HELP!

Categorised as a rant, but in realty it is a plea for help and answers.  The subject?  Well what do you think it is?  Dear readers it is of course my pet bug bear, technology.

Not of once the bumbling internet connection, but instead emails.  Over the past few days I have had a really weird experience in that my emails have been going haywire.  Somebody told me it was a likely cyber-attack from Islamist insurgents, but come on that specific to me?  I really doubt it they have larger targets in their sights.  The problem is that my main work email has frozen on my MacBook.  As of yesterday afternoon I no longer receive emails on this computer – the one on which I am currently typing my blog.  I can get them on my iPad and iPhone (4S) and even my aged MacBook but not this one, it seems to have chosen to freeze the receipt of mails from info@bellaugello.com account.

So I have to read my emails on the old MacBook.  Now you would think thatI could reply to them from there, but NO! I cannot.  For some reason, although configured identically (from the ‘settings’ screens  from what I can see) the old MacBook will not send because of SMTP problems,  it now will not even send mails using my private address.  Ok so onto the iPad, receiving mails on all accounts but unable to send on the business one, because every time I press ‘send’ I instantly receive a message telling me that the message has been ‘rejected by the server’…  So to the iPhone.  It, well until I started writing this post still receives and sends.  Of course the mails are not syncing 100% so I have to refer to two computers and the tablet when reading and replying.  Of course some mails came in a day or so ago so are not on the phone, I have to forward them to the phone by another email account, to enable me to reply, it is all VERY TEDIOUS

Add to that that the iPhone has ridiculously small keypad and I definitely require my glasses to type and every email is torture.

I have tried exiting the mail programmes, turning the computer off and on again, done countless resets all to no avail.  I’ve even tried cancelling the tasks in the activity screen, no change, zilch, diddly squat..  Not happy.

Does any kind technological reader have any sensible suggestion as to how to resolve the issues?

 

In the meantime sincere and profuse apologies for the inconvenience.  If, of late you have sent me an email to which I have not replied then could I ask you to paste your email address into a comment to this post and click the send button?  I will find a way or replying.

Answers by carried pigeon to Tech Support Bellaugello Gay Guest House, Umbria, Italy…

YOGA – CANDLES – WINES – COOKNG – CASTLES

Buongiorno! Good Morning!

I wake to this view, and kind of like it..  Come share it with me…

cloud in the Chiascio valley over the infinity pool at Bellaugello Gay Guest House in Umbria, Italy #Bellaugello

It is our infinity swimming pool and you are looking over the clouds low in the valley of the river Chiascio south towards the town of Assisi which is over the far side of the hill on the horizon.  Bellaugello is a peaceful place, far from the madding crowds, a place to relax, unwind and find the real you.

The peacefulness and tranquillity does not mean that you need do nothing on a Bellaugello holiday, no, you can be as active as you wish, and we are here to help.

By popular request we are offering a YOGA RETREAT, with our resident Yoga teacher all the way from Amsterdam, a week to relax and find your inner spirituality, scheduled for 11 – 18 April.  This will be followed on 18 to 25 April by a COOKING COURSE, learn how to make the finest pasta including a tour of one of Umbria’s finest vineyards, and in May back by popular demand our HIKING WEEK, 3 – 10 when Mirko our local guide will be leading guys over the hills in the Monte Cucco Regional Park.  May also sees huge celebrations in our local town of Gubbio, which on 15th celebrates the annual FESTA DEI CERI or race of the candles.  We have a week of cultural excursions planned 10 – 17 May with our guide Danilo, a native of Umbria, with a phenomenal knowledge of those places one normally cannot get to, you will be visiting hidden abbeys, admiring frescoes and drinking Sagrantino

Now is the time to REGISTER YOUR INTEREST for any of the above weeks.  Simply drop me an email to: book@bellaugello.com and I will put you on the mailing list for the holiday of your choice.

 

Such love

Oh! I have been naughty!

I have been slow in putting some wonderful photos on my blog.  Recently I have been really busy with this mysterious big announcement that I wrote about in my Christmas cards.  This, rather delightfully has been taking up a great deal of my time and energy, so I have regretfully sidelined other things. AND of course it is behind schedule… this is Italy after all!

Time to begin to make amends;  I continue my theme of couples by posting a photograph of two fabulous guys who not only got engaged here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House, but chose to return with their family to celebrate their commitment ceremony with an ‘exchange of rings’ and family dinner.

These are the most splendid guys you could hope to meet, not only really handsome, but also really great guys.  For me and my team here at Bellaugello near Gubbio in Umbria it was an amazing experience and one that Bellaugello is well suited to.

True love at Bellaugello

The guys rented the entire house, brought their family and close friends and had a real romantic time.  They had planned everything down to the last detail, and even had a back-up plan should the weather have been unkind.   Indeed there was a rain shower at the most inopportune time and the ceremony was hastily moved to one of the covered terraces.  We catered, a very talented couple of musicians played, and everybody danced.

I guess this post is really a chance for me to say a huge and very heartfelt “THANK YOU” to the guys, I am so honoured to be part of such a special moment in your lives. Big hugs to you both!

A post

Last night, in fact it was early this morning, obscenely early I sat down to my computer and wrote.  The post came to 1458 words, it was a rant.  I am angry about so many things right now, but then so is the world.  Indeed my rant was about the anger in the world, but before posting I thought… wait! think!

So I did, and consigned my nearly 1500 words to the draft bin.  Why should I write more words of sadness when there are so many about?  No reason.  So following on from a theme of a chat this afternoon with a guy from Barcelona I am posting a cheery photograph of the Giardino Suite Terrace here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House.

Giardino Shower two guys having fun #BellaugelloTwo guys showering in the ‘world’s largest bathroom’ I am so looking forward to summer!

 

Buongiorno! A beautiful day in Umbria

Crisp, sharp, crackling, hard, and utterly beautiful, outside crisp, cold, icy, fresh, spectacular, that is how we woke up this morning at Bellaugello Gay Guest House in Umbria,

Winter sunrise over the swimming pool at Bellaugello Luxury Gay Guest House in Umbria, Italy #bellaugello

Caci in the garden snow at Bellaugello Gay luxury bed and breakfast in Umbria, Italy #gayhotel

And so to breakfast….Breakfast awaits, pronto colazione, Bellaugello luxury gay resort in Umbria, Italy, near Rome, Florence and Venice

WATCH OUT! THERE’S A RANT ABOUT

For Brokerart the company who offer NO service I am so angry.  No time now to explain, but my blood is boiling on two accounts, there is a HUGE rant on the way…

Here is a taste of the other of my issues:

slow internet transfer

15 hours remaining… I could walk the files to Barcelona and have lunch and a hot steamy fun time and be back in Umbria at Bellaugello Gay Guest House before the files transferred !

AAAAAAAARRRGH!!!!

 

Hey Ho! Over we go!

Here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House autumn is upon us, a time for checking everything prior to winter.  So it was that together with Bobby and Jenny I trundled off downhill in the Apetto down the valley to the river Chiascio for an early morning dog walk.

Bellaugello Gay Guest House, seen from Valdichiascio, Gubbio, ItalyPassing I just had to snap a pic of the house,  nestling so beautifully in the Umbrian countryside.

Bellaugello Gay Guest House's Apetto in the sun dappled lanes of Valdichiascio

Down at the river, sun hot, a delicious heat, water cold, too cold for me, but the dogs had a rare old time…

Bobby from Bellaugello  in the ChiascioSunlight hitting the Chiascio, a morning walk from Bellaugello Gay Guest House

And so back up the hill, wet but happy dogs in the cab, the views magnificent, autumn colours abounding, and wonderfully fresh clean air.

Bellaugello Gay Hotel, Umbria Italy

and so on to the fields.  I decided to ‘beat the bounds’ of the estate, that is drive round the boundaries, checking on hedgerows, ditches and paths.  Onto the large flat field and on to check the olives.

Bad news, as with so many olive groves in Italy this year, the olives are in a very sorry state.  The wet summer left us a legacy of destroyed olives.  Little larvae bury themselves in the folds of the new formed fruit and the resultant insect bores its way out leaving a telltale flight hole and damaged flesh.  There will be no olive harvest this year at Bellaugello, the first time and I must admit I am sad, I so love the feel of the olives as they run through my fingers as they tumble into the nets, a sensation not for this year.

sad looking olive, the non harvest of 2014Olives ripening in the autumn sun in Umbria, Italy, but no olive harvest this year at Bellaugello Gay Guest House

It is such a shame, but that is farming for you.  Onward and upward, continue the tour of the estate.  Into the next field, steep, grass still damp, but going in from the top was fun, round a few curves, stop to check a woodland track and then a reverse twiddle forward again, try to take the uphill corner and… Yeeks! Squeal! Bang! we fall over!!  Yes the Apetto, complete with Bobby, Jenny and myself in the cab tips over and lands on its side.

We land in a wet tangled heap.  Really weird climbing up out of a door and out to survey any damage.  Luckily Apettos are light and almost seem to be designed to be easily righted.  One two three and push, over and up, the Apetto is back on its three wheels.  Damage control….  The rear view mirror is no more, the offside window has fallen out, the fixings were tired and worn and due for replacement, luckily the glass is not broken, a bit of grass and mud on the paintwork – just makes the machine look more authentic, and little further damage in evidence.  Press the starter button, it fires up! Hooray!

So gingerly into gear, dogs trotting behind and slowly up the slope and back onto the road, broken bits in the back.  I am off to the parts dealer today.

 

Hyacinths anyone?

As the evenings draw in we served the first of our fireside candle lit dinners this evening at Bellaugello Gay Guest House

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On not being stereotypical

Often at dinner as the host at Bellaugello Gay Guest House I relate how odd it is that I choose to run a gay guest house and whilst being a gay man I am in so many ways so un-stereotypically gay.

I ask the question, why as a gay man should I have to like gay icons or divas?  I really do not like Liza Minelli and hated the ‘sex and the city’ series, detest ‘big brother’ and would rather not listen to Barbara Streisland’s music.  All that tantrums and tiaras stuff just does not cut it for me.  Perhaps that is why I am here as a peasant farmer in rural Umbria…  I do love my garden, harvesting olives by hand, making marmalade and lolling lazily in my infinity pool.  OK I admit being a ‘peasant farmer’ does have its attractions…  and maybe some of them are a little bit stereotypically gay but…  And Bellaugello does host the most exquisite guys, handsome, articulate, interesting  and immensely, fascinating guys from all over the world, So many different professions and different life experiences, I adore my guests, quite simply I adore my job which gives me the opportunity to meet such a variety of people.

By now you will be asking why this long pre-amble?  What is Alec on about?  Those of you who who who are long-term readers of my blog by now have probably fathomed out a bit how my brain works (could you please let me know!)  Others I am sure will be asking themselves ‘why am I reading the is?’

So to cut to the chase one of the people I most admired in my life died this morning.  I will admit to being just a wee bit sad and surprised when Joan Rivers died, but it is not her I refer to, but Deborah, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, her death has left me more than a bit sad.  Happy for her that she is out of suffering, but her passing does mark the end of a glamorous era.

As a child I had the immense fortune to have been on holiday in Derbyshire and taken to visit Chatsworth House.  I was over-awed by the magnificence, the dare I say grandiosity, the visit stuck in my memory.  Times pass and I graduate in hotel management, and periodically Chatsworth crops up in conversation, they are opening Bolton Abbey Hotel, it is a place to watch.  The Devonshires take a personal management of the hotel.   I re-visit Chatsworth on several occasions, every time there is something new to see.   They convert the stables and coach-house into a restaurant and wedding venue, host sculpture exhibitions and the duchess whilst still finding time to tend her chickens is inspirational in opening an organic and quality farm shop.  The business goes from strength to strength, and if her books are to be believed, and I believe they are, so very much of the credit must go to the late Dowager.  She comes over as innovative, daring, mildly eccentric and yet a bit fragile, a bit outside her circle and un-stereotypical.  Not that I would ever deign to put myself on a pedestal akin to hers, the Dowager was pure genius and to me inspirational, her ideas formed the nucleus of so many of mine.

I can’t claim her as a friend, I am just one of tens of thousands whose path crossed hers, but I do remember my time in Wiltshire in the 1990s when I travelled regularly to London and bought books from a rather good bookshop.  Occasionally our paths crossed, maybe the Duchess was there for a book signing, but more often she, like me was choosing a book to read, on a couple of occasions she offered a word of advice on my choice or that of the assistant.  Her warmth, her passion, evident, yes the Duchess was just another person browsing books and that is exactly as she came across to me, yet back home she was running the most innovative and spectacular and successful business.  Reading her books I note that it had not been easy, an unconventional upbringing, fabulously clever siblings, crippling death duties, massive debts, not the easiest of marriages, insurmountable obstacles, the horrid experience of losing children early in their lives, yet she overcame them all, a stoic, and to me was a true inspiration an icon, in my way of thinking a true diva.

and damn it all she was good looking and elegant too….