What a month!  I have been so thrilled to welcome back so many guests returning to Bellaugello for their holidays and also to have the immense pleasure of welcoming guys here for the first time.

I so love my ‘job’ is it really a job?  It is a lifestyle and a great one at that.  Living in this beautiful corner of rural Italy and sharing my home with fabulous guys.  Bellaugello Gay Guest House is a place of relax, a place to recharge, unwind and of course make friends and share experiences.

After the mixed weather in May the clouds vanished and the garden burst forth.  I netted the cherry tree in good time and one evening as the fireflies danced I plucked the cherries off the tree.  The next morning Mauro checked them over and stoned five and a half kilos of dark red fruit.  Some went to make a ricotta tart for dinner, the rest now repose in the freezer for when I find a cooler hour or two to make cherry jam.   The tree is small, and I am so proud of it for giving so bounteously.  The Apricot trees are laden, the fruit still to ripen. I see with a sad eye that the little plum tree is so full of fruit that two boughs have all but snapped off.  Sad that such a generous act is met with such damage.

We have been dining on the terrace.  Our menus this year feature much more home-grown and local produce.  Homegrown that is until a rabbit got into the Orto and ate the tops off the lettuces.  Grrr…  More lettuces have been planted but still to grow.  Despite a healthy crop of weeds the vegetable garden is coming along nicely and having feasted off broad beans we are now cutting our first zucchine and watching the tomatoes turn red, black, orange and yellow.  I went to town on a rainbow of tomato colours this year.   Cooking using local produce is a rewarding experience.  It has challenged my menu planning and also forced me to seek out local suppliers who actually have local foodstuffs.  In the journey I sadly have discovered just how many companies mark their produce as local, but deviously how  they masquerade  the provenance, and are in fact in many cases products from afar, packaged or re-packaged locally.

The warmth also brought guys to the pool and a chance of a photo-op for three lovely guys from Puglia.

yes, one of them is Mauro!  The mere fact he is in the pool demonstrates just how warm the weather has been from early this month.

My Dutch contingent returned again this June, they are just some of my many regular guests who have become firm friends.  I was spoilt as ever with gifts of my favourite  super yummy “Stroopwafels” and Dutch biscuits in the traditional blue and white Delft design tin.  This year they introduced new friends of theirs to Bellaugello Gay Guest House and together with a great couple of British guys posed for the annual pool photo.   We had such fun trying to have everyone in the right place as the shutter clicked.

We almost managed it!

I guess a vacation in Italy is about sunshine, pool and food, and this week I ‘allowed’ a guest to enter my kitchen and for the second time this year we had a guest baker and bread from his home country, in this case Israel.  Declining the offer of the mixer, he said he preferred to feel the dough in his hands.  A have to agree, and that is also how my Danish guest chef baked his bread.

As the dough proved and the insects flitted on the lavender now heady with scent we spent a hot afternoon in the shade of the terrace chatting endlessly about history, culture and bread making.

After an alarmingly long absence since the flowering in April of the Rosemary the bees have begun to return and now in the company of a myriad of butterflies feasting on the perfumed lavender.

Several hours later the Challah bread was baked and out of the oven.  We both agreed one knows when bread is cooked by the smell that seems to magically fill the air.

and of course the bread was on the table for dinner and had to be cut and served by the chef!

This got me thinking.  Whilst most Gay Guest Houses and B&Bs offer weeks of naked yoga, at Bellaugello we are different; and a thought is germinating that we dedicate an autumn or spring week to international bread making.  Each couple of guys baking bread from their country combined with tours of the culinary delights of Umbria.  A feast for the senses and spiritually healing.

All this year storm clouds have brewed and brewed.  Clouds have been small, huge, gigantic, stubborn and angry, dark and light, many and few, high and low.  At times it felt as if the whole world was stormy, the outlook grey and thoroughly depressing, looking out of the window it certainly seem that way, and all the time I have been hoping, and wishing that the clouds would lift and today they seem to have, Bellaugello Gay Country House’s new website has finally gone online.   It may be late, very late, but then it IS Italy so delays are what is specialised in, but ‘domani’ has finally arrived.  I hope you like it!

Storm clouds over the snow covered infinity pool at Bellaugello Gay Country House in Umbria, Italy,#BellaugelloBellaugello rising from the mistRed sunset and clouds over Bellaugello Gay Guest House, Umbria, ItalySunrise over Bellaugello Gay Guest HouseStorm clouds over the Basilica of AssisiStormy weather

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And with our new BOOK ONLINE feature booking at Bellaugello is so much easier, your dream holiday is just a couple of clicks away!

 

I really cannot believe it. Here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House the weather continues to be unseasonably warm. Yesterday I spent a delightful afternoon pruning olive trees. I dressed warmly, it is February after all, but within a few minutes As temperatures hit the low twenties I had to strip off to a rugger shirt.
Back in the garden the first fruit trees are flowering…

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No, I do not only mean only the crazy yellow plum tree that has been in flower since mid-December, but as you see from the photo it is the apricot trees, and yesterday I noticed the almond is about to burst forth, along the road one of my farming neighbours has already an almond in full bloom. Wild violets strew the banks below the fig tree and the daffodils- those remaining not eaten by the istrice are in full flower.
So now I am off to cut the lawn. Generally the lawn cutting period is from late March to end June, then the heat slows down growth, I have to cut the lawns only every ten days or so until the autumn when they put on a final spurt before winter. This year I am having to start a month early, I just hope we are not in for a nasty cold spell in April.
Not that I am complaining about the warmth, it is delightful, and quietly pruning olive trees is most therapeutic….

Utter silence, guys still sleeping, outside it is warm, sunshine, blue skies, harmony, a gentle breeze not even rustling the few remaining leaves hanging so tightly to the naked tree branches, so quiet even the bird song is faint and intermittent, a bee bumbles over the rosemary flowers, otherwise nothing, hardly a sound.
Way below in the valley the distant sound of water rushing over rocks as the river Chiascio heads downstream to begin filling the lake that will be in front of Bellaugello Gay Guest House.
The sauna is lit, time to work up a sweat and rid our bodies of the bacchanalian excesses of last night…

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Happy New Year, Felice Anno Nuovo a tutti !

Autumn doesn’t cease to amaze, a glorious sunrise snapped by iPhone on my way down to serve breakfasts to the guys at Bellaugello Gay Guest House

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I have the fire lit in the dining room, not because it’s cold but because it adds to the glorious golden reds and oranges here

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20131109-083457.jpg yes, roses in flower in the garden, a mild autumn so far. The guys have been out every day hiking, and trekking through the quiet trails and paths of the Monte Cucco Regional Park. I know a great knowledgable guide and puts me in mind to organize a hiking week next April based here at Bellaugello Gay Resort