Our Last Day; saving Best for Last . . .

Our last day in England we went to visit Jane Austen’s house in a little country town called Chawton. I can’t really say we saved the best for last, because there was just too much best on this trip!  But add this to the pile, because it was best too.  The house is in Hampshire, very near Southampton where the ship sailed from . . . that’s the lowest, middle part of England on the map.  I’m watercoloring a map of England for my English Diary, so you’ll finally get to see where we’ve been (hiding in those suitcases you missed way too much!  We’re going to make up for that!).  So here goes, get ready, it’s a little bit long . . .

First off, you have to know how this quiet neighborhood sounded this day!  The only thing missing is “my-toe-hurts-bet-tee” the nature national anthem of England, but trust me, the wood pigeons were out in full force!

There’s the house! That’s Jane Austen’s House!  How beautiful!  Let’s go find a parking space!

On our way to the house, we walk through the neighborhood . . .  the neighborhoods were almost always as wonderful as the houses we were going to visit!

 Many of the homes in Chawton have thatched roofs . . .

There are many rose-covered cottages . . .

 This is the pub across the street from the house . . . in case you’d like a bite when you get done, or a peah ci-da. In case?  Don’t you love the flower boxes?

On the corner, directly across from the house, you can stop for tea in this wonderful tea room called “Cassandra’s” — which is the name of both Jane’s beloved sister, and her mother.

So here we go, are you ready?  I was so excited!  Hope I don’t accidentally run anyone down!!

We had to go into the gift shop to get our tickets.  My first question:  “Can I take pictures inside the house?”  (Not every house we visited allows photography, I really didn’t expect them to say yes;  but I was hoping and praying.)  And then, Yes You Can!  I can?  Oh Boy.  Let’s go!!!

There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart.  Jane Austen

Jane was born in 1775; she started writing Pride and Prejudice when she was 21, but it was in Chawton House at this amazingly small table that she finished it; it’s here she wrote and revised her greatest stories.

At this very table.  Her books came right out of her brain, through her hand, onto the paper, one letter at a time.

We were invited to try writing the way Jane did … with a feather quill pen and ink!  I couldn’t wait to get my little fingers around that!

If you look close, I think you can tell that I tried it!  I loved it!!!  I bought a feather and ink in the gift shop; I’m going to write with it in the English Diary so you can see it in action!  How she did this I will never know, there could not have been much “rewriting” on her books; no word processor or even a typewriter to make it easier (or even a ball point pen for that matter)!  Because you have to dip the quill pen in the ink about every 2 or 3 letters or it runs dry!  You have to blot it too, or your arm will drag through and smear it!  It’s a slow process, but it’s what she knew; and that’s how it is with book writing, no matter how you do it, you just keep going every day, until it’s done, and then, viola, you have a book!

Before I show you details in the house, let me show you just how charming this chock-full-of-history cottage is.  This is the bedroom that Jane shared with her sister Cassandra.

This is a canopy tent bed of the period. Where they didn’t have the exact furniture owned by the Austen family, they used period pieces so we could know what things would have looked like.  Love this bed!  I would like to be twelve years old and have this bed!!!

 There are bouquets of cut flowers from the garden all over the house; on mantles and window ledges . . . you feel like someone really lives here . . .

Here you can look across the street to Cassandra’s Tea Room, how convenient!

There are fireplaces in every room, some of them very tiny like this one.  Isn’t it cute?  Wouldn’t you like to warm your feet by this fire?  (Well, maybe not today . . .)

They’ve put little cards on or next to everything, so you can know what you’re looking at . . .

It’s a house to go slow in, you can feel the reverence and the joy of the people who are there.  One girl came bounding in to the room I was in, we looked at each other with huge eyes, just shaking heads at how happy we were to be there!

They have made it so nice for us; it’s all here for the savoring . . .

There are lots of glass cases with personal things belonging to Jane and to her family.

Gorgeous 200+ year old bracelet owned by Jane . . . I would love to have this bracelet!  Look at the detail. 

Another adorable fireplace . . . and lovely period dress . . .

This is not the piano belonging to Jane, but it could have been, and so gorgeous, handpainted.

All the wallpaper you see is Laura Ashley which is very appropriate as many of Laura Ashley’s designs were inspired by antique papers and fabric she saw in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.  Something else that adds warmth and charm to this house.

And there are fragments of wallpaper they found in the house, like this one . . . very pretty too, light and clean like the ones they’ve chosen for the rooms.

This quilt was made by Jane, Cassandra and their mother.  Jane Austen‘s  stories capture the essence of her time; in the last two centuries, her books have rarely been out of print! She died very young, at age 41, in her sister Cassandra’s arms. ;-(

The house has lots of homemade touches such as these embroideries…

In every case, Jane said it like she saw it.  This was on the dining table.

Here’s the bakehouse … and next to it is their little donkey carriage . . .

The kitchen!  I could feel very at home in here!  If someone would teach me how to work that stove, it would be Hot Milk Cake for everyone!

Little details like this jar of cut herbs from the garden make it feel homey, like you could move right in!

And the garden!  With benches and lawns to sit and stay in.  Jane and her family grew everything they needed in their cottage garden, vegetables, herbs, and flowers; Cassandra kept bees so they made their own honey.

Their favorite flowers were “Sweet Williams, columbines, peonies, pinks and laburnums” … they also grew “gooseberries, raspberries and currants” … they made their own jams and jellies and summer wines, kept a pig and chickens and had two donkeys to pull them in their carriage.

The garden smelled like perfume and sounded wonderful too; see the blackbird on the garden wall?  He was singing his heart out . . . we took the equivalent of a whole “roll of film” just on him!!!  What a perfect last day it was . . .

 Then it was back to the gift shop again, of course . . . I had to get my quill pen and ink!  And some postcards and some books …. and this ….

. . . my irresistible Chawton House dishtowel, which is hanging now on my stove, because we are HOME ; I’m writing this from my studio; Jack is asleep on the pillow on top of the fax machine (I’m speaking of my kitty Jack, not my dad Jack, just so you know!), Girl is in the chair; there are lawnmowers going outside; a soft breeze is coming through my window and I can see butterflies flitting around my picket fence garden . . . Joe is out back trying to bolster the rose arbor so it will last another summer!

We’ve been unpacking slowly and opening our mail so there is an impromptu gathering of little things on the shelf in our kitchen … 

And we finally got to drape our Jubilee bunting on our own kitchen windows!

 As you know, we all got a bit drenched and waterlogged in England!  Personally, I didn’t mind at all; it was moody and wonderful having fires and wearing sweaters, watching the black clouds roll in across the dales, getting to use my new William Morris umbrella, and the gardens were green and lush and so beautiful . . . so we didn’t know we missed the sun . . . but this was the view out on our walk this morning!  Oh yeah, it feels very good to be home!

OK girls, I guess I better get going . . . I hope this post was long enough for you!! 🙂   But I just couldn’t let you miss anything!!!  Hope you enjoyed it!  I will try to make the next one shorter!!!  How are you all doing?  I’m worried about the heat, the fires and the loss of electricity for so many!  I hope you’re all holding on!  Stay cool Girlfriends, watch out for neighbors and pets and see you soon!!! xoxo

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583 Responses to Our Last Day; saving Best for Last . . .

  1. Janie Phillips says:

    Your tour was so good, in a year or two I’ll probably be thinking that I actually visited Jane Austen’s house myself. I loved the pictures, the descriptions, and that darling tea towel. And, I can tell that you’re a natural with quill and ink. What a nice ending to a wonderful trip.

    Ah, everything looks better at your house, Sue … includng SUMMER 😉 xoxo

  2. Leslie Freeman says:

    I am embarassed to admit I have never been to Chawton though we live less than 90 minutes away. This post is getting me there for sure, thank you so much!! The cool, wet weather carries on here. Love your pictures of summer on MV!

  3. Marissa says:

    Oh my, Susan! Your post has ‘bewitched me body and soul’ to read Pride and Prejudice again. I have so enjoyed this post! 🙂

  4. Nancy B says:

    I’m so happy you were allowed to take photographs in Jane’s house. They really are wonderful! Thanks for sharing this lovely trip with us. I love this time spent with you.

  5. Pat Johnson of Paso Robles says:

    Oh, my – you must be feeling so wonderful right now. Jotting down the last part of your adventure and remembering all of the wonderful places that you took in. And now you are home, looking out your window at the garden, bringing back that special feeling of England and the treasures we shared together. If you close your eyes…..it comes back to you…..and you can feel the goose bumps and the smile on your face. You are such a gifted person and I feel so blessed to have you as my friend – your trip has left me so refreshed and alive. There is definitely a skip in my step. I can’t wait for the English diary. I find myself stopping every once and again during the day to revisit one of the destinations that we shared. And, yes, a smile comes to my face and I feel the goose bumps. So happy you are home – XXXXOOOO

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Pat!!! How’s Paso? Are you getting the heat too?

      • Pat Johnson of Paso Robles says:

        Actually just starting to get the heat – otherwise has been pleasant with breezes to keep down temps. Paso had a very successful wine festival. . . fabulous fireworks on the 4th and looking forward to the Fair coming up soon. Thanks for asking.

  6. Anna says:

    Susan, Chawton House sounds enchanting. It’s one of the places I’d like to visit. I’ve been living in England for 9 years now (transplanted from Pennsylvania) and I’m still awestruck but the history and culture here. My husband and I are restoring a house very much like Jane Austen’s so it was lovely to see the completed model.

  7. Georgie says:

    I soaked in every picture and word! Now I want to go out and buy one of her books… which one to choose??? I have a whole new appreciation… writing with a quill pen! Goodness me! Susan, you took us back in time and brought us back home again, heafed to the fell. In the stillness of my Saturday morning, I was there. Thank-You!

    In your last picture, the sunlight is sparkling off the water as if to say, “Look! Susan and Joe are back… They’ve come HOME!”

    Enjoy your weekend! xoxo
    Georgie from Yardville, NJ

  8. mary spring says:

    Dear Susan..good morning…I’m still re- reading you new post !!! …actually I’m loving the photos !!..her garden !!..her writing table !!..the stairwell !! ..the fireplaces !!..the kitchen !!..the pottery!!the whole post of inspiration !! …’being a potter, I particularly love the little (looks like porcelain) white pitcher on the window ledge !!…it makes me want to throw porcelain pitchers today !!!…after I go out and find a copy of Pride and Prejudice , of course !!…thanks again. dear Susan !!!….with love…

  9. Lorie Hartsig says:

    Welcome home! Thanks for taking me along on this marvelous adventure!

  10. Jackie says:

    It’s been over 100 degrees every day here in Tennessee and your Jane Austen post was a refreshing escape. The charming photo of the three ladies standing at the doorway looks like a Norman Rockwell painting. I have absolutely loved all of your posts from your trip and can’t wait for the English diary.

    • sbranch says:

      They were so involved looking at what was on the wall, they didn’t notice me at all, I got three photos of them. They were beautiful in that concentration! Wouldn’t Jane Austen LOVE to see that photo!

  11. Happy Saturday Everyone, I got up at 6:30am this morning and by 7am Jim and I went on a nice bike ride and the temps. were already 80 and our high today will be 105!!!! YIKES What would we talk about if it weren’t for the weather?? haha Susan, it sounds like your diary is coming along very nicely. I think back to that picture of your kitties looking out the door will you be painting a pic of them waiting patiently for their “parents” to return home?? so cute….I have no plans for today other than staying inside where Thank The Lord it is cool. The sad part of these temps. is keeping me inside and the summer is slipping away…I have ALL WINTER for that activity!!

  12. Shann says:

    I wanted to thank you for posting those photos of Jane’s house. I adore her. Truly adore her. I hope I will get a chance to see her home myself someday (it is on my bucket list) …but if not…. thank you for taking me there. 🙂
    I picked out your quill writing right away! Your handwriting is lovely! 🙂
    I bet your sweet kitties are so happy to have you back home.
    Have a lovely Saturday Sue! Stay cool! 🙂

  13. Betsy says:

    Your postings could never be too long. I enjoyed every minute of it. Could you tell me about the card on the shelf near your dishes…..the one with the Queen wearing her crown……is that part of your journal? I am enchanted by it. Enjoy your weekend and stay cool. xoxo

  14. Anne says:

    What a treat! I love Jane Austen! Her house is just as I imagined. It kinda gives me chills to see the table and chair where she wrote – it must have been something to see it in person. Thanks so much for taking us along – the pictures are just beautiful. You’re a sweetie 🙂

  15. judi says:

    So enjoyed your post this morning. Was so interesting seeing all the “insides” of her home, lovely. What great thanks we need to give to people and volunteers who watch over and tend to these treasures.

    Susan, you have made my heart “soar” this morning:) Have a GREAT HAPPY day!

  16. Jack says:

    Your pictures of that writing table remind me that I have your old oak table — the one you wrote your first three books on, do you remember you gave it to us? I’m thinking that table has a history and should be returned to Holly Oak for posterity!!! Incidentally we are using your table each and every day ….but that’s OK, we can eat on the floor when you need it . :~)

  17. Clairellen from Northern Michigan says:

    Oh thanks so much, Susan, for sharing everything about your trip with us. And please don’t shorten anything…we want it ALL!! You made my Saturday morning…we are finally getting a break from the scorching temperatures, although we have been blessed to only have the 90’s! Can’t wait for your next post!

  18. Barb McD. says:

    I didn’t want your post to end! I have Jane Austen’s Persusasion on my Kindle…after seeing her writing table, I can’t wait to start reading it. As this will be my first Jane Austen’s read, should I read another one of her books first? Hmmm … do you have an approximate date that your “English Diary” will be published? Thank you again for sharing the journey. 😉

    • sbranch says:

      I think it will take me a couple of months to finish the drawings for it . . . then off to the printer!

      • Oh good Susan on the arrival of your Diary we hopefully will be out of this heat by then and not giving all our money to the electric/water companies!! YAY….AND before we have to give it all to the gas company for the heating bill!!! What a vicious cycle it doesn’t leave much for the “fun” stuff; but, this diary is a keepsake of our travels together and worth saving for!!!

      • Chris Wells says:

        In time for Christmas?!

        • sbranch says:

          I hope so, but you do end up at the mercy of the printer and what all he has in his queue.

  19. Deb Surman from Illinois says:

    Welcome home Susan and please don’t fret about your posts being too long….that could never be. Your trip started the same week as I was starting radiation treatments and your posts were something I looked forward to, transporting me to England where I have always longed to go. So now I start chemo and I’m counting on your to keep those posts nice and long and detailed as you possibly can. Turner Classics ran Pride and Prejudice last week, the one with Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier, such a lovely movie. Like Gone With the Wind, I can never NOT watch it when it’s on the telly. I am so looking forward for your book to come out to add to my treasured Susan Branch collection. Carry on now and get that book done! Your girlfriends are eagerly awaiting for it! ( I hope I’m not putting you under too much pressure ) Love ya!

    • sbranch says:

      Carry On, you too Deb, the wonderful thing is that it won’t last forever, but I’m thinking of you right NOW!

      • Carol from Connecticut says:

        Dearest Deb,
        Sending you loving hugs of healing and affection all the way from Connecticut.
        Chin up, Carol

    • Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

      Deb — having finished chemo just over a year ago myself (stage 3 colon cancer diagnosed 2 months after taking early retirement at age 55) I definitely know what you’re going through. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Having been there, I know how important it is to take your nausea medication even if you don’t feel like you need it as it will prevent you from feeling like you need it. A positive attitude is imperative. Our dear Susan helped me to maintain one through it all with her “happy gene” as undoubtedly her upbeat view on life will help keep you in good spirits, too. God Bless you!!


    • Kathy Phenix says:

      Chin up girl! This too will pass. You couldn’t be more right about a positive attitude. When I was going through chemo and radiation, I only watched comedies whether it was TV or movies. So keep on smiling and I know you will come thru well. Prayers are coming your way. Kathy 13yr survivor of breast cancer

      • sbranch says:

        I love how we take care of each other, Girlfriends forever!

        • Sandy Richmond says:

          Deb, My thoughts are with you. Stay strong. After a lumpectomy and a follow up surgery to try and get clear margins, it looks like I am facing a mastectomy shortly. Susan’s blog really helped me thru the days of waiting for results. I’m focusing on all things positive, and thanks to Kathy Phenix for sharing with me.
          Sandy in Attleboro, MA

    • Marie says:

      Deb, prayers and all good wishes to you. Guess the Brits would say, “Keep Calm and Carry On.” I know you will–you sound so strong!

      Marie in Valencia, CA

      • Deb/Sandy, my thoughts and prayers are with each of you and for any other girlfriend going through Cancer. Positive attitudes will carry you through all the stages and The Lord will wrap his loving arms around you and give you comfort. Blessings

    • Georgie says:

      Oh Dear Deb! I’m wrapping you right up tight with happy thoughts and prayers for strength. I can feel your smile through the Internet. I remember all the thoughts flooding my mind when I faced a bilateral mastectomy due to breast cancer. Hold your light high and the shadows will flee. Keep moving forward and looking ahead. Let others be your strength when you get tired. Sending joy. xoxo

    • Chrissy Thrower says:

      Dear Deb and Sandy, my heart is with you as you go through therapy. Any of us could be in your shoes and we all know it. Maybe, That’s why we feel so strongly connected with you. Please stay healthy and positive in your thoughts and take just one day at a time. Surround yourself with the love of your families and us Girlfriends who are keeping you strongly in our prayers.

    • Belinda Chesser says:

      This is my first post reply. Sending hugs and prayers your way. My dear younger sister just went through chemo, radiation and surgery and now that she has healed from surgery will go thru chemo and radiation again…so I have a sense of what you are going thru. She said comedy is what helped her and I also shared this blog with her which helped keep her mind on other things! I agree that Susan should not shorten one blog one bit. In fact…LET THEM BE LONG!! I have so loved finding this site!! She loves so many of the same things I do! I cannot wait to purchase her English Journal….Take care!!

      • Deb Surman from Illinois says:

        Thank you Belinda and all the other girlfriends out there for the kind words and positive thoughts. I normally don’t post something so personal on Susan’s blog, but my treatments corresponded with her wonderful trip and following her wonderful adventures thru Britian was just the medicine I needed, that and a wonderful supportive husband, favorite old movies and books. Hope you post often – Susan’s blog is really one of the best I’ve encountered on the internet and has the most fantastic group of followers ever! I’ve often thought how amazing it would be to meet all these women in one room. I bit overwhelming I’m sure!

      • Carol Maurer says:

        Oh Deb and Sandy… you’re in my prayers and thoughts right now. Stay strong and positive!! Oh, the power of prayer. There are soooo many girlfriends out there who are praying for you right now!
        Keep your eyes upward… Carol M

    • Carol C says:

      Deb, I finished chemo for the 2nd time and radiation for breast and ovarian cancer. It’s not fun but you can do it. I just spent 2 weeks hiking in the French Alps! This is not a strength I had on my own! Philippians 4:6-8 and 4:13 were my mantras!

      • sbranch says:

        Look at YOU. Well done Carol!

      • Julie says:


        If anyone is a shining example of hope & faith
        to Deb and all the other health warriors out there,
        it would be YOU-
        as well as untold others.
        Life is a hike,
        mind, body & spirit-
        sounds like you’re indefatigable,
        stay the course !

    • Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

      Deb, I just read your post. Please know you will be in my prayers. Just keep looking ahead and while you’re in the now–you can always re-read Susan’s England blogs for encouragement!

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

        Ohhh…I do hope that Deb and Sandy returned to read these inspirational, thoughtful, and encouraging posts! Go Girlfriends!

        • Sandy Richmond says:

          Thanks to all of you for your kind words and prayers. It really does help! Sandy in Attleboro MA

          • sbranch says:

            Lots of people rooting for you and sending prayers Sandy! You can do this, and it will be over, you’ll be on the other side of it. Very soon!!!

          • Deb Surman from Illinois says:

            Stay strong and positive with me Sandy….we can conquere anything with the prayers and kind thoughts of our girlfriends here ( as well as our family and friends ) Chin up : – )

  20. It is BEAUTIFUL! I was meant to live in England, I just know it.

    One of my favorite British TV shows is Last of the Summer Wine. The English landscape is as much a star of the show as the actors.

    Thank you so much for all the time you put in to sharing it all with us here.

    I live in the Midwest where we are now under a severe drought. I doubt I will ever take rain for granted again!

    • Lynn McMahon says:

      I live in SE Wisconsin and miss the smell of fresh cut grass!! I even miss the sound of lawn mowers!

  21. Carol from Connecticut says:

    Dear Susan,
    All I can say is … what loveliness … including you!
    Affection, Carol

  22. Lisa R (northern Arizona) says:

    Susan…..oh, the gifts you keep giving us all! Such treasures. Never say never, but I doubt I’ll ever make it to England, but reading your posts (and journal to come!) make me feel like I’ve been there. So wonderful!! Thank you! I have a little table almost like Jane’s, and can’t imagine sitting there to write each day, as I have BIGGER tables and desks to work on. Reminds me again how sometimes we can be a little ungrateful when we complain about what we DON’T have. The patience and perseverance she had, and now, the gifts we all enjoy reading her books! Another reminder of how much more I could get done if I don’t let myself get distracted by “whatever”. There were very little “idle hands” in those days. A beautiful post that I not only received enjoyment from, but much encouragement as well! (Love your dishtowel!!)

  23. Lillian D.Caldarise says:

    Susan…As I read your reflection on your visit to Jane Austen’s home, I thought to myself, I think I’ll reread, “The Illustrated Letters of Jane Austen, “( ed. by Hughes-Hallett). which has a special place on my bookself? So, that is what I am going to do…starting today.. thanks to you. Jane Austen is very much alive in the minds and hearts of so many women …you have a sense of that and now you feel closer to her..we do too! Once again..thank You for sharing your gifts with so many.
    Welcome Home!

    • Carol Maurer says:

      I haven’t read any of Jane’s books, but I do have most of the DVDs. After reading so much about Jane, I’ve decided that I will start reading her books. I don’t have the DVD of Emma as yet. I wonder which book you would recommend me the start out with.

      Thanks for sharing with us all,
      Carol M

      • sbranch says:

        I would say Pride and Prejudice is the best one to start with! Anyone else?

        • Janet says:

          Agree! Definitely “Pride and Prejudice” to start – but when it’s all said and done they’re all tremendous. Whichever you start with, you’ll want more. Try an audiobook if you have that option. It’s fun to almost return to those days when you needed someone else to read you a story…

  24. Sandra Gillanders says:

    I have enjoyed your narration and pictures of your trip so much. What a wonderful time you and Joe had on a dream vacation. Just love Jane Austen’s house and could spend hours in there looking at very little thing. So happy to see the beauty of her life in that house. She passed way to soon. Thanks again and welcome home. MV isn’t so shabby either you know.

  25. Kate says:

    I’m a quilter and absolutely love that quilt on the bed in Jane Austen’s house. Would love to find a pattern for it. I have loved every blog from England and have loved all the comments. Appears there are alot of us girlfriends who would love to go to England. It’s on my bucket list. In fact, my husband and I were talking about it this morning. Thanks for showing us that beautiful country.

  26. Pam says:

    Really enjoyed your post Susan, Chawton is now on my bucket list. Not only did I get to read your lovely long post today but I also received your Sweets to the Sweet in the post. I’m a very happy bunny 🙂

  27. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    Hello Susan! We have been on vacation this past week (in the 100 degree heat) and no internet, so I am at the library today, because I could not wait another day to see what you had for us girlfriends! What a lovely post. It was so wonderful to see the green grass, flowers blooming, everything looked so lush. It is so sad here in Ohio. The grass is brown, my flowers are all dying. We tried watering, but we cannot keep up with the intense heat and no rain in sight. But this sure brightened my day. And to think that Jane’s sister kept bees (just like me!!) I like the thought of that. Glad you are home safe! Have a good weekend! xoxo Joy

  28. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Good Afternoon Sweet Sue….Jane Austen’s House….I Know it had to Be so Special for You.. Thank You for Sharing Her with Us….I Love Every Photo You Took…Love that Pub…& The Tea~Room….& Oh My Goodness…all Your English~Treasures….& I Know There is a Story about Each One….I’m Happy You & Joe are Getting Back into The Rhythym of Being HOME…. 🙂 Wishing You a Lazy Hazy Summer Saturday & Sunday on Your Magical Martha’s Vineyard….I Imagine The Laundry Blowing in The Warm Summer Breeze….The Birdies Singing…”Twee~Tweet” 🙂 The Kitties Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrring into Nappy Time The Sun Shining on Your Garden….& You & Joe sipping some Lovely English Tea…Fondly Remembering The Last Two Magical Months! Love & Always a Bit of Meee Pixie~Dust! xoxo Poof! ✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸✶*¨`*.✫* 😉

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you sweetie!! Hope you are staying cool!

      • Angie(Tink!) says:

        Hey Sweet Sue…Today Staying Indoors….Movie Day (We are trying to Decide which Movie????) 🙂 gonna go Whip Up some Movie~Munchies! (Yum!) Hugzzz & Love 🙂 P.S. I Love The Quill Pens & Ink! It Had to Take so Long to Write Everything! Amazing! xoxo Poof! ✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸✶*¨`*.✫*

  29. Barbara says:

    Welcome Home! On my way to the library to pickup a Jane Austen book, sad to say I’ve never read any of her books! Never been to England either, but your posts have moved a trip there further up on my bucket list. Enjoy the rest of the summer. it’s such a special time of the year, all the seasons are though!
    Please don’t make your posts any shorter…unless you absolutely have to! 🙂
    Take care, Barbara

  30. Regina says:

    A post too long?! Pish Posh! 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing. I felt like I really was there with you! I’m anxiously waiting that travel journal. Any estimate of it’s release date? 🙂

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

    Enjoyed reading about Jane Austen. Went back to read about Laura Ashley also.
    It is to be our last day this week of 100 degrees, then down to the 80’s.
    Can’t wait to read more of your trip, so enjoyable. Pat M.

  32. Kathy Phenix says:

    Another wonderful post. I say “the longer the better”! Can’t wait for the England diary. This trip has been “to die for”! Thanks for taking us all along. Kathy

  33. Susan says:

    Your photos and blog of this trip would make a wonderful new book! Could you? Would you? I know I’d buy one! You’d have to include absolutely everything ! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Oh yes, I’m working on it right this minute!!

      • Susan says:

        Oh, that must be the English Diary I just read about. I should have read the other comments first. That’s fabulous. We all can’t wait!

      • Susan says:

        Oh, that must be the English Diary I just read about. I should have read the other comments first. That’s fabulous – we all can’t wait!

  34. Chris Wells says:

    So today’s post brought me to tears. How did I miss Jane Austin? With English literature instilled in my childhood, how did I not read Jane Austin? I googled her to read her bio and discovered her family burned many of her letters. Perhaps she was another of those “way too independent women”. How sad she never was appreciated while she was living. At least Beatrix Potter knew how loved her books were! In a week I am leaving for v-a-c-a-t-i-o-n and “Pride and Prejudice” will be going with me. I can’t think of a better read on the shores of Lake Michigan.
    In West Texas 100’s are an ordinary summer……but Ohio? Indiana? Illinois? Unheard of! I can imagine your plants are cratering. Last summer with over 100days of 100+ temps, I lost many of my perennials that I had for years. Hang in there, I pray it will get better. At least we can go inside and read of England, and think of damp cool rains and green grass and beautiful cottages covered in roses and drink our tea…iced!

  35. Terri from Swansboro, NC says:

    checked out bodenusa.com and OH MY! Such lovely shirts, skirts and “frocks.” LOL! Thanks for telling me about it! I lived in Europe and never heard of it! So my dearest Susan, Have a “Frock” Day!! LOL!!

    • sbranch says:

      So glad you like it, definitely one of my favorites!

      • Terri from Swansboro, NC says:

        I can see why! I have been computer screen shopping today as it is way too hot to be out and about window shopping! What fun I have had! THANKS again!! That is what girlfriends are for isn’t it? LOL!!

  36. Chris Dowd says:

    This was my favorite part of our trip to England together, Susan. Thank you so much for taking us along. It was wonderful of you to share it with us, and allowing us to see it through your eyes. <3

  37. Jack says:

    The Kitchen — now that’s a tea pot!

  38. Mary says:

    I just want to say another thank you for sharing your trip with all of us, Susan. You have such a knack for finding just the right details to photograph, just the things that our eyes would have delighted in had we been there in body as well as in spirit. Having wandered through Jane’s house with you, I’m now inspired to go out to my own garden to pick a small bouquet of herbs and bell flowers for my windowsill. Loved that in your photos. Can’t wait til you’ve finished your English Diary! I’ll bet you’re having a wonderful time creating it. Enjoy! And thanks again!

  39. Missy says:

    Dear friend,

    When I opened my email and saw there was a new post, I was so excited. Then, when I saw it was Jane Austin’s house, I actually SQUEALED! My husband is still laughing at me. Thank you, thank you! I had wondered why you had not visited her home, but I knew you had so very many delightful places to see and maybe you had run short of time. I adore Jane Austin, and this is such a great gift that you have given us – to actually see her home! Thank you sweet friend – England through your eyes has truly been a wonderful gift you have given us. XO

  40. “…you just keep going every day, until it’s done, and then, viola, you have a book!” Wise words, indeed.
    The next time I go to England, I’m going further afield than London and Oxford…thanks to you, Susan.

  41. Pat says:

    It is so nice to have another bit of English countryside again. I so loved the trip and hated to see it come to an end. Our weather is unbearable as it has been 103 for the past three days. I am looking forward to cooler temperatures coming tonight. I hope Martha’s Vineyard is cooler than our weather. Thanks again for taking us along on your trip.

  42. Lena says:

    Thank you so very much for taking such time and care with your lovely posts about England. They have truly been a highlight of my summer; I’ve enjoyed them very much.

  43. Bevy A says:

    Oh, we loved every part of your trip! Thank you so very much for sharing your adventure with us! Ah, yes Home sweet Home, it’s always nice to be in the comforts of your own.

  44. Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

    I’ve missed something. I don’t know the meaning of peah ci-da. Google wants to know if I meant “peach cider”. Help!

    Please watch your budget so that we can all go to England again soon. Maybe you should ask us all for a donation to start an England Fund. I’ve never traveled so inexpensively before. And I wasn’t even tired after it was over and no mountains of laundry.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s pear cider, as it’s pronounced with an English accent! 🙂 Good guess Google!

      • Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

        Thank you. I’m adding that to my vocabulary when I talk to my Branchies friends.

  45. Marie (Long Beach, CA) says:

    Wonderful post Susan! Oh and just so you know, your posts are NEVER too long. I don’t know what it is, but I’m happy you’re home again. It just feels right. And I think it’s safe to say your precious Girl Kitty and Jack feel the same way. ♥

  46. Carol from Connecticut says:

    Dear Susan,
    With reference to what Julie said (below), has anyone approached you to illustrate a children’s book? I wish they would!
    Affection, Carol
    P.S. Is there a chance you could have more available of your giclee prints of originals? (fingers crossed).
    Julie says:
    July 7, 2012 at 11:52 am
    Lots of people collect every illustrated version of a book, different styles by different artists and yes, there are lots but a Susan Branch version with your artistic watercolored interpretation would be such a wonderful addition…
    maybe something for your backburner-though I’m sure that is overloaded too.

    • sbranch says:

      My back burners are full too, oh how I wish I had more hands, so many wonderful fun projects to think about!

  47. Bonny ~* says:

    More…give me more! Keep us in England longer with your many pics and memories!!!! Being cooped up inside because of the oppressive heat (104 today) it’s nice to “visit” someplace so lovely and imagine the nice breeze! ~*

  48. I don’t think you could make these posts too long! I just love seeing everything! Has your mug you painted arrived in the mail yet? It is crazy that much of the country has been hotter than it is here in TX! We are doing fine but sorry for so many who have had power problems and this is the kind of weather you can’t do w/o A/C!!!!!

  49. Gill says:

    Dear Susan, Chawton is just a hop and a skip away from where I went to school- how good it is to see it all again 🙂 I just wanted to tell you that my daughter made your hot milk cake this week and her brother took one bite and said- oh, its my favourite cake in the world! Which is exactly what he said when I first made it earlier this year- I wrote his words in my journal beside the recipe then! So Thank You! for the recipe, and the joy it brings to my family. I am so looking forwards to seeing your book about this trip to England.

    • sbranch says:


    • Belinda Chesser says:

      Gill….Can you please tell me which cookbook I can find the recipe for that in? I have not bought one of Susan’s cookbooks and I am thinking the first one I buy should be the one with that recipe….have seen so many posts about how delish it is. Thank you!

  50. Dolores says:

    Dear Susan
    Never long enough…I wait in anticipation for your journal. I know it will be wonderful and amazing. Just as your posts have been about “our” trip, just lovely and filled with the magic of the past.
    Thank you!

  51. Jill says:

    Susan, As a huge Jane Austen/Pride and Prejudice fan, I have visited Chawton twice. I was thrilled to read your post–it could not possibly be too long. I bought everything in the gift shop I could afford–who else in Indiana has a Jane Austen clothes pin bag? My sister and I also ate at Cassandra’s tea room where I started crying, realizing the enormity of the situation; it was Jane Austen’s house!! After others have read PP, they need to rent the movie, the one with Colin Firth. Thanks sooo much for taking us on your trip!!

  52. Debbie S., Illinois says:

    Susan, I am almost in tears today reading this post – my daughter and I are HUGE Jane Austin fans! If I never am fortunate to get there in person, you took us there through your pictures and stories. My favorite post of your entire trip! Thank you, thank you! My daughter just called me and she’s loving it, too! Welcome home!

  53. aww Susan, I have just enjoyed your blog so much, and all of us girlfriends are just aglow with Love for you and the things you share. I know, because I have two of the most darling F.O.S.B Penpal Girlfriends, and we just go on and on about the things you say and do that inspire us to be more creative, life loving girlfriends. and Jane Austen is just one example of a creative women that lead the way to where we are today. This post makes me want to put on my garden hat and go out into my secret garden (which is still just an imagination in my head right now) and clip beautiful wild flowers, and listen to singing birdies, until the sun sets….
    thank you for your beautiful spirit and for sharing all of your fun with us girlfriends!
    Amy Lynn

    • sbranch says:

      You’re so welcome Amy . . . a secret garden in the head is so much better than no secret garden at all!!! xoxo

    • Carol Maurer says:

      Amy… after readying your post, I also feel the need and want to get out in my garden! I would love to have a ‘secret’ garden as well. I love the garden in “The Secret Garden”. Have you seen the movie? It’s great. I wonder if there are any more girlfriends who would like to become ‘penpals’, but haven’t done so as yet?
      Carol M

  54. Brenda says:

    How wonderful! I just read Pride and Prejudice for the first time about two years ago. I have a book with a collection of seven novels in it. Reminds me I should read another. Love the pictures of the gardens! It is even hot here in Michigan, over 100 degrees a couple of days in a row. I have been staying in and catching up on housework. Have a lot of stitching or crocheting I would like to be doing but once these things are done I can do those on rainy or other too hot days. I cannot imagine what others are doing without their power or air conditioning. So glad you are still sharing!

  55. Francine says:

    Oh my! Thanks again for sharing! What a exciting tour! I enjoyed it so!! We have had some wicked heat! My oldest daughter called – they don’t have air conditioning where they live. She asked if her and her two sons could come stay! They were here a couple days, and now, though it’s warm, it has cooled down and should be in the 60’s during the night tonight! So, we had a houseful…and a new puppy came too! No rain in ages! And we have a water restriction – ugh! My flowers are not looking good this year! Thanks again Susan!

  56. cindy berry says:

    I loved loved loved this post! Thanks for sharing this wonderful time with us. Make sure to print enough books for us all! Because I want one very badly!

  57. Linda Trokey says:

    Oh Susan, glad you’re home safely. “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.” But I always feel bittersweet about the end of a vacation and I know I would feel that doubly with such a magnificent vacation ending as yours did. I think if we had been neighbors, we would be close friends. I love all things Jane Austen, Beatrix Potter, Laura Ashley, Cath Kidston, Mary Engelbreit and Susan Branch, of course. What’s so funny is that in high school, my friends loved that I loved bunnies, lambs and ducklings. I was always cutting them out of greeting cards, magazines and calendars. I still have them and now have a niece that loves them too. I would’ve bought up so many things in Jane Austin’s gift shop but when your “English Diary” comes out, I will plan my bucket list trip to England with that book. Some day I will send you a picture of the perm that my mom gave me when I was 7 – you and I look like twins.

    Glad the kitties are content now with you and Joe home. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your trip – it was better than I ever imagined.

    Happy Homecoming,

    Linda T

    • Julie says:

      Ha !

      Linda, am laughing about your childhood perms.

      Am betting it was a “Toni” or a “Lilt” ?
      Remember the boxes & the smell ?

      Mom would only buy them when they were on sale
      or if she had coupons,
      unfortunately, there was a coupon in every box
      to apply to the next perm.
      I remember, it was always the size of a dollar bill
      and she would neatly file them away in a small, white envelope.

      For some reason, they would sit on a shelf in the laundry room
      until the “Big Perm Day”, which was usually on a Sunday when Dad
      would take all the boys to a ball game-
      perfect planning, as to escape all their teasing.

      No matter how young we were, by the time the pink clips & foam
      decorated our heads, like a birthday cake-
      we ALL looked & smelled like “Grandma Gertie”.
      That said, I must confess, I really don’t know who the heck
      “Grandma Gertie” is or where she came from,
      but she was always an easy reference & scapegoat….and still is-
      poor, pitiful Gertie !

      Worse of all,
      the Toni instructions demanded we wait a day or two,
      before washing our heads,
      which in turn….would force our newfound frizz to “relax”-
      their word, NOT mine !

      Could we be arrested if we soaked our heads that same evening ?
      Noobody asked her,
      but the older, bossypants sister claimed,
      that if it was illegal to pull the product tag off a bed pillow,
      it would be equally wrong to challenge the Toni enforcer.
      Ugh !

      Unfortunately, the brothers returned home to still tease us,
      telling us, we look like we’re wearing our winter earmuffs-
      oh, the pain
      and worse yet, Monday was a school day,
      too soon to shampoo
      and too late to “catch a bug” & beg for a sick day.
      Ugh, again….childhood trauma !

      Hope your perm day WAS a more “relaxing” experience.

      • Julie, what memories you just brought back for me about perms. My Mother would take us to the beauty shop and the horror of it all for me. It always seemed to be right before “class pictures” therefore a “permanent” reminder for life!! I was always so embarrassed to have to go into class the next day and would actually wear a silk scarf over my head hoping no one would notice?? yeah right and during the Pledge of Allegiance someone would reach up and jerk the scarf off….it seemed like the end of the world didn’t it….thank goodness for the 70’s and long straight hair and Mother finally gave in and let me grow mine out. As a young woman with very long hair I decided I needed a “body” perm and went to a lady who was very sweet and seemed to be there for days and she was rolling and rolling and when I was done and they do the dramatic “unveiling” and whip you around in the chair to check it out in the mirror…honey, she had teased it and it was all up in a hump and she announces “honey you look like Loretta Lynn” WHO I’m thinking as I try to duck her masterpiece to get into my Firebird!!! I couldn’t wait to get home and try to get it back to normal as my family (Dad knew Loretta)….did an audible gasp when I walked in!!! That was it for me and I haven’t had a perm in 30 years. Thanks for the Memories…..

        • Julie says:

          So funny-
          I’m not laughing at you but with you, Deborah !

          You, ducking into that Firebird
          with your “Mile High-Do”
          sounds just like a scene out of ‘Fried Green Tomatoes” or “Steel Magnolias”.
          Ha !

          Two options-
          you could have sped home to soak your head
          or sped out of town to hide your head.
          You chose right, I’m sure your Dad felt your pain.

          Oh yeah,
          those hair dressers just LOVE to whip that chair around after they’ve totally ruined your life-
          kind of a perverse & creepy power they wield
          and then to make it worse,
          you have to pay them for their “mastery”
          and YOUR misery.

          A big BOO to the cruel brat who pulled your scarf off-
          he’s probably sittin’ somewhere in prison,
          as we speak or is a politician in your hometown !

          So cool that your Pop knew Loretta,
          what a legend, what a life.
          Just read where the adorkable Zoey Deschanel
          is going to play her, in a Broadway musical.
          She’s got a sweet, quirky voice & if she
          “loretta-tizes” it with a twang, she’ll be superb.

          Just remember, in some olde religious sects,
          women wore their mile-high hair
          because it was considered a blessing,
          “the higher the hair, the closer to heaven
          and God”…..
          It doesn’t erase all the torture
          when dealing with horizontal, “Brillo Pad” coiffures
          but it does afford some dignity.

          The oldest brother would ruffle our freshly
          permed heads and say,
          “Hey, Ma-
          when did you get the “New Potscrubbers” ?
          As if, the winter earmuffs & potscrubber jokes
          were not enough to bear,
          in 3 months, we were forced into perm purgatory
          all over again….
          she marked the EXACT date on the calendar !

          Like I said, ugh, ugh, UGH !
          We can laugh at it now, but the thought & smell of a permanent makes me gag-
          coupon or no coupon !

          • Well, if the saying about the higher the hair the closer to heaven/God is true….I was right there among his Angels!!!! haha Never heard that before….I truly believe the hairdresser was a fan of Loretta Lynn and just went nuts on making me into an image of her idol?? I have to tell you that the 1st time I saw L.L. on tv I have to admit my hair was an exact replica….I agree with you and Linda the smell of those perms reminded me of rotten eggs & the burn it just made you want to scratch and wipe the solution off. They say today that hair color can cause cancer well a perm has to be right there with it…my scalp was so tender that it was a precious pink when I was done. I have an elderly neighbor who can’t find home perms in the department stores anymore?? so she is going to a store called Sally Hanson to find them where they sell them to the beauty shoppes…I guess Toni/Lilt is out of business (wonder why)?? haha

          • Julie says:

            Here you go, Deborah Lynn-
            this link below is for you,
            just don’t watch it before you go to bed.
            nightmares may ensue.

            Here’s, of all people, Art Linkletter
            pushing the Toni Home Perm
            with special attention to the
            dreaded foam “applicator”….
            RUN for your life & your sanity.

            Blah, blah, blah-
            listen to folksy Art stress the importance of
            “underwave or overwave”.
            What the heck does a man
            know about a woman’s product ?
            Give me a break,
            he must have had stock in the company-
            ironically, Toni was owned by
            the man’s company, Gillette.

            C’mon, the lady’s hair in that commercial
            definitely had time to “relax”-
            NO FriZZy bOUffANT-Do here,
            no earmuffs or potscrubbing mess !

            Who are they trying to kid ?


          • WHO ARE THEY KIDDING, Julie did you see the price on that box $2.29 no wonder your Mother bought in bulk!!! haha I have NEVER had a perm where my hair wasn’t frizzy, I’m convinced that woman had on a wig or very thick hair!!! You are so right Mr. Art was being paid heavily and never had to sit with that solution (overwave/underwave) on his head!!! Isn’t it funny how this subject set off so many negative memories and I did cringe when they showed that wonderful foam tip squeezing that POISON onto that poor womans head!!! Oh, by the way (get ready) my middle name is LYNN.

        • Carol from Connecticut says:

          My sister and I used to hide under the back stairs when our next door neighbor hairdresser, Jenny, would come over to give us Tonettes! (Isn’t that what the little girl Toni perms were called?)

          • Julie says:

            That’s right, Carol-
            forgot about the darling “Tonettes”-
            that must have been the Gillette Company’s
            evil way of reeling in the tiny tot market.

            I do remember, back during the olde days,
            Toni sponsored commercials & scholarships
            for the Miss America pageant.

            We were lucky to get to stay up,
            past our bedtime to watch & “nibble”
            on the annual treat, Mom’s homemade
            molasses popcorn balls.
            Love the caramel corn, fiddle-faddle &
            crackerjacks, but somehow hard, rock-like.
            meteor-size, Popcorn Balls,
            that you couldn’t sink your teeth into, only made the whole Toni-laden,
            beauty contest unbearable.

            Seems to me, there was always a choice,
            labeled on the box-
            “Gentle Wave or Super Curly”-
            mercy on those who underwent the
            “Super Curly” !

        • Julie says:

          Ha !
          That is funny…your REAL middle name is Lynn-
          not “Hee-Haw funny” because it’s truly a beautiful name and can, ideally be paired with just about any name
          and sounds easy-on-the-ears…sorta’ like Rose.

          Art WAS going overboard with the
          “underwave & overwave”, if you noticed, it almost became like a tongue twister, he repeated it so much,
          he almost tripped up.

          Try to say “Toy Boat”…3 times…..fast-
          always thought that was the hardest tongue twister,
          but “underwave & overwave” might just come in second.

          When I saw that beautiful, olde biscuit box
          at that estate sale that day & picked it up,
          I could hear something rattling inside,
          I figured it was probably stuffed with plastic utensil or leggos. Before I got it opened, this sweet estate
          monitor said, “Dear, the price is for the tin box only,
          the contents are a BONUS”.
          Wow, I thought this must be my LUCKY day!
          She must have noticed the shock on my face
          when I ripped the cover off, I’m not kidding you,
          this was a very large tin, besides a few bobby pins,
          a handful of those olde, plastic swizzle sticks
          and a couple of small crochet hooks, there had to be three hundred of those smelly, pink perm clips.
          BONUS ?
          I wanted to say, “Lady-
          gold boullion, a few pick-up sticks or a handful of old Beatle cards, with or without the cardboard chewing gum would qualifyas a “BONUS”..
          not these creepy, pink clips.

          By the looks of the “Goody” stash in the box-
          who ever it belonged to must have drank & crocheted
          before, during or after the permanent process.

          Yes, the price of Toni terror sounds cheap,
          but back in the late 50’s-60’s,
          that was quite an expense to whip-dee-do-up
          5 young girls’ heads of hair.
          That’s why she stockpiled the coupons.

          • Julie, I want you to count to 5 and take a deep breath….have you done that?? Now, exhale and say this 3 times…..PERMS ARE POISON…..theres a tongue twister for you!!! LOL Honey, the horror of a perm is no longer an option for you and you need to “put it in a bubble and blow it away” remember that saying on Dharma & Greg?? Forgive your Mother for her past trangressions (did she own stock in Gillette??) sorry, she grew up during the Shirley Temple era and they all loved curls I believe and thought if we had curly mops they wouldn’t have to work so hard with our hair. When I finally convinced Mother that long straight hair would be even less work and mess my nightmare was over. Now, here is one more memory to make you flinch….every Saturday night my Mother would line us three girls up and roll our hair (pre perm) so tight that we had a permanent smile on our faces and then were tortured with trying to sleep with those critters on our head!!!! YIKES I often wondered was there a handbook given to them on ways to prepare your daughters for the pangs and hardships to come?? haha Somehow we all survived and hopefully learned something for those of us who had daughters to break the cycle of torture and let them be free spirits?? nope…there I was rolling my little angels hair in at least foam rollers vs the hard pink ones we had…..and her Grandmother bought her a “sleep hat” with foam so she could rest her little pink foam head!!! Aaahh what fun memories…..no pain no gain isn’t that what “they” say???

      • Linda Trokey says:


        You are so right! I still remember the smell as I sat in our little cape cod kitchen – I would put a towel across my eyes to help with the burning and my mom would tell me to be sure and not wipe any of the “perm solution” off my hair. HA! As if I could – that stuff was poison, I’m quite sure. And then for the unveiling: tight, smelly curls with bangs about an inch long that were straight as sticks. And why did Mom and Grandma do it the night before picture day? And lets not forget the little velvet bows on “clippies,” with varied colors to match my little plaid dresses. Good thing I was in early grade school and every other little girl sported the same hairdo, except for my younger sister who inherited soft, natural curls and escaped all the hair treatments. Oh well, Mom and Grandma meant well.

        Linda T

        • Julie says:

          Yes, yes-
          ditto to the whole towel & burning sensation.
          Isn’t it amazing how they were quick to wash the stink
          out of the towels
          & bathe those smelly, pink clips in the sink with all the care of a baby’s bottom for future use
          but were perfectly fine, allowing the stinky solution to burn up our heads for two days ?

          Whenever I hear the word “saturate”,
          I about go in convulsions
          because the implicit perm instructions ALWAYS
          said “SATURATE the foam onto the rod clips”
          & my mother would read it over & OVER again,
          loudly pronouncing SAT-CHU-RATE
          through the screen door, that I’m sure alerted
          all the neighbors to what was taking place
          in our kitchen.

          I saw this pretty, olde biscuit tin
          at an estate sale a few weeks ago
          and when I opened it up-
          it was full of those haunting, pink rods & clips-
          needless to say, I made a quick exit.

          I do remember those bows,
          in sets of two.
          My sister wore them, constantly,
          holding down the sides of her head.
          Sometimes, when she had a good run on babysitting jobs, she would buy a whole set of 12-
          two each of 6 colors
          and then, for some CRAZY reason, she bought
          a glass, goldfish bowl to put on her dresser
          to hold all of them ?
          The school bus was always outside tooting
          each morning, while she was diggin’ around her goldfish bowl, tryin’ to find a matching set of bows.

          We used to call her “Rosemary”
          from the Dick Van Dyke show because that actress always had those same mini bows plastered to the sides of her head.

          Traumatic memories-
          but reliving them is kind of fun…
          so cozy & comfty sharing on Susan’s blog-
          kinda’ like a big girlfriends pajama party !

          • Julie says:

            “Rose Marie”
            from the Dick Van Dyke show-
            not Rosemary-
            I stand corrected.

  58. Lin says:

    Oh, what a lovely place! Not too long at all, the birds are still singing as I write this. Loved seeing the gardens and all the wonderful little bouquets. Thank you, Susan, and welcome home once again!

  59. Sarah Maldonado says:

    Oh, Susan! I loved this post so much! I’ve followed your trip with a mixture of excitement to see and learn new things and sadness thinking of my dear sister-in-law whom we lost to cancer in November. She was an English teacher and loved everything English, England, Jane Austen, etc. She had just retired and had planned to travel to England at some point. I was sharing your other posts with her when she was ill last fall as I knew how much she would love your writing as I do. She would have loved your trip! Her final wish was that her ashes be scattered “in some charming English village”. We’ve yet to do that but after following your trip, I know the places I should visit in her place. I know she’ll be with me in my heart. Thank you so much for letting all of us travel with you! I look forward to the English diary and everything else on the way. The dish towel is just too precious! You were the best tour guide ever!

    • sbranch says:

      So sorry for the loss of your sister-in-law! Many wonderful places she would love there . . .xoxo

  60. Georgie says:

    Susan I must ask you if you got to speak with the 3 ladies in the picture at Jane Austen hallway? The one in the middle looks just like a dear college friend who ive lost contact with. Now wouldn’t that be something!!! Her name was Linda and she did work with ESL…
    Yardville NJ

    • sbranch says:

      No, they were so absorbed, and really, so was I …. after that photo I’m not sure where everyone went! Sorry; wouldn’t that have been great!

      • Georgie says:

        Oh! Not a problem! I was just curious 🙂 Yes! That would have been amazing if that were Linda! The last time I saw her was at my wedding 16 years ago! Thanks for taking time to let me know. Happy Sunday.

  61. Gini Gould says:

    Dear Susan! I have three exciting things I am spilling over to say to you:
    1.) I see that Jack your father (not Jack your kitty) keeps you on your toes and on your knees too! :-). (Include kitty Jack as well in that “wisdom”, come to think of it.) Father Jack is hilarious, and your replies to him are so very “lady-like” indeed! I find myself laughing out loud whenever you respond to his comments; comments that only a Dad would dare say. You two are definitely an act no one would want to have to follow. What a father-daughter combo you are! Wouldn’t change a thing about either of you!!!
    2.) My brain is scattered; I am overwhelmed from absorbing the depth of feeling reflected in your pictures and stories. Do you know how difficult it is for an author to effectively draw the readers’ minds from the picture to the corresponding written word? For you to receive these kind of heart-driven “comments” from us girlfriends, there has to be a marriage between your pictures and your written story. The “marriage” is what lightens the load in our lives as it draws us into the deep world of what you see, and how it effects you and therefore effects us. Your descriptions of your experiences are so YOU! We would recognize your writing style anywhere without your name attached; we are drawn to you like a lamb to its mother wanting your comfort and loving relationship. You bring a form of mastership to your work, Susan, that many authors do not have (and they don’t know that they don’t!) I speak from experience, as I have edited many authors of scholarly pursuit. I raise my glass; we girlfriends toast YOU, for you are indeed one of a kind; few draw others into their lives as you have; an artist extraordinaire amongst us you are!! And in return, we have given you the gift of a piece of our hearts.
    3.) On another note, would you want to create a DVD as well as your diary? However, that might confuse us girlfriends as to which to buy, and it would make extra work for you and staff. Just thinking out loud…
    All for now; hope you make it through this epistle, my friend! Gini

    • sbranch says:

      Oh MY! You know how someone just does what they do and doesn’t see it as any different than what anyone else does? That’s me, so thank you for these kind words . . . and yes, I am overwhelmed by the love shared here on this blog. Sometimes I don’t even know what to say!!! xoxo

    • Jack says:

      Well-said Gini, and similar to some of the comments I’ve made, which Sue wouldn’t put up, because she didn’t feel comfortable with such remarks coming from her Dad! She obviously has a unique talent whereby she melds both graphic and verbal details into a most palatable serving, so the reader feels the experience almost as if living it. These are not just my words, I’m simply expressing and consolidating many comments, as registered here on her Blog. She’s providing a sensational outlet for her “girlfriends” (and me too); she seems to connect personally. Thank you for your insightful and thoughtful comment!

      • sbranch says:

        OH dear, how sweet, OK, then here you go . . . xoxo To be honest, like a kitty in the cat mint, I roll in these words. I’m still a “learning” writer, so to hear this makes me feel wonderful . . . all you girls, and you dads, you are just too much! xoxo

        • Rhonda D. says:

          Susan, I know part of your secret and I’d like to comment as briefly as I can. I could write you a book right now, but it’s not the place (another time). God created us to be happy, healthy and whole. If we are happy, it’s a lot easier to be healthy and whole. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” You live by and strongly believe in your mission statement, the quote, “One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.” That says it all. Your life is now a beautiful dance that only God could create because you’ve taken such good care of your heart. I believe your work is flowing naturally out of the wellspring of that well kept heart. It’s somewhat effortless for you. This is sooo important in life (I’m learning), and you are showing us how by modeling a happy life and showing us how to have one. This is huge in life Susan, and you’ve got that figured out. You are changing lives (mine included), bringing love, joy, peace, happiness and hope to an all too often dark world. God bless you and the work you do. The world needs your light! You have a great home in your heart!!

          • sbranch says:

            What a nice thing to say Rhonda! xoxo Thank you so much.

          • Rhonda D. says:

            P.S. By the way, your journey (life story) would make a great book. I see bits and pieces of it that you have written in different places. Bring all those details together, how everything has worked for the good in your life, into one place to serve as a road map for other creative minds to follow. (I have done some of the things you have written about). We are all on a journey and we are all searching and “taking notes.” Remember back when you were looking for that “book” you wish someone had written to help you figure out life? Perhaps you need to write that book. You have a lot to offer.

          • “I believe your work is flowing naturally out of the wellspring of that well kept heart. ” Rhoda, you took the words right out of my mouth!

          • sbranch says:

            Cathy and Rhoda!! Thank you!!! And I think I see lots of other “well kept hearts” out there xoxoxoxo

    • Georgie says:

      Thank you for telling it like it is Gini!!! It’s wonderful to see someone living their gift and sharing it with others (us)… We are blessed too!

      To our Father Jack! Thank you for sharing yourself with all the girlfriends!!! You are so special 🙂

      • dottie says:

        And that well-kept heart is the key to good lives — I agree with this thread of conversation and it ties driectly to an in person encounter and conversation which i recently had and which has led to a renewal of acquaintance with old friends and plans to meet again in person for continued conversation. and in that meeting and these plans once again the key element — “good hearts”.

  62. Pam G says:

    no fires here but we have had no rain in over 3 wks. The poor flowers are being watered by hand as well as my 2 tomato plants, herbs and one pepper plant-but nothing is growing as it should. It has been generally quite hot but nowhere near what others have had.
    Thank you for the visit to J.A. home-I think my favorite spots were the gardens and the bed!

    • Carol Maurer says:

      I have been reading about those ‘girlfriends’ who are living places with such heat as never before, or at least in a long time. I’m soooo sorry about your flower and vegetable gardens! I’m here on the northern coast of California just a hop skip and a jump from the ocean, where we don’t get any heat per say. I truly wish that I could send all of you some of our moisture!!!!
      So sad…. Carol M

  63. Diane Byrum says:

    your posts are wonderful and could never be too long. Your descriptions make whatever it is come alive whether they are your words or your art. I could wile away the hours just browsing, reading and digesting your books, posts, calendars or Willards. What a gift you give to each of us! You are so generous and thoughtful for taking us on your amazing journey across the pond and sharing from your heart to ours. xoxo

  64. Linda says:

    Beautiful post…never ever toooo long! The pictures of her home were wonderful–it is hard to take pictures inside a building and get the perspective right but you managed to do so masterfully! The birdsong was delightful!
    It is hot here–low 100’s today, 104 by Monday. But there is virtually no humidity here so it is not uncomfortable at all. I would rather have the heat than the cold so I am a happy camper!! Thank you for the trip! Linda from southern Idaho

  65. Nancy B says:

    I know what will be at the top of my Christmas wish list. Right, Girls?

    • Georgie says:

      Right! The printing press will be running non stop! The UPS truck will be frequenting every nook and cranny In all our neighborhoods! And all the girlfriends and our families and friends will be sharing heart smiles on Christmas morning! Can’t you just see the JOY spreadsing!!! I can’t wait!!!!!

  66. Deb from Dixie says:

    Susan, many thanks… for sharing a glimpse into Jane’s home, garden…life; another creative spirit that touches our lives with wonders of the imagination and heartfelt stories.

  67. Belinda Chesser says:


    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! England is on my bucket list BUT if I never make it there…I can surely say I have been there through you and your lovely writings and photos. A dear friend just recently introduced me to your blog. Your posts will NEVER EVER be too long! I look forward to reading and rereading each one of them. I have never read any of Jane’s books but I am on a hunt to find my own vintage copy of “Pride and Prejudice.” I look forward to seeing all of your new goodies adorning your sweet home! LOVE the new tea towel……any chance we might see some of those in your shop in the future?? ALSO…do you have any of your other travels or Martha’s Vineyard in diary book form that I can buy? I love your writings and your talented artwork….saving to purchase one of my own pieces of your art! WELCOME HOME!! and THANK YOU again!!

    • sbranch says:

      You are so welcome Belinda, glad to have you here! Most of my books are personal, but none have been done in a diary form–this English Diary will be the first. I’m checking into that dishtowel right now! Thank you for asking!

    • I’d like to see a Martha’s Vineyard diary, too! We are visiting the island for the first time in September. I will have to rely on photographs for my memories since I can’t draw, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to see MV through Susan’s eyes in an illustrated travel journal.

  68. Maire Dhu Lemley says:

    Home is home again now that you are H O M E Susan. Glad you got to go.
    Glad X 2 that you are back. I’m smiling again.
    Love, Maire Dhu

  69. Judith Tischmacher says:

    I have just stumbled upon your blog for the first time and I love what I see . . .especially your trip to England! I used to daydream of traveling to England then went through a time when I was afraid I wouldn’t see the England I read about in DE Stevenson. I have since learned I am a wonderful ‘armchair’ traveler and love seeing England with you! You have shown me places I would not have chosen maybe myself but, I love them. Thank you! Judith

  70. Kim S says:

    I loved all your posts and was sad when our trip was over. I am however glad you are home and able to post such wonderful loonngg posts :). I loved the quilt on Jane Austin’s bed and although I love the house, my favorite place you visited was the Cotswolds. How that place called to me – surely my ancestors walked those sidewalks and sheep filled fields. I also llooovvvved Beatrix Potter’s and looking over your shoulder at your notes and drawings. What fun we have had with you and Joe, Sue! ♥

  71. Lisa G. says:

    Oh, I’m so excited I feel like screaming! So kind of you to take so many photos of that place; I really felt like I was seeing it myself. I am thinking of too many things to say, so I’ll not say anything.
    Except – if you like murder mysteries, have you seen the Jane Austen mysteries by Stephanie Barron? They’re good. (read them in order. if I’ve told you this before, pardon me!)

    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t, I will look them up!

      • Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

        Excellent suggestion, Lisa!! — For those not familiar with these books, it is very apparent that Stephanie Barron has a deep knowledge of the life of Jane Austen. The imagined happenings in her books chronicle and coincide with real people, places and times in Jane’s life for which Ms. Barron provides lots of interesting and informative footnotes. I think she also nails the nuance of the language and social mores of the era in addition to providing first-rate mystery reading. Makes you want to curl up with a cuppa and read for hours – think I’m heading to the library tomorrow. Yes, I agree, best if read in order.

  72. Pat C. says:

    Oh, Susan, what a delightul post. I just watched Pride and Prejudice for the umpteenth time on TV and love the houses, the clothing, and the manners. To see Jane Austen’s house is wonderful! And to think she wrote her novels at such a little, little table! Thank you for taking us all there. Did you go into the tea room across the street?

  73. Loved the tour of Jane Austen’s home….hard to believe she wrote with a quill pen and ink. Wow. Just wow when you really think about that.

    Have you been to Tasha Tudor’s home in NH? A fun place to visit. Another place where the past is so wonderful……and in New England, no less.

    Thanks for all your blog posts, I love them……but please don’t shorten them at all! I love reading them.

    • sbranch says:

      Haven’t been up there yet, should do that soon!

      • I went on Tasha Tudor’s House and Garden tour a couple weeks ago. The tours are only held a few times a year–this year’s are sold out. The house is near Brattleboro, VT. The tickets are sold out immediately, so you really must sign-up for the newsletter so you’ll be notified next time the tickets go on sale: http://www.tashatudorandfamily.com/early-bird-post.html I wish I could have gone on a tour when she was still living. It was very obvious that the “heart” of her garden was missing. The family has cared for it and are planning to rejuvenate it, but there was a prevailing sadness that hung over the place–her family misses her greatly–that I wonder can ever be restored. The house was quite sad, too. A storm blew in so it was very dark inside and I couldn’t see everything very well. But I was glad, still, I was able to stand in her kitchen and her bedroom (everything was much smaller than I imagined), and imagine her life there. Sadly, Meghan, her last Corgi passed away this past winter. We weren’t allowed to take photographs of the property, but I plan to post my photos of my visit to the museum in Brattleboro later today on my Blog.

  74. Lee Ann G. says:

    Oh how I loved this post and seeing Jane Austin’s home through your eyes, Susan! It is beautiful and through your words I could feel the excitement of seeing each special thing in Jane’s home. I especially loved seeing the actual writing table that Jane penned her stories on. Wow! …and to think we sometimes don’t think we can start on our dreams until we have be best equipment and perfect circumstances……unlike Jane, who started right at her little table and finished it there too. Thank you for sharing and it wasn’t too long at all for me….actually I didn’t want the post and photos to end.

    ♥Lee Ann

  75. Sue says:

    Your posts are wonderful, Susan! When I see an e-mail in my in-box of a new post of yours I often don’t bother opening it until I know I can take the time to sit, relax and thoroughly enjoy reading it as slowly as I wish to. 🙂 And hopefully with no interruptions. Don’t like when my concentration is broken while reading what you have to show and say. Love it! And always look forward to more! Your posts are never too long for me — instead they seem to end too quickly. Could you please make them longer? 🙂 🙂 🙂

  76. Kirsten Wichert from So. California says:

    Oh, how I loved seeing England through your eyes!!! I, like so many others, feel as though I actually was there! I will re-read your posts over and over again. Are you going to publish something (like your diary?) for our own special souvineer (spelling/I know this is not right)? Please let us know if you are and when to look for it. Thanks again for a lovely trip! The company was wonderfull and the price was right!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, there’s going to be a diary of this trip … it should be available in a few months.

  77. Jamie on Doty Island, WI says:

    Hi Susan and welcome home!
    You know when you say “I’m saving the best for last?” Well, your last email was amazing and I am sorry that I have not been able to respond to many of your posts while you were in England. Ive been busy with a very pregnant daughter helping her to get a nursery ready, and giving her a shower, plus all the other things that summer can pull you away from. So I am now just catching up on your adventures, and it is my “Summer Read” and I am enjoying it so much that Im reading them several times over and clicking onto the highlighted words and learning even more about people, places and things!
    What a treasure your blog has been. Read up on your actress Ellen Terry,what an interesting person she was, someone should do a movie about her life! And then I clicked onto the highlighted “Oates” buildings which are so fantastical, thank you for that….which linked to a famous spa (in the same town as one of the oates buildings) for the taking of waters in the 1700’s and run by a notorious “dandy” that ran the whole social scene. But back to Ellen Terry….I have to tell you that I adored the picture of her wonky, mishapen fairytale cottage and her gardens of blue. The wavy lines of the front of her home made me smile.
    Cant wait to read more even if I feel that I am very late in doing so, it is the best read Ive had or I should say, Im having, all summer!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Jamie . . . glad you enjoyed Ellen Terry, me too, felt like such a find! Magical England!

  78. Carolyn (SoCA) says:

    I am all cozy inside thinking of you writing to us while your sweet kitty-babies sit by your side! It is inconceivable that your wonderful adventure has come and gone (not really gone, but living still in your memories) I love the visit to Jane’s house! It reminds me of a detour that we took on our recent and first trip to the East Coast. I carefully exerted my desire to tour Louisa May Alcott’s home which exudes a similar creative and peaceful atmosphere! History truly comes alive when we get to linger in the very place that it first took place!

    • sbranch says:

      It really does; we’ve been to Orchard House too, I think it’s a way to gather inspiration, it definitely works for me! Writing this diary means, for all practical purposes, the trip isn’t over! Wonderful! I’m immersed in it every day!

  79. Just found your blog. Thank you for a wonderful trip through Jane Austen’s house.

  80. Well I think it is official Susan, noone wants you to shorten your blogs!!! OK, I have been writing about IN weather for 1 week now mainly because having 100’s for 6 straight days is just not normal here. I think today it starts to get back in the 90’s and into the 80’s tomorrow that will be refreshing esp. since states like CA, FL, GA are having temps. in the 70’s & 80’s?? I feel badly now for whoa is me my poor flowers (I do love my flowers) when on the news yesterday two babies one 4mos. and one 16mos. were left in cars with the windows rolled up and the 4 mo. old passed away and the toddler has seizures now but is stable. I do not want to judge anyone; but, how is this even possible?? I think the police said the temp. inside the cars were over 125 and the “angels” were left in there over an hour. I have felt sad since this was in the news and human life loss because of heat is one thing I think there has been 30 deaths across the country related to heat this past week, what happened to these children is tragic. This is my last comment on heat and it’s effect on my life, others have had fires, storms, and some people still live without A/C those are the victims this summer. Hope everyone has a blessed Sunday!

  81. Frances Fowler says:

    I think there is a general consensus that we all got to go on your surreal vacation vicariously, and we are all thankful for your generosity, taking the time to post pictures, videos, and write. This has been such an inspiration, even if I went to further than my laptop! In one of my favorite children’s books, “My Great Aunt Arizona,” based on the life of the author’s great aunt as a teacher in the neighboring North Carolina mountains, Arizona always inspires her children to dream about the far away places they could go someday; she herself never got to, but told the children that she could go there in her mind. (Given the fact that school in Georgia starts ludicrously early in August — not quite four weeks for me — I am looking to her love as a teacher for needed inspiration about now, because I don’t even want to leave the house or my dog until around Labor Day.) Well, I have not yet been able to see England, and regardless of how many times I’ve “seen” it through endless books, pictures, movies, magazines, British television shows, and online newspapers, your vacation blog has allowed me to enjoy it on an even more personal basis; several steps up from just being able to see it in my mind and dream, there was a lot of “there-ness” about it. I daresay Aunt Arizona would have loved your online journal! And now? Home, sweet home!

    Prayers for several of the posters whose comments I read. As far as the weather, I think many of us are praying for blessings for our gardens, farms, and looking forward to the first signs of an approaching fall in late August!

    I love the dishtowel. Aren’t they always the best?

    • sbranch says:

      Hard to walk away from a good dishtowel, even when you already can’t close the dishtowel drawer!

      • I know where you’re coming from! I have shelves in the basement where I put things I’m not using at the moment and rotate my stash! It’s like they tell you with children and their toys. Box up most of them (the toys not the children) and rotate them so that they get “new” toys every few months. 🙂

  82. Isn’t it interesting how Jane Austen wrote long and beautifully crafted sentences while having to dip her pen every two or three letters and now we write so swiftly in electronic formats and our writing is often criptic with emoticons instead of words? Something to ponder. “The faster I go the hurrieder I get.” (Don’t remember who said that.)

    I loved this post, Susan. You definitely have a way of taking us “right there.” And we get to come back as often as we want.

    Hug the kitties. Smile into the sunshine.

    • Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

      Linda in Texas, this is Linda in Lancaster County and I think the quote is a Pa. Dutch saying that goes, “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” But I agree with your sentiments. We need to just slow down so we can finish a thought.

      • Hi Linda. Thank you. I was just coming here to post a correction after I thought it over, but I had forgotten it was Pennsylvania Dutch.

        I’m also reminded of the Robert Frost quote Susan has used:

        “There is absolutely no reason for being rushed along with the rush. Everybody should be free to go slow.”

        Hope you’re enjoying a cooler day today. We had rain this morning. Hooray!

  83. There is a quality at certain museums of stillness and time suspended and Chawton seems to have it. Your pictures, the angles and lighting , have captured it. Even the three ladies look like they could be characters from one of Jane’s books. I noticed it at Bronte parsonage too, and Hilltop. I haven’t been to Chawton, but felt just like i was gliding along the halls and scratching across paper with a quill pen too. Then a mad dash across the way for tea and scones, unless is was after five , then it would be a pint of your best bitters, please.

  84. Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

    Okay, so my first thought was the echoed by just about ALL the girlfriends: “NEVER say that one of your blogs is too long!!” It just can not happen! Thank you for all the details you gave us in words and pictures. I loved it. And another thing I am loving is getting to know others through this blog. Names are starting to sound familiar and we are laughing with some and aching and praying for others. We are connecting! Yea!

  85. Mary Bowes-Andrews says:

    I loved reading your post, and seeing the treasures you brought home. I miss England so much. Thank you for sharing all the things you were able to see and do. It always brings a smile to my day.

  86. Jane in Pennsylvania says:

    We have been sweltering here in PA, too; but the visit to Jane Austen’s house certainly helped. What a treat for us Austen fans. I didn’t think we’d get to see the inside of the house. I’m so glad they let you take pictures. I remember visiting Louisa May Alcott’s house when I was much younger & have never forgotten it & that feeling of being in her footsteps. Thank you for taking us with you.

  87. Cindy says:

    Susan, you are just the dearest, sweetest, most wonderful girlfriend a woman can have! I have loved every single post from England…well, ALL of your posts for that matter! You bring me joy and beauty and the belief I can live the the kind of life I desire! You are such a gift to the world! Thank you so very very much for being YOU! Much love and appreciation from this armchair traveler! Cindy

  88. Nelle Evans says:

    Thank you for a wonderful trip to England. I look forward to each post and appreciate you taking us all along. You make us feel like we are there in person. Look forward to reading your diary when it comes out.

    I did pray for your safe return and was grateful for it. Absence makes us appreciate home even more. God bless you.

    By the way I wish the Texas panhandle were as green as your walk view this morning. 🙂

  89. Deb from Dixie says:

    Interesting segment on CBS Sunday Morning…..Charles Osgood started it out sitting next to a Sheep…….yep…an American one, but made me think of all those photos of beautiful English sheep in the countryside meadows.

    The CBS segment was on Woolrich…the oldest company in the USA making wool…since 1830, was very interesting.

    Who knew, since the trip to England, we girlfriends would have become so enamored by those “cutie pie: sheep!” ♥

    • Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

      I saw it, too, Deb and it also made me immediately think of “our” trip to England! I love how Susan’s blog site is giving us so much connectedness to eachother….it’s as though we all actually went on a fabulous trip together and are sharing memories of it — beautiful!!!

      • Deb from Dixie says:

        Hi Marianne…..
        I know, right? It is like we all have a bond – and it is such a joy to connect with Susan, and the girlfriends….and Jack! Plus we all are getting to know each other much better after traveling in those suitcases together….!!!! LOL.

        “A beautiful thing”, as you said.
        I feel the heart of the girlfriends, the fun, the laughter, the support during difficult times, the joy for the best times……and the connection. As I read the blog and the comments, I find myself saying…..”exactly” how I feel, or “how wonderful” , “great idea”, “great to be learning something new”, and I want to send smiles, and good mojo to Susan, all the girlfriends, Joe and Jack, the blog boys.

        So grateful for and such a blessing to us; “The Heart of the Home Blog”, it really has become a virtual home filled with heart and soul….. ♥ ♥ ♥ and all because of Susan, who we send many, many thanks for touching all our lives.

  90. Christie Ray says:

    Oh my goodness, our dear girlfriend!! YOU have outdone yourself on this one…and hush that silliness about it being too long. I read more slowly as I saw the end approaching;) And then, since you got all my wheels twirling in my head, with all that inspiration..I couldn’t sleep last night. So I have just finished watching A&E’s Emma, and, as I type this, I am wondering when the empyrean blue ink stain on my middle finger will disappear..lol! I was up late into the sleepless night, practicing my calligraphy with a new nib on my holder.
    I think one of my favorite pictures on this post was of the three women so enraptured…you have an artist’s eye even with your photography.
    Do I tell you ‘Thank You’ enough…or too much? If either is true, I am only making up for those who haven’t expressed it yet;))
    I am just now hearing glorious thunder and rain on our tin roof. The days on end of this 105+ weather has left everything parched and the grass crunches. My sweet foxgloves and phlox and hydrangeas and roses and impatiens have suffered terribly. It was a gift to see the photos of the beautiful gardens at Jane Austen’s charming home and gardens. And Laura Ashley wallpaper!!! Be still my heart! (did you ever come upon a LAshoppe?)
    So I shall close, and be forever grateful for your allowing us to journey with you…to our dreamland!
    Blessings Girlfriend,

  91. Joan B says:

    Hi Susan,
    Welcome home and thank you so much for sharing your trip. I am completely enchanted by the english countryside, thanks to you and Joe. I have learned so much and am going to the library tomorrow to find a Jane Austen book!!
    Happy July, gratitude & love to you all,
    Joan B.

  92. Tanya says:

    What a delight! Beautiful pictures – thank you for sharing them with us. It’s ALMOST like being there 🙂 As a lover of Jane and a needlework designer inspired by her novels, I NEED to get to her world in England someday soon.


  93. Bonnie L says:

    Thank you so much for the tour of Jane’s home. I have ‘Pride and Prejudice’ with me on the motor home and have been wanting to start a new book…so will gladly reread that one. Do you know if to ‘name’ something like a house there must be a ‘history’? Or, can naming something like a house begin a history? I just love the way everything has its own name in England! And, I’ve told my husband when we finally settle down it must be somewhere where I am able to grow ALL of the plants that I have fallen in love with on our journeys. His reply to me included doubting that that growing zone exists! I can hardly wait for your English Diary. Oh! I am not able to see the most recent posts. For some reason several of the most recent posts are blacked out! Don’t think it is anything I have done….don’t really know! Anyway, can read most of them and thanks to all for sharing………Love from North Dakota!

  94. Sharma J says:

    Oh thank you, Susan! I felt giddy just reading this post and seeing Jane Austen’s home. So charming. Thank you so much for sharing your trip to England … it has cheered my heart and brightened my soul.

  95. Michelle says:

    So glad you had a wonderful trip and are home safe. I want to tell you about a family tradition we have that involves you and Rachel. Every year around the beginning of July our lavender blooms – so for every 4th of July we make Rachel’s lavender tea cookies. It’s something my 3 sons look forward to each year. Thanks for the inspiration!

  96. Sheryl from Chico,CA says:

    Dear Susan,
    I know we all feel blessed to have you in our lives. xo

  97. Joan Lesmeister says:

    I’m runnin’ to catch up here, a few days behind! A journal by Christmas? I’ll keep this short, Girlfriend, you’ve paintin’ to do! Lots of beautiful words & pictures on this blog & comments from all our dear kindred spirits & I loved reading every single one! Thank you & heartfelt hugs all around! xoxo

  98. Susan, I am new to your blog..but not to “you”….have admired for a lifetime. This post was fabulous. We all have such romantic notions of Jane Austen, and after seeing her home, it seems they may all be true! The tiny fireplace is precious. I agree about the sweaters and cool weather and fires…somehow it seemed to add to the nostalgic, romantic feeling of the trip. Glad I found you!

  99. Georgie says:

    Just in case anyone couldn’t reach the link for Susan’s Hot Milk Cake, here it is. ENJOY this wonderful little recipe with BIG flavor!



  100. Sharon Calvert says:

    Hi, Susan: there are no more spaces to reply in the above comments about the Hot Milk Cake link; but I just now tried again to access it, and WordPress still pops up, asking for username and password. I ran into this once before in another of your posts, and you seemed to have gone back into something or other and ‘fixed’ it? Anyway, just thought you’d like to know …

Comments are closed.