Scroll to topSCROLL TO TOP
NEWSLETTER ISSUE 135 / September 2021

Dear Friend,

Randy's group at the watermill in Tuscany

At last! Loud hosannas (1)!

Travellers from the UK will no longer have to quarantine when they arrive in Italy if they are fully vaccinated and can show a negative COVID test. That was the good news announced at the weekend by the Italian government – and it’s fantastic news for our guests on our remaining creative courses here at the Watermill this year because it means that they will be able to visit Italy and enjoy their Watermill week with little or no restriction.

There are details of the six remaining creative courses below (five 'painting' and one 'Italian Language'). As you can see, we already have a fair number of people booked in, but there are still spaces. It’s an ideal opportunity for you to beat the coronavirus blues and enjoy a week of relaxation and inspiration, with first-rate tuition, stunning scenery, warm hospitality, delicious food and the convivial company of like-minded people. There’s more about our 2021 creative courses on our Watermill website: Just click here for the painting courses and here for the Italian Language course. And there are more links below.

At last! Loud hosannas (2)!

Accompanying this month’s newsletter are the sort of pictures that we’ve been wanting to show you for many months, but which the coronavirus pandemic has prevented, because people haven’t been able to join any of our creative courses so far this year. But at the end of August we were able to welcome a small, but select, group for a painting course with Randy Hale, our first of the year. They came from the United States of America, Spain and France and so were able to visit us without quarantine and visit our stunning locations and charming Italian restaurants. Loud hosannas!

Paintings by Randy Hale
Two wonderful watercolours made by tutor Randy Hale during the week

In this month’s newsletter we have stories on:

  • Availability on our remaining 2021 creative courses
  • How our river helps you sleep well
  • “After my plane crash, when I broke my back...”
  • More power to your elbow: the etiquette of Italian mask-wearing
  • How to make delicious amaretto mousse ice cream

Happy reading!

The pictures above and below this introductory section are top left: painting in the Watermill garden; top right: concentration and inspiration; bottom left: looking over a painting guest’s shoulder; bottom right; manager Karsten and driver Paolo pose with two painting guests.

Randy's group out and about in Italy

Come to the watermill in Tuscany with your partner or friend
Dante and Beatrice:
“If only I had asked her
to the watermill.”
Painting by Henry Holiday

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

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.

Painting (above right) By Henry Holiday

Sounds of the Watermill in Tuscany
Just click here to play the video

How our river helps you sleep well

Almost everyone who comes to the Watermill says that they have never slept better with their lives. This is true for all the bedrooms, but particularly for the Ghirlandaio and Uccello, which not only overlook the River Rosaro as it runs past the Watermill, but are also just above the cascades that pour down from the millstream.

The secret of the good nights’ sleep is the sound of the water, which masks everything else and lulls you off.

The scientists call it ‘white noise’ and continuous tapes of similar sounds are used to overcome insomnia.

The Watermill cascades in Italy
The Uccello and Ghirlandaio bedrooms
overlook the Watermill cascades

Lois is making a meditation tape-recording the sounds of the river, and there is a link above to a short video made by one of our friends, Dennis Clark, to get you in the mood.

Try not to fall asleep...

This is yet another delight of the creative courses at the Watermill, to add to the inspiring teaching, warm hospitality, stunning scenery, delicious food and wine and the convivial company of like-minded people.

Watermill Patreon patrons receive regular rewards.
See what you’ve been missing! A delicious Italian-flavoured ice cream that is simple to make

Amaretto ice cream

As you probably know we have created a community of convivial like-minded people who have become Watermill patrons. There are lots of bonuses when you join.

Patrons receive regular exclusive videos keeping them up to date on all our activities and on top tips from our renowned creative tutors, podcasts giving insights into Italian life, and, of course, delicious recipes from the Watermill kitchen. We have already produced 20 or so items for our Watermill patrons. These items remain exclusive to patrons for two months before being put on ‘general release’ so others can enjoy them too.

In one of the latest videos, Lois shows us how to make a wonderful Amaretto mousse ice-cream: another favourite of our Watermill guests and just the thing to round off a summery meal. Lois says:“It’s a creamy, almond-y ice cream based on a recipe by St Delia. It’s not only deliciously Italian but a delight to make because there’s no stirring during the freezing stage.”

You can view the video by clicking here.

Why don’t you, too, become a Watermill patron and be among the first two enjoy our videos, podcasts, recipes and all the news the daily life of the Watermill? Please click here to see an introductory video and here more. Then join up to become part of our new Watermill adventures.

You can see and hear more of our entertaining recently released Patron podcasts and videos, recipes and reminiscences by following our Watermill blog. Please just click here.

More power to your elbow: the etiquette of Italian mask-wearing

We Italians (we both have dual British and Italian nationality) are a sociable lot. So, we are all very pleased that covid restrictions no longer curtail our lives, especially the most important things, like taking coffee, aperitivi, dining and chatting with friends. The wonderful rhythms of Italian life have mostly returned to normal.

That is not say that we are not socially responsible: each member of our society has a duty to be aware of the safety of others. So, while we may not wear our masks in open spaces, most of us carry them with us at all times, read to slip them on when the occasion demands, in a crowded public space or in the shops, for instance.

And, this being Italy, it has led to a creative 'carrying of the mask’ at all times.

Elegant Italian women like Lois, for example, loosely tie their mascherine to their handbags (below), while Bill (whose English roots still make handbag-carrying a little embarrassing) simply slips his over an elegant (?) elbow:

Watermill in Tuscany's Painting NewsPAINTING NEWS

Our inspiring 2021 painting tutors

Here is the complete list of our painting tutors remaining for this year. You can find out more about each of them by clicking on their Profile page link in their entries below.

Mike Willdridge

Mike Willdridge
4 – 11 September 2021 - four or five places left
Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.

Brienne M Brown

Brienne M Brown
18 - 25 September 2021 - four or five places left
To learn more about Brienne and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Profile Page.

Tim Wilmot

Tim Wilmot
2 – 9 October 2021 - five or six places left
To learn more about Tim and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.

Ali Hargreaves

Ali Hargreaves
9 - 16 October 2021 - one place left
To learn more about Ali and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Profile Page.

Grahame Booth

Grahame Booth
23 - 30 October 2021 - five or six places left
To learn more about Grahame and his course at the mill, please visit his 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.


Creative writing News at the watermill in ItalyCREATIVE WRITING NEWS

“After my plane crash, when I broke my back...”

Alls quite in Florence
A Tiger Moth of the type in which Philip crashed

The words above were a conversation-starter (and stopper!) from one of our Watermill painting course guests, Philip Cook, over dinner recently. It certainly grabbed everyone’s attention and we were all agog as Philip explained how the Tiger Moth which he was flying many years ago crashed, causing multiple injuries, including a broken back. He survived, however, and looks very fit and well.

But it made me think of our Writing Your Life Stories courses here, where our guests learn the secrets of writing about the memorable incidents in their lives in an audience-grabbing way.

As a young journalist, Bill remembers being told by his News Editor: “Always put your best strawberry at the top of the punnet.” In other words, always start stories with the best fact you can muster. Philip certainly did that at dinner, but he confessed that he is struggling a little as he tries to write his memoirs, to tell his children and grandchildren about his life. So we recommended that he come on Jo Parfitt’s Writing Your Life Stories course next year, and he signed up right away!

Alls quite in Florence
Sharing your thoughts on the vine verandah

Jo’s course is the perfect first step for any writer wanting to develop the skills and confidence necessary to move into writing memoir, non-fiction, articles or blogs.

We have had amazing feedback over the years on the value of Jo’s course, and we are glad to say it remains as popular as ever. The course is designed to help both enthusiastic beginners and more experienced writers. It will help you to produce your best work, to find your true writer's 'voice' and to write authentically.

Jo’s course runs from Saturday 18 June to Saturday 25 June 2022. We already have eight people booked in, including Philip, so if you’d like to join them, now is the time to sign up. You can find out more by going to our 2022 courses preview page, by clicking here.

Jo Parfitt

Jo Parfitt
18 – 25 June 2022
Write your life stories
To learn more about Jo and her course at the mill, please visit her 2022 Profile Page.



Accipicchia! You’ll be wowed by our Italian language course

Alls quite in Florence
Picture: Photo:
Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicholas Raymond

We are, as ever, grateful to The Local, the online English-language newspaper, which always provides an Italian word of the day. One that caught our eye recently was accipicchia, which the newspaper described as “a handy word that you can use in eye-opening situations - good or bad. Put simply, it means “wow!” or “gosh!”... it’s the kind of inoffensive euphemism that you might use in front of children.

“It comes from accidenti, which means something like “damn!” and is itself pretty mild by today’s standards. But accipicchia has stuck around, maybe because it’s such fun to say. (Ah-chee-pick-ya, with a very slight stress on the third syllable.)

Other dictionary definitions include “blimey”, “crikey,” “shoot” and “jeepers”. The Local says: “And like these words,accipicchia sounds very mild, even twee." But we think it’s charming, and it can definitely come in useful.

Whether you’re delighted, frightened or just mildly bewildered, this is an exclamation you can use without fear of causing offence.

  • Accipicchia! Mi ha spaventato
    – Jeez! You really scared me
  • Accipicchia, che cosa cavolo è?
    – Gosh, what on earth (literally ‘what the cabbage’) is that?
  • Accipicchia! Guardate che traffico!
    – Yikes, look at this traffic!

Learning Italian In the garden shade at the watermill in Italy
Learning Italian under the dappled shade
of the vine verandah

For our week-long Italian Language course, from Saturday 16 October to Saturday 23 October 2021 we’ve teamed up again with wonderful tutor Francesca La Sala, you’ll meet Italian people and interact with their daily lives. There will not only be formal lessons under the vine verandah (some 20 hours in the week), but we’ll also be making trips and excursions to enjoy 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, speaking Italian, practising what we’ve learned.

We already have eight people on Francesca’s course, so now is the time to reserve your place.

Francesca la SalaFrancesca la Sala
16 - 23 October 2021 - three places left
Learning Italian with the Italians
To learn more about Francesca and her
2021 course at the mill, please click here.

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, 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 Patron of The Watermill at Posara

Visit our Watermill Patrons website (Link below). Just follow the instructions to subscribe and enjoy special privileges. By becoming a Patron you’ll enjoy many exclusive benefits, including practical and inspiring tips from our international painting and creative writing tutors, recipes from the watermill’s mouth-watering menus, and podcasts on Italian life. And there are also exclusive offers at the higher tiers for our courses and holidays.

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