This morning soft rain fell and clouds hung in the valley below.  It was one of those magical Umbrian days, as slowly the mists rose and refreshed hillsides and fields were revealed.  The much needed rain brought life to the plants, and newly fertilised lawns here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House.

And talking of plants, as if by magic three fabulous heavily scented roses appeared yesterday morning on the terrace.  It seems my guests from the southern hemisphere just adore roses, and felt that the gardens at Bellaugello Gay B&B could do with a few more….

Thanks to James and David for their fragrant and beautiful gifts and also for having planted them!  It was real fun having you guys to stay.


Shades of grey

A magical misty morning here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House, the sound of bells on hunters’ dogs, another wild boar hunt is underway….

Senza Telefono – No Telephone

C’è un guasto sul il mio telefono fisso.  TelecomItalia vogliono due giorni per controllare il guasto, quindi sono senza telefono a Bellaugello Gay Guest House Hotel…….  Che Servizio!!

The telephone line here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House in Umbria went dead last night.  I only discovered it this morning when my architect tried to call me, finally getting through on the mobile.

I had a chum call TelecomItalia – the telephone service who are responsible for providing my telephone.  He called me back on the mobile – TelecomItalia can see there is a fault, but don’t know what is causing it……

They want TWO DAYS to look into the fault……… and that’s before they do a repair. Just what century are we living in??? how can I run a Guest House / Hotel with such a delinquent telephone service?

È per quelli da voi che segue il mio blog, Grazie a TIM io ancora non dispongo di un iPhone 4, sono in attesa per un iPhone 4 solo cinque mese!!

And By the way for those of you following my blog, I still do not have an iPhone 4…… TIM the mobile arm of TelecomItalia still do not have any available, and I do not have time to sit in one of their shops on the off chance one is delivered, and NO I cannot reserve on.  Now that is five months I have been waiting, yet they advertise them on tv constantly, communications huh!!

Mi arrendo, vado a chiedere al mio vicino di casa per qualche vettore piccioni molto più eco-friendly e attraente!

I give up, I’m off to ask my neighbour for some carrier pigeons far more eco-friendly and attractive!!

digging up plants – all in a good cause

This morning a telephone call announced that finally after seemingly endless months (indeed it has been eight months) the electricity company are starting work on renewing the overhead power cables that supply Bellaugello Gay Guest House.

I went outside to be greeted by a heavy frost and clear, clear blue skies.  Two guys were waiting in the drive, and together we walked up the road to where the new supply will terminate, and a new big (doubtlessly, enormous) electric meter will be housed.  We have already prepared the cement base and run tubes ready for the cables to connect into the house.  The electricity company kindly agreed to remove the final pole that is near to the house, thus all the electric cables at Bellaugello will in future be undeground.  I am so glad to be rid of the last pole and also the electric meter that currently adorns my sitting room, as was the fashion fifty years ago – maybe installation art??  This does mean them replacing the penultimate pole with a new stronger one and….

They need access from the road to cement in the new pole, and install the new meter, and there is a fence, green protective netting, both erected last year, and laurel hedging which I planted three years ago and which is growing nicely in the way.   So I spent the morning in beautiful sunshine carefully folding the protective netting, and then unpicked the link fence thus creating an opening.

But the laurel hedge has become large and I so hate digging up plants.  Three or maybe four need to be temporarily removed.  It breaks my heart, sentimental old sod that I am, I told the plants what I was about to do and started digging.  One hour in I broke my best spade handle, maybe the plants did not want to be removed, they have certainly grown large and splendid roots.  I persevered and now have one plant out with its roots safely wrapped against the morning frost.  Tomorrow I need to get the next ones out as I refuse to take any blame for further delays to the new electricity supply.  By friday the plants will be replanted, and newly fertilised, hopefully will soon be back to normal. Whether or not the electricity will be working is another matter….

Gardening & Dogs

Yesterday was yet another sunny day here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House in Umbria and with temperatures in the mid to high twenties heralded an afternoon of gardening which meant the beginning of autumn garden clearance.  Leaves are turning glorious golds, reds and yellows, but falling from the trees, and need to be raked up.  Summer pots require their bedding plants to be replaced, we chose winter pansies in a wonderful apricot colour, and the grass got what surely must be a final trim..

The dogs got a bath!  Milo, Edo and Jenny each took it in patient turns under the hose to get a shampoo and big wash.  Jenny our Cocker Spaniel, being a Spaniel loves water and delighted in the hose and attention, The boys, English Setters are normally not fond of too much water, but they too revelled in the bathtime fun, all three of them patiently standing whilst they were shampoo’ed and then rinsed off.  Result, three beautifully clean and softly fluffy dogs, all ready for those muddy winter walks!

Global Warming

I am a Global Warming Sceptic.  I Believe it is happening but not necessarily for the reasons the media and politicians would have us believe.

I guess our climate is changing, and we are experiencing freak weather, but is this not quite simply a natural cyclical progression of the world.  Through time there have been ice ages and warm spells, rivers normally wet froze and rivers normally wet dried up, sea level changed, and vegetation migrated to and fro, and all this without the internal combustion engine or aerosol sprays.  Big business just wants to sell us their ‘ecological’ product – which is in no way ecological.

Tell me honestly what is ecological about ‘energy saving lightbulbs‘?  They do not last any longer than conventional incandescent lightbulbs, indeed they last a shorter time.  Here in Italy a low energy lightbulb costs anything from €5 to €12.  Now that is not cheap, so when last in the UK to see my partner I filled my 10kg luggage allowance with among other things low energy lightbulbs.  Three have already failed.  Tell me please why is it that I have a lightbulb in one of my bedside lamps that I removed from a house I bought in the 1980’s in Scotland, the bulb has travelled round that country and is now here in Italy and it works, bright as the day it was made.  Have you ever looked at an ‘environmentally friendly’ lighbulb.  Boy oh boy is it complicated, where do all those parts come from and what ever is in the base?  To the simpleton in me it looks far more scary than a convertional lightbulb.  Someone is making money putting this rubbish in the bulb, and we are paying for it.  The ploiticos claim these bulbs use less energy, but how much additional energy does it take to make?   Bring back the incandescent lighbulb, cost 80cents, manufactured locally and when it does finally give in, is less environmentally damaging to dispose of.

Yes we must act responsibly, irresposibility is not good, and I include in irresponsible acts, largescale housing on floodplains, destruction of rainforest, and needless polution, often perpetrated by large multi-national corporations and senseless acts such as flying prawns fished in Scotland to be peeled in Thailand and then flown back to Scotland for consumption.  and what really annoys me is that 80% of the energy consumed by a car in its lifetime is used in its manufacture, surely an arguement for classic cars, yet no we are lured into trashing our existing cars and buying new with ‘government sponsored scrappage schemes’

As a race, we need to re-learn the skills of caring and consideration which we seem all to much have replaced with greed and gain.

To me global warming is inevitable, we as a human race may be contributing to it but not on the scale the politicos and big business would have us believe. Here at Bellaugello gay guest house in Umbria we have restored the house using products that are as bio friendly as building will permit.  Many of materials used have been manufactured locally and I recycle like mad.  Unlike a house restoration in the UK which professed 100% ecological pretentsions.  The stone for rebuild of the ruined the house had to be transported from a quarry in Wales, it wa acceptable to use concrete as long as it was not seen in the end result, and the ‘environmentally friendly eco-sustainable’ roofing material, reed thatch came all the way from Romania, yeah real ecological!  I don’t claim to be an eco-freek however I would like to think I am eco-aware.

And all this because last night there was a southerly wind that blew into a storm. One of the problems of having a house on a southerly sunny aspect, is when the wind comes from the south we get it all, and yesterday evening it was like being in the slipstream of a jet fighter, everything but everything was racing to escape.  We have electric cables below the house and every so often a blue flash would light up the sky and  the power went down in the house, the satelite dish spun round like a whorling dervish, for once Sky programming was entertaining.

As I went to bed it started to rain. This morning I awoke to torrential rain and the sight of the road sitting in the garden.  We installed a rainwater grille at the main entrance to Bellaugello gay bed and breakfast here in Umbria, – the road to the house slopes gently down toward the gate, but clearly it is not big enough, the water cascaded over the grille and decided to wash the road surface, and re-locate a large pile of sand into the garden.

Global warming, huh I don’t know all I do know is that I now have to wheelbarow loads of sand back uphill, one happy consequence, it beats going to the Gym!

I’ll leave this rant with one last observation.  When walking in Glasgow with my three dogs I assidiously picked up the dog ‘mess’ by means of plastic mini-sacks kindly given out free of charge by Glasgow City Council.  Yes I too hate stepping in dog dirt.  Picking the dirt up – Admirable, but no.  What is the sense of collecting an organic product and putting it in an non-degradable receptacle which is then either left hanging in trees – (can somebody please explain that strange phenomenon?) or whisked  off to the landfill or incinerator?  Who profits?  The bag manufacturers, landfill site and incinerator site operators, and they are not me and you, they are big business.