Just a quickie…

With the guidance of Martino one of my neighbours I’m just off to start the pruning of the olive trees, but before I go I wanted to post this picture taken yesterday of the glorious day here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House.  Temperatures reached 25º and the sun shone all day, my solar panels topped the 165º mark, heat glorious heat!

Sunshine for the farmer

Yesterday heralded a glorious cloudless blue sky and warm sunshine and the final day of the olive harvest here at Bellaugello Gay Guest-House in Umbria, central Italy.

The Apennnes glistened bright with a dusting of snow on their summits from the recent snowfall.  The Chiascio valley filled with birdsong in the golden hued oak trees, and we set to work to pick olives from the trees below Belluagello House.  Accompanied by Milo, Edo and Jenny we trotted off to harvest the final trees.  These trees are a little bit wild and un-pruned, but this year heavy with olives that I just could not resist picking even if it was a bit of a challenge. It seemed a shame to leave these delightful black and deep red fruit to fall to the ground, the dogs all looked on in wonder as ‘dad’ climbed higher and higher showering olives down on them and the pickers below!

The delight of climbing a ladder high into the branches of the olive trees, warm sun on my back and sensual shiny black fruit coming easily from the branches and falling into the net below is hard to describe, but was one of the pleasanter farming jobs of recent days.

Tomorrow the olives go for pressing to the frantoio,where they will turn as if by magic into wonderous green piquant oil, and yes we will be eating bruschetta brushed with garlic and our own Bellaugello Olive Oil by that evening.  However not all, as we have reserved some particularly fine large specimens for salting.  Following a traditional recipe thirty days of washing the olives are followed by salting and then flavouring, the resultant olives to be served with aperitivos sipped here on the sun filled terraces next summer, a perfect accompaniment for the local Grechetto, the crisp white wine of Umbria.

Heartfelt Thanks to all

To each and every one who sent me warm messages of support and sympathy for my  recent bereavement, many many thanks, I have been overwhelmed the sheer volume and thoughtful messages, they have meant a great deal to me.

The funeral was yesterday, attended by family and friends in a delightful crematorium in south west Scotland.  A blustery autumnal day was fitting. We drove the costal road I have driven countless times from home, the sea was filled with white horses rolling enthusiastically into the bays, gold and russet leaves blowing from the beech trees and skeins of geese  flying overhead, a real Galloway day.  The family chose pieces of music and poems loved by mother, and friends read them beautifully, it was a fitting service for a well loved and respected woman.

Now I’m packing my bags and all to ready to return home to Bellaugello Gay Guest House where my dogs and the olive harvest await.  Regular updates from home have told me that it has been raining in Umbria, so although a wee bit late we would not have been harvesting olives this week, but next.  I am looking forward to the harvest and seeing progress on the various projects currently underway  and I have done Christmas shopping here to give our houseparties a truly international theme all very exciting.

Spring colour

The sun continues to shine here at Bellaugello Gay guesthouse in Umbria, Italy.

Yesterday I spent a busy day planting in the garden and then took the dogs for a delightfully long circular walk on the strada bianca of Valdichiascio.  Today I am off to start pruning the olive trees before they begin to flower.

Melograno & Olive picking


My good friends Paola and Irish gave me a ‘Melograno’ or Pomegranate tree for my birthday last year, and now the pomegranates are ripe and just waiting to be picked.  An easy job as the tree is young and the fruit are large.

We decided that we will harvest our olives the first week of November.  Olive harvesting is a wonderful experience, we harvest all by hand in the time honoured way, combing the olives fom the trees into the nets below.  This year the fruit are plentiful but small, and as last year I will be combining the olives from Bellaugello with Paola and Irish’s olives so that we can get a single cold pressing of our organic olives.