Posts Tagged ‘Grape Harvest’

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

The_Man_in_Black_Cover_for_KindleFirstly, just to remind you that my Short Thriller story can still be downloaded absolutely free of charge from any Amazon site around the world, or directly from my site at My Amazon Site  Last day is tomorrow the 5th September!  Enjoy!

Meanwhile, back here in our beautiful little bit of Tuscany, it is the mass return to work for most Italians.  We love this time of year because shops, restaurants, Markets and caffe bars reopen after the long August holiday, which inevitably overlaps into September.  The towns and villages morph from ghost towns into bustling welcoming places, and it is such a relief.

2018-09-01 10.25.14In the countryside, the Vendemmia (grape harvest) is underway; the white grapes are already in and the red harvest is just starting.  And, droves of tourists are arriving to enjoy watching and being part of the harvest.  Many are taking organised vineyard treks that take wine lovers through miles of picturesque vineyards, stopping off for the odd tasting here and there.  A very productive and satisfying time of year.

2018-09-04 12.08.49Oh yes, I really must tell you about the discovery of a Leather Atelier in Barbarino Val D’Elsa near Tavernelle.  I was out and about with my visiting sister-in-law yesterday and went to the town, because I had seen an Artisan market advertised.  The town is a tiny hilltop place, beautiful and old, but little to offer in the way of restaurants or caffè bars.  But then we discovered the shop Colleregio (Firenze) owned by Francesco Bojola!  Well, you know what I am like with handbags, so you can imagine how I felt when we walked through the door.  Everything was handmade and beautiful, no rubbish there, oh no, and the prices reflect this of course.  To me a handbag bought from a place like this is an investment.  It also occurred to me that this was the ideal place to bring my man who has his Italian shoes and suits hand-made, and he really needed a smart shoulder bag to carry his Apple Mac and stuff whilst in London.  So we took the man in this morning and he was impressed.  The lovely owner, Francesco, will have just what is needed brought over from his other shop on Thursday, so watch this space!  Foto from their brochure.  Website Colleregio

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Whilst mentioning my sister-in-law, who likes to photograph herself in front of every old Italian doorway and under every archway, we do get to go out and eat rather more often as she likes to do this a lot.  So we have made two return trips to Osteria La Gramola in Tavernelle, two to C’era Una Volta in Lucardo and one to  Osteria Casa Chianti near Fiano.  Once Tuscany has shed more of its tourists we will head up to San Gimingiano (see foto J Finnigan) for some sophisticated dining.  San Gim is better visited out of season and for eating, in the evening.  Can’t wait!

2018-08-25 19.13.49And so to the beautiful month of September in Tuscany.  As if by magic, with the arrival of the new month, the weather changed from hot and humid to sunny and fresh with the odd shower, overnight.  Although not really autumn yet, I do love this season for the weather, the return to normality and the fashions.  It is also the time for new wine and the run up to the Olive Harvest, which will be in full swing come October.  Wonderful.  Foto – our September garden – J Finnigan.

Well, what else can I say, except ‘life eeez good, life eeez now’!

Do drop me a line or leave a message below, I love to hear from you.  Visit my official author site at My website

Salute June x

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Benvenuti to all my lovely Loyal and New Followers

The Grape Harvest begins. La Nazione

The Grape Harvest begins.
La Nazione

Hurrah!  September is here with its cooler weather and a little rain!  After a seriously hot humid August, it was a relief when we hit the 1st September.  And, on this day the first mechanical grape picker started trundling through the vineyards below our house, collecting all those plump purple grapes that will provide us with our next supply of Chianti wines.  Also on this day, the shooters were allowed to start banging away at first light, celebrating the start of the hunting season.  I make no comment on this except that we would be happy for local wildlife to take up arms and fire back.  Oops, sorry, that was supposed to be no comment.

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Our lovely big kitchen table and fruit. Foto J Finnigan

Anyway, What else to celebrate?  Ah well, the seasonal fruit; we are gorging on lovely fresh fruit salads for breakfast every morning.  Peaches, plums, apples and some imported things like bananas and kiwi.  So I thought you might like a picture of my big kitchen table with its baskets of fruit.

Porcini Mushrooms. La Nazione

Porcini Mushrooms. La Nazione

The other things I adore at this time of year is the fungi harvest.  In particular the big porcini mushrooms that are delicious grilled whole as an anti-pasti.  Yummy!

And, still on the subject of food, last Sunday we went to ‘Ristorante Borgo Antico’ in Tavernelle and I promised to report back to you.  Firstly, the place was all closed down so we enquired at a nearby geletaria.  Apparently, they had moved to the edge of town four years ago!  How little we know….  Well, my friends, I have to tell you that we were delighted with the new place, a beautiful outside terrace, the same big welcome from Katia, as we always used to get at the old place, and food and wine to die for!  So needless to say we are booked to go back today, Sunday!  I’ll post some pictures next week.  Meanwhile, go to http://www.borgoanticorestaurant.com

Autumn fashions from Simona Barbieri. La Republica.

Autumn fashions from Simona Barbieri.
La Republica.

Now most of you will already know that I love clothes and the Italian Autumn fashions are fabulous.  In particular, the oranges and browns that really suit my colouring.  Whilst I hate to give up wearing flip-flops, stylish ones of course, I do adore window shopping for handbags and shoes.  My poor man cannot understand why I keep buying handbags, “You can only use one at a time and you keep most of them in a cupboard for months.” But that’s not the point, is it girlies?

Anyway, that’s enough for now.  Do send me your own September stories either by replying to this blog or by email to june.finnigan@virgin.net.  I love to hear from you.

Salute June x

PS I’m still on target with my latest book, rattling away at least one thousand words a day!  I’ve just got to a very scary bit!

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 to all my Lovely Loyal and New Followers

Big fat juicy grapes from a neighbouring vineyard. Photo J Finnigan

Big fat juicy grapes from a neighbouring vineyard.
Photo J Finnigan

Most of you will know that by the end of September, the bulk of the grape harvest will have been completed.  It seems to have been particularly frenetic over the last two weeks with tractors and trailers roaring past our little villa, empty and rattling one way, then smelling wonderful with a big load of fat purple grapes on the way back.  Like some crazy person, I have been dashing out trying to get a photo, but they are gone too quickly!  Finally, I was on the way back from coffee and there was a parked trailer waiting for a tractor.  Whoopee, I screeched to a halt and took the photo, with the sound of the tractor arriving full pelt down the track behind me, in a thick cloud of dust!

The Museum st San Marco in Florence after the storm. Photo The Florentine

The Museum st San Marco in Florence after the storm.
Photo The Florentine

Florence and a large part of the valley around the city, was hit by a ferocious tornado just over a week ago, and whilst you may have heard about this and that the city was ankle-deep in hail stones, some the size of golf balls,  you will not have realised just how devastating this was for the crop farmers in the region.  Whole vineyards were destroyed, buildings badly damaged and the estimated cost is several millions of euros.

Getting work is difficult enough in Italy, however, the Italians are very good at creating ‘jobs for life’ in the most devious ways.  We have a local man who drives a little truck loaded with a shovel, broom and little else.  Now, he is employed by the local commune to keep the gutters free by the side of a B road and he is out in all weathers.  We have a lot of water running off these hills and it is important to keep the roads flood free.  Our man shovels the mud and silt from the gutter and throws it back up the hill from whence it came.  Yes, you’ve worked it out, it quickly washes down again as soon as it rains!  So here is a job for life.  By the time he’s worked his way from one end of the steep curving road to the other, he needs to start all over again.  Nevertheless, he is a popular character and locals often stop and chat, no doubt recognising a kindred spirit!

Lovely wild yellow daisies by the side of the road near our villa. Photo J Finnigan

Lovely wild yellow daisies by the side of the road near our villa.
Photo J Finnigan

I have recently had a letter from the USL in Certaldo, that is the local Health Centre, telling me that I will not automatically get a discount on health services and medicines unless I go and put my plastic health card (Tessera Sanitaria) in a new machine to register.  So I go and there is a massive queue.  I get to the machine and it asks for my password; I did not know I had one.  So I get in the other queue of people who are also confused by the request for a password, and wait for nearly an hour for the single lady at the desk to be free.  By then, I still have at least ten people in front of me, so I give up and go with four other frustrated ladies for a prosecco in the local bar.  Only in Italia…..

Nearly finished the Chianti and onto the Crema di Limoncello at C'era una Volta Restuarant. Photo J Finnigan

Nearly finished the Chianti and onto the Crema di Limoncello at C’era una Volta restaurant.
Photo J Finnigan

Meanwhile, life continues at a gentle pace in our local village of Fiano.  Lots of grey-headed tourists are wandering around, September is a popular time for the oldies, and I hand out my author cards to several English and Americans visiting Laura’s cafe bar/alimentare.  My man thinks I should keep a box of books in the car and sell them directly to the tourists and sign them.  Perhaps he’s right.  There is no way I can tell if my book has been bought on-line by someone who had my card.  Over coffee, I note that I have new photos arrived on Facebook.  “Do you have a Facebook account now, some family photos have been posted?”  I ask my man, who is deep into Il Nazione newspaper. “No, but that’s alright, I know what they look like.” He returns to his paper. I sigh.

Last night, one of our favourite restaurants C’era Una Volta, was very busy with a mix of Italian, German and Swiss.  We met another really nice couple from Germany, Helta and Harold.  If you guys are reading this, we hope you are enjoying your holiday.  Today, Sunday, we are ringing the changes and heading off for San Vivaldo near Montaione, as we have heard about an interesting restaurant called Il Focolare, which will be having vegan fest in October and is in the grounds of a historic monastery.  We have vegan friends, so it would be nice to take them somewhere where they can relax and enjoy their food.  It is not difficult to eat vegetarian in the area, but vegan dishes are harder to find.  So we are off to check it out first.

Silvio at AC Milan Photo Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

Silvio at AC Milan
Photo Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

I’ve just checked on the gorgeous Silvio Berlusconi, and it seems he is back in the news.  However, he spends much of his time visiting his football team, AC Milan by helicopter, where he has been photographed a lot with the players.  This is outside the four hours a week he spends doing social work at a hospital for those suffering from dementia.  I’m surprised he remembers to turn up.  Apparently, he recently met up with his rival, the prime minister Renzie, but I can’t find anything interesting to say about that.  I expect his little dog Dudu would be able to tell us a few interesting facts, perhaps I’ll give the mutt a call.

So, its back to the real world, an aperitivo on the upper terrace, gazing at the sunset lighting up the few clouds in the sky, going for coffee in the mornings and greeting the locals, doing the odd bit of work and writing my current novel.  Life can be hard at times.

Have a really good week and don’t forget to read ‘My Father, The Assassin’ before I publish the sequel ‘The Bolivian Connection’ later this year.

Salute June x

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