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

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Il Liberazione Parade Certaldo. foto Archive J Finnigan

Yesterday, Saturday,  was a very important day for the Italians, particularly the older generation.  The 25 April is the celebration of the Liberation from the Nazis occupation at the end of World War Two.  Normally, there are grand processions, medals and certificates given to the elderly, many of whom can remember that time with absolute clarity.  A few years back I interviewed Gianfranco in Montespertoli and learnt first hand about the terrifying experiences of the partisans hiding out in caves and behind fireplaces.  Much has been written about the French Resistance, but there are many Italian unsung heroes of that time that deserve more credit for helping to end the occupation.  See my novel ‘The Italian Connection’ below, which includes some of Gianfranco’s experiences.

band-relaxed.jpgMeanwhile, back in the here and now, we have made the sad decision to cancel the Rock Chick Band concert in June.  Whilst things may have improved by then and the restrictions lifted, we do not want to bring together friends and family and to put them at risk.  It is particularly sad as it would have been our 10th anniversary as a band and I have enjoyed performing with the guys so much.  But lets look to June 2021 and make sure it is a really good party!

The Terrace 04 2020And, on a much lighter note you will be glad to know that our lower terrace is ready to welcome you all, the minute it is safe to do so.  Yesterday, my man and I enjoyed a bottle of Chardonnay there before lunch and it was glorious in the warm breeze with the perfumes wafting across from the Acacia, roses and cut grass.  Whist we have been unable to go out and buy plants, the garden is still looking lovely thanks to nature’s own contributionporcupine1

However, we have had one naughty creature coming into the garden and tearing out a whole circle of Irises, eating some and trailing the rest across the lawn.  We found its entrance path through long grasses and it is clearly low slung and wide, so that whittles it down to a badger or porcupine!  But, hey ho, the wildlife will take over soon anyway, I can feel them closing in, can’t you?

Bee Eaters 2014

Male and female Bee Eaters Photo National Geographic

But, oh glory, the first Bee Eaters have arrived.  That wonderful fast twortle ( a cross between twitter and chortle) that fills the airwaves.  The birdlife here continues to amaze  and delight.

AcaciaWell, the weather here on the edge of Chianti has been glorious.  This morning’s early stroll around the garden turned out to be nice enough to stop and sit under the European Oak tree, where one of our English Garden Benches now sits.  The Acacia trees are now dripping with perfumed blossoms and the view is fantastic; we will never tire of this glorious vista.  There is no longer any traffic smog down in Certaldo’s valley and the view to San Gimignano is as clear as crystal.  We are so looking forward to meeting our family there for a nice lunch soon.

Meanwhile, I must once again get my head around cooking a Sunday lunch.  If I prepare it early enough, I can pop it in the oven later before going down to the terrace for an aperitif or two.  But what to cook?  Mmmm, perhaps I’ll keep writing to you instead!

Breaking Newshurrah, it is Monday morning and we have news of the lifting of part of the lockdown!  From Monday 4th May we can travel to see our family within the region, we have already organised a lunch!  Parks will reopen and bars and restaurants can provide take aways.  On 18 May more shops, museums and libraries will reopen.  On 1st June, hairdressers and salons will reopen, thank god, and restaurants will return to normal opening!  Oh heaven!  Distancing measures will still be in place, but what a relief it will be.  

OK, phew, now must get the fotos inserted for you to enjoy and get this blog posted.

Have a great week and do not worry, everything will be alright!

Salute June xx

Visit my author site at June’s site

 

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

Band RelaxedWhat a great evening we had on the 21 June.  Thank you so much to Stefano, Lorenzo C, Lorenzo A and Fillipo who, alongwith myself, are the Rock Chick Band.  These brilliant guys were once again seriously good at backing me in my performance of seventeen great rock songs.  I admit, this is pure indulgence for me, I just adore getting up there and singing with these guys!  And, we will be back again next year so diary date June 19 2020 now!

20190621_222033Also taking a turn at the mike was our good friend John Reilly, whose UK stage name is The Bare Guitarist.  (Think what you like)  His song “zombie jamboree” has a big history and, most of the versions are not the same as Johns (Circa 1966 Sierra Leone) on a white label record which was banned from all West African States  as it was more akin to a horror song for juju believers…..  Thank you John, despite the history, the audience loved it and you really got them up and dancing!  Zombie Jamboree

Terry and Andrea 2019And, thank you to our local celebrity potter, Terry Davies, on the left, who was prompted to get up with his guitar and sing a couple of excellent rock songs.  Thank you Terry.

image1And, what a great audience!  Well done Fiano for being strongly represented.  Fabulous friends came from all over the world, including Andrea and Norbert, who ‘spontaneously’ hired a small plane in Germany, flew themselves over the Alps and down to Tuscany just for the concert!  Love you guys!

Andrea and buffet 21 juneMeanwhile, Andrea and his lovely lady, from Jam Caffe in Certaldo, were busy in the kitchen preparing a delicious buffet and the excellent wine was once again provided by our good friend Claudio Corbinelli.  Thank you all!

Well, I really look forward to doing it all again next year, but must get fitter!  If Mick Jagger can leap around on stage at 76, even after heart surgery, then so can I!  My being considerably younger of course and, touch wood, I don’t have a dicky heart!  Anyway, am now getting physio and massage to relieve my aching joints.  Do not worry, as long as the voice holds out, I’ll be back!

glassesOh, by the way, did you leave a nice pair of reading glasses behind?  Well, they are perfectly safe, waiting to be claimed.  Drop me an email at june.finnigan@virgin.net 

Whilst the concert and entertaining friends & family was all consuming, I cannot ignore all the other important things that were happening around us.  Fiano saw the arrival of it’s latest baby; welcome to little Zoe!  A new Defibrillator has been fixed to the wall next to the Farmacia, so if you spot someone having a heart attack you have the means to save a life, and local artist Gloria Campriani opened the new Public Park in Certaldo, near the swimming pool, where you can see artistic creations and instillations any time of day!  Oh and the Ciccadas have arrived and are in full chorus as I write this blog. Phew!

Goodmorning Tuscany june 19And finally, yes it’s baking hot here and other than the evergreens and vines, everything has turned into crunchy brown crisps.  Thankfully, old Tuscan properties have thick walls and are easier to keep cool than most.  But we still need the air conditioning and gallons of drinking water.  I noticed the local campsite was half empty this morning, more than likely they have headed for the cooler mountain regions, or, if you are a grandparent you are probably at the seaside apartment with your grandchildren, doing your traditional thing, whilst the parents work and go down at the weekends.  

At this point, perhaps a glass of fizzy white would be appropriate.  I’ll finish this off a little later, I’m sure you won’t mind……

Well, I’m back and refreshed and will now get this blog honed and off to you.  Have a great week and stay hydrated!

Salute June x

Visit my website at My site

Fotos P.Finnigan, j.Finnigan, Andrea and Norbert.

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

DSCN3433.jpgWhat a fabulous evening!  On Friday 22nd June we celebrated the 8th Annual Rock Chick Band’s Concert Party in our beautiful Tuscan garden.  We rocked the night away with lots of well know covers including George Harrison, Robert Plant, Mathew’s Southern Comfort, The Stranglers, Traveling’ Wilburys, Phil Lynox, The Pretenders, Cream, Peter Gabriel, Mumford & Sons, Dire Straits, Pink Floyd and Patti Smith.  You would have been hard pressed not to have found a favourite there!  Thank you to Stefano, Lorenzo, Lorenzo and Fillipo, the boys in the band!

DSCN3497.jpgGuest performances included our lovely Polish friend Tomek Tryba, who sang the classic Italian song Volare in perfect Italian.

DSCN3543.jpgAnd English buddy John Reilly, who did a stand up comedy song dedicated to me!  Bless him.  Thank you also to John, for teaching me the first steps in playing the acoustic guitar, my fingers really hurt, but it will be worth it!

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Also up at the microphone, ten-year old Petra, who wants to be a rock star, sang the ‘ooh’ bits in Robert Plant’s Rainbow, and a great performance that was too!  I also signed her invitation, which unknown to her, gave me just as much pleasure as she enjoyed receiving it!  Lovely girl, I hope she makes it in the big rock scene!

Thank you also to Andrea and his team at Jam Caffe in Certaldo, who provided the buffet.  They bake all their own pastries there and it’s an excellent place for morning coffee or afternoon aperitivi. Find them right next to the station!

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Of course, my never ending gratitude for the great support from friends and family in making this one of the best concert parties so far.  And what a cosmopolitan lot we were that included Italians, English, Scots, Americans, Polish, Germans, French and more.  Forgive me if I have not mentioned your country, but thank you to everyone for coming and for your gifts too!  We are already planning the next one, so for you diaries it will be 21st June 2019!

Things seem very quiet now, the house guests have gone and we have returned to the leisurely pace of morning coffee and pastry in the nearby village of Fiano, where we catch up on the local and national newspapers.  We popped over to Montespertoli this morning to watch the world go by, and then to C’era una Volta for lunch.  Ah, life eez good!

Next weekend it’s back to my usual blog, full of local titbits and more national goings on in Tuscany and Italy.  I know, where is the ‘Hunk of the Month’ I promised you?  Well my gorgeous band members should be sufficient for now, but I do have a hunk waiting in line!

Have a great week.  Do visit my website at June’s site

Salute june x

All Fotos J Reilly & P Finnigan.

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So Sorry to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

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The Rock Chick Band 2017

Am currently up to my ears in preparing for my Rock Concert and am unable to make the time for a lengthy blog.  Please forgive me.

Look out for my next blog on the weekend of 30th June, when I will send you lots of concert foto’s and The Hunk of the Month for July!

Visit my website at June’s site

Salute June x

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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers

I must tell you this true story.  As you know, from time to time, my man has to pop over to London to do a bit of business.  A few days ago, he was trying to make a purchase with his business Visa card and put the wrong pin in…..three times, which he blamed on fat finger small keyboard scenario.  Yes, the bank blocked it.  So he rushed into the local Barclays and realised that he had no identity; his passport was back at his London club and he doesn’t need his driving licence in London! He produced everything he had with his signature on, other bank cards, even his British Library card which sported his photo!  Then finally, in exasperation, he said, “I’m wearing hand-made Italian shoes and they have my name inside.”  Would you believe it, they agreed to unblock his card!  Don’t you just love it!

Al Bar Fiano, needing lots of people to bring it alive again. Foto J Finnigan

Al Bar Fiano, needing lots of people to bring it alive again. Foto J Finnigan

Meanwhile, back in the calmer atmosphere of our local village of Fiano, I made a second visit to the new Al Fiano Bar.  Two locals were sat drinking coffee and eating pastries, then a certain well-known signora arrived, shouting at the top of her voice.  She only wanted some crisps, but for an Italian lady who stands at around four-foot-five, she’s got the voice of a giant.  Then she spotted me, trying to read the newspaper, and came and sat down!  I think she was telling me, and the rest of the village, about her one visit to London, when Steffi Graff was playing at Wimbledon.  If not, I may have bought an old tennis racket and a donkey.  I’m not sure which, I’ll let you know.

Natalia waiting to serve you a very nice Espresso at Al Bar Fiano. Photo J Finnigan

Natalia waiting to serve you a very nice Espresso at Al Bar Fiano.
Foto J Finnigan

Anyway, the lovely lady behind the bar turns out to be Russian and has been here in Italy for I think sixteen years.  She is called Natalia and her smile brightened the room, which is still in need of a lift to make it more welcoming.  However, do go in, the more that try it out the better it will become.  Fingers crossed.

The artist Marcello Scuffi. I love his work. Foto La Republicca.

The artist Marcello Scuffi. I love his work. Foto La Repubblica.

OK, what next.  Oh yes, I spotted this article about Marcello Scuffi, the Tuscan artist.  I love this kind of contemporary art and at first, I thought his work must be from the nineteen twenties or thirties.  But no, Marcello was born in 1948, is alive and well and still producing these masterpieces.  He was born in Tizzana (Pistoia) which is not far from Florence and currently works out of Quarrata and Marina di Pietrasanta.  He is also very sought after and has made quite an impression in France, Belgian and Switzerland.  Google him and you will be able to see lots more of his pictures.

‘And what about the touring bands in our area?’  I hear you ask.  Well, at last, the wonderful Piazza Arena in Lucca is to host the Rolling Stones!  This will be during the summer music festival in July, so won’t compete with my own concert with The Rock Chick Band on June 24th!  You may have difficulty getting tickets for the Rolling Stones, but my concert is free!  However, it is by private invitation, so if you would like an official invite to my concert, drop me an email at june.finnigan@virgin.net

Oh, must just mention that the weather here has been glorious around lunchtime, a hot sun and no cold wind.  so, over the last few days, we have snuck down to the terrace a couple of times for an aperitivo.  Cin Cin!

Well, enough of that, my man is taking me out to lunch so I must go for a shower and make myself beautiful.  Whoever said ‘how do you hope to do that?’ Can go and crack their own mirror!  Ha ha to you too.

Have a great week and do get in touch.  I love to hear from you.

Salute June x

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

My current Books. Foto J Finnigan

My current published Books.
Foto J Finnigan

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Benvenuti to all my lovely Loyal and New Followers

Another glorious sunset. foto P Finnigan

Gazing at the sunset.
foto P Finnigan

“I can’t believe that it’s a week ago, did it really happen?”  I’m referring to our fabulous evening on the 25th June when the Rock Chick Band rocked the night away in our beautiful new setting.  “My neck and shoulders still ache.”  My man rubs his poor muscles.  “Well you are the ‘Roady’, it’s what roadies do, carry heavy weights, put up the lighting, you know arrange everything!” I smile.  “Yes, but how come I’m also staff and chief bottle washer!”  He groans.  “But we had brilliant family help with the catering, you didn’t do it all by yourself!”  I remind him.  “Well it doesn’t bloody well feel like it….”   We gaze into the sunset from our lower terrazza and down a glass of chilled white.  “But life eeez good, you can’t deny it.”  I offer.  “Yes, it is, and guess I have a year to prepare for the next concert.”  He sighs, flashes that magic smile and I melt.

Rock Chick Band group hug before the concert. Foto P Finnigan

Rock Chick Band group hug. Foto P Finnigan

The band rocking. Foto P Finnigan

The band rocking. Foto P Finnigan

Our new setting really was great for the band and our guests.  Always a learning curve; we might bring the band closer to the audience next time, but otherwise it was perfect. Our daughter, granddaughter and son-in-law did a fabulous buffet and set it all out under a big brolly. Thank you all those guys who bought more food & drink and presents, which were hugely appreciated.  I was also delighted to meet new friends and to catch up with old ones.  Make sure you all diary date for next year; 24th June 2017!

Georgous Italian Opera singers. La nazione.

Gorgeous Italian Opera singers.
La Nazione.

Oh yes, whilst we have been rocking and rolling, the three gorgeous Italian opera guys have been performing in Florence.  I know that my new friend and blog follower, Odette, will appreciate this foto as she is also an opera singer.  It was great to meet you and your handsome man.

2016-07-03 12.09.28The weather is now baking hot and as it is our first summer in the new house, we are having to juggle opening and closing of windows at certain times of the day to make sure we get a breeze going through.

For news on Farty Barty the wild cat, he was gone for seven days until I stood at the railing on our terrazza and called him through cupped hands.  My voice echoed around the valley and ten minutes later he strolled in looking well fed and wondering what all the fuss was about.  That was last Monday and since then he’s been lying around in cool parts of the house!  I tell you, never fall in love with a wild Tuscan kitten and encourage it to stay around.  You end up desperate to know where and how he is, agonising over whether he’s lying injured somewhere and starving!  But we do love him, so there is nothing we can do about it, just fret!

Anyway, today we are going for lunch at L’Osteria Casa Chianti, which serves the best food in the area.  Good Tuscan fare and just a little bit of sophistication, which we like a lot.  http://www.osteriadicasachianti.it  So forgive me if I pop off for another shower and make myself beautiful.

Have a wonderful week and do keep in touch.

Salute June xx

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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Buona Sera to all my lovely Loyal and New Followers,

The Rock Chick Band Photo Chiara Benelli

The Rock Chick Band
Photo Chiara Benelli

Just a quick ciao as this week has been so hectic, what with the run up to The Rock Chick Band’s Concert on Saturday and my birthday today.  Its baking hot and the forecast looks great for the weekend.

Thank you to everyone for your best wishes for both events and for supporting me all year and every year.  Look out for my full report in two weeks time.

Meanwhile, have a great weekend.

Love you all.

Salute June x

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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