Warning, I’m about to spill the beans on Downton Abbey Season 5 JackEpisode 7 . . . if you haven’t seen it yet, this is your fair warning alert. MUSICA! (Don’t worry you non-watchers, for better or for worse, soon we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programing); next week is the last episode of Downton Abbey until January 2016. I’m sure you can hear the sobbing all the way from here.

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Downton off to London

First off, have I told you how much I love Downton Abbey?

Some of my favorite things this week (how do you choose) were Daisy’s gorgeous wedding cakes with the delicate pink roses . . .



  …the array of sparkly tiaras, filigree head pieces and . . .


   . . . most especially, the amazing hats . . . (nasty bigot “Susan”, poorly named bad mother on the left, we could do without.  Put the hat and the outfit in a box, mail it to me, and then go.)

The rooster hat

Loved all the hats except this one . . . give the poor albino rooster back his feathers.  This hat would be so distracting to talk to. 

Lovely Edith

Despite that one indiscretion, Edith looked prettier and happier than I’ve ever seen her . . .  Yay for her and Marigold!

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I loved all the wonderful scenes of rapport between Carson and Mrs. Hughes, like this little exchange . . .

Carson: I’m not prejudiced, Mrs. Hughes, you can accuse me of many things but not that.

Mrs. Hughes: How about lack of self-knowledge?


Remember last year when they were at the beach? So cute. I have never stopped hoping these two will get together. Take her hand you crazy loon!

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Mary and RoseNo one ever wears the same thing twice, every scene comes with new clothes; I loved both of these outfits . . . each one perfect for the person wearing it.



Isobel sparkles

Isobel sparkles! That glittery strap and the beads on the dress, her hair comb, earrings, cocktail glass . . .


I welled up with tears twice during this episode. Once when Daisy said she was giving her notice ~ tears popped into my eyes, Oh nooooo, I cried to the TV, Joe looking at me like I just came in wearing a chicken suit; I think I was more upset than Mrs. Patmore. 

Mrs. Patmore

and the other teary moment is when Daisy changed her mind and told us she was staying. HOORAY! What a roller coaster ride! I love Daisy’s spirit:”Life is full of possibilities.” I birthday cake!never want her to go anywhere except if she becomes Cake Maker to the Queen. Mrs. Patmore could marry Daisy’s ex-father-in-law, they could all move to the farm, and use their own fresh organic eggs and butter for those cakes, and live happily ever after.


Maybe Cora would loan them some of her gorgeous pots and pans.

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Cora's hat

If being called Donk means you become a person as sweet as Robert was in this episode, then call me Donk. (Well, no, just call him Donk.) He accepted Marigold as his granddaughter with hardly a blink of his aristocratic eye and he figured it out all by himself!

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Mary and Marigold

He told Cora he’ll keep the secret ~ not that there are very many people left who don’t already know . . . I think maybe Mary will be the last on her block to know (or care) ~ I assume she will have something horrible to say . . .  

He's sorry

Robert was so good to apologize to Cora for not trusting her during the Bricker incident. And selling that painting, not only to get the money to build his lovely village, but because every time he looks at the painting he’s reminded how terribly he behaved!  You just want to give him another medal!


What a hero!  The way he surprised Mrs. Patmore, all on his own to make a special memorial to her nephew, Archie, was such a dear thing to do.


Mrs. Patmore

He made her so happy ~ he didn’t have to do that.  But he did. Endearing himself to the entire town, I’m sure.  His open-mindedness, in a time of not-so-much, about Rose’s new in-laws, the look on Cora’s face, how proud of him she is . . . and  getting down on the floor to play games with his grandchildren. He’s leaving behind the thankless and isolating job of being a Patriarch with a capitol P and becoming a person.


And Tom, equally wonderful. Caring for both Edith and Mary and both of them showing they adore him too.

Mary and Tom

(More like a brother it seems, too bad.)I know Mary has issues ~ joking that if she murders her sister Edith, it will be Tom’s fault for leaving, is just her way of saying I love you.


Edith and Tom

Tom encourages Edith about her writing.  Everyone relies on Tom ~ especially to help keep Downton afloat. He won’t let them down. (Or he wouldn’t, I’m sure, if he was real.)


And now a couple of last thoughts . . . Even when Barrow is “nice,” it’s a nice so dark and devious, you can’t trust it, and to finish his good deed by saying just “Tell Uncle Thomas?” Yikes.  I don’t think so.

Is anyone else having second thoughts about Prince Kuragin who seems to only have one redeeming quality, which is his often repeated desire to ravage VioletViolet for the rest of their lives? He is going to need something else if he wants a “yes” from our queen, (i.e.  Does he read poetry out loud? Is he good at Whist? Is he funny? Can he tell jokes? Play the piano?  Make bread? Anything?) Especially since he’s still married and has no job. Those are two big strikes already.  

 Last but not least, taking Anna to jail is senseless and wrong. If she pushed him, she pushed him. Leave them alone, and let’s go get that guest house.


Loved the walk back to the Abbey, hearing what everyone thinks.  But I’ve been thinking they should plant bushes around the house.  It’s so stark and cold.  A tree or maybe some roses growing over the windows?


Something a little fluffy to soften those walls and spires.

So, what’d you think? Any new revelations?


The other thing for a complete Sunday Night wrap-up, did you see Lady GaGa sing a medley of songs from the Sound of Music at the Oscar’s? If not, get a tissue and then go HERE. Watch the way it ends . . .


Here’s what else is going on around here…

our dining room

In Suenton Abbey . . . My dining room floor . . . call the butler!

Joe looking for the leak

OK, yeah, call the plumber . . .


They think they’ve found the leak ; this is a whole new point of interest for Jack and Girl Kitty.

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We’re still buried in snow . . . but Joe took me for an airing and we stopped at the flower shop . . . it smelled like spring in there!


A gerbera daisy looks out at the bird feeders . . .

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carnations alstroemeriathe perfect pick me up for the kitchen table . . . peach carnations and alstroemeria.

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And I get up every morning and work on the new book all day ~ it’s almost all I think about. I couldn’t be happier.  Hope all is well with you!  Salmon for dinner, with spinach and green beans.  Lost six lbs.  On purpose.  Must come out of this winter with something! (Or actually, without so much!)  XOXO

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610 Responses to DON’T CALL ME DONK

  1. Dianne P says:

    Loved this week’s Downton! Robert has become such a sweetie pie! Am I the only one who heard him say”Her Hitler” in last week’s episode about Edith’s beau’s death? I wonder if this will have any bearing on Rose and Atticus in the future, considering he’s Jewish? I love Daisy and Mrs. Patmore and I like the idea of her marrying Daisy’s father in law and having them become a family!

  2. Carol says:

    I think the last two episodes of Downton have brought me back to the fervor I experienced in the first two.seasons. It was awesome how Robert dealt with quite a few sticky situations…he might just get to step down off his throne and be the real live person that Cora most often gets to see! Loved seeing the Dowager get emotional about her friend…and former nemesis. And good old Tom needs to get the heck out of Downton, so that Mary will chase him to America. He’s what she wants…she just doesn’t completely know it yet. Can’t wait for season finale next.week. Then 9 long months wait until next.season! Boo!

    • sbranch says:

      I think Mary is baby Violet ~ she’ll age well ~ I’m not sure she comes with enough whimsy to become an American . . .

      • Char Jennings says:

        Her new hair style shows whimsy to me! I think she would love an adventure to America.

        • sbranch says:

          That’s for fashion. But give up Downton? Give up London? Hard to imagine her leaving her roots for the Colonies. What she would gain by going? I don’t see her looking for a new life. But that’s all logic, and we know that’s not how Downton works!

  3. Sylvia in Seattle says:

    Could anyone have imagined when Lady Gaga first appeared on the scene that she would have absolutely ACED The Hills are Alive performance!!??? She was fantastic. Got so wrapped up in the Oscars wrap-ups that I FORGOT to switch channels and missed most of Downton. Unbelievable! So thanks for this great synopsis. Good luck fixing that leak. Joe is the man — The Handyman . . . Lucky you Susan. Hope the noise is not too distracting. I am SO HAPPY you are into creating the new book again. So eager for its completion. Anticipation of the book and Downton’s last season will keep me going for sure.
    Congratulations of the 6 pounds OFF — YAY. Does anything make a girl happier than losing weight? May the snow soon melt and the leak dry up.

  4. Betty says:

    I don’t know if anyone mentioned that there is an interesting story posted on our local PBS Web site about Rose’s reception dress and headpiece. Vintage, never worn and fit her perfectly.It is probably available at your local site. A great episode! Anna must be freed!

  5. Donna Cahill says:

    I just teared up again reading your blog & reliving the glorious Downton episode from Sunday evening. Such wonderful conversations to eavesdrop on & such surprising behavior from our dear Robert. He’s become my favorite character. Thank you for your critique. I will miss it when the show ends next weekend. Let’s hope it ends with happy moments to get us through until next January.

    • sbranch says:

      The interesting thing is that’s it’s something we can ALL talk about. . . we have it in common, that’s what makes it so fun!

  6. Nancy says:

    Joe took you out for an airing! How cute!!! Loved DA …. Don’t like those nasty Policemen!
    Free Anna! Violet’s maid sure is a piece of work! Love the flowers….my camellias have buds all over but we’re in the deep freeze so they may not make it. Happy ceiling mending and book writing!

  7. Connie From Abilene says:

    I wanted to tell you that I had company from Austin last weekend and my big meal was the pineapple ribs along with your Quiona Salad. Oh, Susan what a treat this meal was, I used pork country ribs and they were so meaty, tender, and tasty, yum (by the way, this is the second time I have made them) But the Quiona Salad was my first try at your recipe and at Quiona. Boy that salad is fantastic, my company loved it and so did I. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful recipes. More Quiona recipes would be appreciated.

    Happy Trails to all

  8. Margot~~~Virginia Beach says:

    Box up the hat and outfit! LOL Got to love you. I agree…Go away rude woman. The nerve to spoil you daughter’s wedding.
    I actually like Edith’s hat. I love the turned up side, and I don’t mind some feathers.
    I am sure that your diningroom will be as good as new for a grand Easter dinner with friends!
    Raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens…Snowflakes and warm woolen mittens are just a few of MY favorite things.

    • Margot~~~Virginia Beach says:

      ~Your~ I should edit myself. I was paraphrasing my favorite song.
      Did you see the crazy llamas in Sun City, AZ on the news? I think they are looking for my John. LOL John is in Kuwait, but he lives in AZ.
      When he was in middle school a friend’s llama had a crush on him. They were the same height and she keep following him around the yard.

  9. Heartsdesire says:

    Downton was wonderful as always. Enjoyed every moment. The Oscars, not so much. The gowns weren’t nearly as beautiful as the gowns on the girls of Downton, and that includes Violet. What a wonderful job someone has making all those fabulous clothes.

    • sbranch says:

      That’s true, Downton has much more beautiful (complicated and elegant) dresses than the Oscars! I never thought of it before, but I agree!

  10. Jenni Greihill-Lowcock says:

    I’ve always wondered why they used this particular stately home to film Downton. I was taken there several times as a teenager and always thought it very ugly. The grounds were clearly designed to impress, not for pleasure, though there are nicer parts beyond the plain lawns. But there are so many, much more attractive grand houses around the UK and most are owned or run by people who no longer have the money to maintain them well and could do with the filming revenue.

    My favourite character is the dowager Grandmama – her witty, one liners that put people in what she considers to be ‘their place’ have me giggling for hours! She reminds me of someone I was terrified of as a child but would love to know now.

    • sbranch says:

      Isn’t that funny! We love the characters, even if they scare us.

    • Elaine Phillips says:

      Hi Jenny I think that Highclere castle owns the story of D A in a way as it was the home of Lady Almina whom Coras character is loosely based upon and the house was indeed used as a hospital during WW1 ; Lady Almina was the illegitimate only child of Lord Rothchild and her marriage to Lord Carnarven literally saved the house from falling to ruin. Julian Fellowes is a friend to the current Carnarven family; I have imagined them all sitting and sipping cocktails as the tale gets spun. I think that the house is magnificent and adore the red library.

  11. Becky says:

    And did you read that Rose’s wedding dress was a hundred years old that had never been worn? Still in a box and fit her exactly! Meant to be I think.

  12. Lucy Folau says:

    What’s the world coming to??? Violet was kindly asking Isobel about Dickey! And, she got after Mary when Edith was missing. Notice the way Violet’s costumes are easing out of the stuffy last century look? Thank goodness. Actually, some of the costumes do repeat themselves, particularly Mary’s blue dress with the white “fall” in front (originally worn at the fashion show). You should read the DA post about Rose’s wedding gown… an original never-worn wedding gown found in a shop!! (Sigh!) I would really like Mary to “eat crow” about Edith being a mother and all the hardship she’s gone through losing the love of her life; she needs her comeuppance!! By the way, where was Rosamund? Why didn’t she attend the wedding?

  13. Donna Babbitt says:

    Wanna bet? I betcha my Trader Joe Kona Cookies that there will be a puppy in next weeks Downton Abbey!!!! That Julian works us like a rib doesn’t he? Of course Gregson is alive, I never doubted!!! So, we don’t have hats and those wondrous drop waisted posh frocks but we can ” brighten the corner where we are” by maybe just spiffing up a little bit??? Let’s reclaim femininity!!! Just as soon as I get out of my sweats.
    To all you young things that envy Sue……………..please stop to consider the dues she pays in hard, hard work, discipline and yes, courage.
    I too just got lost in those ancient timbers in the ceiling, they mesmerized me……………….the men who built the place, the people who bought it in the first place the history, oh the history. I must be nuts to get so much pleasure from old lumber, but I do.
    Granchester is not a bad consolation prize to entertain us post DA………, kind of gritty huh? Sure not what I expected from the first couple of episodes. God Bless British TV productions!!!! They are the best!!! Rule Britania!!! Panting for Sunday night in Brea.

  14. Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

    That is one good thing about this world…there are always sure to be more springs. ~ LM Montgomery – Anne of Avonlea

    Just found this. All I can say is, “Thank God for spring and Susan Branch” so we can get through the winter.

  15. Linda from Sudbury says:

    Did you see the ad for the new Cinderella movie? Looks like Rose from Downton Abbey is Cinderella. Interesting. I’ve already seen the final episode of Downton and it’s wonderful. Can’t wait for next January……maybe our snow will be gone by then!!

  16. Monique says:

    I cried 3 times:)
    I loved the clothes this episode..My gosh Mary disappears when she turns teeny..
    Loved the blue outfit Rose paraded in in front of the mirror..when she put the hat on..Oh lala..Not crazy about the earmuffs though..I know that sounds terrible..but they looked like earmuffs.
    I just loved the show ..Cora looks so pretty in hats..
    Over the moon for Edith..Mrs Patmore..Donk:)..
    But Anna? OH MY..get her out of jail now without passing Go..just go..go home and live happily ever after please♥
    Daisy Daisy..what a ♥ she has..Mrs Patmore adores her.
    I agree the cake..was exquisite..
    Poor you and the ceiling..I don’t like that:(

    Lots of snow here too..Thank goodness for crafts.

    • sbranch says:

      And it was Violet who said, “Show us what it looks like with the hat.” Good eye . . . style ~ she’s still got it!

  17. Sandy says:

    I suppose I must be one of a very small minority who has never watched Downton Abbey but I gave up television several years ago. Oh well, life does go on even without the telly. Ready for Spring.

  18. Karen says:

    I pray you’ve found the end to the oops-that’s-gonna-need-repair-too portion of your home repairs. Having lived in two older homes (by American standards) the current being constructed in 1902, we’ve learned from many varied trials to do the minimally invasive technique of home repair. Best wishes on your latest challenge!
    As for Downton I was thrilled that Robert was shown for the thoughtful and gracious man that I’ve felt he is at his truest essence. What a joy to observe!

    Wouldn’t you just love to have tea with Julie Andrews? What a gracious display of appreciation she showed for Lady Gaga’s talented rendition of “her” music. It must be a pained appreciation knowing that she has lost much of her own vocal abilities, but she exuded genuine appreciation and class and I am in awe of her character. Wouldn’t Julie be a clever addition to a Downton episode?
    Thank you for sharing your particular brand of warm hospitality and encouragement. It is a wondrous respite from the negative media of the day.
    Warmest wishes…~Karen from Alabama

    • sbranch says:

      Every time I see Julie Andrews she always comes across as such a humble person. Happy to have you here Karen!

  19. Sherry says:

    in the preview for next week was a hint at another man in Mary’s life. This how I think the series will end…..everyone will find out about Edith, Tom will move to America, he will send for Edith and Marigold, offer them a home and new life and they will live happily ever after in the U.S.. Mary will find love again and take Downton into a new day.

  20. Anne Lovell says:

    I thought Lady Gag was utterly fabulous!!! I’m so glad she sang with respect. I really have to get previous seasons for Downton Abbey and get caught up for next season! I watched the first couple and then got away-need to come back!

  21. peg says:

    Thank you, dear Sue, for the spoiler alert! I haven’t seen ANY of Downton Abbey yet (though I have the first 4 seasons!). I absolutely love Maggie Smith…and the snippets of costuming you have shared here on your blog. One of these days, I’ll pop open season one….

    And, oh, your dining room! I KNOW what that is like! We had that happen to us and luckily it happened before we left for vacation several years ago. The good news is, this is the time to decide if you want to paint the dining room a different color or, wall paper, or, stencil….out of the dust the dining room will rise!

    We had nearly 2″ of rain this last weekend. Today, blue skies and wonderful breezes that are weaving in and out of our wind chimes. Simply delightful.

    Well, girlfriend….I won’t keep you….I’m sure the comments are pouring in! Happy Tuesday!!! xoxoxo peg

    • sbranch says:

      Ooooh, Peg, you will love it! Can’t wait to hear your comments. I ran into what I thought were slow episodes, slow and predictable (or so I thought) back around season two ~ and almost stopped watching. Don’t let this happen to you…plod through and get your reward!

  22. Connie Haltermann says:

    Hi Susan,

    As a true Downton Abbey fan, I am going into withdrawals already, and the season hasn’t even ended! Just a note about Anna, though. I thought she may have done the deed when she made a visit to the actual site on a trip with Mary and someone saw her and informed the authorities. But then I noticed how HAPPY she was when Bates told her about the untorn ticket and she now realized he couldn’t have been the murderer. At that very moment, they both were all smiles, to the point that they were now looking forward to starting a family. A subtle scene, to be sure, but noteworthy I think.

    Love you, Susan

  23. Linda Matson says:

    You and me — we agree! Mary & Tom for the win. They both love Downton. If I wrote the scripts, that’s how I would have it end.

    • sbranch says:

      Me too, she would melt into goodness, he would be proud. But the writers will probably make me like it no matter what happens!

  24. Cynthia Avalos says:

    When DA was over, my first thought was, “Can’t wait to hear Susan’s take on this one!” I think Mary and Tom could be a good thing. Mary was different with Matthew, so if she discovers she loves Tom…well anyway.

    I am sick of the whole Bates/Mr. Green thing. I am actually pretending it didn’t happen. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the show! I don’t have anyone around to talk about it with, so…you’re IT!

  25. Joy says:

    Lets all wear Hats for Easter Girls! …. now for Prince Kuregin, don’t worry girls he has a stash of Faberge Imperial Eggs worth $320 million along with several jewel studded Russian Orthodox icons in a Swiss Bank vault..a clue to this was when he served Violet the tea in the Sterling Russian Tea cup holder when she visited him in his room…it was definitely Russian…if you go to youtube you will find a lovely recap here that is well done and I loved it of course I am a hopeless romantic …

  26. I thought this was one of the very best episodes of DA in all of the seasons so far. As much as I did NOT like Rose when she first appeared, I have now come to enjoy her. (Did you know she is the new Cinderella in the Disney movie about to be released?) I was disappointed in the arrest of Anna. This season they seem to be moving through the story lines quite nicely, and then, sadly, we become stuck on this one. I wondered about Barrow’s turn-around in this episode, also. Will the new (temporary) footman become a love interest for him? And how does the Dowager put up w/that new maid of hers? It seems so out of character for her. I was so happy to hear her admit how much she enjoys the company of Isobel. Refuse to believe next week is the last episode of the season. Can’t be!! How will we feel next year when it truly is “the end” ?? Too sad to think about.
    Hope your ceiling is fixed soon. It is always something with our older homes, isn’t it?

    • sbranch says:

      Rose probably came straight from her hideous mother’s house and had to shed the bad ju-ju before she could turn into the adorable person she is now.

  27. What a fantastic idea! “Mrs. Patmore could marry Daisy’s ex-father-in-law” Maybe, when we have no more Downton Abbey, you could write a tale with Tom not leaving for America, Cousin Susan (yes, poorly named) getting shot during the grouse hunt, and everyone referring to Robert as Donk!

  28. Susan, couldn’t wait for your blog and re-cap of Downton. Agreed with everthing you have said and the girlfriends as well. Hats, jewelry, dress. . . fabulous!! One of the girlfriends mentioned how Isis’ passing was kind of left hanging. I can’t help but wondeer if the dogs name was an issue. Robert will simply have to get another dog!!! And I don’t understand how Mary gets away with being so mean to Edith. . . of course no one ever calls her on her behavior, except Granny!! I am so sad that Downton comes to an end next week – next January is an awfully long time away!! I will need to find a book to fill in for Sunday nights!!! Anybody have any suggestions?? Stay warm!!

  29. CarolK says:

    Excuse me whilst I wipe my eyes and blow my nose. Just watched Lady GaGa’s tribute to the Sound of Music and all I can say is “WOW!!!” She just added a million more fans to her play list with that appearance. Now I think I’ll go downstairs and wash my face in the beautiful pink roses my better half gave me for V’day so I can carry on. It’s hard to believe they haven’t lost a single petal yet. Maybe its because he bought them in tight buds so I could watch them day by day ever so slowly opening up. What a guy!!! Here’s hoping your dining room ceiling isn’t going to turn into a major job for you guys. Isn’t that just the pitz but thank God it wasn’t over your drawing table! Hang in there Kiddo Spring has got to be just around the corner.

  30. Karen P (Wisconsin) says:

    This episode did more for me growing endearing to Robert than any before! His tenderness and obvious love for Cora is so sweet to see. “Don’t call me Donk!” is just too darn cute for words! I laugh every time he says that! And how he took it upon himself to be tenderhearted to Mrs. Patmore with her nephew’s memorial was beyond wonderful! I loved seeing him “downstairs!” I saw an interview once and “Mrs. Patmore” said the downstairs crew doesn’t often even see the “upstairs” actors nor have interaction with them. So, I’m sure she loved that. I can see signs of Julian Fellowes “setting the stage” for the final season as several are buying properties and preparing for their future. Will be interesting and SOOOOO sad to see it all tie together. I love the interaction between Baxter and Molesley! What a sweet couple they are together! I DO think that Mr. Gregson is going to return next season. I think he was just lost in action. Edith needs her happy ending! xo

  31. Christy Esse says:

    I can’t wait to read your reactions to Ep. 8 and the Christmas Special. So much happens…!! {rubs hands together gleefully}

    We’re now having another touch of winter weather down here…highs in the low forties and lows in the low thirties. Funny thing is that I almost (almost) turned on the A/C Sunday afternoon because it was so warm and muggy inside my house. Couldn’t bring myself to do it because it’s February, dang it! But two hours later it was blustery and cold, so didn’t need it on after all! (Gotta love Texas weather!)

    I hope they get your dining room back to normal post haste! Give the kitties some chin scratches from me! Stay warm!


    Christy in SoTex

  32. Gina P. from NY says:


    How you managed to lose 6 lbs. after being house bound so much this winter is remarkable! Kudos to you! I loved Sunday’s episode of Downton! I’m with everyone who is sick of the Mr. Green/Anna/Bates storyline. I would love to see the Bates’ settle down and have that baby they’ve been praying for! Robert did redeem himself in this episode. I especially loved his wonderful gift to Mrs. Patmore and her reaction! How touching… Edith is looking so much better when she smiles – but I must say, I am a bit surprised that Robert accepted this so easily(his daughter having a child out of wedlock) – especially in that era. The clothes, as usual, were remarkable. I especially love the headpieces and the hats. Gorgeous! To those girlfriends who have a hard time with the British accent (and they talk so fast) I use closed captioning when I watch Downton. It really helps. Then I watch it again (the next night it’s on one of our other PBS stations) without the closed captioning. Can’t believe next Sunday is the last episode! : (

    Susan, you are right on with Lady Gaga! Has she turned over a new leaf? No more raw meat outfits? And she’s been hanging with a class act, Tony Bennett! But then, she has always had an amazing voice, this just cemented it. It was wonderful, and I read somewhere that she has been practicing for this moment for the past six months with a voice coach. It was one of the best moments of the Oscars

    Stay warm, and we are looking forward to that next book!

    • sbranch says:

      I heard her true love is jazz . . . that would be quite a change. What would the monsters think?

      • Karen P. (Wisconsin) says:

        As Ginas said, she’s great friends with and has sung with Tony Bennett! An unlikely pair but maybe that’s the direction she’s heading? Now that she’ll be a married gal with maybe a family down the road she may be thinking of changing her image? She sure is a great talent!

  33. Tracy Byers says:

    I waited until today to check your blog- had to finish watching Downton last night as I was at an Oscar party and yes- Lady Gaga was sublime!
    Agree that it is so good to see Lady Edith finally looking joy filled and at peace- and Tom…dreamy, wonderful Tom. Not hard to see what Lady Sybil saw in him 🙂

  34. Valerie says:

    I just loved this episode!! I think that Edith needs to give Tom a job at the newspaper now that she’s in charge. That should keep him in the country and in politics…and maybe with Edith instead of Mary! I felt the same as you, Mrs. Patmore should marry Daisy’s ex-father-in-law and live happily together on the farm. I loved the twinkle in Violet’s eyes and her more youthful appearance since Prince Kuragin proclaimed his never-ending love for her! And stuffy snobby Susan, I remember the actress as Lady Cordelia in the Brideshead Revisited series back in the 80’s. She’s still a good actress as she makes this character so despicable! I just got the DVD of this season so I may have to break down and watch the last episode and not wait for Sunday night!

  35. Judy says:

    Thank you for your thoughts on Downton. I thought George Clooney was supposed to make an appearance on Downton this year. Did I miss that or will he be in the last episode?

  36. Bert of Alexandria says:

    Like so many of your fans, I am skeptical of the prince — he seems to be up to no good, but why is Violet so enthralled with him? There is a back story here that has yet to be revealed. Is the prince possibly Violet’s Gregson? Is there a love child of that time long ago in Russia who will surface, this Sunday evening or next season? If DNA tests had existed in the twenties, what secrets in the Grantham clan might have been revealed? Stay tuned, for we have much yet to learn.

  37. Nancy Fenemore says:

    Agree with the Downton re-cap!!!!!! Sure hope Tom does not go to Boston………but who to hook him up with……I’m not sure. Sitting here in Florida, soon to return to the frozen North (Canada) I can’t wait to get together with the girls for a game of “Downton Abbey”…………got the board game for Christmas!! I will leave my “What is a Weekend?” towel in the guest bathroom and see who finds it first.

  38. Becky says:

    Oh Susan! I just knew you’d be a DA fan…. 🙂
    This episode really felt like a season finale. Kinda wondering what they can do for the actual one next week!
    Two things: Felt a bit deprived about not seeing a fabulous outdoor garden reception for the wedding. Boo! And 2, really? 2 months of shows, and 10 months waiting for the next set?? Ugh. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I’m starting to think that perhaps weddings are too expensive to film because we sure don’t get much in the way of pomp and circumstance.

  39. Sonya says:

    wow, it’s like you’re thinking out loud for me about Downton each week; love your comments and I love Tom so much; i just don’t think he will go. I sit and imagine this series into WWII and how the grandchildren would carry on. I wish someone would continue it in book form. I recommend the newest book on series five, lovely reading!

  40. Carla Ludwig says:

    I just got done watching Downton (which we recorded due to the Oscars being on) and oh my goodness, I think this was one of the best episodes yet….so hard to choose. I laughed, cried, talked to the characters through my screen…..oh it was so good. I agree with all of your comments and WHAT is going to happen to Anna? Sweet, sweet Anna. I did see the unbelievable Lady Gaga performance and cried then too! My goodness, I think I need to get out of the house with all this crying! haha Have a beautiful week, and congrats on the 6 lbs. I am still working on the 10 I want to lose!! Carla

  41. Ann Y in PA says:

    I know…ANNA !!!! And yes, such great clothes and wedding finery. Isn’t Rose rising above it all so gracefully. And I love Atticus’ mother…she is a wise woman. Congrats to you on 6 pounds…that is an accomplishment. You are inspiring me to get out and walk despite the COLD !!!! Stay warm…thanks for the Downton recap !

  42. Lorraine says:

    DA was definitely very exciting this week. So many “interesting” moments. Like others have mentioned – I loved it when Cora put that snooty guest in her place by telling her that her father was Jewish. Prince Kuragin must have an ego the size of Yorkshire (and yes – he needs to sit up straight, show some panache, and wash and cut his hair!). I think Violet needs to put him in his place. But it is rather interesting seeing her a bit flustered. I keep hoping that Edith’s love will come back. And I was really getting hopeful about the interaction between Tom and Mary – but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I just wish Tom would stay… Robert was indeed the hero – especially selling that painting for the village and apologizing to Cora. I certainly hope that Violet’s maid will be given the boot. She’s not a very nice person – and I don’t know how much Violet’s butler can take. I was proud of Thomas (you can’t say that very often!) for helping out that young footman. And what are we to think about Mosley and Baxter? Is there any hope for them? And last, but certainly not least, wouldn’t it be wonderful if Mrs. Patmore married Daisy’s father-in-law? That would be so sweet… I’m looking forward to next week’s Christmas special. It will be a long wait until next season. We’ll all have to watch this season over a couple times to keep us going.

    My sympathies for your ceiling… Best of luck with the repairs. Stay warm.

  43. Thank you, Susan! As usual you feel the same as me on most every last detail. I appreciate you taking the time to share with us. It is fun to have a true Downton lovers sharing place. Tom MUST be with Mary, amen! This was my favorite episode of the season. The season is just too short.
    Loving your website and all your goodies! I am going over ALL of it with delight.

  44. Nancy says:

    Too funny….my husband and I are “out for an airing”
    And I give all the credit to Susan! We have been iced
    and snowed in for several days…good to breathe

    fresh air even if it is freezing!

  45. Brenda Kaatman says:

    I love DA! I love hats! I love your blog, art & writings!!! I wear hats regularly & always wear one to church on Sunday morning! If I am not wearing one, I am greeted with,”Where’s your hat?!” Not hello, how are you! If all you girlfriends love hats & wish they were back…..put a hat on the next time you go out! It is as simple as that! Blessings to ALL!

  46. Denise in NY says:

    Last year, I was so disappointed with Downton, but this year I love it again.
    If Tom does leave, at least they are not killing him off.

    Oh, how I sobbed over Isis getting cancer. Our Australian Shepherd, Cody, was 16 1/2 years old when we had to put him to sleep. He didn’t have cancer, he just had gotten old. I think they really captured what it is like when a beloved four-legged family member is near the end.

    What did you think or those copper pots? I would love to cook with those beauties! I also love the wine glasses that we see every meal.

    • sbranch says:

      Me too, and the dishes for Violet’s breakfast in bed . . . they (and the whole scene) looked beautiful!

  47. I love Downton Abbey! I have to confess, I have Season 5 on DVD and watched it while my husband was away. I have no patience or self control…lol. I was going to wait and watch it every Sunday but when I had a weekend all to myself I couldn’t resist. I never get tired of it, I watch them over and over. I usually see something I missed the time before. Your blog always brightens my day. Thank you!

  48. Ruth Thomas says:

    Oh dear me – Downton is so good and I can’t imagine waiting until next January to continue the series. Tom is so adorable and I’d love to see him and Edith get together and raise their daughters. Mary is undeservable of anyone at this point – she is so mean to her sister!!! I’m surprised she didn’t figure Marigold out but happy dad did and he didn’t blink an eye. Love, love, loved the clothes, the jewelry, the hats and gloves – just gorgeous and love Atticus’ mother (can’t remember her name right now) – she shut down dad pretty quick. Tom can’t leave and Anna has to get out of jail post haste. Loved it when Mary told the policeman she was Lady Mary Crawley!!! Don’t think the prince is good for Violet but she seems to be lacking some attention especially if Isobel decides to marry Dickie! Hope your hole gets cleared up and fixed – hate when these things happen. One more week of Downton!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Isn’t that terrible, Dickie is so nice, just perfect in every way, but those boys!

      • Karen P. (Wisconsin) says:

        If it’s true what Dickie said about his boys, that they’re like their mother, then he desrves someone like Isobel and should put those “boys” in their place! They need to grow up!

        • sbranch says:

          He does deserve her, but those boys are incorrigible — it’s a problem (or would be, of course, if this was REAL!)

  49. I’m completely caught up with Downton, so I don’t have to skip to the end of the posts any more. Yippie! I’m getting a bad feeling about how they are going to leave us on the cliff for almost a whole year…

    That leak doesn’t look too good my friend. Holy Moly!

  50. Judy in Oak Ridge says:

    I keep telling my husband that each new episode is better than the last. I too will be crying when D.A. is over for good. I love it all, the clothes, the lighting, the details, details, details…I would like for Mary and Tom to get together. He is wonderful and loving to all of them, but he “gets” Mary and she him.
    Wishing for more shows such as this.
    Wishing for spring and flowers.
    Wishing i could lose 6 pounds but I love ice cream too much !
    good luck with your dining room and thanks for your wonderful thoughts.

    • sbranch says:

      He does get her, that’s what I mean, with him, she’s better. Nice even. But of course, not real. 🙂

  51. I just could not wait to hear your DA review. Fantastic, as usual. I do not think Violet will change her life for the prince, although she will be ‘flattered’. By the way he came to her house uninvited at such an early time of the day (she was in bed in her jammies!), was appalling (to Violet, I think). Looks like he wants a sugar mamma. Robert was top notch this week and his heart did all the right things. I just knew he would accept Marigold. He saw Edith dying a little every day for years and is no fool. Love conquers all. I cannot wait until next week but I do not want it to end. I watch each episode over and over and then catch it each time it plays. I am addicted to good tv.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m with you, I can’t wait, but slow down. Delicious anticipation! Delayed gratification! Enjoying every excruciating moment!

  52. kay says:

    Love your comments on Downton. I will miss it when this season is over ! I love the hats and the clothes . Broke my heart when they took Anna away. Hope that is resolved this coming episode and not left hanging until next season. Love all the comments o Downton here .

  53. Maureen Sawicki says:

    Hi Susan,
    I so enjoyed reading your blog about Downton. I love, love the clothes and hats.
    We held my son and daughter in law’s wedding in my flower garden in 2000. I asked all my girl friends to wear hats. It was so much fun!! I hope Joe fixes that leak soon. We just got the last of the three feet of snow off our roof here in NH. THINK SPRING!

  54. Pauline says:

    I understand what you mean about the landscaping around Downton Abbey!! In fact, I took a class dealing with the landscaping at great British estates just to understand why it looked so bare. The class covered the history behind large English estates and the reasons why they wanted beautiful views from the house but not of the house. The views were to remind them of their travels to Europe and Greece. Especially, when they added the follys reminisce of Greek architecture. Stourhead is another example. Check out the folly at Downton Abbey, they have one too. And they added “Ha,Ha”s to keep the sheep away from the house, so thy could be seen but no mess on the lawn. Don’t you just love it! Who would have thought landscaping could be so fascinating…. an amazing class!!

    • sbranch says:

      We loved the Ha Ha’s too . . . who would give them that name?

      • judi says:

        Ha Ha’s??????

        • sbranch says:

          It’s a way to keep in livestock. A ha ha, as I would describe it and probably no one English would, is a kind of ditch . . . kind of on two levels, so if you’re coming out the door of Downton Abbey (for example), and you look across the meadow in front of you, all the way out to where there are lambs, it looks like it’s just a straight shot. But what is really happening is there’s a sort of ditch. The lawn comes up to it, then the ditch, then more lawn on the other side, where the lambs are. The lambs can’t get over that ditch, and you don’t have to have a fence. It’s a Ha Ha.

    • Joyce says:

      Every time I see the Abbey I, too, wish they had SOME foundation plantings! Interesting to know from above comment why they don’t exist. Still…..

      • sbranch says:

        Yes, some foundation plantings!

        • Pauline says:

          If you are ever in the Chicago area, I would highly recommend this
          lecture by Barbara Geiger. I think she’s connected with the University of Chicago. Her web site lists the lectures. It’s landscaping and a whole lot more than you’d ever imagine about Downton Abbey.

  55. Tami says:

    I love DA too! Speaking of castles that need some roses and bushes… have you seen the Chateau Gudanes? They have a facebook page and it reminds me of the Abbey. It is so fun to watch them rennovate it.

  56. Mary Lawrence aka Mi Mi Elizabeth says:

    Love your blog. Love your notes on
    Downton. How can we wait until next year. I hope Anna gets justice, they have suffered enough. The dresses , oh the dresses., I love a good hat as well. My hubby and I have been on the 17 day diet. Getting ready to start the second 17 days, with a little detour with Godiva candy. LOL I fimd it so exciting to see that you have posted another blog. Its snowing here at the moment, we have had a lot of snow this February. Take care and I hope your leak is fixed soon.

  57. Jean says:

    imlove your wrap up of Downton Abby. You think just like I do but I love the way you express your thoughts. I, too will be sad when this season is over and even sadder knowing there’s only one more season. Did you see that Michele Dockery is getting married in real life?

  58. Sara says:

    You never disappoint, Susan, and this Downton recap was no exception! Your occasional indignant rants made me laugh out loud! Who wouldn’t love such peevish comments about that “nasty bigot Susan,” as “Put the hat and the outfit in a box, mail it to me, and leave rude woman” or your reprimand of Carson’s behavior toward Mrs. Hughes at the beach scene last year, “Take her hand you crazy loon!” They have a delightful way of showing us girlfriends that immersing ourselves in the story is not only okay, it’s SO much fun!

    Your flowers are lovely, especially the carnations. They do look like peonies, as one girlfriend suggested. It’s sad that the big box stores and supermarkets have driven so many small flower shops out of business. We used to have two florists in our small town but no more, so I drive the eight miles to another small, sister-town to buy flowers from locals, who have earned their title of ‘florists’ by actually knowing what they’re talking about. Woops, being a little peevish, aren’t I? Ha-ha!

    Gosh, I’m going to miss your delightful recaps once Downton is over. (sigh) As for the hole in your ceiling, it does look as if you and your tub might very well have plummeted through those rotten timbers! Gosh, what a nightmare that would have been! 🙂 Anyway, Joe positively looks like he’s in his element. You’re quite blessed to have a knowledgeable husband to oversee such work, because the wrong person might have cost you an arm and a leg, literally! :/

    By the way, I too was gaga over Gaga. That was one exceptional performance and worthy of a Julie Andrews tribute! 🙂 Sara 🙂

  59. Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    I am slightly confused. Is next Sunday the last episode of Season 5 and then one more Downton the following Sunday, but it is a Christmas Special. Is that right?

  60. What a great Downton post. Now I know why you have so many friends; you make friends so easily! I feel like I was watching it with you. Stay warm and dry up there. It will be Spring soon…

  61. donnaf says:

    I just started DA two weeks ago. Watched all the way through to the current show. What a roller coaster of emotions!!! I adore Anna and Mr Bates….but come on…let them get on with living a happy life! I love the scandals and always wish I could just slap Thomas! The history and changing of the times with new inventions is fun and I love all the clothing and formality. Just for on ed day I would LOVE to be on the set!!

  62. Pat Beckman says:

    Susan, you always manage to put Downton in the right place,catching all the things we miss….I will have to get the DVD and watch it all again. You are soo good
    Pat Beckman

  63. Gail Richards says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed all the comments and speculation about the future at Downton Abbey. What fun this series has created!

    Lady Gaga was wonderful but oh my, Tim McGraw singing Glen Campbell’s, “I’m Not Gonna’ Miss You” just about tore my heart out.

  64. Barbara says:

    Downton comments first. Violet needs to have Spratt, her butler, show the door to that silly prince and her ladies maid. They both need to go. Spratt is so entertaining. I love his expressions. Rose was so lovely in every way. She will probably win over her grumpy father-in-law. Love your flowers. What a wonderful idea. I’m going to the Philadelphia Flower Show next week. Can’t wait!

    • sbranch says:

      I actually think someone should show suitcase-hiding, six-year-old Spratt the door! His tea-party interrupting to complain is just too much . . . but Violet must like him. Have fun at the flower show!

  65. SusanM says:

    The Christmas special is called that because in the UK that episode is aired on Christmas.

  66. Susan Nieradka says:

    Loved this episode! Robert and Mrs. Patmore both had me in tears. And Mary! Loved when she said let’s the four of us go to lunch, even you Edith! Snap!

  67. Heather L. says:

    Just finished this week’s episode with my daughter and hurried right here to read your post. 🙂 Can’t read until I’ve watched. Love all your comments. Looking forward to the season’s finale but sad it will be over with only one more season. My 14-year-old daughter and I watch together. 🙂 We’ll have good memories of this in years to come.

  68. Gayle says:

    The comfort your re-cap gives me (and reading the comments) is to know I am not totally crazy for LOVING Downton! Every week at the end scene I am SO dissapointed it is over. “Oh NO, it can’t be, I have to wait ANOTHER week!!” And I go to bed and can’t stop thinking about it. I wake up and wonder, am I crazy? Is this normal? This just can’t be normal!
    Then I read your blog post and realize at least for us girlfriends, I am normal!

  69. Candace says:

    I have a new and very intriguing theory. I do believe that the reason Granny has been so accepting and not too disapproving of Edith and Marigold is because her son Robert is actually Granny and the Count’s son! What do you think? A strong resemblance, I say, and worth of staying tuned to next year! Good luck with that leak!

  70. Grace says:

    Your “Downton Abbey” recaps are more fun to read than the “Vanity Fair” or “NY Times” recaps. FYI – the NY Times tv critic calls Downton fans “Abbots”. The Girlfriends’ comments on what might happen next are great. I caught a glimpse during next week’s preview of Lady Mary talking to a new character played by Mathew Goode. He was Wickham in PBS’ “Death Comes to Pemberly”. Carson told Mary that Gillingham was not good enough for her and she predicted she would find someone better. Perhaps Goode’s character might be the one.
    I do hope Sir Julian changes his mind and keeps filming “Downton” for another 5 years. One more year is not enough. Thanks for another great blog.

    • sbranch says:

      Well, that’s a nice compliment, thank you, Grace. . . I didn’t realize they were doing them, I need to get out more. Mathew Goode is a cutie! But I thought he was just there for the Christmas special?

  71. Grace says:

    Oops – Carson predicted Mary would find someone better than Gillingham. I meant to write “he” not “she”.

  72. Connie Leach says:

    Heh, found some Downton Abbey free paper-dolls,
    They’re funny and maybe they’ll get us through to next year!

  73. I love your Downton reviews. If this book writing/art thing ever doesn’t work out for you, you can transition into television and movie reviewing. heehee Someone else may have told you already but did you know that The Biltmore in Asheville, NC has an exhibit of Downton dresses? I’m planning to go in the spring when they have the tulip festival. I know you don’t like to fly but if you would like to meet me there, name the day and time and I’ll be there!! LOL Of course you could go without me, but I promise to make it more fun. 🙂 I love that place and you would to! It’s George Vanderbilt’s former residence, as I’m sure you know. Your blog writing makes my day every time.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s hard, looking outside, to think of going anywhere until we get a 40 degree day! But we talked about it . . . so who knows. Thank you Tracie!

  74. PS: The more Downton goes on, the less I like Mary. I loved her with Matthew. Now…not so much. 🙁

    • sbranch says:

      Who is the heir to Downton now? I know it was Matthew — ohhhhh, I remember, it’s Matthew and Mary’s son!

  75. Beth says:

    I think the Bad Boy Prince did his wife IN!!!….
    …and Shrimpy will unearth this discovered blow to affirm Violet’s romantic hesitations….how’s that for CRAZY??? ha! Don’t… like……all.
    Do we know the background story of how Lord Grantham met and married Cora??? I think it highly out of character for his Position of Privilege at that time to have pursued a Jewish American woman for a wife! What a Maverick! I wonder how Violet reacted?
    Susan, I think you and Joe should leave a “surprise” hidden in the repaired walls/floors of your house for the next generation of your home’s Trustees. Like maybe Kitty hairbands (wouldn’t they puzzle over those?!!), a few well-worn paint brushes, or possibly a dried, used tea bag tied around eye glass necklace!

    • sbranch says:

      I love Shrimpy. Robert married Cora, as so many did in those days, basically, for her money. Which he then lost. Oh well. Love your idea of a time capsule in the ceiling… I will look around for something.

      • Oh, yes! Do leave a time capsule, Susan! Many years ago, I put a hidden time capsule in our home. Hopefully, the next lucky owner will find it one day. So many reasons to fall in love with an old house! ♡

        • sbranch says:

          Was thinking about it this morning . . . we were talking about what to put in it yesterday ~ thinking about the chances of anyone finding it again, it’s such an odd spot . . . which made me think, maybe there are a bunch of time capsules already in the house . . . sort of made me want to tear down the walls! 🙂

          • I tucked mine behind a piece of woodwork, putting the box in between the studs. Then I replaced the woodwork with shiny brass screws. It was my dad’s wonderful idea!! Maybe someday, someone will wonder why one piece of trim has shiny screws… and be curious enough to take a peek. I hope so!! I really want someone to find the time capsule one day! ♡♡

          • sbranch says:

            I would imagine. Ours is going to be in the middle of a sea of smooth plaster, the ceiling of the dining room. But the idea is of the future. What will be will be.

  76. Robbie Baker says:

    Does anyone besides me think that the reason ISIS is gone is because of her name????

    • sbranch says:

      There have been lots of theories, that’s one of them, and another is that Isis had just grown old. And someone mentioned the possibility that having a dog on set was a problem, although I just poo-poo that one, how could that BE? Good old yellow lab, they are better than most people!

  77. Stephanie says:

    Oh gotta love Downton Abbey!!! This was a great episode. So sad about Anna. So happy Marigold is with her mama! Loved Robert and Tom, Daisy and Mrs. Patmore. So sad to only have one more episode until January, eeeekk!

    So, when is the new book coming out? I thought it was this spring, am I wrong? Soooo excited about this!!! Glad to hear you lost weight, I am struggling to lose the first 10 pounds, need to lose 30! Thank you for always brightening my day:)

    • sbranch says:

      I know, that’s how it is: happy, sad, thrilled, downcast, elated, broken. I’m trying not to think of the end! I hoped for this spring for the book, but it’s not going to be done. I’m trying!

  78. Elaine Phillips says:

    Susan hope the leak is fixed; hooray for Joe the handy man, I loveeeeee D A and have from the minute it began; I think this last episode was the best of this season. Susan doesn’t deserve to have sweet Rose for her daughter and she is just a misery. Robert is wonderful and Tom indespensible (sp? ) to All. Edith is at last happy; I wish Gregson would reappear for her.I like Prince Kuragin, greasy long hair and all. I think he,s just who he is and he loves Violet( and so do I!!!) He,s making her think about seizing the moment which is really smart,and she gave that advice to dear Isobel.I could go on and on but you get my thoughts on this.I love Grantchester also and think this last episode was wonderful James Norton is so soulful.Lady Gaga was superb, Fabulous Thanks for the books and the blog Susan , You are a kindred spirit as are all the “girlfriends”

  79. Gert~Iowa says:

    Sorry..I DVR’d the show Sunday, as my honey isn’t crazy about the show. Darn… Anyway I watched it today while Mr took a nap…and before inread your blog. I thought this was a really good show…except for the end when they hauled her odd to jail. sad… I loved Lady Gaga’s singing. I’m not a fan of hers, but that was marvelous. Oh, you flowers are beautiful! Time for bed….thank you…great post!

  80. Elisabeth Weakley says:

    Oh Susan, dear Susan, how I empathize with your dining room ceiling issue. This happened in my living room several years ago. One third of the ceiling came crashing down at 3:00 a.m., it sounded like dynamite going off. I hope that all will be well soon. In regard to Downton Abbey, it is my hope that Tom will not go to America (Even though it’s a grand place to be), and that Mary and Edith and Tom will all stick around and run Downton in the future. With any luck the problem that poor Anna is facing will be successfully resolved and she and Bates will live happily ever after. As for Prince Kuragin, I think he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It appears, at least to me, that he is after Violet for the money. However, I do believe that Violet is canny enough to get this all figured out. Have a lovely day and may your dining room soon be in order. I believe the weather is improving.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh my goodness, that would have scared me to pieces! The prince might even be a wolf in wolf’s clothing! We’ll see what Julian actually has in store for him. Give him a tux, and a waltz and a little Old Spice and I could change my mind.

      • judi says:

        Ha, Old Spice. Just thought of an old boyfriend that used to wear that …..memories flood back with a scent:)

      • Elisabeth Weakley says:

        Your idea is intriguing, especially if he is an accomplished dancer. As always I believe Julian will surprise us.

  81. Bev Brewer says:

    So enjoying comments and speculations of “our” DA! Was wondering why Charles has to go to Poland for months on end—is it a convenient way to oust him or could it have something to do with the approaching war? Polish mathematicians cracked an early version of the Enigma machine, but I don’t know how Charles would have anything to do with such a secretive endeavor. I still think Mary and Edith will compete for Tom. Will Mrs. Drew cause trouble in her anguish over losing Marigold? Tell us, Susan, you have such insight!!!!! Isn’t this fun?

  82. Debbie Mason says:

    Oh! Your poor house!!! I hope they fix it soon!

  83. Ruth says:

    Reading your blog is almost as good as Sunday night Downton! I LOVE your sharp insights and comments, your humor, and especially your love of fashion! I agree it needs a proper English garden–with flowers.! Thanks Susan for brightening our days and giving us a smile. The sun is shining in PA and it is 27 degrees! Getting into Turbo Tax today. Almost as painful as a plumbing leak over the dining room! Good luck. Cannot wait for the new book!

  84. Debbie P. ~ Weedsport, NY says:

    Hi, Susan~
    What fun hearing about yours (and all the girlfriends’) takes on DA! We’ve become another club of like minds 🙂 Two scenes that are sticking with me that I haven’t heard anyone mention yet are
    1: the conversation between Mr. Mosely, Baxter and Daisy while walking after visiting the art museum. Just loved Daisy’s comment “I feel like I’ve been living in a corn hole and just let out to see the light of day!”
    And 2: the conversation between Mary and Carson. He was giving her a boost of self-esteem like a loving father would. However arrogant and confident Mary seems at times, I still think she has a fragile heart. I only came to DA the past couple of seasons so I don’t know the history of their relationship but it was clear how much they cared for each other…really warmed my heart!
    Hope the sun’s shining on MV today to give YOU a boost of energy for writing and painting your book. You go, girl! You’re making amazing progress considering it hasn’t been very long since A True Romance was published! The building anticipation for your newest masterpiece is a good thing, too!
    Happy Wednesday!

  85. Debbie P. ~ Weedsport, NY says:

    Forgive me! Of course I meant “A Fine Romance”! I’ve only read it through twice!!!

  86. Linda Tuskey says:

    I am glad a few girlfriends mentioned Karagin’s greasy hair! Is that part of showing us how down and out he is?

    There is not much comment about Baxter. I think there is more there than we know. Could Mr. Green have been the one who sent Baxter to jail? Hopefully, we will learn the truth about that next week. My husband is thinking of anyone short who has ever been on the show.

    The dresses, hats, headpieces, and jewelry are exquisite. Did you love the necklaces down the bare backs? Whatever Mary lacks in kindness and understanding, she lacks nothing in style. She looks amazing in those tight-fitting hats with her new hair style.

    Thank you all for being Downton buddies. I, too, look forward to Susan’s recap and pictures and to all of the comments. So much fun on dreary winter days.

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t know. Maybe he’s just supposed to be a swarthy Russian Prince, but look at all the other guys, as clean cut and upright as you can get, even the devil butler. Yes, I agree, love Mary’s hair too.

  87. Jan Martin says:

    I absolutely drooled over the dresses and hats on the last episode! Sooo gorgeous! I hate to see this season ending on Downton…it went way too fast! As I watch and take it all in I am always spying also on all the room decorations, the tea sets, the china…how simply divine!

    As for Lady Gaga….PERFECTION! What a beautiful end to the Oscars….goosebumps! So many were so shocked by her supreme talent and style change. Just wonderful! And then there was Julie….class act always!

    Cannot wait for your next book. I just finished reading A FINE ROMANCE. Thank you for taking us on this beautiful journey through the English countryside. I felt like I was tagging along with you.

  88. sondra fox says:

    How dare those soon to be (well, maybe) step sons disgrace their wonderful father, & be discourteous to Isobel. Accusing her of not being as well bred as their mother. Accusing Isobel of not being able to conduct herself in a regal manner. Isobel has more class than forty so called persons of wealth & status. Oh, my hope is that she marries, lives in a majestic manor, & has a happy life with her wonderful husband. Actually, I love the doctor. Such a kind man. I used to wish for Isobel to marry the doctor.

    As for Edith. Sorry, but I still don’t like her wimpy-ness. I’m glad Marigold will live with her grandparents & cousins. That will be good for her to be raised with all of them. But, Edith, I’m afraid she’ll go right on looking sad, trying to hide what she believes is a great sin, & cracking her face if she smiles. Wimpy-ness is hard to get over. It’s an ingrain personality trait. Did you see the secret look Edith & Cora shared when they thought they’d hidden the secret of Marigold from Robert? There Edith goes again, putting a wedge between Cora & Robert! Robert had just agreed that Marigold could live with them. I know my girlfriends & you, Susan, will possibly criticize my thoughts on Edith, but I’m not a wimpy person & can stand the criticism. Oh my. I REALLY believe these actors are REAL people. That’s why I don’t know how I’ll go through an entire spring, summer, & fall without my DA fix!

    I know Mary is a snob, but I adore her. She has guts! She’s rude to her sister, but I think she’s trying to help Edith overcome her wimpy-ness.

    And Cora. What a mom. So sweet, kind, & polite. She got my vote when she asked that Isis be in the middle of she & Robert, in their bed, as Isis was dying. Anyone who is kind to animals & cares about their welfare, is a good person.

    I think the Prince gets money from the royalty, somewhere. He certainly appears to be in love with the Dowager. Romance has never hurt a woman of any age. Nice to see the writers be brave enough to put this theme into the script, old age & romance. I’d think the Dowager would be a bit more giddy about the Princely admiration & love for her. Oh well, here again, I’m thinking she’s for real.

    And, your house being torn up Susan! Oh my, old houses. They certainly have lots of charm, but they always need to be worked upon, that’s for sure. Wiring, plumbing, electrical are all outdated. I always wanted an old Victorian. My husband told me all he’d be doing is using his time & our money to do repairs, if we bought one. I’m sure you think it’s all worth it though. I agree. And, your peace & quiet is disrupted as the work is being done. I have workmen here doing upgrading in my home right now. I hate it, but I know I’ll love the finished product. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • sbranch says:

      Yeah, I agree, Edith’s Oh Poor Me wimpy-ness probably brought out the worse in Mary . . .It’s like that old thing, Here, let me give you something to cry about!

  89. Renee says:

    Dear Susan – This is so fun! You have created a Downton Sunday Club! Love your comments on the plot. I think Mr. Fellows has lost the plot regarding poor Anna and her Mr. Bates. Give it a rest already. We are weary of the suffering. I’m hoping for a baby on the way for them both last episode. Prince Kuragin ugh, I don’t trust him with a ten foot pole. Violet is way too intelligent not to intuit PK’s ulterior monetary motives. A’greed’? When he croons to Violet, I wince. Will there be a new puppy (or cat!) coming to the Downton fold last episode? I hope so! Isis’ agent must have gotten her a better showbiz gig, and she was written off lickety-split. Oh Edith. I’m hoping great things on every count come her way. Mary? I see a tall dark and handsome man from previews of last episode. Tom? He is the Greek Chorus, and can not be dispensed to America. We need Tom! And we need Daisy! She has a wonderfully thick Yorkshire accent. I’d love to bite into one of her pastries. Yum. Ah, Thomas. I always think Dickens’ Uriah Heep. The creepiest and most evil character from England, there ever was! Thanks for allowing me to vent here, Susan. As ever, I’m most grateful. Renee

  90. Asha says:

    Hi Susan! Loved reading your DA recap as well as all the girlfriend’s comments! It will surely be missed until next January. Then what will we do? I have asked for the boxed DVD set for my birthday so I can continue to watch it. So sorry about your leak. We had one a few years back that required a complete new ceiling in the living room and removal of the wallpaper! We ended up painting the walls which we love now so good things can come out of bad. 🙂 It is 33 degrees today here in central MA! Gorgeous day but unfortunately, not for long. Colder temps again and more snow next week. But alas, Spring is not far behind. Sunday is March 1st. (Rabbit, Rabbit :)). Speaking of gorgeous, Lady Gaga’s tribute to Julie Andrews was amazing! Never new her voice has such range! She was fabulous! Take care and thank you for your wonderful blogs! You are truly a blessing. Love ya. ox

  91. Jan Martin says:

    How can Downton Abbey be winding up another season so soon? I absolutely drooled over the dresses and hats on the last episode! Amazingly beautiful! I love all the set decorations as well, the furniture, tea sets, china…oh my! I just bought the season 5 dvd and will spend a day during the summer reliving it all again! I’m sure next week’s episode will bring some surprises!

    Just finished reading A FINE ROMANCE! What a wonderful book! THANK YOU for letting me tag along on your adventures in the English countryside! It was “almost” like being there!

    And Lady Gaga! PERFECTION! I love her style & song change. Teaming up with Tony Bennett has been terrific. Sure hope she stays on the same track now. What a terrific ending to the Oscars….goosebumps! And Jule….such a class act!

  92. Jennifer says:

    I will miss your Downton recaps like I will miss the show after next Sunday. It’s SO wonderful and I look very forward to it every week. I may have to purchase previous seasons and re-watch just to get my fix.
    Lady Gaga was indeed AH-MAZING as was her meet with Ms. Andrews. I loved it! Love you too and am always so glad to stop by this wonderful space and see what you are up too! Thanks for sharing! xx Jen

  93. Love your books ..Huge fan of Downtonabby
    Hugs from N.Z. Mary Macdonald.

  94. Holly says:

    Susan! I loved your synopsis again this week. This was the best episode (I think) so far. Have you thought that maybe Mrs Hughes pushed the bad guy? Anna didn’t I believe. How horrid it would be is Mrs Hughes did, and they find out! Robert was WONDERFUL in this episode, and the memorial for Mrs. Patmore brought on the tears!

    Winter wears on here in Indiana. Honestly I’m sick to death of 4 trips a day to give the bunnies warm water…. but still love giving them treats, as they are most appreciative. My two favs are Thumper, a boy who is so spoiled, white with softest gray ears & nose which make the cutest little twitching when he’s petted. He actually purrs when held & petted. Angora (the angora bunny) is a girl, with the most wool you’ve ever seen on a bunny. She is incredibly soft, sweet and loves to be brushed (harvesting her angora wool). So winter must move along here, someday soon…. I hope! Tonight will be knitting socks, Chai tea, and a British movie. has a large selection of historical drama from which to choose on their Prime Instant Video section, and more films for which there is a small fee to watch. ttfn ladies…. I do enjoy reading all the responses, but it takes me days to get through them!! Love it!

    • sbranch says:

      I can’t see Mrs. Hughes doing it either, she has too much personal integrity. It’s not like Anna is her child or anything profound like that. But we don’t need logic when we are Julian Fellowes, so why not!? I wondered about Amazon instant Video . . . do you know if it has more than Netflix?

      • Holly says:

        I don’t know about Amazon having more videos than Netflix, but having had both, I prefer Amazon for “our kind of videos”.
        There are two ways to go with Amazon: 1) Join Amazon Prime which includes free shipping, free Amazon Prime (video, but there are more videos that are not included in Prime and cost from $3 to $5 ish) to watch. I pay for those very rarely) and other things related to Kindle books. 2) Just pay for the videos you want. I think you can just go to and go to Instant Videos to check it out, and see which films you might like to watch.

        We use Amazon to purchase business stuff, so joining prime makes sense for us. Plus they deliver in lightening speed! You don’t have to publish this — it’s probably not of interest to everyone! haha

  95. ellen hansing says:

    I’m so glad you included Lady Gaga! I’ve always loved her. She has an amazing voice! Its lovely to embrace the past, but beauty exists now too.

  96. ellen hansing says:

    I’m so glad you included Lady Gaga! Its all well and good to honor the past, but we also need to embrace the future! Talent is timeless!

  97. LindaH (northern IN) says:

    I’m reading some of the comments this evening, and just flipped over to a rerun of “Notting Hill” on TV. One of the characters, “Bernie” looked kind of familiar to me, and I looked up the cast, and its Hugh Bonneville in one of his earlier roles. Fun discovery!

  98. YES about wanting some flowers planted around the Abbey! It is gorgeous, but too austere …

    I’m happy for Edith and Mrs. Patmore this season, but I’m not liking Mary so much. She’s slipping back into Mean Girl mode. She needs a guy to bring out her softer side, like Matthew did (maybe Mr. Blake?).

    And I love your idea about Mrs. Patmore marrying Daisy’s father-in-law. That would be perfect.

  99. Linda Metcalf says:

    Can’t bear going thru Summer waiting on the next Downton season. And then the thought of it being the last…..I’m over the Mr. Green drama. Let’s be done with it!

  100. Tawni urrutia says:

    Good morning Susan! I hope your leak is all buttoned up and your ceiling shows not the slightest trace of her surgery! Straight to Downton…I love Mary. She reminds me of Scarlett O’Hara! Fiesty, gorgeous, all the men love her, and she loves Downton as Scarlett loves Tara. And I giggle at her prickly comments to and about her sister, who drives me crazy with Crown of Downtrodeness. As for the Russian Prince, YUCK! I know all royality lived extravagant lives while most of the citizens lived in poverty, but the Russian royalty took it to new levels. So just knowing he was part of that is enough for me to deem him unViolet worthy. The hairdo…whoa, that just seals the deal! A giant two thumbs up for the clothes, what a glorious feast for the eyes. I love all the Downton commentary with you and the girlfriends on this blog, soooo much fun!
    Have a wonderful day!
    Tawni Urrutia in Lodi, Ca

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