It’s been an interesting and busy time

Oh I don’t really know where to start it has been such a busy and varied time here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House in sun soaked Italy, but I guess I’ll have to try, so here goes.

August has been a real busy time with guys arriving from all over the world.   Bellaugello has been a real cultural melting pot.  There have been guys from Canada, the USA, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Hungary, Italy, Germany, Bulgaria, Sweden, Colombia, Malaysia, Norway and the UK to name but  a few.  Conversations have flowed and addresses swapped.  One of the particularly nice things about running a business such as Bellaugello is the knowledge that new friends are made and contacts kept. And so many have sent me photos and kindly given me permission to use them, such as this wonderful moonlight shot taken from the gardens at Bellaugello by two great guys from Paris

Lots more pics have also come in for the ‘Bellaugello Backs’ series, I love the series, so do keep them coming guys…

This August like most months has seen returning guests, many of whom talk of guests met during their previous stay here, of past discussions and keep me up to date with news. It is great to be part responsible for creating a network of friendships.

One of the highlights which has certainly been a first for us here at Bellaugello is a marriage proposal – no not for me, I’m still single!  Two great guys from California who have been together for six years told me one breakfast time that they were out for dinner in a lovely restaurant in nearby Gubbio and the setting being so romantic one of the guys kept his promise to his partner that he would one day in Italy, at a suitably romantic location, propose and indeed he did.  He got down one one knee and proposed.  Of course his proposal was accepted.  Watching in the sidelines was the restaurant owner who immediately opened a bottle of prosecco and lavished congratulations on the happy couple.

The guys make a fantastic dynamic couple, I wish them all the best.  They so loved their stay here they plan to return next year for their honeymoon, I cannot wait!

This past month I have had a young helper, the son of my dear friend Anne who although Scottish for reasons best known to her lives in Sweden where she makes the most divine Scottish Tablet flavoured with malt Whiskies.  Anne decided to come over for a break from the eternal Swedish rain and brought with her some of her delicious hand made confectionary.  Of course the guys had to sample the tablet and it looks like Anne will be providing the favours for a Californian wedding.

This month I said goodbye well sort of to an old friend and welcomed a new one.  Seeing just how small the terrace table was I commissioned a local firm of carpenters to make me a new table.  My instructions were that it was to be rustic, in the local style, 4 meters long and wide enough to hold a large decoration in the centre together with serving dishes and platters, and so arrived the new terrace table:The table is so splendid I asked the guys to put their stamp on it which in the time honoured tradition they kindly did:It was a treat to work with such craftsmen and as I imagined the table looks wonderful on the terrace:

August was also a chance for me to catch up with friends from the UK.  A couple of good friends on their annual ‘grand tour’ once again stopped here at Bellaugello, and were only too happy to snap fellow guests enjoying an aperitivo in a quiet piazza in our local town of Gubbio.Another friend agin drove over from Scotland and brought two very special people who have never been abroad before.  These two are destined to stay at Bellaugello a very long time, for they are portraits of my great great great grand parents.  I have hung them in the dining room and as I pass them by I often wonder what they are thinking…..Mind you like me they were farmers too all be it rather more aristocratic looking!

I am writing up on my terrace, there is a breeze blowing, the first cooling breeze for months it has been so very hot and dry here.  Forest fires seen from the terraces at Bellaugello have been an almost daily occurrence, some small others alarmingly large.  Just a few days ago there was a large plume of smoke rising on the hillside opposite the infinity swimming pool.  The fire had got hold in the midst of a woodland surrounded by houses near our local village of Colpalombo.  We watched with horror as the flames leapt ever higherFortunately there was nobody hurt and no houses damaged, surprising considering just how very little rain there has been

Talking of rain it has rained here, yes actually rained.  We had a short sharp dramatic thunder shower yesterday morning, which followed one ten days ago.  Both lasted less than an hour and did nothing but wet the ground and force the sunbathers indoors!  We so desperately need rain.  All the surrounding springs are dry, farmers are having to buy in lorry loads of water to keep animals alive, I am trying to save plants in the garden, and now having to watch large trees shed their leaves.  A friend drove up from Rome and reported the Tiber river which rises north of here as seen by two guests who photographed the source.The guys were on their way for a day shopping trip to the duty free haven of San Marino, that oddity state that sits no more than two hours from Bellaugello and is a veritable mecca for the duty free bargain hunter, and the surrounding countryside picturesque to boot!

Oh and there has been another guest here, this time uninvited…  Two mornings ago I was woken at 5.30am by the sound of cars and dogs.  This time of year it must be the hunters beginning their scout round and practice before the opening of the hunting season.  Indeed it must as when I finally got round to heading to the back gate mid morning there was a poor wee soul.  A dog abandoned at my back gate.  The dog is painfully thin, covered in thick matted hair, completely uncared for and just dumped.  No tag, no chip, no collar, just emaciated and parched and covered in ticks and sores.  I ask myself how could humans bee so awful.  With my dear Milo still suffering from his open cist I do not want the new arrival to come close, but I cannot ignore it.  I asked neighbours for advice which ranged from telephone the rescue service – the rescue service is no more – don’t feed it – take it to the vet – take it to the main road for it to be run over – looks like it’s yours – call the forestale – call the police ecc.

In the meantime I have been feeding it and giving it water, I bought a pair of long rubber gloves (!) and it let me cut the worst of the matted hair, and also its fringe thus enabling it to see! and I then gave it a dose of anti tick ointment.  It is living by the dustbins whilst I find somebody who can find a home or refuge for it.  What a disgrace, such cruelty.

Which leads me on to another new place in Umbria – well not at all new but new to me and reported back to me by guests, the battleground of Hannibal on the shores of nearby Lago Trasimeno.  It seems that this important battle is well recorded and there is an easy to follow interesting route around the various sites: and of course now Lago Trasimeno is utterly beautiful, from the resort style towns that hug the northern shore to the medieval Castiglione del Lago, and of course the islands easily visited by regular ferries, Isola Maggiore not to be missed as it has a good sprinkling of restaurants a great lunch stop as discovered by other guests.

On a happier note after several months of campaigning the Commune of Gubbio finally rediscovered Valdichiascio and got round to some road maintenance.  The road to Bellaugello Gay Guest House is a public road, the problem is the Commune do not maintain it properly, now they say they have no funds.  However they did finally send a grader along the road, pushing some of the humps and bumps into the holes.  It looks better but the cynic in me says that it is only for the benefit of the hunters who charge along the roads all winter and churn up the surface……  Still for now despite rumours the road has been worked on.

So to the swimming pool, my wonderful salt treated  15 meter long infinity pool that is the home to so many ‘Bellaugello Backs’ and where so many great guys relax and soak up the sun.  I look disparingly at the sunloungers I bought only last year.  They were not cheap, looked great in the store (Hotel and Agriturismo specialist suppliers) but they are not lasting the course.  They are sagging.  Last summer we took three back and after a lot of haggling they were exchanged, but alas they sag too.  The store owner blamed the defect on kids jumping up and down on the sunloungers,  no way! retorted my Italian friend who had accompanied me to help…. on the way home we commented there may have been adults doing something similar who knows;-)  Anyway they sadden me so I decided I would search the internet for new ones.  Why is it that I have such expensive taste?  I saw a great sleek design of sunlounger that would look perfect by the pool, and they come in double size too, ideal for cozy relax, so I sent off for a catalogue and price list.  Single sunlounger €1,460 and double €3,400 and the cushions are not included Yikes!!!

And still on the ‘shopping’ theme I recently received an email from a couple of guys from the neighbouring region of Le Marche who have a company selling designer accessories.  They were asking for a link to their business to be placed on my website.  Their products may be made of precious minerals and stones and finest leather however I am unsure if I can associate Bellaugello with luxury designer cockrings, unless you consider the second meaning of the name Bellaugello!