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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers

And another Irish try! Foto La Reppublica

And another Irish try! Foto La Reppublica

There was a huge shocked silence in Roma yesterday after Italy lost 10-63 to Ireland in the Six Nations Rugby.  This is doubly disappointing as we have been working hard on our Italian friends to take an interest in the sport, rather than their obsession with football (Calcio).  Now, they are not inspired by the Italian team and neither are we.  But my man and I have an advantage; whilst Italy is our chosen country of residence we are still English, so England’s win over Wales yesterday put our hearts back into the game!  Commiserations to our Welsh friends, well not really.

Donald about to gobble up Hilary. fot La Reppublica

Donald about to gobble up Hilary. foto La Reppublica

Last week I mentioned the Carnivale and the amazing giant moving spectacles.  I just had to show you this one, which will be in the carnival at Viareggio.  A tr(i)umphant Donald appears to have Hilary inside a huge burger bun and she looks terrified poor thing.  As this tableau actually moves, I can imagine his arm lifting the bun up to his mouth and back!

Silvio back at the rostrum. Foto La Reppublica

Silvio back at the rostrum. Foto La Reppublica

Now, back in Fiano I also read over coffee, that Silvio Berlusconi is definitely still playing a high-profile political role.  As leader of the Forza Italia party, he appears to be indicating that he will ask the voters about any future candidacy, and as far as the election goes he wants a fully proportional law.  Err?  Now if any of my Italian speaking friends want to look at the text in the picture please do correct me if I have read this wrong.  You know me and my conversations with Italians, I often have them rolling in the aisles!

Rock Chick Fashion. Foto La Reppublica

Rock Chick Fashion. Foto La Reppublica

Anyway, back to things I really like.  Fashion and the Rock Chick look is definitely up my street.  so I could not resist showing you this picture below.  As I am starting the run up to my next concert, I will need a new outfit, so which one do you think will suit me best?  What’s that you said?  How dare you!

But let’s finish with a gorgeous picture of Armani man.  No not Giorgio, but a model who has all the makings of a new James Bond.  He joined me for coffee earlier in the week when my man was off doing a bit of business and certainly put a smile on my face.  Oh, I think he was modelling an Armani watch, but who wants to look at his wrist?

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Armani Man. Foto La Repubblica

Ok, better go.  I’m expecting to upload the final draft of ‘The Italian Connection’ to Amazon this week.  So, if I do not already have it, send me your email address if you would like to know when it goes live!  june.finnigan@virgin.net

Have a great week and do visit my author page at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

Salute June x

My current Books. Foto J Finnigan

My current Books.
Foto J Finnigan

Benvenuto and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers

The traditional Carnevale in Tuscany. Foto La Republicca

The traditional Carnevale in Tuscany. Foto La Repubblica

“Ah, it’s Carnival time again!”  My man looks over his newspaper, as we drink coffee at La Dispensa in Fiano.  “I remember last year,” he continued “because I was on the plane coming back from Bristol, surrounded by a big crowd of carnival enthusiasts from Bridgwater!”   Now, he was talking about Bridgwater in Somerset, England, where they have a huge carnival every year, but nothing like as macabre and gruesome as the Italian ones so often are.  In their defence, the Italian ones are amazing to see.  Huge moving figures, loud music and bright colours.  This year the first one will be in Empoli on 11th February, then they continue through to 5th March throughout Tuscany, the biggest is probably at Viareggio.  Live carnivals will even be shown on Rai 3 television on the 26th and 28th February, if you don’t fancy going out in the cold.  So, whether you are an enthusiast or not, you won’t be able to avoid all the excitement, if you are here in Tuscany.

The forthcoming San Remo Music Festival. Foto La Repubblica

The forthcoming San Remo Music Festival. Foto La Repubblica

Anyway, what about the music scene, you ask?  Well, it’s also San Remo Music Festival time again.  I can tell you, February in Italy cannot be described as a dull or quiet time.  Carlo Conti, the hugely popular TV presenter will be playing host to all the entries from the Italian music world, hoping to be voted as the best and therefore eligible for entry in the Eurovision Song Contest.  What was that you said?  Yes, I know some of you hate this programme, but the Italians talk about little else in the bars during the four days of the festival, between 7th and 11th of February. Also, San Remo does attract a few famous stars to entertain the crowds in between bouts of the contest, and this year includes Robbie Williams and Ricky Martin!  Err, Wow?

The very versatile vegetable Carciofo. Foto La Repubblica

The very versatile vegetable, Carciofo. Foto La Repubblica

Coming down to earth and back in the local restaurants, we are enjoying the very popular vegetable, Carciofo, or Artichoke to you and I.  As you probably know, the Italians eat seasonal veg and fruit, and this time of year the carciofo is being served up in every shape and form.  Now, I love them, but my man does not, so I have never tried cooking them at home.  Anyway, why bother when you can pop down the road to a good ristorante!

Mmmm, lovely Gucci handbags to drool over. Foto La Repubblica

Mmmm, lovely Gucci handbags to drool over. Foto La Repubblica

What next, oh yes, handbags…..  Don’t you just love Italian made handbags?  I do.  I just had to share this collection of Gucci bags, I might go for the black one, as I already have one similar to the orange version.  What do you think?

And finally, sorry to end with sad news, but Italy just lost to Wales in the Six Nations Rugby.  Mind you, if you are Welsh, you are probably very happy about that.  At least we had the pleasure of watching England beat France yesterday, so not all was lost.

Well, enough of that.  Must get this blog off to you as soon as possible.  Have a great week and do drop me a line.

Salute June x  PS Hope you like the new background theme.

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

 

My current Books. Foto J Finnigan

My current Books.
Foto J Finnigan

 

 

Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers

I must tell you this true story.  As you know, from time to time, my man has to pop over to London to do a bit of business.  A few days ago, he was trying to make a purchase with his business Visa card and put the wrong pin in…..three times, which he blamed on fat finger small keyboard scenario.  Yes, the bank blocked it.  So he rushed into the local Barclays and realised that he had no identity; his passport was back at his London club and he doesn’t need his driving licence in London! He produced everything he had with his signature on, other bank cards, even his British Library card which sported his photo!  Then finally, in exasperation, he said, “I’m wearing hand-made Italian shoes and they have my name inside.”  Would you believe it, they agreed to unblock his card!  Don’t you just love it!

Al Bar Fiano, needing lots of people to bring it alive again. Foto J Finnigan

Al Bar Fiano, needing lots of people to bring it alive again. Foto J Finnigan

Meanwhile, back in the calmer atmosphere of our local village of Fiano, I made a second visit to the new Al Fiano Bar.  Two locals were sat drinking coffee and eating pastries, then a certain well-known signora arrived, shouting at the top of her voice.  She only wanted some crisps, but for an Italian lady who stands at around four-foot-five, she’s got the voice of a giant.  Then she spotted me, trying to read the newspaper, and came and sat down!  I think she was telling me, and the rest of the village, about her one visit to London, when Steffi Graff was playing at Wimbledon.  If not, I may have bought an old tennis racket and a donkey.  I’m not sure which, I’ll let you know.

Natalia waiting to serve you a very nice Espresso at Al Bar Fiano. Photo J Finnigan

Natalia waiting to serve you a very nice Espresso at Al Bar Fiano.
Foto J Finnigan

Anyway, the lovely lady behind the bar turns out to be Russian and has been here in Italy for I think sixteen years.  She is called Natalia and her smile brightened the room, which is still in need of a lift to make it more welcoming.  However, do go in, the more that try it out the better it will become.  Fingers crossed.

The artist Marcello Scuffi. I love his work. Foto La Republicca.

The artist Marcello Scuffi. I love his work. Foto La Repubblica.

OK, what next.  Oh yes, I spotted this article about Marcello Scuffi, the Tuscan artist.  I love this kind of contemporary art and at first, I thought his work must be from the nineteen twenties or thirties.  But no, Marcello was born in 1948, is alive and well and still producing these masterpieces.  He was born in Tizzana (Pistoia) which is not far from Florence and currently works out of Quarrata and Marina di Pietrasanta.  He is also very sought after and has made quite an impression in France, Belgian and Switzerland.  Google him and you will be able to see lots more of his pictures.

‘And what about the touring bands in our area?’  I hear you ask.  Well, at last, the wonderful Piazza Arena in Lucca is to host the Rolling Stones!  This will be during the summer music festival in July, so won’t compete with my own concert with The Rock Chick Band on June 24th!  You may have difficulty getting tickets for the Rolling Stones, but my concert is free!  However, it is by private invitation, so if you would like an official invite to my concert, drop me an email at june.finnigan@virgin.net

Oh, must just mention that the weather here has been glorious around lunchtime, a hot sun and no cold wind.  so, over the last few days, we have snuck down to the terrace a couple of times for an aperitivo.  Cin Cin!

Well, enough of that, my man is taking me out to lunch so I must go for a shower and make myself beautiful.  Whoever said ‘how do you hope to do that?’ Can go and crack their own mirror!  Ha ha to you too.

Have a great week and do get in touch.  I love to hear from you.

Salute June x

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

My current Books. Foto J Finnigan

My current published Books.
Foto J Finnigan

Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers

The Seismic Map. Red - yesterday yellow - 18 to 20 Jan Blue - 24 Aug 2016

The Seismic Map.
Red – yesterday
yellow – 18 to 20 Jan
Blue – 24 Aug 2016

If you are a regular follower of this blog, you will know that I like to write about all the fun things that are going on around us in our little bit of Chianti.  Sadly, the double tragedy in Central Italy has made this quite impossible.  Reading the local and national newspapers over coffee in Fiano this morning, has me realise that I am not the only writer who is feeling somewhat shattered by the massive earthquake, followed by a horrendous snow storm that caused an avalanche burying whole families.  Some good news has filtered through, that people have been found alive, but the tragedy remains that some children still await the news that their parents may also be found.  Some are already orphans.

The appeal bank details. La Repubblica

The appeal bank details. La Repubblica

I make no apology for including the appeal bank details.  This double tragedy has worsened an already desperate situation; earthquakes small and large have continued every day now for several months.  The snow will kill many more, particularly in the remote hills and mountains.  Thank you in advance for anything you can do to help.

This morning's winter landscape. foto J Finnigan

This morning’s winter landscape from here. foto J Finnigan

At this point, I must also thank all you concerned friends and family who have sent worried messages.  We are very fortunate to have chosen to live in an area of Tuscany, which so far has been outside the main seismic areas.  This was luck rather than judgement.  Let’s hope things remain that way.  We love living in Italy and have no intention of changing things, after all, the planet itself is a very fragile place to live on.  Where could one go in the world and say ‘hand on heart’ we are safe here?  Just to confirm the current status of our little bit of Chianti, here is a picture taken from the back of our house as the sun was rising this morning.  January and February are months when we sometimes have snow, at the moment it is cold and sunny; things might change.

Back in Fiano, a little bit of good news.  Last Monday was the re-opening of Bar Piazzina, which is now called Bar Fiano.  We popped in on Friday for coffee; it was quiet and not very atmospheric.  However, its early days and it will be a while before the locals start returning, after all, it has been closed for almost a year and everyone has gotten used to going to La Dispensa now.  Once spring is here and tables are put outside, things will look a lot more inviting.  After all, it is places like this that keep the Italian communities together.  Fingers crossed.

Well, must get on with the copywriting of ‘The Italian Connection’ then finalise the book cover.  Not long now my friends.

Have a great week.

Salute June x

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

My current Books. Foto J Finnigan

My current Books.
Foto J Finnigan

 

Welcome and Benvenuti to all you lovely Followers

“What’s that man doing parking on the road, he should be on the pavement like all the other Italians!”  I groan aloud.  What’s this strange statement you may be thinking?  Well, I like to walk down the road, it’s less potholed than the path and anyway, there’s usually cars parked on the pavement.  Why? Because there is a line saying that they cannot park on the road.  Err, what is this madness you may ask?  Well, the Italians always park on the pavement in Fiano and I think they are trying to say “I won’t be long, I’m only partly on the road, so don’t give me a ticket.”  Meanwhile, we pedestrians, including pushchairs and wheelchairs, use the road.  It’s quite simple and now we are so used to it, it’s annoying when someone does things differently!

The lilac boys and a dejected Juventus player. La Repubblica

The violet boys and a dejected Juventus player.
La Repubblica

Anyway, some very good news.  This morning the bar was awash with local football fans celebrating Fiorentino’s win over top of the league Juventus.  There is a profound change in the atmosphere of Fiano, who support the boys from Florence in their violet strip and this win was particularly amazing.  So, despite the bitterly cold wind and the recent minor earthquake, everyone was in a very good mood.

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Coffee with Walter the Donkey. Foto J Finnigan

After five days back in England, I was so pleased to be home in Tuscany, drinking decent espresso and eating good food.  I had an awful time trying to find a decent meal in Devon and Somerset.  Everything was either under or overcooked and far too much salad for these cold winter months!  Gianluca at C’era Una Volta ristorante presented me with Walter the Donkey who he had purchased in Guatemala whilst on holiday, a present to go with my coffee, how neat is that!

Chunky Hunk and Italian Gorgonzola. La Repubblica

Chunky Hunk and Italian Gorgonzola.
La Repubblica

Now where was I?  Oh yes, I want to mention the fact that many Brits think of parmesan Cheese when I mention living in Italy.  Not only do we have a fabulous range of Pecorino, sheep’s cheese, and gorgeous Buffalo Mozzarella,  but we also have a mouth-watering Gorgonzola, which this nice man below is demonstrating.  I also present him as Chunky Hunk of the month as not all the best looking Italian men are skinny!

OK, enough of that.  Time to finish the editing of my latest novel and get it published!  I know, I keep promising to get it out there, it won’t be long now my friends!

Have a great week.

Salute June x

 

 

 

Visit http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinngian

My current Books. Foto J Finnigan

My current Books.
Foto J Finnigan

 

 

 

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

The good witch La Bafana, or one of the many appearing alla Festa del Bambini. La Reppublica.

The good witch La Bafana, or one of the many appearing Alla Festa del Bambini. La Reppublica.

Now, if you have not been here in Tuscany immediately after the New Year, you may like to know that the festivities are not over until the children have been visited by the Good Witch La Befana.  Befana brings sweets for the well-behaved children on 6th of January, which is La Festa del Bambini.  The bad children get lumps of coal.  Funny how I’ve never heard of any children physically receiving a lump of coal, but then she is a good witch.

Izzy Lizard catches the sun. Foto P Finnigan

Izzy Lizard catches the sun.
Foto P Finnigan

Meanwhile, during this freezing weather, lots of insects and small creatures are trying to find some warmth, and our house Lizard Izzy is no exception.  Here he is bathing in the sunshine ‘inside’ the bathroom window.  He’s looking very fat, as he has the run of the house and has no end of insects to gobble up.

Now our house, as you know, is a lovely old converted monastery/farmhouse and is on two levels, built down the side of a hill.  We live at the top and the guest apartment is below us.

The lovely log fire inside the Tardis. Foto J Finnigan

The lovely log fire inside the Tardis. Foto J Finnigan

The big inglenook fireplace in our upper apartment was successfully made ready for the wood fire just before Christmas, and whilst it took a bit of getting used to, imagine a large black Tardis-like box, we’ve grown to like it and the fire itself is magnificent.  So we have been enjoying the blazing log fire every evening and sometimes during the day.  It is, after all, six degrees below in the mornings!

Leonardo's latest lost and found. La Repubblica

Leonardo’s latest lost and found. La Repubblica

Meanwhile, we read in the newspaper over coffee, that yet another Leonardo De Vinci picture has been discovered hidden in a private collection for donkey’s years.  Of course, just about any Leonardo picture, etching or carving is worth a fortune; I bet he wishes he could have enjoyed so much money when he was alive.  I can imagine him looking down with a rueful smile on his lips.

Anyway, enough of that.  I must get my packing done as I am off to England tomorrow for a bit of business and estate planning.  I’ll be back on Friday and I’m feeling homesick already.

Have a great week.

Salute June

PS close to finishing the final edit of ‘The Italian Connection’.  Keep watching this space!  Meanwhile, visit http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

My current Books. Foto J Finnigan

My current Books.
Foto J Finnigan

 

Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers

The final sunset of 2016. Foto J Fielding.

The final sunset of 2016. Foto J Fielding.

Well, where were you on the stroke of midnight?  My man, my sister-in-law and I were at the bottom of our garden on the Terrazza watching all the fireworks going off around the valley, from San Gimignano to Certaldo and beyond.  Cheers and excited voices echoed around us, bouncing off the distant hills and up from the valleys below, and whilst we could not see Fiano we could hear it!  There is something very warming about not being in a big noisy party, but hearing them going on all around you!  Then back to the log fire to toast our toes.

Capodanno in Florence La Nazione

Capodanno in Florence La Nazione

In Florence, the annual bash was going on.  A very popular singer called Marco Mengoni was performing and there had been lots of excited babble from the local girlies beforehand.  More than forty thousand people attended the Festa and every single person was checked over by a metal detector before being allowed in.  What a task that must have been!

Local celebrations and the back up support for health and safety! la Repubblica

Local celebrations and the backup support for health and safety! la Repubblica

Locally, apart from all the house parties, Fiano held a big bash in the old cinema where a set menu with ten courses was served up and a local band played 70’s and 80’s musica.   I must give a mention for the support network of which is largely voluntary including the police, carabinieri, fire brigade and Misericordia.  And a warm welcome to two local New Year babies!

Special guest Granddog Zoe. Photo J Fielding

Special New Year guest Granddog Zoe. Photo J Fielding

On New Year’s Day, we had a big family lunch here in our kitchen.  Guest of honour was our granddog, Zoe the boxer dog, so the day was absolutely perfect.  What did we eat, I hear you say?  Well, we are not all veggie, but I only cook that way, so we had lovely baked jacket potatoes filled with spicy spinach and ricotta, a cauliflower cheesy bake and ratatouille.  Then a pear crumble with cream, very English and very filling!  I could not eat a thing in the evening, just washed it all away with some lovely Chianti wine.

My choice of festive outfit on the left, from Prada. Glossy mag.

My choice of festive outfit on the left, from Prada. Glossy mag.

Meanwhile and just before the festivities, I was at Sandra’s in Certaldo having my hair colour topped up when I saw this gorgeous Prada outfit (below) in a glossy mag, which for me is the perfect colour combination for when I am not wanting to dress completely in black, which is often.  So this is my festive outfit of the year.  Dare I go online and see if Prada has a sale on?  Very tempting…..

Anyway, my book ‘The Italian Connection’ is back from the editor and I just need to do a final honing.  Then I will select the new cover.  I find this bit hugely exciting as finally, the book takes on shape and personality.  It won’t be long now and thank you for waiting so patiently for this third book in the trilogy.  However, I must warn you, my heroine is already heading off in new directions and a fourth book is very likely to appear in the not too distant future!

OK, lovely people, best get this blog posted and think about warming up all those leftovers from yesterday and a bit more besides.  One of us was obviously not concentrating yesterday, as a missing bottle of red wine has just been found in the fridge!

Have a really great 2017 and I look forward to seeing you all at some stage either at my concert on 24th June or at one of my ‘to be organised’ book signings!

Buon Anno and Salute June x

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

My current Books. Foto J Finnigan

My current Books.
Foto J Finnigan

 

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