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Posts Tagged ‘June Finnigan’

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

Yet another beautiful day in Tuscany!

2018-09-16 09.51.05Well, last Sunday morning was busy at coffee time at La Dispensa, in our local village of Fiano, with lots of locals wearing their team Calambur T-shirts, in readiness for the exciting contest due to start at two-thirty.  This was going to be a hard-fought contest for the coveted victor’s banner, which the team can keep displayed in their zone for the next twelve months.  Our Fiano team is called La Fonte, and our colours are red and white.  The village was festooned with flags as was Certaldo, where the big event was to be held.  The event is a bit like the ‘It’s a Knockout’ contest we used to have in the UK and is very entertaining to watch, but taken very seriously indeed by the contestants.

2018-09-17 09.31.21At the end of the day it was La Canonica team from Certaldo who came out victors, despite our team putting in a superb effort.  La Fonte did win two years ago and I remember the beautifully embroidered banner being displayed in La Dispensa.  Oh well, there’s always next year!

41632253_2158631247686062_3080309205630976000_nMeanwhile, there has been a lot of busy preparation for the Truffle (tartufo) Hunting Season, which starts on 22nd September.  Lots of tourists include this rather exciting event in their holiday itinerary and if you visit EnvyItaly on-line you will find an article all about it.  Click on ‘Magazine’ then ‘Best Experiences in Italy’.  There are also hunts available locally to us; I can put you in touch with the right people.  Foto Envy Italy.

As I have just mentioned the magazine Envy Italy, I should also tell you that it is a new publication co-published by my very clever daughter and her friend from Ireland.  As a writer, I have been very impressed with the articles and professional way the magazine has been put together.  This is one for you if you like the very best that Italy can offer.  I love it!  Go to the website

2018-09-16 09.50.26And, so to my other love, Italian Autumn Fashion.  The papers and magazines here are filling up with gorgeous Autumn colours, my favourite time of the year.  I noticed that Burberry in England has taken on a new look, but believe me, Italian designers do have the edge when it comes to style.  I just adore this fringed coat, couldn’t you just snuggle up in it?  MaxMara’a models are not the most cheerful lot, but I have let this fact pass for once.

2018-09-16 09.36.51The other advert I found, was for a pair of comfy shoes!  Arrrgh, I hear you say, fashion and comfort just don’t go together!  I have spent a lot of years trying to combine both, and yes it’s difficult.  However, what do you think of these shoes?  Are they stylish enough or too clumpy?  I’m almost tempted to buy some, but I’m not sure…..

2018-09-14 09.37.50#1And back in the real world, yesterday, Monday, was back to school day.  Lots of nervous children and students were starting the new term and some, like my 13 nearly 14-year-old granddaughter, a new senior school in Siena!  The Italian school holidays, particularly the summer one, is very long, almost three months in fact, so parents and grandparents alike are sighing with relief.

Anyway, enough already.  Oh, in case you were wondering I am still on the hunt for September’s Italian Hunk of the Month.  So if you spot a candidate send me a pic! My email

Have a great week wherever you are in the world.

Salute June x

PS If you did not manage to download my free short story, The Man in Black, you can now purchase it for just 99p or the equivalent $ or Euro.  Go to my website at June’s Site

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

2018-09-08 09.26.33Firstly, we were really delighted to see the arrival of a community Drinking Water Fountain/dispenser in Fiano, our local village.  I am so very pleased because if this is happening in all the communities, then Italy is already making a massive leap towards reducing the plastic bottle problem.  Tap water in Italy has always been a little suspect, so the demand for bottled water has been enormous.  Now we can just refill our existing bottles with fresh still water absolutely free!  In the picture is Milko demonstrating how to use a plastic card, which you can purchase from his Cartalibreria next to the Fountain, should you want the chilled or fizzy variety.  The cost for these is only a few centesimi per litre.  Brilliant!  Foto J Finnigan.

Equally exciting is the arrival of the new red wines which many Italians like to drink young, not aged.  This year the grapes are very healthy and the harvest is expected to be an excellent one.  It is a time of celebration.

Rione "Le Fonti" Fiano's photo.Meanwhile, Fiano is gearing up for Il Calambur and the big annual dinner will be held in  Piazza Gasparri this evening.  This then marks the run-up to the Calambur contest itself,  which will be held in Certaldo on Sunday 16th September.  The contest involves the five teams of the Commune di Certaldo wearing medieval outfits, who compete to win the coveted banner.  Fiano’s team is all in red and is called Le Fonti.  The contest involves all kinds of races and intelligence tests.  It’s all sooo exciting!  Visit the website for lot’s of colourful pictures from last year.    Website

2018-09-08 08.54.39Meanwhile, I spotted this gorgeous jacket in La Repubblica as I was enjoying my coffee in La Dispensa this morning.  I know, I do go on a bit about fashion and particularly those modelled by happy models.  And, yes, Luisa Spagnoli has done it again with a jacket you could wear smart or with jeans & T-shirt.  OK, she is not cheap but in my view something like this is timeless and therefore a very good investment.  website

OK, enough all ready.  Next week I hope to have found my September Hunk of the Month and more Autumn Fashion colours for you to drool over.

2018-09-09 10.34.57Oh dear, I nearly forgot!  My man’s new Man Bag, which we purchased in Barbarino Val D’Elsa last Thursday, is really beautiful.  Hand-made (fatto a mano) and it fits his apple lap-top perfectly.  So he’ll be swanning around London posing in his hand-made shoes, bespoke suit and his new bag casually slung over his shoulder!  Don’t you just love him?  I do.

Well, must go and organise Sunday lunch.  My man wants to cook today, which means starting early and finishing late, as he has to weigh everything due to his lack of experience in the Kitchen.  He has just told me, the lack of experience is nothing to do with it, he just likes to be ‘properly organised.’  Does your partner cook? I resort to restuarants as often as possible……

Have a great week and do drop me a line, I love to hear from you.  Salute June x

PS.  Visit my official Author Site at My Site  and thank you for all your support for my short story publication!

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

The_Man_in_Black_Cover_for_KindleFirstly, just to remind you that my Short Thriller story can still be downloaded absolutely free of charge from any Amazon site around the world, or directly from my site at My Amazon Site  Last day is tomorrow the 5th September!  Enjoy!

Meanwhile, back here in our beautiful little bit of Tuscany, it is the mass return to work for most Italians.  We love this time of year because shops, restaurants, Markets and caffe bars reopen after the long August holiday, which inevitably overlaps into September.  The towns and villages morph from ghost towns into bustling welcoming places, and it is such a relief.

2018-09-01 10.25.14In the countryside, the Vendemmia (grape harvest) is underway; the white grapes are already in and the red harvest is just starting.  And, droves of tourists are arriving to enjoy watching and being part of the harvest.  Many are taking organised vineyard treks that take wine lovers through miles of picturesque vineyards, stopping off for the odd tasting here and there.  A very productive and satisfying time of year.

2018-09-04 12.08.49Oh yes, I really must tell you about the discovery of a Leather Atelier in Barbarino Val D’Elsa near Tavernelle.  I was out and about with my visiting sister-in-law yesterday and went to the town, because I had seen an Artisan market advertised.  The town is a tiny hilltop place, beautiful and old, but little to offer in the way of restaurants or caffè bars.  But then we discovered the shop Colleregio (Firenze) owned by Francesco Bojola!  Well, you know what I am like with handbags, so you can imagine how I felt when we walked through the door.  Everything was handmade and beautiful, no rubbish there, oh no, and the prices reflect this of course.  To me a handbag bought from a place like this is an investment.  It also occurred to me that this was the ideal place to bring my man who has his Italian shoes and suits hand-made, and he really needed a smart shoulder bag to carry his Apple Mac and stuff whilst in London.  So we took the man in this morning and he was impressed.  The lovely owner, Francesco, will have just what is needed brought over from his other shop on Thursday, so watch this space!  Foto from their brochure.  Website Colleregio

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Whilst mentioning my sister-in-law, who likes to photograph herself in front of every old Italian doorway and under every archway, we do get to go out and eat rather more often as she likes to do this a lot.  So we have made two return trips to Osteria La Gramola in Tavernelle, two to C’era Una Volta in Lucardo and one to  Osteria Casa Chianti near Fiano.  Once Tuscany has shed more of its tourists we will head up to San Gimingiano (see foto J Finnigan) for some sophisticated dining.  San Gim is better visited out of season and for eating, in the evening.  Can’t wait!

2018-08-25 19.13.49And so to the beautiful month of September in Tuscany.  As if by magic, with the arrival of the new month, the weather changed from hot and humid to sunny and fresh with the odd shower, overnight.  Although not really autumn yet, I do love this season for the weather, the return to normality and the fashions.  It is also the time for new wine and the run up to the Olive Harvest, which will be in full swing come October.  Wonderful.  Foto – our September garden – J Finnigan.

Well, what else can I say, except ‘life eeez good, life eeez now’!

Do drop me a line or leave a message below, I love to hear from you.  Visit my official author site at My website

Salute June x

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers Around the World

Firstly, I must apologise for not sending you the usual blog about our lovely bit of Chianti.  On the other hand, I make no apology for announcing the publication of my Short Thriller, The Man in Black.  The work into getting this new book up and running for you all to read has sapped my time this week, but It has been worth it!  Back to Tuscan news next week!

New Book Launch! 1st September 2018.
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‘The Man in Black’
Delighted to announce the publication of my short thriller The Man in Black, based in London’s Theatre Land.
As a gift to my loyal followers, the book can be downloaded absolutely free of charge between Saturday 1st September 2018 at midnight Pacific time, through to Wednesday 5th September at 11.59PM Pacific time.
(GMT is seven hours earlier.)
Pop the date in your diary then go to My website events page or visit any Amazon site around the world. Enjoy.
Salute June xx
PS I would love to have your thoughts on the story, so do leave your comments or drop me a line at june.finnigan@virgin.net!

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

2018-08-19 08.38.29I know you will forgive me for starting this blog with an emotional outburst about the state of our roads and bridges.  Last week was the great holiday exit to the coast and mountains, so the roads were full of happy Italians heading off for their little bit of paradise, meeting up with family and friends, some never made it…….  The loss of so many lovely people with the collapse of the Morandi Bridge is unforgivable.  There will be thousands of people counting their blessings, including ourselves, who have driven over the same bridge in the past.  We have lived here in Tuscany for fourteen years.  The first thing that hit us was the terrible state of the roads.   Roadworks and bridge repairs are started and left unfinished, the weeds taking over and years passing before the work is completed; some never finished.  We see it every day!  Thank you for listening.

20180603_104928Meanwhile, families gather round and support each other, many still on holiday and so help them, they will still enjoy the rest of the time they have on the beach.  August is not our most favourite month of the year, but nevertheless, when we sit under our big ash tree and gaze across these Chianti Hills towards San Gimingiano and beyond, where our lovely family lives, we are reminded just how lucky we are.

2018-08-19 14.15.44Other things to celebrate include Our local restaurant, C’era una Volta, which continues to serve up the best Tiramusu in Tuscany,

2018-08-18 09.07.04And, Jam Caffe in Certaldo, which continues to make the best early morning pastries  and our lovely local Villagers in Fiano who continue to smile and greet us like we are old friends.  Life eeez good, Life eeez now.  Fotos J Finnigan

And, some good news for us fashionisti.  Autumn fashions are starting to appear in the shops and newspapers.  This is my time of year for both the colours and the styles, and as my man and I will be off for a short luxury break on the coast in the near future, its time to check my wardrobe.

2018-08-18 09.49.48I love this outfit in the foto, which I spotted in La Republica.  Luisa Spagnoli website is one of my favourite Italian designers.  Did I tell you that I have dropped a dress size after I stopped drinking alcohol last January?  Living in Tuscany surrounded by vineyards is wonderful, but it can also have its negative effects.  No my friends, this does not mean I will never drink a glass of Chianti wine again, but it may be some time before I do!  Salute x

And, down in our local town Certaldo, it is time to celebrate that beautiful glossy red onion, with La Sagra della Cipolla, famous for its flavour and uniqueness.  I may have mentioned before, but I keep a stock of Certaldo Onion Marmalade in my cupboard; it’s delicious.

So, as you can see, there is a lot to celebrate and be grateful for in beautiful Tuscany.

Have a great week and do drop me a line and/or visit my author site at My site

Salute June x

PS  Just sending off my short story & thriller ‘The Man in Black’ for publishing.  It will be available to download free, so watch this space!

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

2018-08-14 10.12.12Only in Italy will the front page of a national newspaper show the Prime Minister and other political big wigs splashing around in or by the sea!  You see, tomorrow is Ferragosta and If you are Italian you know exactly what that means.  You down tools, pack your extended family into a car, get into a crazy queue of traffic stretching for hundreds of miles, eat your way through hampers of food and wine on the journey and if you are lucky arrive at the coast or mountains by night fall!  If you are a foreign resident like us, you stock up with food and wine, batten down the hatches against the heat and stay at home.  Meanwhile, the unfortunate tourists arriving in Pisa this week, will find themselves in an endless queue trying to pick up a hire car, then another one trying to get on the FiPiLi dual carriageway, the caffes and pit stops are closed, because it’s the annual holiday and the petrol stations are only geared up for self-service cash only pumps!  When they finally arrive at their destination after endless stops in the overheated traffic queues, they find that local shops and restaurants are also closed!  So they all fall into the swimming pools, cool off and compete over who gets bitten the most by the zanzari (mosquitos) as no-one thought to pack any insect repellent.  By day three, the tourists will have discovered how best to deal with things.  The towns and villages are like ghost towns, so they eventually find which supermarkets are open, that hot pizzas are only sold in the evenings, the few available restaurants, only open in the evening as it is too hot to eat outside for lunch, and that cities like Florence are cauldrons this time of year and are best avoided.  Despite all these things they will leave after their week or two here, totally in love with Tuscany and wax lyrical to all their envious friends!  Foto La Nazione.

2018-08-14 10.17.02#1However, Ferragosta is also a week of fantastic music and theatre, if you know where to go, like Follonica over on the Tuscan coast.  For the Follonica Summer Festival go to their website

Locally, there will be firework displays and private parties to go to.  Art galleries and museums are mostly open, some with limited hours due to the skeleton staffing.  San Gimignano is a good place to go for these, if you can manage to park, or better to get a bus from Certaldo, Poggibonsi or Siena.  Expect big crowds though!  Foto La Nazione.

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On the subject of our local town, Certaldo, a recent addition to the curious things to see is a statue opposite Jam Caffe near the station.  Foto J Finnigan.  Whilst the mediterranean diet is supposed to be the healthiest in the world, this may remind you of the dangers of overindulging in pasta and pastries!  And on the subject of pasta, we met a lovely young English couple at Osteria La Gramola in Tavernelle websitewho were wading through a tasting menu of nine pasta dishes!  Now, this was their own fault as they had just finished a pasta making course that morning and had no choice but to try every one.  They only had a small taste of each dish, but they were definitely struggling with the last few servings!  If you are reading this; nice to meet you guys and we hope you organised a portavia!

2018-08-12 08.56.46#1Meanwhile, down in Roma the traditional pilgrimage to visit Pope Francis is at full throttle, this year seventy thousand fans filled the Vatican City on greet the masses days.  The heat has been horrendous, so I hope there was a good supply of chilled water and holy wine.  This man has a huge following, whether you are religious or not.  It is no doubt his likeable personality and charisma combined.

Back at the ranch, or rather our lovely former monastery farmhouse home, our daughter and grandchildren arrived for an overnight stay as their house had been invaded by hornets and the spray used to rid them was toxic to say the least.  “Come on over” we had said, “We have no hornets or wasps here!”  Then the next morning my daughter found a puppy racing around our garden, obviously stuck inside the fence and unable to find its way out again.  So my man opened the rarely used lower exit gate to let it out and promptly found a wasp’s nest inside it! The puppy raced back to its owners, parked just down the lane, whilst my man got himself stung three times!  Hey ho!  But we don’t care about that, life eeez good, life eeez now.  And now it’s raining praise the gods, so no need to water for a few days!

2018-08-14 10.25.36And finally, to say brava to Manuela who has been drafted in from her house next door to La Dispensa in Fiano, to man the bar for two weeks whilst Rosella goes off for a hard-earned holiday on the south coast with her amore.  As you can see in the foto and after several days of practice, she can now make perfect coffee even with her eyes closed!  Bless her.

OK, over to you.  Do drop me a line and/or visit my official author site at My site for your summer reading.

Have a great week.

Salute June x

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

terrazza-1_1d5e9c21dd4815517157de38d3d56952_tIt is Sunday morning in Beautiful Tuscany and we have returned from Fiano having enjoyed morning coffee and a chat with three visiting hunks from Milano.  Paolo’s (his English was excellent) father lives locally and his mother in Montespertoli.  I thought there had to be a good reason to visit our part of the world during an August heat wave, as every other Italian that can, has gone off to the coast or the mountains.  These nice looking young men apparently live near Lake Como, which is one place I would really like to visit.  anyway, I picked up another pack of bottled water and headed home with my man who is now stretched out on the sofa with a fan whizzing around full blast, and ready to take off, in the sitting room.  Yesterday, we realised that our air-conditioning unit was getting very hot, only to discover that the filter tray was completely blocked.  You may all like to check your own units!  We have had the out pipe stuffed up our chimney, but now we have realised that the hot air is heating up the metal flue and radiating the heat back into the room!  Saints preserve us!  Foto – The Relentless sun at Osteria La Case Chianti, from website.

2018-08-05 10.17.40Reading the papers I see that the Chinese and Japanese tourists continue to flood into Florence, that beautiful city that anyone with any common sense, avoids during the heat of summer.  The only difference is that it’s not the guide holding up the brolly for the faithful to follow, it is the tourists themselves that have converted their brollies into sunshades!  Foto La Repubblica.

Anyway, I’m sure my story is very similar to all you other poor souls fighting the European heat wave.  I watered the pots at seven o’clock this morning and made sure the two water bowls were full for the wildlife.  We have a large old black bucket outside our fence for the larger creatures (wild boar, deer etc) that cannot get into our pond, which is rapidly disappearing anyway.  And a smaller one for the cats, family of pheasants and visiting hare that manages to get under the fence.

Well, what else have I got to tell you.  Quite honestly, it’s been too hot to spend much time doing anything other than an early morning coffee at Fiano, then shutting ourselves in until dusk!  But I have had some new ideas for my fourth book ‘Assassin’s List,’ which is finally coming together.  Also, I must find the energy to keep up the strumming practice on my lovely Fender guitar, which sits on its stand in the corner of my study, begging to be played.  I need to change the strings to some that are better for learners, thank you John, but am frightened to death of trying to do it myself.  So I must wait for my band member Stefano to surface from his summer break!

tom-hill.jpgSo, what are you up, to apart from staggering around with your tongue hanging out and using up whole packets of wet wipes to cool yourselves down?  Perhaps Iceland would be a good idea.  My man and I did discuss moving out of Tuscany to cooler climes for a month in August last year, but here we are again, still here. Life’s events can tend to get in the way and prevent any well laid plans from happening!  Actually, I can recommend a hotel there, Iceland that is, its called Hotel Ranga, my daughter stays there regularly.  Foto from website.  Go to  Website

Gosh, am I rambling?  That’s what this relentless heat does to the brain!  I’ve even started talking to Izzy Lizard; he dashes from his vantage point above left of the cantina door, races across the side wall and hides behind the compost sacks.  But the last couple of weeks, I’m convinced he has been devising a cunning plan.  He’s started making strange cackling sounds that to me is talking, but not in a very friendly way.  So I talk back and say nice things to keep him relaxed.  Today he stopped halfway across the wall and stared at me!  I smiled, then he went behind his sacks, cackling away,  until I had finished sorting out the laundry.  He’s quite big and fat, so I think he’s the one keeping the insects down. Perhaps he thinks I’m after them too!

OK, must get this blog off to you.  Sorry about all the gobbledygook, that’s the way it is at the moment!

Have great week and do drop me a line, and/or visit my official author site at June’s site

Salute June x

PS  In this hot weather make sure your loved one is provided with plenty of chilled drinks and pampering.  Amore is the one thing that keeps us sane at times like this!

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