Misty, damp, magical.
That was today here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House in Umbria. This afternoon an excuse to walk some of the 53 hectares of the Bellaugello estate. There is a hillside that I quite frankly do not very often get time to walk through, but today I put that right. Jenny, Bobby and myself set off to explore the second hillside.
An old forestry track, in part overgrown by brambles, so handy those secateurs, leads down a cleft in the hillside and through coppiced woodland to a stream. With the rain of the past few days the water burbling over rocks into still pools, that is until the dogs decide to wade through and stir up the mud. It is a magical place, deep but not dark forest, old paths criss crossed by the tracks of deer and wild boars, evidence of old charcoal pits, and a sense of being very far from everything.
Of course it would have to have been the furthest part of the walk that Bobby defiantly decided to go one way, up a steep slope leading further from home as I had wanted to continue along the stream and up past more charcoal pits to the top of the hill above my neighbour’s house and thence back to Bellaugello.
On Jenny and I went, thinking that the Setter would soon see the folly of his ways and return to join the main party, me even stopping to take another photo
But NO! English setters have that stubborn streak, perhaps that is one of the reasons why I like them. I returned to the point where the paths diverged, and called, we hang around for twenty minutes, no dog… I was more than a wee bit concerned, this, as I said is a path we do not often take and I did not know if he would find his way home. Slowly and reluctantly rather than continuing on my exploration I retraced my steps, the light was beginning to fade. Up the slope, using my best Hollywood tracking skills I suspected that he had not run on ahead but was still off galavanting, the grasses and twigs were still bent towards us from our descent, nobody had returned up the path before me. My asthma has been really bad these past days and labouring uphill with all that is going on in my mind at present was not easy work, but Jenny and I made it home, to discover of course, no Bobby. Now I really got upset, do I grab a torch and head off again, do I take the trusted Apetto or simply hope he will return, at least he had eaten before we set off and he is microchipped and had a collar on, but, hmm might he be caught on something by his collar? Why am I such a worrier and always seeing the worst?
It has always amazed me just how diffident dogs can be towards each other. They say cats are independent, but to me dogs are too. Jenny old girl that she is went on ahead, following the route we had arrived on, not a care in the world. She was not remotely bothered by the fact he had gone awol. When I asked her where her ‘brother’ was she just ignored me. Ok I know dogs don’t speak, but hey, they do understand. And they have feelings, I have learnt that from seeing just how they grieve when one of the other dogs die.
So home to hear the alarm for the swimming pool sounding, the rain had overflowed the balancing tank and the alarm kicked the pumps into action, I needed to go and sort that out. Down in the pool house, pumps running I sense something at the door, lo and behold a very wet and extremely tired Bobby. He made it home hurrah!
As I write I’m just in from a delightful supper with friends in the valley, we have been looking at old movies of the valley shot in the 1960s and 1970s and I am hoping to make a compilation of these movies to give to all of the inhabitants and to show any guest of Bellaugello that might be interested in the evolution of this magical place. As I turn the key in the porch door I spy the two dogs lying in their respective super comfy beds, and am greeted by a very sonambulant and extremely stiff Setter… He has extra soft bedding I guess he will sleep well tonight. I know I will.