A Day of Discovery . . .

 When you come here, you have to remember not to plan your days too completely so you leave room for discovery.  We were reminded again about how wonderful that can be when we launched off yesterday “to take a walk.”  For exercise.  We left the house around 9 am — thought we’d walk for about an hour, but didn’t get back until 4:30!  Nothing was planned, just an accidental adventure which we find happens all the time around here if we let it!  Come with us!  Enjoy some gloriosity to go with it!

Connecting all the towns in England are ancient public footpaths that go from village to village, crossing through fields of wildflowers, into woods, through gates, near lakes and rivers, over bridges, across farmland and cow pastures, even through neighborhoods.  That’s one of them, above . . . these are footpaths that people have used since the beginning of time (there have only been vehicles for the last hundred years; people have walked here, to trade, to travel, to farm, to visit, for many centuries). The paths are well-marked on any map (we got our map here at the bookstore) … you just follow the signs and see where they lead you.  Are you ready to go?  Within just a few blocks of our flat, we followed the path, through a kind of gate (called a stile), and ended up here . . .

Taking these walks is one of our very favorite things to do in England. The new little lambs are the best . . . at first, it made me a bit nervous walking this close to sheep (and especially when we got close to huge cows) — I’m not used to it!  But they just watch us with big eyes and seem to have no inclination to attack.  The lambs are so adorable!

Here’s a shaky video of the darling sheep!

I used Joe’s camera on this walk; I think his video settings are a bit different than mine, but I didn’t know it until just a few minutes ago!  It will give you an idea of the place, but I’ll have to use my own camera next time!

So up the hill we go . . . you can see, there are many places where there is no visible path to follow . . . of course, once all of us tramp through here together, they’ll probably be able to see the path from space!

And in other places, our way is very well marked . . .  so beautiful in this wood, with birds flying out of the trees, and little creeks all along the way . . .

The fields are gated like this with “stiles” so the animals can’t wander, but there are these wonderful little ladders so we can climb over them.  Plus, this way, no one can forget to close the gate!   We counted fifteen stiles on our way back home.   That yellow arrow is the marker for the path.  You wouldn’t want to miss one!

As we were going along, Joe read that there was a small cottage owned by the National Trust in the next town over; built in 1500, it was bought in 1899 by a famous stage actress of the Victorian era named Ellen Terry who lived there for almost thirty years.  The house was in Smallhythe, which was a village only three miles from Tenterden.  Even though we had no idea who Ellen Terry was, we thought, Hmmmm, National Trust … usually means Tea Room!  And bathroom!  I said, “The girlfriends will love it . . . let’s go there!”

We missed our yellow marker and got a little lost, but only once!  We are on the wrong side of the river from those cows!  But we’re OK, because  . . .

. . . we have the amazing pathfinder, Joe. If it was up to me, a search party would have had to be sent.  Hello big cows.

The girls were all comfortable…there are babies out there too, mostly napping and enjoying the spring sunshine.  (Watch where you walk through here girlfriends!)

Past this beautiful farmhouse with oast houses we go . . .

And over this narrow little bridge … some of the bridges had no sides, but most have a wooden or metal rail…some you have to climb over on both sides and some are half this width!  It occurs to us that we could bring a picnic out here!  Sit in the lovely fragrant grass and watch the lambs play!  Have a nap, read a book, listen to the birds.  Next time!  “Doing nothing” at its very best!  As the saying goes:  “A picnic is a state of mind and can be made anywhere!”

Oooo, up the path to civilization . . . a neighborhood . . . we’re almost there . . .

Just one more gate to go over . . . you can do it!

And then, just another block (watch out for the cars!); we’re heading for the house next door to the brick church you can see there on the left (is everyone still with us?  I thought I heard a splash back there!  I bet it was Deborah, going for a swim!  Pat, will you please go get her!?)

OH MY; dry off quick any swimmers, because we’re here!  This is the cottage called Smallhythe (pron. “Smallhigh-th”) Place!  Look at it!!!!  How wonderful!!!  Door is open; we get to go inside!

 This is the beautiful actress Ellen Terry — she was born in 1847.  One thing for sure, she knew how to wear a hat!  (This photo was in the bathroom near the tea room!)  But there was a lot more to her than just the obvious!

I don’t know where to start showing you the house, I took so many photos . . . so I’ll start with her bedroom, since it was my favorite.  Most of the original features of this 16th century Tudor house remain; nothing is perfect, except the inperfections; the floors are uneven, the walls and doors are crooked, and the fireplaces are like none I’ve ever seen.  Although she lived most of the time in London with all the luxurious amenities money could buy, Ellen Terry bought this cottage to be alone in the country with her children and grandchildren.  It had no running water and no electricity and she liked it and kept it that way; she prepared meals in an open fireplace and went to bed in this room with the wavy-glass window panes, by candlelight and moonlight.  The day she died, her daughter, Edy Craig, gave the cottage, and everything in it, to the National Trust.  (Edy had her own house, “The Priests House,” next door, attached to the church.)  This room looks almost exactly as it did then, in 1928, when Ellen died.  The tea table, set with china, is ready for her tea.

Her bedroom reflects very little of her theatre life; on the walls are pictures of her family and those she most loved, her mother and her children.

I had to show you this lovely embroidery on her bed!!

Her dressing table is still set up with her brushes; pots of flowering geraniums are arranged on the window sill above it.

The cottage is cozy and small and filled with charm, there are flowered cotton curtains at every window.  Some of Ellen Terry’s handmade stage costumes from her remarkable acting career are in one of the rooms; there’s a library full of old books, and creaky wooden floors; every corner is filled with her personal belongings and old photographs; there are drawings and things made by her children, gorgeous handmade jewelry, lovely dishes and linens.  You have a great feeling for who she was when you leave here.  You have to come back girlfriends, and do it again, slower, with your own camera this time!

This is one of the pretty fabrics used on the windows . . . sweet peas . . .

If you peek out the window, at the end of the hall, in the photo above, you get a glimpse of the garden!!!  We’ll go there too!  Can you believe that all this natural beauty and wonderful history is everywhere in this country?  It is!!!

This is Edy Craig’s (Ellen’s talented daughter) drawing of shoes; she did it as a sketch for theater costumes; she also designed some of her mother’s costumes.  Edy was also friends with Vita Sackville-West and the people at Charleston; it was a small world, and a close neighborhood; you would have to imagine that sooner or later everyone’s path was bound to cross!  So much history in this little cottage, such a lovely story, a whole interesting lifetime here, too much to tell in one little post!

“Sic transit gloria mundi.”  Translates . . . “Thus passes the glory of the world.”  Dame Ellen Terry lived to be 81 years old.  A yellow rose was named for her.

The roofline of the house alone could have a whole book written about it!  This is one of the very smallest and least famous houses belonging to the Trust, and still, too much to tell!

Behind the cottage is the Tea Room; through the door in the back, you can see Joe … he is wandering about on the other side of the thatched-roof barn (smells so good in there, like clean hay!).  Ellen’s daughter built the Barn Theatre back there, with the rows of red-painted wooden chairs, in honor of her mother.  Many famous British stage performers have traveled the 65 miles from London to appear in this tiny theatre over the years.  It’s still used; coming up soon is a performance of “The Importance of Being Earnest!”  It would be wonderful to join the small audience for a homemade play in a little neighborhood, in a tiny village in England!

Joe and I went for tea twice, both before and after we toured the garden; this was the second time, just before we left to walk home.  We soaked up the cool sun for an hour or so, Joe read maps; we drank everything that wasn’t nailed down; we ate delicious carrot cake, and I wrote down what I had seen, not to forget, for the diary I’m making of the trip.  The lilac came from the churchyard next door!  Every National Trust property has a proper tea room, most of them have tables both inside and in the garden.

And here we go, into Ellen’s garden! This is her rose garden, appropriately in bloom with mounds and mounds of tiny forget-me-nots; it’s still too early for many roses. . . Ellen designed the garden herself.  (P.S. The neighbors have cute houses too!)  You walk down the grass path here, and find lots of little flowers that barely show in this photo.  The path goes all they way around the walled garden.

Of course there are hedges, azaleas in bloom, small garden rooms, and a wild garden . . .

. . . where the apple trees are blooming, the air smells of the blossoms . . .

There are lots of lovely walks through the lilac bushes — and a Nuttery!  Yes, an orchard of only nut trees.  And look out there, at that opening . . . don’t you just want to follow that path to see where it goes?

Had to show you how it felt, with the breeze blowing through the wildflowers!

This painting is of Ellen and her family; that’s her on the right, her beloved daughter Edy in the blue scarf, and other family and friends, including Snuffles, the kitty.  This painting is said to very much depict the life Ellen Terry created at Smallhythe Place.

Very, very hard to leave this peaceful place, but look how much we learned!  What a wonderful discovery!  I wonder what we would have done today if we’d planned something!?  Could not have been one bit better than this!  And we still have our walk home to look forward to!

. . . and old friends to say goodbye to (at least until another day) . . .

Goodbye cow!

Goodbye darling little lambs with your happy wagging tails!

Goodbye gorgeous path through the countryside!  And a big THANK YOU, by the way, to the National Trust volunteers at the houses we see; these charming English people are full of interesting information that adds so much to each visit!  Hope you enjoyed our peaceful day girlfriends  . . . Bye for now!

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535 Responses to A Day of Discovery . . .

  1. Mary S. says:

    Oh, my, Susan!! This was THE most perfect way to spend a day ever!!! Now this is exactly how I always picture England, and I am so thrilled that it really is this way!! I listened to the sounds of the birds all the way thru, and pretended I was there. Thank you soooo much for the pictures, the videos – everything!! Thank you for taking the time to share it with us!!! I (and I’m sure everyone else) can’t express how much we are loving it!!
    From Mary S. in Fresno, CA

    • sbranch says:

      Happy you are here too Mary!

    • Rose says:

      Thank-you for sharing your adventure with me! (ok, I know you are sharing with the world but when I travel with you-it feels like it’s just us.) You have that kind, sincere way of making anyone who visits you really feel that kind, unique ,loving spirit that is You!!! Thank-you for giving me a moment in my hectic, way too busy life, to slow down and feel that breeze. When I was 12, my hard working Dad sent me to England, one summer to stay with my newly married 23 year old brother, who was in the Air Force. It was fun and I walked those amazing paths and loved every moment. You are a blessing, Miss Susan Branch! Your friend from Eastham, Rose

  2. Barbara B says:

    Wow. What a wonderful day we had! As we were walking I was wondering what kind of weather we are having? Are you getting much sunshine? I couldn’t quite tell. How is the temperature? We do need to know how to dress. Barbara

    • sbranch says:

      Today the weather changed significantly and I think it was around 75 here in Tenterden … although someone said 80. Yesterday, it was maybe 65 at the warmest. I kind of like the cooler temps, makes it really nice for walking and climbing!

      • Cyndi says:

        I like the cooler temps also Susan. It could stay right about 65 and I’d be fine. Of course my body temp has changed as I’ve “matured” so I run a little warmer than I used to!

        • sbranch says:

          Me too!

          • Pat Mofjeld says:

            Me, too! And I don’t sleep well at night when it is warm, either. We had 85 degrees F. today which is weird weather for May in Minnesota. The air conditioning is buzzing tonight, let me tell you! 🙂

  3. Kathy says:

    Mahvelous post! 🙂 Love the garden and sheep photos.

  4. Cyndi says:

    I’m sure the paths will be mashed right down after we all go by. I loved the walk and did not fall in the water but I got something on my shoe even after you warned us to watch out!! But I guess you cant’ miss it all. But it did come off easily in the grass. The sheep and cows looked at me like I was crazy dragging my shoe back and forth but it was all good. Luckily I got it off before we came to the house! I’d have hated not to be able to see the inside. I’d have missed seeing Ellen’s room and the lovely cloth on the tea table. I have a similar square cloth that was my great aunts and I love it dearly. I am happy have something so lovely of hers. What a pretty place it is your are staying, just what I imagine England to look like. BTW, I think a picinic with the lambs and their Mommies is a perfect idea!! Can’t wait for the next adventure.

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

    Hi Susan –
    Forgot to ask you about the controversy over the Olympic Torches! Heard the BBC program “World Have Your Say” yesterday on San Diego public radio (KPBS). Apparently the torch bearers had to apply and be selected & then have to purchase one of 8,000 or so torches to carry. Some small number of carriers are offering their torches for sale on eBay for as much as 100,000 pounds causing consternation in some circles! Is this making the news rounds over there? Love listening to this program – so much more civilized than U.S. call-in programs! Lots of English slang and terms so get a hint of what you’re experiencing!

    • sbranch says:

      I did hear about that on the BBC. I also got to see the torch arrive … at Land’s End. Love BBC. Just for the interesting variety! My favorite is the little time-outs they’re doing right now, covering the Chelsea Flower Show . . . they take us inside the gardens to show us! No crowds, no hustle and bustle, and lots of details!

      • Kerry S. from San Pedro, CA says:

        What fun! Chelsea Garden Show – oh my! That would be the way to see it – no crowds!
        Glad that you got to see the torch – another touch of tradition for your journey!

  6. Sue says:

    Hi Susan and Joe
    Just want to tell you that I fractured the tibia in my left leg, walking has been rather difficult…but you two have really made it so much easier for me…thank you. Getting over those stiles might be a real challenge for me, glad that you were able to manage so well…
    Today was a lovely day, thank you for letting me go along with you again.
    Sue M…

  7. Irene Keating says:

    This has been a delightful day and I especially enjoyed seeing the lambs. As a child we sometimes brought lambs inside to bottle feed when their mothers didn’t accept them. The countryside and flowers are a feast for my eyes and I appreciate your blog so much. This is a wonderful trip and I’m glad my twin sister, Nelle, has come too. She lives in Texas too. We’re looking forward to the next adventure.

    • sbranch says:

      Lucky you! I want so much to hug one of those little guys, but I wouldn’t push my luck with mama sheep! Hi to you two twins!

  8. Rebecca says:

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful day in the English countryside with us! I’ve been enjoying a cup of tea and a cookie while catching up on your latest blogs. The bird sounds you included is on repeat because they’re so peaceful! Looks like you and Joe are having a fabulous time 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I have a little “sound machine” in my house, it has bird sounds like that on it . . . it’s on all the time, it’s on now! 🙂 Love that sound!

  9. CarolK (central NJ) says:

    What an enchanting ramble that was and I didn’t get tired even once despite my one new knee still getting broken in. I could smell the lilacs wafing in the breeze because mine are blooming next to my house and scenting up the yard. I love those sweet pea curtains. Why can’t we find material like that here in the States! I’ve always thought the best adventures happen when they are unplanned and your excursion today proves it. You are doing a swell job of helping us experience the best of England. Hugs to you and Joe…..

  10. Bonny ~* says:

    LOVED our walk today and visit to Ellen’s house! Thank you “pathfinder” Joe and photographer Susan!!!

    Bon ~*

  11. Georgeann from Texas says:

    God bless you for sharing this with us all…I have never seen a lamb up close
    and the breeze blowing through the trees was delightful. So peaceful!!!

  12. Patricia says:

    That was a wonderful walk ! Thanks so much for including us all on such a beautiful day – I enjoyed the pics and the details of everything around – what a beautiful area – I could live there in a minute ! Thank you again for including us and sharing a lovely day…….

  13. Debbie S. says:

    I am so enjoying every post of your wonderful adventure, thank you so much for taking us along! The most important thing I’m learning is that I want to go to England – in person! I am so inspired by the beautiful gardens that I’m off to go work on mine. Can’t wait to see where we go next!

  14. Barbara T, Wolverine Lake MI says:

    When I saw all those sheep and their lambs I just wanted to say: Bah Ram Ewe! (have you watched Babe- the sheep pig? the most adorable movie set in England and I adore it.) THANK YOU for allowing us to share your “holiday”. I totally agree that unplanned and unexpected adventures are more wonderful and such a delight. Sooooo happy you stumbled upon Smallhythe!! I loved the sheep, the countryside and the darling cottage and especially your little videos

  15. stephanie says:

    I can’t even speak… I don’t even know what to post. Aside from being there – this is like an actual vacation for me. I can’t believe you are doing everything I would do (or dream of doing) if I was there.

    Thanks to the details of the blog and the pics and videos – it’s like being there. Thank you for sharing and taking time out of your vacation to share with us in “real time”. I am LOVING every minute of this trip.

    What a lovely adventure you had today – so much fun!!

    • sbranch says:

      SO happy to hear that Stephanie!

      • Janet says:

        Couldn’t agree more with Stephanie! I never would have thought it possible but I really feel like I explored that English countryside today as well. Thanks too – for taking all the time and trouble it must be to notate and collect and photo and video and Twitter and everything else you’re doing to include all of us! Please know that it is SO appreciated! And I can’t wait for that journal to get the details and re-live it all again.

        Two questions:

        [1] How will I ever be able to eat lamb chops or rack of spring lamb after seeing those sweet adorable little creatures – and right alongside of their mamas to boot??

        [2] How do you and Joe feel about exploring the Greek islands next?

        • sbranch says:

          LOL. We should just keep going! At least we know these lambs live a BEAUTIFUL life for as long as they do!!!!

          • Janet says:

            Oh, thanks, Sue – that’s just how I’m going to think about that too. Count on you to put a positive spin on things. They live an absolutely sublime quiet sweet life in that exquisite English countryside – God’s country for sure – and then… they are delicious. :>)

  16. judi says:

    My favorite kind of day spent with you two. Exploring and meandering in nature – NYC can’t beat that. Love that you can be up close to the animals. Yes, I think a picnic would be super and bring a jug of lemonade and a book to the field. Oh, thank you so…loved “hearing nature” looked like your weather was perfect. (the pattern on those curtains needs to be brought back:)

  17. Melissa Olson says:

    Beautiful photos Susan! Your walks are the perfect way to explore rural England….reminds me of Bill Bryson’s book “Notes on a Small Island”…have you read it? I found it funny and inspiring! 🙂

  18. Lisa says:

    Loving our trip together Susan!!! Thank you so much for bringing me along!!!

  19. Laura Croyle says:

    This is the beautiful, peaceful English countryside I’ve always wanted to see! Love the walking paths through the pastures with cows and sheep and little lambs. And lo and behold, an old historic house and gardens with a tearoom at the end of your meandering! Couldn’t ask for a more perfect day! Looks like the weather is cooperating too! Thank-you So Much for taking us along!! Hopefully Pat rescued Deborah, and she got dried off! 😉 It was a much-needed break from our cool, rainy and breezy weather here in the Pacific Northwest (Which I think can be very much like England’s weather sometimes!)

  20. Julie says:

    Okay, I give up, I admit-
    THIS post is my most favorite of all.
    Susan, every post has been gorgeous and so very interesting,
    I can’t wait for the Lake District trip,
    but this pastoral adventure was simply, soothing to the soul.

    Animals & nature…what’s not to love ?
    I would love to know what they were thinking.
    The lazy, happy cow, in the 7th photo, as Joe enters
    seems to be saying, “Hey, big guy…..what took you so long” ?

    People……STILL questioning, seeking God & trying to “find” their way in life
    need only to step outside-
    into the greatest cathedral on earth
    and let the universal wonder of Mother Nature serve as your guide.

    Best of all…it’s free to everyone-
    no matter where one travels or calls home.

    Besides the maps, camera & norm-
    what else is Joe carrying in his trusty, red & white canvas tote ?
    A little wine, a little cheese
    and perhaps a little, sailor boy doll ?

    A photo of “Pete” posing with your bovine friends
    would be a kick & a giggle !

    • sbranch says:

      “Greatest Cathedral on earth,” the soul soother, how right you are! Nothing like a field of buttercups and a soft breeze to cure what ails you. He has chocolate in there, for emergencies!

      • Julie says:

        I love that….CHOCOLATE !
        For some silly reason, it is just a comfort to see
        him with that tote around his shoulder.
        Knowing there is chocolate, cradled within,
        makes it even “sweeter”-
        forget “if only the animals could talk”,
        if only Joe’s tote could talk.
        It, he, she….needs an proper English name.

        • sbranch says:

          Mmmm. Rupert?

          • Julie says:

            Perfect !

            That trusty tote
            was just beggin’ for a British name
            and you nailed it !

            I can just hear you say,
            “C’mon Joe, grab Rupert,
            the English countryside awaits”.

            Trusty ole’ Rupert deserves
            an acknowledgment
            and a watercolor of his own
            in your journal.

            By the time your adventure is over-
            i’d say, he’s earned it, wouldn’t you ?

          • sbranch says:

            Definitely, but we are already thinking “woopert!” 🙂

          • Julie says:

            love the “woobert” twist,
            love the way you guys think !

            Who the heck would think
            a 4-sided piece of canvas could have
            SUCH a personality ?

            Just makes me smile, every time I see it
            traveling with Joe,
            one just knows-
            all is right with the world-
            the wonders of “Woobert” !

            For cryin’ out loud-
            can anything be more sillier ?
            Thank God…for silly !

          • Elizabeth in Montana says:

            Like the bear in the English books! I have one of the Rupert books, a present from my adopted English granny when I was a little girl.

  21. grandma glenda says:

    OHHHHHHH how wonderful. so much (!) so much (!) everything is glorious please, please put all in to a new book.

  22. Ann says:

    Yes, its been a perfect late spring day today. Perfect for a NT outing – and as its not the weekend and not school holidays you had an almost private visit – lucky you. But, come on Susan, you have sheep and cows in the US don’t you! You do make me giggle! By the way, there are more sheep in Wales than people – have I made you want to visit yet? ;o)

    • sbranch says:

      We have them, but no one gets to walk across the fields, at least not that I’ve seen. And our fields aren’t deep green grass and wild flowers either . . . YES, now I need to go to Wales! 🙂

      • Ann says:

        Ha ha….. I’m really not nagging you Susan! I just feel so lucky to live in such a beautiful land I want others to see it too. But of course you can’t see everything. I hope you are enjoying the Chelsea Flower Show programmes on TV each night this week (if you are home in time) – they are always a treat. Not sure about some of the ultra modern gardens though!

        Looking forward to our next country walk.

        • sbranch says:

          Hi Ann — I don’t feel at all nagged 🙂 Have always wanted to go to Wales!!! I’m not wild about the modern gardens either … don’t like things in gardens made out of shiny materials, plastic, or anything that isn’t natural to the earth. But do enjoy the “going ’round” the exhibits on BBC! What channel should I look to see the programmes you speak of?

          • Ann says:

            Hello Susan – hope it not too late but you can watch Chelsea on BBC2 every day – once about lunchtime and at 8 o’clock every night. If you’ve missed it there will be an omnibus edition on Sunday I expect. Have a look on the BBC website too – here is a link to the page where you can catch up if you have time.


            No sun this morning here but I hope its shining where you are. Have a happy day.

            Ann x

          • sbranch says:

            Beautiful sunny day here Ann, thank you!!!

  23. maggie ann says:

    I love how you share things with us. This has been delightful to see….thank you!

  24. linda says:

    What a happy couple you must be-to be so open to possibility and not be disappointed in the least-but overjoyed with wonderful new discoveries!! Love, love the lilacs and queen anne’s lace blowing in the breeze with the glorious smell of so old apple trees-heaven. So glad you took us too

    • sbranch says:

      If it all would have ended with the lambs, it still would have been a win-win! 🙂 Thank you Linda!

  25. Jane in Pennsylvania says:

    Thank you for a lovely day in the English countryside. How charming!

  26. Diane from Washington state says:

    This was my kind of day! There is nothing more fun than walking through fields and finding new delights all over the place. How thrilling it is to see the new places you and Joe are finding! Does Joe love the adventure as much as you do, or is he the patient type? My husband is a bit of both! lol. What fun to find out the history of places and to see where people used to live. It was amazing! So happy for you both that you are having such a great time…and happy for all of the girlfriends and myself because this is so special to be with you!

    • sbranch says:

      He loves it as much as I do … thank goodness, I don’t think it would be easy to drag someone over 6 miles if they didn’t love it. Thanks for being here Diane!

  27. I have a question and please do not think I am being disrespectful…..why didn’t people smile in their photos in the 1800’s and early 1900’s?? I have boxes of pics of my ancestors and they all looked so depressed/somber…I could not have lived back then and would of been stoned for being a happy person!!! Really, does anyone have a theory on this subject even the children were solemn which is odd….I know they went through a depression; but, we are in a recession and most of us see a camera and it is S M I L E…..just wondering and seeing all the photos Susan is posting they look just like my box of pictures.

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve heard that it took so long to take the picture, they had to make a pose they could hold for some time . . . It’s why, when you see a dog in the pictures from that time, he is often a blur!

      • Ann says:

        Yes, and they often had to put their necks in a sort of metal brace to keep them still. Not very conducive to smiling.

      • Understood and thank you…..no modern technology and that century was all work and very little “play”…Bless their Hearts….I know some think we are a spoiled generation (esp. our children) and I will admit only have a house phone where our parents could monitor us wasn’t a bad thing….I do enjoy the computer and cell phones (other than being on call 24/7). If it weren’t for computers we wouldn’t be experiencing this wonderful journey with you would we? I appreciate all the sacrifices my ancestors made and I will smile enough for all of them!!!!

  28. Barb from Ohio says:

    Hi Susan,
    What beautiful pictures of the countryside, just what I wanted to see. But that cow was really watching you; thank goodness there was no bull! Loved the pictures of the house and gardens, so worth the long walk. It sounds like you had good weather for the day. You don’t know how much we all look forward to going along on these excursions with you. Makes me feel like I’m really there, especially with the birdsong playing. Thanks for taking us along!

  29. Lori says:

    What a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. I waited until just the right moment to read your most recent post and it was well worth the wait…!
    I am so enjoying the tour of England through such thoughtful eyes as yours.
    Looks so romantic, an adventure, just the two of you….I am envious!
    Thank you Susan (and Joe of course!)

  30. Cheryl Danley says:

    I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love reading your posts! And, thank you for taking us inside this lovely english home. I have been so curious as to what these old homes look like on the inside. Thank you so much for taking us along!

  31. Such a lovely, beautiful day; thank you! Miss Terry’s rooms are delightful and love the fact her house is imperfectly perfect. Her hat is beautiful, I’d wear that hat -smile-. The cows look pregnant, did you see calves as well? Glad you missed the cow pies, that could have been not so good. Truly, I’m not wishing the days away but am looking forward to Miss Potter’s farms.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, calves everywhere, laying flat in the grass, sleeping. I still can’t believe we are going to Beatrix Potter’s house. I say it to myself, so glad it’s not tomorrow, I want this feeling to last a little longer!

  32. Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

    This is my favorite post too! We really traveled back in time, didn’t we? What a glorious day to spend all together on a little expedition to the next village. I loved the house and the grounds and garden and the fact that the Barn Theatre is still in use. And that Edy turned the house over to the Heritage Trust in the blink of an eye with everything just as it was the day before. I loved the “clouds of forget-me-nots” as one of the girlfriends called them and am glad that you got a picture of them from the second story too. The videos were just perfect and it must have been serendipity that you got off track and we got to spend time with the cows and calves and sheep and lambs. And whoever thought up the idea of TWO teas today is just a genius—that’s all I have to say!!!

  33. Jan says:

    Oh thank you for sharing your trip with us!!! I was in England for the first time one year ago. My daughter treated her mother to her dream vacation. Though our itineraries are very different, I am reliving it through you! I am so happy that I am crying! I love all the new things I am learning on this trip. 🙂
    Bless you again for sharing this trip with us!

  34. Marion Powell from Southern California says:

    Your blogs are always so much fun, but these wonderful treasures from England are just the greatest! As my little nieces used to say, “I’m her!” The pictures and your wonderful writings make us all think we are traveling right along with you. It is living vicariously at its best! The stories and the history that you present to us are so marvelous. You give us knowledge we never even knew existed. The pictures of houses and gardens and trails are divine! Thank you for a wonderful trip, and we aren’t even finished yet. Hooray!

    • sbranch says:

      Aren’t we lucky to live in the time of the computer! We could not have done this on our last trip here!

  35. Tricia B. says:

    Dearest Susan and Joe,
    Thanks to you I have been on a grand luxury liner and am visiting quaint villages of the English countryside. I am forever in your debt! 🙂 I love how you are taking us with you on your delicious holiday!!! It is wonderful and I am truly thankful that you are sharing all of the gorgeous views and interesting historical stories. Thank you again for sharing your amazing trip with me. I can’t wait for more!!!!:) Travel Safe…Be Well…Enjoy…Love, Hugs and Prayers for both of you!! GOD Bless,Tricia B. XOXOXO

    • sbranch says:

      xoxo Thank you Tricia!

    • Tricia, I think we should give Susan and Joe a thank-you party when they return, don’t you?!

      • sbranch says:

        Aren’t we spoiled enough? 🙂

        • Dawn from Minnesota says:

          Nope…..Fresh as a Daisy !!!!!! We could never ever
          spoil You & Joe…….we love ya to much!!!
          Cathy & Tricia…..I was thinking the same thing….if you
          want I would love to help !!!! I could make cupcakes,
          blowup balloons, help with the decorations, ummmmm
          whatever you need….count me in !!!!! There has to be
          a way………….. : .} Doesn’t she just make the
          everyday day ……more special ?!

          • sbranch says:

            I already love this party!

          • Dawn, sounds good to me. Won’t they be surprised when we jump ship as soon as it docks and they find us waiting on their door step with party in hand! We’ll even help unpack while Susan plays with her kitties. Who wants to do the Welcome Home banner?

  36. Sweet Pea says:

    Oh Susan such a delightful post…thank you.
    Maybe someday I will be able to tell you what your trip to England helped me live through. Just know…in one of the most difficult times in my life it is bringing me oxygen and that “our trip together” is enabling me to get away somewhere at a time when I most need it.
    I’ll plan on seeing you one day and filling you in.
    My love to you..
    Sweet Pea

    • sbranch says:

      You are dear to tell me; not knowing, my prayers are with you. xoxo

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        ….mine too! Each morning when I look at this blog, I feel like I’ve been blessed! Thank you! xoxoxo

    • Dawn from Minnesota says:

      Hi Sweet Pea….I hope you continue to Breathe in all this Beautiful Country
      English Fresh Air from Susan and that it fills your day with Sunshine!!!!!
      She is like our American version of Mary Poppins…….only Lots Better!!!!
      “YOU” keep feeling better and Take Care Sweet Pea : .} XoXDawn

      • Dawn from Minnesota says:

        …..was Mary Poppins English ???

        • Yes she sure was…”just a spoon full of sugar makes the “kidney pie” go down”??? nope that didn’t work either!!!! UGH

          • TerrieInAtlanta says:

            Dearest Sweet Pea ~ I truly wonder how many of us “girlfriends” are traveling along with Sue & Joe’s wonderful adventures online, due to obstacles preventing us from popping in their suitcases! Just wanted you to know that there are other friends out here who enjoy every minute, despite the limitations that can get in the way of our dreams. Let’s thank God & Nature, Herself, for giving us this fabulous trip through the eyes & words of our most talented, loving & generous friends…dearest Susan & Joe xoxo “Come Join Terrie for Tea!”

  37. Lynn L., LaFargeville, NY says:

    Wow! I keep saying it, but thank you so much for sharing this trip with us. I just shared today with my daughter who is planning on a summer semester in England next year with her college. She has been dreaming of this since she was very small and it was fun to share the photos with her tonight and thinking that maybe she will be there at these very places next summer! And I will know what she is talking about, having seen them all myself right here on your wonderful blog!!

  38. Connie Martin says:

    Oh, I loved that house! And was that her sewing basket that I spotted next to her brushes? I loved the telegram from King George and the Queen!!! I want to live in that little house. Thanks for the little video of the breeze in the wild flowers 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Her sewing basket was there . . . it had all the little things in it (made from bone? or something like that) you need to make lace, tat, there was a darning egg … some of these pieces had her name “Ellen” on them; I didn’t know what most of them were.

  39. Martha says:

    Susan, this has been so wonderful! Thank you so much for all you are doing in sharing this wonderful adventure you are having in England!!
    It’s *almost* like being there!

  40. Erin says:

    Susan, thank you so much for the virtual tour. I actually knew who Ellen Terry was! Not sure why, but I did. Lovely, lovely, lovely. Everything one would want the English countryside to be.
    Sigh. 🙂

  41. Cindy says:

    Love, love, love the beautiful pictures and the videos. It was almost like being there. I just loved the adventure so much and thank you. The next best thing to being there.

  42. Silvia Niomi says:

    Wotcha Susan,

    WEHEEEE!!!!! if I could make my words do cartwheels, skip and jump, they would be doing that this very minute:) I loVE, LoVe, LOve these posts. I have so very many comments to make that I am almost mute. I can almost smell the lilac – darn if only weee could just take a little wiff through the internet, oh and the little theater in the red barn, how very quaint (I. n.e.e.d t.o. h.i.t t.h.e. l.o.t.t.e.r.y… that is what needs to happen).

    Is England even on planet earth? Does it rain Miracle Grow there????? I ‘ll bet that’s it and no one is letting us in on the secret (you can probably tell by now that I am a flustered central californian – where it is NOT easy being green). The wild flowers in between the nut trees, I’ve never seen such fluffy looking wild flowers in between……. nut trees?!!!! – and I live in a very agriculturally active area. I could roll around in those fluffy wildflowers and never move from there (in fact – and I am whispering – I did do that very thing when none of the other girlfriends were around….. although eventually I haaaaaad to move, hmmmm 🙁 ) sigh….. oh well, maybe someday….. England….. definitely on my bucket list.

    Susan, I have a kitchen floor to mop….. do I care? Nope. I am on a HoLiDay….. a WaLkInG, SKiPPinG, and holiday.

    Hmmmm – another sigh- Shameel Shomozzle, I better get back to my mopping. I can’t wait until the next post, it’s like a breath of fragrant fresh air.

    TaTa for now and arrivederci xoxoxo

    p.s. I… found…. SHANDY!!!! it is refreshingly gooood. I do not drink very much alcohol, I am a sipper by nature. I am forever sipping off of my husband’s drinks, when he does drink a beer now and then. The Shandy I found was from Germany, I shared it with my hubby…. it was good ;} Thank you.

    • Silvia Niomi says:

      Okay, that one paragraph didn’t land quite right…. I was trying to make my words cartwheel and skip. So, here goes,

      I am on a HoLiDaY…. a WaLkInG, CaRtWhEEliNG, SkiPPinG and JUMPING hoLidAy! Oh well, it sort of looks like I am doing all of that.

    • sbranch says:

      “Does it rain Miracle Grow?” LOL, you may have figured out the secret!!!

      • Dawn from Minnesota says:

        Hey there silly girl…..I was looking for your at Sissinghurst
        …..couldn’t find you so I left you a note there !!!
        Have a great day and be careful where you cartwheel silly !!!

        • Silvia Niomi says:

          Hi Dawn from Minnesota (funny girlfriend),

          I read your post from Sissinghurst, LOL…. you had to have both scones 🙂 I don’t blame you…. they are good. It’s alright…. its water under the bridge, er, uh, maybe its water under the ship. I’ll need to try the the Rose Lemonade …. try the Shandy its good. What I really want at this moment is the carrot cake, looks delicious.

  43. Pamala Black says:

    Thank you SusaN for such a wonderful and relaxing walk. This was so relaxing and very enjoyable as the prior days, but this is the best so far..Can hardly wait for more. Thank you for letting me come along on such an amazing find. Enjoy

    • sbranch says:

      It’s almost like come here, don’t plan to see anything, and you will have a wonderful time!

  44. Connie K says:

    Wow – that whole day sort of defines serendipity! Thank you SO much for including us on your walk!

    • Dawn from Minnesota says:

      “Serendipity”….one of my favorite words !! : .} ……and a cute movie too.

  45. Becky says:

    Well that was a lovely sojourn! The calming, yet excited vibe came wafting through from you to us. A truly beautiful and educational day trip. She (Ellen Terry) must have been a lovely presence, and how lucky we are to stilll experience what she left as a legacy. Classic!

    BTW, what kinds of tea are you taking in the Tea Rooms?

  46. Susan Edwards says:

    Thank you for your daily tour of England, a journey I never thought I would be able to accomplish. Such beautiful pictures and beautiful commentaries of your adventures. Please know that I cherish reading your daily postings.

  47. Loretta says:

    I don’t think I can thank you enough for these wonderful visits. Today’s was just absolutely everything I want to see in England. You have made my day!

  48. joanna taylor says:

    thank you for ALL OF THIS!!!!!

  49. Lori from Maine says:

    It’s so much fun to see the flowers in bloom in England. My forget-me-nots, lilacs and apple trees are in bloom too! I didn’t know it would all be so much the same…but I suppose a lot of the plants in England travelled their way over here with folks wanting to have the same gardens in the New World as they did at home! So pretty….Looks like you’re both having a wonderful time! Thank you for keeping us posted. 🙂

  50. Kit says:

    Wow! That is all I can think of to say. I get off work, come home and see where you and your love have wandered to. The photos are wonderful, and the stories you are telling have me in another age for a time being. Thank you! Kit

  51. Cynthia Krynock says:

    Oh Susan! Am so enjoying myself! I especially love the sounds that you’ve captured….the birds….the sway of the flowers and grasses….the leaves on the trees…..it is luscious to be sure!!


    • sbranch says:

      I’m loving sharing it with so many happy people; as the saying goes, a cook needs an audience worth cooking for!

  52. Marion Rose says:

    Dear Susan and Joe,
    It was a wonderful walk with you today!!!!!!!Thank you over and over. Loved being out in the fields with the animals. They don’t seem to mind having visitors walking near them. Oh, those little lambs!!!!!
    Look forward to our next adventure, Marion

  53. Pat says:

    Everything written above is how I feel. What a wonderful trip today was. Thanks again for taking me along. I knew I loved the countryside of England and now I know why. I am glad that you have taken me back again.

  54. Charlene H. from So. Calif. (S.F.Valley) says:

    …sigh…what a perfect day…(she says without an exclamation mark because she wants to savor the glorious peace of nature that we just witnessed).
    Thank you… …

  55. Annelies says:

    I am almost certain that the “Sweet Pea” fabric is from Laura Ashley…back in the day. I worked there in the late 80’s and it was one of my favorite fabrics. I am SOOO loving our trip…you take us to the most fun places!!!

  56. Julie (Omaha) says:

    Ahhh, another wonderful day. No need to count sheep tonight, will reread your blog again, just listening to the breeze rustling thru the trees, the birds, so peaceful, and the gardens, so relaxing …….zzzzzzzzzzzzthankyouzzzzzzzzz

  57. Linda says:

    Oh thank you so much for the wonderful walk! I LOVE black and white cows (have a small collection in my kitchen and never tire of them) and who doesn’t love sheep! GREAT photos and love the videos. I am not much of a walker on my own so glad you are doing it for me!! This is just reaffirming my lifetime desire that the one place on earth I want to see before I go is England. Thank you again for all this time you are taking to share with us!.

  58. Susan says:

    What a great post, Susan! I feel like we (at home) are discovering these little treasures right along with you. Thanks for taking the photos and the time to share them with us 🙂 I remember our trip to England a few years back and how we came across oodles of people on a Saturday afternoon with walking sticks in hand, meandering through the autumnal countryside. I think they called themselves “ramblers” and told us that there are lots of ramblers clubs! Which reminds me, be on the lookout for bellringers!! Yes, we came across several groups of people in the Cotswolds who go from church to church, pulling the bells! You just gotta love England! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Joe took bell ringer “lessons” in a 14th century church!! I was across from it, listening, knitting in the living room of our rental! It’s so beautiful and wonderful that they do that here.

  59. Judy says:

    Beautiful! This is how your garden is starting look with the wonderful hedges and the trees leafing out and all the roses! Have fun! xoxo Judy

  60. Marianne says:

    This is absolutely delightful! Wonderful!! Thank you!!!

  61. Marilyn says:


    Your blog is always such a treat, but you have outdone yourself! I can almost smell the rain and the scent of fresh Spring flowers.

    I practically swooned at the sight of sheep in those stunning green fields. So pastoral, and so peaceful. What a wonderful way to spend the day, exploring the countryside on foot.

    I also like the fact that you and Joe are “going with the flow”. 🙂

    I can’t wait to see the rest of your journey!!!

    Marilyn (in Dallas)

  62. Jack says:

    Another thing about your Blog I find interesting is the inciteful and expressive comments from these ladies. Their responses really connect! They express beautifully the vicarious impact left by your pictures, videos and words! Plus, they do it in six lines or less! They’re wonderful writers!

  63. Nellie says:

    What an excellent adventure! A truly glorious day! It is such fun having you share this with all of us!

    What is on your schedule today? I can hardly wait for the next excursion!:-)


  64. Pam G. says:

    wow-what a discovery from an unplanned walk-it is almost unbelievable how much history is all around you in England. What a beautiful woman and delightful home-gotta love those sheep.
    England has to be the most special country on earth

  65. Michele says:

    Susan, I love, love, LOVE this post. We are having so much fun! Thanks for “taking” us :0)

    It was a really nice warm day here, in WI, on Sat. So we decided to just take a drive somewhere we had never been before. We took all of these country backroads and saw so many beautiful cows laying down, taking a rest, alongside of the road, in green, green grass. As soon as I saw your post, it reminded me of it! (Although, we didn’t see any of those adorable sheep! AND we were in a car! :0)

  66. Pam T. says:

    Thank you so much for letting us all tag along. I hope we are as well behaved as you had envisioned. We really are trying our best to mind our manners. It’s hard to contain our excitement and not disturb your quiet enjoyment of the wonderful countryside and lovely surroundings. Especially, we don’t want to disturb you when you are at tea with Joe. What a treasure he is. It has been such fun to get to see more of him. There have been so many sights and sounds already, I can’t pick a favorite, but do you have a “so far favorite” yet? I loved seeing the English Lilacs. Lilacs are my very favorite flowers of all and they are still blooming in England! What a treat that was! That will be my “so far favorite” I think. So much more to see and do. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s adventure will be!

  67. Juliana - Jackson, NJ says:

    I hope you don’t get tired of hearing this over and over, but this is just sooo wonderful of you! I am loving every bit of our trip, even more so because you are so generous to make it last longer than I could ever do! Still so much to look forward to and the anticipation!! Yay! A huge thank you to you and that wonderful Joe! Love the pictures, the videos!!! just everything about it! I had already voted in Country Living’s Blogger contest thanks to a post from Doreen – FOSB on facebook. (Love that we are over 13,000 strong there!) I hope you will be able to read the comments people write about you when they vote, as I’m sure it will be like a big, warm hug. XOXO

  68. Holy cow. You brought Ellen’s wonderful world right into my living room and my day is enriched because of it. You have a knack for making it all so intimate, as if we were trailing along too. Its the best kind of travel log because of your enthusiasm and stellar pictures!

  69. Jeannine Holmes, SC says:

    It is utterly amazing to see all those pathways mapped out in the English countryside . . . and anyone can walk through at any time. It seems you are even wandering through someone’s personal property at times, but you say the paths are marked for all to see. How wonderful to have such a charming and welcoming attribute in a country. If only we would have such places here in the U.S. I always feel if I took a walk in the open country, but ended up in someone’s property, perhaps in error, I would be looking down the barrel of a shotgun at some point. Must be wonderful to be able to share pastures with the animals as you’ve been doing. Now you’ve got me wondering, too, how I could ever get to England before my time is up!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Not a bad thing to wonder! Because the whole country needed to be able to walk everywhere, there was just this giant agreement to allow the crossing of property, and it’s still here!

      • Jeannine Holmes, SC says:

        Suppose we could get everyone around the States to come up with such an agreement? I guess only in our dreams!

        • sbranch says:

          Joe and I thought we might look and see if there’s even a bit of it remaining in New England when we get home … it being older and all…maybe!

          • Jeannine Holmes, SC says:

            Good idea, and let me know if you find some. I’m originally from Worcester, MA, and still have lots of family there.

  70. Sheryl from Chico, CA says:

    There are 382 comments and mine is 383. Maybe no one will read mine, but I had to say I’m fascinated and wide eyed reading your blog. You are bringing new dreams to me and many others. You make me smile.

    • sbranch says:

      I’ll read it Sheryl! Thank you!

      • Debra V. says:

        I read your reply too Shery! I think we all came from the same mold. We all really appreciate the adventures and the beautiful countryside in England. Of course, I really feel like I’m there also. So the 383rd comment has value too, we are all kindred spirits. Have a great day, see you on our next adventure!
        Debra V from Southern California

    • Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

      I am missing my beauty sleep every day because I read all the comments!!!:)

      • Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

        P.S. And the comments about the comments….and on….and on….and on….LOL.

        • Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

          P.P.S. At least I don’t have to read under the covers with a flashlight any more!!

          • Pat Mofjeld says:

            Well, I still read with a flashlight sometimes as the light keeps Norm awake. (but not UNDER the covers!) 🙂 LOL!

      • Karen P. - Green Bay, WI says:

        Me too! Except my problem is, then I feel I need to comment and I KNOW that adds to Susan’s “load” of approving all these wonderful comments (So sorry, dear Susan!). xoxo…kp

        • sbranch says:

          Don’t worry, fun for me to read!

        • Pat Mofjeld says:

          I meant reading books under the covers with a flashlight. Wouldn’t put my computer to read these comments under the covers! 🙂 LOL And, thanks, Susan, for not minding reading the peanut-gallery comments… 🙂

  71. Terri J says:

    I can’t thank you and Joe enough for taking us along on this trip. I am loving every moment of it (even when I slipped off the bank into that little stream for a moment. So refreshing! ; ) Especially love the ‘sheep on the loose’ (both in drawing the other day and today’s ‘real life’ lambies). Oh! all the flowers (forget-me-nots!), birdsong and GREEN, everywhere…and tea time, times two. Really I just love it ALL. Accidental adventures of the very best kind. I can hardly wait to see where you’ll be taking us next!

  72. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    Many snowy nights and rainy days were spent watching this series of Beatrix
    Potter videos…..all the stories start with Beatrix”Susan”Potter……this video
    may not be as popular as Peter ……but I do love Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle !!!!
    She just kind of muddles about working and humming happily along. This
    brings me back to the sweetest of days with my 4 little bunnies…………………

    • Dawn from Minnesota says:

      Susan…do you think you will FIND, “the little door on the back of the

    • Dawn, I just watched this and it also took me back to reading these stories with my 1 little bunny. I love all of her characters, and I think Susan could do a series of movies with her drawings now that she has Jack she could center a whole series around him?? Thanks for this link it was quite enjoyable to watch this morning (I did miss my breakfast with Jim)….sigh….oh….Dawn/Brett really….you sound like a soap opera pair….how sweet. Have a great day!!!!

    • Karen P. - Green Bay, WI says:

      Thanks for posting the link to this adorable video, Dawn. I own the series and NEVER get tired of watching it.

      Susan, I DO so hope you are able to see some hedgehogs! I looked and looked when we were there and was told they’re nocturnal so mainly out at night…which I never got ambitious enough to do my searching then! Too pooped out after long days of new adventures!

  73. Siobhan from Santa Monica, CA says:

    Oh my goodness but you are SO generous to us, Susan! And, Joe too! Imagine having all of us along on your trip. Perfect sharing, perfectly charming. Thank you ever so!

  74. Hala says:

    Hi Susan,
    Beautiful post. Did you know the cows are called Fresian? Just a little warning- please be careful near the cows (not just the bulls). They can get spooked, particularly in Spring/early summer and especially if you are walking with dogs. They are protecting their calves. There have been several news reports of people being attacked by cows (even one of our Home Secretaries! politician). If you feel they are getting wary, calmly and quietly move away. Sorry to bring it up after such a wonderful post but I would hate for you to get into cow trouble!!! I have been chased by one myself-quite scary- so just don’t go too near! Hala x

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you for the good advice. We are careful! It just seems natural they would worry about their babies. Sorry to laugh a little, I can just see me getting chased by a cow!!!

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Yes, I’m laughing just imagining if all of us WERE there with you–a crowd of girlfriends being chased across the pasture by cows! But not funny, in reality…at least I, with my bad knee, would not be able to out-run a cow!!! 🙂 (ok, quit laughing!!!) 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          I just wonder how long they go before they give up!

          • Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

            There might be a big pile-up of all of us headfirst over the stile with Joe and the carryall on the bottom to cushion the falls!!!LOL

          • Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

            Someone please try to save Joe and the CHOCOLATE!

          • Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

            Now that would be a pretty watercolor picture!LOL

          • Wonder no more…..they don’t tire and either they catch you or you jump in the river!!! Remember they have 4 on the ground and we only have 2 so yes they can run….a Mother protecting their young are relentless and you really should be cautious around them….Pat, don’t worry you aren’t the only one who could not out run a cow…..even with a good knee I would have a hard time…..did Susan ever find out about SNAKES in the region?? It is time for them to come out and sun….now, that would encourage me to run a little quicker!!!! YIKES.

          • Pat Mofjeld says:

            What do you mean? How long before the girlfriends give up or how long before the cows give up? If it is the latter, I’ll warn you–as big and slow as those cows look, I think they can really run when they are motivated to!!! 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            That’s what I’m afraid of!

        • Dawn from Minnesota says:

          HaHaHa!!! I would help ya Pat! “Cows Running”…..for
          some reason I didn’t think they could run…Until…..
          we went for a ride in the country and saw cows grazing far off in the field….Bret wanted to show
          our little one year old the cows up close…so he took
          her down to the fence…..and said, “MOOOOOO!!!”
          They lifted up their heads and came Running!!!!!!!!!
          ALL of them !!!!! I have no idea what his “Moo” meant
          but it scared the bijeebers out of us city folk !!!!!!

  75. Debra V. says:

    Until I read your blog this morning I thought I only imagined the sweet scent of the Apple Blossoms comming in my window this morning. After I read and viewed the wonderful adventure you so graciously led us on this morning I went into the yard nose to blossom to see if the blossoms really did have scent. Yes they do! Thank you for that. My tree is new and from this day I will remember the trip to England, Ellen Terrys yard with wild flowers and the sweet scent of the Apple trees, every time my tree blooms. I felt like I did have Smellivision – or should that be Smell-a-blog? Oh well, thank you for taking us with you.
    Debra V from Southern California

    • sbranch says:

      Mmmm a new apple tree. Wait until it’s full of blossoms and when they start to fall, you can get under it; a really wonderful place to be! Thank you Debra!

      • TerrieInAtlanta says:

        Do you remember when Betsy Ray gets in trouble with her cranky old English professor for describing apple blossoms as being “pinkish, sort of”? And Joe, her future beau, sticks up for her in class? Oh, how I love the Betsy/Tacy series!

  76. Robin Ann says:

    Thanks for the wonderful updates!
    I think that Ellen Terry was the great grandmother? of actor Nigel Terry, who played King Arthur in John Boorman’s “Excalibur.”

  77. Gail Buss says:

    Oh how lovely this was. I have been away visiting our new little grandbaby girl, Reagan Lindsey Buss, who arrived almost one month early at 5 lbs. 14 oz. in Gettysburg, PA! She is like a beautiful china doll. I have missed reading your blog and was so happy to see it today. I loved seeing the Terry house and the path with the purple flowers and all the animals too. I have all these past days to catch up on but will try and read as many as I can before returning home. We are now in VA Beach visiting our son. Enjoying your lovely trip! Gail Buss

  78. Gail Buss says:

    Oh how lovely this was. I have been away visiting our new little grandbaby girl, Reagan Lindsey Buss, who arrived almost one month early at 5 lbs. 14 oz. in Gettysburg, PA! She is like a beautiful china doll. I have missed reading your blog and was so happy to see it today. I loved seeing the Terry house and the path with the purple flowers and all the animals too. I have all these past days to catch up on but will try and read as many as I can before returning home. We are now in VA Beach visiting our son. Enjoying your lovely trip and so happy to be joining you again! Gail Buss

  79. Susan says:

    What a wonderful house tour! Did you get to see the famous green beetle wing dress that has been restored? Love to see a photo of it! Hopeyou have very comfortable shoes (at least 2 pair!) for all the long walks. Do you need Wellies too? Happy walking!

    • sbranch says:

      I DID! Photos did not do it justice; I thought about trying to describe it, and just gave up, thinking everyone will have it for a surprise when they get there. What an amazing idea for a dress! It was muddy out there, but the mud was fairly hard, we got by with regular walking shoes. Thank you!!!

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, the dress is there on display at her house. It’s truly so amazing, I still can’t quite believe it. I didn’t think I had the words to explain it; it deserves to be seen in person. It’s so very beautiful! The wings catch the light, shine, and change color as the dress moves. It’s on a revolving stand, so you can see how it looked, under the lights, when she moved on stage.

          • Esther says:

            Thank you for introducing us to Ellen Tracy and her beautiful Smallhythe cottage. This one is my favorite posts, so far. The drawing of shoes is incredible and the link to the Victorian beetle wing dress is amazing. I can’t wait to see where next week takes us!

        • Karen P. - Green Bay, WI says:

          Okay, I have to say “EWWWW!!!” How is it that someone even THINKS to make a dress from beetle wings? And how is it that those beetle wings don’t just crumble, especially after all those years? It IS a beautiful dress but I think I’d prefer sequins!

          • sbranch says:

            I knew someone would say that! 🙂 The dress is gorgeous green cloth and it’s sewn with the discarded (they discard them, no beetles have to be killed) of those really LARGE green beetles with the shiny wings. It was truly like a thing from nature.

          • Karen P. - Green Bay, WI says:

            Reminds me of something they would offer as a challenge on Project Runway…..”create a runway look using bug wings and parts!” Amazing! It IS a gorgeous dress, for sure!

          • TerrieInAtlanta says:

            Okay, the English teacher just has to pop in and say how very cool, creative and perhaps even historically accurate it might have been for Lady MacBeth to have adorned a dress in such a manner! Yes? I can picture this done in Shakespeare’s time…

          • sbranch says:

            And in the 1890’s or thereabout, when this dress was made!

  80. Susan says:

    PS That very preggers cow looked like she was ready to Pop! out a new calf any day now.

  81. Jennie says:

    Susan- this is just so amazing. What a fantastic ‘discovery’! The house, the garden, the village . . . really, I think England may actually be MORE charming than I have always imagined. To head out on a grass covered walk one morning, find the company of sheep and cows, discover historical homes and gardens, fill up on tea . . . and everywhere you look, just such beauty!
    I love the way you two holiday! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      The amazing thing is this beauty is all over the country, not just in a couple of villages — as long as you aren’t in the bigger cities!

  82. Terri J. says:

    Just what they all said!!!!…please put on repeat! What a wonderful gift you are giving us. Feel just like I’m there…..so peaceful, tranquil, beautiful…thank you!!!

  83. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    PAT…..PAT MOFJELD….. I hope you are Safe in all the STRONG w i n d s
    and STORMS that are passing through Minnesota !!!! Bret came home and
    said his truck was in an accident…..:( a BIG sheet of wood came flying through the air & hit his truck at work …..and it continued blowing away !!!! It’s really
    amazing how much damage it caused…….he had to pry the door open with some
    sort of tool !!! Take Care and hope all is well at your house! :.}

    • Pat…..just wanted to say that Dawn and I realize that you are the “Pat” that Susan assigned to us….afterall you and Dawn both from MN have to be kindred spirits and that is just fine in my book. Hope you survived the storms see you later…..please no more kidney pie for me!!!!

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Deborah, I did comment later on the kidney pie…sorry…kind of grossed me out–should have had you order Shepherd’s Pie (very good–do you ever make it? We do here though with beef, not lamb, and it is very good and fun to make…)

        • All is forgiven Pat and no I have never made it but it sure looks good if I’m thinking about the right recipe. The filling is beef/veggies and topped with mashed potatoes?? I’m sure it is delish and my Jim would love it (meat/potato man)….I will put that on my “to make” list and sounds like comfort food so will try it after summer!!!

    • Pat Mofjeld says:

      Thanks Dawn for your concern! Fine here but the rain gauge is FULL! Was awake most of the night last night listening to one wave of storms with pounding rain after the other coming through. I can’t believe how much rain we have gotten in the last 24 hours–I’m feeling like we should be building an ark! I’m hoping your husband was not IN the truck when the board hit! Last evening Norm was laughing at us–the two schnauzers and I–sitting on the sofa watching the trees whipping around in the strong wind. I sat and knit–calms me AND the dogs down! 🙂 Don’t know where you are located but heard that New Ulm had a gust of wind clocked at 75 mph!!! And the weather report for Memorial Day weekend sounds like more of the same. I have geraniums on our deck huddled under the picnic table to keep them from drowning! No picnics on the deck this year… 🙁 Hope Sue and Joe are having better weather in England!

      • sbranch says:

        Wow, stay dry over there. It’s gotten really nice here all of a sudden, quite warm, the flowers are popping before our very eyes!

        • Pat Mofjeld says:

          Oh, I’m glad for you on your vacation. I’m doing a lot of knitting today–by lamp as it gets so dark when the storms go through–and we are under a tornado watch for tonight! Everything is so green here and the lakes (Minnesota–Land of 10,000 lakes) will be full!! We’ve already had over 4″ of rain in the last 24 hours! 🙂

        • Dawn from Minnesota says:

          Susan, speaking of “popping flowers”….my first-ever
          gladiolus bulbs are popping up !!! I was worried I
          wouldn’t know them from a weed……HELLO! you know
          who they are….like a sturdy shark fin !!!

      • Dawn from Minnesota says:

        Glad we “whooshed” all of our sunshine over to Sue & Joe….
        and hopefully it cooled off a titch crossing the Atlantic !!
        We are good-to-go Pat !! Bret wasn’t in his truck and luckily
        not walking to it ….who knows what else was flying about!
        We actually live just south of the twin cities….lost some wood
        shingles and tree branches and such. Thinkin, depending on
        this weekend….you might have a really L O N G scarf for
        winter !!!! I’ll be thinking of you and wishing you a day full
        of sunshine and just remember….”the angels are bowling !”
        Remember hearing that one ??? : .}

        • Pat Mofjeld says:

          Yes, that is what I tell the dogs when Betti gets scared of the thunder! Love that saying!!! I’m not making a scarf, I just finished The Hitchhiker shawl/scarf (google it) and started Piper’s Journey Shawl (want to wear to a wedding in September!) (try googling that…). Both were fun and easy…

          • Pat Mofjeld says:

            We have rain predicted for every day this holiday weekend and 90 degrees F. for Sunday with severe weather predicted for that night! Somebody forgot to order good weather for this weekend!!! LOL! 🙂 I’m glad, Dawn, that your husband is okay…

  84. Judy says:

    How lovely,,just as I always pictured rural England to be. Next village could be Thrush Green or Fairacre! Thanks so much for sharing your adventure with us.

  85. Dorothy Ann says:

    * Hello Susan…Joe..and Traveling Girlfriends * Wednesday, May 23, 2012

    Well, my opening line sounds like we are all part of a group of adventurers touring the beautiful English countrysides . My gosh! we are! And that is all thanks to you, Susan and Joe, for taking us with you to “Merry Old England” for the grandest tour ever!

    Sorry to be a bit behind in my postings to you, Susan, but I have been happily busy. You see, our darling daughter,Tracey and our wonderful son-in-law, Steve, who live in Southern California, were here for a 5-day Spring/Mother’s Day visit. So, Ron and I took them on some touring of our own. One quiet evening, Tracey and I went along with you (via your Blog), as you headed to the charming village ofTenterden and settled in your cozy home away from home.
    It’s such a charming little town. Tracey loved all the quaint names for the pubs in England and I told her how Joe had a plan to visit as many as he could while there!

    Sissinghurst…what can I say about Sissinghurst Gardens? Unbelievable… Beautiful paths and flowers, especially the White Garden. I loved all of the photos you took, along with your lovely stories about all the places you have been taking us to, well, it’s just so awesome!

    Oh, by the way, I forgot to give you a letter to mail for me, in that little red English Mailbox, as you and Joe headed for Smallhythe Village. Next time!

    Susan, it’s truly a wonder…a marvel…an enchantment…when you have a dream, and you plan it and then you make it come true. We have all done that. You have done that at Sissinghurst. And at that very moment, when that dream is no longer a dream and it’s really happening for you…you find yourself smiling, you can feel the cool May mist on your face and you take in the glorious scent of the spring-blooming apple trees and you know you are there…
    at Sissinghurst Gardens!

    Hi Girlfriends…or should I say…Hi “Traveling Girlfriends”?
    Hi Lori from Maine!

    Have a wonderful day today, Susan and Joe…what’s next for us all”
    * Luv from Dorothy Ann on Cougar Mountain, Washington *

  86. Dinahsoar says:

    My idea of a perfection–a day of discovery, leisurely wandering, seeing what is around the next corner and finding delightful things. Nap-time in the lamb nursery was so sweet. And taking tea twice–double joy. But I must say I am beat after walking so far. At least I burned some calories….from the suitcase via the hills of TN

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, we all lost 3 pounds that day 🙂

      • I lost 4# because of that kidney pie Pat “tried” to feed me and I just had crackers for supper that night!!!! Sure looking forward to a nice meal.

      • What are you doing weighing yourself while on holiday?! There’ll be time enough upon your return to pay the piper! I wouldn’t want you to give up the Devonshire cream if the scales had shown gain rather than loss. Besides, if you DO gain too much you can always ride the exercise bicycle back across the pond to lose it. 🙂

  87. Marie (Williamsburg, Virginia) says:


    I could hear the heartbeat of the English countryside through this beautiful post. You and Joe are dears!

    Marie xo

  88. Frances Fowler says:

    What can I say besides gloriously and utterly enchanting? Thank-you so very much for sharing!

  89. {oc cottage} says:

    not sure if anyone gave you the 411 re:
    green & whites teas…you must be
    protected from all this malarky living
    in the east! ;} green tea is the new
    cure all {read: snake oil ;} supposed
    to cure everything from fits &
    flatulence…to fleas! 3 people i work
    with started 3 different diets this
    week, but all include green tea…{i have
    collected enough data to prove that it
    does not cure “diet surliness”! ;}
    “Considered by most connoisseurs to be
    the apotheosis of tea, white tea has yet
    to make a significant impact on Western
    culture. This will soon change, with new
    studies showing that white tea is 10%
    more effective in improving immune
    health than its green cousin.” {from a
    tea website…i had too look up “apotheosis”…
    apparently green tea drinkers have larger
    vocabularies than i do! ;} i have never
    tried white, but green tastes minty/
    yerba buena-y to me…not at all what
    this black tea girl is hankering for!
    i’ll stick with with scottish breakfast
    or paris, from http://www.harney.com/Results.cfm?keywords=paris&x=0&y=0” rel=”nofollow”>Harney & Sons ! cheers!

    m ^..^

    • sbranch says:

      Always fun to hear about the new things … although Green isn’t exactly new, but hadn’t heard about white yet! I heard that all tea is good for you, which makes me happy since I’ve been drinking it by the gallon since I was 18!

  90. Debby Moreau says:

    Oh I adored that walk. This just makes me feel so happy. Thanks Susan and Joe. I kept thinking, if I ever get to England this is how I want to see it. I think you have the perfect itinerary. Think of what a fabulous book this would make smattered with your beautiful watercolours. Just want you to know that I have a rough day ahead of me (medical stuff) and this has started my day in such a wonderful way. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      Hoping your day went easy, it’s over, you’re home, and tomorrow is another good day!

  91. Priscilla Palmer in Naples, Florida says:

    Dear Sue,
    It really is as if we are there with you (although I’m craving to smell the smells).
    The picture of the sheep & lamps was postcard perfect and felt for turn of the century. Just absolutely lovely.
    And, the picture of Joe across from you at the “kissing gate” … well, I’m sure you kissed him right after you took that photo because he just looked so adorable.
    Oh, by the way, I have an LG flat screen at home, and, yes, I love to be greeted every evening with “Life’s Good”! 🙂
    Look so forward to the Diary when it is published.

    xoxo, Priscilla

  92. Gini says:

    Susan, I’ve been eagerly anticipating every post and haven’t written till now. This little “walk” is truly a gift to all of us. I feel as though I’m right there with you and Joe. Loved learning about Ellen and her lovely home and garden! You have a wonderful “voice” as you narrate.


  93. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    Just wanted to say , “Thinking of You : .}” Excited for your time in London,
    with Rachel, coming up AND your visit to “the World of Beatrix Potter!” She is
    a Special one for you.!!! Wish that I could send you a “little bottle” to catch
    all of the Sunshine, (rain) and Fresh-Air that was once a part of “Her Dreams!”
    enJoy it all, and you will need to bring A LOT of inspiration cups for that one !!!!
    “Breathe it All in !!!” Just love thinking of You !!!!! Take Care !!!! XoXDawn

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

    Happy to report that Whole Foods (at least the one in Tustin, CA) is now stocking a number of Fentiman’s sodas! Bought the Rose Lemonade for our daughter who loves all things rose!! Hoping that they’ll stock the cherry tree cola. Love the packaging! Looking for the Shandy and the pear cider too!
    Cheers to all!

  95. Susan says:

    Gorgeous post! Thank you for sharing!

    Remember that in an earlier post, I said that my 3rd grade classes had been penpals with another teacher’s class in Kent? (We originally met in 1983 on a wine and cheese tour of the canals in Amsterdam.). You recently said that all the houses in England had names. Today I found our most recent Christmas card exchange (2003). Their home’s name was ‘Maidstone.’ It would be amazing if you saw it on one of your walks!!:)

    Susan (in Dallas)

  96. Susan, who painted the portrait???

    • sbranch says:

      If you’re talking about the one of them all on the porch, I’m not sure. I looked everywhere for a name, but didn’t find one.

  97. Lynne Neal says:

    These blogs and pictures are so good , my husband told me to tell you that you are even making him homesick.Something he never feels.

    • sbranch says:

      Tell him Joe and I send a special hello to him, with a little English blackbird song in it!

  98. Lynne Neal says:

    I am soooooooooooooo homesick now, oh I can smell the blue bells , I am clicking my ruby slippers together, but all I see is Lake Ontario ,

  99. Wendy says:

    My favorite post so far… so enjoying this vacation. Thank you Susan!

  100. Gert~Iowa says:

    Susan..this was one of the “best” post so far ….I loved it all. And Ellen Terry..what a beautiful lady she was and her cottage was so..so cool. I am so glad you decided to just go for a walk and see what you could find!!

    See you in London!

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