Last night was warm and balmy, the air filled with fireflies.  These winged beetles emit a yellow light by the process of  bioluminescence. This chemical process produces cold light, with nearly 90% of energy going directly into light production.

To me they are quite simply marvels, a natural light show and impossible to photograph

A phone call from Ben had me rushing  to get organised as he was heading off on his motorbike to the waterfall on the river below the house and there was a chance of a swim.

We rode roughshot over the tracks and left the bike in the shade and walked upstream to the pool below the waterfall.  The sun beating down it was great to dive into the river. The water was cool and refreshing, the pool large, some parts with big currents others lazy, a good back massage from the waterfall itself and a good ‘beach’ to relax on.  A good break from work and a place to recommend to guests.

Cascata river Chiascio

One of the joys of living in Umbria is the friends I have made.

Yesterday, together with Paola, Irish and Paolo I lunched with Max and Licia, their kids Pietro and Bianca under the shade of a majestic tree in their garden.  Licia served the most divine pasta in a home made pesto sauce, followed by melon and just picked cherries still warm from the sun.  The conversation flowed, and for a change as well as discussing food, was also about the recent elections, seemingly much to ruminate over…

Last night I was invited by my neighbours Donatella and Gianpiero to join them at Donatella’s brother’s seafood restaurant ‘La Conchiglia’ at nearby Fossato di Vico.  I was treated to a vast assortment of fish, all freshly brought up from Pesaro.  Wow they certainly know how to cook fish, mouthwateringly delicious, and what a variety.  Definitely a place to reccomend to guests.

To make up for yesterday’s excesses I’m off to shovel sand into the vast hole around the now full water tanks, ready for them to be covered on monday.  More of that later…

When I bought Bellaugello I had no idea that the name of the property might have an alternative meaning. The vendor explained to me with a sparkle in her eyes that bellaugello is old classic Italian for beautiful bird – bella ugello (today bird is written “uccello”) Sitting overlooking the valley, the property could well be described as a beautiful bird, as many birds fly overhead and the property is certainly a gem. What she failed to explain is that today in contemporary Italian the word ‘ugello’ still has a meaning, or two…..

Ever mindful of ‘global warming’ and scarcity of water it was important to find a house with secure water supplies. Although in the countryside we have the good fortune of having an aqueduct running through the property and hence a public water supply. There has been a house here for many centuries and so there had to be a source of water that pre-dated the aqueduct, and last year I went hunting. Along a track about three hundred metres from the house in the midst of trees and scrub there was a pool where the cinghale came to drink. The custodian had told me that even in the driest of summers water ran out of the ground into the pool. Speaking to one of my neighbours who had lived in the house I learnt that many years ago there was an olive tree nursery with over 2000 plantlets nurtured and grown on. A system of tanks and water baths were in use. The water coming from the spring being too cold to water the plantlets, so a shallow bath to allow water to warm was created out of cotto and stone, and a cistern was built as a reservoir. However that was many years ago and had long fallen into disrepair.

We have attempted to find the original well head, reportedly some thirty metres above the cinghale pool, but many years of neglect have long covered any sign of the structure.

So we are back to the pool with water bubbling out of the bank, have dug an extremely large hole and today will be burying two large tanks ready to collect the water to pump up to further tanks above the house.

There is more than one source of water bubbling out of the ground, and we are devising a system of connecting the springs to help fill the tanks.

In modern Italian the word ‘ugello’ is translated into english as ‘nozzle’ which does help explain the abundance of water bubbling out of the hillside, however in modern Italian slang ‘bellaugello’ has a further meaning of a more phallic nature. Another indicator that we have found the right place for our business!

 

At the spring