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
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.
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.