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Posts Tagged ‘Romantic Thrillers’

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

86190121_10158256389728083_4300638138889404416_oWednesday 12 February.  I would never have guessed that a beautiful fallen bloom, from an early flowering shrub, could have given me such a lift.  It wasn’t just the beauty of the thing but how I received it that made all the difference.  I have had three weeks of feeling pretty run-down after a minor operation, due to my pathetic immune system.  I went to Fiano this morning for my usual espresso, newpapers and chat; then Roberto our local sculpture walked in and presented me with the bloom!  Bless his lovely kind heart, the site of it in the palm of my hand sent a wave of sheer joy through my still fragile system!  I knew there and then that my head was sufficiantly clear to start writing again!  Thank you dear Roberto.  (someone, please let me know what the flower is; thank you x)

So off I went, with the bloom on my dashboard, down to Certaldo and an overdue visit to Sandra to have my hair coloured.  Although tired, I felt even more invigorated  as I was now looking more like my old self.  Also, Sandra has a batch of the usual glossies and I indulged in some trivia reading and fashion drooling.  A bit of pampering and time wasting, can do one the world of good.  I left Sandra’s and walked into bright warm sunshine and the temperature guage registered 17 degrees on the dashboard!  Great!  Back home in our lovely monastery farmhouse, I see that the forecast for Friday and Saturday is for sun and a high of 19 degrees,  then good weather right up to the end of February; hurrah!  So things go from good to even better!  What a great day.

IMG-20200205-WA0007Thursday 13 February.  Well, its the next day and I’m still feeling in a good mood.  I decided that I would scour the papers for some good news to post and, yes you guessed it, nothing.  But then I saw a big red heart and an advertisement for San Valentino in Florence.  Yes! ‘All you need is  love, da da da da da’  Just when you think things could not get more depressing, up pops San Valentino!  Hurrah.

The Florentine on-line magazine has come to the rescue with some lovely locations for Helvetia-e1581345841702-680x728celebrating with your amore.  But what’s this?  Somewhere called the Bristol Winter Gardens (yes Bristol) in Florence!  Sounds like a great place to eat, you only have to look at the dish in the foto.  Mmmmm.  The Florentine

Well, going to finish here as I am still not one hundred percent, but by next week you can rest assured that I will be rocking.  Have a great weekend.  Oh and Happy Valentines Day!

Salute June x

Visit my website at My site

Fotos my own or uploaded from The Fiorentine on-line mag.

 

 

 

 

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

Well, I have to say that I feel lucky to be safely back home after last week’s trip to London.  My man and I had a pretty scary landing at Gatwick Airport on the Monday.  The winds were so strong that the landing had to be aborted in the last few seconds and we shot back up into the sky to try again.  We made it second time round, but not without being thrown around like rag dolls and the sick bags coming out.  Many Italians were calling out for ‘Mama Mia’ and doing the sign of the cross!  At least fifty percent of passengers were vowing never to fly again!  So, thank the gods for the easy return journey.

Peppoli wineAnyway, here we are back in our little bit of Chianti.  On the Friday evening we went straight to C’era Una Volta ristorante for supper and downed a whole bottle of Chianti wine in no time.

wood fired beansPaolo had prepared some of his slow-cooked wood-fired cannelloni beans and I could not resist ordering grilled polenta topped with cavalo nero (black cabbage) and the beans.  Paolo’s bean recipe is a Florentine one and consists of beans, tomatoes and sage cooked slowly for eleven hours nudged up to an open log fire.  No boiling beforehand and truly delicious.

69573667_2812970085384129_8583037974034251776_nMeanwhile, just down the road, Osteria Casa Chianti has turned their upstairs room into a gorgeous candlelit venue for lovers.  ‘Cena Romantica di Candela.’  So, if you want to impress your amore, go there on a Friday evening and enjoy.  We can certainly recommend the Osteria for a great dining experience in or out of the candlelit room; great wines and local ingredients.  Osteria

71540979_10158298994705681_7533209733369430016_oNow what is happening with the music scene?  I hear you ask.  Well I’ll go and take a look; don’t go away!  Ah, sorry, it’s January and no well known bands or performers are here as far as I can tell.  But if you fancy some Italian talent, how about Ferdinando Romano, Sabina Sciubba, Massimo Giuti, Franco D’Andrea or a band called Handshake?  But who’s this?  He calls himself The leading Guy, a bit of a mystery this one so let’s investigate.  Mmmm, quite nice looking 33 year old singer songwriter and his videos can be found on You Tube.  Foto from facebook  He plays guitar and sings his own music, quite good, take a look.  You could also go to see him this month and book tickets at SongKick

January HunkAnd finally, I have found you a January hunk of the month all wrapped up in a warm junky sweater, which we all need right now, the warm sweater that is!

Well, must get on, people to see, places to go, books to write.

Have a great week and do drop me a line at june.finnigan@virgin.net  I love to hear from my readers.

Salute June x

Visit my blog site at My site

 

 

 

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Happy New year & Buon Anno to All my lovely followers around the World,

2016-03-01 07.04.17

‘I’m back, to let you know that I can really shake them down.’  Yes, I know, ancient song lyrics again!

As I write my first blog of 2020, I can see the sun rising and trying to break through the heavy mist, which left everything dripping wet overnight.  The valley below us looks like a lake with little Islands dotted about!  This is quite normal in January and when the sun does break through it will be another beautiful day in Tuscany.

Museo Galileo 2020Now, this is a great time of year for getting out and about, particularly visiting museums and art galleries.  There are less tourists about, so we can enjoy a rather more pleasant experience, particularly in Florence.  Il Museo Galileo, which is dedicated to the great man, is an amazing place for children and adults alike.  Fantastic collections of antique scientific instruments and some great hands on experiences for those budding scientists or physicists.  I love this sort of stuff.  And, it’s only a short walking distance from the Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Vecchio, beside the River Arno!  It’s also a good excuse for going to Florence for lunch! Lets go together!  Museo Galileo

download-2.jpgIn the evenings we are currently tucked in with the log fire and the DVD player.  We have been wading through the whole of The Sweeny series from the 1970’s.  A reader recently asked me what did I watch on TV?   I rarely watch TV here in Italy, however, I love the TV series Don Matteo; it’s about the only thing that will encourage me to switch the television on!  Terence Hill plays the local priest who has a shoulder to cry on and a clever detective brain for helping solve crimes.  A new series has just started, hurrah!  I also want to mention that Terence has made a new film in memory of his side-kick actor Bud Spencer.  It is called ‘Il Mio nome e Thomas’ (My Name is Thomas) and was shown on Rai 1 television on New Year’s Eve.  I am checking out the availibility of streaming or dvd purchase.  I’ll let you know.  Can’t believe that Terence is 80 now!  And, he is Italian, so I  have nominated him Senior Hunk of the Month! Foto Wikipedia

la Bafana 2020Yesterday was a festa because of Befana, the friendly witch who arrives to check on the childrens’ behavour over the festive period.  If they have been good they get a present, if not a lump of coal.  I can’t honestly say that I have ever seen a child holding a lump of coal or sporting black hands in evidence of being naughty.  Befana also celebrates the end of the festive period, so life can return to normal!  Phew.

82192680_511107459510843_716851666862735360_nWell, in many ways it’s good to return to work and to see all the shops and restaurants opening normally.  This week we celebrate men’s fashion with Pitti uomo and you will see some amazing sites in Florence from today through to Friday.  All the male fashionisti are strutting around the streets, trying to outdo each other.  But oh, they have such style.  Only in italy!  Of course the fashion shops are open now too, so we have to go!

Well, enough for now, places to go and people to see.

May you all have a very good working week and belated if heartfelt wishes for a Fantastic 2020.

Salute June x

Visit my website at My site  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.

I can’t help it, I love Christmas and this week’s blog is all about the festive season.

80829576_10158062617268083_4358564233961537536_oIn our local village of Fiano a few days ago, my man and I left La Dispensa after morning coffee and was shocked to find a car parked with all four wheels on the road.  The road has a white line along it, which is generally acknowledged as a ‘loading line’.  To avoid parking on the line the Locals park half on the pavement thus avoiding having their wheels touching the line.  The pathways are so damaged that it is accepted that pedestrians walk on the road, which is smoother anyway. I said to my man “Look at this, a car parked on the road which means I will have to walk around it!”  Without batting an eyelid my man replied “Must be a foreigner!”  I was heading for our lovely village ceramic shop to admire the Christmas window, you must come and visit it!  I just love festive window displays79644037_10158062618658083_6113954265900777472_o

Back in La Dispensa, I had been reading the papers and looking for some interesting Rock Concerts.  Then I noticed a poster for a local concert in Marcialla on 21 December in that lovely little theatre called Teatro Comunale Regina margherita, yes, the one with the lovely soft red velvet seats!  Now it’s not all rock, but it looks like a great band with a whole range of instruments.  It’s headed up by the very popular Fabrizio De Andrè You tube who has a lovely way with the acoustic guitar.  Perhaps we should all go?  Book tickets Here or telephone 055 807 4348.

79443472_10158062619528083_4770250404199923712_oNow I can’t remember Fiano having it’s own Christmas Tree before.  There is a magnificent one down in our local town of Certaldo next to the Festive Ice rink, which you may also like to visit.  But in Fiano?  Well here is a photo, unfortunately the main piazza is also a carpark, so I could not avoid getting a few cars in the picture too.  But it certainly brightens things up!

80452156_10158062620413083_4149055072132661248_oNow here in Tuscany the conversation is rarely without the mention of mangare, eating.  My man and I popped into Ristorante C’era Una Volta in Lucardo yesterday as he wanted some more pasta with tartufo Bianco (white truffles) before the season ended.  I fancied the risotto and Paolo’s recipe is beyond delicous.  Zucca Giallo, Salvio e Ricotta Affumicato, which translates as Pumpkin, Sage and Smoked Ricotta Cheese.  Heres a foto to make your mouth water.  Mmmm, it’s only 10.45 in the morning but I could eat some more right now!

79098403_10158062622593083_4600733954901803008_oWhat did I hear you say, did I promise you four December Hunks?  Well, here they are, four beautiful Italian guys all dressed up and ready to go to your Christmas party or posh do.  Which one is yours?  I’ll get up and dance with any of them, it is nearly Christmas after all.  Which reminds me, I must get some mistletoe this week.

Now don’t forget, if you have bought all three of my books below, you are entitled to a free signed short story book called The Man in Black.  Just send me a copy receipt or a foto of your books.  It’s my treat for Christmas and to thank you for buying my books.  I love my readers.  Email me at june.finnigan@virgin.net.

Just in case next weekend proves difficult to get a blog done, may I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and exciting New Year.  Do get in touch.

Salute June x

PS Books are not just for Christmas, they are lifetime companions.  My site

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

download-2.jpgNow, you know me.  I am the eternal fun loving optimist.  But this morning was awful.   The trains were all running seriously late from Certaldo, so I said to my man ‘Empoli?”  He jumped back in the car and we headed off for Empoli, which is where my man changes trains on the way to Pisa airport.  But we both agreed that it might be better to drive straight to Pisa rather than risk more delays, so my man got in the driver’s seat.  I like to live a relaxed lifestyle, which includes avoiding driving long distance and on fast motorways.  On the journey back I went the old route along the Strada Provinciale, it takes longer but it is far more relaxed.  It was OK until I got to the turning to Siena.  A new bypass road has finally opened, which should have been a huge relief to the villages on the ‘A’ road to Siena via Certaldo, my home town.  But the thoughtless road builders have either deliberately avoided building bridges or tunnels or did not have the cash, and have split villages in half with Berlin type walls!  I ignored the ‘dead end’ signs and went to take a look, there weren’t even any pedestrian underpaths or bridges!  So, this fun loving optimist is now furious!  To avoid the new fast bypasses, I had to drive into Empoli and add a further half an hour to my journey.  OK, I feel better now having shared this; time for a nice glass of Pinot Grigio!  Foto dw.com

79536486_481641379141460_7840924585141731328_nLast week we were taken by surprise to find that the frost had arrived before we had covered the terracotta plant pots in the garden.  So my man rushed out to do the important deed and well done to him.  But we love December and can all genuinely go around looking cheesy and admitting to loving Christmas!  What, who said that?  Not everyone likes Christmas; I cannot believe that for one moment.  Just look at the delight on childrens’ faces as they press their noses up against Christmassy shop windows.  And, the sparkle in the eyes of people wandering around the Christmas markets!  If you can’t be happy for yourself be jolly for those that are!  Here is a picture of our log fire to cheer you up!

I78467753_588554701918323_1256408801733509120_nn the foto of our fireplace you can see a framed ceramic tile bottom right, which is rather beautiful and was recently purchased from our firends at Ceramiche ‘Carbini Gabriella’ in our local village of Fiano.  It covers a hole in the side of the iglenook, which was originally an opening for a fire to heat the metal cooking pot ring above it.  I have mentioned Gabriella’s place before and will do so again, as it is full of ‘buy me’ ceramic things for presents.

79447082_1035657540100048_5385449884612558848_nMeanwhile, whilst browsing through the newspaper at La Dispensa at the weekend I found another beautiful outfit designed by one of my favourite Italian designers, Luisa Spagnoli.  Have you ever seen such a beautiful cosy winter outfit made from tartan rugs?  I think this deserves a top award of some kind!

Xmas Tree 2019And to keep the spirit of Christmas going, I thought you might like a picture of our Christmas Tree, which we put up in our large kitchen/family room.  Having a big Tuscan kitchen is fantastic for everthing including my singing practice as the acoustics are so good.  But more important than anything else is the pleasure of having friends and family to pranzo or cena in our kitchen, then toasting our tootsies in front of the fire in the sitting room, clutching a nice Italian digestivo.

The_Man_in_Black_Cover_for_KindleWhilst writing, I would like to say a very big thank you for buying my books in 2019 and to show how much I appreciate it, I want to send you a free signed short story called ‘The Man in Black’, which is a thriller based in London’s theatre land.  All you need to do is send me proof of purchase or a photograph of all three paperback versions by email, anytime up to the end of January 2020.  Email june.finnigan@virgin.net (Oh, I’ll need your postal address too!)

Well, must get back to the day job!  Do drop me a line and visit my website at My site

Salute June xxx

PS  Next week I’ll be posting not one but four hunks of the month as a special treat for Christmas.  Watch this space!

 

 

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75543587_2413273775563196_5149283351131062272_oWelcome and Benvenuti to all  my Lovely Followers around the World,

We are delighted to announce that one of our favourite local restaurants has won a well deserved Michelin Star for 2020!  Congratulations to our good friends Cecilia and Massimo at Osteria La Gramola in Tavernelle!  We have eaten there twice in the last seven days; need I say more.  For a high quality restaurant, it is not expensive and it is hugely popular with the locals.  The food is artistic yet the portions are generous and even gluten-free diners like me are catered for.  My man and I love it!  La Gramola

tuscany-train

Ha ha, moving? Photo Discover Tuscany

Meanwhile, we optimistically decided to drop down to our local town of Certaldo this morning, intending to buy train tickets and to order an Italian driving licence from the local ACI.  So, my man pops into a photo booth and gets some pictures.  “My god, do I really look like that?”  He is horrified that he looks like he has just been arrested and decides to grow a beard again!  We go to the ACI and they are closed on saturday mornings, great!  So it’s off to the railway station to buy tickets.  The ticket office closed about a year ago so we have to use a ticket machine; it was not working!  Fortunately, we have lived here for years, so we knew it was possible to buy them at a local tobacconist.  My man got in the queue and eventually reached the front.  The nice lady wanted his identification, National insurance number, email and his telephone number for their records!  He asked her if she wanted a blood sample too!  He thinks she got the joke, but he was serious.  You can laugh if you like, but the thing is, on the day my man wants to travel the airport is on strike, so we have had to change his flight and get new train tickets.  It is becoming somewhat tedious of late, as there are far too many strikes happening here in Tuscany!

78093354_10157984018423083_3275590201665126400_oBut on a much brighter note, whilst reading the news with my morning coffee in Fiano, I found an article about one of Italy’s favourite Rock Stars, Luciano Ligabue, who has written a book about his life.  He is now fifty-nine, poor thing.  But here in Italy we aging rock singers are very popular, as you know, so I don’t know what he’s worried about.  Luciano is a good looking guy, if you like your man a little rough around the edges, and is a great guitarist.  The Italians love his voice, which is gravelly and shouty, not my favourite sound but nevertheless his live performances certainly have an all embracing wall of great sound.  Ligabue

75210797_2441971822733071_7758935871369248768_nOh yes, nearly forgot, a friend just reminded me that tomorrow (Sunday) is an evening of entertainment at the Old Cinema in our local village of Fiano.  There is a great theatre group in the area and you will enjoy this play even if you don’t speak Italian.  There is still time to pop into the bar and get a ticket!  Enjoy!

76771541_10157984895983083_3096044608593854464_oAnd, last but not least, we are relieved to have Paolo and Gaia back at Ristorante C’era Una Volta just up the road in Lucardo.  They had been off on a three week break visiting Instanbal and some other places, where they acquired a nice golden tan!  We were presented with the most delicous platters of pasta with generous shavings of Tartufo Bianco (white truffles) over the top.  Found locally in the woods, Paolo’s supplier of this food of the gods really knows where to look!  Bless his woolly socks and truffle dog.  Yummy!

Well enough of that, must get this blog edited and off to you.  Have a great week and do get in touch, I love to hear from my readers.  Don’t forget to email me a copy of your receipt if you have bought the paperback versions of all three of my books below before Christmas and I will send you a free signed copy of my short story ‘The Man in Black’.  Enjoy!  june.finnigan@virgin.net

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,

74219010_568403283921734_5820832841121923072_nYet another potentially beautiful day in Tuscany!  I say potentially because it is currently overcast and raining again, however, the weekend was lovely and my man and I dropped down to Certaldo for the market (mercato) on the Saturday morning.  I like to shop from the smaller stall holders who are selling the fruit and veg grown in their own garden or orto.  It all looked wonderfully fresh after the rain and it was a joy to be there in the cooler air and amongst the jolly shoppers of Certaldo.  I also bought some delicious cheeses, both sheep and goat’s cheese, again local products.  I don’t get to the market often enough and must get back to going every Saturday morning.  Not long before all the Christmas stuff will be about and Certaldo comes into it’s own at this time of year.  Exciting isn’t it!

71530727_1399845073499182_5815258218384850944_nAnd on the subject of Italian cheeses, you may be surprised to know that the country produces an awful lot more than Parmesan!  The Gran Reserve Leonardi has just won gold in the A1 World Cheese Awards, and it’s a Gorgonzola!  Just look at this massive range of cheeses made in Italy, don’t they make you salivate?  I adore cheese and I always get in a big choice at Christmas time.  Must have some for lunch!

71783322_2988290284517508_577776249246580736_o.jpgMeanwhile, I read that Andrea Bocelli has launched a new album.  (Foto from his Facebook page.)  Now, as well as books, it’s rather nice to buy albums for Christmas and this latest one sounds wonderful. Last Christmas we treated ourselves to a new record player, so all our old albums can be played again!  Andrea’s album includes wonderful duets with Ellie Goulding and Jennifer Garner amongst other guest performers.  It is called ‘Si Forever’ and can be bought or streamed Here

Sophia and 75289046_1447485298735159_2866407838446518272_nThe other thing I really love at Christmas time is old Italian films.  Some of the comedies are really brilliant and what with so many Italian actor icons dying off, it’s good to keep these films on the shelf.  Sophia, bless her, is still very much alive, but so many of her co-stars like Marcello Mastroianni, are not.  What a formidable acting team those two made!  By now you have probably worked out that I am a horder of books, records and DVD’s.  No I am not digital, well maybe a little bit.  I am a little sad that buying gifts like diaries, calendars, CD’s and watches are just not of interest to the younger lot, as everything is digital now!  Yes, my thoughts have gone all festive already.  It was not my intention to start talking about Christmas, but it is only six weeks or so away!  Foto from Facebook.

The_Man_in_Black_Cover_for_KindleNow I’m going to mention my books as we are on a Festive roll at the moment.  I really want to encourage you to buy real books this christmas.  If any of you buy my current trilogy, My Father, The Assassin, The Bolivian Connection & The Italian Connection between now and Christmas and in paperback form, I will be delighted to send you a signed copy of my short story The Man in Black.  Just email me a copy of your receipt and your postal address.  june.finnigan@virgin.net.  Visit my website for easy access to on-line purchasing.  My site

Well, enough for now, must get on with the day job.  Have a great week.

Salute June x

 

 

 

 

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