The view from my kitchen window

Italian Gay Guest House

Summer falls toward Autumn

It is an amazing season here at Bellaugello.  Easing of travel restrictions has meant we have welcomed many returning guests, happily including guys from far overseas, guys who have been counting the days until they were able to once again stay Bellaugello.  

We have also welcomed and made friends with many ‘first timers’, and ‘Covid Bubblers’ it is always a joy to make new acquaintances and have them share our corner of paradise.

Saying Hello at Bellaugello

I have loved the buzz and vibe this season.  Despite the lingering shadow of Covid there is a very positive atmosphere.  Guys so happy to be relaxing with like minded guys in the delicious Umbrian countryside.  Stories are told, jokes cracked and laughter burbles along.  Suntans worked on, the occasional laptop is opened to reluctantly read business emails.  You had better not let me see you do that, you are supposed to be on holiday.  Holiday is a time for relaxing, as my dog shows so clearly.

Relax Bellaugello

We have cooked pizzas in the wood fired oven, baked Birthday Penis cakes, grilled sausages and meat on the barbecue and served dinners on old family china.  Guys have bubbled in the Jacuzzi and rented Bikes to cycle the quiet byways around our gay guest house, and of course they have just lazed away the days at our infinity pool.  

Bellaugello days
Every guy likes a sausage

Yes, we are having fun and would love you to come and join us.  Pick up your phone, open a travel app and get yourself over here.  We have availability in mid-September.  Click here to book your Autumn break We look forward to welcoming YOU!

Summer Truffles

Truffles – Tartufi

Two guys from overseas staying with us for the first time wanted to make the most of their precious time here at Bellaugello and had enquired ahead of the possibility of a truffle hunt.  So it was early one morning this week, early because it is hot and best to be outside before the fierce heat starts, that they met up with a local ‘Tartufaio’ or truffle hunter.

As the cars left Bellaugello I hoped that they would return with at least one small piece of this black gold, for even with the best truffle hunter and his dog there are no guarantees that the elusive tuber will be found.

They were taken to a local Oak wood and the search commenced.  A good bit of walking, a good bit of encouragement to the dog, and soon the first small truffle was unearthed.  Followed by some others and a good big truffle, the morning was a success.

Later in the day I passed by their terrace and spied that they were eating fresh pasta with slices of freshly discovered fragrant truffle.  Sheer ambrosia.  As we know here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House in Umbria, the simple  things in life are often the very best. 😊

Umbrian gay home office

A Room with a View

This afternoon I am writing not as it says, at my kitchen table, but outdoors on my terrace.  I am sitting in the shade.  The breeze, gently cooling, rustles the leaves in the Oak trees.  Birds sing, their conversations loud and merry.  I am distracted by their song, and by the many butterflies and insects on the lavender, the perfume intense and heady.  Oh yes, I am also distracted by the huge huge view.  I look down from my table to the distant Apeninnes, all the way to the Sibylline mountains some 70km away. It is serene and calming and utterly delicious.

Below I hear the noise of the guys splashing and having fun in the infinity pool.  The water is toasty warm, and the air temperature of 32˚c is just perfectly delightful.

This morning I was in town, routine shopping, but nevertheless a pleasure.  I shop in small stores, the storekeepers always (mostly always)  cheery and happy for a chat.  Today the subject everywhere in town seemed to be Post-Covid changes.

We were in agreement that 2022 has brought about many changes in peoples’ attitudes and mental well-being.  Much is detrimental, people have suffered two years of isolation, and I guess have had time to think and maybe re-evaluate their life and life ambitions.  Many are depressed and frightened, some even with the world in such a horrid place, are optimistic.  Whilst people are clearly happy to once again be free, I see a huge wariness in having to re-learn social skills and a greater frustration in acceptance of trivial failings or errors, both their own or in others.  There is also a great lack of patience and forgiveness, and the war in Ukraine is unsettling so many of us.

Here at Bellaugello with all the space and freedom to be yourself my guests are soon relaxed and re-charging.  The atmosphere is fabulous, P-C strains melt away.

I, on the other hand, swing from utter cheerfulness to deep annoyance.  My current rant is the sheer outrageousness of some of the requests I receive online. Ok, I understand that we are not all 100% computer literate, but it seems many are not even capable of reading.  The current trend of writing to me asking if I have accommodation, for me to reply either in the affirmative – yes we have some dates in early July and plenty of space still in the middle of September – get booking guys,

Click here to book Bellaugello

or the negative, we have very very few nights available in much of July and all of August.    Join our waitlist: book@bellaugello.com

So, as quickly as possible, we don’t like to be kept waiting do we guys,  I send the enquirer the information he seeks.  If in the affirmative I write in detail about what is available.  I include the link to the website and link to book online.  I carefully state that  they can check descriptions, photos, prices, availability and if they wish to, they can make a booking, simple you would think, but no.  Yet, so many guys then ask me prices and can they telephone me to make the booking.  No, I will not take bookings over the phone, the risk of me loosing a contact or even forgetting a booking is too risky. 

Anyway I digress from my rant.  The photo to the right is a semi typical enquiry from the contact form on my website.  The last sentence may be slightly unusual, actually, no, it isn’t, years of experience reminds me I’m often asked that question, so I have the reply ready.

However in this case, the enquirer’s reply and follow up question left me angry and speechless.  See below:

I am many things, P-C has also changed me big time, but I’m still sensitive and curious, a pimp I am not.

So do not ask me to be one

Back to BBQing

After and absence of too long, I was back at the BBQ cooking for a delightful evening with lovely guys.  

I use an unusual type of barbecue, to me it is peculiar to our town of Gubbio.  Wood, which we use for the fuel is cut from our estate and is fed  into the raised part at the rear, the firebox.  The resulting ash created is pulled forward under the cooking grill to cook the meats.  Last night sizzling sausages from Gianluca, our butcher, succulent braciole and turkey breasts marinated in wild fennel and orange.

Temperature is regulated both by the amount of ash that is pulled forward and pulling the cooking surface away from the firebox.  It is genius and authentic.

As I cook outdoors, Daniela is busy in the kitchen putting the finishing touches to an array of salads, this evening including grilled vegetables from our garden, local mozzarella and hand cut prosciutto from a whole ham I bought from Norcia.

The evening was complemented by a splendid full moon which slowly rose to illuminate the valley.  All around us were fireflies, June is the month when they dance merrily in the deeper recesses of the garden, sheer magic.

midnight at Bellaugello Gay Guest House, Umbria, Italy

At the end of the day charged with a stiff whisky and soda I headed to my terrace to relax and reflect of another wonderful evening here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House in Umbria, Italy.

The company at dinner was great, a lovely mix of nationalities always brings new topics and humour.

 The conversations were varied, some funny, others serious – but not too serious, and some were downright outrageous, just as I like it.  I am so lucky to live in such a special place, to love my ‘job’ (can it really be called a job when it is so much fun?) and to have the company of such delightful beautiful guys.

Infinity pool at Bellaugello

Life is a bowl of cherries

June is the month that it really feels summer has arrived.  The pool water is deliciously good for swimming, the sun is abundant, and evenings, enlivened by the myriad fireflies that dance on the paths and bushes in the garden, long and time for conversations and making friendships.

In the garden the cherry trees both wild and cultivated are laden with bright red fruit.  How is it the birds know to head directly for the plump juicy cultivated cherries, leaving the smaller wild fruit to tumble to the floor.  We picked today, a cherry cake made for breakfast and soon to be made a cherry ricotta pie for dinner this evening.  The fruit for this are currently marinading in a wee drop of brandy.  

After a ‘fruitless’ season last year, a late frost robbed us of all but a few September figs.  This year is a huge contrast, we are so so happy,  all the fruit trees are all laden, branches already pendulous with ripening fruit..  Plums, Apricots, Apples, Medlars, Damsons Figs will all go to make jams for our breakfast table, whilst the Quinces make a ruby red jelly and the delicious Cotognata – real slow cooked quince paste, so good as an accompaniment with the local pecorino.  Sloes, Damsons and Walnuts and maybe for the first time as a trial, also Apricots, will be put under alcohol to make liqueurs to be quaffed after dinners at our terrace table.  More of those stories later.

Of course, our infinity pool beckons.  The sun loungers, capacious and comfortable, shaded by pastel pink umbrellas look out over the infinity pool to the Apeninnes and way off Sibyline mountains, the views are huge and tranquil.  Space to breathe, soak up the sun and swim as naked as the day we were born, it is a delight.

June life at Bellaugello is indeed a bowl of Cherries ripe for the plucking…

Bellaugello Gay Guest House, the garden in May

May, the month of growth

After what seemed like long long months of cold North Easterly winds, those winds that make it hard to ever get warm, the arrival of May seemed as if by magic to move the winds round the compass and instead bring warmer sunnier weather.

My Garden is all too aware of this change, and now, after months of inactivity and looking rather bedraggled it is bursting forth in every direction.  I must admit to having fertilised (organic and somewhat ‘fragrant’ fertiliser) most of the plants, and I am sure this was a huge help and encouragement.

The roses are magnificent, the wisteria was so generous, pendulous lilac and pink flowers covering the west side of the upper part of the house, a show of blooms we have never seen the like of. 

This wisteria was supposed to be white.  The first year it was, then it did not flower for three years.  Year four it gave a few white flowers thence from year five onwards it became lilac.  It is beautiful but we still disagree as to which colour it should be and I do wonder every year what it will decide to show..

I cannot help but love this view of the slight mist in the valley looking from the uppermost terrace over the private garden of the Azzurro Suite far, far to the Apennines and Monte Sibiline, some 70km away.  The May flowering wisteria seems to frame the shot perfectly.

Below a deep pink rose that flowers  through the rosemary that cascades down the embankments, oh, and, yes, a pic of today’s team.  Mauro you must by now all know, and introducing Isis who is helping Daniela keep the house spotless for you guys.

the view to the south from Bellaugello Gay Guest House, Italy

Meanwhile in the valley the Ginestra is so powerful

full frontal nudity

Penises

Is it time to show all?

Just a quickie post this evening prompted by a conversation at a recent dinner here at Bellaugello.

Since starting my blog I featured guys in our infinity pool at Bellaugello Gay Guest House.  A way of including guests in the history of the guesthouse.  

The idea being that these photos, except for those guys with obvious tattoos were completely anonymous.   The posts started out as “Bellaugello Backs” just a shot of the back of a head and a bare back out of the water.  Check the archive..  One sunny day a guy from the north of Italy changed all that when he asked to be photographed with his butt out of the water.  Soon other guys asked to be similarly photographed.  I had to oblige.  Thus the series became called “Bellaugello Backs and Butts”, it was and is very popular.

I kind of like that series as you can show the art and holiday snaps to your mother, bank manager or even the neighbours.  Bare butts seem socially acceptable.

The question at dinner arose, should I now be posting full frontal photos, and If not, why not.  Should photos such as the caption pic be without the hand?  Should a pic of a guy under the outdoor shower be ‘less prudish’?  Should pics of  guys in the Jacuzzi or pool be more revealing?   Faces could maybe be blurred out? Come on, after all, full frontal nudity is now seen in mainstream movies, on stage and even occasionally on tv, so why not on a blog.

 Would you like to be part of such a series of photographs, or would you stop being a follower of my blog?

I’m keen to learn your thoughts and reasonings, so, please do leave a comment.

Cantamaggio 2022 Valdichiascio

Singing in May – Cantamaggio

Of fertility, sex and dialectical verses

musicians, cantamaggio 2022 Gubbio, Umbria

I have been fortunate for many years to be invited to join friends and “Sing in the month of May”.

Covid said ‘adieu’ to the tradition, but his year we were able to revive it.  Such a happy occasion.  Friends meeting again to sing for the first time in three years

This evening, the 30th of April is a time to say goodbye to old things and welcome in the new. 

Traditionally an evening of song and food, where people gathered and sang moving from house to house throughout the countryside.  This happened in all parts of Tuscany and Umbria.  In the provincia of Grosetto in western Tuscany I’m told the itinerant singing went on for ten days.  Our festa is fixed, this year outside in a courtyard, but that could not stop us singing 96 verses all in Eugubine (Gubbio) dialect.

The evening started at sundown, a hearty supper of soups, quiches, home cured salamis, tasty “Crescia di Pasqua” cheese  bread, new Pecorino, wood oven baked bread and salad from the garden.  Guests had brought wines and Proseccos, the mood was light hearted and convivial.  Warm enough to sit out under the Mulberry tree.  Exquisite home baked cakes and pies, soft sweet wines downed, it was soon time to sing.

By tradition there are over 90 verses, each of two lines.  Lines get added as they are rediscovered, the skill being to place them in the context, of the other lines, the correct place in the narrative,  for this is a story.

Our determination is tested as there is a huge chorus part.  The first half of the second line is repeated twice followed by the last part of the line, so you end up singing an inordinately long song.  The subject basically is fertility, procreation and sex.  All in dialect, but even the dialectical euphemisms the meaning is clear.  Lots of mentions of pretty girls blossoming forth and attracting visitors. One line stuck in my memory, ‘my hard pipe is horizontal’.

Our singing is accompanied by Melissa on the harmonica and Martino on flute.  This year they were joined by a tambour and rattle.  We clap along, mis-pronounce the dialect, smile laugh and titter at the innuendoes.  Its a good evening to forget troubles.

Cantamaggio 2022 Valdichiascio
Singing in May in Umbria 2022

The Music is merry, we clap along to the chorus and mis-pronounce the dialect and a lot of giggling and laughter is heard.  Italo stops every few verses to suggest another swing of wine is required.  It is a delightful evening that is now a tradition in its own right.

My heartfelt thanks to Etain and Martin for being the most convivial and generous of hosts, much of the exquisite food, and the inspiration behind the evening and gathering everyone here.  Owing to Covid concerns and crowds, it may have been a smaller number than usual, however the warmth and friendship were as large as ever.

When I have mastered the blog skills better I will post a video so you too can sing along and get in the mood for welcoming in the new.  Happy May everyone.

lemoncello @Bellaugello Gay Guest House

On Lemons

Everything is better when homemade

Winter, those short days and cozy evenings spent in front of the fire are when citrus fruit matures.  Early in the new year the wonderful knobbly organic lemons start to appear in the stores in Gubbio, our local town, and I HAVE to buy some.

Limoncello, the world known liqueur, all too often in the ghastly chemical form is decidedly only drinkable when made at home.  I get to control the quality of the lemons and ensure that nothing ghastly of fake enters the process.

lemons for limoncello at Bellaugello Gay Guest House

I take these divine organic lemons, carefully pare the fragrant yellow pith and cover it in 96˚ alcohol 

It gets left in a cupboard for at least two months, thus allowing the lemon to infuse in the alcohol.

limoncello in the making
a few weeks and already the alcohol is beginning to be infused wit the fragrant yellow lemons

It's now in the freezer waiting for you to enjoy

Hear the Bellaugello dog

Catch me if you can

A test of wills

As many of you already know almost three years ago I was adopted by a delightful dog whose name I discovered is “Hear” as when on first meeting her in the street here near Bellaugello I called our “Here” and she came!

"Hear" the Bellaugello dog

 Hear has an exquisite nature, adores living in this beautiful countryside and meeting the guys who come and stay with us here in the guest house.

She is protective of her environment, knows the garden and grounds, barks at passing hunter’s cars, but cleverly not barks at new guests arriving.  I have always wondered just how she knows that a specific car is heading here.

As an ex (ie. abandoned) hunting dog – hence the hatred of hunter’s cars she still retains a mild hunting nature.  She has an amazing nose and incredible turn of speed.  On a walk she will give chase (always unsuccessfully) to deer.  At home she is an inveterate chaser of ‘lucciole’ little lizards, digging holes in the newly turned soil.  Her patience knows no bounds.

Cat up an apricot tree @Bellaugello

For a few days now we have seen a large shaggy cat in the garden.  As long as it does not eat the young birds I have no huge objection to this intruder, but it does need to be shown who is boss.  Yesterday at breakfast we noticed Hear sitting motionlessly gazing up into one of the Apricot trees.  A closer look and the object of her attention became evident was the photo on the left shows.

 

Oh well, the patience was enormous, lasting maybe 20 minutes, but eventually an offer of a walk enticed her away and I guess the cat climbed down and slinked off.

 

All this time I noticed that the apricot tree is full of tiny green apricots.  So hoping the weather is kind to allow them to mature for us to be serving them both as fresh fruit and in pies and cakes this summer.  The joys of country living 🏳️‍🌈❤️🇮🇹