The continuing adventures of June Finnigan, her Man, and Farty Barty the cat.
Well, here we are again at the top of a New Year and looking forward to a gentle slide down through the seasons in Beautiful Tuscany. For years we had gigantic Christmas trees, however, that was when we had properties to match. Now a small tree takes pride of place on our former dining table, in the sitting room of our lovely little hillside villa. Christmas markets were on in most towns and villages. In Florence, one could visit the German (yes German) Christmas market, which is hugely popular. Germany is said to host the best markets in Europe! However, I do like to support the local shops, where things are very much the same as thirty years ago in England. Small shopkeepers still somehow survive and their window displays are lovely.I was delighted to discover Richmond’s English Shop in Viarregio. It is too far away for us to visit; however, they sent me an lovely goodies box, which included Christmas Crackers, Mince Pies, Bird’s Custard, and Daddy’s Brown Sauce & Colman’s Mince Sauce. I have been drizzling the mint sauce over everything!
The Chianti countryside in December took on a gold, brown, and silver green glow. The sun was a russet gold and the light fantastic. Mornings of bright warm sunshine and freezing fog in the valleys below, made for some fantastic photos and lovely walks through the hills. These hills are not only vineyards and olive groves; in fact, a large area is made up of steep hillsides covered in mixed woodland and quite a few sheer crumbling inland cliffs. The area teams with wildlife and we had to brake more than once for Roe Deer crossing the strada bianca (white track) on the way to Fiano for our morning coffee. Earlier, our daughter was driving through the hills and stopped for a large male cinghiale (wild boar), which was being chased by a pheasant of all things!
Back in Laura’s Bar/Alimentari, Sig Rotund continues to enjoy his shoulder massages whilst reading his sporting pages. The massages are administered by passing local ladies, most of whom are widowed! My man has been acting very stiff shouldered in the bar lately, in the hope that he might get one too! Pinned to Laura’s counter was a notice about the Christmas carol service. Whilst I am not religious, I do miss singing carols and I happen to know all the words, in English that is. However, my man was mumbling humbug and this was not to be on his festive wish list.
On Boxing day (26th December) our daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren arrived for lunch. The Grandchildren stayed on for two nights and we had a fantastic time with the dusted off board games. The favourites are ‘Sorry’ and ‘The Game of Life.’ The latter needs at least two hours put aside, however, Sorry is a quick, aggressive, and sometimes hilarious game!
Meanwhile, Farty Barty the cat was ignoring all the festivity, spending a lot of time hiding under the cover over the framework surrounding the oranges trees. We discovered his hiding place when a moving lump appeared in the white Hessian and, with the sun shining through, there was his silhouette! A large black tomcat has been trying to invade his territory, so he had been staying in at night and venturing out only when we were in close proximity.
And so, to the former Peter pan of Politics, Silvio Berlusconi. Early in the month, I read a classic article in the New York Times quote ‘SB cares about his friends as long as they do what he says. He talks fondly about his late mama and adores his kids. In fact he loves family so much, he has had three already!’ By the third week in the month, poor SB was denied a passport after a legal bid to reclaim it. Worse, he decided to have an ‘Austerity Christmas’ forgoing lavish dinners and expensive gifts. Instead, he arranged a modest buffet and spent a quiet time with his girlie Francesca and her beloved toy poodle ‘DuDu’. Ah bless. Funny though, dudu translates into poo, or s..t, depending on your use of the English language.
Well enough of that. My man is now on a strict alcohol and fat free diet and when asked about his other New Year resolutions, he commented, ‘I don’t really have any, I’ll just keep running around in my hamster wheel!’ Don’t you just love him? I do.
Have a great January and I will see you next month.
Amore June x
June Finnigan is an English expat who lives with husband Paul and Barty the cat in their lovely villa overlooking the Chianti Hills, in Tuscany.
June is a published Author and her first book 'My Father, The Assassin' is available on Amazon.