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

2018-08-14 10.12.12Only in Italy will the front page of a national newspaper show the Prime Minister and other political big wigs splashing around in or by the sea!  You see, tomorrow is Ferragosta and If you are Italian you know exactly what that means.  You down tools, pack your extended family into a car, get into a crazy queue of traffic stretching for hundreds of miles, eat your way through hampers of food and wine on the journey and if you are lucky arrive at the coast or mountains by night fall!  If you are a foreign resident like us, you stock up with food and wine, batten down the hatches against the heat and stay at home.  Meanwhile, the unfortunate tourists arriving in Pisa this week, will find themselves in an endless queue trying to pick up a hire car, then another one trying to get on the FiPiLi dual carriageway, the caffes and pit stops are closed, because it’s the annual holiday and the petrol stations are only geared up for self-service cash only pumps!  When they finally arrive at their destination after endless stops in the overheated traffic queues, they find that local shops and restaurants are also closed!  So they all fall into the swimming pools, cool off and compete over who gets bitten the most by the zanzari (mosquitos) as no-one thought to pack any insect repellent.  By day three, the tourists will have discovered how best to deal with things.  The towns and villages are like ghost towns, so they eventually find which supermarkets are open, that hot pizzas are only sold in the evenings, the few available restaurants, only open in the evening as it is too hot to eat outside for lunch, and that cities like Florence are cauldrons this time of year and are best avoided.  Despite all these things they will leave after their week or two here, totally in love with Tuscany and wax lyrical to all their envious friends!  Foto La Nazione.

2018-08-14 10.17.02#1However, Ferragosta is also a week of fantastic music and theatre, if you know where to go, like Follonica over on the Tuscan coast.  For the Follonica Summer Festival go to their website

Locally, there will be firework displays and private parties to go to.  Art galleries and museums are mostly open, some with limited hours due to the skeleton staffing.  San Gimignano is a good place to go for these, if you can manage to park, or better to get a bus from Certaldo, Poggibonsi or Siena.  Expect big crowds though!  Foto La Nazione.

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On the subject of our local town, Certaldo, a recent addition to the curious things to see is a statue opposite Jam Caffe near the station.  Foto J Finnigan.  Whilst the mediterranean diet is supposed to be the healthiest in the world, this may remind you of the dangers of overindulging in pasta and pastries!  And on the subject of pasta, we met a lovely young English couple at Osteria La Gramola in Tavernelle websitewho were wading through a tasting menu of nine pasta dishes!  Now, this was their own fault as they had just finished a pasta making course that morning and had no choice but to try every one.  They only had a small taste of each dish, but they were definitely struggling with the last few servings!  If you are reading this; nice to meet you guys and we hope you organised a portavia!

2018-08-12 08.56.46#1Meanwhile, down in Roma the traditional pilgrimage to visit Pope Francis is at full throttle, this year seventy thousand fans filled the Vatican City on greet the masses days.  The heat has been horrendous, so I hope there was a good supply of chilled water and holy wine.  This man has a huge following, whether you are religious or not.  It is no doubt his likeable personality and charisma combined.

Back at the ranch, or rather our lovely former monastery farmhouse home, our daughter and grandchildren arrived for an overnight stay as their house had been invaded by hornets and the spray used to rid them was toxic to say the least.  “Come on over” we had said, “We have no hornets or wasps here!”  Then the next morning my daughter found a puppy racing around our garden, obviously stuck inside the fence and unable to find its way out again.  So my man opened the rarely used lower exit gate to let it out and promptly found a wasp’s nest inside it! The puppy raced back to its owners, parked just down the lane, whilst my man got himself stung three times!  Hey ho!  But we don’t care about that, life eeez good, life eeez now.  And now it’s raining praise the gods, so no need to water for a few days!

2018-08-14 10.25.36And finally, to say brava to Manuela who has been drafted in from her house next door to La Dispensa in Fiano, to man the bar for two weeks whilst Rosella goes off for a hard-earned holiday on the south coast with her amore.  As you can see in the foto and after several days of practice, she can now make perfect coffee even with her eyes closed!  Bless her.

OK, over to you.  Do drop me a line and/or visit my official author site at My site for your summer reading.

Have a great week.

Salute June x

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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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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World

2018-03-01 08.54.56OK, let’s get it over with.  I know that many of you have seen enough snow to last a lifetime and have been dreaming about soaking up the Tuscan Sun.  Unfortunately, here in our little bit of Chianti we were not to escape the same deluge of awful weather and it is hard to believe that our view from here just over a week ago looked and felt like Siberia!  Now it is much warmer and raining, spring flowers are bursting through and when the first tourists start arriving at the beginning of April, they will find it difficult to imagine how cold and bleak it was in early March.  Foto J Finnigan

2018-03-10 09.02.27Anyway, onwards and upwards and to remember just how lucky we are to have the Italian lifestyle of morning coffee and pastries and of course, beautiful handbags.  ‘What has handbags got to do with lifestyle?’ I hear you ask.  Well, everything actually.  Without a beautiful Italian handbag over one’s arm or shoulder, a person would be improperly dressed, even in the local caffè bar!

What else?  Ah yes, I guess I must mention the Italian General Election, held last Sunday, and predictably resulting in confusion.   As usual the locals shrug and say, in Italian of course, ‘nothing will change’.  However, we do expect the new coalition, when it is eventually formed, to be looking towards leaving the European Union.  An interesting time, so watch this space!

Luigi Di Maio, the Italian 5-Star Movement's leader, poses with party founder Beppe Grillo, right, in Rome, Monday, March 5, 2018. With the anti-establishment 5-Stars the highest vote-getter of any single party, the results confirmed the defeat of the two main political forces that have dominated Italian politics for decades - Forza Italia and the center-left Democrats - and the surging of populist and right-wing, euroskeptic forces that have burst onto the European scene. (Alessandro Di Meo/ANSA via AP)ALESSANDRO DI MEO
 Luigi Di Maio, the Italian 5-Star Movement’s leader, poses with party founder Beppe Grillo, right, in Rome, Monday, March 5, 2018. With the anti-establishment 5-Stars the highest vote-getter of any single party, the results confirmed the defeat of the two main political forces that have dominated Italian politics for decades – Forza Italia and the center-left Democrats – and the surging of populist and right-wing, euroskeptic forces that have burst onto the European scene. (Alessandro Di Meo/ANSA via AP)ALESSANDRO DI MEO
2018-02-20 09.17.55OK, and so to Italian Fashion.  In my last blog I promised to only post Italian fashion worn by happy models.  So here for your delight, and mine too, is a beautiful outfit in my perfect colours.  The great thing about the internet is that most of the designers can be accessed and purchased on-line these days.  As much as I like to go to gorgeous Italian designer shops, time is of the essence.  So for this beautiful outfit visit Dixie (pronounced Dixieh) at Dixie Fashion Florence
2018-03-12 09.22.37 Dio, what to say, what to do about Italian Rugby?  Our great team here in Italy has managed to lose six consecutive matches in the Six Nations.  Sadly, the only newspaper foto was squeezed into the bottom right of La Nazione sporting pages and hardly noticeable.  I do wonder if the lack of investment into the sport here makes a difference.  Italy is so orientated towards Football (Calcio) and the children are encouraged to join local teams at an early age.  Another interesting fact is that the schools here do not have their own sports fields;  Children have to go to outside clubs in the evenings or at the weekend.  Siena has a great rugby club where our grandson is playing with the under 18’s.  However, the facilities are pretty dire and, for strength reasons, they have recently merged with Arrezzo, which has not proved too successful.  But the players remain ever enthusiastic!
2018-03-12 09.19.35Don’t worry, I have not forgotten my hunk of the month.  However, having decided to choose the great Sicilian detective, Montalbano, I was devastated to read that he actually gets married in his most recent series!  No, I know that should not preclude him as Hunk of the Month, I was just a little bit shaken, that’s all.  In fact, even my own heroine, Joanna Wilde, gets married in my latest book ‘The Italian Connection,’ which will not preclude her from continuing to have exciting new adventures!
OK, time to get on with the day job and to catch up with all my colleagues in London.  Have a great week and do drop me a line.  I am about to send out invites to my Rock Concert Garden Party here in Tuscany, so if you want to be included send an email to june.finnigan@virgin.net.
Have a great week
Salute June x
PS Do visit my official Author Site at June’s Site
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The Trilogy – The Continuing Adventures of Joanna Wilde.

 

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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers

“Arrgh, I’ve broken a fingernail!” I wail.  My man is driving us towards our local village of Fiano for coffee and only a few days before I had enjoyed a manicure and had my nails painted a permanent & glorious metallic red!  The car stops.  “Do you want to go back home?”  He asked, not batting an eyelid.  He understands how important my hands, feet and hair are.  “No, no,” I groan, “but I do feel the need to lie down….”

Deep Purple on tour in Italy. La Reppublica.

We arrive in Fiano, and I have carefully removed the bit of broken nail, but keep my left hand in my pocket.  Then I am cheered to see that the papers are talking about two of my favourite bands, Deep Purple and The Patti Smith Band.  Now they are both in the ageing rocker club of course, but the Italians just love them.  Deep Purple are doing their ‘final’ tour, but they all say that then turn up a few years later on a reunion one!

The great Patti Smith on tour. La Repubblica.

Patty, who at the age of seventy-one is back here on a world tour, is just amazing.  Never one of the pretty girls of rock, but her voice makes up for it.  I have performed cover versions of her songs with my own band over the years.  I particularly love ‘Because the Night’ (belongs to lovers).  She will be here between 6th and 13th May, starting in Parma and finishing in Roma.  There are just a few tickets left for Cremona, Bologna and Rome.  Rush to http://www.viagogo.com

Charles and Camilla in Italy. La Repubblica.

Meanwhile, Charles & Camilla have been doing a grand tour of Italy, Charlie visiting earthquake sites and Camilla her grandmother’s old home in Florence.  I can honestly say that I have never seen Charlie smiling so much as he is in just about all the photos in the papers.  This is the effect this wonderful country has on everyone, of course, myself included.

The former soft orange lighting and the new white horror lights in Roma. La Repubblica.

However, down in Roma, the Romans are feeling very depressed about the new white street lighting.  The gentle orange lights that washed the city in a romantic glow have been replaced by horrible things that have turned the city into a creepy looking black and white horror movie.  People are scurrying home as if they are scared to stay long, and you can see why in the picture!

Back here in our lovely bit of Chianti, I am gearing up for a Book Promotion Tour in the South West of England.  I will be at The Oddfellows , 60 New North Road, Exeter between 5 pm & 8.30pm on the 27th April, and The Oddfellows, High Street, Exmouth between 5 pm & 8.30pm on 28th April.  I would love to see you at one of these events.

‘The Italian Connection’ is now available in paperback and E-book.  However, the official launch will be on 1st May.  If you can’t wait to read it, visit My author site or any Worldwide Amazon site of your choice.

OK, enough already.  Must get the photos uploaded and get this off to you.  Then I shall pour myself a nice glass of Pinot Grigio and go down to our lovely lower garden and sit under the ash tree.

Salute and do drop me a line; I love to hear from you.

Salute June x

My current Books.
Foto J Finnigan

 

 

 

 

 

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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers (A little late in the week, mi dispiace)

Sunrise casting a golden glow over the Chianti Hills.
Photo J Finnigan

On Sunday morning I was overwhelmed with emotion as my man and I set off down a white track, and into the centre of the wilder side of the Chianti countryside.  I was particularly pleased because walking any distance has recently been a problem for me.  But that morning, I put on my determined hat and was rewarded with the wonderful smell of spring and fabulous vistas that I had not even seen before!  Looking back towards our home rather than from it, was exhilarating.  You may think you know the Chianti countryside; Vineyards and Olive groves, you think.  However, you may not realise that there is a massive amount of wild mixed woodland on the steeper slopes and my man, being an ex-Commando, was able to identify a number of footprints including Cinghale, deer and porcupine.  So thank you once again to my man and the beautiful Tuscan countryside.

Easter Display at La Dispensa in Fiano. Foto J Finnigan

Meanwhile, back in our local village of Fiano, our local caffè bar and Alimentare had been busy preparing a lovely Easter (Pasquale) table for us all to enjoy.  I’m not sure when Easter actually is, but my grandchildren will remind me very soon.  The Italians are, of course, very big on Easter.

The new ‘People Mover’ shuttle train between Pisa airport and Pisa Centrale railway station.
La Nazione

Anyway, what else.  Oh, yes, at last Pisa has a new link from the central railway station to the airport.  My man tried it out on Monday morning and commented that the bus was just as easy.   Previously, there was a long walk to the bus and then a bumpy ride to the airport!  However, let’s hope it makes things a little easier and less confusing for the tourists, who will start arriving soon.

In case you are wondering, the final hard copy of ‘The Italian Connection’ will be with me on Friday, following which, assuming it looks OK, I will give the thumbs up for publication.  Then the hard work of publicising and marketing will begin in earnest.  I will be doing a book promotions visit to the West Country in England between the 24th and 28th April.  Let me know if you would like a book signing event or talk in your own area.

Addio to rock legend Chuck Berry. La Repubblica

Now, I know this is not a Tuscan thing, but I would like to mention the passing of Chuck Berry, that great Rock and Roller from the sixties.  He has just died at the age of 90, so when I saw him on stage in 1964, he was already fifty-three!  Hard to believe!  My absolute favourite song was No Particular Place to go;  ‘Driving along in my automobile, my baby beside me at the wheel….’   So addio lovely man.

Have a great week and keep rocking on.

Salute June x

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

My current Books.
Foto J Finnigan

 

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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers

The return of Montalbano! Glossy mag at Sandra's hairdressers.

The return of Montalbano! Foto Glossy mag at Sandra’s hairdressers.

I make no apology for my gushing in this opening paragraph.   Tonight, Monday, we will be watching the opening episode of the new Montalbano series!  Luca Zingaretti, who plays that mesmerising character, Comissario Montalbano, is fifty-five, short and bald, but there’s no other way to describe him, but hugely sexy!  I know I’m not alone in thinking this.  My man is tall, handsome and has a full head of hair, to me he is perfect.  But there is something about the character of Salvo Montalbano that has the heart fluttering.  Of course, it’s not just the man, it’s also the fantastic cast and plots.  The new series has been written by the original author of the books, ninety-two-year-old Andrea Camillera.  Based in Sicily again, it will be a fascinating series.  I have read all his previous books and watched the DVDs.  So, roll on tonight!

Low flying Air Balloons on a covert mission? Foto P Finnigan

Low flying Air Balloons on a covert mission? Foto P Finnigan

“Hello, what’s this?”  My man is peering sideways out of the car window on the way to coffee in Fiano and it is Sunday morning.  He swerves a little, as he’s not watching the road and then I spot the top of two hot-air balloons flying really low through the valley below us.  “They are far too low, what’s wrong with them?”  My man asks.  He pulls in and gets out of the car and watches.  “They seem to be just getting a close-up view, there is nowhere to set down, it’s too steep here.”  He takes a couple of photos and gets back in the car.  “They may be on a covert mission,”  I say, my mind all full of imaginary scenarios.  “Don’t be silly” he laughs,  “They would be using drones not hot air balloons!”  “Ah, that’s exactly what they would want you to think!”  I insist.  He sighs.

Toscani si Nasce Grande Show, 4th March. La Nazione.

Toscani si Nasce Grande Show, 4th March. La Nazione.

Over coffee, I read in the newspaper about a new effort to bring one’s attention back to the plight of the earthquake victims.  It is a wonderful idea, bringing together artists, all of whom were ‘Born in Tuscany’ including singers, musicians, dancers and comedians.  The Grande Show called Toscana si Nasce at Al Teatro Aurora, will also be televised on 4th March, and presented by Rodolfo Banchelli.  Lest we forget.

Gorgious Fendi bags and frock. La Repubblica

Gorgeous Fendi bags and frock. La Repubblica

Now, I know there are guys who read this blog and I really appreciate the fact that you do.  So I hope you won’t mind if I wax lyrical about the latest handbags, shoes and frocks currently being marketed by some of the fabulous designers here in Italy.  You see, I do love these things and try as I may, I am constantly falling in love with one or the other.

2017-02-25-08-58-24So very quickly, I have put together a selection to die for.  I would be happy to own the lot.

Ok, I know, enough is enough and anyway, I really must get on-line and make the final decision on my new book cover for ‘The Italian Connection‘.   Once I do this, a proof will be winging its way to me in the post.  So, to everyone still waiting, I promise it will be available very very soon.

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 and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers

“My head’s got bigger!”  My man has a pained look on his face.  “I don’t think so, you’ve always had a big head!”  I snort and giggle.  “No, no, I mean physically bigger!”  He groans.  “It’s my green beret, it’s too tight, I can’t get it on!”  Ah, my man has been unloading his ancient Royal Marine kit bag to check for damp, as there was a whiff of it coming from his studio.  So now he has been reminiscing and complaining that he may not be able to get into his uniform anymore.  So I brought up a picture of him in uniform, from many years ago, on the computer screen and actually, his head did look a little bit smaller then.  But his uniform belt could nearly do up, only about three inches too small, so not too bad.

The aging Italian Military. Foto La Nazione

The aging Italian Military. Foto La Nazione

Which reminds me, in La Nazione newspaper, which I was reading over coffee, there was an article about the Italian Armed Forces.  I was rather shocked to read that the average age of the Italian soldier is 38!  There are too many old soldiers still in the forces and not enough youngsters joining up.  So a big campaign is being started to try to reverse the situation.

Helmets and leather articles for sale in Alessandro's shop. Foto P Finnigan

Helmets and leather articles for sale in Alessandro’s shop. Foto P Finnigan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back down in Certaldo, my man popped into his favourite shoe repair shop for some polish.  He likes to chat to Alessandro, the owner, who is a very interesting man indeed.  Not only does he work in leather, but also metals.  He is one of those Military re-enactment people who stage mock battles, wearing all the old costumes.  He actually makes suits of armour, helmets and even had a Samurai Outfit displayed in his shop last year.  He now has a full beard and long hair to match his role-play.  So if you need a new helmet or shield, or a shoe repair, of course, do drop in. You will find him at La Rapida, Via Borgo Garibaldi, 6.

The Made in Italy Tour begins on San Valentino. La Republica

The Made in Italy Tour begins on San Valentino. La Republica

Meanwhile, Italy is celebrating all things Made in Italy and launched ‘The Made in Italy Tour’ on San Valentino with the popular songster, Ligabue.  All his fans were there with L’Amore banners.  As you will know, everything stops on a Saints day, other than the celebrations of course.

One of three new Mimosa Trees in our beautiful garden. Foto J Finnigan

One of three new Mimosa Trees in our beautiful garden. Foto J Finnigan

Ah, another thing you will remember from last year is the gifting of Mimosa flowers on La Festa Della Donna.  Now it’s not that time yet, but we decided that we should plant some Mimosa Trees in the garden and bought three from our lovely plant lady in Certaldo’s Mercato on Saturday morning.  I also got loads more Primula to brighten up the winter garden.  So my man was occupied for much of the day planting and a wonderful job he did too.

Fantastic success worldwide for Chianti Classico Wine. La Repubblica.

Fantastic success worldwide for Chianti Classico Wine. La Repubblica.

And last but not least, I read a fascinating article about how incredibly well the exporting of Chianti Classico Wine is doing around the world.  The Chinese absolutely love it and the market remains huge.  Even our own supplier across the valley exports more to China than anywhere else.  So this bodes well for Chianti producers in our area and this is fortunate considering that Italy, since 2008, has just been declared the worst performing country in Europe, yes even worse than Greece!

But that’s enough of that;  life eeez good, life eeez now.

Have a great week and do get in touch.

Salute June x

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

Coming soon, my new book ‘The Italian Connection’ the third volume in the series ‘The Continuing Adventures of Joanna Wilde’ – watch this space!

My current Books. Foto J Finnigan

My current Books.
Foto J Finnigan

 

 

 

 

 

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