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

2019-04-28 10.53.02It’s been a busy week here in our little bit of Tuscany on the edge of Chianti.  It has also rained a lot, which dictated much of planning for the week.  I decided not to buy more plants this weekend as it is still too damp, but just for you I have taken some pictures in our Tuscan garden.  The smell of the Acaccia Blossoms and our now climbing English Rose, shortly after the rain, is intoxicating.  Just standing under the dripping trees and breathing in the air is so invigorating.

20190420_102732Most of the time things are very quiet here, the sound of ancient squeaky tractors spraying the vineyards can be heard, but this is almost drowned out by the birdsong.  We have a small number of Magpies roosting in our trees and one fat male has taken to admiring himself in the glass of our windows and doors.  That’s Ok until he starts loudly banging the glass to get his reflection to respond to his posturing!

2019-04-26 09.43.20Meanwhile, back in our local village of Fiano, I was somewhat taken aback to be asked by a man I have only seen occasionally to go up to his apartment to see his ceramics!  Well, you girls have no doubt heard the saying ‘would you like to come up and see my etchings?  Well, let me explain.  I was paying Fabio at La Dispensa for my coffee, when I noticed a new ceramic dish for the change on his counter.  I said how much I liked it and as if by magic the maker of said dish, was at my elbow.  Fabio introduced me to Leonardo, yes I know, whose surname is Lazzeri.  With a manic wave of his arms and a big smile on his face, he invited me up to his apartment!  So there I was, standing in his big parlour (having met his lovely wife) and agape at all the beautiful ceramic creations, both big and small.

2019-04-26 12.18.57Leonardo is now retired, but still does the odd piece now and then.  His work is sold in San Gimignano which, if you do not already know, is the city of towers and is massively popular with tourists.  Leonardo’s work is unique, in that he concentrates on an Antico (old fashioned) style with the characters having distinctive pointed noses.  He has also published books containing his works over many years.  Unfortunately, Leonardo is also old fashioned and does not have a web site to show you, but if you are in Fiano or San Gimignano, I know he would love to meet you!  He gave me this lovely spoon holder as a parting gift, such a nice man!

2019-04-24 09.39.18Now, in addition to Easter we had Liberation Day to celebrate on 25th April.  Much is written about the French Resistance during the 2nd World War, however, the heroics of the men and women of the Partisans, the Italian resistance, is an incredible story.  I have met and interviewed some of these amazing people and learnt how whole villages were wiped out by many of the retreating soldiers.  Memorials can be found in many villages and seeing some of these really can bring a lump into one’s throat.

FEBBRAIO 2007 175.jpgOn a lighter note, this morning my man and I had coffee with friends at La Dispensa.  Our friend Ute was telling us about the amazing number of weddings she is overseeing at Villa il Pozzo a 3* hotel close to us.  She already has ten wedding bookings this year and was meeting with two further clients this weekend in preparation for next years nuptials! I have to say, Il Pozzo is a very beautiful place, castellated and with stunning views. Take a look.  Website

Ok, enough I think, must get the fotos inserted and send this blog off to you. But suddenly we’re In the middle of a thunder storm, ooooeeeer!  Now the lights have gone out!!  It’s eerily quiet.  The lights are flickering but still nothing.  My man won’t be happy as he’s down in the guest apartment putting together some IKEA furniture.  Mama Mia!  Now I’m being told that the saving of this draft has failed; well not surprising, theres no electricity!!  Damn and blast, what to do?  Now the heavy rain is starting again, and there are loads of tourists just arrived in the area wearing skimpy summer clothes, poor things!  Best keep my computer open, so I can save this as soon as possible.  Sound of fingers strumming on my desk, five minutes gone and still in the dark!  OK best get some candles ready before it’s completely dark!  Fifteen minutes now, have lit a candle, this is really annoying!  But just a minute, this candlelight is rather nice.  Will pour some drinks and get some nibbles.  An hour has gone by, so I’ve saved the blog to word, phew, should have thought of that before!

It is the following morning and finally we have electricity!  Still overcast but brighter!  Here is the blog!

Have a great week and do visit my website for updates.  My Site

Salute June x

 

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

20180815_101857Yes, it’s that time of year again, Easter Weekend and the Tourists have poured in from every part of the globe.  Cars and mini-buses are cruising past our Old Monastery Farmhouse with big-eyed faces staring out of the windows.  Then there are the walkers.  As we are surrounded by agriturismo places to stay, it’s normal to hear the sound of footsteps on the gravel track and wondrous voices in many different languages.  But, we don’t mind, as this weekend heralds the run up to summer and it’s a pleasure to see and hear visitors enjoying themselves.  Anyway, we have our giant spider guarding the gate; just in case.

2019-04-22 09.48.18Now the tourists will have found ninety percent of shops, bars and restaurants closed on both the Sunday and Monday.  This includes our usual haunt La Dispensa in Fiano as Fabio, Sandra and Rossella have taken a well deserved two-day break.  The Italians like their festa days and most will have gone off to the seaside or mountains.  But if you know where to go it’s not a problem.  On both days we dropped down to Certaldo and Jam Caffe where you will find the best pastries in the region and of course very good coffee.  The weather is beautiful at the moment so you can enjoy sitting outside on the big terrace.  We like to be inside looking out.

2019-04-10 08.58.05#1On the subject of coffee, which the Italians serve up so much better than anywhere else in the world, on Saturday I spotted this advert for illy coffee.  Yes, I know, the hunky guy in the advert did draw me in.  But look at his face; which look do you like?  Clever advertising this; Classico, Intenso (intense) & Forte (strong).  I must say I do rather like the Intenso look; that hint of danger in the eyes…..  Sorry, where was I?  Oh, yes, I was about to mention that I do buy the tins of illy classico coffee.  I like the tins, they look great on the sideboard and the coffee is seriously good too!

2019-04-20 10.18.47On Saturday morning, the Mercato in Certaldo was heaving.  We stocked up with fruit, veg and Cheese, but our lovely plant lady had not turned up again.  I asked one of the neighbouring market holders and was told she had not been there for months.  But the good news is, I suddenly remembered a flower kiosk at the top of the hill next to the old cemetery, where our old friend Simon Moody rests in peace, bless him.  The kiosk was busy, but to my delight I found lot’s of plants for sale as well as flowers.  I bought quite a few, but will need more, so will go back next weekend.  I’ll send you some fotos of the finished pots next time.

2019-04-17 08.40.05OK, what else.  obviously the National news has not been too good this last week, what with the Notre Dame fire.  Here in Italy we have a Joint Deputy Prime Minister who likes to dress up in various uniforms, depending on where he is appearing, so it was inevitable that one of our Italian cartoonists would come up with this cartoon of Matteo Salvini.  We quickly move on….

2019-04-17 08.37.35Meanwhile, the various Leonardo exhibitions and festas continue and for a change I will mention Prato, which is a rather attractive town between Florence and Pistoia, where there is an Ingenuity & Textile Exhibition going on at Il Museo del Tessuto.  I’ve always been fascinated by machines, big and small.  I love steam trains and the workings of clocks and watches.  In fact anything that is not dependant on electricity or technology.  Prato is also good for historical buildings and excellent restaurants!  website

Anyway, today is Monday Bank Holiday, as the Brits say, and we must make the most of it and enjoy the remaining sunshine.  The hedgerows are bursting with Poppies, Acacia blossom is just peeking out, the Cuckoo is back and life eeez very good indeed.  So, take the time to read a good book, preferably one of mine, and relax.

Have a great week.

Salute June x

PS  do visit my website at My site

NB.  Newspaper fotos are extracted from La Repubblica.  Other fotos J Finnigan.

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World

2019-04-14 09.51.03Yes, it’s that time of year again; the run up to Easter or Pasqua as we say here in Italy.  Florence has experienced a big increase in tourist bookings for the Easter holidays so you can guarantee the city will be heaving.  But don’t worry about that, it’s all part of the Florence experience at this time of year!  Park your car south of the river and walk or telephone Taxi Firenze on 055 4390 and they will pick you up in no time!  The shops are full of giant chocolate eggs and it will be a weekend of family festivities whether you are religious or not.  In the foto you will see an advertisement for Quinoa Gluten Free Restaurant, which is my absolute favourite place to eat.  Don’t be put off by the ‘gluten free’ thing, they cater for all diets and you will love their freshly baked bread.  Website

2019-04-13 09.39.05Whilst in or near Florence, there are some really interesting museums and exhibitions to get your teeth into.  The Stibbert Museum is one place I will be going to in the next few weeks.  I have been promising myself a visit for ages!   It is easy to reach on the tram, which you can pick up outside Santa Maria Novella train station.  The museum has a vast personal collection of military and lots of other collections, from around the world.  Frederick’s English father came to Italy after fighting against Napoleon in Spain.  He came to Rome and then Florence where he met and later married Frederick’s Italian mother.  After Frederick’s death, his home and museum was opened to the public in 1909.  It’s a fascinating story, do read about it and try to visit.  Website

2019-04-11 09.10.33Now I love the work of the Italian artist Marcello Scuffi.  You would be forgiven for thinking his art was from the art deco period of the 1920’s or 30’s.  But no, he was born in 1948 in Pistoia, near Florence and his medium is sometimes described as GrecoArte here in Italy.  I am mentioning Marcello because he currently has an exhibition at the Florence Art Gallery, which ends on 27th April.  If you like his style, do drop in for a visit. I would love to own one or two of his paintings.  Let me know what you think!

2019-04-13 09.49.34Again, on the subject of museum pieces, we may think of Archimedes, his being one of the most famous historical mathematical geniuses of all time.  Hang on a minute, I hear you say, but he was Greek not Italian!  Yes, yes I know this, I was just testing.  Well actually I was leading up to introducing Italy’s very own modern-day Archimedes, eighteen year old Valerio Pagliarino!  It is a reminder that many of the most intelligent mathematicians and inventors were Italian.  And still are.  This is not just a land of wine, olives, pizza and pasta, oh no.  Valerio’s innovative new technology, the LaserWan project, is able to transmit data with light and has been recognised as Industrial Patent of Invention!  Unsurprisingly he was one of the winners at ‘Intel International Science & Engineering Fair 2017.’  So bravo to Valerio and all the other young brilliant Italian techno designers rising to the surface!  Foto La Repubblica magazine.

download.jpgNow what else did I have to tell you?  Oh yes, the Chianti countryside is currently having a deluge of rain.  It’s also cold.  But the coming week is looking better and I know that many of you will be travelling here during the next couple of weeks and will be glad to know that.  I can see the beautiful Hoopoe bird trotting around the wet garden at this moment, easily finding worms that have come up to the surface.  There is nothing like spring in Tuscany.  Foto Pininterest.

Well enough of that already.  Must get the fotos added for you to enjoy and catch up with my Sunday to do list.  Have a great week and do drop me a line.  By the way, my man says this week’s blog is too much like a travel article.  Do you agree?  Let me have your views!

Visit my website at website

Salute June x

PS  The Italians are very active on Facebook and are constantly posting events.  Pop in the location you want to visit and hey presto, masses of things come up including concerts, theatre, exhibitions etc!  All newspaper extracts from La Repubblica.

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

20180623_010019 copy-1.jpgNo, I don’t have a personal assistant.  I was asked this the other day and it got me thinking, perhaps I need one.  The thing is, I work out of a private studio and I like the privacy and quiet.  Having finally finished typing up the lyrics of  my repertoire for The Rock Chick Band’s concert in June, which has taken weeks due to my hectic schedule, I am beginning to wonder.  However, each song needs a lengthy period of concentration as I note every beat and bar, as well as the lyrics themselves.  So passing this to an assistant just would not work.  Then there’s the current book I’m writing, the Expat column and this weekly blog, it is all hands-on stuff.  Oh and the day job!  Enough already.  But life eeez good, life eeez now!  Foto P Finnigan – The Rock Chick Band.

download.jpgNow, I’m just preparing for one concert, whereas Vasco Rossi is about to embark on his ‘Vascononstoplive2019’ tour!  The Italians can’t get enough of this aging gravelly rocker.  Looking at his site, it was interesting to look behind the man and to check out his band and back up team.  He has two Americans in the band.  Matt Lang is a very good singer and guitarist; you will find him doing his own thing on You Tube.  And, Stef Burns is a really good rock guitarist.  Since 1998, Vasco has also been fortunate to have the support of Italian trumpeter, Frank Nemola; what an amazing sound he makes.  Whilst I am not a great fan of Vasco’s voice, his band is second to none.  Foto from Frank’s website.5d1053ff36ed7445ea28aa69d2f67fcb

So what next?  Ah, yes, my other love, which is?  Yes, you guessed it – Fashion and particularly the Rock look.  Now for me it’s important to stay feminine, I wear skirts that are mid or long, and my signature colour is black.  All one needs is a flash of colour and this can be found in a scarf or jewelry.  I also like biker jackets, as many of you know, so this simple outfit really caught my eye.  Personally, I do not wear trainers, it’s a me thing, so with this outfit it would be black flats or sandals.  Foto from PinInterest.

2019-04-05 09.02.06But what about the guys.  Have you noticed how men wearing shoes or trainers without socks, can look a little err unstylish?  This is not the case with Italian men, it suits them perfectly.  In fact I have yet to find a nation of men who can better the Italians for wearing their clothes well.  I recently read an article which declared the results of a world pole proving that Italian men were the best looking and the country was voted the most beautiful in the world!  Well, I’ve been here for fifteen years and am in no rush to leave!  Say no more!  Foto La Reppublica.

2019-04-07 13.01.47Meanwhile, back in our lovely Tuscan garden the Ash tree has taken centre stage.  This year its new leaves are looking particularly lovely.  It is a big tree and offers shade during the summer months and a nice vantage point for the views across the Chianti hills.  If you enlarge the picture you’ll be able to spot our English park bench hiding underneath the tree!  Today, Sunday, it is raining so we have not been able to get back out there to finish tidying the pots.  Also, our favourite plant lady was not in Certaldo’s market yesterday, so we will have to get the new plants next weekend.  The rain was needed of course, we’ve had weeks without it, and the countryside certainly looks a lot greener and fresher now.  And, it is the start of the tourist season so everything is looking good for the visitors. Foto J Finnigan – from kitchen window.

Anyway, enough of that.  Need to think about Sunday lunch.  Do you think my man could be persuaded to go out to eat?  We went out yesterday but for some strange reason, he seems to like my cooking!   I could pretend that I have forgotten where the kitchen is again, but I’ve tried that one time too often.  He has occasionally offered to cook, but I haven’t got the patience to supervise his painfully slow preparation in the kitchen!  He has to weigh everything, then line the ingredients up in little bowls even before he turns the oven on! Bless him…….Watch this space.

OK, let’s get the fotos uploaded and send this off to you.  Have a great week and do drop me a line.  Visit my website for all the news and my contact details.  My site

Salute june x

Ps Glad to read that Mick Jagger is recovering well after his heart surgery.

 

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

2019-03-31 13.00.14Sunshine, smiling happy locals in Fiano and the smell of cut grass.  Yes, the joys of Spring and the first of April, what a wonderful morning to start the day here in our little bit of Chianti.  Even the Poison Dwarf stopped me to wish me a ‘buona giornata’; she usually glares at me!

2019-03-31 13.03.31And, in the garden, what a wonderful weekend!  All the wintering pots came out of the cantina.  They needed some TLC and thankfully we only lost two plants.  The sun was hot yesterday, so much so that I eventually gave in and wore a hat as I tidied and pruned all the plants on the garden table.  Still lots to do and we will be down to the market in Certaldo next Saturday to buy more plants.  Really looking forward to that!

2019-04-01 09.52.00Meanwhile, back at La Dispensa, our local shop and bar in Fiano, I found a newspaper article about a female politician who has given up politics in favour of being an entertainer.  Yes, I know.  Well, I think the lovely Nunzia De Girolamo does have a certain something, but I’m not too sure about the outfit.  The former Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry has taken to the stage.  She is a forty-three year old lawyer, but it just goes to show that ‘you can do anything, if you want to’!  So, perhaps Theresa May should think about this as a new career.  Theresa, if you are reading this and would like an introduction to Nunzia, do let me know.  PS Song lyrics above from Thin Lizzy’s ‘Do anything you want to,’  which I will be performing at my next concert in June.  Theresa, if you would like an invite email me at june.finnigan@virgin.net

2019-03-31 09.20.28Now here’s something to make you smile.  An Italian handbag so beautiful it is being promoted by the stunning Penelope Cruz.  Yet another excuse to visit Carpisa in Florence.  Nothing else needs saying.

Now where was I?  Oh, yes.  I have been very conscious of all the 70+ actors and musicians popping their clogs of late, so I was pleased to read about one of my favourite actors who is celebrating his 80th.  The gorgeous Terence Hill has always been a heart-throb of mine, having many years ago adopted Italy as his place to be, starring in films for both the big screen and TV.

2019-03-29 08.51.58You may have come across his ongoing TV series Don Matteo, where he plays a priest, who is friends with the hapless Carabiniere, in a remote Italian hill town.  He goes about cycling madly from a. to b. on his bicycle, cassock flying and black beret hairgripped on, solving crimes and rescuing the helpless.  I love the series, you can get it on DVD or stream it!  Don Matteo

Anyway, I’m a little late with this blog so best get it off to you smartish.

Have a great week and do visit my website.  Am planning a visit to the West Country, UK in May, let me know if you want to meet up!  My site and contact details

Salute June x

PS Wishing Mick jagger good health and a happy return to the stage.

Fotos La Repubblica & J Finnigan

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my lovely followers around the world,

O Dio!  My worst nightmare has arrived in the shape of a bright orange plastic fence, which is being erected around the barn by builders who are about to convert it!  The fence is just about the worst eyesore you could imagine in these sweet hills, dolce colline.   But hey ho, I must get my head down and write to you.

I was interested to read the other day that Italy has been voted the safest country in the world to live in!  Well, I am pleased to hear this and may it last.  I have no idea who were canvassed to come up with this surprising result; the Mafia has obviously been a little quiet of late!

2019-03-25 08.25.21Anyway, to move on, in the same paper was this foto of some gorgeous jewelry and a handbag. Sodini  If the rest of the world is falling apart, we can always concentrate on beautiful hand crafted Italian bags, shoes, frocks and jewelry.  This does not mean that I and many others here in Tuscany are ignoring the things happening worldwide, but for peace of mind it’s important to find time to take pleasure from beautiful things and people we love.

2019-03-25 08.17.46And on the subject of love, apart from food, the Italians adore football, calcio.  After Italy’s sad failure in the Rugby Six Nations, their national football team is doing well in the European Cup!  Bravo to them.  Calcio is what the Italians breath; the sports pages in the caffè bar are the most sought after for football results.

2019-03-24 09.08.39As regards Italian newspapers, I particularly like La Repubblica.  Yes, OK, it is a little to the right and there is still a strong communist following here, but it features a lot of the things I am interested in.  Saturday is for listings of all the latest published books, in Italian of course.  Last weekend there was a superb article about children and books and today one about encouraging board games.  A friend in Fiano suggested  that I get my books translated to Italian and he would arrange for a grand book signing event in the village.  The problem is, costing at least 3,000 euros a book, I’m not sure it will be worth it!  I would need to sell around 600 copies of each book to come out even…..What do you think?

2019-03-23 09.27.13And what about the arrival of the Chinese President Xi Jinping!  At least he left the Red Army behind, you know what I mean don’t you…..  No, it seems that the Silk Road is the thing he is bringing and the hope that Italy will benefit from substantial investment and trade deals.  I have to say that there are masses of Chinese tourists here every year, so the country already benefits.  Mind you, there are also a few Chinese vineyards in the area…!  PS I couldn’t help but notice his first lady Peng Liyuan has great styling, probably influenced by Italian designers.

2019-03-23 09.11.47Then I turned the page to find another brilliant piece of street art by Tvboy, which depicts the Prime Minister Conte as Pinocchio, you know the puppet whose nose kept growing every time he told a lie, and the two Deputies Di Maio & Salvini as a cat and a wolf!  Don’t you just love it!

Well enough of that, time to get this blog off to you and get back to my music.

Do get in touch and visit my website at My site

Salute June x

2017-05-07 17.25.58  35973101_10156419065890917_7876909049508265984_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome and Benvenuti to all my lovely followers around the World,

2019-03-13 14.16.07Now for all you lovely people who have never seen or eaten Wild Tuscan Asparagus, I thought I should take a foto before I madly start eating the stuff again!  I love it!  I spoke about it last week, so I won’t go on about it too much.  But anyway, if you are in Tuscany and want to go on a hunt, this is what it looks like!  Foto J Finnigan.

2019-03-13 09.10.07One of my other loves is of course Rock Music and these hills are full of great musicians, artists and other artisans.  But what about this, a music studio in a restored fattoria in the Tuscan countryside!  It’s a dream come true!  It is owned and run by the American record producer Rick Rubin, who apparently costs a fortune to work with.  His clients have included many top recording artists, some loved him, some didn’t.  But anyway, his taste in locations cannot be faulted and if one is going to work in a music studio and can afford the fees…….!

2019-03-14 09.58.19One such artist who might consider this is the hugely popular Claudio Baglioni, who is currently on a massive Italian tour, performing with hardly a break, right up until the end of April!  The Italians love this home-grown artist who is celebrating 50 years in pop/rock music!

Meanwhile, back in Fiano over coffee, I read an article about Montalbano.  It is not surprising to hear that his TV episodes, books and other media outlets have exported 150% more than any other fictional series in Italy.

2019-03-13 09.03.29(A very unhappy film maker friend of my man, turned down the rights to this series before it went live!)  I, for one, have read all the books, watched all the TV series including Young Montalbano and can’t wait to read or view more.  The series has even been inspirational for my book The Italian Connection. 

matteo-bocelliNow, what else?  Oh yes, very important.  A friend of mine who loves the Hunk of the Month series, nominated the gorgeous son of Andrea Boccelli.  Have you seen him performing with his dad?  Well you really should get hold of their recording release, Fall on Me, it’s absolutely beautiful. You Tube  And here is a picture of Matteo; they say that Italy has some of the best looking men in the world, what do you think? Foto official website.

OK, time to get back to the day job.  Am a little late with this blog, sorry about that, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless.

Have a great week and do drop me a line, visit my website for all my contact details My Site

Salute June.

Fotos – all newspaper articles with fotos are extracted from La Reppublica.

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