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Posts Tagged ‘Italy’

Welcome and Bentornati to all my lovely Followers around the world,

“Well, it’s been a great week, don’t you think?” I raise my glass of Chardonnay to my man who is clutching his G&T in one hand and swatting away an annoying zanzara images-1(mosquito) with the other.  “You know I’m a trained killer, don’t you?” He looks me straight in the eyes as if I have never heard this story before.  “Yes, darling, I do know that you are a trained killer and a former Commando, but how is that going to help with these zanzare?”  I offer a serious inquisitive look.  “Well, the secret is to remain absolutely still so the enemy can’t see you, then when they are almost on top of you, you lash out with one fatal blow and Bob’s your Uncle!” He says with great authority.  ‘Theres one behind you now!” I warn.  He starts flapping his hands around the back of his neck and cursing with the F word.  “Err, you missed it!” I shout.  He jumps to his feet.  “I’ll go and get one of those big outside lemon candles!” He swaggers off looking like John Wayne from behind.  “Get off your horse and drink your milk!” I call after him.  The thing about Zanzare, is to expect them to find a bit of skin to munch on, no matter how much protection you have smothered yourself in.  They even manage to get me under my knicker elastic, how on earth do they do that?   My man says it’s because I’m hot stuff, fortunately his eyesight is getting worse as he gets older.  Foto NY Times.

Pici PecoraiaGoing back to the first sentence of this blog, we did have a great week.  Two visits to C’era una Volta ristorante really made it for me.  As you know, I am not an enthusiastic cook and having steaming plates of pasta cooked for us was heaven.  We also downed a delicious bottle of Bibbiano Chianti Reserva both times.  Now it’s all about, when do we next go?  My man is embroiled in on-line meetings that often overlap the lunchtime, so I am sometimes forced to cook something.

74219010_568403283921734_5820832841121923072_nMeanwhile, the markets have reopened in Certaldo and nearby Tavernelle, so I must make the effort to pop into town and buy a load of seasonal fruit and veg.  yes, things are beginning to return to a semblence of normality here, but there remains a lot of political argument about whether the Regional Borders should remain closed.  Tuscany and many of the southern regions are scared of attracting northerners again, bringing more of the virus with them!  It’s a difficult one.

My man is currently stripping off in the bedroom next to my study.  No, no don’t get excited, he’s about to go downstairs to the guest apartment where he has his gymnasium.  It’s a big room and I suggested he could also make enough space to use it as a workshop.  He’s not sure, he has a tiny shed, but no room for the wood or metal work he used to enjoy.  I do think it is important for a man to have his own workshop, don’t you agree?

PomegranetMeanwhile, outside in our beautiful Tuscan garden and on our morning walk before coffee, we needed two hands to count the number of new flowering bushes.  Oleander in various shades of pink, pomegranate with lovely crimson flowers, perfumed white Jasmin the smell of which fills the air before you get anywhere near it and pale pink Rosehip flowers.  I could go on, but it would be endless.

download-4We also have a rainwater pond, fenced in to protect it from the outside track and large animals.  It’s alive with the song of the toads every evening, but can you get to see one?  No chance, their camouflage is far too good.  A few years ago, during a drought, a huge long legged brown toad, marched across our terrace and plopped itself into the cat’s water bowl!  Farty Barty the cat, sat and stared at it but made no attempt to move it.  What a sight for sore eyes that was!

Anyway, need to crack on with my current novel now.  Have a great week, I can’t wait to see you all back in Tuscany.

Salute June x

PS Visit my author website at My Site

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World

Well, what a surprise that was!  Last Monday everything opened up including bars, restaurants and thank god, hairdressers!  I managed to get an appointment with SandraRock chick Red on the Thursday and, bless her, she had opened despite the stringent rules of distancing and hand cleansing.  She had cleared the salon of all the furniture, bar two chairs for the clients and an armchair for a third person to wait in.  Of course, the experience was not too pleasant as there were no magazines or an offer of coffee.  But I will be forever grateful for returning to Rock Chick red having slowly sunk over nine weeks, into a depressing Granny Grey!

Tabby's Choc Cake 240520To celebrate my return to normality, and being able to stop and look in the mirror without cringing, our lovely family came over for lunch yesterday.  Whilst, as always, my big tray of garlic potatoes failed like most of my meals, this was more than made up for by the delicious egg and gluten free chocolate cake made by our brilliant and gorgeous fifteen year old granddaughter!  Yes, here in Tuscany we can at least enjoy the normality of family meals again.

We have not been back to a restaurant yet.  I know, this is so unlike us, but the idea of face masks and two metre separations does not appeal.  The only thing concerning me is that we are 2015-05-10-13-35-29not supporting our local restaurants and how many others are doing the same.  I think we probably should go to Paolo’s at C’era Una Volta soon, just to make sure he and his lovely wife Gaia made it back from the Maldives at the beginning of the lockdown, and to let them know we care!  Also, it’s that time of year for Burrata and grilled veggie!  What do you think, should we go?

What else?  How are things with you?  I have to say, I am so glad to be in Italy and not the UK during this pandemic.  Whilst one cannot believe everything in the papers, the UK seems to be in a right mess!  Meanwhile, on Saturday, our granddaughter met up with a group of teenage friends in Siena, after nine weeks of on-line schooling.  They all had their face masks on and kept a sensible distance.  Unfortunately, this has not been the case with some young people.

Nanny's 96thMeanwhile, in Exmouth, Devon in England, my mother celebrated her 96th birthday just with the staff of the nursing home, who thankfully are very kind to her.  Her main carer Jade sent some lovely pictures, which I was glad to receive as I would have been there in normal circumstances.  But down on Exmouth beach, my brother reported that people have been swarming and not taking any care over face masks or crowding.  It all sounds pretty horrifying.  However here, the locals in our nearby village continue to wear masks and keep their distance and coffee is only served to take away.

Anyway, enough of that, the sun is shining and the Strimmed walk under the blackthorngarden and countryside looks gorgeous.  We have so many birds now, the morning chorus is deafening!  But we love it. Our plans this week?  Well, it is work as normal from tomorrow, still remotely of course, but we are quite enjoying it.  I need to put more time into completing my current novel and learning the guitar.  What with our having to cancel the Rock Chick Band Concert in June, my man has asked me to do a performance just for him, so I will.  If any stragglers turn up who did not get the cancellation message, at least they’ll find me doing my lone performance.  I have asked my man to buy me a microphone and speakers for my birthday, watch this space….

OK, time to get on with the writing and then to rescue the leftovers for lunch, that saves me having to cook another meal.  Should I ring Paolo?

Have a great week and stay safe.

Salute June x

PS Don’t forget visit my author website at My Site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

We have just enjoyed our second week of partial unlockdown.  This partial lifting has meant more people returning to work and a few more shops opening.  However, for my man and I nothing has really changed.  We continue to work from home, because we can and because there are no flights out of Italy to London.  Not that we would want to go anyway, we are amongst the lucky one’s who live in a lovely converted Monastery Farmhouse surrounded by the glorious Chianti Hills.  As long as the internet holds out, no worries!

Red cross in FianoThis morning, Saturday, I drove into Fiano for supplies, filling the water bottles and popping into the farmacia (chemist).  When I spotted a covered stall in the Piazza, I thought it was market!  But no, it was the wonderful Red Cross, who do a fabulous job here in the Commune di Certaldo and had arrived with a couple of boxes full of free face masks!  Now, if a country like Italy whose funds are stretched to the limit can do this, why can’t others do the same, like the UK for example.  It’s all about priorities.  Here it is still mandatory to wear masks and not silly homemade efforts or fashion versions, but ones that actually work!

Anyway, my highlight of the morning was walking into La Dispensa to find the coffee bar serving coffee and pastries!  Only take away ones mind, but this is progress.  I bought my man a Frutta di Bosco pastry, that’s fruits of the forest to you and me, knowing he would be really chuffed.  At the moment, he stays at home and I go out, so if I can present him with a delicious pastry when I return, it’s very pleasing for me too!

PoppyOn the way home the banks were festooned with poppies.  It’s that time of year when tourists love to be here for the gorgeous poppies and wild flowers everywhere.  Well. everything in the countryside remains the same, just waiting for all you lovely people who love Tuscany like us, to return when everything opens up again.  Foto S E Finnigan-Kilby

41hKQQgwCHL._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_As you know, I am currently writing my fourth novel, ‘Assassin’s List,’ which has involved quite a lot of research.  In my search for in depth knowledge of Cuba I kept coming across a book called ‘Cuba: A Country Study by Rex.A.Hudson.  I could read some pages on-line but not copy or download.  It’s not available as an e-book, so I decided to buy the hard copy version.  I know this may sound silly, but I am really excited to be receiving a Proper Book again, it’s a bit like Christmas!  Yes, I know, I’ve digressed…

SHOT09_618-520x400Meanwhile, have you noticed how many fashion houses are now on-line.  For those that are really struggling Next are taking on a lot of the orders and deliveries on their behalf.  I know it’s tempting not to buy clothes at this time, but if you can bring yourself to visit some of the smaller designers, they are all offering huge discounts and often free delivery.  I have mentioned James Lakeland before, who is a UK fashion designer and has everything made in Italy.  I love his stuff.  He currently has a big sale on, so do take a look!  website/sale

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Sandra my lovely hairdresser at La Parrucchiera, Via Fabiani 1/D, Certaldo Tel 0039 3341217437

And what else?  Well, what can I say.  Here we are actually enjoying lockdown.  It has been a period of reflection and like many others, may change the way we do things in the future.  Relaxation outside in our garden before lunch and supper has become the norm. Whilst there is a little more traffic on ‘our’ track and the squeaky tractors are busy going up and down between the vines until dusk, these things have not spoilt our chilling out times.  No, for us, Tuscany is the place to be and in particular, in these dolce colline (sweet hills).

Stop Press – Sandra, my hairdresser just sent me a message; she is open next week and I have an appointment!  Addio grey hair!  Thank you Lord!

Do drop me a line, I love to hear from my readers.  june.finnigan@virgin.net

Visit my author website at My site

Salute June x

 

 

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World

green view grey sky april 2020“And, yet Another Beautiful Day in Tuscany” I said to my man, as we set out on our walk around the edge of the garden.  I actually say this every day and it’s true, no matter what the weather, there is a beauty in these hills that can’t be hidden by storm clouds or even foggy mornings.

grasses on slopeThis morning, Sunday, I couldn’t help but notice the change in the long grasses covering the slope below our house.  It wasn’t long ago that it was covered in wild flowers, now the grasses have taken over, yet they are beautiful in their own right.  Soon, they will be strimmed away by our landlord, but meanwhile we will enjoy them.  Everything is so lush and green.

Under the oak tree    8am and it was warm enough to sit down under the European Oak, which is now our shady spot for the summer.  It’s amazing how beautiful the underside of a tree can be!  Yes, I know, we have been on lock-down for two months, but this has only helped us to become even more aware of nature’s beauty.  Already the garden was teeming with bees and birds; the Acacia Trees were buzzing and the Bee Eaters were sitting at the top having their breakfast!  What a fabulous display.  How is it that the Bee Eaters don’t get stung?  That’s another Google search for later today.

may-dayMeanwhile, Italy has passed another celebration day without the usual celebrations!  May 1st celebrates the successful completion of all the preparation in the fields for an abundance of fruit and olives in the Autumn and, the start of Summer.  At least the fields and ortos (vegetable gardens) have been busy over the lockdown period; food and wine production in Italy cannot stop for a virus.  Officially called La Festa dei Lavori (workers’ Day) it is also a public holiday.  This time last year, beaches, parks and public gardens would be packed with Italians and their picnics, this year rather more quietly spent at home in the garden or on a balcony.  How did you spend your day?

640x427x20180925_toscana_AR5_0674.jpg.pagespeed.ic.kgvtuMSfN4And so, tomorrow 4th May heralds the beginning of the easing of lockdown here in Italy.  This will be a nervous time for many, including me, hoping that people continue to be vigilant, as nothing has changed other than reaching a point in time when some things needed reopening.  We can visit with our family this week!  Now that’s great news, but we are still supposed to wear our masks (a legal requirement) and keep to a safe distance…..  We must still carry forms that are filled out saying why we are travelling and the reasons remain limited.  Essential shopping, doctor, hospital and visiting parents.  You can now go for long walks or runs but starting from your front door, no driving to beauty spots or parks for your exercise.    More shops will be open, but this will not change the way we are doing things, I am happy with our local grocery store and farmacia (chemist).  It will be June before we will see any resemblance to normality; restaurants, hairdressers and salons, my three longed for destinations!  But we are amongst the lucky ones, despite my long greying locks and need for a pedicure.  Thank you once again to Tuscany and our local Italians for keeping me sane and to my man for his wonderful sense of humour. Foto Alice Russell for Toscana Promotion Turistica.

OK, I need some inspiration for Sunday lunch.  Ah, yes, I bought some fresh asparagus yesterday, add cheese and roast potatoes and Bob’s your Uncle!  But first a nice chilled glass of Italian Chardonnay in the garden, that’ll postpone the need to cook……

Have a great week wherever you are in the world and stay safe.  Everything will be alright!

Salute June x

Visit my book site at My site

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

Needless to say, I hope you are all doing well, we are OK here and actually enjoying life.

Books unreadHowever, both my man and I, who are normally avid readers, have not been able to concentrate on a book for weeks!  Given so much quiet time, this is something I’m finding difficult to grasp.  I have also been trying to get back into my fourth novel, as my heroine Joanna Wilde, is currently left suspended in Havana, waiting on my instructions!

download-4-1.jpgSo yesterday I re-visited a short story, which I started writing some years ago.  It’s supposed to be a thriller where the people and animals in a nearby Italian town, disappear completely without trace and the panic this creates for outsiders.  So I get into chapter two and I start seeing lizards everywhere and in particular a green and yellow one, which starts speaking to my main character, turning the whole thing into a comedy!  Well, this will not do.  My man hates the idea so I have ditched that project for the time being too!  Lizard foto euroland.com

SHOT16_997-1-150x150.jpgNow, one exciting thing happened a couple of days ago; my James Lakeland clothes order arrived, hurrah.  Well, everything fitted, despite the extra weight around my middle!  So, I have my new charcoal grey outfit for the concert in June.  Now we have to wait to see if the concert can still take place…….  I’ll let you know one way or another in May.  Now I am waiting for the arrival of my new passport, but that’s another story.

Redstart fledglingBack in our lovely garden my man found a little Redstart fledgling, which had obviously had an aborted first flight.  It was standing exactly on the spot where we like to sit with our aperitifvo, so being all heart we stayed in to give the parents a chance to feed it and encourage it to fly again.  We have had a great number of Redstarts this year, oh and the first cuckoo is now here in one of our trees.  We’ve not spotted it yet, but then they are difficult to see.  The fledgling had gone in the morning, thank heavens.

93771534_687478362006920_6486612021075771392_nOne sad thing to tell you, our big and normally beautiful Ash Tree is in trouble.  Only a quarter of the tree is in leaf, the rest looks dry and quite frankly dead.  It really needs an experienced tree surgeon to sort it out, but not during lockdown.  My man has had to move our park bench under the European Oak to get the shade needed for viewing the outside world.  If you know anything about Ash Trees, do let me know.  But hurrah, our English climbing Rose is in full bloom and there are masses of buds too!  And, the perfume is to die for, so that’s good news.

Anyway, last night we enjoyed a two hour drinks party on Skype with our good English Friends who live in Surrey, UK.  There was no shortage of crazy hats and weird glasses on display.  He knows who I am talking about.  I apologise for the terrible ‘Devon’ stories, that did not come over so well as they did last time I told them.  You know, ‘I wouldn’t start from here, if I were you”  and the ‘Wood Splitting Axe’.  Anyway, it was good to speak and have a laugh with you guys.  Stay safe.

Well, I think that’s it for now.  Time to think about aperitivi.  It’s still nice and warm in the garden, so let’s go for it.

Have a good week, everything will be OK soon.

Salute June xx

PS Have you read my books yet?  Now’s a good time!  go to my site

35973101_10156419065890917_7876909049508265984_nThe_Man_in_Black_Cover_for_KindleMy books.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World

Extract from my Easter Weekend blog 2019.  ‘Yes, it’s that time of year again, Easter Weekend and the Tourists have poured in from every part of the globe.  Cars and mini-buses are cruising past our Old Monastery Farmhouse with big-eyed faces staring out of the windows.  Then there are the walkers.  As we are surrounded by agriturismo places to stay, it’s normal to hear the sound of footsteps on the gravel track and wondrous voices in many different languages.  But, we don’t mind, as this weekend heralds the run up to summer and it’s a pleasure to see and hear visitors enjoying themselves.’  

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Easter Saturday 2020 – Who’d have thought that one year on, the above would be so strange to read, as we have been on lockdown now for a month and it’s amazing how one can get used to it.  We have set up a nice place to sit at the front of the house under a big brolly, as the sun is hot and I need to be in the shade looking out.  It has been so quiet that if a vehicle does roll past it’s usually agricultural, but it still has my man and I looking at each other with a frown on our faces.  My man usually says “Whose that on our track?”  Of course it’s not really ‘our track’ it just goes past our front gate.  It’s a gravel track, which is perfectly normal in this region, but is now kicking up dust due to the dry weather.  We also see the occasional blue light of the Carabiniere cruising past looking for Lockdown law breakers and believe me, they mean business!

20200412_111947Back to today.  We had a postal delivery this morning from the commune di Certaldo, which contained four face masks!  I must say I was impressed.  Earlier this morning I was in our local village of Fiano, waiting in a short queue of six for groceries and everyone was wearing a mask.  The queue swelled to about twenty before I went in and as is the way in Italy, a big circular queue was formed on both sides of the road, keeping a careful distance from each other but close enough for everyone to chat and greet friends.  We always know who will go in before us, it’s the same in the doctor’s surgery.  Rossella, my lovely friend who served me this morning, gave us an expensive bottle of Prosecco as a Easter (Pasqua) gift.  It’s wonderful to be looked after so well; my shopping is also carried to the car!  I wish I could hug her.  Breaking News – we have been informed that the lockdown will continue until 3rd May, not unexpected.

Catkins on oak April 2020Easter Sunday – Anyway, this will be the first Easter Sunday lunch without our daughter and family for some years.  But we have arranged a video call for midday.  My man and I went out for coffee again, or rather did a circuit of the garden and stopped off at our front door for coffee.  Everything is a rich green, despite the lack of rain and smells wonderful as my man did a lot of strimming yesterday.  The climbing red English rose is close to bursting it’s buds and the European Oak has revealed it’s catkins!  We heard the first cuckoo and think we saw the first swallow.  Apparently the swallows hit turbulent weather over Greece last week so we are keeping our fingers crossed.

Fiorentina Iris march 2020Lots of geraniums have survived the winter under covers, they look a bit straggly, but we cannot replace them until the lock-down ends.  Still, some are in flower already.  Oh, and the Florentine Irises are blooming, and the ancient Oak Tree, which guards our gate, is once more leafed up!  So nature carries on regardless; we are so lucky.

Oak tree April 2020I must say that I have been very impressed with the way technology has brought all the delights of Easter onto our computer and TV screens.  Church Services (if it is your thing) family get togethers and drinks with friends!  We tend to treat the Easter Weekend as a few days holiday, as we work with the UK system, our clients being mainly based there.  Here in Italy, most food shops will be closed today and tomorrow as normal.  But it is a very strange time…..

last-supper-photoMeanwhile, if you want to visit the original Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci you can do a virtual tour by visiting Leonardo

Well, must dash off.  The family are about to arrive on Skype and I must  put some lipstick on.  Oh, and set the scene for my man and I to do our bit on screen.

Easter Monday –  Did some tidying of the garden pots this morning and watched Andrea 052312219-cb6e68a2-5e17-4e2c-bd14-1b443df911e6Bocelli’s video on You Tube, recorded live in the empty Duomo in Milan.  If you want to feel the real emotion that exists here, watch it on  youtube

Meanwhile, back in our beautiful garden, which we have always appreciated, even more so now, an early morning arrival was a young fox.  Hard to tell if male or female, but very friendly and inquisitive.

FoxyFrom my dressing room window I saw it slinking toward the shrub where I think Phil the Pheasant’s hens are hiding out.  I threw a stone, which is a pretty one I collected from the garden some years ago; it bounced off the fence and rolled onto the lawn.  Instead of running off, the little fox rushed over and grabbed it in its mouth, then started playing with it like a puppy.  I said ‘Buon Giorno’ and it sat down and gazed up at me, obviously fascinated.  My man managed to get a foto, if a little out of focus, but you can see how young it was.  Beautiful.  So, we are not short of visitors!

So, today will be the last of the sunny weather as we are forecast rain.  But that’s OK because we need it.  Our landlord, lives half an hour away and due to the Lockdown has not been able to come and strim the outer reaches of the garden.  So my man is attempting to go that extra ‘mile’ and do some of this for him.  Yesterday, exhausted, he fell asleep in a deckchair with his cowboy hat over his face!  He woke up feeling dizzy from sleeping in the hot sun!  Bless him.

Well, we have no plans today, so I will cook us a nice lunch to make up for the cold offering from yesterday.  We actually had Caprese (buffalo mozzarella and sliced tomatoes accompanied by Fetunta (toast rubbed with garlic and drizzled with extra virgin)  Now we love this, but my man grumbled that it was Easter day and he had hoped for a nice veggie roast.  So I will cook that today!

Have a really good week and please stay home.  We are now on lockdown until 3 May, it will be alright.

Salute and stay safe, Amore June x

PS Have you read my books yet?  Now’s a good time!  my site

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

Did you miss me?  So sorry not to have sent you a blog last weekend, but I can only blame it on losing my creative writing hat and spending too much time drinking wine in the sunshine!  I also wanted to send you happy news and as I no longer have access to the coffee shop and the daily newspapers, I found myself getting rather brain-dead.

Phil the pheasant.jpgBut that’s all changed!  We have been inundated with visitors that don’t seem to understand how important it is to stay at home.  Firstly, Phil our resident Pheasant, has invited two hens to stay and was flaunting himself below our bedroom window this morning.  He’s obviously feeling very randy as he was fluffing his feathers up to give the impression that he is twice his normal size!  When he started jumping his startled hens, I had to look away, what an exhibitionist!

The lack of humans in the countryside has encouraged deer out into the open, I hope we might get sight of a herd of Cingale ( wild boar) too.  Below us is a field sown mainly to meadow hay and is proving very popular. Yesterday a lone deer made his way across the field and dissapeared into woodland, we both felt that this was unusual and hope he has not been chased out of a local herd.  The mind tends to over react at times!

download.jpgMeanwhile, the garden is full of visitors including the stunning and musical Hoopie.  The disturbed earth around our new compost heap seems very attractive to them.  Also a pair of Jays, numerous wood pidgeons flocks of redstarts and many other birds whose names escape me.

2020-04-04 18.25.06And, on the subject of Compost Heaps, we are very proud to have completed our very first version of one, yesterday morning.  This then created the need for a wine break before lunch.  It is rather shameful that we have only just created one after having spent most of our lives living in the countryside with good sized gardens.  My beautiful Earth Mother daughter has been growing veg and using compost heaps for years.  I am not the greatest of cooks and she asked me very seriously on WhatsApp ‘What are you eating Mum?”  “I can cook if I have to!”  I snorted.  “Oh, I thought you might have ordered a flow of ready made meal deliveries!”  She chuckled.  Cheeky monkey.

OK, back to our wine break and I know I have mentioned the dance of the Swallow Tail images.jpgButterflies before, but they were back and getting very close to where we were sitting.  Out of interest we had previously looked up their lifespan and were astonished to read that in butterfly form they only live for ten days!  As one almost alighted on my man’s chest he commented “So, they have only ten days to work out if they are male, female or transgender.”  He said very seriously.  “Mmm. I think that one is female” I grinned.  Foto it.123rf.com

Anyway, we are managing to enjoy working from home, beating the boundaries and checking for new rosebuds, before at least two home-made espresso coffees and breakfast, talking a lot of trivia and drinking good wine.  The forecast is for sunny days for at least the next week so that’s good news; we have even had to start watering pots that are now uncovered!

1180_LynnMargolisPhotography-318-520x400Well, I could waffle on but there is one thing I want to mention.  London based James Lakeland, who is the brother of an English friend, designs beautiful women’s clothes that are made in Italy.  Like many fashion shops, he is really struggling at the moment.  He has managed to pay his staff so far and has now reduced his prices so low, you have to get on-line and start buying!  I have placed an order, so that’s my next concert outfit sorted, god knows when it will arrive here in Italy (Italy’s postal system is unpredictable), but it is worth it to support at least one deserving fashion house.  James also delivers worldwide!  Foto from James Lakeland Blogsite.  James lakeland

So, enough for now.  I have promised my man a veggie roast lunch, which will take me a while to prepare.  Needless to say, can’t wait to return to our local restaurant, oh, and my hairdresser.  I have an inch of grey roots creeping over my scalp.   It’s unnerving.  A few days ago my man said “Whats that shining on top of your head, oh, it’s not silver paper it’s ………”  He has Peter Pan Genes, still dark blond and, due to the lack of hairdressers, is sporting a long 70’s hairstyle.

Hope you are all safe and well.

Salute June x

PS  Have you read my books yet?  Now’s a good time!  Visit my site at My site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

mixed blossomsYesterday, I would have been blogging to you but we had no internet, which is so crucial for any communication, writing and work-wise.  So, I start the working week with this blog.  I am no stranger to working from home.  Over the last sixteen years, I have become very experienced in commuting between Italy and London.  As technology improved further, I could spend more time in Tuscany where my man and I both have comfortable working offices.  Video meetings have become the norm and of course email has virtually replaced hard copy mailings.  But there is nothing quite like face to face meetings and perhaps a nice lunch with a client.  But these pleasures must now go on hold.

the house early morningAnyway, here in our lovely little bit of Tuscany, on the edge of Chianti, we are safely tucked away in our country home.  This foto was taken as the sun was rising on the opposite side of the house.  We have had two weeks of glorious weather, so much so that I have actually got a bit sunburnt!  Spring plants and trees are changing daily and we now make a point of walking the boundaries in the early mornings, to marvel at how life in the wild still goes on unhindered by any viruses.  Young fruit trees, fig, mulberry and pomegranate are in blossom, as are numerous shrubs that remain nameless due to my lack of knowledge.

Bench viewSlopes of wild flowers and fungi, our English Climbing Rose looks very healthy and the bees are going into overdrive.  Yesterday, we enjoyed an aperitivo before lunch and watched the dance of the Swallow Tail Butterflies swirling around the Lilac Tree.  So, the best thing I can do is send you some Foto’s to remind you that if you have not yet cancelled your holiday in Tuscany, do consider postponing instead.

2020-03-22 20.59.43We are very fortunate to be living in a beautiful converted former Monastery Farmhouse.  It is quirky, yet comfortable.  Our landlord had an artist come in before we moved here to paint this gorgeous mural on the sitting room wall.  So in the picture, you can see the view from my armchair, which we can enjoy no matter what the weather is doing outside.

Stag beetlePreparations for our rock concert on June 19 continues, in the hope that restrictions will have lifted sufficiently for us all to get together again.  Stefano, my lead guitarist, has approved the repertoire, so we will have eighteen great rock songs for you.

We were impressed to read that thirty-seven skilled medics from Cuba have come to Milan to help with the crisis, all experienced in dealing with the Ebola in Africa.  Also Russia is apparently sending medical help!  You will have read enough about the virus in Italy, so I don’t think I need to elaborate further.

The Stag Beetle on a rose bush in the foto, is carrying on regardless!

So, wherever you are in the world, we wish you good health and happiness.  Do stay at home as much as possible, it is such a very serious situation.  Please stay safe.

Salute June xx

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

View 150320Well, here we are, Sunday morning and we have not gone out for our usual coffee.  By some stroke of luck I bought a proper Italian Espresso machine a few months ago!  At 8.30, after home made espresso, my man and I strolled around our country garden and felt invigorated.

coffee machineThe sun is shining and spring is leaping forth as if nothing is happening in the country or indeed the world around us.  I weeded a couple of pots and my man put yesterday’s washing outside in the sunshine.  If one has to be in Lock-down, I can’t think of a better place to be.

I have taken to tucking in for three to four days, then popping up to our local village of Fiano, when our water bottles need refilling and picking up any foodstuffs from La Dispensa at the same time.  It’s currently one out, one in as we wait our turn, at least one metre apart, outside the shop.  The Cirri family who run the place are absolute stars and deliveries are still coming in.  So plenty of fresh fruit, veg and bread.

2016-07-17 13.04.02

Fabio, Sandra and Rosella Cirri at ‘La Dispensa’ foto J Finnigan

The Italians are a wonderful mix of people, but whatever their background they are naturally sociable.  So this is proving really hard for the elderly who normally sit snuggled up around coffee bar tables or on benches watching the world go by.  I heard said that one person’s nonna, aged ninety-two, believes she is destined to die alone!  So, there is a lot of sadness around.

On the other hand, the Italians love to sing and make music.  Organised mini-concerts with instruments or pots and pans, are happening on people’s balconies.  Yesterday, at around 6pm, music and song filled the air.  And, of course, they love to eat, so the families will continue to enjoy their pranzo and cena.  For many, eating large meals at home has always been the norm.

  • Breaking News – a 76 year old man from our local village of Fiano has been tested positive for the virus and is in hospital.  We may have to rethink things; a kind friend has offered to deliver groceries to us!

I sincerely hope that you are all coping with this virus, wherever you are in the world.  I cannot say strongly enough that you all should take it very seriously indeed.  It doesn’t matter what your government is saying, your family must come first.  Protect yourselves!

band-relaxedAnyway, we are still making plans for our 10th annual Rock Concert on 19th June in our lovely Tuscan garden.  It’s important to have things to look forward to and I have a gut feeling that June will be a good month.  After all I was named after the month having been born on 23rd!  So far, June has never let me down!

May you all enjoy this time together with your families; drink good wine, play music and eat well.  And, stay safe.

Salute June xx

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

The view 070320Well it can take one’s breath away and I’m talking about the stunning view from our lovely home, which we see every morning in different colours.  This picture was yesterday morning as the sun was rising and encouraging the mist to form in the valleys below us.  We have had a lot of cold damp weather and this combined with sunshine, is the time of year to see fabulous misty sculptures, ‘lakes’ and hilltops resembling ‘islands’ cut off by the mist.

Fiano treeAnd yes, today Sunday, is yet another beautiful day in Tuscany.  It’s cold but the air is fresh and a little damp, which accentuates the gorgeous winter smells of the countryside around us.  Blossom is now everywhere, various fruit trees, hawthorn and the tree in the picture, please remind me of it’s name, in the piazza.  Our local village of Fiano was it’s usual self.  Everyone still smiley if keeping a respectful distance apart and, of course, doing jerky movements that should have ended in hugs or handshakes, but didn’t for the obvious reasons.  This last week was a little strange without the sound of children laughing and squealing in the village playground.  We met young Giacomo, who is about eleven or twelve, maybe thirteen, kicking a lonely football around the village.  He’s the lovely boy who found my stolen purse a couple of years ago after we went to the theatre.  Ah, and our local ceramic workshop and gallery, Ceramiche D’arte Carbini, is open today, so that’s another good thing!  I always wave to Gabriella who today was hidden behind a massive vase she was painting!  Do call in if you are passing through.

David BoweyI have worked hard at finding some good news for you as the papers are dominated by the virus.  Firstly, I see our very good friend from Tavernelle, the modern artist Patrizio Landolfi is exhibiting in Florence.  He painted this beautiful David Bowie picture, which I would love to own but is too big for my limited wall space.  You will find more of his paintings hanging on the walls at Osteria la Gramola in Tavernelle.  I love his work.

CheeseI have also found a promotion for Italian Cheeses.  I absolutely adore Italian cheese, from the squidgy buffala mozzarella to the mature pecorino.  I confess to have stocked up a little as cheese will keep us going indefinitely, come what may!

But what’s this I hear? Ah, my man has snuck out to play with his strimmer!  Well, it’s a good day for it, currently dry and sunny, if cold.  It’s a nice spring sound, the strimmer, makes one feel as if winter is starting to slip away.  It’s also like the sound of a small aircraft going over on a high pressure summer’s day; I used to love that sound as a child.

Do you know, I seem to have completely lost the thread; what was I about to tell you?  Oh yes, did you notice my Rock Concert invite for June?  No, then drop me a line at june.finnigan@virgin.net and I will send you one.  Can’t wait to see you all there.

Torta di CeciWell, must start thinking about Sunday lunch.  We are well stocked with food, no evidence of shortages here in Tuscany.  Ah, I think I’ll do Ceci Pancakes stuffed with spinach and feta, that’s a firm favourite.  I must confess that it’s all very easy, as I buy the ready made Torta di Ceci at the Coop.  Judy Witts Fancini, our local celebrity cook told me how to make my own, and that’s also easy.  One cup of ceci flour to an equal amount of water, whisk and fry like normal pancakes.  (Ceci translates to chick Peas)  But I have a stock of the Coop ones, so today…….sorry Judy.  You should look the lovely Judy up, she’s got a fabulous cook book of Tuscan favourites.  Judy’s site

Well, enough for now.  Do send me any good news stories from around the world whilst I raise a lovely room temperature glass of Tuscan Chianti Wine to you all.

Salute June x

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