Write the stories from your life, with Jo’s expert guidance

Writing icon Watermill landing pageHave you ever thought about putting some of your life’s experiences on paper? Have your children/grandchildren ever said: Mum/Dad/Grandma/Grandad, you’ve done some fascinating things, been to amazing places: you ought to write it down!”

If so, this is definitely the course for you. It will enable you to write about your own life experience in an effective journal, memoir or blog. You can learn the secrets of writing your life story in our delightful setting in the heart of rural Tuscany – brilliant teaching and exquisite Italy all wrapped up in one fantastic week!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, sculpting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.This is the ultimate workshop on how to write the stories of your life, with journalist, teacher, editor and publisher Jo Parfitt. The Write Your Life Stories 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.

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 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.”

Here’s what one of our guests said about Jo’s last course at The Watermill: “I can honestly say it’s been life changing for me and the setting could not have been more perfect.” Another added:Jo was a quite delightful teacher. I found a happy atmosphere permeating the Watermill, and I particularly liked my room.”

 Jo says: “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 plus picJo Parfitt
22 September to 29 September 2018 
Write Your Life Stories

To learn more about Jo and her course at The Watermill, please click here

Bring your experiences of life to life!

More creative writing under the vines May 11 square

The Watermill 2018 website is now live!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, sculpting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

…with details about exciting with new painting, writing and yoga tutors who are joining our ever-popular established Watermill tutors to bring you a wide choice of creative courses. And there’s an attractive Early Bird offer on all our 2018 courses, if you book now!

It’s going to be another glorious season at The Watermill, nestled in the heart of Lunigiana, the unspoilt paradise in deepest rural Tuscany.

Sunset in nearby Massa, by Vicki Norman

Sunset in nearby Massa, by Vicki Norman

We are delighted to welcome new painting tutors Paul Talbot-Greaves, Claire Warner and Vicki Norman. They’ll be joined by the regular and popular members of the ‘Watermill painting team’, Maggie Renner Hellman, Sandra Strohschein, Sarah Yeoman, Terry Jarvis, Rebecca Mendonça, Mike Willdridge and Tim Wilmot. There will be one more painting course, in May, but we haven’t yet finalised the details. You can see more about all our painting tutors by clicking here.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, sculpting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.We’ll also be running three of our world-famous knitting courses in 2018, with inspiring knitwear designers and tutors Sarah Hazell, Marie Wallin and Lisa Richardson. You can see more about all our knitting tutors by clicking here.  


The Watermill at Posara for painting, sculpting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Write you life stories with Jo Parfitt



And we are also delighted to announce the return of Jo Parfitt, journalist, teacher, editor and publisher, with her stimulating week-long residential creative writing course How to write your life story. You can see more about Jo’s course by clicking here.

Then there are two yoga and meditation retreats next year, with newcomer Dina Sheldon and old friend Claire Murphy. You can see more about our yoga tutors by clicking here.

Enjoy a fantastic Italian language course

Enjoy a fantastic Italian language course

And last, but by no means least, another of our unique Italian language weeks, with Giulia Balestri from the prestigious Langues Services language school in Florence. You can see more about Giulia and the language course by clicking here.

And 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 www.watermill.net, select your course and bedroom, then click on Booking Enquiry.

Or, if you prefer, email us on info@watermill.net

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

We already have some 90 booking for our 2018 courses, so now’s the time to make your booking and be assured of a place with a special tutor, your favourite bedroom, or a particular week. We’d love to welcome you here.

A photograph of the mill and the riverside gardens.

A photograph of the mill and the riverside gardens.

Bring your partner or friend!

Why not bring your non-participating partner or friend as well? There’s a generous £GBP 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 suggestions by clicking here to visit our Partners’ Actvities page

Annabel’s pictures record our early Italian life

Annabel silk 2Guests on our creative courses the mill often ask about the striking, colourful silk pictures in our dining room. They were made by our English artist friend Annabel Collis and the represent various scenes from our Italian life when our children, Lydia and Lara, were very young. They’re painted with ‘barrier lines’ between areas of the silk so the colours don’t run into one section from to another.

The picture above shows in its central panel the family and friends enjoying a picnic in the olive groves above Terenzano, with the peaks of the Alpi Apuane in the background. It’s not a snapshot of one moment in time, but rather a collage of events, so the dramatis personae appear several times, notably the children, who appear from babies to toddlers. The dark-haired young man holding the football and flying the kite is Bill! The background is a typical Fivizzano scene, with Bill’s white MG, drinking in a caffé, and the children enjoying ice creams around one of the distinctive dolphins around the fountain in the Piazza Medicea .

The picture below features a diptych, with the Cinque Terre village of Vernazza on the left of the internal panel and the watermill’ bamboozery on the right, while the background captures the ‘blue Italian weather’ of the Cinque Terre coast.

Annabel silk 3

In the main Tuscan house, you’ll find a third Collis painting. This one captures the essence of the mill, the cascades and the river, the family enjoying the gardens, the bamboozery and surrounding vineyards.

Annabel silk 1Annabel VeniceWe commissioned the pictures after Bill had asked Annabel to make a silk scarf of Venice for one of Lois’ birthdays. Lois liked it so much she refused to wear it and had it framed instead. It hangs in our bedroom at the mill (viewing by request!) Lovely pictures, bringing back warm memories.

Annabel, who lives with her husband, the architect Guy Greenfield, in the West of England, is still an active artist. She also writes and illustrates children’s books and makes quirky greeting cards. You can find out more about Annabel and her work by clicking here.  Her particular passion is elephants! Here are some children with an elephant they decorated with Annabel on a school artistic project.

Annabel elephant children

And of course you can see Annabel’s Italian silk paintings if you come on one of our world-famous creative courses. To find out more, please just click here.

  ***Don’t forget our special Early Bird offer: If you book any of our 2016 sun-filled, fun-filled courses before 31 December 2015, there a £ (GBP) 75 discount.***

My new book is published this week: read all about it!

panorama cover small

It’s a big week for me this week. My historical detective story set in Florence is just out, and you can buy it as a paperback on Amazon and in a Kindle edition (details of how to do so below.)  Its called A Matter of Perspective and it’s a gripping read of murder and intrigue all solved by the hero sleuth……who was born and bred at The Watermill at Posara!  Here’s the Blurb:

COVER USED IN BOOK reducedIn 1425 the great dome of Florence cathedral is still unfinished, but reaching a critical point as its shell move inexorably upwards and inwards. An irascible genius, Filippo Brunelleschi, is in charge of the dome’s construction, watched over by his patron, the powerful banker Cosimo de’ Medici.

Young Assistant Building Supervisor Luca da Posara can’t think of anywhere else in the world that he’d rather be: it’s the birth of the Renaissance and the very air seems alive with fresh ideas, in science and philosophy, art and architecture.

But then he finds the body of a visiting mathematician, brutally murdered. Papers on the corpse allege that Filippo Brunelleschi stole his ideas. Who had him murdered? Filippo or Cosimo? Or the hot-headed sculptor Donatello,  Filippo’s close friend and former apprentice? Or was it one of their bitter artistic or political rivals, in a plot to destroy Filippo and discredit Cosimo? In Renaissance Florence, passion, conflict and intrigue lead to plot and counter-plot and nothing is quite as it seems. After a second killing, of a master mason who plunges to his death from the top of the incomplete dome, Luca feels compelled to turn amateur detective  – and discovers it’s all a matter of perspective.”

Intrigued? Why not get your own copy of the book – and if you bring it with you when you come on a painting holiday or creative writing course, I’ll gladly sign it for you, too.

To buy your paperback copy from the UK, please go straight to the book on Amazon.co.uk  by clicking here. Or buy the Kindle version by going straight to this link, by clicking here.

If you live outside the UK, you may prefer to use Amazon.com and you can go direct to my book’s page by clicking here. For the Kindle version on Amazon.com, please click here:

Or you can stall for time and just find out more on my new website for the book: www.billbreckon.netThere you can also read an extract and a review – and then order the book!

I hope you enjoy it. Let me know the next time you visit the present-day Watermill at Posara.Mill courtyard