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Posts Tagged ‘Bolivia’

Benvenuti to all my lovely Loyal and New Followers

Father XmasWell, it’s that time of year when people start to do and say funny things like, after Christmas I’m going on a diet or I’m not going to shave until after the holiday.  Now my man comes into the latter catagory, which means that kisses under the mistletoe get a bit scratchy.  I know that lots of girlies like their men to have a bit of stubble, it’s considered matcho, but I’m afraid I find the whole sensation of being kissed by a prickly chin rather off-putting, not to say dangerous.  But hey, I’d rather be kissed by my man than not, so I will persevere, despite the beard!

Christmas Man with beard. La Nazione

Christmas Man with beard.
La Nazione

On the subject of men, my man and I enjoyed coffee twice this morning.  Firstly at the Jam Cafe, because we could not park in our usual place due to a huge market in Certaldo and secondly at Il Solferino after having trecked through all the market stalls along Via Giugno.  We settled in to read the papers and there for you girlies to drool over, I found Christmas man.  Yes, another watch advert, but it’s the guy wearing it that matters, don’t you think?  My man grinned over the top of his newspaper and said; “Now here’s an interesting snippet.  Research has now proved that Hitler only had one ball!  But we military men already knew that and we had a song we used to sing about it, yes a rude one….”  He turned and shared the joke with the man behind him on the next table.  So you had one Brit and one Italian laughing their heads off about a German and a missing ball!

Now, I am trying to get my head around Christmas.  I’ve got all the presents and most of the food, but we have failed to get a real Christmas Tree as we left it too late.  Yesterday morning we did a huge circle from Certaldo to Poggibonsi, up to San Casciano and back again, but they were all gone.  So, unless we hit lucky, I will have to do some sort of festive table arrangement and put the presents around it.  The grandkids will not be impressed though. On the journey my man and I  had both felt  bit jaded and thought we were getting the dreaded Christmas virus.  “My face feels strange.”  He said, rubbing his chin.  “What, sort of tingly?”  I asked.  “No hairy.”  He grinned.

December view from here. Photo J Finnigan

December view from here.
Photo J Finnigan

December sunset. Photo J Finnigan

December sunset.
Photo J Finnigan

Earlier in the week, I had been getting a little fed up with the cloudy, foggy weather.  The temperature here in Tuscany was lower than London, where my man was putting in his last few days at the grind stone before the Festive break.  Then come Thursday the sun came out and bathed everything in gold and the sunset that evening gave me a huge lift, so I took a couple of photos for you.

Things are pretty hectic here now in the run up to the big day and needless to say, something has to give.  So please forgive me if I take a couple of weeks off from writing to you.  The good news is I will have lots to tell you about the festivities here in Tuscany in the New year.  In the meantime, I want to say a big thank you to all my readers for buying my books throughout 2015.  It has been a record year for sales and your support is so very much appreciated.  Don’t forget there is still time to download your Christmas reading, if you have not already done so.  Visit my author site at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

Have a wonderful Christmas and Buon Natale

Salute June x

'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.

The idol Silvio (Jesu) Berlusconi Photo sdpf

Silvio (Jesu) Berlusconi
Photo sdpf

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Benvenuti to all my Lovely Loyal and New Followers

Grapes ready for harvesting photo P Finnigan

Grapes ready for harvesting
photo P Finnigan

“The white grape harvest has definitely started.”  My man announced.  “Oh, yes?”  I reply.  I had been told by a local farmer, whilst sharing Dr Flavio’s waiting room, that he expected to start harvesting the white grapes last week.  “So how do you know this, I haven’t seen any activity these last few days?”  I asked my man.  “Well, it must have been the bloody great tractor pulling the trailer full of grapes, which went past our kitchen window just now!”  He grinned.  “Ah, that’s pretty certain then.”  I grin back.

Alessandro's cushion in the window of Laurara's Bar. Photo J Finnigan

Alessandro’s birth cushion in the window of Laura’s Bar.
Photo J Finnigan

Meanwhile, Laura’s bar/alimentare in Fiano was closed for a couple of days in the week and we guessed that Benedetta, Laura’s lovely daughter, was probably giving birth!  Yes, last Thursday evening baby Alessandro had arrived and Fiano is now celebrating this latest arrival.  Tanti Auguri to the new parents and grandparents. Now Laura’s bar is open again, so we can sit and watch the world go by in our local village once more.  At one of the tables there was a friendly argument going on about the best way to drive up to Certaldo Alto for a wedding.  For five minutes, five locals were all speaking at the same time saying “No, a sinistra!” “No, no a destra!” Our being foreigners know the best way to get up there as we have explored all the roads around the hilltop village.  But we did not intervene as it was all too entertaining to watch!  Of course most visitors take the little funiculare train from the main piazza in Certaldo, which runs every fifteen minutes.

Gondola racing in Venice. La Nazione magazine

Gondola racing in Venice.
La Nazione magazine

Back down in Certaldo, we enjoy our morning coffee at Bar Solferino and I read in the sporting magazine that there has been gondola racing in Venice.  Now we have been to Venice and its very beautiful and colourful.  Looking at the photo in the magazine I can see that it would be a great thing to go and watch.  I recall our last visit when we heard a gondolier singing Tom Jone’s song Delilah, as he paddled underneath the little bridge we were standing on.  We peered over the edge to find that he was entertaining a dozen Japanese, who were lapping it up!

Silvio Berlusconi back in the news. La Nazione

Silvio Berlusconi back in the news.

Ah, then I see in La Nazione newspaper that the Peter Pan of Politics is back in the news, after his summer break.  Well this is good news, we need something to entertain us with all the doom and gloom about the economy.   What’s our Silvio saying in the headline?  Mmmm, he is addressing someone called Salvini and seems to be saying ‘Burlesconi to Salvini It is not for you to decide on the reforms and opening of the shipyard.‘  Now, I have often had the Italians rolling in the isles over my translations.  He may be saying ‘It is not up to you to decide whether to buy a cabbage or a horse.’  Either way, I’m sure it’s a very important subject!

More lovely Hibiscus. Photo J Finnigan

More lovely Hibiscus.
Photo J Finnigan

Succulents flowering in teh sunshine. Photo J Finnigan

Succulents flowering in the sunshine.
Photo J Finnigan

Back in our lovely terraced garden the sun is shining and the flowering plants are putting on a great show.  So I thought I would pop in some pretty pictures.

Well, it is now Sunday morning and we are off to Montespertoli and checking out an abandoned villa on the way.  Just to remind you, we are looking for a large country house/villa to rent as our contract here ends next February.  Let me know if you hear of anything within easy reach of Certaldo.  Yes, life is one big adventure!

Have a really great week.

Salute June x  ps Check out 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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Benvenuti to all my Lovely Loyal and New Followers

Torrential rain in Certaldo. Photo J Finnigan

Torrential rain in Certaldo. Photo J Finnigan

As I write this blog we are enjoying a reprieve from the horrendous heat and humidity that has smothered us over the last two weeks.  It had become so oppressive, it was as if the oxygen had been sucked out of the air!  Then earlier in the week it started to rumble with thunder and the birds stopped singing.  Then the cicada’s stopped their cackling, the wind started to build into a massive force ten and I could not get outside to rescue the canvas sun brollies.  Inevitably, they went flying dragging their heavy bases with them and sadly one was torn really badly.  But this is a minor issue, what followed was a long-awaited downpour on the parched countryside and I saved fifteen euros as the car got washed at the same time!

Coffee with Sting. Photo J Finnigan

Coffee with Sting.
Photo J Finnigan

Meanwhile, I was safely in Bar Solferino in Certaldo enjoying my coffee with Sting.  We watched the rain thundering down outside, he said nothing.  This is because he was just a picture in the paper, but one can dream.  He was really in rehearsals for his performance at Lucca as the final act for a great lineup of rockers in the summer festival there.

The previous day I had been in the same bar, when six American backpackers struggled in.  All girlies of around twenty-one who proceeded to stuff themselves with two pastries each.  One girl stood at the bar with a pack so large on her back that she must have included the kitchen sink!  She was also tall, stick thin in a long skirt and sandals.  She was trying to get Elena behind the bar to understand her and was having some difficulty in doing so.  Elena looked across at me with pleading eyes.  I asked loudly if I could help and this awful American girl started screeching about the fact that her phone could not pick up the cafe bar’s internet and that she would never had walked all this way if she had known it would not work!  I took her phone and gave it to Elena who in seconds linked it in and gave it back.  Not a word of thanks from this horrid girl!  Meanwhile, the other girls seemed to be ignoring her and enjoying themselves, and I was told that they were on a train/bus/walking tour and had started in Venice.  They were about to get the train to Rome.  That day the temperature was around thirty-eight degrees;  I wished them well.

My man returned from a working week in London on Saturday and I was so relieved to be back in the arms of my Amore.  Sometimes all one needs is a hug to make the world seem right.  I had survived a hurricane, three electricity cuts and a tooth extraction.  But I had left the broken loo system, the dragging door and the cleaning up of the garden after the storm, to him.  I was just too tired to do it all, I’m sure you understand.

Silvio grinning. Photo The Guardian

Silvio grinning.
Photo The Guardian

“I have never paid for sex!”  The illustrious billionaire Silvio Berlusconi has said on a number of occasions, however, escort Patricia d’Addario claims otherwise after having written a book about their alleged sexual relationship.  She is now going to make a film about it!  This announcement comes after poor SB was sentenced to three years in prison, earlier this month, for bribing an Italian senator.  Well all this keeps him in the headlines and bad publicity is better than none at all.  His supporters will just keep rallying around him….  Anyway, if push comes to shove he can always take up a post in Putin’s Government.

Well, enough of that.  Time to think about sunday lunch.  It is such a lovely day we have decided to eat in the garden, so I need to go and organise an aperitivo.

Have a really great week and do drop me a line.

Oh, and do visit my author site at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

Salute June x

PS I am off to the UK this week, so no blog next weekend, sorry. xx

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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Benvenuti to all my Lovely Loyal and New Followers

Carnival time in Certaldo. Photo La Nazione

Carnival time in Certaldo.
Photo La Nazione

This last week has been all about the annual celebrations in Certaldo called the Mercantia,  when the usually quiet relaxed town  goes a little crazy having a sort of carnival for five days.  The festivities start around six in the evening and stands selling everything imaginable line the streets and Piazzas.  Certaldo Alto is the most popular, especially with tourists, as there are parades of locals in the most amazing costumes and performing artists.  The downside is that it is impossible to park close by and people have to trudge at least half a mile into the centre.   However, the locals seem to automatically go with the flow.  Even our favourite coffee bar, Il Solferino, had a covered area outside selling ice-cream, filled Panini and wine, of course.

Shopping Dog in Laura's Bar/Alimentare. Photo P Finnigan

Shopping Dog in Laura’s Bar/Alimentare.
Photo P Finnigan

So, apart from the heat, the main subject at Laura’s Bar/alimentare has been the Mercantia.  “Have you been” or “Are you going?” or “Did you see that amazing….” all in Italian of course.  Meanwhile life carrys on as normal for we country folk and the villagers in Fiano.  Spotted earlier in the week was a little dog out shopping at Laura’s and lots of short skirts (it doesn’t matter if you are over eighty here).

But the weather has been torturous.  The heat only relents a little after seven in the evening, so that’s when we go outside, covered in mosquito protection, to enjoy an aperitivo.  The poor tourists, many of whom stay in self-catering villas, have discovered that many do not have air-conditioning or mosquito curtains and it is very important to be able to throw the windows open overnight to let the cooler air in.  So, be warned, bring mosquito protection, check if your villa is air-conditioned or at least has fans and mosquito curtains!

Grasshopper type insect in Daisy. Photo P Finnigan

Grasshopper type insect in Daisy.
Photo P Finnigan

Large jumping insect on ceramic pot. Photo P Finnigan

Large jumping insect on ceramic pot.
Photo P Finnigan

On a happier note, the garden has been attracting some fascinating insects.  If anyone can name them we would be very keen to hear from you.  Probably members of some grasshopping/cricket type family?  Also difficult to photograph are the articulated bees and gorgeous humming-bird type bees, however, we’ll try to get a picture or two for you.

Well, it is Sunday Morning, another very hot day,however, I must put a couple of hours writing in and complete another chapter of ‘The Italian Connection’.   I have pasted a snippet below to give you a taste.

So, may I wish you all a great week and if you are outside of Tuscany, hopefully you will enjoy cooler weather!  We’ll catch up with Silvio Berlusconi next week!

Salute June x

Extract from ‘The Italian Connection’ currently in progress:

I turned slowly and looked up into the chocolate-brown eyes of Laurent DuPont. “Was that you jogging through the garden earlier?” I smiled, acting as if we were meeting for the first time. We shook hands. “Oui, you were watching me then, or more likely my tight bottom and rippling muscles.” I nodded. “Yes, I am English and you are French I think?” I said rather more loudly as Roberto approached from behind Laurent. “Ah, bene, you have found someone to talk to.” He smiled. “Yes, this very nice Frenchman, what did you say your name was?” I looked wide-eyed at Laurent. “Jean-Paul Gautier, at your service.” He took my hand and lifted it to his lips.

PS Don’t forget to visit my author site http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan or join me on Twitter, Goodreads or Facebook.

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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Benvenuti to all my lovely Loyal and New Followers

A sneaky photo of the lake in the Palace gardens.   Photo P Finnigan

A sneaky photo of the lake in the Palace gardens.
Photo P Finnigan

"What!  Move so that you can lay the table!  No chance."  Farty Barty. Photo P Finnigan

“What! Move so that you can lay the table! No chance.” Farty Barty.
Photo P Finnigan

“A snog a day, helps you blog away!”  My man is looking over my shoulder and nuzzling, whilst reading this blog.  “Hey, so now you are a poet!” I laugh.  “I have my moments,” he grins.  He is quite full of himself at the moment, having gone to Buckingham Palace for a garden party during the week, with ‘The Not Forgotten Association’ and in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal.  The society assists disabled and injured ex-service people and provides lots of entertainment venues.  Fortunately my man came out of his years as a Royal Marine Commando unscathed.   He thoroughly enjoyed himself and the afternoon tea in a grand marquee with traditional strawberries and cream.  Meanwhile I was stuck back here in the beautiful Chianti Hills, having to gaze at the fabulous view with a glass or three of Chianti, with grumpy Farty Barty for company.

Stefano on Lead Guitar Photo Chiara Benelli

Stefano on Lead Guitar – Italy’s George Harrison
Photo Chiara Benelli

We are just six days away from the Rock Chick Band’s fifth annual concert and last Monday we did a lengthy rehearsal sorting out the keys for the five new songs in the repertoire.  We decided to drop that great glam rock song ‘Poison’ by Alice Cooper as we just could not find the right key for my voice.  Instead, we have added back in another favourite of mine ‘You took the words right out of my mouth’ by Meat Loaf, so my man will be back on stage doing the intro with me.  You remember “Will you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?”……….. yes, that talking bit. Great stuff.

By the weekend we will have a villa full of house guests and the first one arrives on Tuesday in the shape of my beautiful sister-in-law, whom I could not manage without this time of year.  She’ll be making sure the pots in the garden are all refreshed and that it is looking as gorgeous as last year.  Then Friday and Saturday morning three more friends will arrive, one of which I haven’t seen for fifty years.  It will be an amazing reunion.

The lovely Benedetta with baby Alessandro in her tummy. Photo J Finnigan

The lovely Benedetta with baby Alessandro in her tummy.
Photo J Finnigan

On Thursday morning I joined Benedetta at Laura’s bar in Fiano to drink my coffee, as she was sat doing some paperwork at one of the tables.  The bar was full of noisy Italian tourists wearing crazy t-shirts.  An argument was going on over calcio (football).  The locals all support Fiorentino (Florence) whilst two rogue members of the group favoured Juventus!  Then a handsome young male apparition cruised in, wearing an orange blazer, white mules without socks and cream chinos.  He was a stranger, so the local contadini (country folk) stopped talking and stared for precisely one minute then carried on arguing.  I stared too, but for rather more than a minute!  Meanwhile, the old boy who was reading the only non-sporty paper, was being pressurised to hand it over by a younger man who stood right behind him breathing down the poor man’s neck.  The old boy gave in, just like the slow driver moves to the side of the road to let the fast driver overtake to get him off his back bumper!  So Italian.

Come the weekend, back at the villa, we were dealing with heavy rain and thunderstorms that inevitably caused short electricity cuts.  When this happens, the pump that brings the gas into the villa, cuts out and we have to go and rev it up again out in the garden.  We know this has happened when one of us is naked and trying to run the hot water in the shower and the other is not dressed yet.  So the latter goes out to the garden, opens a little metal door in the wall and pumps away at a brass knob.  Meanwhile the naked one has climbed into the boiler room to check that the gas is flowing in again.  Then its a shouting session, “Is it OK now?” “No keep pumping, hang on yes its OK.”  “Sorry I can’t hear you!”  Naked person goes to the window, “I said its OK now”  Pumping person scurries back in having been caught in a shower of rain!

Now in light of the coming events, I hope you will forgive me if I do not send you a blog next weekend.  The following weekend, of course, will be very newsy indeed and I hope to post some great photos of the band.  I shall be all dressed in black this year, a little more rock chick than last time.  Look out for your invite reminder if you are on my guest list.  If you are not, will be in Tuscany and would like one, drop me an email at june.finnigan@virgin.net.

have a great fortnight and don’t forget to check out my books at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan  I’ll update you on the gorgeous Silvio Berlusconi next time.

Salute June x

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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Benvenuti to all my lovely Loyal and New Followers

I am so very relieved to have bounced back to good health after that diabolical bout of flu!  The minute I realised I wanted a glass of wine, and could taste it, I knew I was better!

The weather is now fantastic, hot but not too hot.  A slight breeze and the smell of cut grasses; wonderful.  So we are able to indulge in good wine and food out on the upper terrace and to soak up the mellow vibes that this gorgeous part of the Chianti Hills wafts around us.

My hugely talented friend and band member Lorenzo.   Photo J Finnigan

For you girlies – My hugely talented friend and band member Lorenzo.
Photo J Finnigan

A couple of weeks ago, Lorenzo, a musician friend and member of our band, The Rock Chick Band, asked me if I would like to write some lyrics for a revamp of an old sixties number that was originally in Italian.  I have written numerous poems over the years, but never words to fit a song.  So it was a new and exciting thing for me to do, and I was given free reign to write my own words.  I have to say, I was really pleased to find it quite easy.  I have a natural ear for music, and can pick it up very quickly, so I was able to send the lyrics to Lorenzo a week later and he was over the moon!  This is not a casual thing.  The intention is to take the new song to a certain famous singer, whom we hope will want to record it.  Watch this space!

Dinner at C'era una Volta last Friday.  My first Buratta of the year. Photo J Finnigan

Dinner at C’era una Volta last Friday. My first Buratta of the year.
Photo J Finnigan

Meanwhile, back at C’era una Volta Ristorante in Lucardo, I enjoyed my first Buratta and grilled vegetable salad of the year.  If you have not tried Buratta, you really must.  It is like an extra creamy soft mozzarella.  Mmmmmmmmmmm.

Farty Barty joins us for a pre-lunch drink. Photo J Finnigan

Farty Barty joins us for a pre-lunch drink.
Photo J Finnigan

This morning we managed to grab Farty Barty the cat and take him for his overdue vaccine.  The mosquitos (Zanzari) here can give dogs and cats a nasty disease if they are not innoculated.  As you may already know, Barty is a semi-wild cat and is very good at anticipating a vets visit.  He will sometimes disappear for five days or more!  Poor lad, he did not get away with it this time.

And what is happening out there in the Italian Hustings?  Well our Silvio is getting plenty of exposure in all regions (no I don’t mean that kind of exposure!) drumming up support for his Forza Italia party and it would not surprise me at all, to see him 2015-05-18 11.21.36back up there for one last throw of the dice.  At the weekend he was down south, were he has his biggest fan club and of the course the support of certain mafiosi clans, which he will deny of course.  Now this is only what I have read; do not take my word for it.  So, things are hotting up in the land of Italian politics, it will be an interesting time, well entertaining at least.

And so, time to think about lunch.  I might suggest popping back to C’era una Volta for more Buratta.  What do you think?

Have a great week and do check out my books on Amazon.

Grazie Mille.

Salute June x  PS I would love to hear from you.

'The Bolivian Connection'  Book two in the series.

‘The Bolivian Connection’ Book two in the series.

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

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

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25th April.  The Festa Della Liberazione March in Certaldo. Photo J Finnigan

25th April. The Festa Della Liberazione March in Certaldo.
Photo J Finnigan

Benvenuti to all My Lovely Loyal and New Followers

Last Saturday was a very important day for Italy as we were celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Allied Force’s final flushing out of the  German occupation.  Whilst different parts of Italy were freed a little earlier or later, it is the 25th April when that event is celebrated.  Now, I found this very emotional as I watched the parade in Certaldo.  Old boys struggling along and in wheelchairs.  The band was followed by every generation from the few remaining Partisans through to their great-grandchildren.  Also marching were representatives of the fire brigade, ambulance and of course the police and army.

25th April.  Home grown local fruit and veg in Certaldo. Photo J Finnigan

25th April. Home grown local fruit and veg in Certaldo.
Photo J Finnigan

The main piazza was full of colourful stands selling fruit, veg and crafts.   As the sun was quite bright and over-head, the stall holders and their products were in the shade, so getting a good photo was difficult.  However, I did manage to take a few nice ones.

I am currently writing my third novel entitled ‘The Italian Connection’ and a couple of years ago I interviewed a Partisan in Montespertoli, as I intended using his story in the book.  Gianfranco was already in his late-eighties and was a young man when the occupation began.  He told me a story about how he lost close friends and hid in caves and other peoples’ houses for months on end.  He is immortalised in the book, so I will let you know when it is published and hopefully before Christmas.  Very emotional stuff.

Remembering Saturday lunchtime.  Beautiful. Photo J Finnigan

Remembering Saturday lunchtime. Hot and sunny. Beautiful.
Photo J Finnigan

It is Monday morning and hard to believe that Saturday had been so hot and sunny.  The wind is currently howling around the villa, it is raining and everything looks grey.  My poor man is in bed with an English virus, having returned from London last Saturday evening, and Farty Barty the wild cat is curled up tight on his kitchen chair, which is a sure sign that the bad weather is not going to disappear very quickly.  But the good news is on the weekend we saw Hoopies, swallows, Jays, and heard the first Cuckoo and Bee Eaters!  Yes, Life eez good ninety-nine percent of the time!

Silvio at AC Milan Photo Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

Silvio at AC Milan
Photo Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

So what is Silvio Berlusconi up to I wonder?  Perhaps he can cheer us up.  Ah, just as I thought, SB appears to be close to selling 75% of his shareholding in Milan football club to a Chinese consortium including Hong Kong’s Richard Lee.  The one billion euro takeover bid is expected to include Silvio’s daughter Barbara.  Hang on a minute, I’ll read that again!  Ah yes, that is ‘to include Barbara continuing in her position as club director.’  Mmmm, there is also a whisper the Chinese Government is playing an instrumental role – see, what did I tell you?  They are everywhere…..

Well, enough of that.  I must go and see if I can encourage my man to eat something, poor thing.

Have a really great week and do drop me a line.

Salute June

PS Don’t forget to visit Amazon for my current books.

My Father, The Assassin.  Book on in the series.

My Father, The Assassin. Book on in the series.

'The Bolivian Connection'  Book two in the series.

‘The Bolivian Connection’ Book two in the series.

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Welcome to all my Loyal and New Followers

It is Tuesday morning and yes, I know, I am a little late sending you this blog.  But I am so glad I waited, because, I have just driven to Fiano for coffee and back in blazing sunshine!  This has given me a real lift and I am able to send you the best possible vibes from this little bit of the Chianti Hills.

Farty Barty on guard. "Did you hear that?" Photo P Finnigan

Farty Barty on guard. “Did you hear that?”
Photo P Finnigan

Farty Barty the cat, despite his wild status, has started guarding his patch particularly if we are in the garden at the time.  He sits facing outwards with us at his rear, just like a dog, ears pricking up at the slightest sound and talking a lot.  He speaks both English and Italian, because he came to us as a pot-bellied stick insect at only two months old, having been abandoned by his wild mother.  He is seven now and has just started settling down again after an amorous couple of months with the girlies, so things are a little calmer in that respect.  The Chianti countryside is awash with wild cats, but just like domestic ones, they know when they are on to a good thing.  The church cats get lots of visits, particularly by our good neighbour and friend next door who takes them daily titbits.

Me signing Valerie's books Photo Jackie

Me signing Valerie’s books
Photo Jackie Grandchamps

Last Friday evening we enjoyed dinner at Trattoria C’era una Volta with new friends Jackie from Belgium and Valerie from France.  Jackie runs a tourist business called French Escapade.  Her customers are mainly Americans who want to go on painting, cookery or other courses in the less touristy parts of Europe.  We, that is my man and I, have agreed to host a group of artists in our beautiful garden in October.  They get to sketch and paint and meet a celebrity English author!  Visit http://www.frenchescapade.com I was very happy to sign my books for Valerie who speaks perfect English.  If you girls are reading this, I do hope you are enjoying a good read and a safe journey home.

Jackie and Valerie holding my book. Photo P Finnigan

Jackie and Valerie holding my book.
Photo P Finnigan

Meanwhile, back at Laura’s Bar/Alimentare in Fiano, Laura is on her own.  Benedetta, her daughter is expecting, so is not so active behind the counter at the moment.  The usual locals are in every morning and Signor Rotund seems to be better after an op, and is appearing more often than before, so we need to make sure we get there before he hogs the newspaper.  The news has been a bit depressing of late.  The thing is, there just isn’t enough about the Peter Pan of Politics Silvio Berlusconi.  He will either make you laugh, cry, rage, envy, ape, avoid, argue or at least feel entertained.  The current Prime Minister, Renzi, just doesn’t have the charisma of our Silvio and the Italians are getting fed up with him, as nothing has changed for the better since he took the helm.  However, we are reliably informed that, like the glowing Phoenix, SB is on the rise again.

Beautiful blossom and scented flowers on the upper terrace. Photo P Finnigan

Beautiful blossom and scented flowers on the upper terrace.
Photo P Finnigan

On a happier note, our garden has erupted with blossom and the perfume is intoxicating.  Wisteria, Jasmin, Evening scented Stock and much more.  Saturday evening we were able to sit outside and enjoy it all until quite late.  However, we have noticed that the deep canyon at the bottom of the olive grove below us, seems to have crept closer!  You may recall that this part of Chianti is full of crumbling inland cliffs and from time to time a little more falls away.  Not so far away from us, one little villa has recently lost half its garden!  But we don’t worry about that, life eeez good, life eeez now!

Well enough of that, I have a heavy workload this week and am hammering away at my book ‘The Italian Connection’ in between times.

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

Salute June x

PS Don’t forget to check out my books below on Amazon.

My Father, The Assassin.  Book on 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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Book cover for 'The Bolivian Connection' Available now!

Book cover for ‘The Bolivian Connection’
Available now!

My new book ‘The Bolivian Connection’ has gone live!  You can now order the paperback or download the e-book!  Thank you to all those who have been waiting patiently to read this second book in the series ‘The Continuing Adventures of Joanna Wilde.’ 

In addition to the new book I have updated ‘My Father, The Assassin’ and you can now buy the second edition, which has been tweaked to reflect the ongoing series and re-edited to make it an even easier read!  If you have not read this book, I must mention that it is book one in the series, and The Bolivian Connection is book two.  However, they can both be read as stand alone novels if you prefer.

Important note:  Both the new books have a transparent banner across the front with JUNE FINNIGAN written inside it.  I am telling you this because the old version of ‘My Father, The Assassin’ is still available on Amazon and does not have this banner on the front!  For some technical reason, Amazon is unable to take it off my Author Page!

So, here you go.  Below are the direct links:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=june+finnigan&rh=n%3A266239%2Ck%3Ajune+finnigan

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=june+finnigan

For Amazon.eu visit the site and type June Finnigan in the search box of your chosen country.  You can also go to any other Amazon site around the world and do the same.

Important request:  Once you have read either or both of these books please do return to Amazon and leave a review.  This is incredibly important for my ratings and for publicising the novels.

Finally, I am pleased to tell you that I am well into book three in the series, entitled ‘The Italian Connection.’  Joanna Wilde is continuing her thrilling adventures in Italy with yet more scary encounters, intrigue, good wine and of course amore.  Watch this space!

I hope you really enjoy reading about Joanna’s adventures, and don’t forget to share this!

Molto Amore June xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Benvenuti to all my Loyal and New Followers

Montespertoli ladies with olive branches. Photo P Finnigan

Montespertoli ladies with olive branches.
Photo P Finnigan

So there we were, in Montespertoli for the first time in six months, enjoying an aperitivo in the piazza in glorious sunshine and watching the world go by.  Then the churchgoers started to parade past us and we realised that it must be Palm Sunday, because everyone was carrying an olive branch.  Either that, or there had been a mass raid of the local olive groves to take cuttings for new planting.  Well of course it was the former, however, I have to say that a number of olive groves have been devastated by bugs and have been dug up and burnt.  So it would not surprise me if some of these branches were not taken home and stuck into rooting compost.

Coffee with Perofil Man. Phot J Finnigan

Coffee with Perofil Man.
Photo J Finnigan

I know that a lot of you girlies out there are keen on Italian men, so when I saw this picture in a magazine in the bar, I thought I would share it with you.  There is nothing like sharing my morning coffee with a hunky Armani man (of course my own Englishman is just as gorgeous), but then I saw this Perofil man and knew you would love it.  However, unless you find very good vintage, I think it is important for you to realise that Italian men do deteriorate over the years.  However, whilst the old boys may lose their looks, they never lose their charm!

Now it has been a busy week, what with my lovely sister-in-law ( mia cognata) arriving to do the spring pots and therefore a visit to the garden centre in Poggibonsi was necessary.  Wednesday and Thursday were damp and miserable, so the planting on the terraces only really got going on the Friday.  So mia cognata and I were forced to go out to lunch at C’era Una Volta, or Paolo’s, as we affectionately call the restaurant.  Paolo has been making his yummy leek and potato soup, especially as he knows how much I like it.  We also went back on Friday evening when my man returned from London.  He had arrived earlier at the station with our fourteen year old grandson, who is back from Blundells for a three-week Easter school holiday.  So we had a jolly gathering at the Jazz Caffe in Certaldo for cocktails, before the grandson went home with our daughter who lives near Volterra.

Saturday was hectic, with lunch at our daughter’s farmhouse,  then an evening with our lovely Bavarian friends and the Australian couple who had bought our old rented home across the valley at La Selva.  I won’t tell you the whole story, but due to the good company, wine and loud music, we ended up dancing around pretending to be Mick Jagger and various other guitar playing rockers.  I know, I can hear you saying, so what’s new!  Talking about rocking, I am being very good and exercising the voice every day, well most days!  Time is rushing by and my next Rock Concert will be here before we know it!  If you will be in Tuscany on the 20th June, and would like an invite, send your email address to june.finnigan@virgin.net.

Back in the garden, the flowering pots on the terrace were looking fabulous.  I expected to take some pictures in bright sunshine this morning, however, its clouded over again!  But despite that, the light has turned out to be quite good so here is a taste of the beautiful displays created by mia Cognata, who is such a star.  Meanwhile, back at caffè Bar Solferino in Certaldo, she enjoys a much deserved coffee in front of the amazing giant Easter eggs that are on display there.

Cluster of planted pots on the upper terrace. Photo J Finnigan

Cluster of planted pots on the upper terrace.
Photo J Finnigan

La Cognata at caffe Solferino in Certaldo with giant Easter Eggs. Photo J Finnigan

La Cognata at caffè Bar Solferino in Certaldo with giant Easter Eggs.
Photo J Finnigan

Fabulous colour on the upper terrace Phot J Finnigan

Fabulous colour on the upper terrace
Photo J Finnigan

 

Well, I really must get on with the final proof reading of ‘The Bolivian Connection’ as I know you are all itching to read it.  I have a couple of issues with the publisher, however, I expect to notify you of it being ready and on sale in the next couple of days.

Wishing you all a fabulous week from Tuscany.

Amore June x

Book cover for 'The Bolivian Connection' Available very soon.

Book cover for ‘The Bolivian Connection’
Available very soon.

 

 

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