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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 Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

wine-windowI am firstly going to take you to Florence as there are two things I want to tell you about.  Firstly, have you heard of the Wine Windows?  These medieval windows, of which there are more than 150, have re-opened to serve wine to the tourists!  This is most appropriate, because back in the late Middle-Ages these windows were created to serve wine to the people of Florence due to the Buconic plague or Black Death, that had swept across Europe, wiping out half of the population!  So these windows provided protection for the winery owners whilst at the same time serving the much needed ‘Italian Water’ to the populace.  There is actually a society that keeps all the windows registered and looked after.  At the following site you can find all the windows and where they are.  Fascinating stuff!  Wine Windows

Give by Loenzo QuinnSecondly, I was really taken with the installation of a beautiful sculpture in the famous Boboli Gardens in Florence.  It is called simply ‘Give’ and is the creation of  Lorenzo Quinnard.  Lorenzo had always wanted to have the honour of placing a sculpture in these gardens and he will tell you a lot more about this on his website.  I love the fact that an olive tree has been planted in the centre symbolising peace and love.  He also made the hands that appeared to be reaching up from the canal in Venice, holding up a building!  Lorenzo Quinn

band-relaxedMeanwhile, back in our little bit of the Chianti countryside, I was itching to get down to my sound studio to do a bit of singing.  You may recall that my man and I had tried to work out the technical side of things, linking the synthesiser to speakers and mics etc.  Well, the good news is, we seem to have it up and running.  To make things perfect I need to download backing tracks in the correct key for my voice.  Now, you may not be aware that each song will need a different key.  My voice is quite low and some songs, designed for men, are OK.  But most aren’t.  So I was delighted to get an email from ParisMusic this morning telling me they can adjust the keys on downloads without any problems!  Hurrah!   We have decided to go ahead with next year’s concert on 18 June 2021, with or without an audience.  Fingers crossed; I’ll keep you posted!

images.jpgAnyway, lets bring you down to earth and talk about wasps!  Here in Tuscany, this time of year is the busy building of wasp nests (Macro of wasp) and they can be a real problem, trying to set up home in the most inappropriate places!  My man found a nest attached to the outside of the kitchen door of the appartment downstairs, where we have the Sound Studio and Gymnasium.  So last night around 9pm he donned protective clothes and went down to spray it.  Now we hate doing this, but we have both been attacked in the past as they keep a sentry outside just waiting for anyone getting close!  I was relieved when my man returned unscathed and this morning confirmed it had worked.

download-1.jpgSo, what next?  Well, we are now overun with tourists, mostly from northern Europe: Poland, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Austria and some French.  Most are being strict with their face masks and distancing in our local village of Fiano, but I can’t speak for the more popular tourist hot spots.  Meanwhile, the locals are very busy using up the glut of tomatoes to make passatta, including my daughter who has run out of jars and is scrabbling around for more.  The countryside is pretty noisy, with constant strimming of the dried grasses and squeaky tractors cutting the meadow hay below our farmhouse.  We hear laughter from nearby swimming pools and the cicada’s continue to chirp away.  But it is far too hot to stay outside, between 35c and 39c this week.  So we batten down the shutters, turn on the air conditioning unit and fans and settle down to work in our studios.  But life eeez good, life eeez now.

OK, need to get back to the day job now, but will be thinking of you all.  Please stay safe and well!  Do drop me a line, I love to hear from my readers!

Salute June x

PS Visit my website at June’s Site

 

 

 

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

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Archive picture – Packed like beached sardines on the Tuscan coast. La Repubblica.

Phew!  there’s no other word to describe it.  I’m talking about the weather here in Tuscany, of course.  August is traditionally a hot month and this year is no exception; many Italians have still rushed off to the seaside and up into the mountains to try and find a cool breeze, despite the restrictions.  But many haven’t.  I was talking to a very bronzed Italian friend in the village last week and he had no intention of taking his family to the beach, his tan was achieved working in his orto, vegetable garden.  There is considerable concern over the way people have been letting their guard down and what with the crazy tourists, its all a little scary.

download.jpgSo is Italy safe?  I hear you ask.  Yes, it is safe, perhaps less so in the north, just as long as you continue to take those all important precautions:  masks, hand cleansing and distancing.  Follow the rules!  My daughter was in her local town here in Tuscany, trying to go to the farmacia (chemist) and there was a crowd of tourists milling around with no masks and no distancing!  She had to shout to be heard when she asked them to give her room to get through!  It was so bad that the polizia (police) had to get out a loud hailer and ask them to put on their masks and to spread out!  Some people are just ignorant and others, quite frankly, stupid.  So it is down to you to remain safe and avoid busy tourist spots if you can!  Tuscany is so full of beautiful culture and countryside, it is not difficult to find many quiet and less touristy places to go.  The tourist industry is slowly recovering, but you will still find many lovely self-catering properties, like nearby Villa Il Pozzo with vacancies.  Villa il Pozzo

Peachy BreakfastAnyway, enough of that.  As I write this blog I am enjoying a delicious breakfast bowl of fresh fruit and some scoops of Mozzarella di Buffala.  The peaches are currently to die for, I love this time of year for the fruit and also new potatoes.  I have to admit that my man and I do eat out a lot at lunchtime.  I find the heat too exhausting to cook.  We have an air conditioning unit, but we still need fans as well.  So we remain grateful to Paolo at Ristorante C’era una Volta in Lucardo for his coolish dining room.

535346_251400000000_01_base_4Well, yesterday, just as the heat was getting to me in my studio, a Luisa Spagnoli email dropped into my inbox announcing a 50% sale!  Now, buying directly from an Italian designer, and Luisa Spagnoli is one of my favourites, can be expensive depending on your purse strings of course.  So a 50% sale is always something I can’t resist at least scrolling through.  Her models are mostly smiley or looking reasonable happy, so that helps too.  But, they are very tall!  I am your typical English wilting rose, five foot three and short waisted, so I have to be very selective in what I buy.  Midi length on me is ankle length, jackets and tops can come down to my knees, which is not the look one really wants to achieve.  I have recently managed to buy three frocks on-line from Next and M&S that actually fit and drop to a midi length, which I like.  But take a look at Luisa’s sale, if you love beautiful fashion, you will love her sale!  Luisa Spagnoli

cover-issue-2Back on the subject of food, there is nothing nicer than a big family lunch.  It also helps when you have a daughter and granddaughter who love to cook and they arrive at your house with a two course meal ready to serve!  All I had to do was lay the table beforehand.  This family get together was an extension of my daughter Sharon’s birthday as we did not get to see her on the day.  Sharon is the joint editor of EnvyItaly an upmarket luxury travel magazine, which can be downloaded on-line or bought in hard copy form.  I absolutely love this publication and if you have not aleady got a subscription, do take a look! EnvyItaly

OK, time to get this blog honed and off to you.  I will be cooking a light lunch as I just cannot face going out into the stifling heat today.  I am also supposed to start an alcohol free month as of now……

Have a great week and do drop me a line, I love to hear from my readers.  Also, do visit my website at My site

Salute June x

 

 

 

 

 

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

My feet.jpgYes, it’s yet another Beautiful Day in Tuscany and I’m feeling very chipper. Last thursday I finally returned to my lovely estetista Irene in Certaldo, for a manicure and pedicure. Now in normal times this would not be something to post that was really newsworthy, but when I look at my feet now, it’s like a gift from heaven! For me beautiful hands, feet and hair are so very important. What with my being famous in Fiano, I have to look my best! It’s also to do with that ‘feel good’ factor, which is so important in all our lives. What do you think? Things remain strict here in Italy, you know, masks, hand gels and distancing wherever you go, but this gives me much more confidence about going to these places.

0-1Now whilst this is not strickly about Tuscany, you will probably know that Italians love music and in particular Rock Music. I live in the music world here and many friends are mourning the passing of Peter Green at the young age of seventy-four. He was considered to be one of the UK’s greatest guitarists and was a co-founder of Fleetwood Mac.

0.jpegOn a happier note the world is celebrating the 77th birthday of Mick Jagger, hugely popular with Italians and who always includes Florence or Lucca on the Rolling Stone’s European tours.  More are planned for 2021; Rock On that man! The brilliant drawings included for both these guys were done by UK artist Gary Wing, whom I follow on Linked-in. I also own an original of his, not a musician, but my lovely cat Farty Barty who went up to the cat concert in the sky three years ago. Bless him.

downloadMeanwhile, back here in this beautiful part of Tuscany, we are not far from Toscana Resort Castelfalfi, a favourtite haunt of our son-in-law who is a keen golfer.  They have opened their new Country Club House and restuarants that look very inviting.  I am reliably informed that for people staying there, there are a few things not quite ready yet like the swimming pool and spa centre.  However, the re-opening will be welcomed by those who enjoy  luxurious facilities and a 27 hole golf course in the most breathtaking Tuscan setting.  Website

My man surveys his landAnd, what else?  Oh yes, on the subject of travelling, I hope you have a passport, because I don’t!  If I have to be marooned anywhere, it would be here in Tuscany of course.  This is fortunate because, having applied for a new passport last April and being told it was on the way at the end of that month, it never arrived!  You may already know that due to the Covid thing, there is a backlog of thousands of UK passports.  I only found out a couple of weeks that the secure delivery service given the task of bringing UK passports to Euopean residents, returned a whole batch of passports to London!  Meanwhile, Easyjet, in their effort to reward frequent flyers, like my man, made him a member of their exclusive Flight Club.  Unfortunately, they stupidly registered me as the member and not him.  So when I rang to change a flight free of charge, which is one of the benefits, they said no, we would have to pay £60!  So here we are, me with no passport and my man without a decent airline.  But we don’t care about that, life eeez good, life eeez now!  Here is a picture of my man gazing at the Tuscan countryside and dreaming of returning to the UK, I don’t think!

Well, enough of that.  Time to get this blog off to you and get back to the day job.  Do drop me a line, I love to hear from my readers, or visit my website at My site

Have a great week.

Salute June x

 

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under the oak treeWelcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

Well, despite the need for facemasks and social distancing, we are thoroughly enjoying our early morning walks in the Tuscan countryside.  We have had some heavy rain but mostly sunshine, so the trees and plants are looking lush and green.  The farm labourers start work at around six in the morning now, as it’s a very busy time of year, strimming and clearing out the hedges and gullies.  So by the time we are out they have been working for two hours and are stopping for their coffees and pastries!

QuercetoWe have developed a liking for Il Bar Querceto, which is an easy walk for us.  They serve up the most delicious LavAzza Espresso and you get free biscuits too!  You can sit inside, but it is tiny, so for social distancing it is a maximum of four people.  The bar is rather beautiful with an inglenook fireplace and wall murals.  Over the fireplace is a painting of Oak Leaves from where the name of the bar is derived, The Oak Tree is called Il Querceto in Italian.  And, where is this bar?  Ah, now that’s our secret, can’t have the place filling up with tourists, now can we?  We still pop up to Fiano once or twice a week for coffee but things have yet to return to the easygoing breakfast visits we made every day before lock down.  However, there is a lovely new assistant called Ullie, who works from Monday to Friday.  She is Austrian and is trying to learn Italian; so we speak in English…..

Mozzie curtainsThis last week we made the decision to go to Brico and buy fixed framed mozzie curtains; Tende per Zanzare.  We bought three and allowed half an hour for each one as they have to be assembled and cut to size if necessary.  Three hours later we had managed to put together one in the kitchen, it was worse that putting together IKEA furniture and the instructions were severly lacking!  We worked out the hard way about measuring the opening!  What the instructions did not say was to reduce your upright measurement to cater for the plastic foot on the uprights and curtain roll container at the top!  Fortunately everything can be cut to size, but what a headache.  We have two more windows to do, but we’ll leave them till next weekend!  Phew……

TomatoesWell enough of that.  We have been enjoying lunch at least twice a week at Paolo’s, that’s Ristorante C’era una Volta for the uninitiated, and coming away with loads of Zucchini as his vegetable garden is overloaded this year.  Our daughter says her sweetcorn are five foot high and she doesn’t know what to do with the huge quantity of tomatoes!  There is a limit to the number of bottles of passatta she can fill!  So it’s a good year for the Tuscan ortos (vegetable gardens) and the fruit and veg markets too.  So, no need to grow my own, I just love it!

Well, I have a busy week ahead, what with the pedicure, manicure and hair colouring.  It’s so good to have everything opened again.  My poor feet are desperate for attention!  I must also try to relax after waiting on the phone to Easyjet for half an hour, trying to sort out the fact that they had given my man a frequent flyer ‘Flight Club Membership’ which means free flight changes, only to find that they had registered it for me and not him, even though he is the registered frequent flyer and has a Plus Membership number, so they would not make his changes free of charge!  So it’s bye bye to Easyjet, they have now completely blotted their copy book!

Well enough of that, must get this blog off to you and get back to work!  Do drop me a line, I love to hear from my readers.  june.finnigan@virgin.net or visit my website at My site

Salute June x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World

Zanzare huskSo sorry, but unforeseen circumstances prevented me from blogging last weekend.  But you’re not forgotten and here is a beautiful picture of the discarded husk of the reborn Cicada!  We found lots on our garden bench this last week.  Enjoy and I’ll be back this coming weekend.

Stay Safe, wear that mask.

Salute June x

Contact me at june.finnigan@virgin.net or visit my website at My Site

 

 

 

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World

green view grey sky april 2020“And, yet Another Beautiful Day in Tuscany” I said to my man, as we set out on our walk around the edge of the garden.  I actually say this every day and it’s true, no matter what the weather, there is a beauty in these hills that can’t be hidden by storm clouds or even foggy mornings.

grasses on slopeThis morning, Sunday, I couldn’t help but notice the change in the long grasses covering the slope below our house.  It wasn’t long ago that it was covered in wild flowers, now the grasses have taken over, yet they are beautiful in their own right.  Soon, they will be strimmed away by our landlord, but meanwhile we will enjoy them.  Everything is so lush and green.

Under the oak tree    8am and it was warm enough to sit down under the European Oak, which is now our shady spot for the summer.  It’s amazing how beautiful the underside of a tree can be!  Yes, I know, we have been on lock-down for two months, but this has only helped us to become even more aware of nature’s beauty.  Already the garden was teeming with bees and birds; the Acacia Trees were buzzing and the Bee Eaters were sitting at the top having their breakfast!  What a fabulous display.  How is it that the Bee Eaters don’t get stung?  That’s another Google search for later today.

may-dayMeanwhile, Italy has passed another celebration day without the usual celebrations!  May 1st celebrates the successful completion of all the preparation in the fields for an abundance of fruit and olives in the Autumn and, the start of Summer.  At least the fields and ortos (vegetable gardens) have been busy over the lockdown period; food and wine production in Italy cannot stop for a virus.  Officially called La Festa dei Lavori (workers’ Day) it is also a public holiday.  This time last year, beaches, parks and public gardens would be packed with Italians and their picnics, this year rather more quietly spent at home in the garden or on a balcony.  How did you spend your day?

640x427x20180925_toscana_AR5_0674.jpg.pagespeed.ic.kgvtuMSfN4And so, tomorrow 4th May heralds the beginning of the easing of lockdown here in Italy.  This will be a nervous time for many, including me, hoping that people continue to be vigilant, as nothing has changed other than reaching a point in time when some things needed reopening.  We can visit with our family this week!  Now that’s great news, but we are still supposed to wear our masks (a legal requirement) and keep to a safe distance…..  We must still carry forms that are filled out saying why we are travelling and the reasons remain limited.  Essential shopping, doctor, hospital and visiting parents.  You can now go for long walks or runs but starting from your front door, no driving to beauty spots or parks for your exercise.    More shops will be open, but this will not change the way we are doing things, I am happy with our local grocery store and farmacia (chemist).  It will be June before we will see any resemblance to normality; restaurants, hairdressers and salons, my three longed for destinations!  But we are amongst the lucky ones, despite my long greying locks and need for a pedicure.  Thank you once again to Tuscany and our local Italians for keeping me sane and to my man for his wonderful sense of humour. Foto Alice Russell for Toscana Promotion Turistica.

OK, I need some inspiration for Sunday lunch.  Ah, yes, I bought some fresh asparagus yesterday, add cheese and roast potatoes and Bob’s your Uncle!  But first a nice chilled glass of Italian Chardonnay in the garden, that’ll postpone the need to cook……

Have a great week wherever you are in the world and stay safe.  Everything will be alright!

Salute June x

Visit my book site at My site

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

Needless to say, I hope you are all doing well, we are OK here and actually enjoying life.

Books unreadHowever, both my man and I, who are normally avid readers, have not been able to concentrate on a book for weeks!  Given so much quiet time, this is something I’m finding difficult to grasp.  I have also been trying to get back into my fourth novel, as my heroine Joanna Wilde, is currently left suspended in Havana, waiting on my instructions!

download-4-1.jpgSo yesterday I re-visited a short story, which I started writing some years ago.  It’s supposed to be a thriller where the people and animals in a nearby Italian town, disappear completely without trace and the panic this creates for outsiders.  So I get into chapter two and I start seeing lizards everywhere and in particular a green and yellow one, which starts speaking to my main character, turning the whole thing into a comedy!  Well, this will not do.  My man hates the idea so I have ditched that project for the time being too!  Lizard foto euroland.com

SHOT16_997-1-150x150.jpgNow, one exciting thing happened a couple of days ago; my James Lakeland clothes order arrived, hurrah.  Well, everything fitted, despite the extra weight around my middle!  So, I have my new charcoal grey outfit for the concert in June.  Now we have to wait to see if the concert can still take place…….  I’ll let you know one way or another in May.  Now I am waiting for the arrival of my new passport, but that’s another story.

Redstart fledglingBack in our lovely garden my man found a little Redstart fledgling, which had obviously had an aborted first flight.  It was standing exactly on the spot where we like to sit with our aperitifvo, so being all heart we stayed in to give the parents a chance to feed it and encourage it to fly again.  We have had a great number of Redstarts this year, oh and the first cuckoo is now here in one of our trees.  We’ve not spotted it yet, but then they are difficult to see.  The fledgling had gone in the morning, thank heavens.

93771534_687478362006920_6486612021075771392_nOne sad thing to tell you, our big and normally beautiful Ash Tree is in trouble.  Only a quarter of the tree is in leaf, the rest looks dry and quite frankly dead.  It really needs an experienced tree surgeon to sort it out, but not during lockdown.  My man has had to move our park bench under the European Oak to get the shade needed for viewing the outside world.  If you know anything about Ash Trees, do let me know.  But hurrah, our English climbing Rose is in full bloom and there are masses of buds too!  And, the perfume is to die for, so that’s good news.

Anyway, last night we enjoyed a two hour drinks party on Skype with our good English Friends who live in Surrey, UK.  There was no shortage of crazy hats and weird glasses on display.  He knows who I am talking about.  I apologise for the terrible ‘Devon’ stories, that did not come over so well as they did last time I told them.  You know, ‘I wouldn’t start from here, if I were you”  and the ‘Wood Splitting Axe’.  Anyway, it was good to speak and have a laugh with you guys.  Stay safe.

Well, I think that’s it for now.  Time to think about aperitivi.  It’s still nice and warm in the garden, so let’s go for it.

Have a good week, everything will be OK soon.

Salute June xx

PS Have you read my books yet?  Now’s a good time!  go to my site

35973101_10156419065890917_7876909049508265984_nThe_Man_in_Black_Cover_for_KindleMy books.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World

Extract from my Easter Weekend blog 2019.  ‘Yes, it’s that time of year again, Easter Weekend and the Tourists have poured in from every part of the globe.  Cars and mini-buses are cruising past our Old Monastery Farmhouse with big-eyed faces staring out of the windows.  Then there are the walkers.  As we are surrounded by agriturismo places to stay, it’s normal to hear the sound of footsteps on the gravel track and wondrous voices in many different languages.  But, we don’t mind, as this weekend heralds the run up to summer and it’s a pleasure to see and hear visitors enjoying themselves.’  

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Easter Saturday 2020 – Who’d have thought that one year on, the above would be so strange to read, as we have been on lockdown now for a month and it’s amazing how one can get used to it.  We have set up a nice place to sit at the front of the house under a big brolly, as the sun is hot and I need to be in the shade looking out.  It has been so quiet that if a vehicle does roll past it’s usually agricultural, but it still has my man and I looking at each other with a frown on our faces.  My man usually says “Whose that on our track?”  Of course it’s not really ‘our track’ it just goes past our front gate.  It’s a gravel track, which is perfectly normal in this region, but is now kicking up dust due to the dry weather.  We also see the occasional blue light of the Carabiniere cruising past looking for Lockdown law breakers and believe me, they mean business!

20200412_111947Back to today.  We had a postal delivery this morning from the commune di Certaldo, which contained four face masks!  I must say I was impressed.  Earlier this morning I was in our local village of Fiano, waiting in a short queue of six for groceries and everyone was wearing a mask.  The queue swelled to about twenty before I went in and as is the way in Italy, a big circular queue was formed on both sides of the road, keeping a careful distance from each other but close enough for everyone to chat and greet friends.  We always know who will go in before us, it’s the same in the doctor’s surgery.  Rossella, my lovely friend who served me this morning, gave us an expensive bottle of Prosecco as a Easter (Pasqua) gift.  It’s wonderful to be looked after so well; my shopping is also carried to the car!  I wish I could hug her.  Breaking News – we have been informed that the lockdown will continue until 3rd May, not unexpected.

Catkins on oak April 2020Easter Sunday – Anyway, this will be the first Easter Sunday lunch without our daughter and family for some years.  But we have arranged a video call for midday.  My man and I went out for coffee again, or rather did a circuit of the garden and stopped off at our front door for coffee.  Everything is a rich green, despite the lack of rain and smells wonderful as my man did a lot of strimming yesterday.  The climbing red English rose is close to bursting it’s buds and the European Oak has revealed it’s catkins!  We heard the first cuckoo and think we saw the first swallow.  Apparently the swallows hit turbulent weather over Greece last week so we are keeping our fingers crossed.

Fiorentina Iris march 2020Lots of geraniums have survived the winter under covers, they look a bit straggly, but we cannot replace them until the lock-down ends.  Still, some are in flower already.  Oh, and the Florentine Irises are blooming, and the ancient Oak Tree, which guards our gate, is once more leafed up!  So nature carries on regardless; we are so lucky.

Oak tree April 2020I must say that I have been very impressed with the way technology has brought all the delights of Easter onto our computer and TV screens.  Church Services (if it is your thing) family get togethers and drinks with friends!  We tend to treat the Easter Weekend as a few days holiday, as we work with the UK system, our clients being mainly based there.  Here in Italy, most food shops will be closed today and tomorrow as normal.  But it is a very strange time…..

last-supper-photoMeanwhile, if you want to visit the original Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci you can do a virtual tour by visiting Leonardo

Well, must dash off.  The family are about to arrive on Skype and I must  put some lipstick on.  Oh, and set the scene for my man and I to do our bit on screen.

Easter Monday –  Did some tidying of the garden pots this morning and watched Andrea 052312219-cb6e68a2-5e17-4e2c-bd14-1b443df911e6Bocelli’s video on You Tube, recorded live in the empty Duomo in Milan.  If you want to feel the real emotion that exists here, watch it on  youtube

Meanwhile, back in our beautiful garden, which we have always appreciated, even more so now, an early morning arrival was a young fox.  Hard to tell if male or female, but very friendly and inquisitive.

FoxyFrom my dressing room window I saw it slinking toward the shrub where I think Phil the Pheasant’s hens are hiding out.  I threw a stone, which is a pretty one I collected from the garden some years ago; it bounced off the fence and rolled onto the lawn.  Instead of running off, the little fox rushed over and grabbed it in its mouth, then started playing with it like a puppy.  I said ‘Buon Giorno’ and it sat down and gazed up at me, obviously fascinated.  My man managed to get a foto, if a little out of focus, but you can see how young it was.  Beautiful.  So, we are not short of visitors!

So, today will be the last of the sunny weather as we are forecast rain.  But that’s OK because we need it.  Our landlord, lives half an hour away and due to the Lockdown has not been able to come and strim the outer reaches of the garden.  So my man is attempting to go that extra ‘mile’ and do some of this for him.  Yesterday, exhausted, he fell asleep in a deckchair with his cowboy hat over his face!  He woke up feeling dizzy from sleeping in the hot sun!  Bless him.

Well, we have no plans today, so I will cook us a nice lunch to make up for the cold offering from yesterday.  We actually had Caprese (buffalo mozzarella and sliced tomatoes accompanied by Fetunta (toast rubbed with garlic and drizzled with extra virgin)  Now we love this, but my man grumbled that it was Easter day and he had hoped for a nice veggie roast.  So I will cook that today!

Have a really good week and please stay home.  We are now on lockdown until 3 May, it will be alright.

Salute and stay safe, Amore June x

PS Have you read my books yet?  Now’s a good time!  my site

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

Did you miss me?  So sorry not to have sent you a blog last weekend, but I can only blame it on losing my creative writing hat and spending too much time drinking wine in the sunshine!  I also wanted to send you happy news and as I no longer have access to the coffee shop and the daily newspapers, I found myself getting rather brain-dead.

Phil the pheasant.jpgBut that’s all changed!  We have been inundated with visitors that don’t seem to understand how important it is to stay at home.  Firstly, Phil our resident Pheasant, has invited two hens to stay and was flaunting himself below our bedroom window this morning.  He’s obviously feeling very randy as he was fluffing his feathers up to give the impression that he is twice his normal size!  When he started jumping his startled hens, I had to look away, what an exhibitionist!

The lack of humans in the countryside has encouraged deer out into the open, I hope we might get sight of a herd of Cingale ( wild boar) too.  Below us is a field sown mainly to meadow hay and is proving very popular. Yesterday a lone deer made his way across the field and dissapeared into woodland, we both felt that this was unusual and hope he has not been chased out of a local herd.  The mind tends to over react at times!

download.jpgMeanwhile, the garden is full of visitors including the stunning and musical Hoopie.  The disturbed earth around our new compost heap seems very attractive to them.  Also a pair of Jays, numerous wood pidgeons flocks of redstarts and many other birds whose names escape me.

2020-04-04 18.25.06And, on the subject of Compost Heaps, we are very proud to have completed our very first version of one, yesterday morning.  This then created the need for a wine break before lunch.  It is rather shameful that we have only just created one after having spent most of our lives living in the countryside with good sized gardens.  My beautiful Earth Mother daughter has been growing veg and using compost heaps for years.  I am not the greatest of cooks and she asked me very seriously on WhatsApp ‘What are you eating Mum?”  “I can cook if I have to!”  I snorted.  “Oh, I thought you might have ordered a flow of ready made meal deliveries!”  She chuckled.  Cheeky monkey.

OK, back to our wine break and I know I have mentioned the dance of the Swallow Tail images.jpgButterflies before, but they were back and getting very close to where we were sitting.  Out of interest we had previously looked up their lifespan and were astonished to read that in butterfly form they only live for ten days!  As one almost alighted on my man’s chest he commented “So, they have only ten days to work out if they are male, female or transgender.”  He said very seriously.  “Mmm. I think that one is female” I grinned.  Foto it.123rf.com

Anyway, we are managing to enjoy working from home, beating the boundaries and checking for new rosebuds, before at least two home-made espresso coffees and breakfast, talking a lot of trivia and drinking good wine.  The forecast is for sunny days for at least the next week so that’s good news; we have even had to start watering pots that are now uncovered!

1180_LynnMargolisPhotography-318-520x400Well, I could waffle on but there is one thing I want to mention.  London based James Lakeland, who is the brother of an English friend, designs beautiful women’s clothes that are made in Italy.  Like many fashion shops, he is really struggling at the moment.  He has managed to pay his staff so far and has now reduced his prices so low, you have to get on-line and start buying!  I have placed an order, so that’s my next concert outfit sorted, god knows when it will arrive here in Italy (Italy’s postal system is unpredictable), but it is worth it to support at least one deserving fashion house.  James also delivers worldwide!  Foto from James Lakeland Blogsite.  James lakeland

So, enough for now.  I have promised my man a veggie roast lunch, which will take me a while to prepare.  Needless to say, can’t wait to return to our local restaurant, oh, and my hairdresser.  I have an inch of grey roots creeping over my scalp.   It’s unnerving.  A few days ago my man said “Whats that shining on top of your head, oh, it’s not silver paper it’s ………”  He has Peter Pan Genes, still dark blond and, due to the lack of hairdressers, is sporting a long 70’s hairstyle.

Hope you are all safe and well.

Salute June x

PS  Have you read my books yet?  Now’s a good time!  Visit my site at My site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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