Always a delight to receive an invitation to visit friends across the valley and have dinner with them, especially if cheekily I did invite myself and Michael!

Martin and Etain are known to some of my guests here at Bellaugello Gay Country House, they are the couple who have the most tranquil halcyon organic farm that for over thirty years has welcomed and inspired many from all over the world.  As well as nurturing their pastures organically and tending with much love their animals, they are both published authors.  Etain was recently in Rome having been asked to present and read from her latest volume of diaries, where she so elloquently recounts traditions and stories of her life in beautiful Valdichiascio.  This latest book “The Life of the White Mare” published in 2015

Etain Addey, la vita della giumenta bianca

includes a chapter on an event at Bellaugello Gay Guest House.  It is such an honour for me to read of an event hosted here that is so delightfully and thoughtfully recounted.  You can buy a copy of the book here: La Vita della Giumenta Bianca

Anyway back to last night.  Michael and I drove across the valley, it had been a wonderfully hot and balmy day, we had spent time with the dogs down at the river Chiascio, which after recent rains in the Apennines was still muddy, but that did not stop the dogs from swimming freely.  Arriving at the farm, Etain was just off to milk the sheep so Michael asked if he could follow they encountered the donkeys and Michael stopped to say hello as they nuzzled to Etain looking for food, then to the hen house where six orphan chickens were roosting on an empty wine butt, looking shyly at the intrusion into their tranquillity, and for the first time in his life Michael cuddled in with sheep and tasted the fresh milk, he was thrilled.

I headed with Martin over to the vinyard which he had just recently sprayed and is looking spectacular, the vines heavy with newly forming bunches of grapes, it is clearly going to be a great vendemmia.

Vines in the evening light in ValdichiascioSerried rows of vines in ValdichiascioPendulous grapes in the vineyard at Valdichiascio

We headed back to the farmhouse to be met by the soft aroma of pasta cooked with the last of the artichokes, and we dined in company under the uva fragole – the strawberry grapes, chatting and swapping stories as Jupiter and Venus rose in the western sky, a truly magical evening in a truly magical spot.


Recently I posted on Bellaugello’s Instagram account a photo taken whilst walking with the dogs through one of our fields where we had just cut the hay;

Bambi hiding by a hay bale #Bellaugello

The dogs did not see the bambi, it was left undisturbed to play another day and as we walked on through the field full of hay bales, I thought it a great place for hide and seek

That's the hay cut and baled for another year at Bellaugello A few days later when on our walk in another hay field, yes I like hay fields, I was suddenly startled, I just could not believe my eyes, there was again something nestling under a hay bale, could it be another bambi….  I had to get closer to inspect

a big bambi #Bellaugello  Ha! A truly great crop this year! E & P enjoying the rural country life at Bellaugello Gay Guest House, Italy

Thanks to E & P for their amazing sense of fun and photos

Two momentous events are about to happen in my life, and you will be witness to both, well that is one you will be fully witness to, the other I will do in private and then tell you about.  I now know that I have two not one huge announcements to make, they are exciting times here at Bellaugello in the green heart of Umbria, Italy.

So as to keep the suspense going I am going to keep you waiting just a little bit longer and post about something completely different.  I have been looking through photgraphs and have compiled this set of the East side of the house, here from what was the abandoned farm of Bellaugello, and is now Bellaugello Gay Guest House, arguably the best gay guest house in Italy.  I will let the photos tell the tale of our 15 x 5 metre salt-treated infinity swimming pool…  Have a nice day!

Podere Bellaugello

The start of the garden before the swimming pool at Bellaugello Gay Guest House, Umbria Italylet the dig commencepouring the floorThe salt-treated infinity pool at Bellaugello Gay Guest House, Umbria, ItalyBellaugello Gay Guest House, the infinity pool

A friend’s brother reportedly said “Boudicca – don’t let the Romans get near her!”

Last weekend a foal was born in the valley.  The mother a beautiful white Camargue  mare, both mother and daughter are doing well.  Boudicca was born early in the morning and spotted nestling on the edge of some bushes by my caring and diligent farmer neighbour.

Boudicca, the new foal in Valdichiascio

The photo is not the best, but it is a hugely happy one!  Why Boudicca I asked, “Why not?” came the reply, “This is the year that our horses names begin with the letter ‘B’  ”  and how great is that.

This afternoon as I type my blog at my kitchen window overlooking the roofs of Bellaugello Gay Guest House the sky is azure, cloudless, the sun is shining, soft week golds, the strength waning as sunset approaches, the shadows lengthening, not a breath of wind, all is still.

I am reminded that this morning I bundled the dogs into the cab and drove the Apetto down to the Chiascio river below the house where the dogs went for a swim.  In the warmth of the sun I dozed languidly on a huge bough of an uprooted tree that is stranded on the rocky shore, suspended in mid – air almost horizontal, large, substantial, but flexible enough to sway gently too relaxing.  The November floods have again changed the course of the river, our beach of last year is all but gone, now two huge new  beaches full of large stones have appeared up and down stream, the limpid pools have been washed away, new ones carved out, and new swimming holes appear to be formed, they will be perfect for summer skinny dipping…..