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Posts Tagged ‘Matteo Renzi’

Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers

Daybreak in Chianti. Foto J Finnigan

Last Tuesday morning, I opened the shutters and then the window, because the sun had finally returned to our little bit of Tuscany.  Hard to believe, I know, that Tuscany can have several long days of drizzle and grey skies, so much so that one can feel a little dejected.  So, it was a huge relief to have the hot sun on my face again.  The countryside quickly reacted, by sending up lots of spring shoots and buds out on the trees, now everything looks and smells wonderful.

Delicious Chianti Classico Bibbiano. foto J Finnigan

Anyway, how are you?  Drinking plenty of Chianti wine I hope.  My man and I have recently started enjoying a Chianti Classico wine at C’era Una Volta in Lucardo.   It’s called Bibbiano, the 2014 version, and whilst I am not usually attracted to the Classico range of wines, I really like this one.  Do try it and let me know.

Last Wednesday was La Festa Della Donna or Women’s Day to everyone else around the world, I joined my lovely friend and neighbour Paola, who owns the fabulous La Poggiolaia Agriturismo next door. We met at L’Osteria di Casa Chianti, where they were having a celebratory evening for we ladies.   http://www.osteriadicasachianti.it

I love this girlie frock! La Reppublica magazine

It was the first time that Paola and I had gone out on this Festa day, let alone celebrate it.  Celebrating women is when you think about it, something that should come naturally, every day.  I think most men do really appreciate their women, and if you don’t have a man or partner that does, then remember to put a value on everything you are lucky enough to have or be able to do.  You are, of course, a beautiful person, and life is far too short to feel undervalued.  Indulge yourself with a gorgeous frock like the one here or a nice pair of  Italian shoes!

L-R Renzi, the current Premier Gentiloni, and Minister Martina. La Repubblica.

Now It’s some time since I mentioned Italian politics.  I guess that’s because the arena has become a little dull in the last few months.  But things are heating up again.  In mid-February, Matteo Renzi the former PM, resigned as leader of the Democratic Party (DP) intending to fight his way back into power.  Shortly afterwards, several members of the DP joined a new radical left parliamentary group.  This had the effect of putting the PD back to being almost neck and neck in the polls with the Five Star Movement (M5S) led by the comedian Beppo Grillo!  Are you still with me?  Meanwhile, Silvio Berlusconi now intends going for the premiership next year with his party Forza Italia, but his support has dwindled to fourth place in the polls, so he’ll need to pull his eighty-year-old finger out!  But it’s good to see him back if just for the glamorous entourage he brings with him.

OK, nearly there with my latest book, The Italian Connection.  Just done the final, final book edit and it will be winging its way to the publisher by the end of Thursday.  Sorry to keep you all waiting, but I think you will find it was worth it.  Watch this space!

Have a great week and do drop me a line.

Salute June x

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

My current Books.
Foto J Finnigan

Sunset in Chianti. Foto J Finnigan

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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Loyal and New Followers

So much to tell you and so little time, but here goes!

Our littel tree nestling between bookshelves in our big kitchen!

Our little tree nestling between bookshelves in our big kitchen!  Foto J Finnigan

Gosh, it’s been a hectic few weeks; I’ve been to England twice to sort out a family bereavement and thank you for your best wishes.  All is fine now.  Being away makes me realise just how much I love my home in our little bit of Chianti; the countryside, the people and the lifestyle in general.  What with all the build up to Christmas, it’s great to be decorating the tree, planning our days, just like we always have.  We celebrate exactly the same way here as we did in England all those years ago.  How about you?

Parade of Reindeer in Wells Somerset England. Foto J Finnigan

Parade of Reindeer in Wells Somerset England.
Foto J Finnigan

Whilst I was in England, I did manage to see the parade of Reindeer, which happens every year in Wells, Somerset.  Then I joined some lovely friends for lunch.  So I did have some nice moments.  I can’t say I’ve ever seen reindeer in Tuscany.

Here in this part of Chianti, the traditional tree is very popular as is Father Christmas, Babbo Natale.  Signore Rotund, himself the perfect size for the role, collared me this morning for two boxes of chocolates in aid of the local Hospital Transport Service; I’m happy to contribute as always.  Of course, the Italians have a natural flair for festas and there are loads of parties, concerts and theatre going on.  New years Eve will be celebrated in our local village Fiano with a big feast in the former cinema, everyone who is anyone will be there.

The Tree of Names outside La Dispensa in Fiano. Foto J Finnigan

The Tree of Names outside La Dispensa in Fiano. Foto J Finnigan

La Dispensa, our busy coffee bar/ alimentare is looking very festive and we customers have been asked to hang little personal greetings on the big tree branch outside the door.  It is now looking very colourful with all the labels sporting people’s names and their messages.

My perfect Christmas wish list! La Repubblica magazine.

My perfect Christmas wish list! La Repubblica magazine.

Of course, a lot else has happened during my absence, which I have not been able to tell you about.  The Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigning for one, after the NO vote, but you will have seen that in the news I guess.  Local gossip says that the former Mayor of Florence was pretty fed up with the political arena and is looking forward to a Buona Festa with his family.  I wonder if we’ll see the resurgence of our eighty-year-old former PM, Silvio Berlusconi in the New Year?  Watch this space.

Christmas hunk of the month and girlie. La Repubblica.

Christmas hunk of the month and girlie. La Repubblica.

Anyway, just to make you girlies smile, I spotted this Dolce Gabbana advert (below) with your Christmas Hunk already partly unwrapped.  There’s a girlie for you guys in the picture too, I try not to be biased!  I wouldn’t mind a bottle of that lovely perfume too!  My own personal Christmas hunk is back from his final business trip of the year, so I must get some mistletoe in the morning!

Finally, thank you to all those who downloaded ‘My Father, The Assassin’ during the freebie five-day period, I hope you enjoy the read over the festive period.  The third book in the trilogy, ‘The Italian Connection’ will be published early in 2017, I’ll let you know as soon as it goes live!

Ok, need to start wrapping presents and get them under the tree.  But might have a glass of vino first…..

So, may I wish you all a fantastic Christmas and lots of love and kisses under the mistletoe.  I’ll be back in the New Year.

Buona Festa June x

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

My current Books. Foto J Finnigan

My current Books.
Foto J Finnigan

 

 

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Benvenuti to all my lovely Loyal and New Followers

Well, thank you Chianti and all those lovely Italians who, without realising it, have really lifted me back into a happy state of mind.

Miss Toscana Sportivo. La Nazione

Miss Toscana Sportivo.
La Nazione

How can one not smile when the local newspaper is full of the arrival tomorrow evening of Miss Sportivo Toscana (Miss Tuscany Sport) in Certaldo.  Yes, she is making an appearance on her celebratory tour and that alone will give the tourists something to photograph in what is otherwise a ghost town.  It is hard to believe, and I know I have said this before over the years, but from August 1st you may as well forget finding more than twenty percent of the area open for the tourists, as the Italians have all rushed off to the coast or the mountains to escape the heat.  We were nevertheless still surprised when I rang our local Osteria for a sunday lunch table and was told that they were closing for two weeks, despite the fact that the area is heaving with tourists!

Jethro Tull arrives in Cortona. La Nazione

Jethro Tull arrives in Cortona. La Nazione

Now you may already know that I like to follow the music scene, my being part of it, and I was amazed to read that Jethro Tull was doing a return tour in Tuscany; I had no idea that the band had already been here!  The flutist, Ian Anderson, who is described as ‘having a lot less hair’ is heading up the band.  They will be at the Arrezzo Music Festival in Cortona (home of the writer of ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’) and you can obtain tickets at http://www.ticketone.it

May and Renzi. La Republica.

May and Renzi.
La Republica.

Meanwhile, earlier in the week, the UK’s new Prime Minister whatshername, oh yes Teresa May, was shaking hands with Italy’s equivalent Matteo Renzi and talking about Brexit.  Interesting that they are both ‘stand ins’ not having been elected by the people to the role.  Many Italians in the know seem to think that it wont be long before we have a Itexit; watch this space.  Oh, I should mention that the Italian journalist was unimpressed with her shoes being flat and greyish, with a pointed toe!  Image is everything here in Italy.

Well, enough of that, August the 1st tomorrow and it is a month of reflection for me and my man, as we will be here in Tuscany for the whole of the month, attempting to chill out and get our still fairly new home sorted.  The storeroom needs shelving and what will be a temporary fitness room in the downstairs guest apartment, will be cleared of unpacked boxes and other debris.  Yes, my man has great intentions of starting a fitness regime, after spending far too much time travelling on planes, trains and sitting at the computer.  Bless him.  I’ll supply the bottles of water as we are in around 35 degrees at the moment.

Finally, I have to say that we are really enjoying the display of Bee Eaters and the regular visits from a pair of Hoopoe birds and despite everything being very dry, we are still surrounded by a lot of greenery.  Yes, life eeez good, life eeez now.

Have a great week.

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 lovely Loyal and New Followers

Giant Swallow Tail Butterfly with my man at aperitivo time. Foto J Finnigan

Giant Swallow Tail Butterfly with my man at aperitivo time. Foto J Finnigan

Well I’ll be honest with you, the girlies do like my man, and hone in like moths to a flame.  Now I understand this completely, I still oggle him across the table over coffee every morning.  But yesterday he attracted a butterfly, not just any butterfly but a beautiful Giant Swallow Tail.  It had to be a female of course, well she wasn’t interested in me, and she simply would not go away.  So in the man’s relaxed way, he gave in and she settled on his shirt whilst we enjoyed our aperitivo.  Now of course, this is quite remarkable when you think about it, they are normally very shy creatures and flit away at the slightest movement.  So we were very privileged to have such a good close-up and here is a foto for you to marvel at.

La Mercantia starts on Wednesday 13th in Certaldo. La Nazione

La Mercantia starts on Wednesday 13th in Certaldo.
La Nazione

Earlier in the week, I read in the paper that this coming Wednesday 13th is the start of La Mercantia in Certaldo, which goes on for five days.  This is a hugely popular event that spreads between Certaldo town and Certaldo Alto, the old historical town on the hill, and is the 29th annual festival of International Street Theatre.  So, as you can imagine, it’s going to be heaving in Certaldo, particularly in the evenings when most of the street theatre is going on.  If you want to go, you will need to park on the edge of town and walk in!  But do go if you can and enjoy this amazing spectacle!

Pink Floyd in Roma. La Nazione

Pink Floyd in Roma.
La Nazione

I also read the rocking continues and this time in Lucca that very popular town near Pisa.  The open air concert venue is currently hosting Van Morrison and ancient rocker Tom Jones!!  Mmmm, it’s too hot to go to that one!  No, I’m talking about the weather silly.  Last weekend, Rome rocked the night away to the sound of Pink Floyd including the original guitarist David Gilmour.  Forty five years rocking with the same band and his ‘guitar’ doesn’t look a day older…..  Good for them I say!!

Looking defeated. Matteo Renzi and Angelino Alfano. La Nazione.

Looking defeated. Matteo Renzi and Angelino Alfano.
La Nazione.

Meanwhile the country as a whole is grumbling about the state of the current government and the need for a complete change to the way the country is governed.  Parliament failed to reach the maximum support needed for proposed government reforms, so will have to go for a public referendum in October.  The Five Star Movement and the second largest party in Italy, led by radical Beppo Grillo, hope that this will oust Premiere Matteo Renzi.


Five Star candidate, Virginia Raggi, became Mayor of Rome last month. Photo: Alverto Solaro/AFP

On a lighter note, a member of the aforesaid party and the recently elected mayor of Rome, is a breath of fresh air to behold.  Why?  Well she is female, hugely intelligent, a mother and beautiful.  Her name is Virginia Raggi and here is a picture for the guys to drool over.  She nearly didn’t get elected as the other candidates objected to the fact that she was pregnant at the time of the election.  Well done her I say.

Well it’s time to organise sunday lunch.  It’s just too hot and humid to go out again and we’ve now got the air conditioning unit set up in the inglenook, which is sending cooler air around the place.  Farty Barty the cat hardly moves in this heat, just from one bit of floor to the next.  Our daughter and grandchildren have gone to the coast for a few days with all the other gasping inlanders, to try to cool off.  But we are happy here, a nice glass of chilled fizz and all is well.

have a great week and do drop me a line.

Salute June x

Visit http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

'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 lovely Loyal and new Followers

Stefano on Lead Guitar Photo Chiara Benelli

Stefano on Lead Guitar
Photo Chiara Benelli

My head is full of rock music!  It happens every January as I start preparing the repertoire for my next Rock concert in June.  Stefano Bartalesi, the Rock Chick Band’s brilliant lead guitarist and organiser, has suggested that my choice of ‘Sultans of Swing,’ that great Dire Straits song, may be a little difficult to reproduce so we will have to try it out and see.  Otherwise, new covers this year will include The Beatles, George Harrison, Robert Plant, Paul Weller, Peter Gabriel and Amy Winehouse.  The concert is by private invitation only, so if you would like to join us in our Tuscan garden on 25th June, drop me an email at june.finnigan@virgin.net.  We’d love to see you and despite what a certain ‘person’ has said, I am not trawling for groupies!

Don't look a gift horse in the mouth, just cover up the naughty bits! La Nazione

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, just cover up the naughty bits! La Nazione

Now I won’t dwell on the next subject because you will have already seen this on the news all around the world.  However, I just thought you might like to have a local perspective on the subject of Iran and Italy getting into bed together.  Yes, literally, because as far as many Italians and our friends in the bar are concerned, covering up all the so-called ‘nasty naughty bits’ on the country’s beautiful statues was an act of prostitution!  Now Italy has always been described as openly corrupt, but some say this was exactly that in reverse.  Grovel and ye shall be gifted with large sums of Iranian money!

Marco Mangoni - Rock Star and Tennis Player. La nazione sports magazine.

Marco Mengoni – Rock Star and Tennis Player.
La nazione sports magazine.

OK lets move on.  Back in Bar Solferino, I read about my two greatest passions, sport and rock music.  Not forgetting my gorgeous man of course, who was in London at the time doing a bit of business.  Nothing could be more up my street than an article about legendary rock stars, including the yummy Brian Ferry, and the topical subject of Tennis!  Italy also has its own Tennis playing rock star, by the name of Marco Mengoni, so for you girlies here are some pictures to drool over!

Big Puppy 'Magico'. foto J Finnigan

Big Puppy ‘Magico’.
foto J Finnigan

Now do you recall ‘Big Puppy’ who we called ‘Bianco’ on account of his being white?  Well he came into the bar this morning, having grown to half his adult size at the age of six and a half months, dragging his market stall owner behind him.  It turns out that his real name is ‘Magico.’  Don’t you just love that name? He is so gorgeous, although the only thing he is interested in is what everyone else is eating.  So for all you other dog lovers, here is his foto.

Have a really great week, don’t forget to drop me a line and visit http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

Salute Buon Amici

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.

Mimosa Blossom in our garden on 29th January! Foto J Finnigan

Mimosa Blossom in our garden on 29th January!
Foto J Finnigan

 

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Benvenuti to all my lovely Loyal and New Followers

Big fat purple grapes in trailer. Photo J Finnigan

Big fat purple grapes in trailer. Photo J Finnigan

Well there we were, driving back home this morning after our coffee in Certaldo and we come up behind a slow-moving tractor and trailer of big juicy purple grapes.  “Try and get a photo!” my man says.  So I faff around trying to get my phone out of my bag, then remember that I have just yesterday put in a new lock code, and finally focus the camera on the windscreen just in time before the tractor takes off, after giving away to some tourist camper van!  Phew, I did it!  Now whats so exciting about this, you may ask.  Well it is really hard to get photos, because these tractors are usually going at full pelt past our kitchen window or in the opposite direction to the way we are driving!  So, just for you, here is my successful photo for your enjoyment.

A Calambur poster and preparations going on behind in the main Piazza in Certaldo. Photo J Finnigan

A Calambur poster and preparations going on behind in the main Piazza in Certaldo.
Photo J Finnigan

Earlier, back in Certaldo, the preparations were going on for the annual Calambur, which starts at three o’clock this afternoon (Sunday).  This is a historical Palio, not on horseback, but macho contests between the young men of the four quarters in the

Handsome Certaldo contestants getting ready to do battle. La Nazione

Handsome Certaldo contestants getting ready to do battle.
La Nazione

commune, who all have their own flags and colours.  It is a really serious and important day, full of testosterone and the girlies all giggling, as the handsome contestants line up.  It will be impossible to park anywhere near the centre of town this afternoon, so we will hear all about it tomorrow and report back to you next week!  Then, over coffee at Bar Solferino, I read that Prime Minister Renzi has announced a 2% drop in the tax rate for the agricultural sectors.  I’m not sure how effective this will be as I hear whispered that very little profit is declared, well in this region anyway!

Farty Barty waits for lunch on the outside table. Phot J Finnigan

Farty Barty waits for lunch on the outside table. Photo J Finnigan

Meanwhile, back at our lovely little villa the sun is shining and it is a perfect twenty-eight degrees centigrade.  As we drive in we spot the first wild yellow crocuses by the side of the road; beautiful.  I think today we will have a nice lunch in the garden with Farty Barty the cat, who has been very much hanging around the house of late.

The first wild crocuses. Photo J Finnigan

The first wild crocuses.
Photo J Finnigan

In the high winds last week, an old tree crashed down into the garden and was chainsawed by our local contadino into a pile in the corner.  It only just missed one of the garden lights!  Now we need to tidy up the small bits of debris.  I think I can hear my man working in the garden now.  He has been a been a bit stressed after his return from a few working days work in London, so that should help him relax.  Otherwise, I look forward to the return of my sister-in-law, who will be here in two weeks time, to tidy and pretty up all the garden pots for autumn.

But what is this I read about the gorgeous Silvio Berlusconi?  Oh no, he is trouble again, but this time whilst having fun with his close friend Vladimir Putin.  They have both been named in a criminal case over the opening of a 240 year old bottle of wine, known as Massandra Sherry 1775, that was worth £58K!  A lady called Ms Pavlenko allegedly opened it when Silvio asked for a taste whilst on a tour of the Massandra Estate in the Crimea.  I feel really sorry for her as, lets face it, she was standing there being asked by an alleged so-called friend of the Mafia (according to some members of the media) and his buddy who heads up the KGB, to open a bottle of wine.  What would you have done?

Well, enough of that.  Must think about this lunch I said I would cook.  O Dio, well the sun is still shining, so we really should not go off to the restaurant.  On the other hand……….

Have a great week and do drop me a line.

Salute June x

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

'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 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

Crumbling cliffs below our villa. Photo J Finnigan

Crumbling cliffs below our villa.
Photo J Finnigan

One minute I was happily writing at my keyboard, the next me and my desk are swaying from side to side for a long and unnerving five seconds!  A rumbling and groaning noise accompanied this rather queasy experience, and it was to happen three times more during last Friday.  No this was nothing to do with my man’s amorous intentions, it was in fact an earthquake, yes a real one.  In the evening we drove over to our lovely Bavarian friends who live across the valley, and whilst we were sat at their kitchen bar, there was another brief further rumble, but we carried on enjoying ourselves regardless.  Of course in the morning we received numerous messages like ‘Did the earth move for you yesterday?’  But thank you to all the well wishers, and yes we are all OK.  Fortunately we were a couple of miles from the epicentre, however, we read in the paper that several families had spent the night outside for fear of having their homes crash down on top of them!  The Italians are very good at barbeques and outside pizza ovens, so most survived well fed and unscathed.  I had a dream not so long ago, that our little villa had slid down the hill and then over the cliff at the bottom.  But we just floated through the air and landed safely.  So I am convinced that we are protected by the Roman Gods.

Ha ha, moving? Photo Discover Tuscany

Ha ha, moving?
Photo Discover Tuscany

My man returned from England last Sunday, with our fourteen year old grandson who is home from his UK school for the Christmas holidays.  Yet again, the trains were on strike, so the guys and our daughter traveled by bus first to Florence, and then had to change for Poggibonsi, which is near Siena.  Amazingly they arrived only an hour later than they would have done on the train.  But the strikes in Italy are getting more frequent.  A week ago there was a general strike so absolutely nothing functioned for a day.   If you want to travel to Italy, double-check with your flights, trains and buses if there is likely to be strike action, particularly the day before you go.  If you are already in Italy, keep your wine cellar stocked up.

Then there are the worsening taxes in Italy!  Small businesses are now really struggling to survive as customers can no longer afford to shop like they used to and business taxes have gone up yet again!  It is sad to witness, particularly as it is affecting people we know and have enjoyed doing business with.  There are posters up with a picture of the prime Minister Matteo Renzi and the words below are, in Italian of course, ‘Renzi has wet his pants!’  We are not sure exactly why, but one can guess that the electorate are starting to believe that he is still in nappies and too inexperienced to make grown up decisions, like saving the country from ruin!  Someone may like to correct me here,

Anna and I enjoying a chat over lunch at La Raccolto in Florence PHoto P Finnigan

Anna and I enjoying a chat over lunch at La Raccolta in Florence
Photo P Finnigan

if they know a better reason.  Perhaps he did ‘wet his pants!’

My new painting next to the fireplace in our sitting room Photo J Finnigan

My new painting next to the fireplace in our sitting room
Photo J Finnigan

But enough of that.  Our week has otherwise been really good.  We have dined out several times, firstly at ‘Osteria Sosta di Pio’ near Poggibonsi for sunday lunch, with a new Australian friend Simona at ‘C’era Una Volta Ristorante’, with Anna Balzani Editor in Chief of ‘Florence is You’ who introduced us to a lovely new vegi & biological restaurant in Florence called ‘La Raccolta,’  which is also a mini-market http://www.laraccolta.it and of course with our Bavarian friends at their home for supper.  Thank you all for your excellent company.

The other good news is the arrival of an oil painting from England, painted by the very talented artist Mark Loman, from my home town of Exmouth in Devon.  I chose one of Mols Coffee House, a Tudor building in Exeter, as it was owned by my family up until the 1930’s.  So that’s my Christmas present to myself!  Visit http://www.markloman.co.uk

The idol Silvio (Jesu) Berlusconi Photo sdpf

The idol Silvio (Jesu) Berlusconi
Photo sdpf

Meanwhile, back in the land of wine and women, Silvio Berlusconi continues to strut his stuff.  With the present government coming under severe criticism, Silvio is rising from the ashes again like a phoenix.  Back in 2009 he was listed number 141 in the worlds richest men with a net worth of US $9 Billion.  Of course wealth creates wealth so you can guarantee his worth has increased dramatically by now.  So let’s vote him back in, on the proviso that he personally invests in the country and rescues these poor Italians from its crushing economy!

Well, it’s time to go.  We have closed both the UK and Italian office and are now about to celebrate the Festive Season.  I’ve got a pile of presents to wrap and a visit to IKEA lined up, as I am desperate to get some more storage for our little villa.

Have a fabulous Christmas and do drop me a line.  There is still time to download your festive reading, I’d love it if you downloaded ‘My Father, The Assassin’ below.

Tanti Auguri to you and yours.

June xx

ps visit 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

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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