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

Nebraska Gay Marriage #Bellaugello

“(Reuters) – A federal judge on Monday ruled Nebraska’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional in a decision that could allow same-sex couples to marry in the state within a week.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon issued a preliminary injunction in the case brought by seven same-sex couples in the state, calling Nebraska’s ban an “unabashedly gender-specific infringement of the equal rights of its citizens.”

 

Such great news from the American State of Nebraska  that we had to celebrate and what fun we had here in Umbria, Italy at Bellaugello Gay Guest House all because Vince, our Workawayer is from Nebraska we felt so much involved and closer to the ‘action’ that we had to celebrate by my inviting friends and neighbours for what I christened a ‘Cena Nebraskana’ or Nebraskan dinner which of  course Vince cooked using recipes from his Grandmother who was originally from Sicily. 

We dined off home stuffed artichokes, fresh from the market, home made pasta and turkey breast with a lemon and caper sauce, finished off with a Nebraskan fruit crisp and a goodly selection of local cakes and of course a toast to Nebraska!  Well done guys Fabulous news!

 

I has been said that I’ve taken leave of my senses, but want to make the Bellaugello experience better for you guys. Both my builders and I waited until the weather turned indifferent and then we dug up the drive here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House and are now softening the curve and paving the entrance driveway, it’s going to look ever so smart.

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We have a gap of a few days Before our next guests arrive to complete the work, I have a dream, but sometimes I think I must be mad!