Just started last weekend with a Schumann recital by Angela Hewitt in the castle of the Knights of Malta at Magione, is the fabulous Trasimeno Music Festival.

This festival is held in many wonderous locations around Lago Trasimeno near Perugia ands is a must for classical music lovers.   Bellaugello Gay Guest House is a good base especially for the concerts held in nearby Gubbio.

Here is a link to the programme for 2010:  Trasimeno Music Festival Programme 2010

It has been another glorious day here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House near Gubbio in Umbria.  From early morning the sun shone and whilst all around was a flurry of activity time was found here in Valdichiscio to chill and relax.

This saturday there is a party to mark the tenth anniversary of a local farmers’ market.  All are invited to join in the celebrations at an all day event which includes music, dancing, and of course lots of yummy home-made produce, sounds to me like a day of bio-ecological over indulgence here in Umbria

Another beautiful day dawned early here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House near Gubbio in Umbria, central Italy.  The dawn chorus was all around the house and what few clouds there were soon scurried off to leave us in perfect sunshine.

Umbria is waking up to the summer as towns begin to celebrate their annual summer festivals and parties.  Driving through Belvedere (a small village between Gubbio and Perugia) yesterday one could not help but notice banners proclaiming their annual festival 25 -6-7 of June and tomorrow evening Gubbio itself hosts the annual Gusta in Centro Storico.

This is an excuse to walk off your supper, for there are three different ticketed routes and a multitude of restaurants to choose from.  Starting in one with an antipasto, you then go to another for a primo, another for a secondo, a fourth for a coffee and the na fifth for a digestivo or gelato before finally ending up in the piazza at San Martino for dancing, cocktails and cakes.  It always seems the whole town in out for the event and usually we end up meeting lots of friends on the route.

This year there is the added attraction of more live music and live shows and all for €12.00 which of course includes wine and cocktails.

If I don’t misbehave too much I will report back on the evening in a later post, but for now as I type on the terrace here at Bellaugello Gay B&B under the stars and surrounded by fireflies with the sound of crickets all is peace and quiet

One of my dogs had a seizure.  One minute he was at my side whilst I was watering the plants,  he just loves drinking water from the hosepipe, the next he collapsed and was on his back with his legs in the air in the grip of what seemed like and epileptic fit.  The fit lasted less than a minute and then he attempted to stand, and then staggered (like a wee drunk glaswegian as depicted by comedian Billy Connolly) to the side and lay there immobile.

It is at times like these that you need someone to be there with you.  I was understandably concerned and worried and after comforting Edo, for it was he, went in search of the telephone to call the vet.

I am real fortunate to have an excellent vetinarian here in Italy.  All my dogs came over with me from Scotland, yet they can converse freely with vets here in Italy, so off Edo and I drove to Ponte San Giovanni to get him checked over.

Edo has been a picky eater for some time and got on the thin side, I call him ‘bony boy’ in an attempt to encourage him to eat.  In sympathy for me, he too got a cough this morning, so the two of us spluttered off to the vet  where after a cursory examination it was decided to have an EcoCardioGram done.  This entailed a return visit (35km each direction) later in the day.

He was tremendously brave and co-operative as he had bits shaved, was placed sideways on a high table and had electrodes stuck to him, then the sensor with cold gel applied.  The vet checked his intestine and heart, and discovered a faulty valve and enlarged left ventrical.  A trip to the University for Vetinary Studies in Perugia to see a cardiological specialist was organised and soon we were back in the car in the heat on the way to University clutching the CD which had the data from the ECG.

A special pass got us through the barrier straight to admissions, it was rather like pronto soccorso or A&E at hospital.  After the usual bureaucratic form filling – why they need to know when and WHERE I was born always amazes me, what it has to do with a dog’s dicky heart I dunno…..  we were introduced to the cardiologist, and walked to his consulting room with the sound of horses whinnying in the background.

Having seen the CD contents the Vet explained that they do not yet do heart translpants for dogs, they can do electroshock treatment to regularise the heartbeat, but there are also some therapies that can significantly improve the heart and thus quality of life.  Lately Edo has been lethargic and as I said with little appetite, I had put that down to the heat.  Edo was again put on the table and had the probes attached, and the gell camera rolled over his chest.  Then blood tests, the vet could not find a vein in his leg, so the jugular was used.  Edo was so good, so brave, never moving a muscle, as if he knew better than me that these guys were there to help him get better.  After what seemed like endless probing we were  shown to the cloistered garden and offered a walk a chance for Edo to pee and pee he did, and for me to relax whilst we awaited the results.

One of the technicians came to find us and we went for the results.  Edo has a faulty valve, which menas some of the blood that passes through his heart escapes back the way, and that combined with the enlarged ventricle explains the lethargy, loss of appetite – not enough oxygen to enable him to eat much, and hence the weightloss.

He is back home resting, on a bunch of pills while we wait for the results of the blood tests.  Unlike Boxers and Dalmatians, Setters are not genetically prone to heart disease, and the vet wants to discover what has caused this malfunction, and hence treat it.  Edo will never run the marathon, but we are determined that he can at least walk the half-marathon.  Many thanks for the kindness and professionalism to all at the vets in Ponte San Giovanni and the University in Perugia.

It has been a wonderful week here in Italy.  The sun has shone every day, temperatures in the mid thirties, and a bit of a breeze.  As I look out from the terraces at Bellaugello the fields are still green, there is still the freshness of spring in the air, crops are growing, roses are in bloom and the lavender is just about to burst forth, and of course the sun is shining.  For me this is what Umbria is all about.

All around this part of Umbria the farmers are cutting and baling hay, I am late this year and my fields are still with standing crop, I just need to find time to get round to the job, it is gettig kinda embarassing!

Here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House, near Gubbio, the trees are laden with fruit, and in particular the cherry trees.  Last year I planted two species cherries, and these I seem to be sharing wit hte birds, the fruit is large and juicy and ever so sweet.  The other cherry trees are ones presumably planted by the birds many many years ago as they all produce small fruit, thaat is sweet, but decidedly on the less than average size for a cherry.

This year I planted peach, plum, almond and apricot trees, all doing well, and some with fruit already on the young tender boughs.  Sadly the nectarine seems to be suffering from leaf curl and I noticed tonight on my watering rounds a diseased red leaf, so it will have to be off to the specialist to find out how to treat the tree as I just lurve nectarines.

The two old apricot trees are also heavy with fruit, still green but swelling nicely, leaving me plenty of time to look out recipies for apricot tarts and pies for the summer.  The cherries I will bottle and try making cherry liqueur for quiet evening indulgence here on the terraces of Bellaugello Gay Bed and Breakfast

Tonight the firsst sighting of fireflies or lucciole here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House in Umbria, Italy.

These magical creatures only appear in the month of June and moreover only where the ground has not been treated with chemicals.  I am really fortunate that the ground here at Bellaugello remains organic as I just love fireflies.

They hover and dart about through trees and bushes, dancing and weaving up and down, usually singly, but always with company.  At first few appear then as Jne wears on more and more appear, as if coming to a party.  The light they give off is slightly yellow and to see them always reminds me of my childhood holiday in Dorset England where I first encountered fireflies many years ago.

Sadly they are only here for a month or so where they go for the remainder of the year I have yet to discover, but they certainly make evenings in the month of June special for me.