Posts Tagged ‘Italian Rugby’

Benvenuto to all my loyal and new followers,

Matteo Renzie on the cover of Vanity Fair.

Matteo Renzie on the cover of Vanity Fair.

last Sunday, the village hall in our local village of Fiano, was all set up to receive the voters for the election of the new Mayor of Certaldo.  Our resident Moroccan street seller had positioned himself close to the entrance, so everything was ready.  We had received forms to complete, that would have allowed us the opportunity to vote, however, life being so hectic, I clean forgot to return them.  We have no idea who the candidates were, but for sure, it will be difficult to find someone equal to the handsome and charismatic Matteo Renzie, the original Mayor of Florence, who is now Prime Minister.

the vicious Processionaria that builds nests in Fir Trees. Photo National Geographic

the vicious Processionaria that builds nests in Fir Trees.
Photo National Geographic

Back in the countryside and gardens, vicious caterpillars called ‘Processionaria’ are causing a lot of problems.  They are lovely to look at, but deadly to approach.  If they think they are being threatened they will fire sharp spines that are very dangerous for animals and humans alike.  Our poor son-in-law was trying to clear some from the garden when a spine was shot straight into his eye!  After hospital treatment, the painful injury should be OK, but be warned…..

Eurasian Jay Photo Wikapedia

Eurasian Jay
Photo Wikipedia

However, there are some good things to tell you;  particularly the sight of four Jays doing a mating waltz, directly in front of us over the steep valley below.

Back in the village, we were approached by local man Sergio, who owns a 1960’s English MG sports car and he was keen to know what an Englishman would have worn then, whilst driving the car.  My man said over coffee, “I think he needs some Clarks Desert Boots, a houndstooth or checked sports jacket, cravat and cap.  Think Terry Thomas!”  So back in my studio, I did a bit of research on-line.   I could not find any really good pictures of our Terry, but came across one of  Michael Caine dressed in perfect attire.   I then found some excellent British sites that still sell the exact same clothes.  It will be possible for Sergio to buy a new all British double-breasted navy sports jacket with brass buttons from M&S, and have it posted!  There were even sites dedicated to English cravats!  so I printed off some pictures and left them in the bar for Sergio to collect.  I look forward to hearing from him and seeing him looking like a proper English, if Italian, gent.

Meanwhile, Farty Barty the cat seems to have slowed down and, thank god, is probably over the call of the wild.  The sun is now quite hot by mid-day so he is lying on his back on the wooden bench, in a most ungainly fashion, and enjoying himself.  We have been able to throw open the doors and windows for a large part of the day and have even started some spring cleaning!

Silvio re-launches 'Forza Italia' Photo Reuters

Silvio with his party ‘Forza Italia’
Photo Reuters

And so to the undaunted and charismatic billionaire Silvio Berlusconi.  Undaunted, because he is now planning to run for a place in the EU parliament!  If he wins, he may not be able to take his seat in the legislative body, which traditionally meets in Strasbourg, France.  Why?  Well firstly, he does not currently hold a passport, handed over to prevent him fleeing the country, and secondly he maybe under house arrest when the vote takes place.  You have to admire the man though;  down, but definitely not out!  What do you think?

Well, enough of that.  Time to beautify myself and to go out to Sunday lunch with my man.

Have a great week, do drop me a line and, if you have read the book,  please pop a review of ‘My Father, The Assassin’ on Amazon or Goodreads.

Grazie Mille and Salute, June x

Ps  I must mention the fact that I have been chuckling all day over something I wrote yesterday in chapter eleven of ‘The Bolivian Connection’.  It is an exchange of conversation between our heroine Joanna and her Interpol protector and former lover, Frenchman Laurent.  Sorry, you’ll have to wait for the book to be published….ha,ha,ha!  on the other hand, I might let you have a snippet next weekend….watch this space.

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Benvenuto to all my loyal and new followers

Winter colour in the garden. Photo J Finnigan

Winter colour in the garden.
Photo J Finnigan

As I write this blog, the morning sun is pouring through the open studio window and there is nothing like it for being inspired to write.  The weather has been so spring like, apart from the hailstorm yesterday, that many trees and flowers are well in advance with their blossoms.

Our grandson kicks a winning drop goal. Photo P Finnigan

Our grandson kicks a winning conversion aka Jonny Wilkinson.
Photo P Finnigan

Last weekend we went to the historical centre of Poggibonsi for lunch with our beautiful daughter and two grandchildren.  You may recall that our thirteen year old grandson is bravo at rugby and is capitano of Siena under fourteens.  Unfortunately his leg was in plaster after his friend and team-mate landed on his knee during Tuscan trials in Arezzo.  He’ll be on the bench for up to six weeks with damaged tendons.  Later this year he will be off to Blundells school in England having brilliantly won a scholarship and is really looking forward to enjoying the vastly improved sports facilities!  Our nine-year old granddaughter has her sights on a horse, as they live right next door to some stables!  Watch this space….

Italian mens' street fashion in Florence. Photo lettersfromflorence.blogspot

Italian mens’ street fashion in Florence.
Photo lettersfromflorence.blogspot

Earlier this week, we were relaxed over coffee at Laura’s bar in Fiano.  My man was reading the paper and I was making my usual observations and notes.  “Well, well, how strange” said my man, “It says here that one in four Italian men live alone!”  Now, we found this an interesting subject to analyse.  Italian men are mostly very tied to their mothers and if that fails, they are more likely to find a replacement in a wife.  The younger generations are slowly changing this, however, it seems that fifty-two percent of 25-34 year olds still live with their mothers, compared to thirty-five percent of women.  We do know a few men in Fiano who are getting on a bit, have never married and live alone.  Apart from one of these, they all have a rather hung dog look about them and it is obvious that they lived with their mothers until she died of a ripe old age.  It’s also true, that we are all living longer, so elderly men have increased in number and many of these will be widowers.  However, one in four men living alone seems quite high given the fact that women still usually outlive their men.  I would be interested to have your thoughts on this….

Silvio & Angelino Alfano in happier times. Photo BBC News Europe

Silvio & Angelino Alfano in happier times.
Photo BBC News Europe

You will be aware that it has been all change on the political front.  Our aging Peter Pan, Silvio Berlusconi is disgusted with the fact that his former right hand man, Angelino Alfano, has been invited to join the coalition government and is complaining that the new members have not been elected, which is undemocratic!  A bunch of sour grapes methinks.  At the bar, most of those who have anything to say, like the new interim Prime Minister Matteo Renzie, mainly because he was the Mayor of Florence and they are all keen Fiorentina football fans.  The new government is also very young and I could only find two over sixty!  In fact, the majority are below fifty!  Well, things could not get any worse, so fingers crossed for the promised reforms and reduced unemployment figures.

Well, I will be off to London on Thursday for a  gathering of authors, publishers and literary agents.  It should be interesting and the day will finish with a lavish gala dinner……Yummy.   Meanwhile, I must get this blog off to you and get on with the day job.

Have a great week.

Amore June x

PS  Don’t forget there are still big discounts for downloading ‘My Father, The Assassin’ by J W Finnigan from Amazon and please, please write a review.  Grazie Mille.

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Benvenuto to all my lovely loyal and new followers,

Last Wednesday our legna (firewood) was delivered by our local man in his Ape (pronounced Apay), my man bought some rods and a brush and he swept the chimney on Thursday morning.  My man enjoys this kind of thing, but the brush was too large for the last quarter of the chimney and a very red-faced, puffing ex-commando, uncharacteristically admitted defeat.  “Virtually nothing has come down, so I’ll dash to Certaldo and get a smaller brush” he announced.  However, it was 12.35 when he left on his ten minute journey and yes, you guessed right, the ferramenta had closed at 12.30 for pranzo (lunch).  So we agreed that a three-quarter clean was probably good enough and lit the fire that day.  Thank god we were right and what a pleasure it was to have a roaring fire, on that dark cold evening.

Alessandro and his hand-made Samurai Armour. Photo J Finnigan

Alessandro and his hand-made Samurai Armour.
Photo J Finnigan

On Friday we collected my black leather handbag from ‘La Rapida 2’ in central Certaldo, where it was being mended.  I must introduce you to the handsome Alessandro Barozzini, who not only mends shoes, boots and other leather things, he makes the most amazing things in leather and metal.  Alessandro is a dashing thirty-six year old with a history of fighting in ‘Medieval Costume reenactments’ and most of his creations are linked to battle dress.  He is also writing a book, very slowly, about the history of fighting.  Of course my man is also an expert on such things and the conversation became quite involved and lengthy.

Autumn flowers, , on the Bougainvillea. Photo J Finnigan

Autumn ‘flowers’, at the end of November, on the Bougainvillea.
Photo J Finnigan

Despite the cold damp weather, the climbing Bougainvillea in the garden seems to think it is early autumn and is still full of bright pink blooms.  Also, the pepper plants are still fruiting in abundance.  However, tomorrow we will have to cover a number of potted plants as the temperature is dropping fast.  There is also snow on the distant mountains.

Last week the world remembered the assassination of JFK and the following day the UK celebrated fifty years of Radio One.  I can tell you that on both these days, fifty years ago, I was tuning in my new transistor radio (then called a tranny, until the word was pinched by a certain section of the human race) on my bedroom windowsill in Devon, England.  Despite being only twelve, I can remember the shock of JFK’s death as he was hugely popular then.  However, the launch of Radio One by Tony Blackburn was so exciting that the JFK thing was made a little less awful.  Prior to this, I used to sit on top of my mother’s upright piano and glue myself to the old wireless there, which picked up Radio Luxemburg and the pirate ship Radio Caroline.   Radio One was to be a huge influence on the 1960’s and we used to tune in every weekend for Alan (pop-pickers) Freeman’s top twenty hits.  A little later, Top of the Pops was launched on TV and the  radio Disc Jockies all took their turns in presenting the latest bands and pop singers.  Ultimately, the DJ’s became celebrities too.

Silvio addresses new young recruits to his party Forza Italia. Photo AP/Mauro Scrobogna, Lapresse.

Silvio addresses new young recruits to his party Forza Italia.
Photo AP/Mauro Scrobogna, Lapresse.

And so to the dashing, Silvio Berlusconi.  SB addressed a group of new young members to his party Forza Italia , yesterday, telling them that the vote to remove him from parliament is tantamount to a government coup and was based on “an incredible verdict, absolutely unfounded, used to lay the groundwork of the political murder of the centre-right leader.”  The charismatic seventy-seven year old, said he would not ask for a pardon, but that President Giorgio Napolitano should concede him one on his own volition and called the sentence, reduced by an amnesty to one year performing social service, “a humiliation”.   Now let’s read that again.  Did he not  just ask for a pardon, if indirectly, or I am a imagining things?  And just a footnote, we hear that SB and his new ‘wife’ are sleeping in separate beds!  Life is tough being a billionaire.

Well, we are off to ‘C’era una Volta’ for lunch today.  Good Tuscan cooking and popular with the locals.  Visit http://www.ristorante-ceraunavolta.com

'My Father, The Assassin' By June Finnigan

‘My Father, The Assassin’
By June Finnigan

Have a great week and don’t forget to check out my current thriller, ‘My Father, the Assassin’,  on http://www.amazon.co.uk (eu or com),  http://www.goodreads.com or http://www.firstchapters.net

Amore June x

PS I am hard at work on the sequel, ‘The Bolivian Connection’ which should be published in the spring.

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Welcome to all my new and loyal followers,

Sunset over Geneva on the mans flight home. Photo P Finnigan

Sunset over Geneva on the mans flight to London.
Photo P Finnigan

At 7am sharp on Saturday, the hunters started shooting in the valley below our villa.  Fortunately, my man was traveling from London that day, because he had stayed over on Friday night with a ticket to watch rugby at Twickenham.  However, Sunday morning when he most needed a lie in, the shooting started again at the same time.  My man groaned, turned over in bed and said “The bloody peasants are revolting.”  I said, “don’t worry I have a cunning plan.”  But that’s my secret.

Farty Barty exhausted after laying the table. Photo J Finnigan

Farty Barty exhausted after laying the table.
Photo J Finnigan

Then the cat fight started, so I clambered out of bed to check on Farty Barty who had stayed out all night.  Black Cat, a big local tom, was standing on Barty’s favourite perch over the orange trees staring down into the orchard, so I opened the window clapped loudly and shouted ‘vai’.  The horrid cat looked angrily back at me and then casually climbed down and waddled off.  This then leaves you thinking, ‘Oh god I hope Barty is alright’.  Well of course he was fine and strolled in an hour later saying ‘feed me’!  Meanwhile my man is mumbling, “Are you trying to wake me up?”  Then at eight o’clock it’s the rumbling of tractor and trailer as Alessandro arrives with his team of Romanians (I think) to finish the olive picking.  So, despite it being Sunday we were off for coffee at nine!

The good news this week is that I went to Sandra’s new Hair Salon which, is very nice and girlie, with a beautiful mural of Audrey Hepburn on the wall.  I took Sandra a present and her mother & mother-in-law were there to greet the ‘famous English writer’, warmly shaking my hand and kissing my cheeks.  Sandra is quite rightly very proud of her new salon, and took two hours doing my hair instead of the rushed hour and a half at the old place.

Yesterday morning I dropped down to Certaldo, very slowly, as an old boy was driving his invalid carriage along the white line in the middle of the main road.  Now thinking about this, it’s possible that he thought there was room to pass him on either side of the road, however, I felt that the wind of my car might topple him over.    I followed him for half a kilometre with my heart in my mouth, praying that nobody overtake me and not see him.  So I put my hazards on.  Then a truck came round the bend towards us and the old boy casually swerved to the right, then returned to his central position immediately afterwards!

Paintings on wood from the Doggy Charity sale only 5 Euros each! Photo P Finnigan

Paintings on wood from the Doggy Charity sale only 5 Euros each!
Photo P Finnigan

There is always a fruit, veg and plant market on Saturdays in Certaldo, however, this time there were around fifty stalls selling home-made chocolates!  Dear god, how can one possibly eat sensibly in this sweet toothed country!  I was also really pleased to see a Doggy Charity in the community hall,  where I bought two wood paintings and a tray.  My sister-in-law would have loved it there, as she is brilliant at spotting good labels in jumble sales and then selling them on E-Bay.  Sadly, I rarely see any charity shops or sales in our bit of Tuscany, whereas, England is overrun with them.

I am really pleased to tell you that Laura’s Alimentari/bar in Fiano is open again.  Laura & Benedetta had both been down with the same virus, so all is back to normal.  Signor Rotund was delighted to see my man back and Italy has just beaten Fiji at Rugby, so that’s more good news.  I had a conversation with Benedetta yesterday morning and she said in English “this is your break”.  so I tried to explain that in English one normally takes a ‘break’ say mid-morning, or at least after having worked for a couple of hours and that I was taking my caffè latte before starting work.  It was then around 9am or 8am UK time.  Of course, Benedetta and her mother start at six thirty, so for her it was already mid-morning, so then the conversation got a bit confusing!  So I also explained that it was important for me to ‘Uscire’ (go out) each morning, otherwise one could go ‘stir crazy’.  Try and translate that one!  However, she understood the phrase only too well and finished the sentence for me with a big grin on her face!

Silvio & Angelino Alfano in happier times. Photo BBC News Europe

Silvio & Angelino Alfano in happier times.
Photo BBC News Europe

And so to the successful survival of our heart-throb, Silvio Berlusconi.  SB has now formerly re-launched Forza Italia.  A supporter commented, ‘We could do with at least three Silvios in government, he’s the only man capable of restoring this county’s prosperity!’.  Well, it’s hard to recall a time of prosperity over the last  twenty years, but hey ho.  Meanwhile, SB was ‘in a lot of pain’ over the break away of his former right hand man, Angelino Alfano, who has formed a new faction of dissidents.  I say, never mind SB, the girlies will still support you, anyway who wants a new leader who always looks as if he’s sucking gobstoppers!

Well, time to go and put on the lipstick and head out for lunch at ‘La Gramola’ in Tavernelle.  If anyone is interested, the food is really good and they specialise in gluten-free, which is great for me.  Visit http://www.gramola.it

Have a great week.

Amore June x

PS You can now find me and my novel ‘My Father, The Assassin’ on http://www.goodreads.com, http://www.firstchapters.net and of course on Amazon.  Enjoy!

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Benvenuti to all my loyal and new followers

My normal hair colour on the left - no, not the right!  How dare you... photo P Finnigan

My normal hair colour on the left – no, not the right! How dare you…
photo P Finnigan

You may ask, what could be so terrible in this beautiful little bit of Chianti, that it could put me into a state of shock?  Well, all you girlies will understand when I tell you, that to lose your personal hairdresser of eight years, suddenly and inexplicably, and no way of knowing where she has gone, is one terrible blow!  The girls in the salon ‘claimed’ not to know, so my man and I set out to track her down.  Once when Sandra had gone on holiday, one of the other girls dyed my hair and it was an absolute disaster.  I have been dying my hair various shades of red ever since I turned seventeen, but this colour was a violent orange!  Immediately afterwards, I was meeting my man at the station cafe in Certaldo and he saw me from half a mile away.  As regards sitting with me, well, you can imagine his discomfort.  Now my man likes me to be happy and if I am a little down, he will offer to pay for me to have a pedicure & manicure as this always gives me a lift.  Beautiful hair and nails are at the top of my list, oh and my man’s happiness as well of course.  So he enquired at Bar Italia, and Vanya rather awkwardly on account of her being the sister of the salon owner next door, told him that Sandra was opening her own salon next to the photographers!  My man does have a way with girlies, particularly pretty ones.  We found the shop and the opening date was the ninth of November, and I am about to ring for an appointment!  Hurrah!

Olives ready for picking. Photo J Finnigan

Olives ready for picking.
Photo J Finnigan

Back here at the villa, Alessandro the local contadino and his crew, started at seven this morning on the olive picking.  A couple of hours later it started to rain so they all rushed for cover.  At twelve thirty the sun came out and it was perfect for returning to the harvest.  But no, this is Italy and it was time for pranzo (lunch) so they all went off until two o’clock.  By this time heavy dark clouds were building up again!

Farty Barty guards the villa on top of the trellis over the Orange Trees. Photo J Finnigan

Farty Barty guards the villa on top of the trellis over the Orange Trees.
Photo J Finnigan

Meanwhile, great excitement as we manage to get fat Farty Barty into his cage and then to the vet in Poggibonsi.  He was there for his inoculation and I confess that I tucked his tail between his legs so that our lovely lady vet was not reminded that he still has his vital bits.  He was passed as ‘fighting fit’ which will be very important for him over the next couple of months.

Lemon Tree Blossoms after the rain Photo J Finnigan

Lemon Tree Blossoms after the rain
Photo J Finnigan

In the garden the Bouganvillea, climbing one of the cypress trees, is looking amazing and in mid-November is acting like its spring.  Also, the potted lemon trees are bursting with heavily perfumed blossom! Gorgeous.

Earlier in the week my man, also known as Nonno, was dedicated the school run to Staggia and Siena to collect the grandchildren and take them home.  Our daughter has had to go to England to do some PR business and her man needed to be away for the day seeing a garden design client near Lucca.  Nonno took the granddaughter for a strawberry & hazelnut gelato and then collected the grandson from Siena and talked rugby all the way home, as one does.  Our boy is currently doing trials for Tuscany under fourteens and he not only looks like a young Jonny Wilkinson, he plays like him too.  We are so proud!

Back in our local village of Fiano, I decide to visit our lovely Dottore Flavio with some test results.  I arrived and realised that I had left the results at home, so we talked about rock music instead.  Before this I had managed to leave my sunglasses in the Cartolibreria and Milko’s mother had handed them to the local baker, who then took them to the cafe bar.  Don’t ask!   All the talk is currently about why Laura’s Alimentari/ Bar which has been closed for three days with a sign on the door saying ‘malattia’, however,  nobody knows which member of the family is ill!

And so to the gorgeous Silvio Berlusconi.  Poor SB.  He is claiming that the whole world is against his family and is treating them like jews under Hitler.  This is not the first time that he has courted controversy with references to World War Two.  Mind you, you can’t always believe everything you read in the paper.   I just spotted in the Independent, quote: ‘In August Silvio Berlusconi was convicted for a 7.3 million tax fraud vomited between 1994 & 1998.’  Yes really, their actual words.  This makes me feel a little better because readers have spotted a typo in my novel!  I challenge you to find it and I will send you a signed copy of the book.

Well, enough of that.  Time for a nice aperitivo with my man.

Salute June x

PS You can now find me and ‘My Father, The Assassin’ on http://www.goodreads.com, http://www.firstchapters.net and of course on Amazon.  Enjoy!

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Welcome to all my lovely new and loyal followers

‘I’m back, to let you know I can really shake them down.’  How sad, you are probably thinking,  June is quoting 1960’s lyrics again!  But I have to say, as you get to know me even better, you will come to realise, that knowing all the words to most of the ’60’s rock and pop songs was always my best subject in Pub Quizzes!  But you don’t want to know about that.  However, you may be glad to know that I am now recovered from a nasty little virus, which took me to the brink, and have found my thinking cap again.

The grandson leads Siena under 14's Rugby to victory in black & white

The grandson leads Siena under 14’s Rugby to victory in black & white

Firstly, I must mention that the Rugby season has just started in Italy.  The highlight of the last two weeks is that our brilliant grandson has been made captain of Siena under fourteens and he led his team to victory over Florence in their opening match of the season!  We are so proud.

Driving back from coffee in Fiano with the man and his lovely visiting mother yesterday morning, we were horrified to see a river of wine (well stream actually) flowing towards us from Villa Bacio.  The villa has a lot of vineyards and the harvest and crushing continues unabated.  On closer inspection we saw that there were also grape skins in the stream and that it was an overflow of waste, but my god it smelt good!  Within a few weeks it will be olive picking time, and fresh cold pressed extra virgin olive oil will be dribbling from our dipped bread.  We are really looking forward to that, and not to forget that it is also white truffle (Tartufo Bianco) time, glorious……

Back at the Alimentare/Bar in Fiano, poor Laura the owner, has scolded her hand with some hot oil and is all bandaged up.  They do seem to be an accident prone family, what with Benedetta, her daughter, limping around with a broken foot.  Our friend Signore Rotund was very pleased to see my man back from London, as they have this private thing about keeping morning papers back for each other.  My lovely eighty-eight year old mother-in-law was also welcomed back with great enthusiasm by the locals, which makes her feel very special.  She is with us for a week to celebrate her birthday, so it will be a family gathering tomorrow.

My man has expressed great concern over the fact that Italian children and parents do not play conkers!  Huge horse-chestnut trees surround the piazza in Fiano, and the lovely big glossy conkers are left crushed under car wheels and completely ignored.  This is a very sad thing and I agree with him, it’s just like the lack of interest in board games, which as you know we have started playing again with a vengeance.

Cafe La Piazzetta in Fiano

Cafe La Piazzetta in Fiano, in the main piazza, which is surrounded by horse chestnut trees.

Many of you will know that we have more than our fair share of street sellers in Tuscany and I am very impressed with one local man who is selling used purses.  His sales pitch is ‘New purses are too inflexible and that a second-hand one will bring you good luck, because they already have the smell of money!’  The mind boggles as to where he acquired these purses and looking closely at the clothing items, I swear I can see clothes peg marks.  However, he is a very likeable chap!  There was rather a lot of rubbish around the floor of the Cafe La Piazzetta in Fiano last weekend and my man said that it was probably Albanians.  I was shocked, ‘Why on earth did you say that?’ I asked, ‘It’s what the Italians say not me’ he retorted, ‘because they never drop rubbish!’  Since he has been formally adopted as a ToscanoDoc  (real Tuscan) by the locals he has become very biased!

Meanwhile, on 4th October, Pope Francis visited Assisi where his namesake was based and I think buried.  My man and I went there a few years ago as his middle name is Francis too and he felt a certain affinity with the place.  His family was Roman Catholic and his grandmother and mother got carried away with middle names.  My man’s are Antoni, Dominic, Francis which makes be very jealous because I’m just plain June!

Anyway, we had a very nice lunch at C’era una Volta yesterday after our traditional visit to Montespertoli for an Aperitivo.  My mother-in-law, bless her, was singing opera after a little too much wine and creme di limoncello.  The other diners were very impressed – she does have a lovely voice if a little bit on the shaky side.  She accompanies Andrea Boccelli each evening over supper and her favourite is Ave Maria, which she belts out with gusto!  It’s the only thing that wakes Farty Barty the cat from his malaise at the moment, as It is the time of year for him to get fat and winter furred, and to spend a lot of time on his cushioned kitchen chair.

Silvio gets emotional in Rome. Photo Reuters, Alessandro Bianchi.

Silvio gets emotional in Rome.
Photo Reuters, Alessandro Bianchi.

And so to our fallen hero Silvio Berlusconi.  I am pleased to report that he remains high-profile in the news.  After his about-face, due to his five ministers refusing to quit the senate, he threw his support behind the rather lack luster government of Enrico Letta.  Now he has chosen Community Service over House arrest and is being besieged by Social Welfare Services including City Angels and Exodus, which support the homeless and drug addicts.  He has also had invites from Animal Rights, Hospitals, the Genetic Rights Foundation (whatever that is) and a home for the elderly.  The old girlies in the latter would adore having him there, particularly if he was in charge of making the beds.  But my guess is he’ll support a charity for fallen women.  Meanwhile, his ‘fiance’ Francesca Pascale is having a cat fight with glamorous Bulgarian actress/producer Michelle Boney.  Michelle is a friend of SB and claims that FP is a bad person, has been blackmailing him and is actually a Lesbian.  Wow, that takes the biscuit!  A touch of jealousy, methinks.

So, it is Monday morning and I must get this blog off to you subito.

Have a great week and don’t forget to check out http://www.firstchapters.net for your winter reading.  Try the Romantic Thriller ‘My Father, The Assassin’ by J W Finnigan.

Amore June x

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Ripening grapes on our lower terrace. Photo P Finnigan

Ripening grapes on our lower terrace.
Photo P Finnigan

Welcome to all my Loyal and New Followers.

Well, this last week we have been surrounded by grape harvesters, driving their squeaky tractors and clattering trailers loaded with huge juicy purple grapes past our villa, and taking them for crushing just down the road at the Villa Bacio.  The Villa is also an agriturismo, so paying guests are darting around with their cameras trying to get the best shots of the picking and crushing.  Yesterday, Sunday, we bumped into our very good friend Claudio who produces one of the best Chianti wines in the region.  We can see his property across the valley and he used to be our next door neighbour.  Claudio was just starting his harvest and, like many other farmers,  always imports workers during the season.  Last year he had Orientals and Africans, this year he has Pakistanis!  Why, we asked, have you chosen Pakistanis.  They are reliable and legal he laughed, the price is agreed at outset and the boss speaks Italian which helps!  My man commented on how good the weather was now and that  he hated cold weather.  Claudio said it was perfect for the harvest (vendemia), not too hot and not too cold.  He then laughed and called my man a ToscanoDoc.  This was quite a compliment as he was saying that the man was one of ‘them’, that is a true Tuscan!  As all you wine connoisseurs will know, a DOCG Chianti wine has been formally approved as a true Chianti and Claudio’s wine is in this exclusive club.  My man was beaming all the way home, bless him.

Yummy birthday cake photo J Finnigan

Yummy birthday cake
photo J Finnigan

Last Wednesday, was our grandson’s thirteenth birthday (compleanno) so we drove over to his house near Siena for the festa.  He is now the proud owner of a Yamaha acoustic guitar which fills my heart with joy and excitement.  Hopefully, he will be able to play with my band in the future!  Our teenager is also a brilliant rugby player and today he is being assessed for moving on to greater opportunities.  Over the weekend, whilst we dog sat, the family went off to watch Rovigo play their opening match of the season.  They were guests of Rovigo’s New Zealander player Billy Ngawini, who was busy signing autographs, and as a birthday surprise they all had dinner with top rugby star Mirco Bergamasco who is the gorgeous blond guy all we girlies adore!

This morning at the alimentari/bar, it was busy with locals collecting their bread, groceries, drinking coffee and generally catching up, because Laura (the owner) and family had closed over the weekend, to go to Milan.  The break seems to have given Laura a lift and with Benedetta back behind the counter and the newspapers being delivered every day, all is very relaxed again.

Seasonal figs and local Tuscan Cheeses Photo J Finnigan

Seasonal figs and local Tuscan Cheeses
Photo J Finnigan

The evenings are closing in fast and last night, as we were enjoying our aperitivo after handing back the dogs, my man let out a groan, ‘Oh no, the automatic garden light has just come on and it’s only seven twenty-five!  Yesterday it was seven thirty…’  His face grew long and his shoulders slumped.  I have a cunning plan to keep a small torch in my pocket and to shine it in his face every time he complains about the sun going down too early!  Also, I remind him how beautiful autumn is with all the fruit and veg and particularly figs still in season.

Farty Barty in indecisive mood. Photo J Finnigan

Farty Barty in indecisive mood.
Photo J Finnigan

Farty Barty the cat, also seems to be effected by the changing season and has been sitting on my lap a lot.  He is acting in a very indecisive manner which is probably due to the girlie cats being off-season!

So what is happening in the Italian news, and is Silvio still getting the coverage he deserves?  Well, yes and no.  Vladimir Putin my not have helped Silvio’s case by quoting ‘SB’s personal life would never have become a scandal and ended up in the courts if he had been gay!’  However, back in November 2010 Silvio actually said in public  ‘it’s better to like beautiful girls than to be gay!’.  Mmmm, there could be a considerable loss of vote in a certain section of the population if this carrys on.  However, in a sixteen minute recorded speech last week Silvio insisted he will remain in Italian politics even if his fellow senators strip him of his senate seat.  Phew, that’s a relief  for all the make up artists, hairdressers and plastic surgeons that see him as a walking advertisement…..What do you think?

Well, it’s Monday morning again and I am a little late posting this blog, I hope you don’t mind too much and that you have enjoyed reading it.

Have a great week and see you at the weekend.

salute June x

PS Don’t forget to start building your Christmas book list and visit http://www.firstchapters.net where you can read the first three chapters of any books listed free of charge!  First check out the romantic thriller ‘My Father, the Assassin’ by J W Finnigan.

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And it is another lovely day.  The sun is shining and it’s warm enough for my man to go outside with his lap-top to work.  The covers have come off the orange trees and our first daffodil is about to burst into this wonderful world.


Well, this week has included my four weekly visit to the hairdresser(parrucchiere).  This is one Italian word that refuses to lodge itself in my overworked brain, so I explain to my coven friends in Bar Italia next door, that I am going for ‘colore’.  Sandra, my loyal and lovely hairdstylist, always asks me if I want ‘solito’ (the usual) and then she goes to mix the colour.  She would love to do my hair in multi-shades of red rather than just one as it goes against her grain not to be artistic and creative.  A little later she will sigh with acceptance when I say I only want ‘liscie’, no this is nothing to do with head lice, it translates to mean straight, however, to a hairstylist it means blow dried naturally.  if you really want to pick up the language and local accent, the hairdresser is the place to go.  The stylists never stop talking no matter how noisy the dryers.

Yesterday morning, I met my lovely Bavarian friend for coffee.  She has the gift of speaking both English and Italian despite her first language being German.  If I take a female friend for coffee at Fiano, I am always asked if she is my daughter!  How many daughters am I supposed to have and do I look that old?  On the subject of daughters, I do have one, a very talented Garden Designer.

Well, the new Papa (Pope) seems to be very busy telling all his followers that the new church will be a poor one dedicated to helping the needy.  Whilst the non-government will remain rich dedicated to helping those not in need.

On a lighter note, Italian Rugby is on the rise, finishing fourth in the Six Nations.  This is spurring our grandson (age 12) on to greater things and he is playing for Siena under 15’s this afternoon.

Did I mention my book last Saturday?  My man has been passing my author card to all and sundry on his travels to London and back.  I’ve also been proactive in the local village of Fiano and Certaldo, our nearest town.  In case you need the link, here it is again and do let me know if you have enjoyed the read and spread the word, I need your support!


Salute, and have a great week. x

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