A busy difficult day today.  I have achieved alot, but it has been tough.  The building project is coming on well, we are now painting, and soon I will post pics of the finished work, I must say I am delighted, the progress is good and although I resent carving up my dining room the overall effect is pleasing and the facilities here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House are improved.

It was a stubborn kind of day, the sun refused to shine, and some people refused to listen, and the internet connection is spasmodic to say the least, it is all rather like being a correspondent in a war zone,  two minute window for communication and then hours without, all of which left me stressed and exhausted., so whilst cooking supper I decided to make myself a ‘wee cocktail’ or to be more precise a Gin and Tonic.

I may love Umbrian wine, a good Sagrantino from Montefalco or a fine white from the cantina of Lungarotti at Torgiano near Perugia, but spirits are something I rarely touch.

Gin – Gordon’s, found if a bit dusty, tonic – Schweppes an old bottle, but hey! it is still fizzy, Lemon – one of those large sensual prefumed untreated lemons from Amalfi, knife blunt, but hey, who cares it still cuts – just, and a good Edinburgh crystal tumbler.  Big splurge of gin, dash of tonic, but hey, no ice.  Well there is ice downstairs in the kitchen but here at home no….  I am tired, stressed and lazy, so..

improvise, and that is exactly what I did…..  and a delightful drink was born with five frozen strawberries in the gin Ottimo! Cin Cin!!

Snow arrived late last night and for the first time this year it stayed.  All be it there is a mere smattering but the ground glistened, sun sparkling in the icy crystals, and great reflections in the swimming pool here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House.

Snow at Bellaugello Gay Guest House, Umbria, Italy

The day is cold and crisp,snow at Bellaugello Gay bed and breakfast in Italy

and until Jenny started barking, remarkably quiet,snow and mist seen from the terrace of Bellaugello gay resort in Umbria, Italy

So just what was it that was breaking the silence?

Jenny barking at a porcupine, an early moring February visitor at Bellaugello Gay Guest House, Umbria, Italy

My Iris devouring porcupine or istrice, not a beast to argue with…a porcupine at the door in February, Bellaugello Gay Accommodation, Umbria, Italy, EuropeTo you it might look cute and cowering, but it is a spunky creature and guilty or its relatives are, of eating my iris collection.  Jenny was right to give it short shrift.

Away with you... a porcupine at Bellaugello gay guest house near Perugia, Umbria, tuscany, Italy

 

Having seen this morning the wonderful frocks at last nights Oscars I wonder if porcupine quills would make a suitable adornment for an Oscar frock next year, better use for an iris eater  lol

 

 

Scanning the news tonight I came across this article on the BBC website:  Gay couple say London hotel denied them double room – report by the BBC  do check the link out. I was more than a little shocked that this happens in today’s Britain.

It goes some way to explaining the policy here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House. here goes my convoluted mind again!

I am frequently asked ‘if Bellaugello is exclusively gay ?’

In the concept of establishing a ‘gay guest house’ one obviously thinks of goals and target market,  and just how to place the business in the marketplace.  There is also the nagging question of why is a gay guest house likely to appeal to the market and in consequence be a success and how to maximise on that and make it so.

As a gay guy, I for one, like the concept of being able to be on holiday in a relaxing place where I do not have to consider every unconscious gesture, every action, I can quite simply be me.  Stupid little things come to mind, the sharing of a desert, one spoon not two, the quick peck on a cheek of the guy you love, the reply to a question with ‘sure darling’, the casual brush of a hand over a shoulder, the instinctive reaction to a partner or loved one, and to be able to apply suncream without  disdainful sideways glances.  These are all things that heterosexuals can and do do freely without impediment, but because of society many gay guys are unable to do.  The aim of Bellaugello is to provide a place where guys can feel relaxed and be themselves in the company of other gay guys, and that is what we do.  We have a growing core of repeat customers, utterly delightful guys, many have whilst staying here, met other couples from all over the world and remain in touch, new friendships are formed, that is a real reward to me an added bonus of the business.

So what is my policy to straights?  I am real saddened to read of hotels still declining gay guys a double room, I myself have in the past been on the receiving end of an unwelcoming hotel receptionist who questioned my booking of a double room, it made me feel very uncomfortable, wishing the floor would swallow me up, I hate embarrassment, but why should I have been embarrassed?  No real reason, I am the way I was made, my sexuality is not my choice, but thoughtless hotel receptionists can intentionally or not, make one feel very second class.

The Bellaugello website is quite specific on the subject, deliberately so and I quote “Our vision is focused on the gay community. Our home is a free and tolerant environment, where diversity and respect are valued. At Bellaugello you will find peace and tranquility, a place where you can instinctively be yourself, a place to relax and recharge, a place to let your cares wash away…. Bellaugello is neither ‘gay friendly’ nor ‘hetero friendly’ rather Bellaugello, our home, is open to all respectful of the fact it is a gay guest house, and which we are delighted to share with you and your friends.”

Us gay guys have fought long and hard for acceptance by mainstream society, we are looking for equality in every sense of the word, justifiably so, and to me it would be hypocritical of me to close the doors of my business to all but gays.

As a gay guy running a gay guest house I am not prepared to let my business fall into the reverse trap of being the non-straight accepting hotel or bed and breakfast.   99% of our customers are gay guys, actually last year 100% were!  that is our target market, those are the clientele we aim for, but that does not mean that if a ‘straight’ couple or person wished to stay they would be refused, they would not, afterall even gay guys have straight friends and straight people have gay friends!

Whilst not actively courting ‘straight’ business, I reaffirm that have no desire to be the gay equivalent of the hotels that give gay guys such a hard time and to give straights a hard time…  “Are you sure you really want a double bed, I honestly think two singles would be better, it is against my beliefs for a man and a woman to share a bed“.  If a straight wishes to stay here they are welcome to, from our advertising and website they should know what they are coming to and so be comfortable with it.  Our publicity is targeted at the gay guy market, all our literature, advertising and promotion the same, we hide nothing, no secret agenda, our neighbours and the local townsfolk know what Bellaugello is about, which is certainly not a ghetto.

Post reviewed and part previously omitted because of internet connection outage when posting now reinstated. 28 Feb 2013 – Thanks Michael for drawing my attention to that!

 

It’s all turmoil here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House in what is normally tranquil rural Umbria.  Yesterday was a particularly turbulent day, the internet connection came and went, in and out all day, one minute connected the next dead, stone dead.

Over the past few weeks I have been experiencing problems with the internet connection, as committed readers of my blog will be aware this is not an unusual occurrence, however the unpredictability of the ‘service’ led me to write a pretty terse letter to the contractor.  Since then the service has worsened as has the weather.

Only two days ago we were basking in sunshine, it was glorious, yesterday was a day of weather contrasts too.  One minute rain, the next large soft billowy snowflakes tumbling to the ground, the next torrential rain, then hailstones, then on to soggy snow then horizontal rain.  As the day progressed the wind picked up, and everything that was not tied down wanted to move northwards to Lombardia so strong was the wind.

I was in town in the morning, firstly for the wonderful Saturday vegetable market, and then to the builders’ merchant to pick up sanitary ware for the new works we are doing at Bellaugello.  The market was full to bursting, people knocking into one another, not by the weather but by the sheer volume of people, all resulting in long queues at all the stalls.  It was like panic buying, the world about to end.  By contrast the builders’ merchant whilst still frenetic, was so in an orderly way, builders, plumbers, engineers mostly in for a chat, enjoying the relative warmth of the large shed, the underlying conversation the deplorable state of the economy, and the futility of the upcoming election.

Today the skies are grey, a strong wind coming up from the south, the hills are covered in snow, it is damply cold, grey and miserable, and below in the valley the river Chiascio  is running fast, a full khaki mocha colour and it has burst its banks and flooded the fields, overhead there is a fleeting glimpse of blue sky, enough to paint a pair of tars trousers…

Italy goes to the polls today and tomorrow to elect a new government.  Although I m a resident here as a foreigner I cannot vote, but that does not mean that I am not interested in the outcome.  Wikipedia informs me that since 1945 there have been no less than sixty one governments in Italy!!!!  Ouch!!  The political system is a mess and the political parties are in common with the weather, and internet connection wildly contrasting.  On one hand we have a comedian who is being taken seriously, on the other a past prime minister who is as ever, acting like a comedian… in some quarters scarily still being taken seriously, and the comedian not.  In the midst of this we have Mario Monti the last but unelected PM who is also standing firmly in the central ground.  Europe is waiting with baited breath.  If one believes what is reported, the outcome of the Italian election will have ramifications for Europe as a whole.  I know it will certainly affect things here at Bellaugello.

A left of centre politician Bersani has promised if elected to bring in within a year a gay rights and recognition law based on the  current German law.  How wonderful that would be for us here at Bellaugello we could hold gay weddings and blessings, what a perfect venue, Italy is  such a beautiful and romantic country.  On the other hand Berlusca has said there will never be any gay marriage or civil registration in his tenure of office,and so the exodus of gay Italian men seeking some form of commitment will continue apace.  For a modern country we do currently have antediluvian gay rights legislation that lags way behind the rest of Europe.

And then to add to the time of turmoil we have the cataclysmic eruptions in the Vatican.  A Pope retiring? Impossible, but seemingly not.  The ‘free’ papers here are awash with scandals leaking out of the Vatican, trying to analyse the ‘the real reason’ for this bewildering decision.  There are stories of gay orgies in the Vatican, (news?) of financial misdemeanours, of clerics being sent abroad for damage limitation, talk of infighting, corruption, and fundamental doctrinal differences, it seems rather similar to the current state of politics, of course here in Italy the church and government are traditionally inextricably linked.

My very good friend who is an astrologer tells me that all this flux and battling is also going on in the planetary world, it is a very particular time, there are so many  planets in conflict that there is no surprise at all in the turmoil going on here.  No predictions as to what the future holds, and with our internet connection I may never find out!

Work on the dining room alterations is progressing well here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House, and today we are blessed with warm sunshine, it is a glorious dayFebruary sunshine at Bellaugello Gay Guest House Ok we are making a bit of a mess at the mo but in the end it will all be worthwhile!  A smart new bathroom for guests and increased storage facilities for us.

Alterations in progress at Bellaugello Gay Guest House It may be sunny but it is a bit messy too this February at Bellaugello Gay Guest House It is just so nice working in warm sunshine in February……

 

 

Last night I was invited to dinner with friends in the valley.  The friends in question are from Switzerland and recently returned from a trip there so real authentic Swiss cheese fondue was on the menu.  As it bubbled and boiled we drank homemade sparkling red wine, light, fruity, together with home cured sausage and olives an excellent aperitivo.  My offering of orange cake, a bit burnt round the edges, but still very edible was quickly wolfed down.  Then came the question….  What are you doing tomorrow Alec? 

Well, I had planned to work with the builders who are busy ding alterations to the dining room, and then make the most of the glorious sunshine and work in the garden….  How do you feel about coming to Frosinone tomorrow morning?  Me…. Well ok, but I should be working at home….  Well what if we leave at six in the morning?

So I agreed, the alarm clock went off at five, a scalding hot shower and the obligatory mug of tea, breakfast  and quick run out for the dogs and I jumped into the frosty car and drove up to the road end where we met and headed to Frosinone which is about 60kms south of Rome.

As we left  it was still dark, steadily the light increased and we saw the fields were white, glistening with heavy frost, soon the sun came up into a cloudless sky and we were basking in 9˚.  Down the autostrada and speedily to our destination to collect the object of our trip, then back as swiftly, only stopping when nearly home under the heavily snow capped Apennines – they weren’t that snow covered yesterday, for a light lunch of Crescia, the delicious local bread from Gubbio warmed and filled with scrumptious hand cut prosciutto.

Back home I was delighted to see that in my absence work had progressed well, we are now starting to plaster the new walls, and there was still warmth in the sun so I headed into the garden for a good couple of hours.  A blissful but kinda exhausting day.

Tonight a slew of emails, many guys are planning well ahead and booking their spring, summer and even autumn holidays here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House in the beautiful Umbrian countryside, we have some weeks already fully booked, and amongst the mails to my great delight an enquiry for a honeymoon stay….:-)