This morning I am off to the weekly market in our local town of Gubbio, it is still artichoke and orange time, they are abundant, and so good, but I am heading by way of the consorzio, the local farmers’ store for potatoes and then straight on to the stall run by the guy from Assisi who grows and sells the most amazing young vegetable and salad plants, and so we will start planting beans, salad leaves and potatoes in our vegetable garden here at Bellaugello.

This afternoon I am spending with a fellow hotelier discussing menus and looking at new recipes.  I am so looking forward to the summer at Bellaugello Gay Country House and our dinners served at our long table on the south facing terrace

Table at Bellaugello Gay Country House

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…..

 

I have had so many wonderful greetings from you guys, many guests choose to send photos of your holidays here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House and write me personally for the festive season, I am so very lucky.  I plan to find time to sit down and put the photos in order and publish some of them on the blog.  In the meantime here is something more pastoral, no Bellaugello backs, or fronts… instead a photo I took the other day of the vaulted ceiling of one of the smaller and more obscure churches in our local town of Gubbio, the city of Christmas…

enjoy…

Chiesa gubbio #bellaugello

With things at Bellaugello Gay Guest House being rather quiet at the moment I am able to take time out to socialise and catch up with friends and colleagues who all too frequently I do not get to see during the busy summer months.

So it was that I headed off to Rome to view an exhibition of photographs by one of my guests.  Aldo is a brilliant photographer and was holding a small exhibition of his works with the theme of “Water”.  This is a follow up to his very successful exhibition held this summer.

Acqua Roma

Not only was the main poster photo shot in the swimming pool at Bellaugello Gay Guest House, but there was a superb panorama of the Bellaugello Infinity Pool looking south to the distant hills, the sky heavy with grey clouds, that really gave the impression of not being in Umbria but rather being on a sail boat on the Pacific ocean, indeed Aldo tells me that several people had thought it so.  You catch a glimpse of it in the poster above. The exhibition runs until tomorrow and if by any small chance you find yourselves in Rome then do head over there.  The Photos are in very limited editions, maximum four prints and are really special.

Rome was resplendent in the sunshine.  the wedding cake romaI did my touristy bit including watching the cutest sexiest actor on film set just by the Foro, and then I met up with friends and, stayed over at my good friend Claudio’s super luxurious bed and breakfast; Resort Cavour.  Anyone looking for a great place to stay right in the heart of Rome I can thoroughly recommend it.  A chic apartment in a beautiful building on the road running from Termini station to the Colosseum and Claudio is a great host.  At the moment there are huge amounts of stairs to reach its lofty heights but Claudio tells me that finally the troublesome neighbour has passed on and they can finally put an elevator in (and will be doing so as soon as possible) that will whisk you right to the apartment.  Here is link to his site: RESORT CAVOUR – ROMA

On the train back to Perugia a phone call.  My builder Giovanni…  Hmm why?  Not that I have any building work going on at the moment and nothing planned until into the new year when I have a few new projects in mind including something most inviting…  I was surprised to have a call from him.  Giovanni has played a huge part of the reconstruction of the house at Bellaugello, including works around the wonderful infinity pool, so has become a friend.  Thus it was that he was calling me up to invite me to a celebration last night.  His daughter Beatrice was born in September and the phone call was to invite me to join in celebrating her christening.   So last night I dug out a tie, ironed a shirt, put in cufflinks and a smart pair of tarts trotters and headed over to a friends house – they were invited also and together in the pouring rain with our best friend we set off to the ‘Dolce Vita’ restaurant.P & S

Contrary to my expectations it was not a huge party, there were less than forty guests and four of us involved in running hospitality businesses were the only non-Moldavian or Romanian guests, it was a real honour.   None of us was certain what to expect, and as the evening progressed all was revealed.   A singer flown over from Moldavia (ok he does live in Italy, but only returned the day before yesterday) sang in Romanian, Russian and Italian, and sang through the evening almost non-stop.  A groaning antipasto table was followed with the offering of presents.  Now us ‘foreigners’ had clubbed together and between us bought a gold charm bracelet – we thought that appropriate, something that as Beatrice grows can be added to.  But we were mortified when the god parents walked to the table and started presenting their presents which included blankets, rugs, romper suites, dresses, coats shoes, and the cutest little socks and a huge ginormous teddy bear that must be all of two metres tall!  The next guests walked to the table, yet more clothes – the stores in Perugia must now be empty, boxes and more boxes were presented and thankfully some small expensive looking bags, we were saved!  Once the presents were presented the god parents and close family took the blanket between them and put baby Beatrice in the centre and then under the anxious gaze of her father Beatrice was tossed up and down..

Beatrice in the blanketBeatrice in the blanket 2

The baby safely restored to the arms of her mother the feast began, Italian and Moldavian dishes, Italian wines, Moldavian brandy, and lots of it.  Finally at 2am the cake was brought out….

Giovanni at Beatrice's christeningRather like an Italian wedding it turned into a huge celebration… We were made to feel so very welcome.  There was dancing, some of the music very reminiscent of Scottish reels, indeed the dancing style similar, great to have a good dance.  The celebrations were still going strong when we left at after 3am.

In-between Roma and the party I had friends from the valley over for dinner.  It was all a bit of a rush as there was a train strike on Friday and I was uncertain if I was going to get home at all.  Odd how every time I am in Rome I experience travel problems.  The strikers were kept company by a huge number of handsome carabiniere, seemingly almost as many as those standing looking bored outside the Banca d’Italia.  Anyway the train was running, and crept into Perugia only 15 minutes late, so a quick dash to do some food shopping and back home, let dogs out and cook a curry.  All four of us guys foreigners, happy to eat foreign food, and delighted to tuck into my chicken curry, not at all bad.

We finished up with  glasses of Williams pear grappa and scrumptious chocolate tozzetti that I had bought in a delightful pasticceria in Roma, and to gorge ourselves also an apple pie brought by one of the guys, really yummy!  Italy does have so much good about it!

Today rain all day, so a lazy cozy day in front of the fire.  Catching up on telephone calls to friends, soggy squelchy dog walk, and beginning to make lists for our BELLAUGELLO NEW YEAR’S EVE HOUSEPARTY – for which there are still some suites available –  For the full details and how to book scroll down on my blog  and to get your space BOOKED NOW!   or simply email: book@bellaugello.com

Oh! and by the way if any of your guys are looking for a personal portrait photographer, I can recommend Aldo, private message me and I will put you in contact.

A distinctly autumnal feel to the air here today in Umbria central Italy
The sun is weaker and the light like the leaves turning ever more golden

Across the valley to Colpalombo as seen from Bellaugello Gay Guest House, Umbria, Italy #bellaugello #gayhotel
Out walking the dogs the view across the valley from Bellaugello Gay Guesthouse to the village of Colpalombo is a delight. I love the crisp clean air the dogs scrunching through fallen leaves and overhead clear blue skies. I’ve friends coming for the night, the fire lit dinner prepared, we are having kedgeree – I was just in the mood for fish, champagne is chilling and the table at home laid. I guess there is even time for me to sneak a shower at one of the outdoor showers on the terraces at Bellaugello , so nice to feel the hot water dancing off my body in the golden outdoors. Yes the outdoor showers have proved a great hit with guests here at Bellaugello Gay b&b They are well used and much appreciated, and now times are quoted it is my turn to enjoy!