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Welcome & Benvenuti to all my Lovely followers around the World,

Now, its always been my policy to get my Christmas List sorted the first week in November. This is important because deliveries here in Tuscany can be very unreliable particularly if using the Post Office. Deliveries have often arrived a month or more after having been posted outside the EU & regularly comes with an an import tax to pay! Thankfully, I have discovered some very good on-line retailers here in Europe and in particular Next.it. The warehouse may well be in Germany, but thats not a problem. We also have Amazon.it and M&S.it. We had some quick deliveries from Nike Italia too.

So, it’s time to get my own books out to the world again. Whilst I know many of you lovely people have already read them, they do make nice presents. There’s nothing like unwrapping a book for Xmas, then curling up in front of the fire for a good read. I shall be concentrating on gifting lots of books this year! You will find my books on any Amazon site and numerous other sites if you don’t use Amazon. To remind you I write thrillers with a vein of romance running through them. The order in which I wrote them is My Father, The Assassin, The Bolivian Connection then The Italian Connection. All three follow the continuing Adventures of Joanna Wilde and her undercover activities around the world. Go to my website for lots more information and, you can buy there too: even signed books are available. However, The latter should be ordered early as they will be posted from Italy. http://www.junefinnigan.website As a treat, you can download a short thriller based in London’s Theatre land for just 99p!

Meanwhile, here in our lovely little bit of Tuscany on the edge of Chianti, we are thoroughly enjoying the new wines and the mouth watering taste of Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It’s an annual reminder of just how lucky we are to be here. Thankfully the busy tractors and trailers are less frequent now, whilst necessary to do the work, the squeaking banging and clattering along our track can get a little tiresome.

My man and I are just about recovered from a virus (not covid) that he brought back from a trip to England. The 18 years we have lived here has been a blessing for me as I don’t seem to catch Italian colds or flu. When I lived in England it was one cold virus after another, my doctor advised me to move to a drier climate, it worked! Onwards and Upwards!

Anyway, time to tidy up this blog and get it off to you. Sorry for the lack of blogs over the last few months, I hope to make up for that over the next few months.

Have a great week, life eeez good, life eeez now!

Salute June x

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

‘The Autumn Leaves, Drift by my Window, The Autumn Leaves, of Red and Gold’. This wonderful timeless song has always been one of my favourites. And, so appropriate for right now. Overnight storms and heavy rain have battered the trees and vineyards surrounding us, and any leaves that were still hanging on are now on the ground or will be shortly. The countryside and the toads in our pond will be glad to have had the rain and the fresh smells are heavenly.

It is currently difficult to take a foto of the Tuscan countryside, which isn’t beautiful. This is a picture taken by Monterosola, a stunning setting for this very popular venue for wine tastings and celebrations of all kinds. My clever daughter has been busy organising vineyard tours for journalists in readiness for the spring deluge of visitors and Monterosola is top of her list. You can, of course, go there now; and why not? http://www.monterosola.com

Meanwhile, what to wear? It’s a little cooler today after the storm so my thoughts go to my autumn/winter wardrobe. As many of you already know, I love Autumn colours as they really suit me. One of my favourite Italian designers is Luisa Spagnoli and she always has a good Autumn range. Now I have selected a lovely snuggly knitted dress, which is designed beautifully to flare from just below the hip. The colour is a deep maroon, which I believe qualifies as an excellent warm Autumn shade. http://www.luisaspagnoli.it

Now, this weekend is a great one for rugby fans, snuggled up in front of the telly. Yesterday we watched poor Italy get beaten once more, this time by Argentina. Then later it was England’s turn and they beat Australia. So at least it was a success for one of the teams we support! This afternoon we will indulge again, I can’t remember which teams are playing, but lets hope for some entertaining rugby!

What else? Well, some of you have asked when my next book will be published. Sadly, things were delayed by my falling and breaking my wrist and a knee. Now, I know, one can still write in these circumstances, but what did surprise me was how it affected my creative thought! So, I am now aiming to get ‘Assassin’s List’ published in the spring. Meanwhile, my first three books and a short story based in London’s theatre land, are available online. Do get buying now in time for Christmas presents. There’s nothing like unwrapping a real book! http://www.junefinnigan.website

Well, it’s been really good to be writing to you again and hopefully this will now be a weekly event! Do get in touch, I love to hear from my readers.

Salute June x

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

For many who come to Tuscany for the first time, they will thinking pasta and maybe Pizza. Whilst these are popular dishes, our local restaurants serve up a lot more than that and are known for their wood fire grills for both meat and veggie eaters. I was surprised to find Porcini on the menu last week as these are not currently very seasonable. They were in fact imported from Serbia which is not more than a few hours away and had arrived fresh and delicious! An all year round dish, which I love, is smoked Scamorza cheese grilled or baked over Radiccio. This is one of C’era Una Volta’s specialities along with Paolo’s hugely popular vegetable, herb, courgette flower or cheese fritters! We went there twice last week! http://www.ristorante-ceraunavolta.com

The countryside is very much reflecting the month of June. Meadowland has turned a pale gold and dried grasses have replaced the wild flowers other than the bright yellow of the broom. Colour is appearing in the form of flowering Oleanders and the rose bushes continue to bloom. This is also the month for intense activity in the fields and vineyards. Strimmers start at first light and squeeky tractors rumble up and down the vineyards, spraying and turning the soil. Tourists who had expected a quiet time on their sunbeds will be a little shocked at the noise!

Meanwhile, back on our little bit of the Chianti hillside, our garden designer daughter, Sharon, has planted a new shrubbery full of gorgeous roses and other flowering shrubs. She is going to list everything in it for me, so that I can become more shrub savy. This is in our front garden, which has been crying out for some colour and interest for years. I am also having some wrought iron climbing frames and a bench made, so that we can sit and enjoy it all with a nice chilled aperitivo. Sharon is organising everything for us, bless her. Visit her site at https://www.bellaterragardendesigns.com/

Stop Press –ITALY TO DROP MASKS: Italy is the latest country to unveil plans to drop the mandatory wearing of masks outdoors, according to Corriere della Sera. The government is expected to drop the rule either on July 1 or July 5, the paper said, with the precise date to be announced this coming week. In the meantime we are now in a Zona Bianca, that is white one, which is very good news indeed. We continue to wear masks and keep our distance for now, but watch this space. Tourists are getting thicker on the ground and mostly from northern Europe. It was still nice and quiet in the restaurant for lunch today, so that was good for us, not so the restauranteur. Apparently the Brits are not being encouraged to come yet as the Italian Government has set a new rule that means 5 days in isolation for any that arrive here! So do keep an eye on the changes for travellers!

Well, it’s currently very hot here, so if you are coming make sure you have air-conditioning in your casa vacanza. A pool maybe a good idea too. Whatever your plans I wish you good luck, good health and happiness.

Salute June x

Vist http://www.junefinnigan.website

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

Yes, Italy is well and truly open to Tourists, subject to some border restrictions of course. The rules are a little confusing and are changing all the time. However, the hospitality sector is desperate for the return of tourists and in our own little bit of Tuscany we are seeing groups of walkers and visiting camper vans going past. In our local village of Fiano, the visitors are getting in early and grabbing all the pastries! Twice this last week I have been told that they had all gone! You can also guarantee that outside dining restuarants will be full; we are not even going to try and book. But this sounds like I’m grumbling, well maybe I am, but only a little bit…. STOP PRESS – inside dining has started from 1st June in low risk zones!

I spotted a number of things on FB this morning. Firstly, http://www.this-is-italy.com has posted an Italian Food Itinery. This will really help all you foodies to get a feel for the regional palates. And, believe me there are many differences in Italian restaurants throughout the country. Of course the Tuscans have always claimed to produce the best dishes in Italy and perhaps they do! My man and I have lived here for many years and can certainly recommend it! Also the markets are a joy to visit now, local fruit, veg and cheeses so the dishes produced are all seasonal again.

Meanwhile, here in the glorious Tuscan countryside we are breathing in the heavenly smell of Jasmin and roses. Roses are planted in gardens, at the end of rows of vines and wild in the countryside. Wild flowers are everywhere as the hedgerows are long and will not be trimmed until the blooms start to go over. And, yes, if you want poppy fields, now’s the time to be here! I have borrowed this foto from La Poggilaia’s post on FB; I know Paola won’t mind as she is a friend and my next door neighbour. It shows you just how stunning our area is right now, we are so very lucky.

Back indoors and in fact in my wardrobe, I’ve been swapping my clothes from winter to summer. Lovely that I can ditch the tights and wear sandals now as it is getting really warm. The forecast is for temperatures up to 30C by Friday, that’ll bring even bigger groups of tourists. I have three really comfy Tea Dresses that I wore to death last year and will do the same this summer. Black remains my colour of choice, my being a rockchick, but the dresses have lots of colourful flower patterns to offset this! As you know I adore fashion, despite my figure not being that of a model… But fashion includes shoes and handbags, so no worries there. It’s my birthday month so let’s see what’s currently available ‘made in Italy.’ Oh no, I just died and went to heaven! Almost immediately I found Lorius of Firenze (that’s Florence to you and me)who make absolutely gorgeous hand-painted handbags and, they have a massive sale and free delivery in Italy! Thats me finished for the day then, need to go back on-line before I stop breathing! http://www.loriusfirenze.com

OK, I’m back, but it is time to stop for an aperitivo to calm myself down. Sorry I’m a bit late with this blog but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless. See you in Tuscany soon!

Do drop me a line, oh and visit my website at http://www.junefinnigan.website

Salute June x

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As I start writing this blog a cold wind is howling around the house after a night of much needed rain. And, I feel a huge sense of relief as the words start to flow again on screen.

The Italian news is full of Queen Lisabet’s loss of her handsome Prince Phillip and this will be a very sad period for her. It really doesn’t matter the age of a loved one when they pass away, the fact is you will never see them again and it’s an innevitable but terrible thing. I have spent several weeks looking after the one I love due to illness and I can honestly say, to see him so much better and on the way to full recovery is a golden gift. It is that fact that has helped me return to creative writing. I just love him.

Meanwhile, it was announced yesterday that Certaldo, our local town, is moving from a Red Zone back to an Orange one on Saturday 17 April. This is a big relief and I can at last get to the hairdresser. Sandra has just messaged me to say she will be open and I am down for the first Tuesday, bless her. And, our sixteen year old granddaughter returns to school tomorrow for three days a week, which is a mixed blessing for her. Her school is in Siena, which is currently in orange.

Last week my man and I managed to get vaccinated; me in Empoli where I was given the Astra Zeneca one and my man in Siena where he got the Moderna one! The roll-out of the vaccine remains slow here but the pace is picking up, thank goodness. We have to book on-line and need to be in a certain age group or vulnerable position. I kept trying but it was only when another batch of vaccines had arrived that my box to tick suddenly flashed ‘open’! Unfortunately, the supply is still restricted as the EU is currently sitting on billions of Euros meant to aid recovery and could be spent on vaccines, but they can’t get everyone’s agreement on how it should be distributed! I want to take this opportunity to mention the Amazing Red Cross here in our local town of Certaldo. For a short period I thought it might be wise to hire a wheelchair, just in case. We have a lovely friend called Paolo who is a volunteer and drives support vehicles for people needing to get to hospital for appointments and are ill or less able. My lovely daughter has been getting us to appointments, but on difficult days for her Paolo has stepped in. He arranged for me to pick up a wheelchair from the Red Cross and we can keep it indefinitely for a donation of just 50 cents! I cannot thank Paolo enough for his personal attention and the support of this volunteer service that backs him.

I have had several followers ask about my next Rock Concert and sadly I must tell you that we have decided to wait until next year. We are also cancelling any visitors this year to be sure that things are back in control first. so any plans you want to make, aim for the Spring of 2022 and fingers crossed all will be well! We look forward to seeing you!

Anyway, Spring is here in our beautiful little bit of Tuscany. The wildlife seem unaffected by the pandemic and in fact are a lot more obvious without the hunters around. Phil our resident pheasant has a new wifey and is doing his usual postering, so that’s OK. I hope, over the next few weeks to bring you lots of good news and more fotos of our stunning surroundings on the edge of the Chianti Hills.

Whilst this blog is a little shorter than previous ones, it is an important one for me. I have missed writing to you and I would love to also have your news. I will be endeavouring to update my website over the next couple of weeks too.

Salute June x

Visit my website at http://www.junefinnigan.website

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

Well, it’s yet another beautiful sunny Sunday in our little bit of Tuscany in the Chianti Hills. We had intended doing a lot of stuff this weekend but somehow a great tiredness overcame us. After a working week and feeling great about the weekend coming up, yesterday proved to be lack of energy day! So I got to reading The Florentine, the English language magazine from Florence and discovered an awful lot going on that can be enjoyed from the comfort of our sofa!

As you know, I am a Rock Music fanatic, however, I also like classical music played live by brilliant musicians and here in Tuscany I found two treats coming up shortly.

Firstly and taking on the dual roles of conductor and pianist, Alexander Lonquich will be performing a fabulous program of Beethoven and Mozart with the Orchestra della Toscana in a streamed performance at 9pm on March 4 viewable on YouTube and Facebook.

And secondly, the amazing Hershey Felder will give his next live performance, Puccini-Live from Florence, a world premiere about Lucca’s world-famous opera composer from March 14 with on-demand streaming available through to March 21. Tickets available here

I also found some really interesting on-line courses/seminars/classes that will help relieve your withdrawal symptons from the lack of visiting the historical sites of Tuscany. Listen to and watch some real gems presented by excellent and very knowledgeable presenters whilst enjoying a nice glass of Chianti. I spotted two that might whet your appetite, ‘All Roads lead to Rome’ about the history of Roman road building and ‘Walled Cities and Towers of Tuscany’. Both events are coming up shortly in march so you will need to book online as soon as possible. There are lots more courses to view, not all in Italy, but many are. Go to https://Conversations.contexttravel.com

OK, what else? Well the other thing I have been doing is window shopping on-line Italian Fashion Houses. I know, not again! Anyway, now the UK is out of Europe, ordering anything from the UK is expensive as we have to pay a delivery charge. Fortunately, Italy has sites to cater for most things including Next.it and M&S.it. As most of you know I love Italian fashion and this outfit by my favourite designer https://luisaspagnoli.it is right up my street! I just need to buy a pair of six inch heels and lose a couple of stone….. Lots of things are as much as half-price at the moment!

OK, enough of my drooling over clothes and culture. The latest edition to our family, or should I say to my man’s gymnasium/games room is a new Dart Board Cabinet, which he will probably put up next weekend. We used to love a game of darts in English pubs, yes I was quite good actually. So looking forward to getting our battered old board up and using our nice new sets of darts. I’ll post a picture when its done! Oh, the other bit of news is that my man wants to start baking bread, but that’s another story!

Do drop me a line, I love to hear from my readers. And, don’t forget to read my books if you have not already done so and leave a review on Amazon. So grateful if you do! http://www.junefinnigan.website

Salute June x

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

As I write this blog the sun is peaking through the wintry clouds and we are celebrating still being a Yellow Zone in Tuscany. Here in Italy we have four zones from a Covid point of view; Red, Orange, Yellow and White. Red is the most restricted zone and whitehass no restrictions at all. Unfortunately there are not any white zones as yet but the country is rapidly turning yellow, which is good news.

And as if to further celebrate our yellow status, we have spotted a few Mimosa trees in blossom, but not many. March 8 will be when the blossoms are cut to celebrate Festa della Donna, International Women’s Day. Bunches of the pretty yellow flowers are gifted to the women we love or appreciate, no matter their status. So I hope there will still be blossoms on the trees then, we have had a few years of the blooms appearing rather too early!

Remaining on the subject of yellow, there are plenty of Italian fashion houses producing gorgeous outfits in this sunny colour and Italian men are not adverse to wearing daffodil yellow either! The on-line fashion houses are currently busy with sales; as much as 70% off some Italian fashion!

Meanwhile, it’s not just fashion here in Tuscany that hit’s the button. I was amazed to read an article in The Florentine magazine about how many products are actually manufactured in Tuscany and despite the virus, production has continued! In this picture you will see IVV glassware, Mangusta Yachts, Locman watches and Laika caravans, all made in Tuscany. ‘Tuscany’s focus on international trade is borne out in the share of Tuscan exports compared to total Italian exports, with a percentage of over 7.5%. Fashion, engineering and precious metalworking sectors are the primary sectors for exports. (Source: ISTAT, Italian Office for National Statistics)‘ for the full article written by Helen Farrell visit the latest magazine at http://www.theflorentine.it

And, what else would you like to hear about? A reader asked me if it’s warm here in January. Well, I have to say no, however, when the sun shines and the wind drops it’s perfectly possible to sit outside and enjoy an aperitivo before lunch! There are fabulous sunsets on some evenings. It’s not just the sun going down it’s the reflection on the opposite hillsides that take the breath away. The countryside can turn a bright orange for just a short period. This foto was taken this evening from my bedroom window!

Well, life is pretty good here in Tuscany. We returned to Paolo’s for another delicious lunch and the first daffodil is out in the garden! Yet more yellow. The government continues to be in disarray over arguments about how to spend the recovery funds being made available by the EU; there’ll probably be a new PM in place soon…. But these things don’t really effect us too much. We continue to work remotely and enjoy our morning espresso in Bar Querceto (our sitting room).

And, on the subject of working remotely, I’d best get back to the day job!

Have s great week, stay safe and well.

Salute June x

Visit me at http://www.junefinnigan.website

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Welcome back to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

Yes I’m back, to let you know that I can really ‘Shake ’em down’, yes I know more sad 60’s lyrics, but we love them don’t we!

Anyway, you want to know what’s happening here in Beautiful Tuscany, don’t you? Yes, of course you do. Well, the good news is that we remain a yellow zone. In Tuscany Covid cases are less than in many regions and we are able to go out to the restaurant to eat, usual rules still apply; masks, except when sat at the table, distancing and strict use of hand cleansers at the door. It is rare to see anyone out and about without a mask and I do not agree with the idea that you are safe in the open without one. Fortunately, the police here will clamp down on anyone seen without one, I wish to god that people around the world would just wise up and wear the masks as a way of life like we do.

Well, we were so happy to return to C’era una Volta Ristorante on Thursday for lunch, the first time since November, and to find both Paolo and Gaia fit and well. Only one other table was occupied, so it was nice and quiet. I drooled over Grilled Polenta con fagioli e cavolo nero, a gluten free version of bruschetta with black cabbage and white beans, swimming in the latest Extra-Virgin Olive oil and fresh herbs from Paolo’s orto. Then it was pasta in a pecorino cheese sauce with a dash of white wine; Paolo’s special recipe. Oh, not to forget, the whole meal was washed down by one of my favourite Chiantis from Bibbiano! Sigh…. http://www.ristorante-ceraunavolta.com

As most of you know, the food and wine here in Tuscany is truly delicious. We have lots of pots of honey, some given as presents, some bought. Yes, Tuscany produces some of the most mouth watering honeys and all are different. We have just finished a pot of Miele di Castagno (chestnut) from Castello Sonnino in Montespertoli. Drissled over a mature Pecorinino cheese the combined flavours are to die for. The Castello has a beautiful shop and you can also buy their wines on-line with other lovely goodies at http://www.castellosonnino.it

Now, like many of you out there, I have found it difficult to think about planning the future. Few flights are going out or coming in here in Italy, which for some time is going to continue effecting things. But there is nothing to stop me putting a date in the diary for my next Tuscan Rock Chick Band Concert and starting on a repertoire and some practice. One has to be optimistic! OK, so we may have to cancel again, but let’s at least knock the idea into shape! Let me know if you have a favourite rock song, I might include it. To give you some idea my favourite music includes Robert Plant, Thin Lizzy, REM and George Harrison, I have a low voice which means I can sing many songs usually performed by men. Female singers I like include Chrissie Hynd, Patti Smith and Stevie Nicks. I like a lot of stuff, so let me know!

Well enough for now, hopefully I will be out and about a lot more over the next week, with more to tell you.

Stay well, stay safe.

Salute June x http:www.junefinnigan.website

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

Phew! Things have calmed down a little now after horrendous storms bringing heavy rain yesterday and overnight. The sky remains grey and there is a steady light rain. We can see some quite big branches that have been blown off into the garden and It will be much worse if we went further afield, which we have no intention of doing! North and south of us the country has had terrible flooding and people have been evacuated from their homes. So, the fact that we are not supposed to travel is not such a bad thing.

The view from here remains beautiful. December is the month when the European Oak tree turns coppery orange and there are thousands in Tuscany. So for the uninitiated, Tuscany looks like it’s in the midst of Autumn. We love it! The misty rain has highlighted a giant cobweb in our garden. A very big or very industrious spider and a beautiful work of art!

Meanwhile, Tuscany has now been moved from Red (High Risk) to Orange (Medium/High Risk) from a Covid point of view. So for the time being, we can move about on essential trips and go outside our immediate commune, but this will be much stricter over the Christmas Period. Currently, we cannot go to restuarants, bars or coffee shops except for take-aways. I really miss my lunches at Paolo’s! I rarely cook pasta at home as I have to cook gluten free for myself and I always destroy it. It’s only a matter of seconds between being just right and falling to pieces! So we eat a lot of potato and rice dishes.

Anyway, my man went for a Covid Test on Friday and the next day our lovely doctor Flavio emailed to say the result was negative! Hurrah! Mind you, my man will tell you that having the test is not a pleasant thing. It was two long cotton type buds up each nostril and beyond, then a throat swab at choking depth! Very uncomfortable indeed. Whether it’s done this way everywhere, I don’t know. You need an appointment through your doctor, then you receive an SMS with a date and time for a drive through test. My man’s appointment was very specific to the minute and he was to arrive 15 minutes early. The queue must have been at least thirty cars and they had not yet got everything ready. So if you go to the Certaldo for a test, be very very patient!

On a much lighter note, I laid the Christmas table this morning. The usual dusty old cloths and table centre, but we love it. I know, it’s still the first week in December, but as everyone else has started celebrating I was easily encouraged to do the same. Thinking about Christmas get togethers, we should make better use of Skype or Zoom this year and look up family and friends we won’t get to see otherwise. What do you think?

Now you may remember that I like to follow the English language on-line Magazine called The Florentine. It keeps me up to date with what’s happening in Florence and the surrounding regions. It also picks up on some interesting facts and historical snippets like the article on the very elegante Grand duke Pietro Leopoldo. Quoted on Saturday 5th December #OnThisDay in 1786, the Grand Duchy of #Tuscany became the first state in the world to abolish torture and capital punishment.  A progressive leader, Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo was the one who made it happen, inspired by Cesare Beccaria’s 1764 essay “On crimes and punishments”. Well, yet another first for Tuscany! https://www.theflorentine.net/

And, finally, don’t forget I’m giving away free copies of my short story ‘The Man in Black’ to all readers who send me a photo of themselves, cat or dog holding one of my other books. Email me at june.finnigan@virgin.net. I can’t wait to hear from you!

Visit my website at http://www.junefinnigan.website for lots more information.

Have a safe week, Salute June x

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

So sorry, but am ‘snowed’ under with work at present so will have to send you a big newsy blog next weekend. At least I managed the tree and here is a picture to cheer you up until next time.

Salute June x

PS Buy my books for Christmas via http://www.junefinnigan.website

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