Posts Tagged ‘grapes’

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

2017-08-24 08.58.25

Amatrice today. La Repubblica

Lest we forget, it is one year ago that the hilltop town of Amatrice was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake.  Elsewhere in Italy, lesser tremors also caused chaos and injuries.  But it was the terrible loss of life in Armatrice that really shook the country as a whole.  During this last year, the remaining unstable buildings were pulled down and the roads cleared, but little else has been achieved.  Of course the question is, should the town be rebuilt in a central part of the worst seismic zone in Italy? And if it was, the original old buildings are irreplaceable; new earthquake-proof style houses would have to be erected.  And, do the inhabitants want to go back? After a year in tents, temporary huts and hotels, they’ve had a lot of time to think about things.  Watch this space…….

2017-08-24 09.15.22

Big bunches of the famous Certaldo Red Onion. La Nazione.

On a much lighter note and back here in Certaldo, we are celebrating La Sagra della Cipolla, that’s Festival of the Onion to you and me.  But this is no ordinary onion, we are talking about that lovely sweet red onion, which is grown locally and is famous in Certaldo.  Eaten thinly sliced & raw, sometimes cooked and sold in locally made jars of marmalade, which I eat all year round.  So if you are visiting Certaldo’s Saturday morning market, pick yourself up a bunch.  You’ll love them.

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Fresh Italian Grapes on my kitchen table. Foto J Finnigan

Meanwhile, the Vendemmia, grape harvest, is starting locally.  A little early for some but the drought has forced things forward a bit.  The good news is, we can now buy big beautiful bunches of red Italian grapes in the market and supermarket.  They are almost too gorgeous to eat, so here is a picture for you to drool over as they will be eaten over the next week!

2017-08-23 09.19.52

What next?  Oh yes, Tuscany is celebrating the selection of a new Miss Toscana.  A very pretty twenty-six year old mother called Lavinia Mannucci.  Well done to her, she now goes on to the big national contest, Miss Italia and yes, Italy still loves this sort of thing.  There were some entrants who, in my man’s opinion, did not stand a ‘hope in hell’ of being selected.  Nevertheless, they still stood up on the podium smiling nervously at the judges.  I do wonder at the initial selection process, but still admire those young women who give it a go, bless them!  Foto La Repubblica.

Oh, just a little snippet.  This week my man and I are going into Florence to visit a recommended tailor called Sartoria Vanni.  My man needs a new city suit and this will be the first time he has been to buy a bespoke Italian one.  I love these sort of places, particularly as the business has been going for 200 years!  Yes, I need to be there just to check on the style and my man does appreciate my view.  I’m also very nosy and want to see inside a real Italian Tailor’s showroom!  I’ll report back next week and you may like to visit their website

Anyway, must get this blog up and posted to you.  I have promised to cook my man a roast veggie lunch, so better get a move on.  But I hear something calling me, I sit back and listen, yes there it is a little high-pitched voice saying “Aperitivo time, Aperitivo time…..”  Mama Mia, there’s always something that stops me in my tracks, particularly when I’m expected to cook.  I wonder if I can persuade my man to have salad today, then we can relax with a nice sparkling wine?  O Dio, I can see the disappointed look on his face already; I’ll do the lunch!

Have a great week and do drop me a line, I love to hear from you!

Salute June x

PS Visit my author site at My site or any other world-wide Amazon site.

2017-05-07 17.25.58




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Well, my man and I have agreed that its time to take a break and to organise a lot of nothings and nowheres to go.  Come Friday 16th August we will be closing the offices in the UK and Italy for a two-week summer break and will be doing absolutely nothing.  Of course we may be inspired to write (me) or do one of those big boxes of jigsaw that have been gathering dust (my man).  We might even cook a bit, perhaps not.  Busy is a word that everyone uses when you ask them how they are doing.  Busy, busy they say, you know how it is!  So for all those modern-day people of all ages, who have forgotten how not to be busy,  I am dedicating to you the following song courtesy of Winnie the Pooh.Image

I’m busy doing nothing, nothing the whole day through

Trying to find lot’s of things not to do,

I’m busy going nowhere, isn’t it just a crime,

I’d like to be unhappy but, I never do have the time!

Now, if that doesn’t make you smile and to think about slowing down, there must be something really wrong with you.  When we were children, we spent a lot of time having adventures and most of these were had without leaving one’s bedroom or garden.   Read, read, read.  Yes, you must read a good book.  When is the last time you picked up a real one?  Not the downloaded variety, the paper and cardboard sort which you carry around like a good friend.  If you do not have a library at home, go to your local one or even lazier, visit http://www.firstchapters.net and read the first few chapters of any book and, if you like it, buy it on-line.  In fact order a box full that will take you at least two weeks to read and put all your electronic equipment in a dark drawer somewhere.   Yes, I’m serious.  When not reading, relax with an early evening aperitivo with your loved one or close friends.  Wander around your garden or a nearby bit of countryside or park, and slowly absorb the plants and the insects that are visiting the flowers.  Breath in the fresh air.  You are feeling better already aren’t you? I certainly am and in the run up to the start of our doing nothing break, I’m going to clear my desk of debris, polish it and only put back the essentials.   The rest can go in the bin or a box!

Ripening grapes on our lower terrace. Photo P Finnigan

Ripening grapes on our lower terrace.
Photo P Finnigan

OK, enough of that, I think you may have got the message!  Here in our beautiful Tuscan garden there is always something to marvel about.  We have a small corner that is shaded by a roughly shaped pergola which is currently supporting a couple of large vines and wisteria, all tangled up together!

The grass, or should I say ground cover weeds, are now burnt to a crisp brown, so the vine leaves are a nice green contrast.  These hills, whilst brown from the sun, retain their colour with the vines and the silver green of the olive trees.

We were told to expect heavy rain this last week but nothing happened.  We always know when water is low in the streams and lakes, because the bees are swarming over Farty Barty’s water bowl for a drink.  We have to carefully scoop out the ones that have got too wet, so they can dry out and fly away again!

A shady path under the fruit trees, leading to the Olive Grove.

A shady path under the fruit trees, leading to the Olive Grove.
Photo P Finnigan

We are very fortunate to have many fir and cypress trees in our garden, that provide plenty of shade for both the villa and garden.  Temperatures are around thirty-five degrees at present and tree shade is very important; a brolly alone is insufficient.

August is proving to be busier than expected in our Local village of Fiano.  Saturdays are the changeover days for most of the Agriturismi (Farms with accommodation) and the hotels.  I went for my usual espresso coffee fix and there were quite a few strangers wandering through the village.  Over coffee, at Laura’s cafe/Alimentari, a lovely Italian lady spent five minutes trying to get me to say her name correctly which is Grazianna.  the trouble is, we northern Europeans simply cannot roll our rrrrr’s sufficiently to get the correct sound.  I got my own back by asking her to pronounce June.  Not pronouncing the vowel at the end of a word is the most difficult thing for an Italian.  consequently, I am usually called Juni!

The charismatic Silvio Berlusconi

The charismatic Silvio Berlusconi

And so to the gorgeous Silvio.  Wikipedia has updated its profile for Silvio Berlusconi to ‘Is an Italian Politician, entrepreneur, media tycoon and convicted fraudster, who served three times as Prime Minister of Italy’  It is interesting to note, where they have inserted ‘convicted fraudster’, tucked in above having served three times as Prime Minister.  Talk to any Italian in your local bar and they will always shrug their shoulders and say, that at least Italian politics is openly corrupt, unlike some governments in northern Europe!  I think it’s also time for Silvio to get busy planning to do nothing for a while, the only decision he needs to make is in which swimming pool should he float his time away, whilst under house arrest.   He can happily doze away, counting all the 5.7 billion euros he has admitted to owning, to help him go to sleep!  Poor man.

Well time to get ready to collect my man from the station after a hard week in London.  He’ll be delighted to know about all the nothing things I’ve listed for him to do during our holiday.

Salute & Amore June x

PS Don’t forget to check out http://www.firstpages.net for your holiday reading!  I recommend My Father, The Assassin’ by J W Finnigan.

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