Yesterday afternoon’s meeting went well. In the office of the chief of the department responsible for infrastructure in the comune of Gubbio we learnt that they are conceding the road is a mess and something on their part urgently requires to be done, so the first steps towards repairing the road are being made. Hooray!
I am up early this morning as the comune are sending and engineer to asses the work with the commitment to putting in a drainage channel on the worst section, and making a resurfacing of the road and at the same time approving an earth moving project, the first step to repairing the collapsed section of the road and I want to be there to witness all.
It is the first step. Our actions have motivated the comune and united our little community here in Valdichiascio,a delightful sleepy and intrinsically beautiful corner of Umbria where is situated Bellaugello Gay Guest House
All good positive news!

The saga of the roads here continues…
Something in me does not want to write about he subject, so angry and disillusioned I have I become. Last week a neighbor called in distress, the road leading to his house and thence on to a further thirty people had fallen into the field below. It was as if somebody had sliced the road like a cake and tipped the lower part into the field below.
He called the comune who sent an engineer, who then called one of e neighbours affected by the landslide and who just happens to own an excavator to come and tidy up the road. Then the comune came with a lorry and poured a one of dirt in the middle of the road, put up two signs stating th road had collapsed and now traffic has less than half the rad to pass by on. Alarmingly the remaining part of the road is cracking and looks suspiciously unstable.
Yet another letter was written and signatures taken this time to the Procura di Perugia, one level higher explaining the inherent danger.

Meanwhile on the other side of the valley the road has exploded! With all the rain and lack of maintenance water has got under the surface of the road, and sought the easy way out, the centre of the road and burst forth..

20140227-123609.jpg it is not clever….
We are still awaiting a reply from the Commissario to whom we addressed our petition, and in e meantime a neighbour of mine traveling home after work the other evening came to the blown section of road to find the grandson of one of our neighbours out with a shovel trying to flatten the exploded road and fill the holes. When my neighbour stopped the car to ask what the young lad was doing, he is only about fifteen years old, he replied,”well the comune are doing nothing, we cannot pass so I thought to help”. How public spirited of him, I applaud his efforts, but at the same time am horrified that the comune have got us to the stage where a fifteen year old is in a country lane at dusk trying to fill the holes in the road. È davvero vergonoso!
Last night another meeting, telephone calls and a decision to return once again to the comune to demand action. We were three this morning at the office in Gubbio, all neighbours from the valley, all from different backgrounds but with a common aim. 10 am the office opens, it is only open to the public on Tuesday and Thursday morning (10-13) and Lo and behold! There was nobody there….
A young girl in charge of maintaining street lighting in the 700km of roads in the comune of Gubbio was fielding calls. Eventually she was freed up and tried to explain the situation. She could not help us, we needed to speak the of two directors but both were out of the office. We could not help but overhear here conversation and subsequent explanation to us of the situation. She has a team of two electricians, they alone are responsible for maintaining all the street lighting throughout the comune area. She received a budget of 22,000€ last year for all equipment, cables, bulbs, street lights etc……. no wonder nothing works
We have to go back this afternoon to meet one of the directors who should be in the office, it is so lucky I don’t have anything else to do but chase after council officials. And don’t let him dare say “we don’t have any money”
Word on the grapevine is that the Commissario will not reply to our petition as she has only another two months in post and”what is the point of doing anything”
Rantone? giusto?

The sun has returned, and it is warm here in Umbria.  This morning I awoke at Bellaugello Gay Guest House and really surprisingly there was frost on the ground, the first frost of this winter.  Why oh why does it have to be frosty the morning after I cut and fertilised the lawns?  Last week continual rain and warmth mean the the lawns were looking bedraggled to say the least,  and it was clearly time to give them a trim.  Unashamedly early in February, but necessary.  So out with the big red cutting machine and up and down up and down, the result pleasing.  Then a bucket full of fertilizer and handfuls strewn on the cut grass, This morning frost.

So anyway frost or no frost, I had to be in Perugia this morning, off I trotted by the time I left Bellaugello it was bright sunlight, clear air, freshly washed countryside, so sunglasses necessary the car temperature gauge registering 20˚c.

Down to the agricultural merchants for their great fertiliser and a bag of lawn seed.  It is my annual pilgrimage  for the bags of lawn treatment, why change a successful regime.  Next door under the same ownership as the merchants there is a garden centre, a stroll through the depleted shelves thinking I might find some bargains and especially some nice roses, and a couple of hydrangeas, but no, the roses were all tired and sad, left over from last year, unwatered,unkempt and unloved, and the hydrangeas tiny and exorbitant.  I checked the labels of the plants, stalks cut well down, ‘likes sun or partial sun, do not prune’.  Haha!  They will be ideal I have a friend with a shady space between two buildings and he has filled it with huge terracotta pots planted with large hydrangeas, an effect owing to our south facing aspect, I cannot re-create here at Bellaugello.  However I want them for the bed outside the terrace of the Specchio Suite, although it too faces west and south it is shaded by a hedge and the roses I planted do not like the soil, so I thought to plant Hydrangeas, a big boosomy queenly flower, but they will not be coming from this garden centre.

I came away with a bird box. the softie in me loves the wild birds in the garden, from the smallest to the largest, yes, the owls are calling already.  As guests will remember Jenny is intrigued by the pair of blue tits that nest in the cherry tree by the main terrace, and their nest is in a particularly vulnerable place, so having spied a bird nesting box, I just had to have it.  I hope that a pair of birds use it to make their home there instead of the kamikaze cherry tree, or if not another pair make use of it.  There is already a pair of blue tits nesting in the beam above the entrance to one of the Suites, I see them darting out from under the eaves, joy to early spring days.

Next stop the huge pet store for dog food, then a small store for Alec food, and back up the hill to Bellaugello.  Ambling along I noticed the farmers out pruning their olive trees and also their vines.  Near Perugia they are in the Tiber valley and they are lower in altitude than we are here in Valdichiascio, so maybe they start the vines earlier.  I have already been pruning olive trees, discovering new ones in the jungle and hedgerows, the mild weather meant that I could prune with impunity…  like those words together!  but I have not got into the vineyard.  I decided to return to the olive trees, a bit hesitantly as there might again be frost again tonight.  I have a couple of large limbs that I want to take down with the chainsaw, I thought best not to, as the frost if it happens will not help the plants, so instead just a gentle prune of small branches and deadwood and I am wishing for no frost tonight.

Jenny kept me company in the Apetto, she has become a real farm dog.  Every time she sees the tools heading Apetto way she is there and first into the cab.  I am still mildly surprised that my day involves decisions on pruning grape vines or olive trees.  Several years ago in Scotland if somebody had bet me that I would have such decisions to make I would have had them certified.  However I am glad I do, being so close to the land here is a very important part of my life and running Bellaugello.

I am delighted to announce our first Guided Hiking and Walking Week based at Bellaugello Gay Guest House this May.

We have a full programme of hiking from the very challenging to the soft, including Monte Cucco, Pascelupo, Valdichiascio and Valnerina.  We have engaged the services of two professional guides, Mirko, speaking Italian and English is a qualified high mountain guide living in Scheggia in the Monte Cucco Regional park, the trails are send nature to him.  Our second guide is Mauro, a passionate hillwalker, photographer, naturalist and fly fishing instructor – who knows you might also be catching your lunch!

Pascelupo - secluded monasterywaterfall


Wonderful walking, the services of professional guides, dinners catered at Bellaugello, packed lunches, and even a mountaintop BBQ, services of a masseur, the wood-fired Sauna and great hospitality

Price for the week package €895.00 per person

For information pack and to reserve your space complete the form below:

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Monte Cucco Hiking Valdichiascio