Jumped – Well I was shocked!

Not much surprises me these days.  The news is filled with horror stories, stories of loss and tragedy, consummate greed, skyrocketing prices, and loads of corruption, so I listen with only half an ear – my less well hearing one at that, all sorts of unpleasantness has sadly become the norm.

So being in front of the computer this morning I ordered online my Christmas present to myself, or at least I would have done if the  ‘phone had been answered.  I have fallen in love with the iPad mini (it’s ok guys I am still single).  It is highly desirable, easy on the eye, and stylish! what more could a gay guy want?  So I decided that it just had to be done.  All was good until I came to the invoicing bit.  I need a tax receipt, this is afterall a business purchase.  Now here in Italy a tax receipt is never simple, why? I have no idea, but it is not.  It seems that the system so endlessly bound up in ‘scontrini’ has not matured sufficently to produce a system for a simple tax receipt, you have to jump through hurdles.  The only way on the Apple store is to call an admittedly free telephone number, which I did, but of course it is only working 9-5 Monday to Friday, much use is that.

Now I also wanted to take advantage of Apple’s free engraving service.  Clicking that button on the ordering screen brought up a screen that said ‘delivery time two weeks’.  Ok that is fine.  On closer inspection I was able to check the exact delivery time at the stage immediately before the checkout.  Delivery time 2 weeks “Enter your post code” for an exact date…  did so  “delivery anticipated 28 December” what a jump! I then tried ordering one without engraving and the delivery hurdled to 2 January 2013

As I say none of this surprises me very much.  But I did get one gigantic surprise when out walking the dogs this afternoon.

It was one of those blustery autumnal days.  Trees golden hued tinged with red and amber, blue skies punctuated with fluffy white and grey cumulus and a bone entering dampness.  The team was nagging for a walk, so I wrapped up warmly and set off.

There are many great walks from Bellaugello Gay Guest House, many of them circular, and most on the quiet white roads that criss cross the Chiascio valley.  The team favourite is that up to the church then down the steep southerly road curving round back into the Chiascio valley and up the hill back to Bellaugello.  A walk at leisurely pace/dawdling of about one hour.  I love the views, the way the Apennines open up and disappear from sight, the changing light through the still leaf covered tree branches, and of course squelching in the muddy puddles and the magical sight of babbling brooks and crystal clear running water.

Jenny, my wee cocker spaniel never stops.  To her a walk is an additional excuse to run and run and run.  Never far from my side, but never stopping.  She is up embankments and down ditches with gay abandon.  Milo, my English setter, now thankfully quite recovered from his major operation earlier this autumn and looking ever so well and smart  ambles along smelling everything.  So I dawdle, daydream and think.

It was one of those real weird sensations when walking along on the quiet tree lined track daydreaming or scheming as usual I caught something rushing toward me.  Before I had time to focus the ‘thing’ had suddenly risen to my face height, and then just as quickly had passed me by.  What was it?  A ghoul? A wolf? I only discovered when it was past.  It was a Hare, those delightful animals hunted to near extinction by the shooters here in Umbria.  Jenny had obviously sent it running, it came down the bank in front and above me, ran along the road which of course it expected to be empty when it suddenly came across me in the middle of its track, so what did it do ?  It Jumped.  Wow how it jumped, I never knew that Hares could jump that high, as I wrote it almost reached my face height, I do not know who was more startled or surprised…. me I guess.

Macho man – extraction man

The past two days here in Umbria at Bellaugello gay guesthouse I have been real busy out with the chainsaw opening up more views and cutting firewood.

The weather has been crisp and sunny,quite ideal for a bit of clearing and tidying.  I don’t feel motivated to get to the gym, so chainsaw-ing is a great workout substitute and productive too boot.

Odd though.  I thought cutting down a tree or two would make a big difference, but it seems to have made less of an impact than the removal of a now redundant large concrete electricity pole on the bank by the house.  The pole was lifted out of the ground by a huge overhead crane, and to my immense relief it came out cleanly like withdrawing the plunger on a syringe or bicycle pump without damaging any of the roses and cotoneasters planted around it.

Out at dinner last night the conversation turned to dentists. One of the dinner guests is off today to have a tooth extracted, I hope for him it comes out as easily and painlessly as the electric pole!

RAIN RAIN RAIN . . .

It has done nothing but rain here in Umbria the past three weeks.  It is a real shame particularly today as it is the annual Festa Dei Ceri in Gubbio, and all the town are out in the centro storico celebrating their special annual festival.

Here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House it has been impossible to do any work outdoors, and work indoors has been hampered by the unseasonally poor weather.  This morning nobody could see anything as the mist hang low in the valley and rain continued to pour…

And it is not even any help to the lawns I have seeded on the two west terrces.  A great deal of care levelling the ground, preparing for seeding, fertilising and then sowing has resulted in mud…  The lawn is beginning to sprout, but I suspect most of the seed is now 200m below in the valley floor!!

As they say in Italy “piano, piano, domani” let’s hope that domani brings sunshine

Thursday – A dog’s life!!

A beautiful day here at Bellaugello gay bed and breakfast in Umbria.  The guys are busy laying the flooring in the lower Garden Suite, which entails barrow-loads of sand and bags of cement being taken all the way down to the lowest level of the house. Progress is picking up a pace and it looks as if this great duplex suite will be ready for the end of May.

I am busy in the garden, cutting grass, weeding and general tidying ready for the next delivery of plants, schedued for Saturday.  The garden furniture has come out of the store, it has been given a clean down but teak oil still needs to be applied.  The dogs are lying on the gravel simply soaking up the sun’s rays and watching the rest of us busy at work…  Oh it’s a dog’s life!

Saturday and the sun is shining!

I awoke to the most wonderful sunrise over the Apeninnes and the sun has contiued to shine over Bellaugello Gay bed and breakfast in Umbria.

Hardly a cloud in the sky, the ground should start to dry after yesterday’s wet weather. Spring is in the air!