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Dear Friend,

Cloe's yellow flowers and Bill writing

Our 2018 creative course season is under way: we've already had a lovely painting course led by our new English watercolour tutor Paul Talbot-Greaves and a friendly group of students (plus two non-painting partners who are enjoying a relaxing time) and this week we're knitting with Sarah Hazell (Sarah is with us again in 2019 for those who have missed her course this year).

Most of our 2018 courses are now fully booked, or only have one or two places left. We do, however, have more spaces on Terry Jarvispainting course, on Jo Parfitt’s first Writing your Life’s Stories course and on Amy Rogg and Joanne Brohmer’s yoga retreat. More details below.

Because of the heavy demand for places on the Watermill’s famous creative courses, we have decided to open our 2019 courses for booking now. And there is a tempting offer: if you book a 2019 course before 1 September 2018, you can have a place in 2019 at 2018 prices. Again, there are more details and links below.

In this month’s newsletter there are also stories on:

  • How church bells will keep you on time(ish) on Terry’s painting course
  • Why only you can write some of life’s stories
  • A revolving door leads to Sandra
  • A reminder of our photographic competition
  • The only remaining 2018 knitting place
  • Why residential writing courses reach places others cannot reach
  • Why transitions are important in yoga – and in life
  • A preview and a tempting offer on our 2019 creative courses

Intrigued? Read on...

Cloe cuting flowers and a lizard in the sun

The two pictures above show (left) Spring daisies & sun loungers and (right) Bill trying to be creative; while below are, (left) Our new ‘Girl Friday’, Chloe Taylor, preparing cut flowers for the guests’ bedrooms and (right) a lizard welcoming the sun.

Come to the watermill in Tuscany with your partner or friend
at 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.

Church bells will keep you on time(ish) on Terry’s course

Painting by Terry Jarvis

It’s fun when we go out to our painting locations in the historic villages and glorious countryside of Lunigiana, to hear the church bells punctuating our day. Of course, they are not synchronised, so as you paint you may well hear the same hours being struck two or three times from different villages in the hills and valleys.

They remind us that we are on holiday and that we can relax: time belongs to us, we are not its slaves!

We thought we’d share with you a couple of lovely bell tower pictures by our effervescent and inspiring painting tutor Terry Jarvis, who will be back with us for another sun-filled, fun-filled week this July.

Italians have an affection for the bells of their own town or city, giving them a sense of pride of place and of belonging. They call it campanilismo, from campanile, a bell tower – and you can share our Posara bells, as well as those of the historic towns and villages we’ll visit during your painting week. Above is Terry’s atmospheric Shadows of Lucca, with an elegant clock tower.

Paintings by Terry Jarvis

And this (left) is Terry’ painting of the main square in Fivizzano, where we go to paint on market day, with the campanile proudly in the background:

And here’s a village (right) in the foothills of the mountains surrounding the Watermill, again with its church tower.

Come hear the bells and paint the towers with Terry this Summer. He will be running another inspiring course in watercolours* at The Watermill, from Saturday 7 July to Saturday 14 July 2018. *Terry works in oils, pastels and acrylics, as well as watercolours, and is happy to teach in those media too.

Terry and his painting group at the watermill in Tuscany

Here’s what a recent guest said: “I wanted to thank you for a most wonderful stay at The Watermill. Your treatment of us was terrific. Six stars doesn’t come close! I enjoyed every minute. Terry’s course was great. He is an excellent teacher – very encouraging and knows how to bring out the best in his students. He has a great personality.”

Terry is one of Australia’s leading watercolour artists and a great fan of the Watermill and the surrounding area of Lunigiana. He was inspired at an early age to draw and paint the landscape, as well as people and animals. He now exhibits widely and is a popular tutor at workshops around the world. He loves drawing and helping his students to develop their drawing skills.

Write the stories only YOU can write

Neil Gaiman

If you’ve ever had the itch to write, there’s no better advice than that of Neil Gaiman, best-selling American author (The Sandman, Stardust etc., etc.), who says: “Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that — but you are the only you.”

And the best way to begin is with stories from your life, whether it’s for a short blog or full-blooded memoir. Or just a record for your grandchildren to enjoy and to understand what you did and how it was when you were younger. So come and join us and learn how to write about the real you, as only you can do, with author and mentor Jo Parfitt this Summer. You’ll need motivation and courage, but the rewards will be great.

Writing in the watermill in Italy's garden

As one student on Jo’s last course here said :“I can honestly say it’s been life changing for me and the setting could not have been more perfect.”

Jo’s first week with us, from 22-29 September, is now completely full, but we still have a few places on her second Write Your Life Stories course, from Saturday 18 August to Saturday 25 August 2018.

Jo’s creative writing courses are 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.

Jo Parfitt

Jo Parfitt has published 32 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 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.”

Jo 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.”

Don’t forget the Watermill photographic competition...

.... It’s your chance your chance to capture the unique ambiance and fun-filled atmosphere of The Watermill during our inspiring creative courses -- and win a free creative holiday. The competition is open to anyone who has stayed at the Watermill, this year or in previous years (except professional photographers).

Dont Forget the Watermill Photographic Competition
(Left) A humming bird moth at the Watermill by guest Ron Ploeg and
(Right) Concentration on a knitting course by guest Phil Wright

First prize goes to the photograph we judge to be the one that most reflects the ambiance of the mill. We are particularly interested in shots that show our ‘students’ in action, both at ‘work’ and play, although we’d also like to see great photos of the Watermill, its grounds and the surrounding countryside, and of the flora and fauna that abound in this environmentally protected area. The winner will be offered a free week-long creative holiday at the Watermill in 2019, of his or her choice, subject to availability. There will be five runner-up prizes, of £GBP 200 off a creative holiday at The Watermill in 2019, subject to availability.

You can find out more by clicking here. Please join in the fun and submit the best photos taken during your visit this year. We look forward to seeing them all.

Watermill in Tuscany's Painting NewsPAINTING NEWS

Come on in through our revolving door and paint here with Sandra!

Watermill's revolving door

Sometimes at this time of year Watermill bookings feel like a revolving door: people come in, but the occasional one or two go out! We’re pretty full this year with all the bookings coming in, but we invariably have a few cancellations, usually for legitimate medical reasons. We quite understand, but want to encourage a few more of you to come in through that door!

This has happened with our lovely early Summer ‘tutor in residence’, Sandra Strohschein, who will be with us for four weeks in May and June. Due to cancellations, we now have the Brunelleschi bedroom free for Sandra’s week from Saturday 2 June to Saturday 9 June and The Lippi Suite and the Uccello bedroom free for Sandra’s week from Saturday 9 June to Saturday 16 June.

So why not take a spin through our revolving door and come and join us at the Watermill? We’d love to welcome you here.

Sandra demonstrating to her group in the watermill garden

Sandra says: “The Watermill is one of my favourite place to paint and the hospitality is out of this world.“I’ve made so many great friends there over the years and I am looking forward to meeting many of them again as well as making new friends during our painting weeks.”

We had a wonderful course with Sandra last year and our guests thoroughly enjoyed themselves. A couple of their comments: “Sandra was full of enthusiasm and talent and made every day a joy. To have two chances most days to paint was utter heaven and in such wonderful surroundings. I didn’t paint a masterpiece but thoroughly enjoyed my week. I hope to remember some of the tricks Sandy taught us and use them in the future.”

“Many thanks to you both for a fabulous week. Your forethought, hard work and professionalism are very much appreciated. Nothing was too much trouble and nothing was at fault. You have created a gem. Please pass on our sincere gratitude to all your lovely people.”

Sandra Strohschein, from Michigan, USA, has achieved an extraordinary mastery of her medium, transparent watercolours. She works in a fast, loose, impressionistic style, but above all, she produces passionate, emotionally charged paintings, full of energy.

As for her teaching, people frequently tell her about how much fun they have on her workshops and how nobody ever wants them to end. Another painting guest on her course at the mill said: “Watching your demonstrations was such an education and your kind and patient individual help was invaluable.”

Painting holidays: the inspiring 2018 line-up

Maggie Renner Hellmann

Maggie Renner Hellmann
19 May to 26 May 2018 - course full, waiting list open
‘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 - course full, waiting list open
2 June to 9 June 2018
- one place left (or two sharing)
To learn more about Sandra, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures, please visit her Profile Page

Sandra Strohschein

Sandra Strohschein
9 June to 16 June 2018 - two places left
16 June to 23 June 2018
- course full, waiting list open
To learn more about Sandra, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures, please visit her Profile Page

Andrew Geeson

Andrew Geeson
23 June to 30 June 2018 - two places left
To learn more about Andrew, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please visit his Profile Page

Terry Jarvis

Terry Jarvis
7 July to 14 July 2018 - still single or double rooms available
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

Nel Whatmore & Rebecca de Mendonça

Rebecca de Mendonça & Nel Whatmore
1 September to 8 September 2018 - course full, waiting list open
To learn more about Rebecca & Nel, their course and to see more of their pictures, please visit their Profile Page

Mike Willdridge

Mike Willdridge
8 September to 15 September 2018 - course full, waiting list open
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
15 September to 22 September 2018 - course full, waiting list open
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 - course full, waiting list open
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 - course full, waiting list open
To learn more about Tim, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please visit his Profile Page

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

Watermill in Italy's Knitting NewsKNITTING NEWS

One place left on Lisa’s exciting knitting week

Another cancellation means we now have one place available for Lisa Richardson’s inspiring knitting course this Autumn. It is in our Donatello bedroom. (Please click here for more details of the bedrooms.

Lisa Richardson

Lisa Richardson's name is instantly associated with the Rowan pattern house. Lisa joined Rowan in 2003 and, after years of turning her hand to many different roles and tasks as part of the set-up, is now a celebrated and well established designer in her own right. She says: “I’ve always made things – my Gran taught me to knit and crochet – but I started at Rowan doing homeware, not knitwear at all. Working there you are surrounded by yarns, and people creating amazing things with them, and I was soon finishing off and doing bits of embroidery to help out. Then I got asked to crochet a cardigan and it just went from there. I don’t think there’s a job at Rowan I havent’ done.”

Beret project

Inspired by shape and texture, Lisa’s designs showcase interesting stitch details, unique garment structure and stylish techniques with a classically understated, yet innovative brilliance which is reflected in the global status she now commands.

Lisa has created two special projects for participants on her course: the first is a fairisle and textured cushion using rowan felted tweed, inspired by the different tiles that you will find in the various rooms at the watermill. The second is a textured and lace beret worked in the round using a beautiful cashmere yarn.

Here’s some praise from knitters on Lisa’s course in 2017:

“I had the most wonderful knitting holiday at the Watermill in Posara! Really everything was taken care of by our perfect hosts Lois and Bill as well as by the rest of the great staff. Having Lisa Richardson as our knitting tutor was a delight and great inspiration! A huge thanks to you all.”

“Such perfection, I am spoiled for anywhere else! A wonderful relaxing holiday with knitting. Everything was superb, and I was particularly touched by the warm friendly reception from Bill and Lois. The knitting was led by the talented and delightful Lisa Richardson, a calm presence who worked miracles with those of us who struggled from time to time. Our finished work is something we shall all treasure."

Here’s the current 2018 knitting line-up:

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 - one place left
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 Watermill residential writing course reaches places other writing courses cannot reach

Dont Forget the Watermill Photographic Competition
An old photo, well saved, of the group on
Jo’s last course at the Watermill

Jo Parfitt, our enthusiastic and inspiring writing tutor is back with us after a break of a few years (mainly in the Far East) and has been reminiscing on her last Writing Your Life Stories course here. She says she was stunned by the effect of running a week-long residential course, with classes in the morning, homework and private time every afternoon and group feedback (over aperitivi) every evening.

Jo says: “It was incredible! The students grew in confidence, sure, and their skills improved dramatically, but what was most striking was how a ‘place of safety’ was created: the way the students began to trust each other and recognised that their stories would be safe in this group of twelve people, who had been strangers the week before, blew my mind. I think it blew theirs too. As the week progressed friendships were formed – friendships that have lasted through the years to come.

“But we were there to write and write they did, at least twice every single day. Sharing their work daily taught everyone the value of constructive feedback and soon their work became braver and bolder; some even shared some personal stories that has until then stayed locked inside them. I felt tremendously privileged to have been witness to this development.”

A friend who is also a counsellor told Jo one of the reasons the course was such a success was that there were clear boundaries: “Not only were you living in a defined location within the grounds of the watermill and the village of Posara and that gave you physical boundaries, but being with a group of strangers all joined in a common purpose you felt psychologically safe in that environment too.” That’s why they all felt able to share, why they bonded so well and people were brave enough to write about tough stuff.

Jo says: “That is why I am now such an advocate of the residential writing course. And that is why I am delighted to be returning to Posara for not one, but two, Writing Your Life Stories courses this year. It’s true: a residential writing course reaches the places other courses cannot reach.”

As we said above, we’ve had such a demand for Jo’s courses this year, that, with her first week fully booked, we’ve opened a second week for her. If you’d like to write down some of your life stories, be it a full-blooded memoir, or a shorter journal, or even a blog, we’d be delighted to welcome you here.

Jo Parfitt

Jo Parfitt
18 August to 25 August 2018 - four places left
22 September to 29 September 2018 - course full, waiting list open
Write Your Life Stories
To learn more about Jo and her course at The Watermill, please visit her Profile Page


Rocambolesco - meaning fantastic

Rocambolesco! We’re completely full for this year’s Italian language course (but see below for 2019!)

Sorry, we are having to turn people away from the first week of our 2018 Italian language course (but if there is demand we may open a second week). And we are already taking bookings for 2019
(please see below - Newsletter Specials).

Giulia Balestri

Giulia Balestri
30 June to 7 July 2018- course full, waiting list open
7 July to 14 July 2018 - possible course if there is demand
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

In yoga (as in life), transitions are as important as poses, says Amy

Amy Rogg

Yoga – and life -- is not always about ‘destinations’. The journey itself is just as important.

Our bubbly and enthiusuatic yoga teacher Amy Rogg says: “When we think about going to a yoga class, we think about the poses: triangle, warrior one, and downward dog, to name a few. What we often don’t think about is the transition between poses.”

These are just as important as the poses themselves, says Amy: “The poses are not to be rushed towards, for they are not the goal. The goal is always the moment. There is so much richness in being able to slow down, noticing the change in our joints, experiencing every step of our moving limbs and creating shapes that don’t necessarily have a name. These are the ‘in-between’ places without definition but with endless possibility and discovery.”

This idea can be applied to the bigger picture of life: embracing transition, because we are always moving, flowing, and evolving. It’s not simply about a fixed goal. Amy says: “Next time you’re in class, pay closer attention to the spaces between upward dog and downward dog, the spaces between warrior 1 and warrior 2, and even the spaces, or little pauses, in between the inhales and exhales. Sink into those spaces. Don’t rush to the goal....feeling every moment is the point of it all.”

Amy and her colleague Joanne Brohmer are running a wonderful yoga retreat at the Watermill this Summer. So close your eyes and dream of beautiful Tuscany, amazing food and restorative yoga. With their students using words like ‘joy’ and ‘magical’ about them, Amy and Joanne will help you to awaken and restore your true passion and self-worth. We are sure this is going to be one of our most inspiring retreats – a sun-filled, fun-filled week where we’ll nurture your mind, body and spirit.

Amy and Joanne’s week will run from Saturday 25 August to Saturday 1 September 2018.The theme of the retreat will be ‘Connection’ – to yourself, to others and to nature.

Amy Rogg is a yoga teacher and movement facilitator working on transforming the human spirit through holistic arts. She is based in San Francisco, California, USA. Amy helps people to awaken and restore their passion and self-worth, inspiring them to move towards their vulnerability and authenticity. She brings people back into their innate knowledge and wisdom, through a deeper connection to their body, breath, and personal expression.

Joanne Brohmer

As a healer, Joanne Brohmer offers a range of modalities that helps others enter into their own depth and set their anchor deeper, where they can begin to claim and feel what has been hard to reach. She helps bring what has been blocked forward into the safe home of acceptance and embrace. She facilitates bringing others to that soft, open, vulnerable place in a way that feels safe.

Participants on our yoga retreat with Amy and Joanne enjoy SEVEN nights at the Watermill, with full board. Everything is included in the cost of the retreat: workshops, accommodation (including all linen and towels), tours, 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). You get to Pisa, Italy, we do the rest! You can see a draft itinerary by clicking here.

Come and practise your yoga and meditation in the tranquil heart of rural Tuscany and let us nurture your mind, body and spirit.

2018 Yoga retreat

Amy Rogg and Joanne Brohmer

Amy Rogg & Joanne Brohmer
25 August to 1 September 2018 - still plenty of places
Nourish - mind, body and soul
To learn more about Amy and Joanne and their course at The Watermill, please visit their Tutor Page


The watermill in Italy's newsletter specialsNEWSLETTER SPECIALS
Preview of our 2019 courses at the watermill in Tuscany, Italy

An early preview of our 2019 creative courses

Because of the unprecedented demand for our courses this year, we’ve decided to open up most of our 2019 courses for bookings. There’s a preview section on the Watermill website, which you can see by clicking here.

Watermill's creative courses in 2019

And there’s a Special Offer: If you book for a 2019 creative course before 1 September 2018, you can reserve your place at 2018 prices. (After 1 September, the costs for 2019 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 2019 Preview Enquiry Form which you’ll find on the 2019 Watermill website 2019 Preview Section.

*** If you are keen NOW is the time to book: we already have more than 50 bookings for 2019. Two courses are already sold out and others are filling fast. ***

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 this 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