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NEWSLETTER ISSUE 88 / October 2017

Dear Friend,

Find your Oomph and a painting by Bev Wells at the watermill in Italy

We’ve scored a century for 2018 at The Watermill by the end of September 2017. Our fastest century ever! Or to put it another way: there’s been so much interest in the Watermill’s new creative courses that we already have more than 100 firm bookings for 2018.

So, if you’ve a favourite tutor, a particular week, or a special bedroom that you like, please get in touch as soon as you can and we’ll set aside a place for you. Just click here, select the type of course you are interested in (painting, knitting, writing, yoga, Oomph!, or language), find out more about your tutor, then go to the Booking Enquiry form, fill in as appropriate and send it to us.

And don’t forget our Early Bird offer: if you book before 31 December 2017 there’s a £GBP 75 per person discount (about $US 100, $CAN 120, AUD 120) on all our 2018 creative courses. To enquire about availability and/or to reserve your place, just click here, select your course and bedroom, then click on the Booking Enquiry link.

As well as the inspiring, sun-filled creative courses, we’ve two new exhilarating ventures to tell you about, a studio-based week where you’ll not only paint flowers from the garden and riverside in the studio with Bev Wells, but also learn creative ways of arranging them, with Tina Brace. If you prefer a studio-based painting week (with minibus excursions on some days for lunch at local beauty spots, historic towns), this is the course for you. More details below.

And... do you feel you need more Oomph! in your life? With lifestyle coach Caroline Carr we’ve set up an inspiring retreat to re-energise your life. If the words empowered, strong, fun, joy, delight, shine, sparkle, authentic, loving, warm, appreciative, enthusiastic, playful and sincere appeal to you (these are all Oomph! qualities by the way), then you’ll love this personal development retreat.

Add to these our ever-popular, inspiring weeks of painting, knitting, memoir writing, yoga and learning Italian, and you can see 2018 is going to be another invigorating Watermill year.

The pictures above show the laughter of Oomph! and the floral painting skills of Bev Wells, while below left is a lovely oil painting of the mountains near us by new tutor Vicki Norman, and to the right, a detail from Lemon Tree, Very Pretty, painted by watercolour tutor Sarah Yeoman on her last visit to The Watermill.

Paintings by Vicki Norman and Sarah Yeoman tutors at the watermill in Tuscany


Come to the watermill in Tuscany with your partner
Looks interesting
from my point of view, too

An attractive offer for Early Birds

Why not join the Early Birds and spend the Autumn, Winter and Spring dreaming of your Watermill holiday!

Our Early Bird offer: if you book before 31 December 2017 there’s a £GBP 75 per person discount on all our 2018 creative courses.  To enquire about availability and/or to reserve your place, please go to, select your course and bedroom, then click on Booking Enquiry.

Or call us (UK no.) +44 20 7193 6246.

Come to the watermill in Tuscany with your partner or friend
Heres looking at you both
coming to The Watermill!

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 2018 courses, as well as a generous £GBP 250 discount if they share a room with you.

Watermill in Tuscany's Painting NewsPAINTING NEWS

A warm welcome back to Bev – and to Tina, too

Painting by Bev Wells

Some of our guests have told us that, much as they enjoy the stunning unspoilt Tuscan countryside around the Watermill, they’d love to spend a week simply painting in the spacious Watermill studio and around our gardens and grounds. This idea is particularly attractive to those who are not as sprightly as they used to be and find walking a little difficult.

So, we have got together with the wonderful English watercolourist Bev Wells, whose speciality is painting flowers, to create a special studio-based week, painting flowers from the Watermill gardens and courtyard and, since in May there will be lots of lovely wild flowers by the millstream and riverside, we’ll gather and paint them too.

Bev Wells and Tina Brace at the watermill in Italy
Bev Wells and Tina Brace

And there’s another bonus. Bev is coming to the Watermill with her good friend Tina Brace, a creative and imaginative prize-winning flower arranger. So, as well as painting the colourful Tuscan Spring flowers, you’ll learn innovative ways of arranging them artistically, too.

But we won’t neglect to show you something of the wonderful countryside of the Tuscan region of Lunigiana which surrounds the Watermill, taking you out in our air-conditioned minibus for delicious Italian lunches in a village nestling round a 13th Century castle, to a walled Medieval town, a peaceful monastery and a hill-top village with stunning mountain views. (We’ll also go to the market in the walled Medieval town of Fivizzano, and buy flowers there to paint back in the Watermill studio.)

Some praise for Bev’s painting teaching: “I have been very fortunate to have been on the receiving end of Bev’s knowledge as she is a master of both colour and composition, another combination very hard to find in the world of art.  Her work is some of the best I have seen and her love and passion shines through in both her work and painting sessions.”  And Tina’s flower-arranging skills; “Had a really good time at Tina’s workshop. I learned a lot and came home with four arrangements that I’m really pleased with."

Bev and Tina will be with us for a week-long course in painting flowers – and arranging them from Saturday 12 to Saturday 19 May 2018.

Congratulations to Sarah Yeoman AWS

Painting by Sarah Yeoman

Our congratulations to Watermill watercolour tutor Sarah Yeoman, who has just been appointed a ‘signature member’ of the American Watercolor Society, considered to be one of the top watercolour society in the world. It means she can now use the letters AWS after her name. The painting reproduced here, Waterlily World, is the one that gained Sarah her AWS status.

Sarah Yeoman AWS is an award-wining American watercolour artist whose mastery of reflections, unique surface layers, and unusual perspective sets her apart from the crowd. She is known for her command of light and the strong narrative of her pictures. The watercolours above are of The Watermill courtyard and a wonderful study of poppies.

Sarah is also a very talented teacher, who brings out the best in her students. One commented: “Many artists are successful in producing paintings, but not all are true teachers. Sarah has the ability to demonstrate confidently, withholding none of her 'secrets', to encourage students and gently give suggestions for improvement.” Painting by Sarah YeomanAnother said of one of one of Sarah’s previous painting courses at The Watermill: “Our week’s tuition with Sarah was awe-inspiring. Her attitude to taking on a subject and her encouragement and enthusiasm made everyone improve their painting during the week”

Here (left) another wonderful Sarah Yeoman watercolour, Lemon Tree, Very Pretty, which she painted the last time she was teaching at The Watermill.

We have many fond memories of our previous painting courses here with Sarah, so we are doubly delighted that she is coming for two weeks next year, from Saturday 9 June to Saturday 16 June 2018 and from Saturday 16 June to Saturday 23 June 2018. We’d be delighted to welcome you here, too, for one – or both – of Sarah’s sun-filled, in-filled, inspiring weeks. And don’t forget the Early Bird discount.

Painting holidays: the inspiring 2018 line-up

We are proud to announce the full line-up of our talented and inspiring painting tutors for 2018. We’ll be introducing then one by one in this and future newsletters

Paul Talbot-Greaves

Paul Talbot-Greaves
28 April to 5 May 2018 - course full, waiting list open
Watercolours (and acrylics)
To learn more about Paul, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please visit his Profile Page

Bev Wells and Tina Brace

Bev Wells and Tina Brace
12 May to 19 May 2018
Painting and arranging flowers
To learn more about Bev and Tina, their course at the mill and to see their work, please visit their Profile Page

Maggie Renner Hellmann

Maggie Renner Hellmann
19 May to 26 May 2018
‘Courageous Color Workshop’
To learn more about Maggie, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures, please visit her Profile Page

Sandra Strohschein

Sandra Strohschein
26 May to 2 June 2018 and
2 June to 9 June 2018

To learn more about Sandra, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures, please visit her Profile Page

Sarah Yeoman

Sarah Yeoman
9 June to 16 June 2018 and
16 June to 23 June 2018

To learn more about Sarah, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures, please visit her Profile Page

Terry Jarvis

Terry Jarvis
7 July to 14 July 2018
Watercolours (and oils, pastels and acrylics)
To learn more about Terry, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please visit his Profile Page

Rebecca de Mendonça

Rebecca de Mendonça
1 September to 8 September 2018
Watercolours (and oils, pastels and acrylics)
To learn more about Rebecca, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures, please visit her Profile Page

Mike Willdridge

Mike Willdridge
8 September to 15 September 2018
Watercolours and drawing (also gouache and acrylics with an emphasis on sketching and drawing on location)
To learn more about Mike, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please visit his Profile Page

Claire Warner

Claire Warner- course full, waiting list open
15 September to 22 September 2018
Watercolours (and oils and acrylics)
To learn more about Claire, her course and to see more of her pictures, please visit her Profile Page

Vicki Norman

Vicki Norman
6 October to 13 October 2018
Oils en plein air
To learn more about Vicki, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures, please visit her Profile Page

Tim Wilmot

Tim Wilmot
13 October to 20 October 2018
To learn more about Tim, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please visit his Profile Page

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

Painting by Tim Wilmot - The watermill riverside

*** 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 2018 programme link below to view the full list of our inspiring 2018 painting tutors

Watermill in Italy's Knitting NewsKNITTING NEWS

A fun-filled knitting week with Sarah Hazell

Sarah's knitting group at the watermill in Tuscany

We enjoyed a very happy knitting week with our new tutor Sarah Hazell in the middle of September, with some marvellous moments captured by one of our ‘non-knitting partner’ guest Phil Wright.

Our many thanks to Phil for generously sharing these great photographs with us.

Sarah's knitting group in Tuscany

As one of our knitting guests said: “Thank you for the invigorating knitting experience. The weather cooperated beautifully and the food at the Watermill and the other locations was excellent and varied. It is a plus for you that Sarah will return next May. She is prepared and organized; flexible and patient with attendees of all capabilities with a good sense of humour.”

Sarah Hazell's knitting group at the mill

2018 Knitting courses

We are delighted that Sarah Hazell will be back next year – and we have already taken eight bookings for her course. So please get in touch as soon as you can if you would like to grab one of the four or five remaining places.

Our other knitting weeks are already fully booked, but there could be cancellations. So please let us know if you are interested in Marie or Lisa’s weeks and we’ll put you on the waiting list. We are also working towards opening another knitting week with a top designer, so watch this space!

Here’s the current 2018 knitting line-up:

Sarah Hazell

Sarah Hazell - three or four places remaining
5 May to 12 May 2018
Knitting and La Bella Vita
To learn more about Sarah and her courses at the mill, please visit her Profile Page

Marie Wallin

Marie Wallin - course full, waiting list open
14 July to 21 July 2018
Knitting and La Bella Vita
To learn more about Marie and her course at the mill, please visit her Profile Page

Lisa Richardson

Lisa Richardson - three or four places remaining
29 September to 6 October 2018
Knitting and La Bella Vita
To learn more about Lisa and her course at the mill, please visit her 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, knitting or yoga.

We offer them a range of Alternative activities for partners on all our 2018 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

A writing tip (or three) from Jo Parfitt

Jo Parfitt

Jo Parfitt, who is returning to The Watermill next Autumn to take one of her unique courses on writing your life stories, has sent us not one but three tips to help you on you writing journey. They are very short (succinctness is next to Godliness!), but you’ll never hear better advice.

Jo says: “My favourite writing tip of all time comes from Dorothea Brande, the 1950s author of Becoming a Writer.A Book by Dorothea Brande She believes that if you truly want to be a writer you need to commit to writing at a specific time every day for just ten minutes. If you can't commit to that then you don't seriously want to be a writer.

Book by Natalie Goldberg

 “Natalie Goldberg, in her seminal book on free-writing called Writing Down the Bones, writes: "Put your pen on the paper and just go." That to me, is the most basic of all writing lessons.

“Writers cannot afford to keep their writing secret. The only way you can find out what works and what doesn't is to get feedback." The highlight of any Jo Parfitt workshop is the feedback sessions. At The Watermill in Tuscany this takes place daily on the vine terrace with a glass of the house cocktail. What could be more perfect?”

Jo Parfitt has published 31 books herself, has helped more than 100 authors get into print and more than 1,000 people to begin writing. She's an inspiring, compassionate and encouraging teacher: her motto is 'sharing what I know to help others to grow'.

Jo’s Write Your Life Story creative writing course is designed to help you produce your best work, to find your true writer's 'voice' and to write authentically. Among other things, you’ll discover the secret of SPICE, the seven steps to writing life stories, and put this into practice right away. The course will run from 22 to 29 September 2018.

Writing tips from Jo Parfitt at the watermill in Tuscany

Jo says: "The course at the watermill will provide a safe haven in which to unlock your creativity, write from your heart and hone your writing craft. It will also help to remove blocks to your writing. Sessions at the mill will empower students to write in a compelling way that makes real experiences come to life."

She adds: “The class will include several methods and genre and is perfect for anyone wanting to write about their own lives for an effective journal, memoir or blog. If you would enjoy an injection of inspiration in a safe and supportive environment this course is for you. It is appropriate for students of any level.”

Jo Parfitt

Jo Parfitt
22 September to 29 September 2018
Write Your Life Stories
To learn more about Jo and her course at The Watermill, please visit her Profile Page



Treat yourself to a rocambolesco Italian language course

Learn Italian at the watermill in Tuscany

Earlier this year we are talking about the fondness Italians have for foreign words, particularly if you want to be seen to enjoy a cool lifestyle. So, when your computer crashes it va in tilt, just like a pinball machine -- and we could all andare in tilt, go a little haywire, from time to time. All sports cars are spiders derived from the Fiat Spider of the 1960s, but now generic for convertibles. Italians enjoy (or not) footing, meaning jogging, and may wear (or not) a smoking (dinner jacket) for fancy dinners.


Rest assured that on the Watermill’s elegant* Italian Language course you won’t fa tilt, but become even more coherent in one of the more beautiful languages in the world. *We're elegant, but you won’t need your smoking and you can go footing (or not) in the beautiful surrounding countryside.

Come and join us to brush up your language and enjoy la bella vita italiana. Next year’s Italian language course runs from Saturday 30 June to Saturday 7 July 2018. We already have seven people booked in, so we have room for only five or so more.

Here are some comments from this year’s guests: “What an amazing week. Thank you, Bill, Lois and your excellent team. Giulia was great and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole trip. Can't wait to do it all again.”

And this couple are returning for this year’s language course, too: “We would like you to know how much we appreciated our stay with you at Posara. As hosts, you made us feel most welcome; and the combination of language lessons, food and excursions was excellently balanced. We were unaware of the Apuan mountain region – it is spectacularly beautiful. Altogether a unique and delightful experience.”

Rocambolesco -

We ought to steal a word from the Italians and call it rocambolesco.

This 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 prestigious language school in Florence Langues Services and their delightful tutor Giulia Balestri to design a week in which people can learn Italian in the most natural and enjoyable way ever.

language group

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.

Giulia Balestri

Giulia Balestri - four or so places left
30 June to 7 July 2018
Italian language week
To learn more about Giulia and her course at The Watermill, please click here

Yoga News at the watermill in ItalyYOGA NEWS

A ‘fabulous revitalising week’ on Claire’s yoga retreat. Join her next year!

We have had some excellent feedback from the yoga retreat with Claire Murphy which finished last week and we’d like to share it with you. Some of our guests were returning for another revitalizing week at The Watermill, while others, like Sylvia, were coming for the first time. As you can see, she’s coming back next year, too.

Sylvia says: “I went on Claire’s Yoga/Meditation Retreat with a very open mind not knowing what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised, I was not persuaded to do anything I was not comfortable with, in fact gently alternatives were given. The Meditation I found very helpful enabling me to reflect on my life, Claire was very understanding of each person’s needs e.g. hearing, knees, back etc. problems, this retreat is suitable for all ages and abilities. I enjoyed myself so much I have rebooked for 2018.”

And this is from one of the returnees, Alessandra:

 “It goes without saying that I enjoyed the week enormously; so much so that I truly ended up not minding the horrid weather we experienced because that faded into the background compared to the joy of our daily schedule. Every day I would look forward to getting up and going to our pre-breakfast meditation as I loved concluding the day with the 9 o'clock regrouping in meditation, it felt special to sit there to regather thoughts, feelings, and breathe in that beautiful peaceful studio.

"In the same way, I loved the yoga sessions, gentle enough thanks to the many alternatives and adaptations on offer but also strong and effective in moving the body mindfully and with respect.

“I'm particularly fond of the Tibetan Healing movements, so beautiful even when practiced but our slightly-more-clumsy bodies instead of by Garudas and mythical birds...and I love the Tibetan Singing Bowls, the feeling of the vibrations in the head was particularly strong (maybe the crystal vajra helped? A spot in the middle of the forehead seemed to tingle).

“I also loved the times we were able to practice "al fresco": the air, the sun, the sound of the church bells brought a special feeling of lightness and childlike joy to the proceedings. The creative moments were good fun; and absorbing: a sort of meditation in their own right.

“It was also great to see how your ability to give so much and be so generous, to really think the sessions through, to offer solutions to adapt postures to physical problems and sensibilities, to be supportive but gently challenging of fears and hung-ups, shined throughout the week. And made the coming together of the group so much easier.

“On the location, I think The Watermill is a great location because it is comfortable and we are pampered and well looked after but also because it is such a stunning, peaceful, green and quiet place.”

And from another returnee, Anita: “The yoga retreat was the perfect mix of physical postures, meditation and thoughtful contemplation in glorious mountain surroundings. I particularly appreciated how you created a gentle space for all attendees no matter where they were on their yoga journey or what physical issues they were dealing with. The journaling and art prompts offered the opportunity for creative experimentation and expansion. All in all, a fabulously revitalising week

Claire will be back next year to nourish your mind, body and soul in another unique seven-day yoga and meditation retreat. It will run from Saturday 25 August to Saturday 1 September 2018.

Nourish with Yoga

We’ll nourish your soul on rural walks and visits to ancient walled towns and hilltop villages, castles and convents. You’ll also savour the relaxed atmosphere ofl a bella vita italiana in local cafes, shops, restaurants and markets.

We’ll venture a little journal writing and painting in The Watermill studio overlooking the river or under the shade of the vine verandah to nourish your mind.

And we’ll nourish your body with fresh, home-cooked, nutritionally balanced meals lovingly prepared by the Watermill cooks, with many of the ingredients freshly picked from The Watermill’s own gardens. There will be vegetarian options for every meal, of course. Private sessions with a local Shiatsu practitioner are also available, at cost, on request.

Yoga, meditation and massage have been a way of life for Claire Murphy for more than 25 years and she’s passionate about teaching them. Together we’ve created a unique seven-day programme, which we’ll update and augment as time goes on.

2018 Yoga retreat

Claire Murphy

Claire Murphy
25 August to 1 September 2018
Nourish - mind, body and soul
To learn more about Claire and her course at The Watermill, please visit her Profile Page


Find your Oomph! retreat  News at the watermill in ItalyOOMPH! NEWS

Find your Oomph! A new, inspiring Watermill week to re-energise your life

Find your oomph at the watermill

We are delighted to announce a new personal development retreat at The Watermill with life coach Caroline Carr. We think it is going to be rather special.

The Find your Oomph! Retreat is a unique opportunity to reconnect with your true self, the real you – the one who feels free to run barefoot through the grass, or dance like no-body’s watching, or to sing from the top of a mountain! To laugh and play imaginatively and have fun. It’s GREAT to get back to that place inside yourself again, and to witness its transformative effect.

If the words empowered, strong, fun, joy, delight, shine, sparkle, authentic, loving, warm, appreciative, enthusiastic, playful and sincere appeal to you (these are all Oomph! qualities by the way), then you’ll love this life-changing week, which will run from Saturday 18 to Saturday 25 August 2018, will inspire you to connect with your own inner freedom and find peace, strength, vitality and joy. Inspiring teaching and exquisite Italy all wrapped up in one!

Find your oomph at the watermill in Tuscany, Italy

You’ll leave with more true confidence clarity, positivity, energy, enthusiasm and inner strength than you may have experienced in the past. You’ll make new friends who, having shared this experience together are likely to foster a strong and supportive bond. You’ll enjoy a lightness of spirit, and the bliss of becoming a soul well-nourished, supported by practical techniques and resources to continue to use after the retreat ends. You’ll find yourself again. It’ll be like coming home to yourself – the real you.

Caroline Carr

Caroline Carr has been a successful hypnotherapist and life coach for many years. She uses a variety of transformative practices to embody joy and inner freedom into your everyday life. As well as facilitated discussions and group coaching, she works with energy states, movement, voice and posture, Laughter Yoga, and deep healing relaxation – using various techniques.

2018 Oomph! retreat

Caroline Carr

Caroline Carr
18 August – 25 August 2018
Find your Oomph! retreat
To learn more about Caroline and her retreat at The Watermill, please visit her Profile Page


The watermill in Italy's newsletter specialsNEWSLETTER SPECIALS

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

Don’t forget that everything is included in the cost of a painting holiday, yoga retreat, knitting, personal development 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 next year, 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