dreamy morning

Yesterday here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House was another delightful sunny day, no excuse to do anything other than laze by the pool.

Today looks set to be the same, there is already warmth in the sun.  The sky is an uninterrupted azure blue, mist hangs low in the valley, clinging to the hillsides  which always reminds me of those wonderful sea view photos of infinity swimming pools in the Greek islands, the hilltop in front of the village of Carbonesca rising majestically through the mist like an island in a dreamy sea.

There is no other place I would rather be than here at Bellaugello….


1st of June – Primo di Guigno

Magic is in the air here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House in Umbria…   Today the 1st of June and tonight I have seen my first firefly of the year.  Within days the gardens will be filled with these wonderous nocturnal creatures, I can’t wait..

Magic è in aria qui a Bellaugello Gay Guest House in Umbria … Oggi è il 1 ° giugno e stasera ho visto la mia lucciola prima parte dell’anno. Entro pochi giorni il giardino sarà pieno di queste creature notturne meraviglioso, non vedo l’ora ..

San Valentino – St Valentine’s

With Valentine’s falling on a monday this year I decided here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House near Gubbio in Umbria, to start the celebrations tonight as guys have managed to take the weekend off and most will have to leave tomorrow to be back at work, so I am cooking a romantic Red St Valentines’s Dinner, but in keeping with the tradition here at Bellaugello we will all be sitting at dinner together around my big antique family dining-table.  You may reason it is not very romantic, but how are you to know if all the guests are couples or singles!!!………

Today the weather changed, we have been experiencing balmy spring days with uninterrupted sunshine and temperatures reaching the low twenties ºc, but last night the clouds came over and this morning I woke to a mist covered world.

It is not cold, it is just misty, you can’t see far and all is silence, and what an excuse for a lazy day in bed watching dvds or using the wireless internet connections in all the suites and surfing the web, or quite simply relaxing in a cozy armchair with a good book or game of scrabble infront of a roaring log fire, either in a suite or the dining room, or sweating in the finnish sauna, it is certainly a day for doing little and not straying far from the comfort of Bellaugello Gay B&B

Anyway back to dinner.  I have always loved cooking and entertaining, and have in The past thought up whacky themed dinners.  (the murder-mystery dinner at Christmas was a roaring success!), these included colour themes and I have been known to host blue dinners, orange dinners and red dinners.  Now some colours are decidedly difficult – green dinners are fine for vegans but not of much appeal to others, and my attempt at a black dinner was not overly-successful as I resorted to squid ink pasta with some very dark sauce, charcoal grilled sausages and slow cooked venison in a thick black juniper sauce, caremelised root vegetables and for pud, crème caramel with the caramel through the crème (not a success).  I must admit there was a vague but distinctly present underlying taste of charcoal and blackjack throughout the meal, made somewhat worse if I admit publicly to serving ‘Black Tower Liebfraumilch’ (a particularly nasty screw-top wine thankfully probably only found in the ‘deli’s’ in the back streets of Dumfries!) – do they make black wine? I thought full bodied reds not to be black enough and I wasn’t going to ruin them with the addition of blackjack, I just adore Amarone and Brunellos and rich clarets.  I did find black candles, and napkins and black glasses, and all the guests wore black and now I think about it the Guinness cocktails were excellent… hmm perhaps I could refine that a bit and try again someday…….

However tonight is different it is a romatic red dinner.  This time I have not insisted that all guests wear red, but the dining room is adorned with red candles, out have come my special red wine glasses and tumblers, red napkins, red tablecloth and of course red roses. We start with a hot tomato soufflé, followed by beetroot linguine with crayfish, then poached fillet of salmon (ok – stretching the red there a little bit) with timbales of wild red rice and radicchio salad, then finishing off with cranberry  pancakes with  raspberry sauce.  My choice of wines are all red, and from either Umbria or Toscana including a particularly heavenly sweet red from near Lucca,  Red roses adorn the table centres, we are in for a magical romantic evening here…. and yes, there will be chocolates on the pillows tonight!

A tutti i mei carissimi amici vi auguro “Felice San Valentino”

To all of you throughout the world I wish you a very Happy romantic St Valentine’s day, (especially romantic for two special friends M & R in London who recently made public very exciting happy news xx) Currently  I have many friends holidaying in Malaysia, China and Thailand and other points east, they will wake up to Valentines before me, so I feel less guilty serving my valentine’s dinner NOW!!!! – must dash…….

Matrimonio a Valdichiascio

There was a double celebration yesterday here in Valdichiascio near Gubbio in Umbria, Italy.

My great friends Luca and Valentina were married and shortly after had their son, Pietro baptised, a cause for a major party.

Luca flies helicopters for the Corpo Forestale, and in every sense of the word has a sense of adventure and over-abundant generosity, which to me is complimented by Valentina’s sense of humour, infinite patience and fantstic sense of fun.  They are a great couple and organised a superb evening to which they invited over 200 friends.  It seemed like the whole of Valdichiascio were there present, along with Luca and Valentina’s familes, and work colleagues and friends.  Guys staying here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House, were all invited to the party by the bride and groom, (thanks Luca and Valentina, they really had a fantastic time) and had a chance to mix with the locals and meet many of my cool neighbours.

Catering was by Sabrina and Calaudia of my favourite restaurant, ‘Bargello‘ in Gubbio, and  music by local dj.  The entire evening was held outdoors in the garden with tables bedecked with organza and groaning with food and wines.  To the north over the Apeninnes rumbled unheard a large storm, the clouds illuminated vivid oranges by the distant lightning, very dramatic and quite spectacular, but overhead here a magical cloudless starry sky.

Oh and I just had to wear my kilt and be photographed with the Bride 🙂

Gay passions

So what are gay guys fabled to just lurve doing? keep it clean guys!

Today I went shopping, haha! a big trip to Ikea in Ancona and boy oh boy!  There were kitchens to be chosen, it is a blast having not one but four kitchens to buy at the same time.  Beds were tested and bounced on, then selected, singles that clip together to form huge double beds.  A good friend has offered me a beautiful historic wrought iron  antique bedstead which will go in the garden suite, but I needed to find a matress, so more trial bouncing! Oh and then soft furnishings,  pillows, cushions, and pool towels… do I go for pastel rainbow colours or sophisticated grey towels, mmm, samples brought home to test.  Great traditional chairs for the terrace dining table, the list went on and on as did the bill!

No way will Bellaugello be a shrine to Ikea, I have lots of lovely family pieces and pictures that will go into the suites, but it was an interesting day  of eye candy and theoretical shopping!!