Time to say Goodbye . . .

How to say goodbye?   I started trying to put this post together last night, but, as I was doing it, matters were made even worse when  Love Actually came on the TV in our hotel room!  So all I really did was cry.


How do you say goodbye to this?  Did you hear those birds?  And it’s only a small taste of the magic and beauty that’s been around every hedgerow since we got here.  It’s not really over, I tell myself, I still have so much more to show you when we get home . . . you’re going to love the rest of Rosemary Verey’s garden! Not to mention, we get to go  back to Hill Top!  To Beatrix’s husband, William Heelis’s office in Hawkshead!  And to William Morris’s house!  And so much more!!  Look what we have to look forward to!  Waaaaah.

Would someone please tell me how to say goodbye?

Because I just can’t do it.

words fail me

But the clock is ticking  . . .

. . . even here, in a land, that sometimes you think, time forgot.  Yesterday we went to Lacock, the perfect little village where Cranford was filmed.  I hope you’ve all seen Cranford, because it’s a charming story of yesteryear and looks just like this . . .

… only better, because when you are on this street, you can hear the English accents, feel the breeze, smell the lavender, see the clouds moving; you know it’s real because they have cars there now; and you can go in here and get the London Times if you want . . .

. . . because, in fact, what seems to be a dream, is all very real.  Dreams, you can wake up from; we won’t ever wake up from this.

How do you say goodbye to the everyday charm of life here?   Tea rooms,  cottages with names like Dove and Sky; kitchen gardens in every patch of dirt; cavorting lambs around every bend; paths that take you over ancient stone footbridges,

through fragrant wildflower meadows that go forever?   Where “My-toe-hurts-bet-tee” is the nature national anthem (a wood-pigeon is singing it outside our window right now) . . . this completely handcrafted country, with a full size electric tea kettle as standard in every hotel and every rental!  People who say “dodgy” and “crap job” and  who have cars like this right outside your hotel window and think its normal?

How can you not love them? Well, you really have no choice, you just do, don’t you!?


Because this is the epicenter, the ground zero, of charm.  They show us how it’s done.  And just when the whole world needed some cheering up, they did this — they had a big wonderful party . . . for the sweetest of reasons . . .

. . . and decorated every corner of England, in the biggest and smallest ways . . .

Which sent our whole family, including Petey, over the top!  Thank you England!!!  Joe was reading this over my shoulder and we just decided to make ourselves honorary English people as of this moment.  Petey too.  I hope no one minds.

 So goodbye shockingly beautiful place. We are putting the last bits into our bag (never said bits before but now I’m English I can get away with it) this morning, and going off to do the thing we saved for today; going to  Chawton House, the home of Jane Austen, for one last garden stroll and walk through history before we board the ship and sail right out of Southampton into suspended animation for seven days. Where blue meets blue in an unending swirl of sky and water . . . on a big ocean liner, with violin music playing, while waves lap at the windows.  Talk about unreal.

Good bye darling pubs; goodbye Rachel and Paul, Siobhan and John and all the wonderful people who made our trip so special. Goodbye Yorkshire Dales, the Peak District, the Lake District, and Kent, and everywhere in between.  Waaaah.  We are going to miss you very much.

Goodbye land of enchantment, it was wonderful.  Take good care of yourself.  Until we meet again.

You better get packed Girlfriends, and get yourself back into those suitcases; keep your raincoats on, it looks like we’re going to need them — and don’t worry, we know what’s waiting for us on the other side; we won’t be too sad. We have home and kitties; some of us have dogs that have missed us so much; we have our friends and family and own beds to look forward to.  You can get the crimps out of your legs and I get to finish our English Diary too!  Not to mention a picket fence garden, and tea with the best friends a girl could have . . . I brought everything home with me that I will need to make a real English Tea Party!  I have Union Jack bunting!!!  I have Pear Cider!  We have our wonderful memories, and also, let’s not forget, about 10,000 photographs.  Yay, US!  We did it!  Wasn’t it fun?  XOXOXO  Bon Voyage!!!!  Thank you for coming along . . . I’ll try to write from the ship!  But you know . . . it can be dodgy! ♥

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363 Responses to Time to say Goodbye . . .

  1. Katy Noelle says:

    Oh, but there’s just ‘no place like home!’….. Rats! I’m going to cry with you! It’s just a transition that’s all…. yup, yup, yup?! Till next time?

    Oh, I don’t know what to say but I do love your ‘ticking clock’!!!

    and a hug to you!


    • Liz says:

      I love you Susan Branch…because as my mother might say…we share so many of the same “sensibilities”. Just one for instance: my grandfather would give me a lamb in the spring when we would visit the farm eventho’ I was essentially a city girl. Thank you for taking us with you on your adventures with Joe…I/we’ve all loved every note, word, and picture. I had forgotten all about Vera Lynn.

      Safe travels home…and I can’t wait for the English Diary. The whole, entire thing! “No pressure”, she said smiling.

      Safe travels home…L

  2. Mary S. says:

    This made me cry!! I am sooooo sad to be leaving England, but excited to see Girl Kitty and Jack!!! What an adorable, pensive picture of them sitting by the screen door!!!
    I LOVE that car!!!
    Have a wonderful cruise home!!

    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

  3. Donna Wilder says:

    I love the quote,”Memory is the power to gather roses in winter.” As the weather turns chilly back on Martha’s Vineyard, I can see you in your cozy home, in front of a fire,with a spot of tea and the most glorious rose scented bouquet of memories.
    Bless you for taking us all along on your enchanting holiday and reminding us that life is all about making magical memories!

  4. Anna says:

    Thank you so very much! What a wonderful time we have all have tagging along with you both.

  5. Theresa (South Lake Tahoe, CA) says:

    There’s something about England….I cried when I left after only one week, so I can only imagine how you feel. It’s been bittersweet and I cried again today – hard to say goodbye but wonderful to relive the memories and see more of the country through your visit …thank you so much!

  6. flo says:

    Don’t be sad ! your heart is where you are….. memories will always stay in your heart, England will always look for you and you always be in it heart ! what wonderful moments you spent….. what wonderful people you met, what wonderful places you saw…… so wonderful the return will be ! bon voyage Susan and a lot of kisses to your kitties

  7. mary anne helms says:

    Pomp and Circumstance is Land of Hope and Glory in the Uk. Very patriotic! First played at a US commencement at Yale when Elgar owas in invited. And the rest is history! It was played a lot during the Jubilee and it is always featured at the last night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in September (you can listen nonline on the BBC website).

    Bon Voyage! I always cry when leaving England! Xx


  8. Stacey says:

    Thank you so veddy, veddy much for letting us all tag along on this most wonderful visit to England and for timing it so wondrously with the Jubilee Celebrations…like the cherry on the sundae! I can only imagine how hard it is to tear yourself away from the clutches of all that is the best England has to offer. I can hardly wait for your return to regular and strong internet access so we can get all the goodies you have yet to share. Be blessed with a safe and lovely cossing home. We’ll be here, wrapped in our own bunting for the Fourth, waving and cheering. Now I’m off to put the kettle on, throw some scones in the oven and slip 84 Charing Cross Road into the DVD player. Rule Britannia! 🙂 xxxoooxxx

  9. barbara miller says:

    oh, how i hate to say goodbye to the hallowed english sod. i wish i could stay a bit more. i hear the ships bells……………..

  10. Marianne in Hidden Meadow, CA says:

    Noooo – it can’t be over yet! I’m not ready to go. Let’s stay awhile longer and linger over tea in that darling little rose-covered, thatch-roofed tearoom just around the bend….or take another stroll through the lamb-filled meadow….or peak inside that great pile of a manor house….or maybe punt down the Thames – I’m sure Joe can get all down the river……

    Well, home-sweet-home time. Thanks ever so much for a fabulous trip, Susan and Joe!!!!

  11. Marianne in Hidden Meadow, CA says:

    Oh – forgot to mention: BevMo website carries Pear Cider from the UK. I’m heading to my local store today and see if they have it in stock. Didn’t see Pims, though.

    • sbranch says:

      You should be able to get Pimm’s #1 almost anywhere, but thank you for the good BevMo info!

  12. Anne says:

    Awww….don’t be too sad Susan – think of all the warm memories you’ll have come winter to paraphrase Deborah Kerr in “Affair to Remember”!! I was just watching “Jane Eyre” and thinking of you. The beauty of it all does kinda bring one to tears doesn’t it? Thanks for taking us w/you – it’s been wonderful. Safe travels home to “New” England xxoo

  13. Holly says:

    Oh… so sad, it’s hard to imagine it’s over. I’ve grown accustomed to lambs, meadows with stone fences, the lovely buildings, etc… I could go on and on. Thank you for such a wonderful trip through England. During your trip, I’ve been tracing my genealogy, and now know at least one grandfather (17th century) came from England and another from the Scottish Isles! So, now really have to make the trip someday! Can’t wait to see your kitties! I’m wondering if they will ignore you at first (like mine do when I’m gone awhile) or if they won’t leave you alone. Hopefully Jack will remember how to play fetch!

  14. Rebecca L. says:

    Thank you for a wonderful vacation, every little bit was fabulous. I don’t think I gained any weight from the delicious pastries, what with all the lovely walking. My eyes are full of the incredible scenery. Truly, what a generous person you are to share your time.

    Bon voyage!

    Hasta pronto,
    Rebecca (Riverside, CA)

  15. “High-Seas-Sue”…

    From Merry Old England to Marvelous, New England… ;>)

    Wrap all of your stories with heart strings & paint all the tales in your book; we’ll be ever-so-grateful, ever-so-blessed, with the lovely trip that you took!

    Anchors aweigh!
    Bunny XO

  16. mary lou says:

    “Home is where the heart is”, I have left pieces of my heart in several places and think of them as forever heart homes. I think you have added another heart home to your life. Thank you for sharing, my cuz and I hope to take a similar trip in the future. It is our dream:)

  17. Dear Susan – Thanks ever so much for the lovely journey! I enjoyed every spot of tea, every biscuit, every vista…and felt a wee bit like Petey, being carted along to far off places…it was so very English of you! Wishing you smooth seas!! xo, Nan

  18. Marcia A. Sherman says:

    Susan – Cannot thank you enough for sharing these adventures with us. Looking forward to the travel book so I can relive all the sights. Hoping you will contact the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and offer to speak at the next Philadelphia International Flower Show in March 2013 – the theme is Great Britain! You now have a wealth of knowledge about the flora of GB.

    blessings – Marcia in Sewell, NJ

  19. Vickie in Olympia says:

    Ohhhhhhhh, I am going to miss these letters from Britain. You have made my life richer and fuller through your words and pictures. Thank You Thank You Thank You for letting us travel with you. The time you took from your vacation to show us all how wonderful life can be is deeply appreciated. For those who have fallen for England and village life here is a way to keep it alive. The BBC has a 6 day a week radio program called The Archers. It takes place in a fictional English village called Ambridge. Of course it is a bit of a soap opera but it does give the feel of what goes on inside those lovely homes and farms you have shown us. The episodes can be downloaded from the iTunes store or at http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/archers. Fifteen minutes a day of guilty pleasure!

  20. Sue says:

    You never say Good-bye, just “till we meet again” and Thank you both for the memories….xoxoxox

  21. stephanie says:

    Why am I crying?? Thanks for bringing us along – I’ve loved every moment. What a joy it’s been. I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to drag us all along with you!

    Between last year’s royal wedding, the jubilee this year, my obsession with every episode of “Downton Abbey” and your trip – I’ve decided to be ENGLISH too. Brilliant!

    Is that a recent picture of Jack? He looks so much bigger?!!

  22. Susan, I know just what you mean. I cry every time I leave Paris. As they say, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” I have so enjoyed taking this journey with you. Thank you.
    And….”Love Actually” is among my top 3 favorite movies of all time!! I sob at the end.
    Safe Travels.

  23. Shelly D (Central FL) says:

    For two months, you have known exactly what we all wanted to see- the homes, gardens, lambs, walking paths, pubs, hotels, flats, flowers, meadows, all with birdsong soundtracks. And of course, interspersed with the occasional picture of your so-English-looking selves. I’ve been so proud to have you & Joe be our visiting ambassadors– how could the English not love you too? And now, like everyone else, I feel so wistful that this lovely adventure is ending. England was my dream destination that hasn’t been realized- yet. But- oh, joy! We have your book to anticipate, and I can hardly wait. So safe sailing, fair winds and following seas, and all those good things. Just know that you made soo many girlfriends more happy than we could ever have anticipated without actually being there. The skies over Florida are weeping, as I am now too. Love you!

  24. Victoria Miller says:

    What a lovely adventure this has been, and far from over. All the photos and stories and memories. Your wonderful book which will bring back so much of it as you do it, and gives all the girlfriends even more to look forward to! And, you never have to say ‘Good-bye’, just ‘See you later!’ And then, when you get home and look at the photos, put on Vera Lynn singing ‘We’ll meet again…”

  25. Terri from Swansboro, NC says:

    Oh Susan, I felt the same way when I had to leave Germany. As I read through your blog, I myself have said the same thing not too long ago and I still have tears in my eyes over it all if I stop long enough to think about it. I am still adjusting to America!! LOL! Oh the fun and elegance of a floating castle! Looking forward to more pictures and the “book.” LOL! WhooooHOOOOO!!!

  26. shirley wheaton spann says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful travels. I thought of you returning home and I found myself a bit melancholy of the thought of leaving. So I say it’s never goodbye…so long until we meet again.

  27. Victoria Miller says:

    Oh, and if you look closely the next time you watch Mamma Mia!, in the part where the Meryl Streep and Pierce Bronson characters et al sing S.O.S. and they are getting ready for the wedding, you’ll notice them tying the little bottles in the trees there.

  28. Jessica says:

    Oh Susan…you’ve lived the dream for many of us…..and have shared it beautifully, thank you, and thank heavens memories can be stored so many different ways…in our hearts, minds, and spirits…and of course, in English Diaries…which will all will be at your beck and call 24-7. You will have the charming and lovely atmosphere of England floating about you at all times, and in all these ways.
    Happy Sailing…I’m sure your ‘babies’ are besides themselves with joy at the anticipation of your arrival home!
    Cheerio & Pip-pip,
    xoxo J~

  29. Cynthia Krynock says:

    So happy….that you brought us with you…..so sad…..that we have to leave……so happy that you and Joe have made incredible memories together and also with friends…..so sad that it all ends too soon…..but as you said….until we meet again….

    Bon Voyage, Joe and Susan! Enjoy those last “bits” as you are on the ship….safe journey!


  30. Rosanne in Oregon says:

    Thanks for the memories (with more to come)! It was simply grand to experience England through your eyes, and with your gift for true savouring. T

  31. Linda L says:

    This is why I want to go back home to live….the US is great, but it will never be home to me like my England…thanks for sharing the photos, I know so many of those places so well….”Waaaaah” I wanna go home.

  32. Sarah says:

    Sounds to me like you need a summer place over there to accommodate your transcontinental relationship… 🙂 Then you’d never have to say good-bye, only “until next time…” What a trip of a lifetime. 🙂

  33. Debbie says:

    Ah! Yes, you leave behind wonderful memories and exquisite scenery. But there is no place like home – new adventures with family (human and other) and lots of memories to remember! Welcome back home.

  34. Karen C (from the heart of the peidmont, Greensboro NC) says:

    All good things must come to an end. At least that’s what I remember I was always told. Thank you for taking us along and sharing with us the magic of your England days. Here’s wishing you both a safe trip back. Sending you Hugs and Smiles!

  35. Mae says:

    Thank you for a wonderful trip and I also will be looking forward to more blog posts about your trip after you get back to the US. Enjoy your trip back home, safe journey!

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

    …….I loved the journey Susan & Jo. Thank you for sharing so much beauty with us! Have you ever considered a second home there?????? I’m just saying! Even on this end, IT WENT BY FAST! Safe travels, ♥Darlene

  37. ….12…13…14?? didn’t WE only come over with 12 suitcases?? I think someone did some shopping while we were over here didn’t they Susan?? LOL I posted my “thank you” at the end of the Camelot blog and after reading this blog and all the sadness from the girlfriends all I have to say is this….OK girls lets put on our big girl panties…wipe the tears….get in the suitcases….and get on board for HOME….we all have been so fortunate to be in England for 2 months and as the old saying goes “All Good Things Must Come To An End”….so true otherwise how can we look forward to the next adventures if this one doesn’t end….??? Susan has so much to look forward to…her garden (thanks to her friend), her gladiolus about ready to bloom (don’t forget my pic Susan), her own bed, and most important and waiting by the window/door her precious kitties!!!! So, lets all be happy and we have 7 days to “play” on the ship….then its back to work for all of us…(ok now I’m getting a little misty) and I need to end this pep talk on a positive note….JACK’S SWEET MOUSTACHE!!!! Yay….

  38. soy2please says:

    I promised myself – no tears – but it is just imposible! I live in the Nevada desert and it must be 108 today – my husband does not understand why I made myself a cup of tea to sit down at the computer! Feels so right to “sip and read”! You have taken me on a journey, that I would otherwise, never have had an opportunity to do! Not only that, it was like going with friends! Thank you so much for being my travel companions, narrators, photo journalists and travel agents – all in one – with such happy smiles! May hardy sails bring ye home!

  39. Betty Marie, Pennsylvania says:

    England will never leave you, she is now and forever in your heart, and one day you may return not for a visit but to live there forever. We can’t see the future, but the heart knows what it knows and it won’t be denied. Some how and some way there is a place for you there forever more. So no good byes, just till we meet again, see you next year. You don’t have to go for such a long stay but a regular vacation would keep the love in your heart at ease till things become clear.

  40. Dawn says:

    I was thinking, while reading this and of course admiring the gorgeousness of England, that it shouldn’t be too hard to say goodbye when you are headed back home to Martha’s Vineyard, a place with a magic all its own! Also, the kitties…your girlfriends…the familiar feel of of HOME. Nothing like it. You’ll be fine! Plus, England is still there, even when you’re not, and I just know you’ll return soon!

    Sending you lots of love…it’s a beautiful midsummer here in Austria….it was a hot day today but now we have a night of rain and thunder and that refreshing feeling a stormy night brings after a boiling day. Makes me wonder….are you having the same weather as us? I’ll miss thinking of you being so close by, almost in the same time zone!

    xoxoxo Dawn

  41. sondra fox says:

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU SUE & JOE FOR ALL THE VIDEOS, PICTURES, & WRITINGS OF YOUR WONDERFUL STAY IN ENGLAND! I wrote each & every place down, just in case we have the opportunity of going to England in the future. By now, the caretakers of Jack & Girl have told them that you’re on your way home. I’m certain you’ll be greeting in the fashion that pets who are well loved will welcome you. When I look at “our” Jack (Wired Hair Fox Terrior), & all of our kitty friends (I feed 4 strays & 2 who live with us), I wish all animals could be cared & loved as much as the animals who brighten our days. What a lovely time you’ve had in jolly old England! Memories that will last for the rest of your lives. Your everyday life is such a joy to read, whether you’re in England, Martha’s Vineyard, or California. I’ve got all my friends hooked on you. We all converse on the latest news from you. Enjoy your ride home.
    Cheers, Sondra

  42. Julia Waterbury says:

    Thanks for the wonderful vicarious trip! Look forward to even more pictures when you return home. It was beautiful and memorable… thanks again!!!

  43. peg says:

    my mom always said, ‘Its best to leave before you want to leave.’ And, what a marvelous, magical journey it has been. thank you, Susan, for taking us along. ♥

  44. Bonny ~* says:

    Stiff upper lip…carry on…pip pip…cheerio…Bob’s you uncle!

    I’ve had two trips in one…our wonderful girlfriends’ trip through England with you and a trip down memory lane dog sitting for my brother in our hometown of Alexandria, VA (almost 2 weeks to go)…where I haven’t lived for 40 years! It’s so much more fun discovering rich history when you are an adult!

    Looking forward to seeing and hearing more about your adventure even after we’re all settled back home!


  45. Sweet Pea says:

    Another beautiful post…you could make me cry…we have all had the sweetest of times with you and Joe.
    I will miss our days in England very much but you can’t get rid of me just yet!!
    I will see you on board…as we move to twitter land together…”where blue meets blue”. (a perfect way to say it btw!)
    thanks thanks and thanks susan and joe for taking me along.
    xoxox sweet pea

  46. Beverly Brewer says:

    So beautiful from start to finish! Now we all have “our” diary to look forward to and we can relive the journey with all your extra-special trimmings and sweet embellishments!

  47. ChrisTea says:

    Well, Kiddo, I really do know how you feel. I know I’ll never get to Britain, even as much as I hope and pray, but if I ever won the lottery and got to go, there would be one thing … I wouldn’t leave. I would be hiding in barns, and nooks & crannies of castles, and I would mysteriously disappear from tours through country homes where I’d have to sneak out the next morning when someone unlocked the doors. Immigration would have to drag me, kicking and screaming, back to the boat or plane, and I fear I’d also have to be in a strait-jacket. I honestly don’t think that I could bear to leave once I’d gotten there. You have been a great tour guide with wonderful pictures and I thank you for sharing, even though there are tears. Actually, I think everyone here is crying. Have a great journey home – happy tides to you. I’m looking forward to more pictures when you get to our side of the Pond!

  48. Debbie S. says:

    I think the sign of a wonderful trip is when you are so sad to leave! Thank you so much for being so generous in sharing your adventure with the rest of us, I have loved every post! I’m sure Jack and Girl Kitty will be so happy to see you!

  49. Kim says:

    Just remember this, Susan and Joe, as you begin the last leg of your wondrous travels~

    “You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.”
    ― Frederick Buechner

    Sending fondest wishes and heaps of gratitude, Kim F.

  50. Lorraine says:

    Its been wonderful… I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Thank you for sharing your magic. Looking forward to the 10,000 other photos.

  51. Kelly J. says:

    Godspeed to you and Joe for your return home. I have a lump in my throat after reading your last post….what an awesome adventure this has been! Your pooses are waiting patiently by the door it seems 🙂 Cheerio! Kelly from Eastern PA

  52. Susan in SC says:

    It has been a charming holiday with the most generous and gracious of hosts. Thank you!

  53. Valerie Mathews says:

    What wonderful memories to fill your heart, mind, diary and pictures!!! A trip of a lifetime!!! I am so happy you and Joe were able to fulfill this incredible journey.

  54. Susan says:

    Good bye to England and thank you for taking such good care of Susan, Joe, and Petey. We look forward to their safe return to this side of the ocean, and look forward to Susan sharing her many stories, photos, and inspired artwork. 🙂

  55. Violet says:

    Why should do you have to say good- bye to England.
    You should move over there. You and old England were made for each other.

  56. Linda From Sudbury says:

    Come home now…………………

  57. Pat Johnson of Paso Robles says:

    In my lifetime, I have been blessed with many events. A husband of 41years that has given me numerous memories and adventures and love. Three Children and 6 grandchildren that provide love without even lifting a finger. And the many adventures across the US that have stuck with me over the years. But I sit here reading your last entry in England, remembering all of the beauty, experiencing a new land and history and celebration and I am crying at the same time. HOW DO YOU SAY GOOD-BYE??? I know that you don’t because along the way all I have to do is close my eyes and I will be back in England – walking down the green path filled with lambs and flowers – living beside the great people who have made England GRAND – sharing the notables that have written stories for us (including you, Susan) – pictures that have taken my breath away – realizing a love for a country that I never thought I would have the “gift” to experience – I can hardly wait for the “rest of the story” which I know you will make available to us. To say “Thank You, Joe and Susan” sounds very common when I know I should be sending up fire crackers in celebration of both of you. You have given me way more than I ever thought I could have! XXXXOOOO Bon Voyage and Welcome Home!! With Deep Gratitude….Pat J.

  58. Doris Petersen says:

    How I have loved this trip to England that you so generously have brought us all on. I read this last post with tears as I could imagine how sad you must feel saying goodbye to your friends, and all the beauty and charm of the English countryside. I am in awe of it! How I would love to go on this trip with my husband some day… I am dreaming of it. Thank you Susan and Joe and safe travels back to your home and darling kitties.

  59. Charm, history, memories, visual treats-a-plenty! Who could ask for more?
    Bon Voyage! I so want to cruise the seas!

  60. Bernice Patterson says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you so much for this wonderful time spent in England. I hope you are writing a book because you are so talented at transporting one to another place and time. It’s been a great experience ( have I been to England or do i just feel like I have? )
    God bless you and yours.

    • sbranch says:

      I am, I wrote and watercolored on a diary of this trip the whole time I was there. . . going home to finish the art!

  61. MaryAnn says:

    What a lovely “goodbye” post you had today. Paying tribute to the things you loved about such a wonderful country, it was very touching. Now that the hard part is over and we are all homeward bound, you have the lovely opportunity this week to reflect some more. And waiting for you on this side of the pond (I love that phrase!) are your two precious cats, and the home you love and care about as much as the people in England do theirs. Which brings me to something I have wondered about. Other than southern mansions and some estates, does anyone the our country name their homes like the English do-or did-do they still name them? It is such a sweet tradition! Enjoy the trip home. We can hardly wait for the diary when it comes out. It will be a special souvenier!

    • Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

      MaryAnn — I, too, think it’s a lovely tradition and one that we should adopt in the States. Several years ago my neighbor named her house “Hill View”. I’ll take a page from her and our British cousins by naming my house Casa Paloma (Dove House). Would love to hear if you and the other Girlfriends will start a trend, and what you all will name your houses.

      -Marianne (with an “i” and an “e” : ) –

    • Judy Young says:

      My mum’s home in The Cotswolds is called “Pippens”.

      • Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

        Judy — What a lucky “mum” to have a home in the beautiful Cotswolds! Hope you get to visit her often at Pippens – that’s a very happy-sounding house name!


  62. Jack says:

    I hope this goodbye/farewell is in reference to your England-based activities……and you will still comment as you continue with the final leg of the trip while headed home? Will your computer work on the ship?

    • sbranch says:

      They give us a certain number of hours . . . so I can at least say hello … pictures upload very slowly, so we’ll see what I can do on the blog! xoxo

  63. Jo says:

    Thanks for the memories (insert Bob Hope and Shirley Ross singing in The Big Broadcast of 1938)! Will miss touring with you and all, it’s been lovely.

  64. Peggy Cooper from Pueblo, CO says:

    Made me teary. I don’t want to leave – no, no, no. Okay, if we must. Will be good to see the black and whites (kitty cats), and how things are on the Vineyard. The rain was wonderful. It’s 106 in CO today, and there are forest fires all over the place, so please everyone, try to wish some of that rain this way.

    BTW, I want to thank you for posting that video of Hugh Grant in Love Actually – hubba hubba. One of my favorite movies to watch at Christmas.

  65. Carol Maurer says:

    Susan… The time is now to say “goodbye”, but we will all have the wonderful memories of those green fields full of lambs and flowers! All those paths that we walked on going place to place. Those wonderful houses that look like they’ve been there forever… because they have <3 Looking forward to the trip home… as you say our animals, friends, beds, etc etc are all waiting for our return. Thanks so much for taking us along with you and Joe!
    Carol M

  66. Nancy says:

    Thank you, thank you! Now think of how wonderful it will be to hold Girl Kitty and little Jack! 😉

    • Nancy says:

      I forgot to thank you for the picture of the sheep on today’s post….I turned it into my screensaver……beautiful! Bon Voyage!!!

  67. Lynda kling says:

    thought I was the only one who cried when I leave England! (I also cry when I arrive…) Thanks for the wonderful pics of your trip- almost as good as going! I stayed for 2 months last fall with my son,d-i-l and grand kids and STILL didn’t want to leave..wanted to ship the pets over to be with me!

    • sbranch says:

      I understand, we talked about pet shipping too 🙂

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        I’m sure you found that with quarantines, etc., pets are happier in their own home if a person can find a pet sitter like Susan and Joe did…We had friends who flew their dog across the country when they moved and the dog in its crate got “lost” by the airline and was found dead–it was terribly heart-breaking. No food, water, or being let out for days… We decided then we would never ship a pet anywhere, for any reason…

  68. Jack says:

    Love Hiltop — makes me feel as though I’m driving through Vermont !

  69. Pam says:

    Hi Susan and Joe. Much of life is bitter sweet. I will leave you with what I think was a Dr. Suess quote: “Don’t cry because it over, laugh because it happened.” A good perspective keeps everything right. Just think…you have years of art inspiration to create with. Looking forward to what blooms from the planting of this seed trip to England. Bon voyage!!! Pam

  70. Christine (from Michigan) says:

    Susan and Joe–

    Thank you for your many posts of beautiful, wonderful England. I have really enjoyed coming along on your journey. And you did go to see Jane Austen’s home. I was wondering if you would and asked you about it in an earlier comment. You surprised us all again!
    Safe travels back to your home on MV and to your kitties.

  71. Thank you SO much for taking us along.

    Due to health reasons, I doubt I’ll ever reach my dream of visiting England but I feel like I have through you. 🙂

  72. Nellie says:

    What a fantastic holiday we have had! Memories to last a lifetime! It seems more crowded in the suitcase returning than it did going. Must be all those tea rooms where I couldn’t resist the marvelous pastries, especially Rachel’s brownies!:-) It will be a soggy return due to the tears rolling down my cheeks.:-(

    xoxo Nellie

  73. Pam G says:

    It’s been 13 yrs. since I have been to England but I will never say good-bye as I will always hope to return in person. Thank you Susan for the wonderful adventure you have brought us all along on. It makes me more determined than ever to return someday (soon) in person. Say til we meet again, that is much better than good-bye and remember those kitties are waiting! We will always have our memories.

  74. Laurie W.--MA says:

    Have so much enjoyed your trip. A dear friend and her husband just left yesterday for a 10-day trip to Scotland and England (Cotswolds, etc). She is so excited that they have tickets to the “Downton Abbey” castle. I shared your blog with her and she was enchanted. I think they’re going to try and fit in a visit to Beatrix Potter’s home (we’re both school librarians!)

    As hard as it is to leave, you will be excited to come home to the Cape! Things have been growing more beautiful each day! The daylilies, hydrangeas and lavender are starting to bloom, the window boxes still look so fresh, and even tho. we’ve had some very warm days, it’s still cool enough at night to feel refreshed. It’s good to go away, but it’s good to come home!

  75. Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

    ~sigh~sigh~and then ~sigh~again. It seems that one can never spend too much time in the UK because one would think that this should surely have been enough. But, darling Susan, you and Joe have done a most excellent job of treating all of us to a Grand Tour of the spots that really matter and in the most stylish of ways. Your posts and Tweets of the Twip have definitely transported me across the pond in a virtual way, and in the most delightful company with all the Girlfriends and Jack!!

    I am looking forward to many more blogs with accompanying photos about your adventures and, of course, The Book. And I think it is fair to say, that long after you have blogged all there is to blog about this trip, one or another of the girlfriends with send you a Comment that simply says, “Please tell us a story about your trip to England.”,,, and we’ll be off again.

    You are a genius for thinking of inviting us along on this adventure! And exceedingly brave for posting the actual invitation on your blog, not knowing whether or not the technical side of things would actually cooperate. And you and Joe have been extremely generous in taking time out of your vacation to tend to Blog Posts and Comments. From my perspective, it has been roaring success!

    Where are we going next??? LOL


    • sbranch says:

      HOME HOME HOME . . . You’re all going to like it there! xoxo

      • Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

        It’s always lovely to go on an adventure and it’s equally lovely to come back to one’s own cozy, comfortable and time-tested “Heart of the Home,” as you so eloquently put it Susan! You’re so right—we’re going to like it there!!!

      • Dawn from Minnesota says:

        “HOME”. . . it lOOks like Home….it fEEls like Home….it even
        sMElls like Home !!! If we’re lucky. . . . it can feel like a big
        Hug when we walk in the door! And then, when we are back
        to cleaning the bathroom again & again. . . . . . we can go back
        to England !!! So lucky to have the “memory” part of Life!!!

  76. Marita says:

    What a fun treat this has been. I am anxious to see how this fantastic trip will impact your next book, Willards, calendars and – gasp, perhaps even a release of a new line of dishes?!?! 😀
    Safe travels and many blessings await your return!


  77. I fell and understand the pain and sadness of leaving Beautiful and charming England. It seems but a dream that we were ther a month ago. I still miss it. Put a special picture from your trip on your computer wallpaper to see everyday and play the sounds of baby lambs calling to their mommies. Safe journey home.

  78. Sylvia Faye says:

    Susan thank you and Joe and Petey for taking the time out of your trip to make sure all ‘us’ girlfriends get to enjoy the beauty that has been yours to share with us…it has truly been beyond belief.
    I know that I shall never physically see the England you have shown us and shared your joys and pleasures of each day along the way. It has been kind and has been an extra ordinary trip. I have kept each post and plan to review them all again when you return home.
    Bon Voyage and God Bless you both,
    Sylvia Faye

  79. Mady says:

    Because Girl Kitty and Jack need you!

  80. Frances Fowler says:

    You have had a wonderful, life changing dream vacation — it will be so hard to leave, but I know you will be happy to see Girl Kitty and Jack, who have undoubtedly missed you entirely, though cats may not be able to admit as such. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, videos, and pictures. It was the next best thing to being there!

  81. Jan says:

    Have sooo enjoyed the journey and look forward to seeing and hearing the rest of the story. So generous of you and Joe to include us. What a beautiful trip! Thank you so much!!

  82. Joanie B from San Diego says:

    Wow and XXXXWow. I really enjoyed the trip and can not wait for the journal with your own drawings, musings etc etc. Thanks for keeping us in your pocket, while sharing your full heart.

  83. CindyK (from Minnesota!) says:

    OMGoodness, I can’t believe our trip has come to an end. But your father is right, you are bringing it all back with you! (what a smart daddy you have :)! All your notes, drawings, paintings and videos and photos will keep you going for a long long time! I simply can’t wait for your book!! I will be the first in line to get a copy! But, won’t it be great to get home and see those kitty’s!! Thanks for the ride!!!

  84. Susan, Joe, and Petey, it has been such a pleasure traveling with the three of you, I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed seeing Jolly England thru your eyes! And guess what! At the local flea mkt today I found The Tale of Pigling Bland! The English printing! I was so excited, couldn’t wait to tell you! Wonderful pictures, That Petey is so silly! and your kitties looking out the window for you! Yeah, our family is coming home! Bon Voyage!
    Tweet Tweet!!!!:)

  85. Cindy says:

    Oh how bittersweet, but I’ve loved every minute of it! Thank you thank you for the memories! Having lived in England as a child, the memories came flooding back. I could smell the smells and imagine the towns. My favorite smell was fish and chips and the beautiful smell of flowers after a rain.

  86. Bonnie L says:

    Dear Susan and Joe….I can feel your hearts breaking at the thought of your journey’s end. Bittersweet. It was truly glorious, though! I have so many lists of places I want to visit and movies I want to see and books I want to read and tastes to taste and I have you to thank for it………so………Thank You! Very Very Much! Love from North Dakota

  87. Julie (Omaha) says:

    Saying good bye is hard, but as you head back west, a much sweeter greeting awaits … …. ….. “welcome home.” 🙂

  88. nanette from Alabama says:

    I wanted to tell you about a lovely tribute to England that you’d most likely enjoy on decortoadore.blogspot.com. On the menu to the side of the Blog, there are several entries for an extensive viewing of the Queen and a rich English history. It’s absolutely beautiful! Enjoy!

  89. Tears of sadness and thanksgiving for a wonderful time! It has been an amazing trip! (I was worried I wouldn’t be able to tuck back into the suitcase, but all the walking must have done the trick! hee- hee. ) Now you will have time to settle and enjoy the sea, hopefully calm seas. Anticipating the reunion with your beloved Girl Kitty, and Jack who have been wondering Where you two have gone off to!
    Thank you so very much for a truly delightful time away with you.

  90. Deb '51 says:

    Dearest Sue,
    You have your own magical way of making us all believe we are right there with you, taking in the sights and sounds and smells; feeling so overwhelmed at times at the beauty and sweetness and grandeur and history and fullness of each moment and experience. I want to thank you for taking me along and sharing those hours with me – it has been a highlight of my days and when I’m done reading and listening and watching and feeling, I sometimes go and do it again. I love what you’ve done for us. Waaaah! *sniffle*

    I have to share an experience I once had when I was feeling similar to how you are feeling about leaving England. Many years ago I was finishing my last 3 months of schooling in Hawaii. It had been a magical time there for me. When it all came to an end and I was on the flight back home to reality with nothing and no one but my memories, my eyes kept leaking and I couldn’t seem to make them stop. A kind gentleman who just seemed to know how I was feeling kept silently handing me tissues. That’s how I feel this mornign reading this. I need a tissue, for sure. I’m so happy that you have Joe to share your leaky eyes with. So sweet. Makes me feel melancholy on this rainy Sunday morning. *sniff*

    Thank you, dear Susan and dear Joe. I can hardly wait for the next chapter. You make my quiet time feel full!

    ♥Debbie♥ of Buckley

  91. Carolyn (SoCA) says:

    Your journey became mine as you kindly tucked me into your pocket! Thank you! and I look forward to the days ahead because, Susan, you make every day an adventure! My husband and I just returned from visiting the East Coast for the first time and are still planting the memories deeply into our hearts and minds. Traveling is such a delightful way to experience life and to learn!

  92. Hala says:

    Dear Susan,
    Yes, it has been amazing to see our country through your eyes. I have been trying to look at things on my own door step through “susan eyes” and I have realised how beautiful it is. I visited the US when I was 19 and I was in awe of the space and beauty and wealth there too! I have loved reading your blog!! Have a great trip home. xxx
    Hala nr. Bath

  93. Marie says:

    Yes, ships can be rather dodgy at the best of times!! Wishes for a safe and pleasant journey home. So happy you enjoyed your sojourne over here, but I knew you would. How can anyone not love this green and pleasant land with all of it’s bits and bobs and scrumminess, and sheep, rolling fields, hedgerows, tits, pubs, lorries, royalty, scones, clotted cream, jam, chips, canals and canal boats, castles, gardens (both kitchen and otherwise), cheerio pip pip’s et all!! xxoo
    PS – and the rain, let’s not forget the rain. 🙂

  94. Linda says:

    Thank you Susan for so generously sharing your time there with us. I, too, was about to cry while reading this because I can feel how it tears at your heart to leave. Never in my life did I think that England was so beautiful. You made us all feel like we were right there with you and it was wonderful.

  95. Patricia Triska says:

    Do I have to go? I don’t wanna go home!!! Let’s stay a little longer, please. I am sorry that it all has to come to an end. I have enjoyed this trip immensely. Thank you so much for taking me along but I really don’t wanna go home.

  96. Pat M. in S.B. IN says:

    Thank you for taking us along. I never saw so much of England and can’t wait to see more of your trip. I couldn’t wait to see your next blog and where we were going. You gave us all so much. Have read all three of Kate Morten’s books while you were in England and enjoyed them so much. Pat in Indiana

  97. Cindy Tuning says:

    Have you thought about becoming “tri-coastal”? I feel so sad for you leaving such a beautiful place but you can always go back, the kitties are waiting and, there’s no place like home! Have a safe and relaxing voyage.

  98. Margot says:

    Thank you for sharing your vacation. I got to see my sister’s pics from England and Scotland while we were home in WI taking care of our mother. Then…I took my own vacation to Charleston, SC. There is so much history in our world!!! One could not see it all in a life time, but it sure does bring our old textbooks to life.

  99. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    Dearest Susan & Joe,
    “thankYoU!” My “first-time” in England was more-than-anyone could wish for;
    Why? Well……I got to see it through the eyes of Susan Branch….and her eyes
    can only see “B E A U T I F U L !” XoXDawn

  100. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    : .} “ge’ a bit squiffy” did ya? me too….in our yellow sugar-sand boat….on a lake
    that always had green around the edges…….and a lakeside brunch with freshly
    squeezed mimosas……we kinda did the same thing ‘eh? Kinda? Hope that the
    “goodbyes” are feeling a little more like “hello’s” today! Take Care! XoXDawn

    • Dawn from Minnesota says:

      oH Joe….hmmm….thought it was the sight of PAUL that made Susan
      all giggly while the Queen recieved her jubilee diamond…..but now I’m
      pretty sure it was a guy named JOE!!! Have FUN you two!!!!

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