Posts Tagged ‘Figs’

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

It’s been a very busy week here on the edge of Chianti in our little bit of beautiful Tuscany. We are surrounded by vineyards and it is the middle of La Vendemmia (Grape Harvest) when all the existing squeaky tractors and clanging trailers are hurtling along the track like there’s no tomorrow. To add to the traffic chaos, the main road is closed for repair between Certaldo and Fiano, so most vehicles are following our track and taking the country route. This then also creates a hell of a lot of dust! But things will quieten down later today as rain and wind is forecast; mind you, although not good for the harvest, the land and gardens could certainly do with some heavy showers. But we don’t care about all that, life eeez good, life eeez now!

Meanwhile, we can enjoy the fruits of the woods and trees in the shape of Figs and Porcini Mushrooms. Both are two of my favourite locally grown indulgences. Autumn is definitely peeking through and hopefully Tartufo Bianco (white truffles) will be on the menu soon. The local truffle hunters and their clever dogs know the exact weather conditions and the secret locations for successful hunts.

Now, you may remember that the Commune di Certaldo holds an event called the Calambur every September and our local village of Fiano is represented by Rione Le Fonte, a bunch of very enthusiastic athletic and bright people dressed in red and white. So last Sunday was a day of races and intelligence tests and all four teams tried their very best to win. Then when the winners were announced as our team, for the second year running, everyone jumped around whooping and cheering waving the coveted banner in the air. So well done again to the guys and gals of Rione Le Fonte!

Now it’s rare for me to promote the work of another writer. However, this one is a lovely friend, is Italian and is called Rita (Carla) Francesca Monticelli. She has just published a hard back English version of her thriller Kindred Intentions and it would make a great Christmas present for your thriller loving friends and family. I love her books. Go to her Amazon link https://mybook.to/intentionsHB/opt/1

Well, time to think about lunch. I’ll go check the fridge out!

Have a great week, do drop me a line at june.finnigan0@gmail.com or visit my website at http://www.junefinnigan.website

Salute June x


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

Now, some of you already know that I am a Director of a London based M&A Team, that is Mergers & Acquisitions. Well, like most service businesses, we have been working remotely since March, we just happen to be lucky enough to be locked-down in Tuscany. I’m mentioning this because I realised yesterday, Friday, that I had missed sending you a blog last weekend, I’m so sorry! But who’d have thought it, we have become so busy in the business without face to face meetings, that I have had to put aside finishing my fourth book and concentrate on our new clients! I actally spent last weekend in my home office! So my new target publication date for ‘Assassin’s List’ is now Spring 2021!

But don’t worry, you are far from being forgotten, without some creative writing and particularly to you, I think my head would explode! Meanwhile, all around us the Vendemia (grape harvest) is at its height. The noise from the great big harvesters, has filled the air and the clattering of the emptied grape trailers bouncing along behind tractors on the hard rutted track, as they come back for more. These big automatic harvesters have been in use for many years, particularly with the larger Wineries. But there are still many small farmers who employ hand pickers and provide holidays for tourists who want to join in. In return for your labour, you will usually have great platters of typical tuscan fare provided for lunch. Do you have any grape picking experiences! visit http://www.chianti.com

The lovely luscious dark purple Sangiovese grape, which goes into the Chianti wines is grown in this part of Tuscany on the edge of Chianti itself. Driving past Villa Bacio this morning, the air was full of the perfume and small streams of residue purple juice had flooded across the road, filling all the cracks and spilling over the edge into the fields. It seems only yesterday that the last Vendemia was under way!

As regards other seasonal fruits, there are still some wonderful sweet fresh figs to be had. You need to know your trees though as some can be very bitter. But at Paolo’s C’era una Volta Ristorante, I was served up the most mouth watering sweet fruits direct from his own trees, with local pecorino cheeses. Delizioso! Down in Certaldo this morning, the fruit and veg market was very busy, loads of fresh produce and, I’m glad to say, everyone still keeping a distance and most wearing masks. But I missed seeing the Artisan Market in Via Giugno with the lovely crafts and products from all over Italy. My man told me about this later, the crafty devil! He knew that I would be there all morning if I had known! Unknowingly, I instead spent half an hour having a pedicure and manicure with my beautician Irene, whilst my man went off for his favourite pastry at Jam Caffe, no doubt with a smirk on his face! But now I am a happy rabbit with beautiful feet and hands. I have chosen a purple varnish again, to match the colour of the Chianti Wine in my glass!

On our return home, my man unlocked the front door and I barrelled through the beaded fly-curtain. My man let out a shout and said “Stick insect alert!” Apparently one of these stunning creatures (Bacillus Rossius) was attached to the curtain which, I could have easily injured. But all was fine, he took a foto and a short while later announced that it was eating a live shield bug! Funny, I thought they only ate leaves, but hey, nothing new really surprises us here in Italy! Everything gets eaten.

Meanwhile, September is turning out quite nice. The house is cooler as the nights are now longer. Temperatures are still at a high of 33 centigrade after lunch and will be for the rest of the week, but there is also a bit of a breeze. Tourists have thinned out a bit now and the schools are open, but we have not seen the usual grey heads that are traditionally here in September.

Well, must get this blog edited and the fotos put in for you to enjoy. Once again, sorry for missing last weekends blog, I’ll try not to do it again!

Wishing you all a really good week and please stay safe. Visit my website at http://www.junefinnigan.website

Salute June x

Grape fotos chianti.com

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

2019-08-31 09.28.26Well, would you believe it, Silvio Berlusconi’s ex-wife Veronica Lario has has been told by an Italian court that she will no longer receive her monthly alimony payments of 1.4 million euros, yes, read this again 1.4 million euros, from billionaire Silvia Berlusconi, as it has ruled that Silvio had been unfairly treated!  Who the hell really needs that much a month anyway?  Well, Veronica does have cash deposits of some 16 million, jewels and a real estate business, so methinks she won’t go hungry.  There will, however, be another small dent to her wealth as she will have to pay back around 60 million of alimony, which the courts said she had no right to!  Well, that’s the Berlusconi planet for you.  Meanwhile, it looks like his political career is on the rise again too!  Watch this space.  foto La Nazione.

2019-08-30 13.37.22Meanwhile, back in the real world and in my case, our little bit of Chianti, it’s fig or Ficchi time!  I love Italian figs and Paolo has just started serving them up at Ristorante C’era Una Volta in Lucardo.  When the olive wood platter arrived with a wonderful display of figs and Pecorino cheeses, I couldn’t wait to dig in, then remembered you guys!  I should have taken a foto before I started eating!  Anyway, here is the last one for you to drool over.  it is also Zucchini (courgette) Flower time; Paolo’s Zucchini Flower fritters are to die for! Foto J Finnigan

2019-08-28 09.31.51Now another important indulgence for me is my four weekly visit to Sandra at La Parrucchiera in Certaldo for ‘colore.’  Sandra is my hairdresser and has been for the last fifteen years!  Fortunately, she is a lot younger than me, so should be around even when I am in my nineties.  My man understands that, no matter what my state of physical or mental health, he must get me to Sandra’s.  It is also the only time that I have the chance to read some glossy magazines and last week I spotted these gorgeous Hand Made Italian Moccasins.  As you know, I am dead against trianers as a fashion item, other than for sport.  All I can say ladies, if you want to look good in flats here’s the answer; beautiful and comfortable at the same time! Moccasins Live!

images.jpgWhere were we?  Did you know it is the 50 year anniversary of Woodstock.  Woodstock?  Now come on, even my grandchildren have heard of Woodstock and by the way, love my music from the 60’s an 70’s.  Our local village of Fiano is celebrating this momentous event in the Piazza with great food and two bands thumping out the original music!  I absolutely adore the Italians for their love of great music and bands.  Where else in the world can one be an aging rocker and be considered normal?  I sometimes include the song ‘Woodstock.’ by Mathew’s Southern Comfort in my concert repertoire.  Pop on to You tube and have a listen.

67346061_2433870966884573_7785530085527781376_nOf course the next thing we have to enjoy is Il Calambur.  This is the annual battle of Certaldo Commune’s factions (Quarteriere), ours is Fiano, which won the year before last.  The big event is held in central Certaldo and we hope the this year our village will come out on top again!  There will be sporting and intelligent tests and a lot of fun.  Put 15th September in your diary! The flags will be flying soon!

OK, it looks like I need to cook lunch today as my man has just asked for one of his favourite lentil bakes.  He’s been very loving lately, so I can hardly refuse him, can I?

I’ll quickly do a last minute edit first and get this off to you.  Do drop me a line, I love to hear from my readers.

Salute june x

Ps Don’t forget to visit my website at My site



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Benvenuto to all my loyal and new followers,

The valley below our villa Photo J Finnigan

The busy valley below our villa
Photo J Finnigan

“Did you call me to attest to your insanity?”  My man is staring up at me from the garden, whilst I am hanging out the studio window with a hoarse throat.  “No goddamnit” I croak, “I wanted you to remind me what it was you said to your London friend, when he asked you what ‘the sounds of Tuscany’ were.”  “Oh, yes, squeaky tractors of course.”  Well, it depends on the time of year, however, at this moment in time my man is right.  Ancient squeaky tractors are currently rattling their way up and down between the vines, rotovating the soil.  this goes on for quite a few weeks, whilst imported workers are trimming and tidying the vines.  Meanwhile,   the pruned branches from the olive trees are being dragged into piles and burnt.  So the air is rather smoky at present.

Last weekend in Fiano, Benedetta had gone off to the coast to celebrate her twenty-third birthday, so her mother Laura was holding the fort at the bar/alimentari alone.  Over coffee there, I told my man about the quotes I had had for translating my novel into Italian and that they were all very expensive.  I explained that I had been asked for the number of ‘characters’, rather than words, and wondered if they included the spaces.  “Ha, I’m surprised they didn’t want to weigh the book, they weigh everything else here!”  he groaned.  You may laugh, but what my man said is very true.  If you order a sandwich, the Italians slice the bread and weigh it, slice the cheese/ham and weigh it, and weigh tomatoes and/or salad before slicing.   So, back to the book, I may have to postpone the translation, until I make a lot more royalty money from the English version.

Yesterday, our beautiful nine-year old granddaughter arrived to stay overnight, whilst her big brother went down to Perugia to play rugby with his team from Siena.  Sadly, the result went heavily against Siena this time.  Our girl introduced her granddad to a new game of cards, which they are currently playing at her school.  There was a lot of shouting, laughter and slapping of hands on the table.  “What’s going on?”  I enquired.  “Oh its this game called Manaccia” my man replied, “It’s a bit like snap with attitude!”  Earlier in the morning, we had dropped down to Certaldo to buy Primula and Pansies, but were disappointed because our usual lady was not in the market with her plant stand.  However, all is not lost as  we managed to get some plants in Montespertoli this morning.

Giant Emperor Moths on Garden Lamp Photo P Finnigan

Giant Emperor Moths on Garden Lamp
Photo P Finnigan

My man called me down to the garden a couple of days ago and  I was amazed to see two, probably newly emerged, Giant Emperor Moths hanging off the bottom of one of our garden lights.  This light stays on all night, so they probably had toasty warm feet.  Fabulous, and my man managed to capture this picture for you all to see!  I must say that all the signs are here now for the end of any

The first baby fig of 2014 Photo P Finnigan

The first baby fig of 2014
Photo P Finnigan

cold weather; ants, flies, dragonflies, butterflies flitting and dancing together,  six bats emerging at dusk and the first baby fig on our tree!  However, it’s a bit chilly this morning….

Enter, the much adored Silvio Berlusconi.  Oh no, things are sadly on the downward slope for SB.  Italy’s highest appeal court has upheld his two-year ban from

Silvio swallows the pill. Photo Indiatimes

Silvio swallows the pill.
Photo Indiatimes

public office, after which he ‘auto-suspended’ himself from the ‘Federation of Knights’ ahead of a meeting, where he expected to be stripped of the title.  Described by many Italians as ‘Il Cavaliere’, he will now have to get used to being simply Mr Berlusconi!  Meanwhile, he has scotched rumours that his children will stand as candidates for his party Forza Italia in the EU elections.  What to do next, that is the question?  When you are the sixth richest person in Italy, one’s choices are very limited…….

Oh, I nearly forgot.  I promised to send you a snippet from my new novel ‘The Bolivian Connection’ to be published later this year.  I will send you a taster mid-week as I am now under pressure to get on with the day job.  Nevertheless, life eez good, life eez now!

Have a great week.

Amore June xx

PS here is the link for my Amazon Author Page:


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I am full of enthusiasm this morning, as I have so much to tell you about the last seven days in our lovely spot on the edge of Chianti.

Farty Barty stays out of reach on Vets day. Photo P Finnigan

Farty Barty stays out of reach on Vets day.
Photo P Finnigan

Yes, it’s true, my man and I, not forgetting Farty Barty the cat, are very lucky to be here and we celebrate this fact every evening with a nice chilled aperitivo on our upper terrace.  Yes, there is a lower terrace, otherwise we would not have an upper one would we?  On the subject of the garden and my man, you may recall that the latter has had an ongoing battle with the pretty dark red furry ones, that love to throw the sharp remains of pine nuts on his head.  Now the little devils  are eating the ripe figs!  We have yet to see the Pine Martens, but we know they get together with the squirrels at night, have midnight fig feasts, and leave us with nothing but small hard green ones.

Remaining hard green figs. Photo June Finnigan

Remaining hard green figs.
Photo June Finnigan

I don’t mind this at all, I like to think that the garden attracts all and sundry from the countryside.  My man thinks the squirrels may be eating the young courgettes too, however, I say that if you can’t see any tooth marks then it’s not them, but a sneaky wild pig (cinghiale) with a straight blade knife.   I have already talked a lot about the very noisy cicada, but with hand over my mouth and trying not to snigger, I must tell you that my man is also being dive bombed by these flying insects every time he walks under a tree!

Well enough of that.  Back in Fiano, our local village, the pensioners were queueing up for their pensions outside La Posta.  This is a first of the month event, and takes all morning to pay everyone out.  There is only room for four people inside, so the poor things have to queue outside in the hot sun.  I know most of these lovely people by sight and we always exchange ‘Buon Giorno’s’.  For some reason I stopped and asked (in Italian of course) a few familiar faces why they don’t have their pensions paid into the bank.  This was a silly thing to do and no sooner had I opened my mouth, I knew the answer.  Cash is king here in Italy.  The minute you bank anything it is taxed and it is up to you to claim it back if you think you are entitled to do so.  A few years ago I made the mistake of opening an account with one hundred euros.  I never got to use the account, then a several months later I received a statement  and  the whole balance  had been swallowed up by tax and bank charges!  Ouch….

It is the start of August, and here in Tuscany everything is winding down.  This is traditional, as all Italians, if they can afford it and many can’t this year, are packing up and leaving for the coast or the mountains where the air is cooler.  If you are reading this and intend coming to Tuscany this month, think again!  Eighty percent of shops, restaurants and bars close for at least two weeks in August and sometimes for the whole month.   We are already seeing  tourists wandering around what to them, must seem to be ghost towns and villages.    Poor Laura and her daughter in the Bar/Alimentare in Fiano, have been working in inside temperatures of forty-two degrees and are quite rightly closing in the afternoons.  We go there every morning for our Espresso coffee fix and yesterday my man had to bury his red face in the newspaper, because he had eaten the last Pasta di Marmellata and a disgruntled local wanted to know why it had not been kept back for him!

Bougainvillea with butterfly top right. photo June Finnigan

Bougainvillea with butterfly top right.
photo June Finnigan

And now to the subject of butterflies.  Yes, I am talking about those beautiful fluttering things that visit the flowers for their nectar.  I have been frantically trying to photograph a really big one, so that I can find out what it is and send you a picture.  But would you believe it, just when I think I have captured the perfect shot it waves good-bye and is off.  However, this has resulted in some lovely pictures of the Bougainvillea, which is winding its way up the bottom of a fir-tree from the lower terrace, so you can at least enjoy one of those.  If you strain your eyes, you might just see a bit of butterfly top right!  If you can identify it, please let me know.

Poor old Silvio Berlusconi has had a hard time this week.  In the empty court a carabiniere (policeman) got so bored after seven hours of waiting for the judges to return with their verdict, that he broke into a spontaneous dance and white-gloved moves apparently inspired by the Village People’s hit song YMCA.  It’s now hugely popular on YouTube!  You can smile at this, however, the final verdict was not even a tiny bit funny from Silvio’s point of view.  This is a very rich man, with many questionable connections and he likes pretty girls.  He has been Prime Minister of Italy three times and has a massive right-wing following.  According to some of the people in our local bar, he is the perfect target for jealous left-wing politicians and judges.  When seeking election some years ago Silvio quoted ”Out of love for Italy, I felt I had to save it from the left.”  So, whatever your point of view, as Silvio declared in May 2010 ‘As prime Minister, I never had the feeling that I was in power…..’  No picture today as he is currently looking too sad.  But watch this space, he’ll be back!

Well it’s time for a relaxing aperitivo and then lunch at ‘C’era Una Volta’ in Lucardo.

Have a good week and do get in touch.

Salute June x

PS To read the first four chapters of my novel ‘My Father, The Assassin’ go to http://www.firstchapters.net


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