Posts Tagged ‘Squirrels’

I am full of enthusiasm this morning, as I have so much to tell you about the last seven days in our lovely spot on the edge of Chianti.

Farty Barty stays out of reach on Vets day. Photo P Finnigan

Farty Barty stays out of reach on Vets day.
Photo P Finnigan

Yes, it’s true, my man and I, not forgetting Farty Barty the cat, are very lucky to be here and we celebrate this fact every evening with a nice chilled aperitivo on our upper terrace.  Yes, there is a lower terrace, otherwise we would not have an upper one would we?  On the subject of the garden and my man, you may recall that the latter has had an ongoing battle with the pretty dark red furry ones, that love to throw the sharp remains of pine nuts on his head.  Now the little devils  are eating the ripe figs!  We have yet to see the Pine Martens, but we know they get together with the squirrels at night, have midnight fig feasts, and leave us with nothing but small hard green ones.

Remaining hard green figs. Photo June Finnigan

Remaining hard green figs.
Photo June Finnigan

I don’t mind this at all, I like to think that the garden attracts all and sundry from the countryside.  My man thinks the squirrels may be eating the young courgettes too, however, I say that if you can’t see any tooth marks then it’s not them, but a sneaky wild pig (cinghiale) with a straight blade knife.   I have already talked a lot about the very noisy cicada, but with hand over my mouth and trying not to snigger, I must tell you that my man is also being dive bombed by these flying insects every time he walks under a tree!

Well enough of that.  Back in Fiano, our local village, the pensioners were queueing up for their pensions outside La Posta.  This is a first of the month event, and takes all morning to pay everyone out.  There is only room for four people inside, so the poor things have to queue outside in the hot sun.  I know most of these lovely people by sight and we always exchange ‘Buon Giorno’s’.  For some reason I stopped and asked (in Italian of course) a few familiar faces why they don’t have their pensions paid into the bank.  This was a silly thing to do and no sooner had I opened my mouth, I knew the answer.  Cash is king here in Italy.  The minute you bank anything it is taxed and it is up to you to claim it back if you think you are entitled to do so.  A few years ago I made the mistake of opening an account with one hundred euros.  I never got to use the account, then a several months later I received a statement  and  the whole balance  had been swallowed up by tax and bank charges!  Ouch….

It is the start of August, and here in Tuscany everything is winding down.  This is traditional, as all Italians, if they can afford it and many can’t this year, are packing up and leaving for the coast or the mountains where the air is cooler.  If you are reading this and intend coming to Tuscany this month, think again!  Eighty percent of shops, restaurants and bars close for at least two weeks in August and sometimes for the whole month.   We are already seeing  tourists wandering around what to them, must seem to be ghost towns and villages.    Poor Laura and her daughter in the Bar/Alimentare in Fiano, have been working in inside temperatures of forty-two degrees and are quite rightly closing in the afternoons.  We go there every morning for our Espresso coffee fix and yesterday my man had to bury his red face in the newspaper, because he had eaten the last Pasta di Marmellata and a disgruntled local wanted to know why it had not been kept back for him!

Bougainvillea with butterfly top right. photo June Finnigan

Bougainvillea with butterfly top right.
photo June Finnigan

And now to the subject of butterflies.  Yes, I am talking about those beautiful fluttering things that visit the flowers for their nectar.  I have been frantically trying to photograph a really big one, so that I can find out what it is and send you a picture.  But would you believe it, just when I think I have captured the perfect shot it waves good-bye and is off.  However, this has resulted in some lovely pictures of the Bougainvillea, which is winding its way up the bottom of a fir-tree from the lower terrace, so you can at least enjoy one of those.  If you strain your eyes, you might just see a bit of butterfly top right!  If you can identify it, please let me know.

Poor old Silvio Berlusconi has had a hard time this week.  In the empty court a carabiniere (policeman) got so bored after seven hours of waiting for the judges to return with their verdict, that he broke into a spontaneous dance and white-gloved moves apparently inspired by the Village People’s hit song YMCA.  It’s now hugely popular on YouTube!  You can smile at this, however, the final verdict was not even a tiny bit funny from Silvio’s point of view.  This is a very rich man, with many questionable connections and he likes pretty girls.  He has been Prime Minister of Italy three times and has a massive right-wing following.  According to some of the people in our local bar, he is the perfect target for jealous left-wing politicians and judges.  When seeking election some years ago Silvio quoted ”Out of love for Italy, I felt I had to save it from the left.”  So, whatever your point of view, as Silvio declared in May 2010 ‘As prime Minister, I never had the feeling that I was in power…..’  No picture today as he is currently looking too sad.  But watch this space, he’ll be back!

Well it’s time for a relaxing aperitivo and then lunch at ‘C’era Una Volta’ in Lucardo.

Have a good week and do get in touch.

Salute June x

PS To read the first four chapters of my novel ‘My Father, The Assassin’ go to http://www.firstchapters.net



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Ciao Ragazzi and welcome to all my lovely new followers,

Today I am talking about Still being Famous in Fiano, Local Book Sales, The Mother Who Got Home for Christmas, An Old Signora & Her Dining Chair, No Newspapers in the Cafe Bar & Sig Rotund,  My Man & The Squirrels, A Visit to Montalcino, Cicadas, Concert Withdrawal symptoms and not to forget the sad, but gorgeous Silvio Berlusconi.

My current Novel

My current Novel

Yes, I am still famous in Fiano.  A lovely lady in the doctor’s waiting room asked me if I was the famous writer (in Italian of course).  She had seen my book in Milko’s cartolibreria in Fiano and asked if I could produce it in Italian.  She then rummaged in her bag and out came a well-thumbed thriller which she was delighted to show me!   Milko, that lovely engaging man, sold another book to an Englishman last week and I met three tourists who have promised to go and buy one!  No I’m not desperate, I just gently cruise up to people in the village and hypnotize them with my writer’s card…..

Amongst all my other writing things and with the help of my very talented niece who is doing the illustrations, I will be publishing  ‘The Mother who got Home for Christmas’ in the next couple of months.  This is a rhyming story for kiddies and I am really looking forward to seeing the proof.  I’ll keep you posted.

In this commune (Commune di Certaldo) a new system of refuge collection started a couple of years ago, which we hate.  So we take our rubbish to an adjacent commune on the way to the supermercato.  Whilst we were unloading last week, an old Signora was placed in the middle of the street on two cushions on her dining chair.  Firstly, we thought she was being put out as rubbish, however, she was actually waiting to be collected by la Misericordia to go for some medical check.  (La Misericordia is a very commendable service, run by medically trained volunteers, which takes the needy to their hospital appointments – and sometimes back home again.)  The ambulance arrived and the commotion of transferring the old dear to a wheelchair was unbelievable.  Her daughter was prizing the cushions out from under her, to put in the wheelchair and the old lady hovered in mid-air for what seemed an agonizing length of time.  Then the dining chair was removed and she was still in a sitting position!  The wheelchair slowly trundled over, pushed by another ancient relic, and got to her just before she ended up sitting in the street!  This may not sound funny to you, but if you had been watching this, you would have been in hysterics……..  Meanwhile the traffic queue was growing and, as always, Italians love to sound their horns!

Back at the Alimentare/Bar there have been no newspapers to read for four days.  Now Sig Rotund has got quite angry about this and he is a very important (and large) figure in Fiano.  There has been some hold up with deliveries and they are blaming poor Milko who should go down to Certaldo and get some.  My man also likes to read Il Tirenno so is equally unhappy, and I like to look at the bit in the back of La Nazione for any visiting rock bands.  If there are no papers today we may have to boycott the bar like Sig Rotund!                                

Leaf suspended by single thread in garden

Leaf suspended by single thread in garden

The weather here is now hot and dry, as it should be, and was a long  time coming.  We seemed to have missed spring and jumped directly from winter into summer.   I am very impressed with my man who has decided that the only way to get the garden up together, is to rise at six and work outside until our morning coffee trip at eight thirty!  This then avoids the hot sun, but unfortunately not the squirrels.  No, he’s not tripping over the pretty little dark red things, they are up in the pine trees eating the pine nuts and throwing the sharp inedible bits directly at the man!  I have actually witnessed this, so he is not exaggerating…..



Last Friday we took a much-needed day off from work (yes we do have a day job) and drove to Montalcino.  It was a lovely day out but the Citta was a mite disappointing.  It has a church at one end and a castle at the other, but no central piazza which to us is so important for a community.  The views are panoramic, we had a nice walk along the city walls and a good lunch.  So we did chill out, which is what it was all about anyway.

The real Cicada

The real Cicada

Isn’t it amazing that you can go for years believing you are right about something and then get proved completely wrong!  Now I am talking about Cicada’s;  those noisy flying insects that you can never see in the summer because their camouflage is so good.  For three years we had what we thought were cicadas wintering in our outside blinds at the old house.  We actually liked these insects that were big brown grasshopper looking things and were careful not to disturb them.  My man and I were enjoying our evening aperitivo last week and a cicada landed right in front of us, on a tree trunk and started chirping.  Gosh that’s very small I said to the man, perhaps it’s a young one.  So he got on his clever phone and found a picture.  Lo and behold, it was normal size and the big brown ones that we had been nurturing, turned out to be locusts!

The Rock Chick Band in rehearsal

The Rock Chick Band in rehearsal

It’s hard to believe that our rock concert was two weeks ago.  To compensate, my man has been playing Led Zeppelin very loudly and I have already started planning the next one!  Yes, it’s a bit of a flat time after singing my little heart out  with the band, however, these Chianti Hills are throbbing with live music most weekends and we can just relax in our garden and enjoy it.

Silvio- feel my muscle!

Silvio- “feel my muscle!”

And finally, has anyone seen or heard from our idol, Silvio Berlusconi?  Well there are whispers in the bar that he may be planning to do a runner with his twenty seven year old girlfriend.  (A mite old don’t you think?)  There have been masses of protests and just after his trial a number of his angry allies descended on a central Piazza in Rome to hold a protest under the banner ‘Siamo tutti puttane’ (We are all whores).  In advance of this demonstration the organiser Giuliano Ferrara, editor of the right-wing newspaper Il Foglio, filmed a video of himself applying lipstick!  So nothing unusual there then.

Well must go and organise cena and may you all have a fantastic week.

Ciao June x

PS  Click top right of this page, just below Blogroll, to view or buy  ‘My Father, The Assassin’.  Enjoy.

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