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. Christabelle says:

    Susan, this is just pure blog heaven. That’s all I have to say, except keep ’em comin’!

  2. Frances Fowler says:

    So agreed about some plants around the abbey! I sooo hope Julian will extend to a season seven. I might be too angry at him for shortchanging us to watch The Gilded Age, the new program he’s writing set in New York (okay, so I’d much rather watch the Brits). I’ve watched this last episode at least three times. The “frocks” are incredibly gorgeous, feminine, and beautifully accessorized. I agree that Susan, horrid witch that she is, is undeserving of the name (and therefore her wardrobe should be shipped to a more deserving Susan). Of all the perfect one liners, I think Shrimpy’s, “Get down, you cat!” got the most chortles from me. And now Mary is definitely out a suitor (and I have to admit, I really liked the very handsome and polite Lord Gillingham, cad though he was at her breakup attempt), and for the first time in her life experienced assumed respect for her aristocratic title trampled by the law. Kudos to Donk 🙂 And now for the season finale — get your lace hanky ready!

  3. Deb Harmon says:

    Love reading you re-hash last Sunday’s episode!! God, I love that show!! Recently heard that this next season will be the last. Can it be true? If so, I will be in mourning forever!! What will we do without our Downton fix every week?
    Love the pictures of your beautiful flowers, makes me feel like Spring might actually come after all!! Thanks Susan!!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s what we are hearing too. I know. Pray for something as good to come along to take its place . . . if that’s possible.

  4. Sharon says:

    The March 2015 issue of Threads Magazine has a spread on the costumes of Downton Abbey. The detail is incredible.

    “Dressing Downton: Changing Fashions for Changing Times” is an exhibition at the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC Feb 5 – May 25, 2015.

  5. Janet B. in PA says:

    Don’t know if these issues were cleared up subsequently, but I saw them here and there in the comments …..
    1) Mary said (in the library, during the Russian the tea party, after the family discovered that Violet met the Count in 1800-whatever at that royal wedding) “Good thing Papa and Aunt Rosamund were already born or we could start all kinds of rumors.” So – that removes the possibility of the Count being Robert’s father. Whew!
    2) Next’ weeks episode – the March 1 episode – the “Christmas Special” – is the “Final Episode.” In England, the final episode always air on Christmas Day, hence the name. It is 2 hours long.
    3) All this year’s episodes can be seen in full (for a limited time!) at Scroll down to “Full Episodes” and then click on “More full episodes.” Then keep scrolling down for tons of “shorts” (short videos) to watch on all kinds of D.A. topics!
    4) Susan, I loved this in your post: ” . . . 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?)” Too funny! And – I agree!!

  6. Claudia Cole says:

    Today I came home, walked up the stairs and saw these huge cracks on the stair-ceiling and wall. The first thing out of my mouth was, “Oh, God, Oh, God.” I live in th suburbs of Buffalo, NY and February has been brutal, temperature and in snow inches. I love beautiful snow (sparkley in the sun, clinging on the trees)! But You see I am selling my house this Spring and ….
    Anyway, I sat down and watched some “UTubes, starring Jack – Kitty extraordinare!” What fun – a cat that fetches! Thanks for feline relief. I grew up on Long Island and had many pet cats. I understand the joy of loving a furry kiddo so sweet as a kitty. Enjoy your winter.

    • sbranch says:

      Your reaction was just like mine would have been. Right now, we almost have to wait for the snow to melt to see what fresh hell may be lurking.

      • Claudia Cole says:

        I got my wonderful handy man to work on fixing my house. The snow is melting and will cause like you said “all kinds of hell!” What the devil? Grrrrr!
        But I have many of your books, Susan and Gladys Taber’s books to relieve the stress and make me smile and laugh. Thanks for that.
        I recently joined the Gladys Taber club. Sooo looking forward to my March newsletter. Keep warm!

  7. Carol C says:

    I think I found your 6 lbs. right here behind me. Ugh! Must get them off somehow. Loved DA but still am not happy that Edith was able to take Marigold back after Mrs. Drew was a real loving mother to her. I always felt sorry for Edith until this bit. Anyway the rest of the show is fantastic. I went to see the exhibit of the Downton clothes at The Biltmore in Asheville on Tues. It’s a wonderful exhibit and the clothes are even more exquisite than they show on TV. They look perfect set up in the different rooms at the Biltmore. Afterward we went to the Chocolate Cafe’ in downtown Asheville. I had a molted salted caramel truffle– to drink. Everything is chocolate and delicious. That’s where I found the 6 lbs. I’m sure.

  8. Deborah Baxter says:

    I love reading tbis blog and comments. What great girls…..okay. i am a huge Kate Morton fan. I read the first two books so fast….have slowed down. Want to savour every chapter. I love your book A Fine Romance…, joy,joy. My friends afe also now reading it. I have been hunting up your other books… did I miss you? Yrs to catch up. Keep up the good work. Love.

  9. Joanne Wood says:

    Firstly, my ceiling didn’t fall in, but I do have squirrels racing around in my attic. I’m thinking there could be a secret entrance since I also see a squirrel sitting in a tree by the roof following the racing footsteps. Next, yes, love Downton and will miss it. My daughter said she was sure she saw my Royal Doulton China, that I have been trying to sell, on Downton. And sure enough! we finally saw it – and she got a picture of it! Now I can say “AS SEEN ON DOWNTON ABBY” And third, I loved and was amazed at Lady Gaga! Are we seeing a changed woman? I heard she is a classically trained singer. And finally, the weather: The little meteorologists here in Michigan are all excited because apparently February broke all records as the coldest ever recorded. But we also have enjoyed a lot of sunshine. Which shines on my favorite reading chair which has a soft blanket, my current book, and a place to put my cup of tea. I often feel obligated to sit there no matter what needs doing.

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t know, I think Lady Gaga is faceted as we all are and just enjoys showing all of her sides. She’s a performance artist, if she had to wear meat dresses every day for the rest of her life, where would the art be in that. Plus, you know, we all grow up. Except of course, Madonna. Love “as seen on Downton Abbey!”

  10. chris consentino says:

    dear, dear Susan! thank you, as ever, for being you!! DA will be soooo sorely missed!! we all “need” the dvd’s for solace and comfort. as for “missing”….I am worried because I haven’t seen any comments from your wonderful Dad for soooo long. don’t know if I’ve just missed them, or, if he hasn’t been around….worried because I fear he may be feeling poorly….can you enlighten?? hoping and praying all is well…..and, glad you and your bathtub didn’t take a flyer thru the floor….oh, wow!!!!….what misery THAT would’ve been. whew!! do stay well…and, strong thru the rennovations….and, please let us know how your dear Dad is. much blessings to all. xo

    • sbranch says:

      He gets in here every so often. He’s good. We talk pretty much every day. I read him bits of the new book, he gives me advice. All’s well, thank you for asking.

      • chris consentino says:

        oh…I am soooo glad to hear your dad is doing well !! thank you for taking away that piece of worry!! keeeeep up the good work, dear Jack….our dear Blog-daddy!!!! what WOULD we do without you in our universe?? have a great day…all !!!!

  11. Carla TePaske says:

    What a fun post to talk all about DA :-))
    I love your Spring flowers.
    Think Spring ~ Carla

  12. Being that this is my first year watching Downton Abbey, such a short program. Seems as if it just started my goodness having to wait all the way till next year boo hoo… It was a wonderful episode I enjoyed it much so happy that Robert excepted Marrigold with no problem loved that scene.. And I too like the walk home and listening to everyone. So sad though this Sunday it’s done over with. Wish I lost the six pounds can’t seem to find my motivation at all.. Such a lovely post enjoyed every word. Thanks with love Janice

  13. Gail Marie says:

    Perfect recap! I could watch it twice in a row to get a better look at the clothes & sets the second time through. Why don’t stores sell these styles of clothing any longer? So many of the dresses are beautifully times less. Hope your lovely home returns to normal soon!

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t know, I ask the same question!

    • Rose Ann Bacher-Giallombardo says:

      I was able to purchase a “Downton Abby” type dress on line at Modcloth for a daughter’s wedding last June. I wore my dark hair up & felt almost like Lady Cora! What fun 🙂

  14. Lisa aka Jessies mom says:

    Hi Susan! Oh I just love Downton and I cried at the end when Robert figured it out, love him!!!
    Yes the Sound of Music tribute by Lady Gaga was amazing, I was blown away. I still remember seeing the Sound of Music in the theater with my dear beloved Grandma. It was the only movie we saw together and now Jess and I watch it.
    Thanks for the great post!!! Get the tissues for next week …the last episode waaaaaaaa!!!

  15. Marty from NYC says:

    Hello Susan, :

    I hope that you and Joe are finally getting through with plaster dust and debris and you will soon have your beloved dining room back.
    Yesterday I went to open a bottle of Snapple and, as usual, read one of their little known facts and quips that they print in the bottle cap. this one said ” when the full moon is directly overhead,you weigh less”
    WELL- since so many of us love that “bella luna” and draw so much inspiration from your pictures, songs and stories about it,and since so many of us are either envious or trying to emulate your wonderful weight loss I thought this this little “tip” might be of interest . Now if someone can just advise how to keep that moon directly overhead….
    Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. Marty.

    • sbranch says:

      The plumber is here right now. They’re doing good, figuring it all out. Had the water off this morning. Found the culprit. Now we have lots to do to make sure it never happens again. Love the moon tip! Will weigh myself as soon as it’s full!

      • Julia says:

        At first I didn’t read all of Marty’s comment so when
        I read yours, I thought you were going to weigh yourself
        when the tub was full so you wouldn’t fall through the
        ceiling below since you said that it had been hanging by
        a thread! I’m one looney bin! But it gave me a chuckle!

  16. wendy says:

    Hello Susan
    I just had to chime in on this wonderful post, not that all of your posts aren’t equally as enjoyable but I love reading your critiques on Downton. When I spied this post on my newsfeed, with the picture of Tom & Mary, I thought perhaps there was hope for those 2 in the last episode!! Needless to say I love Downton and your marvelous description of it all. Such fine dialogue and use of the English language, every aspect of the show I most heartily relish. I shall miss it.

    In the little picture of Jack at the beginning of the post he seems a bit put out by the ending of Downton Abbey!

    Hope winter melts away for you all soon. Stay warm and dry. Keep those watercolors moist!
    Cheers, Wendy

  17. Sharrieboberry says:

    I’ve had so much fun reading all the comments. It’s just like chatting with old friends!

    I follow Downton Abbey Season 5 on Facebook so I know all the spoilers. I absolutely love knowing what is happening, having seen it already. Yes, I read the end of mysteries too so I don’t have to think too hard about “who done it”. But I CAN keep a secret.

    Also, on Facebook, sometimes there are links to interviews and information about actors and what is going on. Love it!

    So… don’t read this until after the Christmas Episode but it is a wonderful interview about an actor that has 10 lines in that episode:

    It is snowy here in north Texas today. I’m about to bake some brownies for the kiddos. Mmmmm, warm chocolate sounds good!

  18. Jack says:

    Hi Chris,
    Yup , I’m OK and doin’ pretty good for an old geezer….I haven’t dared to enter into the communication between the
    Girlfriends , since Downton aired — that’s your special territory you all have …. I have studied the hats and dresses and they leave me in the dust — to my thinking cumbersome , heavy and time consuming ….you can find me up on the ladder with Joe !
    On March 4th I’m getting a Stem Cell Transplant to help me breath better , so that’s my big deal coming up… It’s a three day process , all done with no invasive surgery . Looking forward to that!

    • sbranch says:

      See how he is? Perfection! Making me laugh Dad, you GO GUY!

      • chris consentino says:

        oh, hello dearest Blog-daddy!!!!! how very nice to hear from you!! i will send many prayers in your direction for your stem-cell transplant….wow…what can now be done to improve our lives!! bravo!! St. John of God is the patron saint for such categories, soooo, much of my prayers will be directed to him for best comfort and results for you!! just one little thing….NO LADDERS…whether or not with Joe….ok?????? thank you!!!! bless you much, and please be “in touch” as soon as you are able. we LOVE you!!…

        • sbranch says:

          Perfect, yes, NO LADDERS. My dad is a ladder guy, and probably half the reason for this stem cell procedure is FOR ladders! xoxo Yes, we DO love you xoxo

      • Diane says:

        Best of luck, Jack, on your stem cell transplant. We hope it does exactly what it’s supposed to do, and you’ll be feeling decades younger. Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers.

      • Marty from NYC says:

        Hello Jack- You always bring new insight into our discussions
        We wish you well with the procedure and look forward to your input in the Spring when things of more general interest than our current love affair with DA will certainly come up!
        Know that many folk are thinking of you and sending good thoughts- Marty.

    • Julia says:

      So great to hear from you Blog Dad. You are on my
      calendar for extra prayers on the 4th. It sounds like
      a good thing.

    • Sharon (O'Hare) Meagher says:

      Hi Jack,
      Sharon (O’Hare) Meagher here! Just read your comment regarding your upcoming medical procedure. I hope all goes smashing for you, and you will be in my thoughts on the 4th. 🙂
      Celebrated the Oscars last Sunday evening with my Mom (Carole) and Pat and Jackie and a few other ladies in LW. They all are such a bunch of functors. I love seeing all of them!
      Take care.

    • Wendy Louise says:

      Hi Jack,
      My husband and I are sending our prayers and positive energy, they will take great care of you. Stem Cell treatment is amazing ! My husband had it done for a different problem and it worked ! You go guy ! Love, Wendy-Louise, buried under four feet of snow here in Newburyport Massachusetts. 🙂

  19. Rose Ann Bacher-Giallombardo says:

    Hello Susan, Downton Abby is my favorite TV show too. . .I love everything about it 🙂 I will be holding tight to my antique hankie tomorrow night & I’m looking forward to reading your blog on Monday!

  20. Joan McCusker says:

    Hi Susan,
    Haven’t written for a while and meant to do this earlier….enough! I was wondering if you have been watching the PBS show, “The Great British Baking Contest”? If so you know how grand it is, if not…you must. Tomorrow night is the final installment….you can probably find it on their web site.
    And, of coarse, Downton Abbey…no words necessary….pure love!

  21. Pat Johnson says:

    OK to all of my BFFs & the #1 BFF Susan – I AM THERE (or here whichever). I did my marathon Downton Abby and am ready for the finale – HOWEVER I am not ready for the waiting period until the next one begins again!! Do they get how this is going to make our lives a living nightmare!! Isn’t this some kind of crime??? Thank God I have the DVD’s and can go back in my own time and watch them again. I think about you and Joe a lot during this challenging winter time. And then you get stuck with a water leak!! Aaahhh, the challenges we face – but, of course, we know nothing can get us down. Right? Thanks for always being here for me – you know you are, right? My love to both of you and the kitties…….XXOO

  22. Pat Johnson says:

    I am so lame sometime – I just read the note your Dad wrote. Dad is so important and I know everything will be good. He has such a positive attitude and he probably doesn’t know it BUT – he is important to all of us!! You go, Dad!! XXOO

  23. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Jack! Keeping you in my prayers for a very successful procedure on March 4th!!!!!!

  24. Jack says:

    There is a new Ethanol Fuel coming out called E-15 — I received an e-mail from a friend that said ” Do not put this in any car age 2012 or older because it will destroy the engine! He claims this was the message from AAA Insurance and that all the auto makers like Ford and Honda, ect. have stated that they will provide no warrantee coverage on cars damaged by E-15 gasoline! So I think we need to wait and see what happens on this thing — stick with your Regular 87 Octane gas for now! ……Blogdad

  25. Kathy Hughes says:

    Susan, did you see my comment about your January 28, 2012 post? I asked a question about the china pattern in the picture at the top of the post. I realize the comment had nothing to do with your Downton conversation, but I’m still catching up on all your wonderful posts. When I went back to see if you had answered, I couldn’t even find my comment. Hope I’m not doing something wrong! Have a wonderful Sunday.

    • sbranch says:

      Probably not, it takes me time to go through all the comments . . . and if someone needs a question like that answered, I sometimes wait until I have a moment to go back, find it, and look . . . I’ll try!

      • Kathy Hughes says:

        Susan, I think I found the name of the china — Johnson Brothers Garden Bouquet (Windsor Ware). Don’t bother to go looking for my comment; you have better things to do like writing your new book. This may not be it, but it looks like it to me. Thanks for sharing with the Girlfriends!

        • sbranch says:

          I checked out the blog post you spoke of . . . and realized those dishes have nothing written on the bottom (I wrote back to your other comment . . . just in case) … but How bad could it be if they were Johnson Brothers! I actually have those too ~ I love them, they go with everything!

  26. Looking forward to DA tonight- and Grantchester following. It will be sad to have to go through withdrawals- I may have to take a tea and scone remedy to salve it all. 😉
    Stay safe and warm- the alarming home repair pics made me send you a house-elf blessing for a quick trip back to cozy-normal. That is no fun at all. 🙁
    Well I’m off to take tea to my poor, sweet husband who just came in sick from the workshop. So love to you and yours from me and mine. <3

  27. Dawn says:

    What a beautiful site you have here! As soon as I saw the post about Downton Abbey I had to stop and read. You are so right…what in the world are we going to do when it ends? Each episode is like a little gift and the girls at work and I talk each week about every little detail. I have to admit, I am still hung up on Matthew….why oh why did he have to leave? Anyway, I digress. I will be adding this site as a favorite and I can’t wait to read your take on tonights episode 🙂

  28. sherry says:

    Happy Downton Abbey day Susan! Yep, I totally agree with you bout the much needed soft shrubbery & flowers needed surrounding the abbey. Yes I loved the flowers on Rose’s wedding cake too! And those hats. Marvelous & so creative! The costumes amaze me every week & after the finale tonight I will have Downton withdrawal! So glad to hear there will be a season 6 next winter! I was happy that Daisy is staying also. She is a sweet heart. And Mr. Granthum was very charming last week. Your blog definately reflected everything my heart felt after episode 7 . Thank goodness Call The Midwives will begin again in April I heard! Do you enjoy those stories too? Well, spring is just around some corner & Day Light Savings Time next Sat! yay! Happy book writing! You have been a real trooper with all that snow! Gob bless you & Joe!

  29. Rebecca Phillips says:

    Downton Abbey rocks! I’ve watched every episode, have all the DVD’s and completely embrace every aspect of this delicious drama series! The costumes, time period, historical facts, magnificent & well-defined characters…it’s like we’re living the experience alongside the actors.

    LOL at your excellent suggestion of shipping Susan’s hat and attire to you. Absolutely believe it would look gorgeous on you. And, yes, you’re tons nicer than the Marchioness of Flintshire!

    Had the pleasure of meeting you at your Santa Barbara book signing. I’m the one traveling to England for Wainwright’s Coast-to-Coast walk with the Sierra Club in June.

    Your book continues to serve as an inspiration and hope for this once in a lifetime journey for me!

    Rebecca Phillips

    • sbranch says:

      That will be a wonderful trip Rebecca . . . It’s the walking that is my very favorite thing over there.

  30. Best ending for a DA season yet!

  31. Karen P (Wisconsin) says:

    Just checking in here to see if there’s a new post of the very fabulous, awesome, tear-jerking Downton Abbey finale! Will wait to comment later on! Hugs! xoxo…Karen

    • sbranch says:

      It’s there! Took me forever to get the photos downloaded, two hours is a lot, but worth every fun second of it!

  32. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Best of luck & prayers for you and your big deal coming up Blog Daddy Jack! We love you and your comments & we’ll be waiting for more from your Smallville, after your speedy recuperation!!!!!!! xoxoxoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Blog Daddy goes in tomorrow. By tomorrow night, they say he is going to feel BETTER! It’s an instant gratification type of not-very-invasive thing. A miracle really. We are all excited.

  33. Lynn Cunningham says:

    I so enjoyed reading your re-cap of Downton’s last two episodes ~ almost as much as I enjoyed watching the show itself. It brought all of my favorite parts back in wonderful detail. I haven’t really seen all of the small details of the clothing until you point it out. It registers that it’s attractive, but I don’t really analyze why until you show me why. I’ve enjoyed that ~ really looking at all of the small parts that make up a wonderful whole! And the delightful characters that we’ve all come to love ~ I hate it that Rose is moving away, and I can’t stand to think about Tom leaving. To me, he’s the ethical heart of the home ~ always on the right side of everything. And Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes ~ watching the last scene with them really did make me cry. It was perfectly perfect! My mouth actually dropped open when he told her that the house was in both of their names ~ and I wished for what came next! I don’t know how any of us are going to make it until next January! (Not that I’m anxious for another Winter right now…..but still)!

    It was exciting to hear how close you are to sending your book off into the cosmos ~ and that it will be two books! I know I’m going to love it all! Have a happy and peaceful March!

  34. Judy from K.C. says:

    Masterpiece sweepstakes link !
    Hopefully a girlfriend will win !
    So fun to read your recap it feels like we all watch the show together!
    Can’t wait to read your new books !
    Off to work now myself . Have a great day girls!

  35. Cindy K. Beranek,from PA says:

    Dear Susan, Your thoughts on Downton Abby are always a delight to read they are SPOT ON!!!!!!!!! What a fantastic ending! We all are happy Anna & Mr. Bates are home and happy! Good job Mr.Carson I thought he would never ask Mrs. Huge’s to marry him!!!!!!!!!!!!! Daisy looks happy Andy is back, hope they get together!!!!!! Mary’s red coat is beautiful!!!!!!!!!!! My man & I are praying for your dads Transplant and will be hoping for a good report!!!!!!!!! Try not to worry. I have a question about A Fine Romance, if you would PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell the story behind the pretty blue and white tea cup and saucer on page 195? I read that chapter over and over many times, while rereading the whole book cover to cover!!!!!!! I like it that much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you again sweet SUSAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      It isn’t mine . . . I was having tea in England, and that was the cup I was given and I took a picture of it!

  36. Cindy K. Beranek,from PA says:

    Dear Susan, I forgot to tell you how much I DO LOVE MY HEART TEA POT & MUG TO MATCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I will be looking forward to ordering your new books! Great, two instead of one!!!!!!!!!!!!! I also love your Apricot Jam Tea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOVE IT!!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      You know what I love? Your exclamation points !!!! I see great enthusiasm there and I love it!!!!!!!

  37. Beth says:

    Remember March 29th…..MR.SELFRIDGE!!!!!!
    I really enjoy that show too!!!

  38. jessica says:

    Oh my! I was soooo excited.
    I found Downton Abby tea! You are the first person I thought of!:) I tried to post a pic, but do not know how. So I just have to tell you…it is wonderful! !!!!!!

  39. Judy from K.C. says:

    Masterpiece sweepstakes link !
    Hopefully a girlfriend will win !
    So fun to read your recap it feels like we all watch the show together!
    Can’t wait to read your new books !
    Off to work now myself . Have a great day girls!

  40. Oh this post! You nailed every single little charming, bittersweet, scandalous, precious moment! I was just able to watch the final episode last evening…and it was exactly as you described ..the tears just Popped out! Without any warning! More than once!.
    I am only able to comment now, as our little Sophia is off to the Dr.’s office with her Big Daddy, Tim. She has a fever and a cough and it makes her tummy hurt…and “if i press right here, it hurts” as she points to her sinuses. God bless her poor little runny nose and red water eyes and feverish little self….
    Thank you for a lovely respite, here. This weather…the drizzling rain here, that is to turn to freezing rain..then sleet…then more snow tonight… Cabin Fever is at a whole new level with this little one:(
    So i dream of warm ocean breezes on that island there … and a spring that is forthcoming.
    All our love from here in Franklin, TN,

    • sbranch says:

      Poor little Sophia! Hope she feels better today! I know, we have the weather too, it’s a roller coaster ride! Stay warm and dry Christie, hello to Tim!

  41. Oh! One more thing….as for that horrid “Susan”….I loved her much more in her role as the mother of two darling girls who photographed faeries, in the movie “A Fairy Tale” (based on a true story) (and I told Tim that meant that Fairies ARE real:)

  42. Hi Susan ~
    I hardly dare whisper it but I…have not…ever..watched..Downton Abbey. Not yet! Why not? Honestly don’t know, I love historical drama, loved ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ on the BBC and all things similar. I think I’ll give it a try on DVD, though ~ you have persuaded me with your enthusiasm!

    I just wanted to say: have you seen the new series of ‘Poldark’ over in the USA, made by Mammoth Productions? I think it has preceded our screening here, the first episode which I’ve been holding my breath for ( a preposition is something you should never end a sentence WITH) is on next Sunday over here.
    I grew up with the first version of this wonderful series (love, tin mines and smuggling) in eigteenth century Cornwall, shown in the seventies.
    I loved the music and the crashing Atlantic waves in the opening credits!
    I was in love with Ross Poldark, and I think my love for this series directly influenced me to spend 17 years in Cornwall, raising a family there!

    Anyhow, I just got the feeling you might like it!
    Your blog blesses me. A lot. So, thank you.
    x Alex

    • sbranch says:

      Well you know what I would say to that . . . if you love historical drama, you have lots to look forward to when and if you get around to Downton! My English girlfriend Rachel mentioned Poldark to me, I just can’t figure out when it starts . . . I see it’s 8 parts and “due in 2015,” but I didn’t see any actual start date. Very much looking forward to it. Are you still in Cornwall Alex?

      • No, I live near Norwich, East UK ~ we had to move back ‘cos of elderly parents, but I am always longing to return! Have one weeks holiday there booked for May. Yippee!
        Poldark episode 1 was screened tonight on BBC 1 : )

  43. Sharon C. says:

    Love Downton; love your blog! Thank you 😀

  44. Brigid says:


    This blog is a wonderful retreat from the troubles of our everyday lives. Thank you!! Also, I’m glad that I’m not the only one who analyzes the characters in Downton as if they were real!

  45. Love reading your blogs – they are so much fun! Received your book “A Fine Romance” as a requested Christmas gift – and I have read it twice already, and am starting it again for the 3rd time. First book that I have EVER done that with. My Grandparents and relatives moved to the states in the early 1920s – from the St. Ives area in Cornwall. My Grandma took a vacation back “home” to England after sixty years (at age 85) – and her childhood home was exactly the same! I would love to have you take a trip there and write another book (I would probably read it 10 times!). Thanks for your fun site, and all of your great books, but especially “A Fine Romance” – it’s wonderful.

    • sbranch says:

      What a wonderful thing for your Grandma! And thank you for your nice compliments on the book! xoxo

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