Posts Tagged ‘Back to School’

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

Storm clouds over Tuscany, pinterest.

Well, the rain is thundering down on our Tuscan country home. We also had storm force winds yesterday and more are expected. It’s difficult weather because we are having to deal with high humidity too. A digger driver spent the whole of last week digging drainage channels in the valley below us; it’s amazing how canny the Tuscan contadini (country folk/farmers) can be about the weather. Do you consult your local country folk or fishermen/women on the weather forecast?

Meanwhile, we are thick with tourists. No obvious English or American yet, but we don’t really want to encourage them! Covid remains a worry here, although our area on the edge of Chianti has been only slightly affected, it’s the visitors that are the problem. Many are not bothering to wear masks and those that come to the restaurent wearing them, take them off at the table, which is fine, then go brain dead and get up to go to the loo or take fotos without putting them back on again! My man has to restrain me from shouting! But hey ho! This did not stop me from enjoying the first Giant Porcini Cap of the season, grilled over Paolo’s open fire! Wonderful!

Anyway, life eeez good, life eeez now!. We met up with our beautiful daughter and granddaughter at Jam Caffe in Certaldo for coffee in the week and my man had his favourite pastry, Pastina Arancia. Our granddaughter (15) was telling us that her return to school is likely to be on a part-time basis, the rest of the time studing on-line. Her last term was all on-line and she did very well without the nomal distractions of friends. Tuscany has so far provided excellent schooling this way, but obviously the face to face social interaction is important too.

Our Grandson (nearly 20) has just signed up with a South East Rugby Club in England for the coming season. At the moment, the club is only training on Thursdays, but he is very glad to be there. He was desperate to play English Rugby after having played in both Italy and France. As most of you know, Rugby in Italy has much room for improvement including proper investment into facilities and pitches. We are delighted for him!

Back here in our Tuscan country garden, Phil the pheasant is looking so much better and we have been reliably informed by a friend in the know, that his dissapearance and bedraggled return is because the males need to recover from the mating season and moult at the same time. Thank you Hilary for that snippit of knowledge! And, we have another resident, found by my man, curled up tightly in our entrance hall in a nook in the stone steps. A young skinny viper and whilst immature, we don’t really want him inside the house! So he was gently swept out the door and has taken up residence under an earthenware pot outside. foto Animalia.bio

Meanwhile, I’ve been sorting out my music repertoire and am ordering more backing tracks, but this time in the correct key for my voice. Also, we have ordered some better lighting for the Sound Studio from IKEA and whilst I was online, I thought I may as well order more bookshelves, a bathroom cabinet, two bedside tables and more lamps. I know, naughty indulgences! Deliveries here are now fairly reliable if you live in Tuscany and there’s nothing like a bit of shopping therapy to brighten the day! Some of the pricing is also amazing. We bought this great non-intrusive floor lamp a few weeks ago, for just 15 Euros on-line at IKEA.it! What do you think?

Well, I think we will pop out to Paolo’s for lunch again today. I had a funny moment yesterday, forgetting that I had planned to go out to eat! My man came to find me and could not believe that I had forgotten. But he’s always happy to eat a home, bless him.

So, time to get the fotos added and do an edit. I do hope you enjoy my waffling, I blame it on the heat and humidity.

Have a great week and do drop me a line, I love to hear from you. Visit my website at http://www.junefinnigan.website

Salute June x


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

Yet another beautiful day in Tuscany!

2018-09-16 09.51.05Well, last Sunday morning was busy at coffee time at La Dispensa, in our local village of Fiano, with lots of locals wearing their team Calambur T-shirts, in readiness for the exciting contest due to start at two-thirty.  This was going to be a hard-fought contest for the coveted victor’s banner, which the team can keep displayed in their zone for the next twelve months.  Our Fiano team is called La Fonte, and our colours are red and white.  The village was festooned with flags as was Certaldo, where the big event was to be held.  The event is a bit like the ‘It’s a Knockout’ contest we used to have in the UK and is very entertaining to watch, but taken very seriously indeed by the contestants.

2018-09-17 09.31.21At the end of the day it was La Canonica team from Certaldo who came out victors, despite our team putting in a superb effort.  La Fonte did win two years ago and I remember the beautifully embroidered banner being displayed in La Dispensa.  Oh well, there’s always next year!

41632253_2158631247686062_3080309205630976000_nMeanwhile, there has been a lot of busy preparation for the Truffle (tartufo) Hunting Season, which starts on 22nd September.  Lots of tourists include this rather exciting event in their holiday itinerary and if you visit EnvyItaly on-line you will find an article all about it.  Click on ‘Magazine’ then ‘Best Experiences in Italy’.  There are also hunts available locally to us; I can put you in touch with the right people.  Foto Envy Italy.

As I have just mentioned the magazine Envy Italy, I should also tell you that it is a new publication co-published by my very clever daughter and her friend from Ireland.  As a writer, I have been very impressed with the articles and professional way the magazine has been put together.  This is one for you if you like the very best that Italy can offer.  I love it!  Go to the website

2018-09-16 09.50.26And, so to my other love, Italian Autumn Fashion.  The papers and magazines here are filling up with gorgeous Autumn colours, my favourite time of the year.  I noticed that Burberry in England has taken on a new look, but believe me, Italian designers do have the edge when it comes to style.  I just adore this fringed coat, couldn’t you just snuggle up in it?  MaxMara’a models are not the most cheerful lot, but I have let this fact pass for once.

2018-09-16 09.36.51The other advert I found, was for a pair of comfy shoes!  Arrrgh, I hear you say, fashion and comfort just don’t go together!  I have spent a lot of years trying to combine both, and yes it’s difficult.  However, what do you think of these shoes?  Are they stylish enough or too clumpy?  I’m almost tempted to buy some, but I’m not sure…..

2018-09-14 09.37.50#1And back in the real world, yesterday, Monday, was back to school day.  Lots of nervous children and students were starting the new term and some, like my 13 nearly 14-year-old granddaughter, a new senior school in Siena!  The Italian school holidays, particularly the summer one, is very long, almost three months in fact, so parents and grandparents alike are sighing with relief.

Anyway, enough already.  Oh, in case you were wondering I am still on the hunt for September’s Italian Hunk of the Month.  So if you spot a candidate send me a pic! My email

Have a great week wherever you are in the world.

Salute June x

PS If you did not manage to download my free short story, The Man in Black, you can now purchase it for just 99p or the equivalent $ or Euro.  Go to my website at June’s Site

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Benvenuti to all my lovely Loyal and New Followers

On the way to Certaldo for coffee, my man and I started talking about the fragile planet, I said that I hoped it would survive for at least a few more generations.  Then he said, “It’s just as likely that the world will end as we know it, after being invaded by aliens from outer space.” He said, matter of factly.  “In fact, I think they’re already here and living in Chelsea!”  My man knows a lot of things, so I asked how he knew this.  “Well, you know, all those Hooray Henrys!”  I smiled, he could be right, who am I to argue.

A school bag loaded with back problems. La Republica

A school bag loaded with back problems.
La Republica

Anyway, here we are into the second week of September and its back to school for all the children after a very long summer break and I want to tell you about something that has always concerned me.  Now we Brits  had great spacious school desks full of  books, pens, pencils geometry sets and so on.  Here in Italy the children carry the whole lot around on their backs, weighing as much as 11kg in some cases!  Yes, you heard me right.  In addition, the parents have to fork out over 200 euros at the start of each year to buy all the new books, including the heavy study ones, for the kids to carry around.  Now I am not complaining, but stating a fact and at last this dreadful arrangement is getting some attention from the press, well at least here in Tuscany.  Is it like this in other European countries?  I’d be interested to know.

Ristorante Borgo Antico, the Terrazza. Foto J Finnigan

Ristorante Borgo Antico, the Terrazza.
Foto J Finnigan

On a brighter note, I promised to let you have some pictures of restaurant Borgo Antico in Tavernelle.  Last Sunday we had lunch outside in their lovely terrazza in glorious weather. This of course is how Sundays in Tuscany should be spent, or with a big Italian family in the open air, the Mamas and Nonnas having done the cooking of course, not me.  Anyway, back at Borgo Antico,  Katia presented us with their signature Crostini, vegetarian version.  This is basically toasted bread with delicious mixed toppings with an emphasis on Mozzarella.

Vegetarian Crostini, my gluten free version! Foto J Finnigan

Vegetarian Crostini, my gluten free version!
Foto J Finnigan

Then at our next table a lovely young Italian couple arrived and introduced themselves and their black lab.  He, Stefano Dini, has an Antique Restoration warehouse in Tavernelle, so if you like Italian Antique Furniture go to http://www.portaemporum.com  Then our pasta course arrived and we had a veggie version of the Chef’s ragu sauce.  It was seriously delicious!  I can’t remember if we had a desert later, but I do remember being stuffed after the pasta.  So here is the website again and if you go tell Katia I recommended you, she’ll spoil you to death.  http://www.borgoanticorestaurant.com

The Vendemmia. This article says that 2,680 litres of Chianti was produced in Tuscany in 2015. This year the production will be higher! La Nazione.

The Vendemmia. This article says that 2,680 litres of Chianti wine was produced in Tuscany in 2015. This year the production will be higher! La Nazione.

OK, what next?  Oh yes, as you probably know, the Vendemmia (grape harvest) is in full swing.  Thank heavens for our new home as we no longer have tractors and trailers thundering past our kitchen window.  It is a very noisy time of year and tourists coming to stay in the Agritorismo centres are in for a shock if they think they are going to enjoy a quite relaxing holiday in the Chianti Hills.  But many come to actually participate in the harvest or at least to watch the crushing of the grapes and no, they are not crushed under foot anymore, it’s all mechanical but interesting nonetheless.

Beppe Grillo and Alessandro di Battista. La Republica

Beppe Grillo and Alessandro di Battista. La Republica

Back in the world of politics, one character who I haven’t talked about before is Beppe Grillo.  No, he’s not a Bistecca (steak) chef, he is the leader of the largest opposition party, Cinque Stella.  Looking like a scruffy aging rock singer, he has a huge following and could well be our next leader.  He’s been strutting his stuff on stage with support staff like Alessandro di Battista (Deputato della XVII Legislatura della Republica Italiana con Cinque Stella)  Did you get that? If not do read it again or don’t worry about it.  To be honest I’ve only brought this to your attention because Alessandro is a bit of a hunk!

Before I forget, if he had still been alive Freddie Mercury would have been seventy a couple of days ago.  What is the relevance of this you may ask?  None at all, I answer, I just thought you might like to remember him too.

So, oh yes, it will soon be olive picking time and I hear tell that the dreaded Olive flies are back.  If the harvest is ruined, the prices of Extra Virgin Olive Oil will soar again, but let’s be positive, I’m sure our locals will get it sorted.

Phew, well that’s enough for today, I’m going to twist my man’s arm and say that I don’t feel like cooking today and can we go back to Borgo Antico…  But O Dio, they are fully booked, so we are off to C’era una Volta instead.

Have a really great week and do drop me a line.  I love to hear from you.

Salute June x

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

'The Bolivian Connection' Book two in the series.

‘The Bolivian Connection’ Book two in the series.

'The Bolivian Connection' Book two in the series.

‘The Bolivian Connection’ Book two in the series.


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