‘Her wonderful paintings are an inspiration.’ Painting tutor of the month: Vicki Norman
(Left) Vicki's vivacious painting of Laundry Day
(Right) An luminous oil painting by Vicki called 'September in Posara
We are looking forward to the return of Vicki Norman next summer for another of her charming and inspirational painting weeks. Vicki will be with us for her course, in oils and watercolours (and other mediums), from Saturday 3 July to Saturday 10 July 2021.
English painting tutor Vicki Norman specialises in painting on location. Her paintings seek to capture the essence of the day and the sense of place through the colour and play of the light. Vicki will teach primarily in oils and watercolours, but is happy to help with other mediums, too. She has been teaching professionally for more than 15 years and offers plenty of help and individual attention.
The rose pergola
in the walled garden at the Watermill,
painted by Vicki
Here’s a comment from one of our guests on Vicki’s last course at the Watermill: “An excellent painting and holiday week. All the trips out to painting locations were well organised and Vicki was excellent as a teacher: Her wonderful paintings were an inspiration.”
We have made one of those short, fun Facebook slideshows with more of Vicki's exciting paintings which you can see by clicking here.
Everything is included in the cost of your holiday at the Watermill: tuition, accommodation, pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals and wines (including outings to charming local restaurants) and all local transportation (including transfers to Pisa airport and an excursion by train to Lucca or the Cinque Terre). You get to Pisa, Italy, and we do the rest! And you will be Cool and Green: all our rooms are air-conditioned, powered by photovoltaic panels which make us self-sufficient in electricity.
Our inspiring 2021 painting tutors
Here is the complete list of our painting tutors for next year. You can find out more about each of them by clicking on the Tutor Profile page link in their entries below.
17 - 24 April 2021 - places available
To learn more about Keiko and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Profile Page.
1 - 8 May 2021 - fully booked, waiting list open
Pastels (and other portable media) en plein air
To learn more about Mary and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Profile Page.
15 - 22 May 2021- fully booked, waiting list open
Drawing and watercolours en plein air
To learn more about Carl and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.
22 - 29 May 2021 - fully booked, waiting list open
To learn more about Grahame and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.
5 - 12 June 2021 - one or two places remaining
12 - 19 June 2021 - one or two places remaining
To learn more about Sandra and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Profile Page.
19 - 26 June 2021 - Places Available
To learn more about Paul and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.
Rebecca de Mendonça
26 June - 3 July 2021 - two places remaining
Pastels and Mixed media
To learn more about Rebecca and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Profile Page.
3 - 10 July 2021 - three or four places remaining
Oils and watercolours (and other mediums)
To learn more about Vicki and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Profile Page.
10 - 17 July 2021 - Places Available
Watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media, plus acrylic
To learn more about Sue and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Profile Page.
7 - 14 August 2021 - Places Available
To learn more about Caroline and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Profile Page.
21 - 28 August 2021 - Places Available
To learn more about Randy and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.
28 August - 4 September 2021 - Places Available
4 – 11 September 2021 - one place remaining
Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.
11 - 18 September 2021 - Places Available
To learn more about Milind and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.
Brienne M Brown
18 - 25 September 2021 - one or two places remaining
To learn more about Brienne and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Profile Page.
25 September - 2 October 2021 - places available
To learn more about Charles and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.
2 – 9 October 2021 - one or two places remaining
To learn more about Tim and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.
9 - 16 October 2021 - two places remaining
To learn more about Ali and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Profile Page.
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.
Watermill knitting tutor Norah Gaughan: at the cutting edge of innovative design
The vlog Juicy Knitting describes Norah Gaughan, who is joining us to host one of our knitting weeks this spring, as “an amazing knitwear designer”.
They say: “Norah stands out as being very much at the cutting edge of innovative designers. This comes out in her garment shapes, her crazy and beautiful cables and the unusual constructions that she keeps coming up with.” They add: “Norah also really enjoys teaching and she’s great at explaining more advanced topics and techniques.”
You can learn more about Norah in an in-depth interview with Juicy Knitting. Just click here. There is lots of other interesting knitting stuff early on in this YouTube video, but if you’d rather just cut to the chase and learn more about Norah, her interview start about 37 minutes in.
Knitting under the shade of the vines in the Watermill garden.
Photo: Phil Wright
We have called Norah’s week at the Watermill Knitting and la Bella Vita: a relaxing vacation in the beautiful Tuscan countryside, with leisurely knitting days, wonderful food and wine, making new friends and learning new skills. We would love you to join us for the week, which will run from Saturday 24 April – Saturday 1 May 2021.
Norah Gaughan is an independent knitting designer working out of her studio in historic Harrisville, New Hampshire, USA. She has just been appointed editor-in-chief of Vogue Knitting, the premier knitting publication in America.“I’m inspired by nature and science, while at the same time keeping an eye what’s happening in the fashion world. My teaching style is rather relaxed. My goal is to have the class be fun and interesting.”
Norah will bring two special projects for her week, based on her new book, Twisted Stitches, which will be out in 2021.
We have made another of those fun 30-second Facebook slideshows on all our knitting weeks next year. You can see. It by clicking here.
2021 knitting breaks
24 april - 1 May 2021 - still plenty of places
Knitting and La Bella Vita
To learn more about Norah and her course at the mill, please visit our 2021 Profile Page.
29 May - 5 June 2021 - fully booked, waiting list open
Knitting and La Bella Vita
To learn more about Louisa and her course at the mill, please visit our 2021 Profile Page.
17 - 24 July 2021 - three or four places
Knitting and La Bella Vita
To learn more about our knitting retreat week at the mill, please visit our 2021 Profile Page.
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 or writing.
We offer them a range of Alternative activities for partners on all our 2021 courses, as well as a generous £GBP 250 discount if they share a room with you.
Famous books that almost had different titles
Have you read The High-Bouncing Lover by F Scott Fitzgerald? Or Something That Happened by John Steinbeck? And how about Jane Austen’s First Impressions, or Leo Tolstoy’s All’s Well That Ends Well?
Never heard of those books? Well, you probably have read them, although you may have struggled to get through the thousand pages or so of the last one.
Those are the nearly-titles of famous books, titles that the authors toyed with, before coming up with something which is now so familiar to us. So, The High-Bouncing Lover transmuted into The Great Gatsby; Something That Happened was transformed into Of Mice and Men; First Impressions became Pride and Prejudice; and All’s Well That Ends Well turned into the interminable War and Peace.
All’s Well That Ends Well
– if you ever get to the end!
Picture: The Guardian
We found this fascinating information in an online article by Stephen Lovely, in a post on the bookstr.com webpage, devoted to those who love books. He lists no fewer than 10 classic books that almost had different titles.
Stephen says: “How crazy is it that Fitzgerald’s greatest work was almost called something else? In fact, Fitzgerald was considering several different titles, including Among Ash-Heaps and Millionaires;Gold-Hatted Gatsby;On the Road to West Egg;Trimalchio in West Egg;Under the Red, White, and Blue; and our personal favourite,The High-Bouncing Lover.”
In the article you can also read, among others, about the original titles for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, To Kill a Mockingbird, 1984, and The Sound and the Fury. (Twilight doesn’t quite sound the same, does it?)
His First Impressions
were not so favourable.
As far as Pride and Prejudice is concerned, Lovely says of the original title First Impressions: “Not bad, but it doesn’t quite have the melodic ring that the famous chosen title has. Plus, it doesn’t pair nearly as neatly with Sense and Sensibility.”
All very intriguing – and you can read the whole article by clicking here.
Whatever you call your magnum opus, however, you will make it even better if you come on one of our creative writing courses at the Watermill next year. We will even help you with the title, if that’s a problem!
We have two writing courses next year: Scriptwriting, by those ‘living legends’ of comedy and drama for stage, screen and TV, Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran; and Writing Your Life Stories with mentor and memoir guru Jo Parfitt. Dates and links below.
2021 Our illuminating creative writing courses
Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
8 – 15 August 2021 - Places available
To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and their course at the mill, please visit their 2021 Profile Page.
8 – 15 August 2021 - one or two places remaining
Write your life stories
To learn more about Jo and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Profile Page.
The Italian festive cake battle: panettone or pandoro?
I don’t know whether you are aware of the great Italian Christmas cake debate: the battle between panettone (left above) and pandoro (on the right)? Bill's a panettone man, but Lois and Lara favour pandoro. Guess which one was purchased and graced the Breckon’s Christmas table? Bill is hoping that a gourmet friend will bring some panettone when they come visiting, though given the current rules, it is unlikely that many friends will be knocking on our door.
What’s the difference? The dome-shaped panettone is from Milan, a sourdough-type sponge with citrus peel and candied fruit embedded in it. Delicious! Pandoro originated in Verona and is rather taller and star-shaped. Eggs beaten into the batter give it its yellow colour. There is a hint of vanilla, but the real flavour comes from liberally dusting the whole thing in icing sugar.
These cakes are very much festive season specialities, so we doubt whether there will be any about during our Italian language course here in October, for you to join in the debate. We can, however, promise you delicious home-cooked Italian food, as well as a chance to get your tongue around one of the world’s most delightful languages. Details below.
Sun-dappled Italian language learning
Our language week really is 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 surrounding 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 we’ve learned.
We’ve teamed up again with the experienced and sympathetic language teacher Francesca La Sala, to design a week in which people can learn Italian in the most natural and enjoyable way ever. You'll meet Italian people and interact with their daily lives. 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.
You will have the perfect opportunity to make new friends in the company of like-minded people learning and improving their Italian language skills... and enjoying unspoilt Italy and, of course, fantastic food and wine.
2021 Language Course
Francesca la Sala
16 - 23 October 2021 - one or two places remaining
Learning Italian with the Italians
To learn more about Francesca and her
2021 course at the mill, please click here.
*Book now to come on this 2021 course at 2020 prices.
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, writing, 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.
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.
With very best wishes a tutti
Lois and Bill Breckon