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Posts Tagged ‘J W Finnigan’

Benvenuti to all my lovely Loyal and New Followers

Yes, I’m back with a wag in my tail and feeling full of the joys of early summer in Tuscany, despite the news from Florence that the road beside the Arno, and close to the medieval Ponte Vecchio bridge, had collapsed.  Be careful where you park!

Farty Barty curled up at my feet under the Oak Tree. foto J Finnigan

Farty Barty curled up at my feet under the Oak Tree.
foto J Finnigan

Now, many of you have asked about Farty Barty the cat and you will be very pleased to know that he has finally settled into his and our new home.  As for ourselves, we are feeling even more content having got some of our well-travelled pictures on the walls.  The house, trees, garden and surrounding countryside are so very therapeutic and I foresee great novels being written here!

Graham Nash in Lucca, great singer and songwriter. La Nazione

Graham Nash in Lucca, great singer and songwriter.
La Nazione

Back in the world of rock music it is less than a month away from our next Rock Chick Band concert and our first rehearsal will be this coming Saturday.  There is no need to smoke and take drugs to be a rock singer; believe me, I get a high immediately I am behind that microphone!  Meanwhile, the Duran Duran tour hits Florence on 10th June and they will already be sold out.  No, I am not going, I did that twice in the ’80’s with my beautiful daughter.  However, I will be singing one of their songs at my own concert; there are just a few of DD’s that I really like and this one is called Skin Divers.  Lucca, near Pisa, is also a very popular venue for concerts and the aging rocker Graham Nash is currently here in concert.  A great song writer too and I would have loved to have been there, but time is currently of the essence.

Complimentary Moscato and rose at L’osteria Casa Chianti. foto J Finnigan.

Meanwhile, here in our little bit of Chianti, we are pleased to say that we are now returning on a regular basis to a local osteria that was taken over by new owners a few months ago.  Yesterday, Sunday, it was amazingly devoid of customers and we were told that part of the road had been closed to accommodate the annual cycle race.  So we were able to enjoy a strangely quiet lunch.  The food really is excellent here and, if you don’t mind loud theatrical serving at the table, you’ll love it.  It is the L’osteria Casa Chianti where they specialise in Tartufo (truffles) and Fungi Porcini.  We indulged in wood grilled Pecorino Cheese covered in locally sourced truffle shavings, followed by the lightest creamy Panacotta with mixed fruits.  Mmmmm.  With the desert, we were served complimentary glasses of Moscato and I was presented with a little rose bud.  Of course it was the rose that did it for me, so you won’t be surprised when I tell you that I am now hooked on the place!  Go to http://www.osteriadicasachianti.it

Silvio is honoured with a special Pizza in Napoli. La Nazione

Silvio is honoured with a special Pizza in Napoli.
La Nazione

Oh yes, I know you like to hear about our Silvio so here is a little snippet from our national paper.  Down in Napoli, Il Cavaliere, also known as Silvio Berlusconi, was spotted being presented with a Pizza made in his honour.  It was a long pizza with a ‘mare’ flavour, that is ‘flavour of the sea’.   He is hugely popular down south and it’s only a matter of time before he’s back in the chair, or so they say!  I’ll keep you posted.

Well, enough of that.  Books to write, wine to drink and voice exercises to endure.  If you are passing, ignore the strange screeching, it’s just me trying to make those high notes!  And don’t forget, you are very welcome to come to my concert party on 25th June here in Tuscany, just send your email address to june.finnigan@virgin.net

Meanwhile, have a great week, do drop me a line and visit my author site at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

Salute June x

'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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Benvenuti to all my Loyal and New Followers

I really missed you all last week, my being down with toothache and feeling sorry for myself.  Unfortunately, the brain felt like it was under water, which made it impossible to think, leave alone write!  But don’t you worry, I’m back and I will go to the ball!

Young Benedetta has been missing quite a lot from Laura’s bar in Fiano.  Then last week Laura told me that her lovely daughter was pregnant!  That then explained the rather strained look on Benedetta’s face when she was occasionally behind the bar!  But all appears to be well!  We can now safely congratulate her and her very nice husband!  It’s good to feel part of a family here, simply by being a regular coffee customer.  In time one gets to know all the locals and to hear about all the family issues and news.  We have been welcomed and made to feel part of a big family in Fiano.

Hot Chianti wine in the sunshine. Photo J Finnigan

Hot Chianti wine in the sunshine.
Photo J Finnigan

The view last Wednesday, having moved into the shade with my hot Chianti. Photo J Finnigan

The view last Wednesday, having moved into the shade with my hot Chianti.
Photo J Finnigan

Now, I will not labour (excuse the play on words) on my feeling sorry for my self, however, I would like to mention that last Wednesday I was feeling pretty low.  I felt the need for a strong drink as my throat had also become sore.  As luck would have it, the sun was shining and the wind had dropped, so I was able to go outside with a hot glass of Chianti wine.  Hot you say?  Well, please don’t tell anyone else, particularly Claudio who supplies our wine, but I will confess to putting my glass of vino in the microwave for thirty seconds.  I know, ‘Sacrilege’ you are all shouting, and you are quite right, but Flavio my lovely doctor said this morning, that wine cures everything and I believe him!  So, that Wednesday I had two large heated glassfuls and had to move into the shade as the sun had become too hot.  Or was it the wine raising my temperature?  Non lo so.

Now, I felt much better on Friday when I went to meet my man at Certaldo station.  He had travelled back from England with our fourteen year old grandson who is back for half-term.  So my beautiful daughter and granddaughter were also there to greet them and we had a nice glass or two in the station bar.

Valentino Rossi, Italy's very popular motorbike champion.  He is normally found wearing leather. Phot J Finnigan

Valentino Rossi, Italy’s very popular motorbike champion. He is normally found wearing leather.
Photo J Finnigan

Of course the next day was San Valentino and whilst my man is always very romantic, we do prefer to be low profile on the day.  The younger Italians are very keen to celebrate San Valentino and on Sunday, when we went out for lunch at Ristorante ‘C’era una Volta,’ Paolo was delighted to tell us that he had twenty-three customers for dinner the previous night.  This was an odd number, I thought, but it turned out that the odd one was a baby with a young couple.

Popping back to the previous Friday morning, Laura was promoting San Valentino with some chocolaty fancy wrapped gifts.  However, the bent-over old boy she was talking to was shaking his head, “No, mi non piace’ he grumbled.  So I smiled and said, in Italian, ‘Do you not celebrate Amore anymore?’  His face brightened and he said ‘How about you and me?’  Serves me right of course.

A big article in the newspaer about the last King of Italy. Photo J Finnigan

A big article in the newspaper about the last King of Italy.
Photo J Finnigan

I did manage to get out for coffee every day last week and the newspapers and magazines were full of San Valentino.  I also noticed that there is a celebration going on about the King of Italy who I think was dethroned by Mussolini earlier last century.  Please put me right if you know otherwise.  I must read up a bit more about this and perhaps visit some of the exhibitions in Florence (Firenze) that are commemorating this poor man.

OK.  I am off to do some lunch.  Do drop me a line, and watch this space for news on the publication of the second edition of ‘My Father, The Assassin’ and of course my latest book ‘the Bolivian Connection.’

Salute June x

PS Meanwhile, here is the direct link for my novel ‘My Father, The Assassin’ by J W Finnigan. You can also visit http://www.amazon.com & http://www.amazon.eu

http://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Father-The-Assassin-Finnigan/dp/1481904396/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1358800225&sr=8-1

 

 

 

 

 

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Benvenuti to all my lovely Loyal and New Followers

“So what are all these boxes left in the study, do you know what’s in them?”  I ask my man.  “No idea.”  He replies, trying to look convincing.  Last Thursday two IKEA men arrived with some long-awaited storage, so we could finally unpack boxes of clothes and other things and put them away.  Now, we have moved house rather a lot over the years and some of these boxes have not been opened for ten years or more.  “I bet you’ve got your 70’s cheesecloth shirts and your Miami Vice trousers in one of these boxes!”  I say.  “Humph, possibly.”  He mumbles.  “Well, I’m sure at least half of what you have could go up to the big clothes collection box in the Piazza.”  I smile encouragingly.  “I might want to wear them again one day.”  He argues.  “I just need to lose a bit of weight, so there’s no point in unpacking it all, as we’ll only have to pack it again when we next move….” He goes all big eyes and I melt.  O Dio…

Silvio and friends at Viareggio Carnivale. Il Torreno Newspaper.

Silvio and friends at Viareggio Carnivale.
Il Torreno Newspaper.

Back at Laura’s bar/alimentare in Fiano, my man and I are enjoying our morning coffee and reading the newspapers, as Sig Rotund, who cheekily tries to hide them from us, has not arrived yet.  There are some fun pictures of the famous Viareggio Carnival, and I just love this one of Silvio Berlusconi and other politicians in knickers and bras.  Just think, can you imagine this kind of Micky taking in some of the arab countries!  Here in Italy anything goes, thank god.  Whoops, are we allowed to use the lord’s name in vain these days?  And should I write lord with a capital L?  “Jesus Christ” I groan aloud.

Then underneath I read that the fabulous band Dream Theater are performing at the Pistoia Blues Festival near Florence.  I had every intention of going, but by the time I remembered, the tickets had all been sold.  Blast it.  Anyway, I will be performing their great song ‘Wither’ in my next concert;  I’m really looking forward to that.

Cannabis arrives! Il Terrano newspaper

Cannabis arrives!
Il Terrano newspaper

I should mention, that earlier in the week the newspaper reported that Cannabis will be available on prescription in March.  No, no, not the pot smoking version, although I do have some fond memories about that.  This will likely be herbal medicines on prescription, which will be fantastic because it is now the only thing that might ease my aching joints, my being allergic to pain killers.  Chianti wine helps, but it doesn’t quite hit the spot, just takes the mind off things…..

Then my man reads out that yesterday, Saturday, the car hire staff at Pisa Airport all went on strike, blocking the road and causing chaos.  “That’s what comes of one company like Europcar, buying up the other car hire firms and having the monopoly.”  I say.  “So if Europcar strikes, all the others do too!”

Back at my computer, I have been doing a final edit for the second edition of ‘My Father, The Assassin’, which will be published at the same time as my latest follow-up novel ‘The Bolivian Connection.’  The idea is to change the size of the book and cover, to match the more popular dimensions of around 5″x 7.3″ and, of course, to update my biography on the back cover.  You never know, if you have a first edition of ‘My Father, The Assassin’… it may become a collector’s piece!  It’s currently still available, see below!

Silvio looking very depressed. Photo Reuters

Silvio looking very depressed.
Photo Reuters

Meanwhile, I hear that our friend Silvio Berlusconi is still in the news.  That is, apart from the carnival picture above.  He is very unhappy that Prime Minister Renzi nominated Sergio Mattarella, a former Senior Judge, for the important position of Italy’s President.  Silvio does not like judges.  One has to remember, that whilst the President has a mostly ceremonial role, as Head of State he does has the power to dissolve parliament, call elections and pick prime ministers.  This nomination has caused a rift between Silvio and Renzi, however, I have just had news that Sig Mattarella has now been crowned.  So poor Silvio will have to eat dust for the time being.

Well, enough for now, must get on with the workload and finish the editing.  Have a great week and do drop me a line.

Salute June x

PS  Here is the direct link for my novel ‘My Father, The Assassin’ by J W Finnigan. You can also visit http://www.amazon.com & http://www.amazon.eu

http://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Father-The-Assassin-Finnigan/dp/1481904396/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1358800225&sr=8-1

 

 

 

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Benvenuti to all my Loyal and New Followers

Every morning, whilst enjoying a lovely creamy caffè latte in one our local bars (they don’t use horrible low-fat milk here),  I scan either La Nazione or Il Terreno newspapers for interesting snippets.  Yesterday, I was joined by Winston Churchill and today by Dante, well not literally of course, both being long gone.

Coffee with Winston Churchill. Photo J Finnigan

Coffee with Winston Churchill.
Photo J Finnigan

You may already know that this year is the fiftieth anniversary of good old Winston’s funeral and the Italians are treating this as important news.  One thing you may not know is that my man, an ex Royal Marine Commando, was marching in the front row of the Marines’ contingent on the big day.  He was very young, in full ceremonial uniform of course, blues, greatcoat and white pith helmet down over his eyes.  If they happen to show the funeral on TV again, he was fourth in on the right as they march towards you.  He has other claims to fame, however, I have mentioned this one as it is so very topical.  Writing about Winston reminds me that I wanted to be a  Secret Agent during the Second World War.  Fortunately, I was born a few years after it finished!  As a child in the 50’s I used to organise the children in our area to play ‘Germans and English’; I was always the covert spy.  Co-incidentally, I am currently reading ‘Operation Garbo: The Personal Story of the Most Successful Spy of World War Two.’  What are you reading?

Coffee with Dante. Photo J Finnigan

Coffee with Dante.
Photo J Finnigan

Now my other guest for coffee, was the great poet and writer Dante.  Still looking good at the age of seven hundred and fifty, he’s a popular chappy here.  He spent his life cruising between Pisa, Lucca, Pistoia and Carrara, amongst other Tuscan hangouts.  There are currently lots of exhibitions and celebrations happening in the area.

Laura with vibrant red hair and designer finger nails. Photo J Finnigan

Laura with vibrant red hair and designer finger nails.
Photo J Finnigan

Meanwhile, back at Laura’s bar/alimentare, I notice that Laura is sporting very red hair.  She says that her hairdresser added a special ingredient to make it more ‘brilliante’.  She always has the most fantastic nail art too, I might go to see her nail lady and have fantastic nails for my next rock concert.  Take a close look.

Down in Certaldo’s Saturday market,  I go back to the lovely couple who produce the most fantastic Pecorino (sheep’s cheese) and Caprina (goat’s cheese).  I have fallen completely in love with a very young pecorino, which is really soft, full of flavour and just melts in the mouth.  Mmmm.  Also, I have been devouring bottles of Sweet Red Onion marmalade which is a speciality in Certaldo.  The two go really well together and are adding inches to my waistline!  These, along with the local Chianti wine are the reason why I have to go on a diet soon, well fairly soon.

Melt in the mouth Cheeses in Certaldo's Saturday Market Photo J Finnigan

Melt in the mouth Cheeses in Certaldo’s Saturday Market
Photo J Finnigan

I have mentioned that many businesses are closing down here.  We have tried to buy a new kingsize bed locally, but found that an antique furniture warehouse and a bed outlet have both disappeared.  Getting very frustrated, I went on-line, found exactly what I wanted in a number of UK stores, but they do not deliver overseas!  If anyone has any good ideas, do let me know.  Ideally within a an hours drive of Certaldo, Tuscany or on-line.  (IKEA don’t do a kingsize..)  Big sigh….

Well enough of that, must get on with final honing of my latest book ‘The Bolivian Connection,’ as I know you are all champing at the bit.  You will also be pleased to know that Joanna Wilde (my heroine) has already started a new adventure in ‘The Italian Connection’, which I expect to publish early next year.

I will update you on the gorgeous Silvio Berlusconi’s exploits next week.  In the meantime have a really good week and do drop me a line.

Amore June x

PS Here is the direct link for my novel ‘My Father, The Assassin’. You can also visit http://www.amazon.com & http://www.amazon.eu

http://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Father-The-Assassin-Finnigan/dp/1481904396/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1358800225&sr=8-1

 

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Benvenuti to all my Loyal and new Followers

“There’s far too much drinking to be believable, particularly by page 167 when Joanna is in considerable danger and needs to keep alert!”  My man looks very headmasterish as he comments on ‘The Bolivian Connection.’  “Despite that it’s a really good read June, well done.”  I feel quite emotional when he says this, almost to the point of crying with joy.  “If it’s just a matter of drinking a bit less, I’m sure I can change that, well at least a little.”  I blubber, my chest full of pride in my finished book.  “Ah, well, I’ve sent you an email with my other comments.” he grins, “Nothing serious though.”  “Thank god” I say, “let’s have another glass of wine!”  My man had returned from a few business days in London and had been reading my first draft in his spare time.  Then yesterday, Saturday, he managed to finish the whole manuscript, bless him.

Lovely home grown veg in Certaldo Market. Photo P Finnigan

Lovely home grown veg in Certaldo Market.
Photo P Finnigan

Farty Barty joins us for a pre-lunch drink. Photo J Finnigan

Farty Barty joins us for a pre-lunch drink.
Photo J Finnigan

Having my man back home makes everything that much more enjoyable, going for morning coffee and even shopping for fruit and veg in Certaldo on Saturday morning.  Farty Barty the cat loves it too and stretched out in the sunshine on the garden bench, whilst we were enjoying a pre-lunch drink.

So, I had been home alone last week and had to go to a specialist appointment on the Tuesday by myself.  I emphasise this point, because, whilst I survive on my own, you can guarantee that something will throw me out when the man is away.  I arrived at the hospital in Castelfiorentino and found a new system had been installed.  I needed a special ticket from a machine and then wait for my number to be called.  On a computer screen it told me which room to go to, so I trotted off.  Now you should understand that this is simply to register that I have arrived in the building and to pay for the consultation.  OK, so two jolly ladies register me, take my money and give me a receipt.  Then I was sure she said, in Italian of course, “You are in the wrong building, we are just a skeleton staff, everything has moved to the centre of town.”  By this time I only have five minutes to get to the specialist.  In broken English, the other lady gave me directions, so off I went.  Ten minutes later I park in the main Piazza, as I was sure that was where I had been sent.  But to make sure I walk over to a bench of old boys, whose grins get wider as I approach.  I focus on the one in the centre who’s looks the least lecherous and show him the address I have to go to.  Proudly, he pulls himself up with his walking stick and stands looking up at me.  “I will take you there, Signora, follow me.”  So of we go, the sun is shining and for once Castelfiorentino looks attractive and welcoming.  Fifteen minutes later, my knees are killing me and I am about to suggest that we sit and take a rest, but we had arrived.  I’m not sure whether to offer him a few euros for his trouble, but he is disgusted with the idea, so I shake his hand and he heads back to his friends.  I am twenty minutes late for my appointment, but this being Italy, I am kept waiting anyway.  All I can think about is the long walk back to the car!

2015-01-15 09.11.32Talking about old boys, last Thursday I was joined by our Presidente Giorgio Napolitano for coffee at Laura’s Bar/alimentare in Fiano.  Well, he was in Pisa at the time, but I like to feel these people are right next to me as I read about them in the paper.  He has finally decided to retire and has cited his age of eighty-nine as the deciding factor.  I say, good for you that man, enough pf politics, go and put your feet up somewhere warm to celebrate your forthcoming birthday.  Why not ask Silvio Berlusconi to organise the party.  On the other hand, how strong is your heart these days?  Perhaps something a little less energetic would be more appropriate.

Well, so what next you may ask?  I have already started the third book in the series, with the same heroine Joanna Wilde in ‘The Italian Connection,’ which is another exciting adventure for her and for me.  I also have to finish typing out my lyrics for our next Rock Chick Band Concert in June, which reminds me; do send me your email address if you want an invite.  june.finnigan@virgin.net

Well, must go and make myself beautiful as we are off to lunch at ‘C’era Una Volta’ as Paolo is back after a bout of flu.

Have a really great week, and do drop me a line.

Salute June x

PS

Here is the direct link for my novel ‘My Father, The Assassin’ by J W Finnigan. You can also visit http://www.amazon.com & http://www.amazon.eu

http://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Father-The-Assassin-Finnigan/dp/1481904396/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1358800225&sr=8-1

 

 

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Buon Anno and welcome to all my Lovely Loyal and New Followers

LB (standing) and Zoe after a game of rugby. Photo P Finnigan

LB (standing) and Zoe after a game of rugby.
Photo P Finnigan

A gorgeous Sunset Phot P Finnigan

A gorgeous Sunset
Photo P Finnigan

Granddog sitting is wonderful.  There is nothing nicer than cuddling up to a granddog who loves you unconditionally and only harasses you when pulling furiously on the lead.  Oh yes, and barking to be let out really early in the morning, because that is what they are used to!  So there we were, my man and I, enjoying  Zoe’s and LB’s company on New Year’s Eve, whilst the family went off skiing on the French/Italian border.  Our daughter and family have recently moved to the middle of nowhere between San Gimigiano and Volterra and the views to the west coast are fantastic.  We saw the New Year in watching the fireworks from our lofty eyrie.  My man stayed on for a further two nights, witnessing some gorgeous sunsets, whilst I returned to Farty Barty the cat and to complete the last few chapters of my novel ‘The Bolivian Connection.’

Another gorgeous sunset Photo P Finnigan

Another gorgeous sunset
Photo P Finnigan

It has been said, particularly by my man, that I am a disaster if left to my own devices, because my head is so full of fiction.  On Saturday evening when my man was returning home, I lit the log fire that he had laid before he left.  I put the guard in front and returned to my desk to write a few more lines.  I was a little longer than I intended, and suddenly I smelt smoke.  Disaster!  Smoke was swirling up the stairs so I opened the landing window, then rushed down, almost choking on the way, to find the sitting room ceiling thick with the dark grey stuff.  I threw open the french windows and then the front door.  Thank god, I had not opened any of the upstairs bedroom doors.  I grabbed a rug and started swirling it around like a human fan and tried to get closer to the fireplace, which was still billowing out smoke.  There must be something stuck up there, I thought.  Then, somewhere in the depths of my memory I heard my man saying, “Now this is the second time I’m going to remind you.  I have closed the metal cover in the chimney to keep the cold out.  If you are going to light the fire DO NOT FORGET TO OPEN IT!”  “S..T” I gasped, “You idiot June!”  I groaned aloud as I coughed and spluttered with my head in the fireplace trying not to singe my hair.  Somehow, I grabbed the lever  and managed to open the cover.  Ten minutes later the house was almost clear of smoke, but I was not going to be able to disguise the smell.  I just knew my man would walk in and I would have to tell him the truth.  Dammit!

Back at Laura’s bar/alimentare in Fiano, my man and I are enjoying our morning coffee.  At the next table a local lady is sharing her coffee with her pet miniature dog.  Well this is Italy, coffee is a way of life, as is Chianti here in Tuscany.  Sadly, Laura had gone down with flu and Benadetta had succumbed overnight, so their husbands were manning the fort.  It’s the time of year for the hunters to be out and about in the countryside and I have to say they are not my favourite people.  A motley crew of three came into the bar wearing muddy boots  and camouflage gear.  It is not a gentleman’s sport here, shooting wildlife, it is the working country folk (contadini) who are mostly out there at first light on a sunday morning, shouting and firing at whatever moves.  However, I remind myself that this is all part of life’s rich tapestry, but when this motley crew started cracking walnuts in their hands and throwing the shells into the bin clearly marked ‘paper only’ I was not impressed.  Hey ho….

Silvio "I am a normal human being, look eight fingers and two thumbs!

Silvio “I am a normal human being, look eight fingers and two thumbs!

Francis “Well halo, halo. I am an exalted human being, see my wings?”

No time to check out Silvio Berlusconi’s activities I’m afraid, however, his picture was in this morning’s paper, so he’s obviously still out there strutting his stuff.   On the next page was a picture of our other Laughing Cavalier, Pope Francis greeting the New Year with his fan club in Rome and welcoming fifteen new cardinals to his mens’ only club.

Well, must go, things to do , places to go and people to see.  Once again Buon Anno to you all you lovely people, and see you next week.

Amore June x

 

 

PS  Here is the direct link for my novel ‘My Father, The Assassin’ by J W Finnigan. You can also visit http://www.amazon.com & http://www.amazon.eu

http://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Father-The-Assassin-Finnigan/dp/1481904396/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1358800225&sr=8-1

 

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A Festive welcome to all my Loyal and New Followers

Early Christmas Morning, thick fog fills the valley below our villa. Photo P Finnigan

Early Sunday morning before Christmas, thick fog fills the valley below our villa.
Photo P Finnigan

“Oh no, we’ve got another one and he’s moving at the speed of a striking slug!” My man gasped.  We had pulled in behind a battered old Fiat at the self-service petrol pump, and the equally battered old driver was struggling to understand the money machine that paid for the petrol and then sent instructions to the pump.  As there had been a queue of just one, we had decided to stop for petrol at this cheaper pump, rather than the other one that was serviced, and as we did so, another car pulled in behind and trapped us in.  We watched in horror as the doddery old boy tapped at various buttons and then went to open his petrol cap.  Meanwhile, his driver’s door was wide open.  He then went around to the passenger door and opened that as well, leaned in and rummaged a bit, then returned to the pump forgetting to close it.  He then went to talk to the proprietor, who came over to help out.  Finally, he got into the car to drive away with his petrol cap and passenger door still open, so I leapt (well hauled myself) out of our car to warn him.  Meanwhile, the Italians now queuing up behind us were quite naturally sounding their horns.  You may ask why have I told you about this, well living in Italy, some things just have to be said.

Christmas morning Fiorentino Iris in the garden. Photo J Finnigan

Christmas morning Fiorentino Iris in the garden.
Photo J Finnigan

The Following day was Monday and we set off early, all bright and bushy tailed, for IKEA near Florence, as I was determined to get a new kitchen dresser before Christmas.  I won’t bore you with the visit, apart from mentioning the hilarious site of a chappy trying to squeeze massive boxes into a tiny car.  Half an hour later he had taken it all out, tried another way and failed miserably.  “Look at that idiot, he’s got a roof rack, why is he not using it?”  My man scoffed.  Why indeed?  The next morning, Tuesday, we took the time out to put the new dresser together.  Never have I experienced such a complicated and lengthy process, just to have our glasses and china sitting in a nice off-white glass cabinet.  After two hours I decided to pop some veggies in the oven to roast.  An hour later, they were all cooked so I turned the oven off and left them to keep warm.  Another hour later and we had finally finished the cabinet!  The roasted veggies were black and unidentifiable, but we were so hungry we ate them anyway, washed down with a good Pinot Grigio.  Never again!

The view from the sofa on Christmas Day Evening. Photo J Finnigan

The view from the sofa on Christmas Day Evening.
Photo J Finnigan

Christmas day arrived.  This is the only day of the year when my man cooks.  I still need to supervise and hurry things along, because if he’s left to his own devices he’ll take four hours or more to achieve what a normal person does in half an hour!  But it’s the thought that counts.  I defrosted some plums that we had picked in the garden a few months earlier and made some lovely creamy desserts, whilst looking over my shoulder and giving directions as needed.  He had bought some parsnips in England and brought them home on his last trip, so we had some lovely roast potatoes and vegis, with red peppers packed with a nutty stuffing, topped with scamorza cheese.  Yummy.

Chocolate Fountain and dips. Photo P Finnigan

Chocolate Fountain and dips.
Photo P Finnigan

On Boxing Day, we bootled off to our daughter’s new home between San Gimignano and Volterra for present opening and lunch with the grandkids.  A perfect family day of course, lovely lunch followed by the excitment of a new Chocolate Fountain Machine, which gurgled hot melted chocolate up and over, well yes, a little fountain.  We dipped fruit, biscuits and cake into the chocolate and our grandson became so mesmarised that we had to prize his attention away before he made himself irreversibly sick!

Giorgio waits to be noticed, his paw slightly raised.

Giorgio waits to be noticed, his paw slightly raised. Photo J Finnigan

Another highlight of my Christmas was a plate of gluten free mini-macaroons and sweet desserts, handed in by my lovely neighbour and celebrity cook Judy Witts-Francini.  This was such a treat for me; thank you so much Judy xx

And finally, to all our friends in Fiano for the festive chat and shouts of ‘Auguri’ from all and sundry, and we do hope that Giorgio the cat did get rewarded for his long wait outside the butchers.

Do drop me a line and I would really love it if you happened to read ‘My Father, The Assassin’ over the holiday and left a review on Amazon.

Tanti Auguri June xx

PS here is the direct link for ‘My Father, The Assassin’.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Father-The-Assassin-Finnigan/dp/1481904396/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1358800225&sr=8-1

 

 

 

 

 

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