Beatrix Potter Country and the Ashby Farm.

Hi Girls and Boys!  Waking up on our first morning in Beatrix Potter Country, (eek!)  peeking out the window to the darling town of Ambleside (eek!).  Freezing up here in the North, just a wee bit away from Scotland!

This is a cottage we passed on our way in to town; this is how they look in this little village!  Can’t quite believe we are really here!!!

  Just took Joe his morning tea; now I’m dipping apple slices in “Rachel’s (not my Rachel, some other Rachel) organic, Greek-style Coconut Yogurt” (it’s become an addiction) and listening to BBC talk about the fantastic event going to happen on the River Thames today.  Are we getting coverage of the Diamond Jubilee in America?  Let me know! I’ve been collecting images of the festivities to show you just in case!

But speaking of Rachel, I thought I’d start today by taking you on the visit we made to her parent’s farm; we were lucky enough to be invited for lunch with the darling Ashby family who we love very much!  With a little bit more Lovely Mozart!


 I also put three new videos on Youtube for you . . . The first one, here, is a little walk I took when we arrived at this magical farm just a half hour north of London, where the family moved when Ray, the oldest of three girls, was fourteen.  Diana (Di), Ray’s mum,  was kind enough to keep her bluebells in bloom until I could get here!!!  Thank you Diana!!!

I’ve talked about the wild bluebells so much, I knew you’d like to see them! I was so afraid we would miss them because we got here a little late and England had a very warm March.  One of the best harbingers of spring I’ve ever seen, the hillsides here are covered with them, they turn the whole world blue; the shady sun-dappled woods are carpeted as far as the eye can see; you walk through them, around them; they’re next to the roads, just everywhere. Almost gone now, but Di had quite a good little meadow of them still here.  Worth a trip across the sea just for the bluebells alone!

The next video is when we were walked into a field and lambs ran up to me and Ray’s little nephew Will … OMG.  That was a moment!!

It was a mini dream-come-true for me!  I love lambs (I love to paint lambs! Painting them into the diary the last few days!); they’re everywhere here, cavorting all over the hills and valleys; sometimes, on narrow farm roads, you have to stop your car because they’re meandering into the road!  I’ve been itching to get my hands on one, and then this happened! That’s just one reason why I call this farm “magical.”

The meadows are covered in wildflowers; we stopped in the buttercups to search for wild orchids . . .

. . . and we found them, peeking through the grass!  I also heard my first cuckoo bird out there; totally unmistakeable, in case you haven’t heard one, it sounds exactly like the clock!  Or vise-versa I guess! Then it was out to visit the cows . . .


Lucy and David are working hard toward their goal of making and selling artisan cheeses!  Since these are the happiest cows in the world, buttercup and wild orchid munchers, hugged every day, fed and cared for in the most thoughtful way, this cheese should be delicious!!!

Then it was back to the table for a wonderful picnic lunch of roasted chicken thighs, steamed potatoes, carrot salad, bean salad, quiche, watercress salad, bread and butter.  Strawberries and rhubarb on meringues with cream!  Di let me take lots of photos of the inside of her fabulous old house, but I feel a bit funny putting them up here . . . so I’ll only put a few.  It’s a very old, very charming house; full of family love.  There are photos everywhere of  happy family life in this house like this one of Rachel and her doggie.

I don’t think she’d mind if I show you this picture in the kitchen and some of the wonderful tiles she’s collected — and this one below, of the oldest part of the house where there’s a hutch made by her grandfather that has the same teapots on it that were in her own parents house.  There’s a downstairs bathroom I’m particularly crazy about — it’s just inside the back door, the one you would use when you come in from the field.  Lit by window light, you can imagine it in another time and not having changed much; it has hooks along one wall where every imaginable kind of foul weather gear you would want is hanging: heavy p-coats, down parkas, oilcloth rain slickers, woolen vests, tweed caps,  Two old rifles lean in the corner behind the porcelain sink with copper faucets; muddy Wellies and heavy leather work boots are lined up under the jackets on the tile floor; there’s a guest towel with puppies on it (this is dog country around here!), and the view through the windowpanes goes to the garden.  The property is “listed,” meaning it has historical significance.  I believe the oldest parts of it were there in the 1400’s!

We toasted Clive and Di’s 5oth Wedding Anniversary!  Beautiful aren’t they?  And this is beautiful too!

 The last video is of Rachel’s four-year-old nephew Will hitting a golf ball!  Look at that follow-through!  He wiggles back and forth to get himself set the way golfers do, concentrating for a moment on the spot where he wants the ball to go, and wham!  We watched as he hit ball after ball, over the fence, into the field.  He’s four!!  Has his own small golf clubs, and wears little gloves!  One of the nicest little people I’ve ever met.  Everytime he called, “Sue!  Sue!”  in his English accent, which he did all the time, I melted into a puddle.  He’ll be a star someday.  He actually already is one!

The only thing missing in this wonderful day was Ray and Lucy’s other sister Esther and her three little children who all live in Australia.  Despite the distance, they were very much here in the hearts of everyone.  I know their ears were burning.

Someone who wasn’t missing, who really should be, but manages to sneak in when least expected . . .

 . . . that Petey!  Always hanging around!  OK, must go OUT and explore and be back in a couple of hours to watch the telly to see the Royal Barge, with Queen Elizabeth and her family, go under the Tower Bridge; there will be ten “music boats” in the seven mile long river pageant on the Thames; the last one, at the very end, will be a boat carrying the London Philharmonic Orchestra!!!!  I hope they’re showing this on American TV; it’s such a huge celebration here, flags are flying, everyone is partying, I couldn’t begin to tell you — let me know if you’re able to see any of it!  Bye for now, Girlfriends.  More to come!

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292 Responses to Beatrix Potter Country and the Ashby Farm.

  1. Betsy says:

    Thank you Susan! The bluebells,lovely farm, lunch under the tree, your dear friends and that cozy kitchen photo are heartwarming. I have a friend over there and her village is having donkey races today in honor of the Jubilee. I have searched everywhere on cable but can’t seem to find anything showing the celebration, not even the BBC Network. What would we do without you being there to keep us informed????

    • sbranch says:

      I’ll be sure to put something up, but check with the other girls, some seem to be getting coverage!

      • Linda Pintarell says:

        CNN covered it; hopefully they will replay it for those who missed it. Mighty rainy weather, but everyone still in the celebratory mood!

  2. Mary Spring says:

    Yes !! we are getting coverage of the Queen’s Jubilee !!! right now they are talking about the spectacular boat parade and more live upcoming events !!…how exciting….love the photos and updates….the entire area looks amazing…you do realize you are in a dream and wide awake??!!!…with love

  3. Sweet Pea says:

    Yes!! We will have coverage of the floatilla/Diamond Julbilee…CNN … 11AM EST!!
    Have just set the DVR!! YAY!!

    • sbranch says:


    • Betsy says:

      Oh thank you for that info! I just saw a lovely segment on CBS Sunday Morning and the School Of Royal Needlework to boot! I will get the kettle on and be ready.

      • Linda Pintarell says:

        I taped the CBS Sunday morning show so looking forward to the School of Royal Needlework.

        • Marie says:

          This is so fun! I always tape CBS Sunday Morning show, then watch it when I get home from Church. I just saw the Jubilee and Royal Needlework segments. I feel so connected to Susan, Betsy, and Linda–so heartwarming…

          Marie from California

  4. Lisa V. from Flower Mound, TX says:

    I’m getting ready to watch the Thames Procession on BBC America. They are also showing coverage on CNN International. I’m so excited to see all the celebration but I’d love to hear about what it actually feels like in England: How the people are reacting, celebrating, etc. Thank you for all your wonderful posts! Enjoy your day!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Lisa!! Good to know everyone can see it, can’t wait to see the Thames, right now our coverage is traveling around the countryside to show how involved everyone is!

  5. Sweet Pea says:

    Oh my friend…absolutly dream like…the bluebells in the woods…just take your breath away loveliness…all of it…all of it…all of it.
    You will come back to earth so much better for it and so will I…God is good.
    Thank you love…
    xox Sweet Pea

  6. Mary Cunningham says:

    Good morning Susan….just checking in before church…such a charming ,beautiful place you are getting to visit…I got to see all the videos except the lambs! It wouldn’t connect to it :(….not sure where to look for it on youtube….help…I love lambs and those cute cows….Love Mary

    • sbranch says:

      Hmm, try again, to click on the highlighted words — and let me know if you don’t get it! Thank you Mary!

      • judi says:

        I couldn’t get the lamb video either. Others worked fine.

        • sbranch says:

          OK, I think I fixed it, try again!

          • Pat Mofjeld says:

            Yes, Susan, you fixed it. Thanks!!! I couldn’t see it earlier but could tonight. Fun to see all of the videos but especially the one of the lambs! You are too cute– I can tell you grew up in California! (saying you always wanted to pet a lamb.) You truly make me understand my husband more, who also grew up in Calif. He colored the hills brown in his coloring book and his mother tried to tell him no, that they were green, but he pointed out that the hills WERE brown! Sometimes I am amazed at what he doesn’t know that we consider “basic” here in the Midwest. If you come to St. Paul during the Minnesota State Fair, you could pet any kind of baby farm animal that you would ever want to! But those baby lambs are particularly cute! Do they grow them for their wool or lamb chops? (gulp, hate to ask) Natural brown or black sheep’s wool is wonderful for a spinner! Looking forward to the next adventures in BP country!

      • Mary Cunningham says:

        Susan….I got to see the lambs….soooo adorable! Thanks for fixing it!!!!! Mary

  7. Jeanette says:

    Oh, Susan! What a precious post!!! The flowers, lambs, beautiful table waiting for the festivities to begin and a most-lovely family!!! Fabulous. Going to watch the videos next, can’t wait. I may be in central IL today, but my heart is in England with you!!
    Yes, we are getting coverage of the festivities. Probably not enough for me, savoring every bit of it. Wishing you a most-splendid, enchanting Sunday!!
    Hugs & love to you. xoox, Jeanette

    • Jeanette says:

      By the way, Susan, I just found the event being televised on BBCA! Recoding it so I can savor and re-watch. Spectacular! 🙂

  8. Julie says:

    Such a beautiful, bucolic, peaceful farm
    and lovely family-
    you can feel the warmth and love shine right through the videos.

    Little Will is adorable, what a little beamer!
    He has a such a fierce golf swing for such a sweet tyke.
    Are those traces of his Aunt Rachel’s brownies on his impish, smiling face ?

    And oh, Petey-
    he’s become less of a pervert & more of a prize.
    He seems happier…in every photo,
    think he’s deserves his own chapter in your diary,
    if not his own autobiography ?

    • sbranch says:

      “Less of a pervert and more of a prize” LOL, Joe has been a little afraid of him too! This is good! Rehabilitation!

      • Lynn McMahon says:

        That’s funny!~ I don’t know if you saw the movie “Magic” with Anthony Hopkins as a ventriloquist. Petey reminds me of his ” dummy” in the movie!

    • Karen P. -Wisconsin says:

      Petey reminds me a bit of the traveling gnome in the vacation pics taking in all the sites!

  9. Lorie Hartsig says:

    Oh, my…I am there with you! The woodland carpet of bluebells and little Will…all part of the magic!
    And thanks, Girlfriends…..I will watch CNN this morning to try to capture the pageantry that is happening so near to our friend Sue. So divine to be a part of this amazing adventure!

  10. Tracy Jones (Charlton, MA) says:

    I have so enjoyed reading all your experiences thus far. I have taken a lesson from you that in all things there is beauty…you look at the world through eyes of wonder and I am learning to do that again.

    I am curious as to what kind of dog they have. It looks like a greyhound. I have been involved with retired greyhounds for many years.

    Thank you for sharing all of this with us!

    Tracy xo

    • sbranch says:

      We thought it was sort of a whippet, but neither of us is sure! Sorry. We have a friend who rescues racing greyhounds, poor little things.

    • Jack says:

      I do believe that dog is an Afghan breed

      • sbranch says:

        I have never seen anything run so fast, for absolutely no reason (no one had thrown anything) in my life, I just stood and laughed!

    • Marianne in Hidden Meadows, CA says:

      I think it’s a Suli — (think that’s what they’re called) An ancient breed of dog of Arabian desert descent and founder of the greyhound breed. Very fast and used for hunting rabbits in the desert.

  11. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Charming little cottage beside the road with the telly antenna (?) aside the fireplace – old & new! Rachel is such a dear, knew she’d have a wonderful family on a beautiful farm. What a feeling – to be in that house with such an old, old history. A solarium on the side of the house, charming, we were amazed how many we saw in Eng & Scot! The bluebells are glorious! Thank you dear sweet Sue for the beautiful beginning to our Sunday! Bless you dear girl! Hi Joe & Petey! XOXOXO

    • sbranch says:

      What amazes me . . . all these old old houses, mostly brick and stone, and suddenly, all of them needed electricity, indoor plumbing, then satellite, all pretty much at the same time. I don’t know how they did it. The solariums are for the light; the houses had such small windows, to keep them warm.

  12. Anne says:

    Just thinking of you Susan! They had a piece on CBS Sunday Morning about the Royal School of Needlepoint in England. They are working on a top secret outfit for the Queen! It took them 3 months to sew the applique on Princess Kate’s gown last spring – fascinating. You can get a 3 year degree at the school – doncha love it? Three years to study needlepoint! Thanks for the beautiful pics – the bluebells are amazing 🙂

  13. Marie (Williamsburg, Virginia) says:

    Susan dear~how can you make a pretty sunny Sunday in Williamsburg and my hubby’s birthday any better? Well, you just did with this heartwarming post. Your diary must be overflowing.

    Marie xo

  14. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    My entire family is waiting for me and “tapping their toes!” But……. got a quick
    look see and now I want to stay and savor every little thing!!!! But I gotta go……
    and I have been thinking of You and……………”I’m coming!” …………………all I can say
    is ……..”BYE” for now and ………………………….Let’s JUBILATE !!!!!

  15. Jack says:

    7:AM , here in Arizona ,and they are now showing the hundreds of boats in pageant on TV
    Coming down the Thames over there …..

  16. Marcia in Brazil says:

    What an amazing trip! The beauty in each picture moves me. I keep daydreaming about the wonderful things you will draw and write about for the girlfriends… We are so lucky to have technology to help us travel vicariously through you! 🙂 Enjoy!

  17. Jack says:

    PS forgot to mention –it’s on the BBC…..

  18. Pamela Jewett says:

    Hi Susan,
    I wonder if Rachael’s family realized that there were probably a gazillion American’s at their table and on their farm along with you and Joe! Delightful.
    Do the bluebells have a scent?? They are such a beautiful shade of blue.
    The English countryside is as lovely as I imagined. Thank you for the photos and graceful verbiage.
    Petey looks like he’s having a good time just hanging around.
    xoxo Pam

    • sbranch says:

      They never knew, you scattered all over the property, in your own little worlds! Yes, they smell wonderful! And Petey is having the best time, can’t close his eyes! 🙂

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Well, there is just so much new to see that I can understand why there is more than one reason he can’t close his eyes! LOL! 🙂

  19. Jack says:

    PPS:I hope the queen and everyone else is wearing their long johns …. It looks cold and wet in London town!

    • Julie says:

      Ha !
      Thanks a lot Susan’s Dad-
      now, I can’t get that visual OUT of my head.
      Perhaps, that is what the Queen carries around in her purse-
      an extra pair of woolies.

      • Angela says:

        Hi Julie,
        I laughed when I read your comment. I read it to my husband who has always insisted that it’s a spare Corgi she keeps in her purse! Thanks for the laugh.

        • Julie says:

          That’s funny,
          considering their short legs,
          a Corgi would fit in well.

          Yes, it is a guessing game
          because she’s the Queen & she really doesn’t need anything-
          no identification, palace keys nor hairspray.

          Her pocketbooks are small, rectangular & sturdy.

          My sister is convinced she carries a watercress
          sammich’ in it-
          only because “beans on toast tips” would be too sloppy.

          My brother says, he KNOWS for a fact
          that she carries a flask of Tanqueray
          with a framed photo of Robin Leach, in his Speedo.

          So, by their sneaking suspicions,
          the Queen is either prepared for a hunger attack
          or a naughty rendevous….

          Maybe, it’s best that it remains a bloody mystery ?

          • sbranch says:

            A bloody mystery! 🙂

          • Lynn McMahon says:

            I don’t think I want to see Robin Leach~ or anyone~ in a Speedo ~especially with a Union Jack across it! I think a regular swimming suit is much more interesting!

  20. Candice - OH says:

    Hi Susan,
    You are having a most fantastic time!! Don’t the bluebells smell lovely too!!
    Just masses of them!! And the sheep and lambkins…adorable, how them gambol about! I am going to put on the telly and watch all the festivities in London. Brings back all the glorious memories of Will & Kate’s wedding last year!! Such pagentry!
    Enjoy it all, you lucky lady! You are making alot of us so happy to be sharing this wonderful trip with you!!
    Candice (

  21. Dinahsoar says:

    You didn’t know–but I had to slip away and go to TX USA for a few days. Just this minute finished catching up on our England trip…such wonderfulness!!…how can you stand it??…from the suitcase via the hills of TN

  22. SIGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Priscilla Palmer from Naples, Florida says:

    Dear Darling Sue,

    Each post seems to out-do the last. Glad you have words for it all as I am left speechless.

    Since I do not watch the tellie (being British for the day), I have been following the British Monarchy page on Facebook watching for videos & pictures. Crowds disconcert me, so even if I lived in London, I would be one of those “watching” from home.!/TheBritishMonarchy

    xoxo, Priscilla

    • Priscilla Palmer from Naples, Florida says:

      Hmm, I think “tellie” should actually be “telly” … oh well … 😀

  24. Jack says:

    Intereting and very nice to see this “pageantry” is designed to be of– the people — and does not involve excessive military and police in the “parade” down the river — many countries
    Would be showing off their naval power and weaponry at such and outing ..”…..”

  25. Rae Ann from northern Michigan... says:

    I am soooo enjoying your blogs while watching the boat parade on the Thames…it is amazing that the Queen is 86 and her Prince is 91!!!…the pictures of the Queen when she was young are gorgeous…apparently the canal boats are having a bit of a difficult time with the wind…LOVE the carpet of bluebells…in the spring the trillium here in Michigan carpet the forests with their white blooms much like the bluebells in your photo…thanks for sharing…

  26. Trish K says:

    Oh! Thank you everyone! I found it on BBC America, I didnt realize there would be so much to see. Just saw the rooftop performance by the national theater, wow. But it looks so cold!

  27. Snap says:

    I’m watching the festivities on the Thames on BBC America … wonderful!

  28. Deb from Dixie says:

    Happy Sunday Morning Susan and Girlfriends! I am watching the wonderful Thames River Flotilla on the BBC, it is spectacular!

    Today is the first day I have been on the Blog since the first week in May, when unfortunately my Mom became very ill. I have been by her side every day, in the hospital day and night. It has been a difficult and emotional time.

    Two days ago she was released from the hospital; I have faith that all the prayers of family and friends helped her pull through and she is now in Rehab in the Nursing Home. As with so many things in life… makes you realize how life can change in a moment…….and you appreciate and cherish every minute….as a gift to be grateful for.

    Today I am going to take a few hours and go back and read and savor every Blog post since the “Bon Voyage” in New York Harbor. For me it will be like going on the journey and catching up on the past months adventures. I know you all have had such fun……such wonderful experiences, I can’t wait to read about it all. I am so looking forward to Beatrix Potter’s house too.

    I have missed you all….funny how connected we blog girlfriends have become, and how much a part of life looking forward to reading each post and the comments means. Susan, you touch our hearts! And…..Thank you for taking me to the countryside of my Dads ancestors…..a glimpse into my roots that I would never have had without you.

    So, now I am off to begin catching up on all the Blog posts I have missed…..tea ready, BBC on the telly…..Queen floating down the Thames….and a heart filled with the blessings of the day.
    Cheers to Susan, Joe and the girlfriends!

    • Deb from Dixie says:

      and Jack the “Blog Daddy” too!

    • sbranch says:

      “Life can change in a moment” so true. Sending blessings to you and your mom, so happy she mom made it through, but so scary. Have a wonderful day!

      • Deb, my Blessings to your Mother and also to you…I know how much it takes to care for a loved one and how much it changes your life. I hope you enjoy all the catching up you have to do on Susan’s Blogs we all have had a blast and have loved every minute of it.

      • Dawn from Minnesota says:

        Hi Deb, I am wishing you a day of “peace” and hope that you and your Mom continue on the path to health & happiness!
        Please know that your “girlfriends” send you more blessings
        than your heart & mind can hold!!! Take Care of YOUrself too,okay! We are very lucky to have such a friend in Susan…
        She may never know how she has touched our hearts… in so many, many ways !!!
        Stay Strong kiddo and Keep on keeping on……..

    • judi says:

      May each day bring you many joys.

    • Ann says:

      Hi Deb – hope your Mom is on the mend soon. Sending prayers your way.

    • Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

      Deb, I’ll be praying for your mom! Times like that can indeed be stressful so I won’t forget to pray for you as well. I know that catching up with all that’s been happening with Susan will be very restorative for you! So glad you’re back with all of us!

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

      Dear Deb…sorry to hear of your Mother’s ill health. May God bless you for your love and care of your parent. I know that Susan’s blog will bring some sweet and fun moments your way. Prayed for you…Charlene

      • Deb from Dixie says:

        Susan, Deborah, Dawn, Judi, Ann, Linda, Charlene…..thank you all for your kind words and prayers……you touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. The Girlfriends mean so much….we are lucky to be able to share and support each other. Blessing to you all……………..and many thanks for thinking of my Mom and Me.

      • Marianne in Hidden Meadows, CA says:

        Deb — blessings to you and your Mom. May her health continue to improve.

    • Tawni says:

      Good morning Deb!
      My thoughts and prayers a with you. I’m so happy you are now in the suitcase with us!
      XOXO, Tawni

  29. zinnia patch says:

    Oh Susan… is all so wonderful, but all i can think at this moment to say, is Thank you- Thank you- Thank you!!!!!!

  30. Janey from NW England says:

    Dear Susan we are both holidaying in the same area. I am listening out for an Anerican accent hoping it will be you or my new American penfriend who is currently also visiting her In laws. Hope Hill Top lived up to your expectations. Can’t wait to hear the next instalment of your jolly jaunts around England. Love to you all xx

    • sbranch says:

      We’re saving Hilltop, just a couple of days more . . . enjoying the anticipation, and because it’s a holiday weekend, it might be a bit quieter on Monday or Tuesday.

    • Marianne in Hidden Meadows, California says:

      “Jolly jaunts” — Janey I love the British use of the English language! It seems so much more expansive than our usage here in the States. I’ve always wondered how we sound to you. What are our accents like to your ears, and do we have little sayings or ways of putting things that you enjoy hearing just as we enjoy hearing you? Enjoy your royal festivities!!!


      • sbranch says:

        I know we have an accent because when we speak to people in restaurants and they ask us to repeat! Which is fine, because we all have to say everything to each other at least twice! 🙂

  31. Janey from NW England says:

    Ps we are staying in Ambleside near Stock Ghyll waterfall xx

  32. Ann says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful family day with us. Loved the kitchen tiles. That travel diary of yours will be sold out in minutes. Can we preorder?

    • sbranch says:

      We’re going to try to do that!

    • sbranch says:

      I think we’re going to do that, have to set some dates first, but I think so. Think we’ll have it for the blog before it goes into the stores!

      • Marianne in Hidden Meadows, California says:

        Be prepared, I think this thing will go viral and set a whole new standard for travel writing. Roll over Rick Steves….: )


      • Fran Sigdestad says:

        Oh, Susan, I sure hope you can work it out so that we can pre-order. I know it will be wonderful!

      • Judy Young says:

        I know you will keep us posted Susan on when the book will be available. I know we all MUST HAVE one! Print plenty, would sure hate to miss out on this one. LOVED that picture of the woods with the bluebell “carpet”….exactly what I remember most from my childhood in England. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking us with you on this trip. It’s truly magical!

      • Rae Ann from northern Michigan... says:

        Hurray…can’t wait…

      • TerrieInAtlanta says:

        You mean the Girlfriends might call first dibs?! Oh, Sue, honey, that would be wonderfully generous of you and ever so much fun for us! Imagine how special this book is going to be for those of us who’ve been stow-a-ways all along….xoxo

  33. Annie from Sydney Australia says:

    Well hair-lair there! I’m watching the Jubilee flotilla right at this moment – it’s live on Australian TV. I see it’s pouring rain and I feel so sorry for the artists on the bridge trying to capture the scene. I’ve enjoyed this trip with you and Joe (thanks for taking me) and meeting all your wonderful friends – new and old! Must go and continue partying for the Diamond Jubilee! Have fun and say g’day to the Queen if you happen to see her during your travels. Cheerio.

    • Annie from Sydney Australia says:

      PS: Have you ever watched the YouTube videos of the Queen having her portrait painted by a variety of artists? She is really quite funny and down-to-earth… us really! lol

    • sbranch says:

      I was thinking, the woman that had the drops on her watercolor? I think that would make the painting even better! Performance art! Just let it dry, it tells a bigger story than a perfect painting! Look at us, several different continents, all watching the same wonderful thing, and meeting here to talk about it!

      • Annie from Sydney Australia says:

        I agree about the rain spattered painting…I though it was a gorgeous depiction of the actual rainy day! Serendipity is fantastic!
        It’s 2am Monday morning here! Late night but so worth it!

        • sbranch says:

          Goodness! Love that you’re there! We were in Kansas for William and Kate’s wedding, got up at 3 am for it! Didn’t she look great today? Loved the red!

          • Annie from Sydney Australia says:

            Kate looked divine and isn’t Wills gorgeous?Harry is so tall….you love tall men! lol I love all the Royal events….they (the Royal Family) often visit Australia as we are still part of the Commonwealth and we love our Queen…as we love our other sweet, artistic Queen…!

          • sbranch says:

            Oh that Harry, I’m just wild about him 🙂 OH! Thank you Annie!!!

  34. Rosemary says:

    Thrilled to say that we are watching BBCAmerica on satellite here in Texas and so enjoying the whole flotilla. The crowds are so exciting and now it is raining cats and dogs but it hasn’t stopped the thrill and excitement of the event. Your post today is so beautiful. Thank you once again. Have a cup of tea today and cheers to you all.

  35. Judy from Oregon says:

    It is on right now on CNN so I am going to go watch it.

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

    Watching the Thames parade now! Also enjoyed the ABC special with interviews of Princes William and Harry about their grannie!! Lots of history – Elizabeth has lived an incredible life!
    The bluebells are breathtaking! Rachel’s nephew pretty promising golfer isn’t he??
    You sound so happy! Thank you for sharing more of your amazing trip! Many thanks to Joe also for his patience while you post!! LOL

  37. Wendy Louise says:

    Ohhhhhhh, such beauty and Love surrounding you, you are in a “Beautiful Dream Come True” ! We are watching the festivities on many channels here in New England. And our own Boston Pops are there among all the party goers. Keith Lockhart says he is in his own dream there. So wonderful, I am enjoying this sooooo much, did I ever say Thank-you, well Thank-you a million times over and over. Such beauty ! The Bluebells, I went to the shop in my town where we have a wonderful shop called “The Best Of British” and got a Emma mug with Bluebells on it and the Queens mug, just to join in the celebration, so much fun !!!!! Can’t wait until Beatrice Potters home, but the anticipation is so exciting ! XXOOXX 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t want it to be over! Thanks for the fun comment Wendy Louise!

      • Judy Young says:

        Maybe you will offer an Emma mug with bluebells on it on your website Susan? Now that would be one I would order and use all the time…I will have to check the site maybe there already is one!

    • TerrieInAtlanta says:

      Wendy…(sigh)…Keith Lockhart! Talk about a dream come true ~ I was living in beautiful Boston, a stone’s throw from the Hatchshell on Exeter Street, when he joined the Pops. What a rock star that man is! So great that the Boston Pops are in jolly old England.

  38. Gail Buss says:

    O Susan………..loved everything………..especially the little baby lamb nursing from her mother………very dear. Before I continue, wanted to let you know I’ve been watching all the activities for the Queen today on FOX News……….and the history too, is fascinating. We are all so taken in this country with everything they do over there and all the pomp and circumstance! Absolutely loved Di’s home farm inside and out! Bluebells were gorgeous also. Must have been lovely having lunch under the old trees and shade. Thanks so much for sharing! XX Gail from Fl.

  39. Angela says:

    Hi Susan,
    We’ve been watching the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant since 9:30AM on BBC America. I had a cup of Lyons tea from Ireland and some Tyrrells Sweet Chilli & Red Pepper Crisps while watching the now wet but wonderful festivities. What a celebration, would love to see the inside of the Queen’s barge. They said it’s been made to look like the inside of an Orient Express train car. Really top drawer!

  40. Philippa says:

    So glad you are enjoying England and can now see the unsurpassed beauty of the Lake District for yourself.
    Enjoy the rest of your stay in GB.

  41. Seeing all of this beauty makes my heart absolutely ache! I enjoyed sipping coffee this morning and getting caught up on your adventures Susan. Thank you for taking us with you!
    Blessings to you and Joe on the rest of your vacation. <3

  42. Hello Susan your blog was just amazing and all the videos came up except for the lamb running up to you?? All the others pulled up when the highlighted words were clicked on hope we can see the lamb? Little Will is such a doll and if he keeps up his dedication to golf I’m sure we will all see him someday. Have a wonderful week ahead and safe travels.

    • sbranch says:

      I think I have it up now! Try again Deborah!

      • aaaahhh how absolutely adorable black lambs and they just ran up as if to say to you “we heard you wanted to pet us Susan so here we are”….baby animals are just like children no fears or worries about being harmed. Thank you for this sweet video…I love all animals and you sure have shown us a menagerie.

  43. Judy from Oregon says:

    Susan you are in a picture today on another blog that I read called the Aurifil Buzz. You are pictured with Pam Vieira-McGinnis. She is their designer of the month and when asked who she would like to spend a day with or work with she said you.

    • sbranch says:

      Well that sweetheart! xoxo Thanks for telling me! I’ll go find that girl, PamKittyMorning on Twitter!

  44. Fran says:

    The first thing I do every day is check your blog for the latest postings from England. Thanks for this wonderful adventure – I’m enjoying it immensly and look forward to every new post! You’ve given us all a wonderful gift! Thank you for sharing with us your fans.

  45. Rhonda D. says:

    Dear Susan, Wendy Louise said that you were in a Beautiful Dream Come True. You certainly are, and have taken us with you. Words have not yet been created in the english language to describe how awesome this trip is for all of us. I’ve grown up all my life talking about the Bluebells of Scotland (my Dad’s side of the family is from Scotland), but your picture of the Bluebells threw me right into mid field (too bad it wasn’t one in northern England or Scotland). Wow! Please don’t delete too much of all this loveliness when you write your book. Couldn’t you just add more to your book? Not one of us would mind. This is just marvelous. Thank you! PS Wid ye mind jest givin’ a wee wave te ma relatives acrross the borrder? You’re so close and I’m a wee bit homesick. You’re also very lucky!

  46. Its all so authentic and earthy; I love the videos. I grew up next to a dairy farm and never saw a cow as pretty as those. Its such a joy to see you work your way to the Lake District. I am on hatpins and needles to see Hilltop!

  47. Kim says:

    To quote the esteemed Ms. Tina Fey, “I really want to go to there …!”

  48. Fran Sigdestad says:

    Hello Susan and Joe: What a wonderful blog! Such beautiful pictures. I loved the big sink in the kitchen. I too wonder how they are able to add all the new with the old. Did you pack woolies for the cool days of England? When you first said eek, I thought you saw a mouse. Will you be able to post a pub menu sometime? I so loved the road picture with all the bluebells! What a wonderful painting that would be. I am so excited with all there is to see my post is all over the place. You have given us so much to dream about, and who doesn’t like to have dreams. Thank you for taking the time to show us your wonderful days in jolly ol’ England. I can hardly wait for a new blog. xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      I brought a good warm jacket, for hiking really, and I’m so glad I did … it’s a lot like Telluride up here! Cold, like in the Colorado mountains. Maybe 48-ish degrees. Feels wonderful actually, because I have that jacket!

      • judi says:

        It was 81 at 5:30 a.m. here this morning……48 degrees sounds like heaven to me at the moment:)

  49. Rosanne in Oregon says:

    So lovely to read your post after watching the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration this morning. My favorite part of the Thames flotilla was hearing the Royal Symphonic choir salute the Queen with “Rule Britannia” and “God Save the Queen.” Such a sense of history and pride, and the Queen, at 86, looking strong and lovely, despite the cold wet day. And how wonderful for you to spend time on a gorgeous farm with a beautiful British family, and sharing your good fortune with us! Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      Strong and Lovely — and she and her 92 year old husband never sat down during the whole event, all that rain and cold, they never sat once. Amazing!

  50. stephanie says:

    I’m in love with England. I’m trying not to post too much because I don’t want to clog up your internet time while you are there!

    My cable package gets BBC America and they are showing a lot of the Jubilee. Today they showed the Queen on the boat up the Thames. Interestingly she had with her only the next in line for the throne – Charles (and Camilla), William (and Kate) and then Harry (and of course Prince Phillip). I hear they will be the only ones on the balcony too. I guess it’s to show continuity – as this is about the monarchy.

    Anyway – BBC America is running “The Diamond Queen” tonight – a 3 hour new documentary with interviews from the family, already shown in England. Then Tuesday morning they will show them going to church, the balcony etc. I’m DVRing for hours!

    I can’t tell you how much I love the Queen and all things English. Between the royal wedding last year, reading that new Sally Bedell Smith book about the Queen, the jubilee and now YOUR TRIP – it’s been fantastic. (Brilliant – as they say over there!)

    Thanks for taking time from you vacation to share with us – it’s extraordinary!

    • sbranch says:

      She has been an amazing presence in the lives of people here, she works so hard!

    • judi says:

      Oh, I hope I get to see some of it tonight. Didn’t check in till later and we had tennis from France and PGA golf on:( Thanks for info.

  51. Karen P. - Green Bay, WI says:

    So excited about your trip to Beatrix Potter country! Love that cottage and Ray’s family’s home is simple lovely! I was excited, too, to see that I have an antique chair EXACTLY like that barrel chair in front of their fireplace. It was in my great-grandparents’ tavern that they owned in the early part of the 1900s….right now it has a Susan Branch chairpad on it! 🙂 Also, TERRIBLY happy to hear you’ve been painting sheep and lambies for your (OUR!) journal book! YAY!!! And dare I say, YAY, again!? I keep getting error messages when I try to pull up the little sheep video, though…boo! Will keep trying! Have all the Jubilee festivities that I can find programmed in to DVR….the celebration on the Thames, the service, and there’s one other event. Wish I were there….sounds all so festive! Well, Carry On and HAVE FUN!!!!

  52. This post does it for me! Next trip to UK, I’m headed north! It’s so exciting, reading of your trip; the people you and Joe are meeting, the places you’re visiting. It’s simply marvelous, Susan, thank you SO much.

    • sbranch says:

      We were thanking God for Beatrix Potter today, otherwise we may never have come up here, and it’s just wonderful!

  53. Sb says:

    I’m enjoying sailor Pete’s reandom appearances. Thanks for sharing your adventures, I’m looking forward to seeing your lamb paintings! Cheers!

  54. Holly says:

    Hello everyone! That farm, the cows, the sheep, the bluebells, the history in that house…. it’s everything we love!! Every time I hear about the Queen’s Jubilee on tv/radio, I think of you & Joe actually being there! There is one thing though…. (how do I say this?) I totally get the Petey thing…. but he’s a bit creepy! He has a look in this eyes… like he’s up to no good, so watch out!

    • sbranch says:

      We took all his weapons away 🙂

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Are you sure? If you look closely at that face, hmmm…it IS kind of scary and he looks like he has a secret… 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          It’s really a case of not telling a book by it’s cover . . . he’s truly just a happy little doll.

          • Pat Mofjeld says:

            Well, he SHOULD be! Taken back to England on a big ship, being the sailor boy that he is, and going to BPotter’s, etc., and then getting to go on the big ship again!!! And besides that, maybe those eyes are looking for a girlfriend over there…remember what your mother said about looking cross-eyed, if you weren’t careful your eyes would stay that way! Maybe that is what happened… LOL! Incidentally, my “bug bites” were diagnosed as shingles yesterday–happily a mild case and they are itchy, not owie! 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            Hope they go away soon! Send a kiss to Sandy for me!

  55. Kathie Ferko says:

    Dearest Susan,
    I am loving every moment of our trip…thanks for taking me along for the ride!
    The entire jubilee ceremonies were on BBC news….channel 171 in my neck of the woods. What an awesome site to see…all the pomp and circumstance!

    I loved the artists painting on the millenium bridge. Too bad heavy rain marred the last part of the ceremony. No one seemed to mind.

    I look forward to each new day of our trip….can’t wait to have your diary when it is released.

    Have a great day!!!!!

  56. Christie Ray says:

    Sitting down to a cup of hot Earl grey creme tea (in the rose chintz tea cup;) nursing a cough and laryngitis…and found absolute joy and a bounce in my mood to see the video of you and Will and the lambs…darling, darling, darling! I’ve decided to pull out my knitting;)) I just watched the movie Fairy Tale with Peter O’Toole yesterday afternoon…and it reminded me of our Beatrix. And here you are today in her ‘country’.. I don’t know how you are maintaining your composure with so many exciting things going on, as each one on it’s own, would be worthy of celebration! Your countenance in the last post, says it all, dear girl…you are experiencing sheer bliss and I am so over the moon happy for you. I look forward to Emma B tour, after preparing tea in my hearts teapot for visiting family, the other day…it was so pretty with all the rose chintz tea cups…I was channeling your hospitable spirit we’ve all caught by way of your presence here in blog land:)
    Thank you for delighting us with every post,

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you for your sweet wonderful words Christie. My composure, what I once had of it, is gone now!

  57. Jack says:

    Quite a resemblance between Rachel and her Mom! I think more than you and your Mom. Somehow you turned out looking like one of the Beatles! Was it Paul? Maybe it happened when you were traumatized by seeing them in their underwear when you snuck up to their house!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s probably how it happened! You are a nut. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Love you Dad!

      • Nancy B says:

        Your dad is so cute! I caught the resemblance between Rachel and her “mum” as well. Love their hair.

      • Rhonda D. says:

        I just can’t write anything right now, I’m laughing too hard!! xo

      • Cathy from Golden, CO says:

        You DO look like Paul!!!!! LOL! Love those bluebells! Am enjoying my holiday! Thank you!

        • sbranch says:

          I know, for better or worse, I’ve looked like him all my life! I used to pretend air guitar, pigeon-toe my feet like he did, shake my head, and sing “Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you . . .” 🙂

          • Joan Lesmeister says:

            Love Jack’s comments! Somehow along the way, I have missed the “Beatles” story!!! How could that be???? Perhaps a not so instant replay some day? Sue, I think you’re beautiful & Paul is cute!xo ♥

          • sbranch says:

            It’s in the Girlfriend’s Book, but you can listen to me tell the Beatle story here . . .

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Love the comments your dad makes! Like I said once before, he reminds me of my dad who had that same kind of funny sense of humor and could always bring a smile to everyone’s face! I miss him so much. In latter years he would, when parting ways instead of saying “goodby”, he would say, “Well, stay in out of the hot sun” with a smile. It always made people smile and drove my mother nuts as she thought he shouldn’t say something so silly but people loved it! So, Jack–keep up your dry humerous comments as we love every one of them!!! 🙂

        • Rhonda D. says:

          Now that I’ve stopped laughing (tears were running down my cheeks) – should we call him Waldorf or Statler? No, I think I just like Jack. But maybe you could get him a good deal on a British balcony while you’re in England! xo

          • Rhonda D. says:

            As soon as I hit “post comment” a good name popped into my head (of course). We could call him “Union Jack!” Love your Dad! xo

    • judi says:

      YOU are a hoot! Keep it up….we love your quips:)

  58. pat addison says:

    oh i do envy the English, they have beautiful meadows full of wild flowers and beautiful woodlands, and charming old villages, pubs, churches, cottages, and charming farms and home. makes me want to seed the front lawn full of bluebells for next spring and to plant me a meadow of them in the back acres. oh i love that old fireplace and the copper kettle hanging by it, can i have one to?????? all these wonderdul places are just as i imagined them to be be and better, time to start saving the egg money for a trip to England. hugs…… 🙂

  59. Nancy B says:

    I’m so sad. I may have missed the Jubilee on TV. I do hope there will be re-runs so I can record them. How could I have missed that?!?!!! I remember my older sister getting up way early in the a.m. to listen to Elizabeth’s wedding on the radio way back when. She was more her age only a little younger.
    Oh, the bluebells! So gorgeous. I truly enjoyed the videos you posted and hearing your voice. Have a wonderful time at B.P’s house. Can hardly wait! Thanks, as always.


  60. natasha says:

    hi Susan!
    i am so in love with the English countryside! i could pack my bags today if possible. thank you for sharing your view of the world with us! we watched the Thames flotilla celebration on BBC America before heading off to church this morning. it was really really fun. loved the London philharmonic performing in the rain. my daughter watched with her cup of English breakfast tea, served from her teapot in the shape of a British phone box and her proper china tea cup. we found her a lil china creamer with brown floral design and a made in England stamp at an antique store. she is in heaven at seeing all the sights and landmarks, even the rain (which she loves) lol. someday…..
    Blessings to you Susan and enjoy the jubilee and Beatrix potter.

  61. Nancy M. says:

    Thank you Susan! I have the bluebells as my background now….beautiful!

  62. Pam G says:

    I would love to live where those adorable people do. It appears to have all things I love both inside and out.
    The bluebells, the lambs, the wildflowers………so wonderful to see them all.
    I adore all English dairy products. They cannot be duplicated here. Enjoy all you can—yum…..

  63. Brenda says:

    Oh the Bluebells!!!, they cover the woods floor like the ferns do here. How wonderful they look. Just like a painting! You put a smile on my face hearing your excitement when the lamb came up to you.

  64. Mia Sophia says:

    Hi Susan…What a lovely trip! I have been enjoying all your posts but have been so engrossed that I have forgotten to comment… you being so far away and all! HA! Unfortunately, I do not get coverage of the Jubilee since we only have basic cable…no CNN…I’vejust seen a few teaser bits and pieces…darn it! Bet it is a “beautiful sight to behold”, as my son would say when he was 3! Looking forward to whatever you send our way! Enjoy the lambs, little Will and the bluebells…stunning photos! I am enjoying every minute of it with you. Cheers!

  65. Nellie says:

    Sad here, as I seem to have been successful in missing any Jubilee coverage.:( I’m really depending on you, now.

    This is just amazing, Susan, what you are able to do to “get us there.” Such an outstanding effort! It is something I would certainly love to do myself!

    Looking forward to the Beatrix Potter entry!

    Have a great day!


  66. Oh my conscience (as my Scottish grandmother used to say)! The most exquisite bluebells, like driving through Texas in April, only better! Thank you for our very own snitches along your way! Can’t wait to visit BP!
    xoxo, Christine

  67. Sarah says:

    I would probably cry if I saw that pathway of bluebells in real life. 🙂 That looks like a magical dream.

  68. shirley burt says:

    BBC shared the excitement, The Queen stood the whole 4 hours. What stamina she has. Of course, being so excited, she probably couldn’t sit and be still, she might miss something. Now we girlfriends are just the same way. reading your blog, dreaming of being along side, step by step with you and Joe and the most delightful friends. Thank you for sharing. I don’t think any of your girlfriends think you should edit a thing out of your diary. We can hardly wait for you to share it all.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s getting to be the Encyclopedia Britannica!!!

    • TerrieInAtlanta says:

      Maybe it will need to be one of those books that come with a CD in a little pocket near the cover? So much has happened that can’t be recreated any other way ~ like Sue talking to the baby lambs as they approach her. And, yes, we are willing to pay a bit more for this wonderful “Take Me Along” travel diary…tell your publishers we don’t want them to edit out a single thing!

  69. Jennie says:

    What a wonderful day! Beautiful family, friends, home, lambs and cows! Flowers everywhere- sunshine! The inside of Di’s house just looks like perfection to me . . . it was so kind of her to let you share a bit of it with us. It’s a good thing they have so much space outside so we could all fit there with you 😉
    (and that cottage at the beginning of your post! Why on earth do ‘they’ not make them like that anymore? hurrah for old cottages!)

  70. Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

    I love the picture of you standing outside the pub. It’s always fun to see YOU! I enjoyed seeing the wildflowers–and the orchid!! Amazing! Have you ever read Miss Read books? I love them. Miss Read, the school teacher often goes for walks and I can just imagine her on a path similar to the one you and Joe were on several days ago.

  71. Barb a says:

    Ah, to be in England with Susan. It has been a dream of mine to go there someday, thanks for taking us along.

  72. Martha Ellen says:

    It’s official Susan—I love England and it’s on our bucket list! We must plan a trip there soon!!! I agree with one of the girlfriends who said “move over Rick Steves”.
    Love everything you have shared with us. xoxo ♥

  73. Sandy Richmond in Attleboro, MA says:

    The bluebell photos are stunning. I have to say I am getting such a kick out of you with the animals. Having grown up in Minnesota, and going to the state fair every year, I guess petting lambs and looking at cows was ordinary for me. But life is about the magic of ordinary days too, isn’t it? I love seeing the old houses and cottages and pubs. One is just as charming and quaint as the next. Thanks for sharing. I am enjoying every bit of it! Others have said this, but you really look great. Hiking the English countryside must agree with you!

  74. Cheryl in Kentucky says:

    I am having such a lovely time reading and looking at everything on the trip! I may not get there in person, but thanks to you I am there right now. Such wonderful posts, thanks so much. I was thinking of you as I watched the pageant online on today. Thanks again for all the fabulous fun!

  75. Lisa G. says:

    Oh my word, the BLUEbells!! And that cute little boy – I used to think that if I had a son, he’d have to be a little English boy and sound like the kid who played Tiny Tim in the George C. Scott Christmas Carol.

    Your lunch sounds yummy – won’t need supper after that! Everything looks enchanting.

  76. Karen P. -Wisconsin says:

    Finally able to view the lamb video! You’re so cute in it!!! Very unusual sheep. Do you know what breed it is? The head has the coloring of a cow! Love, love, love!!! Thanks for the videos…

    • sbranch says:

      Don’t know the breed, there are so many around here! From Mary’s Little Lamb to the Black Sheep, and everything in between!

  77. Rachel says:

    Alas, those of us without cable didn’t get much of a look-see. I shall browse the web later to have a look!
    Wow, what a little sportsman William is 🙂 He is very good at golf!
    And omnomnom on the artisan cheeses-there is definitely a market there… and here too 😉
    I am really enjoying this trip- kind of a nice stop-gap ’till I get to go back next year for my sister’s wedding!

  78. Jenny says:

    Wonderful videos and photos! Plus I love reading your dad’s posts! hee hee

  79. Cynthia Krynock says:

    So enjoyed this entry Susan! Loved every moment of the videos….loved the picture of Rachel’s mum….such a beautiful complexion! I am happy for you that there are dreams that you have that are coming true (the lambs)….I especially love the sound of the wind as you are walking….a small thing but a wonderful treat! So much to comment on, but will savor it all again instead….


  80. Lynne Neal says:

    Don’t know whether you got my post about trying the grassmere gingerbread will you are up there .Its divine, glad you liked Matlock and the Lake district ,,

  81. Julie (Omaha) says:

    Bunnies, lambs, and now little Will! “Cute” just took on a whole new meaning! 🙂

  82. Marie says:

    I can still remember the first time I heard a Cuckoo and how amazed I was that they sounded just like the clock!! (Or vice versa as you said!) Now I listen out for those first cuckoos in the spring. They are a bit of a nasty and a lasy bird as they lay their eggs in other birds nests and leave it to them to do all the hard work. Then when the eggs hatch, the baby cuckoo pushes the other baby birds out as they are greedy little things and want all the goodies themselves. Nature is definitely interesting to say the least. I can well imagine how cold it is in Ambleside as it is freezing here in Chester today, although the sun is shining, so one mustn’t complain! Hope you are enjoying the beautiful show of pageantry which has been put on while you are here, oh, and Monday and Tuesday are both Bank Holidays, so I’d put off Hilltop until Wednesday at least! I’ve been over here 12 years now and have never been able to get in, no matter when we’ve visited. It’s always been chockerblock! I will look forward to your pictures! xxoo

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you for the good advice about Hilltop!! I knew that about the Cuckoo, saw a photo of a fat gigantic baby cuckoo being fed by a tiny wren, killing herself to keep up with his appetite! Why does everyone seem to like Cuckoos?? Is it because they are harbingers of spring?

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        ……and “Cuckoo” made for a good song in “Sound of Music”?? Mom (96) & I enjoyed your little videos and blog together. She travelled to Eng & Europe with my brother years ago, & also loved Eng! Thank you for sharing, it’s such fun for me to visit with you every morning you definitely “make my day”!!! xoxxo

  83. says:

    I’m sitting at Heathrow waiting our flight back to America and having lamb and bluebell withdrawal. We stayed two weeks in the Lake District here and I never tired of hearing the baby lambs baahing for their mother and the mother baahing back until they spotted each other. Our last day included a walk with tons of bluebells blooming and the foxgloves in tight bud. Hate leaving it all behind. Your posts keep it alive for me. Love the house of your friends…charming!!!!

    • says:

      Oh, and we heard a cuckoo too on our walk…just like the clock, as you said.

    • sbranch says:

      Ohhh, poor baby. Heathrow must be the antithesis of a bluebell meadow!!! It all has to live in your heart now — there’s no doubt it will! Lucky English people! Travel safely. xoxo

  84. Lynn Cooper says:

    Little Will has one heck of a golf swing. The guy will be a force to reckon with on the course in a few years…..

    I am hoping that our TV coverage here in the States covers the events that you will be watching on the British telly.

  85. Jeannine Holmes, SC says:

    My eyes are tearing up so it’s hard to see what I’m typing right now, because I just watched the video with Rachel holding her dog on a leash. He looks EXACTLY like my Smitty I lost last year, and miss so much. He was a mix of Wheaton Terrier, and had the heart and soul of love and kindness to all he met. Your trip is outstanding so far, keep enjoying and sending videos. Love to watch them all (especially the little lambs . . . the dearest of them all.)

    • Pat Mofjeld says:

      I must have missed this one–where is the video of Rachel holding Alice on a leash? 🙂 Must have been shown while I was at the Dr. getting told my “allergic reaction to bug bites” is really a mild case of shingles!!! LOL! :-0

  86. Mrs.Pettigrew says:

    We get BBC channel and all the days events are on there. Set my dvr so I can watch it at leisure with a cup of tea. I have so enjoyed all your wonderful posts with pictures and video. Thank you so much for thinking of us.

  87. Debbie Hays says:

    Susan.. you simply amaze me! It is so dear of you to share your trip with us. I am enjoying all that you see and do and am so glad to hear nearly every part of your trip! And yes… as you have already heard from so many, all of us here are seeing beautiful footage of this wondrous celebration in regards to the Queen. Love it. Ray’s family farm is simply delightful and it seems so welcoming. Please thank them for all of us as we have loved being there. Many hugs for you all.

  88. Linda says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Im having the most wonderful time!

  89. Leslie says:

    OK, that does it. The pictures and adventures are all wonderful, but the video with the lambs running up to you, well, that just puts it over the top. DARLING!

  90. Sandra Gillanders says:

    It’s just magical; joy overload. Loved seeing the farm and Rachel’s lovely parents and her really cute nephew Wills. What a swing he has already. Lambs are so cute. House is adorable, ah…..Thanks

  91. Barb, Ludlow MA says:

    Hello Susan, The picture of the Bluebells is stunning! I have researched everything I can on the bluebells and learned so much on the history of them in the UK. Rachel’s family’s farm is breathtaking and what a lovely family she has. I am so amazed at how big the farms out there are and how so neatly they are all well kept. Plus the beautiful family home with all its rich history…whom would ever want to leave there! Buttercups = Cheerfulness, Bluebells = Humility
    Oh…..and one more thing……I have that old (jumprope rhyme) stuck in my head at the moment: Remeber this: Bluebells…..CockleShells…Evvie Ivy Over….I like coffee, I like tea, I like boys and the boys like me….yes no ….maybe so and you just repeat the verses. Okay see what you started with all these Bluebells!
    Sue……..this truly has been one of my favorite posts thus far…Thank You. I too have seen coverage of the Queens Jubilee and other tv specials! One more thing to add…… may want to buy a pair of (sunglasses for Pete) will make him less scary for everyone although I think he is pretty neat! Thanks very much for everything you share with us. Have a wonderful day! Hugs & Smiles ……..

  92. Balisha says:

    Dear Susan,
    I can’t tell you how much I have thoroughly enjoyed every word you have written. We watched a couple of programs about the Queen’s Jubilee on TV here, but haven’t caught the boat parade. I did, however, see pictures of it on Barbara’s blog. She is so wonderful about taking pictures that she thinks we here in the states would enjoy. I am a big Beatrix Potter fan also.

  93. Sherri Fabbri says:

    Thank you so much for all the great pics and videos of England! They are beautiful! I look forward to them everyday! England is where most of my family is originally from and my dream is to go there! I also love everything Beatrix Potter so I can’t wait for you to go there! Good Morning America had alittle of the jubilee on this morning – the boat parade. I guess CNN is putting some on also. I wish there was more tho’! I think 20/20 is going to have the special concert on.
    Safe travels and have fun!!

    • sbranch says:

      Right now, the Queen is arriving at St. Pauls Cathedral, with her family, everyone looking beautiful, all of London outside cheering, in unison, “God Save the Queen.” Something else to actually be in England while it’s happening! Beatrix Potter . . . more to come on that . . .

  94. Frances Fowler says:

    This must be the trip of a lifetime — everything is absolutely beautiful!

  95. Jan says:

    Am enjoying every minute of this trip! The pictures of the bluebells, sheep, lambs, houses, people – just everything – so interesting!!! Can that little guy hit a golf ball or what?! Had to have my husband come and watch the video. Love to read your description of things. It always adds so much to the pictures too. Just a wonderful post!! Thanks for sharing!!

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

    The first broadcast of the Thanksgiving service for the Queen’s Jubilee is being televised on BBC America – starts at 4:15 a.m. PDT so have set DVR to record! Too sad that Prince Philip is hospitalized!
    Hope that the weather in the North is better than it has been in London!

    • sbranch says:

      We were just talking about Prince Philip, hope he’s OK! The weather was perfect yesterday, getting gray today, but not raining!

  97. Jackie P says:

    Beautiful countryside . . . love the lambs . . . hope they didn’t nibble too hard!

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

    Am back from a day of golf…I appreciate Will’s swing sooooooo much! What a natural! My husband watched over my shoulder and marveled at Will’s followthrough!!
    The photos in this posting are absolutely marvelous! The bluebells, the lambs, the little stone cottage, Ray’s parents’ home, etc. are so special. Thank you for sharing!!

  99. Marion Rose says:

    Hi Susan,
    Just loved those black sheep!!!!!!!!!! Don’t think I have ever seen a real black
    sheep before. Thank you for showing them to us. Loving this trip with you and my new girlfriends. Marion

  100. Rachel Lucas says:

    Hi sweeties! If anyone reads this far (& I’m sure you WILL!) I just wanted to join in & say thanks so much for your lovely comments on this post & my childhood home. It really is like a piece of paradise to all of us, and I’m happy to share that with you darlings! Just to answer your questions: the sheep are a rare dutch breed, called Zwartbles (say it zw-art-blay) means black face I think. Lucy got them because they are rare & she wanted to support that and also they are excellent dairy sheep for her cheesemaking. Her dog (Maggie) is what we call a lurcher – really a mix! They are bred by ‘travellers’ who use them to catch rabbits, which is why they are so fast. Maggie was rescued from a horrible life, but is now in heaven on earth! She is very beautiful as you can see, with black liner round her eyes that I think makes her look like Cleopatra! Our dog, Alice, is a Wire Fox Terrier who has had a clip for the summer so is not as wiry as she should be!! The farm was so happy to host you all, and as for Sweet William the golfing genius- watch this space!!….sending much love xx Ray

    • sbranch says:

      Perfect Ray! Thank you for all those wonderful details! Did you watch the concert at Buckingham Palace last night? Wasn’t it the BEST?! xoxo

    • Rhonda D. says:

      Thank you Rachael for allowing Susan to take all of us to visit your beautiful childhood home and meet your darling family. It does my heart good to see people living the lifestyle that your family does – that is life at its very best! Your family has it all figured out. Maggie is one lucky doggie. Her story is one part of life that tears my heart to shreds. You know, I own an old farmhouse in N.S. in Canada, built in the 1870s I believe. It has the old farmhouse, a barn in good condition, 8 acres of land, very close to the ocean, and I hardly ever go there. Now you are letting me see my place through new eyes. Susan is also inspiring my heart (which has been dead for so long), so who knows what will happen next? Good things I hope! Love you girls!
      PS I checked out your website Rachael – love it!

      • sbranch says:

        How lucky you are! The farmhouse sounds wonderful, and so does your heart!

        • Rhonda D. says:

          Thank you Susan. Someday I will write to you and tell you why you inspire me so much. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that you found a book of quotes in the first house you bought on Martha’s Vineyard; and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I found your website, your books etc. and of course, you. It’s been life-changing for me. All good stuff. xo

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Heh, Rhonda D., I’d be happy to trade a townhouse in St. Paul for your 8 acres in NS Canada! 🙂

    • Julie says:


      If the eyes are the window to the soul,
      the door exudes the constant charm of the home & hearth.
      Your family’s beautiful robin’s egg blue, wooden door
      says it all…warm, welcoming, comforting……..quaint !
      Sweet on the heart, soft on the soul-
      even with the precocious Petey….dangling off the latch.

      The entry door should tell the story of a home before
      ever stepping inside.
      That is a given with older properties but unfortunately lost,
      on modern ones.

      We have a photography friend who has made his lifetime livelihood,
      traveling to England, Scotland & Wales
      just to capture the wonderful doors & windows
      of city and country properties.
      He develops, frames and sells out of all his work consistently-
      a telltale sign of what people crave.

      The photo Susan took of your majestic woods
      are simply gorgeous-
      would not have been surprised to see “King Arthur”
      lurking behind a tree….
      so much so, that I pulled out the Richard Harris soundtrack
      of “Camelot” to listen to.

      If I was an animal, I would definitely want to live on Norton Farm.
      All of them are storybook fabulous.

      Little Will is sweet pickle funny.
      As he said in Susan’s video while gently petting the lambs,
      “I love them, they’re my friends”-
      we know the animals feel the same way about him & your entire family !

      So heartwarming……..Thanks again for sharing !

    • Pat Mofjeld says:

      Hi Rachel! Loved seeing your parental home–yes, “heaven on earth” is how I would describe it! Nice to be able to imagine it when you say you are going there now…and thanks for the details, too. Your nephew is so cute–as are the lambs, etc.!

    • Silvia Niomi says:

      Hi Rachel,
      I too want to tell you from the bottom of my heart thank you so much for opening up your home to us. I am grateful that Susan and Joe has allowed us to tag along on their vacation. It’s been great fun to get a birds eye view of what England is really like. I’m a little awestruck at how pretty England is. It’s a charming, quaint and very green island that is full of wonderfulness. I could comment forever on your beautiful childhood farm but that would just take up too much space, however I do have to say the wildflowers are just breathtaking, the animals are fun to look at and the history (and age) of your home place is quite interesting. Thank you for the tour.
      ps…. I bookmarked your blog along with Susan’s

    • Karen P. -Wisconsin says:

      Rachel, I LOVE how obviously loved your animls are! You could see it in how friendly the sheep were in Susan’s video. (thanks for the breed info. I am amazed at how many breeds there are! When we were in England I bought a field book full of all the different breeds because I became obsessed with the sheep! ha-ha. Do you use their wool for anything? ). And the cows so sweet. Lovely tour of your charming home! Thanks, Susan!!

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