We’re on our way H♥ME!

Halloooooo out there in realities-ville; here we are, right this moment, in suspended animation in middle of surreal Atlantic Ocean.  This is what it looked like driving up to the ship on Sunday.  Look how badly the Queen Mary 2 wants to get going!  She is straining at those ropes!

She is happy now, doing what she does best; we are steaming right along, through blue sky and sea; making a beeline for home.  It’s been hard to get on the internet girlfriends, sorry — that I can get on at all is quite a little miracle, yesterday I couldn’t even get the screen to come up; I think I might not be the only one on this ship doing a blog!  But I got up early this morning to beat the traffic, so here I am, and hopefully, here I will stay for a while!  It is cozy in our little cocoon this morning; here’s what’s playing on the TV here in the room, very quietly not to wake everyone up; for your morning enjoyment, French music …. they think of everything around here! 

Lots of tears saying good bye to England; but it was a gorgeous day to float out to sea.  If there is a softer, gentler, more romantic way to travel than aboard an ocean liner like the Queen Mary 2, I can’t think of what it might be!  It’s like living in a really good dream!

What a surprise for us to find this special box of chocolates and bottle of champagne waiting in our room . . . if you have time today, and you’re on Twitter, I think it would be a great surprise it you could drop a Tweet to @LisaPageUK and tell her how MUCH we are loving these champagne truffles, how they are melting in our mouth! How we especially love them at breakfast.  Tell her we are saving the champagne to toast the Statue of Liberty when the Queen Mary 2 sails gallantly, as I know she will, into New York Harbor on Sunday.  

In the meantime we are ensconced and cozy in our little room, with the door open, the salt air is putting us out at night like lights; we are walking the promenade around the ship every day, Petey is happy, we are happy  . . . and . . .

Oh dear . . . you know what girls? I hate to disappoint you, but this isn’t working; so far I have uploaded 17 photos, this is all I’ve managed to get to come up, and they are taking forever!  I just got up to make another cup of tea and realized I am turning into a nut with this . . .  so, see that bed, I am getting back into it!  I’m rereading Sense and Sensibility and enjoying it so much, there is no reason I should be fighting city hall!

But, no matter how long it takes, I have to show you one more picture . . . here goes.

Taaa-daaaa, 15 minutes later, I got it!!!  People can bring their dogs on the ship, but they have to stay in a kennel.  They get to come out twice a day, and this was yesterday.  One little bulldog is not happy, look at that face!!!  I love it there are animals on board!   We took lots of photos of them, but this one sort of broke my heart.

Soon we will be home; I’ll be in my studio with the window open looking out on my picket fence garden and, slowly but surely, the rest of the story will unfold . . . I will tell you, at leisure and with relish, all about going to Jane Austen’s house, Dove Cottage, and all the rest.  I will show you Rachel’s beautiful bedroom wallpaper!  I will show you the stone cottage at Siobhans! I have a WONDERFUL surprise that I’ve been saving for you . . . wonderful wonderful . . . Have we not had a ball girlfriends?  Your comments made it so much fun for me!  You are lovely traveling companions . . . I never felt alone the whole time!  I’ll see you all back on Martha’s Vineyard; give me a little time for unpacking, let me dip my brush into some watercolors and do some more doodling for the English Diary; I can’t wait to walk out to the opening on the pond, roll around with Jack and Girl Kitty a little bit, cook something pub-ish in my own kitchen; have tea with my girlfriends, hear the screen door slam a couple of times. K, g’night girlfriends, back to the adventures of the Dashwood girls and that handsome Mr. Willoughby who feels that Elinor is “using him unkindly.”  I think not! 

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408 Responses to We’re on our way H♥ME!

  1. Cindy Tuning says:

    I think I know what the wonderful surprise may be, but I’m not saying a word!!

    • Jack says:

      Tuning in to you Cindy — glad you got it , so now whisper it in my ear , here on the blog — Sue won’t mind and it’s just one word … In fact if you know just the first letter of the surprise will be enough….so go ahead do your A B C ‘ s ….Jack

  2. Angela says:

    Susan, you have written the most wonderful blog about your trip to England and I’ve loved every minute of it.
    I am English and was brought up in Warwick. Now I live in N. Wales. You have inspired me to love my country even more when I see it through your eyes. It’s been a revelation to see everywhere through you, and to see your delight at the things we see every day and hardly notice.
    You’ve been very patient in writing your blog when I’m sure you would rather have been out enjoying the area, and probably had Joe in the background asking how much longer you would be!
    I stayed in Tenterden for a week with a friend a few years ago and we visited ten National Trust properties! We stayed in a little cottage right by your picture of a little courtyard in Tenterden.
    Keep up the good work. I’m sure your blog is a tonic for many. Whenever I read it I am inspired to go and do something–be it sew, bake, garden, read or dream!

    • Susan says:

      Me, too! Thanks for the inspiration and focus on the positive aspects of life, Susan! You are a wonderful role model!:)

  3. Jack says:

    OK Girlfriends , get ready , here we go again ! Back under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and officially in New York Harbor ……the uniform of the day is called ,”Barely Legal”
    So get out those Tank Tops — and Sue it’s finally time to unveil that bottle of Delamotte Champagne .– you will notice it is a fine not too aggressive blend with supple roundness on the pallet– And a clean fruity taste — the bouquet has a hint of citrus , white flowers and lemon peel ……will be delicious with a nibble of a sharp Wisconsin Cheddar as you toast , in passing by that grand Statue of Liberty , welcoming you back !
    And back to coming events ….Arn’t surprises the funnest thing ? I just know you girls will love this keepsake treasure of a surprise that is in store for you . It was always so fun to trick the kids into telling me what they had planned as a gift for Christmas …..like in looking at a tissue wrapped package …..I would say ” well I know one thing – it’s not
    T-shirts ” , and someone would blurt out , “it is too” …….. And then came chaos , with everyone talking at once …….trying to cover up this faux pas and Pat their Mom right in their with them …
    So let see what w o u l d be a good clue for you sharpies to work on ……well I know that you have previously read the details regarding this — and in reading those details on the blog
    some of you really got involved in the subject , at the time — providing your own take on how to proceed concerning the issue –and also many of you have commented on this function constantly over the last couple months. So it’s quite a simple equation to unravel
    ……what was the issue ? And what is the function , very nice clues !

    • Patricia H. says:

      Whisper it to me Jack….I promise I won’t tell anyone! *crosses fingers*

    • Kerry S. from San Pedro, CA says:

      Jack – you are such a tease!! LOL! Have loved having you along during our virtual adventure every bit as much as Susan!
      You are both extra-and never-ordinary!
      Cheers to homecomings!

    • Julie says:

      Alright, Riddle-Me-Jack…….am completely stumped.
      Is it bigger than a bread box
      or is it smaller than a crouton ?
      Do we have to read it, knead it or feed it ?
      Psst…..do the girlfriends a favor & write it in code, like Beatrix Potter .
      Susan will NEVER know !

    • judi says:

      YOU tease! Too early to have brainy thoughts. Ah, now we know you are hanging out as a sommelier in AZ:)

    • Pat Mofjeld says:

      Miss Marple here, while busy knitting in the air conditioning to avoid the heat outside, says “One more clue, please?” 🙂

    • Nina says:

      Well I know one thing Jack its not a…..lol (did that work?) Nope you are such a teaser! xx

    • Silvia Niomi says:

      LOL…. you’d think after having just finished a hefty math class this last semester I could figure this out….. but I am truly stumped on what the function is to this equation. Thanks for the heads up on the Delamotte Champagne… will have to try this out soon (4th of July) along with a sharp cheddar cheese (in our case it will have to be a California cheese – made from happy cows).

  4. Judy Young says:

    Welcome Home! Sue, Joe and Petey! What a phenomenal trip! The girlfriends can never thank you enough for what you have done for us, and still a wonderful book to look forward to…AND….your next posts on Rachel’s wallpaper, Dove Cottage, the surprise, and everyday posts on Jack and Girl-Kitty and your life back home. We are all eagerly awaiting to hear from you. You are most certainly the nicest person I think in the world!!! I mean that. You are LOVED by millions of us! Welcome Home!

  5. Gini Gould says:

    Susan! For the Girlfriends’ peace of mind, please duck as you and Joe go under that bridge. Queen Mary 2’s smokestack looks very problematic!!!!!!!!!! oxoxoxoxoxox

  6. Gini Gould says:

    We’ll be watching….!

  7. Just a quick comment to ask if anyone knows why my comments don’t appear? Please feel free to delete this boring post!

    • sbranch says:

      I am thinking that maybe it’s because my half of this blog is at sea??? Hopefully it will all get back to working later tomorrow when I get home!

  8. Lori Edmonds says:

    I have thoroughly enjoyed the trip across the pond! Thanks ever-so-much for taking me along : )

  9. Gumbo Lily says:

    Happy Sails….er Trails!
    Looking forward to your update.

  10. judi says:

    uff da, think I’ve been paging down to your post before this and leaving my comments. Anyhow, here I am, the faithful, at 4:30 a.m. awaiting your arrival under the bridge. Have you in sight – not long now. Take off those UK woolies – it’s 77 degrees in the haaa bor for you:) Woohoo 77 degrees on 7/1 my lucky numbers. Almost full moon too.

  11. ChrisTea says:

    Ok, Susan … you’re about 10-15 minutes from Verrazano Bridge! This is so cool for me! I’ve never watched a cruise ship come into the harbor. Welcome home! I have to go watch – I hope I can spot you waving on the ship. 🙂

  12. mary spring says:

    Wow!!!…going under the Verrazano Bridge…you all looked simply glittery and magical …. welcome back !!

  13. ChrisTea says:

    Your ship just passed by – there is NO way you can see any people by the rails. It’s just too far. I’m disappointed that they don’t follow the ship into port. They followed the ships when leaving the harbor but I guess not when they come back in, or maybe because it’s still kind of dark out there. hahaha. Anyway, it was neat knowing you were onboard. You’ll be home soon and you can relax with a nice cup of tea. Looking forward to hearing all about the last leg of your trip!

  14. judi says:

    You made it under that bridge fine. A big bargie boat has been hanging out in front of the webcam area for a couple of days and that blocked you a bit. I thought i saw a couple of photo flashes coming from the rear of the boat – maybe you signaling since it was still kinda dark. Funny, I love this website and generally put it on first thing in the morn (5:30 ish) and they have a number in the top left as to how many people are watching it. Usually it’s about 10 – this a.m. it peaked at 51 as the QM2 came under the bridge. Bisous.

  15. mary anne helms says:

    Welcome home! So disappointed sthat the ship’s webcam was stuck on Thursday. I was awake at 4:30 so I wouldn’t miss anything and nada! So I was thrilled to see your photos.
    There are few views that are as thrilling as sailing into NY harbor and I don’t live far from there.

    Your ride home will be filled with impatience I knoe

  16. Jackie P says:

    Hi Sue, it is now 6:35 a.m. in NH and you are probably on your way to Martha’s Vineyard by now. I think the QM2 arrived in NY harbor earlier than scheduled (according to the tracking site) and was already in port by 6:30 a.m. Welcome home!

  17. Linda K says:

    Just a very big THANK YOU for letting us all come along on your wonderful vacation. Loved every blog, every picture, every garden, every lamb, every cottage and inn, and OMG, a peacock!!! My husband and I finally went on our “10 year in the planning” trip to Ireland in April and your pictures have been a reminder of that beautiful area of the world. So many colors of green, aren’t there? Welcome home! Your kitties will be so very happy!

  18. Lorraine says:

    Glad you’re back. My mom use to say, “its good to go, but its good to be back home.” Hope the same is true for you. Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

  19. Here in the Mid-Atlantic many have had their own weather-related problems! We were one of more than a million without electricity and they’re saying it could be a week for some! Thankfully, we were only without for 34 hours (and also without water because we have a well), but it meant I missed the arrival of the QM2 because our power didn’t come back on until 8:00 this morning. 🙁 Glad to have you back! Hope you made that 8:00 ferry!

  20. Hi and welcome home! The QM2 [and other ships] has a neat live positioning map on their website…so last night, around 3 AM I watched you chug by, from my deck, at my house on Long Island and waved you a welcome home! So fun to see the big ship with my highpowered binoculars. …and of course I loved every minute of our vicarious trip with you. Thanks!


  21. Jenny says:

    So hard to believe your trip is coming to an end – how I’ve enjoyed every moment and I’m sooooo excited to know that there’s more tales of your travels coming. I cnnot wait to see Jane Austen’s house. Yay!

    Thanks Susan for being you. You’re awesome.


  22. Oh goodness…you’re now home about 24 hours…know the kitties were OVER THE MOON HAPPY to see you both! Know the feeling was returned in spades!
    WELCOME HOME, world travelers. How Very Kind of Ms Page and if I tweeted, I’d do as you suggest.
    The photo of the dogs and their people broke my heart…only twice a day? That’s dreadful! Perhaps the powers that be should have a place where dogs and people could be together as long as they want/need to be together during the day.
    Now, I’m waiting to find out what Pa Jack’s surprise was for you…?

  23. Jack says:

    Really ? Girl on Twitter , reminds me of the Bulldog on the lap — expression wise !

  24. mary anne helms says:

    I have visions of your house filled with luggage and the phone ringing constantly and the kitties following you about! It is so good to be home and so pleasantly exhausting! You did have a longgggggg day yesterday bu at least you don’t have jet lag! Go slowly so you keep all those happy memories close to you.

    Welcome home and happy 4th. Sorry I don’t tweet! Xxxxxxcc

  25. Sharon says:

    Welcome Home!!!! Thank you for taking us on this amazing journey.

  26. Can’t wait to get “the rest of the story”. 🙂

  27. Kimberlee says:

    Thank you, Dear Susan, for the wonderful adventure you have taken me on. My heart has been yearning for a trip “across the pond”, and your words and photos have taken me there!!! My “tea” cup truly has runneth over. 🙂 Happy 4th to you and yours… *sPaRkLe-sPaRkLe-sNap-sNap*!!! *

  28. Silvia Niomi says:

    Hi Susan,
    just checked out your tweets on twitter from last couple of days, whew…. glad to see you arrived home safely. Girl Kitty looks lovely as usual… can’t wait to see Jack boy. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for a wonderful and exquisite trip. Happy settling in.


  29. Christine Anderson says:

    Thanks for a most wonderful blog trip! I had an amazing time and look forward to seeing the book follow up! Now figure how to get back into life!

  30. SuzK says:

    Wow, I didn’t realize how many of us took this trip with you! Thank you again for sharing such a wonderful time with us. I can’t wait to see your last photos. In the meantime, sit back and relax with Joe and Petey and we’ll wave as you pass the Great Lady and steam into New York.

  31. Janis from New Jersey says:

    Thank YOU SO MUCH Susan, for allowing us special glimpses of Jolly Old England for allowing us to travel along with you. Your blog was colorful and sweet and your photos captured the very essence of the Mother Country. Thank you so much again! It’s wonderful to be able to share in something the rest of us may never get a chance to see first hand! God Bless


  32. Jack says:

    Well, now that you have been home for a while, and before you forget, it would seem that your “surprise” should be showing up here pretty soon! Right? (Not that I mind, I’m cool with it.:-) )

    • sbranch says:

      You’re cool with it? You are dying to know! I’m getting there, there is method to my madness . . . so much still to show!!!

  33. Nancy Webster says:

    Welcome home! Thank you for sharing your wonderful English adventure!
    While in London in June we saw Beatrix Potter’s collection at the Victoria and Albert. I
    Had you with me there. I so loved that she made cards of her beloved characters so that children in need could have a crib.
    I always feel like one of your special sheep when returning to England. I would treasure
    the book for always and ever.

  34. Nancy Webster says:


  35. Mary says:

    Thank you for taking us along on your trip. Enjoyed every moment.

  36. Mary says:

    I hope I’m posting in the right place! Lovely book. I want to give it to my mom.

  37. Judith Johnson says:

    Wow! what a girlfriend you are! When you had your store in California I made my husband take me there every time went to Pismo. He sat outside and enjoyed the creek and the chickens that wandered around. And when our friends from Seattle came to visit, we had to take them to your store. So I was sad when you closed it. What a delightful book you are giving away. I would be thrilled to “win” it

  38. Winifred Creamer says:

    This is the first time I’ve stopped in and I enjoyed hearing about your travels and hearing about some of the places I’ve read about.

  39. Donna from Kennett Square says:

    Have so enjoyed your journey…to England and every day! Thank you Susan and your happy heart!

  40. Marsha Spain says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us all. I have been to London but would love to explore the English countryside as you did.
    There was a “ramblin” pink rose across from my grandmother’s farmhouse. It ran along the fence and was planted there more than 60 years ago. I visited the old farmhouse and its new owners, and I discovered that some of the rose survived all these years. The new residents allowed me to take a cutting, and I now am growing my grandmother’s rose here in North Carolina!

  41. pam schippe says:

    Pam loves rabbits and your trip!
    July 16 2012
    Roses are pink, lavender and white. I have never WON anything at
    all in my life. Wish I could win something so special to me, a
    treasure to behold for eternity. The BOOK…..

  42. marylou says:

    Hi Susan

    I love reading your blog. You are sooo creative!!! I am rereading “Girlfriends”
    Book. Love, love, love it. Sisterhood is so heart warming. Thank you for writing it.

  43. Pam Wright says:

    Thank you so much for the wonderful blog of your trip to England and now your return to your home sweet home! You are such an inspiration! Since you started the blog for your trip to England I’ve been really motivated to plant a few more flowers in the yard and really try to make our home extra special. Your style is perfect!! I’ve loved your cookbooks and now I can’t wait to see your book on England.

    Hillsboro, OR

  44. Sylvia Faye says:

    Thanks for the farewell takeoff on the Queen Mary. I, like you, think that bed just looks too cozy not to indulge in extra weeks while afloat. I see Petey knows what is a good think as he has already indulged and is fast asleep.

    What a kind gift and fond surprise for you and Jack to enjoy….surprises are always welcome when they are so sweet as this one.

    The trip has been the best and a young mother from our parish is going to England on the 25th of this month. I told her about Emma Bridgewater and sent your post to her and she will be close enough to the area that she is hoping to make a visit there. I know this will be a ‘highlight’ of her trip if she is able to accomplish the visit.

    Bless you for the wonderful, relaxing, exercising, tea and visits all ‘us’ girlfriends have enjoyed in your enjoyable company.

    ~Sylvia Faye

  45. Marge says:

    Why did this blog, that I received in June, arrive today?

    • sbranch says:

      I’m not sure, strange things happen here. Why? I don’t know. Sorry. I hope everyone didn’t get it again!

  46. Marge says:

    Susan, be sure to know I have no complaints about receiving this blog a second time. Hearing from you again just brightens my day twice !

    • sbranch says:

      I just wonder sometimes about the craziness that must be going on behind the scenes here! I’m oblivious! 🙂

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