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Posts Tagged ‘Tuscany’

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

Golden OrioleThanks to our neighbour and friend the potter Terry Davis, we have finally been able to identify the bird with the most beautiful haunting song now in our garden.  We have heard it every year since we arrived in Italy, usually in the distance but never knowing what it was until now.  It is the Golden Oriele, almost impossible to spot, very secretive and beautiful.  We have plenty of birdsong in and around our garden but this song is really special.  You should google it and listen for yourself!  Picture downloaded from Facebook.

Rock My world cardMeanwhile, I have been enjoying my unofficial birthday.  Yes, I know, very Queenie like.  To be honest, I start celebrating at the beginning of June as, after all, I am named after the month I was born in.  Story has it that my mother casually said ‘Oh, lets just call her June rather than faff around looking for other ideas.’  I was a second child and the rebellious streak erupted as soon as I could walk.  Yes, I was a wild child and I’m still wildly rocking on.  Last Friday evening should have been The Rock Chick’s Band’s 10th concert.  My man and I sat outside the front of the house feeling very strange, afraid someone might turn up who hadn’t got the cancellation message! But no, we were alone with the birds, toads and occasional hornet.  So, I now look forward to my official birthday on 23rd.  My man has just given me this fabulous card, he saw it earlier in the year in London and realised it was perfect.  I think he’s perfect too.

POTS june 2020The weather here is also perfect and the house should be full of friends and family.  Instead, we are enjoying all the newly planted pots thanks to my darling daughter who not only came with me to buy them, she planted them too!  Afterwards she went down to Umbria for a couple of days staying near Lake Trasimeno; she deserved a nice relaxing break with the family, bless her.

Northern Europeans have arrived.  I went to Fiano last Saturday to find the entrance to La Dispensa, our lovely alimentare and coffee bar,  blocked by a big 4 x 4 and an overweight German family.  Now, I have to remind myself that the tourist industry is the life blood of our community, but I can’t say it’s always easy to deal with.  My man and I have actually enjoyed the peace and quiet of the lock-down, whilst at the same time feeling the anxiety of our Italian friends who rely on the tourist industry.  One has to find a compromise.

Gabor shoesAnyway, it’s my birthday tomorrow.  I have spoilt myself with new shoes from Gabor who have great styles without losing the comfort one needs to survive!  I’ve started drinking wine at noon and my man has planted three rose bushes in a nice trangular bed in the front garden.  Lovely.  Any minute now, DHL will arrive with all the electronic equipment I need to set up my new sound studio in the downstairs guest apartment, now that is really exciting!  I’ll send you a foto next week!

But for now, I need to organise a nice lunch for myself and my gorgeous man who’s hair is nearly long enough for a pony tail, bless him.

Have a great week and do drop me a line, I love to hear from my readers!  june.finnigan@virgin.net and/or visit my website at my site

Salute June x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Wet morningWell, this morning’s walk around the boundaries was very soggy indeed!  Just when we thought things were warming up it was back to heavy rain and storms.  Now of course the vineyards and olive groves need rain, but it has become impossible to predict the weather in recent years.  Not much more than five years ago we were having months of drought, one year we went from May through to October without a drop of the wet stuff. Our daughter, who lives near San Gimignano. has just sent videos of the track to her house, which is now a raging river!  So enough of the rain, we want aperitivi in the garden please!

Big broken pot and GeraniumsNevertheless, sodden as it was, the countryside was glowing with various greens that against the grey sky seemed to be luminous and the colour of the flowers were extra vivid.  The dampened perfumes were also wafting over us, so it was still another beautiful day in Tuscany.

GuitarsNow, you will probably be aware that myself and the Rock Chick Band have had to cancel our concert for this coming Friday, 19 June.  This is very sad indeed as we would have been celebrating our 10th annual concert.  I got together with Stefano our brilliant lead in 2010, he organised the band and we performed our first concert in June 2011, to celebrate my birthday.  I enjoyed it so much we decided to do it every year, until now!  As you can guess, I’m feeling a little bereft, but am really looking forward to the arrival of a complete sound system for my piano room, which will be renamed the Sound Studio.  This means I will be able to sing to my heart’s content at the microphone, with downloaded backing tracks, whenever I choose.  Now my man has threatened to leave me if I don’t consult him first about my timing, as it will be very very loud.  I think thats only fair…..

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OK, back to the world outside!  You will be glad to know that all the borders are now open and you can travel the length and the width of Italy without restriction!  However, you must still remember the rules and are in fact laws;  wear masks, keep your distance and wash/cleanse your hands at all times!  Slowly, things are returning to normal but you will still find queues outside the shops, banks and supermarkets due to distancing restrictions.  We have been so well looked after by our local alimentare in Fiano for the last four months that I intend continuing to support the small shops, some of which are struggling, but with our support will survive.    Also, the Saturday morning fruit and veg market has reopened in Certaldo where they also sell locally made cheese.  What more do we need?

Back in the kitchen, I have a recipe for Aubergines called ‘White Aubergine Parmigiana’ the peculiar thing is it does not actually include parmigiana!  Anyway, it looks easy even for a dead head in the kitchen like me.  Aubergines are English for Eggplants or Melanzane in Italiano.  My man gets very nervous when I try something new, it will either be delicious or horrible.  If the latter it goes straight out the kitchen window and we have a liquid lunch.  I’ll let you know next week.

Have a great week and do drop me a line.  I love to hear from my readers!  june.finnigan@virgin.net or visit my website and leave a message there.  My site

Salute June x

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

PianoTo be honest, when the month of June arrived I felt a little deflated.  As many of you know it is my birthday month and I normally celebrate with a live Rock Chick Band concert in my garden.  But, for obvious reasons, we had to cancel.  Then I had an inspiration!  Downstairs we have a guest apartment which is only used occasionally and always when we have concert guests.  One room houses our old upright piano and nothing else but a tapa cloth hung on the wall, which we bought back from Fiji in 1984.  I know, the tapa cloth is just incidental, but it’s rather beautiful.  Anyway, what I was about to say was, I decided to make better use of the room and turn it into a sound studio!  Yes!  But I need all the right Tapa clothequipment microphone and speakers etc.  So I decided to spoil myself and thank you to our good friend John for his advice, I have ordered a PA System, a PreSonus PX-1 Large Diaphragm Microphone and a TC HeliconVoice Tone C1 Hardtune and Correction Vocal Processor.  Unless you are a musician, you will now be as confused as I am.  I am just a singer who is struggling to learn the guitar.  I have always left the technical side to the guys in the band and turn up when Stefano shouts ‘June, soundcheck!”  So now I am really excited, this wretched virus may have opened a whole new world to me, the real confusion will start when all the equipment arrives in about ten days time!  But I will have the help of my ‘long-haired lover from Bristol’  which is the name I have given my man who is looking like a long-haired rodie  from the seventies!

paul and june in facemasks 27.05.20OK, so what next?  Oh yes, so what has been happening in Tuscany this last week?  I hear you ask.  Well, the borders are now all open and it is a huge relief for those in the tourist industry.  Second homes owned by northern Europeans, who will be driving across the border at this moment, will soon be occupied.  It also brings with it a certain amount of risk as the virus here is by no means over.  But, at the end of the day, we must continue to be vigilant and the rules are still mask wearing and distancing, which the Italians have mostly supported without argument.  But how I long to see everyone hugging and kissing again, it’s been especially hard in Italy as Italians are a naturally demonstrative and warm.  We currently greet old friends by tapping elbows together or blowing kisses through our masks!  Hey ho.

Big oak tree and brollyBut you would never believe that there has been a lock-down in our little bit of countryside on the edge of Chianti.  Everything looks the same, from the land changing with the seasons to the wild life finding mates and reproducing.  The male toads in our pond have been incredibly noisy over the last few days and fascinating to hear, even if we can’t manage to spot one!  The number of birds in our garden, which has lots of mixed trees like our ancient Oak, has been incredible this year.  Just about every european species imaginable.  Bee Eaters have been gathering on top of the bare branches of an Acacia tree, woodpeckers, a pair of Jays, masses of tits, finches and redstarts.  Wood pigeons and Doves, I could go on but I am not an expert and could get some names wrong!  So we sit under our sun brolly every evening, with a nice aperitivo, to watch and listen.  Needless to say, it’s an absolute joy living here.

Now, I hope to venture out a little further next week.  I have so far stayed close to home and getting supplies from our local village of Fiano, where la Dispensa (translates to The Larder) has been fantastic support to the village for groceries.  Now the coffee bar has reopened too, but with the usual restrictions.  So I am going over to Tavernelle and the Co-op to get a few things we can’t get locally, but if there is a queue I won’t hang around, I’m not starting that lark!  Oh no.

42366139_2069341183116386_8416172868177494016_nMeanwhile, my man who miraculously ‘mostly’ enjoys my cooking at home, has agreed to go to the restaurant twice a week.  Now for some reason, during the last couple of weeks I have gone brain dead over cooking and have found it an absolute chore.  But I seem to have taken the pressure off myself by reading and writing again!  Yes, ‘Assassin’s List’ my fourth novel is flowing like a bubbling brook as my heroine Joanna Wilde goes off on another exiting covert mission!

So I guess I can honestly say, life in Tuscany is once again very good, not that it has ever been bad!  I will keep you posted on the progress with my Sound Studio and my writing.  And, don’t forget, I love to hear from my readers so do drop me a line.

Have a good week and stay safe.

Salute June x

Ps Visit my author website at My Site

 

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Welcome and Bentornati to all my lovely Followers around the world,

“Well, it’s been a great week, don’t you think?” I raise my glass of Chardonnay to my man who is clutching his G&T in one hand and swatting away an annoying zanzara images-1(mosquito) with the other.  “You know I’m a trained killer, don’t you?” He looks me straight in the eyes as if I have never heard this story before.  “Yes, darling, I do know that you are a trained killer and a former Commando, but how is that going to help with these zanzare?”  I offer a serious inquisitive look.  “Well, the secret is to remain absolutely still so the enemy can’t see you, then when they are almost on top of you, you lash out with one fatal blow and Bob’s your Uncle!” He says with great authority.  ‘Theres one behind you now!” I warn.  He starts flapping his hands around the back of his neck and cursing with the F word.  “Err, you missed it!” I shout.  He jumps to his feet.  “I’ll go and get one of those big outside lemon candles!” He swaggers off looking like John Wayne from behind.  “Get off your horse and drink your milk!” I call after him.  The thing about Zanzare, is to expect them to find a bit of skin to munch on, no matter how much protection you have smothered yourself in.  They even manage to get me under my knicker elastic, how on earth do they do that?   My man says it’s because I’m hot stuff, fortunately his eyesight is getting worse as he gets older.  Foto NY Times.

Pici PecoraiaGoing back to the first sentence of this blog, we did have a great week.  Two visits to C’era una Volta ristorante really made it for me.  As you know, I am not an enthusiastic cook and having steaming plates of pasta cooked for us was heaven.  We also downed a delicious bottle of Bibbiano Chianti Reserva both times.  Now it’s all about, when do we next go?  My man is embroiled in on-line meetings that often overlap the lunchtime, so I am sometimes forced to cook something.

74219010_568403283921734_5820832841121923072_nMeanwhile, the markets have reopened in Certaldo and nearby Tavernelle, so I must make the effort to pop into town and buy a load of seasonal fruit and veg.  yes, things are beginning to return to a semblence of normality here, but there remains a lot of political argument about whether the Regional Borders should remain closed.  Tuscany and many of the southern regions are scared of attracting northerners again, bringing more of the virus with them!  It’s a difficult one.

My man is currently stripping off in the bedroom next to my study.  No, no don’t get excited, he’s about to go downstairs to the guest apartment where he has his gymnasium.  It’s a big room and I suggested he could also make enough space to use it as a workshop.  He’s not sure, he has a tiny shed, but no room for the wood or metal work he used to enjoy.  I do think it is important for a man to have his own workshop, don’t you agree?

PomegranetMeanwhile, outside in our beautiful Tuscan garden and on our morning walk before coffee, we needed two hands to count the number of new flowering bushes.  Oleander in various shades of pink, pomegranate with lovely crimson flowers, perfumed white Jasmin the smell of which fills the air before you get anywhere near it and pale pink Rosehip flowers.  I could go on, but it would be endless.

download-4We also have a rainwater pond, fenced in to protect it from the outside track and large animals.  It’s alive with the song of the toads every evening, but can you get to see one?  No chance, their camouflage is far too good.  A few years ago, during a drought, a huge long legged brown toad, marched across our terrace and plopped itself into the cat’s water bowl!  Farty Barty the cat, sat and stared at it but made no attempt to move it.  What a sight for sore eyes that was!

Anyway, need to crack on with my current novel now.  Have a great week, I can’t wait to see you all back in Tuscany.

Salute June x

PS Visit my author website at My Site

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World

Well, what a surprise that was!  Last Monday everything opened up including bars, restaurants and thank god, hairdressers!  I managed to get an appointment with SandraRock chick Red on the Thursday and, bless her, she had opened despite the stringent rules of distancing and hand cleansing.  She had cleared the salon of all the furniture, bar two chairs for the clients and an armchair for a third person to wait in.  Of course, the experience was not too pleasant as there were no magazines or an offer of coffee.  But I will be forever grateful for returning to Rock Chick red having slowly sunk over nine weeks, into a depressing Granny Grey!

Tabby's Choc Cake 240520To celebrate my return to normality, and being able to stop and look in the mirror without cringing, our lovely family came over for lunch yesterday.  Whilst, as always, my big tray of garlic potatoes failed like most of my meals, this was more than made up for by the delicious egg and gluten free chocolate cake made by our brilliant and gorgeous fifteen year old granddaughter!  Yes, here in Tuscany we can at least enjoy the normality of family meals again.

We have not been back to a restaurant yet.  I know, this is so unlike us, but the idea of face masks and two metre separations does not appeal.  The only thing concerning me is that we are 2015-05-10-13-35-29not supporting our local restaurants and how many others are doing the same.  I think we probably should go to Paolo’s at C’era Una Volta soon, just to make sure he and his lovely wife Gaia made it back from the Maldives at the beginning of the lockdown, and to let them know we care!  Also, it’s that time of year for Burrata and grilled veggie!  What do you think, should we go?

What else?  How are things with you?  I have to say, I am so glad to be in Italy and not the UK during this pandemic.  Whilst one cannot believe everything in the papers, the UK seems to be in a right mess!  Meanwhile, on Saturday, our granddaughter met up with a group of teenage friends in Siena, after nine weeks of on-line schooling.  They all had their face masks on and kept a sensible distance.  Unfortunately, this has not been the case with some young people.

Nanny's 96thMeanwhile, in Exmouth, Devon in England, my mother celebrated her 96th birthday just with the staff of the nursing home, who thankfully are very kind to her.  Her main carer Jade sent some lovely pictures, which I was glad to receive as I would have been there in normal circumstances.  But down on Exmouth beach, my brother reported that people have been swarming and not taking any care over face masks or crowding.  It all sounds pretty horrifying.  However here, the locals in our nearby village continue to wear masks and keep their distance and coffee is only served to take away.

Anyway, enough of that, the sun is shining and the Strimmed walk under the blackthorngarden and countryside looks gorgeous.  We have so many birds now, the morning chorus is deafening!  But we love it. Our plans this week?  Well, it is work as normal from tomorrow, still remotely of course, but we are quite enjoying it.  I need to put more time into completing my current novel and learning the guitar.  What with our having to cancel the Rock Chick Band Concert in June, my man has asked me to do a performance just for him, so I will.  If any stragglers turn up who did not get the cancellation message, at least they’ll find me doing my lone performance.  I have asked my man to buy me a microphone and speakers for my birthday, watch this space….

OK, time to get on with the writing and then to rescue the leftovers for lunch, that saves me having to cook another meal.  Should I ring Paolo?

Have a great week and stay safe.

Salute June x

PS Don’t forget visit my author website at My Site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

We have just enjoyed our second week of partial unlockdown.  This partial lifting has meant more people returning to work and a few more shops opening.  However, for my man and I nothing has really changed.  We continue to work from home, because we can and because there are no flights out of Italy to London.  Not that we would want to go anyway, we are amongst the lucky one’s who live in a lovely converted Monastery Farmhouse surrounded by the glorious Chianti Hills.  As long as the internet holds out, no worries!

Red cross in FianoThis morning, Saturday, I drove into Fiano for supplies, filling the water bottles and popping into the farmacia (chemist).  When I spotted a covered stall in the Piazza, I thought it was market!  But no, it was the wonderful Red Cross, who do a fabulous job here in the Commune di Certaldo and had arrived with a couple of boxes full of free face masks!  Now, if a country like Italy whose funds are stretched to the limit can do this, why can’t others do the same, like the UK for example.  It’s all about priorities.  Here it is still mandatory to wear masks and not silly homemade efforts or fashion versions, but ones that actually work!

Anyway, my highlight of the morning was walking into La Dispensa to find the coffee bar serving coffee and pastries!  Only take away ones mind, but this is progress.  I bought my man a Frutta di Bosco pastry, that’s fruits of the forest to you and me, knowing he would be really chuffed.  At the moment, he stays at home and I go out, so if I can present him with a delicious pastry when I return, it’s very pleasing for me too!

PoppyOn the way home the banks were festooned with poppies.  It’s that time of year when tourists love to be here for the gorgeous poppies and wild flowers everywhere.  Well. everything in the countryside remains the same, just waiting for all you lovely people who love Tuscany like us, to return when everything opens up again.  Foto S E Finnigan-Kilby

41hKQQgwCHL._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_As you know, I am currently writing my fourth novel, ‘Assassin’s List,’ which has involved quite a lot of research.  In my search for in depth knowledge of Cuba I kept coming across a book called ‘Cuba: A Country Study by Rex.A.Hudson.  I could read some pages on-line but not copy or download.  It’s not available as an e-book, so I decided to buy the hard copy version.  I know this may sound silly, but I am really excited to be receiving a Proper Book again, it’s a bit like Christmas!  Yes, I know, I’ve digressed…

SHOT09_618-520x400Meanwhile, have you noticed how many fashion houses are now on-line.  For those that are really struggling Next are taking on a lot of the orders and deliveries on their behalf.  I know it’s tempting not to buy clothes at this time, but if you can bring yourself to visit some of the smaller designers, they are all offering huge discounts and often free delivery.  I have mentioned James Lakeland before, who is a UK fashion designer and has everything made in Italy.  I love his stuff.  He currently has a big sale on, so do take a look!  website/sale

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Sandra my lovely hairdresser at La Parrucchiera, Via Fabiani 1/D, Certaldo Tel 0039 3341217437

And what else?  Well, what can I say.  Here we are actually enjoying lockdown.  It has been a period of reflection and like many others, may change the way we do things in the future.  Relaxation outside in our garden before lunch and supper has become the norm. Whilst there is a little more traffic on ‘our’ track and the squeaky tractors are busy going up and down between the vines until dusk, these things have not spoilt our chilling out times.  No, for us, Tuscany is the place to be and in particular, in these dolce colline (sweet hills).

Stop Press – Sandra, my hairdresser just sent me a message; she is open next week and I have an appointment!  Addio grey hair!  Thank you Lord!

Do drop me a line, I love to hear from my readers.  june.finnigan@virgin.net

Visit my author website at My site

Salute June x

 

 

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World

green view grey sky april 2020“And, yet Another Beautiful Day in Tuscany” I said to my man, as we set out on our walk around the edge of the garden.  I actually say this every day and it’s true, no matter what the weather, there is a beauty in these hills that can’t be hidden by storm clouds or even foggy mornings.

grasses on slopeThis morning, Sunday, I couldn’t help but notice the change in the long grasses covering the slope below our house.  It wasn’t long ago that it was covered in wild flowers, now the grasses have taken over, yet they are beautiful in their own right.  Soon, they will be strimmed away by our landlord, but meanwhile we will enjoy them.  Everything is so lush and green.

Under the oak tree    8am and it was warm enough to sit down under the European Oak, which is now our shady spot for the summer.  It’s amazing how beautiful the underside of a tree can be!  Yes, I know, we have been on lock-down for two months, but this has only helped us to become even more aware of nature’s beauty.  Already the garden was teeming with bees and birds; the Acacia Trees were buzzing and the Bee Eaters were sitting at the top having their breakfast!  What a fabulous display.  How is it that the Bee Eaters don’t get stung?  That’s another Google search for later today.

may-dayMeanwhile, Italy has passed another celebration day without the usual celebrations!  May 1st celebrates the successful completion of all the preparation in the fields for an abundance of fruit and olives in the Autumn and, the start of Summer.  At least the fields and ortos (vegetable gardens) have been busy over the lockdown period; food and wine production in Italy cannot stop for a virus.  Officially called La Festa dei Lavori (workers’ Day) it is also a public holiday.  This time last year, beaches, parks and public gardens would be packed with Italians and their picnics, this year rather more quietly spent at home in the garden or on a balcony.  How did you spend your day?

640x427x20180925_toscana_AR5_0674.jpg.pagespeed.ic.kgvtuMSfN4And so, tomorrow 4th May heralds the beginning of the easing of lockdown here in Italy.  This will be a nervous time for many, including me, hoping that people continue to be vigilant, as nothing has changed other than reaching a point in time when some things needed reopening.  We can visit with our family this week!  Now that’s great news, but we are still supposed to wear our masks (a legal requirement) and keep to a safe distance…..  We must still carry forms that are filled out saying why we are travelling and the reasons remain limited.  Essential shopping, doctor, hospital and visiting parents.  You can now go for long walks or runs but starting from your front door, no driving to beauty spots or parks for your exercise.    More shops will be open, but this will not change the way we are doing things, I am happy with our local grocery store and farmacia (chemist).  It will be June before we will see any resemblance to normality; restaurants, hairdressers and salons, my three longed for destinations!  But we are amongst the lucky ones, despite my long greying locks and need for a pedicure.  Thank you once again to Tuscany and our local Italians for keeping me sane and to my man for his wonderful sense of humour. Foto Alice Russell for Toscana Promotion Turistica.

OK, I need some inspiration for Sunday lunch.  Ah, yes, I bought some fresh asparagus yesterday, add cheese and roast potatoes and Bob’s your Uncle!  But first a nice chilled glass of Italian Chardonnay in the garden, that’ll postpone the need to cook……

Have a great week wherever you are in the world and stay safe.  Everything will be alright!

Salute June x

Visit my book site at My site

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

Needless to say, I hope you are all doing well, we are OK here and actually enjoying life.

Books unreadHowever, both my man and I, who are normally avid readers, have not been able to concentrate on a book for weeks!  Given so much quiet time, this is something I’m finding difficult to grasp.  I have also been trying to get back into my fourth novel, as my heroine Joanna Wilde, is currently left suspended in Havana, waiting on my instructions!

download-4-1.jpgSo yesterday I re-visited a short story, which I started writing some years ago.  It’s supposed to be a thriller where the people and animals in a nearby Italian town, disappear completely without trace and the panic this creates for outsiders.  So I get into chapter two and I start seeing lizards everywhere and in particular a green and yellow one, which starts speaking to my main character, turning the whole thing into a comedy!  Well, this will not do.  My man hates the idea so I have ditched that project for the time being too!  Lizard foto euroland.com

SHOT16_997-1-150x150.jpgNow, one exciting thing happened a couple of days ago; my James Lakeland clothes order arrived, hurrah.  Well, everything fitted, despite the extra weight around my middle!  So, I have my new charcoal grey outfit for the concert in June.  Now we have to wait to see if the concert can still take place…….  I’ll let you know one way or another in May.  Now I am waiting for the arrival of my new passport, but that’s another story.

Redstart fledglingBack in our lovely garden my man found a little Redstart fledgling, which had obviously had an aborted first flight.  It was standing exactly on the spot where we like to sit with our aperitifvo, so being all heart we stayed in to give the parents a chance to feed it and encourage it to fly again.  We have had a great number of Redstarts this year, oh and the first cuckoo is now here in one of our trees.  We’ve not spotted it yet, but then they are difficult to see.  The fledgling had gone in the morning, thank heavens.

93771534_687478362006920_6486612021075771392_nOne sad thing to tell you, our big and normally beautiful Ash Tree is in trouble.  Only a quarter of the tree is in leaf, the rest looks dry and quite frankly dead.  It really needs an experienced tree surgeon to sort it out, but not during lockdown.  My man has had to move our park bench under the European Oak to get the shade needed for viewing the outside world.  If you know anything about Ash Trees, do let me know.  But hurrah, our English climbing Rose is in full bloom and there are masses of buds too!  And, the perfume is to die for, so that’s good news.

Anyway, last night we enjoyed a two hour drinks party on Skype with our good English Friends who live in Surrey, UK.  There was no shortage of crazy hats and weird glasses on display.  He knows who I am talking about.  I apologise for the terrible ‘Devon’ stories, that did not come over so well as they did last time I told them.  You know, ‘I wouldn’t start from here, if I were you”  and the ‘Wood Splitting Axe’.  Anyway, it was good to speak and have a laugh with you guys.  Stay safe.

Well, I think that’s it for now.  Time to think about aperitivi.  It’s still nice and warm in the garden, so let’s go for it.

Have a good week, everything will be OK soon.

Salute June xx

PS Have you read my books yet?  Now’s a good time!  go to my site

35973101_10156419065890917_7876909049508265984_nThe_Man_in_Black_Cover_for_KindleMy books.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World

Extract from my Easter Weekend blog 2019.  ‘Yes, it’s that time of year again, Easter Weekend and the Tourists have poured in from every part of the globe.  Cars and mini-buses are cruising past our Old Monastery Farmhouse with big-eyed faces staring out of the windows.  Then there are the walkers.  As we are surrounded by agriturismo places to stay, it’s normal to hear the sound of footsteps on the gravel track and wondrous voices in many different languages.  But, we don’t mind, as this weekend heralds the run up to summer and it’s a pleasure to see and hear visitors enjoying themselves.’  

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Easter Saturday 2020 – Who’d have thought that one year on, the above would be so strange to read, as we have been on lockdown now for a month and it’s amazing how one can get used to it.  We have set up a nice place to sit at the front of the house under a big brolly, as the sun is hot and I need to be in the shade looking out.  It has been so quiet that if a vehicle does roll past it’s usually agricultural, but it still has my man and I looking at each other with a frown on our faces.  My man usually says “Whose that on our track?”  Of course it’s not really ‘our track’ it just goes past our front gate.  It’s a gravel track, which is perfectly normal in this region, but is now kicking up dust due to the dry weather.  We also see the occasional blue light of the Carabiniere cruising past looking for Lockdown law breakers and believe me, they mean business!

20200412_111947Back to today.  We had a postal delivery this morning from the commune di Certaldo, which contained four face masks!  I must say I was impressed.  Earlier this morning I was in our local village of Fiano, waiting in a short queue of six for groceries and everyone was wearing a mask.  The queue swelled to about twenty before I went in and as is the way in Italy, a big circular queue was formed on both sides of the road, keeping a careful distance from each other but close enough for everyone to chat and greet friends.  We always know who will go in before us, it’s the same in the doctor’s surgery.  Rossella, my lovely friend who served me this morning, gave us an expensive bottle of Prosecco as a Easter (Pasqua) gift.  It’s wonderful to be looked after so well; my shopping is also carried to the car!  I wish I could hug her.  Breaking News – we have been informed that the lockdown will continue until 3rd May, not unexpected.

Catkins on oak April 2020Easter Sunday – Anyway, this will be the first Easter Sunday lunch without our daughter and family for some years.  But we have arranged a video call for midday.  My man and I went out for coffee again, or rather did a circuit of the garden and stopped off at our front door for coffee.  Everything is a rich green, despite the lack of rain and smells wonderful as my man did a lot of strimming yesterday.  The climbing red English rose is close to bursting it’s buds and the European Oak has revealed it’s catkins!  We heard the first cuckoo and think we saw the first swallow.  Apparently the swallows hit turbulent weather over Greece last week so we are keeping our fingers crossed.

Fiorentina Iris march 2020Lots of geraniums have survived the winter under covers, they look a bit straggly, but we cannot replace them until the lock-down ends.  Still, some are in flower already.  Oh, and the Florentine Irises are blooming, and the ancient Oak Tree, which guards our gate, is once more leafed up!  So nature carries on regardless; we are so lucky.

Oak tree April 2020I must say that I have been very impressed with the way technology has brought all the delights of Easter onto our computer and TV screens.  Church Services (if it is your thing) family get togethers and drinks with friends!  We tend to treat the Easter Weekend as a few days holiday, as we work with the UK system, our clients being mainly based there.  Here in Italy, most food shops will be closed today and tomorrow as normal.  But it is a very strange time…..

last-supper-photoMeanwhile, if you want to visit the original Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci you can do a virtual tour by visiting Leonardo

Well, must dash off.  The family are about to arrive on Skype and I must  put some lipstick on.  Oh, and set the scene for my man and I to do our bit on screen.

Easter Monday –  Did some tidying of the garden pots this morning and watched Andrea 052312219-cb6e68a2-5e17-4e2c-bd14-1b443df911e6Bocelli’s video on You Tube, recorded live in the empty Duomo in Milan.  If you want to feel the real emotion that exists here, watch it on  youtube

Meanwhile, back in our beautiful garden, which we have always appreciated, even more so now, an early morning arrival was a young fox.  Hard to tell if male or female, but very friendly and inquisitive.

FoxyFrom my dressing room window I saw it slinking toward the shrub where I think Phil the Pheasant’s hens are hiding out.  I threw a stone, which is a pretty one I collected from the garden some years ago; it bounced off the fence and rolled onto the lawn.  Instead of running off, the little fox rushed over and grabbed it in its mouth, then started playing with it like a puppy.  I said ‘Buon Giorno’ and it sat down and gazed up at me, obviously fascinated.  My man managed to get a foto, if a little out of focus, but you can see how young it was.  Beautiful.  So, we are not short of visitors!

So, today will be the last of the sunny weather as we are forecast rain.  But that’s OK because we need it.  Our landlord, lives half an hour away and due to the Lockdown has not been able to come and strim the outer reaches of the garden.  So my man is attempting to go that extra ‘mile’ and do some of this for him.  Yesterday, exhausted, he fell asleep in a deckchair with his cowboy hat over his face!  He woke up feeling dizzy from sleeping in the hot sun!  Bless him.

Well, we have no plans today, so I will cook us a nice lunch to make up for the cold offering from yesterday.  We actually had Caprese (buffalo mozzarella and sliced tomatoes accompanied by Fetunta (toast rubbed with garlic and drizzled with extra virgin)  Now we love this, but my man grumbled that it was Easter day and he had hoped for a nice veggie roast.  So I will cook that today!

Have a really good week and please stay home.  We are now on lockdown until 3 May, it will be alright.

Salute and stay safe, Amore June x

PS Have you read my books yet?  Now’s a good time!  my site

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

Did you miss me?  So sorry not to have sent you a blog last weekend, but I can only blame it on losing my creative writing hat and spending too much time drinking wine in the sunshine!  I also wanted to send you happy news and as I no longer have access to the coffee shop and the daily newspapers, I found myself getting rather brain-dead.

Phil the pheasant.jpgBut that’s all changed!  We have been inundated with visitors that don’t seem to understand how important it is to stay at home.  Firstly, Phil our resident Pheasant, has invited two hens to stay and was flaunting himself below our bedroom window this morning.  He’s obviously feeling very randy as he was fluffing his feathers up to give the impression that he is twice his normal size!  When he started jumping his startled hens, I had to look away, what an exhibitionist!

The lack of humans in the countryside has encouraged deer out into the open, I hope we might get sight of a herd of Cingale ( wild boar) too.  Below us is a field sown mainly to meadow hay and is proving very popular. Yesterday a lone deer made his way across the field and dissapeared into woodland, we both felt that this was unusual and hope he has not been chased out of a local herd.  The mind tends to over react at times!

download.jpgMeanwhile, the garden is full of visitors including the stunning and musical Hoopie.  The disturbed earth around our new compost heap seems very attractive to them.  Also a pair of Jays, numerous wood pidgeons flocks of redstarts and many other birds whose names escape me.

2020-04-04 18.25.06And, on the subject of Compost Heaps, we are very proud to have completed our very first version of one, yesterday morning.  This then created the need for a wine break before lunch.  It is rather shameful that we have only just created one after having spent most of our lives living in the countryside with good sized gardens.  My beautiful Earth Mother daughter has been growing veg and using compost heaps for years.  I am not the greatest of cooks and she asked me very seriously on WhatsApp ‘What are you eating Mum?”  “I can cook if I have to!”  I snorted.  “Oh, I thought you might have ordered a flow of ready made meal deliveries!”  She chuckled.  Cheeky monkey.

OK, back to our wine break and I know I have mentioned the dance of the Swallow Tail images.jpgButterflies before, but they were back and getting very close to where we were sitting.  Out of interest we had previously looked up their lifespan and were astonished to read that in butterfly form they only live for ten days!  As one almost alighted on my man’s chest he commented “So, they have only ten days to work out if they are male, female or transgender.”  He said very seriously.  “Mmm. I think that one is female” I grinned.  Foto it.123rf.com

Anyway, we are managing to enjoy working from home, beating the boundaries and checking for new rosebuds, before at least two home-made espresso coffees and breakfast, talking a lot of trivia and drinking good wine.  The forecast is for sunny days for at least the next week so that’s good news; we have even had to start watering pots that are now uncovered!

1180_LynnMargolisPhotography-318-520x400Well, I could waffle on but there is one thing I want to mention.  London based James Lakeland, who is the brother of an English friend, designs beautiful women’s clothes that are made in Italy.  Like many fashion shops, he is really struggling at the moment.  He has managed to pay his staff so far and has now reduced his prices so low, you have to get on-line and start buying!  I have placed an order, so that’s my next concert outfit sorted, god knows when it will arrive here in Italy (Italy’s postal system is unpredictable), but it is worth it to support at least one deserving fashion house.  James also delivers worldwide!  Foto from James Lakeland Blogsite.  James lakeland

So, enough for now.  I have promised my man a veggie roast lunch, which will take me a while to prepare.  Needless to say, can’t wait to return to our local restaurant, oh, and my hairdresser.  I have an inch of grey roots creeping over my scalp.   It’s unnerving.  A few days ago my man said “Whats that shining on top of your head, oh, it’s not silver paper it’s ………”  He has Peter Pan Genes, still dark blond and, due to the lack of hairdressers, is sporting a long 70’s hairstyle.

Hope you are all safe and well.

Salute June x

PS  Have you read my books yet?  Now’s a good time!  Visit my site at My site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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