Stumble out of your suite, out into the garden the sun climbing and beginning to warm the day and make your way to the lawn where Alessandro our yoga instructor awaits. Birdsong fills the air, all is still time to relax.

Alessandro teaches Yoga in Rome and having been a guest here at Bellaugello returns from some weekends this summer to offer our guests the chance of some relaxing Yoga.

Our Bellaugello Yoga weekend comprises four one hour sessions, and follows the pattern of one hour on Friday evening, one hour again on Saturday morning, and one hour again the same evening with the fourth session on Sunday morning. Combined with a massage from Mauro a perfect weekend of relax and de-stress. Cost of the four sessions of Yoga is only €50 per person.

Our first Yoga weekend takes place from 2nd to 4th June and is already fully booked. The next weekend date for your diary is Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th June and we still have some suites available, so get booking guys!

I started blogging in back in June 2009. Nobody taught me, to paraphrase the late great Eartha Kitt sang “I sat down at my typewriter and spoke to my daughter.” Daughter I have not, and the typewriter is a computer, but the sentiment is spot on. I write for pleasure, from the heart, at times my writing is cathartic, at times to share or publicise an event that might be of interest to future guests at Bellaugello, or to recount “la mia vita quotidiana”.

Life was very different then.  We had newly arrived in Umbria, the long abandoned farmhouse as we discovered in 2007, took a year to buy and was now a building site, chaos reigned, watched over by our two English Setters, Milo and Edo the ‘muppets’ seen at an upper window.

Bellaugello was an abandoned farmhouse

After eight years I am still blogging

What has surprised me is that after eight years I am still blogging. My output may have changed, despite their popularity I jot down less of the angry rants, and to be able to include a record of guys who have stayed here I added a section titled “Bellaugello Backs“. Now this section is fun, it started early morning with my asking a guest who was in the pool gazing dreamily to the far distance if I could snap his photo. That photo is now on the home page of the blog and spawned many many more photographs of guys in our infinity pool.

My one criterion is that (though some guests might want to) there is no frontal nudity allowed, I want my blog and site accessible to all. It started off with guys looking south so I only snapped the back of their heads, thus preserving anonymity, one guy volunteering said ‘my face must not be visible’ yet he kept looking sideways, and approved the photo. To me he is easily identifiable to anyone who knows him 😉 Backs at the request of a handsome Italian became backs and butts, and thus it remains. You too can be featured, the only requirement being a stay at Bellaugello.

At my kitchen table or downstairs

Most of my writing is done at one of two places, at my kitchen table in front of the window which gives 180˚ views southwards and is inspirational, a great place to blog, or downstairs whilst I am serving the guys breakfast. The latter posts tend because I do pretend to offer a decent level of service, to be more disjointed.

Bellaugello is situated in the most magical of places. It may not be easy to get to, but, boy it is worth it! The peace and tranquillity and utter beauty of the area are part of its appeal and would be spoilt if we were easily accessible. Similarly I have wonderful guests here, many return and have become great friends. I put it down to them being just amazing determined people. I am glad not to be in the South of France or Gran Canaria, what we offer here is a break from ‘la vita quotidiana’ ‘the daily grind of life’ and to paraphrase John Fothergill late of the Spread Eagle Hotel in Oxfordshire ‘only beautiful interesting guys’ come.

So much has my life progressed. So too has my blogging format

Reviewing some of the entries, I know that sadly the early posts are lacking their photographs. When I commissioned the current website the then designers were incapable or too lazy to load the photos, it is a shame as the posts lack some magic. I read my early rants about the poor telephone and internet service, the uneven road, and struggles to make myself understood, so much has my life progressed. So too has my blogging format.

Today is my first post on a new template. I have commissioned a new energetic web master and he has me writing on a new format, it is quite scary. As well as words I talk with pictures, inserting them as I go along, now it seems this is not possible and he will insert the photos of my choosing sent separately, today’s is of the work in progress as I started writing in June 2009. My spell check is only in Italian, I cannot change font colour, or type styles, and I cannot see a draft, but I believe this is the way forward for my blog, maybe the webmaster will do all that, but then I will lose editorial control, not good… Btw.

I’m supposed to write only 300 words, this is now double that number. As I have written in the past sometimes it seems as if I am writing to the great vast empty stratosphere, nobody reading my posts, but I know that to be untrue.  Panic! Update; I have spoken with my webmaster and he has shown me a way of blogging in my original format and he will make the necessary updates to my post, I am relieved to be able at least to spell check!  Like my blog progress has also been positive here at Bellaugello, the house has been open some years, I welcome great guys from all over the world who seeing this today, probably cannot conceive of the pleasurable journey I have been through.

It is day one of the new blog post format, I am feeling positive and have faith in Riccardo my new webmaster, he is young, professional and enthusiastic and very thorough. So I ask you guys, subscribe to my blog, keep reading and commenting, and to those of you who have been with me on my voyage a huge abbraccio.

On a very rainy day in April 2014 I drove down from my gay guest house and was in the nearby town of Umbertide.  A good friend who is a volunteer for the dog rescue was looking for a home for an elderly English Setter, and though of me.  Apparently his owner had died in the January and the daughter lived in a small apartment and could not look after the dog, so rather than him go to the canile I had offered to take him.

Together with two representatives of the canile we drove to the outskirts of town and were confronted by fancy electric gates, no apartment…  Inside the expansive paved drive two of those large ‘F…’ off cars greeted us, and out of the lavish house stepped a woman in pearls.

We were taken in the rain behind the house where chained up sheltering under a scaffold plank on a two square metre piece of astro-turf  was a very sad,wet, depressed and smelly Setter.  I think it is the first time in my life that four people simultaneously burst into tears.  We bundled him into the car and went to the state vet to get him checked over and for the transfer of ownership.  The vet was a farm vet, not used to working with dogs, but was incredibly nice.  He asked me the twelve year old dog’s name I replied “Abbandonato” – abandoned because that is what he was.  Officially that was registered as his name.  I then put him in my car and drove home.  Firstly a shower, good dog shampoo, then introduced him to Jenny, who was and remained the boss, then food.

He pissed everywhere, on everything, seemingly constantly, forty eight hours of mopping up, but his territory marked he became the nicest, kindest, softest and loyal of companions.  I would tell guests if you want to find me look for Bobby, (that became his name as he did not answer to his official one) he is always in my shadow.

He just loved being with me, whether at work, quietly and un-demandingly lying a distance from the terrace dining table, watching me dig in the vegetable garden, shadowing me as I watered the plant pots, and every time to everyone’s amusement when I was at the pool he would find me and lie in the hot sun panting.  He loved jumping into the Ape and going with me to prune or harvest olives, down to the river for a splash, or even taking the trash to the end of the road, he just wanted to be part of my life, and he was a big part.  At home he had a comfortable bed and used to lie on his back in his favourite position;

Bobby in his favourite position at Bellaugello Gay Guest House

In march last year when we were out walking he was poisoned, the vet believes he drank from water where a poisoned meatball had been put by the hunters.  The hunters put polpette down to kill the foxes who kill the young birds that the hunters aim to kill themselves in the autumn, maddening.  That resulted in a three night stay at the vets, but thankfully he recovered.  Two months later he had the staggers and a stroke was diagnosed.  Wobbly he returned home and was soon in the garden following me in my daily routines.   Then in early November he could not get out of his bed, down to the vet, and by good fortune the specialist was there and sadly an ultrasound revealed a 7cm tumour on his spleen.  At his age and also with a cancerous growth on one testicle, the tumour was un-operable, or maybe operable but at what cost to his health we all asked.  We came home with medicines, the strong impression was we had only a couple of weeks left together.

Lots of cuddles, and daily cortisone,  he courageously and uncomplainingly went on with his daily routine, eating well and at five pm looking for a walk to the curve, one of our rituals.  The past two weeks he began to fail, the tumour was now huge, he slept a huge amount and his eyesight and hearing were failing, but he still ate well and never complained.

This morning he passed away peacefully, it is as if the light of my life has been extinguished.  I quietly buried him in the garden here at Bellaugello, I figure he had three wonderful years here, and this is the right place for him to be laid to rest alongside the other dogs that have been part of my Italian adventure.

Now I am dog-less!  Friends are pushing me to get a puppy or a new dog, it would also be great for the guest house, the dogs were loved by my guests, but no, I want to wait, and happily the vet agrees I should.  We have a provisional appointment for September,  I did mention to her that if another English Setter needs saving to give me a call, but I know Bobby will be really hard to replace, as does she.

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde “To lose one dog may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness!