The Balmoral Visited Martha’s Vineyard!

I thought I’d give you a little island tour this morning! Wanted to show you the Balmoral.  Complete with MUSICA, one of my favorite songs! Can you imagine dancing to this aboard an ocean liner?

This beautiful ship, christened “The Balmoral,” left Southampton, England, a couple of weeks ago, on a twelve-day cruise across the Atlantic to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the maiden voyage (sans the sinking) of the Titanic; filled with lucky people, the exact number of passengers that were on the Titanic, many dressed in the clothing of the times, some were even relatives of the original passengers.  Here are some of them checking in . . . This is a lot like it will look for us when we board the Queen Mary!  So exciting!  Our ship is longer than the Titanic, holding more passengers, and leaves New York at 6 pm next Friday night!  Are we ready?

No, we’re not!!

Despite that, when Joe and I read in the Martha’s Vineyard Times that the Balmoral was going to dock in Oak Bluffs, here on the island, last Saturday, we had to go see it!  We drove out East Chop, to just about the same place we watched that beautiful moon rise a couple of months ago, remember?  Coming around the bend, our eyes were peeled, where is it?  Will we be able to see it?  Will it be big?

And then, suddenly, there she is!  Just like a full moon,  it would have been very hard to miss this beautiful ship.

We had a gorgeous day to be wandering Martha’s Vineyard . . . From where we were standing we could see three of the island’s lighthouses!

We wanted to get a little closer to the ship so we followed the road around East Chop into the little village of Oak Bluffs.

Even this early in the season, the harbor is bustling because the weather has been so fine.

And there she was!  Sitting right outside the harbor opening.  See those little yellow lifeboats on the side of the ship?

Look how big they are in real life!  Not like your grandfather’s lifeboats!  Much cozier than a rowboat!  Inspires confidence, don’t you think?  They were bringing Balmoral passengers to and from ship for a few hours of island exploration.

Cuddling right up to the dock; step off, and you’re in another world!

It just made us more excited for our own trip!  This little excursion away from the house was a nice break in the action for us.

The action being us, getting ready to go!

Watched closely by our faithful and precious pets, here’s Girl Kitty, as always, the lady.

And of course, packing with Jack around is an adventure, he is such a huge help . . . the most adorable thing in the world, he gives me kisses, nuzzles me, is so soft, with a heart of gold, and mischief on his mind.

Every drawer I open, he gets in …

I will have to make very sure he doesn’t end up in the suitcase, you can see it in his eyes, that’s what he’s thinking about.  Practicing his hiding tactics.

OK girls, gotta go — tonight my girlfriends (you met here the other day) are giving me a Bon Voyage English Tea Party at 5 pm.  I can’t wait!!  If I remember, and I will really try, I’ll Twitter a photo directly from the party, so check Twitter if you can, later on — 6 pm-ish, est. There will be a link to the photo on my Twitter page, and you can just click on it.

It’s getting so busy, I don’t know if I’ll be able to show you the whole tea party before we go!  (BTW, the darling little children’s tea set in this photo should be back in stock in our web store in June for those who are training-up the next generation!) In case it gets too busy and I don’t update enough, and you are missing me, this would be a really good time for you all to check out this list I made of some of my favorite websites!!!  (You can find your way here anytime, the link is right on this page in that narrow column on the right, at the bottom, under “Inspiration.”) I promise, you will be in heaven!  The talent, creativity, and charm of what’s going on in Blog World is quite amazing.  I am thrilled to be a part of it!  Sharing is what it’s all about! 

The other thing (thanks to one of our girlfriends who supplied us with this perfect link) you can watch the Queen Mary II leave New York Harbor, live, as it goes out to sea, under the Tappan Zee Bridge that was a mistake, its actually the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge! (Thank you girlfriends!)  I promise to wave!  Save this link . . . we leave the dock at 5 pm (est.) Friday night!!!

Please don’t worry about me; we’re working hard now, but pretty soon things will look like this !   Have a happy day Girlfriends, from my house to yours!! XOXO

A H H H H H.  Life; she is good.  

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210 Responses to The Balmoral Visited Martha’s Vineyard!

  1. Susan Simon says:

    Good morning, Susan and everyone! Loved seeing the pictures of the Balmoral, and of the other side of the island, too. It’s finally the week that you get to set off on your wonderful adventure. Wishing you and Joe a marvelous, magical trip across the pond, and really looking forward to traveling along with you! Have a grand time at your tea party… will there be scones and clotted cream? All the best to you… and yes, you had better check your suitcases before you leave. Jack definitely has that gleam in his cute little eyes! Bon Voyage!

  2. Mary Spring says:

    Oh..Susan…You’ve got to be ready !!!! …and your sweet kitties will certainly be fine…… there will be a near Full Flower Moon to escort you out to sea !!! ..I just knew those dear friends of yours were going to give a sweet Bon Voyage Tea party.. thank you for setting up “your favorite websites” connection….me being a potter, I especially enjoyed Julie Whitmore’s site… two must be spinning like a top….I know I am…with joy!!!!!!!

  3. Cathy McC. says:

    Oh goodness, Susan, it is getting so close. Seeing that big ship in the harbor made it seem REAL even to me! I even have butterflies in my stomach! Have an absolutely fabulous time — I think Lucy and I will have to figure out Twitter! Hugs, Ethel

  4. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh..this is wonderful! Love the ship in the bay! You have such beautiful sites on your island …thank you for sharing them with us! That music makes us all want to dance ….again “thank you” for that! Jack & Kitty are adorable!

    Oh and a tea party…can not wait to see it on Twitter! Bless you dear friend…

  5. Treese says:

    I am excited already about all the pictures and updates you will be sending! I wish I could have taken the Atlantic Crossing to commiserate the Titanic. I have been twice in the last week to see the 3D version of the movie. I also just started another book I got from Amazon called Titanic Love Stories. I think I have read about 25 books on the Titanic. When I was last in England I went over to Belfast in Northern Ireland to the Harland and Wolff Shipyard where the Titanic was built. They have a lot of information there as well. I have been fascinated with the story of the Titanic and her passengers.

    Such a sad story. I took a 10 day cruise up the coast 8 years ago to Alaska and I had to watch the movie twice. There have been other horrible ship disasters, but there is something about the Titanic that is so fascinating.

    Well, you will be on your way shortly, yes keep an eye on that little rascal Jack or he might be where a little sailor suit if he hides in a suitcase. LOL!

    • sbranch says:

      Someone mentioned having a “Titanic Party” which I think could be a wonderful thing to do, costumes, tea, the invitations could be so cute, the menu could be the food they had on board . . . it could be really creative.

      • Rae Ann says:

        The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan is having a Titanic party in May…right now the powers that be are getting the hotel ready…they are open for a few brave souls who are there early…before everything is really ready…if you check their website or “like” the Grand Hotel on facebook you will get updates/on facebook on the move in procedure the employees at the Grand Hotel go through each spring + pics of the Titanic party when it occurs…xoxo…

        • sbranch says:


          • Pat Mofjeld says:

            I don’t mean to be a “wet blanket”, and I, too, could think it was fun, too–dressing in clothing of the times, having the wonderful food, etc., to re-live the Titanic experience. (except for going down, of course). But then I think of all of the passengers who weren’t traveling First Class, the ones who were literally locked in the lower decks of the ship as it went down with no chance to get out and who weren’t dining at gorgeous tables with fancy foods, etc., and it makes me sad that in all of the hoopla of the anniversary, they somehow get forgotten…

          • sbranch says:

            They aren’t forgotten, I think they are what this is all about, I hope!

        • Georgie says:

          Ooooo The Grand Hotel…Lilac Festival too! We visited this just after we were married years ago and I was reliving Somewhere in Time!!! A truly Magical Place!

  6. Country Gal says:

    Oh that town looks wonderful ! WOW! That would be cool to see that big ship leaving . I will have to check out that web site. Silly Jack sitting in the drawers a cutie boy ! Bet your getting more excited every day it gets closer to your trip . Have a great day !

  7. Lisa R (northern Arizona) says:

    Wow, that was fun!! I could just see you two, whizzing around the island to get the best view of that beautiful ship. I’m so excited for you Susan! Thanks for taking the time to include us in on this busy week of yours. The music you put on each post makes it even more fun. Feels like I’m watching a mini classic movie. Enjoy your tea party with your sweet girlfriends!

  8. That Jack! Our Kitty has such a thing for suitcases that I can totally understand how cats become stowaways. We’re leaving for London on Saturday. I’ll look down on the ocean and give you a wave as we fly over. So excited! Wish we were having a nice long stay like you, but so happy for the week we have. Hoping to wear my camera out with photo-taking. Love that little tea set! Bon voyage!

  9. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Good Morning All! What a gorgeous day you’re having! That was fun, to go on a Sunday morning tour of the Island and see the beautiful boat!! Soon it will be “All Aboard” time for us! Love being invited to the tea, sorry though, I’ll have to arrive late, our granddaughter (11) is in a play! It’s so nice that you have your cuties (Joe included) help you packing, it’s a big job! Always love the music! Did I tell you that a friend of ours (I think she’s about 83) was THE original Frank Sinatra Fan Club organizer, and she still swoons when his name is mentioned – “my guy” is what she still calls him!!! Thank you for the great blog, it was fun to hop out of bed, make my coffee, and check on you, dear Sue! xoxoxo

  10. Jeanette says:

    Susan, Good Sunday morning to you. Looks like you have another lovely day planned with you girlfriends and tea, lots of fun on the horizon…Girl Kitty always looks so regal and Jack is simply adorable. I think you can make a book, “All the faces of Jack” how darling and funny would that be!?! Pip, Pip and Cherrio to you today. We’re just steps away from a glorious adventure!!! Pace yourself this week so you won’t wipe yourself out before you get on board. Hugs & Love, Jeanette

  11. erin says:

    Have a happy trip!!

  12. Sandra says:

    It’s not time to be ready! -smile-
    Love the ocean liner; it’s so beautiful and full of memories in the making. Dave and I did a trans-Atlantic crossing a few years ago…marvelous!

  13. Julianna (New York) says:

    I have a beautiful picture in my mind of you and Joe out to sea, dancing to “Imagination” in the moonlight. It is my strongest wish that you have a grand time and that Girl Kitty and Jack will be fine while you are gone.

  14. Cathy from Golden, CO says:

    I’m so very happy for you – I can feel your excitement – I’m getting pretty darned excited for our trip now too!!!! Bon Voyage! xoxo

  15. Tracy Jones (Charlton, MA) says:

    I am so thrilled for the both of you! Of course, your excitement is contagious and I know on Friday I will feel your giddiness! May this trip be everything you have dreamed it will be and more. Enjoy and treasure every moment as I know you will and may God Bless you both across the seas. You will be in my thoughts and prayers!


  16. I am excited for you. It’s going to be a heavenly trip!

  17. Karen C says:

    We will all be waving back at you!
    Happy last minute packing!

  18. judi says:

    It is so exciting.

    Hope your babysitter double checks the washer, dryer, oven, dishwasher and every other opening before using to check for Jack:)

    Love the pics from your little piece of the world.

  19. Dinahsoar says:

    What fun to see the Balmoral at MV! I always love your choice of musica too–the buildup to departure is very exciting. Can’t belive it’s almost here. I just adore Jack Poirot–so funny is he in your drawers helping you pack–yes be sure to check your suitcase. And the sweet little lady girl cat–I love her soulful demeanor. I’ve bookmarked the NY Harbor Webcam. Hope I can remember to check it at the right time!….from the hills of TN

  20. Gail Buss says:

    Hi Susan, Oh how exciting! Love seeing The Balmoral and all the pics from MV and how pretty in Springtime! It will be a wonderful trip and you’ll absolutely love the Queen Mary II. How wonderful about the tea this afternoon! So much fun with the girlfriends and now we know who they are too. My friend, Ann Beirne, from MD is visiting us here and so we read your blog together and have so much fun talking about it all. She will leave Tuesday to go back home. Can’t wait to see or hear what they serve at the tea or any info you share with us! Enjoy every minute! Gail B. – Fl

  21. Yes, we WILL miss you! But we’ll understand if we don’t hear from you as often as we usually do. We know you’ll be bursting to tell us all about it once you get home.

    My first kitty use to get into our suitcases whenever we were packing for a trip, so, yes, you’d better check yours…unless, of course, you want to “accidentally” take Jack with you. Bon Voyage!

  22. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan….love this post and the wonderful shots of the really is magnificent! The excitment of the trip is mounting daily…so happy for the two of you. I “branched” out again and ordered “MUM” mugs from Emma Bridgewater to give to both of my daughters for Mother’s Day. It will be their first and I know they will LOVE them. My grandchildren call me “Granny”, so I treated myself to the polka-dot mug that says just that. Thank you for bringing Emma to me….special gifts!! Well, try not to squish the kitties when you close those suitcases…you might have a couple of stoll aways on your hands!!! Have a great Bon Voyage week Susan!! so happy for you!! love, cindy xoxo #teatime…

  23. Pam says:

    I’m just catching up here today. I am so excited to follow along on your adventure. Have a wonderful time. xopam

  24. Gloria howard says:

    Hi Susan,

    View from the Voyage is my idea for a name for your blog/twitter etc.

    And have you read Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton?
    I think you would love this book and I think it would be great to take on the voyage with you!

  25. Rae Ann says:

    Good morning Susan…thank you for the musica, photos and update…I am soooo glad someone else isn’t ready yet…I’m not either…packing packing packing…leaving in two days for six months in Michigan…clothes for summer and hot weather, clothes for fall and chilly weather, books, goodies for the grandchildren…eeeeekkkkk!!!…I’ll be taking a welcome break here to try to find you on twitter for your going away tea party this afternoon…off to get more organized…xoxo…

    • sbranch says:

      eeeek! I’m right there with you! But we’re going to make it!

    • Chris Wells says:

      Michigan? I’m going in July. My first time. Meeting my son and daughter-in-law and the grandkids in Traverse City for a week by the water. A treasured sight (water) if you are living in West Texas! Can’t wait. The pictures I have seen look like Cape Cod! so beautiful. I think that’s just one of the attractions for me with Susan Branch! I can’t imagine living with all that water! So it looks like the “two left standing” without a cell phone will both be in Michigan! LOL

  26. Gill says:

    Have a lovely tea party with your girlfriends, Susan. I was looking to buy a copy of your girlfriends book as a birthday gift…but it is currently selling on Abebooks for over £450.00!!! I thought you might like to know! I shall have to keep on hunting;) Love Gill.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I would think so! We are thinking of reprinting that book, maybe next year!

      • Jacquelyn Wirthlin - Las Vegas, NV says:

        Rounded up four copies of “Girlfriends Forever” online and it did take a bit of doing but managed to find “very good” and “new” copies. Sent them off to my Girlfriends of 56 years. The books did bring a smile to them … one has cancer and kidney failure. She is receiving chemo and diaysis presently. One has a husband who has been battling cancer for over a year, and the rest of us have siblings either cancer victims or cancer survivors. Can’t wait to have the book reprinted as I will treat myself to a new copy! Thanks Sue. Have a wonderful pre-cruise tea party today and a wonderful voyage. Happy day to the Girlfriends as well.

      • Cathy from Golden, CO says:

        I know several people who want your Autumn book! Is it out of print? They haven’t been able to find it……

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, it’s out of print, we were thinking about reprinting it and Girlfriends Forever next year.

          • Patricia H. says:

            I’ve been searching for the Autumn book for ages! I borrow it from my library and renew renew renew! 😉

      • Karen Saunders says:

        is this the ‘Girlfriends Forever’ book?

  27. Jack says:

    Not ready Puleeease ! You were born ready — not done shopping is not an equivalent to
    not being ready ….that plus Joe’s efficiency you are not only ready , but you guys have all the ducks in order for this entire escapade ……and you won’t miss a beat !
    Check it out — I heard they have purple cows over there in England …….I’ve never seen a purple cow– and I never hope to see one …….
    So anyway , docking in Southhampton and your next stop will be — where ?

    • sbranch says:

      Hahaha, so funny, I read the whole comment before I look at the name and you always surprise me! Born ready? Purple Cows? Who IS this? Next stop, Kent.

      • Linda Pintarell says:

        I love your dad. What a hoot! I always look for his comments. What a hysterical time it must have been in your childhood with your big group of siblings!

        • sbranch says:

          You have no idea! I have the best childhood memories! My dad is hilarious!

          • Patricia H. says:

            I love your Dad’s comments too- I’m always looking for Jack! Purple cows! My best friend lives in Margate in Kent- right on the coast. Enjoy!!

      • Cathy from Golden, CO says:

        I LOVE your daddy! 🙂

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Jack, I thought that a “purple cow” was a drink made of vanilla ice cream in grape soda??? 🙂 Have a wonderful trip. I told Norm about the link to watch the QE leaving NY and what time and he said, “I suppose that means I’ll be walking home from work that day?” (as I usually pick him up) I told him no, I’d still be picking him up… 🙂 Have a wonderful trip! (and thanks for showing the life boats. I already had counted them on the Balmoral and they look so small in the photo–kind of wondered!) But you won’t need them on your trip!

        • sbranch says:

          Poor Norm! 🙂 The boat moves out of dock rather slowly, but steadily! We won’t need lifeboats, but if we did, I have been on a lot worse looking boats than those lifeboats!!

          • Pat Mofjeld says:

            I agree! If the yellow boat bringing passengers from the Balmoral was a “life boat”, it is nicer than the boat we rode in to tour the harbor in Duluth, MN, years ago and looks a LOT safer! LOL! Ha–I also just figured out that your 5:00 EST will be 4:00 here so I’ll be watching, too. This is probably the closest I’ll ever come to going on a cruise (being along virtually with you) so it is going to be fascinating!

          • sbranch says:

            Wait till you see how slow it all goes Pat, makes it kind of wonderful!

    • Deb from Dixie says:

      Jack……..thought you might like to see this. also has a catchy tune!

      Purple Cow – by Gelett Burgess
      I never saw a purple cow;
      I never hope to see one;
      but I can tell you anyhow;
      I’d rather see than be one!

  28. Kristen says:

    I am so excited for your trip…have fun and enjoy, I can’t wait to read all about it! 🙂

  29. LindaH (from northern IN) says:

    Thanks for taking the time to bring us more gorgeous views of your island, with the Balmoral shots. I do dislike the days right before leaving on a trip, due to all of the last minute things I seem to have to do, but I always tell myself that everything will get done, and it always does. I’m going to try and watch your ship leave on Friday! How exciting! Bon Voyage, and I’m looking forward to your trip updates!

  30. Paulie says:

    Good Sunday Morning Susan! Oh my…..these pictures are breathtaking once again. What a gorgeous sight to behold. I never thought I had a jealous bone in my body, but now I ‘m not so sure anymore about that! How exciting and beautiful to see. I hope the trip is as beautiful as these pics ! In fact, I am sure you will both make it so! Meanwhile, will check Twitter now that I figured out how to get on it. We girlfriends are going to very busy checking out the blog, and twitter and facebook. We may not be able to keep up with your flying fingers and flying feet! lol – So happy for you both and so looking forward to the two months of travel too. It is all so exciting! Blessings to you both for a wonderful journey!

  31. Deb from Dixie says:

    What a Happy Sunday post…….seeing the Balmoral just enhances the excitment… it is going to be so much fun! And just think as you sail out to sea on Friday…..the girlfriends will be watching you and Joe…..saying Bon Voyage and cheering! You will have to imagine us all just wildly waving at our computers. Thank you so much for taking us along.
    Loved the photos of Girl ♥ and Jack ♥, such sweetie pies!
    Have fun at the tea…… have wonderful girlfriends…..such a blessing in life.
    Then on to the final packing……..I have my bird mug packed ready to go with a good supply of lemon lift tea……….pinky finger waiting to point as we all have our first cup of tea together in England.
    Soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Excited!

  32. Jack says:

    Telling me “Kent” is your next stop is like landing in Long Beach, Calif and telling me that Orange County is the next stop! Kent is huge; it has several cities and towns within it’s bounds! I get it, you are dressing in black and will be that mysterious woman from somewhere . . . during this whole trip! Agatha Christy strikes again . . . someone call Dom Perignon-the invincible . . . we can figure this out! Please, let me, . . . pour . . . raise your glass – To a wonderful and successful trip!

  33. Marie (Williamsburg, Virginia) says:

    Girlfriends~how fortunate are we to have our dear Susan in our lives?! Cloudy, cool, and dismal today in Williamsburg…the perfect afternoon to check-out the favs. Huge thanks!

    Susan, how sweet of your girlfriends to give you a “Tea” later today. Revel in your friendship!

    Happy Sunday everyone!

    Marie xo

    • sbranch says:

      It was a wonderful party, a garden party at my girlfriend Annie’s house. Her white lilacs were all in bloom, you could smell them from the street! Food was wonderful, traditional tea party fare, cucumber sandwiches and a gorgeous raspberry torte. It was chilly when the sun went down, we moved in front of the fire … then Margot announced that her daughter Scarlett (who was also there) is getting married! So the rest of the party was planning the wedding! Very fun!

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        Loved the party, thank you! How exciting for Margot to make the announcement of Scarlett’s wedding, at a beautiful tea party! Lucky Scarlett – all those creative dear friends to help with the wedding planning!!! xo

  34. Lori from Maine says:

    The big cruise ships started coming into Bar Harbor a few years ago. They are HUGE!! They dwarf the little outer islands. The town fills up with ship passengers for several hours – then off they go. I just have to go down the street a ways to watch the ships as they head out to sea. I remember seeing the QE II off in the distance – so beautiful. Hope you have the best, best time and have fun at your tea party this afternoon!
    xoxo from SW Harbor

  35. Karen says:

    Susan, I loved this post, and the music is pure heaven. I am always in search of the soundtrack for the day. I love the era of big band music.

    You have brought back so many wonderful memories for me too. I have never been on board of the ship you are taking. But when our family was living in Hong Kong a good friend of mine was boarding the ship for home. I visited London in 2004 with my daughter and we visited friends living there. We got to memorize wonderful things in London and then in the countryside where my friend lives.

    Since reading your recent posts I have been looking through my old photos from our trip. I love England and someday I’ll return.

    You are such an inspiration.


  36. Linda Pintarell says:

    Wonderful post. Thank you for beautiful pix on this lovely Sunday morning. My favorites are your outdoor pictures of your beautiful island. Yesterday I went on a Garden Tour of four homes on the Santa Rosa Plateau in Murrietta, CA – all different…all spectacular. Couldn’t help but think of you and your upcoming trip and the gardens you will see. And can’t wait to be a part of it through your blog. Thank you for sharing.

  37. Dear Susan . . if you are like me you will never be ready so you just got to be as ready as you can and go!

    Enjoy your tea party with your wonderful friends!

  38. beebarbs says:

    Yippee — we get to go to England again!! What fun it will be to watch that ship sail away. Godspeed, Susan!

  39. Leslie says:

    I think you will be going under the Verazano Bridge.. at least that is ehat we did on the QE2. Very moving, what an experience leaving NY harbor passing the Statue of Liberty then Ambrose light…. oh you lucky girl!! Again Bon Voyage. Bring a few warm things, we had a fire sll day here in Sussex!

  40. Susan Edwards says:

    Once again thank you for sharing parts of your exciting life. Thank you for the pictures of the Balmoral arriving and your wonderful island. It brought a Sunday morning smile to my face 🙂 I justed bought a Queen Anne wing back chair at a resale shop for very little money. It’s in great shape though the fabric is a bit worn, I hadn’t thought of re-covering it for a while. Once I saw yours (in the picture with Jack in the drawer), I decided that was the type of fabric I would try and find … hope you don’t mind.
    Hello to the Kitties and enjoy the tea party with your dear friends tonight.

  41. Dale Worness says:

    I’ve heard of Jack-In-The-Box but Jack-In-The-Drawer???? Too cute! You can tell he’s up to something! Have you read the Jaine Austen Mystery called “Killer Cruise” by Laura Levine? Her books are really funny. This one is about her crazy cat Prozac who actually does get in her suitcase while she’s packing for her cruise and Jaine discovers her too late so has to smuggle her on board the cruise ship. That would be a great take-along book too. Bet you’re counting the days! Bon Voyage!

    • sbranch says:

      This morning we are playing. Ball drops at my feet, I throw it, Jack tears after it, I read a comment, he’s back, ball at feet. And so it goes and goes!

  42. I think it is appropriate to take this time to wish the Royal Couple Will & Kate a Happy 1st Anniversary!!! Susan, since you and Joe have 25 wonderful years under your belts do you have any words of wisdom for the Royals?? I guess it goes without saying they won’t be having the “struggling years”; but, that is ashame really because when you look back it’s the hardships that you share together (and survive) that makes you truly appreciate sharing the good times when they arrive. Blessings to All……

  43. Kerry S. from San Pedro, CA says:

    I’ll be watching – from LA Port to NYC @ 3:00 PDT on Friday! So excited. . .can’t imagine what it’s like at your house! I’m off this week to get tree guys lined up to take out the 60+ year old pine now dying from pine bark beetles. The tree experts think it was here when the house was built!! Also meeting with kitchen contractor so maybe I’ll have an updated kitchen by fall! So excited! All that plus garden redesign and plant moving! Busy summer ahead for all of us!
    If I don’t tell you before Thursday – Bon Voyage!

  44. Debbie R from Valencia, CA says:

    So exciting. Wishing a wonderful journey to you and Joe. So appreciate you taking us along. We will be waving for sure from our computers. Can’t wait for the blogs to come. “Bon Voyage”

    • sbranch says:

      I have this empty diary, and the future is there, but we just can’t see it yet; very exciting!

  45. jeanne hedin says:

    It won’t be long now! I’m sure everything will come together and you will be dancing on the ship (by moonlight) in a few days. Enjoy that special tea party today and then back to packing! 🙂

  46. Siobhan from Santa Monica, CA says:

    I hope I can time the launch of your QM with a lil glass of Prosecco and wish you Bon Voyage in style! That link will be the cherry on top for us girlfriends spread far and wide! That dress is gorgeous by the way…no wonder you leave it on display.

    Will follow the tweets. English Emissions? nah. British Invasion II? Tea Tweats? Twavelin’ Tweets. You’re so witty, you will find the perfect name. You are very generous to share so much with us…it’s truly impressive.

    Jack is no fool with his drawer practice…Have you been telling them both that you will be returning? I had a an animal psychic tell me to send them pictures in your head of your joyful happy return…it might be a little nuts, but it can’t hurt, can it? They are better with pictures than words she said…just let them know how many days you’ll be away, and you can’t wait to see them again!

    The anticipation is thrilling. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I’m not 100% sure they know we’re going yet..we’ve had the extra clutter for so long now, they are used to it!

  47. Leslie says:

    I think you will be going under the Verrazano Bridge.. at least that is what we did on the QE2. Very moving, what an experience leaving NY harbor passing the Statue of Liberty then Ambrose light…. oh you lucky girl!! Again Bon Voyage. Bring a few warm things, we had a fire all day here in Sussex!

  48. Karen Saunders says:

    Okay, I WANT one of those tea sets with the tray. Is that the kids tea set?? How cute.

  49. Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

    Good Morning Darling Susan,

    I hope you are having a lovely weekend and are very efficiently checking off the last minute items on your Ready For Departure checklist. I hope you and your girlfriends have a most marvelous and very relaxing time at this afternoon’s tea party.

    I think that it is most impressive and just like the Queen to so thoughtfully send over her own private “yacht” almost a week early so that you would have plenty of time to finish up your packing and have it loaded on board before the other passengers embark. Someone, and I’m not naming any names, must have told her that you were having a very hard time deciding which books to leave behind. I bet there will be more than a fruit basket in your state room!!!

    Anyway, I hope you and Joe have a wonderful, calm and s…l…o…w crossing as I want this whole lovely experience to last as long as possible. I am so looking forward to the tweets, twits, or whatever you call them, and any updates to the blog that you are able to make. I will be ordering the book when it’s available too.

    Tut and Cleo are looking forward to Jack and Girl Kitty’s Tea Party!

    Bon Voyage and XOXOXO,


  50. Gris Svejcar from Vancouver, WA says:

    So excited for your trip! My dream trip someday. I’ve bookmarked the NY Harbor webcam, cause I’m going to be ready to wave bon voyage! Did you mean the SS Queen Mary sailing under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge vs the Tappan Zee?

  51. Martha Ellen says:

    The time is growing closer–Branch Hall invades Britain! So much excitement in the air! Loved seeing the Balmoral–right in MV! Your photography is lovely as usual Susan. Girl Kitty is just the sweetest–Your Jack is just as curious as he can be! He appears to want to help with everything. Have a lovely tea party and enjoy your time with your friends. ♥

  52. CarolK (central NJ) says:

    OMG!! that NY Harbor web cam is the greatest! I just watched the NCL Gem and the NCL Star leave the harbor and how exciting was that!! We did an NCL cruise last September up the Canadian coast. and back. It was a first for hubby and me and we still haven’t stopped talking about it, we had such a great time. Now I can’t wait to follow you via blogs across the pond and get dreamy all over again. Title “Blogs across the pond”. Maybe, maybe not….it’s been a long day. Bon Voyage to you and Joe. I know you’re going to have a wonderful trip and a safe return…….hugs…….C

  53. Lynn Hamilton says:

    ah, I love cruising~my husband now says, why is from now on when we talk about a vacation I know it will include a cruise ship? I am hooked! Have done trans-Atlantic twice and from LA to Hawaii once~my husband is a Brit and it’s been wonderful to sail there to visit his family~I wish you and your husband Bon Voyage next week~at the top of my list is sailing from New York harbour~have a wonderful time~

  54. Lynn Hamilton says:

    and I forgot to thank you for the lovely photos of the Balmoral~

  55. Jackie P says:

    Sue, wishing you and Joe the best trip ever! It has been such fun to share your pre-trip adventure so far! Looking forward to updates as you make your way across the great Atlantic and then onto England. Safe trip — Bon Voyage! (will be watching the live webcam in NY harbor!).

  56. Becky says:

    I am sooooo excited for you! I am sitting here watching on BBC the nuptials of William and Kate from their wedding a year ago with tears streaming down my face (I am a sucker for a sweet story) What is it that many of us LOVE about the Royals and everything English? I am anxiously awaiting all of your posts as you travel. Thank you for kindly sharing all of your preparations. It’s thrilling to take a virtual trip with you and Joe.

  57. Marcia in Brazil says:

    Your trip is so close now! I hope you got a great deal done today. Will you be in England for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee? (I am “obsessed” with the royal family. It’s almost as bad as my “addiction” to the Kennedys. :D)

  58. Peggy says:

    Wish I could look after Jack for you and Joe would love him to death
    Ihave a husky 3 years old who would love the company
    Have a great time just returned at end of Feb ready to go again anytime

  59. Diane from Washington state says:

    Love the pics of the Balmoral…you and Joe remind me of my husband and I when we are interested in something…we take off in the car and check out what is interesting us at the time! lol. That ship looks like fun to me! The look in GK eyes definitely says that she is a lady….a much more reserved one than the ornery Jack! That expression in his eyes as he is pondering about jumping into the suitcase is almost something to be nervous about! He definitely knows his own mind, doesnt he? lol. I am very happy that YOU are doing all of the packing and organizing for all of us this trip because I can just sit back and relax even more than usual when I travel. Have a super fun tea party…what extra sweet girlfriends to throw you a going away celebration! We are all there with you in spirit, so make sure to eat lots of treats for us! Have fun and thank you for taking the time to post and take pics for us….it does make it a treat to go to the computer and see the latest thing happening while you are preparing for England…..

  60. Kay says:

    I think I understand how Jack must feel. I’d like to tag along hidden in some of your luggage too. It will be so much fun sharing in your trip. Have a wonderful journey and we will all be thinking of you, especially on Friday as you leave.

  61. Flo says:

    This is so exciting – I’ve never been on an ocean-liner before, and I’m so looking forward to being an armchair/laptop traveler on this fabulous trip you and Joe have planned. It’s so sweet and generous of you to take us along with you. Guess I’ll finally have to break down and get on Twitter! Enjoy every moment – bon voyage! Will be looking for you on the ship as she sails out of New York Harbor!!!

  62. Wendy Louise says:

    I’m all ready to go and can’t wait, butterflies and everything. Just have a marvelous time and I know you will tell us all about it every step of the way. Your pictures are terrific and remember you are paving the way for us and you are an old hat at this…( just an expression) you are so very young…at heart. we are all so lucky ! You know how to tell us every detail and show us what is important. Thanks for taking us along, Bon Voyage, God Bless, Safe Travels, and we are all with you in spirit. XXXXXXXXXXOOOOOOOOOO P.S Kitties will be fine !!!

  63. Pam G. says:

    can’t wait for “our” trip to begin-I am so excited for you and Joe and it will be such fun for us too to go along!

  64. Rita from MN says:

    Okay, that clinched it. Seeing those pictures of the ship coming in makes me yearn to be aboard. I wouldn’t worry about Jack hiding away it could be one of us! We’ve not done anything as thrilling as England but Alaska and Hawaii were wonderful cruises.
    By the way I love your music choices but I can’t seem to read and listen at the same time. What is that all about? I have figured out to read first and then click on the music to listen. I am sure it is not an age thing. Probably I am so visual I can’t enjoy your blog and the music at the same time. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      You should be able to click on the music, when the youtube screen comes up, move it over, and the blog should be still there under it, so you can read and listen at the same time. Try it … let me know!

      • Rita from MN says:

        Thanks for the reply, Susan. I guess I didn’t make myself clear. I know how to do it that way but my little brain just cannot process the music and the blog at the same time. So I have to read first and then go back and enjoy the music. I guess my brain is big enough to figure out how to turn on the music and have the blog up at the same time but not big enough to process it all. I think it is the same thing that makes us unable to text and walk at the same time. lol

        • sbranch says:

          Well, one more fixit to try, I can’t do both if the music is turned up too high, try making it really soft.

  65. Sandra Gillanders says:

    Oh, I think it must be one of the most wonderful ways to travel in the world. Hope you have a fantastic time, how could you not? I’ll be looking out for all your posts and pictures. Love and hugs to you!

  66. Debbie in So,Ca. says:

    It seems like yesterday that you told us about your trip and now it is almost here! We are all going to miss you but also so happy for you both. I was wondering if any of us girlfriends could stay connected “Via the last post from Martha’s Vinyard”? Wouldn’t it be fun for us to talk about your trip together! Is it possiable? Would any of you want to do this? Just a thought!

    In Southern California.

    • sbranch says:

      I figure you’re all connected here? Is there another way?

      • Debbie in So,Ca. says:

        Susan I am so inept at computers that was the only thing I could think of!

        • sbranch says:

          You can also click on any comment and reply to them, and it will show up and others can reply to you! Fun, huh?

          • Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

            Will there be a moderator though, Sue? I don’t think we can do that unless someone moderates our comments or you can somehow turn it off, can you? Surely you aren’t expecting to moderate all our comments on your vacation—-PLEASE tell us that you DO NOT PLAN to take time away from Joe and all you can see and do on your vacation to moderate our comments. WE WOULD NOT WANT YOU TO DO THAT WOULD WE GIRLFRIENDS????

          • sbranch says:

            I am already the moderator. But I just got something added to the blog that allows me to OK a whole lot of comments all at the same time. I’m on the same page with you Kathy, not on this trip, unless I have time for extra fun!

          • Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

            I do apologize to you Susan and everyone else for the rude shouting. But it suddenly dawned on me that with your big heart you may just be planning to do this very thing, without counting the cost to you, Joe and your friends across the Pond. If we girlfriends can somehow comment to each other without you having to be involved that would be wonderful, but you, yourself, must not do more for us than keep us posted by blog and Twitter as we have been expecting you to do.

            We recognize and love that you have been so very generous with your time spent online with us and you deserve a carefree and blissful experience for the next two months. After all the anticipation we can’t wait to get started with you!!!

          • sbranch says:

            Don’t worry, I know exactly what you mean, this is at most fundamental, a vacation!

          • sbranch says:

            And thank you for the kind thoughts!

  67. Mary Ann - Central Highlands of Mexico says:

    Hello Susan! Great post. I just love looking at ships (and love being onboard) so this was extra special to see the Balmoral. This week will just swirl by as you await boarding day. We will miss seeing updates of Jack and GK so maybe you can give us a few more photos before you leave. We will all be waving ‘Bon Voyage’ as you and Joe set sail. I can barely stand it! While at sea there is also a ‘live cam’ for the QM2. Can’t wait to see all your photos and read your posts. This is soooo exciting!! Bon Voyage!

    • Georgie says:

      Thanks for the link Mary Ann! What Fun to be aboard the QB2 and to see the view from the bridge!!! It’s coming across the ocean just to pick up Susan and Joe!

  68. Georgie says:

    Oh what a simply perfect day you’ve had 🙂 The EXCITEMENT of seeing the Balmoral is a wonderful warm up to this FRIDAY and your QM2!!! All of us will be glued to our computers watching you set sail! I will try to freeze the computer screen when you are in view to capture the moment!!!

    Speaking of ships… Just an hour ago I sent a text to some friends who set sail on the Disney Wonder out of LA. Joe and I put on leis and held up a Bon Voyage hand with “Hawaii Bound” on it. We snapped a picture so they could see us waving from the dock here in NJ (don’t you love technology). They sent one back of them aboard the ship at the sailaway party, complete with champagne! We will meet the ship when it docks in Honolulu next Sunday!

    Oh Susan, we will be waving to you too! And… you will be ready in time 😉 Five more sleeps!!!

    Georgie in NJ
    P.S. I am still deciding what to pack! YIKES! (ButI have 6 more sleeps! LOL!)

    • sbranch says:

      One sleep down! Four to go! Love how we’re on the same schedule. Great Bon Voyage for you and friends!

      • Georgie says:

        Thank-You!!! My lists are growing. Things to do, places to see, phone numbers, websites, email addresses, directions in the Garmin, books and magazines to read, maps to highlight. I always overplan… ALWAYS! (secretly, I think it’s part of the excitement!) It an attempt to be organized I create Happy Chaos. In a strange way, the planning frees me up to be spontaneous… Does that make sense? LOL!

  69. Chris Wells says:

    Deb is right. We really will be waving at our computers come Friday! Imagine a web cam that will let us all see the ship sail! Too cool! Take a deep breath…it will all get done. You are so lucky to have house sitters for the “kids”, they will be fine. Jack will be so busy entertaining his guests, in a blink of an eye you’ll be back home, in his mind, and Girl will be busy being the Lady of the House. And think of the stories you will have to tell them. And if they are like my cats, they will smell EVERYTHING when you bring it home. I swear they know where we have been!
    Getting those little butterfies in my stomach in anticipation. Safe sailing and a most wonderful trip. Thank you for the experience, I doubt I would see it any other way! Love to you and Joe.

    • Deb from Dixie says:

      Hi Chris……I read your earlier post about your trip to Michigan…..My whole family is originally from Michigan. You will fall in love with Traverse City…so beautiful. And you are in for a treat it; is the Cherry capital of the U.S. so many wonderful Cherry products…and a fun festival too. Try the Grand Traverse Pie Company for the best pies ever.

      There are also some wonderful wineries that remind you of being in Italy, rolling countryside vineyards. And of course the Lake, the woods, the nature walks are amazing! Enjoy your trip….and your family!

      • Hi Deb, I recently moved to a location that was close to a Grand Traverse Pie Company and a new neighbor took me there for lunch. I have never seen so many pies in my life and had a piece of rhubarb/strawberry with my soup/sandwich. I brought home a small blueberry pie for my hubby and M-I-L so they could try it. I even got a little card to punch where I think on the 7th visit you got a free pie and never had a chance to do that because last Fall they left the Greenwood, IN area and it really disappointed my neighbor. Just wanted to say hello.

        • Deb from Dixie says:

          Hi Deborah,
          Yummy pie…….you’ll have to plan a trip to Michigan…LOL. I think they originated in Traverse City, so Chris will have to let us know if she gets there.
          So nice to hear from you….I use to live in Indianapolis… ( about 16-17 years ago) it is a great city and I am familiar with the Greenwood area!
          Have a great week!

          • Deb, I just might have to make a trip to MI when I feel a need for good pie….you would not believe how much Indianapolis has grown since you left. I don’t know if you saw some of the change when they had the Super Bowl here in Feb. or not; but, they did a very nice job of showcasing our fair city. My husband grew up in the Whiteland area and left here 24 yrs. ago and now we are back and he could not believe how much farmland is now housing and how the downtown area has grown thanks to the sports teams he feels. Nice chatting have a great day.

  70. Miss holly says:

    I am so so so excited for you!! What a thrilling trip ! Enjoy every second and Blow a kiss to the Miss Potters house..or was it Mrs.??? If you can visit won’t be sorry…the dearest little town I ever seen…Bon Voyage!!

  71. Joann says:

    Oh Susan…I know you’re going to have so much fun—you’re already having fun with the planning of the trip, the shopping for the trip, the packing for the trip…..the thinking of the trip….

    Now….on the the trip….or is that twip?

    Love you!

  72. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Frank singing “Imagination”♫…& The Magnificent Balmoral….& a Glorious Bon Voyage Tea~Party….♥ with Your Girlfriends…Oh My! 🙂 You are a Very Busy Girl Sweet Sue…The Photo of Jack in The Drawers…Hilarious…. 🙂 I Think You are so Right…this Kitty is gonna Hide in one of Your Suit~Cases….Meow & Purrrrrrrrrrrrr…..^o^ too Kute~Kitty! ♥ ok I have The NY Harbor Webcam saved to My Favorites…Yours & Joe’s Magical Adventure is so Close & I am Packed & Oh So Ready to Goooooooooooooooo (Virtually) Yay! Twirling into The Queen Mary II… I’ll Be Waving Back…with Tears of Joy in Me Eyes & A Glass of Champagne… Toasting to You & Joe… a Dazzling Bon~Voyage! Yay! Very Exciting Darling Sue! Safe~Journey Pixie~Dust For You! xoxo Poof! 🙂 ♥♥♫

    • Georgie says:

      Wasn’t that the most Perfect music selection!!! I was transported back in time imagining standing on the dock with confetti and streamers, reaching out and grabbing one, holding onto it until the ship sailed off…

  73. Lisa Nelson-Jones says:

    You will be missed… we will just have to pick up the pieces 🙂 Can’t wait to read with you on your journey! What a blessed life. So happy for you, and for us who get to read your journal when you get back! Enjoy.

  74. Marianne says:

    Thank-you for taking us with you!!!! I’m so excited, almost as if. I love Jack in the drawers and the wonderful pictures of your Island home. Have a great tip. You leave on my birthday!!!

  75. Tina in Ky says:

    You could call your trip “Adventures from Aboard” while you are on the ship and “Adventures from Abroad” while you are touring England…But whatever name you decide on, I’ll look forward to “traveling” with guys.

  76. Pam says:

    Have a lovely tea party Susan. I shall look out for you waving as the ship departs, you need a sign with an arrow pointing downwards so we can see where you are!! 🙂

  77. Sandy Richmond says:

    Good morning Susan!
    I’ve heard of Jack in the box, now we have Jack in the drawer! Love the kitty pics.. I’m having girlfriends over this week, deciding what to cook..
    I am so excited to follow your adventure! What a nice long vacation, and we all know it will fly… Wishing you a Bon Voyage!
    Oh daring joy, but safe, are they not all the seas of God?
    Oh farther, farther, farther sail!

  78. Robin in New Jersey says:

    You live in a beautiful place! I have an old friend who lives in Oaks Bluff. I should go visit her there!

    Looking forward to sharing in all the joy of your trip!

  79. Patricia H. says:

    It’s all excitement now Susan! 4 sleeps!! We have a computer hooked to our tv for streaming and downloading purposes- so Alice and I will be waving to you and Joe from the comfort of our couch on Friday. xx

    • Georgie says:

      Oh My! You will really get a big picture of the sailaway! How Wonderful! It’s so exciting when a ship finally comes into view, and to know someone who is on the ship… now that’s really exciting!

  80. Debbie says:

    loves thoses kitties!!!!!

  81. Chrissy Thrower says:

    Sue Sue! Your lovely blog has us all so excited! I didn’t know it would hit me like this! Like the rest of the Girlfriends, I can’t wait to get started on this voyage with you all. Your decision to show the Balmoral was perfect timing today. We are all ready to board YOUR ship! I love reading everyone’s comments and then in pops one from your Dad! You are so lucky to have him!
    All days leading to your journey have their own excitement along with, “did I pack it all, have I settled the affairs of home and kitties, did I forget to take Chrissy along… Ha ha ha!
    Looking forward to your Bon Voyage Tea Prty. And..thank you so much for taking time to include all of us this week when excitement and panic tend to clash as you finish all the last minute details!

  82. liz says:

    Wishing you all the best. A blog (Wilf the Pon) mentioned the Kiftsgate rose and it comes from the Cotswolds. Perhaps you’ll be near it on your trip.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m sure we’ll be near there, it’s on our list, we’ll definitely try! Thanks Liz.

  83. Heidi says:

    Hi Susan,

    Your Jack reminds me so much of my cat, Nicky, When he was a kitten and until he got to big to do so, anytime a drawer was opened, in he went. He crawled behind the drawer and climbed to a different closed drawer and delighted in rearranging or moving whatever was in that drawer. He still tries it every so often, but is too big to quickly slip in.

    Bon Voyage! 🙂

  84. Hello Susan,
    I imagine you are still packing and checking lists..
    I so enjoyed this post and the pictures! Because I get so seasick I am just happy to watch your adventure and am really looking forward to going along! I have bookmarked the link for the NYC harbor webcam. Loved the pictures of Jack and Girl Kitty.. Have a question about pictures # 7 and 10, is that a palm tree on the left of the pictures?

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, it is, out there all by itself; don’t ask me how…very determined little tree considering the storms around here.

  85. Jack says:

    OK , it’s my night to decide on dinner so it’s going to be Hot Dogs , Bush’s baked beans
    and Cole slaw …..and we will split a beer ….isn’t America great?

    • sbranch says:

      America is wonderful, and so are you. I love your coleslaw!

    • Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

      Sounds like a perfect dinner for Western North Carolina tonight! Is it Bush’s Country Baked Beans? They’re my favorite. When my niece was visiting a few years ago, she and my hubby picked up the wrong Bush’s Baked Beans at the store; my hubby told her I wouldn’t notice. Well, naturally, I did, before the fork was even in my mouth!!, and he hasn’t made that particular mistake again. America is great!!!

  86. mari says:

    Every time I read this post and see tha ship right off MV, it’s surreal. 🙂 Did you feel that way when you saw it? It’s like the JFK coming into Boston Harbor – the ship is so large and out of the norm! What a beautiful sight!!!

  87. NANCY JO says:

    Hi Susan,
    I will be checking everyday to see if you have posted any updates. Have a great time and tell the Queen she really should have a blog.
    Nancy Jo

  88. Faun says:

    Wow, how interesting that you’re tweeting and blogging the whole thing!

    I cannot imagine being in touch like that while on vacation – when my husband and I go away, we cherish our alone time – often we don’t tell people where we’re going!

    Your readers are indeed lucky that you’re willing to share so much!

  89. Doreen Strain (from Florida) says:

    I can feel the excitement in the air from here!!!!! Make sure when you zip your suitcase closed that Jacks not inside of it! LOL! FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

  90. Susan Joy says:

    I just want to thank you again for all the beautiful posts. I hope you have a wonderful time on your trip, you truly deserve it!
    P.S. If only the Titannic had those type of life boats…….

    • sbranch says:

      Really! Plus it would have been nice if they had enough for everyone on board … they didn’t, they didn’t have near enough, that was the problem!

      • I don’t want to sound like a martyr; but, this kids/women off the ship first sounds noble and all….I would stay back until my Jim could get off too does anyone else feel this way?? When you are lucky to have met your true love it would take wild horses to separate me from him. I guess some of the women on the Titanic must have felt the same way I would rather go down as a couple and maybe that is selfish doubt if that situation will ever happen it just came in my mind. Ok enough of this morbid thinking only happy thoughts from now on!!!! As far as the kitties they know something is up and coming, we can get ready to leave for dinner or to go to the grocery and our 2 head for their room. We took a bedroom up here and turned it into their pet room, I took a kitten calendar and cut out the pics and put them all around the room on the walls. It has a cat tower and a canvas bed so they have it nice. Kitties are very intelligent and our itty bitty ole girl kitty that stayed at the farmhouse with my sister is now “talking” and it is adorable….she says “hello” and “I love you” as clear as day. I don’t know if this is unusual for cats I know dogs talk does anyone else have a talking kitty?? Can you hear the ships whistle Susan….it’s on the way to pick you up!!!! Yay

  91. Susan in Vermont says:

    Hi Susan,
    So excited to come along on forays around the Vineyard with you and Joe, and looking forward to going on your cruise with you! Just for fun, I will tell you my little connection to the Titanic:

    When my maternal grandparents got married in NYC in 1912, they went back to his parents in Banbury, England, on some nameless, forgotten ship, for their honeymoon. They were to stay about a month, and had tickets for the Titanic’s maiden voyage for their return. My Grandfather, being a patriotic Brit who was now an American citizen, was bound and determined to be on the new ship. Then his employer wired him about 3 weeks into their stay and asked him to please book passage on the first available ship, as they desperately needed him to return. He exploded and told my Grandmother that he wasn’t going to skip going on the Titanic. My sweet diminutive Grandmother implored him, “Please, Tommy, you need to keep this very good job as we are just starting married life together. We should return home now and sail on the Titanic next year.” My Grandfather was finally persuaded… My Mother was born the following year.

    • sbranch says:

      What a difference a day makes!!! Fabulous story Susan. How the world turns. I heard today they are building a new Titanic … some billionaire is doing it…looks like a very exciting project! I think they said it would launch in 2016, New York to England. Think you should be on it?

    • Georgie says:

      I have goosebumps reading this story! How wonderful there was such a happy ending!

  92. Darlene H. (way out west) says:

    Susan….WOW what a beauty of a ship. Do you have formal nights on the way back too? That’s alot of dressing up! No wonder you worry about the packing!

    I’ll try to figure out twitter………….but don’t worry about us.. this is your time:) Bon Voyage

    ♥♥♥ Darlene

    PS. Don’t forget the orange shoes

    • sbranch says:

      You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to learn! Yes, dress both ways! But really, you don’t actually know anyone, so it’s not like they’ve already seen your entire wardrobe!

  93. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    Hahahahahahahahahahah!!!! 🙂 Oh Susan!!! When I saw Jack in the drawer with
    those eyes…..I can’t stop laughing!!! And then I thought….That’s gonna be what I look like this Friday… trying to SEE You and Joe on the ship!!! Seriously!!! If you hear any screaming while waving goodbye…..surely, it will be one us Girlfriends who just spotted the two of you!!!!! EnJOY!!! EnJoy!!! EnJOY!!!!!! Don’t worry about us! Would you like us to check on your Dad? Or should he check on us?! 🙂 He just cracks me up (smart & funny)…truly,truly,Blessed!! 🙂
    and now………….let the MAg*c begin !!!! XoXDawn

  94. Laura Croyle says:

    Have an Absolutely Incredible trip!! Silly Jack, jumping in drawers, trying to be helpful! Such a Cutie! And sweet Girl Kitty probably suspects something’s going on too! I’m SO excited that you’re sharing your trip with us! Can’t wait to see the English countryside, cottage gardens, Beatrix Potter’s house, etc, etc!! Oh boy, oh boy! Will you be able to sleep at all the night before you set sail??! I just found a new pen-pal through F.O.S.B.’s facebook page to write snail-mail letters to. What fun that will be!!
    Bon Voyage, Sue!

  95. Jennie says:

    What great pictures you took of the Balmoral! Gorgeous day to be out and about for sure.
    Oh that ‘Jack-in-the-drawer’! Such a cutie. I was thinking that one of those cute little lifeboats could end up with a sneaky fur-clad stowaway!
    Happy packing- you’re almost there!

  96. rosemary says:

    i’m getting separation anxiety!!!!!!!eeek!!!!

  97. Jack says:

    Oh yesssss. Country baked beans, Johnsonville Brats split and fried and laid-out on the softest rolls in the market, covered with yellow mustard, chopped Vildalia onions and Heinz sweet pickle relish — with a side of Delmonte Raspbury flavored peaches covered in syrupy juice; and now that the sun is setting behind our mountain range to the West, we can be found riding around with our doggie, Daisy, in the golf cart, the desert breeze flapping her ears — visiting with like-minded neighbors. We have to be back by 7:00 PM for Dancing With The Stars ….have a good evening — everybody!

    • Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

      Sounds delightful!

    • Jack, you sure can paint a perfect meal and evening with your words. It sounds like your life in your little corner of the world is just as wonderful as your lovely daughters. I hope you check in from time to time while Susan is away I think I can speak for the girls we have become quite fond of you!!! Do you think Jaleel will be the next one to leave the dance floor tonight?? Have a wonderful day.

  98. Silvia Niomi says:

    Have a most wonderful time. It’s been over a couple of months since I’ve been able to comment on your blog. I’ve only had time to pop in for a few minutes at a time. But, now I have time and I’ve caught myself up reading your blog. So, I do have to say a few things… Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday (very belated), Happy! Happy! anniversary, Happy Spring (loved your little dancing chicks), Happy Easter and Bob’s Your Uncle on that (I’m trying to get into the British way of saying things). Now let’s see, oh yes! I AM SO VERY EXCITED FOR YOU AND JOE…. this vacation looks splendid!!! (I wish I was a mouse on the QMII – maybe not, they probably have mouse traps) I am so very glad that you are taking us girlfriends along…. I can’t wait!! (Especially Beatrix Potter’s estate, and anything royal… say hi to Will and Kate for me) I’ll be checking blog, twitter, facebook every day! and I will definitely look for you on that ship via webcam. How ExCiTiNg! One last thing I have to put in my half a cent worth….
    how about ….. Jolly good brit bits from our Holiday….. orrrr … Lubbley Jubbley thoughts from across the pond 🙂 Anyway, it is Ta Ta for now… I will be in touch.
    Cheers, xoxoxo xoxox

    • sbranch says:

      Nice to see you again Silvia!! Thank you for all the good wishes, I do love Jolly Bits . . . xoxo thank you! Gotta run. We leave the house day after tomorrow! Yikes!

  99. Diane S. says:

    Loved the post, the musica, the photos, so excited for you & your DH. Bet you can’t hardly believe this is happening. So looking forward to your trip & enjoying it with you via email post. yes you better make sure Jack doesn’t sneek into a bag, we have 5 new baby kitties to find good homes for then Momma is going to vet. , DH kind of forgot to do that a few months ago. prayers for a safe & wonderful journey.

    • sbranch says:

      One of my best friends just had five kittens! Actually Jaime’s cat did . . . very exciting! Have fun Diane!

  100. Jamie on Doty Island, WI says:

    Bon Voyage!!! Have a wonderful time and can not wait to see all of your posts.
    Jamie 🙂

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