I can honestly say that October was one of the most fun filled months of the year for me, my man and Farty Barty the cat!
We are a very strong rugby family, so when England went out of the world cup in the first round, my man was very depressed. However, having lived in Italy for eleven years we also support the home team, so we pinned a small glimmer of hope on our team doing better. When they were taken out by Ireland I needed to find a way to get the man out of the doldrums.
So in the early part of the month I talked a lot about the good news in the papers, like the cinghale (wild boar) swimming six kilometres off the coast of Calabria rescued by fishermen and the silly English tourists that got arrested for skinny dipping in The Fountain of The Naiads in Rome.We both love James Bond, but even the news that Spectre was being released did not raise his spirits. Then my lovely sister-in-law arrived, so finally his mind was taken off the rugby over a nice lunch in our then warm garden.
My man went off to England for a few days of business, so the sister-in-law and I went up to Certaldo Alto on a very rainy day, to visit the Slow Food market. Whilst the rain belted down we repaired to Il Castello’s bar for a glass or three of wine, and met the very nice English speaking Italian barman, who also played Jazz for us on the piano. I told him I sang rock music, but he was not impressed. Did I not know any jazz songs? I shook my head. Then the sun came out, so we wobbled up the central via and marvelled at the huge quantities of fresh tartufi (truffles), both black and white. The white is the most flavoursome and the most expensive. Also giant size Porcini mushrooms that are heavenly when roasted over a smoky wood fire. As we walked back down to the funiculare train, we were suddenly confronted by men on stilts in medieval costumes, so the sister-in-law posed (she’s good at posing) with one, for the album.
The second week included a visit to our little villa, by a group of American water-colourists. They had come to meet and greet the English author and to set up their easels for a couple of hours. They all went away very happy with my signed novels in their bags, bless them. I was very impressed with the group, nothing like some of the brash American tourists we sometimes come across. They will be very welcome to return next year. Thank you again darling sister-in-law for prettying up all the pots of flowers on the terraces.
Mid-month, my man and I made a quick visit to Somerset, England to celebrate my lovely mother-in-law’s ninetieth birthday. She thoroughly enjoyed herself, but sadly did not remember anything about it the next day!
We returned to Italy having rescued our fifteen year old grandson from boarding school after he dislocated his shoulder on the rugby pitch, where else? So he came home a few days early than planned for the half term. As we drove across country from Pisa, we spotted the annual Castagne (Chestnut) hunt going on. Hundreds of cars lined the edge of the woods.
The next day was Sunday and there was a big market in Certaldo, selling you guessed it, Chestnuts! That evening it was cold enough to light our first log fire of the Autumn/Winter and as you can imagine, this made my man very glum. We should have bought some chestnuts to roast! He hates the cold. I do not feel the cold as badly as he does, but nevertheless I was relieved when the next few days proved warm and sunny!
By the end of the month, things had got quite hectic. The absolute highlight was the arrival of ‘Two Old Broads, taking Italy by Storm.’ Their words, not mine. So who were these ladies? Well, they were two sisters and distant cousins of mine from America and we were meeting for the very first time.
They had driven from north of Venice down to Tuscany and got lost several times due to the Satnav not working! Both are in their seventies and larger than life adventurers. It was a great joy to meet them and we had writing in common and a love of Italy of course. I miss you guys, come back soon!
Well, last but not least, let’s update you on the Peter Pan of Italian politics.
Silvio Berlusconi has been busy attending rallies and suchlike. He was caught at one rally doing a mini striptease for an admirer who had said “I’m in love with your brain!” Silvio’s instant reaction was to start peeling off his jacket saying “Now I’ll make you fall in love with my body too!” Phew!
Well, enough of that. Things to do, places to go and people to see. Have a great month and see you next time.
Salute June x
PS don’t forget to visit my author site on Amazon.
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. She is a published Author and her novels, 'My Father, The Assassin' and the "The Bolivian Connection" are available on Amazon. June also shares more information about life in Italy through her Blog, JuneFinnigan's Weblog