By tradition the World’s Largest Christmas Tree is lit each year on 7th of December and, as with many, we are in town to party.  Since 1981 Monte Ingino the hill above our beautiful medieval town of Gubbio is illuminated by over five hundred huge coloured lights.

A team of volunteers start work early October.  To erect the 650 metre high tree the guys lay over eight and a half kilometres of electric cable.  It is a monumental task.   So it merits only the most important people to be given the honour of turning the switch, lighting the tree and initiating a splendid firework display.  Just some given the honour in past years are the President of the Republic and the Pope. This year the honour was given to the pilots of the “Frecce Tricolori” Italy’s Airforce formation flyers.

Waiting for the captain to press the switch we congregate in main piazza, witness flag throwing, pageantry, and speeches.   Italy and Gubbio certainly know how to throw a great party.  A torch-lit procession wends its way down the dark hill from the basilica of S Ubaldo seen in the top of the photo below.  The city wall through which the procession passes is seen brightly lit on the right.

Passing by the Palazzo dei Consoli seen illuminated in the photo below the procession arrives with a fanfare in the piazza to be greeted by the ‘Sindaco’ or mayor.

This is the signal for the Captain of the “Frecce Tricolori” to hit the button and eureka! the dark hillside is now a multi coloured display of the World’s Largest Christmas Tree radiates over the medieval town.


The light sponsored for you readers, guests, and friends of Bellaugello Gay Guest House is right in the centre 🙂

Maybe for once I should be thanking global warming (did I really write that!?) but this unseasonally glorious weather made an excuse to take an away day.  These days are warm and sunny.  Early morning mist clears to reveal clear blue skies, the colours are magical.    What better to leave off raking leaves and explore Umbria and head to Orvieto in the south  east of Umbria.  The town, like so many in Umbria is a gem, and it is also one of my real favourites.

The road to Orvieto takes the traveller south of Perugia following the course of the river Tiber.  Passing by the hilltop town of Todi, voted in the 1980’s Condé Naste’s Top 100 places to live and itself worth a day visit, one peels off and takes the road following Lago di Cobarra.  The twisty road along the artificial lake never ceases to amaze me.  Because of the need to raise the road above the lake it hugs the shoreline and passes over curved bridges and through a series of short tunnels.  The scenery is attractive in an artificial sort of way, and there are several lay-bys presumably meant as places to appreciate the view.  I well remember driving this road in the 1980s and seeing many camper vans parked up, presumably tourists enjoying the scenery and peace.  But, no, I have for long known these are not the reasons.

The camper vans are places of work.  Unlike the road near Gubbio where ‘ladies’ stand by the roadside or sit in cars, at Lago di Cobarra the ‘ladies’ work openly in their camper vans.  Clearly there is more money in this area.  Passing this time, the vans without exception, looked shabby and unkempt.  I guess business is bad.  I’ve never understood why there are not ‘gentlemen of the night’, but there are not.  It is just part of the Italian culture.  I am not advocating this lifestyle, it saddens me and I find it weird to find it so evident in a Catholic country.

However I digress.  In the time I have known Orvieto the opposite is true, it has seen a boom and rejuvenation.  Approaching Orvieto the road passes by well tended vineyards and slowly winds its way up the volcanic tufa hill to the entrance to a stunning medieval town.  We parked the car just off a piazza which has overtures of pompous 1930s architecture and headed off to explore.  Our first stop is the hanging gardens.  Entered through an imposing stone arch the views westwards are expansive.  The gardens immediately giving a sense of calm and contentment.

A few paces away we bought tickets for the Pozzo di S Patrizio.  This 53 metres deep well was constructed by Antonio di Sangallo the younger between 1527 and 1537 to ensure a good supply of water when the then Pope was in residence.  A small circular building gives no idea of the architectural gem that awaits the visitor.

Entering through a digital turnstile you start the descent.  There are two concentric staircases lit by seventy arched windows.  It is ingenious.  The double helix staircases allowed a constant flow of mules to descend and ascend with water, and these steps are the ones we follow.

We walked to the bottom and crossed the bridge to start the ascent.  The ascent on the second staircase was, even for the unfit, surprisingly easy.

We stopped for the obligatory coffee in one of the many small bars that line the street heading uphill to the town centre we breathe in the atmosphere.  Main streets are lined with alimentari, galleries, stylish design stores, artisan craft shops and a myriad of restaurants.  Side streets are narrow, residential and even in early December flower filled.  This town has a vibrant feel.

Our destination is the Duomo or cathedral, my favourite in Umbria.  From the first glimpse the visitor has no concept of just how well it sits in its environment.

The elaborately carved and mosaic facade begins to reveal the magnificence of this building.  Dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary work on the cathedral started in 1290 with work continuing until the twentieth century.  The body of the cathedral is constructed in alternating layers of white travertine and black basalt.  The golden facade attributed to Maitani was built between 1325 and 1330 with additions to 1590.  Wow! it is breathtaking, a masterpiece.  Three pointed gables top mosaics and intense carvings and bronze figures.  The entire cathedral sits so well in its piazza, to me a perfect harmony of spatial architecture.

The details are stupendously daring.  The stone carving is detailed and intricate.  Four bronze statues, symbols of the, Angel, Ox, Lion, Eagle dart forward leaving the facade.  I particularly like the winged Ox signifying S Luke.

On my first visits the tourist was free to enter and leave the cathedral at random.  Now it is ticket entrance guarded by handsome young men in smart uniforms.  We enter the cathedral by a side door, the main bronze doors sculpted in the 1970s by Emilio Greco are rarely opened – see a later photo on this post.  I am blown away.  Inside the travertine and basalt layers seem to continue, but in fact the basalt finishes at one and a half metres in height, the remaining contrast layers being painted.  Yes, I read the guide book!

This in no way spoils the effect. Softly lit by alabaster windows and lit by large wrought iron chandeliers, it is a harmonious space.

But it is the chapel of the Madonna of San Brizio with its rich frescoes that draws us.  The vault – “Christ in Judgment”  is by Fra Angelico and Benozzo Gozzoli and is magnificent in itself;

However it is the Signorelli frescoes that are the real draw.  In 1499 Luca Signorelli was commissioned to paint frescoes depicting the apocalypse and last judgement and his treatment of the nude male is utterly stunning.  The figures are heavily muscled and exude life and movement.  I particularly like the “Damned taken to Hell and received by Demons” .

We tear ourselves away from the chapel and head to the exit.  As a funeral cortège is leaving the main doors are open, we have to wait.  We follow through the enormous bronze doors and out into the warm sun.

It’s Italy and time for lunch.  Lunch is very important.  Having remarked earlier on a sign outside a small trattoria of a huge pig lying on her side whilst her piglets are suckling, somewhat gross we thought, we decide to return and check it out.  The window is filled with home cooked antipasti and salamis and pecorinos.  It looks real and locals enter, and, so we dive in to “L’Oste del Re“.  The marble topped tables in the small ground floor space are taken and we are shown upstairs.  Choosing hand cut prosciutto and marinaded figs to start, we follow with a local pasta ‘Umbriachellini‘ made with only flour, water and red wine, yeah!  Served ‘in bianco’ with luxurious plump porcini, it is exquisite, a good choice.  The kitchen is on the top floor, above where we are eating, those smiling waiters sure have their work cut out.

Time marches on….

….and we still have not seen the extensive underground city but that will have to wait for another visit.   After a creamy gelato we head back to the car and wend our way back down the narrow streets still busy with tourists and with smiles on our faces and on to Bellaugello Gay Guest House.

If you want to discover more about Orvieto you can check this website in English: http://www.inorvieto.it/en/

Traditionally in the comune of Gubbio the feast of S. Cecilia, the 22nd of November is when it all used to start, but now we start much earlier.  I blame enthusiasm and workload.  Many believe it is because of global warming (undoubtedly correct), whatever, now we start at the end of October.  That is when our olives are ready to be picked.

Like fruit, olives tend to swing between a good year and a poor year.  One year a bumper crop and the next a humble offering.  These cycles can also be confused and interrupted by weather. Yields can meld into one another.  Hail in late spring can blast the small fruit off the branches, as can a late frost burn the flowers and so reduce the fruit quantity.  Too much rain (no chance these days) causes the fruit to swell and reduce the oil content, but abundant sunshine throughout the summer and like us guys the olives are in heaven.

I spend mid October in farming mode, scruffy clothes – slightly pungent, strimmer in hands I clear round the trees preparing for harvest.  I adore getting down and dirty on the farm.  Six hours of strimming and chopping and I am exhausted.  From the resulting aches, it is obvious that I am not overly fit.  Traditionally in this valley olive groves were also planted with vines between the trees.  I guess it was the possibility of maximising crop production on the land.  Add to that the planting of roses at the end of every line of vines and there is a myriad of creepery growth to be kept under control.

Fifty plus years ago the then contadini tended an olive tree nursery in the land below the house at Bellaugello.  On this sun kissed slope they tended two to three thousand olive tree saplings.  On freezing winter nights the family (huge of course) would light fires between the rows of saplings to protect them from the frost.  When clearing ground I discovered a strange rectangular structure deep down in the ‘jungle’.  A neighbour who had lived in the farmhouse here told me that it was built as a shallow bath, the water then used for watering the saplings.  He explained that the spring water was decidedly cold and the shallow water bath warmed the water a little so shocking the tender plantlets less.  What devotion, can you imagine parents asking their kids to sit all night in the frost and freezing fog to tend fires in the woods?!

Anyway back to 2018 and the olive harvest.  This has been a bumper year.  The trees heavily laden with fruit, their branches brought low by the weight.  Olive trees flower in mid-May and the fruit begins to form.  It grows green, and the varieties of olives at Bellaugello turn black when ripe.  No, not all of them turn black, so to gauge when is the right moment to start the ‘raccolta’ I tend to ask and watch my neighbours!  We have suffered three years of indifferent harvests.  Luckily the olive tree fly is not a huge problem, but annoyingly the weather has not been on our side.  Last year there was a late damp spell and then in summer it was burning hot, too hot.  This year all went so well.  The spring was good and kind, the summer hot and sunny and there was just enough rain at the right time.  The trees looked amazing, olives like bunches of grapes hanging from the beautifully pruned branches.

I pick with neighbours here in the valley.  They come and help me and I go and help them.  Because there are more of them than there is of me I spend much more time on their farm.  It is a work I love.  Never did I imagine that I would have the opportunity to hand pick organic olives in Italy.   We pick in the traditional fashion, no machines, just hands.  A net is spread under the tree, and some comb their hands through the lower branches.  Some climb ladders and reach the middle sections, and on smaller trees the tops, whilst the adventurous climb into the tree proper and pull the olives from the uppermost supple branches.   Your hands get slightly oily, and if tender can be damaged by the constant pulling on the branches, for olive wood is hard.

I am up a tree trying to reach a far out branch and pause to think that I am picking olives in the same way that has been done round the Mediterranean for thousands of years.  It is magical.  Large trees can yield in excess of 170kg whilst the smallest ones a mere couple of handfuls.  We aim to pick all the fruit.  That that is unreachable or overlooked we say is ‘left for the birds’.  The good fruiting years are most satisfying as the branches are full.  Same work, more product.

This year we picked in glorious hot sunshine.  T shirts and shorts.  We always break for lunch, homemade soup or pasta or risotto, sitting together at one table.  After a ‘wee nap’ we head back and work until sundown.  The day’s pickings are spread out in a cool room to wait for the trip to the frantoio or olive mill.

Now like men olive mills come in all shapes and sizes.  Some are tech savvy milling olives in a vacuum controlled by a copmuter.  The frantoio so sterile that it looks like a hospital operating theatre.  Some are new and whizzy, built with funds from European farming grants.  Some are born in the 1960’s white, shiny clumpy, pedantic and noisy.  Some are just plain old fashioned.  Me being me I go to the old fashioned frantoio.   If I am picking olives as has been done for millennia I want to have the oil milled in them most authentic way.

The earlier one picks olives the less oil one gets but it is noticeably higher quality.  Oh yes, you can re-process the olives and it is a widespread practice.  But to get the best oil one requires a cold press and a first press.  This is how we do it.  Come taste it and see.  Heat is a no-no.  Commercial brands sold in supermarkets mill the olives over and over again and add inferior oils from abroad.  They use heat and chemicals to get the last drop of oil out of the fruit with a disastrous lessening of quality.

So I trundle the crates to the frantoio in Gubbio.  We go to Rossi.  They have stone grind wheels and Luciano one of the partners – it is a cooperative, tells me that he and his brother set it up some twenty years ago.  They scoured the Gubbio countryside for equipment and initially found two presses that were in mills that had been powered by water.  I understand that Gubbio had at one time some eighty water mills for flour corn and olives.  Now Rossi is the last frantoio in Gubbio using traditional stone grind wheels, hydraulic presses and one centrifuge, with a bit of modern technology added!  The team is dedicated and a delight to watch and chat to as they turn black fruit into green gold.

My olives are weighed and fed into the washer and leaf extractor.

From there they pass to the grind mill.  These two massive stones are some fifteen years old and hopefully will last another seven before they need to be replaced.  Black olives turn into a surreal pink paste.

The paste is fed into a container where it is constantly moved ready to be spread on the mats.  Traditionally these mats were coir, but are now synthetic.  I am told that the paste was almost impossible to remove from the old mats so a new material was introduced.  The mats are changed every year.

The mats are stacked one on top of the other, mat – paste – mat -paste until the column reaches over 1.5 metres.  Then as the liquid starts to ooze out from the paste mat sandwich they are taken over to the press.  The first hour or so the press exerts zero hydraulic pressure.  The liquid simply oozes out of the tower.

but then the oil master moves a lever which slowly increases the pressure.  The hydraulic ram is heavy, industrial and clanks and groans as it pumps.  Our olives are seen in the middle press.  An obsessively neat tool bench is evidence of the constant requirement for maintenance and adjustment that this old equipment craves.  Finally the pressure reaches 400bar.  Yes the hydraulic pressure does slightly heat the oil, but it is very minimal.

Thence the oil passes trough a series of tubes.  Some frantoio have their tubes under the floor and it is said by the untrusting that there are cases of deviation tubes, like a blind rail siding in a tunnel, so a certain percentage of oil is diverted to the frantoio proprietor.  A former frantoio in a neighbouring town had a reputation for low yields.  I’ve heard told that the grandmother sat in the corner dressed in a scruffy black frock with a shabby headscarf and a little black book with a stub of a pencil and like a hawk watched and noted down everything.  The frantoio blamed the soil and olive tree variety for the low ‘resa’, but the locals, seeing the owners away from the frantoio dressed smartly with gold jewellery and going on fancy holidays could not accept this argument!

At Rossi the pipes from the press carry the un-diverted liquid to a tank high up on the wall.  The liquid is like mud, brown, filthy, and I wonder how this muck can produce olive oil but it does.  As if by magic the centrifuge spins off the dirt and water and intense green oil pours into my fusto.

Newly minted olive oil is green, thick, opaque, pungent and piquant.

After some six hours of waiting watching and chatting, the oil is weighed and we head home, remembering to stop on the way at Loredana’s bakery in Ponte d’Assi to buy her delicious warm bread.  By tradition we head to my friends house where as we carry in the heavy fusti the wood fire is already lit.  Bread is toasted on the wood fire, rubbed with garlic and sprinkled with salt.  Then the new oil is liberally poured over the bread to make the best bruschetta imaginable.  We wash it down with wine made from organic grapes harvested on the farm, which I too helped pick.  Bruschetta with just milled extra virgin cold pressed Bellaugello oil washed down with Pratale wine is orgasmic and cannot be beaten.  You can keep your Michelin three star restaurants.  This is my favourite dinner of the year.

and this year the olives were bounteous and the oil exquisite.  So good I want to bathe in it…

Bellaugello Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Olive Oil 2018 is for sale.   €17 per litre plus postage and packing. Various sizes available. We can ship worldwide.  Drop me a note for further information: info@bellaugello.com

Several decades ago deep in the distant lands of Umbria a group of men met.  Without exception they were Eugubine.  Men from the city of Gubbio.  Nestling on the west foothills of the Apeninnes over the lower slopes of Monte Ingino, Gubbio is one of the most traditional, masculine and proud medieval cities in central Italy.

Fought over for centuries the city retains an erect sense of defiance.  Beautifully preserved medieval streets are encircled by tall city walls.  These still largely intact walls are pierced by four entrance gates which give entrance to the four ‘quartieri’.  Each quartieri having their name church and traditional tunic colours. The belicosity of the Eugubine is manifested today by a series of crossbow competitions with neighbouring cities.  These competitions are ‘must see’ events for the traveller.

So strong is the pride and animosity of  the Eugubine and neighbouring Gualdese, the citizens of Gualdo Tadino that a skirmish occurred only recently.  When the hospital board proposed the closure in each town of their hospitals they constructed  new one to serve both.   Built between the two towns, but in the comune of Gubbio, the Gualdese refused to use the anti-natal unit.  Citizens of Gualdo Tadino did not want their children to have ‘born in the comune of Gubbio’ on the birth certificates.  As a result a local law passed that room in the hospital be ceded to the comune of Gualdo Tadino.

I digress.  How that meeting so many years ago came about I have yet to discover, its history is lost in the mists of time.  What the true purpose of the meeting was, is similarly forgotten.  However the outcome lives to today and manifests itself in the “World’s Largest Christmas Tree“.  The decision to string coloured lights from the city wall to the summit of Monte Ingino in the shape of a Christmas tree is one that still renders me slightly speechless and with a broad cheesy grin.  To think of a group of macho men conceiving a hillside dressed with coloured lights is surreal.  But that decision was made and each December the lights of the tree illuminate the medieval city.  I am so glad that they did, and continue to do so.

The team of volunteers ranging in ages from 19 to 86 years old have been and are busy.  The slopes are being adorned with 8.5kms of electric cable and over four hundred coloured florescent lights.   They work hard, real hard.  The planning is huge and work arduous.  The Eugubine are proud, quite rightly so.  The result is spectacular.  The summit of Monte Ingino is adorned with a huge led flashing star strapped to a massive scaffold.  A few years ago, with the aim of being ecological solar panels were installed to power the tree.

The tree is switched on with a huge party and firework display on 7th December.  Last year I witnessed the event from a friend’s terrace:

The tree remains lit until early January.  Not only is it splendid to see from afar, but the walk down through the lights is magical.

For the past few years Bellaugello Gay Guest House has sponsored a light on the tree.  I am asking you to help this great project by also sponsoring a light.  For a few Euros you can sponsor and have a light named to your choice.  Click on the link below:  The opportunity starts on 31st October and like concert tickets the lights go fast.  Hurry, the clock is already ticking.

To choose and sponsor a light click this link: Adopt a light on the Gubbio Christmas Tree

To read more about the tree click here: Albero di Gubbio website

Let’s see how many Bellaugello guys can get their names on the tree for 2018-2019.  Do let me know.

Amusingly enough one of the most talked about blog posts from this year is the one I wrote asking if anyone had seen my cock.  It was a post I really enjoyed writing.  I remember smiling as words tumbled out of my brain through my fingers to the keyboard and lit up my computer screen. What was so pleasing is learning that so many guys were upset at not having seen my cock.

I aim to welcome personally all guys arriving at Bellaugello for their holidays.  Often I manage to be in the car park.  No, please, behave… I’m not loitering or cruising, but, when I am waiting on new arrivals I keep an ear open for the sound of a car.  In the summer this is often in my hammock slung in the shade of the huge fig tree.  As the car doors open I slip out of my hammock and head up to the car park.   It is magical to welcome back so many guys and to introduce many new guests to my little corner of paradise.

Of course I am dressed.  Let’s face it, a welcome must be professional.  I know my guest house intimately and that a slow reveal works best 😉  From the winding road (beautifully repaired this year) that leads here, you catch only tiny glimpses of what awaits you.  Descend from the car park and the huge southerly view opens up, as indeed, do I.

So many guys arriving at Bellaugello Gay Guest House, have been before.  The joy in welcoming back guys is immense.  Conversations, like a just put down good book, pick up automatically and are animated and happy.  We rapidly catch up on news.  Very often it took remarkably little time for guys to mention my cock.  Wow! my cock an early topic of conversation.

For those of you who are not avid readers of my blog, let me explain.  Earlier this summer I posted about loosing my cock.  It vanished.  One day it was there, then the next it had gone. I was naturally very very upset.  Well, who wouldn’t be?  A cock is so beautiful an object of desire and one to be treasured and taken care of.  It seems that my cock was desired too much by a couple of guys who took it home with them.  They know who they are and I suspect I do too.

Amongst my guests are two remarkably thoughtful guys who are also blessed with a great sense of humour and tremendous kindness.  They were immensely sad to learn that my cock had disappeared and very kindly offered to search the world for it.  We have been exchanging emails on the update to their search.  Recently I learnt from them that they had found a suitable replacement cock in Sitges.

This morning the postman called.  Two packages to deliver.  One a pair of slippers, the other…. well if he only knew!  I carefully opened the package and to my delight drew out the most divine and generously sized cock.  Measuring a whopping 25cm with a girth of 18cm it is really handsome.  Indeed two hands full!  Rigid, and lightly oiled it demands to be touched, stroked even.  It is perfectly proportioned and utterly beautiful.

R & T thank you so very much.  I realise you must have had huge fun and hopefully not too much embarrassment choosing the right cock for me!

My cock is now back in its rightful place for all to enjoy:

I now need to take care to ensure that I do not lose my cock again.  Should I have it pierced and chained to the bar or should I get my cock tattooed?  A cock tattoo appeals.  I’m thinking along the lines of: “This is Alec’s Bellaugello and is stolen from him”.  Suggestions please on a postcard to the usual address!

I didn’t want it to happen, I really did not foresee the possibility, I had never envisaged the prospect, had no desire to be adopted, but it has happened.  It came as a shock and happened in an instant, well almost!

On Thursday of last week I was driving home from Gubbio, and had just stopped to chat to Dino when I was spotted for the second time.  Timidly walking along the road looking sad and somewhat dejected, but, at the same time with just the merest a glint of hope was a dog.  I asked Dino if he knew anything about her.  He said that he had not seen her before.  I had, maybe three weeks ago, the same sad, rejected dog but again with a seemingly hopeful look.

That time I had stopped the car and timidly she came towards me and looked for affection.  Sad but alive eyes, coat in bad condition, but not overly thin.  She was obviously living rough but finding a source of food.  I made enquiries of another neighbour, one who is always in his car, shotgun or truffle spade on the passenger seat.  He told me that she had been wandering the valley for over a month. I learnt that Massimo further down the valley when he fed his dogs he was also giving her food.  I later learnt that Dino casts dog food around for his many dogs and cats, and it was obviously this that drew her to the place where we first met.

Having lost both my dogs early last year, I had decided not to take a new dog.  Except for a brief period I have lived with dogs all my life, and I rather relished my dogless freedom.  Yes, it is true that my guests missed the dogs being around.  One of the many questions asked by returning guests; ‘have you got  a new dog yet?’ My guests are really important to me but I decided that even with their pleading a new dog was not going to enter my home.  Having no dog meant I could be more just me.  Of course there are downsides to not having dogs.

In this past year deer have slowly been encroaching ever more courageously into the garden at Bellaugello Gay Guest House.  At first their playground was below the swimming pool and down by the sauna, near the the greppo.  But a few weeks ago on going down for breakfasts I noticed that the Lobelia had been completely chewed in the vases on the main terrace.  Had to be deer.  Deer in the garden are just about ok, but if the damage is to get more widespread and frequent preventative measures will have to be taken.  I also did not want to think that deer are the precursor to wild boar feasting on my roses..  I stopped my daily walk round the valley, and have not replaced the exercise with another.

Anyway I digress.  back to the prologue.  The second encounter had me convinced.  The dog was so seemingly friendly and in need of a home that I scooped her up, and put her in the back of the car.  Once at Bellaugello she jumped out of the car and circled round me looking so happy.  She smelt – badly – obviously and had a skin problem, so I attempted to keep a distance.  Persistent little thing.  Of course I had no dog food so boiled up some pasta and found the remnants of some left over supper and gave it to her.  Soon scoffed, she looked for more.  I dug out Bobby’s old bed and put it in my porch.  As guests know I am asthmatic and allergic to dog hair so no way was she ever to be coming into my house.  The porch is a great space, amazing views and delicious with the wisteria and jasmine growing outside the windows.  Ideal for a dog room.

The next day I decided to head down to Perugia to the vet.  Of course no lead, so tied by a shoelace I popped said dog into car and headed down the road.  As I suspected she did not have a microchip.  The vet thinks she is about 2 or 3 years old and obviously abandoned by a hunter.  What callous bastards hunters are.  She was given a treatment for eradicating fleas and ticks and a huge pill for evacuating any worms.  I was told she was part Breton part English Setter.  We headed home with instructions to let the flea treatment work and so not to wash her for two days.  Last Sunday l dug out the old dog shampoo and gave her a jolly good wash.  She was quite accepting and did not struggle.  Now smelling nice I had to make the decision would I adopt her?

It took me to Thursday to make up my mind.  In the end I took her back to the vet and we had her microchipped and registered in my name.  “Vita Allegra” is her official name, but of course she does not respond to that.  The vet had said he thought it too long so registered it as name and surname.  Why did I adopt her when she will only be a complication in my life?   Because I cannot bear the thought of a dog being abandoned.  It is cruelty beyond belief.  I also thought that the inconvenience to me pales into insignificance related to a life for a dog on the street or in the dog pound.

She medium small size, is super affectionate, and clearly has been a hunting dog.  Obviously abandoned because she is scared of gunfire, so no use to a hunter, she is very intelligent.  If I tell her not to come into a room she stays on the threshold.  Naturally if I tell her not to chase deer she does exactly what she pleases!  Now being regularly fed and with a stable home she is looking healthier and happier.  Best of all she has got me back to going for a daily walk.

She might not yet have a daily name but I have been adopted 🙂