Nibbly Bits, what the boring old posh people get between their teeth at weddings, was definitely not going to be good enough for Mrs. Hughes. She wanted a BREAKFAST. And a bit of hooey. And me too, I wanted what she wanted! Strike up the MUSICA!


And boy did we get it! Isn’t it gorgeous? Is this the schoolhouse? Because it couldn’t be more perfect. And my favorite white bunting is BACK. They had it at Mary’s wedding too. So festive!



Well, they did it again Girlfriends, I cried all the way through it! The work they put into this show, the details, the creative everything, makes me proud to be a human being. I just love this Downton Abbey. As I’m watching I can’t help but think about the things I’m going to miss.


Besides the stories and the laughter and the tears, I am going to miss the Drawing Room, the prettiest most elegant room.


I love the green wallpaper and how good it looks with tuxedoes, dresses, and lampshades.


And this room, my absolute favorite, because of what is hanging on the walls, and the beautiful woodwork, and the draped table, and the candles. Please don’t go!

IMG_4955And this room, with the long tables and the cupboards, and the wonderful copper pots and pans and the steaming kettle. Because, just like on the show itself, for us too, all good things are coming to an end.


This was such a sad little part. When poor Mr. Barrow (who only needs a partner of his own to be happy, and also for Mr. Carson to quit shoving him out the door) went to look for a job and he came into this sad house where life as it had been was pretty much all gone away and met that sweet man who lost both his sons in the war, who’d worked in this house his whole life, and was preparing for the good times to return again. So well written, hearing him remember the women climbing the stairs in the old days and the twinkling of diamonds? Tears and sadness for a lost era, where beauty reigned. Remember the garden parties? The hats? A changing world: nightmare for people we love.


And how I will miss this WOMAN ~ who knows “many happy couples who haven’t spoken in years.”  The Countess of Grantham, known to her close friends like us as Violet or Granny, was in rare form last night. Accusing Mrs. Crawley of secretly drinking her lunch! I fear she will not be getting her way this time, and there may be hell to pay. I have to tell you though, I have a very difficult time telling Lord Merton and Dr. Clarkson apart. Are they the same person with different makeup. Do we ever see them in the same shot together?  Hmmmm. It seems to me one of them has got to marry Isobelle!  


And Edith! Life is getting so good for her!  She better snap this guy up. Anyone who rushes in to help and works into the night, must be in el-oh-ve-ee, Love! Remember Bertie? (Of course Edith would have to go with a Bertie!)  He flirted with her at the shooting party when they went to that other castle? At the time he referred to himself as an “agent” ~ I didn’t know what that was, but it didn’t sound all that royal so I wondered if he was “good” enough for Edith. Well, lo and behold, he owns that castle, he is an Earl or a Marquess or something, perfectly up to standards, and obviously a hard worker too, not a spoiled brat like some people we know. I hope he’s the one. (Edith will have to quit calling Marigold her “ward” — I’m hoping Marigold gets a new title: Flower Girl!)


Fabulous! Edith took over the magazine and fired that miserable guy ~ and I bet this will be the BEST EVER ISSUE RECORDED IN THE HISTORY OF ENGLISH MAGAZINES! 


But look at Lady Mary’s face when Edith is receiving approval from her father.  YikesIMG_4968

Tra-la, they don’t notice! They are the normal ones! (Although I didn’t like it that Robert coughed in another scene. That struck me as a bit foreboding. I need ALL these characters to get out of this show alive.)


Look who has a secret.  Look who’s smiling and perky and cute for the first time in the history of this show!!!!  Baby on board! Hooray!baby


The wedding was perfect. Poor Mr. Carson, all packed up, saying good bye to his bed.


And Mrs. Hughes, saying a little prayer in hers.


The girlfriends working everything out in Cora’s bedroom, about how to cover the ugly brown dress so that Mrs. Hughes will look slightly better than just “tidy” on her wedding day. Oops, Lady  Mary thoughtlessly forgot to mention the idea to her mother. Uh oh.

IMG_4976So Cora hurts everyone’s feelings with unkind words like “stealing” which she was very sorry for so we forgive her instantly with her totally loving and heartfelt apology. Cora is a good person and despite what her charming daughter says, I don’t think she’s one bit a snob. 


And now, let the show begin! A perfect wedding . . .



With lots of friends, and hopefully  some hooey what ever that is, since Mrs. Hughes wanted it.


Elsie Hughes and Charles Carson, we now pronounce you man and wife ~ you may go ahead and look like you have just swallowed the cat bird. Or whatever that phrase is. While I’m busy crying.

the happy couple

I wanted to add this photo, where you can really see all the details on both of them! Our Girlfriend Angie sent it to me on Twitter ~ it’s so much better than the photos I’m taking of the TV! Aren’t they adorable? That coat!




And then, just as we are toasting the happy couple . . . (coat looks pretty good!) . . . 


Who walks into the room and MAKES MY DAY?


Tom and Sibby!  They’re home! And Tom is looking straight at spoiled Lady Mary!!! And he is going to stay forever! 


I don’t know, I could be wrong, but it seems to me the only sensible ending for this. When all else fails, you have to go with common sense! Even if I’m wrong, I’ve already decided to be happy, so don’t let my longing and wishing upset you. I can take it.


Plus, here is Sibby hugging Mary’s little boy, George, the heir of Downton Abbey. I’m just saying’.  And that’s it for another FABULOUS week of Downton Abbey. Now I will go watch it (actually I will listen to it) again, and probably one more time, while I paint away this snowy day. The whole time I’m writing to you right now, the snow plow is going up and down Birds in the snowmy street outside my window. Dawn is just now breaking, and my view is of a pure white winter wonderland Christmas card outside. Life is good. Joe is making all of our bookstore dates. The tour (30th Anniversary of first book, btw, who would have thought, not me!) starts off with a tea party and fund raiser, a talk and a signing, a big wonderful event at the new delightful bookstore called An Unlikely Story in the darling little town of Plainville, MA ~ then it’s off to RJ Julia’s in Connecticut, New Hope, PA, and from there, points west, not necessarily in this order . . .  Kansas City, St. Charles, Chicago (for another Tea Party), Cedar Rapids, Denver, Salt Lake, Danville, CA, San Luis Obispo, to Vroman’s in Pasadena, to still another delightful tea party in Prescott, Arizona (more info to come), to Book People in Austin, Texas, and right now testing watercolorswe’re working on the wonderful Parnassus Books in Tennessee, if any of you are interested in that, I’m sure it would help us if they heard from you. I think we also have stops in Arkansas and North Carolina and New Jersey planned also. And More. Keep checking COMING SOON/EVENTS in the right-hand column of the blog for new additions. We’re not done yet. I’m so looking forward to meeting you out in the real world! But FIRST, before any of that, I must complete the book and get it to the printer! That’s my job!  So, back into the rabbit hole I go dear ones. Have a wonderful day, can’t wait to hear your take on Downton, or any other thing for that matter!  Girlfriends Forever!  Love, XOXO, me.

If you do it with heart


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591 Responses to NIBBLY BITS

  1. Nancy Boucher` says:

    I cried all through the show too! I also watched it again this morning and cried all over again!!! How are we ever going to get along without Downton? It makes us happy, we smile, we cry….love all the girlfriends that share. Blessings.

  2. Debra Henderson says:

    Susan, are you ok????? I thought of you last night as Downton ended with Tom coming in. Me and the girls squealed and hollered and got so excited and I told them, “I bet the new Susan Branch blog will be full of this exciting happening!!” But you seem so down on Mary throughout the post. I know she’s bratty, but she’s our star and we love her, despite herself! I expected a post full of romantic thoughts and wishes for Tom and Mary. Don’t be so down on Mary…she is Granny’s granddaughter, after all! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I was THRILLED when Tom came in. In fact the whole episode was thrilling! I’m never really down on Mary, because she’s so fun to have around, but I have to say, calling her mom a snob, and also being so “in charge” of someone else’s wedding, but no, I love her, and want her to be happy, with Tom!

      • Charlotte Schultz says:

        I think her feelings for Mr. Carson were the reason she was so pushy about the wedding reception plans. Not to be in charge, but to make it perfect for him. She was just wanting everything to be right for his special day.
        My hubby watches the show with me now. He is so hooked on it too!
        Does Joe enjoy it?
        Please come to South Jersey and make this Jersey Girl very happy.
        Haddonfield, NJ has a new bookstore and I am going to reach out to them about a book signing.
        We are expecting snow this weekend. Love it!
        Blessing to you, girlfriend,
        Charlotte Schultz

        • sbranch says:

          I agree, she adores Carson, and really never knew that Mrs. Hughes wasn’t in agreement. Joe loves it too. Our NJ stop is in Ridgewood . . . don’t know right now if that’s north or south . . . hopefully it’s within driving distance for you!

      • Debra Henderson says:

        I hope so, too! I’m so sad the show is ending! Whatever will we do? I guess just watch the dvds over and over! 🙂

  3. What a wonderful night of Downton Abbey! The wedding was just perfect! I adored the schoolhouse with the white bunting and the long tables. So happy for Anna and Edith! Hope things go well for both of them. Tom and Sibby’s arrival was a happy surprise. We were smiling the whole time here! 🙂
    Can’t wait to see you again in May, Susan! I already have my ticket for the Tea Party at Westmoreland Country Club. It’s going to be another wonderful celebration with so many happy Girlfriends gathered together in your honor!! Enjoy your snowy day!
    Happy painting!
    Dawn (in Illinois)

  4. Donna says:

    I missed you at Vroman’s last year but SO glad to see it on your 2016 tour. I look forward to meeting you!

  5. CarolK (cent'l NJ) says:

    Oh Boy, did I ever cry at the Carson wedding. I was so happy for them, I was bursting with pride like they were my own people. I’m so glad Elsie got her way with the wedding venue. How absolutely perfect a setting the school house was. We have to thank JFellows for giving us all those happy moments this episode. I just hope he doesn’t throw a mud pie into the mix somewhere down the road. I’m not going to think about this being the last of the series, I’m just going to enjoy the moments for now. We got our first snowfall this Winter yesterday. It didn’t amount to much, no plows but lots of salt or whatever they throw on the roads. Did you see we’re expecting a big weather issue this coming weekend! Stay safe, stay warm and carry on painting.

    • sbranch says:

      I think the weather issue is here. Wind is wild out there, and it’s freezing cold this morning! Have to say, I love it. I love the changes. Spring would be so much less interesting without this contrast!

  6. Carol C says:

    Love your blogs on Downton Abbey! You give such a fun and interesting recap! What about coming to Bethany Beach Books in Bethany Beach Delaware? Would love to meet and greet you there or anywhere in MD!!! Happy painting and writing on a snowy day!

  7. Maybe there will be more weddings ahead…
    The snow is frozen here! Still beautiful. My son is on his way to live in FL. The boys had to say good-bye to each other…sad. Now we are all spread out to the corners of the U.S.A. (That includes my sisters.)

  8. Debbie Dority says:

    My nose is stinging and eyes watering just thinking about Downton ending. I have recorded all the episodes this season but haven’t watched any, will be retiring in two weeks and when asked what I will do, I have plans for my set of Downton DVDs and catching up on this (sob) last season. I LOVE reading your comments, Susan, and everything all girlfriends have to say about it, and you can say SPOILER ALERT as much as you want I’ll read it anyway! Thrilled you might be visiting Arkansas, please please PLEASE do!!! We had unexpected very light snow flurries here this morning and I’m sure there’s no bread, milk or tp in any of the stores (it’s what we do). Love ya, keep safe and warm!

  9. Emily Ragsdale says:

    I keep checking the tour dates to see if you’ve added Kansas City yet – I’m leaving for ENGLAND on May 20th so fingers crossed you get here before then!

  10. Carol, Santa Maria says:

    I laughed out loud when Mary was gripping about the changes Mrs. Hughes wanted for HER day and Carson walked into the room — the sudden great interest in their cups of tea!!! I laughed so hard that my husband asked for an explanation. What was so fun? I watched that scene three times so that I could have a good laugh again and again!

  11. Brenda says:

    Just a bit of DA trivia that I just discovered. Remember the second season, I think, when Mary sang ‘If you were the only girl in the world’ while Edith played the piano and Matthew walked in. We’ve liked that song ever since and my husband and I sang it for our son’s rehearsal dinner party in August of 2012. Turns out it was written in 1916 for a play. I knew Julian Fellowes would have the historicity of everything right, but I just wanted to be sure.

  12. Catherine says:

    Oh! Susan, I am so glad to know I am not the only one who has always had trouble differentiating Dr. Clarkson from Lord Merton! I have given up trying! It’s been driving me nuts!

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, me too! One of them was talking to Isobelle, and I didn’t know which one he was, the one that loved her, or the other one!

  13. Christine D says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your Downton synopses. You catch things I didn’t see and I go back to watch what I missed! That sad day will come when there is no more, but until then, we bask in it every week. We had the good fortune to be able to visit Highclere Castle a couple of years ago and it is everything you think it would be. Grand and gorgeous! And that green “wallpaper” in the Drawing Room is actually green French silk from 1895. We were instructed not to touch! So beautiful! Also looking forward to seeing you in either Chicago or Iowa. Unless you’re planning a book visit to Wisconsin! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      We saw that too, in some of the castles we visited, silk wallpaper, or hand painted wallpaper. Just gorgeous.

  14. Susan Cohen says:

    New Hope!!! I can do that!

  15. Carol, Santa Maria says:

    Ooppsss! I meant Mary was griping, not gripping — actually she was gripping very tightly her snobbish ways of demanding to be the final say in all things Crawley. Can you tell that she is NOT my favorite character on this delightful show?

  16. Elaine Anne says:

    Your take on last night’s DA is just as fascinating as the episode itself. My whole evening is geared around getting set up on the sofa to watch it. I laughed, I cried, I marveled. What a wonderful thing is this Downton Abbey, it goes far beyond entertainment. I was born in England and lived there until I was 47. I remember well the great street party attended by the entire neighborhood in the little village I grew up in, to celebrate Her Majesty’s Coronation in 1953. Bunting, party hats, fairy cakes (cupcakes), confetti, music and tiny hand-held-flags to wave. The local village hall was always a center for such celebrations and for wedding receptions too. Downtown is on a much grander scale but to see Mrs Hughes and Mr Carter marry in a lovely English village church and then their reception, warmed the cockles of my heart. I share your feelings on all the characters and don’t know what we will do when it ends. My sister lives in Yorkshire and watched the last episode in the Autumn of last year. She has withdrawal symptoms and has yet found nothing to compare. But I think the time she spends in the Lake District must compensate in some way!! From a genuine Granny (Granny Smith to be exact). Love all you do Susan, thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      Listen to you! Yorkshire. I love it so much. Do you miss England? I miss it and I wasn’t even born there! xoxoxo

  17. Helen says:

    You are coming to Danville Ca????? To Rakestraw books? Do you have date……need to put that one on my calendar……so excited!!!! We came down to SLO when you were at Remnants and I can’t believe my luck if you are definitely coming to Danville 🙂 🙂
    By the way Susan… are an incorrigible matchmaker! Motivated I’m sure by you just wanting everyone to be as happy in love as Susan <3 Joe

  18. Ann Y. says:

    OOOH…it was so good ! Can’t believe it is ending….I love getting my tea tray set with my special pot and Royal Doulton cups ( and cookies) for each show to stay in the mood while watching. And it was wonderful last night….all “what you said”! I keep looking to get ideas – a school librarian friend is retiring this week. She is a HUGE DA FAN and we are renting a little restaurant for her retirement party. All of the librarians are doing something to decorate the space like Downton Abbey…and we are wearing HATS ! There was some talk of dressing like the show, too…but without Lady Mary’s figure I am not sure we can do that. But we will be having a little hooey ! SO thrilled you will be sort of close by in New Hope….hoping to see if I can take the day off from school to attend. Enjoy the rest of Downton, and the snow, and the writing, and LIFE !

    • sbranch says:

      Long pearls, solves all costume problems! Your party sounds like so much fun! And LIFE! Doing my best! xoxo

  19. Nancy Kelley says:

    I have been enjoying your witty synopsis of Downton Abbey, Susan! i think last night’s episode was one of my favorites! So much fun! It was wonderful to relive it through your blog post. I am really looking forward to meeting you at The Learned Owl bookstore in Hudson, Ohio in May. Stay warm and cozy!

  20. Christina R says:

    I do hope you’ll consider coming to Albuquerque, NM again!! Although Denver isn’t too far away, so maybe I’ll be able to come up there : ) Enjoy your beautiful snow!!

    • sbranch says:

      We’re diving deep into the heart of Texas, and by the time we come back up, we’ll be in Tennessee!

    • Mary in Phoenix says:

      FYI … Susan will be also coming to Prescott, Arizona which is about the same distance from Albuquerque as Denver! (just a bit over 6 hours). The drive from Albuquerque is absolutely beautiful … red soil, yellow sun, blue sky and green trees … all primary colors as Susan once noted from the train 🙂

  21. Laura Croyle says:

    Love your synopsis of Downton Abbey! Wasn’t it such a Treat to see Tom and Sibby at the end of the episode! I spotted him in the background just before they focussed on him and Sibby and said “Oh Look, it’s Tom!” before my hubby saw him! What a surprise! I really didn’t expect we’d see him again! The plot thickens! Love that Edith possibly has a new beau! And Anna is pregnant and glowing! Love all the twists and turns of this show. Sure will miss it! And sure wish you were coming to the Pacific Northwest on your book tour! Sniff, sniff, sigh……

  22. Roma says:

    Susan, I have found with my Apple iPad I can take sharp and clear pictures off the tv as
    the program is going always. A thought for you. Thank you for your blog I always enjoy them. Really it should read I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for adding a smile with your cheerful words.

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t have an iPad. Do you mean you are watching on iPad and then get screen shots? I just use my camera.

  23. My husband saw those groaningly-loaded tables in the schoolhouse, and he said,”That’s pretty fancy for a butler and a housekeeper!” I assured him it was ever so appropriate; after all, they work in a grand house. This was my favorite new episode so far. Loved it. Love Elsie and Charles. Hate that it’s all going away this year…

  24. Ardena says:

    Don’t know if anyone has said this but I think Mrs. Hughes said she wanted a hooley which in Scotland is a dance. Next I wondered if Robert’s cough and “little tummy upset” is the prelude to some dire health issue which is more than can be handled at the local hospital and when the dust settles, he will be made well and everyone will see the wisdom of merging the hospitals. And I still say it seems icky to me to think of Sybil’s SISTER married and sharing the marriage bed with Tom. Love Tom, love Mary, but euwwww.

  25. Connie Erskine says:

    I love, love your Downton Abbey reviews. Love that picture of Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson. I agree with you, Mary and Tom love each other and I love them together. Love Edith’s new guy too, what a great tidy happy ending. It is so sad for it all to end.
    I’m so very excited you are coming to Salt Lake City. It’s a great place to live. I was raised in Los Angeles and loved being raised there but love living here now. Thanks so much, can’t wait for your new book. You are the best.

    • sbranch says:

      Everyone I know that lives in Salt Lake City, LOVES it! I did an event in Ogden years back, drove through Salt Lake and did a bit of antiquing of course. We thought the people were really nice.

  26. Sandra Fox says:

    Hello from Wichita KS! We would LOVE to have you revisit us! Bring cute Joe with you too!
    My husband watches DA with me too! I didn’t watch season 1 and 2, then heard everyone talking about it, went to Sam’s and bought the first 2 seasons……my husband said he would not watch it with me…….well, he got hooked too! You should have heard him gasp when it showed the table and all the food at the wedding! I too think they are going to have Robert have a heart attach, but he will be fine since they are going to have the new medical equipment! It will save him! That is our take on it! Lady Mary is so sad, but so happy that Tom showed up! Let’s keep our fingers crossed!
    Happy watching DA!

    • sbranch says:

      Brilliant Sandra, I think you are right about Robert! That will truly wake up Violet to the possibilities of modernizing! I love Mary, she is always so interesting, and my fingers are crossed too!

    • sondra fox says:

      My, oh my, Sandy, my name is Sondra Fox, & my nickname is Sandy Fox. I sign off as (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats). Small world, eh? (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  27. Ruth says:

    I am so excited and have already marked my calendar to be able to see you in Denver! I live up in the mountains and by May 21 the trip should be an easy one to get down to Denver.
    My neighbor loves your books so we are coming together and can’t wait to see you and get you to sign our books and see how your kittys are doing!
    Stay warm with your nose in the paint box!

  28. Judy Tracy says:

    Crying must have been the way of the day as we all watched Downton Abbey…but they were tears of joy for the Carsons! Love seeing your pictures and your firend’s. But there is more joy to come????? We hope so. We have already seen enough sadness. What about Barrow going to work for that man and turning both of their doom and gloom into delight and delicious renovation and restoration. Just cleaning the house and opening some windows would do wonders. Oh, Well….just dreaming.

  29. Diane from Poulsbo says:

    I was sooo hoping you would post a blog after last nights show! 🙂 I was crying even though I tried hard not to through so much of it. The wedding….because they are two of my very fav. characters …..and of course when Tom and Sibby showed up. I was so surprised that I started crying! lol. I also caught that moment when Robert coughed…and I will be so mad if he is killed off the show. I loved that Cora stood up so strongly with her mother in law! She is always so nice to her even when she doesnt disagree, but it is no wonder the poor dear had a headache. Oh….I am in heaven down here with this show right now. I have warned my little family, including the cat, to leave me alone while it is on! Just this one show, thank you very much! 🙂

  30. Deb W says:

    The ‘nibbley bits’ line and Mrs. Hughes’ description of the kind of reception she wants was one of my favorite parts of the episode!! And what a reception it was! Mrs. Patmore and Daisy outdid themselves by producing all of that without the assistance of “a proper kitchen maid.” 🙂 As lovely as the wedding was, it was when Tom and Sibby showed up that I burst into tears!

    The Dowager was in fine form last night, with some great zingers. I’ve been noticing the voice Dame Maggie uses for Violet – high and kind of cracked – sort of Julia Child-ish, and not like Maggie’s real voice at all.

    Perhaps the most satisfying is that Julian Fellowes is apparently – after six years of angst (ours and hers) going to give Lady Edith some true happiness – at last!! How did you know that Bertie has a title though? I must have missed that part. All the better!

    • sbranch says:

      When we met him the first time, I looked him up! Because I just couldn’t see how she was being paired with some sort of a property manager!

  31. Nancy, Valley Forge, PA says:

    If no one has answered this yet, “a bit of a hooley” is a wild party with music and dancing….

  32. Mary Lawrence says:

    Love is in the air.I loveed every moment of Downtown Abbey.How wonderful was that wedding.Hopefully Anna will have twins!I will miss it so much when its gone.Your blog was wonderful. Can’t wait for your new book.We are expecting snow again this weekend. Stay warm and cozy.Mary

  33. Margaret Longlet says:

    Dear Susan,
    Yes last night’s episode of Downton Abbey was one of the sweetest Mr. Fellows has ever written. For once, more happy tears than sad and it really was so hopeful for all of the characters involved. The most poetic line was delivered by the old gentleman in the old mansion when giving Thomas his remembrance of the women going upstairs for the night with their “twinkling diamonds” …just perfect.
    Regarding your book tour intinerary is Cedar Rapids Iowa the closest you will be coming to Minneapolis, Mn?

    • sbranch says:

      Joe says yes, that’s going to be the closest. I’m sorry it’s so far away. I loved that part with the old gentleman too. I also loved it when Cora snapped her glove before going into battle with Violet!

      • Diane from Poulsbo says:

        Lol…I loved the glove snap too! I think it is so satisfying to see how women evolved over those years, and learned how to embrace independence. Except for for Granny Grantham…who is still wearing dresses from 1903! No wonder she can get crabby …she must be stifling in those corsets, high collars, and 18 pound dresses!

  34. Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

    Love to read your recap, Sue. And all the comments and opinions….fun, fun, fun! I wasn’t able to watch last night so I recorded Downton and just watched this afternoon. The simple elegance of the wedding breakfast was perfection!!! What a difference the bunting makes to create instant “festiveness”. (Is that a word?) And the clothes!!! OMG!!! I know I’d stick out like a sore thumb but I would LOVE to pick one of those dresses…I’m especially drawn to Edith’s wardrobe… and wear it to the next social event 🙂 How could you not feel good when you’re dressed like that?
    As it is with much in life…I am really, really appreciating all the fine details of this show and trying to soak in as much as possible in each episode, knowing that it will soon be gone forever.
    As I watched today, I was alone with my tears and laughter but I shouted out loud “Tom is back ~ YES!!” the moment he entered the room. Then I realized I was talking to myself and had a good laugh about that!
    As I write, a lake effect blizzard is blowing around my house. I’ve had such mixed feelings about this weird, no-snow winter we’ve been having. Great for getting around but the snow is soooo much prettier. Fingers crossed for a grown-up snow day tomorrow 🙂
    PS: I know you’re working hard on the book. Can you see the light at the top of the rabbit hole yet? You go, girl! I can’t tell you how I look forward to getting the book in my hands. In my dream, I’m having tea and cake with you and we’re having a wonderful conversation about your books and how they have evoked thought and memories and gratitude for growing up in the 50s and 60s.

    • sbranch says:

      All of that! And yes, I do see the light. I’m racing to meet the printer’s deadline. . . not racing, but being consistent about working on it is more like it! Thank you for your good wishes Debbie! xoxo

  35. I really look forward to your recaps of Downton. Love that Tom and Sibby came home! It was a great episode. Hoping to meet you in Hudson, OH. My girlfriends and I are from western PA and are planning a “roadtrip”. Soooooo excited! We all love your books and artwork. We’re kindred spirits. Nothing better then having friends that enjoy the same things!

  36. Jan Jasper says:

    I was thrilled to see Kansas City on your visit list! I know it just has to be Kansas City, Missouri. My city of Liberty, Missouri is just @ 30 miles north of Downtown Kansas City, MO. A charming town with a 4th generation soap maker on none other than Water street!
    Regards, Jan

  37. Gina P. from NY says:

    Hi Susan! I think this episode of Downton was the best one of season 6 so far! So much happened, such beautiful sets and scenery, such happiness but sadness at the same time… So sad to see that table in the servants quarters almost empty! Yikes! At one time it was full, with the gang we know, and other staff that were never regulars, but were silently serving just the same. I’m with you – I will miss that beautiful home, the rooms, the gallery, even the servants quarters. It has become like a home to us, hasn’t it? I, like you, hope Mr. Barrow finally finds love. I guess it won’t be with Andy… It was sad to see him in that once beautiful home (for his interview) that was so full of life and now wasn’t – and the writing WAS superb – the ladies ascending the stairs with their candles, their faces aglow, their diamonds twinkling…

    Violet was in rare form, as usual. Funny, her accusing Isobel of drinking! Remember when Isobel asked Violet if she had changed her pills in an earlier season? So these two can really volley the insults back and forth! Will miss that! Hooray for Edith! I kept hoping maybe Gregson would appear, that maybe they were mistaken about his death – perhaps he had amnesia somewhere in Germany – but I really like Bertie – thought they were great together. I’m not worrying too much about Lord Grantham and this is why – I don’t think they would kill off a major character if they may be planning on having a Downton movie down the road, right? Anyway, I hope not! : )

    The wedding was lovely, and I was so glad that Cora apologized to Mrs. Hughes. Her outburst in the bedroom was so unlike her. She is always so gentle and soft spoken. Tom is back! Yay! It will be interesting to see what roll he will take on, now with Mary in charge as “The Agent”. All in all, a wonderful episode. I am so glad I have already gotten Seasons 1 – 5, and have 6 on order. I will never get tired of watching this wonderful program. I look forward to the series that Julian Fellowes is currently working on – “The Gilded Age” for NBC. While nothing will ever take the place of our beloved Downton, perhaps with Julian’s gift for writing, it will be something to look forward to down the road!

    Snowstorm predicted and headed our way here in NY possibly this weekend. We have had no snow to shovel yet this winter, (just a few sprinkles here and there) how strange! So this may be the first big one of this winter season, and really, I can’t wait! Take good care, Susan, and stay warm and comfy…

  38. Donna Kohler says:

    Ahhhh, a deep heavy sigh. Last night’s Downton Abbey was so wonderful and I knew Tom would be back but leave it to Julian Fellowes to still shock us at an unexpected moment. Yes, he and Mary would make a fine couple to keep Downton Abbey together.

    And…. when Downton Abbey is all over we still have the world our sweet Susan Branch has lived and created. A true romance totally real. 🙂

  39. Loved your play-by-play, Susan!
    You certainly say what many of us are thinking…especially about the clone suitors, and how we rarely see them in the same shot!
    You may have already seen this years ago, Susan, but right after Season one aired, there was a little short parody…just a few minutes…that showed up online called “Downtown Arby’s”. A few minutes of hilarity…you should Google it and take a peek!
    Have a lovely week in the snow, Susan! Northern Indiana is frigid, but no pretty snow to soften the blow!

  40. Susie (Rocky Point, NY) says:

    My eyes teared all through out the show last night expressing every emotion. What a show! How everyone upstairs and downstairs rallied around Mrs. Hughes to give her the best wedding ever. And Edith. Our dear Edith. I just knew it. Fingers crossed they continue on as they are very well matched. Go Edith. I was giving two thumbs up for her. Mary was quite the bossy snob. Love how her parents are on to her and putting her back in her place. When Tom and Sibbey walked in, Mary rushed right over for kisses! Ut oh. Makes sense in the scheme of things, but Tom is such a sweetheart. Opposites do attract, as they say, whoever ‘they’ are. Now Daisy…she has to simmer down a bit. I think Mr. Mosley may go on to being a teacher as his educating ways are not going unnoticed. I sure do hope he and Mrs. Baxter cozy up too. Poor Thomas. Goes to show you the grass is not greener on the other side. Seeing that aging estate in disrepair was so sad. How could they ever pay him? I think Thomas is finding humility at last. Seeing the children hugging was so precious. Cry cry. I am going to watch it again tonight and then some. Getting my tissues ready. I’m with you Susan, please no one die. Maybe a health scare, but keep them alive. We need that to survive ourselves. This is sad enough. And Violet, so funny. Hanging on to every manipulation she has up her sleeves. Oh how I love this show! Thank you for a fun blog posting. Loved seeing Mrs. Hughes praying in her bed. LOL

  41. Susan P. says:

    Susan….I jumped out of bed after Downton ended last night to write something on the blog…but there wasn’t blog yet… it was only 10PM here and you were fast asleep. OMG you did a fantastic job of putting it all together for us. First the WEDDING was so sweet and romantic …the picture of them both smiling just outside the school house (so sweet)…The Beautiful Formal Wedding photo of them both so classy. When Tom and Sibby came in …a scream from me…and my husband rushed in to make sure I didn’t fall out of bed…George hugging Sibby and calling her by her name… then the three little ones so cute together. But. I am also thinking about Robert’s Indigestion and cough…?????? I also feel that someone’s going to be “paying Hell” for this. I truly hope not… Mr Barrow ooooohhhhh If I was him or just my self I would of jumped in and would LOVE TO TACKLE THAT HOUSE AND BRING IT BACK TO IT’S GLORY!!!! I was up close to the TV checking out each room and thinking of all the wonderful things that needed to be done or could be done. There are treasures everywhere in that home. I couldn’t wait…. I would of signed up right then. Allot of hard work… yet in return… what happiness we could give to that lovely elderly gentleman. The last thing …I am afraid there is going to be ONE really BIG SURPRISE COMING STILL YIKES.!!!!
    Thanks for all the great Pictures..until next week. Love, Susan P.

    • sbranch says:

      I know, a little paint and you’d have it!

      • Erin M says:

        Maybe Mr Barrow will go back to that house and find the older gentleman is the love of his life and they can bring the house back to its former glory together. Wouldn’t that be fun.

        • sbranch says:

          Somebody would have to provide the money! I would like to watch them bring it back. Maybe a new PBS show called This VERY Old House, Almost Ancient.

  42. Cheri says:

    Oh, goodness…I will be following the book appearances closely. I live in Houston, but I’m willing to fight the Austin traffic to be with the girlfriends at Book People.
    As excited about that as I am about what’s happening at the Abbey!

  43. Darlene says:

    Never seen it!

  44. Lee Rose says:

    When I saw the look on Mary’s face when she saw Tom I thought, “Susan is right, they are going to get married.”

  45. Susan moore says:

    I agree with everyone that Downton was wonderful last night. The wedding was beautiful, and when Tom and Sibby appeared at the end I teared up. My comment is about Lady Edith. In the past I have felt sorry for dull, drab Edith, but not anymore. I think it was very selfish of her to let the Drews, whose family has been at Downton for over 100 years, to have to leave and find a new home after they were kind enough to help her. Tell the truth Edith, it will come out in the end anyway! I know, a place had to be made for Mr. Mason, but he could have been put somewhere else.

  46. Susan Morgon ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

    I have to comment first and catch up on other comments second, so I hope I don’t say the same things as someone else. But wasn’t that the best episode ever!!! I mean EVER? I loved every single part of it, even Cora’s little lapse. She’d had a bad day, we’ll forgive her! I was wondering if Robert’s indigestion might lead to something bigger which might THEN lead to his needing hospitalization which might T H E N lead to Violet’s coming around to the idea of hospital improvements. And Tom – we just knew he’d be back! I wonder if he might take over the vacated tenant’s farm, though. Well, Mr. Mason can marry and move in with Mrs. Patmore. Remember that property she bought? The wedding was divine, just so sweet and perfect for them. And Mrs. Hughes got a bit of spoiling, which she so deserved.
    I wanted to mention that Life has put out a commemorative Downton Abbey issue. I picked one up in the magazine rack by the cash register at Ralph’s. Just in case anyone is interested in looking for one.
    Until next week’s DA blog – oh, it’s so hard to wait!

    • sbranch says:

      I loved it too, everyone was doing the Maggie Smith thing, little funny comments. Wonderful!

    • Susan Morgon ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

      I should have read the comments first, I guess. I’m glad to see that others share my idea about how the modernization problem will be solved. I think we’re onto it! I wanted to say too, and forgot, that I’m so glad to see Edith growing as a character; there’s so much more to her now, and she’s really coming into her own.

  47. Donna Cahill says:

    This is one of my favorite blog posts ever! How I love your Downton recaps. It was a perfect show, wasn’t it? I’m so excited to see that you will have a book signing near me in Pennsylvania. I’ve been waiting forever to meet you. Thank you, thank you for coming my way! Can’t wait for May.

  48. Sharon smith says:

    Susan, I love your blog so much! And I too love Downtown Abbey! It is
    like they are real people almost to me. It broke my heart
    to see Mrs. Drew so sad as she held Marigold last week. I am
    so glad she is with Edith but was very angry at how Mr. Drew
    and Edith allowed her to be used as they did. If you want
    a great book to read, pick up “To Marry an English Lord” which
    is reportedly the inspiration for the DA plot. It is about real
    life American heiresses who married English peers. Cannot wait for your new book!!

  49. Nikki says:

    Just booked our hotel room for the Cedar Rapids visit!! May cannot come soon enough! 🙂 Also, my goal is to FINALLY start watching Downton Abbey…I know it will change my life so I’m waiting for the perfect time. 🙂 xoxo

  50. Kate says:

    The Carsons were barely married and in walks Tom. I felt a little sad that their special day was suddenly overshadowed by someone else, but I guess it was as good a time as any to introduce Tom to back into the plot. No, I don’t want Mary to get him. I know you want her to, but she is so unlike her sister who died, I cannot see Tom’s interest in her. That cough? Oh, I immediately felt a cold chill go down my back. Please, don’t let anyone die. Anna pregnant and looking so beautiful. Oh, how I hope all turns out well for her. I fear we are all getting to involved in this fictional family and it feels so good.

    • sbranch says:

      I know, walking into a wedding, the prodigal son returns, bad timing for real life, but yes, kind of perfect for the show.

      • Donna Wilson says:

        I thought Tom arriving during the wedding might be a bit of foreshadowing 🙂 Remember Mary reading Tom’s letter to Anna early in the program? She sounded downright smitten. I’m hoping for a Tom and Mary union. If they can’t save Downton no one can!

  51. Sandra says:

    Gosh, Susan! Right now, I’m in SC and sure didn’t see the same Downton Abbey y’all saw! No wedding, no Tom…I think Masterpiece is a week behind down here. I saw Lady Mary and Anna go to doctor, Lady Mary and Mother Cora take the children to see the pigs, then everyone to the animal fair where Marigold is taken, Lady Edith have argument with her dastardly editor…NO FAIR!
    But I did get to see your fabulous photos of the wedding, etc. so it’s all good although I do wonder what gives with being a week behind down here…?
    Fabulous musica, btw, thanks for a great post!

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t know, first I’ve heard of it. I thought the USA got it all at the same time. ALTHOUGH maybe, they do show last week’s episode just before the new one . . . perhaps you saw that?

  52. Wendy in South FL says:

    Love your Downton Abbey recaps. Will so miss this wonderful show!! Would love to finally see/meet you at one of your book events this year! Would be GREAT to see you in South Florida (hint, hint – I can be your ‘agent’ if you have anyplace in mind ;))…but will try my hardest to attend an event in one of your spots I may be at during my weekly work travels (New Hope…..or SLO in CA…..). Thanks so much for your regular doses of CHEER! 😉

    • sbranch says:

      We really did plan to come to Florida, but when we realized that it is a thousand miles down and back, or maybe less, but still, and we already had 9000 miles on our tour, we thought, no, we have to get home to the kitties, Florida is just so deep! Terrible, I know, but this is a gigantic country!

      • Wendy in South FL says:

        OK you are off the hook thanks to the kitties! I can relate 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, that is definitely the hardest part. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve contemplated taking them! But I know that’s not the right way to go.

  53. Roma says:

    I watch tv programs on our TV set. If I want a picture I take it off the tv with my iPad
    photo button. Wish this did not have to be printed. My iPad is used for all my photos but mostly landscapes, people, and inside my house, what ever.
    They are always clear and sharp pictures. Just thought it might be useful to you, Susan.
    No matter what your blogs are ALWAYS welcomed and loved. Thank you for what you do.

    PS. I look on my iPad window for the picture I want and click the button inside the iPad window.
    that shows.

  54. Bridgette Angelo says:

    I feel as if we are kindred spirits reacting the same way to this last season. I can’t stop crying…it’s all too wonderful for words. However, I’m rooting for Matthew Goode to come back and win Mary’s heart.
    On the book tour side of things, do you ever come to Peoria? I know there’s a great bookstore “I Read You Like A Book”. How perfect for a bookstore, huh?!? Sure would love to meet you.

  55. Linda Pintarell says:

    Loved the reception scene…especially the table setting. To prime myself for the Sunday evening show, attended a most special event Saturday afternoon at The Grand Tea Room in Escondido, California where they served a full high tea service and at the same time put on a play – Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. Limited to 30 people at each seating, the actors did a superb job…so very funny…while being served at each intermission of the 3 act play. Lovely way to spend an afternoon.

  56. Debby says:

    oh no, you missed my post. I need to hear what you think. I said that you don’t need to be afraid of lord Grantham dying, my prediction is that he will be saved by the wonderful new hospital and then the dowager will come round to accepting it. I was so proud of MrsHughes/Mrs Carson saying what kind of wedding she wanted. It was perfect, I cried the whole time. I also think that Isobelle kind of likes the Dr. And we know that he was interested in her. And you are right , Tom came back for Mary even though she does not deserve him. In your last blog comments someone mentioned that Mrs.Patmore would maybe get with Daisy’s father inlaw. That would be perfect. But Daisy still needs to be recused by Alfred!!! I also think Carson needs to lighten up on Thomas! I wish we didn’t know this was the last season, it gets in the way of my enjoying what’s happening. I thought Cora’s little scene was out of character. She would never just jump to that conclusion. Also Mary calling her mother a snob was like the pot calling the kettle black! Hope this gets to you! Would like to hear what you think. Debby

    • sbranch says:

      I think I saw your post, because I think I thought your prediction about the hospital and so forth is genius!

      • Debby says:

        It’s all happening too fast . I want it to slow down. I felt the same way with Harry Potter. Are you a Potter fan? I don’t remember you talking about it.

        • sbranch says:

          I read one of the books, but believe it or not since I am such a lover of fairy tales, neither that nor The Lord of the Rings were favorites of mine. I just think I didn’t quite get it.

    • Deborah in Odessa, Tx says:

      I read your earlier post. I like the way you think.

  57. Jane Alexander says:

    My first season to watch Downtown Abby! I will go back later to see the prior shows.. You convinced me to join the club. And I love it. Thanks to all for helping me know what is going On! I moved 2 years ago from New Hope PA area to Houston TX! Sorry to miss the book signing there. Love and blessings to all. I am so thankful to have opportunity to be a part of the Susan Branch friends!

    • sbranch says:

      We’ll be in Austin, hope that’s not too far from Houston! Welcome to the Downton Abbey club . . . it just makes Sunday nights so much fun!

    • Chris Wells From Knickerbocker, W. TX says:

      Oh my Jane! What culture shock that must have been!! Pennsylvania to Houston?! NE Ohio to west Texas was bad enough! My only experience with Houston was when we were taking my mom to MD Anderson….the traffic, the weather, the heat! As they say in Texas, ” bless your heart!” The good news is you are only 2 1/2 hours from Austin and meeting Susan Branch. I am 3 hours from Austin. Once you have been in Texas for awhile a 3-4 hour drive is a piece of cake!! EVERYTHING is that far away!
      There will be other GF’s driving from Houston, I bet you can car pool.
      Hope to see you there!

  58. Amy Warren says:

    So last week, I left Downton Abbey on my dvr to watch midweek and my tv died for good on Tuesday. I’ve had this tv for 25 years and was so sad to see it finally go…I bought it with my first paycheck from my very first job and it’s been with me through countless moves. However, my hero went out this weekend, bought an HD flat screen TV and I finally feel like I’m in the 21st century!! I wouldn’t believe Downton Abbey could get more beautiful, but it did. I watched Episode 2 and 3 back to back and it was GLORIOUS. Did you happen to notice in the snippet of next week’s preview that the house maid Gwen returns..oh how I loved the red haired Gwen, who left to become a secretary in Season 1..and yes they MUST bring back Alfred. I love reading all your updates. Glad to hear your book tour plans are coming along. Looking forward to the next book with eager anticipation.

  59. Lisa says:

    Looking forward to Danville!! Do you ever consider coming to Monterey-Carmel? There are several very quaint bookshops! What is the focus of your newest almost done book and is there a new cookbook in the works? Thanks for all you do!

    • sbranch says:

      The focus is the little cottage in the woods that I “accidentally” bought when I came to Martha’s Vineyard (from California) with a broken heart to try and heal a bit and at the same time, to see what seasons were like . . . but I planned to only stay for three months. I kept diaries, and this is the story of that time. We’re hoping Danville will be considered bearable drive for those in the Carmel area . . . it’s so hard to get everywhere, but we are trying! In honor of the 30th Anniversary of my first book, Heart of the Home, we are republishing it, with 16 new pages/recipes. That will be the newest cookbook for me, and it will come out around next August.

      • mary spring says:

        wow..such an exciting year for you and Joe ( well, for all of us ) !!.. I can’t tell you how ready I am to see your upcoming book !!..also, I was hoping to see you up in the Pacific Northwest but maybe when I am back down in the bay area, in May, for my parents’ seventieth wedding anniversary, I can pop on over to Danville… thanks Susan…have a great day !!.. with love, as always..

  60. Deborah in Odessa, Tx says:

    Excellent! I loved every word. I loved the program. The wedding was beautiful. I am a little ignorant…Breakfast?….Hooley….got that…funny.Tom what a surprise. He has always been my favorite. Austin in June. Yay. You are gonna love Texas. Chris a fellow Branch sister her was so kind to offer me a place to stay on the way.We are neighbors. I hope to meet her there. Fun!!

  61. Sara S. says:

    Our art center had a travelling exhibit of some Downton Abbey costumes. Simply exquisite!

  62. Didn’t Mrs Hughes look young in Her wedding outfit,so beautiful She was.I would love to own that outfit even now.I think it’s perfect and it’s truly My style. Have a wonderful week-blessings Your way-Denise

  63. Cyndi in NC says:

    I cried right along with you Susan! I was so tickled that Mrs. Hughes got her wedding. All women should have their day with their loves the way they want it. Lady Mary has gotten less snooty over time but still thinks she knows best. Well I’m glad again that Mrs. Hughes got her day!! HOORAY FOR THEM!! It was a lovely breakfast, everyone did a grade A job. The yummy things that were one the table, my mouth was watering! I also have to agree that Mary and Tom would be great together. I think they would balance each other fabulously!! Happy days also for Bates and Anna. They deserve it too! Edith finally standing up to that dreadful editor!! Oh so much to chew over and over!!! Even my husband is finally getting into it all. He made mention of the whole series and of course I told him that the whole show was on my wish list at Amazon!! Haha. So we will binge on it when I get all six seasons!! Nothing better for a cold rainy/snowy winters day. *L* Anyway we can always wander around Downton as long as we have Blu-ray! Hugs to all.

  64. Marilyn says:

    Dear Susan, You’ve been very good about mentioning “spoilers” for Downton Abbey–until today! Please remember we’re not all up to speed on it yet! Don’t forget to give us warnings! And let us know when we can start reading–like paragraph 4 or something. 🙂 Thanks.

    • sbranch says:

      I will try to remember, I keep thinking of us as the last ones on the planet to see it, but I know that’s not true. I hope I’m not ruining it because truly I don’t like it when it happens to me. I close my eyes like I do when there are violent things on TV!

  65. sonya says:

    Well if you think Mary can be bad she is over the top this year with Edith! I wont spoil it as ive seen it all via ITV; this was a precious episode!

  66. Nancy says:

    Do not think Mary is worthy of Tom. Stay tuned for a different suiter for her. I too was worried about Robert’s indigestion. I do not think the doctor knows what he is doing. Remember Matthew’s permanent condition and how the doctor colluded with Violet to make up the story that Sybil would not have been saved in a hospital. Hope Anna stays away from his inept care. Smiles.

  67. Cindy Stierhoff says:

    Oh Susan, you should be a news reporter! You did such an excellent job in relaying the moment by moment happenings last night on Downton Abbey. I too was thinking last night that Lord Merton and Dr Clarkson look too much alike and why didn’t I notice that before?
    Love the wedding photo your friend Angie sent, Mrs Hughes looks so happy and so pretty, wished the reception had more play time.

    Stay warm and kiss the kitties,

    • sbranch says:

      Did you see Mary’s wedding? It did not take even 5 minutes of screen time. I was so disappointed, so for comparison, this wedding wins hands down.

      • Cindy Stierhoff says:

        I had forgotten bout Mary’s wedding, it should have been the main event that night! Oh well, but I just loved how they decorated that school house for Mrs Hughes and Mr Carson….what will she be called now?
        Susan, you remind me of Santa Claus, how magical it is that you respond to so many comments, love you to pieces.


        • sbranch says:

          Honestly I try not to, but how can I ignore all this wonderfulness, I just don’t have it in me. Sometimes I close my eyes and just go . . . so I can get back to work, but sooner or later I’m back in, because I can’t help myself!

  68. Becky in the mountains of West Virginia says:

    I wish someone would smack some sense in Daisy! Love Downton so much. It will be a sad day when it ends! I love when you critic it!

  69. Chris K in Wisconsin says:

    It was a truly wonderful episode last night!! I cried through nearly all of it. The wedding in the schoolhouse was amazing. I don’t think it could have been anymore beautiful in the Abbey! I’m so glad it was not there so the servants didn’t have to be “on duty”. I was worried that Carson would assume his position and be working, also! I do so hope that Mrs. Patmore and Mr. Mason become a couple so that when the show is over I can imagine Daisy being with them. I was a bit miffed at Tom & Sybbie arriving at the moment they did….but I know Tom has NO ulterior motives and couldn’t wait to see “his family”, and I think it made the Carson’s as happy as it did the Crawley’s.
    I think I need to go back and watch Season 1 & 2 again to see the house and staff in pre-war days. They have cut back so much ~ and things have been modernized so much since the war, that I forget that things were even more lavish previously! Just to watch the characters both upstairs and downstairs in those first seasons and how they have developed would be fun to see.
    I can’t remember how many more episodes we have, but I know I will savor every single minute of each one!

  70. sondra fox says:

    Oh my, dear me…..I missed DA last Sun., as our family went out to dinner to celebrate my daughter’s 47th B’Day. I told them all that I had to be home in time to catch DA. I was only kidding, but, I was happy to see your play by play today. It’s such fun having friends who comprehend DA. A common thread, indeed. Do I sound a bit English? Hope so. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • sbranch says:

      SO English, completely tickety boo. xoxo

      • sondra fox says:

        Just went through your synopsis of the last DA episode, for the third time. How I love to get right into the pages, thinking I’m living right in there with the best of them. When I finished reading your wonderful synopsis Susan, I thought of how our own world is changing so quickly, just as the it is in DA. Maybe that’s why we love DA so much? We want to see how others in the past have adjusted to change?
        They’re hanging on to the lives they’ve loved & the culture they’ve cherished. I love your website because you love the old, tried & true, antiques, lovely things from our past, such as the beautiful music of the past as well. We want to keep all of those lovely things of the past in our lives for as long as we can, cherishing them to the very end. Isn’t that what DA is doing? My family calls me a philosopher. Of sorts, I guess. I’ll be a DA lover for years to come, living their lives through the tapes I watch over & over. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  71. Jack says:

    Give me a woman and I’ll give you back a different take on any published storyline in existence !

    • sbranch says:

      Hey Blogdaddy, ’bout time you put your 2 cents in here, although of course this time it was only one cent, but still!

      • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

        Good morning Blogdaddy! I thought of you yesterday when I used your recepie for pot roast with crunchy onions on top 🙂 It’s10 degrees here in south central PA this morning, snow coming Friday, so today’s supper will be Susan’s touchdown chili. Yummy, cold weather comfort food! Are you and Jeanie Downton Abbey fans?

      • Mary in Phoenix says:

        SO nice to hear from you Blog Daddy! Love your take on women … and life in general. Always spot on. Such wisdom ♥ So blessed 🙂 xoxo

  72. Erin M says:

    Hi Susan. We have a ritual of getting a wee glass of Drambuie and sitting down for Downton each week. Last nights episode was so exciting and wonderful I could not wait for your post to hear what you thought of it. I look forward to your post almost as much as the show itself!! You are a treasure and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know how much work a blog is and we all appreciate it so much.
    One of your girlfriends

  73. Joann says:

    LOVED the episode…. Cadie and her husband came over and we watched it together….. and I’m not kidding, we at spiced pecans and drank tea. I know, I know…an odd combination maybe, but it was delicious!


    • sbranch says:

      Two great things, have got to taste good together! Fun that Cadie was there for Downton! You are so lucky you two have such a wonderful relationship! xoxo

  74. Barbara Mentzer says:

    Cheers for Edith! London is the right choice for her. Her wardrobe is very smart this season. Happy to see the return of Tom and Sibby however Matthew Goode has yet to make an appearance and he seems more likely to be the match for Mary. Looks like Violet (Maggie Smith) is losing the battle of the hospitals. Daisy and Andy would be a cute couple. They were dancing together at the celebration for Anna and Bates last week. What’s up with Violet’s butler, Spratt and Danke her lady’s maid? Could they end up being friends? So glad to See Elsie Hughes’ wedding attire turn out so well. She was lovely in every way. I was actually applauding at the end of this episode. Much more to come! Can’t wait until Sunday and that’s the fun of it all!

  75. Tay Cutchin Satterfield says:

    Hi Susan — Do you ever make it to the Houston area where we have many independent bookstores and of course B&N. Would love for you to come here and meet you. Stay warm and let us know how Jack and Girl Kitty are doing !! Love, Tay

    • sbranch says:

      We’re getting close, we’ll be in Austin. Kitties are great, but TODAY, is so cold outside, Jack especially wants to hide under my shawl which makes painting very difficult! So I have to take cuddle time-outs. Girl is keeping warm by eating constantly!

  76. Betty says:

    Can’t wait for it to come on again here! Probably during the winter. Really enjoying your recaps of episodes. Doesn’t matter if I know outcomes, after all you did warn us:) Just a bit sad that this will be the final series.
    Wish I could be in ‘the States’ for your book signing tour. I had a wonderful trip last year and found Americans very friendly and warm folk.

  77. Lisa R (northern Az) says:

    Wonderful recap Susan! Loved, loved, loved every single moment!! My favorite picture of yours is the first one. Mrs. Hughes got her school house reception, and it was perfect. Love the bunting and table setting so much. You are right, what are we going to do when it ends!! The details in every area of this show are impeccable! And our Tom is back!!! Woo hoo! Now it’s going to get even better:)

  78. Debbie Noyola says:

    Susan, Susan, Susan, so hoping to get your attention as I am so excited! First of all, I just finished reading your book, The Fairy Tale Girl. I didn’t want it to end, but I couldn’t put it down. It was enchanting. I loved every bit of it. It made me think of my childhood. I could relate to so many of the things you wrote about even though my childhood years were the 60’s & 70’s. You are so genuine & enthusiastic Susan. I just know we would be friends if we lived closer. I love cooking like you do & crafting is my joy. I work at a JoAnn’s fabric store & delight at the fabrics & craft items we sell. I actually build small furniture & have numerous items in my home that I have either built or repurposed. I like to do as you mentioned in your book & go room to room & say I built that & that & that. It makes me smile. I’m pretty good at it & if I had a large enough shop I would do it all the time. I wish I could show you some of my creations. It would be so much fun to share. Secondly, I just ordered your very first book from an Etsy shop. It’s listed as a second printing & I can’t wait to get it. Now, not to criticize by any means, I thought I’d let you know about 2 little errors I found in The Fairy Tale Girl while I was reading it. You might already know but in case you don’t, one is on page 162. The first sentence on the page, second word. Just missing an apostrophe. Second one is on page 173. Second paragraph, last sentence. The word “be” before the word better. Anyway, again I absolutely loved this book. I’m going right now to start reading “A Fine Romance, Falling in Love with the English Countryside”. I know I should have read it first but once I peeked into The Fairy Tale Girl I just couldn’t help myself. Both were ordered from the library across the street from my work & I would love to own them. So much more I wanted to say but that’s all for now. Happy, happy. Thanks to you!

    • sbranch says:

      So nice to hear from you Debbie! Thank you for the nice words about my books. I promise, when and if we do a second printing, we will be sure to fix those mistakes. You would think after 3 editors, plus me, Joe, and Kellee, it would be perfect! We think there’re gremlins at the printer’s! 🙂 Not really, just easier to blame them! How great you are making wooden things, such an art! And a useful one!

  79. Lisa R (northern Az) says:

    Susan!!! I was so engrossed in all the Downton talk, I missed my first read though about your tea party in Prescott!!! I am ecstatic!!! Will the details be posted soon! I will be there!!! I was so hoping you would come to a bookstore here, but a tea party!! Oh, now I wont be able to sleep tonight! So happy!!!! Can’t wait!!! Telling my girlfriends tomorrow. Too late to call them now. <3

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, details will be coming very soon. My dad lives in Cottonwood, but believe it or not I’ve never gotten over to Prescott. I hear it’s a wonderful town, very much looking forward to it. See you there Lisa!

      • Mary in Phoenix says:

        You’re right Susan … Historic Prescott is a great destination town with quaint shops, restaurants and antique stores (+ famous Whiskey Row) lining Courthouse Square! This former territorial capital is centrally located in the ♥ of AZ. Girlfriends from NV, UT, NM, CO, TX and CA can easily get there. One hour drive from Flagstaff & Sedona, 2 from Phoenix, 3 from Tucson … and only 2 hours from the Grand Canyon … one of the Seven Wonders of the World! Perfect for a ♥ of the Home tea & book signing 🙂 xoxo

  80. Judy in Ohio says:

    Good morning, dear Susan!

    When I came to your blog here earlier this morning and saw that you had written about our dear Downton Abbey I had to leave immediately…because I had not yet seen it…But now I have, so I can join in here at the post-wedding party!

    I too cried a great deal of the way through…and my feelings about what transpired and what seems to be yet to come are exactly as yours! …And I too became quite disheartened that Robert coughed AND then that he said at some point that he just had some “heartburn” :0…Then my heart totally sank as Cora was getting ready for her early morning and he was still laying in bed >Yikes!Whew!< (I CAN'T TAKE IT!!) And also (as you did), I found myself thinking about all of the things I will miss.

    MAYBE there is SOME WAY we can get them to do another season…or TEN!!
    Perhaps we can have some kind of rally…or petition signing…or demonstration…of some sort! Something tasteful and civil…but also with major impinging …causing a positive change in someone's thinking! 😀 Possibly some screaming involved. (Just kidding…sorta!)

    Thanks again for your recap…along with your most valuable opinions!

    I do hope I am wrong about Robert!!

    Take care…and have a great week!!


    • sbranch says:

      I think there’s already been a worldwide outcry. But, sadly, not too much lasts forever. You too Judy, have a wonderful week, crossed fingers for Robert!

  81. Jo says:

    Love all of the Downton talk but I want to say that it’s great that you will be going to An Unlikely Story, a new store owned by Jeff and Julie Kinney. Jeff is the author of the Wimpy Kid book series for kids and the story behind the store is a great one.
    Sure wish you were coming to the Pacific Northwest, really thought you’d get to Powell’s City of Books in Portland, Oregon or Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle, how tacky that they didn’t invite you!

    • sbranch says:

      Well, they just aren’t familiar with me. I still run under the radar in many places, so that’s usually what the case is, don’t be mad at them, we will definitely try again in the future. Joe and I visited An Unlikely Story last fall and fell in love with it. They are really going all out to make our book launch very special, including a luncheon benefiting their local library. Such a sweet part of the country too. Love the Kinney’s for opening an independent bookstore in this very tough market, it’s a gift to their town. Thank you Jo!

  82. Isabel says:

    Hi Susan,

    Was wondering why my comment was posted with the “comment,” “your comment is awaiting moderation.” Don’t know if you saw it or there was just a glitch with something I did. Thanks. I know you have SO many to go over.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, that’s the problem, I just haven’t “moderated” them all yet, but I’m on my way! Thank you Isabel!

  83. Colette File says:

    I had to save this for today because I could not watch the show on Sunday night. Love it all and the musica is superb. You are coming to NORTH CAROLINA? Where? Where? When? When? We are in London the whole month of March. Please tell me you are not/not coming in March.

    Just finished reading “The Fairy Tale Girl” and how I enjoyed it. You are such an inspiration. Thank you.


    • sbranch says:

      Definitely not coming in March, but we’re not set on the place in NC yet, so I’ll have to let you know a little later. March in England, oh boy! Thank you Colette, I’m so happy you liked the book!

  84. Arjo de Maat says:

    Dear Susan,
    Here a little message from the netherlands!
    This week I read your Englandbook for the 4th time and again I enjoyed it very much. As I also love England, I visited some gardens and houses in cotswolds and shropshire. So your book give me more inspiration for new visits…only my husband and I are afraid to drive there! Very good from Joe that he made it!! I would like to visit Hilltop too! My daughter (22years now) got a peter rabbit doll when she was a baby and it became her favourite friend!
    I also love the dvd about Beatrix! Do you know this lovely book? I am sure you would like it , cause its like your books; a handwritten journal with pfotos and cards :
    I am also sure you will like to see these beautiful pfotos of herd wick sheep; the sort of beatrix potter kept on her farm: book, but too expensive for me!
    Well here in the netherlands we saw the last episodes of Downtowm Abbey this christmas!
    Wonderful, a pity its to the end now!! I will not tell you about it!….but I look forward to your comments about it!
    So, dear susan, again I thank you for all the joyfull moments by reading your blog and books and also watching your youtube videos…think you have the happy gen too!!
    Greetings from a dutch girlfriend, Arjo
    ( hope my grammar was not too bad…)
    Ps, Every time I hear the doves in my garden: I hear them calling;
    My toe hurts betty!!
    Even when they are dutch!!

    • sbranch says:

      Your grammar was perfect Arjo! Thank you for writing. Ha ha ha, dutch toes are hurting too! I do have that handwritten journal and it’s really wonderful, especially the book hidden in the back cover! Must have cost so much to produce that book, it’s quite a piece of art. So nice to hear from you . . . have a wonderful day!

  85. Esther says:

    I just loved loved loved DA, here in The Netherlands the last season is finished…
    But… I didn,t like the ending… Sorry.. So sweet your teeth are hurting from it 😔
    But don,t let me spoil it for you!
    Have fun watching the rest of the season!

    • sbranch says:

      Well, it could be worse, so bitter it makes your tongue curl. So I will take it! Thanks Esther, nice to hear from you!

  86. Donna says:

    Loved the episode…so glad for some happiness!!

    Do you know where you will be coming for a signing in North Carolina? Would love to see you if you are near me.

    Also, I am a couple of hours east of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. You should visit that while you are in NC. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I think it will be Asheville. We’ve worked ourselves across the country, making events from here to California, and now, we’re working ourselves back, but so far the last confirmed signing is in Texas. We are in contact with bookstores in Atlanta, Memphis, and North Carolina right now! I’ll be sure to post it when I know!

  87. Stephanie C. says:

    Oh Susan, what can i say that everyone else hasn’t already said? I LOVE Downton Abbey! Love Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson so much. I plan to buy the whole series as I missed out on the first two seasons. I am savoring each page of The Fairy Tale book. Oh how I do love you too Susan! Enjoy your winter wonderland, still waiting for snow in Northern IN.

  88. Debbie says:

    Please come to the Atlanta area! I started loving your books way back in 1993. I have so many. I would love to meet you and get them signed by you.

  89. Sandra Bloomer says:

    Downton was soooo wonderful! Now, since you are heading south on your tour, please, please , please come to Barnes & Noble, Horseheads NY. Beautiful Finger Lakes area of NY, wine country, Corning Glass Museum, am I convincing you yet? We would love it if you could …..think about it, have Joe contact the store. Have a wonderful week,warmest regards, SB

  90. Joan Lesmeister says:

    I’m so far behind – dry wreath on front door, Downton Abbey, SB Blogs & comments – today I will work on catching up, a really good New Year’s resolution!
    Joe is doing a great job planning your tour & I’m so excited!!!!!! Danville, doable, not so far! Whoopee! You go girl on finishing this wonderful book!!! Prayers for your creative juices to be flowing fast!!! xoxoxo

  91. jane says:

    Oh, Susan – Where, oh where, could all of us meet up for the final episode? It’s just not fair that we can’t all laugh and cry and gasp together! Do you suppose we could rent out Fenway? That’s what sports fans do! It’s just almost not fair to share all of this together. I’m with you — what will WE DO???? I think this is the most beautiful season EVER. Thank you for the follow up so that we may all re-live this. I think I must buy all of the seasons. Enjoy your lovely, cosy snow and keep your nose to the grindstone so that you can start the worldwide (almost) tour. I’m the one who was moaning and groaning about your not making it to the northwest. I am truly considering the train trip suggestion to San Luis Obispo! I’m going to wear a carnation in my lapel so you’ll know who I am. . . Get back to work!

  92. Vickie Getty says:

    I couldn’t get past possible stop in Arkansas on the book store – I started squealing and dialing my daughter-in-law! Of course I would have come back to Rainy Days in Kansas City, or gone to Austin, TX, but to see you here in Arkansas! YAY YAY YAY, oh happy day.

    • Vickie Getty says:

      Book tour – not book store! See, I’m tooooooooooooo excited!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Ohhhhh I hate to say this, but Joe just told me he thinks it will be Memphis and not Arkansas. I hope you still like me!

      • Vickie Getty says:

        Nothing could stop me from not liking you! I must confess, I have held off reading Fairy Tale Girl. I would pick it up and look through it but put it down. I wanted some uninterrupted time that I could sit down and read it straight through. And then I decided to wait on Book Three and read them back-to-back. But, uninterrupted time hasn’t transpired, and I have given in and started Fairy Tale Girl. Loving it as much as A Fine Romance already. Memphis is a fun place for a girl’s trip. Wherever you land in the spring I will find you! Take care.

  93. Kathy says:

    Well, I got so excited to know I’m going to get to meet you when you come to Hudson, Ohio, that I accidentally (well, sort of) finished reading The Fairy Tale Girl yesterday. You see, I’ve been reading it SO SLOWLY (as I did with A Fine Romance), just a chapter occasionally, really SAVORING IT and making an occasion out of each little session of reading. But yesterday, faced with a holiday and subzero wind chills, I turned on the electric blanket, gathered up a Kitty and I gobbled the rest of the book up, just like that! I read your books ONLY in my little sweet sitting room, overlooking my rose garden. Now, I think I’ll re-read A Fine Romance a little at a time, until I get my pre-ordered Isle of Dreams and then, in May – I get to greet you at that perfect little bookstore The Learned Owl. I am so excited! So do get back to work now! LOL

  94. Ethel Craig says:

    Hello Susan.
    Thank you having all the photos of the Wedding Breakfast. As I was looking at them and at the pretty tables and the green wallpaper. I thought of something for you to do for all of us that adore Downton as much as you do. Would you add a tab to the top of your website and say “I Love Downton” and put this entire photo section, with your comments, out there for us. That way, we can review the white banners and the yummy looking food whenever we wish! Oh! I wish you could; wish you would! Thank you, if you will!

    • sbranch says:

      What a good idea Ethel, can you please remind me after my book comes out? I’ll have time for it then. xoxo

  95. Janis Barber says:

    I had to shed a few tears at the end of this episode. After all, a beloved couple of our Sunday night family just got married, and they had a bee-u-ti-ful reception in the school house! Of course! ♥ Let’s not forget the tete-a-tete conversations between Denke and Spratt. As she looks at his stamp colletion and calls them “silly”, he says that just goes to show, “you know nothing”. Yay for Spratt! We will surely miss our Sunday night secret obsession. I’ve watched this episode 4 times now. This will become my life……watching re-runs of our Downton Abbey family for years to come. Of course, I’ll be knitting, sewing, drinking tea with honey, with a cat in my lap while watching along the merry way. ♥ Very glad we have a support group here….

  96. Suellen Dehnke says:

    How I laughed when staid Mrs. Hughes said they’d like to have a bit of a hooley maybe. Maybe she’s not as staid as she appears?

    Irish slang for party or celebration; by extension, some substance with which you party or celebrate.


  97. Madelyn Rutherford says:

    I just read the book about Duchess Almina Canarvon. If you haven’t read it–it’s a must read if you love Downton. It’s also a very easy read but filled with a British historical perspective of WWI. Amazing.
    Susan, please tell me you are coming to Charlotte NC. I would love to come and see you. We are about an hour north. I could kill two birds with one stone (actually, I could never kill a bird for any reason) a visit to my grandbabies and a visit with you. How wonderful.

  98. Susan,

    I wrote to Parnassus Books saying it would be a pleasure to see you in the South! If they don’t oblige, my husband has agreed to take me to one of the other locations and make a birthday trip out of it.

    I’ve not been properly exposed to the world of Downton, but you are inspiring me to change all that!

    Birmingham, Alabama

    • sbranch says:

      They have not obliged I’m sorry to say. They will be remodeling at that time. We’ll be outside of Atlanta in Woodstock GA at FoxTale Books — how about that for a birthday?

  99. Tawni urrutia says:

    Your are 100% right with your glorious rcap of Downton. Every detail was so delicious!
    BUT…I don’t think it’s Tom for Mary. It looks to me like they share a love of their family and of Downton, and have deep respect and trust for one another, but I don’t see an Ooohhh Laa Laa between them.
    I think Mary’s man is the tall drink of water that sped off in the snazzy convertable last season. They had enough Ooohhh Laa Laa to make my eyes wide and eyebrows raise! Thank you for every thing you do. Really. You are a treasure!
    Tawni Urrutia, in Lodi Ca

    • sbranch says:

      Oooohh Laa Laa is always dangerous when you are choosing a father for your child. Of course when I was at that age, Ohhh la la was the best part!

  100. Shell says:

    I love your Downtown Abbey recaps too. The monologue from the lord of the manor to Mr. Barrow was so beautifully done and heart breaking. I was happy that Mrs. Hughes got the lovely wedding she deserved! Edith finally being happy in love, I do hope so! Tom and Sibbie being back was great way to end the episode. Im not sure how I feel about Tom and Mary getting together, the way it has been going I feel that’s inevitable.

    • sbranch says:

      I would hate that she would just torture poor Tom all his life, but I like to think he would bring out the warmth in her, because, you know it’s in there. Somewhere.

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