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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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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.

2016-12-24-14-38-15

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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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.

2016-11-06-09-28-49

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 Followers

The birthday girl and me. foto P Finnigan

The birthday girl and me.
foto P Finnigan

I have just returned from a few days in England, which I won’t bore you with as I know you only tune in to read about Tuscany.  However,  the reason I went, was to celebrate my lovely mother-in-law’s 91st birthday and I’m sure you won’t mind my giving her a mention.  Her name is Marie, Mabel, Olga, Romance and she is a real star.  So here is a picture for the world to see.   Just before this foto was taken she was singing ‘why are we waiting’.  And, in this shot she is making a deep growling sound!  On the flight home I was so tired I tipped my plastic cup of prosecco over the sleeping young man next to me.  “Oh no!” He proclaimed, “Did I knock your arm when I was asleep?” I smiled sweetly and told him not to worry.  I know that was naughty, but he was taking up a lot of room!

The Earthquake donation details. La Nazione

The Earthquake donation details.
La Nazione

On a more serious note and lest we forget, I know you won’t mind me bringing back the subject of the recent earthquake that killed three hundred people and completely destroyed whole villages.  Many of you asked where and how you could make a contribution and I now have bank details for you to make a donation.  This was printed in La Nazione newspaper.  The rebuild cost will be a horrendous 300 million euros, and around 189 million has been raised so far.  So if you feel you can donate anything, the surviving villagers will be forever grateful.  Grazie Mille!

Depeche Mode on tour in Tuscany. Black leather maketh the aging rocker! La Nazione

Depeche Mode on tour in Tuscany. Black leather maketh the aging rocker!
La Nazione

Now on to brighter things and the world of music.  The latest tour in our region is Depeche Mode, still rocking and sounding great.  Less of my cup of tea is Michael Buble, but I know he has a huge following.  Earlier this year, I wrote some lyrics for a song, which was recorded by a musician friend.  He hopes to sell the song to Michael’s agency, so maybe we can pin his manager down whilst he is in Tuscany!  Watch this space.

Meanwhile, back home in our beautiful bit of countryside on the edge of Chianti, we set out for coffee this morning in a thick mist.  So we drove higher to Fiano, which proved to be a good idea as we emerged into glorious sunshine.  At La Dispensa, our now regular choice of coffee bar, we were served at the table by the local butcher.  Yes, it’s true, but then he is also the owner of the bar/grocery shop/butchers along with his lovely wife.  It was very busy and full of shooters, whose company is not our first choice.  But we managed to grab the papers and hog them for a while, so that was OK.

Autumn Hibiscus on the terraza. Foto J Finnigan

Autumn Hibiscus on the terrazza. Foto J Finnigan

On our return home we found lots of cobwebs on our gate in the mist; it’s that time of year and in the garden the autumn colours were looking great with lots of still flowering pots including the beautiful Hibiscus.  My man and I are relishing being home together for a whole week, enjoying the bars, restaurants and Autumn garden.  We will be getting a big fire basket and fireguard  for our inglenook fireplace this week, so I’ll let you know how we get on with lighting the wood fire for the first time, in this fabulous old farmhouse.

Back to today and we are off to Ristorante Borgo Antico in Tavernelle for lunch, which I am really looking forward to.  http://www.borgoanticorestaurant.com  Ah, life eeeez good, life eeeez now!

Have a fabulous week and do drop me a line.

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.

 

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Benvenuti to all my lovely Loyal and New Followers

Whilst I normally try to bring you only good news and fun things, the terrible Earthquake tragedy cannot be ignored.  Thank you for all those messages from around the world and to say that yes we are fine, and lucky enough to be some way north of the terrible disaster.  The country as a whole has been, once again, in shock and yesterday was a day of mourning.  This time, we have decided to take more precautions and have put a packed survival bag just inside the front door and parked the car away from the house.  But, you know, the Italians are a resilient race and whilst an enormous amount of effort is still being put into the rescue work, everyday life continues, as continue it must.

Lovely sweet red Certaldo Onions from the market. Foto P Finnigan

Lovely sweet red Certaldo Onions from the market.
Foto P Finnigan

Yesterday, we were really pleased to find that the Saturday morning market in Certaldo was fully attended by both traders and customers.  It’s nearly the end of August so things are beginning to return to normal after the long holiday.   Everyone seemed cheerful enough and I bought some lovely sweet Certaldo Onions, which are delicious finely sliced with salads, or cooked in the oven.  Then I bought some of my favourite young Pecorino cheese, delicious served with sliced sweet melon.  And, as it is the season for peaches, plums and apricots, I bought a few bagfuls for our breakfast.  Oops, I hope I’m not sounding like a food junky, but the market stalls look so tempting this time of year!

Buratta with grilled vegetables and Certaldo onions. Foto J Finnigan

Buratta with grilled vegetables and Certaldo onions.
Foto J Finnigan

Last Friday, we met our beautiful family for lunch at ‘C’era Una Volta’ in Lucardo.  The grandchildren love the deep-fried polenta there.  My daughter and I enjoyed that great favourite Buratta cheese again with grilled vegetables and of course sliced Certaldo Onions.  Today my man and I are going to revisit a restaurant in Tavernelle.  We haven’t been there for years but bumped into the owner a few days ago, so I booked a table.  Fingers crossed, I’ll let you know.

Eddie Lizard on our kitchen wall. Foto P Finnigan

Eddie Lizard on our kitchen wall.
Foto P Finnigan

Back in our lovely home we had a visitor in the kitchen.  A very plump Gekko Lizard was keeping very still on the wall while we had our supper.  Then my man crept over and got a couple of fotos.  Don’t you just love those feet?  We’ve decided to call him Eddie, get it?  You remember the comedian and actor Eddie Izzard don’t you, that’s right him, so we have our own Eddie Lizard.  Well I think it’s funny.  If you have not been to Italy, you may not know that lizards are everywhere and often provide great entertainment whilst we are enjoying an aperitivo in the garden.

Well, enough of that.  Must get back to ‘The Italian Connection’ as my heroine Joanna Wilde is currently in Rome and waiting for me to write the next chapter.

Have a really good week and do drop me a line.

Salute June x

PS  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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