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Posts Tagged ‘Farty Barty’

Benvenuti to all my lovely Loyal and New Followers

Farty Barty on a favourite perch over the orange trees. Foto P Finnigan

Farty Barty on a favourite perch over the orange trees. Foto P Finnigan

Many of you will already be aware that our darling Farty Barty the cat, was gently put to sleep last Friday morning after his kidneys had failed.  This all came about very fast and I write this with a heavy heart.  The little lad now has a lovely spot in our garden underneath the climbing Jasmin.  But he will always be remembered as the little wild thing who arrived at our door eight years ago and stayed.  Amazingly, on Saturday morning as I sat sadly drinking coffee in Bar Solferino, I found myself inspired to write and managed a whole chapter of ‘The Italian Connection’ which includes Barty.  So he is now immortalised as an important loveable character in my current book.

My view from the end of the long wooden table at la Dispensa in Fiano. Foto J Finnigan

My view from the end of the long wooden table at la Dispensa in Fiano. Foto J Finnigan

Now, it’s very easy to go into a miserable state at times like this, but living here in our little bit of Chianti amongst all our lovely Italian friends, it seems somehow easier to go out for morning coffee and meet and greet everyone.  So on Sunday morning I returned to Fiano and the new ‘La Dispensa’ caffè bar and alimentare.  I was delighted to find it busy and bustling with shoppers in for their bread and sunday joint, whilst chatting with friends over coffee.   The local character Alessandro was there too, we previously nicknamed him Signore Rotund for obvious reasons, and he enthusiastically shook my hand our not having seen each other for over six months.  So the life is back in the village and has a centre for everyone to go.  I watched and smiled at the comings and goings from the far end of a long wooden table, and caught up with the local news in the paper.

Fancy Dress in Empoli. La Nazione.

Fancy Dress in Empoli. La Nazione.

Meanwhile, the weekend was busy with Festas as it is the official start of the holiday season.  In Empoli, a local town, the Festa attracts hundreds of locals and visitors alike, who adore parading around in fancy dress.  However, this also means that sixty percent of small businesses including restaurants are now likely to be closed until the end of August, whilst the italians head off for the coast or the mountains to escape the heat!  Typically, I could not buy any credit for my phone at the usual place and had to drive to another tobbacchi to get some!  But hey ho, we prepare for this, the tourists do not and wander around like lost souls in a ghost town.

Well, I hope you will excuse me.  I want to stroll around the garden with a glass of wine after heavy overnight rain, breath in the heavenly smell of the damp grass and plants, and visit Barty.

Have a great week.

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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Benvenuti to all my lovely Loyal and New Followers

Giant Swallow Tail Butterfly with my man at aperitivo time. Foto J Finnigan

Giant Swallow Tail Butterfly with my man at aperitivo time. Foto J Finnigan

Well I’ll be honest with you, the girlies do like my man, and hone in like moths to a flame.  Now I understand this completely, I still oggle him across the table over coffee every morning.  But yesterday he attracted a butterfly, not just any butterfly but a beautiful Giant Swallow Tail.  It had to be a female of course, well she wasn’t interested in me, and she simply would not go away.  So in the man’s relaxed way, he gave in and she settled on his shirt whilst we enjoyed our aperitivo.  Now of course, this is quite remarkable when you think about it, they are normally very shy creatures and flit away at the slightest movement.  So we were very privileged to have such a good close-up and here is a foto for you to marvel at.

La Mercantia starts on Wednesday 13th in Certaldo. La Nazione

La Mercantia starts on Wednesday 13th in Certaldo.
La Nazione

Earlier in the week, I read in the paper that this coming Wednesday 13th is the start of La Mercantia in Certaldo, which goes on for five days.  This is a hugely popular event that spreads between Certaldo town and Certaldo Alto, the old historical town on the hill, and is the 29th annual festival of International Street Theatre.  So, as you can imagine, it’s going to be heaving in Certaldo, particularly in the evenings when most of the street theatre is going on.  If you want to go, you will need to park on the edge of town and walk in!  But do go if you can and enjoy this amazing spectacle!

Pink Floyd in Roma. La Nazione

Pink Floyd in Roma.
La Nazione

I also read the rocking continues and this time in Lucca that very popular town near Pisa.  The open air concert venue is currently hosting Van Morrison and ancient rocker Tom Jones!!  Mmmm, it’s too hot to go to that one!  No, I’m talking about the weather silly.  Last weekend, Rome rocked the night away to the sound of Pink Floyd including the original guitarist David Gilmour.  Forty five years rocking with the same band and his ‘guitar’ doesn’t look a day older…..  Good for them I say!!

Looking defeated. Matteo Renzi and Angelino Alfano. La Nazione.

Looking defeated. Matteo Renzi and Angelino Alfano.
La Nazione.

Meanwhile the country as a whole is grumbling about the state of the current government and the need for a complete change to the way the country is governed.  Parliament failed to reach the maximum support needed for proposed government reforms, so will have to go for a public referendum in October.  The Five Star Movement and the second largest party in Italy, led by radical Beppo Grillo, hope that this will oust Premiere Matteo Renzi.


Five Star candidate, Virginia Raggi, became Mayor of Rome last month. Photo: Alverto Solaro/AFP

On a lighter note, a member of the aforesaid party and the recently elected mayor of Rome, is a breath of fresh air to behold.  Why?  Well she is female, hugely intelligent, a mother and beautiful.  Her name is Virginia Raggi and here is a picture for the guys to drool over.  She nearly didn’t get elected as the other candidates objected to the fact that she was pregnant at the time of the election.  Well done her I say.

Well it’s time to organise sunday lunch.  It’s just too hot and humid to go out again and we’ve now got the air conditioning unit set up in the inglenook, which is sending cooler air around the place.  Farty Barty the cat hardly moves in this heat, just from one bit of floor to the next.  Our daughter and grandchildren have gone to the coast for a few days with all the other gasping inlanders, to try to cool off.  But we are happy here, a nice glass of chilled fizz and all is well.

have a great week and do drop me a line.

Salute June x

Visit 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

Another glorious sunset. foto P Finnigan

Gazing at the sunset.
foto P Finnigan

“I can’t believe that it’s a week ago, did it really happen?”  I’m referring to our fabulous evening on the 25th June when the Rock Chick Band rocked the night away in our beautiful new setting.  “My neck and shoulders still ache.”  My man rubs his poor muscles.  “Well you are the ‘Roady’, it’s what roadies do, carry heavy weights, put up the lighting, you know arrange everything!” I smile.  “Yes, but how come I’m also staff and chief bottle washer!”  He groans.  “But we had brilliant family help with the catering, you didn’t do it all by yourself!”  I remind him.  “Well it doesn’t bloody well feel like it….”   We gaze into the sunset from our lower terrazza and down a glass of chilled white.  “But life eeez good, you can’t deny it.”  I offer.  “Yes, it is, and guess I have a year to prepare for the next concert.”  He sighs, flashes that magic smile and I melt.

Rock Chick Band group hug before the concert. Foto P Finnigan

Rock Chick Band group hug. Foto P Finnigan

The band rocking. Foto P Finnigan

The band rocking. Foto P Finnigan

Our new setting really was great for the band and our guests.  Always a learning curve; we might bring the band closer to the audience next time, but otherwise it was perfect. Our daughter, granddaughter and son-in-law did a fabulous buffet and set it all out under a big brolly. Thank you all those guys who bought more food & drink and presents, which were hugely appreciated.  I was also delighted to meet new friends and to catch up with old ones.  Make sure you all diary date for next year; 24th June 2017!

Georgous Italian Opera singers. La nazione.

Gorgeous Italian Opera singers.
La Nazione.

Oh yes, whilst we have been rocking and rolling, the three gorgeous Italian opera guys have been performing in Florence.  I know that my new friend and blog follower, Odette, will appreciate this foto as she is also an opera singer.  It was great to meet you and your handsome man.

2016-07-03 12.09.28The weather is now baking hot and as it is our first summer in the new house, we are having to juggle opening and closing of windows at certain times of the day to make sure we get a breeze going through.

For news on Farty Barty the wild cat, he was gone for seven days until I stood at the railing on our terrazza and called him through cupped hands.  My voice echoed around the valley and ten minutes later he strolled in looking well fed and wondering what all the fuss was about.  That was last Monday and since then he’s been lying around in cool parts of the house!  I tell you, never fall in love with a wild Tuscan kitten and encourage it to stay around.  You end up desperate to know where and how he is, agonising over whether he’s lying injured somewhere and starving!  But we do love him, so there is nothing we can do about it, just fret!

Anyway, today we are going for lunch at L’Osteria Casa Chianti, which serves the best food in the area.  Good Tuscan fare and just a little bit of sophistication, which we like a lot.  http://www.osteriadicasachianti.it  So forgive me if I pop off for another shower and make myself beautiful.

Have a wonderful week and do keep in touch.

Salute June xx

visit 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,

“I wouldn’t start from here, If I were you, and by the way I found this in the garden!”  The start point my man was referring to was the beginning of my blog and the thing he found in the garden was a porcupine quill.  Now our still new garden is very well fenced and has so far kept out the deer and cinghale (wild boar), but low slung animals still seem to get inside.  We have only ever seen a porcupine once crossing the road, safely I hasten to add, and after dark.

But back to the blog and I always ask my man to do a quick edit.  He quite rightly suggested I start somewhere else, rather than begin by mentioning that he had returned from a business trip to London on Friday feeling exhausted; so I won’t mention that.  Then to change the subject I told him about the earthquake, which happened when he was away.  I had spread a load of work out on the kitchen table and when the tremor started I had to hold on to it to steady myself.  Fortunately, my glass of wine only shivered slightly and quickly settled down again!  Has anyone else experienced an earthquake? Do let me know.

Farty Barty waiting patiently for my return to the studio. Foto J Finnigan

Farty Barty waiting patiently for my return to the studio.
Foto J Finnigan

We have recently had a new internet connection installed and so working on-line has become so much easier.  I can definitely recommend AirWiFi to all those struggling to fund a decent internet connection in this part of the world.  Thank you to  friends Karin and Hans for suggesting it.  Go to http://www.airwifi.it  However, with a cat on one’s lap, who is needing comfort from the nasty thunder outside, it’s not so easy to reach the computer and go on-line!  Everytime I get up he’s back on the chair waiting for my return and I’m too soft to send him away!

Seeing spooks and aliens in my morning coffee! foto J Finnigan

Seeing spooks and aliens in my morning coffee!
foto J Finnigan

Hurrah, we have a winner for my signed book and she is blog follower Odette, who spotted that my coffee had changed to a small black, whereas in previous fotos I always had a white one!  Brava that lady!    So why had my coffee changed?  Well down in Certaldo I had been trying different ways of drinking espresso as I believe the milk is not too good for me.  This is very sad because I love my morning caffè latte, it just no longer seems to like me!  This has been very confusing for Caffe Bar Il Solferino, where they know all their customers and what they drink.   So finally, I have selected caffè latte with soya milk, it has the same creamy texture but I am having to acquire the Italian liking for sweetness!

Vintage band POOH is back on stage and touring! La Nazione

Vintage band POOH is back on stage and touring! La Nazione

Ok, at this time of year, as many of you know, we are gearing up for The Rock Chick Band’s annual concert garden party and we already have one rehearsal under our belts.  I read in the paper that the original line-up of the rock band known as POOH is touring again.  They were very popular in Italy in the 60’s and 70’s and in the rest of the world I’m told!  It’s a great time for the aging rockers of this world, particularly in Italy where the concerts are always sold out!

Fungi in the garden. anyone know what it is? Foto J Finnigan

Fungi in the garden. anyone know what it is?
Foto J Finnigan

Meanwhile, back in our lovely wooded garden, the deluge of rain has bought lots of interesting fungi to the surface.  If any of you clever clogs know the name of these, do let me know.

Finally, we are all very sad to hear that Silvio Berlusconi has been committed to hospital with heart problems and is to be operated on today (Tuesday).  It sounds quite serious and is a four-hour job!

Silvio goes into hospital. La Nazione

Silvio goes into hospital.
La Nazione

There is already talk of finding a replacement leader for Forza Italia, Silvio’s political party.  But let’s hope that all goes well for him; Italian politics will lose a lot of colour if Silvio steps down.

Well, enough of that, must organise some lunch, do voice exercises whilst its cooking and pour myself a nice chilled white to assist my singing practice.  My man is currently occupied in his own studio, with a Skype call to England, so I had best not disturb him!

Have a really great week and do drop me a line, or visit http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

Salute June x

'My Father, The Assassin'. Book one in the series.

‘My Father, The Assassin’. Book one in the series.

'The Bolivian Connection' Book two in the series.

‘The Bolivian Connection’ Book two in the series.

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Benvenuti to all my lovely Loyal and New Followers

Yes, I’m back with a wag in my tail and feeling full of the joys of early summer in Tuscany, despite the news from Florence that the road beside the Arno, and close to the medieval Ponte Vecchio bridge, had collapsed.  Be careful where you park!

Farty Barty curled up at my feet under the Oak Tree. foto J Finnigan

Farty Barty curled up at my feet under the Oak Tree.
foto J Finnigan

Now, many of you have asked about Farty Barty the cat and you will be very pleased to know that he has finally settled into his and our new home.  As for ourselves, we are feeling even more content having got some of our well-travelled pictures on the walls.  The house, trees, garden and surrounding countryside are so very therapeutic and I foresee great novels being written here!

Graham Nash in Lucca, great singer and songwriter. La Nazione

Graham Nash in Lucca, great singer and songwriter.
La Nazione

Back in the world of rock music it is less than a month away from our next Rock Chick Band concert and our first rehearsal will be this coming Saturday.  There is no need to smoke and take drugs to be a rock singer; believe me, I get a high immediately I am behind that microphone!  Meanwhile, the Duran Duran tour hits Florence on 10th June and they will already be sold out.  No, I am not going, I did that twice in the ’80’s with my beautiful daughter.  However, I will be singing one of their songs at my own concert; there are just a few of DD’s that I really like and this one is called Skin Divers.  Lucca, near Pisa, is also a very popular venue for concerts and the aging rocker Graham Nash is currently here in concert.  A great song writer too and I would have loved to have been there, but time is currently of the essence.

Complimentary Moscato and rose at L’osteria Casa Chianti. foto J Finnigan.

Meanwhile, here in our little bit of Chianti, we are pleased to say that we are now returning on a regular basis to a local osteria that was taken over by new owners a few months ago.  Yesterday, Sunday, it was amazingly devoid of customers and we were told that part of the road had been closed to accommodate the annual cycle race.  So we were able to enjoy a strangely quiet lunch.  The food really is excellent here and, if you don’t mind loud theatrical serving at the table, you’ll love it.  It is the L’osteria Casa Chianti where they specialise in Tartufo (truffles) and Fungi Porcini.  We indulged in wood grilled Pecorino Cheese covered in locally sourced truffle shavings, followed by the lightest creamy Panacotta with mixed fruits.  Mmmmm.  With the desert, we were served complimentary glasses of Moscato and I was presented with a little rose bud.  Of course it was the rose that did it for me, so you won’t be surprised when I tell you that I am now hooked on the place!  Go to http://www.osteriadicasachianti.it

Silvio is honoured with a special Pizza in Napoli. La Nazione

Silvio is honoured with a special Pizza in Napoli.
La Nazione

Oh yes, I know you like to hear about our Silvio so here is a little snippet from our national paper.  Down in Napoli, Il Cavaliere, also known as Silvio Berlusconi, was spotted being presented with a Pizza made in his honour.  It was a long pizza with a ‘mare’ flavour, that is ‘flavour of the sea’.   He is hugely popular down south and it’s only a matter of time before he’s back in the chair, or so they say!  I’ll keep you posted.

Well, enough of that.  Books to write, wine to drink and voice exercises to endure.  If you are passing, ignore the strange screeching, it’s just me trying to make those high notes!  And don’t forget, you are very welcome to come to my concert party on 25th June here in Tuscany, just send your email address to june.finnigan@virgin.net

Meanwhile, have a great week, do drop me a line and visit my author site at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

Salute June x

'My Father, The Assassin'. Book one in the series.

‘My Father, The Assassin’. Book one in the series.

'The Bolivian Connection' Book two in the series.

‘The Bolivian Connection’ Book two in the series.

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Benvenuto to all my lovely Loyal and New Followers

Forgive the lateness of this blog, which I blame entirely on the holiday weekend and the arrival of the Sister-in-law to celebrate her birthday.  They say that pictures paint a thousand words, so to give you a taste of all our activities, I am filling this blog with fotos.

May Day celebrations in Certaldo. Foto J Finnigan

May Day celebrations in Certaldo. Foto J Finnigan

But before I launch you on a foto cruise, I will mention that Farty Barty the cat is now well and truly settled into his new home and whilst we still have pictures to hang on walls and books to unload onto shelves, we are pretty much settled in too.  And some good news is finally filtering down from our local village of Fiano in that both the Bar/Alimentare and the main bar in the piazza are re-opening soon.  This then means that we will be able to ring the changes for morning coffee, which is great.

The Family gathered on the terrazza, taken from our lofty kitchen window. Foto J Finnigan

The Family gathered on the terrazza, taken from our lofty kitchen window. Foto J Finnigan

OK, back to the weekend fun and frivolities.  We have eaten out at three different restaurants since Friday and are off to a local family one called Montalbino (no not a relative of the great detective, his name is Montalbano) for lunch today.  Now this little family osteria is hidden away in the countryside near Fiano and specialises in Fungi.  The food is really good home-cooked family fare.

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The sister-in-law and niece get ready to fly!  foto J Finnigan

The sister-in law and neice disapear into the blue yonder. frto J Finnigan

The sister-in law and niece disappear into the blue yonder.
foto J Finnigan

Otherwise, we had a family lunch party on Sunday, friends for supper last night, the sister-in-law has been horse riding with her daughter and up in a hot air balloon early this morning as today is her birthday.

Next weekend will be a little calmer and I will be able to catch up on all the local stuff that I know you guys like to hear about.  Meanwhile, have a smile at the fotos and our glorious bit of Chianti.

Have a great week.

Salute June

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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Benvenuti to all my lovely Loyal and New Followers

Il Liberazione Parade. foto J Finnigan

Il Liberazione Parade in Certaldo.
foto J Finnigan

Today, Monday, is a festa (holiday) in celebration of Il Liberazione, that is when the Germans surrendered at the end of the Second World War.  But we are unable to stop work due to the backlog and I really want to get this blog to you!

I could write a whole book about last week and call it ‘Moving House in Tuscany and Keeping One’s Sense of Humour’.  It would have all the ingredients including mystery, adventure, success and failure.  We have a saying here for many things and it is ‘Only in Italy.’

Only in Italy do you have to report your change of address directly to the town commune offices by appointment.  Then only in Italy, when your commune man goes on his computer will he find that your wonderful new, yet very old,  home does not exist!   So our commune man rings his colleague Uri who wants us to identify where it is on the map.  He asks if it has a big oak tree outside the main gate and is it close to a certain agriturismo property? We say yes.  OK, Uri happily tells our man that our new address was changed to something completely different five years ago!

Acacia Trees below our new garden. foto J Finnigan

Acacia Trees below our new garden.
foto J Finnigan

Acacia blossom after the rain. Foto J Finnigan

Acacia blossom after the rain. Foto J Finnigan

Now, just to add spice to this, our commune man also pointed out that I must change my UK driving licence to an Italian one.  You cannot own a car here unless you have an Italian licence.   In anticipation of being told this, I had already made an appointment at the local ACI office to get it changed this coming Tuesday and I told him so.   “Well, I will renew your Identity Card when you bring me your new driving licence.” He announced.  Only in Italy

So anyway, enough of that!  The Acacia trees are full of blossom and it has rained heavily for the last forty-eight hours watering the parched vineyards and olive groves, so the countryside smells and looks fabulous.

Farty Barty "I'm just popping back up tp the old house, see you in a few days.."

Farty Barty “I’m just popping back up to the old house, see you in a few days..”

Oh yes, I should mention that five days ago Farty Barty the cat went AWOL and almost certainly had gone back to our old house again, just up the track.  He has disappeared for that long before when the girlies were on heat, but this is different and I have found myself getting rather too stressed about it.  So this morning and for the third time since we have moved, we go back with the cat cage, but there was no sign of him.  We sadly drive home both silently thinking that it would be purrfect if he were to return to the new house of his own accord.  And would you believe it, there he was, as bold as brass, waiting on the outside doormat to be let in!!  As I write, he is curled up at my feet, so today we have a happy ending.

Have a great week and many happy endings of your own.

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.

Read Full Post »

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