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Ciao to all my Loyal and New Followers

'My Father, The Assassin' By June Finnigan

‘My Father, The Assassin’
By June Finnigan

For a seven-day period, you will be able to download my romantic thriller, ‘My Father, The Assassin’ by J W Finnigan for just 99p!  This is a whopping 60% discount, so do take advantage and tell all your friends.  The promotion will run from 8am on Monday December 8th through to 12am on Monday 15th.

I love receiving books for Christmas and even more love reading them.  So I will also be downloading lots of books to indulge in over the Festive Period.

If you do download my book, I would love it if you could return to Amazon when you have read it and leave a review.  I will be launching the follow-up, titled ‘The Bolivian Connection’ in the spring, so watch this space.

Molto Amore June xx

ps here is the direct UK 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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Welcome to all my Lovely Loyal and New Followers

“The bins have gone!  I knew it would happen, these silly new door to door plastic bin collection systems are spreading through the communities like an itchy rash!”  My man groans.  We had driven, as we have been doing for years, to ditch our rubbish in the big roadside bins.  But the community that still had the bins, had finally succumbed to this idiotic new system.  So, I decide to go to the Town Hall  and enquire about getting the silly little plastic coded bins to put outside our door.  As usual, I fail to get what I want, as I should have gone on Thursday or Friday afternoon or Saturday morning to a refuse site on the outskirts of town!  Nothing is straight forward or simplistic in Italy.

Georgio the Fiano's village cat. Photo J Finnigan

Georgio Fiano’s village cat.
Photo J Finnigan

Back in the relaxing environment of Laura’s Alimentare/bar in Fiano, we enjoy our morning coffee and watch Giorgio the big village male cat licking his chops outside the door, and waiting for a ungaurded moment when he can dash in.  He will have already visited the local butcher on his way here and downed a view stomach fulls of meaty bits.  Laura shouts ‘Giorgio’ in a mock angry voice as he sneaks in between a customer’s legs and makes for the gap between the counters.  He has the desired effect though, as Laura encourages him back out rattling a box of cat biscuits to a bowl that has a permanent place outside the door.  We all know that he would rather be up under the glass of the delicatessen counter where all the meats and cheeses are.  Then we see Laura sneaking back out with a hand full of ham!

Our lovely Thanks Giving host, Judy Witts Francini. Photo J Finnigan

Our lovely Thanks Giving host, Judy Witts Francini.
Photo J Finnigan

Fast forward to last Saturday evening when our social life went up a notch, as we joined our lovely host Judy Witts Francini, http://www.devinacucina.com, and new friends, for our very first Thanks Giving Supper, at Ristorante Latini near Certaldo.  Visit http://www.ristorantelatini.com   Of course, the traditional fare is stuffed Turkey with all the trimmings, however, we were really delighted when Chiara served up specially prepared and fabulous vegetarian dishes to myself and my man.  The food just kept coming and the wine bottles kept refilling themselves.  We were even given a doggy bag full of the vegi stuffing mix, which I have frozen to use at Christmas!  We were so impressed with the food we are going to pop back for lunch this week, and the next, and the next…… Thank you again to Judy and Chiara as we know they spent two days preparing the feast for a understandibly packed restaurant.

Back at the villa, you may recall that we discovered a lemon tree full of fruit, at the end of the orange grove.  Well, it seems that our local contadino (country worker) had expected to harvest them for the landlady, and found them gone.  She sent me an email you see, to make sure they had not been stolen by hunters, so I confessed to having picked them.  We always pick the oranges and she hadn’t complained before.  We had to snigger though, when we first arrived here, the same contadino secretly sneaked into our garden and took a huge quantity of Mimosa flowers from our tree.  It was only when I cornered him, that he confessed to it.  So one in the eye to him!

Silvio rising to the occasion again. AFP Photo/Tiziana

Silvio rising to the occasion again.
AFP Photo/Tiziana

And finally, what has the handsome Silvio Berlusconi been up to?  Would you believe it?  SB is proposing a new currency to tackle the economic crisis!  This is not to replace the Euro, but to exist alongside, thus restoring its monetary sovereignty.  SB announced his idea on “No Tax Day” which took place last Saturday.  I have no idea what the day actually achieved, but then we are constantly scratching our heads in wonderment here in Italy and carrying on regardless.  The notion of rejecting the Euro has become very popular in Italy, so SB is definitely re-building his popularity.  Our ladies’ man rises to the occasion yet again!

Well, enough of that.  I have a big work load this week so must crack on.  Buon Lavoro to you all.

Do drop me a line, and below is a direct link for an excellent Christmas present for you readers.

Ciao June x

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

You can also visit http://www.amazon.com and http://www.amazon.eu to view ‘My Father, The Assassin by J W Finnigan

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Ciao and Welcome to all my Loyal and new followers,

“I hadn’t got rid of the last one and now I’ve caught another one!”  My man is hunched in the passenger seat of the car, having just been collected by my good self from Certaldo Station.  The poor thing had just flown back to Pisa from London and an English cold virus had got him again .  “I already had some antibiotics, now I’ll have to go back and see Flavio again for some more.”  His face was as long as could be.  “Don’t worry, lovely man,” I smiled, “the forecast is for a sunny weekend, you’ll be as right as rain by Monday!”  “Humph.” He groaned.

Freshly harvested oranges and lemons. Photo P Finnigan

Freshly harvested oranges and lemons.
Photo P Finnigan

Farty Barty on the frame over the orange grove wondering what the fuss is all about. Photo P Finnigan

Farty Barty on the frame over the orange grove wondering what the fuss is all about.
Photo P Finnigan

By the end of a lovely warm sunny Sunday, he was cheerfully enjoying an aperitivo in glorious sunshine, having also had lunch outside on the upper terrace earlier on.  “Ah this is the life.” He sighed.  And he was quite right.  Just when we were beginning to think that the cold damp weather was here forever, the hot mediterranean sun broke through, bathing us in that all important vitamin D.  In the garden, much work was needed, in particular the ground was covered in dead leaves including the big floppy fig leaves that make a plopping sound as they hit the ground.  Alessandro, the local contadino, who looks after the land below the house, arrived unexpectedly and started violently pruning the fruit trees.  My man was rather annoyed, as he had planned to do this himself, and he is very experienced at it.  The workers also cut down the beautiful row of Firethorn, which bordered our garden with the orchard, unfortunately we were out having our morning coffee when this happened!  I guess it will all grow back again.  The good news, however, is that our view has been dramatically opened out and this morning the man is really happy as he has found a mature lemon tree in full fruit, in what we had thought was only an orange grove!

Back in the countryside we are seeing whole olive trees being cut down.  This follows the disastrous olive harvest due to blight and insects.  Lets hope that new saplings will be planted to replace them.  On the other hand, the grape harvest was really good.  My man went down to our friend and vineyard owner with all our empty Chianti bottles for refills.  My man liked to do the corking with a hand-operated corking machine, but this time he was impressed to find that this was now automated!  There was a new narrow metal conveyor belt on which the empty bottles traveled along and when they reached a certain point, a cork was automatically punched in.  He just had to wait at the end, take off the corked bottles and put them in a box!  Then horror of horrors, he had a box under each arm and spotted our friend’s Smart Phone traveling along the conveyor and could only shout a warning.  The thing only just escaped being corked!

Siena Cake Photo J Finnigan

Siena Cake
Photo J Finnigan

Last weekend, I bought my first annual piece of Siena Cake.  Now this is a close as I can get to the taste of a typical English Christmas Cake.  It is made with figs, nuts and chocolate powder, and some other secret ingredients, crushed under a press.  All cooks have their own recipes, however, this one was purchased at Osteria La Gramola, in Tavernelle who use the original one from Siena.  Now some of you clever foodies out there will probably put me right, or at least explain the other ingredients.  Speaking of which, and I’m sure she won’t mind my mentioning it, my good neighbour and celebrity cook, Judy Witts Francini, knows everything there is to know about Tuscan cooking.  You should visit her website and go along to one of her residential cooking classes, or at least buy her books.  Fantastic!  Visit http://www.divinacucina.com

Well, I think enough said for now.  I’ll endeavour to bring you some good news about Silvio Berlusconi next week.

Amore June x

PS Here is the direct link for an ideal Christmas present.

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

The main reason for moving to Italy was to learn the language.  We also thought that the weather might be a little warmer, brighter and dryer.  Whilst the latter was a secondary issue, right now we are beginning to wonder if the Roman Gods are being unkind to us.  Looking out of the double windows opposite my desk, it could well be a view of English grey skies, and the sound of wheels splashing past the villa sound so wet and chilly.  These days our Italian friends in the cafe bar in Fiano, talk as much about the ‘brutto Tempo’ (bad weather) as we brits did in the local pub after work in England.  This is not a complaint, just an observation, well actually I am complaining, let’s be honest.  However, I have just bought a lovely new pair of soft leather boots from Gabor and my beloved waxed coat has come out of the wardrobe.  These may not sound important to you, but to little old me, these are two of the perks of winter.

Farty Barty refuses to leave his nice warm chair. Phot J Finnigan

Farty Barty refuses to leave his nice warm chair.
Photo J Finnigan

Meanwhile, Tuscany is still struggling with serious flooding and landslides.  We are desperately waiting for the rain to stop and allow some of the poor homeless people to get back to repairing and rebuilding their homes.  Our little bit of Chianti has so far suffered much less than some areas; may that continue.  Farty Barty the cat, remains in his comfy kitchen chair and refuses to go out at night……that says a lot.

Gluten free pasta and white truffles photo J Finnigan

Gluten free pasta and white truffles
photo J Finnigan

But then all turned bright and sunny on the weekend, metaphorically speaking, when our beautiful nine, nearly ten-year old granddaughter came to stay for two nights.  Absolutely no work or writing got done, we were forced to just relax and enjoy ourselves in her delightful company.  We went out to lunch twice.  Firstly to Ristorante Montalbino for, yes again, white truffle pasta.  It is a tiny family run place where they specialise in fungi and it’s really good.  Then on Sunday we went back to La Gramola in Tavernelle, where we had the most delicious Red Wine Pici with cheese and pepper.  This is home-made spaghetti infused with red wine, so comes out a sort of ruddy colour.  It’s really delicious tossed in pecorino cheese and pepper.  Then I had pears that had been poached in Vin Santo, a wine liqueur made from grapes that have been left to wither on the vine, or so I’m told!

The game of Pick'Up'Sticks Photo J Finnigan

The game of Pick’Up’Sticks
Photo J Finnigan

Back at the villa we played the games of ‘Sorry’ and ‘Pick’up’Sticks’.   We also had a fun time, by having a book each, and reading the first full line of each page one after the other.  This can be hilarious, however, our poor granddaughter had a John Le Carre book in her hands and he tends to write very long sentences.  We were very impressed to find that her reading of difficult English words was brilliant.  She is English, but when you consider that she has only been educated in an Italian school, speaks fluent Italian, and generally reads a lot of Italian books, so brava to her.

Well, I hope that you will not mind if I cut this post a little short.  I have a busy workload today and must knuckle down.

Have a great week and don’t forget to visit my author page at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

Salute June x

 

 

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Benvenuti to all my Lovely Loyal and New Followers

Now, you will have heard me say that the Italians will always find an excuse for a Festa, which often involves everyone stopping work for the day.  However, this last weekend was well deserved as we celebrated La Festa per Il Nuova Vino e Pane Olio (The Festival for the New Wine and Olive Bread).  This was hosted in the hilltop village of Montespertoli where the festivities included walking, running and bike racing.  The locals do like to drink their Chianti young.  This is interesting isn’t it, as traditionally, at least in the UK we have always gone for much older labels.  Many families give a watered down version to the children.  We quite like a new or young Chianti, but still prefer last years or the year before.  We are fortunate to be able to buy our wine from a local vineyard very cheaply indeed.  Now the owner is a friend, however, it is possible to get a pretty good price from many vineyards if you take your own bottles along and cork them yourself.  It’s all about who you know and if you have neighbouring vineyard owners to befriend!

The Autumn view from here. Photo J Finnigan

The Autumn view from here.
Photo J Finnigan

You may have heard in the news about the terrible floods and landslides over the last week.  Carrara was very badly hit and the locals have stormed the commune offices, as the blame is being put directly in the local authority’s lap.  Disasters like this have happened in the past, however, the lesson does not seemed to have been learnt and flood defences have not been properly catered for.  Tuscany is a province prone to landslips, main roads collapsing and flooding.  If you were to check out the history of any area, there will be something to scare you off!  So, if you fall in love with a particular place it is best to accept it warts and all.  We live in a stunningly beautiful part of Chianti, however, we are perched only two hundred yards from the edge of crumbling inland cliffs!  A local once told us not to worry as our house had not moved for over two hundred years.  Before that it was in the hamlet further up the hill!

The old Mine Workings Photo P Finnigan

The old Mine Workings
Photo P Finnigan

Our beautiful daughter and family are in the process of moving to a lovely old house between Siena and Volterra.  It sits by itself, perched above old mine workings that are now in ruins and with views of the mountains and sea on the west coast of Tuscany.  We went over to help with curtain making and things last Saturday, and were told the story of the famous mine owner who originally owned the land and house, and how his disgusted employees threw him down the well below the house after a dispute!  Ooh, creepy….

I am getting on really well with my novel ‘The Bolivian Connection,’ where things are a little tense, as my heroine Joanna awaits the result of sending off a female Interpol agent, disguised as herself, to flush out an assassin who is trying to kill her!  I can tell you, my blood pressure has gone up over the last couple of days whilst I have been writing the current chapter, it’s all very nerve-racking…..

I love to start the day with a delicious cafe latte and watch the world go by at  Laura’s bar/allimentare in Fiano, it sets me up for the day.  Sig Rotund has been missing for a couple of weeks and we have discovered that he is convalescing at home after an operation.   We wish him well and will keep the sporting pages warm for him.  I went to Laura’s at seven o’clock this morning for coffee, as I had dropped my man off at Certaldo station to get the early train to Pisa airport.  Laura had already been ‘a piede’ (on her feet) for four hours.  She opens at six in the morning, but arrives much earlier for the bread and pastry deliveries.  At seven, the customers are very different to the nine o’clock crowd.  It is busier with workers who start early and the mothers with older children who will be taking the school buses to media school.  School generally starts between eight and eight thirty.  We have a primary school in Fiano which takes children up to age ten, otherwise, they are bussed to various towns at least a half hour away.

he all important wood fire and aperitivo. Photo J Finnigan

The all important wood fire and aperitivo.
Photo J Finnigan

As I write this blog, thunder is rolling and lightning is flashing across the hills.  This means that the electricity might go at any minute, which is usual here, and I should save everything and go off-line.  I’ll update you on the gorgeous Silvio Berlusconi next time!  In the meantime I shall look forward to the log fire and aperitivo this evening.

Have a great week and do drop me a line at june.finnigan@virgin.net, or leave me a message below.  I will respond!

Salute June x

PS Don’t forget to visit my author page at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

 

 

 

 

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Benvenuti to all my Lovely Loyal and New Followers

Only in Italy will you find half the population celebrating the dead, visiting the cemetries, cars parked for miles down the road and then dressing up to look like them in the evening.  Failing that, it’s an excuse to have a two-day festa and dress in amazing costumes, sometimes not even related to Halloween!  The fancy dress themes ranged from animals to cartoon characters.  The lovely Benedetta from Fiano has promised to let me have pictures of her own costume to show you.  So watch this space.

Autmn colour in the vineyards below the villa Photo P Finnigan

Autumn colour in the vineyards below the villa
Photo P Finnigan

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The man and Farty Barty do the crossword. Photo J Finnigan

Back in the land of the sane, well almost, we have finally accepted that Autumn is here.  The countryside is looking glorious, however, there is no denying that, now the last olives have been picked, it is time to start tucking in with the log fire and warmed Chianti.  Despite this, the lunchtimes are still proving to be lovely and sunny.  Grab a warm spot out of the wind and it’s really nice.  Yesterday, the man and Farty Barty the cat spread themselves across the outside table and enjoyed doing a crossword together, which they had earlier found amongst old newspapers put aside for the fire.  Meanwhile I managed another chapter of ‘The Bolivian Connection’ and so Sunday turned out to be a very good day indeed.

Soaking up the sea air. Photo P Finnigan

Soaking up the sun and sea air.
Photo P Finnigan

Last Thursday we took the day off and drove down to the coast and Castiglione della Pescaia.  We usually try to go down in October when the tourists have gone, yet is still nice enough to stroll in the gorgeous yellow sand and around the beautiful harbour.  We had lunch in a tried and tested restaurant, however, next time we’ll take a picnic and sit on the beach.  There were several very brown people still sunbathing as we walked past in our winter jackets!  Die hards…  I spent my childhood on the beach at Exmouth in Devon and have always been drawn to the sea.  There’s something about the ocean, the smell of the clear water and the swaying seaweed just below the surface.  The low Autumn sun made it difficult to get any really good pictures of the beach, which was a lovely fine yellow sand, so perhaps we’ll go at the end of September next time.  But it was lovely.  I would love to hear from any of you who live on the Tuscan coast.  We adore Chianti, however, if we could be persuaded to a region near the coast that offers similar rolling hills, vineyards and olives, and not too touristy, we may be tempted.

The charismatic Silvio Berlusconi

The charismatic Silvio Berlusconi

Meanwhile, back in the land of the super rich, Silvio Berlusconi reigns supreme at AC Milan.  Having sold Mario Balotelli to Liverpool, describing him as a bad apple, he watched his side lose 2-0 to Palermo.  He told his players to stop playing like the Liverpool striker and get themselves inside the box.  Meanwhile, SB is doing his best to be constantly ‘on’ the box.  “Love me, love my club!”

Well, enough of that.  It’s probably the last day to enjoy lunch in the garden this week, as rain is forecast for the next few days.  So, time to prepare lunch, then soak up some much-needed vitamin D with an aperitivo.

Have a really good week and see you next time.

Salute June x

ps Visit my author site at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

 

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Benvenuti to all my Loyal and New Followers

Benedetta, at Laura’s Bar/Alimentare in our local village of Fiano, is very excited about her preparations for Halloween.  Every year, she and her husband go to a street festa near Empoli dressed in Halloween costumes.  This year the theme is birds and animals;  Benadetta is going as an ornimental chicken, you know the one with a big feathery white ball on top of its head!  She will have professional looking face makeup on and has promised to send me pictures so that you can all see what she will look like on Friday!

After coffee in the bar, my man and I were sat in Doctore Flavio’s waiting room and the conversation was all about the lack of police presence in the village.  The row of ladies opposite us were very worried, because the nearest police station was in Certaldo, twenty minutes away.   Fiano is not exactly a sleepy village, however, it is not large enough to have its own police station.  It does boast two bars, two grocery shops, a butchers, chemist, haberdashery/bookshop, pizzeria, cash point (the bank closed years ago) and a post office.  So the need for at least one officer  was agreed, what with all the strange immigrants about.  They went quiet then and looked at us.  I suggested to my man that I could cheer them up with a rock song, but he held me down in my chair and whispered firmly, “No!”

We were visiting our good friend and doctor, who prefers to talk about rock music than medical matters, because my man has not been able to shake off a virus brought back from England a couple of weeks ago.  Either that, or he had picked up another one.  On the drive into Fiano earlier he had complained that if the weather had to be cold, it would be much more fun if there was snow on the ground, so that he could try out the four-wheel drive to greater effect.  I said that it was not that cold and the sun was still hot, in fact warm enough to have lunch in the garden.  “I think it freezing.” He groaned.  “We may have to light a fire this evening and get the winter quilts out.”  His face was very long.

Courgette flowers in the Saturday Market in Certaldo. Photo J Finnigan

Courgette flowers in the Saturday Market in Certaldo.
Photo J Finnigan

Meanwhile, down in Certaldo’s Saturday market I spotted this lovely sunny basket of courgette flowers, a popular dish here in Tuscany, either in deep-fried batter or in risottos.

Pingpong neighbours catching olives

Our neighbours catch the olives on a difficult corner.       Photo J Finnigan

Back in the countryside, the olive picking has been in full swing all week.  Green, white and orange nets have been spread out under the trees and the harvesters raised voices could be heard trying to out do each other in volume.  To the uninitiated, it often sounds as if the Italians are arguing.  They are in fact all talking at the same time and getting louder as the conversation evolves, trying to  be heard over and above their neighbour.  Try as I may, despite being here for a number of years, I cannot understand how the Italians manage to actually hear each other, but they do, and they never stop to breathe!  It’s also fascinating how the subject is almost always about food.  Anyway, we are looking forward to some Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil from the trees below the villa.  Mmmmm!

Silvio in the news. Photo J Finnigan

Silvio in the news.
Photo J Finnigan

Oh yes, I promised you an update on Silvio Berlusconi.  Last week I mentioned that I was reading his biography.  Well, I have to say that I was very disappointed in the writer’s effort and it was obvious he had just pulled out information already existing in various newspapers and Wikipedia.  However, Silvio has been having a better week regarding media coverage and was even interviewed on Chanel Five!  You may already know that he is still the leader of the political party, Forza Italia and has been having some arguments with the Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.  A big surprise to us all is that SB is currently promoting the legalisation of Civil Unions between gays, but not same-sex marriages.  He is holding up Germany as a model for his plan.  It wasn’t so long ago that he was quoted as saying “Better to be passionate about a beautiful girl than to be gay.”

Well, enough of that.  I must crack on with the day job for the next few days and then a long weekend  writing ‘The Bolivian Connection.’

I hope you are having a stunning week and do drop me a line.

Salute June x

ps You can visit my author page at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Benvenuti to all my Loyal and New Followers

English Park Benches on our upper terrace. Photo P Finnigan

English Park Benches on our upper terrace.
Photo P Finnigan

People who come to visit us for the first time, always ask where we got our lovely wooden benches that are carefully positioned to enjoy our panoramic view.  Well, they are a pair that we bought in England back in the 1980’s and they have moved with us to every home we have lived in.  So, ten years ago, they came with us to Italy and my man lovingly oils them every year and patches up bits of rotting wood with Sugru and other things.  The bottom of the legs are vulnerable to damp so we keep them standing on small round and very hard pine cones.  It would be a very sad day if we were to lose one of these treasures.

Now I try not to talk about bad Italian drivers too often, as it is much the most common thing to mention, and sometimes boring.  However, on Saturday morning my man drove us down to the market in Certaldo, which is thirty minutes in total there and back.  Within minutes of starting out my man started to groan, then the expletives started.  Now we rarely use the F word but this day it was warranted.  I made a note every time my man shouted out to other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists on that journey, not that anyone could hear him from inside the car.  OK, here we go.  “What the f…; that cyclist didn’t even look!”  “What the hell is that fecking idiot doing?” “Does that plonker have a death wish?” “Am I an fecking car, or what?” “Go on, back out why don’t you, I’m only a bloody car coming down the road!”  “Get your dog on the inside, you idiot!” “Take your fecking time, why don’t you?”  (to two women gossiping in the middle of the road and ignoring my man), “Look at that idiot, he’s right up his bottom!” “Oh, you’re turning right are you?  What’s wrong with using your fecking indicator?” I may have missed a few.  Needless to say, my man did not enjoy his drive, however, the coffee and pastry at Cafe Solferino in Certaldo was worth it!  The smile was soon back on his face.

Inedible fungi in our garden. Phot P Finnigan

Inedible fungi in our garden.
Photo P Finnigan

Last week was very wet, however, this brought forth some beautiful fungi in the garden and of course lots of Porcini are in the markets and veg shops.  White truffles are still being found and the other day we spotted two truffle hunters and their dogs.  Why, we asked ourselves, are they wearing camouflage clothes?  Can the truffles see them coming without this gear on?  The other thing is, there are shooters about, so wouldn’t it make sense to wear the same bright orange jackets the shooters wear, to avoid getting shot?  But then I’m just a simple English girlie with, what I consider to be, a little common sense.  But the Italians are very strange in the way they take risks, every year hunters get shot and killed, but hey ho!

Hot Chilli Peppers drying on Paolo's balcony. Photo P Finnigan

Hot Chilli Peppers drying on Paolo’s balcony.
Photo P Finnigan

Back at ‘C’era una Volta’ ristorante, Paolo  sold my man a small truffle (Tartufo) as he wants to take it to England today for a friend.  It is now packed inside dry risotto rice in a sealed glass jar, which is also encased in bubble wrap.  It’s not just protecting the truffle, it’s also trying to prevent the incredible pungent smell from creeping out into his suitcase!  On Paolo’s balcony, where you can dine if the weather’s right, he has also been drying the most beautiful hot chilli peppers that he has grown in his own veg patch (Orto).  Mmmmm.

A jewelled cobweb in the early morning mist. Photo P Finnigan

A jewelled cobweb in the early morning mist.
Photo P Finnigan

Over the weekend, we have woken to a view of thick fog after the earlier rains and subsequent sunshine.  As you know, we always go out for coffee in the early morning and yesterday spotted some wonderful spiders’ webs glowing in the fog, with tiny jewels of water droplets hanging off.

Now what next?  Ah yes, you are probably waiting to hear about Silvio Berlusconi’s latest exploits.  Well, I have to tell you that I have just started reading his biography, so things are a little historical at present.  Don’t sound so shocked, he is an historical figure, you know!  Give me one more week and I’ll report, not only some fascinating snippets from the past, but also a complete up date.

So, for now.  I wish you a great week and see you soon.  Don’t forget to drop me a line or visit http://www.amazon.com/junefinnigan/author

Salute June x

 

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Benvenuti to all my lovely Loyal and New Followers

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

We can’t help but notice how fat and lethargic Farty Barty the cat has become.  But when we think back over the years, and as Autumn takes over, he does start to lay on the fat layers and thickens his fur.  He is also building his energy to service the girlies come January and February.  In case you were not aware, Barty is half-wild.  He will sometimes disappear for up to five days, then return starving and exhausted, lying around the garden and kitchen recuperating.  The mind boggles as to what he gets up to.

Back in the countryside, the grape harvest is winding down and the ground around the olive trees is being cleared for the olive picking.  Whilst the grape harvest has been good, we are not expecting such an abundant olive crop.  Sadley, insect infestation  and desease has been a problem, so the price of Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil is likely to be much higher this year.  Thinking about that unique taste makes my mouth water, particularly on Fettunta, that is day old bread toasted, rubbed with garlic and drizzled with oil.  Mmmmm.

It’s also the time of year to enjoy white truffles (tartufo bianco).  We had Tagliatelle con Tartufo for lunch at ‘C’era Una Volta’ yesterday, expensive, but worth every cent.   If you haven’t tasted Tartufo in Italy, you really must!  Two americans joined us, having just arrived for ten days, and we enjoyed a lively discussion.  Ginger, if you are reading this, do get on and write that book and have a great holiday.

Alice Cooper. Photo - Alice Cooper official photo gallery

Alice Cooper.
Photo – Alice Cooper official photo gallery

My man went to London for a few days last week and I spent one evening playing loud music including some Alice Cooper.  Don’t ever ask me to watch his stage act, however, I really like ‘Poison’ which I have added to my repertoire for next year’s concert.  Our good friend and doctor Flavio, suggested that I also do ‘Bed of Nails’, so I’ll check this out.  When I mentioned to a friend that I was going to do an Alice Cooper, she said “Oh, that won’t be too difficult for you June!” Did she mean the song or the image?  she had gone before I had time to think about what she had said……

After my man returned from a successful trip to London, he was finding the Italian attitude irritating.  Now don’t get me wrong, but I do understand how he feels sometimes, particularly the parking on pavements, walking the roads with their dogs on the outside, letting their small children run loose in a busy car park etc  Obviously, this doesn’t apply to all Italians, but every day we get a little annoyed at something.

Autumn on the upper Terrace. Photo J Finnigan

Autumn on the upper Terrace.
Photo J Finnigan

However, life eeez good, life eeez now.  We celebrated yet another anniversary at the weekend, and I have to say, celebrating here in Tuscany with that view and a lovely glass of prosecco would be difficult to beat anywhere else.  The garden is still beautiful with the bouganvillea in full bloom and all the rich autumn colours are beginning to creep through.

Well, I must crack on with the day job and look forward to speaking with you next time.  Have a great week.

Do drop me a line.

Amore June x

ps If you have read ‘My Father, The Assassin’, I would love it if you could pop back to Amazon and leave a review.  Thank you lovely readers.

 

 

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Benvenuti to all my lovely Loyal and New Followers

Last week was undoubtably one of the busiest this year.  so I thought I would get in to calm mode and take you out into our garden.  Firstly to look at the plants and then to enjoy an evening glass of Chianti with my man.

Lovely Clematis on the upper terrace. Photo J Finnigan

Lovely Clematis on the upper terrace.
Photo J Finnigan

It is the time of year to get the Clematis and Pansies into beds and pots.  Now don’t think this is something I spend a lot of time doing, unfortunately I don’t.  It’s a question of dashing outside for half an hour, in between work and writing.  On Saturday mornings we tend to drop down to Certaldo for coffee, buy veg, fruit and cheese and if we are lucky, some plants assuming our lovely plant selling lady is there.  She was there last Saturday and, it being the first one of the month, there was also stands selling handbags and shoes!  I put on my blinkers and headed over to buy plants, as time was short.  I needed to get back and write another chapter, which was burning inside my brain.  So we got the C’s and P’s and I managed to plant the former when we got home, before dashing upstairs to my keyboard.  Come the evening, it was all so worthwhile, enjoying a wine or three and the splash of colour in the freshly planted pots.

Back at my keyboard, I was agonising over one of the evil characters in my current novel, ‘The Bolivian Connection.’  Sapphire is an Italian hired assassin and I felt I had made her too horrible in the scene I had just written.  She came across as a pathological killer, however, it did not feel right.  So I finally changed the murderous act to be something she regretted, but deemed necessary.  Now I am happy and am able to forge on without doubts!

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The last orange of the season. Photo J Finnigan

Returning to our garden, the man has been tidying and trimming, and the air is heady with the smell of grass and hedge cuttings.  I just love that.  We have two terraces and tend to enjoy our evening aperitivo on the upper one, with distant views between  Barberino Val D’Elsa and San Gimignano.  Yesterday I sliced into our last orange of the season for our aperitivo, however, thankfully the trees are already heavy with new green ones.

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A bottle of Chianti to warm the cooler evenings. Photo P Finnigan

Later in the evening, we enjoyed a bottle of Claudio Corbenelli’s delicious Chianti.  We can actually see his farmhouse across the valley from here.  The evenings are cooler now, but as long as the wind stays light, it’s still plenty warm enough to sit outside.  Also, there has been a bright moon over the last few days, all very beautiful.

There has been a rash of American tourists here over the last two weeks.  I don’t say rash unkindly, we have met some very nice ones.  We have an American friend who owns a property nearby and we met some friends of his who were staying at his house while he was away.  They were hugely enthusiastic about being in Tuscany and we were able to give them some pointers.  If you guys are reading this, we hope you have a great holiday and we recommend you to pop into the Alimentare/bar in Fiano for a coffee, fresh bread and groceries.  I also managed to slip a few of my author cards their way!  We met them at C’era una Volta,’ one of our regular restaurant haunts and it has proved quite a good hunting ground for potential readers of Romantic Thrillers!

The Italian James Bond

The Italian James Bond

On that same subject, I wonder if Silvio Berlusconi has read ‘My Father, The Assassin’, my current published novel?  Theres a hint of mafioso links in the book.  Does he find time to read?  Probably yes, he has so much more time on his hands these days.  There seems to be very little going on news wise, so I have just downloaded ‘Silvio Berlusconi – A Biography’.  I know, don’t say anything…..  Did you know he was a former film star and singer?  Well apparently he made two films, ‘Mediterraneo’ and ‘Volere Volare.’  Watch this space.

Well back to the day job and some more writing this evening.  Thank god for the local wine.

Have a great week.

Salute June xx

ps visit my author page at http://www.amazon.com/junefinnigan/author

 

 

 

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