of summer fruits including strawberries, peaches, nectarines, kiwis and the last of the pears.  This also makes me feel so much happier, as we shed the need for hot meals and start thinking about salads.

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Gluten free school lunch. Il Nazione.

On the subject of food, my man spotted an article in the paper.  “Look at this!  Would you believe it, it’s International Coeliac Week and the schools are going to be serving up gluten-free meals on Tuesday and Thursday!”  He said, looking very serious.  Now I was surprised to hear this, I had not heard about it in previous years.  I have to eat gluten-free and I was aware that there is a very high percentage of Coeliacs in Italy.  So, this is a step in the right direction, although non-coeliacs are warned not to take up a gluten-free diet unless they are advised to do so by their doctors.  Fortunately, wine is gluten-free.  Praise the gods!

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Looking east at the sunset’s reflection. Photo J Finnigan.

Meanwhile, we are having some wonderful sunsets here and I thought you might like to see the effect of the sunset looking east from our home across the hills.  The dramatic contrast of orange against the green of the olive trees and vines is really dramatic.

 

And finally, on the subject of summer again, it’s not just time to put away the winter clothes, but also to bring out one’s summery handbags and sandals.  I have just changed my bag from orange to cream, another lift to one’s psyche.  And, of course, we are now enjoying lunchtime and evening aperitivi in the garden.  So far, we have not had an invasion of mosquitos (zanzari), so life is pretty idyllic.  I did just touch wood, can’t have the little devils waking up now, can we?

Well, enough of that.  I’ll finish this blog off when we get back from lunch at C’era Una Volta in Lucardo.  OK, I’m back, had a great lunch and another delicious bottle of Bibbiano.  I’ve had a siesta and now feel refreshed enough to finish this blog and get it off to you.

Here’s wishing you a good week and don’t forget to chill out in the evenings with a nice aperitivo.  Working long hours is not good for you!

Salute June x

Ps Visit my author site at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

2017-05-07 17.25.58

 

Benvenuti and Welcome to my weekly Blog from Tuscany

I returned from a week in the UK last Sunday, and I am really glad to be home in our little bit of Chianti.  It was a very exhausting time combining book events and business networking; I can now see the benefits of doing all my book marketing on-line, but it was an interesting exercise.

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My three books on sale in Fiano.  Foto J Finnigan

Of course, as an author, I am very famous in our local village of Fiano and Milko is proudly promoting all three of my books in his glass cabinet frontage at his shop in the Piazza, bless him.  After a week back home, going out for a good coffee every morning and greeting the locals, I have finally recovered from the frenetic pace of life in the cities and towns of England.  But enough of that, you have checked in to read about Tuscany, and I am more than happy to update you.

Of course, the tourist season is upon us.  Once Easter hits, everything gears up for the invasion and for us it is not unpleasant, mainly because we find ourselves people watching and offering help to hapless English-speaking tourists who are lost or confused.  Our little bit of home on the edge of Chianti is very popular with Americans, Germans, Poles, French and other northern Europeans; it is fun to try to identify nationalities by their dress code and/or language.

2017-05-07 12.02.04I must tell you that lots of Contemporary Wine and Art Events are going on around us and I should mention those run by The Vitalita Cultural Association, a number of which we will be attending.  The events include wine tasting, art exhibitions, live music and dance, in stunning locations.  So this will keep the visitors occupied when it’s raining.  Visit the English version website and event calendar

Meanwhile, back at our lovely home, I have a new baby called George.  No, not that kind of baby, it’s a new Fender acoustic guitar, which I bought back from England.  You are probably aware that I am the lead singer of The Rock Chick Band and we perform once a year at our private Concert party in June.  My lead guitarist Stefano will have to teach me to play it, so do not worry, I won’t be playing it live this year!  If you are in Tuscany on the 24th June and would like an invite, drop me an email at june.finnigan@virgin.net

2017-05-01 10.03.56So what’s been happening on the political scene?  Ah, not surprisingly, Matteo Renzi, having resigned as Prime Minister, has got himself elected back in as leader of the PD party.  Of course, he’s one of those pretty boys of politics and used to be the mayor of Florence.  The girlies love him, just like they adored Silvio Berlusconi who is eighty now, but still attracts a big following!  So Matteo could be running the country again by the end of the year!

2017-04-17 08.43.28What else, oh yes, I have to share this picture with you.  The Italian shoe designers have mastered the elegant flat shoe look and I just love these, and the handbag of course.

2017-05-05 09.19.03And finally, for now, here is ‘man and dog’ of the month.  Only Gucci can come up with such a beautiful picture.  What is your favourite fashion brand?

Do get in touch, I love to hear from you.

Salute June x

 

Visit my author site at Author site

2017-05-07 17.25.58

My current romantic thrillers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Auguri and Happy Easter to all my Lovely Followers

“Well, you can tell it’s the Easter weekend, there are all sorts of foreign tourists jogging past in designer running gear.”  My man sighs.  Yes, the holiday season is upon us and the atmosphere in the Chianti countryside changes completely.  As we drive along the Strada Bianca (white road, better described as very dusty gravelly dirty track) We try not to shower the unsuspecting runners with a cloud of dust, which is almost impossible.  They all end up the same colour, despite their various shades of day-glow!  But never mind, they all wave and smile, after all, they are on holiday.

Italian Easter Egg Hunt near Florence. La Repubblica

Here in Tuscany, like most other western countries, the children are off on their Easter Egg Hunts.  Il Solferino caffè bar in Certaldo this morning, rang with calls of ‘Auguri,’ which is short for ‘Best Wishes,’ a greeting used on all Festa Days.  The town was wrapped in a chilly cloud of mist and gloomy tourists traipsed around wondering why everything was closed on a festive weekend.

The new Rock Village in Florence. La Repubblica

Meanwhile, we relax over coffee with the Sunday paper and read that a Rock Village has been built to accommodate visiting rock concerts to Florence!   Ha, ha you thought I meant a village built out of rock, didn’t you!  But this is fabulous news and I love it that the Tuscans take their rock concerts so seriously, just like me of course.  In June it will host Radiohead, Aerosmith, Placebo and many more.  Also, U2 and Madonna are expected during the ‘Summer Festival of Rock’ and the organisers expect to out-do Glastonbury!  Wow!  As soon as I have more information I’ll let you know.  However, if you don’t want to have to buy expensive tickets for any of the concerts, you can always attend The Rock Chick Band’s seventh annual rock concert on the 24th June in the Chianti Hills.  If you ask nicely, I might send you a free invitation.  Email june.finnigan@virgin.net

Silvio and little Lamb. La Repubblica.

OK, what next?  Ah yes, bless him Silvio Berlusconi has been photographed cuddling and bottle feeding a lamb, which has been saved from the Easter roast.  Apparently, he, Silvio, became vegetarian last year so he definitely has my vote if he stands for parliament again.  I know, a candidate needs greater qualifications than lamb saving, but I can’t think of any politician with any.  So this has ticked one box for me.

‘English’ park bench under ‘Italian’ Ash Tree. Photo J Finnigan.

Well enough you may say, and anyway it’s time to pop down to our ‘English’ park bench, which is nicely placed under our ‘Tuscan’ Ash tree for an aperitivo before our Easter lunch.  If any restaurants are open today they will be packed.  From experience, we have learned to stay at home on Festa days.  Can’t help but feeling sorry for those tourists again when they find eighty percent of places closed and no free tables in the remaining restaurants!

So, salute, Cin Cin, Bottoms up and cheers to you all.

Amore June x

PS  I’m off to England next Sunday on a UK book tour, so may not post you a blog next weekend.  To view or buy my latest book ‘The Italian Connection’ visit any Amazon site around the world or my author site at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

My other Books.
Foto J Finnigan

Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers

“Arrgh, I’ve broken a fingernail!” I wail.  My man is driving us towards our local village of Fiano for coffee and only a few days before I had enjoyed a manicure and had my nails painted a permanent & glorious metallic red!  The car stops.  “Do you want to go back home?”  He asked, not batting an eyelid.  He understands how important my hands, feet and hair are.  “No, no,” I groan, “but I do feel the need to lie down….”

Deep Purple on tour in Italy. La Reppublica.

We arrive in Fiano, and I have carefully removed the bit of broken nail, but keep my left hand in my pocket.  Then I am cheered to see that the papers are talking about two of my favourite bands, Deep Purple and The Patti Smith Band.  Now they are both in the ageing rocker club of course, but the Italians just love them.  Deep Purple are doing their ‘final’ tour, but they all say that then turn up a few years later on a reunion one!

The great Patti Smith on tour. La Repubblica.

Patty, who at the age of seventy-one is back here on a world tour, is just amazing.  Never one of the pretty girls of rock, but her voice makes up for it.  I have performed cover versions of her songs with my own band over the years.  I particularly love ‘Because the Night’ (belongs to lovers).  She will be here between 6th and 13th May, starting in Parma and finishing in Roma.  There are just a few tickets left for Cremona, Bologna and Rome.  Rush to http://www.viagogo.com

Charles and Camilla in Italy. La Repubblica.

Meanwhile, Charles & Camilla have been doing a grand tour of Italy, Charlie visiting earthquake sites and Camilla her grandmother’s old home in Florence.  I can honestly say that I have never seen Charlie smiling so much as he is in just about all the photos in the papers.  This is the effect this wonderful country has on everyone, of course, myself included.

The former soft orange lighting and the new white horror lights in Roma. La Repubblica.

However, down in Roma, the Romans are feeling very depressed about the new white street lighting.  The gentle orange lights that washed the city in a romantic glow have been replaced by horrible things that have turned the city into a creepy looking black and white horror movie.  People are scurrying home as if they are scared to stay long, and you can see why in the picture!

Back here in our lovely bit of Chianti, I am gearing up for a Book Promotion Tour in the South West of England.  I will be at The Oddfellows , 60 New North Road, Exeter between 5 pm & 8.30pm on the 27th April, and The Oddfellows, High Street, Exmouth between 5 pm & 8.30pm on 28th April.  I would love to see you at one of these events.

‘The Italian Connection’ is now available in paperback and E-book.  However, the official launch will be on 1st May.  If you can’t wait to read it, visit My author site or any Worldwide Amazon site of your choice.

OK, enough already.  Must get the photos uploaded and get this off to you.  Then I shall pour myself a nice glass of Pinot Grigio and go down to our lovely lower garden and sit under the ash tree.

Salute and do drop me a line; I love to hear from you.

Salute June x

My current Books.
Foto J Finnigan

 

 

 

 

 

Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers (A little late in the week, mi dispiace)

Sunrise casting a golden glow over the Chianti Hills.
Photo J Finnigan

On Sunday morning I was overwhelmed with emotion as my man and I set off down a white track, and into the centre of the wilder side of the Chianti countryside.  I was particularly pleased because walking any distance has recently been a problem for me.  But that morning, I put on my determined hat and was rewarded with the wonderful smell of spring and fabulous vistas that I had not even seen before!  Looking back towards our home rather than from it, was exhilarating.  You may think you know the Chianti countryside; Vineyards and Olive groves, you think.  However, you may not realise that there is a massive amount of wild mixed woodland on the steeper slopes and my man, being an ex-Commando, was able to identify a number of footprints including Cinghale, deer and porcupine.  So thank you once again to my man and the beautiful Tuscan countryside.

Easter Display at La Dispensa in Fiano. Foto J Finnigan

Meanwhile, back in our local village of Fiano, our local caffè bar and Alimentare had been busy preparing a lovely Easter (Pasquale) table for us all to enjoy.  I’m not sure when Easter actually is, but my grandchildren will remind me very soon.  The Italians are, of course, very big on Easter.

The new ‘People Mover’ shuttle train between Pisa airport and Pisa Centrale railway station.
La Nazione

Anyway, what else.  Oh, yes, at last Pisa has a new link from the central railway station to the airport.  My man tried it out on Monday morning and commented that the bus was just as easy.   Previously, there was a long walk to the bus and then a bumpy ride to the airport!  However, let’s hope it makes things a little easier and less confusing for the tourists, who will start arriving soon.

In case you are wondering, the final hard copy of ‘The Italian Connection’ will be with me on Friday, following which, assuming it looks OK, I will give the thumbs up for publication.  Then the hard work of publicising and marketing will begin in earnest.  I will be doing a book promotions visit to the West Country in England between the 24th and 28th April.  Let me know if you would like a book signing event or talk in your own area.

Addio to rock legend Chuck Berry. La Repubblica

Now, I know this is not a Tuscan thing, but I would like to mention the passing of Chuck Berry, that great Rock and Roller from the sixties.  He has just died at the age of 90, so when I saw him on stage in 1964, he was already fifty-three!  Hard to believe!  My absolute favourite song was No Particular Place to go;  ‘Driving along in my automobile, my baby beside me at the wheel….’   So addio lovely man.

Have a great week and keep rocking on.

Salute June x

Visit my author site at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

My current Books.
Foto J Finnigan

 

Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers

Daybreak in Chianti. Foto J Finnigan

Last Tuesday morning, I opened the shutters and then the window, because the sun had finally returned to our little bit of Tuscany.  Hard to believe, I know, that Tuscany can have several long days of drizzle and grey skies, so much so that one can feel a little dejected.  So, it was a huge relief to have the hot sun on my face again.  The countryside quickly reacted, by sending up lots of spring shoots and buds out on the trees, now everything looks and smells wonderful.

Delicious Chianti Classico Bibbiano. foto J Finnigan

Anyway, how are you?  Drinking plenty of Chianti wine I hope.  My man and I have recently started enjoying a Chianti Classico wine at C’era Una Volta in Lucardo.   It’s called Bibbiano, the 2014 version, and whilst I am not usually attracted to the Classico range of wines, I really like this one.  Do try it and let me know.

Last Wednesday was La Festa Della Donna or Women’s Day to everyone else around the world, I joined my lovely friend and neighbour Paola, who owns the fabulous La Poggiolaia Agriturismo next door. We met at L’Osteria di Casa Chianti, where they were having a celebratory evening for we ladies.   http://www.osteriadicasachianti.it

I love this girlie frock! La Reppublica magazine

It was the first time that Paola and I had gone out on this Festa day, let alone celebrate it.  Celebrating women is when you think about it, something that should come naturally, every day.  I think most men do really appreciate their women, and if you don’t have a man or partner that does, then remember to put a value on everything you are lucky enough to have or be able to do.  You are, of course, a beautiful person, and life is far too short to feel undervalued.  Indulge yourself with a gorgeous frock like the one here or a nice pair of  Italian shoes!

L-R Renzi, the current Premier Gentiloni, and Minister Martina. La Repubblica.

Now It’s some time since I mentioned Italian politics.  I guess that’s because the arena has become a little dull in the last few months.  But things are heating up again.  In mid-February, Matteo Renzi the former PM, resigned as leader of the Democratic Party (DP) intending to fight his way back into power.  Shortly afterwards, several members of the DP joined a new radical left parliamentary group.  This had the effect of putting the PD back to being almost neck and neck in the polls with the Five Star Movement (M5S) led by the comedian Beppo Grillo!  Are you still with me?  Meanwhile, Silvio Berlusconi now intends going for the premiership next year with his party Forza Italia, but his support has dwindled to fourth place in the polls, so he’ll need to pull his eighty-year-old finger out!  But it’s good to see him back if just for the glamorous entourage he brings with him.

OK, nearly there with my latest book, The Italian Connection.  Just done the final, final book edit and it will be winging its way to the publisher by the end of Thursday.  Sorry to keep you all waiting, but I think you will find it was worth it.  Watch this space!

Have a great week and do drop me a line.

Salute June x

Visit my author site at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

My current Books.
Foto J Finnigan

Sunset in Chianti. Foto J Finnigan

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