The Ones that Got Away

There were so many things we didn’t buy when we were in England, I thought you might like to see photos of the ones that got away!  With some nice musica especially for everyone who is finally getting some rain today!  Hooray!

Beautiful things we didn’t buy, for a variety of good reasons (like, for instance, they were alive!) . . . but I think you’ll agree, taking pictures of them, is the next best thing; and in some cases, the very best thing!

We stopped at pretty much every antique store we saw . . . prices were fairly in line with our prices at home, and varied wildly from store to store just like ours do.  But good deals were findable, just like here.

The stores were full of pretty feminine things . . . I loved the lacy cloth underneath the silver spoons . . .

And some of the items were very hard to leave behind, like this tea set.  Not to mention the tray! But I think we all agree, I have my share of dishes, I had to leave some for the English people!

With all the old “Great Houses” in England, finding gorgeous linens is easy.

I just loved this watercolor, and it was so inexpensive, plus she had a sister 

The pair was under $200 for both, but they were huge.  We came close anyway, but our practical side won out.  I have these photos; they’re almost as good!

I mean, after all, this is England!  And they know everything there is to know about setting a pretty tea table.

Can you believe I didn’t get this?  Me either.  Definitely the one that got away!

I love children’s dishes; this precious set was around $50 for all!  A very good deal no matter which side of the pond you’re on.  But I didn’t buy it!

This either.  Yes, I know… please.  But it was really big.

This photo is a little fuzzy, but this was a store full of romance! I did buy a teapot here, a person could only stand so much . . . I bought it and we hauled it around everywhere we went!  And now I have it, and I’m so glad we did!

Look at the imagination displayed by the owner of this store in the darling village of Lacock.  Hats and vintage clothes, gloves … all with a story to tell.

Plates, ready for hanging.

A pretty little display of linens and china.

The rims on the bowls on the left, oh so tempting.

Shelves and shelves of antique books everywhere you go, precious old garden books, children’s books, wildflower books!

I could just imagine setting a tea table with this!  Inspiring enough to make you go bake a cake!

I loved the jug (better known in America as “pitcher”); it was WONDERFUL; it had a gorgeous shape.  But it was really big.  Joe loved it too; perfect for a dinner party in the garden, water, iced tea, lemonade.  We didn’t think we could get it home alive.  I know you’re wondering, but what did you buy? I promise to show you; I have to keep some secrets for the Diary, don’t I?

Looking at all the gorgeous old furniture, we realized what we really needed was to move there!

And we definitely looked!  Through the windows at the real estate office.  It costs nothing to look!  Pretty wonderful huh?  Around $800,000 on one acre. Another one that got away.

Jams like this were everywhere we went; we bought some, and ate it with our morning crumpets, but we didn’t bring any home.  Look at all the special kinds of marmalade we found in a little store, late one day, on our way back “home” from a day of sightseeing — this store was in a darling little town on the South coast called Alfriston.


Here we are, coming into town … really too late for almost everything, most stores had closed by then, which makes Alfriston “the town that got away.”  It was so charming, as you can see, but we never got back there.  That’s how it is in England, so many wonderful places to see.  No matter how much time you have, it’s really not long enough.  Next time.  But I thought I better show you in case you want to put Alfriston on your list of places to visit!

The main reason we went to this town was to go to their famous Much Ado Books we’d heard about, but we were too late, it was closed . . . the Village Store was open . . . lets go in!

They had two aisles of this!!!  It was almost unbearable.  I wanted it all, to start my own jam cupboard!

The whole town was darling.  All hand made.

Aha!  We said.  There’s our pub!  Pear Cider here we come!

Or maybe this pub?  Decisions, decisions.

There’s the First Alfriston National, the perfect size for a bank!

If you like this little town and want to know more, just click here!

So that’s the town that got away.  We will return!

 You can probably tell, but I love blogging and doing show-and-tell so much; I could make a full time job out of it!!!  It’s such a creative fun thing to do!  Only it isn’t a job, it’s my hobby, and I really have to go to work now Girlfriends!  Guess what?  I wrote a new Willard!  We are finally getting back to normal around here!  Willard will start going out to your email boxes next Tuesday morning — it goes all day Tuesday and Wednesday… if you don’t have yours by Thursday morning, leave me a comment and I’ll see what I can do to remedy that!

By the way, I have to tell you, Jack LOVED doing the last post!  He almost bust his kitty buttons!  Thank you all for welcoming him into the fray so warmly!  I was proud of his little self.  We loved getting to know your pets too . . . lots of back and forth in animal world; the comments were great! 

So that’s it for today, bye for now from my shy little Girl Kitty . . .  Have a great day! XOXO

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367 Responses to The Ones that Got Away

  1. Kathie Ferko says:

    Good Morning,

    What lovely dishes…would have had a very hard time choosing which ones to buy…they were all so beautiful! There were a few shops in Sandwich, Ma that we went to this year on our yearly visit to the Cape…our sixth in a row. There was one consignment shop that had such lovely china…but my heart chose a very well priced Emma Bridgewater mug with Robins. It now holds a special place in my China cabinet with my other tea cups and saucers. I loved all those marmalades and jellies on the shelves with their little white bonnets. Loved the No Bits marmalade name.
    Waiting patiently for Willard…and the diary.

    Kathie Ferko…Limerick, Pa

  2. jeannine leonard says:

    All the dishes and linens, plus the jams, how did you stand it? I love the silver spoons, and that tea set with the pink flowers is a must have. Thank you for the pictures, such a wonderful way to start our day. It makes me want to explore the little shops we have in Eastern PA. Jack looks so comfy in your arms, it is like we can just reach out and pet him. Now I know why my Emily loves him so.

  3. Priscilla Palmer from Naples, Florida says:

    Good Morning Sue,
    How exciting to me the Old Country Roses tea set (2nd picture, to the right) just like mine! And then the water pitcher and bowl … beautiful! You take such wonderful pictures, it is almost like you can reach out and touch whatever you have photographed. Or in the case of the marmalade, almost taste it!
    Look forward to Willard.
    xoxo, Priscilla

  4. This was the perfect post to read as I sit drinking my second cup of tea and listening to the rain out my window 🙂

  5. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I love all of the photos of beautiful English china and antiques. But my favorite part of this post is all about Alfriston. What would it be like to live is such a quaint and lovely town? Would it be too hard to get all that one needs or would it be the perfect solution to weaning from American abundantly cheap at Walmart? What do the Brits do about all that? I am imagining a more frugal and simple lifestyle. What did you see and experience there? Oh, and by the way, Jack was the perfect blog chatelaine during your time working on Williard!

    • sbranch says:

      So happy to hear it! He had a good time! The people who own Much Ado Books in Alfriston used to live here in Massachusetts — they moved there and opened that store! They love that town! We’ve never met them, that’s why we were trying to go there. I am always of two minds about Wal-Mart; cheap is so true, and we all need that; but then they are one of the big ones that send our jobs away, and we support them. Which is just a part of this ever-changing world I guess. We don’t have one here on the island, so I’m safe from too much decision making in that respect!!!

  6. Pamela Jewett says:

    Hi Susan,

    I enjoyed all of the photos in your blog….especially the vintage clothing one. How difficult it must have been to leave all of those treasures behind! But one’s suitcase will only hold so much and taking photos is the next best thing… and ofcourse practical.
    Your trip to England was such a treat. We are all still savoring it!
    xoxo Pam

  7. Sherry Winchester says:

    I am absolutely swoooooning over all the tableware!!!! Oh, be still my heart! And the watercolors were stunning, in a very bucolic sort of way. Delicious! And ending your blog this time with the two kitties was wonderful! Beautiful felines, but then, aren’t they all? Thanks, Susan!

  8. Lisa G. says:

    Oh, I love your Girl kitty. Jack’s post the other day was so cute, though!

    The Alfriston sign is great! And was that a saltbox styled house in the above picture at the real estate place? For some reason, I do not think of that style over there.

    I love the dotted pitcher especially – when I think of England I think about scenery and old houses. Shopping for linens never occurred to me – wow!! Did you buy any linens at all? You must have!

  9. Karen from CT says:

    Susan ((hugs to you!))
    How much fun it is to see these little towns and shops! I have to restrain myself in stores like those – I really do have enough dishes and things already! What a marvelous way to travel! I think we tend to overplan our visits, rushing from one site to the next- of course, our time had been more limited as well. I hope someday I will be able to do it your way- it is so much nicer!
    Loved seeing the jam! We used to make our own years and years ago but life got too busy. This year I have decided to try it again – even if it is only one batch! It will have to be raspberry, naturally. ;0)

    • sbranch says:

      Making Jam is one of the most satisfying things!! I just love all those jewel-colored jars, and saying, “I did it myself!”

  10. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~Good Morning~
    I would have gone nuts in those stores! Bully to you for showing such restraint!!
    Love all the rose things ~and those beautiful pictures!! My bathroom is just full of those kind of things~ I do show a little restraint too~ I guess~ Right now it is contained to one room~ for how long who knows??
    I am a Laura Ashley wanna be!
    Have a great Thursday~

  11. Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

    Beautiful post! Speaking of beautiful–Girl Kitty certainly is. And sweet Jack–he’s starting to loose a bit of his precious little “baby face” and is becoming a handsome young fellow!

  12. BJ says:

    I’m drooling all over my keyboard. I love, love, love all the wonderful teacups/saucers, plates, and the teapots, and then the linens and silver…. oh my. I can see how it had to be really hard to not just buy buy buy. Thanks for sharing what didn’t make it back…. now to wait (as patiently as I can) for what you did manage to come home with.

  13. PatriciaD. says:

    Oh how sweet is that blue polka dot jug! That would have really been my regretable “one that got away” item to pine for. Lovely post this morning. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful time with us.

  14. Pat Mofjeld says:

    Thanks for sharing the photos–what “tempts” the china would have been! I know how hard it is to let practicality rule. I once carried a glass peanut jar home from an antiqure shop in Mendocino, CA, on my lap in the airplane! 🙂 Love looking at the tea pots–and I’m glad that an end is in sight for our hot humid summer weather where the thought of a pot of hot tea wasn’t too attractive…good photos of Jack and Girl Kitty, too. I need to look for a camera that can take pictures of the dogs without using a flash that makes their eyes light up…:-)

  15. Rosemary (Sacramento Vly-Ca) says:

    I love the tea sets….all of them! And, I my wanderings of 2nd hand stores, yard sales, I am always looking for different shaped jars to put my homemade jams in. I love the shelves and shelves of jams…all in various shaped containers. So much appreciate your photos and descriptions, makes me glad I went to England with you and the girls!

  16. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Big s i g h s, ahhhh, thanks, I needed that blog with your beautiful pictures & words….made my day! Bless you, my dear! XOXOXOXO!!!! ♥ Joanie

  17. Robin in New Jersey says:


    You are delightful! This was so much fun to read and see all the gorgeous tea cups and plates and just plain prettiness.

    Thank you for taking the time to share with us.

  18. Christine Anderson says:

    Oh I am so happy to look at the beautiful china from England!!! I love pretty thingsand all the lovely tea things ummmmm!!!

    Thanks for continuing our trip through England!

  19. Country Gal says:

    Lovely post and photos ! I to have a hard time leaving some antiques behind . I have often said to Papa we need a bigger house to hold all our finds and then some lol ! Girl kitty is a sweet thing . Our Harley kitty couldn’t care less about much lol but our pooch Miggy now she is amazing ! Thanks for sharing with us , cant wait to see the goodies you did bring home !

  20. Hi Sue!

    Napolean Bonaparte must’ve been right: “England is a nation of shopkeepers.”

    My best girlfriend, Pat, is a bona fide Anglophile, just like you! Pat introduced me to the wonderful world of “All Things English” over 40 years ago! Strolling through her Century home, bears testimony to her lovely art of “Art”!

    I think you and Pat were cut from the same cloth! You have such a love and a respect for “old”, and so much charm for the new. One touch of your artistic talent and the ordinary becomes extraordinary! Something as simplistic as having tea is transformed into a grand and magical affair! I just love the attention you always give to the beauty in the details; it’s so mesmerizing!

    Thank you for sharing this delicious “Eye Candy”!
    Bunches of blessings!

    P.S. Now where is that “pre-order button” for your book? lol

  21. Silvia Niomi says:


    What an absolutely charming place – England is. It’s so full of creativity, whimsy and British wit. I just absolutely love it. The jam jars, the vintage books, that teeny weeny little ole’ bank; where do they store their money? The dishes, they are all so floral, oh my, the very old buildings and LOL the sidewalks that pull double duty. Can’t wait to see what all you bought in England. Someday, I am going to England; I just hope I can make my way around there.

    Hi Girl Kitty – you know, when I look at her eyes – they are very gentle and wise looking. LOL, in sharp contrast, when I look at Jack’s eyes they are wide, alert and very mischievous looking- full of vim and vigor….a total hand full, I’m sure, he is.

    @ Jack – good boy Jack, whew! glad you brought Susan and Girl Kitty back….. was worried that you had locked them in the attic or something, but still wondering where Petey is and, oh yes, Joe too. Jack your still not out of the woods yet….. you have any idea where they’re at?


  22. pat addison says:

    good morning susan, oh those lovely dishes, and linens and books and all that jam and that beautiful furniture…i would have been in big trouble there…so much to buy and not enough money!!! i would have been in heaven with those gorgeous dishes, and the pitcher and bowl…how could you stand to pass that by???? yes Jack did a marvelous job, and we all love him and Girl kitty. so from my kitties to yours and to you, good morning, and have a wonderful day. hugs……. 🙂

  23. Tiina says:

    I loved the pics. I’ve missed your pictures of England and MV. The final days of summer are here. What’s going on around the island? I loved the tea pots. My daughter loves tea parties and she will be so excited to see the pots on your blog. Have a great day!

    • sbranch says:

      Its getting to be like fall. Little hints are happening, I wrote about it in the Willard. Although today, it’s seriously summer, Hot!

      • pat addison says:

        we’re getting some pretty good signals here that fall is coming and soon, the trees have loads and loads of acorns in them, for me that means the fall is around the corner and the winter is going to be a cold here this year. well the squirrels should be happy, olenty of acorns to stash away for the winter.

        • Julie says:

          Hi Pat,
          Always love a good Acorn update-
          keep us posted…your the best ! 🙂

          • pat addison says:

            thank you, been seeing a few more signals that Fall is coming along soon, the golden rod is in bloom, sneezy time for allergy sufferers and the katydids are beginning to sing, you can hear them if you listen closely..katy did, katy didn’t .. katy did katy didn’t. fall is coming. the squirrels are getting their thick coats on so they are now darker gray instead of light gray, and the last of the hens is sitting on the last batch of eggs, have to get lil peepers feathered and ready to face the winter when they hatch out.

          • Julie says:

            peace in the valley-
            i say, bring on an early fall…
            so it lasts longer !

            the trouble is
            those wild turkey invaders
            will be snatchin’ your longjohns,
            off the clothesline,
            sooner than you can say
            bippety-boppety-boo !

            Stay vigilant, Pat-
            don’t hesitate
            to call the authorities if ya’ smell trouble !

  24. Maureen MacKenzie says:

    Bust his kitty buttons….lol. That was funny. So many beautiful pieces. It must be hard not to purchase them all. When you put the pictures of Jack up it reminded me of the videos of him playing. We have a 10 week old yellow lab named Winston and he’s running all around the place….when he’s allowed out of the kitchen. He runs around with his mouth open and chomps on anthing that happens to “fall” into it. He especially loves people flesh. I can’t wait for those razor sharp teeth to fall out! He’s sooo cute and already knows how to sit and fetch a ball. I enjoyed seeing Jack going after the toy – and bringing it back…my cat never did anything like that. She was more like your Girl Kitty. Enjoy your day! Maureen

  25. Debbie in So,Ca. says:

    What a lovely post this morning, I am always up to antique shopping…even by blog! I especially loved the picture of the post office as we are immensely enjoying the english series “Lark Rise to Candleford” It looks so much like the one in the series. Have you seen it Susan? I do not think I have ever enjoyed a series as much as this one. We order the disc’s from Netflix,and cannot wait for the next one to arrive each week. This is a must see for all the girlfriends…it would be lovely to watch in the winter next to your fireplace.

    • Kathy from Heafed to the Fell, Brevard, NC says:

      I just finished watching that series on You Tube, Debbie. I have been thinking the same thing; I’m not sure that I have ever enjoyed a series more either. I just wanted to move right in to one of the upstairs rooms at the Post Office! I just loved the costumes; that’s probably why I have bought closed to half a dozen maxi skirts this summer—I’ll be wearing them till the style comes around again!!!

      • Debbie in So,Ca. says:

        Kathy dont’t you just love Dorkas’s line that she repeats in almost every episode..” It’s my one weakness” with that little twinkle in her eye?

        • Kathy from Heafed to the Fell, Brevard, NC says:

          Yes, and she has quite a few weaknesses, doesn’t she Debbie? Well, she would just be one of our kindred spirits wouldn’t she? Such wonderful characters and such good acting. I just love Winnie, or is it Minnie, to bits?

  26. Well, they say you should always leave something unseen so you have to go back. I’d say that bookstore is worth the trip back!

    That photo of Jack being held shows just how big he’s gotten. At “1” is he full-grown now?

    Just how many of those 12 suitcases you took were empty going there? I suspect you planned ahead….

    Does Martha Vineyard hold Open Houses For Sale on Sunday afternoons? When we visit we plan to go to any we can find just to get a flavor of the island homes (and maybe be tempted?). If we ever get to England I want to do the same. I guess because you had friends’ homes to visit you didn’t need to do that so you just window shopped, but how did you resist?!

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t think he is full grown, if so, he’s a pretty small fella. That’s a good question about Open Houses, I really don’t know…but everything there is to do on this island is in the paper!

      I didn’t resist completely! 🙂

  27. Belinda says:

    Oh Susan thank you so much for sharing more of your trip! I also cannot wait to see what did make it home with you. You are a woman of sooooo many talents. I am not quite sure I could have restrained as well as you did. I guess a camera in my hands the next time would be very helpful!! LOL! LOVE that you shared your two little companions that watched over your lovely home while you were gone! Well deserved I might say!! I am also looking forward to ready my first copy of WILLARD. How do you find all of this time? Thank you and every minute. It is GREATLY appreciated and ADORED!

  28. Lori C. says:

    Isn’t there just something wonderful about the light in England? Your lovely, lovely photos! I can’t even imagine what it was like for you to walk away from such treasures! (Can’t wait to see what you actually DID bring home!) I love watching scenes from Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters and Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, where the dining table is covered with snowy white linens and they are using the most beautiful, intricate china service, and the way the room is lit with diffused and cool light. Living here in Arizona you certainly do your share of squinting!
    Were Girl Kitty and Jack a little “put out” with you for leaving them when you returned? Or did they welcome you with open paws?

  29. Mary A. Brown says:

    Wow, the ones that got away are gorgeous! One can only wonder at the magnificence of the ones you brought home 😉 Jack is a confident furperson. Maybe Girl Kitty could be persuaded to write sometime too…. Mary A.

  30. Karen says:

    I would not have had such self control in those beautiful antique shops! I’ve been known to stuff my carry on luggage with pottery…. 🙂
    What a wonderful trip!

  31. Elaine Serblowski says:

    Hi Susan
    Loved this blog with all the beautiful treasures. In all my years of garage saleing, flea marketing, thrifting and antiquing I’ve learned there is always going to be “more” so I don’t feel bad if one got away. We are the custodians of these beautiful things for a short time and then they are loved again by someone else.
    That’s a mighty beautiful armful of love you are holding and Girl kitty looks so serene and elegant, quite above the shenigans of her mischievous little brother.
    Looking forward to Willard. Happy hugs to you all.

  32. pat addison says:

    that lovely little village of Alfriston looks like heaven to me, definitely my kind of place to live. and no wal-mart or supermarket chains there, just a nice tea shoppe, and i’m sure a farmer’s market and they have their own chocolate shoppe…my kind of place. wonder if there are any places there up for sale or rent??? hmmmmm!!!!! hugs…… 🙂

  33. Ann Y. (Adamstown, PA) says:

    Oh, Susan – you have SUCH willpower ! Those dishes are so adorable…I am so dish crazy that I was thrilled just to see photos of them. I am glad you were able to get a teapot to remember such a wonderful trip ! And…can’t wait for WILLARD !!!

  34. Holly says:

    oh my!! So many beautiful dishes. I would have wanted it all! I too have gotten to the point where a photo has to be enough, because there is simply no place to put more, unless something else goes. Great post, beautiful kitties, always wanting more… can’t wait for the diary!

  35. Rachel Lucas says:

    Hi everyone! Just popped by to let you know that England is warm & SUNNY today…and that Bucks Fizz has nothing to do with Buckinghamshire!! It’s an apertif made by adding freshly squeezed orange juice to chilled champagne…de rigeur at all the best brunches here! So I would guess that the marmalade had champagne added…
    Also (feel like the resident English-custom-&-translation-girlfriend here!!) while many small villages still have little independent shops (although many have now lost even their post offices, let alone have a shop…) we have our very own ‘Walmart’ in ‘Tesco’…a huge & ubiquitous chain of stores…mainly grocery but also clothes, homewares, electricals, toys, books…you name it. They buy up parcels of land on the outskirts of towns & suck the life out of them (the towns) In ours, for instance, we have TWO giant Tesco superstores (they also set the petrol prices – high!) plus several smaller Tesco Express stores. This has done untold damage to the independent shops here…barely any left. So the grass isn’t always greener (although our actual GRASS probably usually IS greener 😉 Happy Thursday, girlfriends! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Never saw a Tesco but I can imagine . . . and yes, your actual GRASS probably IS greener!!! LOL Happy Thursday Ray!

      • Judy Young says:

        I am English and lived there for the first 23 years of my life before I met my American husband and moved to the “States. After I left my parents home and started working, I rented an apartment over a Tesco store! They were not as big as Rachel is describing now, so of course, like everything else, they have “mushroomed”. It’s a shame that has to happen anywhere, but especially England. Of course, it was convenient too, if I needed groceries, I just went downstairs!

        Alfriston is a town that my parents took us kids too many times. When I was 15 I went to a boarding school in Seaford, just 4 miles south of Alfriston and so when they came to visit we would go explore there. Absolutely precious little town, I always remember it fondly. What I wouldn’t give for a visit there today!

        Susan, this post has to be one of my absolute favorites! Being English and living over here (I haven’t been back in 41 years, but may rectify that next year!), loving antique shops and curiosity shops, tea shoppes, linens, china, plates, oh my, your photos were charming! I will re-read this post many many times in the future. One of your best ever!! Thank you so much for this!

        • sbranch says:

          You are so welcome and thank you for those memories. You will love seeing it again, the wonderful thing about it, that in many places you’ve been able to say for the last 400 years, is that nothing changes too much! I hope you find that to still be true!

    • Donna Ray says:

      Hi Rachel,
      Bucks Fizz……we call that drink a Mimosa here. We’re loving the Olympic coverage of your country’s customs and different word usage. But nothing is more wonderful that Susan’s “coverage” of England and especially your, and your family’s lovely homes. Thank you for letting us in a for a peek. As always, DonnaRay

    • Lynn McMahon says:

      Thank you Rachel~( I did google it)~ but your description sounds SO much more appealing! ~Have a great weekend~ you enjoy the sunshine and I will enjoy the rain~ It really did here yesterday!

  36. Francine says:

    Sitting here missing our England trip the last few days – it was so nice to get a bit more!!! Loved all the dishes and antiques! Don’t you just wish they could all tell their stories? A good day for “sightseeing” – it’s rainy and chilly here! Now, I NEVER thought I’d complain about chilly after the heat we had!!!! But I’ve already turned off the ceiling fans, and have started closing windows, and it’s just past noon! Guess I’ll be under a quilt tonight! Devine!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh yes, that sounds wonderful!

    • Pat Mofjeld says:

      Francine, where are you writing from? It has cooled for a couple of days in Minnesota and we are LOVING it!!! We have all of the windows open and it feels so good plus no buzz of air conditioners and dehumidifiers! Cool air sent from Canada! 🙂

  37. Suzanne says:

    Jack did do a wonderful job, but he is no Susan. Enjoyed your post today. I still have memory photos of several special buys that got away. Best to just picture them in someones lovely home being treasured by a very lucky person!

  38. Laura Croyle says:

    OH MY!! LOVED seeing all the Beautiful teacups and dishes and linens and all the other things. How difficult it must have been to practice restraint and not bring it all back with you! How FUN to stop at all the antique stores! I would have been drooling at every one of them! What a darling little town Alfriston looked to be. That Does it! I’m going to watch the Cranford series tomorrow night to get my Merry Old England fix! Thanks So Much for sharing all these treasures with us! 🙂

  39. Sylvia Watkins says:

    The Much Ado book store had me in goosebumps and near tears. The video by Susan Black was bliss for any bookstore lover. Loved the shot of two older ladies looking into Wind In The Willows. I WANT TO SEE THAT BOOK! Your blog gives so much pleasure. Jack and Girl are frosting on the cake :-). Thank you Susan.

  40. Trish K says:

    Scene: Evening Dining Room
    Husband: “So…how was your day?”
    Me: “Oh just the usual work stuff. But on my lunch break I went window shopping in England! I saw the most wonderful things.” Smile (Husband checks credit card for plane ticket fees)

  41. Lisa from California says:

    Hello Susan,

    I’m really enjoying your posts about your trip. My daughter lived in Keyworth, Notts for 5 years and I visited 3 times during that time. I loved England and really enjoyed my visits there and now I’m enjoying ‘visiting’ the places you saw through your posts. Thank you for sharing.

    In response to Winnie Nielsen’s wondering, you can get everything there that we have here only in British brands. It is a much slower pace of life. Walmart and Asda are available in the larger cities, but the villages have individual, privately owned businesses. It’s a beautiful, beautiful place and I’m glad to have had the opportunity to visit. But, there’s no place like home.

    P.S. Love the photos of your kitties too. What sweet faces.

  42. Deb from Dixie says:

    What fun! The inside scoop on shopping in the English Countryside… quaint and cute!

    Ok…I am weighing in on my favorites…The Orange Stripe and Floral Linens in the photo of the the little cupboard with the china…..those are charming and cheery.

    But, my over all favorite scores a 10.0000, yes, carried out to the thousandth percent in honor of the Olympics. And the gold medal goes to the big white jug with the blue polka dots. Ah, the possibilities….maybe filled with “Kimmy” on a hot summer’s night…LOL.

    Much Ado Books in Alfriston, that would be interesting, not only to see the store and all the treasures inside, but to hear the story of the owners. What a life changing adventure they are living.

    • sbranch says:

      That’s what we thought, we were so looking forward to meeting them, but as I keep saying “maybe next time.”

  43. Sandy Richmond says:

    Thanks for the cat pics. I love seeing them, especially now that I don;t have any.. I collect “jugs”, most of them blue, so if I were there I would have had to figure out a way of getting the blue dots jug home with me. Thanks for another great post! These are so much fun to read and look at…

  44. Carol C says:

    You are a better woman than I. That white pitcher with the blue dots would have come home with me no matter how much consternation it caused! I flew home from England with 2 tea sets (Laura Ashley and Peter Rabbit) on my lap. Those were the days when you could bring home the goods! Still LOVE the tea sets! Thanks for the free shopping trip!!

  45. Suzanne says:

    These shops were so quaint, I would have had an awful hard time leaving all those wonderful treasures behind, all those pretty china tea cups, fancy linens, and jams (yum!). I do think there’s a little cottage somewhere in England that has your name on it, yes?

    • sbranch says:

      It will have to wait until cloning is possible, I need to leave someone home to work and take care of the kitties, and it needs to be me!

  46. Judy from Oregon says:

    Oh my gosh! I would have wanted to buy everything. My thought as I was reading was that I really need to spend some time living in England so I could buy all those beautiful things to furnish a place. I would love to get a chance to purchase some of the old linens I love those.

  47. Vickie in Olympia says:

    Another trip to England and such a pleasurable sigh of enjoyment. Much Ado about books looks fantastic. Who would have thought to put crafting and a bookshop together? It’s brilliant! These small British towns seem all about bringing people together to find the slow in this rush about get it done world. So thankful you are one of the ones helping us to do the same on this side of the pond.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s definitely a slower pace of life …

    • Judy Young says:

      Much Ado about Books is a wonderful name for a bookstore! Has anyone checked out Half-Price Books in their area? We have them all over Texas and you never know what you will find……

      • Chris Wells says:

        Love Half Price Books. I go to the one in Lincoln Center in Ft Worth when I am there…but my very Favorite was in Columbus, Ohio. It was HUGH!!!! I have gotten beautiful gardening books and cookbook there.

  48. Susan,
    These photos really make me feel like I am in England with you. You have stronger resolve than me! I would have come home with at least half of what you showed. Maybe even the house! Thank you for sharing all your experiences with us. We love ya!

  49. Susan, you and I would make great shopping buds because I liked everything you did. What wonderful places you found! I now know if I ever visit across the pond, I better save up double before I go for all the goodies I’ll want to buy while there. Would be torture to leave all those lovelies behind. You showed amazing restraint. Love the kitty pics at the end of the post…adorable! Now, if I could just reach through the screen and feel their soft fur and pet their sweet heads!

  50. Kelley S. says:

    Yay! we’re back in England today. This was a marvelous post. Note to self: take extra luggage for shopping when traveling in England. I actually had to buy another suitcase in Paris once to haul home several yards of fabric. How did you ever resist buying all those beautiful things?

    Girl Kitty, you are looking quite fetching today – truly the cat’s meow!

  51. Linda in Texas says:

    Oh My! I am swooning; I am in dish heaven. The darling tea sets (I’m not really a big orange fan, but that tea set with the orange flowers–gorgeous! Little black accent lines. love it!) The roses on everything…the big spotted jug (now I’m talking like a Brit lol). It must have been torture to leave it behind. I also love that pitcher in the photo you said is full of romance. The children’s set–does that say Joey the Clown? So cute. I’m hoping some of these designs will appear in your artwork. Thanks so much for sharing it all. The next best thing to being there. And I am on the list of people anxiously awaiting the debut of the diary.

    I think Girl Kitty has a secret. She has a very smug look on her face. Kiss the kitties for me.

    • sbranch says:

      Happy to do that for you!

    • Judy Young says:

      Do you have a list going for girlfriends who want to be sure they get a copy of the Diary when it’s ready??

      • sbranch says:

        Not yet, when I get a little further along I’m going to have a pre-sale so I know how many I should order . . . first comes the Girlfriends, before the stores!

  52. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    I am in love with the spoon that has a shell bowl, which sits a top of your lacy cloth!!! Too bad they don’t ship to the US!

  53. Joann says:

    OK, we could be official shopping buddies, because you could have picked me up just about anything there and I would have said….”Yes, that will be just perfect in my ….” Well, I’d find a place for it; yes, I would!

    No, I don’t need any dishes. I don’t need silverware; nor do I need damask napkins from the 30’s. But I’ll get more…oh yes, I will. And, I’ll leave some behind, too….

    But the jug and the bowl….Susan, how could you???


    • sbranch says:

      These are the questions I have to live with! 🙂

      • Judy Young says:

        That jug was really superb! Spectacular in fact, maybe you should have just had it shipped so it would be waiting for you when you returned!!

  54. Carolyn (SoCA) says:

    Well, dear Susan, you have managed to stir all of us kindred spirits into a little buzz this morning! I love to mingle and chat with like-minded people about dishes, linens, quaint villages, adorable kitties and, of course, throw in some food (in this case, jams). Thank you! Thank you! ps I thought about you recently on a quick trip to Cambria as we passed the exit for Arroyo Grande.

    • Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

      Well, Carolyn, as my best friend says, “a woman can NEVER have too many dishes!!” I think we all are in good company!

  55. Betty Marie,Pennsylvania says:

    Hi Susan,
    WOW!! Lovely photos….I bet you are enjoying your trip for a second time with a good cup of tea as you relive your adventure.
    With your love of roses I can’t believe you didn’t ship at least the tea pot home. I just adore teapots…..Thanks for another great blog. 🙂

  56. Kathy from Heafed to the Fell, Brevard, NC says:

    Re: Last Post, She’s Coming, Steve Jobs
    To: Julie & Deborah Heater

    Left Reply to your last posts at end of Comments on She’s Coming. xoxo

    • Julie says:

      Reply to: Kathy from Heafed to the Fell, Brevard, N.C.

      Hi Kathy,

      I did leave a reply to your lovely post on the previous blog
      but once I sent it, it totally disappeared-
      snatched by the Blog Gremlin.

      It may show up, so I wont repeat it, in its entirety
      but I will say your Father sounds like he had a wonderful life,
      surrounded by incredible kids
      & no doubt, he & your Mom are keeping a watchful, twinkling eye
      over all of you.

      You will absolutely LOVE “Healing with the Fairies”
      by Doreen Virtue-
      pure magic & it’s based on her REAL life.

      You can Google, check her website & also YouTube
      her for interviews, etc.
      As a clairvoyant, she has lots of wonderful, interesting books,
      but this was the first I read, years ago,
      & still my very favorite of all-
      you will sail right through it….I just know you will love it !

      • Kathy from Heafed to the Fell, Brevard, NC says:

        Hi Julie,

        Thank you for the sweet comments. I am certain that Mom and Dad are having a blissful time in Heaven and probably celebrating today which is the first anniversary of her New Birth.


  57. Kathy from Heafed to the Fell, Brevard, NC says:

    Hi Susan,

    I have many comments to make already on this wonderful post and I haven’t even finished it yet. But right off the bat, I have to say that I couldn’t agree with you more that that little bank is the PERFECT size for a bank? I can’t help but look at that little bank and think that there is no way that it could get itself into all the mischief that our huge banks got themselves into!

  58. Sylvia Faye says:

    We, your girlfriends are so blessed by your trip and all the rainbow of pictures you take for us to drink of that beauty. Absolutely loved the blue dishes in one of your pictures. Your comments make us ride happily along in the car. Look forward to the new Willard next week.
    ~Sylvia Faye

  59. Sally says:

    Oh Susan I am dreaming of going to England now in earnest. What a lovely place to celebrate our 50th anniversary. Did you use a travel agency? Is there a good travel book to buy?

    Too many hard choices to buy, I can see why you couldn’t take it all home even on a ship!

    • sbranch says:

      We didn’t use a travel agency . . . but you can find almost anything you want through Google. Places to rent can all be done online . . . I’m not sure of a travel book … mine will be pretty good for it once it’s done 🙂 !

  60. Terry says:

    Hi, Susan!

    Seeing what you didn’t buy really has me intrigued about what you did. 🙂
    I think I would have had to bring home the blue polka-dot pitcher. I can see that on the table filled with daisies.

    I love your comment about blogging. Last week I went to the BlogHer conference in NYC. Amazing! People were there from all over the world. We all blog for so many different reasons. I realized, while I was there, that for me blogging is a hobby, like scrap-booking. I loved reading that it is a hobby for you too. 🙂

    I bet Jack and Girl Kitty are so happy you are home!

    Have a wonderful day!

  61. Josie A (Valencia, PA) says:

    Oh My! It is a good thing I wasn’t with you on your trip. I would definitely have come home without my clothes and toiletries and instead with a blue dot jug, some bowls and a tea set!! How wonderful to see those lovely things through your lens. Thank you!
    I just LOVE the picture of Jack. He seems to be thinking “This feels so good. THIS is where I belong.” and Girl Kitty (I think she has a bit of an English accent) : “How DARE they take my picture when they so ungraciously left me for so long! I’ll forgive them because I love them, but… ”

    I’m so thankful you have a hobby that you share with the rest of us!

  62. Juliana - Jackson, NJ says:

    Well this was just the loveliest little get away! So happy to go back to England – and how clever of you to take pictures of all the ones that got away! I would’ve also had a very hard time saying no to all those beautiful things! The town was soo charming! I dream of moving to somewhere like that – I really long for a simpler life. So worried that they are all disappearing, especially after Rachel’s comment! We need to save these smaller communities and support the mom and pop stores! By the way, thoroughly enjoyed Jack pitching in the other day! He’s such a cutie! And Girl Kitty is truly a beauty! Thank you for such a enjoyable post!

  63. Holly says:

    Teacups galore! Okay, Susan, I have been DYING to share this story with you but it happened in May when you were in England so I had to wait! I’ll keep it short….

    We went to a yard sale that had lots and lots of junk, boxes of it. Junk all lined up along the driveway. At the end of the driveway, kind of like a surreal scene, was a little table with a cloth table cover on it and 22 teacups and saucers carefully placed on top. There was a sign – $3/2 or make an offer. They were beautiful teacups – all fine bone china, made in England – and in beautiful condition. I asked my husband if we should make an offer and of course he responded with, “Where will we put all these teacups??” Don’t let that comment fool you – he was secretly wanting them too! 🙂 The woman said the teacups were her mother-in-law’s and she had no use for such things. I asked what she would take for the lot and after consulting her husband, she said “$20? Is that okay?” Yes, m’am! I couldn’t get my $20 out fast enough. So now I have teacups all over the house – in my kitchen, on my bedroom dresser and even one in the bathroom! What a thrill! This is why I love yard sales!

    Anyway, just thought you might appreciate this story, Susan! 🙂 And of course, everyone is invited over for tea! You can choose your own teacup! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      That’s why I love them too, it’s a treasure hunt! What a find Holly!

      • Joanie B from San Diego says:

        Another satisfying, amazing blog, aah….GAAAH…so much to leave behind!!! I lost my breath with the vintage books photo! I can’t imagine seeing such fabulous goodies day after day, oh my. Thanks again for sharing and brightening my day, once again! I just saved a bundle of money by my virtual shopping via Susan’s blog, tho now my adrenaline is UP way UP to go thrifting to find some new treasure myself! I made strawberry fig jam yesterday. Such a lot of hot work, but it is a very homey activity.

        • Holly says:

          Strawberry fig jam?? Sounds delicious! You are invited for tea if you bring that jam! 🙂

          • Julie says:

            Spotted this late, last night
            without my “Peeper Readers” on
            and I thought it said, “Strawberry Pig”-
            uh……that’s kinda’ an odd flavor,
            must be the jam maker’s trade name…CUTE !

            Now, a day later,
            with “Peeper Readers” on,
            I see “Strawberry Fig”-
            now, that makes perfect sense
            but “Strawberry Pig”
            was still, worth a giggle ! 🙂

    • Jeanne Hedin says:

      LOVE this story! 🙂

      • Tawni urrutia says:

        Haha! I actually burst out in giggles…strawberry pig!!! It still cracks me up! Julie you are hilarious!

        • Joanie B from San Diego says:

          I may have to rename this jam the Strawberry Pig Jam just to remember this story from Julie. It will get a laugh.

          • Julie says:

            Joanie B. the Jam Maker-

            Phooey on the laughs,
            CONCENTRATE on the SALES !

            when I first saw the “Strawberry Pig”
            & was trying to decipher ingredients,
            I thought, oh dear, don’t tell me she
            mixed bacon bits in with her strawberries
            to form a new kind of jam.
            After all, some people swear,
            everything is BETTER with BACON.

            Speakin’ of bacon-
            we were out for Cafe’ Breakfast
            & the guy at the next table ordered
            a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal & asked the
            waitress if she would tell the cook to add a
            sliced banana & crumble up, specifically,
            3 slices of crispy bacon on top.

            The sweet & saucy waitress said,
            “Why, sure honey-
            whatever floats your banana boat” !
            The guy responded,
            “Oh, trust me, it’s DE-LEC-TA-BLE” !

            Now, 2 things-
            I like all those ingredients, but somehow
            the combined taste & texture
            of bacon & oatmeal mixed together,
            in a porridge bowl sounds a bit weird.

            I am 5 foot eight”-
            I swear he was 6 foot eight”-
            would you ever hear Paul Bunyan,
            sittin’ in a lil’ homespun cafe’,
            describe his customized porridge,
            as being “DE-LEC-TA-BLE” ?

            It was creepy but yet, sweet
            in a “Baby Huey” kinda’ way.
            I wonder, if the Quaker Oats Man
            ever “baconized” his porridge & proclaimed
            it DE-LEC-TA-BLE ?

            “Oh,Trust me”-
            a Peanut Butter & Strawberry Pig
            ‘sammich would be quite DE-LEC-TA-BLE !

            Hey, the world has Chocolate Rabbits-
            why not Strawberry Pigs ?

            I’ll stand in line for a jar of your
            “Gooseberry Goats” any day-
            pencil me in for a case ! 🙂

            Happy Jam Making, Joanie B !

    • Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

      Every Christmas I have a “tea” for my friends. I line up my teacups on the cupboard in my dining room and my friends can each choose one for the evening. Very fun!

  64. Pam T. says:

    Hello Susan! I am so glad you are a shutterbug! It must have been so difficult to leave many of those lovely things behind, but photos are a great way to still enjoy them. I learned from very wise friends to do the same with all the precious art projects my boys made in school. Photograph the child with the project…then keep only the photograph! It is really the memory we want to refresh and the actual article isn’t actually necessary for that, right? Then I have room to keep the super-special ones with hand prints or sweet writing on them. I’m sure you have a treasure trove of memories of that wonderful trip.
    By the way, it’s wonderful to have you home again for many reasons, but I must comment how sweet it is to see your precious kitties. I’m sure they missed you both terribly and are so happy you are safely back in residence to see to their needs. Did Jack greet you at the door with a ball to be fetched? What a charming boy he is and how serene Girl Kitty looked in her photo. Such sweeties!

  65. Helaine says:

    Hi Susan, It is never the things you buy that you regret (at least not too often), but the ones you didn’t that “hound” However, we can still admire and love that these beautiful things still exist and have been lovingly cared for like a Shelter Pet. Too bad we can’t foster some, for at least a little while. Love you kitties, but don’t go outside, it is scary out there.

  66. Jeanne Hedin says:

    Paintings and linens and teapots, oh my! I’m going to have to read through this multiple times to savor all the wonderful things. It sounds like all of us girlfriends are like-minded when it comes to beautiful teaware, dishes, linens, etc. Thank you for the delightful post. Sure am looking forward to the English diary!

  67. Sharrieboberry says:

    Ah! Jack is quite the handsome kitty! I love his little mustache.

  68. Deborah says:

    Thank you for taking me along with you to ‘visit the Queen.’ I have so enjoyed each and every post about your journey! I don’t know how you walked out of those shoppes without purchasing the items you shared. I can only imagine how lovely the pieces are that you did come home with. The display (in the Lacock shoppe) resembles the third floor of my Victorian farmhouse, although my better half doesn’t consider it ‘imaginative’. : /

  69. Miss Winnie says:


    When I opened the video of you driving in Alfriston I was immediately alarmed and thought, “My goodness, that is a narrow street…….and they are all driving on the wrong side of the road!”. I had to laugh at my American self! Thank you so much for sharing the beauty of England with us. Your blogs bring up such longing for my homeland (which I have never had the chance to visit). Thanks also for more photos of your kitties. They are beautiful!


  70. Debbie says:

    Please! don’t consider moving. To visit your quaint home and town (even online) is a highlight. What would we do if we couldn’t share that with you?

  71. Susan, you are so right…hand made is the right word. Great Britain and Europe are all hand made and that’s what makes it so charming. The linens are fabulous as are the dishes and all the rest. It makes me want to go to the kitchen, bake something delicious and make tea…and it’s almost 7 p.m.! Waiting with anticipation on the diary.

  72. Linda Trokey says:

    Oh Susan, I’m such a linen and china lover that I felt your pain at leaving so many beautiful things behind. As I plan my bucket list trip, I hope to pop into some of the pubs, antique shops and of course, the bookstores! One of my dearest friends will travel with me and she knows that the back roads are what matter about the trip. I want to see the lambs, the ducklings, the stiles and the miles of gardens and oh, so much more. Your diary can’t come soon enough and I appreciate so much that you’re keeping us in the loop even after the trip ended. And no rain here in the midwest but a wonderful breeze this evening as we ate our dinner on the screened-in porch. Hope your evening is pleasant.

    Linda T

  73. Carol Maurer says:

    Good late afternoon to you Susan~

    We were having serious computer problems and ended up having to buy a new computer yesterday. I was feeling really out of the loop these past few days of no computer. It really behooves me just how much we depend up them! Love ’em when they work and hate ’em when they don’t.

    Jack is getting pretty big. My daughter had a cat that was small like Jack and fully grown. I’ve always heard they are full grown by 6 months. I’m sure he appears small next to Kitty Girl. She looks to be a big cat.

    Loved all the dishes and such in this blog. I especially liked the first picture of the silverware sitting on that lacy cloth! Would love to find something like that! I have a very hard time staying away from linens~ old or new!

    I’m going to start giving teas once again. I haven’t been doing that for a few years now. I have around 12 or so one person teapots. There are around 8 of us from church that get together for dinners, birthdays, playing cards etc. Once a month I’d give a tea at my home on Sunday afternoons.

    Looking forward to the new Willard!

    Until next time~~~
    Carol M

    • sbranch says:

      Girl really isn’t that big as compared to others in cat world. Jack is either little, or not all grown yet. He still has so much kitten in him. I love your idea for tea parties, and so will all your lucky friends. They are such charming parties, so much to be creative with!

  74. karen says:

    You and Joe are sooo brave and have such wonderful restraint. After about the third shop full of all these beautiful things and all the precious villages, I believe I might have just called and had my kitties and favorite things packed and sent to me while I snuggled into my new English home. Thanks for sharing and feeding my dreams of a trip them soon.

  75. Donna Ray says:

    There’s shopping, then there’s buying. I think shopping is great fun because you can have it all to handle and imagine where it has been all these years and dream about it being in your home. I’m getting better and better at just shopping, but, oh dear, I would have melted right into big time buying when I saw the children’s dishes, one of my weaknesses…….at least one little plate! And, like so many others, I hefted (what’s that word again?) to that blue dotted jug! Thank you, Susan, for showing us such lovely things.
    The discussion here about Walmart, etc. made me start to wonder…….are we continuing to make such lovely things that will last for generations, or is it all cheaply made, cheaply bought and, sadly, tossed? So few newlyweds even request china or linens, paintings or books……and forget about those lovely handstitched teatowels and pillowcases like we received as wedding gifts. I know The Girlfriends are a special breed. We all treasure these lovely things and the traditions and values they represent. We’re going to a wedding on Saturday……maybe I’ll quickly embroider a teatowel to tuck in. As always, DonnaRay

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, it’s gotten to be such a throw-away world we live in … I guess the manufacturers want us to buy more more more; it’s our loss though.

      • Rhonda D. says:

        Loved your post Donna. So true. I don’t care for this throw-away world so much. There’s so much history, life, beauty and family tucked into those antique treasures.

        • Joanie B from San Diego says:

          I think that this generation may be changing tho… what with concern about the environment…I have a story. I was out walking and overheard two young men (in their 20’s) one said to the other, “I had never seen how a push mower worked until I saw a video online.” Apparently, he had just bought one. For goodness sake!!!!! Can you believe that??? I think that the younger generation just might be getting a revelation about the “old fashioned ways.” Ha ha. I hope that all our vintage treasures will be passed on to a more appreciative generation!

  76. Don’t you just love Billie Holiday! Oh! The shops! I would have gone crazy in that lil bit of everything shop in Lacock. That tall bird peering out the window (is it a stork?), awesome! And the childrens dishes, oh my! Also loved the childs dish with all the hanging ones! Thanks for sharing! What? You had to pick just one pub? I would have had to go to both! (after shopping of course)! Oh, I did enjoy Jacks blog! I lost my Gwinny last month after 17 years, but we just adopted another kitty today! He is handsome as can be, all black like a leopard! We had a black kitty years ago (Sherlock). The shelter named this one Alton, so we have named him Sherlock Alton Maroni, Sam or Sammy for short! We get to pick him up next Wednesday, after the chip vaccinate and alter him (we didn’t tell him they were going to do that!) He is a year old and had been there since 6/12, they were all worried that he wouldn’t be adopted, they said it is hard to adopt black cats and dogs, so anyone out there looking for a pet think of adopting black! poor things! We got to play with him in a room, and he just rubbed against us, purred and played! can’t wait to have another lump at the foot of the bed!
    Hugs to Jack and girl kitty, and of course Joe and yourself Susan! Looking forward to the diary, is there a list started that we can put our names on?
    I hope so!
    Chirp chirp!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh I am so happy for Sammy! And you too! The list isn’t started, I’m going to do it when I get further into it, don’t want you all waiting too long!

    • Deb from Dixie says:

      Hi Jeanne!
      Parts of our hearts will never be the same without our sweet kitties, so very sorry for your loss.

      I am happy for you, that you and Sherlock Alton Maroni found each other…..and will begin a new adventure together.

      One of the girlfriends (Barbara I.) posted a line in her comment the other day, that I think is really meaningful, “Sometimes happiness sneaks in through a door you didn’t even know you left open.” ……You just never know where happiness and blessing will come from, and it sounds like little Sammy….is headed of both!
      Have fun with your new furry baby!

  77. Karen C says:


    It was nice to be back in England again. If that is what got away, can’t wait to see what made it back home. I loved the pitcher and bowl set too! I can envision that set in your house, maybe in your “parlor”. Thank you for the mid week shopping getaway. Tell Jack he can substitute for you anytime, really enjoy all the banter from all the girlfriends. Looking forward to the next Willard. Hugs
    Go USA! Bring home the gold!

  78. Linda Petersen says:

    Hi from Arizona! Thank you for the gorgeous pictures of the darling shops! I too LOVE it all & I could spend the night in the bookshop~~~!! Enjoying every minute of this trip with you. The fur people are cuter each & every time you post them. Anxiously awaiting Willard~~~diary~~~&~~~the new book!

    Linda Petersen

  79. Julie says:

    Oh my-
    gotta’ say,
    agree with some of the other Girlfriends-
    that Scallop Shell Silver Spoon really caught my eye.

    We always trim a smaller, nautical, New England tree
    with seashells, primitive whales, mermaids, sailboats, cranberries, etc.
    and have never quite found the perfect tree topper.

    I would tie that pretty girl, scallop end up, on the top of the tree
    with a beautiful, rustic, cranberry ribbon.
    The silver would shimmer & reflect all the tiny clear lights.
    & pop like a cork, against the rest of the tree.
    Wrap it up ! 🙂

    Everything’s gorgeous-
    the bowls with the floral rim design on the black background
    are absolutely lovely…my second choice
    and of course, one can never have enough books.

    While ramblin’ through olde book shops,
    do you ever find your books, in & out of print ?
    If so….how exciting, what a thrill that must be !

    Love thehoto of Joe holding “Little Jack”-
    just look at that face…
    he looks like he was trying to escape out a door
    & was caught just in the nick of time.
    As for Girl Kitty…
    I would say that’s her “Veronica Lake” pose-
    quite the olde time, Hollywood glamour shot! 🙂

  80. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan…. i am drooling!!!! so many beautiful things…so little room!!!! augh!!! difficult to leave behind..but great photos to soothe the sole….and you’ve got the kitties too…good TLC…. i’ve got mom’s and grandma’s tea sets….cherish them…love them and use them!!! tea time!!! happy thursday susan and joe..
    love, cindy

  81. Becky says:

    Oh my! Such lovelies!

  82. I’m more of a Fiestaware kind of gal myself, but totally drawn in by your photos of all those beautiful linens, dishes and tea sets–must go back and revisit all the photos–maybe I could change my ways??? Roses just———Mercy!

  83. Rhonda D. says:

    You know, it’s hard not to make a comment to your blog posts. Everyone of them just go for centre heart! I honestly think I just may have short circuited in England. I just have to look at one of your pictures of those amazing treasures and I’ve already got a room decorated or a special gathering planned. Not quite sure how you managed to leave all those gorgeous treasures behind. I really like the idea of taking pictures…you’ve still got the visual and you can still dream of the party. (Even that’s half the fun in life). That just may save me a lot of money in the future, because I’m not so good at leaving such awesome treasures behind. It would be so much fun to go on a “treasure hunt” with you. (Joe is so lucky).

  84. Cyndi in NC says:

    I collect vintage glass but American. But the china was devine! I would have had a hard time not buying everything. I love to have tea in a beautiful tea cup and saucer. My problem is I want everything. I have to just walk away. *L* Going to one of my favorite Antique malls on the Delmarva Pennisula tomorrow and I can’t wait. Since I don’t have to pack it in a suitcase I will still have to be good. I only have so much room in the car! I love it that you still have little bites from England to share with us. I looked forward to the English blog when you were there and now the Olympics will be over too. Boo! So again thanks for a mini fix! I enjoyed Jacks blogging too. You’d better watch out or he will be starting his own blog and you’ll never get on the computer!! *L* (Kitty Girl is as pretty as ever!)

    • sbranch says:

      I might have to get him his own computer. Pretty soon he’ll be taking pictures too, probably get some good ones of my ankles!

  85. Jackie P says:

    From the first picture to the last, every one a delight! Loved the flowers, the dishes, the LINENS (wow). . . all dear to my heart – and all things I collect passionately! Yes, it would have been hard to resist. I admire your self-control. I packed so many dishes in my luggage when returning from my London trip, it weighed a ton. Platters, plates, even a teapot — oh, it was over the top! Also want to mention how content the kitties look. They are so happy that you are home — written all over their dear little faces! Great blog, pure enjoyment. Thanks.

  86. Joan says:

    WHEW!!! I just rode along with you in Alfriston – Holy Moly what a narrow street – I would have been screaming. Like you said – “Is this a one way street” – but think other cars would have been honking at you if it was. Glad you made it safely!

    • sbranch says:

      It was definitely two way, but that’s how it is — the people who built those towns put their houses right on the road, of course, not ever imagining that one day there would be CARS!

  87. Sheila says:

    Jack is such a handsome fellow! I told my husband that our next kitty needs to look like Jack, and I just want to kiss Girl Kitty’s little pink nosey!

  88. Jeanette says:

    Oh, Susan how do you do it????? One post as fabulous as the last!!! You’ve got me absolutely captivated. I can’t wait for the diary. Any chance it will be ready by September?!? Sure would make a fabulous birthday gift for myself. Wink, wink…
    I usually refer to my lotions, potions and creams as my, “jams & jellies” – these edible ones look so luscious, I feel a scone coming on…
    Thanks for a lovely end to the week and start to the weekend.
    Love & hugs, Jeanette

  89. Michele says:

    Susan, as always, thanks for posting…I am absolutely drooling!
    I am not sure I could have passed up that bowl and pitcher set ~ I think I would have gone into debt! :0)

    Thanks for giving Jack the “reigns” yesterday. Our “fur-baby” (border collie), Myra Anne, posts on our blog quite a bit. We thoroughly enjoyed his little post. He is just tooooo cute! :0)

  90. Ginny Sargent - New England says:

    My eyes were darting every where! I do think that you could go back to England tomorrow and still have places to tell us all about.

    I love taking this journey with you via the blog. How exciting it has been. Now to see what you did bring home…. I am reminded of that song from Carley Simon (who lives on the island I believe) Anticipation….Anticipation….is making me wait.

    Thanks Susan for making us a part of your life.

    • sbranch says:

      There is so much history there, you could never run out of things to see . . . any direction you go in brings a new adventure!

  91. Anna Limont says:

    My mother was English and every morning when I was small she woke me up with a cup of tea and a tea cookie in a pretty everyday tea-cup, we drank tea often in the afternoons, and it was always offered to comfort upsets and also to mark happy moments, Lots of , would you like a cup of tea dear? , consequently, I love teapots and cups and saucers and so on. They evoke such a comforting feeling, so, Thanks for all the pretty pictures. I hope I can get back to England again someday, meanwhile – you did such a fine job of sharing your trip, it really was a little like visiting there myself!

    • sbranch says:

      Tea, such a little thing to give so much pleasure to so many!

    • Kathy from Heafed to the Fell, Brevard, NC says:

      What a treasury of memories you have of a dear mother, Anna! You were one extremely fortunate child, which I’m sure you realize!:)

  92. Kirsten Wichert from So. California says:

    I looked over the photos very carefully, as if I was really shopping and could buy something! I had to catch myself……I really loved one of the tea sets! Truly great photos! Thanks for sharing with us. Kisses for Jack and Girl Kitty!

  93. Pat Johnson of Paso Robles says:

    You definitely have me hooked on wonderful, beautiful china pieces. Just to see this blog gave me goose bumps! I am ready to go over to Cambria and see what I can find. But then why not go to Arroyo Grande? Of course. We do have a really nice antique store in Paso Robles – Reminisce. I buy many things there. And there are two new ones right next door from them. I cheer myself up by using my dishes. Since Fred is in the home and I eat alone, this does a lot for my moral. I feel as though I am treating myself like a “Queen.” Thanks for the Willard, my dear. Look forward……XXXXOOOO

    • sbranch says:

      There are so many good antique stores on the Central Coast, not to mention the great shows there, and the flea market at the movie theater in SLO! You are a lucky girl!

    • Bonnie Crawford says:

      Pat, ‘Reminisce’ is one of my favorite stores in Paso Robles!!…. Just love that place! I live in Arroyo Grande, so we probably visit all the same ‘haunts!!’

  94. Paulie says:

    Good Morning Susan!
    Yes, it really is 1 a:m in the morning and all I have to say about that is, your hobby has become my addiction…….this blog is very addicting to say the least. I am supposed to be in bed fast asleep! What gives here I ask you? Well since I am already awake, I may as well say how much I love all of these antique dishes, and bookshelves and girl kitty who really is very regal looking all of the time and all of the wonderful windows and shoppes and towns. Oh my …..had I been there other than in spirit I would have unpacked my bags and stayed there for a good year to digest all of the beauty in that country. Then again, seeing it through your eyes is like no other journey …….just loving it and I am still sitting and breathing it all in here………love it, love it, love it! Can hardly go a day without my blog break (translated that means drop everything I am doing and take a break to read your blog) lol……………nity nite! Sweet Dreams!

  95. I’m going back to read your post for the third time, I;m speechless, and it leaves me wanting more. and more kitties too!

  96. Linda says:

    EVERYTHING–yes it would ALL have been hard to pass up! But when you showed the books–vintage children’s books!!!!!!!!—I would have been there the rest of the trip! Isn’t it possible to have the shop owners package and ship your purchases? I know in the big city they will do it but in these small towns?And I agree with most comments–the polka dot jug would have had to displace everything in my wardrobe to come back with me. Living in the West we do not have the plentitude of antiques you have back East so would have been harder to resist these “finds”. Love love your pics of the cats–they are both so wonderful! Thank you again for your wonderful blogs! (We are still in triple digits here, fires daily, 82 degrees at 11:30 PM , record highs and no end in sight!) Enjoy your rain!

    • sbranch says:

      The books were my weakness too!!!

      • I looked through the Much Ado Books website and loved how they rescued antique children’s books covers (from otherwise unrepairable books) to make covers for blank books. There are so many places you can find old books for $1 or less.

        This reminds me of an idea I have for you that would not require additional work on your part. 🙂 One of your publishers should take your “sayings” you’ve painted and put them in blank journals. Your handwriting inspires me to practice mine while writing in my journal and how nice it would be to have an example of it on every page with one of your thought-filled quotes and delicate watercolours to give me inspiration.

  97. Mary S. says:

    All those great shops!! I don’t know what I would do if I got to go to England, how to resist all that!! I can hardly wait to see what you bought!!
    Alfriston is sooooo darling!!! And so are your kitties!! I LOVE them!

    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

  98. Kelly J. says:

    Wow! Just had one of those full circle moments! As I was reading about your trip into Alfriston, it reminded me of the time a few years back when my husband and I were traveling in New England. We stopped over in a cute little town that we thought we could ‘bop around in’ to pass the time til we moved on in the morning. But alas, we arrived too late and most of those cute little shops were closed, accept for a great restaurant right by the ocean……Later in your post I, of course, clicked on the link for Much Ado Books (how could I resist), and lo & behold, this book store originated in Marblehead, MA, the very same little town we felt “had got away.” I love those little connections that make this big world seem not so big at all!

  99. Laura Ann in Vermont says:

    I’m taking a break from reading Jane Austen to have a cup of tea and a digestive biscuit and read your blog. (I have a tough life, don’t I?) I ADORE today’s entry–I felt I was tagging along on the most wonderful window shopping trip ever! Like you, I have a weakness for pretty dishes, but you are right, there is a limit to how many sets one can own. Thank you, again, for bringing your joy of life into mine.

    P.S. I bought the McVitie’s digestive biscuits at the odd lot store for $1 a box! How lucky was that?

  100. I ADORE AND LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, old dishes and linens!!! Thanks for this post Susan…in our cleaning out of the garage over this hot summer, Jim found a box full of crocheted doilies his Mother had made over 50 yrs. ago (just laying in this box) it’s a wonder the mice hadn’t ruined them. I have to say she did lovely work and even had the doubled pansy’s around the edge of some just like the Vintage ones you find in antique shops. I have them put away for Angela’s “someday home” and I put out a few we all just wish Mom would have shared that talent with all of us because she did such lovely work. Now, I have to share something that just now happened to us: Jim came in and asked if I would please come out to help him?? and when I went into the garage my heart just dropped…there stuck to one of the 2 fly trap sticky thingy’s (flies have been horrible here) was a baby wren just flapping around with it’s feathers stuck and I wanted to cry….I got a glove and stool and went to it’s level the fear in it’s eyes I will never forget and it did it’s business all over me which I didn’t care…I took it’s body in my hand and it didn’t even peck at me and carefully tried to remove it ever so slowly until I finally had it in my hand. Yes, there were some feathers left on that trap…(Jim thinks they go there to eat the insects attached)….so, my next decision was where to lay the poor little creature which I’m sure will die so I took it to my garden and layed it down and it skirted away across the ground (not flying) and went into the neighbor’s yard?? Actually it didn’t look hurt and was sitting on the ground!! I’m just sick and going to ask Jim to remove those things immediately!! I’m worried now that it will be “cat fare” yes Pat that is the one evil thing about a cat is it’s love of birds (circle of life) I say to myself… upsetting that whole thing was to me…I know it is alive and I can still feel it’s little heart beating in my hand. UGH Maybe I gave it a chance to survive?? but, there are a lot of outdoor kitties up here; but at least it didn’t give up it’s life on a fly trap of all things! Jim said there were 2 wrens only one got stuck, you know the old saying that if a wren is around your home it means “good luck”? Guess it was good luck for the little guy to have me to help it……Sorry, just had to vent because I am a lover of all nature and know that sad things happen on a daily basis to animals. Thanks for this blog Susan it helps me try and forget what just happened.

    • If I may, good news on the rain front here for us (minus the severe storms last night) almost 4″ of rain in two days/night!!! It is too late for my flowers but such good news for all who need the water to replenish the ponds etc and maybe the soybeans (too late for the corn). As we were listening to the storm last night Jim stated “can’t we just get a summer rain anymore without the storm”?? I have to say there have been so many homes and 1 Church burnt down because of the lightning….but, RAIN we are so appreciative and thankful!!!! Blessings

    • sbranch says:

      Miserable moment . . . we’ve had them too. Try to save little creatures. It’s so hard. Sorry Deborah.

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Deborah, my “Polyanna self” is thinking maybe the little bird will recover. Maybe it was just kind of in shock…you certainly did what you could to help it. We’re always stopping to pick up turtles in the road and moving them to the side of the roads…and re the kitties eating birds–don’t you think I know that if one of my schnauzers had a chance at a baby bunny, it would be a quick treat? I shudder to think of it. As we are in the townhouse, they are always “on leash”. Our friends with schnauzers who have yards are always sharing tales of baby bunnies, birds, squirrels, etc., “not escaping” their schnauzers. It is instinctive for dogs and cats…one can’t blame them… 🙂

        • Pat Mofjeld says:

          And just think–the birds eat worms and insects…Mama or Daddy worm might not come home after a foray and might have been a tasty meal for some bird or its babies…what can you do about it? 🙂 (sorry for pointing this all out…) LOL! 🙂

          • Pat, Pat, Pat; although I did find a speck of humor in your worm comment ok it was funny….it is just so hard to watch the whole “circle of life” which I know in my mind has to occur to prevent over population of the animal kingdom…still it is so hard to watch this occur…my neighbors dog has literally chased and killed 4 squirrels in front of me and then comes to me for praise!!! eek and I love the dog and have to realize those squirrels come in her fenced yard, just the other day a little bird came to the birdbath and the dog is watching it and the bird seemed “slow” and it made it to a tree and within minutes was snatched as it tried to fly away by this dog!!! It is a wonder I am not scarred for life by this real life animal “pecking order”, so believe me when I tell you the intelligent part of me “gets it”, but the emotional side just aches for the loss of life of these small creatures. I appreciate your logic wise one and I do know it is all part of life!!!

    • Julie says:

      Deborah Lynn,

      Oh yes, those little Wrens are adorable,
      I love their shape & silhouette
      but when I read your post, I was reminded of the following
      video, a friend sent us
      when we were dealing with Wrens of our own.

      They do eat insects & hang around shrubbery & bushes,
      which IS good-
      that is why they headed to your insect strip.

      Yes, it is survival of the fittest,
      but these little hoodlums wreak havoc on other birds & nests,
      especially, baby Bluebirds & Chickadees.

      They will puncture & throw the babies right out of the nest-
      this lady had a bird cam & caught them, in the act,
      attacking & discarding her Bluebird babies.

      One needs to keep cleaning out the nest of sticks, Wrens build
      in Bluebird & other boxes or use a “Wren Guard” to discourage them.

      For such little things, they get right in your face
      & yippety yap-yap-yap !

      As much, as one loves all feathered friends,
      your heart will break at what they do to other birds,
      it’s the law of Nature,
      they are not the first & only predator,
      but boy, sure glad to see this video,
      so we are, at least forewarned…poor, lil’ baby Bluebirds-
      and then the wretched Wren goes back the following night
      & commits the same crime all over again !

      It is not easy to watch but VERY informational.

      • Julie, I have heard of birds (such as the Blue Jay) who rob nest by destroying the eggs/babies and then take the nest over for their own…but, had no idea that Wrens would do this. I cannot bring myself to watch the site that you posted at this time; but, I will look at it soon. It also amazes me how a hawk will literally rip a bird apart and eat it?? I understand a mouse or even a rabbit but a bird eating another bird?? Odd. We are having lovely temps. here today first time in a long time so I am out enjoying nature and thankful that we have such beauty to look at. Have a great weekend!!

        • Julie says:

          Deborah Lynn,

          Yes, I know, I can’t bear hawks either.
          My mom said she saw a hawk
          swoop right down to the ground & carry off a Mourning Dove & then she heard the mate “Coo” non-stop.

          Hawks will grab any small animal, even rabbits-
          they’re talons are so powerful.
          They lurk around, where they know there are bird feeders, just waiting for the birds to come to feed.

          Once, a bird of any type spots a hawk-
          they do make incessant noise to warn all the others.
          It’s quite amazing how nature balances itself.

          My sister had a pair of ducks with 11 little babies.
          When they were big enough, she & her husband would take the little fuzzies to their pond with the mom & pop, put them in the canoe & take them out to let them swim, keeping an eye on them, constantly.

          After a fun time, she was gathering them back up
          & just as she was reaching for the last, little fuzzy,
          this big bass came out of the water, mouth wide open
          and literally “slurped” the little, baby duck right
          into his mouth.
          She called me crying & said she almost
          instantly, wanted to dive into the water after that
          creepy bass.
          There are things you can never know about Nature,
          until you experience them, firsthand-
          like everything, it has its glitches.

          I always loved Tasha Tudor’s “Jenny Wren”
          & cashed out my passbook savings over 35 years ago to buy one of her original, signed sketches
          of “Jenny Wren”-
          I really didn’t want to believe all the bad
          press about them, but I researched & then when I saw that video, I forced myself to clean out all the nests, they built in bluebird boxes or anywhere.
          They are such a beautifully shaped, little bird,
          but meaner than a junkyard dog.

          If it comes down to bluebird, chickadees & others-
          than the wrens are on their own-
          that video will change your mind, forever !

          We had to move our picnic area, because they
          took over the grove of trees & shrubs
          and it was no longer peaceful or pleasant.

          It sounds like you had one of those sticky, gooey insect traps that pops out, unwinds & hangs down like a streamer. I can understand how frightening it would be for any bird to get tangled up in that.
          You & your husband did a great job, rescuing it.

          Those traps would be great for burglars-
          can you imagine if they walked into a slew of those ?
          I have walked into one & they are brutal.

          They say, next to an alarm system or a dog, the best thing to do, if you have neither,
          is to buy the biggest dog food bowls
          on the market & in great big letters,
          write “BRUNO or BRUTUS” on the side
          and put them at all your entryways.
          Burglars don’t want to mess with dogs,
          especially BIG dogs-
          but I think the hanging insect traps might be the
          better deterrent…
          talk about catching a thief ! 🙂

    • Kathy from Heafed to the Fell, Brevard, NC says:

      Hi Deborah,

      After hearing what you have witnessed, I certainly understand how upsetting this would be to you. Knowing about the cycle of life is one thing; constantly having to witness it is another, especially against our will! It would upset me too. xoxo

      • Hi Kathy, it is so true that we have to be the ones to watch nature especially the weaklings and how they survive or die. I am a softee and find all of this very upsetting; my husband moved the fly trap back further in his garage so the birds will not be able to see them up in the front again. I felt badly for him because he was sitting there and witnessed this poor bird, and knew that he could count on me to try and help the poor thing. I have learned a long time ago that this Universe is so much larger than me and I am only one person and cannot save the World although I will always try to help whenever I can. I can’t ever think of a time that we don’t go by an animal killed on the road that I don’t whisper to myself “Bless it’s Heart”…have a great weekend!!

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