Archives for August 2019

Professorial praise for Jo’s creative writing teaching

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

As Jo Parfitt says, she doesn’t do this very often, but when you get fabulous feedback on your performance as a teacher from a university professor, “you kinda gotta shout about it, right?”

The professor in question is Dr Corrine Glesne, Professor Emeritus at the University of Vermont in the USA, who came on Jo’s Writing Your Life Stories course earlier this year. Corrine writes “With exquisite skill, Jo creates an atmosphere where class participants feel comfortable to delve deep into their lives and to experiment with different writing techniques.

“She listens intently as participants read their work; then recaps phrases, images, or other examples from that work to provide specific meaningful and supportive feedback. Her ability to perceive the potential of a story and guide its improvement continually impressed me.”

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
The participants on Jo’s Writing your Life Stories course this June at the bottom five of the participants are showing off the linen dresses they bought at the local market! Picture: Sue Reed

Yes, we have had wonderful feedback for Jo’s courses over the years and we are looking forward again to welcoming her here next year. Jo’s next course will run from Saturday 9 May to Saturday 16 May 2020, and we already have four people booked in for her week. If you would like to join her and hone your writing skills, enjoying the unspoiled Tuscan countryside and the hospitality of the Watermill in the company of like-minded people, now is the time to book your place, too. We have a special offer of ‘2020 courses at 2019 prices’ which runs until 1 September, so you have a couple of weeks or so to take advantage of that. You can find out details of all our 2020 creative courses – writing, painting, knitting and Italian language – by clicking here. We would be delighted if you could join us.

 Here is another comment from a participant on Jo’s course this year, Sue Reed: “It was just wonderful. The setting magnificent, food sublime, and our hosts charming. The attention to detail and beauty are a sure recipe for a wonderful stay. This week has been an absolute delight. Your hospitality has known no bounds, and Jo has been an inspirational teacher. I am heading home with a head full of writerly plans.”

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Finding a quiet corner to start writing your life’s stories

Knitting and La Bella Vita: only a few places left in 2020!

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

Our knitting weeks at the Watermill have proved incredibly popular over the years, and it looks like 2020 is going to be no exception. We’ve only just announced the two weeks we are running next year and already 19 people have reserved their places. These include three non-knitting partners, so we only have room for another half a dozen or so knitters on the two weeks.

I know we always say it, but if you’re keen to come, now really is the time to place your booking, especially as we have a ‘2020 courses at 2019’ offer, which expires at the end of this month.

We call these courses Knitting and La Bella Vita, and the Italian Good Life is just what you’ll be savouring when you take one of our wonderfully relaxing and inspiring week-long knitting holidays in the beautiful Tuscan countryside.

In our first knitting week next year you will work on projects with top designer Louisa Harding and in the other week, in our first-ever Knitting Retreat, you’ll bring your own knitting projects and simply enjoy being pampered by the outstanding Watermill hospitality. We have nine people booked in the Louisa’s week in May, and 10 for the knitting retreat in July, including those non-knitting partners.

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

As well as sessions at the Watermill, you will also be knitting at a privately owned ex-monastery and in the grounds of a fabulous hill-top restaurant. You will be treated to an all-day excursion to the delightful fishing villages of the Cinque Terre or the beautiful Italian city of Lucca and enjoy a morning’s ramblings through the market at the nearby walled medieval town of Fivizzano. Everything, literally, is included in the cost of your holiday, from the time we pick you up at Pisa airport on the first Saturday until we drop you back there again a week later.

You will have the perfect opportunity to make new friends in the company of like-minded people learning new knitting techniques and tips from our tutors… and enjoying unspoilt Italy and, of course, fantastic food and wine.

You can see more details of our 2020 by clicking here. We’d love you to join us: hurry now while places last!

Anne-Marie got cold feet for this painting, but it was well worth it!

This vibrant pastel, of the River Rosaro, which runs beside the Watermill, is by Anne-Marie Furze, a guest on Sue Ford’s painting course earlier this year.

She calls it Early Morning Light and she says: “I loved going down to the river before the Watermill was awake as it was so peaceful and the light was amazing. To capture this angle, I had to stand in the river which believe me was freezing but worth every minute.”

You don’t have to get your feet wet to enjoy a Watermill painting holiday and we are already taking bookings for our 2020 courses. And if you book a place now (before 1 September) you can enjoy any of our 2020 creative courses at 2019 prices.

ou can see a preview of all our 2020 creative courses by clicking here.

Nearly 90 people have already booked their places and as we have a total capacity of some 250 or so, you can see that, even though it’s very early days, our 2020 bookings are beginning to flow in. So, if you have a favourite tutor, a favourite medium, a particular bedroom or a specific week, it really is the time to make sure you have the holiday of your choice. We would be delighted to welcome you here.

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

Only three weeks ago to book a 2020 creative course at 2019 prices

We haven’t really started marketing our 2020 creative courses yet, but already more than 80 people have reserved their places by sending us a £250 deposit. Thank you all very much.

If you reserve your place before 1 September 2019, you can enjoy any one of our 2020 creative courses at 2019 prices. Details of all the courses are to be found by clicking here.

I’ve just made a little Facebook slideshow of the first half a dozen or so painting courses, which you can see by clicking here.

We will tell you more about the other painting courses, as well as our creative writing, knitting and Italian language weeks, as the week progresses. Watch this space!

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

For water boatman, read pond skater! And come and tell us more about the Watermill wildlife, please.

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

A sharp-eyed reader of our Watermill newsletter, Joanne Hobbs, has corrected me for describing the creature above as a water boatman. She tells me it is a pond skater and adds: “Water boatmen hang under the water and pierce their pray from below, which is much more exciting and gory.”

Thank you, Joanne, I stand corrected and my apologies to you and to anyone whose entomological sensitivities were disturbed by my inaccuracy. A pond skater it is, and from my quick foray on Google, they seem as gory as their insect cousins, the water boatmen. Their long legs and water-repellent feet allow pond skaters to walk on water, using the phenomenon of surface tension. They eat other insects, stabbing them with their beaks. Nature truly is, red in tooth and claw.

The wonderful picture above, of a pond skater resting on the surface of the water at the top of the millstream, was taken by Trevor Sanderson, a non-painting partner on a recent creative course at the mill, whose stunning photographs were a feature of a recent Watermill blog which you can see by clicking here (for water boatman, read pond skater!)

The Watermill is surrounded by two environmentally protected areas, the National Park of the Apennines, the backbone of Italy, and the Regional Park of the Apuan Alps, the marble mountains of Carrara, and although I revel in the teeming wildlife, my knowledge of natural history clearly leaves something to be desired.

I used to describe the ephemeral creature below has a dragonfly, until a guest also corrected me: it’s a damselfly, but no less beautiful for that. Our damselflies seem to come in two varieties, deep purple and a turquoise blue. The one below was photographed by our friend Jamie Martin.

And here’s another one, again photographed by Trevor Sanderson.

And this, if I am not much mistaken, is a lizard!

Picture: Jamie Martin

And here is one of my favourite creatures one occasionally sees around the Watermill: a hummingbird moth, photographed by another guest Ron Ploeg

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

I’ll continue to enjoy the Watermill wildlife, even if I don’t know their names. We’d love you to come for a walk in our grounds and along the millstream and river and enjoy them too. And I’m happy to be corrected!

You can see our wildlife for yourself on one of our Watermill creative courses next year – painting, writing, knitting and Italian language.

We haven’t really begun marketing our 2020 courses yet, but already more than 80 people booked in. There are preliminary details of all our 2020 courses on our website, by clicking here. Now is a time to get your booking in, particularly as we have what we call our Early Early Bird offer. If you book before 1 September 2019, you can enjoy any one of our 2020 creative courses at 2019 prices. You will save £100 or so! Time to be a busy bee!

Picture: Ron Ploeg

Time for you to plan a creative week in Tuscany

Yes, the Watermill August newsletter is just out and contains details of all our 2020 creative courses – painting, creative writing, knitting and Italian language. You can read the newsletter simply by clicking here.

We haven’t really begun marketing these courses yet: we are in the throes of updating our website and plan to have all the details there by 1 September. In the meantime, our current Watermill website contains preliminary information about our 2020 courses. You can find out more by clicking here.

Now is a time to get your booking in, particularly as we have what we call our Early Early Bird offer. If you book before 1 September 2019, you can enjoy any one of our 2020 creative courses at 2019 prices. You will save £100 or so!

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

  • ducklings and waterboatmen, damselflies and lizards
  • putting your pictures in the picture
  • gazing at feline heaven
  • opening a door to paradise?

Read all about it. Then come and see for yourself! We would be delighted to welcome you here.

Waiting in line at the fish stall in the market

Our friend Jamie Martin, who stayed with us for a few days last week, captured these amusing moments at the fresh fish stall in the weekly market in our nearby town of Fivizzano.

A charming cat (above) waited patiently in line, gazing up at the fishy heaven. No prizes for guessing what was going on in her feline brain. Then it was her turn to order!

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

Come and enjoy the weekly market yourself on one of our world-famous creative courses at the Watermill. Our 2019 courses are now fully booked up (though there may be cancellations) and we are now taking bookings for 2020. Our total capacity on our creative courses is some 260 guests, and we have already taken more than 70 bookings for next year. So now is the time to reserve your place for a sun-filled, fun filled inspiring week of painting, creative writing, knitting or learning Italian, especially as we have a special offer: if you book a 2020 course before the end of this month you will only pay 2019 prices.

You can find out more by clicking here. We would love you to join us. And we will serve you some delicious fish among all the tasty Italian meals will savour during your week.