A time for celebration

With things at Bellaugello Gay Guest House being rather quiet at the moment I am able to take time out to socialise and catch up with friends and colleagues who all too frequently I do not get to see during the busy summer months.

So it was that I headed off to Rome to view an exhibition of photographs by one of my guests.  Aldo is a brilliant photographer and was holding a small exhibition of his works with the theme of “Water”.  This is a follow up to his very successful exhibition held this summer.

Acqua Roma

Not only was the main poster photo shot in the swimming pool at Bellaugello Gay Guest House, but there was a superb panorama of the Bellaugello Infinity Pool looking south to the distant hills, the sky heavy with grey clouds, that really gave the impression of not being in Umbria but rather being on a sail boat on the Pacific ocean, indeed Aldo tells me that several people had thought it so.  You catch a glimpse of it in the poster above. The exhibition runs until tomorrow and if by any small chance you find yourselves in Rome then do head over there.  The Photos are in very limited editions, maximum four prints and are really special.

Rome was resplendent in the sunshine.  the wedding cake romaI did my touristy bit including watching the cutest sexiest actor on film set just by the Foro, and then I met up with friends and, stayed over at my good friend Claudio’s super luxurious bed and breakfast; Resort Cavour.  Anyone looking for a great place to stay right in the heart of Rome I can thoroughly recommend it.  A chic apartment in a beautiful building on the road running from Termini station to the Colosseum and Claudio is a great host.  At the moment there are huge amounts of stairs to reach its lofty heights but Claudio tells me that finally the troublesome neighbour has passed on and they can finally put an elevator in (and will be doing so as soon as possible) that will whisk you right to the apartment.  Here is link to his site: RESORT CAVOUR – ROMA

On the train back to Perugia a phone call.  My builder Giovanni…  Hmm why?  Not that I have any building work going on at the moment and nothing planned until into the new year when I have a few new projects in mind including something most inviting…  I was surprised to have a call from him.  Giovanni has played a huge part of the reconstruction of the house at Bellaugello, including works around the wonderful infinity pool, so has become a friend.  Thus it was that he was calling me up to invite me to a celebration last night.  His daughter Beatrice was born in September and the phone call was to invite me to join in celebrating her christening.   So last night I dug out a tie, ironed a shirt, put in cufflinks and a smart pair of tarts trotters and headed over to a friends house – they were invited also and together in the pouring rain with our best friend we set off to the ‘Dolce Vita’ restaurant.P & S

Contrary to my expectations it was not a huge party, there were less than forty guests and four of us involved in running hospitality businesses were the only non-Moldavian or Romanian guests, it was a real honour.   None of us was certain what to expect, and as the evening progressed all was revealed.   A singer flown over from Moldavia (ok he does live in Italy, but only returned the day before yesterday) sang in Romanian, Russian and Italian, and sang through the evening almost non-stop.  A groaning antipasto table was followed with the offering of presents.  Now us ‘foreigners’ had clubbed together and between us bought a gold charm bracelet – we thought that appropriate, something that as Beatrice grows can be added to.  But we were mortified when the god parents walked to the table and started presenting their presents which included blankets, rugs, romper suites, dresses, coats shoes, and the cutest little socks and a huge ginormous teddy bear that must be all of two metres tall!  The next guests walked to the table, yet more clothes – the stores in Perugia must now be empty, boxes and more boxes were presented and thankfully some small expensive looking bags, we were saved!  Once the presents were presented the god parents and close family took the blanket between them and put baby Beatrice in the centre and then under the anxious gaze of her father Beatrice was tossed up and down..

Beatrice in the blanketBeatrice in the blanket 2

The baby safely restored to the arms of her mother the feast began, Italian and Moldavian dishes, Italian wines, Moldavian brandy, and lots of it.  Finally at 2am the cake was brought out….

Giovanni at Beatrice's christeningRather like an Italian wedding it turned into a huge celebration… We were made to feel so very welcome.  There was dancing, some of the music very reminiscent of Scottish reels, indeed the dancing style similar, great to have a good dance.  The celebrations were still going strong when we left at after 3am.

In-between Roma and the party I had friends from the valley over for dinner.  It was all a bit of a rush as there was a train strike on Friday and I was uncertain if I was going to get home at all.  Odd how every time I am in Rome I experience travel problems.  The strikers were kept company by a huge number of handsome carabiniere, seemingly almost as many as those standing looking bored outside the Banca d’Italia.  Anyway the train was running, and crept into Perugia only 15 minutes late, so a quick dash to do some food shopping and back home, let dogs out and cook a curry.  All four of us guys foreigners, happy to eat foreign food, and delighted to tuck into my chicken curry, not at all bad.

We finished up with  glasses of Williams pear grappa and scrumptious chocolate tozzetti that I had bought in a delightful pasticceria in Roma, and to gorge ourselves also an apple pie brought by one of the guys, really yummy!  Italy does have so much good about it!

Today rain all day, so a lazy cozy day in front of the fire.  Catching up on telephone calls to friends, soggy squelchy dog walk, and beginning to make lists for our BELLAUGELLO NEW YEAR’S EVE HOUSEPARTY – for which there are still some suites available –  For the full details and how to book scroll down on my blog  and to get your space BOOKED NOW!   or simply email: book@bellaugello.com

Oh! and by the way if any of your guys are looking for a personal portrait photographer, I can recommend Aldo, private message me and I will put you in contact.

Back in contact

Boy, it has been busy here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House. What with preparations for Easter, cooking, making marmalade, and trying to keep on top of the grass cutting and gardening, I do not seem to have had a moment to spare.
Tuesday and Wednesday for some inexplicable reason we were without our internet connection. This time the internet service provider was completely innocent, it was the server for all of Bellaugello’s website, blog and emails.
It was surreal being without this means of communication. I had been in th middle of taking a booking for a week in July (very few suites still available for late June through July and August, if you want a summer holiday in italy then book now) when the domain host crashed out. I was left with parts of some emails on my iPhone others on my iPad and bits and pieces on my computer, none enough for me to be 100% secure that I had all the correct information so I was unable to confirm the booking! it made me feel right stupid, and incompetent…
Luckily the guys wishing to book were real nice and they accepted my email from my personal account and were happy to wait until today for confirmation.
Like the television used to do in times of olde when they had no programmes to broadcast I post a picture of the ‘test card’

It’s a dogs life!


Friday morning and I’m at the doctors. We are trying to tackle my asthma which is bad at the moment. In a fit of pique and ‘cos little else seems to be helping I have started a course of acupuncture
So this morning I am sitting in the doctor’s surgery with needles stuck into me – not much fun

Outside the sun is shining weakly through a blue sky laced with puffy cumulus clouds, and like my breathing the air is still.

Guten Morgen!

Autumn doesn’t cease to amaze, a glorious sunrise snapped by iPhone on my way down to serve breakfasts to the guys at Bellaugello Gay Guest House

I have the fire lit in the dining room, not because it’s cold but because it adds to the glorious golden reds and oranges here


20131109-083457.jpg yes, roses in flower in the garden, a mild autumn so far. The guys have been out every day hiking, and trekking through the quiet trails and paths of the Monte Cucco Regional Park. I know a great knowledgable guide and puts me in mind to organize a hiking week next April based here at Bellaugello Gay Resort

When Autumn leaves start to fall

I have blogged less of late, and am feeling guilty about it.  I could blame the slowdown on my output on the launch yesterday of new Apple products – yes, as always for some time prior to a new product launch my computer slows exponentially, and so I am less inclined to sit in front of the computer and rattle away at the unresponsive keyboard aimlessly watching the little rainbow ball or the little blue ball spinning endlessly as the computer decides whether or not to grace me with a bit of activity.

Not that I have been idling away my time, it has been a busy period here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House.  Like the sunshine, we still have guests, travellers who chose to come to Umbria when the area is quieter, to be able to wander deserted country lanes, to visit local wineries, most of whom are currently harvesting their grapes, enjoy the heat of our sauna and icy chill of the outdoor shower, and of course to visit Perugia for Eurochocolate, the chocaholic hedonist festival.

In the meantime I have been tidying in the garden including making a start on pruning the lavender bushes.  As most of you will know I adore lavender and the garden at Bellaugello Gay Bed and Breakfast is full of the plants.  Summers here are remarkable, the scent of lavender pervades every corner of the garden, the purple and violet flower heads swaying in the breeze releasing their heady perfume. And of course, we also cook with lavender, but now in the autumn is the time to prune the plants back, and every year there are more and more and not only is it back-breaking work but it is mightily  disillusioning (I think I have just invented that word although the dreaded auto spell-corrector says not) as there is an endless number of stalks to be cut, and deadwood to be removed..  A friend came over and got busy with the chain-saw lopping dead branches off the cherry trees, still more of them to be done, and as for leaves, well they have only just begun to litter the garden.  It is at times like these that I delight in my toys, all the gadgets that I have for garden work, and especially this year my large blower/sucker absolutely awesome for getting the leaves where I want them.

And we have made a start on the vegetable garden.  After years of neglect, or better explained as lack of time to do anything with it, we have decided it’s time to make a start.  Having planted tomatoes and zucchini in a border on the way to the swimming pool, and delighted in using them for our regular dinners here at Bellaugello, and picking bowlfulls for guests to eat when they prepare meals for themselves in the kitchen in the suites, and although we have a great supply of fresh vegetables from both Daniela’s garden and Monica’s father’s it seemed like time to get big with our vegetable garden. We have cleared away the worst of the weeds, and are now about to start digging the ground over, replacing the wonky fence, so that we have well prepared earth for next year.  This is a big job, the vegetable garden is on a lower terrace below the house, it faces due south so gets a good amount of sun and of course there is a water supply.  The soil is poor and heavy, back-breakingly so, and because of its position we are unable to get a machine in so there is no alternative but to dig by hand.  Still, next year, us and the guys will be picking salad leaves, tomatoes, zucchini and beans and digging potatoes from the Bellaugello garden.

Any guys wanting a break from their desks you are welcome to come over for a short break and help in the garden, let’s do it on a ‘wwoofer’ basis, in return for board and lodgings you help me in the garden. drop me an email. btw when it is just me I eat simply and work spasmodically!

So then there is the administration, sheaves of paperwork to the accountant and reams of email in reply.  Fire extinguishers were checked, they sent a new guy who managed to take every conceivable wrong turning, knock on every door and telephone me every two minutes for directions, and there’s me thinking ‘we’ve got signs on the road, use them’  Oh! and whilst on the subject the road has been patched up! the commune flatbed teetered down the hill, preceded by a Fiat Panda, driver busy on the cell phone, and two guys on the lorry, one driving the other with a shovel, tipping asphalt into the holes and patting it down with the shovel, just in time for the hunters to rip it all out again as they rush to and fro in their scruffy four wheel drives scouring the countryside for poor defenseless animals, such is the winter pursuit of the locals here in Umbria, Italy.

Anyway I digress, back to the subject, extinguishers recharged, it seemed like a good time to firm up on the marketing plan for next year, quotes obtained, and budget almost allocated.  I had hoped to include a trip to the the World Travel Market in London early next month.  The province was offering the opportunity to stand on their section of the ENIT – Italian state tourist board stand, but after several emails I discover they want €500 just a little excessive for little ol’ me! so reluctantly I declined their offer, and instead I guess if Brussels is anything to go by anyone seeking information from the Umbria stand had jolly well better speak Italian, ‘cos that is all the  local representative spoke there.

This is turning into a rant, but I won’t let it become one, so back to more positive things.  I have been looking through some of the many wonderful photographs that have been sent to me by guys who stayed here at Bellaugello Gay Hotel this year, they are all so fabulous and it is such a hard decision to make to choose those for the new website.  I am thinking of a calendar of my Bellaugello Backs series, but how to choose which pic?  Any thoughts guys, would you like to be in a Bellaugello Calendar?  Jenny, my wee dog had another small operation at the vets.  Almost as soon as she came home, stone in mouth as ever, she was running around as if nothing had happened, a great relief.  Back to the office I have been so pleasantly surprised by the number of bookings already confirmed for next year, some suites have only limited availability for the  height of the summer, it is so rewarding, especially as some bookings are from guys who have already been guests here, and some from guys recommended by previous guests, it is a real warm feeling.

And talking of warm, next summer, plans are now formed for a romantic dreamy large four poster bed to be sited at the far end of the swimming pool, a place for quiet relaxation, cosy cuddles and starry nights, curtains blowing softly in the breeze…..  Also progressing well are the plans for a new loggia on the east side of the house, just as you come out of the dining room, a simple vine covered pergola, the wisteria is already well established, and roses, vines and possibly kiwi fruit to be added each growing through one another making a fragrant and colourful melange over a shady seating lounge area, another place for an aperitivo, or just a cosy chat or snooze…  and finally following my recent trip to Alto Adige I have sourced a fabulous new line of bathroom products, gorgeous ecological gels and shampoos, with a novel presentation, to discover which, like the outdoor four poster bed and new lounge area you will just have to book into Bellaugello.


I gave the guys an option

Yesterday late afternoon in was a bit chilly so I have the guys a choice, dinner outside under the stars or in the dining room.

Left by the guys on the terrace table an arrow, made with small pebbles pointed to the dining room, so it was there I laid the table for one of our Bellaugello candle-lit dinners


24little hours

What a difference a day makes………
This morning at Bellaugello Gay Guest House to put it mildly it looks as if rain is the order of the day!