Yesterday evening a friend dropped in for a chat; “What have you been up to these past weeks Alec?”
“Well, I have been ever so slightly busy. I have cut the grass (more than once), trimmed hedges, looked bewilderingly at the vegetable garden, pressure washed the pool area, cleaned out the pool room, trimmed back some wisteria, scratched my head over the state of the bamboo roof on the pergola, sucked up the leaves from the oak tree by the house that unlike all the others decides to keep its leaves through the winter and annoyingly cast them in March and send them poolwards and under the rosemary and lavender bushes, pulled innumerable weeds out of endless gravel paths, treated the windows and doors with wood preservative – lots of them, tidied up a bit of electrical cabling, touched up paintwork, treated the big terrace table with linseed oil – it looks awesome, worked on my social media advertising campaigns – bewildering, attended a series of meetings with organisations attempting to revitalise tourism in Umbria – frustrating, and oh I nearly forgot, I made kilos of orange marmalade, utterly delicious it is too!”
It is that time of year when everything is in go mode, go go go, everywhere I look there is a job to be done, an urgent job. No matter if it is a meeting in town, the consulta su turismo, or the agriturismo association, or the coldiretti, I head there in the hope of learning something new that will help promote my gay guest house and wistfully think that the region or government might have put more international flights into our regional airport – Amsterdam and Berlin would be nice. Back home the deliciously warm weather (yes recently I have been gardening in just a pair of shorts) has made everything grow madly, and grass needs to be cut, banks strimmed and hedges trimmed. The fruit trees ahve been heavy with blossom, my sense of smell must be fuddled, as the blooms seem to have little perfume. The vegetable garden is ready for planting, but no, blast, the weeds have grown again and it needs another pass with the motor-zappa, and that fence could just do with some attention so that the porcupine do not get to feast on our wonderful organic vegetables, it is always a challenge.
I still have some lopping of tree branches to do, I want to give the apricot trees more light, this year they are full of buds so hopefully if there are no hailshowers there will be a bumper crop of plump juicy fruit. The cherry tree that stands to the south of them is almost down, I a going to leave the trunk and already the red climbing rose has been bought, ready for planting, some branches of the huge oak trees are to come down, thus giving the apricot trees much needed light. The Oak branches are high, it will not be easy, I am not looking forward to that task. I also want to remove two limbs off the oak tree above the swimming pool, it has begin to shade the pool terrace too much and is growing on the downhill side of the tree, so if removed hopefully the tree will decide to stay upright!
The short video clip was taken yesterday, it encapsulates well the glorious weather we are enjoying here, and the huge views from Bellaugello Gay Guest House. We are about to move into the final cleaning of the suites, ready for our throwing open the doors for the 2017 season on 8th April.
It is encouraging to see so many new guests as well as many many returning guests. Despite or maybe because of the world turbulence guys are searching for a place where they can escape and relax, ‘far from the madding crowd’ and Bellaugello offers that.
We kick off the season quietly, as if to practice for the amazing Easter weekend 14th – 17th April. Friday evening sees the ‘Processione di Cristo Morto’ the haunting procession of Christ in the historic centre of Gubbio our local town. Traditionally we head into town to watch the procession and then remain for dinner. Saturday we cook here and Easter day we head over the hill to our good friends where we join in their huge Easter Lunch party, rolling painted eggs, lunching on wonderful food, every guest asked to bring some delicacies from their local region, the party is informal and international.
I must add just how touched I have been by the many many kind messages I have received over Jenny’s death. I have been overwhelmed with kindnesses, Jenny was really loved, not only by me but I now know by many many guests. I thank you all for your kind thoughts. Early evenings Bobby and I head off for a slow walk. The roadside banks a mass of yellow primroses, interspersed with wild violets and tiny wild cyclamen. He is obviously missing his friend, yes dogs grieve, and his health is not good. He walks with a stagger, his back legs sometimes un-cooperative, and he has taken several tumbles, one head first into the dirt, and his breathing is laboured. After several tens of metres I see him flopping down exhausted to re-catch his breath, but he still determinedly wants a walk.
And finally a question to you: Why not come join us for Easter? We still have some suites available, the sauna will be lit and there is always the possibility of a massage, real peace, relax and good Italian food and wines in convivial company, book online via google or our website, it is going to be a splendid weekend, but for now I really must get back into the garden and maintenance mode….