One good bit of news (possibly the only one) coming out of the UK this week was the announcement by British Airways of direct flights from London Heathrow to our local airport of Perugia.  Your journey to Bellaugello Gay Guest House just gets easier.

Flights are on Monday, Thursday and Saturday from 2nd July to 31st August 2020.

I just checked the BA website and currently prices are as low as 33€ each way.  For your comfort there is also a business class section.  Bellaugello is booking up already for July and August so get your reservation in soon.

Bellaugello Gay Guest House is an easy 45 minute drive from Perugia airport.

Click on this link to book Bellaugello: BOOK BELLAUGELLO

Click on this link to book British Airways Flights: BOOK BRITISH AIRWAYS

I sit at my desk and catch sight of petals cascade from a yellow rose.  This post was not conceived as a lyrical blog about nature, but, as is often the case, nature intervened and walked my thoughts on a different path.  So here we go, come join me for the adventure.    As I scoop the fallen petals up into my hand I wonder at the beauty and diversity of nature.  Just how are these yellow roses yellow?  The rose that, together with red, white and pink ones, the last of the summer blooms in the garden, I had put in a vase to decorate the table for a recent dinner with friends, has opened fully and is now past its best, so the petals fall.  They fall without warning.  One moment the only movement on my desk is the rythmic tapping of my fingers on the keyboard, then, quietly, and instanteneously, another movement, yellow rose petals fall.  Their movement is a destraction, I take them into my hand, and put them into an orderly pile.  Each one tinted from intense deep yellow to tips of delicate creamy sunlight. My thoughts become fixed on the wonder of nature.

Outside my window, whilst the jasmine is evergreen, the wisteria is a painters palette of yellows.  The trees in the garden, festooned green through gold to ochres and browns, let the wind scatter their leaves randomly.  The dramatic colour change has only happened in the past week, ten days ago it was still very green.

This is the time that I am busy in the garden at Bellaugello Gay Guest House.  Raking, sweeping, netting, cutting back, there are leaves everywhere, they need to be moved, and overgrown plants need to be trimmed.  All these are tasks that I enjoy.  To be outside, the air fresh, the sun still with some warmth, the occasional chance to revel in gardening naked and get lost in dreams.  The silence, punctuated by birdsong, and the water of the river Chiascio swelled by recent rains from the Apennines, tumbling over rocks in the valley below, is such a precious gift.  Songbirds make a stopover as they wend their way southwards for the winter. They hover over the cotto roof tiles and peck at the stone walls, intently looking for bugs and insects to devour on their long journey.

The first robins have arrived and are busy looking for worms.  They sit close by, expectantly, hopefully as I pick catepilars off the cabbages and cauliflowers in the winter vegetable garden.  The ‘Orto’ has been a success this year.  Guests ate throughout the summer from our own organic produce.  So rewarding, so good, genuine food as it should be.  Just the other day I picked the last of the tomatoes, aubergines and the first winter spinach.  The butternut squash have grown generously, and it was those in a risotto that we ate the other evening.

The other morning I caught the deer on their stroll through the garden below the infininty pool.  Cute but destructive, they eat indescriminately.   As at one stage I seemed to be growing vegetables solely for the benefit of the deer and hares.   We had to raise the height of the fence around the Orto, and be extra vigilant to keep the gate firmly closed.  No wonder I cannot grow Irises and bulbs on the extremity of the garden, I guess that is no wonder of nature.

I wake to magical sunrises and misty mornings, and capture the wonder of nature on camera.  Follow me on Instagram (@bellaugello) you too can enjoy morning glory at Bellaugello.

At dusk, when I walk the dog along the road we hear the call of the tawny owls and see the bobbing white bums of the roe deer as they scamper in to the woods.  They say there are wolves in the area, I think we spotted one the the other evening, distant, in one of our fields, but in sight, greyish.  It was motionless, then rose and slinked off into the woods presumably in search of its dinner of deer and wild boar piglets.  Certainly the dog did not want to leave my side, and I am glad she did not.  We were both a bit cowardly.

Oh! I cannot leave you on that note, it probably was no wolf but a large white dog, so, please join me in walking through the woods at Bellaugello…

they are wonderful walks, also in spring and summer.  These woods are home to wild asparagus, funghi and fragrant truffles, wild cyclamen and maybe even the odd bear or two 😉

Thank you for being with me on my autumn journey through the wonder of nature at Bellaugello Gay Guest House.  I feel I have just scratched the surface of this special haven.  I have overlooked to mention the pockets full of juniper berries that I pick on my walks, and have drying in antique champagne glasses in my kitchen at home.  So you can garnish your speciality gin, delightful jars of organic Juniper berries will be for sale at Bellaugello next year.   I digress, but did you know that juniper is common and native to Umbria and Tuscany and that for over two centuries the berries have been harvested and sold to the famous London Gin houses, who, in many zones have a commercial monopoly of production.    Also I failed to mention the sloes that stain my hands and jacket pockets red and are now steeping in gin, which will be ready in time for a post dinner digestivo next summer.   There are others, several, some experimental too.  Maybe a blog post about fruit and alcohol is formulating..

So to return to my initial question; just why are yellow roses yellow? Is this another unanswerable question?  Whatever the reason I am gladdened by the fact that they are yellow and that I live in such an enchanting, safe place immersed in the wonder of nature.  I love to share my home with guys from around the world.

Maybe, hopefully,  you will come and stay next year and tell me why yellow roses are yellow…..

Book your stay at Bellaugello by clicking here

Austria just got closer!  Österreich rückt näher! LaudaMotion have announced a new direct flight from Vienna into our local airport of Perugia.  The flights on Tuesday and Saturday begin on 31st March 2020 and will run through October.  Prices on the website today are from €35,99.   This flight into our cute local airport adds to the recently announced Transavia route from Rotterdam to Perugia every Wednesday and Saturday from mid April 2020.  Tickets on this route are today on sale from only €29.  Now we have direct flights from both Rotterdam and Vienna to Perugia, making a Bellaugello holiday or long weekend even easier.

The LaudaMotion flights for 2020 are now bookable online, click on this link: book flights Laudamotion

Transavia Rotterdam to Perugia flights for 2020 are bookable by clicking this link: Book flights Transavia

Bellaugello holidays are bookable by clicking this link: Book my Bellaugello Holiday 2020

One of the first things I do when I rule the world will be abolishing cell-phone weather apps.  We are all, (yes I include myself) obsessed with cell phone weather.  We check our phones constantly, and I know that guys who have booked a stay with us, or are thinking of booking their holiday here @Bellaugello Gay Guest House download and check the weather apps constantly.  The problem is that invariably the information on the Apps is incorrect.   Checking the Apps in late August showed a depressing list of clouds and storms throughout the first part of September.  It simply is not true.  Quite Simply September @Bellaugello Gay Guest House weather has been, and is, marvellous and sunny.

I admit we do need rain.  My garden and guests require water. Part of my world ruling programme will be to have it rain softly and gently most nights from 2am to 6am.  Thus the plants are happy and wake refreshed and we can enjoy lazy sunny days poolside, and I can move my office outdoors onto the terrace.

The terrace is where guests congregate for daily breakfast and our dinner evenings.  We sit together at one table, a table of local wood constructed in our local town of Gubbio by Mario and Fabio.  How many stories this table will be able to tell, of the great guys who sat at it and enjoyed so many good times.  Of the guys who shared, tales, happinesses and woes, and all life experiences.

September has not simply been a month of abundant sunshine, but also my garden and grounds filled with fruit.  Walking the dog I find myself picking up a basket and collecting blackberries from the hedgerows.  This year they are luscious and delicate, and went well in my newly invented ricotta and lemon pudding.   Venturing less far I picked what I thought were wild black plums but, joy of joy turned out to be damsons.   A huge basket-full hardly dented the load of the boughs hanging low by the weight of the fruit.

Washed, picked over and simply cooked with some sugar, I yesterday, finished off making twenty one kilos of this deep ruby intense jam.  At Breakfast today it was on the table.  Nothing beats fresh made jam of marmalade, it so compliments our popular homemade sourdough and soda breads.

Next forage is back to the damson tree for fruit to make damson gin.  I already have damson and plum liqueur basking in the sun, maturing in jars on the terrace niches.

It’s ironic but everyone is asking for the recipe for my fig marmalade, which sadly, I only managed to make a few jars of as the fruit was damaged by the one rain storm that we had.  These jars are now precious and will only come out upon special request.

Meanwhile back in holiday mode, whilst the kitchen is busy our infinity pool has been much used.  Guys sunning themselves, lazing, and splashing about.  Every day I am still blown away by the never-ending huge views over the pool, so beautiful.

Ha! dear reader, I guess you were expecting a peachy butt pic, but, no! not this time!

We have barbecued, meat from Gianluca my butcher, and salads from the vegetable garden.  We grilled and salted watermelon (strange, but hey! I am open to new experiences) and sat late until the contents of every possible liqueur bottle has mysteriously evaporated.  We played many games of ‘Uno’.  It is delightful how such a card game is so easily translated to any culture and language.  We laughed, and selfied, and Instagrammed, said ‘hello’ to new guests, and ‘ciao’ to others, so sad to leave…but delightfully promising to return.

And we delight @Bellaugello Gay Guest House in the news that Transavia is opening a new route for 2020.  Twice weekly direct flights from Rotterdam to our local airport of Perugia are bookable from 17th September 2019, that is next Tuesday, so get booking your Umbrian Gay Holiday 2020.

Voor 2020 vliegt “Transavia” twee keer per week rechtstreeks tussen Rotterdam en onze lokale luchthaven van Perugia.

Boek nu op de Transavia-website

Increasingly I learn that guys just want to relax.  You have stressful, time consuming jobs and the chance to unwind and recharge is hugely important,.  To laze and empty your mind, to plan the next stage of your lives, to catch up on some long wanted reading…   that is what we offer at Bellaugello.

To enjoy the purity and honesty of life, get back in touch with nature and one’s soul, relish in the oft overlooked details that are so very important to life, and simply, breathe.  Simply September @Bellaugello Gay Guest House.

What a month!  I have been so thrilled to welcome back so many guests returning to Bellaugello for their holidays and also to have the immense pleasure of welcoming guys here for the first time.

I so love my ‘job’ is it really a job?  It is a lifestyle and a great one at that.  Living in this beautiful corner of rural Italy and sharing my home with fabulous guys.  Bellaugello Gay Guest House is a place of relax, a place to recharge, unwind and of course make friends and share experiences.

After the mixed weather in May the clouds vanished and the garden burst forth.  I netted the cherry tree in good time and one evening as the fireflies danced I plucked the cherries off the tree.  The next morning Mauro checked them over and stoned five and a half kilos of dark red fruit.  Some went to make a ricotta tart for dinner, the rest now repose in the freezer for when I find a cooler hour or two to make cherry jam.   The tree is small, and I am so proud of it for giving so bounteously.  The Apricot trees are laden, the fruit still to ripen. I see with a sad eye that the little plum tree is so full of fruit that two boughs have all but snapped off.  Sad that such a generous act is met with such damage.

We have been dining on the terrace.  Our menus this year feature much more home-grown and local produce.  Homegrown that is until a rabbit got into the Orto and ate the tops off the lettuces.  Grrr…  More lettuces have been planted but still to grow.  Despite a healthy crop of weeds the vegetable garden is coming along nicely and having feasted off broad beans we are now cutting our first zucchine and watching the tomatoes turn red, black, orange and yellow.  I went to town on a rainbow of tomato colours this year.   Cooking using local produce is a rewarding experience.  It has challenged my menu planning and also forced me to seek out local suppliers who actually have local foodstuffs.  In the journey I sadly have discovered just how many companies mark their produce as local, but deviously how  they masquerade  the provenance, and are in fact in many cases products from afar, packaged or re-packaged locally.

The warmth also brought guys to the pool and a chance of a photo-op for three lovely guys from Puglia.

yes, one of them is Mauro!  The mere fact he is in the pool demonstrates just how warm the weather has been from early this month.

My Dutch contingent returned again this June, they are just some of my many regular guests who have become firm friends.  I was spoilt as ever with gifts of my favourite  super yummy “Stroopwafels” and Dutch biscuits in the traditional blue and white Delft design tin.  This year they introduced new friends of theirs to Bellaugello Gay Guest House and together with a great couple of British guys posed for the annual pool photo.   We had such fun trying to have everyone in the right place as the shutter clicked.

We almost managed it!

I guess a vacation in Italy is about sunshine, pool and food, and this week I ‘allowed’ a guest to enter my kitchen and for the second time this year we had a guest baker and bread from his home country, in this case Israel.  Declining the offer of the mixer, he said he preferred to feel the dough in his hands.  A have to agree, and that is also how my Danish guest chef baked his bread.

As the dough proved and the insects flitted on the lavender now heady with scent we spent a hot afternoon in the shade of the terrace chatting endlessly about history, culture and bread making.

After an alarmingly long absence since the flowering in April of the Rosemary the bees have begun to return and now in the company of a myriad of butterflies feasting on the perfumed lavender.

Several hours later the Challah bread was baked and out of the oven.  We both agreed one knows when bread is cooked by the smell that seems to magically fill the air.

and of course the bread was on the table for dinner and had to be cut and served by the chef!

This got me thinking.  Whilst most Gay Guest Houses and B&Bs offer weeks of naked yoga, at Bellaugello we are different; and a thought is germinating that we dedicate an autumn or spring week to international bread making.  Each couple of guys baking bread from their country combined with tours of the culinary delights of Umbria.  A feast for the senses and spiritually healing.