As August slides into September I am discovered to be in a reflective mood.  I wake to magical misty mornings.  Early morning, golden sun filters through the trees, birds call to lovers, the dog busily runs under the bushes looking for lizards.   Reluctant to get out of cozy beds, guys  are late down to breakfast on the terrace where they witness the Umbrian countryside slowly and generously reveal itself.

Occasionally, just occasionally, as the sun shimmers on the water, I catch a guy swimming early laps the pool.

It has been an amazing Bellaugello summer.  So many laughs, so much fun, so many new friends, so many new experiences, and simply good times.  Bellaugello allows guys the chance to escape from the hectic whirlwind that is daily life at work and instead enjoy peace and harmony.  Late at night we lie on the lawn and (glass of wine in hand) stare up at the stars in the ‘big sky’.  The night of San Lorenzo was one of an almost full moon so few shooting stars were seen.  The week before, the sky was ablaze with these fiery visitors, hurtling through the inky black sky, some of my guests seeing them for the first time.

This is an unusual week for me as all the guys in the house are first time visitors.  I am delighted to be discovered by new guys, and love sharing my life and home with them.   I have other weeks where the house is filled with guys that have been here many times before.  The variety is exquisite.  Through the summer we have enjoyed many dinners, one or two I have photographed.  GDPR is not only a huge consumer of paper and time but complicates my blogging and social media.  I am always anxious about asking those that put an ‘X’ in the no consent box to get up from their seat, move out of a photo or to ensure that I blur their image.  Is it really worthwhile I ask myself?  Cellphones know exactly where everyone is and exactly what they are up to.

We don’t talk about my vegetable garden, it is, this year, a source of shame.  Carelessness has meant that we fed the wildlife not ourselves, but yesterday I harvested large Zucca flowers which I stuffed with ricotta and anchovies and baked in the oven for an aperitivo at dinner.  I must admit they were really rather delicious.

Oh and I succumbed, and reluctantly allowed flamingoes to visit.  One, made of felt gifted to “Hear” my dog, was summarily ignored by her and now flits from perch to perch around the dining room.  Another adorns one of Mauro’s shirts and a third was spotted in the pool…

Talking of Mauro I managed to snap a pic of him in his massage outfit as he prepared his table on the shady terrace deep in the garden ready for his next client.

One of the visitors I so look forward to welcoming back returned this year.  No visit last year, and I was a bit worried.  But a telephone call and a day was fixed.  Maria was brought up in the house at Bellaugello.  For avid readers of my blog you will have seen her photo and read a bit about her in posts from some years back.  She is now XX years old (dear readers,one must never reveal a lady’s age) and is still as active as ever.  We spent a delightful couple of hours chatting about the farm and our lives.  I learnt about the deep deep snow that used to blanket the valley all winter.  Now thanks to global warming just a distant memory.  This visit she was accompanied by her daughter who was born in the house.  Indeed it was because of the snow and not being able to get out of the house that the family moved to San Casciano in Tuscany where they are still based with a large vineyard producing superb red wine.  I learnt that at the time of her daughter’s birth Maria’s parents lived across the valley in a farm near the village of Colpalombo.  Of course there were no telephones and certainly no cars or free time.  The family agreed that to announce the birth a sheet was to be hung out of the upper floor window at Bellaugello to enable her parents across the valley to know all was well.  On the south elevation of Bellaugello in what is now the Diva Suite there are two windows.  A sheet hung in the left window meant a boy and a sheet in the right window, a girl.  Geniale!

Maria’s visit with her family filled me with delight, she is such a charming fun person.  I sign off this post in a delightfully happy spirit, with my own bit of bottled summer sunshine, my homemade Limoncello: