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,
I don’t know if I should be posting today because the boffins are working on migrating my jottings to the new look blog and website, I hope I am not upsetting them or destroying code! We are getting so close, yes, I know I have said that for so long, but it is true, I can almost smell the newness of the Bellaugello Gay Country House Website like the soft delicate aroma of gently frying transparent onions, or the waft of the newly cut lawns, the caress of the lavender newly awoken from its slumber, or freshly baked bread just out of the oven, or the excitement of a first dip in our infinity pool, it is real exciting!
Very soon you will be able to book online with our new ‘book now’ facility and I will have a new look blog.
In the meantime for a bit of colour and local news I post a couple of picture of the amazing annual “Festa dei Ceri” held in our local town of Gubbio each 15th of May.
Come join in the fun, of course we all go and spend the day in this magnificent medieval town a stone’s throw from Bellaugello. We still have a few luxury suites available including our luxury romantic duplex, the Giardino Suite. email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are a guy who likes men in tights then you need to get your ticket booked to Umbria to be here for Saturday 25th. April. Fly into our local airport of Perugia S Francesco di Assisi, we now have regular flights from Rome, Munich, Barcelona and London, book into Bellaugello Gay Country House where you will find luxurious suites, a huge garden and perfect peace in a beautiful setting and on the Saturday morning head to our local medieval town of Gubbio where in the spectacular setting of the elevated Piazza Grande there will be an exhibition of flag throwing as the huge bell in the campanile of the Palazzo dei Consoli is tolled by hand, or rather foot by a team the only membership being passed from father to son.
It is a truly magnificent event and a great taste of the delights to be found in this deliciously unspoilt corner of Europe and Bellaugello is the place to base your stay.
A glorious day here at Bellaugello Gay Country House, the sun shone brightly and temperatures reached 23˚c the infinity swimming pool is glistening and beginning to heat up. As I finished work we noticed Bobby casting a measured eye over the gardens and a photo was swiftly taken…
It is a delightful week, the weather is still warm, sun fills the azure sky, and there is a sense of peace and tranquillity as I spend delicious days doing autumnal tasks in the garden. The logs are stacked away in the shed, ready for the cooler winter days when we light the fires, lawns have received what I guess (and hope) is their final cut for the year, and hedges are being clippered, tidied up for the winter. Of course the trees are beginning to shed their leaves, colours turning magical ambers and golds and reds, most still clinging tightly to the branches, but just enough falling to make sweeping up a necessary chore.
Today I am off to town, I have an invite for a halloween party, and need to find a mask.. What a horror, I find the thought utterly intimidating. What do I wear? It is a party of a newly made friend, and I suspect will be rather smart and full of handsome men, I am more than a little bit anxious about the whole thing.
And next week sees the opening of the TRUFFLE FAIR in our local town of Gubbio. This is the 33rd year of the event, held over four days in the centro storico of this beautiful medieval town. There will be feasts of truffles, wild mushrooms and chestnuts. Umbria is a delight at this time of year, so many towns holding food fayres, sheer indulgence.. and then all to soon we will be picking olives, a task I adore!
Often at dinner as the host at Bellaugello Gay Guest House I relate how odd it is that I choose to run a gay guest house and whilst being a gay man I am in so many ways so un-stereotypically gay.
I ask the question, why as a gay man should I have to like gay icons or divas? I really do not like Liza Minelli and hated the ‘sex and the city’ series, detest ‘big brother’ and would rather not listen to Barbara Streisland’s music. All that tantrums and tiaras stuff just does not cut it for me. Perhaps that is why I am here as a peasant farmer in rural Umbria… I do love my garden, harvesting olives by hand, making marmalade and lolling lazily in my infinity pool. OK I admit being a ‘peasant farmer’ does have its attractions… and maybe some of them are a little bit stereotypically gay but… And Bellaugello does host the most exquisite guys, handsome, articulate, interesting and immensely, fascinating guys from all over the world, So many different professions and different life experiences, I adore my guests, quite simply I adore my job which gives me the opportunity to meet such a variety of people.
By now you will be asking why this long pre-amble? What is Alec on about? Those of you who who who are long-term readers of my blog by now have probably fathomed out a bit how my brain works (could you please let me know!) Others I am sure will be asking themselves ‘why am I reading the is?’
So to cut to the chase one of the people I most admired in my life died this morning. I will admit to being just a wee bit sad and surprised when Joan Rivers died, but it is not her I refer to, but Deborah, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, her death has left me more than a bit sad. Happy for her that she is out of suffering, but her passing does mark the end of a glamorous era.
As a child I had the immense fortune to have been on holiday in Derbyshire and taken to visit Chatsworth House. I was over-awed by the magnificence, the dare I say grandiosity, the visit stuck in my memory. Times pass and I graduate in hotel management, and periodically Chatsworth crops up in conversation, they are opening Bolton Abbey Hotel, it is a place to watch. The Devonshires take a personal management of the hotel. I re-visit Chatsworth on several occasions, every time there is something new to see. They convert the stables and coach-house into a restaurant and wedding venue, host sculpture exhibitions and the duchess whilst still finding time to tend her chickens is inspirational in opening an organic and quality farm shop. The business goes from strength to strength, and if her books are to be believed, and I believe they are, so very much of the credit must go to the late Dowager. She comes over as innovative, daring, mildly eccentric and yet a bit fragile, a bit outside her circle and un-stereotypical. Not that I would ever deign to put myself on a pedestal akin to hers, the Dowager was pure genius and to me inspirational, her ideas formed the nucleus of so many of mine.
I can’t claim her as a friend, I am just one of tens of thousands whose path crossed hers, but I do remember my time in Wiltshire in the 1990s when I travelled regularly to London and bought books from a rather good bookshop. Occasionally our paths crossed, maybe the Duchess was there for a book signing, but more often she, like me was choosing a book to read, on a couple of occasions she offered a word of advice on my choice or that of the assistant. Her warmth, her passion, evident, yes the Duchess was just another person browsing books and that is exactly as she came across to me, yet back home she was running the most innovative and spectacular and successful business. Reading her books I note that it had not been easy, an unconventional upbringing, fabulously clever siblings, crippling death duties, massive debts, not the easiest of marriages, insurmountable obstacles, the horrid experience of losing children early in their lives, yet she overcame them all, a stoic, and to me was a true inspiration an icon, in my way of thinking a true diva.
and damn it all she was good looking and elegant too….
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