A marvellous morning, I am up early to head off to the second set of lessons and complete the refresher course for HCCP in Perugia.  As I ready myself, feed and walk Bobby and Jenny and check all is well for the service of breakfasts the sun is already shining, soft mellow golden hues, it is yet another gorgeous day here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House.

Early morning @bellaugello gay guest house, Umbria, Italy

shadows at noon #Bellaugello gay guest house, umbria, italy

I hate to leave such beauty, but I must away for six hours in the classroom.  Traffic is not bad, the roadworks around Perugia tamed, they have moved onto the second set of tunnels.  When sitting in a queue on the raccordo for all of five minute I often remind myself just how lucky I am.  My previous life in Scotland and the city meant all too frequently sitting for nearly one hour in slow crawling morning traffic, now after a mere five minutes I am already impatient to get on and have my first coffee and cornetto.  My back still hurts, I am wearing the lumbar support, it gives some relief, but not enough and I know that it will be tough in the classroom, but luckily there are a few breaks…

Pausa caffe, coldiretti, perugia umbria #bellaugello

14:30 freedom, I passed and am now on my way home to Bellaugello.  Poolside the guys have been enjoying the peace and quiet that we find here, they are relaxing soaking up the sun and chatting, clouds flit by and the silence is broken by the odd splash as somebody dives into our infinity pool.


A bbq is planned and the table set, Daniela has done us proud in the kitchen, and I sweat as I cook over the wood fired bbq, it is a warm convivial evening.


As ever a great group of guests from many countries, some returning some new, a perfect balance, and the conversation flows until well after midnight.


Art lovers, here is a real ‘do not miss‘ opportunity.  Opening today is a major exhibition of fifty important paintings from the collection of the ‘Cassa di Risparmio di Perugia’ representative not only of the Umbrian school over the four centuries, from the fourteenth to the eighteenth, but also of other aspects of Italian figurative art from the Renaissance to the Baroque.

Treasures of the Cassa Risparmio di Perugia. #Bellaugello

The paintings are on display until November 29 in the beautiful Palazzo Lippi Alessandri in the centre of Perugia: Free entrance.

Click here to to the exhibition website for further information.

I tesori della Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Perugia @ Palazzo Lippi Alessandri Bellaugello, Gubbio

Vittorio Sgarbi, sulla mostra di Perugia
“Un esempio di gestione intelligente del patrimonio d’arte”

50 dipinti di grande rilievo rappresentativi non solo delle esperienze artistiche che si affermano in Umbria nell’arco di quattro secoli, dal Trecento al Settecento, ma anche di altri aspetti della cultura figurativa italiana dal Rinascimento al Barocco, sono in mostra sino al 29 novembre in Palazzo Lippi Alessandri a Perugia.

I Tesori della Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Perugia e il caravaggismo nelle collezioni di Perugia
Palazzo Lippi Alessandri
corso Vannucci 39, Perugia
21 marzo-20 novembre 2016
Dal martedì al venerdì, 15.30-19.30
sabato, 11-22; domenica, 11-20
ingresso libero

In January and February the markets it Italy abound with citrus fruit driven up from Sicily and Puglia, and for me it is time to head to the market in our local town of Gubbio choose finest fruit and to get busy making marmalade.

Delicious unwaxed fragrant oranges and knobbly lemons were the fruit of choice for the last batch of marmalade.  Into the kitchen, I must admit that citrus marmalade is not one of my favourites to make, it involves a long and tedious procedure but the final result is delicious and knowing it will be served and enjoyed on our breakfast table throughout this coming season makes the effort worthwhile.

Fragrant oranges #eatbellaugello

The fruit washed, time to get the knife out, the zest needs to be pared from the fruit, zest of orange #eatbellaugello

and then the juice squeezed.  Then with a silver spoon pare the pulp from the bitter white pith, that is a really tedious job that does my hands no favours.

zested oranges #eatbellaugello

Put the zest, chopped pulp and the juice in the jam pan add a bit of water and turn on a low heat to soften the zest and reduce the liquid by one third.  This takes two to three hours.  To me this is the best few hours, the kitchen filled indeed exploding with heady perfume of fresh crisp fragrant oranges so redolent of the sunkissed fruit being tenderly plucked from ancient trees in rocky fruit groves overlooking the azure sea.

Then the sugar goes in,

making marmalade #eatbellaugello

and I stir madly to melt the sugar and combine with the orange mix.    Once brought to the boil and incorporated I turn off the flame, cover and leave the mixture overnight.  The following days jam jars and lids sterilising I add pectin.  Strangely enough for a Brit used to making orange marmalade in the UK this is a heinous crime.  We use ‘Seville’ oranges, those bitter tough oranges full of seeds but are just not available, they are Spanish not Italian so are not sold, which is why I use the fragrant ‘Tarocco’ oranges, but they have no pips so no natural pectin, so I have to add pectin.  This to me is a cheat but without the addition the marmalade will not set, it will remain orange soup.  Set to boil, a sweeter aroma filling the kitchen, before filling the sterlised jars, allowed to cool just a bit, with one very important extra ingredient, a good dollop of Whisky…

Johnnie Walker whisky #eatbellaugello

et voilà homemade whisky marmalade.

Orange Whisky Marmalade #eatbellaugello

All that remains to do is to attach the labels, a new exciting design this year and still at the printers, and Scotch whisky orange marmalade is ready for serving at breakfasts here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House, with smaller jars available for sale for you to enjoy back home.  #eatbellaugello

Bobby my English Setter spent last night again at the vet’s.  The conclusion is that he like Ollie has been poisoned all be it in a more minor way.   Meanwhile I have spent most of this morning learning computer code, what a revelation.

Carefully printed notes, lots of patience and careful writing, together with a distance ‘teacher’ to guide me through the process, and I have managed to post three new items to the test “Deals” page! We are definitely closer to launching the new completed page


A quick break for carbs, yes, the diet is going nowhere 🙁 and a phone call to the vet, Bobby is to be allowed home tonight, Ollie too, so it is suggested by the vet that the respective owners come to collect the dogs together.


Now I realise what parents go through when they send their kids to boarding school – or maybe they don’t!  I know the house seems empty, but not for long.