Another Snow Day . . .

Good morning Girlfriends . . . go get a cup of tea.  I have mine, plus a toasted English Muffin; my feet are cozy inside my shoes which were pre-warmed in front of the furnace grill; it’s snowing outside my windows, big floaty flakes just like the ones at the end of Bridget Jones Diary where Renee Zellweger and Colin Firth kiss in the snow? (Bad language alert, Colin Firth is a very bad boy.) Our snow is just like that! Only more of it and we are wearing everything we own, indoors (But I’m sure if I was her I would not have felt the cold either). 

snow day MUSICA?  Oui! I’m trying to learn how to get the camera to focus on the snowflakes; this picture turned out pretty good.  Life goes on as usual around here in Smallville.  The good news is, my studio is clean; I can see the floor for the first time in weeks.  As recently as yesterday the room could have been used in a promo homefor an episode of Hoarding ~ I haven’t been able to vacuum the whole room for way too long, the floor was covered with calendar page layouts, counter tops were stacked with paper, trash was overflowing.  But yesterday I started clearing it up ~ it’s my favorite thing about finishing a project, I get to make a clean slate.  And when I came in this morning I was greeted with lots of open space, no tripping hazards, nothing on countertops. As a person with a Capricorn Moon, I have neat-freak blood in me; not to have neatness for long periods of time makes me cranky. So this is good. I can begin again.


Are you ready? Downton? Me, too. Loved Sunday night! I should remember (for once) to start with a Spoiler Alert.  I’m about to talk about Season 5 Episode 7 of Downton Abbey.  If you haven’t seen it, you should skip to the part down below about the lambs and the snow.


FYI, next week is the last episode for this season ~ the next Sunday we get what they are calling the “Christmas Special” and then it’s over ~ no new episodes until next January when Season Six begins.  We are going to be forced to wean ourselves, a very unfair thing to have to do.  And next season will be doubly bittersweet.  We will settle in for the winter all cozy with Downton, but the last episode of next year will be the very end of Downton Abbey forever.  I’m already crying. 

But let’s not go there.  Let’s go back to last Sunday night . . . Let’s see, where do we start?

Mary's coat

How about we start with Mary? I took pictures of the TV screen, trying to capture some of their fabulous coats.  Look at the detail on the sleeves and collar.  So beautiful, looks like cashmere too.  Did you notice that Mary has just become extremely available?   One minute it’s raining men, and now they are both GONE, she is alone with zero prospects.  How odd.

BUT, this leaves Mary wide open for my surprise ending for the season . . . Mary and Tom.  (I should say: I KNOW nothing, this is just my hope and prayer ~ not a spoiler in any way.)  I think they should get together, because a.) Tom simply can’t go to America for more reasons than one and b.) despite her unbearable self-butterflies in loveadoration and haughty attitude, first, and I think, foremost, Mary is a practical person (hence “throw money at the Pig Farmer family re: the Marigold situation” as most expedient way to go). So is Tom. Practical. And Tom is the lifeblood of Downton.  If he goes, the estate is doomed to rack and ruin, Robert will gamble it away or do something equally stupid, or should I say naive, with Downton Abbey as pawn.  And, like Scarlett O’Hara and Tara, Mary loves Downton more than any other thing.  This gives Tom and Mary the third most important thing in a relationship, something they could love together and separately outside of their relationship. (This is probably much Home sweet Hometoo deep considering these people do not actually exist and there will be no marriage or relationship to be inside or out of? Ignoring myself, I drone on . . .)   So the pluses are that they would have each other, they would have their children (who must, by now, think they are brother and sister) and they would have Downton to care for.  It makes sense.

Could someone please get Julian Fellowes on the phone for me? (btw, we have other questions for him; I mean did he really have to let Isis die to move the story forward?  Was that necessary?. . . yes, girlfriends on phonethe dog had an unfortunate name, but still ~ that was very sad ~ and if he can do that gratuitous heart-breaking removal of a wonderful dog, he can certainly allow Mary to marry her dead sister’s commoner widower).  Anyway, next week Tom could turn to Mary and say, Hey, I just noticed ~ I’m single, you’re single, I’m normal, you’re not but I could help you with that, our children already think they’re related, you love Downton, I love Downton, you’re gorgeous, let’s get married and turn the castle into the kind of place they will use for filming lovely English movies in the future thereby saving it for tours for the Anglophile Americans who love it all so much!  WHAT a good idea!  And didn’t you love the scene with adorable Sybie with Tom on the bridge?  What a natural actress that little girl is ~ those big eyes of hers, so innocent and sweet.

hearts and flowers

Downton-abbey-children-ftr.jpgShe looks just like her father. Mary would love a little girl like that.  And speaking of mothering . . .

hearts and flowers


Good job Cora!!! Wasn’t she magnificent?  Swooping in to save her child and grandchild with perfect common sense and no other thought than, bring them home! Well done you!

From my Mom's scrapbook


Cora's coat

Negotiating everything wearing another fabulous coat. Then she brought Isis into the bed with Robert, perfection and strength of character.

loving heart

pink border Then there are Lord Merton’s hideous sons. Larry (poor suffering thing, didn’t you feel terrible when you learned that Lord Larry had to wait in the car) and the other brother, Tim, wasn’t any better. You all remember that Larry drugged Tom (so he would appear drunk) at dinner in an earlier episode and everyone knew it?  I mean, would you invite him back? Never! I thought I’d seen it all with Miss Bunting, but no.  The people on Downton are brilliant at choosing clothes, their coats and hats deserve to be in the hall of fame, they have great taste in art and set a beautiful table, but they are terrible at choosing dinner party guests.

din-din anyone?


Mrs. Hughes would do a much better job than they do. They should run everything by her. Lord Merton says his boys are “just like their mother.” Poor guy! And poor Mrs. Crawley (Isobel).  I could not marry anyone who had children like that.  I would be afraid of poison. I would rather move in with Violet, have lots of tea parties, and help her fire her whiny interrupting Butler. But of course you wouldn’t do that if you were Isobel, your heart is too big and you care so much for the downtrodden common folk.

Violet, aka the Dowager Countess, aka Granny, was in fine form as usual.  The scene at tea with Mary (did you love Mary’s hat?) when she said she was going to miss Isobel’s friendship when she goes off to marry Lord Merton? Wasn’t that sweet? Violet has much too much gravitas to waste any time whatsoever with something as mundane and boring as jealousy.


Violet the Dowager Countess

pink border

We knew that. Queens don’t get jealous, and Violet is a pure queen. And earlier, in the train station, when she was telling her daughter Rosamund (who was wearing a surprisingly unflattering organ-grinder monkey’s hat) ~  that they had to tell Cora that Marigold was really Edith’s daughter because (go slow here, this will require thinking), since Cora is Edith’s mother, Violet felt Cora “had the right to know” ~ Rosamund (who is  Robert’s sister) said, “How about the father’s rights, are you going to tell Robert?”  Violet (mother of Robert) said with roll of eyes and little corner-lip-tic, “No. He’s a man. Men don’t have rights.”  I’m sure Mr. Fellowes gave himself a little chuckle with that one. Violet also provided Mary with huge food for thought when Mary sistersmade a disparaging remark about Edith during dinner, Violet leaned in and mentioned that, “lack of compassion was as vulgar” as crying all over everyone ~ I gave a little applause there (although it wasn’t totally fair because Violet knows what’s been going on and Mary doesn’t) . . . I can’t imagine a word that would be more abhorrent to Mary than to be called vulgar, especially by Granny. But for Mary, I agree, in general, compassion would be a gift. I say that with love.  For the nonexistent character of Mary.  


There’s more, Rose is engaged!  Love that!  Hope we get a wedding next week, a slow wedding that takes the entire hour with closeups of all the jewelry, the gifts, the food, hems and shoes and hair clips.  Baxter tries so hard to have friends, but as ex-con jewel thief and police informant, it’s hard for her to make inroads and become “one of the guys.”  I like her, I feel sorry for her too. And, I found it odd that lurking Barrow the Butler was so nice.  What’s he up to?  OK, that’s enough, I know you guys would like to get a word in edgewise . . .


Just a couple more things to catch up . . . as you’ll notice on your calendar, Chinese New Year is February 19th . . . that’s when it officially becomes “The Year of the Lamb (or Sheep or Goat).” People born under the sign of the Lamb are known to be good-hearted.  I was born under the sign of the Pig (of course, wouldn’t you just know) ~ we are known for being light-hearted and from A Fine Romancefalling asleep easily.  Anyway, to me it’s a good sign . . . A FINE ROMANCE will be published in China in this Year of the Lamb.  Isn’t that perfect?  The book will be out in September.  I can hardly wait to see what it looks like written in Chinese!  How will they do this?  My publisher said they would find a “hand-writing Chinese font” to translate it with, they would like to keep it looking as if it’s handwritten.  I Lambie Piedon’t know if I could even tell the difference.  I’ve never had any of my books translated into another language, so I’m very excited to see this.  I’m not planning to carry it in our store because no one I know can read Chinese . . . but in case you want one, please let me know, if enough of you say you’d like to have one, we can maybe do a pre-order for them. I don’t actually know if they would sell them to me, so I’d have to check into that.

YEAR OF THE LAMB . . . is also the year of the never-ending snow storms.  But we don’t mind . . . we fall asleep easily.


We do the pig thing, and eat constantly. 

out the front door

Here’s our view through the storm door out front . . . There is a mountain of snow pushed up against the curb, the truck is on the other side of it.

The view from the kitchen window is like a Christmas card. I have say, even after all these years, I never look at a scene like this without marveling, oh how gorgeous.

windblown icicles

This is how windy it was . . . so windy we have bent icicles . . 

across the streetThe view across the street . . .

out the front doorI took Jack to have a peek out the front storm door . . .

me and JackHe found it quite interesting . . . and made his darling self quite comfortable.

storm doorThis is the lock on the storm door.  It looks tight as a drum to our eye, but there must be a hair-line whisper of an opening because a pile of snow has formed inside, on the lock.

snow day

It’s not a snow day, it’s a snow month.

mama CardinalThe beat goes on for these guys.  As long as we keep the feeders full, they are fat and happy.

fluffed upIsn’t he pretty?

little bird

OK, everyone, hope you enjoyed everything today ~ off I go.  Hope you are all keeping warm and enjoying your winter.  Have faith, it can’t last much longer . . .  Love you . . . Byeeee XOXO




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

587 Responses to Another Snow Day . . .

  1. Brenda Caldwell says:

    Thank you for the pictorial updates on your snow! I’m not kidding you, every night when I watch the weather on TV, I look to see what it’s doing in your area. You have the most beautiful views outside your windows! We got our first snow/ice storm of the year which amounted to almost an inch of sleet, lol. That’s a big deal here in our part of NC 😀

    • sbranch says:

      It’s a bit different weather here than it is in Boston. Slightly milder, less hot in summer, less snow in winter.

  2. Cathy Dupuis says:

    I have thought of the Mary Tom thing who knows. I think that Mary is darling in her new hair cut and her riding clothes, or those lovely dresses. Edith needs a better story line she owns a publishing company and her love was killed by Hitler come on there is lots of stories there. Violet makes that show I love her little comments. Downton Abbey makes the winter bearable. I was shocked to see that next week is the last one for this season. I need to go make some tea so I can cry in it.

  3. Barbara Mentzer says:

    Wonderful post today! Thanks for the musica and Briget Jones. Especially enjoyed your “Mother Says” Famous Last Words. I always appreciate the snow and bird pics. Love the cold, clear air at this time of the year. Agree with most of your Downton Abbey observations. Still liking Tony Gillingham for Mary but that seems to be over. I have a winter hat much like the black one Cora wore with her gray coat. Found it in Cape May, N.J. Are you watching “The Great British Baking Show”?Can’t believe my husband watches it with me! More cold weather tomorrow. Keep the kettle on!

  4. Barbara B says:

    I so enjoy your Abbey discussion. I read it out loud to my husband who chuckled all the way through it. I missed some of the things you pointed out. Now I’m anxious to view it again. I can’t believe I missed Rosamunds hat! I keep hoping Edith and Tom will get together. I think Tom is so sweet, much too sweet for Mary. I fear she would mop the floor with him (an old expression of my mothers). We have been having below zero weather in Michigan (14 below yesterday). I bought a heated throw. I burrow under it with my hot tea and I’m so cozy. I recommend it to all of you out there in the land of snow.

    • sbranch says:

      I watched it twice already ~ I definitely get more detail the second time. The first time I’m almost always in shock! 🙂

  5. Sharon Provence says:

    Susan!! I won the A Proper Tea Teacup on Ebay!!!!.Sooooo happy! It went for $51.00- I was prepared to pay $125. (Would have been well worth it too!) Just had to let you know!!!! Hmmmm… I am searching for the Cookie Jar! Love your blog today! Wonder if winter will ever end????

    • sbranch says:

      That was good . . . a good price, half of what you might have paid, so that’s really good! I think you’ll love it, it’s such a nice user friendly size. Not really sure about winter . . . have to get back to you on that later. 🙂

    • Diane says:

      Hang in there for the cookie jar, Sharon. I found mine on Ebay also [as well as several other pieces from Susan’s beautiful A Proper Tea collection]. Just be prepared for some frantic, adrenaline filled last minute bidding. My wish list will be complete when I find the little teabag holder with the pansy on it. Susan, I am so glad you painted pansies on those pieces. They’re one of my favorite flowers. I have your charming tin of “Edible Flowers” seeds with the picture of pansies on my tea cabinet [next to your little ribbon bound Tea book] in my Susan Branch tea corner [complete with your framed Tea Party prints on the wall].

      • sbranch says:

        That little teabag holder was the best piece of the collection in my view. I have one, it’s so little and darling. Your house must look a little like my house! 🙂

        • Diane says:

          TO SHARON PROVENCE, regarding the A Proper Tea cookie jar. I saw it on for $99.95. That is a very good price – and much less stressful than E-bay. You’ll love the cookie jar – it’s quite large, has the cutest lid, and has a very cute saying on the front: “Sugar and spice and everything nice; A delicious way to say I love you.” The back of the cookie jar has a recipe for Lemon Cookies that are delicious.

        • Diane says:

          Oh, Susan, it is definitely a reflection of you. You have appealed exactly to my style, colors, whimsy, interests etc. all these many years. You could walk into any room in my house and find a part of you – either something you’ve created or something I bought from your online store. I definitely adore your items with tea, flowers and especially pansies: a framed pansy greeting card in the bathroom, a pink and white recipe box with pansies, your Love book open to page 37 with the pictures of pansies and the Romantic Breakfast [it’s sitting on the book holder from your store, which is on the beautiful scalloped napkin from your store] on my tea cart in my Susan Branch tea corner. There are 3 of your older teapots [yellow and white with a quote from Louisa May Alcott, a green and white with pansies sprinkled on it, and a tea for one in blue and white “Thanks Mom”]. There’s a small picture frame, an apple recipe box, a stack of your books, a framed flower bulb picture cut from your calendar [I have all the wall calendars], and my cherished green and white cookie jar with a house handle on the top that you signed for me, via my granddaughter in Oklahoma City. Thank you for filling my home with your beauty and talent, and my heart with your love of simple pleasures and inspiring words.

  6. Heidi says:

    Hi Mary,

    Your house in the snow always looks wonderful! I’m in Kentucky and we have about 10 inches out there…..everything closed down. I’m loving it. I haven’t been out of the house since Friday. I drink tea and watch the snow. Lovely.

    As for Isis, poor baby. I think they had to do it to keep up with the time line. The dog would be around 15. I’m so glad to find someone who loves Downton as much as me. Yes, one more episode and they we sit and wait for till Jan. However, I’ve been keeping up with Call the Midwife. Very different, but very good. As for Mary and Tom……really???? I hadn’t thought of that. I actually thought Tom and Edith may get together. You know, two lost souls who don’t really fit in.

    Have a great week!

    • sbranch says:

      I think one of my favorite scenes is the opening, when that big beautiful dog-hiney is walking up to the house. I love yellow labs. Sweetest faces, beautiful loving eyes.

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

    Hi Susan and all girlfriends ~~~
    Loved your post of today and the totally complete review of Downton Abbey last Sunday evening. Just how on earth do you remember all the fine details? I love that show too, but for the life of me, I do not remember it as well. I think it would be great also for Mary and Tom to marry. Who knows? So glad that Marygold is living with her mother now and surrounded by all who will grow to love her. I, too, was appold with the one young man who was soooo rude at the dinner table. Wow!

    Love the pictures of your birds, especially the cardinals! Love the deep red of the male, but really like the soft coloring of the female. I had never seen one before.

    Looks that you will be getting another storm shortly. Don’t know if anymore are in the wings for you or not. Take comfort knowing that spring has to got to be around the corner. I noticed yesterday that there was a bit of green on the trees. The heather and one other plant are blooming and the rosebushes are full of tiny leaves justs ready to pop out. Still gets cold at night and with the wind chill today, it surely didn’t feel as though it was in the 50s. Perhaps low 40s.

    Enjoy your clean studio for however long it lasts 🙂

    Carol M

  8. Gloria L. Nugent says:

    I really wish I had your optimism for the white stuff…would get thru the winter so much easier! Those Downton wardrobes are truly the BEST. Just wanted to share today I was lucky enough to spot the first BLUEBIRD of the year!!! Heaven. take care.

  9. Lorrie says:

    I dragged in from school (high school teacher), made a cup of tea (ginger mint) and have sighed and smiled over your wonderful recap of Downton Abbey. Was there ever such a show to keep us all enthralled?
    I’ve thought that Tom and Edith should get together. Mary? I like her, but she’s been a little mean with her comments lately. Mind you, Edith was just as mean before she went through her troubles. I’m so glad that Cora brought her and Marigold home.
    Stay cozy in the snow, Susan and Joe. I wish we would get a little, but instead we are basking in sunshine and warm temperatures on Vancouver Island.

    • sbranch says:

      I keep waiting for them to burst into fisticuffs! I would definitely snap back at Mary, I couldn’t be so downtrodden. I’d say, Hey, could you just leave alone for once!

  10. We have about the same amount of snow as you do. Today, for 1 day, the temps broke 20 degrees! It seemed almost warm. I almost didn’t wear my hat to go out and tend the barn cats and chickens! tomorrow it’s back to sub-zero temps and more snow. I couldn’t wait for your re-cap of Downton after this past Sunday. My heart sunk when you said next season is the last! What will we do!!! I’ve never been this personally involved in a movie or series! I’ve watched it from series one. It brought my English heritage back to me. I do try to take tea every afternoon that I’m home now! II’m not keen on Tom and Mary getting together. I think it would be so much better if it were Tom and Edith. My heavens, she deserves a break! Isobel would be so unhappy with Lord Merton. I love the idea of the Dowager Countess and Isobel living together. They would become even better friends and confidants than they are now. Such fun. I love, love, love the hats! I wish I could pull off a great hat like most of those. (Although, you were right about Rosamund’s hat! What were they thinking!) Even Daisy’s hat was so cute.
    I love your site and look forward to all your posts.
    Stay warm. I’m ok with winter till the end of February than I usually have had enough. I don’t really have to go anywhere and can just be with my animals and putter around my farmhouse when the winter is rough. As long as the power stays on!!!!!

  11. Darlene says:

    I’d love to see Tom and Edith marry. He has so much strength of character that I am sure he would adopt Marigold. Mary is too self-centered to get a good man like Tom.

    • sbranch says:

      There are lots of girlfriends who agree with you . . . I would also love to see Tom with Edith (I just don’t want him to leave), but I think he would bring softness out of Mary. She is so nice to him whenever they talk.

  12. Tisa@ChicTiquesCafe says:

    LOL am so glad you ‘held forth’ on Downton….when you mentioned Mary as a mother I thought to myself “what a poor mother she must be…you need to have compassion to be a good mother”…..and then you reminded me of Violet’s zing to Mary, “lack of compassion is as vulgar as crying all over everyone”. I must admit that Mary is NOT my favorite character for many reasons & often I find it hard to sympathize with her. Nothing like a good scold from grandmama to get Mary’s feet solidly back on the ground! Cheers to Violet! What?….we have to wait almost another YEAR before we get the next season? whatever will we find to discuss til then 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Let’s not think about it. We still have two more episodes, and by then, maybe (and probably not) it will be spring!

  13. Debbie R from Valencia Ca says:

    Such a great blog today recapturing Downton. I absolutely was thinking the same thing last night while watching….Tom and Mary. Brilliant! So sad that there is only one episode left. How can it be. It’s just getting started and so exciting…..sigh. Well at least we still have your blog. The best one ever! So loved your pictures of your birds. How did you capture them so perfectly? Did you use a telephoto. They are amazing. Well bye for now…stay warm and cozy. Spring is right around the corner. Yippee!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ll have to make up a soap opera . . . my Smallville life is nothing compared to Downton! The birds are like the perfect models ~ they sit out there letting the cold wind blow through their feathers, holding perfectly still, not a shiver in sight, while I take pictures through the window. Yes, we have a longer lens to get those closeups.

  14. Kathie says:

    Chawles is going to Poland in time for what? WWII! Will the war invade the time we have with Downton, again? I’m afraid he’ll get killed over there. Gosh, they opened so many scenarios this week, we could write a dozen or so spin-offs: “The Bates Hotel” (no pun intended) where Anna and John raise a sweet family and have adventures involving guests and intrigue; “The Carson Inn” where the newlyweds, Mr. and Mrs. (Hughes, that was), provide a homey bed and breakfast for special guests and we feast on their adventures; “Good Job Mr. Mosely” where Mr. and Mrs. Mosely (Ms Baxter, that was) go to Ireland to bring education to the masses; “Memoires and Moments”, where Mrs. Crawley and Violet throw off the Merton boys and live happily ever after, together, in the Dowager’s house, telling and writing their adventures and conquests; “The Girl Farmer”, where Daisy and Mr. Mason build up a modern farm, acquire additional land and take in orphan girls whom they raise up to be young women of the new modern age; “Lost in Germany”, where Edith and Marigold go to Germany because Michael appears to have survived and they find him and suffer many adventures on their way home through war-torn Europe;”The Wayside Tea Shoppe” where Mrs. Patmore keeps a little tea room in the village with a cozy home upstairs and a kitchen garden to feed the masses, while she observes and solves the problems of so many troubled wayfarers; and, last but not least, “Downton Abbey”, Tom and Mary at the helm, with Barrow, James, Alfred Nugent, and Miss O’Brien (newly returned from exile) keeping the home fires glowing, while Lord and Lady Grantham dote on their family. That pretty well wraps it up. Let’s see, that should be enough Brit-Life-Watching to keep us Anglophiles happy for another decade!

  15. Ginene Nagel says:

    I have to comment on the first saying: “If you keep making that face it will stay that way.” My mother always said that about my squinting into the sun, etc. And, son-of-a-gun, she was right, I have a lines on my face from squinting! I thought she was kidding.
    I relish each and everyone of your posts. I love to visit your world through your eyes. It is very calming.

  16. Peggy H. says:

    Dear Susan, Like you, I’m obsessed with Downtown Abbey. The story, the characters, the clothes, the jewelry, and on and on. I also found Sunday night’s episode to be wonderful; and it’s the first one that made me cry! Darling Marigold, sweet Isis, motherly Cora, lonely Violet……tears all around! And I think it’s a great idea that you call Julian Fellowes. I had not know than next year the series would end! Oh no….. I’ve been consoling myself watching the PBS series “Duchess of Duke Street”. If you haven’t already seen it, I think you’d really like it. She’s a cook in Edwardian England; lots of pictures of food and great story. Thank you for posting the beautiful snowy pictures, along with the wonderful pictures of the birds….and, of course, Jack and Girl Kitty. Reading your blog just makes my day. THANK YOU!

  17. Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    I must mention, the sweetest photo you included, besides Jack, who is always the best… that lovely picture of the little delicate snow pile on the storm door lock. Isn’t that absolutely amazing!? Gotta love Mother Nature!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I was amazed too . . . and if you compared it to the top of the bird bath out front, the depth of snow would be the same — only smaller, of course on the lock, but in proportion.

  18. Tricia Wettlaufer says:

    I am heartbroken that Downton Abbey will end after the next season. There are so few shows that mean so much to me. Cora did do an extraordinary job of being a mother in Episode 7. I was so proud of her – what a wonderful role model. I heard a comedian recently say that he’d love to have British children (he’s American) – have all those lovely little accents. It is so funny but so true – the accents are charming and oh so civilized. Thank heavens we have Kate to look up to once this show ends!

  19. Patricia says:

    My humble opinion would be that Tom and Edith find each other. Edith had fallen in love with a commoner, and she is close to Tom. I believe they would make the perfect couple with two girls. Tom would stay at Downton and Edith would have the perfect husband. She is a “modern woman” and educated. Could hold her own with Tom and his ideas. He could continue to help run Downton and keep it intact with Mary but she would not be a good match for Tom. Edith has confided almost everything to Tom and gotten a sympathetic ear and good advice. Again, just my humble opinion. Also I can’t wait to see the Princess when she comes from Hong Kong – What a perfect Violet triangle in our future. Rose will marry Atticus on Sunday. And we will find out what happens to them all (including the Bates’ murder problems) in the Christmas show in December. Enjoy your snowy days!

    • sbranch says:

      I would be satisfied with that! As long as we keep him in the family! He is a compassionate guy, I bet he’d make her smile more! The Prince told Violet he loves her — we didn’t even talk about that! Wow!

    • Kathleen s says:

      I agree that Edith and Tom would be a good match. Tom doesn’t love Downton Abbey, he loves the people. Edith needs a good stable man to be a father to Marigold, and she in turn can mother her sister’s daughter. Hopefully they won’t eat ice cream everyday!

      Mr. Bates creeps me out too, don’t know what Anna sees in him, he would be a better match with Baxter as both have criminal backgrounds.

  20. barbara lassiter says:

    I read all your blog post even though I don’t watch Downton Abby (gasp). After reading the post, I may not need to watch! 🙂 Glad you realize it isn’t for real, but that’s probably why everyone likes it so much….because it seems real??? Love your pictures, especially the birds. They were wonderful. Keep warm and how exciting that there will be a Chinese edition of A FINE ROMANCE. Imagine that! Love it.

    • sbranch says:

      Hashing over Downton Abbey is like politics. It gives everyone a chance to have an emotional opinion based on absolutely no facts at all, and with no possible chance of determining the outcome. 🙂 But the good thing is that it’s only Downton Abbey, and so the disagreements are less horrifying and waaaay more fun and everyone stays friends afterwards!

  21. Christine Perica says:

    Love having you rehash Downton! We re-watch the episode as soon as PBS replays so we can focus on details such as stitching on cashmere, lovely draping necklaces down low cut backs, brocade fabrics and faceted crystal. Oh, it is the best AND we have been thinking that Mary and Tom will absolutely get together! All the reasons you mentioned make perfect sense and it would be a happy ending, not a tragedy like a previous season. Tom would certainly help Mary become more compassionate too. Also, love the snow photos as we in northern NM and most of the rest of the west are yearning for the flakes to fall. I have yet to ever get tired of snow. Enjoy your clean slate and stay cozy.

  22. Robyn B says:

    I’m caught up on Downton now so I didn’t have to skip anything. I so enjoyed the recap. I love the Dowager and will miss her most when the show goes. I’m thinking I’ll just start all over at the beginning. I love Tom too and I hate to see him go. He’s such a nice a guy. I would like to see him and Mary except that lately Mary has been so hateful. I don’t get why they make her that way. I get the jealousy between sisters but she is just bitter all the time lately. I’m so glad Rose found someone. She is so sweet and that dress she wore when Atticus proposed was to die for. I want to go back in time and borrow her clothes. Wow I’m going to really miss this series. I feel like these are my family. I hope Mr. and Mrs. Bates have a baby and get all this nonsense with the police resolved before it ends. I like Baxter and would like to see her and Mr. Mosely pair off. I have so many plans for this show…that’s it I’m calling Julian now. ;0)

  23. Rose Dwight says:

    You are something else! I didn’t make any of the connections regarding Mary & Tom. He is so nice and she is so arrogant, how will that work out? By the way, I am always pleased and relieved when you check in and let us know you are safe. It is cold in Ohio but we have very little snow.
    Have you watched the Great British Baking Show? It is on PBS and so much fun. It will soon be over, Downton over, what will I do?
    Stay warm and let’s hope for a blast on heat soon.

    • sbranch says:

      I do watch the Baking Show but I haven’t seen it lately because I just wasn’t prepared to watch Martha’s face collapse when it was her turn to go home. I heard that happened last week, so sad, but maybe now I can check back in to see who wins.

  24. Marilyn (in Ohio) says:

    I haven’t yet read through all the other comments, but what if Tom could marry Edith? Although I’m not sure I would wish poor, whiney, downtrodden Edith on him…..

    Love your pictures of the snow – we don’t have that much here, but we do have the icicles! “If winter comes, can spring be far behind” (or something like that!)

  25. Amy says:

    Great review! I don’t want Tom to leave but he deserves so much better than Mary!!!

  26. Erica C says:

    Hello Susan,
    Visiting with you is always such a treat! Thank you for the great review and beautiful pics. I hope you and Joe are keeping warm and tucking away fond memories of the great snows of 2015.
    I just discovered a fantastic Downton recap at New York Times Artbeats. It was great for a laugh, and I thought you and the girls might enjoy it.
    Best wishes! Hope you have a chance to enjoy some maple syrup and snow… Mmmm….
    Erica in California

  27. Marge says:

    Oh! I would so love Tom and Mary to marry. Lord Merton’s son Larry is a prig! Isabel Crawley is such a lady, she would make his father such a warm, loving wife and Priggish Larry and his brother a fine stepmother.

  28. Regina says:

    Just loved your post, especially your thoughts on Downton Abbey. I’ve been thinking maybe Tom and Mary would get together too. I’m not ready for the season to end! I hope you have been watching the show afterwards,
    “Manner of Speaking.” I like it almost as much as Downton Abbey!
    Your snow pictures are awesome. Snow can be so beautiful, even though I know you have had more than your share. We have had about 3 inches of snow in the last two days. We are way behind for the year here in Kansas but we may get another storm over the weekend. It is so pretty. Stay warm and thanks for sharing so much with all of us.

    • sbranch says:

      We don’t get “Manner of Speaking” here on the Island, we get Grantchester. A Vicar-detective type of show. Very handsome Vicar.

      • Eliece Edge says:

        “Manor of Speaking” is a locally produced show by the Houston PBS station KHOU. It’s fun to watch as it gives much the same types of critique on DA as you do. It has guests on each week, many of whom are affiliated with DA, plus a studio audience giving their opinions. I have to say that I appreciate your compassion toward Edith. Even though I like “Manor of Speaking”, they have been quite as unkind to her as Mary has been.
        Thanks to those of your readers who have recommended other series that we may watch to help console us when DA is sadly over. I will add one myself. When I was in the hospital a few months ago, I was helped to get through the long nights by watching a BBC production called “Land Girls” on Netflix on my iPad. It was set in England during WWII, and was an enthralling story…almost as good as DA without all the wonderful fashions. I think there are 4 or 5 seasons of it. I highly recommend it.

        • sbranch says:

          Oh I would love that! I like Edith now, but I didn’t used to. She did the most terrible thing any sister could ever do. But she’s been punished enough. I saw Land Girls too, really good! Hope your health is better Eliece!

  29. Teresa G., Lafayette, CA. says:

    LOVE the Downton analysis! I hadn’t thought about Tom and Mary as I had him taking off for parts unknown, and while the thought killed me, I wasn’t seeing past it. He has definitely been restless. Glad you redirected me since Tom leaving would be as unforgivable as it was that Matthew was taken from us. I have to say that Mary has gotten increasingly snarky towards Edith and her intolerance of Edith confuses me. Did I miss something in their history? Why is Mary so awful to poor Edith?! And thank you Granny for putting Mary in her place! Bravo! Life without Downton will be too much to bear. What will we DO?!

  30. Paula Clark says:

    You tickle me so many times, like mentioning that you are the “Year of the Pig(wouldn’t you know)” I always think those things too, but in this case I’m not in the Pig (surprisingly), also did not want year of the sssnake! I think I am Year of the Horse. So mad Downton couldn’t just let sweet Isobel be happy for all of one episode, guess they had to replace the nasty now gone teacher with these two wicked sons. By the way Susan, do you know why Mary hates her sister Edith so??? Thanks for the nice post. Hope you all keep warm and cozy till spring.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I do. They always had an unhealthy rivalry. Edith was jealous of Mary, and Mary was perfectly willing to steal Edith’s boyfriends. When she had her chance for revenge, she took it. Mary had a tryst with a Turkish diplomat who actually DIED in her bed. Of course it was quite the thing, what to do what to do. I think it was maybe even the first or second season. People found out of course. But mostly because Edith wrote the Turkish Embassy to inform them how his death had occurred. It was a terrible thing for her to do, a total scandal . . . you really did not like Edith at that time. The sisterhood was irreconcilably broken. (Something like that!)

      • Paula Clark says:

        Thank you! I had missed the first 3 seasons, going to have to remedy that one day. I guess Mary sure does have a reason to be so nasty to Edith. (Mean!!) So sad though to see sisters behave that way. Glad I have the best big sister!! Have a blessed day Susan, bet you’re the best big sis too, you and mine are just about the same age. Mine is 9 1/2 years older than me and loved helping Mom and taking care of the rest of us (3 brothers) like you and yours.

  31. diana from ancaster says:

    love your post! always a welcome sight…………
    while we may have to wait for DA’s return next year….season 2 of Outlander begins in early April!
    bliss all around……

    • sbranch says:

      They are literally saying that Season Two of Outlander will be “darker” than Season One, which I had to leave the room because of the darkness in that one. I think I am pretty much finished with Outlander . . . just too much violence! I’ve never been able to separate “real” from “it’s just a movie” when I watch . . . it all looks real to me. This is where “being your own chaperone” comes in for me big time.

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        That is the way I felt about the books…always think there is enough violence in real life without reading or watching it for entertainment…

        • sbranch says:

          For some reason I didn’t get the violence in the books — I think my eyes saw something I knew I wouldn’t like and skipped right over it. Or maybe I just forgot. I was really looking forward to the series! I tried! But the visuals were too much for me.

  32. Jody says:

    I know you are all very sick of the snow and cold over there, but it sure is pretty. Those cardinals — wow! We don’t have them where I live. They look so especially beautiful against the snow.

    Now I’m going out to check on our sheep. The lambs are coming and I’m taking the 10:30 pm check before going to bed. I’m going to be cold when I slide under the covers.

    Night Night!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m still pretty happy about our weather. I love the anticipation of spring . . . it’s such a gift and gets to be more so every day.

  33. thea says:

    I really don’t see Tom with Mary. She’s been so mean and has no qualms about using her powers to slay men (although she wasn’t so haughty when she had no money…) and Tom is just such a nice, kind, patient man of conviction. Nope. That wouldn’t work for me. Mr. Fellowes is very good at ratcheting up the scene tension but then he stops and gently lets us down. He could add some real chaos and excitement, like: Edith’s boyfriend returns from the dead and she and Marigold gets her HEA. Rose dumps the fiancee and runs off with Tom! Anna gets pregnant and quits! Mrs Hughes and the butler live in sin while on holiday! Tony murders Green because of gambling debts. Mary dumping him was his kiss of death! The season ends with Mary seeing everyone else partnered except herself. And then grandmama chastises her for being unkind, and makes her come to tea every day (and that will be the highlight of her day) and she only has Barrows to talk to ’til next season. But I dream. P.S. I have just the friend to gift the Chinese edition of A Fine Romance, so yes! xo

  34. Kristin F says:

    Loved your post Susan! Here is another idea for Mary….. Next season, Colin Firth as the one to woo and win Mary. All of us Jane Austen fans would go nutty! Stay warm!

    • sbranch says:

      OK, you win. That is the perfect idea. When I talk to Julian I will let him know!

      • Laura says:

        Or Benedict Cumberbatch or Tom Hiddleston or Liam Neeson..he would definitely keep her in line or that gorgeous Grantchester vicar…oooh lalalala

        • sondra fox says:

          Perhaps vicors are different than ministers here in America, but the English version of a vicor appears to be very lenient. Do English vicors really frequent pubs & shady bars where sultry singers perform? And, what’s with the vicors romance with an ex girlfriend. I don’t care for the storyline at all. I want my vicors to have high moral standards. Love his housekeeper & how she tries to keep the vicor in line. Good for her. Not my kind of program. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

          • sbranch says:

            I kind of wondered why they bothered to make him a vicar, why not just a store owner, or even a detective? Because he’s quite out there. And, during this complaining moment, how come someone dies around him every episode? That seems highly suspicious to me. 🙂

          • Laurie, Nico's Mom says:

            I think the poor guy is just like the rest of us. He knows he drinks too much and he’s guilt ridden. The girl is not an old girlfriend but a friend he’s had for years but is madly in love with. There is a class difference ie she has money he does not. She does not love the man she’s engaged to, but in her words to Sidney (the vicar) at least the other guy asked. Also I think the vicar suffers from PTSD with all his flashbacks to the war. Maybe I’m too lenient, but the man is absolutely gorgeous and my heart goes out to him!

  35. Joann says:

    Congratulations Sharon on the ebay win—the mug is gorgeous!!! LOVE mine!! Oh goodness….yes, I just realized that the next show will be the last of the season….oh how can it be? There’s still far too much cold weather left in winter for it to end!!
    I can’t believe all the snow you’re having. You actually have CO beat this year!!! Wow!! Maybe you and Joe could make a snow couple!! Stay warm….love the birdies!! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      We can’t even walk out there! I have tall boots, and could probably do it, but Joe doesn’t. We haven’t run into this kind of snow depth before . . . we’ll need to go boot shopping if this gets to be the norm!

  36. Lucia says:

    It’s a lovely post! I really love the look of the Snow and those sweet Cardinals!
    Enjoyed reading about Downton and what’s to come. I feel the same as you about next year being the last year.
    Stay warm.
    Lucy in California

  37. Debbie Noyola says:

    Breaking records here in Washington for high temps for February. It was 61 degrees today & gloriously sunny. But please don’t begrudge us this delightful respite from our usual very rainy weather. Although, I’m not so sure this dry weather is a good thing. Too much snow, too little rain, are we ever satisfied? Let’s hope the weather balances out soon for everyone. In the meantime I was able to go outside & use my jigsaw to cut some lumber for a beverage tray I am building. Right now I am inside next to our woodburning stove & getting slightly overheated! I enjoyed all your pictures as always. Thank you kindly. Hugs to you, friend.

  38. Sara says:

    You are AMAZING, Susan! What a great review of Downton! I swear I read it openmouthed, fairly agog with the flow of words, chuckling and falling out laughing at the appropriate moments. Geez, girl, you could give dear Julian a run for his money. It’s about time we Anglophiles get our own mini-series, one with even more unexpected twists and turns–gorgeous clothes on the croquet-playing upper class, who must mix with the working class and farmers of Martha’s. You could do it, Susan. I have faith in you!

    I loved your narrative about Tom turning to Mary and saying… “Hey, I just noticed ~ I’m single, you’re single, I’m normal, you’re not but I could help you with that” Hilarious! …as was your comment about Rosamund “who was wearing a surprisingly unflattering organ-grinder monkey’s hat”!!

    Your proof that Violet has much too much gravitas to waste time being jealous, “Queens don’t get jealous, and Violet is a pure queen!” Sheer genius, Susan.

    I do love Cora… she’s just so decent, isn’t she? Of all the characters, she is the one I would love to be; but if I wasn’t so short, I’d probably be cast in the part of Violet. I hate to admit it, but I was rather staid and stuffy in my former life! But I’m past all that now; getting older is so freeing and so much more fun.

    Okay. I’ll stop my review of your review, but it was so good, so many clever sentences! Well, just one more… “YEAR OF THE LAMB . . . is also the year of the never-ending snow storms. But we don’t mind . . . we fall asleep easily.” Brilliant, just brilliant!

    Loved your walkabout of the house and the views out your doors and windows. I’ve never seen icicles bent by the wind before. Wow! And the snow on the lock, and Mr. & Mrs. Cardinal. So nice. Thank you!

    You won’t believe what I saw today despite a thick covering of snow and a high of 14–Mr. & Mrs. Bluebird! They were drinking at the birdbath, thanks to my trusty heater! And, the Gardenia I bought last summer and brought inside last fall bloomed today. Can you believe it? I have a plant light on the pie safe above it, and it fooled it into thinking it’s summer!

    I know you need to get back to working on your book one of these days, but you might give some thought to the mini-series too. 🙂 Sara 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Bluebirds and gardenias! Not being a queen, I can say with true heart, I’m jealous! 🙂

      • Deb W says:

        OH my goodness!!!!!! I don’t know why I didn’t remember this!! It was the talk about Cora…..being tall….and I thought, well she sure didn’t seem tall in her youth when she was playing the wife of the Scarlet Pimpernel, played by……. Richard E. Grant!! Simon Bricker!!! If you aren’t familiar with the story, It is England, during the time of the French Revolution. The Pimpernel/Grant has a ‘cover’ of being a thoroughly unpleasant English aristocrat, a fop, who is very rude and unloving to his wife (Elizabeth McGovern). Secretly though, he is quite a dashing swashbuckler – making covert trips to France to rescue people from ‘Madame la Guillotine.” Don’t worry, he is mad for his wife, and it gets much better. DVD is supposedly not available in the US, but the episodes are on YouTube:

        • sbranch says:

          Did you see the Scarlet Pimpernel with Leslie Howard and Merle Oberon ~ it’s the old one, 1934? Really good too. I’ll have to check out the series!

          • Laurie, Nico's Mom says:

            I believe there was one done with Jane Seymour as well. I love her! Still gorgeous and approaching seventy!

  39. Nicoline says:

    Dear Susan,
    what a treat you gave us today, a LOOOONG post, what FUN! I love your thoughts on DA. Its finished here, so I know what will happen next, but I won’t spoil it for you….
    You certainly have gorgeous birds in your garden! Is that a wren?
    I would LOVE a Chinese copy of your book! Although I cannot read Chinese, I would like to add it to our collection of ” Chinese related books”. The reason for that? My husband and I have a lost a part of our hearts to China, because it gave us our 2 Chinese sons!! We have travelled to China several times and made friends there and it would also be a wonderful present to give.
    I just love the fact that you now have a small link to China too!!
    And Jack? Too cute for words!
    Best wishes from Holland, where the snow drops are appearing in gardens
    PS I am posting this again, I think something went wrong the first time, it still says ” comment is waiting for moderation”

    • sbranch says:

      You’re a good girl, not to tell us! I love the China link too, I have another, my nephew went there to live about a month ago. He is teaching English and reporting in that he is having a wonderful time! He’s only 23 so it’s his first big adventure in life. Small world and getting smaller!

      • Nicoline says:

        Oh Susan, Your nephew is doing such a good thing! How long will he stay out there?
        If only we were younger, if only we had known about going out there to do things like that…A few years ago, during our vacation, we did volunteer a day at a village school, it was SUCH fun! Nothing terribly exciting, we did crafts with the kids, and they LOVED it all. We brought everything along, paper, scissors, glue, markerpens, and it was so touching to see that they really loved it, and even the ” tough” boys enjoyed the glitter we brought..I saw them ” hid” tiny piles in their little desks…Apparently there is hardly ever time (or money in most schools) for that sort of thing. The school we went to did not even have glass in the window frames….The kids just wear their coats all day long… (it was winter)
        Also, I have heard that most pupils get taught English by teachers who have never spoken to an englishman/foreigner before.
        Its still my dream to go out there again, doing more….We have to wait till my husband can retire though….
        So your nephew will have such a great experience! Please wish him all the luck in the world!!

  40. Judy in Ohio says:

    Good morning, Susan!! I am having trouble sleeping tonight as we are expecting 1 to 3 more inches of snow anytime now…and the excitement always keeps me awake!

    I have a question (and I think I know the answer…but I am just too curious)…With all of the snow that you have had this winter season, do you still get excited when you know more is coming soon?

    Sounds like you are riding this wave pretty well, all considered. Well done!! 🙂

    Take care…and enjoy your nice, clean studio…while it lasts!! 😀

    And thanks for the beautiful pictures!!


    • sbranch says:

      I do! I grew up in California where every day was pretty much perfect, the same as every other day, for years and years. Once I came here and learned about the beauty and variety in the seasons, I fell hook line and sinker. It’s not for everyone . . . my BFF in California is trying to win the Vineyard house which she would sell immediately, take the money and move to Hawaii!

      • Judy in Ohio says:

        😀 Your answer is just as I suspected.
        Kindred spirits we are…no doubt about it!

        Wishing you less snow and more bluebirds and gardenias!!

        Have a great day!!


  41. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    I feel like I’m from another planet. I’ve never watched Downton Abbey and it’s too late to start. Here I am in southern California where it’s been 80 degrees everyday for weeks (I know that sounds great, but not in February.)When I see those pictures of that beautiful snow, I wish I was there. But then I realize everyone dealing with all those snow storms are probably wishing they were in sunny California. The grass is always greener! Love your photos of the birds, just gorgeous. Hope warmer days will come your way soon.

    • sbranch says:

      I get the other planet comment . . . this winter has separated the country each to its own little version of reality! Stay cool Lisa!

  42. Mardell Lamb says:

    Hi Susan,
    Always a pleasure to have a new blog post to read with my morning coffee. Thank you. The Year of the Lamb?! Oh my ~ I love it! Maybe it’ll be a “good luck” year for me. (Smile.)

    Love your little birdy pictures. They must *heart* you for keeping them fat & happy this winter!

    It was -10 here yesterday morning. (& that wasn’t the wind chill.) Brrr!
    ~~~ Have a great day! ~~~
    (PS: Think Spring.)

  43. Deborah Baxter says:

    Good morning. Love the post. We had tiny little snow yesterday. The snow pics are so pretty. There is so much beauty in every season. Love cleaning up after a flurry of crafting/hobbying….My quilting room is tidied and now working on new blocks. Sew fun! Spring Always Comes.

  44. Hi Susan and all the Girlfriends,
    Loving all the fun Downton comments, suggestions and solutions. I’d love to see Edith and Tom get together. And I do agree about Violet. Her comments alone make the show worth watching.
    Also want to recommend two movies, out now, that feature DA actors. Huge Bonneville (Robert) plays the dad in Paddington, a delightful movie that I took my grandkids to, but that grownups enjoy as well. And Allen Leech (Tom) is one of the brainy geeks in The Imitation Game, an Oscar-nominated film about Alan Turing, the British genius who broke the Nazis’ Enigma Code that led to the end of World War II. It was fun to see them in different roles than we are used to. And both movies are a great way for Anglophiles to get more of those “Brit fixes” that we love.
    Take care and stay warm. The days are getting longer and hopefully the snow will melt soon, very soon!
    Nancye T., Wells, Maine

    • sbranch says:

      Thanks Nancye, have a good day!

      • sondra fox says:

        At the end of DA last week, did any of you notice the score card keeping tally of which one won the “up one womanship” over the other, Violet or Isobel? They’d say what each woman said, then make a tally beside their name. Violet, of course won. So funny. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

        • Tawni urrutia says:

          That was hysterical! Maggie Smith’s eyes are like the Mona Lisa’s smile…worth a thousand words!

  45. Rosanna says:

    Susan – in my humble opinion, you should be doing the Monday morning DA reviews instead of the horrid TV critics in such newspapers as the Washington Post or NY Times. And this is where I could neatly insert Violet’s line about men not having rights: – both critics are men and they certainly don’t have a right to make such disparaging remarks let alone stray so far from the real story that they make jokes of everything.

    I suppose this is what you get with people who have more knowledge of modern day crime and violence instead of history (and fashion) or how a good story is crafted. They absolutely don’t ‘get’ the Dowager Countess – they fail to understand her character and treat her like a comic who only delivers one liners – how sad.

    I LOVED the ladies coats especially in this latest episode. I’m in the market for a new winter coat and would love to go shopping in the costume department of that show – wouldn’t that be fun!
    Oh – and speaking of the fashion – I had the privilege to see the costumes from the first three season of DA when they were on display at Winterthur last year. It was wonderful!!

    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t read any reviews of Downton and now I think I might keep it that way! That is so sad!

      • Rosanna says:

        Frankly, I don’t know why I bothered to read theirs – it has just reaffirmed my belief that if a critic says a show is “wonderful” then I know it is not for me; while if they say something is dreadful and mock it, well it probably will be something I will love.

        Just made me realize that is another reason to stick with the “Smallville News” and the resident “critic”. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  46. Brenda says:

    I now have a reason to like the bitter cold. It’s been 0 or lower here long enough to freeze our creek and I went skating on it yesterday. On my new figure skates my daughter bought me for Christmas. It’s never been this frozen and it’s a wonderful winding approximately 100 feet of beautiful ice, thanks to my 12 year old son who was trying to fish for bait and flooded it. Oh, there’s always something to be grateful for, even this winter.

    • sbranch says:

      You are so lucky! Joe told me this morning that he noticed the harbor is beginning to freeze around the edges.

  47. charlotte says:

    I love your wonderful snow pictures. Those bent icicles are amazing. I haven’t ween icicles in many a year down here in NC. My birds are loving the full feeders also.

  48. Am I a bad person because I’m glad that Susan Branch has a messy studio at times? 😉 So glad it’s not just me that often can’t see the floor for the mounds of decorative paper, stickers, paint brushes, pens, more stationary than you can shake a stick at, and of course, old SB calendars that I cut up to make handmade cards and notes for friends. 😉

    Thanks for sharing your gifts and art, Susan ~ they warm a snowy, winter day here in Virginia. <3

  49. Linda Metcalf says:

    We have logged only 2″ of snow. It’s the cold we have here. 12 degrees now and wind chill of 2. I can’t believe there will be only one more season of Downton. I look forward to it all week long.

  50. Jackie says:

    Practically speaking, I suppose matching Mary with Tom could make sense. But as for a real, loving, personal relationship….. au contraire! Tom is not strong enough for Mary, personality wise. Too much of a clash there. He is sincere, devoted and trustworthy, whereas Mary is trivial, conniving, mean and extremely fickle. Plus, she is a terrible mother. As for the notion of a true love match between Mary and Tom….. no, no, no and NO! The rest of your D.A. commentary was spot on, and I so look forward to your views on what’s happening in this fabulous series that we love so much. Your blog is one of my all time favorites….. keep up the good work! : )

  51. Carla says:

    Oh, the fun of watching Downton Abbey and trying – there is always a twist – to figure out what comes next. We want happy endings, of course! I totally agree with you about the clothes. There is such exquisite detail and style. My husband and I went to Winterthur in Delaware to see the exhibit of some of the costumes, and it was well worth it! ( He just told me that he had read all your comments about this week’s episode when he saw I had your blog up on the computer. He’s a fan!)
    You seem to be snug and warm up there in the frozen tundra. Thank goodness! It is appalling how much snow you have – and it just keeps coming! We do not have that much (and everything stops in its tracks when it does snow), but the storms just keep coming as if they are on a regular delivery schedule! I blame it all on that pesky rodent in PA!

  52. Barbara Weaver in Hampton says:

    Yes, yes, yes! Yes to the hats, yes to the coats, yes to Tom and Mary, and definitely yes to Violet’s comment about men! And I have a feeling that Isobel will NOT marry Lord Merton. Did you see the look on her face at that dinner party? What do you think? Enjoyed this blog so much. ;-D

  53. Marianne says:

    What a winter! Love the pics of the snow and birds. Brown creepers are favorites of mine – they’re so cute! In the Spring they make nests in our fuchsia hanging basket. That’s something to look forward to during these cold temps! Your kitties always look so cute and cuddly. I cried – along with many others – over Isis. Isobel surprised me by announcing her engagement to Lord Merton in such an abrupt manner at a dinner. Then I thought – well, it is a family dinner, but it was her first meeting with his sons. It didn’t seem like a good idea to me. Would really like to see Tom and Mary together. Liked that he questioned whether he was doing the right thing by going to America. He’s needed at Downton! A happy day to you and Joe!

  54. Becky says:

    Yes, I think Tom and Mary would make a great couple. I have for some time now. I am glad you mentioned that. We have had light snows and some ice in Oklahoma this year! Not too bad at all, and not enough to be really pretty at least in east central OK? We have had lots of flu though! Take care all.

  55. Jane says:

    Beautiful post of your winter. I really enjoy your pictures of the birds at the feeders from inside your window, and of course your fun cats! Have a wonderful day Susan!

  56. Bev says:

    Do you think that Mary is pregnant and, with her paramour gone for a year, could Tom step up and marry her? They could fall in love after they are married. What do you think?

  57. Marian says:

    Love your post. Love your review of DA. Your pictures of your house and surrounds are beautiful. What a wonderful, beautiful world we live in. We are keeping our feeders full as well here in PA. I too love it when the lovely, red cardinals come to feed. Can you tell me the name of the little bird in one of the last frames.? It is so handsome. Happy day to you and your whole household.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m not sure which one that is.

    • Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      The last bird was a wren. Not sure what kind of wren, but looks very much like the wrens I have here in Texas. The beak is a give-away! They are such happy song birds!

  58. Julie says:

    I’m so very sorry, but Mary doesn’t deserve Tom. Even though she doesn’t know what’s going on with Edith doesn’t mean she couldn’t spare a little kindness for a sister whose great love has just been proven to have died. (She DOES know that!) Her heartlessness and outspokenness almost derailed Edith having her daughter near her, even though she still can’t say she’s her mother. Clearly, Mary could see that Edith really wanted this – why be so mean? I completely agree with the Dowager Duchess – “Lack of compassion is just as vulgar…”

  59. Debbie Christin says:

    I really enjoyed reading your blog this morning. The pictures are beautiful and I love the birds! I’m in the Pacific Northwest and we have been blessed with warm temperatures in the 60’s. Everything is blooming but that makes me nervous, as a freeze could kill all of it. I hope that doesn’t happen. Hope you are all cozy and enjoy that kitty of yours!

  60. AngieTink says:

    ☃☆♡♪❆Good~Morning Sweet Sue… What Kind Of Flowers did You Buy? (On Your “Airing~Out” Adventure This Morning) 🙂 okay… 1st I Love Today’s Musica! & 2nd OMG Downton~Abbey!!!!……Your Thoughts Today On “The Abbey” have Made Me Laugh Out Loud! 🙂 Thank~You! 🙂 Bravo To Cora!!! She Is My “Hero” (Heroin) This Week! Finally…Bring That Baby & Edith HOME! (Whew!) 😉 & I Agree With You Sweet Sue… Tom & Mary….They Share Their LOVE for Downton….Share Their Grief for Losing Sybil & Matthew & The Children Are Growing Up Together Already & Tom Would Soften Mary So She Can LOVE Again! Yay! Then It’s Decided lol 🙂 Call Mr. Fellows….. I LOVE Downton~Abbey!!!! Why Can’t it just Go On FOREVER??????????? 🙂 Pretty~Please!!!! 😉 Okay I Know…. Just Breathe…. Anyway Sweet Sue…I Adore Your Snow! We Have Actually had a “Cold” Winter Here (For Us in Central Florida) I Just Pretend that We Have All Your Wonderful~Winter~Wonderland~Snow 😉 So Savoring These Wintry Dayzzz is Special & Know That Eventually Spring will Sprung 😉 lol Warm Hugzzz & Love & Winter Pixie~Dust Mixed with Snowflakes Everywhere! Yay! ☃☆♡♪❆☃☆♡♪❆☃☆♡♪❆ P.S. & Extra Kitty~Kisses To Girl & Jack From Me! Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I got dark orange tulips and white alstroemeria (love them because they last forever) and one big yellow gerbera daisy and some fluffy peach colored carnations. Very cheerful! Yes, I forgot, that’s another good reason, Mary and Tom can relate to each other’s grief. Perhaps even “compassionately!” Kitty kisses to you too Angie!

      • AngieTink says:

        Gorgeous Sweet Sue! 🙂 Sounds Like You Brought in Some Springtime~Sunshine…….Orange Yellow White & Peach…..Twirling into a Cheerful~Indoor~Garden of Delight! 🙂 Meowzers! 😉 xoxo Poof! ☃☆♡♪❆☃☆♡♪❆☃☆♡♪❆

  61. Elyse Harvey says:

    Goodness, is this season of Downton good or what?! I will SO hate to see it go!

    I had to drop by and mention – did you see that Duchess Kate is at the Emma Bridgewater factory today?! How fun 🙂 Happy Wednesday!

    xo- Elyse

  62. Deb W says:

    Although nothing like what you have, we are in the midst of our own version of ‘snowmageddon’ here in KY- 10 inches Monday, several more today, but now the temp is down to single digits and headed south!. I have faucets dripping, layers of clothes on and plenty of tea. I am one of those awful people who go on-line to read the recaps of Downton when it played in England – but I won’t give anything away! Your photo of the dining room at Highclere is wonderful, and the up-lighting shows off the Charles I painting better than I’ve ever seen it. I don’t have your book handy – have you ever been to Highclere? I am just about fed up with Mary! Her unreasonable (and SO hypocritical) rudeness to Edith should have been called out by her parents long ago – but since this week’s zinger came from Granny, perhaps it will hurt enough to have some effect! When Cora said to Robert” put her (Isis) here on the bed between us,” I sobbed! I mean really sobbed! But……the real reason I commented…..did you see it? The Duchess of Cambridge (Kate) visited the Emma Bridgewater factory today, and had a try at painting a mug – just like you and Joe did when you were there!

  63. Tina Oldham says:

    As always, I get such a thrill out of your posts and Downton discussion, Susan. Your enjoyment of period fashion made me wonder whether you’ve ever watched “House of Eliott.” It’s an older PBS series set in the 20s and 30s and the story of a couple of sisters starting a couture house in London. Fabulous clothes and enjoyable story. The only bad part is that the series was cancelled in the 3rd season with story lines unresolved. If you can bear that, I highly recommend it.

  64. Mary S. says:

    Oh Susan, I laughed and laughed out loud all through this blog! Thank you for a great one! Enjoy your snow – we’re having Spring already in California and I don’t like it a little bit! I love Spring, but it just means a longer, hotter summer. Thank you for the taste of winter! Love from Mary S. in Fresno, California

  65. Samantha says:

    We are on snow-day #3 here!! Going a little stir crazy I must say! I started watching Downton Abbey starting with season one yesterday…why did I not discover this brilliant show sooner?!?! I’m already on season two! I had to skip most of your post because I didn’t want to spoil what lies ahead. Cannot wait to get on the “discussions of Downton Abbey” train! 🙂 Stay warm! XOXO

    • sbranch says:

      You have plenty of time to make it in for the last season and all the talk that will go with it! Plus a fun year of catching up!

  66. Christine Morgan says:

    Thank you for the wonderful post. I can not believe Downton will be over after one more season. I will miss it terribly. On the subject of your studio—I run several businesses out of my studio/office. You have motivated me to cleanup and organize so I too can see the floors. So hard for me. Just too much going on. But I am going to do it! Love the pics of the snow—looking forward to Spring! Have a great day!

  67. Sharon in North Carolina says:

    Loved EVERYTHING about this post! I finally joined you in the “snow days”, Trying to figure out how to get out of our long and steep driveway! Posted some snow photos of fb and our baby grandson in his snow suit. My SLO friend commented “wish we had weather”. Great comments on DA. I watch it twice just to analyze the hats/coats/decor!! Too tearful to think of it ending.

  68. Judy Jennings says:

    Susan! I just now discovered the Downton Abbey special, with all the actors spoofing their own show. Did everyone know about this except me? I found it on a friend in England’s Facebook page and copied it to mine. It was filmed as a fundraiser and you will LOVE IT. It is full of surprises (it runs about five minutes I think). If you Google “Downton Abbey Text Santa” it will come up and you can watch it. It’s from last Christmas 2014. PLEASE watch it. I’m amazed that they filmed something funny, spoofing themselves; I’ll bet they had fun doing it. I’ve watched it about ten times! Please watch it!

  69. Judy Jennings says:

    What is awaiting moderation?

  70. Allison says:

    I’m loving this season of Downton as well. Rose will be such a lovely bride!

    If you check out the Hello Canada web site ( there’s a bit about Princess Kate at the Emma Bridgewater factory.

  71. Thank you for another winning post Susan. They really help warm me up. I am having my delicious cup of tea from my SB tea tin. I loved all the talk about Downton. Is there any thing else on earth to discuss? I have so enjoyed this series and already miss it being over too. How will I live? About Mary and Tom…I thought I caught a nano hint of a sentence he says in the week’s coming attraction about them being so alike that I thought (hmmmm……). I am so relieved about Marigold coming to live at Downton. Brava Cora! And Violet! and Auntie! Women unite! Edith has suffered enough. As the saying goes, the truth will always set you free. Robert would get over it and support them. They are just trying to ‘save face’ for her in society. Now, those two spoiled brat brothers. Off with their heads! I had to laugh when I found out Larry was in the car (poor Larry) and then the other whiner said ‘Dad, Little Larry is still sitting in the car. Hurry up!’ (my quote, not theirs). Run Isobel! I love seeing Rose so enamored and gushey in love this year. I want the best for her. I am starting to be concerned over all the talk of Jewish ties since we all know where history goes. Perhaps they will all leave DA and come to the states as the war breaks out. Come on over! They could move into Cora’s Mom’s little beach house in Rhode Island. Yes, that’s possible. Now: Isis. That was sad indeed. Perhaps the real actor dog passed unexpectedly leaving a no-look-alike to take over or, perhaps Isis has lived way tooooooooo long in the story line as we all know dogs don’t live forever. They handled it beautifully with Cora and Robert. I cannot wait until Sunday night. My wish is that it be more than one hour long. Okay, back to the real world….

  72. Elizabeth says:

    Always love your blog, thank you so much for all the work you put into it while still maintaining your busy schedule.
    PS Martha (from the baking show) was a brave girl, very gracious and very grateful for her experiences there. I think we all would love to have Martha in our family…such a sweet girl.
    PPS The Duchess of Cambridge recently visited your favourite pottery factory. See the UK Hello Magazine site online.

    • sbranch says:

      I knew she would be. I saw the photos of the Duchess and Emma together. How wonderful. Such a wonderfully English success story!

  73. Linda Wiernusz says:

    I looked at MPT on PBS site, it looks like we have 2 more this year the 22 and the 1st? Even better,more wedding chances so we are dazzled!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, that’s exactly right. Two more this year . . . and I think the 2nd one, the “Christmas Special,” is 2 hours. Not sure, but I think so. I HOPE so!

      • Linda Wiernusz says:

        I can’t wait the sweet little tea pot is ready and waiting too! LOL I’m looking forward to the spring line up this year Wolf Hall, Selfridges and Sherlock! (OH Benedict C.!) PBS will have big shoes to fill after the series is over.

  74. Alicia Love says:

    I just wanted to say reading your blog is like a mini-vacation to me, even if it is full of snow! I loved your book “A Fine Romance.” You went to all the places I would want to go. I think the English countryside is one of the most beautiful places on earth. I also love Jane Austen, Beatrix Potter, and beautiful birds. Thank you for sharing your talents and gifts with us. I for one appreciate them more than I can express. They truly bring me joy.

  75. Marie says:

    I am so enjoying this season of Downton. I love that Cora did step up and showed her true motherly instinct to find Edith and Marigold and bring them back where they belong. I also feel that Mary was very cruel to Edith. You would think as her sister she would be able to see signs that something was not right with Edith. Then again, Mary is usually in her own little world, but I still love her character. I think Tom and Edith would make a good couple too. He is strong, caring and doesn’t take any c–p from anyone. That is the kind of person Edith needs to be with. I think she could feed off his strengths. Love your posts and pictures as always Susan. Thanks for sharing. well, time for tea!

    • sbranch says:

      He could make her feel protected too, I think she fells like a thin ragged ribbon fluttering in the wind sometimes.

  76. Cindy A. says:

    If you enjoy looking at the house used for Downton Abbey, you need to watch “Jeeves & Wooster” on YouTube or buy the DVDs (which is what we did). It’s an enjoyable show with similar clothing styles and scenery. It’s one of my favorites and great to watch when you need something wonderful to look at as well as something funny to laugh at. Enjoy!

  77. Jan says:

    Really enjoy seeing your pictures of all your birds and the snow. Had a fat little squirrel attack my suet feeder this morning – biting and shaking it until the suet cake fell out. He then proceeded to pick it up with both front paws and nibble on it like a popsicle. We have had a lot of very cold weather here in Michigan. My husband took our oldest grandson ice fishing(contest involved) over the weekend. Temperature Saturday morning was -8 and Sunday morning -17 without wind chill factor. Luckily, they were in a shanty with a heater. My grandson thought it was well worth it as he won 1st place in the pan fish category.
    How exciting for you to have your book published in Chinese! Would be interesting to see what it looks like. Do like seeing the pics regarding Downton Abby even though I don’t watch – beautiful clothes and jewelry. Your blog is a bright spot in my day today. And may I add – a bright spot whenever I read it.
    Stay warm in that beautiful old house.

  78. Kate says:

    I look forward to your synopsis and of Downton almost as much as the show itself! You are like a sportscaster! You are the Downtoncaster, giving us the play-by-play and the in-depth analysis (which is really what we are all thinking, privately, in our own living rooms every Sunday night of the winter, but it’s so cheering to hear someone else was thinking it too)!

    Keep warm! Goodness knows we are trying to beneath 4-ft. of it here in New Hampshire!

    • sbranch says:

      I like it . . . cute! A Downtoncaster . . . “What do you do for a living?” Oh I’m a Downtoncastner. How about you.

  79. Kelly H-Y says:

    Oh my goodness … I said the same thing about Tom and Mary! Too funny! You are spot-on with everything you said about Sunday’s show!

  80. Michele Stuart says:

    Tom is too nice for Mary! I was actually thinking that he and Edith might be a good match. Oh, isn’t it fun to imagine what might happen?

  81. Lynn McCormack says:

    Good riddance Merton’s!!!

    • Laura says:

      I know…why doesn’t Lord Merton just tell his obnoxious sons to shut it?!?! Who wants to be married to a guy who won’t stand up for you? Lovely Tom stood up for Isobel…I love the friendship Isobel and Tom have…it’s so sweet.

  82. Patti from California says:

    Susan: Your review of Sunday night’s Downton espisode was perfect! Of course, I got distracted by the video of the “kiss”. It’s the best movie kiss in history, in my humble opinion. Colin Firth is exquisite! Uh-hum, anyway, I laughed out loud several times, especially your description of what Tom would say to Mary (I’m normal and you’re not). And I’m so glad Violet brought Mary down a peg after another of her snarky comments about Edith. I’ve never understood why that family sits silently by every time Mary makes one of her cruel, nasty comments about her only surviving sister. That last scene, where Elizabeth asks Robert to put Isis in between them — so sweet! Thanks for another great post, and all your beautiful snow and bird pictures. It doesn’t even feel like winter here in CA, and I like winter, so that’s not a good thing! Anyway, stay warm, and try to stay awake! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I love that kiss too! Thank you Patti!

      • Marianne says:

        This is hard to admit but I’ve never seen Bridget Jones Diary, but I’m certainly glad I started with Last Kiss, and that he was getting her a new diary so they could start anew after what he’d read in hers. A keeper.

        • Marianne says:

          And we’re getting a snow just like that one here tonight.

        • sbranch says:

          It’s a darling movie . . . go get it. You could look at that ending a hundred times and never get tired of it!

          • Marianne says:

            Just borrowed Bridget Jones Diary from the library today, also got out The King’s Speech, and will enjoy watching both of them sometime this next week. I saw the comment about the wish that Colin Firth would join the Downton Abbey cast and woo Mary. That would be terrific! You’ve got my vote for that!

          • sbranch says:

            Two excellent choices!

  83. martha says:

    “Downton..” swoon… weren’t the clothes particularly lovely this episode? Tom is so gentle with his daughter… I think he is very different from how Mary is with her son… She is aloof with everyone, isn’t she?? Maybe her moon is in Gemini…

    We have wind, wind, wind and snow and ice and sleet… And lovely SNOW DAYS out of school which means play time with fabric and fiber. I have out the pieces to a Grandmother’s Fan that I am making from your fabric. Love! It makes me believe there will be spring again!

    Stay warm!

  84. Ann Y in PA says:

    Oh, Susan – You are spot on with your Downton observations ! Would love to see Edith with Tom… I don’t know why Mary is so cold – not sure even Tom could warm her up. And yes, the clothes ! Even the details on Sibby’s little dress. And…I just saw that the actress that plays Rose will be Cinderella in the new Disney film – so we have something to look forward to went Downtown season is over. Oh, you are certainly getting your snow days….enjoy them and stay warm ! Congratulations on your book being in Chinese – our students the middle school where I work have a class in Chinese ( elective ) and they say it is very difficult. The teacher is an exchange student….will have to tell her about your book ! Hugs – stay warm !

  85. Dori says:


    I am new to your blog and am relishing every bit of it. I too am a Downton devotee and particularly noticed the lovely coats in this last episode. I think my favorite was one of Cora’s that was in a tan or camel color with a gathered shawl collar- just stunning. The season is ending too quickly- can’t wait till next week!

    • sbranch says:

      That coat was something else ~ it also looked like cashmere. Even Baxter was wearing a darling coat when they went to the farm. I would be thrilled to have that coat!

  86. Carla TePaske says:

    Hi Susan,
    What a fun post. I just love talking about Downton Abbey. It is a show filled with so much history. I even had to look up what happened in Russia that made Atticus’ family move to England. Wonderful actors, clothes, jewelry and history.

    Love the photo with Jack. Sweet!
    Enjoy the snow,

    • sbranch says:

      I adore the history too . . . it gives the program a little umph. I wish they would let some of the important people of the day ~ from other walks of life, Winston Churchill or Vanessa Bell, people like that, pop in.

      • Trisha K says:

        Let me just pop in here and say that I love D A too. However, I think they could do so much more, with the history of the times, prominent figures, conditions for women, etc. Does anyone else feel sometimes that an episode was rushed, or even the season was rushed? Do you think the producers always want to leave us wanting more? Or are the episodes too costly to produce?

        • sbranch says:

          Especially when they barely showed any of Mary’s wedding. I was really disappointed at that one. I’m sure they’re expensive but they never look like they are cutting costs!

  87. Teresa Allison says:

    Susan, just wanted to say thank you for the beautiful artwork. I recently lost my Dad, and have been wanting to make a wool appliqué ,in his memory, of a white dove on a purple background. I have drawn the dove and I saw your work on your blog, that little poem is perfect! The missing piece!! Thanks!

  88. Julia says:

    It just dawned on me. If you are a pig, I must be, too.
    At least they are pink with cute little turned up noses.
    They are not picky eaters and they love to go to the spa
    for a mud bath. Could be worse. And they don’t have

  89. Gayle says:

    Oh, so glad we had a good visit about Downton. I just got home from work and told my husband I can’t bear that we don’t have a Downton tonight, I am tired and I just need a fix!
    I just have to say it here, I can’t STAND Mary! Just can’t stand her arrogance, her snobbishness, and how could she ask Anna to go buy AND store her birth control!! Good grief woman!
    I think Edith is finding her strength and once she finds that, she will be an extrodinary woman. And yes, Cora is an awesome mother, and such a wonderful wife. They don’t know what they have in her. I may need some kind of 12 step when this goes off the air. But I do have Mr. Selfridge that will air soon, so perhaps I can loose myself in the world of a department store. Stay snugly!

    • sbranch says:

      If I had to be one of these people and I say please God spare me, I would think Edith by far. I could get through her trials easier because I have the happy gene 🙂 — but her life is going to be very interesting now. She’s just been liberated in a time that was almost impossible! Plus she has a baaaaabeee. And I still think the father of Marigold might come back. (Yes, I’m hopeless.)

  90. Ruth Thomas says:

    Saw your blog yesterday but I hadn’t seen Downton, so I stopped, watched it last night and now I’m back and read your blog. I would never want to see Mary with Tom – she needs a very strong man or one she was madly in love with! I think the Tom/Edith match might be a good one. I think he could make Edith happy and come out of her “Debby Downer” attitude. I’m not sure about the Rose marriage – have they known each other long enough? Mommy is not going to be a happy mother of the bride! Cora is terrific but I think Robert should know he has another grandchild. Am so glad that Edith gets to keep her – I thought it was awful to expect that she just toss her off. I too can’t believe there are only 2 more shows and we have to wait until January! Yikes. Barrow is always up to something and poor Baxter is caught in the middle. As for Isobel, how awful was that treatment by her fiance’s sons, and at the dinner table no less. I loved it when Tom got up on his feet and told him to leave! And I love Violet – wonder if there is romance in the future for her with her Russian prince? So much to ponder and look forward to.

    Susan, send in your book – wouldn’t it be great if they could work it into the script – you might have an acting gig in England where Edith would talk to you about your book and how they might market it! Good stuff there.

    We’ve had snow and high winds today in Indiana – love your pictures, so remind me of home in Newport, RI. Stay safe and warm!!! Toodles.

  91. Bev Brewer says:

    So fun to read the DA comments and possible outcomes from everyone! Maybe Tom will be so relieved to have Edith back home that he will realize how much he cares for her. Mary can be jealous when she isn’t the “chosen one” for Tom’s affection and we have spicier than ever sibling rivalry. I still don’t see why any man would want such a self-absorbed and arrogant lady—Edith is more like her sister Sybil and Tom was obviously attracted to her. Maybe Tom could help Edith manage the newspaper business and together they could enlighten London, the country and the world regarding the “changing times” ahead. Maybe Edith’s former beau will miraculously reappear and we are presented with a delicious triangle and Mr. Fellowes will be inclined to keep writing. These “maybe” plots are so much fun! And also, what’s a dinner party without a heated outburst from someone? Better than dessert!
    Susan, I have that same sweet teensy gate pictured in one of your previous posts and I love it, too. It came in a set of five different gates—two are metal and have scrollwork, one is drift-woody and beachy and the other is a picket fence gate. I have had them for many years and still enjoy them. Someday, I would like to have a fancy iron garden-gate headboard, resembling one from an English estate!

  92. Marianne says:

    At Christmas I wrote to my cousin, who lives in a town across the water from you, if she had ever gone to any of your author talks, and she said she’d been to two! So, though it’s been a long time since we’ve corresponded, it was delightful to learn that we both have an appreciation for your work and talent!

  93. Eeeek! I couldn’t read half of the post because I haven’t watched last Sunday’s Downton Abbey. I’m going to watch it tomorrow, and my hubby told me that I’m going to cry! I have lunch with my friends, Downton Abbey, and Grantchester. I think it’s going to be a very good day.

    Love all of your snow photos, since we aren’t having winter in California again this year.

  94. Beth says:

    Call me “CRAZY”…but I don’t wish either Mary OR Edith on Tom!
    He deserves sooo much more in a Soul Mate and mother of Sibby. I hope he does go to America or wherever he can make a REAL life for himself!

    How are you spending your “free” days now that your deadlines are met and your studio is all ordered??? Has the leaky ceiling swallowed up Joe? Do you guys worry for all the snow on your roof?

    I still LOVE *W*I*N*T*E*R!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I am preparing one of my old titles for reprint. And I am going to burrow down and finish my new book. I just talked to Joe about the snow on the roof yesterday! But there isn’t any, it all slid off, we have a pointed roof I guess.

  95. Laura says:

    You guys!!!!! Tom could NEVER marry Mary or Edith. Here’s why….ok, picture in your mind any/all of your brothers-in-laws…….now, try to imagine marrying them, kissing them or conducting any other unmentionable activities with them…..a dark and bottomless black chasm opens up in your mind….right??? A giant insurmountable wall appears blocking any further thought, right??? It is totally a NO-GO area and this is why Tom could never marry Mary or Edith. I rest my case.

    • sbranch says:

      I must do my legal rebut. Women marry their sister’s widowers all the time. I don’t see why love couldn’t grow that way. You get to keep him in the family, which is important when the him is the person that keeps Downton’s head above water. It’s the practical aspect with both of them, especially her, that makes me think it could happen. But we don’t have to worry, I’m sure it won’t!

  96. Mary Whiting says:

    Hello Susan,
    I also think Mary and Tom should marry. They could grow to love each other….they would be great together and Downton would survive. And as for Isobel, after that dinner scene I had the feeling she won’t marry Lord Merton. Even though she has a good heart I think she sees the writing on the wall with those two as stepsons. They will ruin her relationship and cause nothing but headaches. She should enjoy tea and friendship with Violet and occasional dinners with Merton. Love your recaps…..let’s enjoy the final two. It is 2 months until I visit Highclere Castle….so excited!
    XO Mary

    • sbranch says:

      Well, good! You can put in a word from us about the “Date Merton” movement. Much better idea, she doesn’t have to do away with him forever! I know you’re going to LOVE your trip!

  97. Oh goodness…..your corner of the world is sooooooo cold! I cannot even begin to imagine. Brrrrrr……..

    I guess I am the only person who doesn’t watch DA. But I did watch the behind the scenes about the making of the show and that was fascinating.

    Please stay warm, Susan. It is beautiful here in Central California.


  98. Stacey says:

    I so enjoyed the re-cap of Downton you posted, and I agree that Mary and Tom should get together, I was thinking that myself! Have you been watching The Great British Bake Off as well? That is such a great show! I really look forward to my Sunday nights…will be sad when Downton is over for the season (and ever!) for sure! Stay cozy…we have lots of snow in the midwest too and it is freezing here now 🙁

  99. Virginia says:

    What a pleasure to ‘look’ at Downton Abbey thru your eyes. I missed a lot–definitely worth watching a second time. Now you’ve given me coat-lust. On my PBS station, they run last week’s episode before this week’s so viewers can really dig into it. I will keep my eyes open for those details this time. I’m always amazed an episode is over already when it ends.

    But Tom and Mary…no, no, no. Mary enjoys the aristocratic lifestyle too much to do something as unconventional as marry Tom who would never be received as ‘one of us’ in those circles. And I guess I’m in the minority here but I hope Tom goes to America. Tom’s Irish heritage is one thing Julian didn’t get right, I’m afraid.

    Did you see Julian Fellowes as an actor in ‘Monarch of the Glen’? He was wonderful and that Scottish scenery…!

  100. Pat Johnson says:

    Snow – Snow – Snow – imagine that!!! How in the world do people in that part of the country do it???? I awoke this morning and the sun wasn’t shining and I became depressed – imagine what I would be like if it snowed and was soooo cold all these days!!! OK I am past that……… you look for the positive and the birds make you smile and the snow is pretty…..enough said. And I screamed through the “Downton” info………I am just starting “5”. I love love love it!! Oh happy Downton Abby!!!! Hugs to all……..stay warm and happy. XXXXOOOO

    • sbranch says:

      It’s Boston that’s in trouble . . . they are kind of at a stand still . . . small businesses are really suffering. That’s when it gets out of control.

Comments are closed.