Scroll to topSCROLL TO TOP
NEWSLETTER ISSUE 109 / July 2019

Dear Friend,

Painting at the watermill in Tuscany, Italy

Our big news is that from the middle of June, the Watermill has become self-sufficient in energy, followingthe commissioning of our photovoltaic electricity-generating system. We are now putting far more back into the National Grid than we consume, so we are feeling proud of our contribution to a greener planet, even though it’s a tiny one. There are more details below.

Making new friends at the watermill in Tuscany
Making electricity on a sunny day

And following the successful inauguration of the solar-generated electricity system, we are now beginning to introduce air-conditioning. We made a start in the communal dining room and studio, and in some of the bedrooms. And by the beginning of next season, we hope to have air-conditioning, powered by the sun, everywhere in the Watermill complex.

We only have a few places left on our 2019 courses: the latest availability is detailed below and, as we have also said before, don’t be too disappointed if you find that a course you really want to come on is fully booked: there are often cancellations. Let us know when you would like to come, and we’ll put you on a waiting list.

But if you’re a painter, to be sure of a place this year, how about coming on Sue Ford’s or Jude Scott’s courses where, at present at least, we still have a few places; and if you’re a writer, why not learn the secrets of scriptwriting for television and the screen with Laurence Marks?

Preview our 2020 creative courses at the Watermill in Italy

Looking ahead to next year, no fewer than 40 people have already booked up for our 2020 courses. There is a special Early Early Bird offer: if you book one of our 2020 creative courses before this September, you can enjoy it at 2019 prices. For a preview of next year’s courses and the link for you to reserve your place, please click here.

In this month’s newsletter there are stories on:

  • the Watermill mill is becoming even greener
  • a glimpse of the new Gentileschi bedroom
  • adding music to the Watermill week
  • The multi-talented Sue Ford
  • availability on all our 2019 Watermill creative courses
  • Take Ernest Hemingway’s advice and stop writing while you’re doing well

Happy reading....

Our friend, the renowned Italian photographer Francesco Lastrucci came to visit us again in June for a couple of days and produced some more marvellous pictures which will be using on our website when we update it in a month or so’s time. Here are sneak previews of some of them. The pictures at the top capture the concentration and the sheer fun of a Watermill painting course, while the two below show the newly refurbished watermill dining room ready for our guests and, to the right, everyone tucking into the famous Watermill Sunday buffet lunch.

Dining at the watermill in Italy

Come to the watermill in Tuscany with your partner or friend
‘I fancy a week at the Watermill, Bathsheba.
It would take us Far from the Madding Crowd.’,
Julie Christie and Alan Bates

Bring a partner:
there’s plenty for them to do

Why not bring your friend or partner?
They don’t have to participate in the course, but they will be able to enjoy the wonderful hospitality of the mill and, whenever they want, to come out with you to our beautiful locations.

We also offer a range of Alternative activities for partners on all our courses, as well as a generous £GBP 250 discount if they share a room with you.

The Watermill is becoming greener

Making new friends at the watermill in Tuscany
More yellow than red means green:
our self-generated supply easily outstrips demand

In the middle of June, we commissioned our new photovoltaic electricity generation system and after a fortnight, we are happy to say that thanks to the power of the sun, we are now producing much more electricity than we are using.

The snapshot on the right shows the position on 25 June. With more sunny days at the end of the month, we have now generated more than 1000 kWh and, furthermore, we’ve avoided the production of some 700 kg of CO2.

Bill is enjoying regular visits to our photovoltaic app, which shows in real-time just how much electricity we are generating

Solar panels on the watermill's roof

Our sincere thanks to the architect Stefano Santini and his team, and our brilliant builders Nico and Daniele, who aesthetically incorporated the photovoltaic panels in our ancient roofs.

As well as helping to save the planet, our solar powered electricity will help to make our guests even more comfortable. We have already made a start on installing air-conditioning units in the Watermill bedrooms and public rooms. There is now air conditioning in the studio and in the communal dining room (and in our industrial kitchen, to keep our cooks cool and calm as they prepare your delicious meals). We also now have units in the Lippi Suite and in the Brunelleschi and Donatello bedrooms.

We will be working again in October to complete the whole system, so that by the beginning of the 2020 season we should have air-conditioning everywhere, all powered by the sun. Along with our moves to cut down on the use of plastic, notably with our reusable vacuum flasks and our delivery system for cool natural and fizzy water, we are working hard on the “greening” of the Watermill. Come and enjoy the fruits of our labours yourself!

A glimpse of the new Gentileschi bedroom

Making new friends at the watermill in Tuscany
Pictures: Francesco Lastrucci

As part of our efforts constantly to improve our offering at the Watermill, we are slowly working on re-styling our bedrooms, to give each of them a distinctive motif and ambiance. Here are some pictures of the newly created Gentileschi bedroom, with giant dandelion puffballs floating on the walls, painted by Lois and our friend Vivienne White.

painting by Mike Willdridge

The pictures on the wall above the bed are by our friend and Watermill tutor Mike Willdridge, part of his ‘100 pictures in 100 days’ challenge. You can see the final picture, number 100, on the sitting room wall. In fact, the whole of the Watermill is gradually becoming an exciting contemporary art gallery.

But why not come and see for yourself? As we said, we still have a few places on our 2019 creative courses, and we are already taking bookings for 2020. For a preview of next year’s courses and the link for you to reserve your place, please click here.

Music at the mill by Letizia and Harry

Adding a musical dimension to our creative courses

We’ve been adding an extra aesthetic dimension to our creative courses, with a little light evening music to entertain our guests during their Tuesday evening aperitivi. Local teenagers Letizia and Harry, sitting under the rose pergola, play tunes ancient and modern as we sip our pre-dinner drinks under the vine verandah. The perfect way to relax after a strenuous creative day and before and delicious home-cooked Italian dinner.

Watermill in Tuscany's Painting NewsPAINTING NEWS

Sue Ford – multitalented, multimedia, multicoloured, multi-inspiring!

Paintings by Sue Ford

We still have one or two places left with our lovely, sympathetic English painting tutor Sue Ford, would love to welcome you to her painting week at the Watermill later this month.

Sue Ford

Sue Ford loves creating pictures in any medium – and she loves passing on what she’s learned to other people to help them release their creativity. So, we are delighted to welcome her back for another special week-long painting course here this year. She will with us from 13-20 July 2019 and will teach in watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylic.That’s one of her colourful, vibrant collages above. And here’s a pastel of Monterosso, one of the five villages of the Cinque Terre, an excursion venue during your Watermill week.

Drawing by Sue Ford

As well as a multitalented, multimedia artist Sue is a very keen teacher. One of our previous guests on a previous course at the Watermill said: “Sue has a relaxed, friendly and very patient approach to tuition and encouraged us all to achieve as much as possible at our own level. She gave demo’s and one to one tuition when required. There was a wide choice of subject matter for sketching and painting both at the Watermill itself and on our excursions. All in all a most enjoyable week.”

Sue demonstrating at the watermill in Tuscany

Sue says: “Each student will be guided carefully throughout the day, from initial demonstration to getting started, followed by patient, professional tuition. I aim to help my students to create paintings which will give them the confidence in their abilities and help them to develop their own artistic vision.”

And the Watermill setting? One of our guests said: “I had a wonderful time. Everything was superb – the accommodation, the trips out and the food! Utterly wonderful. It was an experience that I will treasure.”

Put yourself in the picture. Grab one of those few remaining places and join us for Sue’s sun-filled, fun-filled, inspiring course. You can find out more by clicking here.

Our enticing 2019 painting holidays: current availability

We still have a few spaces left on some of our painting courses. Others are currently fully booked, but if you would particularly like to come on one of them please let us know and we’ll put you on the waiting list. We do sometimes have cancellations. On the other hand, to be sure of a place on a Watermill painting course, why not choose one of our other inspiring tutors on whose courses there are still places?

Sue Ford

Sue Ford
13 - 20 July 2019 - still one or two places
Watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylics
To learn more about Sue and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

Jude Scott

Jude Scott
17 - 24 August 2019 - two or three places left
24 - 31 August 2019
- one place left
Watercolours (plus acrylics and oils)
To learn more about Jude and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

Varvara Neiman

Varvara Neiman
31 August - 7 September 2019 - fully booked, waiting list open
Water-based oils, acrylics and watercolours
To learn more about Varvara and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

Claire Warner

Claire Warner
14 - 21 September 2019 - due to cancellations, one or two places left
Watercolours, oils and acrylics
To learn more about Claire and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

Maggie Renner Hellmann

Maggie Renner Hellmann
21 - 28 September 2019 - fully booked, waiting list open
Courageous Color Workshop' in oils, acrylics, pastels and watercolors
To learn more about Maggie and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

Charles Sluga

Charles Sluga
28 September - 5 October 2019 - fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours, acrylics and oils
To learn more about Charles and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

Tim Wilmot

Tim Wilmot
5 - 12 October 2019 - due to cancellation, one or two places left
To learn more about Tim and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

David Taylor

David Taylor
12 - 19 October 2019 - due to cancellation, one place left
To learn more about David and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

Summer Resident Tutor - Sandra Strohschein
Our Summer painter in residence,
Sandra Strohschein

Come and join us and enjoy the magic at the mill!

*** Why not bring your non-painting partner as well?

There’s a generous £250 discount for him/her if they share a room with you - and there’s plenty for them to do. Have a look at our Partner’s Activities Page for suggestions.

Use the 2019 painting programme link below to view the list of our inspiring 2019 painting tutors.

Watermill in Italy's Knitting NewsKNITTING NEWS
Kiting colour circle

Planning our 2020 knitting courses

We are still planning our 2020 knitting courses and are investigating several options. Will let you know as soon as we have news and you can check from time to time, if you’d like, by going to our 2020 Courses Preview section on the Watermill website: just click here

Our exciting knitting holidays: the 2019 line-up

Marie Wallin

Marie Wallin
6 - 13 July 2019 - fully booked, waiting list open
Knitting and La Dolce Vita
To learn more about Marie and her knitting week at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

Knitting group at the watermill in Italy

Don't forget your partner!

And don’t forget that your friend or partner doesn’t need to participate in the creative course, whether it’s painting, language, writing or yoga.

We offer them a range of Alternative activities for partners on all our 2019 courses, as well as a generous £GBP 250 discount if they share a room with you.

Creative writing News at the watermill in ItalyCREATIVE WRITING NEWS

Strategies to keep you writing 3: Stop when you’re doing well

Summer Resident Tutor - Sandra Strohschein
Picture: Look Magazine

This month’s writing tip comes from Ernest Hemingway and is an excellent way to ensure that when you start writing in the morning you always have something to say...

Listen to ‘Papa’: “The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day... you will never be stuck. Always stop while you are going and don’t think about it or worry about it until you start to write the next day. That way your subconscious will work on it all the time. But if you think about it consciously or worry about it you will kill it and your brain will be tired before you start.”

Book by Ernest Hemingway

I apologise for Mr Hemingway’s American grammatical usage, but to translate... always stop when you are doing well... End your writing sessions when you’re in the middle of a paragraph and you have a clear idea of what happens next. Instead of facing a blank page in the morning you will be raring to go to finish what you began the day before. And, maybe, you will produce a novel half as good as A Farewell to Arms.

Laurence Marks

And when it comes to scriptwriting you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone as good as Laurence Marks, who will be with us again this September for another of his famous Scriptwriting courses.

We can offer you an extraordinary week, ‘away from it all’, so you can concentrate on learning how to write scripts for TV, films and theatre, and at the same time enjoy beautiful scenery, first-class accommodation, wonderful food and good conversation with like-minded people. We will guarantee to unblock you, inspire you and above all enjoying your writing.

Goodnight Sweetheart

Laurence and his writing partner, Maurice Gran are famous for such TV hits as Birds of a Feather, Goodnight Sweetheart, The New Statesman and Shine on Harvey Moon. And in a new incarnation, they’ve written hit stage musicals, such as Dreamboats and Petticoats and Save the Last Dance for Me, as well as film scripts and award-winning stage, TV and radio plays. It’s not just comedy: Marks and Gran are producing serious dramatic works as well.

Laurence’s course will show you how to craft your work from your original idea through structure, character, plot and finally, script. He will lead you slowly through what makes classic television comedy, using one-to-one tutorials, team writing sessions, and most enlightening of all, studying films and TV series that have become ‘classics’. Laurence says that he cannot guarantee success, of course, but promises that you will leave the Watermill a considerably better scriptwriter than when you arrived.

It’ll be extraordinarily good fun too!

To learn more about Laurence Marks’ Scriptwriting course from 7 – 14 September 2019 and to register an interest in his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page (see below).

Our enriching 2019 Writing courses

Laurence Marks

Laurence Marks
7 - 14 September 2019 - two or three places left
To learn more about Laurence and to register an interest in his course at the mill, please visit his
2019 Profile Page.



Francesca will be back for another language course next year

Francesca la Sala

We had a lovely week with our friend and language teacher Francesca la Sala, who returned to the Watermill for another of our unique Italian Language weeks. Judging by their feedback, our guests thoroughly enjoyed themselves. One wrote: “I can honestly say it was the nicest week I have had for a long time. Although I was the least proficient in the group, Francesa was charming and very patient. The first few days were a struggle, language-wise, but I came away having picked up a lot and today have been out and bought some Italian language books. Just need to find a formal course locally now. If you are in touch with Francesca, please tell how much I appreciated her teaching and patience.”

Another added: “Thank you or a very enjoyable stay at The Watermill. I have comeback feeling quite rested and relaxed. Francesca was also great fun and has inspired me to further my interest in the Italian language.”

And a third said: “It is a beautiful space and I really enjoyed the wonderful food. The trips for me were particularly enjoyable.  Perhaps a little more time for shopping next time!”

We’ll see what we can do!

Why not come and enjoy learning Italian: Francesca will be back with us for another course in 2020. And of course, if you sign up now, you can enjoy this wonderful week in 2020 at 2019 prices. Please click here for more links.

Our Italian week is truly a ‘course with a difference’. Not only are there formal lessons on the vine verandah (some 20 hours in the week), but we also make trips and excursions to savour the natural beauty of Lunigiana, the area around the mill, to explore its history and culture, to sample its traditional foods – and above all, to meet the people, speak Italian, and practise what you’ve learned.

Next year we have teamed up again with Francesca and with the prestigious language school Langues Services in Florence, to design a week in which people can learn Italian in the most natural and enjoyable way. Your immersion into the language and culture of real Italians will be customised for you, to suit your curiosity and your interests, helping you to treasure everything you learn and make it a seamless part of who you are.

Francesca la Sala has been teaching with Langues Services since 2007. She loves meeting people of all ages and cultures. She is also a nature lover and acognoscente of Lunigiana, the land of her forefathers, where she was raised. This beautiful area of Tuscany surrounds the Watermill. Francesca has an artistic background and has a passion for the figurative and graphic arts, particularly from the Renaissance period and from prehistory; this love adds a further dimension to her teaching.

Our engaging 2020 language course

Francesca la Sala

Langues Services and Francesca la Sala
22 - 29 August 2020
To learn more about Francesca and her
2020 course at the mill, please click here.


Preview of our 2020 courses at the watermill in Tuscany, Italy2020 CREATIVE COURSES PREVIEW

A preview of our 2020 creative courses

Because of the unprecedented demand for our courses this year, we’ve decided to open up most of our 2020 courses for bookings. There’s a preview section on the Watermill website, which you can see by clicking HERE.

And there’s a Special Offer: If you book for a 2020 creative course before 1 September 2019, you can reserve your place at 2019 prices. (After 1 September, the costs for 2020 courses will change.) Please have a look at the exciting courses for NEXT year and if you find a tutor and a course that you like, please be in touch as soon as you can, using the 2020 Preview Enquiry Form which you’ll find on the 2019 Watermill website 2020 Preview Section.

The watermill in Italy's newsletter specialsNEWSLETTER SPECIALS

Everything's included in your watermill painting holiday, creative writing holiday, knitting week or Italian Language course

Don’t forget that everything is included in the cost of a painting holiday, knitting, or language holiday: tuition, accommodation (including all linen and towels), pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals and local transportation (including transfers to Pisa airport; an excursion by train to visit the ancient walled city of Lucca or the stunning seaside villages of the Cinque Terre).

All you have to do is to get to Pisa airport and we do the rest.

Whether you're travelling alone or with a partner you can be sure of a warm welcome, and that you'll be well looked after. We have built our reputation on the comfort of the mill and the care we provide.

Become a Friend of The Watermill at Posara

Visit our Friends Website (Link below). Just follow the instructions to Register as a Friend and then Log In to enjoy special privileges. If you become a ‘Friend’ (it will cost you nothing) you’ll enjoy many exclusive benefits, including dozens of practical and inspiring tips from our international painting and creative writing tutors and recipes from the watermill’s mouth-watering menus. And there will be exclusive offers for Friends to make our courses and holidays even more attractive.

Thank you for reading the watermill in Italy's newsletterTHANK YOU

We very much look forward to welcoming you to the mill and, for those of you who have already tasted the many delights at The Watermill at Posara, we look forward to welcoming you back.

Your hosts at the watermill, Italy

With very best wishes a tutti

Your hosts at the watermill in Tuscany

Lois and Bill Breckon