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Posts Tagged ‘Acacia’

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,

2018-04-24 11.53.47In a moment I’m going to wax lyrical about the plants and wild life in and around our beautiful garden here on the edge of Chianti.  As before, I am not going to talk about Italian politics, other than the fact that we still have no government; you will just have to keep watching this space.

2018-04-28 08.37.42So, back to our garden and what a wonderful week we have been experiencing.  Last weekend the Acacia trees started dripping with white blossoms and the Fiorentina Irises we planted last year have burst into flower!  We have been swamped with butterflies, including the Swallowtail and the birds, well, the birds!  We now have an owl which we have yet to identify, who hoots in the daytime, pairs of pheasant, Jays, Hoopees, swallows and wood pigeons.  Arriving anytime soon will be the colourful Bee Eaters.  Two visiting hares, deer and the occasional cinghiale (wild boar).  And, the weather has been glorious, so my man and I have been able to spend aperitivo time outside, breathing in all the exotic perfumes!  Fotos J Finnigan

2018-04-22 11.55.40And continuing on the subject of aperitivi, I’m really pleased to tell you that the last two weekends have seen us back over in Montespertoli for cocktails, a lovely village just twenty minutes from here.  It is a year ago that we stopped going as the pressure of writing deadlines had me working away every weekend at the keyboard.  But with the weather having turned to sunshine we have returned, and it is so nice to greet old friends again and watch the occasional vintage car rally hooting past.  Foto J Finnigan.

2018-04-29 09.57.46One friend is the lovely Caterina, or I should say The Baroness Caterina de Renzis Sonnino.  Caterina is a very hardworking lady who entertains guests from all over the world giving guided historical tours of Il Castello, Educational visits and Wine tastings.  Yesterday the newspaper printed this article about a visit by Gucci, the Label having chosen Il Castello Sonnino as one of seven cultural projects.  Now, I will try to find out a lot more when I next speak to Caterina, but in the meantime you should visit Il Castello’s website.  My man and I were very lucky to have been given a private viewing a few years ago, and believe me it is an incredibly beautiful and atmospheric place to go.  Oh, you can also stay there, so check it out here!  Website

2018-04-26 08.51.44Meanwhile, back in the world of Music, I noticed that good old Ringo Starr, or Sir Richard Henry Starkey, was in the news and is doing a tour in July/August.  He will include Lucca, Marostica and Roma.  Now I have been to outside concerts in Lucca, which is just over an hour from us, and the setting is fantastic.  Open air concerts are held in one of the most beautiful piazzas and the acoustics are amazing.  Now, in case you did not know, Ringo does do more than just play the drums; he also sings, acts and paints.  It will be interesting to hear the old boy performing, he is seventy-eight, bless him!  I think it’s great that so many of the oldies are still performing live, so there’s still hope for me being discovered at a late age and being sent off on tour!  Rock on I say.  Foto La Repubblica.  See Ringo’s dates here Website and tickets

2018-04-26 08.45.58Now, lest we forget, the 25th April was Liberation Day and it should be remembered that there are a lot of Partisans still alive today who can tell you all about the German Occupation.  Apparently, we are supposed to say Nazi Occupation these days, strange how things get changed for the sake of the modern lifestyle and the now friendly relationship with Germany.   There are some amazingly heroic stories still to be heard about the fight to rid the country of the nasty Nazi’s.  My novel ‘The Italian Connection’ includes a bit based on a partisan’s real life experience, my having interviewed a lovely man called Gianfranco in Montespertoli a few years back.  Foto La Nazione. Visit my author site at Website

2018-04-20 09.19.59Meanwhile, something else being celebrated last week was the 50th anniversary of La Vespa.  That iconic scooter that we all loved seeing in the sixties films and still to be seen today weaving in and out of the traffic in the major Italian cities, and whizzing through the country villages at the weekend, often in big convoys!  Tourists can also hire bright red ones in Florence and surrounding areas, so I’m told.  Did you ever have a Vespa Scooter or were you a Rocker like me, dangerously hanging off the back of 650 motorbikes?  Hey ho!  Send me some of your Fotos.  Foto La Nazione.  Visit Vespa’s site at Website

2018-04-25 09.51.56And finally, lets end with another beautiful Italian fashion shoot, this time found in La Repubblica magazine.  I just love this casual yet sophisticated colourful summer look.  And, the models are so enjoying wearing the clothes, which as you know is something I strongly support, not the usual miserable lot many designers employ.  Also, the weather here is now warm enough to enjoy having one’s feet back in sandals and flip-flops; wonderful. Visit Oltre’s site at website

OK, must go, things to do, places to go and people to see.  May your week be full of nice surprises and as happy as mine.  Oh, and do drop me a line at june.finnigan@virgin.net or visit my official author site at June’s site

Salute June x

PS Don’t forget if you want to come to my Rock Concert on 22nd June, write to me at june.finnigan@virgin.net and ask for an invite.

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Benvenuti to all my lovely Loyal and New Followers

Il Liberazione Parade. foto J Finnigan

Il Liberazione Parade in Certaldo.
foto J Finnigan

Today, Monday, is a festa (holiday) in celebration of Il Liberazione, that is when the Germans surrendered at the end of the Second World War.  But we are unable to stop work due to the backlog and I really want to get this blog to you!

I could write a whole book about last week and call it ‘Moving House in Tuscany and Keeping One’s Sense of Humour’.  It would have all the ingredients including mystery, adventure, success and failure.  We have a saying here for many things and it is ‘Only in Italy.’

Only in Italy do you have to report your change of address directly to the town commune offices by appointment.  Then only in Italy, when your commune man goes on his computer will he find that your wonderful new, yet very old,  home does not exist!   So our commune man rings his colleague Uri who wants us to identify where it is on the map.  He asks if it has a big oak tree outside the main gate and is it close to a certain agriturismo property? We say yes.  OK, Uri happily tells our man that our new address was changed to something completely different five years ago!

Acacia Trees below our new garden. foto J Finnigan

Acacia Trees below our new garden.
foto J Finnigan

Acacia blossom after the rain. Foto J Finnigan

Acacia blossom after the rain. Foto J Finnigan

Now, just to add spice to this, our commune man also pointed out that I must change my UK driving licence to an Italian one.  You cannot own a car here unless you have an Italian licence.   In anticipation of being told this, I had already made an appointment at the local ACI office to get it changed this coming Tuesday and I told him so.   “Well, I will renew your Identity Card when you bring me your new driving licence.” He announced.  Only in Italy

So anyway, enough of that!  The Acacia trees are full of blossom and it has rained heavily for the last forty-eight hours watering the parched vineyards and olive groves, so the countryside smells and looks fabulous.

Farty Barty "I'm just popping back up tp the old house, see you in a few days.."

Farty Barty “I’m just popping back up to the old house, see you in a few days..”

Oh yes, I should mention that five days ago Farty Barty the cat went AWOL and almost certainly had gone back to our old house again, just up the track.  He has disappeared for that long before when the girlies were on heat, but this is different and I have found myself getting rather too stressed about it.  So this morning and for the third time since we have moved, we go back with the cat cage, but there was no sign of him.  We sadly drive home both silently thinking that it would be purrfect if he were to return to the new house of his own accord.  And would you believe it, there he was, as bold as brass, waiting on the outside doormat to be let in!!  As I write, he is curled up at my feet, so today we have a happy ending.

Have a great week and many happy endings of your own.

salute June x

PS  do visit my author site at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

'My Father, The Assassin'. Book one in the series.

‘My Father, The Assassin’. Book one in the series.

'The Bolivian Connection' Book two in the series.

‘The Bolivian Connection’ Book two in the series.

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Buon Giorno Ragazzi

Welcome to another weekly blog and con piacere to all my new followers!  Today I will be talking about Burning Hats, Bee Eaters, Rain, Acacia Trees, Jasmin, Silvio Burlesconi and ‘My Father, The Assassin.

The exiting event of this last week was my man setting light to his hat when he was still wearing it!  He has been helping our son-in-law (genero) prune, clear and burn the debris from the olive trees.  He was in charge of the bonfires.  Now one has to be careful not to let the fire spread and fortunately the land was fairly damp.  However, bits kept floating upwards and what goes up must come down.  He smelt something burning very close at hand and could not identify it until some rancid smoke blew done over his face!  Then he realized he was on fire and grabbed his hat just before the flames started on his hair.  He still has a handsome crop of hair, so that was a relief!  Sadly, it is goodbye to his ancient green jungle hat that he wore as a young Marine…..

Some good news.  Just about all of our feathered friends from North Africa are now here, including the beautiful Bee Eater.  The birdsong is fabulous, even at night.  In the garden and countryside the Acacia trees are dripping with white blossom and starting to send their snow flurries of seeds drifting slowly through the air.  Soon the roadsides will look like we have had an overnight snow shower.  The Jasmin is particularly lush this year, and the perfume is to die for.  We have had quite a lot of rain this last week which, with the help of warm sunny breaks, has encouraged every imaginable wild flower to burst through the grassy banks.

Bee Eaters in Acacia Tree

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And how is our gorgeous friend Silvio Berlusconi doing? Mama Mia, his tax fraud conviction has been upheld on its first appeal!  He says his conviction is politically motivated and he is expected to appeal to Italy’s highest court.  Slip in a few gold bars here and there, that’s what I say…..

Back in our local village of Fiano, I am very excited to tell you that Milko, our local Stationer (Cartoleria) has placed his book order for ‘My Father, The Assassin’.  I’ll start with three, he said, what cartons I asked, no three books and we’ll see how the tourists take to them!  No silly comments please….  But we don’t care about that, Amazon is doing a reasonably good job.    Run your cursor over to the right of this page and you can buy one now!

Well the weather is now gorgeous and it’s time to organize pranzo in the garden.  Then we can look forward to the beautiful light display put on by the Fire Flies this evening.

Buona Domenica x

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