The continuing adventures of June Finnigan, her Man, and Farty Barty the cat.
The highlights of October, here in our little bit of Chianti, included the grape harvest and a visit from my lovely mother-in-law to celebrate her eighty-eighth birthday!
Gi-Gi, my mother-in-law, was welcomed back by the village locals, which made her feel very important. Over birthday lunch at Ristorante ‘C’era Una Volta’ in Lucardo, she enjoyed her favourite ‘lambs chops’ and later burst into song over her digestivo di limoncello. She has a lovely operatic voice, which though now a little shaky, had the whole restaurant clapping and singing with her. Later there were four generations of Finnigans at our villa for afternoon tea.Our favourite bar in our local village of Fiano is Laura’s bar/Alimentari where we go for coffee, bread and a few groceries. Laura and her family have been a little unlucky of late, what with her daughter Benedetta’s broken foot and Laura’s scolded hand, they seem a little accident-prone. We are very fond of them and the rest of the villagers, who consider us true Tuscans now, or ToscanoDoc. One of the regulars, whom we have nicknamed Sig Rotund, always keeps the local newspaper back for my man to read. They have a certain ‘man’ thing and like to chat about sport. When a few more local men join in and the subject turns to calcio, (football) the conversation can get very heated! Driving back from Fiano one morning, we were all horrified to see a river of wine flowing down the track towards us from Villa Bacio. On closer inspection, we could see grape skins in the wine and realised that it was an overflow of waste, but by golly, it smelt good.
Meanwhile, at the beginning of the month, Pope Francis visited Assisi, where his namesake had lived and I think is buried. If you were to like a pope, Francis is the one, with his infectious smile and man of the people style. My man has several middle names that include Francis so he feels a certain affinity with Assisi too. We went for a visit a few years ago and loved the ancient monastery there.
The beginning of October also heralded the start of the Italian Rugby Season and our grandson was made captain of the Siena under fourteens. He led his team to victory over Florence in their opening match and is now undergoing trials for Tuscany South. Not only does he look like a young Jonny Wilkinson, he plays like him too! As you can imagine, we are enormously proud.
Weather wise, we have had some horrendous storms with lots of flooding and landslips. Fortunately they were short lived, unlike the UK where they seem to go on forever. The two-kilometre strada bianca (white track) between our villa and the main road was partly washed away and I was glad of my 4 x 4 to get me to my morning coffee! My man returned from London after a few days doing business, and was delighted to have plenty to do in the garden! Being an ex-Royal Marine Commando, he likes a good workout! So, he quickly set about clearing blocked drains and debris. I have to say though, October was mostly sunny and warm, so there were plenty of lunches on the upper terrace.
Meanwhile Farty Barty, our grey tiger cat, tucked his head under his cushion and feigned sleep. He is currently building his fat layers and fur coat for the winter ahead and saving his energy for the courting season.
And finally yet importantly, the gorgeous Silvio Berlusconi has somehow survived another month of media pressure. After throwing his reluctant support behind the government of Enrico Letta and being thrown out of political office for two years, he then elected to accept two years community service for his alleged crimes. His fiancé Francesca Pascale was accused of being a lesbian, then he apparently secretly married her and at the same time managed to reduce his alimony payments to his first wife by half to 1.2 million euros a month, poor wretch! Despite all these goings on, he also managed to re-launch his old political party ‘Forza Italia.’ Phew…. Busy busy.
Well that’s enough of that. Time for a nice aperitivo, but inside for a change. There’s a cold wind blowing across these hills.
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.