What a glorious day!

The sun was shining early this morning and it prompted me to stir my stumps, get out of bed and put on scruffy clothes for a day of gardening.
It sometimes seems as if there is always work to do here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House. Or maybe I am just not good at relaxing, today was a day for lying in a hammock reading a good book and soaking up the sun. The winter is the time when I thought to take things easy, but between managing a marketing strategy, answering enquiries and bookings, routine maintenance, making marmalade, yes I am in the middle of persimmon marmalade too… and colossal amounts of leaves, there is always something to be done and keep me out of mischief.
Fortunately for me I love my job. I adore the opportunity it gives me to live in this astonishingly beautiful place and to meet so many stunningly beautiful and interesting guys.
Today I was in agricultural mode, tidying in the garden, chopping dead limbs off trees and blowing thousands and thousands of honey golden, amber, red, rust, and orange coloured scrunchy leaves into huge piles all headed down to the compost heap to make great piles of leaf-mould to nourish the plants next year or the year after.
So stunningly beautiful today, barely a cloud in the sky, and warm too, I managed to work in just a T shirt and shorts. All around birdsong, the robin watching my every move keen to find a plump juicy worm, the river Chiascio glistening in the valley below audibly heard rushing southward toward its confluence with the river Tiber, a clear chattering babbling current. The odd hunter must have been out – they are odd let’s face it, for there was a shot or two in the middle distance, otherwise it was a day of nature and natural sounds, utterly glorious and peaceful, a great environment to get a lot of manual work done.

Fate!

Over this summer guys staying here at Bellaugello Gay Bed and Breakfast have been styling the dinner table. We serve dinners three evenings a week, no there is no fixed night, we just try to coincide with new arrivals and spread the evenings over the week.
Standards of table settings have been really high, and inventive, guys given free reign to plunder the garden and use accessories from our dining room, and many stylish settings have evolved.
Of course when the sun is still hot and the pool has its draw I am left to dress the table myself. Last night was one of those rare occasions when under the watchful eye of one of my guests I set to work.

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Monica, my great friend and with whom I share the cooking here at Bellaugello had exactly the same idea of a theme for the table, she too had spotted the intense blue spiky thistles growing on the roadside and thought of them for the table, armed with the secateurs off I set to harvest the table decoration. Let’s face it we need to make the table look splendid to be a foil to Monica’s divine cooking. Now the guys have been folding intricate napkins, and I too wanted to keep up appearances so I resorted to my ancient copy of ‘Mrs Beeton’s Household Management’ where one finds a myriad of napkin designs. I practiced and settled on a decadent design of which I am pleased.

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As usual I posted the above pic onto my Facebook page “Bellaugello Gay Guest House” (- facebook fans do please “like” the page) of the finished table this evening being checked over by two of the guests here at Bellaugello.
One of the comments on Facebook asked what was the design of the napkins called. I reached for my trusty tome to discover that it is known as the “cockscomb”. Fate or what?