The last few days of February and today 1st. March brought glad tidings from all around. The faint clip clop of horses’ hooves on the dirt road heralded the arrival of Ben and Martino, out enjoying a ride around the valley making the most the unseasonally warm sunny and thankfully for them and the horses ‘fly-less’ weather.
Ursula And Papu duly tethered and feasting on the new spring grass, struggling with the lack of water – yes only recently Bellaugello Gay B&B was under meters of snow, lots of it, but it seems to have done very little to help water supplies, wells here are still dry and concerns are focused on this summer, we guys spent a delightful half hour lazing on the embankment, a glass or two of chilled Grechetto, the local crisp fragrant Umbrian white from the hills above Lago Trasimeno, so very summery. Amongst other things a discussion of pruning methods of fruit and olive and Mulberry trees, I have so much to learn and some people so much explaining to do!
A long awaited but very eagerly awaited SMS arrived at 23.30 last night announcing the birth of William, second son and third child to my dear friends Isabel and Paul. William is hopelessly late, poor Isabel an Paul having declared a predicted date of 15 February being constantly bombarded over past two weeks by anxious friends enquiring as to news, anyway he has arrived, and all is great! I don’t know if in future William will be pleased or not to have been born on 29th. February, but to me it is something real special, he is the first person I know in my life born on 29th.
Today, dawn was warm, light mist hanging magically in the valley below, and as the morning progressed the heat of the sun intensified. I had invited friends round for a light lunch (I am trying out new recipes for this summer – and also adore having friends round for lunch), and so I decided that we would eat outside on the south facing terrace here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House.
The views from here are big, indeed giant, and in the far distance there is the dam of Valfabbrica, built some thirty years ago but never filled. News today is that the dam company have been given a further 43 million euros conditional on completion of the work and the lake filled by 31st. December 2017. Thus Bellaugello Gay Guesthouse will command fine views over a large lake – what a spectacular backdrop for new years’ eve fireworks.
Under a blazing sun I laid the table on the terrace, arranged a small posy of primroses and daffodils from the garden, toasted the wood oven baked bread, and served bruschetta brushed with bio garlic from Sicily with liberally doused with our own Bellaugello Olive Oil 2011 deep intense and still peppery. I am so keen on salt cod or Baccalà and am test tasting new recipes to find the right one. Today I served it warm with a peccorino stagionato crust, accompanied by a fennel and blood orange salad, and washed down again with said Grechetto Monterone. WoW!! it was a real summer lunch, the four of us soon sinking into relax mode. Who would ever believe that on 1st March it was even suggested by an Italian that the pool was warm enough for a swim! That I doubt, but certainly air temperatures hit the very high 20˚s and the riccotta cake with strawberries gave reinforcement to that lazy hazy summer feeling…….