A Month In The Life Of An English Writer In Tuscany – November Reflections

The continuing adventures of June Finnigan, her Man, and Farty Barty the cat.

November, in our little bit of Chianti in Tuscany, generally brings a mix of weather patterns ranging from warm and balmy to horrendous rainstorms and landslides. This November was no exception and we enjoyed aperitivi in sunshine one day and then were lighting the log fire the next. By the end of the month, it was freezing cold and we had to warm the Chianti wine in front of the log fire before drinking!

At the beginning the month, I was shocked to discover that my hairdresser of eight years, the lovely Sandra, had left the salon in Certaldo and nobody was prepared to say where she had gone. My man and I set out on an investigation and after some careful questioning in bars; we discovered that she was opening a new shop.Now you may think that this is not particularly newsworthy, but believe you me, in Italy one’s personal hairdresser is as vital as the air we breath and you will never see a grey hair in my gleaming red mane!

Back here at the villa, Alessandro, our local contadino, started the olive picking at seven in the morning on the second Saturday. A couple of hours later it started raining so Alessandro and his Romanian (I think) team, ran for cover. At twelve thirty, the sun came out again and it was perfect for returning to the harvest. But no, this is Italy and it was time for pranzo (lunch) so they all went off until two o’clock. By this time, heavy dark clouds were building up again! The harvest continued, on and off, for the next two weeks and eventually resulted in that wonderful nectar ‘cold pressed extra virgin olive oil.’ Also harvested in November, were some big juicy oranges from our orchard and some really impressive peppers from our potted vegetable corner.

Meanwhile, Farty Barty the cat was ignoring all the activity and celebrating the fact that he had gone to the vet and got away with, once again, keeping his vital bits. Yes, I know, but he is six now and my man believes that he is too old for the snip. I must say Barty was looking very large, however, November is the month for building his fat, and fur layers in readiness for the courting season in December. A lot of time was spent on his cushion in the wicker chair in the kitchen during the month and he chose to forget his semi-wild state in favour of comfort and plenty of food. The only downside is that we have had to provide a dirt tray overnight, just in case. However, he is so taken with the idea that he comes in to use his ‘indoor toilet’ even on a sunny day! O dio…..

Back in our local village of Fiano, various festas were celebrated including All Saints Day or Day of the Dead and Halloween to you. Crowds of people visit the churchyards, where each dearly departed has a photograph, and at night lovely little lamps let out a warm red glow. If you have never visited an Italian churchyard, you really must.

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And so to the Peter Pan of politics Silvio Berlusconi. Well the month started with bunga-bunga girl Marthell Polanca claiming that SB had married his overaged fiancé Francesca Pascale in a private chapel at his home. Meanwhile, SB had managed to persuade the courts to reduce his alimony payments to his ex-wife by half. The poor wretch now has to manage on just €1.2 million a month! Then the month took a turn for the better as SB re-launched his old party Forza Italia. However, SB was said to be in “a lot of pain” over the breakaway of his former right hand man, Angelino Alfano, who had formed a new faction of dissidents! Well the month ended with SB saying that The President, Giorgio Napolitano, should “concede him a pardon of his own volition” and called his sentence, for alleged fraud, reduced by an amnesty to one-year performing social services, as “a humiliation.” Poor SB, it can be tough being a billionaire.

Have a great month and do not forget to check out Amazon for your Christmas reading, in particular ‘My father, The Assassin’ by J W Finnigan. You can also read the first four chapters free on www.firstchapters.net and download the book at a big discounted price! Enjoy.

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.


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