How strange the weather can be, one moment hot hot sunshine and the next magical mist. Here at Bellaugello Gay Country House we live in the most breath-takingly beautiful of valleys. We look south commanding a huge view over the river Chiascio which meanders its way lazily towards the confluence with the river Tiber.
Our valley is peaceful, unspoilt, indeed so many of our guests return again and again to revel in the tranquillity and peace, they find a haven far away from the ‘madding crowd’. Although not this morning I attach a photo taken recently as the mist which early morning dives low and then magically drifts skywards, a dawn of a new day bringing ever new surprises and joys, you can make out our infinity edge swimming pool already a brilliant azure in the morning light.
Of course our infinity swimming pool enjoys the best of views,
we swim overlooking the valley and way in the far far distance the Monte Sibylline the national park that is in the southern corner of Umbria and which borders the neighbouring region of Abruzzo,
the national park is home to the famous Piano Grande that every July so generously gives of its tapestry of wild flowers
a trip well worth making in you can bear to tear yourselves away from the glorious poolside at Bellaugello 🙂
I would like to extend a hearty welcome to Cristiano who arrived here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House a couple of days ago. Cristiano is from Rome and here at Bellaugello Gay B&B to lend a hand and enjoy the sunshine and splendours of Umbria, and I am sure to the relief of my Italian correspondents at some time he will help me write my emails in better and more correct Italian!
There is still availability throughout May including the 15th. when Gubbio holds its annual FESTA DEI CERI or race of the candles, why not join Cristiano and me at Bellaugello this month…..
Yesterday at Bellaugello Gay Guest House was a truly glorious day, hot sun and light breeze.
I decided to profit from the fine weather and get stuck into the garden. Off to the consorzio for a whole host of bedding plants to put in the various pots and troughs that adorn terraces and walls. Joy of joys I found the most amazing terracotta surfina petunias, they look so handsome in the large urns on the uppermost terrace.
I sew more basil/basilico (is sew the right word? what I want is the first person singular of the past tense of to sow as in seeds, but have no idea if the word exists or the one I have used is correct, anyhow now you get the sense) and peppers – a bit late for that I suspect, and decided as it was looking a bit jaded to give the terrace table another coat of linseed oil.
Oh what a mistake….. for the light breeze started distributing the seeds from the tall trees that shade the sauna terrace, they are light like cotton seeds or snowflakes and blow into every nook and cranny including the newly oiled table, result a golden glowing table with a fine dusting of feathery seeds that have stuck to the surface, today’s task; how to remove the seeds or invent a story as to a new style organic table cloth!!
However today is another glorious day,
the guys here are planning to drive over the hills to nearby Assisi, and given time to also visit the fabulous Umbrian hilltop towns of Spello and Bevagna, it’s going to be a great day out.
It is the most beautiful morning here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House in the lovely Umbrian countryside. The sun is already warm and the last remnants of mist in the valley below the house are gently dispersing
The fruit trees are at their best, plums, peaches, nectarines, pears and almonds, the blossom intense, wonderous pinks, creams and whites.
As I wander around the garden watering the newly seeded lawns I disturb a flock of birds, small birds, the kind of birds for whom in the severe snow of recent months I left nuts and seeds and saucers of warm water, blue tits, and how do they repay me? By eating my lawnseed!! This year we were more assidious in our sowing, and carefully rolled the seed between a sandwich of fine compost, but yet, the tits seem to have discovered every patch, I now find myself stooping to see the first signs of greensward, has germination succeeded or are the tits bellies full? Hopefully a compromise.
The garden is really intense, the bees are busy too, the rosemary in full bloom, and the winter jasmine a bright splash of colour
and tucked against a wall away from the early sun one of my beloved camellias in full bloom.
Today heralding the official start of spring the clocks changed, one hour less in bed, I was camera in hand still in my pyjamas when my neighbours drove up and stopped for a chat and catch up. They were on their way to hunt for wild asparagus, those fine green spears that grow in the valley a bit beyond Bellaugello. Had I been properly attired I think I might just have sneeked after them to discover where the asparagus grows, but instead, I head for work, safe in the knowledge that next time I am up at the gate there will be a bunch of wild asparagus waiting for me, frittata di asparagi selvatici for lunch, blissful life in rural Italy……………
This morning one of my neighbours who thankfully still farms in the time honoured fashion of traditional animal husbandry tumbled down the dirt road in his Apetto, those wonderous three wheel vehicles so evocative of rural Italy.
An ancient farm, lovingly tended, chickens and geese wandering freely, both summer and winter vegetable gardens, and best of all a small flock of sheep all resplendent with Shakespearean names wandering freely in organic pastures on the hillsides under the ancient olive trees.
Milking is still done by hand, and the milk becomes not only the lightest ricotta, perfect on its own or in a fluffy baked ricotta cake, but also one of the finest cheeses in the world – Pecorino, eaten fresh or ‘stagionato’ mature, perfect for grating over hand cut pasta or simply on its own with local honey. My neighbour learnt his cheese making skills from a Sardinian shepherd so the cheese is good, real good, and this morning in celebration of the Pecorino I opened a bottle of Sagrantino di Montefalco and in the heat of the late morning sun we sat and I got to taste the new season Pecorino – fragrant, soft, yet at the same time crumbly, delicate, moist, utterly scrumptious.
It was just a wee taste, I am so spoilt, and fortunately I have twisted said farmer’s arm and a limited amount of said Pecorino will be on the table for breakfast here for you guys staying here this spring at Bellaugello Gay Guest House.
OUR LOCAL AIRPORT AT PERUGIA which it is a mere 40 minutes drive to Bellaugello Gay Guest House has recently announced through Ryanair their new flight schedules commencing onwards from 28 March 2012
Perugia San Egidio airport has recently undergone a facelift and now has a smart new terminal building, and enlarged apron, so will be offering increasingly more flight destinations, yet it remains small and intimate,the kind of airport that is just nice to fly in and out of.
In addition to the existing flights to Milan Malpensa service offered by Carpetair, and the Brussels Charleroi service, Ryanair has exciting developments, now with flights to its hub at Bergamo (Milano). So for you guys coming from Scandanavia, Scotland, Germany, the Netherlands and the rest of the north of Europe it is now much easier to reach us from your local budget airport, to Milan Bergamo and then connect onward direct to Perugia.
For those of you with a two centre holiday in mind Ryanair have Perugia flightsto and fromCagliari in Sardinia, Trapani in Sicily and Barcelona Girona – perfect for a few days on the beach at Sitges and sightseeing Barcelona, and lazing and relaxing at Bellaugello Gay B&B in the delightful Umbrian countryside.
For you guys from northern England and Ireland, Perugia is now even easier to reach via Girona.
If you cannot find a good connection you should also check out Ancona Falconara airport, it is just over one hours’ drive away from Bellaugello Gay accommodation and has several direct connections including a new one from Stockholm.
looking at this post maybe it would have been better in list format, but outdoors the sun is shining not a cloud in the sky and my garden awaits!
The last few days of February and today 1st. March brought glad tidings from all around. The faint clip clop of horses’ hooves on the dirt road heralded the arrival of Ben and Martino, out enjoying a ride around the valley making the most the unseasonally warm sunny and thankfully for them and the horses ‘fly-less’ weather.
Ursula And Papu duly tethered and feasting on the new spring grass, struggling with the lack of water – yes only recently Bellaugello Gay B&B was under meters of snow, lots of it, but it seems to have done very little to help water supplies, wells here are still dry and concerns are focused on this summer, we guys spent a delightful half hour lazing on the embankment, a glass or two of chilled Grechetto, the local crisp fragrant Umbrian white from the hills above Lago Trasimeno, so very summery. Amongst other things a discussion of pruning methods of fruit and olive and Mulberry trees, I have so much to learn and some people so much explaining to do!
A long awaited but very eagerly awaited SMS arrived at 23.30 last night announcing the birth of William, second son and third child to my dear friends Isabel and Paul. William is hopelessly late, poor Isabel an Paul having declared a predicted date of 15 February being constantly bombarded over past two weeks by anxious friends enquiring as to news, anyway he has arrived, and all is great! I don’t know if in future William will be pleased or not to have been born on 29th. February, but to me it is something real special, he is the first person I know in my life born on 29th.
Today, dawn was warm, light mist hanging magically in the valley below, and as the morning progressed the heat of the sun intensified. I had invited friends round for a light lunch (I am trying out new recipes for this summer – and also adore having friends round for lunch), and so I decided that we would eat outside on the south facing terrace here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House.
The views from here are big, indeed giant, and in the far distance there is the dam of Valfabbrica, built some thirty years ago but never filled. News today is that the dam company have been given a further 43 million euros conditional on completion of the work and the lake filled by 31st. December 2017. Thus Bellaugello Gay Guesthouse will command fine views over a large lake – what a spectacular backdrop for new years’ eve fireworks.
Under a blazing sun I laid the table on the terrace, arranged a small posy of primroses and daffodils from the garden, toasted the wood oven baked bread, and served bruschetta brushed with bio garlic from Sicily with liberally doused with our own Bellaugello Olive Oil 2011 deep intense and still peppery. I am so keen on salt cod or Baccalà and am test tasting new recipes to find the right one. Today I served it warm with a peccorino stagionato crust, accompanied by a fennel and blood orange salad, and washed down again with said Grechetto Monterone. WoW!! it was a real summer lunch, the four of us soon sinking into relax mode. Who would ever believe that on 1st March it was even suggested by an Italian that the pool was warm enough for a swim! That I doubt, but certainly air temperatures hit the very high 20˚s and the riccotta cake with strawberries gave reinforcement to that lazy hazy summer feeling…….
Yesterday on a trip to the neighbouring region of Le Marche the car thermometer registered 22˚, today here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House in Umbria, Italy, the sun is shining, and it is real hot
I have finished the last batch of marmalade, cleaned the kitchen down and am heading outside to do some more tidying in the garden, me thinks with this summer weather all that is required is a pair of shorts
A really delightful sunny spring day here at Bellaugello Gay B&B in Umbria and I am out making the most of the warm weather and tidying in the garden and pruning my roses.
Now I love my garden, my aim has always been to have a fragrant informal garden, a mix of English and Italian styles and to that end along with the rosemary, sage and lavender I have a selection of roses. I must admit to being surprised as to just how many plants I know and love from my native Scotland manage to thrive here on my south facing Umbrian hillside.
Now I usually prune as takes my fancy, but this year I consulted the Royal Horticultural Society’s website and am pruning to their recommendation, four buds maximum, It does seem a bit drastic, we will see what the summer brings….
Here at Bellaugello Gay Guesthouse in Umbria, Italy the fires are lit, the heating is on, there is food in the larder, the sauna stove is burning merrily and there is yet more snow.
I did think to go shopping this afternoon, sort of planned to be one step ahead in case we got blocked in here over the weekend, well it seems I have left it too late, the road is buried under nearly a meter of drifting snow!
Jenny and Milo are having such fun, they simply adore the snow, as indeed do I, and let’s face it the wine cellar still has some decent bottles of Sagrantino di Montefalco, there is dry wood for the fires, so perhaps it is time to stay at home and diet, however I have called Francesco my neighbour who has a snow plough and he is on his way so I will be off to discover what if anything remains in the shops in Gubbio!
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