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Posts Tagged ‘Romantic Thrillers’

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

2019-09-05 20.34.30As I begin writing this blog, which I hope you will enjoy, I have started to sneeze and I feel a little fluish.  Well, not surprising, as we have just returned from ten days in the UK where we were surrounded by people with colds and viruses!  You may not be surprised to know that living in Tuscany, I rarely catch a cold.  We were in England for a mix of family gatherings and work, and by the time we got back to our lovely bit of Chianti, we were both exhausted.  On a lighter note we did have some nice moments, like the strawberry cocktail served up with a rosemary twig at the Italian restaurant Ask in Wells, Somerset.  We also had a good lunch at the Fountain Inn there.

70253039_373968673271567_7776131043521724416_nWe then travelled to Exmouth in Devon and cannot recomend any of the eateries or hotels there.  So other than downing a nice bottle of Pinot Grigio with my lovely school chum Jane from Spain, whilst watching some rugby on the TV in the pub, nothing nice to say!

Then on to London on the Monday for some business meetings and a couple of catch-ups.  My man and I did have a very good lunch at La Cucina Caldesi in Marylebone and we can definately recommend this restaurant to you.  Funny how we always seek out Italian places to go!

70201711_1435635506595250_6944089977277906944_oBut what a relief to get home to Beautiful Tuscany and to find that yesterday our local village of Fiano has won back the coveted banner having been victorious at the annual Calambur event!  Bravi to all our lovely italian friends who participated!  This event is a bit like the UK’s It’s a Knockout which was televised and hugely popular in the 60’s and 70’s.

2019-09-03 08.20.00#1And, I read in the paper that Fiano had also won the title Contessa della Cipolla, which is awarded for the most magnificent dishes based on the delicious Certaldo Red Onion.  Wow, the talent is unlimited in Fiano.  Yes it’s that time of year again, the markets are brimming over with the locally grown beauties.  No silly, I’m still talking about the onions!

Next week I’ll bring you up to date with the Vendemia, the Grape Harvest!

Well, enough already, I must get stuck into my working week and also write a few more book chapters.

Have a great week and do drop me a line.

Salute June x

Visit my website at My Site

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

2019-08-24 09.30.51.jpgNow, this time of year is all about being out there on beaches and in Piazzas having great music concert parties.  If you also happen to be Lorenzo Jovanotti you will find your party will become a mass of sand stomping fans, as far as the eye can see.  Simply known as Jovanotti, Lorenzo has taken to the beaches this year to hammer out his fabulous music and to put across a little more politics than he has in the past!  He has gone from wearing silver alien suits to the scruffy pirate look and the fans still love him.  In an interview he was recorded as stating ‘We have more intelligence than democracy.  Young people, don’t be afraid of the world!’  Javanotte is hugely popular here in Italy.  Beach Parties

2019-08-24 09.18.02Back in our little bit of Chianti where things have been nice and quiet due to 90% of Italians being at the seaside, we relax over coffee and the newspapers at La Dispensa in Fiano.  Yesterday I found a lovely story about the romance and secret marriage of two Italian Partisans, right under the noses of the Nazi’s, in 1945.  I love to read these kinds of stories.    Detail of the romance and marriage of Tullio and Theresa have only recently been unearthed and the article was written by novelist Maurizio Maggiani.  His books can be found on most online outlets, but mostly in Italian at the moment. You will also find a little bit involving wartime Partisans and Romance in my third novel ‘The Italian Connection.’ My site

2019-08-23-09.47.031.jpgMeanwhile, it’s been a busy week for the the lovely ladies lining up for the Miss Toscana (Tuscany) final.  And, the winner is the beautiful Chiara Gorgeri!  Methinks she may not be happy with this picture, obviously taken form a lower position from where she is standing, giving her thunder thighs and big hands!  On the subject of big hands, did you notice that Michelangelo’s Statue of David has hands too big for his body?  Sorry, I digress.  But now my mind has wondered off even further!  There are a lot of really hunky handsome men in italy, so why do we not have Mr Italy contests,?  It all seems rather one-sided.  What do you think?

2019-08-21 09.03.18And, back to the real world, last week I said that the Italian Government is about to implode and as anticipated the long suffering Prime Minister Giuseppe Conti has resigned.  He is absolutely fed up with the bickering between the coalition parties and in particular cites Matteo Salvini as the main culprit, quote ‘He has been irresponsible and dangerous’ and many will agree.  So what’s on the cards?  Another election I guess.  Watch this space.

Well, enough already.  Time to think about Sunday lunch, to go out or not to go out that is the question.  I”ll go and look in the fridge first…..

Hope you are enjoying a good weekend and have a great time in the week to come.  Do drop me a line at the bottom of this page or email me at june.finnigan@virgin.net  I love to hear from my readers.

Salute June x

Ps visit my website at My site

Pps We wnt out for lunch……again.  I just can’t help it!

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

IMG00020-20100501-1931I would like to mention the passing of my lovely Mother-in-Law Marie at the age of 93.  Marie spent just over a year living with us in Tuscany and she absolutely loved the language, the people and the restaurants.  She had learnt a little Italian and, whilst she mispronounced many words, like absolutamente instead of assolutamente, we loved her for it.  She had a marvellous singing voice and could reach all the high notes, singing along to Andrea Bocelli; her favourite was Ave Maria of course!  Forever with us, darling Marie.  Foto P Finnigan

2019-08-17 08.52.15Back here in our little bit of Chianti it is the weekend after Ferragosto, and this year we feel almost completely abandoned.  La Dispensa in Fiano remains open, bless them, for coffee and groceries catering for the few of us still here and the tourists.  Reading the paper I see that 95% of Fiorentines have abandoned Florence for the coast or mountains, although some museums and art galleries remain open.  This seems even more than last year!  Roads are empty of traffic and most shops and venues will remain closed now until the second week in September; the Italians will try to stretch the holiday out as far as they can, love them!  Roll on September.

2019-08-16 09.13.36Meanwhile, the papers are full of politicians frolicking in the sea sporting more than just a little too much belly.  Parliament is in complete disarray, the alliance is imploding in on itself, so we would not be surprised to see elections in October.  Funny that, probably also in the UK……

2019-08-15 08.39.08But what’s this?  We also read the news about Trenitalia, our famous Italian train service, part owned by the government, is now an invested partner in in the UK’s London to Scotland High speed Rail Link!  Italy does have a very good high speed service, linking Rome and Milan, Florence and Venice and several other places and, the fares are not high like the UK.  In fact travel by rail in Italy is probably the cheapest way to get around,  Just a warning though, when checking on train times, also take a look at the section on train strikes (sciopero(i), which is updated regularly due to the tendency for rail staff to strike as often as Italians take days off for festivals.

2019-08-15 08.22.44But, enough of this.  Just a question, do you love trainers?  Am I the only one who really dislikes trainers, except for sport of course, particularly worn with skirts and worse, evening dresses!  I think they make the wearer look clunky or indeed frumpy in some cases.  They also encourage people to stomp around, forgetting how to walk with a little bit of style or elegance.  Also, men’s feet have become too soft for army boots!  My man is an ex-Royal Marine and is horrified at the inability of young men joining the forces to wear the necessary tough boots.  In the paper I found this crazy Italian guy who has a huge collection of the things.  Well, it takes all sorts to make up a world, I guess.

OK, lets get back to the real world, which ain’t so bad.  The weather has cooled a little at night and the really high daytime temperatures have dropped to between 28 and 32 degrees, so that’s a relief.  But I am now informed that it’s going to get hotter again!

OK, lets get this blog honed and off to you.  Hope you enjoy it and do leave your comments, or email me at june.finnigan@virgin.net

Salute June x

PS Do also visit my website for updates on my books and events.  My site

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

August in Tuscany can take your breath away.  Yes, it’s beautiful, but in reality I am talking about the heat, humidity and lack of breathable air!  Even in properties like our own, which is old and built of thick stone walls, you will struggle to stay cool.  The problem is the roof, concrete under tiles, which heats up during the day and fails to cool down sufficiently over night as temperatures are not going lower than around 21 degrees.  Today, Monday, temperatures will be up to 38 degrees again and wow, by 4pm we are gasping and changing into our third set of clothes.  So, it’s full pelt for our air conditioning unit and fans.

2019-08-06 09.24.37Of course the high temperatures have been perfect for the bathing beauties parading in front of the judges for the Miss Toscana contest.  Here in Italy it is still a very popular event, despite the rest of the western world frowning on the so-called exploitation of young women.  Lets face it, Tuscany has some very beautiful young women and if they choose to put themselves on show, so be it.

If this is not your cup of tea, and it’s not really mine, there is a lot going on in our lovely province.  It is the time of year for outdoor picnics, parties and festas.  A favourite site for me to find lots of organised events is at discoverTuscany  You may already know this, but you will not find most of the usual places open as Italians, by tradition, go on holiday for most of August.  But there is still lots to do.

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The 15th August is Ferragosto, or the Feast Day of the Assumption of Mary, which is the ‘taking of the Virgin Mary bodily into Heaven,’  whatever that means!  Anyway, everything closes on that day, absolutely nobody works, but they do play!   This week the motorways to the seaside will be nose to tail with traffic, cars loaded up with three generations and enough food to feed an army.  Unless you have already booked a hotel or apartment with their own bit of beach, you will not have a hope of finding a patch of sand to pitch your sun brolly.  Foto torre-mo222.jpg – before the invasion. Extract from discoverTuscany.

2019-06-02 09.43.55Meanwhile, I have been seeing adverts in the paper for Autumn and Winter fashions!   I never fail to be amazed at the number of successful Italian designers.  I noticed this advert for the man in your life; of course all men’s clothes look better worn by Italians, yes I know I’m biased, apart from my English man  who looks good in anything.  It seems you can even find Pal Zileri’s made in Italy clothes at Harvey Nichols in London!  I must say, I love the slightly half-mast trouser look and the flash of socked ankles.  Pity about the model’s long faces though, but we can’t have everything I guess!  Pal Zileri

20190812_132332We have just got back from C’era Una Volta our local ristorante, where it was nice and quiet and gently cooled by the air-conditioning.  Now Paolo, the owner, has a liking for hot spicy food and makes the meanest chilli sauce.  It has been said that in very hot weather you should drink hot tea to cool you down.  Well, Paolo came out of the kitchen with his own cooling down recipe, home grown baby tomatoes cooked in a very hot (picante) sauce.  Here he is displaying his huge pot of the stuff!  My man quite likes the occasional pasta arrabiata but this, whilst smelling delicious, would blow your head off!  We declined a tasting (assaggi) and went for the salsa pecoraia instead.  If you are a meat eater, Paolo will bring out your huge raw Fiorentine Steak to view before he cooks it!  All part of the theatre.

OK, enough already.  Must get this blog edited and off to you.  Back to the day job!

Have a great week and do drop me a line.  june.finnigan@virgin.net

Salute June x

PS Visit my website at My site

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

458A8440_paginabeach.jpgWell, if you were here in Tuscany at this very moment, you would be amazed to find hardly any British or American tourists in the area.  Even the papers are talking about the huge drop in tourists from outside the Eurozone.  The beaches of Versiglia, a typical high-end resort north of Pisa and usually packed solid with Russians and Americans, was photgraphed with empty sun-beds as far as the eye could see.  We have to face it, exchange rates are apalling at the moment.  One pound sterling will only buy you 1.09 euros today.  When we came here nearly sixteen years ago, we could buy as much as 1.49 euros!  This will change of course, but at this moment in time it seems to be having a profound effect on the tourist industry! Foto trip advisor.

2019-08-02 21.15.52But lets not worry about that.  Just up the road from us is our most frequented ristorante called C’era Una Volta in Lucardo.  We quite like it when it’s quiet, but on Friday evening Gianlucca our favourite waiter, was outside trying to wave down the traffic!  Then he disappeared down the road to Bon Hugo, the pub and pizza restaurant and came back with a freshly baked Pizza.  He then sat down next to us with a bottle of beer and tucked in!  No, this is not a reflection on the food in his own restuarant, it does not serve pizza, just the fact that the first few customers weren’t expected for another hour or so and he just fancied one.  But somehow this came across to us as really funny! foto J Finnigan

2019-07-29 09.31.29#1Of course pizza is so very Italian, but a less talked about food is the Italian Potato.  I absolutely love the new potatoes here.  Not the little round things that the Brits like, simply newly harvested ones in all shapes and sizes, sliced in their skins boiled and tossed in butter.  The Itallians like to chop them up into small pieces and roast with garlic and rosemary twigs, also nice, but I prefer them as they are.  In the picture is my favourite brand, which I can buy in our local Co-op.

2019-08-02 09.39.35Meanwhile, back in Fiano our local village, we catch up on the papers over coffee and can’t help but notice some fotos of the politician Licia Ronzulli of Forza Italia (Silvio’s party) in house with her new baby strapped around her, oblivious and sleeping as it’s impressive mother gets on with the debating and voting.  I must say good for her.  I know there are those out there that would not approve of such behaviour, but here in Italy all mothers would understand.  Things have changed a lot since we have arrived.  There are fewer grandparents taking care of the little ones, and the pre-school nurseries (Asilonido) are getting busier.

2019-08-02 09.38.47And, still on the subject of Politics, I see that Silvio Berlusconi, that veteran of all things controversial, is back in the news.  Formerly an Italian Prime Minister presiding over four parliaments, a cruise ship singer and Bunga Bunga party goer, he currently represents North West Italy as MEP for his Forza Italia party and has a net worth of around $6.6 Billion due to his entrepreneurial activities.  Now keen to give his political profile a boost, he has announced that he wants to launch a new party.  I wonder what he will call it?  Perhaps you could come up with some suitable names and I’ll let Silvio know! Leave your thoughts at the bottom of this page or email me at june.finnigan@virgin.net

download-2.jpgYou thought I had forgotten the Hunk of the Month didn’t you!  Well I’m glad to say that I spotted a picture in The Telegraph the other day and I thought ‘perfect’!  How, I wonder, have I only just come across Jack Savoretti?  He’s apparently made six albums!  He’s gorgeous, plays acoustic guitar and sings like a god.  Yes, OK, he’s English but he is of Italian descent so he definitely qualifies, well you will hardly argue that point will you?  Check him out on You Tube, you’ll be mesmerised!  Foto found on twitter.

Well, enough of that already.  Looks like I’m actually getting this blog out to you on time, it’s good to out of the mist!

Have a great week.

Salute June x

PS Visit my website at my site

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

Rosella, manuella, Silvia.jpgWhen we first moved to this little bit of Chianti in Tuscany, some fifteen years ago, we quickly established that our closest village and community was to be found in Fiano.  We have been made very welcome despite living outside the village and being English.  We have witnessed the arrival of new babies and watched them grow up, start nursery and then school, and we have shared the joy of birthdays and romances and the sadness of loss,  almost entirely by visiting the coffee bar and spending a while chatting.  We now have some lovely Italian friends.   Thank you the people of Fiano.  In the picture are three beautiful friends from Fiano, Rosella, Manuella and Silvia, enjoying my concert in June.  Foto P Finnigan.

castiglione-di-pescaia-015It is the time of year when lot’s of music and the sound of celebrations are filling the air, people are off enjoying holidays on the coast or up in the cool air of the mountains. Foto P Finnigan – Our favourite coastal town at Castiglione della Pescaia.  

It is simply too hot to be doing anything active and I think it is time to read a few good books.  I have dedicated August to finishing the first draft of  my fourth novel, as I mentioned last week, and to at least have mastered the very basics of my birthday guitar.  And, three new flowers have just opened on my white orchid, which was a gift for my birthday last year, so that’s good news.  I also heard Phil the Pheasant call out this morning after a couple of weeks absence, whilst the foxes seem to have moved on now that they have had their fill of mulberries, but I did spot two cubs crossing the track to Certaldo a few days ago.

2019-07-31 11.33.33Meanwhile, the UK has a new government.  Apparently the Queen said to Boris Johnson, when he asked her permission to form a government, “I can’t think why you would want the job!”  She gave her permission anyway.  Well, he has a job and a half negotiating a new Brexit deal, we wish him ‘in bocca al lupo’ which translates to ‘in the mouth of the wolf’ a phrase used in Italy to wish someone good luck.  In Boris’s case it’s most appropriate!  Let’s hope the new government are true to their word and make sure we expats are not penalised!  Either way, we will adapt!  I suppose our European/UK passports could become collector’s items!

Well, last Saturday we were drowned by a deluge of rain and hail storms!  This went on for a day and a half and the temperature dropped from 39 to 15 degrees centigrade!  I can honestly say it was a huge relief after the long heat wave, particularly afteMaltempo: Arezzo, allagamenti negozi, cantine e antica piever hearing about a cornfield fire not far from us. Our area is also prone to landslides and we could see some of the banks looking precarious and ready to slide into the road!  Certaldo had five inches of water in an hour!  But we don’t worry about that.  Life eeez good, life is now!  The sun has got his hat on, hip hip hip hurrah!  Foto ANSAit newspaper.

Anyway, how are things with you?  Have any interesting weather or good news stories?  I do love to hear from my readers, drop me a line at june.finnigan@virgin.net  Oh, and do check out my website at My site

Salute June x

PS Am searching for an italian Hunk of the Month for August – any suggestions?

PPS No-one has claimed the reading glasses left behind at my concert.  Do ask around if you know of anyone who came and have lost theirs!

glasses

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

Phew, well, yet another beautiful Sunday morning in Tuscany, despite the heat and humidity.  Things were quite normal on the main road into Fiano;  an orange (the colour you go when you have been to the coast) overweight Italian in shorts and trainers (no shirt) running backwards down the middle of the road, two tourists walking on the wrong side of the road wearing pink lycra, a small group of Italian cyclists in racing colours riding impossibly thin-wheeled bikes and an deeply tanned old boy walking just in shorts and a pink cloth cap.  Yes, pink is the colour it seems.

2019-06-30 10.14.26In Fiano La Dispensa was noisy and busy, but we managed to grab the papers and our favourite places at the end of the long table.  We were joined by Italian tourists from Rome who like to come to our bit of the world in Tuscany for the weekend staying with friends, then returning home with local oil, wine and hams.  When the Tuscans claim to have the best oil, foods and wines in the country, these Romans said they were spot on! The cheeses here are seriously delicious.  Tuscan Pecorino, sheep’s cheese to you and me,  can be consumed young & squidgy and at several other stages right up to aged, when it has a similar texture to Parmesan.  I just love it and this great picture; wherever you are in the world go to your cheese specialist counter and ask for Tuscan Pecorino, they might just order it in for you!

Orane wrap dressI don’t know about you, but I have been struggling with my summer wardrobe.  Just when I think I have enough outfits to chop and change my look and still be cool, in both senses of the word, I find myself undecided on what to wear.  I don’t seem to have enough lightweight cotton flared skirts!   And dresses, nothing looks right, I have to admit my figure could do with trimming down, must have put on half a stone since this time last year.  But I need to wear these clothes now!  Do I buy new clothes a size larger or not, that is the question?  So I found myself once more flicking through the Italian fashion mags.  Wrap around tea dresses look lovely, but not from the rear if you have an extra layer on the hips!  How many of you actually look at your rear view image in the mirror?  I cannot help but notice those who never do, looking wonderful from the front and awful from the back.  Lots of flowing cottons are best I think.  Loose tops and skirts are good for me at the moment.  What are you wearing?  However, just spotted this gorgeous orange number, (see picture) I could be tempted……

I2019-07-02 09.22.10n the same magazine I came across an article to make you green with envy.  A stunning italian beauty with a massive artistic talent, namely Beatrice Venezi.  Perhaps envy is the wrong word, I think admiration is more correct.  Beatrice is beautiful and wears fabulous clothes, however, it is her talent that really draws one’s attention.  Beatrice is the award winning Principle Conductor for both the Orchestra Milano Classic and the Orchestra Scarlatti Young of Naples.  I hope she is also in love, as then she will have everything a girl dreams of!  Go to her website to be even more impressed.  Beatrice’s site

photo of woman on seashore

Photo by Maria Isabella Bernotti on Pexels.com

Meanwhile, I’m back hammering away at book four in the Joanna Wilde series.  I have just had an email from another writer, who lives near San Casciano, complaining that she is living and working in the dark in the same room, blocking out the heat with thick curtains.  Now she wasn’t really complaining, just stating a fact.  There is nothing else one can do in this scorching heat, live in the dark during the day and let in the light early morning and late evening!  Methinks this next couple of months should be great for creative thinking, drinking gallons of water and hugging the air conditioning unit.  Most sane people, and mostly Italian, have gone off to the seaside or mountains, we will have to think about how we deal with next summer a little more creatively.  If anyone has an apartment on the coast that is available for a week or two next month, let me know!

As you have probably worked out, the dust has finally settled after our rock concert and I have had some lovely messages, thank you.  There is a lot of activity on the music front in Tuscany at the moment, so if you were coming over, you’ll find plenty to do.  But do avoid August, I know I say this every year, as you will find 80% of shops, cafes and restaurants closed.  Hey ho.

Anyway, time to get this blog off to you, I’ve already overrun into Monday, sorry about that.

Do drop me a line, I love to hear from my readers, oh and visit my Author Site for lots more info.

Have a great week.

Salute June x

Fotos from La Republica.

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