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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers

I must tell you this true story.  As you know, from time to time, my man has to pop over to London to do a bit of business.  A few days ago, he was trying to make a purchase with his business Visa card and put the wrong pin in…..three times, which he blamed on fat finger small keyboard scenario.  Yes, the bank blocked it.  So he rushed into the local Barclays and realised that he had no identity; his passport was back at his London club and he doesn’t need his driving licence in London! He produced everything he had with his signature on, other bank cards, even his British Library card which sported his photo!  Then finally, in exasperation, he said, “I’m wearing hand-made Italian shoes and they have my name inside.”  Would you believe it, they agreed to unblock his card!  Don’t you just love it!

Al Bar Fiano, needing lots of people to bring it alive again. Foto J Finnigan

Al Bar Fiano, needing lots of people to bring it alive again. Foto J Finnigan

Meanwhile, back in the calmer atmosphere of our local village of Fiano, I made a second visit to the new Al Fiano Bar.  Two locals were sat drinking coffee and eating pastries, then a certain well-known signora arrived, shouting at the top of her voice.  She only wanted some crisps, but for an Italian lady who stands at around four-foot-five, she’s got the voice of a giant.  Then she spotted me, trying to read the newspaper, and came and sat down!  I think she was telling me, and the rest of the village, about her one visit to London, when Steffi Graff was playing at Wimbledon.  If not, I may have bought an old tennis racket and a donkey.  I’m not sure which, I’ll let you know.

Natalia waiting to serve you a very nice Espresso at Al Bar Fiano. Photo J Finnigan

Natalia waiting to serve you a very nice Espresso at Al Bar Fiano.
Foto J Finnigan

Anyway, the lovely lady behind the bar turns out to be Russian and has been here in Italy for I think sixteen years.  She is called Natalia and her smile brightened the room, which is still in need of a lift to make it more welcoming.  However, do go in, the more that try it out the better it will become.  Fingers crossed.

The artist Marcello Scuffi. I love his work. Foto La Republicca.

The artist Marcello Scuffi. I love his work. Foto La Repubblica.

OK, what next.  Oh yes, I spotted this article about Marcello Scuffi, the Tuscan artist.  I love this kind of contemporary art and at first, I thought his work must be from the nineteen twenties or thirties.  But no, Marcello was born in 1948, is alive and well and still producing these masterpieces.  He was born in Tizzana (Pistoia) which is not far from Florence and currently works out of Quarrata and Marina di Pietrasanta.  He is also very sought after and has made quite an impression in France, Belgian and Switzerland.  Google him and you will be able to see lots more of his pictures.

‘And what about the touring bands in our area?’  I hear you ask.  Well, at last, the wonderful Piazza Arena in Lucca is to host the Rolling Stones!  This will be during the summer music festival in July, so won’t compete with my own concert with The Rock Chick Band on June 24th!  You may have difficulty getting tickets for the Rolling Stones, but my concert is free!  However, it is by private invitation, so if you would like an official invite to my concert, drop me an email at june.finnigan@virgin.net

Oh, must just mention that the weather here has been glorious around lunchtime, a hot sun and no cold wind.  so, over the last few days, we have snuck down to the terrace a couple of times for an aperitivo.  Cin Cin!

Well, enough of that, my man is taking me out to lunch so I must go for a shower and make myself beautiful.  Whoever said ‘how do you hope to do that?’ Can go and crack their own mirror!  Ha ha to you too.

Have a great week and do get in touch.  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 published Books.
Foto J Finnigan

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers

The Seismic Map. Red - yesterday yellow - 18 to 20 Jan Blue - 24 Aug 2016

The Seismic Map.
Red – yesterday
yellow – 18 to 20 Jan
Blue – 24 Aug 2016

If you are a regular follower of this blog, you will know that I like to write about all the fun things that are going on around us in our little bit of Chianti.  Sadly, the double tragedy in Central Italy has made this quite impossible.  Reading the local and national newspapers over coffee in Fiano this morning, has me realise that I am not the only writer who is feeling somewhat shattered by the massive earthquake, followed by a horrendous snow storm that caused an avalanche burying whole families.  Some good news has filtered through, that people have been found alive, but the tragedy remains that some children still await the news that their parents may also be found.  Some are already orphans.

The appeal bank details. La Repubblica

The appeal bank details. La Repubblica

I make no apology for including the appeal bank details.  This double tragedy has worsened an already desperate situation; earthquakes small and large have continued every day now for several months.  The snow will kill many more, particularly in the remote hills and mountains.  Thank you in advance for anything you can do to help.

This morning's winter landscape. foto J Finnigan

This morning’s winter landscape from here. foto J Finnigan

At this point, I must also thank all you concerned friends and family who have sent worried messages.  We are very fortunate to have chosen to live in an area of Tuscany, which so far has been outside the main seismic areas.  This was luck rather than judgement.  Let’s hope things remain that way.  We love living in Italy and have no intention of changing things, after all, the planet itself is a very fragile place to live on.  Where could one go in the world and say ‘hand on heart’ we are safe here?  Just to confirm the current status of our little bit of Chianti, here is a picture taken from the back of our house as the sun was rising this morning.  January and February are months when we sometimes have snow, at the moment it is cold and sunny; things might change.

Back in Fiano, a little bit of good news.  Last Monday was the re-opening of Bar Piazzina, which is now called Bar Fiano.  We popped in on Friday for coffee; it was quiet and not very atmospheric.  However, its early days and it will be a while before the locals start returning, after all, it has been closed for almost a year and everyone has gotten used to going to La Dispensa now.  Once spring is here and tables are put outside, things will look a lot more inviting.  After all, it is places like this that keep the Italian communities together.  Fingers crossed.

Well, must get on with the copywriting of ‘The Italian Connection’ then finalise the book cover.  Not long now my friends.

Have a great week.

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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Welcome and Benvenuti to all you lovely Followers

“What’s that man doing parking on the road, he should be on the pavement like all the other Italians!”  I groan aloud.  What’s this strange statement you may be thinking?  Well, I like to walk down the road, it’s less potholed than the path and anyway, there’s usually cars parked on the pavement.  Why? Because there is a line saying that they cannot park on the road.  Err, what is this madness you may ask?  Well, the Italians always park on the pavement in Fiano and I think they are trying to say “I won’t be long, I’m only partly on the road, so don’t give me a ticket.”  Meanwhile, we pedestrians, including pushchairs and wheelchairs, use the road.  It’s quite simple and now we are so used to it, it’s annoying when someone does things differently!

The lilac boys and a dejected Juventus player. La Repubblica

The violet boys and a dejected Juventus player.
La Repubblica

Anyway, some very good news.  This morning the bar was awash with local football fans celebrating Fiorentino’s win over top of the league Juventus.  There is a profound change in the atmosphere of Fiano, who support the boys from Florence in their violet strip and this win was particularly amazing.  So, despite the bitterly cold wind and the recent minor earthquake, everyone was in a very good mood.

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Coffee with Walter the Donkey. Foto J Finnigan

After five days back in England, I was so pleased to be home in Tuscany, drinking decent espresso and eating good food.  I had an awful time trying to find a decent meal in Devon and Somerset.  Everything was either under or overcooked and far too much salad for these cold winter months!  Gianluca at C’era Una Volta ristorante presented me with Walter the Donkey who he had purchased in Guatemala whilst on holiday, a present to go with my coffee, how neat is that!

Chunky Hunk and Italian Gorgonzola. La Repubblica

Chunky Hunk and Italian Gorgonzola.
La Repubblica

Now where was I?  Oh yes, I want to mention the fact that many Brits think of parmesan Cheese when I mention living in Italy.  Not only do we have a fabulous range of Pecorino, sheep’s cheese, and gorgeous Buffalo Mozzarella,  but we also have a mouth-watering Gorgonzola, which this nice man below is demonstrating.  I also present him as Chunky Hunk of the month as not all the best looking Italian men are skinny!

OK, enough of that.  Time to finish the editing of my latest novel and get it published!  I know, I keep promising to get it out there, it won’t be long now my friends!

Have a great week.

Salute June x

 

 

 

Visit http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinngian

My current Books. Foto J Finnigan

My current Books.
Foto J Finnigan

 

 

 

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

The good witch La Bafana, or one of the many appearing alla Festa del Bambini. La Reppublica.

The good witch La Bafana, or one of the many appearing Alla Festa del Bambini. La Reppublica.

Now, if you have not been here in Tuscany immediately after the New Year, you may like to know that the festivities are not over until the children have been visited by the Good Witch La Befana.  Befana brings sweets for the well-behaved children on 6th of January, which is La Festa del Bambini.  The bad children get lumps of coal.  Funny how I’ve never heard of any children physically receiving a lump of coal, but then she is a good witch.

Izzy Lizard catches the sun. Foto P Finnigan

Izzy Lizard catches the sun.
Foto P Finnigan

Meanwhile, during this freezing weather, lots of insects and small creatures are trying to find some warmth, and our house Lizard Izzy is no exception.  Here he is bathing in the sunshine ‘inside’ the bathroom window.  He’s looking very fat, as he has the run of the house and has no end of insects to gobble up.

Now our house, as you know, is a lovely old converted monastery/farmhouse and is on two levels, built down the side of a hill.  We live at the top and the guest apartment is below us.

The lovely log fire inside the Tardis. Foto J Finnigan

The lovely log fire inside the Tardis. Foto J Finnigan

The big inglenook fireplace in our upper apartment was successfully made ready for the wood fire just before Christmas, and whilst it took a bit of getting used to, imagine a large black Tardis-like box, we’ve grown to like it and the fire itself is magnificent.  So we have been enjoying the blazing log fire every evening and sometimes during the day.  It is, after all, six degrees below in the mornings!

Leonardo's latest lost and found. La Repubblica

Leonardo’s latest lost and found. La Repubblica

Meanwhile, we read in the newspaper over coffee, that yet another Leonardo De Vinci picture has been discovered hidden in a private collection for donkey’s years.  Of course, just about any Leonardo picture, etching or carving is worth a fortune; I bet he wishes he could have enjoyed so much money when he was alive.  I can imagine him looking down with a rueful smile on his lips.

Anyway, enough of that.  I must get my packing done as I am off to England tomorrow for a bit of business and estate planning.  I’ll be back on Friday and I’m feeling homesick already.

Have a great week.

Salute June

PS close to finishing the final edit of ‘The Italian Connection’.  Keep watching this space!  Meanwhile, visit http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

My current Books. Foto J Finnigan

My current Books.
Foto J Finnigan

 

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers

The final sunset of 2016. Foto J Fielding.

The final sunset of 2016. Foto J Fielding.

Well, where were you on the stroke of midnight?  My man, my sister-in-law and I were at the bottom of our garden on the Terrazza watching all the fireworks going off around the valley, from San Gimignano to Certaldo and beyond.  Cheers and excited voices echoed around us, bouncing off the distant hills and up from the valleys below, and whilst we could not see Fiano we could hear it!  There is something very warming about not being in a big noisy party, but hearing them going on all around you!  Then back to the log fire to toast our toes.

Capodanno in Florence La Nazione

Capodanno in Florence La Nazione

In Florence, the annual bash was going on.  A very popular singer called Marco Mengoni was performing and there had been lots of excited babble from the local girlies beforehand.  More than forty thousand people attended the Festa and every single person was checked over by a metal detector before being allowed in.  What a task that must have been!

Local celebrations and the back up support for health and safety! la Repubblica

Local celebrations and the backup support for health and safety! la Repubblica

Locally, apart from all the house parties, Fiano held a big bash in the old cinema where a set menu with ten courses was served up and a local band played 70’s and 80’s musica.   I must give a mention for the support network of which is largely voluntary including the police, carabinieri, fire brigade and Misericordia.  And a warm welcome to two local New Year babies!

Special guest Granddog Zoe. Photo J Fielding

Special New Year guest Granddog Zoe. Photo J Fielding

On New Year’s Day, we had a big family lunch here in our kitchen.  Guest of honour was our granddog, Zoe the boxer dog, so the day was absolutely perfect.  What did we eat, I hear you say?  Well, we are not all veggie, but I only cook that way, so we had lovely baked jacket potatoes filled with spicy spinach and ricotta, a cauliflower cheesy bake and ratatouille.  Then a pear crumble with cream, very English and very filling!  I could not eat a thing in the evening, just washed it all away with some lovely Chianti wine.

My choice of festive outfit on the left, from Prada. Glossy mag.

My choice of festive outfit on the left, from Prada. Glossy mag.

Meanwhile and just before the festivities, I was at Sandra’s in Certaldo having my hair colour topped up when I saw this gorgeous Prada outfit (below) in a glossy mag, which for me is the perfect colour combination for when I am not wanting to dress completely in black, which is often.  So this is my festive outfit of the year.  Dare I go online and see if Prada has a sale on?  Very tempting…..

Anyway, my book ‘The Italian Connection’ is back from the editor and I just need to do a final honing.  Then I will select the new cover.  I find this bit hugely exciting as finally, the book takes on shape and personality.  It won’t be long now and thank you for waiting so patiently for this third book in the trilogy.  However, I must warn you, my heroine is already heading off in new directions and a fourth book is very likely to appear in the not too distant future!

OK, lovely people, best get this blog posted and think about warming up all those leftovers from yesterday and a bit more besides.  One of us was obviously not concentrating yesterday, as a missing bottle of red wine has just been found in the fridge!

Have a really great 2017 and I look forward to seeing you all at some stage either at my concert on 24th June or at one of my ‘to be organised’ book signings!

Buon Anno and 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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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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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers,

Well, where to begin?  Ah yes, the olive harvest (Raccolta) is nearing its end, hampered by bad weather including very heavy rains, it is still expected to be a good one if around 30% down on last year due to the olive fly.  New Extra Virgin Olive oil has been in the shops for a few weeks now; the local stuff is to die for.

Lovely local pomegranets. foto J Finnigan

Lovely local pomegranates.
foto J Finnigan

Other harvests include the pomegranate and today our landlord handed us some giant size fruits to indulge in.  I don’t normally buy them so if anyone has any really good ideas for serving them up in a desert or otherwise, I’ll be really pleased to hear from you.  If not, I guess one can slice off the top and scoop the insides out with a spoon and pour over ice cream!

Panatone display at La Dispensa in Fiano. Foto J Finnigan

Panettone display at La Dispensa in Fiano.
Foto J Finnigan

Ah, then there’s the Panettone!  On Friday and over coffee in La Dispensa in Fiano, I noticed lovely table full of Panettone on display.  If you are not already aware, you may like to know that this wonderful cake is hugely popular over the festive season and comes in all sorts of varieties including plain, fruity, chocolate or lemon curd filled and sometimes topped  with crusty sugar or nuts.  My man’s absolute favourite is Fichi e noci, that is Fig and walnut.  Meanwhile, our darling daughter has been busy making the traditional English Christmas cake at her home near Volterra.  She sent her dad a picture of the one with his name on, so to speak!  Bless her. (Sadly, I cannot eat cake!)

The hunky Alberto Angela and his latest DVD collection. La Repubblica

The hunky Alberto Angela and his latest DVD collection.
La Repubblica

Also over coffee, I read about the gorgeous Alberto Angelo.  You may have already heard of him as he is a celebrated Palaeontologist and Scientific popularizer.  He’s a  what? I hear you say.  Anyway, as a journalist and son of a television producer, he has produced some fabulous DVDs.  The very latest is a five-DVD collection of Alla Scoperta Del Rinascimento (the Discovery of the Renaissance) Medici family in Florence.  Now this will make fascinating viewing, particularly over the festive season and can be found on Amazon.  To read more about Alberto go to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberto_Angela 

The Pope on Trump. La Reppublica.

The Pope on Trump.
La Reppublica.

OK, even here in Italy it has not been possible to ignore the American election and I note that journalists have been interviewing anybody and sometimes nobodies about their views on Donald Trump as the new President.  A notable interview was with Pope Francis who responded “Trump?  Non-guidico Mi interessa  soltantose se fa soffrire I poveri”  Roughly translated as “I am not driven (in any direction), I am only interested in the future suffering of the poor.”  Some locals in the caffè bar have likened Trump to Berlusconi or vice versa depending on his or her politics.

Le Torre, the towers of Tuscany. La Repubblica.

Le Torre, the towers of Tuscany. La Repubblica.

Then as another reminder of the ongoing worry about the recent and continuous earthquakes in Central Italy, I read an article in the paper about the strength of Le Torri (the towers) of some of our famous landmarks.  These are being checked for any obvious weaknesses.  Of course, once a landmark is destroyed centuries of history goes with it and can never be replaced.

Meanwhile, back in our little bit of Chianti, the central heating is now up and running.   For those of you interested in our lovely inglenook, we will need to put an extraction fan on top of the chimney before we can use it properly.  So we await the arrival of an electrician to put one in.  This being Italy, we may have a long wait.

My pasta with pumpkin and sage sauce and smoked ricotta cheese. Foto J Finnigan

My pasta with pumpkin and sage sauce and smoked ricotta cheese. Foto J Finnigan

Anyway, just to finish on a good note, I have just enjoyed a truly delicious plate of Tagliatelle con Salsa di Zucca Giallo e Salvia con Ricotta Affumicato, at C’era Una Volta ristorante in Lucardo.  In English, Tagliatelle with Yellow Pumpkin & Sage sauce and Smoked Ricotta Cheese.  Now if I was a smoker, and I’m not, I would not need to light up for at least twenty-four hours!

Yes, life eeez good, life eeez now.

Well, must get on, novel to finish!

Have a great week.

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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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers

Firstly, a big thank you for all those concerned well wishers.  We have only had a couple of minor earth quakes in our area and all is fine here; no damage at all.

Florence then and now. La Repubblica.

Florence then and now. La Repubblica.

Florence – It is hard to imagine that exactly fifty years ago, Florence was under very deep water after the River Arno burst its banks.  1966 was a terrible year for the historic and beautiful city.  There has been much to say in the newspapers and there is still real concern that the defences are not good enough.  Only a few months ago, a riverside road collapsed, along with a row of parked cars.  An enormous amount of money is needed to further improve things and what with the financial crisis, this is now getting very serious indeed.

Mappa Sosmica - Seismic Map. La Reppublica

Mappa Sismica – Seismic Map. La Reppublica

I read an article in the newspaper this morning, which really shows the country’s seismic risk areas.  If it was not so serious, I would have laughed at the little men in black hats on the map, indicating the areas controlled by the Mafia who have been responsible for the building and rebuilding of properties, and blamed for the inferior quality of materials and design. I must add, that our little area of Tuscany, is outside the worst danger zone and hope it will not stop you lovely people from visiting next season.

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King Crimson, La Repubblica

But to brighter things.  Thank you to our good friend Flavio who asked me if I knew that The Cure was currently touring.  I did not know, but it was too late to get tickets anyway.  But I did know that King Crimson were celebrating fifty years in rock with a celebration tour here.  What’s this, you don’t remember them? O Dio!  They were hugely popular between 1969 and 1974, when their progressive rock music stretched across to Jazz and classical.  Robert Tripp, the brilliant lead guitarist, took the band through many changes of members and styles, after reaching number 5 in the UK album charts in 1969.  In 2015 the band, with its unusual front of three drummers and four guitarists, had a very successful tour and their concert in Toronto ‘Live at The Orpheum’ was recorded and released as an album.  I love their track ‘Starless’ a lengthy piece and seriously clever, which will give you goose-bumps.  King Crimson – Starless https://youtu.be/FhKJgqxNDD8  via @YouTube

Italian cheeses at La Dispensain Fiano. Foto J Finnigan

Tuscan cheeses at La Dispensa in Fiano.
Foto J Finnigan

Anyway, that’s got my rock thing out-of-the-way, so back to Fiano and morning coffee.  Today, Sunday, La Dispensa was very busy with locals.  It’s hard to believe that the place didn’t exist three months ago!  The Italians are very quick to turn a place into a home from home, and so we are able to enjoy coffee and catch up on the newspapers in good company.  La Dispensa also has a lovely range of cheeses, which along with local wines, is my biggest downfall, so I had to buy some yet again.  Otherwise we eat very sensibly!

Pasta and white truffles photo J Finnigan

Pasta and white truffles
photo J Finnigan

Meanwhile the olives have been mostly harvested now and the truffle hunters are out an about seeking that illusive Tartufo Bianco (White Truffle).  The best way to enjoy them is thinly sliced, using a truffle slicer, over buttered tagliatelle.  Not spoiled by adding them to a creamy sauce, as a certain local restuarent did the other day and my man had to send the dish back!

Finally, I’m itching to tell you that I have finished the first draft of ‘The Italian Connection.’  However, having read it and edited, I found myself launching into more chapters as my imagination suddenly took off again!  So, another couple of weeks or so and I’ll be satisfied; I hope!

Well, that’s enough for now.  My man is taking me up to C’era una Volta in Lucardo for lunch, where Paolo is currently serving up a delicious leek and potato soup, and he has the latest Tartufo Bianco on the menu.  Mmmmm.

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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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my lovely Friends and Followers

As you know, I always like to bring you fun stories and nice things about our lovely little bit of the Chianti Hills, also snippits of what I have read in the local and sometimes national news.   So I will get the not so nice news out-of-the-way very quickly.

Autumn valley below our house. Foto J Finnigan

Autumn valley below our house. Foto J Finnigan

Tuesday, our bit of heaven was hit by a 3.9 earthquake.  There was a massive bang under the house and things started to rock, so being prepared for anything I got outside grabbing my disaster bag on the way.  We deliberately park our car away from the house, so I got inside and waited.  Now it probably only lasted a couple of minutes, but seemed an awful lot longer.  But we were very lucky, no damage at all, so the house has proved pretty resilient.  Not so lucky were the inhabitants in the Perugia area in Umbria, who suffered a much worse earthquake a couple of days later.  Then Wednesday, along came the hurricane winds and heavy iced rain.  This went on for more than three hours taking out trees and causing flooding & landslides.  My route to Fiano was blocked by a landslide on Thursday morning so I turned around and headed for Certaldo for my morning coffee.  Since then, the weather has been glorious, sunshine and cool fresh air.  Hard to believe it really happened!

The vineyard outside our front gate. Foto J Finnigan

The vineyard outside our front gate. Foto J Finnigan

So back to the nicer things in life.  The countryside is looking and smelling absolutely gorgeous, what with all the rain and now the warm sunshine.  Yesterday we managed to sit outside and enjoy an aperitivo before lunch, bathed in sunshine.  The valley below us has shed much of its leaves, however, and beautiful bare Silver Birch trees glow white against the remaining autumnal colour.  The vineyard below our front gate, now harvested, is glowing with striped colours, representing the different grape varieties to be found in each vineyard.  One can never get tired of Autumn in Chianti.

Little Wine Windows in Florence. La Repubblica

Little Wine Windows in Florence. La Repubblica

Now we can reach Fiano again, and over coffee I read a really interesting article about Little Wine Windows, or rather I Finestrini del Vino.  Everything sounds so much better in Italian, don’t you think?  Now these little windows are what remains of the way the Florentines sold their personal wine production direct to the public over the last few centuries.  Imagine, you tap the little window, pay your centesimo di lira and out comes a hand with a glass or jug of wine!  I just love this idea and these little windows are all over Florence.  Now there is a new society, which is dedicated to preserving them and for your further interest you must visit their website which can be read in Italian, English or German!  Go to http://www.buchettedelvino.org  It’s a truly fascinating story.

Radiohead rocks in Tuscany. La Reppublica

Radiohead rocks in Tuscany. La Repubblica

And what about the music scene, you ask?  Well, our latest touring band is ‘Radiohead’.  You know that alternative rock band at the height of their fame during the early 90’s.  An adventurous band, which incorporated electronic elements into their music, one of their classic songs being ‘Climbing Up The Walls.’

Italian shoes and leather look. I love this. Foto La Reppublica magazine

Italian shoes and leather look. I love this. Foto La Reppublica magazine

What else?  Oh yes, I must show you this picture.  It’s an advertisement for shoes, but I just love the whole outfit!  Despite the fact that I buy leather shoes and boots, I can’t quite bring myself to wrap myself in leather.  So a leather look outfit like this suits me fine.  Even my black biker jacket is faux!

But enough of that, time to get this blog off to you and to join my gorgeous man for an aperitivo.  Life eeeez good, life eeeez now.

Salute June x

Ps do visit my author site at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

'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.

 

 

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my lovely Loyal and New Followers

Before I launch into the subjects in the above title, I do want to let you know that I have not forgotten to mention the Olive Harvest.  Yes it is in full swing, however, I will talk about it next week when I have some more fotos!

The smoking inglenook fireplace. Fot P Finnigan

The smoking inglenook fireplace. Foto P Finnigan

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, or should I say at our former monastery/farmhouse here in Chianti, it was time to try out our inglenook fireplace for the first time.  Now we do have a vast experience of open fireplaces, in fact my man actually built one many years ago in Somerset, England, so we knew there was only a 50/50 chance of it not smoking the sitting room out.  So, on Friday we got it lit and yes, as you can see in the foto we had to open the french windows to let the billowing smoke out.  But for just a few minutes it looked beautiful and when it was roaring the smoke went up the chimney, but as soon as it died down a bit, out came the smoke again!  So we will get an expert in to decide how to deal with it.  Watch this space….

Sting at 65. La Repubblica magazine.

Sting at 65. La Repubblica magazine.

Back in Fiano, where we mostly go for our coffee these days, I see in the Sunday magazine that very popular British musician Sting, or Gordon Sumner, is looking pretty good at sixty-five.  The Italians love Sting, and as he has a villa a few valleys away from us, he is also considered a local celebrity; a bit like me in fact, although I’m only famous in Fiano!

Look no hands, or feet! Fot La Nazione

Look no hands or feet! Foto La Nazione

The other thing that the Italian’s love is Calcio or football to you and I.  You may remember that AC Milan was purchased by a Chinese buyer a short while ago.  Now I don’t know what to think of this, but in the paper I see the Chinese Premier Xi Jinping  showing off his skills by playing football without his hands or feet!  Methinks it’s a clever conjuring trick.  What was that you said?  Well, really…..

October fruit and veg in Certaldo. Foto J Finnigan

October fruit and veg in Certaldo. Foto J Finnigan

OK, where was I.  Oh yes, back to yesterday morning and the fruit and veg market.  Whilst, most of the peaches have finished I did find some plums and I bought some lovely fresh broccoli too.  I decided to take a foto of one of my favourite home-grown stands and I think this picture says it all.

Then of course, it’s that time of year for Chestnuts or Castagne as they are called here.  The Italians really go to town making wonderful deserts for this versatile nut, I’ll try to get some fotos for you next time.

My Pasta vegetarina. Foto J Finnigan

My Pasta vegetariana. Foto J Finnigan

And just for a bit of fun, here is a foto of my pasta vegetariana,which I had for supper last night with our lovely family, at a restaurant called Il Merlo, somewhere between Volterra and San Gimignano!  The chef has a sense of humour and obviously so disapproved of my not wanting any sausage with my pasta, he even removed the pumpkin as he thought I might consider it meat, then put this little face in the corner of the plate!  Very Ha Ha, I don’t think.

Anyway, gosh is that the time, I must crack on with my soon to be finished novel ‘The Italian Connection’, which some of you are asking about. My deadline for the first draft is the end of October, which I expect to meet, then another month of infill and editing before I can get it published.  Sorry to say, I won’t make the Christmas shelves but you can happily look forward to a Spring launch at the very latest.

OK, off you go, have a really good 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 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.

 

 

Read Full Post »

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