Such a Day!

Such a day! MUSICA


Music’s playing, Vanna’s ready, (corduroy turquoise skinny pants, yellow gauze top, silver sandals, orange toenails ~ she must be freezing) ~ I’m ready too, are you?

You’ve been very patient, but now’s the time . . . Our little tea/winter/romance kit is going to one of you soon! “Silver Fish” (aka Vanna), has jumped into the vat of almost 5000 names (including girlfriendsall your wonderful comments from the Address Book Giveaway, really Girls, you are too  much).  She is scissor-kicking to the bottom, the names are whirling and sloshing around like the inside of a laundromat washing machine. I think she’s chosen the name because she’s breast-stroking her way straight to the top now ~ out popped her delicate little pink hand, gold charm bracelet tinkling like bells, her blue eyes looking over the top of her yellow sunglasses as she hands it over.  I’ve got it!  My heart is racing.

a fine romance

And the winner for our special Valentine’s Day Prize Package is!!!!!!  . . . . . deep breath.  Are you ready?  I really hope it’s you, I SO hope it’s you.  But be forewarned, there are other gifts coming sooner than you think, so steel yourself in case isn’t you.  Ready?  (I really don’t like this part, in case you can’t tell)  One person happy, vs ALL PEOPLE HAPPY?  (Ohhhh, to be Oprah.)  But here we go . . .

Oh! (reading)  This is nice!  It’s a mother-daughter team,  our winner is the very L U C K Y Linda Wiernusz and her 13-year-old Emma heart breakfast cupdaughter Sophia!  I sure hope that’s YOU!  Please look for my email in your box, Linda, write me back and let me know where to send your goodies.  Congratulations! I know I speak for all of us when I say we hope you and Sophia have a wonderful tea party!  Everyone is happy for you . . .

He Loves Us

See what I mean? Paul too . . . He’s thrilled for you!

And now, for everyone else, perhaps, at this point, you are thinking . . .

new bookmark

Because I understand, and you know I’m right with you,


 . . . so, here’s some magic for you (don’t run away, because there’s more), ease the pain dearest ones by clicking HERE, from me to you with loveand print out a brand new bookmark (use card stock if you can) with those “magic” words on it (you’ll remember the sentiment from your new calendar) . . . just for you ~ something to give away to the Valentine’s in your life. Everyone’s a winner in Smallville.

 More cheering-up necessary?  No problem, I’ve been waiting for this all week . . . Let’s take our mind off our no-teapot sorrows and go look at wildflowers in England!  Forget real life, snow and traffic, let’s look at fields of blooming color . . . with nature’s MUSICA . . .


Bluebells Stourhead

bee I know this does not look real, but magic never does, that’s how you know it’s magic.  These are bluebells, they come to England angelartevery spring, see the little meandering path that goes through them? We are there, walking along and smelling the flowers.  Rachel wrote and told me the bluebells are coming up now!  They run rampant, I mean rampant, all over the English Countryside.  This really exists, not just in this one place, but everywhere.  Isn’t that shocking?  I thought so too.


 There is no fresher air than being in the deep woods with a mile of bluebells around you and birds going wild all around you.


at Diana and Clives

These are the bluebells at Rachel’s mum’s house, grab a handful for your kitchen counter.

painting bluebells

I had to paint one ~ I did this when we were in England on a page of one of my old English garden books, now stuck in my diary. I love that this writer calls bluebells “clever” for learning how to grow in deep shade where other flowers fail . . . thereby owning the woodlands themselves. “A carpet as blue as the sky!”

Green things Growing


blowing in the wind

Here are some of the “thousands” of green things vying for the sunshine.  People here are so lucky , they run outside and bring in the MOST amazing vases of flowers. Free, God’s gift.


In the Yorkshire Dales

Here we are driving through the Yorkshire Dales.  Even now, alone in my studio, when I look at this, little screams emit (not from remembrance of Joe’s driving, but from how much I adored the Yorkshire Dales).

road lined in cow parsley

It wasn’t really Joe, it was road width and curvature. But look at the countryside!  Rock walls, hedges, wild flowers and stone cottages . . . this is the Lake District, the place that so inspired Beatrix Potter.  Gee, I wonder why.  Deep breath, Ommmmmm.






cow parsley

Here we are, up close with the cow parsley that lines all the country roads with frothy white flowers in May . . . it’s also called wild chervil and wild carrot, we call it Queen Anne’s lace. Of course, being magical, the story of cow parsley is filled with lore, including superstitions about the safety of your relatives if you bring it into the house.  Children made whistles and pea shooters from the hollow stems; whole weddings have been concocted from it.


“Of what are you afraid, my child?” inquired the kindly teacher.  “Oh sir! The flowers, they are wild, replied the timid creature.”  Peter Newell

fairy foxgloves

This wildflower has the best name, it’s called a fairy foxglove ~ we saw it at the ruins of King Richard III’s castle in Middleham, which was begun in 1190 (still there, filled with the story of time, and waiting for YOU), a massive very impressive ruin with no roof, but with most walls and stone stairways intact  (it’s in the middle of the Dales, a wonderful place to poke around ~ look at the picture on the cover of A FINE ROMANCE ~ We had just taken the right turn to get to Middleham).

the road to Middleham

Here’s the very next photo I took after the one I used for the book.  It shows why the roads are so narrow: they were made for horses!  Rock walls, stone houses, and deep hedgerows come right to the edge.  You’d have to dismantle the entire country to widen them. “Slow” is right; this is a two-way street, and our side is the left side.  Me?  I’m really close to those walls, could reach out the window and touch them.  My squeeking mantra to Joe on that trip (who was incongruously sitting behind the steering wheel on my right side) was “eeep, get over.”

fairy foxgloves

I digress, back to wildflower magic . . . in this photo I’ve climbed to the top of the castle, the fairy foxgloves grow all over it, right out of the stone walls!

Middleham Castle

Proof positive, the impossible happens all the time!



From Middleham Castle

This isn’t a field of wildflowers, but I had to show you the view of the countryside from the top of the castle.  How is this for “real?”  Works for me!



This too, this field of buttercups is at Rachel’s parents house.

Will and me and happiest dog in world

That’s me, with Rachel’s nephew Will, laughing ourselves silly, enjoying the face and gleeful road-runner qualities of the happiest dog in world.

brought them home

Had to bring them home some of Rachel’s Buttercups to dry them for “our book.”



This goes on and on . . . I’m not sure what town we’re in here . . 

the world is a garden

The Peak District

but this is the Peak District, the view from the porch of the cottage we rented in Wirksworth.



Grass bridge at Stourhead

And this is the most magical of them all.  OK, that’s probably wrong.  Because how do you choose just one.  But this is Stourhead, 2,650 acres of stunning everything, long walks in beautiful woodlands (covered in bluebells in the spring), lakes, ponds, lambs, bridges, follies, a twelfth century church, a pub, a castle . . . and this is the grass bridge.  We stayed in a stone house on the grounds, walked miles every day, fell in love with it, and had a wonderful picnic here on the lawn on the left.


my diary

This is my diary from the day of the picnic in 2004, that’s Rachel and me in a photo Joe took . . . this is the diary I kept on our first visit that inspired A FINE ROMANCE ~ so I will never forget that in short there’s simply not, a more congenial spot, for happily-ever-aftering, than here in Camelot.



wild orchids

These are wild orchids. Wild. Orchids.  And waaaaay over there, peeking around the tree, is one of the many magical “follies” at Stourhead called the Temple of Apollo.

wild orchids

You can see it a little better in this photo . . .

Temple of Apollo and even better here . . . you can walk up to it and sit on the porch and look at the view if you like ~ if you’re lucky it will be pouring rain . . .



just like it was in my favorite scene in my favorite production of Pride and Prejudice.  Which I just watched the other day, here in Smallville, with my nap blanket. Which anyone can do.Aren’t the actors wonderful?  Heart palpations galore.


And that’s all for today, Girlfriends.  Hope you enjoyed our little  “mini break” and feel refreshed for all that will go on in your own little Smallville today.  You can tell I’m in a good ferrymood!  Those flowers cheered me right up! Off to paint more for our next year’s calendar (btw, some are asking, I believe there are a few wall-calendars left at Amazon!)  Next time, maybe we’ll take a stroll into my small town so you can see the winter streets of the Haven. Would you like that? Plus, Downton, we have so much to talk about! Don’t forget to go back and get your bookmark! The days are longer now, have you noticed?  XOXO Have a wonderful day!

This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

410 Responses to Such a Day!

  1. Barbara Weaver in Hampton says:

    Congratulations to Linda and Sophia! When Sir Paul gives you a thumbs up, you KNOW you’re living right. And many thanks for the lovely post with the bluebells and the buttercups, Susan. I had a damp, chilly walk today and came home to see your post. Suddenly it was spring. It can’t be toooo much longer, surely!

  2. ann in E. oregon says:

    Thank you for the beautiful trip through the English countryside. Love P & P and all the other J.A. stories…….Thanks for the look at the Dales. I have read and loved (as a young gal) the James Herriot books (All Creatures Great and Small,etc.) and am now enjoying re-reading them to my children. :-))

  3. Carolyn Jane Chatham says:

    This post to your blog makes me homesick for a place I have never lived, visited or seen except through your blog and movies. I felt hot tears battling to escape from behind my eyelids as I savored the photos of the flowers and English countryside. Beatrix Potter, Pride and Prejudice and Mrs. Miniver touch my soul. I thank you so much for sharing your rare ability to make me live vicariously through your paintings and photos. I love you Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve loved places before I’ve seen them too, I know how it feels. Good dream material! Thank you Carolyn! Chatham, Cape Cod?

    • Janet Collins says:

      Beautifully articulated Miss Carolyn Jane~exactly my feelings every time I
      visit Miss Susan’s Blog. Thanks to both you ladies today.

  4. Marianne says:

    Susan, thank you for all of this! Just what I needed on a dreary, January day….

  5. Margot ~~~ Virginia Beach says:

    Moderate me, please…

    • Margot ~~~ Virginia Beach says:

      I think that you didn’t find my comment yet. It contains some useful info.

      • sbranch says:

        I’m sure I’ll get there . . . lots of comments waiting for me now . . . but I might not get them until the morning. I promise it will be there, so sorry!

  6. barbara lassiter says:

    I “swivel” (love that word) 🙂 my chair around and look out the window and it’s snowing. I’ve “swiveled” it back and I’m going to look at your beautiful flowery blog again. Love the beautiful English countryside and the excerpt from Pride and Prejudice. A perfect day to be viewing this!

  7. Diane Cassano says:

    Well hell-loo – my comment has nothing to do with this most recent blog – just popping in to say – I just received my copy of your book Autumn – it is the most beautiful book – I just love everything on every page. I asked for it from Santa and he delivered it yesterday. He’s awesome. Take care.

  8. Robin McIntyre says:

    Oh my gosh, where does one start after such a post?! Thank you for such a buffet of glorious diversions! The exquisite flowers, the perfect soundtracks, and all topped off with my favorite scene from my favorite Pride & Prejudice version as well. Such a feast for the senses! (I sipped a cup of your Earl tea and my blueberry scone for those two senses otherwise omitted.) I will enjoy today even more thanks to you, dear Susan Branch!

  9. Robin McIntyre says:

    AND the bookmark too? Oh joy! My blog runneth over!

  10. Ann Y in PA says:

    Thank you, Susan…loved seeing the flowers and gardens. Snow day here, early dismissal from school….did a few chores, have a crock pot of chili simmering, ready to make corn muffins….and cleaning out my computer when the email popped up that there was a new post ! You made the winter snow feel better knowing that under that white is a garden…just sleeping. Now a cuppa tea and a new book I got for Christmas that I did not let myself start until I finished a baby quilt for my new little Great-Great Niece – the next generation ! Violet Grace…a wee thing at 5 pounds and less than a month old. Got the quilt in the mail to her on the way home so I am free to read !

  11. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~ Good Afternoon and congrats to thewinner!~ Thanks for the pictures of the flowers and green grass ~need it after looking at gray these last few months!~ off to make ribs and kraut for the hubby and quinoa chicken pot pie for me~ the best thing about winter is comfort food!

    • Margot ~~~ Virginia Beach says:

      Hey Lynn,
      I am having a chicken pot pie tonight too!
      Stay warm,

      • Lynn McMahon says:

        ~ Great Minds think alike! ~ only my youngest daughter (28) will eat it because of the quinoa! ~ I made dark chocolate cookies with black beans the other day and of course no one liked them or dare try them because Mom attempts to make healthy food a lot~ makes me wonder if they scope out the garbage looking for evidence….. Maybe we should put THEM in charge of solving the Downton murder mystery!!!! LOL

  12. Marla says:

    Oh the bluebells, the buttercups & rock walls! All your lovely photos took me back to our first trip to England last year. I “pinched” a tiny little fern from a rock wall near Dove cottage in Grasmere and a few more “pinches” as I traveled around the countryside. I used your great idea and pressed them in the travel journal I had with me…sweet memories. The stone bridge photo reminded me of the Brig O’Doon bridge we saw in Scotland – at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. Thank you for sharing all your beautiful photos. You capture the feeling of the moment so well!

  13. Debbie S., IL says:

    Thank you for working your “magic” and bringing us Springtime in England today – the pictures are so beautiful and have me longing for Springtime here in the Midwest. Yes, the days are getting longer, so we’re headed in the right direction, right? I could watch “Pride and Prejudice” every day, one of my favorites! Best ending ever! I also must share that my husband has surprised me with a trip to the Vineyard this summer, it’s been on my bucket list and after a difficult end to last summer (2 weeks in the hospital with a ruptured appendix, wouldn’t wish it on anyone), I guess he decided it was time! Of course, I am beyond excited and can’t wait to see your little corner of Smallville. Until then, I will be dreaming and wildflowers will be dancing in my head.

  14. Joyce Ryan says:

    The flowers are gorgeous. It is so true so much beauty in this world and not enough time. Thank you susan for bringing all this beauty to us. Your blog is just the best.

  15. Carol from PA says:

    Congratulations to Linda and Sophia! If it could not be me, let it be a mother and daughter! Ah, the memories they will make and the moments that will be cherished! And thank you, Susan, for the trip through the Englush countryside with it’s beautiful flowers. It is exactly what I needed as I am looking out the window to falling snow and dreaming about Spring!

  16. Troy Louise says:

    How very sweet! So happy that a mother and daughter won the beautiful teapot. I hope they have a fun party with it. I loved every gorgeous picture of your wonderful visits to England. Some day!

  17. Nancy B says:

    Your posts just keep getting better and better!! Oh, how I would love to be right in the middle of that carpet of bluebells! Thank you so much for this wonderful display of English beauty. I know you have been busy painting for your calendars, but have been wondering, at what stage is the book about moving to MV? I haven’t seen a mention of it for quite awhile. Would love an update. Congratulations to Linda and Sophie! As someone said, “lucky ducks”!
    Nancy (from Bakersfield)

    • sbranch says:

      It’s at no stage right now Nancy ~ I haven’t been able to get to it since we left for California in October! Yikes. I want to, dream about it, but other things have thrown themselves across my path. I’ll get there . . .

  18. Deb W says:

    Loving the peek at your earlier travel diary. The pages look so nice and flat! Not like they had ever warped from the wet of watercolors. How did you keep them from crinkling? Was it just your standard bookstore blank journal, or one with special paper for painting? Lovely!

    • sbranch says:

      Pretty standard, has a leather cover and a ribbon bookmark (of course) . . . just normal lined pages. But I didn’t get the paper real wet, and there aren’t watercolors on every page. It’s a treasure for us that’s for sure!

  19. Trudy says:

    Congratulations to Linda and Sophie!!!
    Thanks for the bookmark-its lovely and it will go in my Fine Romance!!!
    Thanks also for the lovely pictures of good old England–was there again in my mind enjoying our times when visiting Yorkshire and Cumbria in our holidays.
    My bluebells are already peeping above the soil.
    greetings,Trudy from Holland

  20. Susan,
    Thank you for this little dose of sunshine, all around. Pride and Prejudice, especially this production is a favorite. My heart sings at the words of Mr. Darcy to Miss Bennett in the scene when he walks to her in the meadow near the end of the movie, oh my.

  21. Peggy Cooper, Pueblo, CO says:

    Can you hear that? It’s me clapping my hands over this delightful post. I need to go sit by the fire now after watching that scene in the rain (he doesn’t just love her – he loves her ardently!) Snowing all day here in Southern Colorado. Made a roast chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, and carrots dug up from the garden for an early dinner, and after putting away the good meat, the bones, herbs, etc. are in a stock pot simmering away on the stove for stock. Such a wonderful day to stay in and read. Cheers!

  22. Margie says:

    What a BEAUTIFUL virtual trip to see the flowers of England!! The bluebells are gorgeous — makes me think of the movie “Howard’s End.” I don’t believe they grow in the U.S. or am I mistaken? Anyway, thank you for the cheerful photos!

  23. Beth Barnat says:

    I love the English countryside, stone walls and old houses. I really enjoyed today’s blog and when I can afford it, I’ll be buying your book, “A Fine Romance.”

    Back in ’94 or so, I went to England to visit my friend in Ludlow, Shropshire. It was February, so I had the town’s castle all to myself. I climbed into the turrets, looked around the countryside and had visions of Ivanhoe.

  24. Patti Z says:

    Thank you, Susan! The meandering path through the forest blanketed with bluebells did it for me – put in a much better place today. Just the though of “meandering” relaxed me! I love looking at the world through your camera lens and will gladly go where ever you take us.

  25. Lynn Cunningham says:

    You picked the perfect “music” to go with all of those delightful pictures! I’m still listening to the sounds of water, bees and birds ~ SO peaceful. I thought I recognized that Folly, when you showed an up close picture of it ~ one of my favorite movies, too (although I also completely adore the Masterpiece Theater rendition of P&P).
    It must have been so hard to make yourself move along when you were traveling the English roads…..each vista more beautiful than the one before it. (And now there is a thunderstorm ~ I LOVE it!). Thank you for sharing your heart’s dreams!! That is a real and enduring gift to all of us!

  26. Carol from CT says:

    You are always so dear and so sweet whenever you say, “our book.”
    This morning, Wednesday, Al Roker said we would have 2 extra minutes of daylight today! Did you notice…did you notice? I used a stopwatch!
    Love, Carol … tra la

  27. Deborah Baxter says:

    Lovely. Thank you. I love to travel like this. Congrats to Linda and Sophie. May they enjoy tea time together and make lots of memories.

  28. Pat Triska says:

    It is wonderful to see the beautiful flowers on a cold winter’s day. I love flowers in all shapes and forms, even the ones that some people call “weeds”. I can’t wait until Spring and when the violets start blooming. It was nice to get a cheerful email when it was snowing outside. We didn’t get much but it was snow none the less.

  29. Monika says:

    Oh the photos are so warming on this winter day. I must go home, brew some tea and pull out my book (A Fine Romance – of course) along with my Beatrix Potters and enjoy a restful evening letting my mind drift to all these fine places. I can not wait until school is out (teaching) and get home… thanks for a reminder of what is to come.

  30. Paula says:

    You were a smashing success in making me forget all about the drawing, Susan!

    What rest came from viewing the photos of the flowers–oh, and how thoughtful of you to slip in a portion of Pride and Prejudice! I would not have thought to take time to watch a short, but very heart palpating clip from such a long movie! THANK YOU!

    I love it when you share portions of your personal diary, with the darling paintings.

    Love to you~~Paula

  31. Janice says:

    Congratulations to Linda & Sophia ♥.. So exciting …. We late last night couldn’t sleep so went surfing for that Calendar found on Amazon funny you said that love the blue bells so pretty… Now I will have to save up for that teapot happy Wednesday with love Janice

  32. CarolK says:

    You are the diversion Queen for sure. How clever of you to take our minds off the tea pot with “Oh look! Flowers!” That’s a trick I learned from my mom when we were kids and she wanted to divert out attention from knocking each other about in the back seat of the car on our Oh so, long trips to FL….Love it, love it, love it. You Rock Kiddo!….

  33. Ginette Wheeler says:

    Congrats to Linda and Sophia, every time they use the teapot they’ll remember the magic, how sweet for them! And thank you Susan for thinking of the rest of us, the bookmark is truly so sweet, I’m reading a wonderful book and now thanks to you I can use it instead of a bobby pin I pulled out of my hair, a big improvement! Looking at all the beautiful pictures on today’s post makes me want to run outside and work in the yard, would love Queen Anne’s lace all about! Instead I spent the day steam cleaning the carpets since now that the holiday parties are over their stains remain to taunt me never to serve drunk women meatballs…no worries, for now the floors are clean and soft and my feet are up and resting enjoying my time here with you. Looking forward to seeing Martha’s winter streets! Love always.

  34. You give us England, just when I was needing it. Thank you, Susan for being you!

  35. Carol Maurer~~~~ Kennewick, Wa says:

    Good evening to you Susan~~~ Another post!…. love it! You certainly know how to cheer us all up on this gloomy day. It’s gloomy here in WA, but I’m sure the sun is shining other places though.

    The pictures of England and all those flowers! I’ve always thought it was so neat to have little flowers in the lawn. That is sooooo spring. We have to mow the grass once per week, so we would be mowing off the flowers. I just thought, though, we have the east side of the house that only has bark. I could plant bulbs next fall there. Hummmm, the bark is deep so perhaps the flowers would never make it up to the surface 🙁 But, I am planting lots of flowers in containers over there.

    I want to congratulate linda Wiernusz and her daughter Sophia on winning the Valentine tea pot, tea and book. Such a fun time to be the winner.

    Carol M

  36. Annie in IA says:

    Yes yes yes…a stroll in your small town please!!!

  37. Dee Fox says:

    Thank you so much for the beautiful consolation prize that this post provides! I haven’t been to England (yet), but it’s becoming more of a must-do all the time, especially when you share your gorgeous pictures. Thanks again!

  38. Stacey says:

    Big congrats to the winner! Thank you for sharing those pictures, they are magnificent and truly breath taking…the bluebells…the villages! There is nowhere more gorgeous than England!

  39. Ginene Nagel says:

    Hi Susan,
    Thank you for the happy photographs and charming print-out. I want to go, immediately, to live in the countryside of England. Do you like the author Miss Read? I enjoy her as much as I’ve enjoyed Gladys Taber over the years. The other day, I bought a book of hers on eBay. When I opened the package, it was signed! I couldn’t believe it. I once saw a road like the one you showed with the bluebells, so I know it is real. It was in the forest in Northern Wisconsin, an old logging road, and every inch was blooming in blue Forget-Me-Nots. It was magic and real!

  40. JeanneLBH says:

    Oh Susan! Precisely one year after your glorious trip to England, we made a trip of our own. We didn’t get to see ALL the sights you did, but one thing that took my breath way was the ABUNDANCE of bluebells! I’ve never seen such a sight. It looks unreal…you have to look twice to see if you are really seeing what you think you see! I saw blue carpets of them all over the hillsides. It was amazing. Thank you for sharing them here….I was reminded how much I LOVE that. I want to go back. But in the meantime, I have “A Fine Romance” to drool over. 🙂

  41. Sharon says:

    Thank you so much for the bookmark. It is perfect for the magical book I am reading-The Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna Van Praag. Love your pictures of England especially the bluebells which remind me of the bluebonnets of Texas. Looking forward to your thoughts on Downton, my favorite program.

  42. carmel says:

    Some of those pics took my breath away and indeed took me away to another season and place! I love these “raffles.” I always get excited over the charming book markers. I printed out the moon phases markers for my 3rd graders and they will get them this week. Now I have those lovely markers to include with Valentine greetings for my friends (card stock makes a great difference and I also have a home laminating machine). Lucky me to “win” afterall! Thanks so much.

    • sbranch says:

      Love it for your 3rd graders Carmel ~ thank you for doing that! Kids can use all the magic they can get these days.

  43. Mary A. Brown says:

    Thank you for that breath of spring, Susan! I remember when you said that nobody does cute like the English! You are so right! France, Spain, Germany are very chic but the England is the land of cute! Did you see the Queen’s Garden that was on PBS after Downtown? Cute and loverly!! I’m breathless in anticipation waiting for shots of your downtown. Is it your village that hosts the daffodil festival?

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I did! Did you see the Olympics opening program? That was so beyond the beyond I was hooked to that darling country forever! I think it’s Nantucket that has the Daffodil Festival ~ but our island is a carpet of yellow in the spring time, daffodils galore.

  44. Brenda Caldwell says:

    Congratulations to Linda and Sophia (Love the name!) And thank you for the consolation gifts of the bookmark and the beautiful English countryside…(If this posts twice, sorry 🙂

  45. Anne Hegg says:

    what a beautiful escape from our cold winter days! Thank you!

  46. I am going to dream of bluebells tonight! (at least, I hope I will). Thanks for the beautiful images to fill my mind and soul!

    • sbranch says:

      I love knowing that somewhere in the world magic like that actually exists — before it was only in my dreams!

  47. annie says:

    Congrats Ladies!
    It’s too early here for bluebells,
    But your photos are just breathtaking!
    I enjoy your posts so much!

  48. Audrey by the sea. says:

    How I would love to run through the bluebells in that forest, but I would have to stay on the little path so that I wouldn’t mash any of them down. Beautiful happy dog with the big smile, aren’t animals wonderful. Today was like having a mini vacation in England through your vivid pictures. I have this flying fear thing, but I the need to smell the earth and plants and listen to the sounds of England. AFR is strapped to my hip, I look daily at it because I love it so much.
    Thank you for the bookmark Susan, you are always thinking of us…you keep us happy and we all want to keep you happy too.
    ((Hugs from Audrey.))

    • sbranch says:

      Some folks think the cost of the Queen Mary 2 would be prohibitive — just in case that’s what you are thinking, you would be really surprised at how inexpensively you can travel by ship. There are perfectly nice rooms on the ship, they are inside cabins and don’t have windows, but they cost about the same as a plane flight . . . and who stays in their room anyway!

  49. Kathi S from WI (Brr!) says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you for the lovely, warm & sunny, fragrant break in the English countryside. It was a joy to experience amid the cold and snowy Wisconsin winter! When I visited England many years ago (in the spring, but never witnessed fields of flowers the like of which you shared in your photos!), I realized why it is I loved New England so much… because it was so much like merry “Old England!” The stone walls, the rolling green hills, etc. I love the scenery in New England, and I loved experiencing it on grander scale in the UK. WOW! Those narrow, walled roads look scary! But thanks again for post. And congratulations to Linda Wiernusz and her daughter, Sophia! I’m sure their tea party will now be a memory to cherish!

    • sbranch says:

      They also have this yellow flower called rapeseed, actually I think it’s a crop, they make cooking oil from it . . . HERE you can see what it looks like . . . the countryside is patchwork with fields of this . . .

      • Laurie, Nico's Mom says:

        We have rapeseed here in Alberta, Canada, too. In recent years it’s more commonly called canola (more politically correct!). It is a crop which canola oil is made from. I use this whenever I don’t use olive oil. There are fields of this bright yellow plant which look stunning under a blue sky.

  50. Sara says:

    What a lovely mini-break, Susan! Can you imagine living where you can just look out and see large expanses of bluebells and buttercups like Rachel’s parents can? A little bit of heaven on earth, I’m thinking. The snowdrops are in bloom in England…I’ve never seen so many in one place, as Twitter friends have posted in the last couple weeks, which prompted me to make a note to plant snowdrops this fall!

    I’m in the midst of planning my sojourn to the Dales in September. I had planned to go in June but decided on September since the veggies will be canned and peaches and cherries dealt with. Sometimes you just have to be practical! I’ll spend a few days in both Ayrshire and Shropshire to meet up with friends and then two weeks in Yorkshire. I can hardly wait, but the time will go by fast.

    I had always planned to go to the UK, but your book pushed me over the edge, so I have you to thank, Susan! And thanks for dropping in with all of that beauty. Spring is only two months away! Yay!

    🙂 Sara 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I can only imagine the Dales will be spectacular in the fall, the air will be crisp and beautiful, and the tourists may have gone home!

  51. Susan from Bainbridge Island, Washington state says:

    Oh Susan, I adore each and every blog you send out…ALWAYS uplifting and so fun to read all the posting from everyone…A real highlight for me…Soooooo, right now, I am in deep wonder about Downton Abbey…I want to know all about Violet…What secrets has she been hiding all these past years? Hmmmmmm! Seems like everyone this week has an issue of some sort…and they are all building to a pitch…can’t wait for Sunday…again!!!! So happy that you watch it too! It is fun to share ideas about it! Here’s to some sunshine and the coming of spring….Saturday the 24th is my birthday and I will be starting a new decade…70! So weird..still feel 21 inside…but when I look in the mirror I see this older woman who looks back at me with some resemblance of my Mom!!! OMG!!!! Hope this finds you, Joe and the kitties warm, cozy in your winter house….time for seed catalogs!!!! much love from my island to yours…..xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Happy almost Birthday dear Susan!

      • Cheyenne Renard says:

        Susan , I want to move to Bainbridge Is Wash State so badly. I would love to know more about it . If you can post me something on where u live n what u like about living there, My family is from Washington State Issaquah and Seatle area. I bet its lovily. We are not retired so would have to work while living there either in the city acorss the water or in town. Have a Happy Birthday and many more Love Cheyenne from Henderson Nv

        • Cheyenne Renard says:

          Susan I just turned 60 and i feel the same way about the older lady looking at me from the other side of the mirror. It looks like my mum also. I still think im young and only when i see the mirror do i realize the image is me . I heart Downton. I want to get the tapes so i can watch the times i missed .Such a wonderful story i love it, Happy 70th again and your only as old as you feel so happy 21st BD the real BD. Love to you Cheyenne in Henderson Nv

          • Julia says:

            Who’s 70? We’re not quite 70 are we? We were born the
            same year. Julia Of course, being politically correct –
            there’s nothing wrong with 70.

          • Julia says:

            Sorry, I was thinking you were talking
            about Susan B. Happy b’day to the
            other Susan.

          • Susan from Bainbridge Island, Washington state says:

            Hi Cheyenne! My family came to the island in the late 1880’s….I still live in the house my Grandfather built in 1903. Bainbridge Island is a fabulous place to live. The community is wonderful.. and very supportive. If you work in the city, that requires the ferry. And you will learn about ferry schedules and what happens when you miss one!!! But, you learn and it becomes a way of life. A good life. We are still small town, with Winslow being the hub of the island. Schools are number 2 in the state. The island can be expensive to purchase housing….find a good realtor. We have many parks. The Grand Forest is a great place for walking, Battle Point Park is noted for sports and trails and picnics and also the biggest childrens playground (built by the island community in 3 days)…Also the Bloedel Reserve has the most fabulous English style gardens and home…You must come and live on this wonderful island…so much to see and do. Welcome Welcome…come for a visit and spend a few days just snooping around…You will want to stay! Thank you for my birthday wishes..I am looking forward to the next 10!…. susan

        • Diane from Poulsbo says:

          Cheyenne , I live one over from Bainbridge…in Poulsbo. Bainbridge is definitely a lovely place to live. It is changed so much in the last 10-12 years….very built up, but many things are still the same. The shopping and restaurants and community are still fun! If you want more of a retirement community or smaller town, Poulsbo is a bit smaller and less crowded….and just a 10 min drive to the Bainbridge ferry. Less expensive housing ……….HAPPY BIRTHDAY Susan! :). I wish I could have seen your town back when your Grandparents first moved there! That would have been so fun!

    • Annie in IL says:

      I and two of my friends will be celebrating that very same landmark b’day this year – one in just four days! None of us can believe it! We are planning a celebration this summer for all three of us. The brother of one is a chef and will be doing our food. I don’t know who in the world this old woman is who has taken up residence in my mirrors!!!

      Annie in IL

  52. Irene says:

    Hello Susan

    Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful photos of the UK.
    In the Summer months we spend a lot of time in the Yorkshire Dales,
    and it is truly beautiful.


  53. Sharan says:

    Thank you Susan for a bit of sunshine and spring. We just had a dusting of snow (which I love too), but I’ve been looking at garden magazines and catalogs dreaming of spring. My husband and I were in Ireland and your pictures of England remind me of our trip. We now have the English countryside on our travel list. And about Pride and Prejudice, it’s funny, I watch it every year around this time. I think I will reread the book this year before I watch it. Little bits of happiness to warm up the winter! Thanks!

  54. Kathy Fletcher says:

    Oh Susan-you make me want to be in England soooooooooo bad…..or up walking thru the woods with all the bluebells… that picture….love all the pictures but that one just sticks in my mind with out it being in front of me- i still see it in my mind… a smile on my face- and good thoughts for me today all thanks to YOU……I hope all the rest of the ladies on here are having good days too….

  55. Heather L. says:

    And you have Scotland to look forward to!!!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m feeling like I have to choose between going to Scotland or finishing my new book, and I think of the two, I really WANT that book first, and then, for reward, Scotland!

      • Diane says:

        Ooooh Susan! I’m sorry for you that it means delaying your trip to Scotland, but I’m so thrilled and excited for us that the book will be coming first. I can’t wait to read it! Scotland seems like a great reward for all your dedication.

        • sbranch says:

          To me too. Plus that’s life, you have to choose between the six great choices, you can’t have them all, which is why you always hear me wishing for a clone!

  56. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Congratulations to Linda and Sophia! Happy days ahead of tea together with family and friends. So special!!

    And I always love the memories of “our book” when you share photos and information. It just feels like we “were all there together” yesterday all packed in the backseat and smiling as Joe drove down those beautiful country roads. What a great time we all had and how wonderful that your book now can keep that trip alive to everyone who has a copy to read. Some of my favorite moments were those unexpected places with cute spots for a cup of tea together. There is something so cozy and perfect about finding little off the trail spots and sharing the moments over steaming hot tea and some of those sweet treats that went along with them!

  57. Ruthanne says:

    Thank you, Susan…just what I needed today…a beautiful trip through the exquisite English countryside. There’s a line in the movie “Wild” that I love and won’t quote quite acurately here, but the gist of it is…. “Every morning there’s a sunrise and every evening there’s a sunset, and it is your job to put yourself in front of beauty every day….” I love that you encourage us towards that endeavor!

  58. Karen S. in Natchez, MIssissippi says:

    The photos of England are glorious and I plan on treating myself to that book before long. I’ve never been to England but the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee have the same effect on me as the English countryside does on you I believe. The feeling I get when there is just, “Ahhhhhhhh…..”
    Love you!
    ~j~ Karen S.

  59. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    Lovely to breathe in the beauty of English wild flowers with my morning coffee. And how wonderful to know that there will be a mother-daughter tea with your darling giveaway! I wanted to tell you about a new place in Portland, OR called Purringtons. It’s a cat cafe! It is a sort of coffeehouse cafe with a cat lounge filled with kitties available for adoption – all run in connection with a local feline adoption agency, with all the same rules and requirements. But how fun for the kitties to be cared for there instead of at a shelter, being showered with hugs and kisses while they wait for a home. It is fashioned after a place in Paris called Cafe des Chats. Anyway, I thought of you and can’t wait to go there. (I won’t tell my kitty.) Tea, treats and kitties!

  60. Liz says:

    Thank you for the lovely post! : ) happy Day!

  61. Susan P. says:

    First congratulations to Linda and Sophia….enjoy…enjoy…and then enjoy again….make wonderful memories and take allot of pictures.

    Your blog was breath taking…it took me back to when I worked in Sequoia…I had the greatest adventure of being able to hike in and around the lumber camps in Fall…MY FAVORITE MEMORY WAS….THREE YOUNG ASPEN TREES….GOLD, SILVER AND A LIGHT COPPER COLOR…WITH A SOFT WARM BREEZE GOING THRU THE TREES THAT MADE THEIR LEAVES BLOW EVER SO SOFTLY…IT LOOKED LIKE COINS …(DID GROW ON TREES)…AND THE GROUND WAS A CARPET OF AUTUMN COLORS THAT I WILL NEVER FORGET. Thanks for sharing your memories and taking me back to some of mine….only regret…no camera….but the mind is still sharp. And if this was a dream..what a wonderful world I live in…hahahaha. Love, Susan P.

  62. Josephine G. says:

    Hi Susan! I particularly like the Temple of Apollo pictures! The proposal scene in the rain from Pride & Prejudice is also my favorite scene from the movie. ❤ And you were there! All of those flowers in the English country side are breathtaking! So marvelous! Thank you for another wonderful get away that you have given me during my lunch break at work!

  63. Karen Lotito from Aquebogue, NY says:

    Hi Susan, Oh this blog cheered me up so much! I wanted to climb into those pictures and smell all of those lovely flowers! The pictures took me right away from work, the cold gray day and thinking about my sick furbaby. He’s getting better but always a worry. Your blog reminded me that the best things in life are free. I would love to see pictures from your Smallville. I live in the “Smallville” of Aquebogue which is on the North Fork of Long Island. Somewhere along the line when I was born I think a piece of my heart flew over to New England and I’ve always had a draw to the area. I’ve only been to Martha’s Vineyard once to Oak Bluffs and I fell in love. A close friend of ours lives on Cape Cod and I fell in love there, too. Have a lovely day!

  64. deborah t. norling says:

    YES PLEASE time we’ll take a stroll into my small town so you can see the winter streets of the haven.. !

  65. Kathy Korb says:

    Oh, thank you for the lovely staycation!! Today of all days, I needed one! totally love the ‘sounds’ of nature!! That is what is missing here in Wisconsin right now. . I did notice on my daily walk on Tuesday am, that there are a few cardinals calling, way up high in the trees. I couldn’t see them. I could just hear them.. a wonderful sound. A Spring Reminder!! Perfect!

    Your blog pictures had me checking out my ‘A Fine Romance” pages again.. always close at hand.. Enjoy Smallsville!! oh, yeah, Tell Vanna ‘Great job’ on the mother/daughter winners!! Pulling out a ‘team’ of is so cool!!

  66. Sweet Sue!
    Oh how good you are to give us much needed beautiful blue bells on this dreary winter’s day! Daughter-in-law/love and I have consumed her tin AND mine of our Roses and Lavender Tea, to which I said, “We shall have MORE!” I popped over and ordered two bags. It is the most wonderful thing to put sweet sleepy Sophia down for her nap and enjoy a hot cup of tea with this wonderful girl my son married. (who has been nanny to Phia while I work/paint/write) He was so good to pick her out just for me, you see;)
    Although I might not be present here in the comment section for months and months, you stay on my mind and ever-present in my “rolodex of memories ” of warm summer days spent on that beautiful island of yours;)
    Stay warm and cozy, love on your boy and girl, and hugs and hellos to your Joe from Me and my Tim Ray:)
    Always and forever…
    Christie Ray from Franklin Tennessee

  67. Jan says:

    Congrats to Linda and daughter! Enjoy! Beautiful pictures of the bluebells. Would love to have some in my yard. Made Mother Effie’s bread this week – very moist and yummy. I think it is even better the next day or two as the millet seeds have softened a bit. It really is great toasted too. Will enjoy it tonight with homemade bean soup. My husband bought me one of your Grandma’s Bowl prints for Christmas. Yay!! I now need to get it mounted and put in a frame. Not sure if I match the mounting, to the colors in the picture, or to the colors in the room I’m hanging it in ? Or both? Well – had better get moving here in “Smallville”. I’m in the middle of cleaning and organizing my scrapbook room. Hope you’re having a great day! Thanks for the bookmark too.

    • sbranch says:

      You might try it in a narrowish gold frame . . . if you have a very light room, you could try it with a white linen-like matt (and gold frame). I have the original here . . . looking at it now, it’s double matted; the outside (larger) matt is green like the darker parts of the grapes; inside, there’s about an eighth of an inch of a rose color matt.

      • Jan says:

        Thank you for your input and suggestions! Never thought of a double matt. Would like to hang it in my kitchen and a gold frame just might work……or……….an antique brass, silver, or copper one. Food for thought! Thanks !

  68. Debbie P. ~ Weedsport, NY says:

    Congratulations Linda and Sophia! And thank you, Susan, for making us all winners with this dreamy post of flowers and Springtime! I have noticed that the days are getting longer…hurray!

  69. Jen says:

    I found this “Bloomin’ Bluebell” knitting pattern a few years ago:
    You may have inspired me to finally give it a try.

    • sbranch says:

      How adorable, I passed that on Jen, I put the Bluebell pattern link up on Twitter, thank you ~ People will love it!

  70. Jody says:

    A perfect walk through the English countryside. Ahhhhhh.
    and then a P&P scene. Perfect!

  71. Judy Dow says:

    Hi Susan! Thank you for bringing sunshine and flowers to us today! Ethel and I were returning to Granger from an overnight in Indianapolis. Everything was winter brown except the sky that was winter dark gray. Your post reminded me what’s coming not too far down the road! It’s nearly the end of January, February is short and filled with hearts and love, and then-March! I will review my tabbed pages from the English Countryside. Spring fever is coming early this year! Hi to Joe and the kitties!

  72. Lorene says:

    Oh how I enjoyed our stroll through the wildflowers! Absolute magic! A much needed break in the middle of cold and snow and a reminder that spring will indeed find us in the not too distant future. I spent a holiday in England and felt that time slowed and the years fell away. It was a strange feeling. Enchantment?And the age of the buildings and the ruins! Houses THAT OLD and families still live in them. Amazing
    Thank you Susan for a wonderful trip down memory lane

  73. Vicki says:

    Sounds like a perfect winner for the teapot extravaganza gift. Congrats!!

    NOW, for us LOSERS (said totally in jest, OF COURSE!!), how clever of you, Susan, to distract us with the wonderful Lake District travelog. Oh boy, did I enjoy it; have just been pouring all over the Dales and also some of your links. Your photos are so beautiful; thank you for sharing with us. I’m sure it’s so much fun to revisit the lovely places in England which you got to visit. It’s a trip that must have been months in the planning and you did it up right. When I was young and green, I did get the privilege of briefly visiting some of the English countryside but, have to confess, I can’t remember a lot of it now; it’s been too many years and I wasn’t educated enough to know what to look for or appreciate the way I would now. However, I do remember the stone walls and how they’d border off lush green meadows and pastures almost like a rough checkerboard; I loved those low, stone walls! I would so love-love to return. Cornwall calls to me now and I sometimes get my cure for that with watching Doc Martin on PBS…a series I swear, one day, I’m going to watch from beginning to end instead of seeing the stray episode here and there!

    Yes, Yes, Yes. I would love seeing your village streets in winter. Photos, please. I was just reading about Jackie Kennedy’s pristine acreage at Gay Head/Aquinnah and what an untouched, ecological wonder it is…and how Caroline Kennedy, I guess a couple-three years ago now, had to go before island officials for ‘permission’ to break it up so that there are enough parcels for each of her children as well as one which will never see development as a part of that eco-perfection for wildlife and plantlife. The article talked about two parcels, though, which were up for sale. Do you know if they (Red Gate Farm) were ever sold? I always thought it was kind of interesting that Jackie chose to summer on Martha’s Vineyard, long after she wasn’t aligned with the Kennedys per se (and the whole Hyannis thing), rather than the Hamptons, where her ancestors had big homes for many decades, from the earliest part of the 20th century.

    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t been paying attention, but I would imagine property with such historic interest would go pretty quickly around here.

  74. cindy berry says:

    Thanks so much for the beautiful post…needed it on this cold rainy South LA night….

  75. Kathy Jaynes says:


    Wonderful idea: please take us on a stroll. The sights and sounds come alive as we meander the garden paths with you!

    btw, I made your enchiladas again tonight. They were a smashing success, as usual! Your recipes are a delight. I read and re-read your cookbooks like a treasured, favorite novel. Thank you!

  76. Shelia says:

    So excited to see that a mother daughter team won the teapot! Sweet times having tea parties with each other! Beautiful flowers and memories of your trip. Love the book and need to take time to read it again Only took me 3 days the first time. I devoured it! Cannot wait for the next one! I do want to see your lovely Haven in the snow! I look back at your old posts sometimes weekly to see the snowy scenes! Thanks for all you do!

  77. Jo says:

    What a delightful break, to be in England, any time – such joy.

  78. Sharon in The Carolinas says:

    You made so many of us happy with the field flower tour! Went on a winter flower tour in Hillsborough, N.C. , just up the road from me. It was an old estate called “Montrose” to see the snowdrops. Thousands and thousands have been planted in paths throughout the pines and oak trees. A labor of love to be sure and a treat for all the visitors. Your digital tour here was even better!

    • sbranch says:

      A few years back Snowdrops popped up in our garden . . . and each year there are more, we have a nice little patch of them each spring. If they find a place they like, I think they make themselves right at home!

  79. carole hines says:

    I so loved looking at all the beautiful pictures you posted. It’s a cold rainy, dreary day here in Concord, N.C. but it took me away even if it was just for a short time during my coffee break! I loved your book & hope someday to visit some of the places you have seen in England. For some reason part of my heart resides in the English countryside! Magic indeed!!!!

  80. Thanks for the lovely Springy photos- those bluebells are completely fairy heaven. Congratulations to Linda and her daughter, Sophia. I wish you many lovely tea parties together. 🙂

  81. Oh congrats to Linda! Celebration time! Be careful with all that floral eye candy! You are giving me a bit of spring fever and that can be dangerous this early on. Lol. You would love the gorgeous spring display in the Texas hill country…sigh! It makes my heart go pitter patter to even think of the beauty of it.

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve read about it, but never seen it . . . I understand that lots of it was due to Lady Bird Johnson?

      • Julia says:

        I read an article once in which Lady Bird Johnson was
        talking about her love of wildflowers and she said “find
        something that makes your heart sing and do it.” That’s
        why I stitch every day! I love working in the flowers, too.

  82. Karen says:

    I just loved this post. Congratulations to Linda and her daughter Sophia. They must be thrilled. Thank you for the bookmark and for sharing your beautiful photographs of the English countryside. Oh, to be able to see meadows filled with bluebells like that. I never tire of picking up your book and reading a few pages.

    I just received my copy of Willards October 1995-January 2003 that I recently ordered. I love it. So much so, that I wrote a post today about how lovely it is, and how you brighten my days so often with the sweeter things in life.

    Thank you for being you Susan. You make so many of us smile.


  83. Mary says:

    I think you were playing queen Mab today.
    Thank You! I miss England so much and a short visit was just perfect.

  84. anne weadon says:

    This post makes my heart sing on a gray, cold, drizzly January day. Am writing this with the “Musica” of buzzing bees in the background. Thanks for the reminder that it won’t be long ’til sweet spring comes again.

  85. Patti Reed says:

    I’ve missed your regular inspirational posts. I know you have to travel , but I don’t like it when you’re gone! The pictures of the flowers were beautiful! Can’t we plant anything like that here? Is our weather so much different? Thank you for being you, Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      Some places we can . . . depends on weather and soil ~ you could ask at your local nursery. Or drive around and see what grows good in your area, it’s always best to grow what grows easiest where you live. No fun fighting with a garden. Thank you Patti!

  86. Kelsey says:

    The bluebells are my favorite! I absolutely adore A Fine Romance – I’m an American expat living in England studying for my Masters, and whenever I get homesick or question why I’m here, I reread your beautiful book and remember why I fell in love with England in the first place. Thank you so much for your beautiful, beautiful book.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m sure you have bouts of homesickness . . . but baby lambs can go a long way to helping a person forget. Enjoy your time. Thank you!

  87. sondra fox says:

    My dream……go to the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, Peak District, Wirksworth, see Stourhead. That’s because of YOU Susan. I’m going to go to a travel agent this week & see if I’m able to set up a trip, a driving trip, to these wonderful places. It will have to be in a skinny car, eh? The flowers are magnificent!!!! Just magical. I’ll have to watch Pride/Prejudice again. The actress in the short video is one of my favorites, although her name I cannot come up with at the moment. She’s been in so many English movies that I’ve loved. What wonderful moments you’ve brought me this morning, through your pictures. This marvelous CA day, & your pictures, make me want to go out into my yard & plant beautiful flowers all around. Thank you Susan for helping to make my wonderful life even more wonderful. After my husband passed, a year & a half ago, I thought I’d never be happy again. My happy spirit has finally come back to me. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • sbranch says:

      Good for YOU Sondra! I worried for you last year, you went through a lot, and now look at you. A true inspiration! I hope, when the time comes, I can handle such a terrible loss with as much grace as you have.

      and, Btw, that was Keira Knightley in the video.

  88. Ann from So. Calif. says:

    Absolutely beautiful! I treasure your A Fine Romance book and read it often! Thank you!

  89. Karen C from NC says:

    Any snow in your world? Just rain here.

  90. Maureen MacKenzie says:

    Hi Susan,
    We are going to Brimfield in the spring and wondered if you had any hotel/inn recommendations. I think you’ve mentioned that you and Joe have been there.
    Thanks so much for any help.

    • sbranch says:

      We do go often, but we’ve never found “the perfect place.” So, at this point, I guess any will do, depending on what services, i.e., breakfast in bed, you need to have 🙂

      • Maureen MacKenzie says:

        Thanks…that does actually help…in…I won’t be disappointed if I stay in a regular hotel kind of way instead of looking for an “experience”. As I was looking there really weren’t any places that stood out. 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, we found the same thing. But Brimfield is wonderful! Check the weather, it often rains and when it does, those fields are a mud bath! Rain boots sell out around there in about a minute!

  91. Gert~Iowa says:

    Dear Susan, congratulations to your winner! I’m sure they are excited and happy! Loved the trip back in time, through the English countryside? Thank you so much for the bookmark! I love them all.

    Hope you’re weather isn’t too bad. I know it looks like you’re in for some winter weather.

  92. Jean Tracey says:

    Thank you for the beautiful pictures! All I can do is sigh! I think I will spend the rest of the day thumbing through my seed catalogs and dreaming

  93. Mary S. says:

    Susan, I am reading your book again and enjoying it just as much as the first time through!! I laugh and cry all the way through it!
    I just watched “Pride and Prejudice” again, too!! As much as I LOVE that one, I think my favorite is still the 5 hour one with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. Have you seen that one?
    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

  94. Gina P. from NY says:

    Dear Susan:

    What a lovely stroll through the English countryside. Beautiful hills, dales, and flowers! I’m just thinking about your offer to see the streets of Vineyard Haven in the winter… I guess if you wait a few days, we will really get to see those snow covered streets! Blizzard warnings down here in the Hudson Valley, with predicted snow totals of 1 to 2 feet! I hear New England could even be worse with the wind and all! Stay safe, warm, and I’m sure the Vineyard will look magical once it is all over!

    I have pretty much caught up with Downton through on line reading and other friends who have been watching all along. I started with the last two episodes, and yes, I’m hooked already! Can’t wait for tonight! Oh, I feel so sorry for Lady Edith in so many ways!

    P.S. Got homemade chicken soup bubbling on the stove now. Will keep me warm and fed throughout the storm!

    • sbranch says:

      I just asked for a big storm, and voila, here it comes! Really happy it’s getting us this time! Stay warm Gina!

  95. Mary S. says:

    P.S. How is your book coming along?

    Mary S. in Fresno, CA

    • sbranch says:

      It really isn’t. I haven’t been able to work on it since we left for CA back in October! Horrible, because I dream of it every night, but I have to do the calendars first, and then, BOOK! 🙂

  96. Laurie Walt says:

    I just watched Miss Potter for the first time! I loved it so much. It was like sunshine for the soul! If you girlfriends have not seen it, I beg of you to watch it! Love.

  97. Diane from Poulsbo says:

    Susan, I love the bluebells! How lovely. I can’t wait to see Downton tonight and then the after-show…”Manor of Speaking”, which is hilarious. I wanted to tell you that I had never read your blogs about yourself/your life until this last week. Duh. Lol. Anyhoo…I loved reading about your wonderful parents! I also became inspired to try drawing and painting. I ordered the book you recommended which seems so encouraging . I grew up with such an artistic and musically gifted older brother whom I adored….but HE was the artist, not me, even though I wanted to also. I felt like he was supposed to be the artistic one, so I didn’t have the courage for some reason. No one ever told me I couldn’t, so i am not even certain why I didn’t try….but now at my age, none of that matters anymore and I felt inspired by reading your blog! I bought drawing pencils and paper etc and I am having so much fun, despite the obvious need for more practice! Thank you for sharing so much! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      “None of that matters anymore” — the best part about aging, the things that used to matter don’t, and new things do. Lucky!

  98. Margot ~~~ Virginia Beach says:

    Good Morning Susan!
    How much snow is predicted for Martha’s??? Keep warm…

  99. Ann in Albany, NY says:

    Thank you for the beautiful post; it got me dreaming of spring flowers. A few days later & winter lets us know it’s not going anywhere. Love a good storm, but had birthday plans for a day trip to NYC including tickets for a Wednesday matinee. I hope they’ll understand if we can’t show up (8 to 12 inches predicted for here). That version of “Pride and Prejudice” is my favorite, but no one loves it as much as my sister. I’m lucky enough to have her nearby & we craft together for hours (we have crafternoons). Every once in a while she’ll look at me and say “I wonder what’s on TV?” or “think we’re missing any news?” She clicks the remote and this movie comes on. I don’t think it’s been out of her DVD player for 5 years. This scene always stops us in our tracks (sigh) and we make our way to the couch to savor everything that follows. Stay safe – perfect weather for a “Pride & Prejudice” marathon.

  100. Marianne says:

    Did you see Downton Abbey last night? And Downchester after? Both so good. Hopefully by the end of this season there will be some happiness for Edith. And where are we headed with Anna and Mr. Bates? Cliffhanger last night on that. Violet was wonderful – love Maggie Smith – as usual – so enjoy her character. But my favorite of the evening was the proposal Isobel received from Lord Grantham? (Not sure of his name, but certainly like the character.) What a lovely scene between the two of them.

Comments are closed.