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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World

20181122_083438Just five days to December and it’s the time of year for colder damper weather, which in itself creates some of the most breathtaking scenery and camera shots here in our little bit of Chianti.  Early morning mists fill the valleys below us and as the sun peaks through we witness shafts of sunlight breaking out from the mist and spotlighting the thousands of cobwebs covering just about everything!

20181122_083752Then the sun rises a little more and shines on nearby properties, but the mist has not risen yet so we get these ghostly looking apparitions.  It’s important to stand still for a while and watch the vista changing as the mists start to gradually roll away.  Beautiful.  So then we drive to Fiano, our local village, for coffee at La Dispensa, which means going higher up still into brilliant sunshine.  The drive back will be views of fog filling the valleys over Certaldo and looking like a great white lake.

2018-11-21-10-09-13.jpgWe relax with our coffee and read the papers, greeting the locals as they come and go.  On rainy days they joke with us saying that we have brought Tempo Inglese (English Weather) with us!  But what is this?  In the paper I read that there has been a miracle in Pisa; The Leaning Tower has straightened up by as much as four centimetres over the last twenty years!  It seems that consolidation work carried out between 1993 and 2001 has resulted in this unexpected turn of events!  Well that’s good, but if it keeps going, will we end up with the Once Leaning Tower of Pisa?  All those tourists that travel long distances to have their foto taken looking like they are holding the building up with one hand, yes what of them?  I guess they will instead come to see the Miracle of the Tower that moved!

2018-11-22 09.23.36Anyway, another article in the paper caught my eye, and something close to my heart or should I say waistband, Pecorino Cheese.  I don’t just like cheese, I absolutely love it and it is the only thing stopping me from becoming vegan.  Pecorino is the most popular cheese in Italy for everyday use.  It ranges from very young and soft to a hard mature version, a bit like the texture of Parmesan but the taste is different.  I love it for the fact that it is not cow’s cheese, which I avoid.  When we first arrived in Italy, I had to find an alternative to English Cheddar, particularly for cooking.  Pecorino hit the button and more!  Can you buy Italian Pecorino in your country?

2018-11-19 08.19.48And, what about the Italian fashion scene for the run up to party time?  Well, firstly  chunky footwear is in, even with the most feminine smart couture!  NeroGiardini

2018-11-11 09.23.43I was always a stiletto fan until the knees started complaining, so if you are following the younger women in the British Royal Family, you can still wear them and that can be your excuse.  Otherwise, if like me you are crazy about everything Italian, perhaps not.

And, so to the big glittery C.  Yes, Christmas is everywhere already.  Festive markets in all the towns and cities.  Also, Opera and Theatre with a festive edge.  We will certainly go to some of these; I’ll report back when we do.  What are you doing this festive season?  Do let me know what you are up to!

Meanwhile, I am working on my ‘Buy real books for Christmas, you can’t unwrap an e-book’ campaign.  See my own books at June’s Site

Well, time to get back to the day job and don’t forget to buy your advent calendar.  I love them.

Salute June x

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

2018-09-08 09.26.33Firstly, we were really delighted to see the arrival of a community Drinking Water Fountain/dispenser in Fiano, our local village.  I am so very pleased because if this is happening in all the communities, then Italy is already making a massive leap towards reducing the plastic bottle problem.  Tap water in Italy has always been a little suspect, so the demand for bottled water has been enormous.  Now we can just refill our existing bottles with fresh still water absolutely free!  In the picture is Milko demonstrating how to use a plastic card, which you can purchase from his Cartalibreria next to the Fountain, should you want the chilled or fizzy variety.  The cost for these is only a few centesimi per litre.  Brilliant!  Foto J Finnigan.

Equally exciting is the arrival of the new red wines which many Italians like to drink young, not aged.  This year the grapes are very healthy and the harvest is expected to be an excellent one.  It is a time of celebration.

Rione "Le Fonti" Fiano's photo.Meanwhile, Fiano is gearing up for Il Calambur and the big annual dinner will be held in  Piazza Gasparri this evening.  This then marks the run-up to the Calambur contest itself,  which will be held in Certaldo on Sunday 16th September.  The contest involves the five teams of the Commune di Certaldo wearing medieval outfits, who compete to win the coveted banner.  Fiano’s team is all in red and is called Le Fonti.  The contest involves all kinds of races and intelligence tests.  It’s all sooo exciting!  Visit the website for lot’s of colourful pictures from last year.    Website

2018-09-08 08.54.39Meanwhile, I spotted this gorgeous jacket in La Repubblica as I was enjoying my coffee in La Dispensa this morning.  I know, I do go on a bit about fashion and particularly those modelled by happy models.  And, yes, Luisa Spagnoli has done it again with a jacket you could wear smart or with jeans & T-shirt.  OK, she is not cheap but in my view something like this is timeless and therefore a very good investment.  website

OK, enough all ready.  Next week I hope to have found my September Hunk of the Month and more Autumn Fashion colours for you to drool over.

2018-09-09 10.34.57Oh dear, I nearly forgot!  My man’s new Man Bag, which we purchased in Barbarino Val D’Elsa last Thursday, is really beautiful.  Hand-made (fatto a mano) and it fits his apple lap-top perfectly.  So he’ll be swanning around London posing in his hand-made shoes, bespoke suit and his new bag casually slung over his shoulder!  Don’t you just love him?  I do.

Well, must go and organise Sunday lunch.  My man wants to cook today, which means starting early and finishing late, as he has to weigh everything due to his lack of experience in the Kitchen.  He has just told me, the lack of experience is nothing to do with it, he just likes to be ‘properly organised.’  Does your partner cook? I resort to restuarants as often as possible……

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

PS.  Visit my official Author Site at My Site  and thank you for all your support for my short story publication!

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers Around the World

Firstly, I must apologise for not sending you the usual blog about our lovely bit of Chianti.  On the other hand, I make no apology for announcing the publication of my Short Thriller, The Man in Black.  The work into getting this new book up and running for you all to read has sapped my time this week, but It has been worth it!  Back to Tuscan news next week!

New Book Launch! 1st September 2018.
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‘The Man in Black’
Delighted to announce the publication of my short thriller The Man in Black, based in London’s Theatre Land.
As a gift to my loyal followers, the book can be downloaded absolutely free of charge between Saturday 1st September 2018 at midnight Pacific time, through to Wednesday 5th September at 11.59PM Pacific time.
(GMT is seven hours earlier.)
Pop the date in your diary then go to My website events page or visit any Amazon site around the world. Enjoy.
Salute June xx
PS I would love to have your thoughts on the story, so do leave your comments or drop me a line at june.finnigan@virgin.net!

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

2018-05-19 09.03.04I would be impossible to start the day and feel balanced, if one had not gone for morning coffee here in our little bit of Chianti.  Now I had reason to go to Certaldo yesterday (Saturday) so we made a beeline for Jam Caffe for our early morning fix.  And, what a beautiful day it was, glorious sunshine and cheerful chatty Italians.  Foto J Finnigan. The Chef at Jam Caffe is called Andrea, and is a brilliant cook and all round lovely guy.  They bake all their own pastries, so you can be assured of really fresh and delicious pastini.  I am so lucky to have persuaded Andrea to do a finger buffet for my Concert Party on the 22nd June. Rock on!

2018-05-13 11.21.40At the weekend, and assuming the weather is good, we do like to pop over to Montespertoli for aperitivi.  Foto J Finnigan. The town will shortly be hosting the annual Wine festival, which is really worth going to, however, I should warn you that historically it tends to rain a lot during the two weeks of festivities!  You can also book a Horse and Wagon excursion, which will take you on a wine tasting tour!  The dates are 26th may to 3rd June; enjoy.  For more info visit the town’s Website

2018-05-16 09.19.41And on the subject of wine, did you know that one hundred and sixty-two thousand tourists visit Italy every year and consume seventy-three thousand bottles of Vino Rosso (red wine)?  The bulk of these visitors are American, German and French.  Well, I wonder how they come up with those figures, but anyway, that’s a lot!  Then there’s also the Brits that are increasing in numbers each year, bless them!  Foto La Repubblica

2018-05-15 08.47.00Now on a completely different subject, although you may want a glass of the red stuff after you read this, Silvio Burlesconi is back!  I mean really back.  I heard a whisper that the courts have allowed Silvio to run for local government again!  Well, something dramatic needs to happen, we still have no government as such, as the two leaders of the largest majority holders cannot agree to work together!  Luigi Di Maio, leader of the 5* Movement has confirmed that he has no desire to become Prime Minister and quoted “I’m very satisfied, we brought to our government the program that is.” He said on Facebook, underlining  that the prime minister will be “a person who must be a friend of the people.”  Stop Press – I’ve just been told that a new Prime Minister has been selected – watch this space!  Could this be Silvio, I wonder?  But I also heard that he, Silvio, has to appear in court on 1st June on more corruption charges.  Hey ho, I doubt if that will deter him, such is the way of things in Italy!  Foto La Repubblica.

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The Madonna Lily and Poppies below our Terrace. Foto J Finnigan

On a much lighter note, and for those of you who are keen to hear about the countryside this time of year, wild poppies are everwhere.  We spotted a big field of the lovely things, but the road twisted and turned so quickly that we lost track of it and could not find it again to get a foto for you!  You have to experience these country tracks to understand what I am saying!  Also masses of Broom are painting the hedgerows yellow.  Anyway, I took this lovely foto below our garden for you to enjoy.

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The Rock Chick Band 2017 – Foto P. Finnigan

Well, it’s only four weeks to my 8th annual Rock Concert Garden Party!  So if you are hoping to come from afar, you had better get those flights and accommodations booked!  We have a great repertoire this year, covering George Harrison, Robert Plant, Pink Floyd, Patti Smith, The Pretenders, Dire Straights, and many more!  Good food and local wines will also flow!  If you do not already have an invite, email me at june.finnigan@virgin.net.  The date is Friday 22nd June; see you there!

Well, must now dash off to Montespertoli and then who knows, maybe lunch at C’era una Volta in Lucardo on the way back.

Have a great week and do drop me a line.  Oh, and don’t forget to visit my official author website at June’s Site

Salute june x

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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers around the World

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Daybreak in Chianti. Foto J Finnigan

Well, what can I say other than “Yet another beautiful day in Tuscany!” and this is despite the recent grey clouds, mist and cold.  You see, here in our little bit of Chianti, there are always reasons to be cheerful!

2018-01-20 08.29.58Meanwhile, last week was a celebration of Men’s Fashion in Italy and this week we are celebrating Kid’s Fashion.  Now, Italian children are extremely fashion conscious and from a very early age.  The shops are full of funky clothes for kids; it’s not unusual to see a three-year old toddling around in a designer leather jacket and hi-tech trainers.  Italian boys are constantly checking their reflections in shop windows and adjusting their designer haircuts!  Sunglasses and top of the range cell-phones are essential accessories.  I have some mixed feelings about all this, but the kids are mostly happy and as long as they are not draining the pockets of their hard-working parents, why not.  What do you think?

2018-01-07 08.44.47Back in the world of politics, Italy’s general election will be on 4th March.  Yes, another one!  Don’t worry, I am not going to say much about this, but here is an article from La Repubblica Magazine showing The Cinque Stella movement currently in the lead, with The PD Party close behind.  Mind you I would not rule out a sudden percentage rise for Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia Party, currently in third place!

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And what’s going on in the world of music? I hear you ask.  Well, would you believe that an exhibition has been opened in Rome by the Mayor, dedicated to Pink Floyd! No, I’m not joking!  Two aging members of the band turned up and were greeted with great enthusiasm by hoards of Italian fans.  Yes, Italy loves Pink Floyd! Also making a few appearances in select cities is U2; not quite so aging but getting on a bit.  Bono also has a big following.  If you are an English or American Rock star, the Italians are likely to flock to your concerts.  I’m still working on my own Rock Star status, at least I’m nearly old enough to qualify.  foto La Nazione

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Meanwhile, back in our lovely converted monastery farmhouse, in the hills above Certaldo, I am forging on with the completion of a short story called ‘The Man in Black’,  which is inspired by my own man and will be published in the next few weeks.  It is a mystery thriller based in London’s theatre land.  I am also well into the fourth book of the series ‘The Continuing adventures of Joanna Wilde’ called ‘Assassin’s List‘, which will hopefully put the final headstones on the nasty Assassins still out there.  Visit my updated website, add yourself to my list of followers and be the first to hear my book news.  June’s site

2018-01-21 13.27.30Finally, something close to my heart, which is good Tuscan food and preferably cooked in a restaurant.  We have just returned from C’era Una Volta in Lucardo, having enjoyed a lovely big bowl of Paolo’s Leek and Potato soup, which really warmed me up, followed by pasta with Pesto di cavolo nero.  Absolutely yummy.  But enough of that.  Foto J.Finnigan.  Visit C’era una Volta

Do drop me a line, I love to hear from you.

Have a great week.

Salute June.

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The Trilogy – The Continuing Adventures of Joanna Wilde.

 

 

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

Now, if you read my blog on a regular basis you will know that it is very rare for me to grumble.  However, I hope you will allow me one gripe having almost got past the final Christmas, New Year and Befana celebrations here in our little bit of Chianti.  As you know the Italians love festas.  That is the excuse to take time off for a day or more and celebrate with family, friends, good food and wine.  Nothing wrong with that, I hear you say.  Last Sunday was the final celebration called Befana, when the good witch pays a visit to all the Italian children to check if they have been good or not, and then award them with presents or a lump of coal.

2017-12-31 09.35.11The next day I thought, hurrah, we can get back to normal, ditch or plant the Christmas trees that many of us are allergic to, the shops will all be open and the post office will be functioning.  How, after nearly fourteen years living in this beautiful bit of the world, could I forget that Befana also heralds the start of a week’s holiday for thousands of Italians, when many shoot off to ski destinations!  Last Monday I found a note in my post box, telling me that a long overdue Christmas parcel was waiting for me at Certaldo Post Office.  So I waited in the usual queue and arrived at the counter feeling pretty relaxed.  “Sorry Signora” the male counter assistant said, in Italian of course, “The sorting office is still on holiday, you will have to come back tomorrow!”  Take note, the date was 8th January…..  I took a deep breath and walked back out into a hail storm and did not have a brolly with me!  OK, grumble over, I went back the next day and got my parcel.  Foto La Repubblica

2018-01-15 08.55.09And on the subject of skiing, you would love the Dolomites in Northern Italy this time of year.  Very crowded mind, although from next week onwards most of the Italian tourists may have finally returned to work.  Meanwhile, a little further north in Austria, our brilliant female ski team have just won the World Championship and good for them I say!  Are you a keen skier?  I have always wanted to ski, but never got round to it.  Too many other priorities I guess.  My man skied in Norway with the military; when you next see him, ask him about his experiences, he loves to talk about his wooden skis!

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Meanwhile, back in our local village of Fiano, we continue to enjoy morning coffee and despite the owners, Fabio and Sandra, being on holiday, their lovely daughter Rossella (on the right) was running things at La Dispensa.  She and I always speak in English and at normal speed so that she can even further improve her very good command of the language.  Relaxing over coffee and the newspapers here, always starts my day off brilliantly. Foto J Finnigan.

Well, must get my head around completing my column for Expat Focus and complete a short story called ‘The Man in Black,’ which I started a few years ago.  My man has, over the last few weeks, inspired me to go back and finish it.  So watch this space for news of its publication.  Or, if you have not yet registered for updates on my website, go to June’s Official Website

Do drop me a line, I love to hear from you.

Salute June x

PS My fourth novel ‘Assassin’s List’ is also progressing well!

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Father XmasCongratulations to our lovely winner, Molly in Florida, for correctly answering the question ‘What was the real full name of the Italian Assassin Sapphire, in my second novel The Bolivian Connection?’  Yes, the answer was Francesca Maria Bencini.  Molly was the first name out of my man’s Father Christmas hat and my trilogy will be on its way to her tomorrow!  Well done too to the three runner ups who all receive a book of their choice.

May I take this opportunity to encourage all you readers to buy books as presents for Christmas, so that we can enjoy the peace and quiet this will bring, as we toast our toes in front of the fire, sipping a warm mulled wine, engrossed in some fascinating story!

Happy present buying and speak to you next weekend.

Visit my official author site at June’s website

Salute June x

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