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

I can’t help it, I love Christmas and this week’s blog is all about the festive season.

80829576_10158062617268083_4358564233961537536_oIn our local village of Fiano a few days ago, my man and I left La Dispensa after morning coffee and was shocked to find a car parked with all four wheels on the road.  The road has a white line along it, which is generally acknowledged as a ‘loading line’.  To avoid parking on the line the Locals park half on the pavement thus avoiding having their wheels touching the line.  The pathways are so damaged that it is accepted that pedestrians walk on the road, which is smoother anyway. I said to my man “Look at this, a car parked on the road which means I will have to walk around it!”  Without batting an eyelid my man replied “Must be a foreigner!”  I was heading for our lovely village ceramic shop to admire the Christmas window, you must come and visit it!  I just love festive window displays79644037_10158062618658083_6113954265900777472_o

Back in La Dispensa, I had been reading the papers and looking for some interesting Rock Concerts.  Then I noticed a poster for a local concert in Marcialla on 21 December in that lovely little theatre called Teatro Comunale Regina margherita, yes, the one with the lovely soft red velvet seats!  Now it’s not all rock, but it looks like a great band with a whole range of instruments.  It’s headed up by the very popular Fabrizio De Andrè You tube who has a lovely way with the acoustic guitar.  Perhaps we should all go?  Book tickets Here or telephone 055 807 4348.

79443472_10158062619528083_4770250404199923712_oNow I can’t remember Fiano having it’s own Christmas Tree before.  There is a magnificent one down in our local town of Certaldo next to the Festive Ice rink, which you may also like to visit.  But in Fiano?  Well here is a photo, unfortunately the main piazza is also a carpark, so I could not avoid getting a few cars in the picture too.  But it certainly brightens things up!

80452156_10158062620413083_4149055072132661248_oNow here in Tuscany the conversation is rarely without the mention of mangare, eating.  My man and I popped into Ristorante C’era Una Volta in Lucardo yesterday as he wanted some more pasta with tartufo Bianco (white truffles) before the season ended.  I fancied the risotto and Paolo’s recipe is beyond delicous.  Zucca Giallo, Salvio e Ricotta Affumicato, which translates as Pumpkin, Sage and Smoked Ricotta Cheese.  Heres a foto to make your mouth water.  Mmmm, it’s only 10.45 in the morning but I could eat some more right now!

79098403_10158062622593083_4600733954901803008_oWhat did I hear you say, did I promise you four December Hunks?  Well, here they are, four beautiful Italian guys all dressed up and ready to go to your Christmas party or posh do.  Which one is yours?  I’ll get up and dance with any of them, it is nearly Christmas after all.  Which reminds me, I must get some mistletoe this week.

Now don’t forget, if you have bought all three of my books below, you are entitled to a free signed short story book called The Man in Black.  Just send me a copy receipt or a foto of your books.  It’s my treat for Christmas and to thank you for buying my books.  I love my readers.  Email me at june.finnigan@virgin.net.

Just in case next weekend proves difficult to get a blog done, may I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and exciting New Year.  Do get in touch.

Salute June x

PS Books are not just for Christmas, they are lifetime companions.  My site

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Benvenuti and Welcome to all our Lovely Friends and Followers around the World,

My man and I are currently humbugging as we have failed to shake off a really niggling virus and cough.  So we are both exhausted, can’t light the fire as the smoke will irritate and our brains refuse to function!  And, I am forced to curl up on the sofa and eat chocolate!

Xmas TreeSo creative writing is out I’m afraid, and I can only send you my/our Warmest & Fond Greetings for the Festive Season.

Here is a pretty picture to Keep you going.

See you in the New year!  Enjoy!

Salute June x

My site

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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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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Loyal and New Followers

So much to tell you and so little time, but here goes!

Our littel tree nestling between bookshelves in our big kitchen!

Our little tree nestling between bookshelves in our big kitchen!  Foto J Finnigan

Gosh, it’s been a hectic few weeks; I’ve been to England twice to sort out a family bereavement and thank you for your best wishes.  All is fine now.  Being away makes me realise just how much I love my home in our little bit of Chianti; the countryside, the people and the lifestyle in general.  What with all the build up to Christmas, it’s great to be decorating the tree, planning our days, just like we always have.  We celebrate exactly the same way here as we did in England all those years ago.  How about you?

Parade of Reindeer in Wells Somerset England. Foto J Finnigan

Parade of Reindeer in Wells Somerset England.
Foto J Finnigan

Whilst I was in England, I did manage to see the parade of Reindeer, which happens every year in Wells, Somerset.  Then I joined some lovely friends for lunch.  So I did have some nice moments.  I can’t say I’ve ever seen reindeer in Tuscany.

Here in this part of Chianti, the traditional tree is very popular as is Father Christmas, Babbo Natale.  Signore Rotund, himself the perfect size for the role, collared me this morning for two boxes of chocolates in aid of the local Hospital Transport Service; I’m happy to contribute as always.  Of course, the Italians have a natural flair for festas and there are loads of parties, concerts and theatre going on.  New years Eve will be celebrated in our local village Fiano with a big feast in the former cinema, everyone who is anyone will be there.

The Tree of Names outside La Dispensa in Fiano. Foto J Finnigan

The Tree of Names outside La Dispensa in Fiano. Foto J Finnigan

La Dispensa, our busy coffee bar/ alimentare is looking very festive and we customers have been asked to hang little personal greetings on the big tree branch outside the door.  It is now looking very colourful with all the labels sporting people’s names and their messages.

My perfect Christmas wish list! La Repubblica magazine.

My perfect Christmas wish list! La Repubblica magazine.

Of course, a lot else has happened during my absence, which I have not been able to tell you about.  The Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigning for one, after the NO vote, but you will have seen that in the news I guess.  Local gossip says that the former Mayor of Florence was pretty fed up with the political arena and is looking forward to a Buona Festa with his family.  I wonder if we’ll see the resurgence of our eighty-year-old former PM, Silvio Berlusconi in the New Year?  Watch this space.

Christmas hunk of the month and girlie. La Repubblica.

Christmas hunk of the month and girlie. La Repubblica.

Anyway, just to make you girlies smile, I spotted this Dolce Gabbana advert (below) with your Christmas Hunk already partly unwrapped.  There’s a girlie for you guys in the picture too, I try not to be biased!  I wouldn’t mind a bottle of that lovely perfume too!  My own personal Christmas hunk is back from his final business trip of the year, so I must get some mistletoe in the morning!

Finally, thank you to all those who downloaded ‘My Father, The Assassin’ during the freebie five-day period, I hope you enjoy the read over the festive period.  The third book in the trilogy, ‘The Italian Connection’ will be published early in 2017, I’ll let you know as soon as it goes live!

Ok, need to start wrapping presents and get them under the tree.  But might have a glass of vino first…..

So, may I wish you all a fantastic Christmas and lots of love and kisses under the mistletoe.  I’ll be back in the New Year.

Buona Festa June x

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

My current Books. Foto J Finnigan

My current Books.
Foto J Finnigan

 

 

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Happy New Month to all my friends around the world

So sorry, but will not be blogging for a couple of weeks as am in England sorting out a family bereavement.  Hoping you are all enjoying life as I will be, as soon as I’m back in my little bit of Tuscany.

Oh, just to say, have finished my third novel ‘The Italian Connection’ and it is currently being edited, so watch this space and make sure you read the other two first!  They are also ideal for Christmas!!!!

Salute June xx

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

My current Books. Foto J Finnigan

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers

Rugby victory for Italy! La Nazione

Rugby victory for Italy!
La Nazione

Yesterday evening my man was jubilant!  Many of you know that we are a great Rugby family.  Most of our men have played rugby and our grandson has followed suit.  Why was my man so happy, well Italy had just beaten South Africa, a very strong team, 20-18.  So, Italy goes from strength to strength and considering Rugby is not the country’s first sport, which is football (Calcio), this is very pleasing indeed.  The new coach, Conor O’Shea, seems to be making a big difference and confidence is high.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil senza (without) palm oil. La Reppublica

Extra Virgin Olive Oil senza (without) palm oil.
La Reppublica

Anyway, what about things closer to home in our little bit of Tuscany?  The subject of pure Extra Virgin Olive Oil is on everyone’s lips in the caffè bar.  Are you aware that this beautiful nectar is being sold around the world, some claiming that it is pure when in fact it is ‘watered down’ by palm oil!  Now, this should be shown on the label, so read the very small print and make sure you get the real stuff.  You can always come to Tuscany and buy fresh from the producers if you fancy a little break!

Carlo and son Simone behind a pile of lovely panettone at Bar/pasticeria Fiorentino. La nazione.

Carlo and son Simone behind a pile of lovely panettone at Bar/pasticeria Fiorentino in Montespertoli. La Nazione.

Meanwhile, and in the run-up to Christmas, our part of Tuscany has been running a Panettone making contest, and we were really pleased to read in the paper yesterday that our good friends at Bar Fiorentino in Montespertoli have won the accolade!  This ‘Derby Del Gusto’ is a popular event each year and my man always takes two of the fig and walnut versions to England for friends and associates.

Grilled Porcini caps at Montalbino. Foto J Finnigan

Grilled Porcini caps at Montalbino. Foto J Finnigan

Ah, then there’s the subject of Porcini mushrooms.  Still available in the shops, markets and restaurants the big grilled caps are to die for.  My man and I went out to Trattoria Montalbino for lunch on Thursday.  This tiny family-run place is in the middle of nowhere but not far from Fiano.  They specialise in fungi and the husband goes hunting for fresh porcini and truffles.  When the season is ended they still manage to do some wonderful dishes with the dried varieties.  Visit Trattoria Montalbino, Montespertoli on Trip Advisor.  Table bookings – 0039 339 3695 121

Simple Minds in Tuscany. La Repubblica.

Simple Minds in Tuscany. La Repubblica.

And, not to forget for all you rockers like me, touring bands this week have included Simple Minds and Aerosmith.  Oh, and for all the teeny boppers we are also currently hosting Justin Bieber.  I just popped off to check out Simple Minds on YouTube and there’s some great stuff there.  You may remember their number one hit ‘Don’t you (forget about me)’ in 1985.  The Scottish band was heavily influenced by Roxy Music.  Now Brian Ferry I can watch him perform anytime!  Aerosmith?  Well they are just brilliant in my mind, but tickets seem to be sold out the minute we hear about these bands; hey ho.

OK, time to go, cooking lunch at home today (Sunday) as two-thirds of the local restaurants are closed for winter holidays.

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

Salute June x

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

My current Books. Foto J Finnigan

My current Books.
Foto J Finnigan

 

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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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