Hello, I’m still here.  No, It’s not the alcohol or over indulgence of the festive period to blame, it is my lack of understanding of the new Apple software which seems to make life more complicated posting photos nigh on impossible.

I am loathed to post without pics of the beautiful days here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House in Umbria.  I have not written for a bit ‘cos I am having problems uploading photos, the file sizes are simply too big and are swamping my blog programme.  Now to boot I have lost the cable to connect the camera to my computer, so alas no pics.

In the meantime please take my word for it the sun is shining, the sky is cloudless, the evenings are cool and crisp, and mornings beautifully frosty.  I am busy with our New Year’s Eve Houseparty, lots of fun and chatter, and in between times I am still blowing and raking up cascades of fallen leaves..

It might not be snowing, indeed it has been sunny all day here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House, but the mood in Umbria is decidedly Christmassy.

The roadside houses are  festooned with multicoloured lights, the ancient narrow streets in the Umbrian hill top villages and towns are decorated with lights, shops filled with colourful seasonal displays  and talk of who is doing what for the holidays.

One of the delights of Italy are the traditions, the wonderful winter markets, where you find an abundance of craft items and of course excellent local foods and produce.  Down narrow lanes old creaking garage doors normally firmly shut and bolted are now open revealing extensive nativity scenes.

In Gubbio our local town they really get into the Christmas spirit.  A whole ‘quartiere’ of the city has been taken back in time several centuries and the streets are re-created as they were many many years ago, it is eerily like stepping back in H G Wells’s Time Machine, lifesize figures hug the walls,stoop over cooking pots or shepherd animals,  and of course the “World’s Largest Christmas Tree’ burns brightly on the hillside dominating the town.  Prime Minister Monti turned it on, let us hope that he or someone economically sensible is still here to do the same thing next year!

Gubbio, the 'World's Largest Christmas Tree'Here at Bellaugello I have been cooking madly, and of course ‘feeding’ the Christmas cake with liberal doses of whisky.  In between times I have been taking advantage of our wood fired Finnish dry Sauna and working up a real sweat.  Tomorrow I am off to find Christmas trees and start decorating the house ready for the festive season. I brought several decorations back from my travels to Sweden, they look great here and with my already extensive collection of decorations the house will look superb.

What fun we are going to have! [subscribe2]