On olive trees

Some years, now I guess decades ago the comune of Gubbio decided to “re-model” the piazza of S Giuseppe, known to many as the home of the church to Terence Hill – or “Don Matteo”.  They called in the architect Gae Aulenti a Milanese architect who radically modernised the space.  What had been a lowly market space, she remodelled into a trendy piazza with water feature and olive trees used in an architectural way.

Now, at Christmas time with the rainbow coloured lights I think this is a delightful space, however a dear friend of mine absolutely detests the use of trees in an architectural setting.  So since forever, apart from the two happy yew trees that I style in my garden, one as a cone which you can see in the first photo, and is much admired and commented on, the other on the way to the Jacuzzi terrace a pyramid, all be it a bit lop sided pyramid  I have avoided architectural plants.  

Until this spring.

Dear Greta Thunberg is so right, global warming is a terrifying tangible fact of life.

I have noted how my annual bedding plants do not bring summer colour, but really struggle in the hot sun.  Ten years ago I could fill pots with geraniums, surfinias, lobelia, pelargoniums.  They would cascade over th posts and down walls and onto lawns.  But over recent years no matter how much tender loving care and watering we give them, they just suffer.    It is unfair.

The cute olive trees were sitting in prime location in the garden centre and they had a ‘we want to come home with you’ label on them, so they did.  I planted them up and put them in the large urns on the main terrace.  I love the effect, they look great and they should love the heat, May is flowering time and they are generous in their flowers.  Maybe we can add their fruit to the olive harvest this autumn.  But there is one tiny problem, each time I look at them I think of my dear friend and wonder if she is looking askance.  Hmmm…

Simply Our Olive Oil, Our Olives picked with Love

Sunday 26th March 2023

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As a Scotsman I never, in my wildest dreams, dreamt to one day be climbing into the branches of an olive tree in Umbria, Italy, let alone my olive trees to be picking olives to make my own Olive Oil.  But it is a reality.

Toward the second half of October I look out the nets, crates and ladders and other paraphernalia ready to take them all to the Olive trees and together with friends start the olive harvest.  It’s a task I adore.  Increasingly we pick earlier each year.  I remember days when it was bitterly cold and the wind was biting.  With global warming we now start earlier, the olives are ready sooner, the mills open, and we generally pick in just T shirts and shorts.   To date I’ve not attempted naked picking, it may happen, who knows…. 

I’m not going to write too much of the procedure here, I wrote extensively in the past, so scroll back through my posts a good few years and you can learn exactly how we pick and press the olives, and what is my favourite meal of the year.

So nets spread on the ground we pick in company.  Some on the ground reaching up into the lower branches, some on ladders propped on sturdy and sometimes not so sturdy branches, and some of us climbing into the trees.  It is a delightful sociable time.  Lots of gossip, laughter and scandal.  Frequent breaks always refreshed by a bag of apples, those small rosy ones picked off the trees  that grow wild in the valley, crisp and juicy.

Our 250ml bottle of Bellaugello Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Single Estate Italian Olive Oil, picked with love

Picking done, it can take some days, we head off to the Frantoio in our local town of Gubbio.  We still go to Frantoio Rossi, read about the procedure in a previous post.  The process is traditional, as it always has been.  I know the vogue is for laboratory sterile air-free mills, but we are dealing with a foodstuff.  We pick with love and I think the olives deserved to be treated with a bit of dignity, not as a laboratory experiment.

Anyway back home with our green gold we toast saltless Umbrian bread over the wood fire, rub the slices with garlic and sprinkle with salt before dousing the bread liberally in what is green peppery pungent oil.  The peppery green-ness subsides after a couple of weeks, so it is always magical dinner washed down with local red wine.

Here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House we sprinkle our oil over salads, we cook with our oil, we bake focaccia and other breads with our oil.  Our oil is an ingredient in our ‘Panzanella’ a cold sunup crammed full of fresh fresh vegetables, and our oil has been known to be used as a sun cream…

We put a small bottle of our Olive Oil in the rooms here at Bellaugello.  Each room has a kitchen corner, so it seems fitting to give you a taster of our oil to smother on your tomatoes, mozzarella and salads.






We also have Bellaugello Olive Oil for sale in the guesthouse.  Bottles of 250ml and 500ml.  Great for your kitchen and great for gifts.  Pick some up when you stay Bellaugello

I love my Infinity Pool


A photo says it all.  Doesn’t really require words, and in future my choice of words will be more carefully scrutinised before clicking the ‘Publish’ button! (thanks P for alerting me to that slip-up)A beautiful back in the infinity pool at Bellaugello Gay Country  House, Umbria, Italy

What I would like to know is if I can put this photo on Facebook?  We are in disagreement over their policy guidelines re nudity, and I would hate to think of our f/b page going down.  What do you think?

All I know is that the infinity pool at Bellaugello Gay Country House, is such a beautiful place to enjoy and relax, and the views aren’t all that bad either!


Oh what a beautiful morning!

I am feeling guilty.  Not only do I live here at Bellaugello Gay Country House in one of the most beautiful corners of Europe, but also I have been a poor blogger of late.  So to make up for that I post a few photographs of what you are all missing this morning…

Monday morning at Bellaugello Gay Country House, Umbria, Italy, the gay resort in Europe,#BellaugelloMonday morning at Bellaugello Gay Country House, Umbria, Italy, the gay resort in Europe,#BellaugelloMonday morning at Bellaugello Gay Country House, Umbria, Italy, the gay resort in Europe,#BellaugelloMonday morning at Bellaugello Gay Country House, Umbria, Italy, the gay resort in Europe,#BellaugelloMonday morning at Bellaugello Gay Country House, Umbria, Italy, the gay resort in Europe, #BellaugelloI am off to work under the Umbrian sun, there is so much to do in the garden and we still have the olive trees to prune, I hardly know which way to turn, but don’t worry I will be back to blogging soon!



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…

Tempo per la marmelata!

Take twelve kilos of fragrant, juicy plump luscious unwaxed Sicilian oranges and lemons bought early in the market yesterday in our local town on Gubbio, wash them, search out the assistance of Vince, (to whom credit for the photos) who nobly spent the morning chopping shredding and juicing.

Cirtus fruit for marmalade at #Bellaugello

Place the prepared fruit into the jam pan and cover with sugar and set to simmer, reduce by 1/3rd.

Making marmelade at Bellaugello Gay Guest House in Umbria Italy

And so begins the process of our first marmalade of 2015, ambrosia for the guys breakfasts here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House in the rural tranquillity of Umbria, central Italy.  Tomorrow adding the Scotch Whisky and the bottling….

Honeymoon shot

Thanks “A” for the photo, taken on honeymoon here in our infinity pool at Bellaugello Gay Guest House, Umbria, Italy

Another beautiful back for the series

Spam spam spam

3476 spam mails in my blog spambox, 238 spams in my email boxes, and my mails are bouncing back…

I dunno what is happening, but my mails seem to be under attack.  I have the web designers on the case, and they have discovered somebody else is sending spam mails from my account.

It is bad news for me and for you guys.  I have been trying to make contact with people who have mailed me but some of my mails are bouncing back, so it seems as if I ma not replying.

I am making every effort to rectify the situation and have another call with the webmaster schedule for this afternoon, in the meantime, if you have not received a reply please re-send your mail with your telephone number or Skype contact and I will call you back.



The Sun is shining and as the Nöel Cowerd song goes “mad dogs and English men go out in the midday sun” so it has been a week of dogs here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House though not all choose to be outside under the hot Umbrian sun…

Firstly a delightful couple from England, Molly and Luca, ever sprightly, Molly suffering somewhat from ‘Bobby’s attentions, and Luca defending his sister! Next a return visit from Oneil, from Southern Italy, an Irish setter who is sooo calm and relaxed in the shade of a parasol, and now Miguel from Spain, rescued and brought to Italy by two caring thoughtful guys from Northern Italy, and seen here at the upper window of the Giardino Suite admiring the view down the Chiascio valley