Archives for May 2020

Another photovoltaic milestone!

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

The picture above, from our handy little photovoltaic monitoring app, shows that this afternoon our watermill photovoltaic array was still merrily producing electricity even on a cloudy day. Our latest milestone is that now we have produced more than 13,000 kWh of electricity from the sun. What’s more, we have also saved more than 9 tonnes of carbon dioxide production.

Our arrays of photovoltaic panels, hidden away on our south-facing roofs overlooking the river make us totally self-sufficient in electricity generation, even powering the new air-conditioning units in all our bedrooms and public rooms. We’ve commissioned the air-conditioning system, and we now have another little app which enables us to control each unit remotely, even from Florence!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Solar power to keep you cool. Some of our panel embedded in the roof of the 19th century Mill 2.

As you know, the Watermill is renowned for its inspiring teaching, its beautiful setting, its delicious food and wine, and its warm and welcoming hospitality. Now, whatever the weather, you will be Cool and Green with us.

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

As you know, the Watermill is renowned for its inspiring teaching, its beautiful setting, its delicious food and wine, and its warm and welcoming hospitality. Now, whatever the weather, you will be Cool and Green with us.

Trouble is that at the moment we have no guests at the Watermill to enjoy the fruits of our photovoltaic labours. Still, we are putting the bulk of our production back into the electricity grid, giving us plenty of credit for when we are able to keep you cool. Very soon, we hope.

We reckon that everything will be back to normal in the next few weeks and we are confident of running our courses here from August onward.

We are ready when you are: buildings renovated, walls painted, furniture restored, window boxes filled, courtyard full of plants: we just need your company to make it all perfect.

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

We do hope you will be able to plan ahead for when we are through this difficult time and you are ready for a relaxing and inspiring break away from it all. Please come and join us.

*Please rest assured that if travel restrictions in your own country or in Italy mean that the course cannot run on these dates, or that appropriate flights are not available, we will postpone your course to later in the year or even until 2021. You can find out all about our coronavirus strategy by clicking here.

Below you will first find details of our rearranged inspiring painting courses, followed by information on our creative writing and Italian language weeks.

Updated 25 May 2020

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

Our inspiring 2020 painting courses


Mike Willdridge
29 August – 5 September 2020 – three or four places left
Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


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

Rebecca de Mendonça
5 – 12 September 2020 – two or three places left
Pastels and Mixed media
To learn more about Rebecca and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


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

Maggie Renner Hellman
19–26 September 2020 – a few places left
Oils, acrylics, watercolours and pastels
To learn about Maggie’s courses, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Mary Padgett
26 September – 3 October 2020  – one place left
Pastels en plein air
To learn more about Mary and her course , please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


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

Milind Mulick
3 – 10 October 2020 –  fully booked, waiting list open
Colourful watercolours
To learn more about Milind and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.



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

Tim Wilmot
10 – 17 October 2020 –  fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


Our enriching 2020 writing course


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

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
8 – 15 August 2020 – two or three places left
Scriptwriting
To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and their course at the mill, please visit their 2020 Profile Page.


Our elevating Italian course

Langues Service and Francesca La Sala
22 – 29 August 2020 – still a few places
Italian from the Italians
To learn more about Federica and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


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

A Scottish fat man enjoys the Tuscan sun

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

Some years ago (we think it must have been around 2005), when we were living in Scotland, we bought the sculpture above from our friend Norman Defoe. We liked the fat man’s (sorry, the rotund gentleman’s) air of fulfilled repose and we brought it with us to the Watermill when we came to live permanently in Italy in 2010.

Since then he’s been relaxing in the Tuscan sun in our walled garden. And he has even grown a mossy moustache.

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

Come and see him for yourself, be inspired and relax in the Tuscan sun, on one of our renowned watermill creative courses. We reckon that everything will be back to normal in the next few weeks and we are confident of running our courses here from August onward.

We are ready when you are: buildings renovated, walls painted, furniture restored, window boxes filled, courtyard full of plants: we just need your company to make it all perfect.

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

We do hope you will be able to plan ahead for when we are through this difficult time and you are ready for a relaxing and inspiring break away from it all. Please come and join us.

*Please rest assured that if travel restrictions in your own country or in Italy mean that the course cannot run on these dates, or that appropriate flights are not available, we will postpone your course to later in the year or even until 2021. You can find out all about our coronavirus strategy by clicking here.

Below you will first find details of our rearranged inspiring painting courses, followed by information on our creative writing and Italian language weeks.

** By the way, the Watermill is renowned for its inspiring teaching, its beautiful setting, its delicious food and wine, and its warm and welcoming hospitality. We are also Cool and Green, even in the summer: all the bedrooms and public rooms have air conditioning, powered by our hidden array of photovoltaic panels, harnessing the sun’s energy to makes us self-sufficient in electricity generation. So you will enjoy Tuscan sun and a cool watermill!

Updated 22 May 2020

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

Our inspiring 2020 painting courses


Mike Willdridge
29 August – 5 September 2020 – three or four places left
Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


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

Rebecca de Mendonça
5 – 12 September 2020 – two or three places left
Pastels and Mixed media
To learn more about Rebecca and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


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

Maggie Renner Hellman
19–26 September 2020 – a few places left
Oils, acrylics, watercolours and pastels
To learn about Maggie’s courses, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Mary Padgett
26 September – 3 October 2020  – one place left
Pastels en plein air
To learn more about Mary and her course , please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


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

Milind Mulick
3 – 10 October 2020 –  fully booked, waiting list open
Colourful watercolours
To learn more about Milind and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.



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

Tim Wilmot
10 – 17 October 2020 –  fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


Our enriching 2020 writing course


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

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
8 – 15 August 2020 – two or three places left
Scriptwriting
To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and their course at the mill, please visit their 2020 Profile Page.


Our elevating Italian course

Langues Service and Francesca La Sala
22 – 29 August 2020 – still a few places
Italian from the Italians
To learn more about Federica and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.
Another sculpture you may see in the Walled Garden.

The solution to a Negroni problem

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

Lois and I have made it to the Watermill at last, after being locked in in Florence for the last eight weeks or so. It is looking marvellous and I will show you some pictures in another blog.

There was a further cause for celebration: my first Negroni for more than two months. A Negroni, you will recollect, is my favourite aperitivo-time tipple: an invigorating mixture of one part gin, one part Martini Rosso and one part Campari. Add a slice of orange and a few cubes of ice, and you have the perfect beginning to a convivial evening.

So last night, to celebrate, it had to be a Negroni. But there was a problem, see above left. You can’t drink a Negroni while you are wearing your protective mask. There is, however, a simple solution: pull the mask down (see above right). My brain cells were still working, then! I’m not too sure how well they were functioning when I finished the very stiff Negroni poured by Lois.

Things are rapidly returning to normal here in Italy, although we are all being careful in social situations. In a couple of weeks’ time all this coronavirus kerfuffle will seem like a bad dream.

Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, stay safe and keep smiling. Salute!

More pictures tomorrow

Catch a falling stone and put it in the courtyard!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
There she goes! A clip from our rolling stones video

You may remember that a couple of days ago I showed you some fascinating pictures of the Watermill team moving the massive stones of the Watermill’s old olive-crushing machine and placing them in honourable and elegant retirement in our sunny courtyard.

Our gardener Flavio Terenzoni made a short, hair-raising video of one of the stones, which we reckon must weigh all of two tons, brought safely to the ground. Just click here to see it. I also made a short Facebook slideshow of the process, which you can see by clicking here.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy
Picture: Flavio Terenzoni

The frantoio, the olive press, currently houses our laundry and will eventually become a new sitting area, with large windows overlooking the gardens and the orchard beyond. and a glazed floor area, beneath which you will be able to see the millstream rushing back to the river. We have completely reroofed the building and renovated and repointed the exterior stonework. The final task was to clear space by removing this massive olive-crushing machine.

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

The frantoio interior will remain Work in Progress for the foreseeable future as we consolidate our resources following the devastating effects of the coronavirus epidemic. It is peripheral, however, to the main buildings of the Watermill, which remain as spruce as sprightly as ever and simply waiting for our guests to arrive.

We are ready when you are: buildings renovated, walls painted, furniture restored, window boxes filled, courtyard full of plants: we just need your company to make it all perfect.

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

We do hope you will be able to plan ahead for when we are through this difficult time and you are ready for a relaxing and inspiring break away from it all. Please come and join us.

*Please rest assured that if travel restrictions in your own country or in Italy mean that the course cannot run on these dates, or that appropriate flights are not available, we will postpone your course to later in the year or even until 2021. You can find out all about our coronavirus strategy by clicking here.

Below you will first find details of our rearranged inspiring painting courses, followed by information on our creative writing and Italian language weeks.

** By the way, the Watermill is renowned for its inspiring teaching, its beautiful setting, its delicious food and wine, and its warm and welcoming hospitality. We are also Cool and Green, even in the summer: all the bedrooms and public rooms have air conditioning, powered by our hidden array of photovoltaic panels, harnessing the sun’s energy to makes us self-sufficient in electricity generation. So you will enjoy Tuscan sun and a cool watermill!

Updated 19 May 2020

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

Our inspiring 2020 painting courses


Carl March
18 – 25 July 2020 – three or four places left
Drawing and watercolours en plein air
To learn more about Carl and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page


Mike Willdridge
29 August – 5 September 2020 – three or four places left
Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


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

Rebecca de Mendonça
5 – 12 September 2020 – two or three places left
Pastels and Mixed media
To learn more about Rebecca and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


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

Maggie Renner Hellman
19–26 September 2020 – a few places left
Oils, acrylics, watercolours and pastels
To learn about Maggie’s courses, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Mary Padgett
26 September – 3 October 2020  – one place left
Pastels en plein air
To learn more about Mary and her course , please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


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

Milind Mulick
3 – 10 October 2020 –  fully booked, waiting list open
Colourful watercolours
To learn more about Milind and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.



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

Tim Wilmot
10 – 17 October 2020 –  fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


Our enriching 2020 writing courses


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

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
8 – 15 August 2020 – two or three places left
Scriptwriting
To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and their course at the mill, please visit their 2020 Profile Page.


Our elevating Italian course

Langues Service and Francesca La Sala
22 – 29 August 2020 – still a few places
Italian from the Italians
To learn more about Federica and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Away from it all: the Watermill riverside

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We do hope you will be able to plan ahead for when we are through this difficult time and you are ready for a relaxing and inspiring break away from it all. Please come and join us.

*Please rest assured that if travel restrictions in your own country or in Italy mean that the course cannot run on these dates, or that appropriate flights are not available, we will postpone your course to later in the year or even until 2021. You can find out all about our coronavirus strategy by clicking here.

Below you will first find details of our rearranged inspiring painting courses, followed by information on our creative writing and Italian language weeks.

** By the way, the Watermill is renowned for its inspiring teaching, its beautiful setting, its delicious food and wine, and its warm and welcoming hospitality. We are also Cool and Green, even in the summer: all the bedrooms and public rooms have air conditioning, powered by our hidden array of photovoltaic panels, harnessing the sun’s energy to makes us self-sufficient in electricity generation. So you will enjoy Tuscan sun and a cool watermill!

Otto’s videos jog happy memories of times past – and of times to come

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
A corner of the Watermill garden, by Otto

I love serendipity, the happy accident of finding agreeable things when you weren’t really looking. That’s what happened to me yesterday when I was looking at our YouTube videos of Mike Willdridge’s interactive online sessions. (See yesterday’s blog by clicking here.)

I stumbled across a series of short videos made by Otto Meth-Cohn who, with his wife Jean, was on Fabio Cembranelli‘s painting course here nearly nine years ago. They are really charming; each lasting two minutes or so, and they give a wonderful flavour of a painting week at the Watermill. Of course, there have been lot of change in nine years, but the ambience of the mill and the warmth of Watermill hospitality remains as enticing as ever.

Here’s a clip from one of Otto’s videos, shot in and around the Watermill. You can see the video itself by clicking here.

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

The still below is from Otto’s video on the castle and village of Verrucola, where we go to paint on Mondays. Again you can watch the whole video, this time by clicking here.

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

If it’s Tuesday, it means market day at Fivizzano, the walled mediaeval town up the hill from Posara. Below is a painting of one of the ancient entrance gates, and the short video is here.

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

On Fridays, we venture to the hilltop village of Monte dei Bianchi, with stunning views of the high Apuan Alps. Below is another still from Otto’s video, which you can by clicking here.

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

Thank you Otto for those fond memories of the Watermill 2011 – the Watermill 2020 is looking even more beautiful and we are ready to welcome more guests, to make more marvellous memories, soon as you are able to join us.

We do hope you will be able to plan ahead for when we are through this difficult time and you are ready for a relaxing and inspiring break away from it all. Please come and join us.

*Please rest assured that if travel restrictions in your own country or in Italy mean that the course cannot run on these dates, or that appropriate flights are not available, we will postpone your course to later in the year or even until 2021. You can find out all about our coronavirus strategy by clicking here.

Below you will first find details of our rearranged inspiring painting courses, followed by information on our creative writing and Italian language weeks.

** By the way, the Watermill is renowned for its inspiring teaching, its beautiful setting, its delicious food and wine, and its warm and welcoming hospitality. We are also Cool and Green, even in the summer: all the bedrooms and public rooms have air conditioning, powered by our hidden array of photovoltaic panels, harnessing the sun’s energy to makes us self-sufficient in electricity generation. So you will enjoy Tuscan sun and a cool watermill!

Updated 18 May 2020

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

Our inspiring 2020 painting courses


Carl March
18 – 25 July 2020 – three or four places left
Drawing and watercolours en plein air
To learn more about Carl and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page


Mike Willdridge
29 August – 5 September 2020 – three or four places left
Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


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

Rebecca de Mendonça
5 – 12 September 2020 – two or three places left
Pastels and Mixed media
To learn more about Rebecca and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


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

Maggie Renner Hellman
19–26 September 2020 – a few places left
Oils, acrylics, watercolours and pastels
To learn about Maggie’s courses, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Mary Padgett
26 September – 3 October 2020  – one place left
Pastels en plein air
To learn more about Mary and her course , please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


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

Milind Mulick
3 – 10 October 2020 –  fully booked, waiting list open
Colourful watercolours
To learn more about Milind and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.



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

Tim Wilmot
10 – 17 October 2020 –  fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


Our enriching 2020 writing courses


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

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
8 – 15 August 2020 – two or three places left
Scriptwriting
To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and their course at the mill, please visit their 2020 Profile Page.


Our elevating Italian course

Langues Service and Francesca La Sala
22 – 29 August 2020 – still a few places
Italian from the Italians
To learn more about Federica and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Away from it all: the Watermill riverside

The answer was a lemon; next week, a sunlit door. Join Mike for more free interactive online sessions

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

Our friend and Watermill painting tutor Mike Willdridge has devised three wonderful online, interactive painting sessions where you can brush up your basic painting skills. And they are free. We had the first of them earlier this week with just a dozen people, as we found our technological feet on Zoom. It was great fun and now we are planning two more, with room for many more Watermill guests to enjoy Mike’s company and paint along with him. In fact, we’re going to try for 100 people on Zoom for the next session. It is filling fast, but there’s room for a few more. Lois is the hostess with the mostest, in charge of the technological juggling act! There are details below of how to join below.

Our first session involved painting a couple of lemons, hence the picture above, a montage of some of our guests’ paintings during the free interactive session. The next topic is a sunlit Tuscan door:

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

Unlike many online painting programmes, Mike’s will not expect you to ‘look over his shoulder’ for a long demonstration, and perhaps be allowed to ask the odd question or two. No, you will be painting along at more or less the same time, trying out the watercolour techniques that Mike has shown you. He will demonstrate some basic techniques such as wet onto wet, wet onto dry, light to dark etc. for only a few minutes before you start painting the same subject at home. Then, after you have had your turn, Mike will move onto the next part of the process. Each session will last about 90 minutes.

Here are the details of the next two:

  • Thursday 28 May, 2.30pm UK time – a Tuscan, sunlit door
  • Thursday 11 June, 9.30pm UK time (so that guests in Australia can join in) – geese
Mike shows where the light comes from.

Before each session Mike supplies a photograph of what is going to be painted, and a list of equipment and colours for your palette. We will send these beforehand to all the participants in the session. After the session we will send you a link that will enable to you revisit Mike’s steps on YouTube.

The ‘sunlit door’ session will be limited to 100 participants.  We are still taking bookings for this, and for the final session, painting geese.  Places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Please get in touch with Lois by using the Watermill contact form, which you can find by clicking here. Mark the topic as ‘Mike’s free interactive sessions’. You will find them informative, inspirational – and fun!

And when you’ve enjoyed working with Mike online, why not join him for real on his Watermill course this autumn?

Mike’s painting group last year, not being too serious!

Mike’s course, in watercolours and drawing (and gouache and acrylics) will run from Saturday 29 August to Saturday 5 September. Details and link below. Why not give yourself something to look forward to and join Mike here? We think things will be back to normal by then, but don’t forget the Watermill’s coronavirus promise:

  • Rest assured that if travel restrictions in your own country or in Italy mean that the course cannot run on these dates, or that appropriate flights are not available, we will postpone your course until 2021.
  • If a workshop is cancelled, rather than just being postponed, we will refund any payment in full.
  • If a workshop is postponed and you cannot make the new dates for the tutor you have chosen, we will offer you alternative courses with others inspiring tutors.
Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.
A lovely watercolour by Mike Willdridge of the millstream bubbling under one of our gardner Flavio’s famous wooden bridges.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Mike-plus-river.jpg

Mike Willdridge
29 August – 5 September 2020 – three or four places left
Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


Below is Mike’s beautiful demonstration painting of the nearby church at Pognana. Come and see for yourself. We would love to welcome you here.

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

These rolling stones have come to rest

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy
Picture: Flavio Terenzoni

Above are the massive stones of the Watermill’s old olive-crushing machine, just placed in honourable and elegant retirement in our sunny courtyard. But it was a struggle and a half to get them there!

You may remember that a week or so ago we showed you a picture (below) of our manager Karsten and builder Nico puzzling on how to move the stones from the frantoio, the olive press.

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

This area, which currently houses our laundry, is being renovated and will eventually become a new sitting area, with large windows overlooking the gardens and the orchard beyond. and a glazed floor area, beneath which you will be able to see the millstream rushing back to the river. We have completely reroofed the building and renovated and repointed the exterior stonework. The final task was to clear space by removing the massive olive-crushing machine.

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

It was by no means the easiest job in the world to get them out: Karsten reckons each stone must weigh around two tons. But with the whole Watermill team banding together, and with a borrowed tractor, we managed it, manoeuvring the stones to their beautiful final resting place, which Flavio Terenzoni enhanced with flowers. There are some pictures of the process below and I made one of those fun 30-second Facebook slideshows which you may enjoy. You can see it by clicking here.

View Post

Getting there
The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy
Thanks for the tractor loan.
The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy
Phew! We made it. Pictures: Flavio Terenzoni

The frantoio interior will remain Work in Progress for the foreseeable future as we consolidate our resources following the devastating effects of the coronavirus epidemic. It is peripheral, however, to the main buildings of the Watermill, which remain as spruce as sprightly as ever and simply waiting for our guests to arrive.

We are ready when you are: buildings renovated, walls painted, furniture restored, window boxes filled, courtyard full of plants: we just need your company to make it all perfect.

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

We do hope you will be able to plan ahead for when we are through this difficult time and you are ready for a relaxing and inspiring break away from it all. Please come and join us.

*Please rest assured that if travel restrictions in your own country or in Italy mean that the course cannot run on these dates, or that appropriate flights are not available, we will postpone your course to later in the year or even until 2021. You can find out all about our coronavirus strategy by clicking here.

Below you will first find details of our rearranged inspiring painting courses, followed by information on our creative writing and Italian language weeks.

** By the way, the Watermill is renowned for its inspiring teaching, its beautiful setting, its delicious food and wine, and its warm and welcoming hospitality. We are also Cool and Green, even in the summer: all the bedrooms and public rooms have air conditioning, powered by our hidden array of photovoltaic panels, harnessing the sun’s energy to makes us self-sufficient in electricity generation. So you will enjoy Tuscan sun and a cool watermill!

Updated 16 May 2020

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

Our inspiring 2020 painting courses


Carl March
18 – 25 July 2020 – three or four places left
Drawing and watercolours en plein air
To learn more about Carl and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page


Mike Willdridge
29 August – 5 September 2020 – three or four places left
Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


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

Rebecca de Mendonça
5 – 12 September 2020 – two or three places left
Pastels and Mixed media
To learn more about Rebecca and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


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

Maggie Renner Hellman
19–26 September 2020 – a few places left
Oils, acrylics, watercolours and pastels
To learn about Maggie’s courses, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Mary Padgett
26 September – 3 October 2020  – one place left
Pastels en plein air
To learn more about Mary and her course , please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


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

Milind Mulick
3 – 10 October 2020 –  fully booked, waiting list open
Colourful watercolours
To learn more about Milind and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.



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

Tim Wilmot
10 – 17 October 2020 –  fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


Our enriching 2020 writing courses


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

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
8 – 15 August 2020 – two or three places left
Scriptwriting
To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and their course at the mill, please visit their 2020 Profile Page.


Our elevating Italian course

Langues Service and Francesca La Sala
22 – 29 August 2020 – still a few places
Italian from the Italians
To learn more about Federica and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Away from it all: the Watermill riverside

While you are waiting to join us for Jo’s course next year…

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

The coronavirus pandemic means that we have had to postpone Jo Parfitt’s renowned Writing Your Life Stories week at the Watermill until next year, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t join Jo for some Inspiring tuition in the meantime. She has organised lots of  ‘virtual events’, online courses and writing circles to help you to express yourself and capture the significant events of your life in a vibrant and entertaining way.

Jo has a monthly series of Life Story Jar Webinars, where you “preserve precious family stories with a lesson, a task, sharing and feedback from me.” The next one is on 28 May.

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

Then there is the enlightening In Conversation series. The next one is on 4 June with Anne Rainbow on How to Create and Use a Story Arc, as well as Themes in fiction and memoir. And there’s more! Jo has also organised Writers Circles, “fun, inspiring, informative, safe, supportive spaces for writing, sharing and feedback.” Sessions run on Mondays and Wednesdays: the first session is free and is a nominal fee of £50 (English pounds) for five sessions.

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

And even more! Have you tried Speedwriting? This is ‘free writing’, stream of consciousness stuff. Jo says: “You write in longhand for 10 minutes, putting the thoughts that pop into your head down on the page while ignoring the internal censor may be the best thing you ever learned to do. Join us and try it for yourself.” These sessions take place on Fridays on Zoom and they are free.

You will find out more by clicking here.

But as life gets back to normal, you will know that, however helpful ‘virtual events’ are, they can’t beat the real thing, a week-long creative writing course with Jo at the Watermill. Jo’s postponed course is running next summer (details below) and already many of the disappointed participants of this year’s postponed course have switched to next year. We do still, however, have some places.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
A collage of conversation on Jo’s last course,compiled by Sue Reed.

Jo Parfitt’s Writing Your Life Stories courses at the Watermill have provided some of the most inspiring and creative weeks in our calendar, with dozens of people learning new writing skills to help them capture the stories of their lives.

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

This 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 making them leap off the page You learn how to:

  • Let it flow
  • Write about childhood
  • Write about people
  • Write about places
  • Write on a theme
  • Write humour
  • Write complete stories, with beginnings, middles and ends

 Jo says: “You will be empowered to write in a compelling way, bringing your experiences to life.”

As one of our previous guests said: “It is a very special and beautiful place and everything was organised so perfectly. Jo is a great tutor and we all had an amazing time.” Another said: “It was a great week: “Beautiful setting, perfect weather, delicious food and some super outings, who could ask for anything more — and I did quite a bit of writing!”

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

Above are some members of Jo Parfitt’s writing group last year sharing snippets from their lives One of the group, Sue Reed, tells us: “The vine verandah has been the perfect place to gather to write and share our stories. Last night we all shared a funny story, and the laughter rang out. My life feels so much richer for having met and shared stories with these wonderful people.”

Of course, there’s not only laughter, but tears, too, as members of the group share emotional experiences from their lives, but in the secure and sympathetic surroundings of the Watermill, this sharing can become life-enhancing. As 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”. And there’s more laughter than tears, with the warm camaraderie of like-minded people

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
A writing group on the steps of the castle at Verrucola, where go to lunch on Mondays

So, come and add spice to your life stories and learn the secrets of compelling writing, when Jo returns next year. Her Write Your Life Stories course will run from Saturday 14 August to Saturday 21 August 2021. We already have seven people booked into Jo’s course, so we only have room for four or five more.

***The Watermill is renowned for its inspiring teaching, its beautiful setting, its delicious food and wine, and its warm and welcoming hospitality. We are also Cool and Green! All the bedrooms and public rooms have air conditioning, powered by our hidden array of photovoltaic panels, harnessing the sun’s energy to makes us self-sufficient in electricity generation.

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

Jo Parfitt is an author, journalist, teacher, blogger, conference speaker and poet. She has published 32 books herself, has helped more than 100 authors into print and more than 1,000 people to begin writing. Jo’s a compassionate, inspiring, and encouraging teacher: her motto is ‘sharing what I know to help others to grow’.

 The workshop will include several methods and genres 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.

Everything is included in the cost of your holiday at the watermill: tuition, accommodation (including all linen and towels), 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 or the Cinque Terre). You get to Pisa, Italy, we do the rest!

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

Lynne revives memories of a ‘wonderful’ painting holiday

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

We are always delighted when our guests send us paintings celebrating their time with us. So our thanks today to Lynne Amor, who came on Jude Scott’s watercolour course last year.

Lynne writes: “I have had you all on my mind many, many times since our wonderful holiday with you at the Watermill last September. With fond thoughts and happy memories.”

Lynne’s painting above is of the castle and village of Verrucola, where we go to paint on Mondays before enjoying a traditional Italian lunch in a trattoria nestling in the walls. I particularly like the lady taking her sprightly dog for a walk over the bridge.

And here is our Thursday painting location, the Convento del Carmine, a nearby ancient monastery. The perspective of those arched cloisters is difficult to capture.

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

Oh, and talking of dogs, someone recently cajoled Lynne into painting their beloved Schnauzers. Here they are:

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

A couple of characters! Thank you again, Lynne, for sharing these delightful paintings with us.

We do hope you will be able to plan ahead for when we are through this difficult time and you are ready for a relaxing and inspiring break away from it all. Please come and join us.

*Please rest assured that if travel restrictions in your own country or in Italy mean that the course cannot run on these dates, or that appropriate flights are not available, we will postpone your course to later in the year or even until 2021. You can find out all about our coronavirus strategy by clicking here. Below you will find details of our rearranged inspiring painting courses.

** By the way, the Watermill is renowned for its inspiring teaching, its beautiful setting, its delicious food and wine, and its warm and welcoming hospitality. We are also Cool and Green, even in the summer: all the bedrooms and public rooms have air conditioning, powered by our hidden array of photovoltaic panels, harnessing the sun’s energy to makes us self-sufficient in electricity generation. So you will enjoy Tuscan sun and a cool watermill!

Updated 13 May 2020


Carl March
18 – 25 July 2020 – three or four places left
Drawing and watercolours en plein air
To learn more about Carl and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page


Mike Willdridge
29 August – 5 September 2020 – three or four places left
Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


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

Rebecca de Mendonça
5 – 12 September 2020 – two or three places left
Pastels and Mixed media
To learn more about Rebecca and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


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

Maggie Renner Hellman
19–26 September 2020 – a few places left
Oils, acrylics, watercolours and pastels
To learn about Maggie’s courses, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Mary Padgett
26 September – 3 October 2020  – one place left
Pastels en plein air
To learn more about Mary and her course , please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


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

Milind Mulick
3 – 10 October 2020 –  fully booked, waiting list open
Colourful watercolours
To learn more about Milind and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.



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

Tim Wilmot
10 – 17 October 2020 –  fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.

Mille miglia? No, just cento chilometri!

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

Hot (-ish) from my lockdown triumphs in the Round-Our-Florence-Apartment marathon and the 50-mile Kennedy March, yesterday I reached another milestone, or rather kilometre post, in my daily gyrations around the specially constructed circuit in Florence apartment: 200 steps round all the rooms and balconies, repeated 20 times each day. That’s two kilometres every day. I know every nook and cranny of the apartment intimately.

I think I’m selling myself short, because I calculated those 200 steps as just 100 metres, whereas I suspect each step is longer than half a metre and I’m striding much further than 100 metres on each circuit. But I’m not in it for the glory, rather the exercise, and it’s good to have some target.

Anyway, today’s milestone is that I have completed 1000 laps, or more than 100 km. Wow! I’m surprised I haven’t worn a groove in the parquet and the ceramic tiles. That’s me above at the finishing line yesterday, waving my chequered flag and clutching a winner’s bouquet. As the florist is closed, we couldn’t run to roses, but Lois thoughtfully wrapped a bag of fresh mint from the market in a red ribbon and presented it to me. It may not have been such a colourful floral display, but it certainly smelled good!

Now the challenge is to think about where to go next. I haven’t quite made up my mind, so watch this space. Meanwhile, enjoy your own lockdown exercise, wherever you are whatever you do: stay safe and keep smiling.

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

* Incidentally, I’m intrigued about the use of the word pace or step. My understanding was that a pace was two steps (i.e. returning to the same foot) and that the Roman mile was 1000 paces, or about 1500 metres. These days steps and paces seem interchangeable. The mille miglia is a thousand miles, but cento chilometri is not bad in the privacy of your own home.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
1955 Mille Milglia: Stirling Moss was the winner.