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Posts Tagged ‘Wasps’

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

wine-windowI am firstly going to take you to Florence as there are two things I want to tell you about.  Firstly, have you heard of the Wine Windows?  These medieval windows, of which there are more than 150, have re-opened to serve wine to the tourists!  This is most appropriate, because back in the late Middle-Ages these windows were created to serve wine to the people of Florence due to the Buconic plague or Black Death, that had swept across Europe, wiping out half of the population!  So these windows provided protection for the winery owners whilst at the same time serving the much needed ‘Italian Water’ to the populace.  There is actually a society that keeps all the windows registered and looked after.  At the following site you can find all the windows and where they are.  Fascinating stuff!  Wine Windows

Give by Loenzo QuinnSecondly, I was really taken with the installation of a beautiful sculpture in the famous Boboli Gardens in Florence.  It is called simply ‘Give’ and is the creation of  Lorenzo Quinnard.  Lorenzo had always wanted to have the honour of placing a sculpture in these gardens and he will tell you a lot more about this on his website.  I love the fact that an olive tree has been planted in the centre symbolising peace and love.  He also made the hands that appeared to be reaching up from the canal in Venice, holding up a building!  Lorenzo Quinn

band-relaxedMeanwhile, back in our little bit of the Chianti countryside, I was itching to get down to my sound studio to do a bit of singing.  You may recall that my man and I had tried to work out the technical side of things, linking the synthesiser to speakers and mics etc.  Well, the good news is, we seem to have it up and running.  To make things perfect I need to download backing tracks in the correct key for my voice.  Now, you may not be aware that each song will need a different key.  My voice is quite low and some songs, designed for men, are OK.  But most aren’t.  So I was delighted to get an email from ParisMusic this morning telling me they can adjust the keys on downloads without any problems!  Hurrah!   We have decided to go ahead with next year’s concert on 18 June 2021, with or without an audience.  Fingers crossed; I’ll keep you posted!

images.jpgAnyway, lets bring you down to earth and talk about wasps!  Here in Tuscany, this time of year is the busy building of wasp nests (Macro of wasp) and they can be a real problem, trying to set up home in the most inappropriate places!  My man found a nest attached to the outside of the kitchen door of the appartment downstairs, where we have the Sound Studio and Gymnasium.  So last night around 9pm he donned protective clothes and went down to spray it.  Now we hate doing this, but we have both been attacked in the past as they keep a sentry outside just waiting for anyone getting close!  I was relieved when my man returned unscathed and this morning confirmed it had worked.

download-1.jpgSo, what next?  Well, we are now overun with tourists, mostly from northern Europe: Poland, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Austria and some French.  Most are being strict with their face masks and distancing in our local village of Fiano, but I can’t speak for the more popular tourist hot spots.  Meanwhile, the locals are very busy using up the glut of tomatoes to make passatta, including my daughter who has run out of jars and is scrabbling around for more.  The countryside is pretty noisy, with constant strimming of the dried grasses and squeaky tractors cutting the meadow hay below our farmhouse.  We hear laughter from nearby swimming pools and the cicada’s continue to chirp away.  But it is far too hot to stay outside, between 35c and 39c this week.  So we batten down the shutters, turn on the air conditioning unit and fans and settle down to work in our studios.  But life eeez good, life eeez now.

OK, need to get back to the day job now, but will be thinking of you all.  Please stay safe and well!  Do drop me a line, I love to hear from my readers!

Salute June x

PS Visit my website at June’s Site

 

 

 

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

2018-08-14 10.12.12Only in Italy will the front page of a national newspaper show the Prime Minister and other political big wigs splashing around in or by the sea!  You see, tomorrow is Ferragosta and If you are Italian you know exactly what that means.  You down tools, pack your extended family into a car, get into a crazy queue of traffic stretching for hundreds of miles, eat your way through hampers of food and wine on the journey and if you are lucky arrive at the coast or mountains by night fall!  If you are a foreign resident like us, you stock up with food and wine, batten down the hatches against the heat and stay at home.  Meanwhile, the unfortunate tourists arriving in Pisa this week, will find themselves in an endless queue trying to pick up a hire car, then another one trying to get on the FiPiLi dual carriageway, the caffes and pit stops are closed, because it’s the annual holiday and the petrol stations are only geared up for self-service cash only pumps!  When they finally arrive at their destination after endless stops in the overheated traffic queues, they find that local shops and restaurants are also closed!  So they all fall into the swimming pools, cool off and compete over who gets bitten the most by the zanzari (mosquitos) as no-one thought to pack any insect repellent.  By day three, the tourists will have discovered how best to deal with things.  The towns and villages are like ghost towns, so they eventually find which supermarkets are open, that hot pizzas are only sold in the evenings, the few available restaurants, only open in the evening as it is too hot to eat outside for lunch, and that cities like Florence are cauldrons this time of year and are best avoided.  Despite all these things they will leave after their week or two here, totally in love with Tuscany and wax lyrical to all their envious friends!  Foto La Nazione.

2018-08-14 10.17.02#1However, Ferragosta is also a week of fantastic music and theatre, if you know where to go, like Follonica over on the Tuscan coast.  For the Follonica Summer Festival go to their website

Locally, there will be firework displays and private parties to go to.  Art galleries and museums are mostly open, some with limited hours due to the skeleton staffing.  San Gimignano is a good place to go for these, if you can manage to park, or better to get a bus from Certaldo, Poggibonsi or Siena.  Expect big crowds though!  Foto La Nazione.

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On the subject of our local town, Certaldo, a recent addition to the curious things to see is a statue opposite Jam Caffe near the station.  Foto J Finnigan.  Whilst the mediterranean diet is supposed to be the healthiest in the world, this may remind you of the dangers of overindulging in pasta and pastries!  And on the subject of pasta, we met a lovely young English couple at Osteria La Gramola in Tavernelle websitewho were wading through a tasting menu of nine pasta dishes!  Now, this was their own fault as they had just finished a pasta making course that morning and had no choice but to try every one.  They only had a small taste of each dish, but they were definitely struggling with the last few servings!  If you are reading this; nice to meet you guys and we hope you organised a portavia!

2018-08-12 08.56.46#1Meanwhile, down in Roma the traditional pilgrimage to visit Pope Francis is at full throttle, this year seventy thousand fans filled the Vatican City on greet the masses days.  The heat has been horrendous, so I hope there was a good supply of chilled water and holy wine.  This man has a huge following, whether you are religious or not.  It is no doubt his likeable personality and charisma combined.

Back at the ranch, or rather our lovely former monastery farmhouse home, our daughter and grandchildren arrived for an overnight stay as their house had been invaded by hornets and the spray used to rid them was toxic to say the least.  “Come on over” we had said, “We have no hornets or wasps here!”  Then the next morning my daughter found a puppy racing around our garden, obviously stuck inside the fence and unable to find its way out again.  So my man opened the rarely used lower exit gate to let it out and promptly found a wasp’s nest inside it! The puppy raced back to its owners, parked just down the lane, whilst my man got himself stung three times!  Hey ho!  But we don’t care about that, life eeez good, life eeez now.  And now it’s raining praise the gods, so no need to water for a few days!

2018-08-14 10.25.36And finally, to say brava to Manuela who has been drafted in from her house next door to La Dispensa in Fiano, to man the bar for two weeks whilst Rosella goes off for a hard-earned holiday on the south coast with her amore.  As you can see in the foto and after several days of practice, she can now make perfect coffee even with her eyes closed!  Bless her.

OK, over to you.  Do drop me a line and/or visit my official author site at My site for your summer reading.

Have a great week.

Salute June x

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