Shield Thyself

Okay, let’s get it over with (I’m a little upset, don’t mind me), but first a warning. I’m about to blatantly talk about Season 6, Episode 4 of Downton Abbey. Shield thyself if thee wishes to remain clueless. MUSICA And for you who are new to this Blog, looking around and deciding it is a Downton Abbey Blog, that isn’t all it is . . . just for now, because so many of us are watching the series with avid uncontrollable interest, especially me, so I just have to talk about it! Click on some of the icons at the top of the blog, and you’ll go lots of other interesting places. So, what has me so upset?  WELL!!! 

IMG_5167It starts out okay. Love the dress and the gloves, they go so well with the fireplace and the ornaments on the mantle. Tom looks happy, but then . . . who walks in?


Eeek! It’s the dream shatterer. (Mary’s dream isn’t shattered, it’s my dream that’s the problem.)

IMG_5170Henry Talbot, the frivolous egocentric race car driver has returned. So nice to be able to talk about someone so badly and know that he isn’t real! I’m sorry, but he is just not my cup of tea. I see him as a problem to the future happiness of Tom and Mary. If she goes with him, they are only half of what they could be. Not him. Her. He could never be as good with children as Tom is. Can you see him as Lord of Downton Abbey? Might as well flush it down the drain. Good thing I’m not Lady Mary’s butinski Mother, I would have to nip this in the bud immediately and send her to Siberia or something.


Maybe Tom did eat an extra hot dog or two when he was in Boston, is that so wrong? Mary still seems to love “her brother”(how could she say that? Oh, you mean because it’s almost true?) as much as ever and is perfectly willing to share her Downton Duties with him. The connection remains. But the flirting between them . . . not so good.

IMG_5175Even Henry’s aunt, Lady Prudence Shackleton (visiting mostly to irritate Violet), says Hanks’s prospects are “adequate but not overwhelming.” Hmmm. I just don’t like him. Race car drivers are playboys, everyone knows that. Please God make Julian just be throwing us (me) off the trail.


She tells the playboy how completely uninterested she is in cars and that, as far as she’s concerned, it’s the same as collecting guinea pigs in Peru. He tells her that’s because she wasn’t “taught properly” about “cars” and acts as if he would be the perfect teacher. Please. Am I the only one who notices that he has a very narrow head?


The restaurant they went to was wonderful. Look at the carpet.


Just gorgeous. I want to go there for dinner!


Henry is impressed that Mary works (Tom thinks it’s normal). That’s because he never will. I think he will soon turn sexist on us, which I don’t think Mary will put up with . . . but for now,


They are flirting, grrr. Must Learn To Accept. It’s only a tv show, it’s only a tv show. My favorite line from Mary this week, “All we were taught was French, prejudice, and dawnce steps.”  


This episode, down seems to be up and up seems to be down and everyone is rethinking their lives, as in “why am I here?” Mary, Daisy, Tom and Barrow all said it. The only person who didn’t of course was the Dowager Countess because a. she already knows, and or b. she doesn’t care. Almost a food fight at the table over the hospital. And Donk “drank too much port.” Hurry up ladies, join the 20th century, we are going to need that hospital!


The Dowager takes her passport and goes to the kitchen for the “first time in twenty years” and doesn’t even leave a trail of crumbs to find her way back. Brave woman. But the whole upstairs had to go downstairs to join the jolly group in welcoming home Carson and Mrs. Hughes, who now, as Mrs. Patmore says, “knows the mysteries of life,” and despite that is keeping her maiden name to solve the problem of two Carson’s in the house, leaving everyone to exhale in relief that they don’t have to remember what to call her. The newlyweds looked happy, and out came my favorite white bunting again!


The other people who seem to know where they’re going are Edith and Lady Rosamund. How Lucky Edith is to have her, and did you notice, Edith drives! Of course she does, thoroughly modern millie. Look at the size of that steering wheel.

IMG_5206  Love these two together. Sense and Sensibility. You all probably know that Rosamund is Robert’s sister and the daughter of the Dowager. She is just such an interesting character.


Love this dress. Love the glass. Love the sparkle. Love the swinging earrings. Love the whole thing. 


Love these two together too. Baby on board. At least one, but two would be better. Hint-hint dear Julian.


Mary also expressed not knowing where she is going or what she is doing with her life, but note dismay and instant rescue mode she went into when she saw her best friend Anna was in pain. She wasted not one moment, hasn’t got a drop of dilly-dally blood in her entire body . . .

IMG_5237Boom! Get the car Tom while I lie to my parents and Bates, and OFF they go to York. Mary gets her doctor to get up in the middle of the night and he stitches that baby right back in there, and voila!

baby lamb


Happiness that shows in a million dollar smile. I ask you, if you were going down on the Titanic and you had a choice of getting into Mary’s boat or getting into Edith’s boat, which would you choose? 


I would not get into this boat ever. Another person fretting that he doesn’t know where he is going, but Barrow seems unable to stop himself from doing evil deeds despite admitting that he does care what other people think of him. He shows it by “outing” the charming ex-house maid at luncheon, which hurts no one but himself. As Miss Baxter (who has her own problems, which I am certain Mr. Moseley, aka Dudley Do-Right, will solve, then marry her) said to Barrow, “You are your own worst enemy.” How true. Who said the butler is supposed to talk to the guests? I didn’t hear anyone ask his opinion. I think in real life a butler could get fired for this. If there was a real life anywhere around here.


Anna with her baby glow on, loves Gwen, and we do too: a. for her good works with Hillcroft College, but b. because she gives all the credit for her success in life to Sybil, endearing her to the Crawley’s forever. Was especially happy to know she was married when I saw how much Tom liked her!!! Whew!


I think we came this II far from losing Daisy this week.

daisy border


Everyone was freaking out when she took off her apron and went upstairs to confront Cora, better known as Her Ladyship, to get her just deserts re: Mr. Mason and Yew Tree Farm. She almost ruined everything with her unwillingness to put up with even one more second of perceived unfairness, and was about to attack Cora for promising the farm to Mr. Mason and then reneging. Which we all know she didn’t do.

IMG_4922 But thanks to darling (but ill, soon to be well, we are sure, not to worry) Robert, who intervened and spilled the beans just in time . . .  


 Daisy dodged that bullet, and now her Mr. Mason has the farm!!! Another pair of happy people! You Go Girl! I hope they open a Country Bed and Breakfast.

daisy border


Then Daisy and that cute footman, Andy, made twinkle eyes at each other . . . Andy, who pointedly said,

IMG_5255 “Country life is what I’m after.” This is looking good.


They can raise daisies! They can name their daughters Petunia, Delphinium, and Bluebell.



Sad part came at the end when Mr Carson went to say goodbye to his room . . .


His bachelor bedroom, where I guess he probably lived for 30 or 40 years. I wonder what he is thinking? Life, going too quickly?


But I loved how he


kept his little name tag. This is a very sweet man. Mary would even do better marrying him than that playboy. Except Carson already has a wife. Oh well, we’ll just have to see what happens next Sunday!


But speaking of real life.


We had the most gorgeous blizzard here a couple of days ago . . . because, guess what?  It’s winter!  And that’s what we do!


It’s still beautiful but now it’s sunny and white! You need sunglasses to look at the rooftops!


And here we are, where we always are these days in our studio working away. I have such a terrible deadline with the printer (three weeks!!!!) . . . which I have to make, if I’m going to get to all these book signing events and meet you!  Check it out . . . More events have been added, and there are still more to come. It just gets better all the time!

border flower


But I have the kitties and I have Joe. He feeds me, and he surprised me with those roses. Perfect counter action to a blizzard. And I have the story in my book which I love more all the time. Our book. It really is. The roses, by the pink roseway, were congratulatory because I heard again from the movie people who are requesting an option on the new book for a movie or a TV series! They sent a contract! So it’s still on a burner somewhere out there. As the nominees for the Academy Awards always say, in the category of Impossible Dreams, “it’s an honor to be nominated.” I realized the other day that the actress that would play me would probably be about three years old right now, with the speed these things go. So no one should hold their breath! But it is wonderful to know that you are on my side! 

Off I go to the dream factory. Hope you all have a fantabulous day! Downton Abbey Forever! XOXO 

flower border

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510 Responses to Shield Thyself

  1. Sharon E says:

    The Mr. Talbot that you dislike in Downton Abbey for being a playboy, is just the opposite in ?The Good Wife: where he plays a stable, dependable, caring, sweet gentleman. Goes to show what a good actor can do!

    • sbranch says:

      Right! And if you learned to love him in one place, it’s hard not to love him when you see him again!

  2. Vivian S. says:

    Oh Susan, he has a narrow head. Really? Ha ha ha. It’s not like he has a “large” head. I am guilty of that one. You’re right though, a narrow headed man wouldn’t do for our Mary. Only Tom;)

  3. Melissa R -UT says:

    Love your recaps, as others have said it’s like reliving the show and sharing with our best girlfriend! My favorite part was when Gwen was telling how Sybil had helped her change her life then I was crying spontaneously! I still miss her so much-Julian almost lost a fan when he took Sybil! Then Anna telling Mr. Bates about the baby-they didn’t get nearly enough time to bask in that news! I’m not sure about Tom for Mary- I think he seems too young for her and I just can’t see them together. When I heard “brother” it confirmed it for me. Sorry! Can’t wait to meet you in May in Salt Lake! Happy dance! Relish the waning moments of Downton! Xoxo

  4. Mary, St.Louis says:

    I love talking about Downton with you ! so much fun, and I hate to see it end 🙁 . And no, you aren’t the only one who notices Charles’ narrow head ! bleah ! And there better not be any more heartache for Anna and Mr. Bates ! They have had way too much……it never seems to end, but it better. Enough is enough ! ” I’ll See You In My Dreams” is one of my favorite songs…so sweet. Look up on youtube Joe Brown singing it at the Concert For George (Harrison) . You’ll love it ! I love your new little lamb drawing, and the stork, too, and the pretty pink flower ( a peony ?) Jack is as adorable as ever. Stay warm ! xoxo

  5. Katherine Schaffer says:

    I ‘m sure I’m in the minority here but I don’t want Mary paired up with Tom — he’s so sweet and she is a snippy snob — always butting in – for example- if she’d had her way, she would have spoiled the wedding for Mrs Carson (nee Hughes). She never misses a chance to snipe at poor Edith – who by the way is absolutely on the right track with where she is headed. Would love to see Tom paired up with someone like Gwen — sweet, smart and down to earth.
    And what’s the prejudice about Charles (GORGEOUS Matthew Goode)?? He’s not a smarmy playboy/bad boy — he just knows what he loves and he’s doing it. Don’t think he cares that he’s not a lord of the manor — not everyone wants to be (and after all, that will be little George’s job when he grows up). Think it may be the best thing in the world for Mary to be with someone with whom there is some give and take — may make her a bit more understanding and accepting.
    Do think Robert will end up with more trouble (tummy or what?) but expect he will recuperate well — a new puppy might do the trick there! Right on Julian — nice to see some unexpected twists — just like real life!

    • sbranch says:

      You’re really not in the minority, reading all the comments, I would say it’s 50-50. I did like the chemistry with Tom and Gwen, was just happy to remind myself that she was already taken. Not sure Henry, who I accidentally called Charles, cares about being lord of the manor because it’s always been there for him. He strikes me as entitled, he would take it for granted because it’s his “birthright.” Maybe I read too much into these things!!! 🙂 A new puppy would be genius! A basket of yellow labs under the Christmas tree, one for everyone!

  6. Nicoline says:

    Dear Susan,
    hi again…I posted a comment before, but there’s something i just NEED to tell you….(I hope you’ve not heard it yet) This morning on the BBC news, there was some very exciting news! A reporter was in Hilltop and the reason…??? Drum roll please, A NEW BEATRIX POTTER BOOK/LETTER has been discovered!!!!
    Isn’t that the best news! Another lovely Beatrix Potter story to add to the others. This story is called The Tale of Kitty in Boots. It hadn’t been illustrated and the artist Quentin Blake will make drawings to go with the story.
    The book will be published in september, and so you might be able to buy one when you’re in the UK…
    so, thats my morning news for you….Have a lovely day, stay warm and cozy!

  7. Julie Buck says:

    Phew – had to wait as I didn’t watch til tonight. I LOVE the actor playing the race car driver – always have, but I have to agree that this character is just too slight. I think Mary should be alone and take lovers… On the Titanic, I’d totally go in Edith’s boat – as she would not only know how to get it down from the rigging, but also how to row it to safety. Mary would wait for someone to do it for her. (Still smarting over the “How am I supposed to get home” crack, hahaha.

    I thought of you, Susan, when Mary referred to Tom as her “brother”, but that’s what he is to her. She can’t be Sibbie’s mother and her aunt…

    Loved that Isobel is still holding her own with Lady Violet! She gives as good as she gets and I loooooove her!

    All in all, knowing there was something that had upset you, I kept waiting for people to keel over dead. Even when Carson went up the stairs to his room, it looked ominous to me! And of course, the close call with the baby. Mary DID definitely come to Anna’s rescue and so I do give her credit for that. She even had a nice thing to say to Edith for a change… Maybe everyone being reminded of Sybil’s kindness was a good thing. It certainly was for Mr. Mason, but I was so afraid that Daisy was going to muck it all up! Such an exciting time we’ve had.

    You were asking before about other series, Susan. Have you seen the Miss Fisher mysteries from Australia? They are lovely, and present another strong woman in gorgeous clothes!

    Good night all.

  8. Barbara Mentzer says:

    There IS something fishy about the car man! Mary seems to know that. Daisy had me worried too. Cora isn’t someone she should challenge. I was glad that Violet explained her objections on the hospital take over. She had experienced too much government control in her lifetime. Mrs. Crawley seemed to soften somewhat after Violet said this. Hoping Thomas will be influence by all the kindness he’s received from Baxter and even Robert in this episode. What is Tom going to do now that he has returned? Is he interested in cars too? Yikes! Stay tuned!

  9. Martha Rodik says:

    As always I love your summary of the show! Love the pictures too! I am excited too about the upcoming movie of yours. I’m thinking even if it’s three years from now as you said, that will be here quicker than you think. At least for me it seems the older I get the faster the years go by! I think it’s because when we get older we keep ourselves busy & enjoy life more!

    • sbranch says:

      I imagine it will take a lot longer than 3 years. This is an option so that these people have the exclusive right for 2 years to write a screenplay and “shop” it to the studios . . . I have zero experience in this kind of thing, so it’s a learn as you go proposition for Joe and me.

  10. Christine D says:

    Who else is thinking Miss Patborn and Mr mason? She needs some happiness! So happy Barrow got in trouble hes such a trouble maker! Loved the part when they remembered Sybil. I agree with you ive been thinking they needed a puppy a long time ago! A lab or English Setter .did your neighbor ever get a new dog after their sweet yellow lab passed away?

  11. Sharon Byars says:

    Thank you for rehashing Downton . I must watch it twice each week to catch all the details. No worries…Mary is bound to make the right choice. AND speaking of quotes…LOVE yours….”It is winter and that is what we do here”..THANK YOU. I live in North Carolina now and love the seasons. We got the southern end of the blizzard, which was, milder. But, get so tired of CA friends and relatives thinking we are on the news digging out our cars. We spend our time by the fire watching the cardinals.

    • sbranch says:

      Us too, and I get those same calls from worried friends and family. Always feel lucky to say, we’re just fine and dandy!

  12. winnie Nielsen says:

    Susan, my mind was not he very same track as yours this past Sunday night with Downton Abby!! Why is Julian Fellows making us suffer like this? Somehow, I have a feeling that Mary will come to her senses in the end because her position to manage Downton means more to her than marrying. Remember how she told her father that she would rather be alone than with someone she did not love? She might be intrigued with this car racing guy, but I am wondering if some twist will come about to threaten Downton and then she will focus back on building a future for her son, Sybie, and Marigold. She does seem to have more of a passion for keeping Downton that Edith. I am counting on Downton to bring her to her senses, but I fear it will be a scary road till the end with her!

  13. Brenda says:

    Afraid I don’t share all your thoughts about DA. I would prefer to see Tom & Mary be good close friends, not lovers. My take would be Mary fell in love once, only once, and she’s sticking with it. Maybe there’s something deeper in the race car driver than we give him credit for. And maybe not… I’m getting tired of Daisy, getting too big for her britches. I’d love to see her running the farm with Mr. Mason, and becoming a schoolteacher, but she’s way too outspoken for me…..Like what Edith is doing, hopefully she soon tells Mary about Marigold, hey, their names are even similar…And finally, Thomas, He’s always been one of my favorites. There’s a kindhearted person behind all that. Maybe I feel this way because I raised a son who was kind of like that once, and I know different.

    • sbranch says:

      I think you are the one that will get your wish when it comers to Tom and Mary! Perhaps Mary is shallower than we think. Which is saying something. 🙂 I have always had high hopes for Thomas.

  14. Charissa says:

    OHMYGOSH!!!! Did you see this???? A new Beatrix story…

    with a darling picture of her. Ive seen those apple cheeks before… dear Susan:)


  15. Ruth Thomas says:

    I still think that Mary would eat any man alive, even Tom. This is certainly a year of twists and turns. Tom in the car business, not a good sign to get involved with that yahoo. Not sure what will happen to Barrow, feel a bit sorry for someone so self destructive. Hope Anna can carry this baby. Does anyone else think it odd that Mary’s best friend is Anna? Hope cCarson is not regretting his decision to get married? Mrs. Carson did not look happy about continuing to be called Mrs. Hughes. Cannot imagine this show will be ending soon. Is anyone else watching Mercy Street? Looks like a good series so far. I do genealogy and have many relatives who fought in the Civil War, so I think I will like it. Turning your book into a movie….hurrah! Somebody in Hollywwod has a good head on their shoulders! Til next week.

    • sbranch says:

      She also goes to Carson for advice . . . I’ve read that sometimes the upstairs people were closer to their servants than they were to their families.

  16. Susan, your posts are always thoroughly enjoyable but you really *shine* when writing about Downton Abbey! Currently, I’m back on the farm, no subscription television, but gobbled up this post anyhoo…loved it!
    Playboy may have thin face but weak chin; I’ll take Tom’s double chins any ole time. Everyone knows we need a tiny bit of extra weight in case we should get sick; so we won’t look like scarecrows. Tom lives in the real world which Mary visits, occasionally, and which Playboy might have heard of but I’m not all that sure. Sometimes I think Mary is her own worst enemy; lil Miss Know It All without realizing she’s got a lot to learn. Her redeeming character is her large heart and the way she takes the upper hand when someone needs help.
    As to your question “which raft…Edith’s or Mary’s”, I’d have to choose Mary’s perxactly because of her “get ‘er done” attitude. I’m afraid I might push Edith OUT of the raft when she started whining. Although, she does do whining well if a bit incessantly.
    I don’t blame Donk; with all that’s happening at Downton Abbey, I’d dip into the port bottle as well. May do anyway and I live at Thistle Cove Farm -lol-!
    Barrow. I’ve never found within myself to care one whit about Barrow. He makes choices and then either complains about the consequences or takes it out on others. A thoroughly repugnant human being, in my estimation. If he just weren’t so *mean* he might be likable but he is and he isn’t.
    GO Daisy! She has what Barrow lacks.
    Recently, I saw the actor Mr. Carson in another movie…strange little Brit movie and he was, again, wonderful. Love his voice, mannerisms, the way he makes people/women/me feel safe. Some men are like that, aren’t they?
    So glad you’re doing the reviews…when I am able to see Season 6, it’ll be like old times. Many thanks!

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, pushing Edith out of the raft would very likely be just the thing to do. Then YOU could run it and save everyone else! I so agree about Carson. Quiet strength, willing to face up to life as it comes. xoxo Excellent review Sandra!

  17. Jo-Ellen Claphanson says:

    Hi Susan,
    I am sitting here this morning reading The Lake House by Kate Morton. It is an excellent English mystery!!
    Meanwhile we have 28 inches of snow on the ground in Chester County Pa and freezing rain on the way in an hour. A teacher friend of mine is worrying about getting to school which has only a 2 hour delay this morning. I decided to read what I thought would be a report of your blizzard up there when I started reading your review of Downton Abbey on Sunday night. I laughed and laughed and needed the release. For a moment it took my mind off the weather for today. I had much the same comments as you did. I hate to say it but I think Mary marries Henry. I don’t like him this year. He seemed better last year. I too wanted her to marry Tom but now she’s calling him her brother. I loved Edith driving the car with such confidence and Carson’s leaving his room hadn’t escaped me either. I too was wondering what he was thinking.
    The person I thought Mary would marry is the man who brought Pimook to the estate way back in the beginning. I always forget his name. I’ll look it up and let you know. I do think Mary and Henry are probably well matched for difficult personalities. I do like Mary though for her straightforwardness and her wanting to do the right thing by Anna. Sometimes we need to call an ace an ace…

  18. Laura says:

    I LOVE your Downton commentaries almost as much as the show!! You make me laugh:). I think Mary has put Tom in the “friend zone”, or “brother zone” in this case. Anyway, he is way too short for Mary! I don’t like Henry either, the way he speaks is kind of creepy! Mary should just forget men for now and keep taking care of her beloved Downton and maybe spend some more time with George. Did you see Life magazine has a whole issue dedicated to Downton? I saw it, but am too afraid to buy it yet because of spoilers!! I hate it when people try to spoil the outcome of Downton when everyone is enjoying not knowing in advance what is going to happen! I am still hoping against hope that Michael Greigson was actually not killed by those awful brownshirts and comes back to sweep Edith and Marigold off to his awesome London flat which I absolutely drool over every time they show it. That window….ooooh lala!!! Daisy is still adorable, but getting on my last nerve. Hopefully now she will settle down and stop giving Mrs. Patmore heart angina every other minute. Poor Barrow, I wish he would stop shooting himself in the foot. Unhappy people are like that sometimes. I love how sweet he is with the children. He spends more time playing with them than their mothers do!!! Hang in there Robert!! HELLO, Cora….your husband needs a doctor!!! Clueless!!! I wish Violet and Isobel would stop arguing. I liked it better when they were BFFs last season with that whole Russian storyline. I am worried something awful is going to happen to Anna and the baby. Hopefully not, that would be terrible. Anyway, thank you so much for sharing the Downton fun and love with us. You’re the best💗 xxxooo

    • sbranch says:

      I’m with you on so much . . . but I do think they will leave Anna with happiness. It would be too cruel not to!

  19. Susan, sorry but I forgot to say congratulations on the continued movie interest. If you’re able, put a time limit on when it can be made…you don’t want it sitting on a shelf for years and years. (Plus, I’d like to see it while I’m still alive, so to speak…haha.)

  20. Rebecca Walsh says:

    Yes, but let us add a post script about the new Beatrice Potter book – Kitty-in-Boots, to be released September, 2017.

  21. Sandra says:

    Quiet, sea of white, peaceful snow….

  22. Gill says:

    Dear Susan, a little happy news to calm you down!😉
    There is a completely new and never before published Beatrix Potter story coming out!
    Apparently it was started in 1914, but was put away because of WW1, and now it is found and will be published to celebrate her 150th anniversary.
    The story is called Kitty-in-Boots and includes a black cat and various well known BP animal characters. So there is a happy thought!

  23. Sandra says:

    Golly! So many comments and so many Downton Abbey fans! It’s all finished for us over here in Europe!
    Susan, I just thought that you would like to know that there is a documentary all about Beatrix Potter with British actress Patricia Routledge. I know what a fan you are! Here in Switzerland I shall be able to watch the programme this evening, 26 January, at 9pm British time, on channel More 4. I don’t know if you can get hold of it somehow. There is also to be a commemorative 50p coin to celebrate B. Potter’s 150th anniversary. See here:

  24. Linda Miller says:

    Love your analytical mind regarding the characters of Downton! It’s been a glorious ride for sure, and there will be a void on Sunday nights to come. Who knows, perhaps, your book will make it to the big screen…..wouldn’t this be “loverly?” One can dream!
    Stay warm,

  25. Maria Monto says:

    Love your weekly synopsis of the show, Susan. Agree on all fronts with the exception (gasp!) of Tom and Mary. I’m just a little eeked out by it and, out of respect for Sybil, I don’t think they’ll go there. I love the two of them together, truly, but I think Mary will disappoint and veer toward skinny-head Henry in the end. It seems like her game–to taunt and tease men–much like she did early on with Matthew and I see the relationship ending in the same way…with many ups and downs and ultimately, a wedding. Booooo! Just praying that Tom never crosses paths again with that nasty Miss Bunting. If so, Mary the Magnificent needs to beat her off with a stick.

  26. Patricia says:

    The “Lord” is getting sick, the hospital problem is tearing apart the family…. AND so (in my own mind) he will end up having to go to the hospital in an emergency and they won’t be able to handle his problem and he will be rushed to the York hospital for their modern equipment and procedures – his Mum will realize that without those procedures and equipment he would have died – thus changing her vote in the consolidation fight. He will get better, everyone will rejoice and love each other again – thus sayeth the lady from NY

  27. Mary says:

    Good morning, Susan, the recap on Downton was wonderful, as usual. My Son and Daughter-in-law are still stationed in England. However, Ken was deployed to Africa in late August, and will return to England on Groundhog day if all goes well. They are going to Ireland, for a break. Grace, my daughter-in-law, loves Downton also. You changed, the look of your blog. I miss the little bird at the top, it always made me smile. I will keep, watching for more info on the New Hope, book signing, I have to have my second knee replaced, and informed them it will be after your signing.
    Have a warm day.
    Mary from PA.

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Mary, I haven’t changed the look of the blog since I started it, as far as I can see the bird is still there. Just FYI. Looking forward to seeing you in New Hope!!!

      • Elaine in Toronto says:

        Hi Susan, Mary is right, no little bird when I go to your blog, either. Also the background doesn’t disappear under the writing and the icons along the top of your blog also appear on the right side of the blog going down. Gremlins, I suspect. Exciting news that a new Beatrix Potter manuscript has been found and will be published in September to help celebrate the 150th anniversary of her birth. Hugs.

        • Elaine in Toronto says:

          Hi Susan, everything seems to be back to normal now. Not sure if I heard the little bird or not, though.

          • sbranch says:

            I just checked, he wasn’t there for me. I have a computer wizard friend who watches over the blog and he said that our host upgraded and they will no longer be telling us when they do. He’s fixing things. Hope the upgrade allows birds! Thank you for letting me know Elaine!

        • sbranch says:

          It’s better, but still not right! We’re working on it!

      • CarolK (NJ) says:

        Mary, the tickets are on sale now for the New Hope gig. Contact the Library asap. I don’t know if they have a set amount for sale although where the signing is going to be is a very large place.

      • mary spring says:

        ..the little bird disappeared yesterday and is still gone this morning… ‘missing him too…

  28. Deana Gold says:

    Gosh I must be your only fan who doesn’t like Downton Abbey. When there was the guy with amnesia I started to back away. But when Lady Sybil died it was just too painful! It feels like a soap opera. I have loved other British productions so much more, such as Upstairs, Downstairs!

  29. Priscilla from Southern CA living in SD says:

    I have loved reading all these comments as much as I love Downton Abbey! Such fun!

  30. Mamey says:

    I just LOVE your recaps of Downton….they make my day. Thanks so much!! Also I can’t wait for the movie/series adaptation of your books!! Notice how I’m saying it like it’s already a done deal??? LOL!!! I just know it’s going to happen and I am THRILLED about it!!!

  31. bobbie Calgaro says:

    We will all miss Downton Abbey and hopefully its success will spur another period drama that will be just as exciting. My husband and I have been absolutely hooked ever since we started watching it. I never thought he would like it but he is just as caught up in the characters as I am.
    On a different note, I am so excited that you are coming to Asheville. I have a good chance of actually getting to meet you as I only live a couple hours away and go over there often. Huzzah! You must make time to see Biltmore while you are there. It is truly Americas Downton. When the Downton clothes were there in the Spring last year, they looked right at home. It is soooo lovely. One of my favorite places to go.

    • sbranch says:

      We went to the Biltmore many years ago, hope we will get to go back this time!

      • bobbie Calgaro says:

        It’s an entirely different experience now. So many more rooms open, the winery is lovely and the antler village farm area is interesting. Did you know the Vanderbilts were supposed to be on the Titanic and at the last minute changed their minds. That was a story.

  32. Nicoline says:

    Dear Susan,
    hi again…I posted a comment before, but there’s something i just NEED to tell you….(I hope you’ve not heard it yet) This morning on the BBC news, there was some very exciting news! A reporter was in Hilltop and the reason…??? Drum roll please, A NEW BEATRIX POTTER BOOK/LETTER has been discovered!!!!
    Isn’t that the best news! Another lovely Beatrix Potter story to add to the others. This story is called The Tale of Kitty in Boots. It hadn’t been illustrated and the artist Quentin Blake will make drawings to go with the story.
    The book will be published in september, and so you might be able to buy one when you’re in the UK…
    so, thats my morning news for you….Have a lovely day, stay warm and cozy!

  33. Meesha says:

    This is so much fun! I love your recaps on D.A. Even though I love Downtown, I usually get distracted from the dialog by the gorgeous costuming and sets. So this brings it all back into focus for me. Love it! Congrats on your book possibly being a movie or TV series. What a beauty that would be!

  34. Amy Lee from Salem says:

    Oh Susan, you are so cute! I love Downton Abbey so much too and will be sad to only have reruns to watch someday soon. I don’t trust the writers with the outcome for each of these wonderful characters ever since “Matthew” died. I don’t think I ever screamed at a TV screen before that happened. But, I have my Downton Abbey fabric collection which of course I hate to cut into but will need to make a quilt to remember this time. Enjoy your snow. A cup of tea always calms me and makes my day less stressful and I love your blend.

    • sbranch says:

      Happy to hear that Amy, me too, every day! I screamed at the TV too when Matthew died. So wrong on every level.

  35. Cate Dennis says:

    The thing about Henry is (and I pray Mary finds out soon), he is arrogant and controlling. Did you hear what he told his aunt? “Come Aunt Prudence. We are wearing out our welcome.” He wanted to go THEN! Mary better see that controlling side of him. I am SO hoping she marries Tom. She just has to! (Plus, Tom is MUCH better looking!)

    I do not care for Isabelle and am beginning to no longer like Lady Grantham. What is her problem lately? And, poor Barrow. He could be such a wonderful person if he would just let his heart show more. We can all see he has one. I hope they do not let him go. He has pulled some doozies but…..there’s still hope.

    Ahhh….the life of fiction.

    • sbranch says:

      Arrogant and controlling. That’s what I think too. They might have a fun and exciting courtship, but their marriage will likely be world war 3 until they reach detente and quit talking to each other entirely. But we won’t be there for that, we’ll get to see the good part! Oh, the life of fiction! 🙂

  36. Cindy Stierhoff says:

    I understand your distaste for Henry, but think Tom is just not sophisticated enough for Mary to have eternal happiness with, and he is her Brother inlaw, would that appear to be “not quite right” in society in those days, or our days for that matter….it’s a squishy line that Mary may not want to cross, lol.
    Thought what Miss Patmore’s said, well Mrs Hughes has now experienced the mysteries of life, most humorous. Mary also had a line where she said something about how she would take Henry’s further flirting with her….can’t remember the line but was quite quick and to the point, should take notes during this series.

    • sbranch says:

      I am beginning to agree with you and your ilk. 🙂 It doesn’t seem to be in the cards!

      • Cindy Stierhoff says:

        Funny, met a friend today for lunch and ran the idea of a brother inlaw maryng the sister of his dead wife….she told she has a male friend who did just that but that the marriage is a very strange one, ya think so?

  37. MaryO1230 says:

    My husband and I are completely and utterly BUMMED that Downton is ending!

    I’m hoping/praying that Julien Fellowes will pick it up either 10 years down the road OR do a Downton Prequel! Soooooooooo awesome this show!

  38. Sue Underwood says:

    I of you Susan the instant I saw this news that a NEW BEATRIX POTTER STORY HAS BEEN DISCOVERED! Yippee! and it’s about kitty! How fabulous is that?

  39. Patti says:

    Love your synopsis and agree about Tom and Mary. On another note: have you heard that an unpublished Beatrix Potter story was found recently? It will be published in September. Thought of you immediately.

  40. Elaine says:

    Just read a story on the BBC website that a new Beatrix Potter story has been discovered after a 100 years!!! How exciting is that? Kitty-in-Boots.
    Elaine in Bradenton, FL

  41. Carol from CT says:

    I say this with affection…Susan you’ve got to calm down. I can hear angst in your writing. You have so much going on and a huge tour ahead. I hope you’re good with delegating! Let’s all let Julian Fellowes be his creative self. He is so good with writing tension and dissonance that eventually does turn around. I feel some disdain toward Mary and her ways. She had the sense to dismiss her two earlier suitors. I don’t think she’ll be drawn in to this one. It appears that as she is taking stock of her life so far her goal is keeping the estate afloat and preserving it for George. She did say, “Everything is in its place.” If her father dies, then the estate would probably become her singular goal. I don’t see her with Tom at all. My guess is that she won’t marry by the end of the series and that it will be Edith who finds marital bliss and an acknowledged daughter. I’m hoping that Shirley MacLaine will return and enter into the battle over the hospital! Now that would be a fiery encounter! What fun! I wonder if the public outcry for Downtown will be so loud that Julian will have to write a screenplay and present us with a feature film down the line. A curious thought! Susan I think you should ask Julian Fellowes to write the screen/teleplay for your film. Make sure that Jack gets a part! Love, Carol … tra la
    P.S. The chirping birdie doesn’t appear when I open your blog. The window buttons don’t show either.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I know, WordPress upgraded without asking if it was okay with us! 🙂 We’re working on fixing it!

  42. Caroline Woodard says:

    I was given Fairy Tale Girl for Christmas. I spent Dec 26th and 27th mostly curled up in a cozy chair with a cup of tea and read it cover to cover. I loved it. In 3 weeks, when your book (our book:) goes to the printer, you are going to need a book to read! I think you would love A Man Called Ove. The author, Fredrik Backman, does such a wonderful job describing what Ove is thinking and then often describes what Cat is thinking. Very touching and funny.
    About Downton ….Remember when Mary and what’s his name saved the pigs together and ate breakfast in the kitchen? That is my favorite guy for her! I feel like she really laughed with him. I do love Tom and that would be a fairy Tale ending. Though I’m not ready for Downton to end, I am thrilled to be a blog girlfriend.

    • sbranch says:

      I am thrilled to have you! Yes, the pig event was wonderful. They did seem to have a very good time. Thank you for the book suggestion. It will be wonderful to read again!

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        That is who I thought Mary should end up with. But didn’t he leave the country for a while or something? Maybe he will return…???? 🙂

  43. Angie says:

    Wow, that was an entirely wild perspective on what happened. I thought the car driver guy was the cutest she has even considered up until now. How shallow. I was going on looks alone.
    Great blog, as always. AND more exciting than any of that is you are going to be in AZ. I am ecstatic. Calling my sister right now and telling her to book a flight from Detroit to Phnx in June.

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

    On Facebook today, I saw that a new Beatrix Potter story has come to light. I didn’t know if I could put a link up here, but I did put it in the comments of FOSB.

    I just have to say – we are all too cute, running here to share our comments , opinions, and predictions about DA. The characters seem to be that real, don’t they?

  45. Sue Underwood says:

    Here is another link to more details about the new Beatrix Potter book:

    I too so enjoy your DA commentary and am dreading the impending final episode. Does anyone know when is the final show? I would like to see a special show that just covered the decor, props and costumes in an episode by episode story. There is just so much to take in besides the drama/dialog itself.

    I spent all day Saturday whiling away the blizzard here in NJ (24-30″ of snow depending on where you measured), sipping your delicious lavender-rose tea and reading The Fairy Tale Girl and then yesterday, in between shoveling sorties, I began A Fine Romance. The later book mirrors a similar trips to England in 1979 and then a return trip with children in tow in 1999. Hum, looks like I’ll be due to return again in 2019 if I continue that 20 year pattern! Then I can visit some of the spots you share in AFR! 🙂
    The Fairy Tale Girl, while bittersweet and pain-filled, demonstrated what I too have come to experience; that we don’t realize what strength we have inside us until we are
    forced to deal with a situation that can not be ignored nor usually “fixed” easily. My 32 yr marriage evaporated when I and my two children were abandoned first for a job abroad and then subsequently for “another woman”. I surprised myself that I didn’t fall apart nor fight to hold on to my spouse, but decided I’d had enough of being ignored, my goals/dreams having no value and our intellectually disabled son being ignored by his father. So I divorced and began a life as a single parent. Though less secure financially I am so much happier w/o the narcissist who I’d had to serve since I was married at 19.
    So here’s to new beginnings, romance, kitties, England, Downton Abbey and future creative endeavors!

  46. Kelly Machnov says:

    Susan!!! Danville, CA made it to your book signing list of stores! Rakestraw Books is a wonderful store tucked in the fun, lovely, quaint town of Danville.

    I have been enjoying your new book while recouperating from full knee replacement surgery. It puts a smile on my face every single day!

    Best to you, Joe and the kitties. Stay safe with all the snow.


    Kelly Machnov

  47. jane townsend says:

    I do hope your books become a TV series or film, it would be the icing on the cake!!
    I am loving revisiting Downton through your blog – its difficult keeping quiet with the outcome of the series, my sister in law who lives in C.T. was probing for answers on Monday. But I kept everything secret. I just hope that the Final Christmas episode , will follow quickly and you don’t have to wait months for it.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, it usually comes immediately after . . . like the next Sunday . . . and thank you for that positive thinking Jane!

  48. You crack me up!!!!!
    “This is a very sweet man. Mary would even do better marrying him than that playboy.”, speaking of Mr. Carson.
    Love all the recaps of Downton Abbey. It’s like watching it again, only you are saying the things that I say, during the show.

  49. Charlene says:

    Hi, you know is so nasty to Edith I am not sure she is good enough for Tom. Maybe he could make her nicer. Love your post every time and see you you will be in Asheville,NC. Hope to see you. Thanks for all your talents

  50. jane hill says:

    Susan, you always make my day when I read your blog. I love how you give us your thoughts. I am right alongside you in that Tom and Mary should be a couple. Thanks so much for a wonderful entertaining read when I look at your blog. I am always smiling when I come away. Kisses to Jack, Miss Kitty and of course Joe too. Hugs and kisses to you, Jane

  51. CarolK (NJ) says:

    I just knew the minute Mary referred to Tom as her “brother” they wouldn’t be getting married any time soon. You just don’t go marrying your BROTHER. Maybe Mary is just toying with the race car driver. A little diversion never hurt in her case. I’m still holding out hope that Edith’s love (the father of her child) will come out of that black hole he fell into so they can walk into the sunset hand in hand. We had that beautiful blizzard but the day after wasn’t much fun having to clear it away so we could get outside and do errands and such. Been watching the full Wolf Moon every night and just loving the way it casts dark shadows on the maples over the snow. Come to think of it, the moon is to blame for waking me up in the middle of the night then I think of you saying you get up at 4 a.m. to write and paint. How the heck do you manage!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, the more I think about it, the more I’m sure that Julian was signaling with that brother talk. Oh well. I’m loyal to Tom, but I do see there is a different sort of luster around him now. I will try to let go. 🙂

  52. Linda from Sudbury says:

    Susan! I just heard on the news about a newly discovered Beatrix Potter book. Have you seen this??? Called The Kitty-in-Boots. (Sounds like Puss in Boots!). It’s going to be published this September for the 100th anniversary. What fun.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes I did hear about it today, so very exciting. I hope all the money they make from it goes to the National Trust!

  53. Christy Esse says:

    Having already seen the season in its entirety, I just have to laugh at you, Susan! Personally, I think it would be a bit creepy if Mary and Tom got together. I think Hank is perfect for Mary. But let the chips fall….reading your reactions has been quite entertaining.

    Glad you are finally getting your snow. I don’t think it would officially be winter without your photographs of your picturesque “Isle of Dreams.” It was 80 degrees here, yesterday. Now it’s 50. Le sigh. Gotta love Texas weather.

    Will get to meet you face to face in Denver in May. So excited to finally meet you in person!

    Take care and stay warm, y’all!

    Christy in SoTex

    • sbranch says:

      Okay, so she will probably marry this guy. Whatever. 🙂

      Denver! Wonderful… I really can’t wait to start on this trip!

    • Jan Bass says:

      Hi, Christy – I was intrigued by your mention of having already seen the entire current series! However were you able to do that?! I’m so envious!

  54. Carol in KS says:

    Have you heard??

  55. Beth says:

    OFF TOPIC (But very exciting):
    Did you see that a new Beatrix Potter book has been unearthed? “Kitty-in’Boots”.

    How fun is this!
    ~Elizabeth from CA

  56. Phoebe says:

    Have you seen this article about Beatrix Potter?

  57. Carol C says:

    Remember how Mary told Matthew that he brought out a kinder, better her. Well so would Tom! They balance off each other and would make a perfect Downton running team. Phooey on the icky car guy. Edith is not perfect either. She’s the one that wrote a note that snitched on Mary about the Turkish guy, and she gave her baby to the Drews and then took her back—very cruel. Like everyone they are all good and bad. Daisy never properly thanked Cora after all her mean talk downstairs. She needs to eat a huge portion of crow! Now that I have that off my chest…..CONGRATULATIONS to you!!! Very exciting and well deserved!

  58. Louise says:


    You are much too hard on Henry. I think he’s adorable! He and Mary are still just making googly eyes at each other and there is nothing wrong with that. It appears that she and Tom think of each other as brother/sister and I don’t see Julian matching them up. Perhaps Henry will be so smitten with Mary that he will give up racecar driving and become the perfect mate!

    • sbranch says:

      I know. I never trust the really good looking guys! I’m sure he’s perfectly nice. I am only anti-Henry because I am pro-Tom, it’s not Henry’s fault.

  59. Jeanie Bragin says:

    Dear Susan,
    Check the New York Times for an article about a newly
    Discovered Beatrice Potter book about a black cat which which Quentin Blake has illustrated which is being published in September!

  60. My daughter called me while driving on the Mass Pike today on her way to a meeting. We had to discuss Downton! We have agreed that every bit of this season has been wonderful.

  61. Someone else may have already said this but if you had ever watched “The Good Wife” you would love this new guy! He was on there and I LOVED his character. So I was delighted to see him on here. What irritates me is that if they ARE going to put them together, why didn’t they introduce him earlier in the season and let us have some tender moments between them? Remember when Mary and Matthew were dancing and his half-dead girlfriend came down the stairs and caught them in a kiss? Now THAT was TV gold! I need some romance like that in this season! It almost seems Julian has given up on the romance for Downton. I don’t know. I think he’s just trying to wrap everything up neatly at this point but I feel like too many of this season’s shows didn’t do it for me. This last one was good. I enjoyed every moment. The whole hospital argument doesn’t thrill me but I understand they want Violet to have a storyline. I’d rather see Edith off canoodling with Bertie or Mary with the new guy whose name escapes me as I write this. I love, love, love your recaps and I can’t imagine how you get all those pictures and post them. I want to hope that your movie or TV show will come through but I almost won’t allow myself to hope until it’s for sure happening. Even then, no one could ever be as delightful as you, dear Sue. 🙂 No movie star could ever have your charm and do you justice! PS: I’m meeting you in Tennessee no matter what! I’m calling Parnassus tomorrow but if they don’t have you, I’ll be in Memphis. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I SO agree, if there was some delicious romance thrown it, I think I could go for ANYONE! I understand, I’m not allowing myself to hope either. MUCH safer that way! See you In Tennessee Tracie!

  62. Ruth Gauss says:

    I really hate to point this out to Lady Mary, but aren’t cars the evil of all evils since it killed her beloved hubby all those many seasons ago?

    Thank you for the thoroughly entertaining post! I think I might have giggled and smiled as much (maybe more) than I did during the episode (I have to admit I was worried for Anna and felt badly for Baxter.)

  63. Gill Smith says:

    Hello Susan
    Here in England , last night, we watched a lovely programme, all about Beatrix Potters life. Patricia Routlage portrayed Her, and she was very good!
    Yes it’s true about the newly discovered book, which is being published in September.
    Not sure about Quentin Blakes artistic interpretation though… was very different!
    So glad you’ve survived the storms. At the moment we are catching the tail end of them, although no snow for us in North Devon? Take care, Gill

    • sbranch says:

      I looked for it on youtube, but either it’s not up yet, or I missed it. I heard it was good. I also read that Quentin B. did not look at Beatrix’s drawing of the cat until after he did the art for the book. Love hearing from you, reminds me that the place I love is still there! Always a little pang in my heart.

  64. Jo says:

    Maybe Tom and Edith will get together and they can be co editors of the magazine. He said he’s looking for something to do. Just a thought and it would be an unlikely twist…

  65. CarolK (cent'l NJ) says:

    Let’s take bets as to what malady Robert has……from the look on his face and his actions…..I’d say it’s his gall bladder. Every thing he eats is giving him problems……..Yup ~ it’s his gall bladder.

  66. Ericka B. says:

    Ah, I’m laughing like crazy at your Downton summary – too funny! I know how you feel. And do you die just a little bit every time the episode comes to an end, knowing that it’s another episode closer to THE END? I sure do.

  67. Ellen Eastman says:

    Totally off the subject of Downton (but still very English), I just ran across this website featuring Yoko Saito and how she interpreted Beatrix Potter’s drawings into fabric. Adorable!

  68. KarenP. (Wisconsin) says:

    Watching Downton again and I have to say if I could choose between the Manor house and Mr. Mason’s new farm I’d choose the farm every time! I just love it! I can picture your Beatrix Potter figurines on a deep windowsill there. *Sigh*….♡

  69. Marilyn Young says:

    Oh my gosh, it took so long to read all these notes and all about Downton and Mary and Tom and on and on that I believe everyone has already said it all!!! Now, I am praying you get to visit us at Strawberry Patches in Bakersfield, CA and we all get to see you here in the Valley. Thanks so much for your posts. I can’t imagine getting a movie contract, wow that is really big. Put a time limit on it so I get to go see the movie in the next 8 to 10, ok? PS: She better marry her so-called brother Tom as he will soften her like Michael did. That’s it cute girl, back to work on your book.

  70. Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

    Good morning, Sue!
    I laughed and laughed at your recap….I could just hear the words spilling out of you with such intense frustration! That’s what makes you such a good writer! A movie/tv deal?! Love it!!! Just remember to mention to the casting crew that you know of several girlfriends who would be AMAZING as extras in the movie 🙂
    Happy painting!

  71. nancy says:

    Julian Fellows has used us poorly. All of a sudden, Mary declares him as
    her brother? What? Fellows has had Mary’s eyes light up only for Tom for
    how many seasons ?
    Tom knows her like no one else and they are honest with each other and there
    has always been an implied attraction . Now, all of a sudden, it’s Henry.
    Give me a break. My only hope is that Fellows will fix this with a “Downton
    Movie” after the series ends.

  72. Merci says:

    Oh Susan, no wonder you are such a gifted writer! I missed a couple of clues regarding Downton Abby; so kind of you to catch me up. Yes, I agree, Tom and Mary go so well together; but again, we sometimes don’t get what we want. I shall desperately miss that show.
    As for you – CONGRATULATIONS on a movie/TV series of your book! I am way too excited! All my best wishes for continued success, you certainly deserve every moment!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, it’s true, we don’t always get what we want (but of course, if we try, sometimes, we get what we need) 🙂 Sorry, couldn’t help it. xoxo

  73. Lisa C. says:

    Dear Susan

    I am a little disappointed in Henry so far too. Their was more romantic tension in that one episode last season. Something has to be done with his dialogue, way too slow. Did you see him in Leap Year and Imitiation Game? He was much better there. Yes, is it his small head or just a bad hairdo?

    Just finished reading Fairy Tale Girl and loved it! Recommended to my friends, they’ll love it too. I read aloud the ‘Bomb Shelter’ chapter to my husband and 4 kids at dinner – hilarious! It’s my favorite part. Can’t wait for the next book and hope to see you in Denver.

  74. Nota Morey says:

    I don’t know if you realize what impact you have on us–your avid followers. Hearing your comments on “Downton Abbey” is like talking to an old friend about something we love. My old friends are gone now, so it is all the more meaningful. I have chosen your new book for our Book Club as our December selection along with a Christmas party at my house. The ladies were pleased as I did “A Fine Romance” back when you wrote that and they loved it. Thank you for being our friend.

  75. Christine says:

    OK, now I can’t read all of the comments, so you may have heard about this, but I must tell you to watch “thin”headed ‘Henry’ in the movie “LeapYear” with AmyAdams – a perfect March, St. Patricks Day movie. He is very cute in that movie, but at first you might not think you are going to like him. He is a good actor! (I saw a few minutes of him in a psycho scary role and he was so good I changed the channel. Scared the doo doo out of me!) His name is Matthew Goode. Check it out. And did you hear about the “new” Beatrix Potter book they “found”! How sweet.

  76. Therese says:

    I wonder if Mrs. Patmore’s going to end up the policeman. I think there’s something there. And what is the hold Peter Coyle seems to have on Miss Baxter?
    As for Mary, I think she missed her perfect match in Charles Blake (or maybe Julian will bring him back.) At any rate, he has the others beat by a mile in looks, intelligence and title. His head isn’t narrow and he has a sense of humor…they played in the mud together, for goodness sake, does that count for nothing? Oh well.

  77. JoLynnH says:

    Oh, my heart skips a beat for our Tom on Downton! Don’t tell my husband, lol! although she is married, I do worry that the former housemaid (can’t remember her name) will pose a problem for our hopes of Mary & Tom’s future though…aggghhh. Weren’t they flirts while she was at Downton? She spoke more to Tom that evening than her husband…We’ll have to watch and see indeed. Any hoo, is it just me or does the bottom of Mary’s neckline rub you the wrong way? For Lady Mary it just seems a bit, not Lady Maryish! So jagged and freyed looking at the end there. Oooh, I wish they’d wack that portion of the crop off.

    Hoping to make it to New Hope, PA this spring! Very exciting!!! A day trip for me 🙂 Till then, I’ll look forward to your posts. Take care!

  78. Luci from Virginia says:

    Dear Sweet Susan,

    I haven’t commented for a while because I have just been busy, but I have been keeping up with your blog. I did read “The Fairey Tale Girl” and loved it. I read it in a day as I just could not put it down. You write so beautifully and with such compassion. It was so funny and like reading about my own childhood since we are only a year apart in age. I love your positive look at life. For two people who have never met I am amazed at how many things we have in common in our tastes, outlook and who our heroes are. It is a real compliment to you that I don’t really follow anyones blog online but yours. I gave your cookbooks to a very close friend at Christmas this year and you were a part of my families Christmas dinner. We had your standing rib roast, your yorkshire pudding and your horseradish
    sauce. It was ummm good. You are always popping into my week in some way. Well on January 18, 2016 you could not have thrilled me more when you mentioned the the Beatrix Potter Tour. I have dreamed many years of making that trip but could never find a tour. When I read “A Fine Romance” I wanted to be on that trip with you but appreciated making it through you and thought oh well, someday. When I read your blog on January 18th I was so excited to see the tour and immediately went to the website to read about the tour. Well, yesterday we put our deposit down to take the tour. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! You helped to make my dream come true. After 40 years of collecting Beatrix Potter things I will finally get to see the Lake District and everything she held so dear. I am forever grateful to you. You were the spark. With all the mounds of snow we are surrounded by right now you brought some sunshine. Have laughed at your running commentary on Downton Abbey, it has been hilarious along with your possible scenarios. We are taking the June 2017 tour as the 2016 tour is already sold out. Hugs and kisses to you, Joe and the Kitty Babies.

  79. Carol Wakefield says:

    Downton Abbey Forever indeed! Thank you for your recap. I balled when I saw the look at Bates’s face when Anna told him the news.
    Off subject- do you recall the name of the paint that you used to paint your kitchen? I remember the post a couple of years ago but don’t know if you told us the name of the paint. It is so perfect!
    Blessings to you and stay warm. We are snow free believe it or not. But more in the offing. Better go fill my birdfeeders.


    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t replied to this yet Carol because I haven’t had time to look. I keep saving your comment until I do, but I didn’t want you to think I was ignoring you. Remind me after the book goes in!

  80. Robyn Brown says:

    I just now got to watch the episode so I saved your post to read after. I have to be honest. I am starting to NOT like Mary and Daisy. Mary is just hateful to Edith. She constantly snipes then turns around and pretends sugar won’t melt in her mouth. It’s grating on my nerves. I really think Tom is too good for her. How could he ever marry her after being married to Sybill? It’s night and day. Sybil was such a good person, so kind and so thoughtful.
    I like Edith much more now than in the beginning and I hope she succeeds in life. I hope she finds love too.
    Daisy is just too pushy and assuming. She hears what she wants to hear then blames people for not doing what she expects.
    I am so happy for Anna and Mr. Bates!
    I’m so happy Gwen came back too and that she is happily married. I always liked Gwen.
    It’s so much fun to watch this and dish!!

  81. Janet says:

    I know I’m coming in late here (just watched Episode 4 and it’s Friday!) but does anyone else want to see Mr. Mason and Mrs. Patmore get married so she can compare notes on the ‘mystery of life’ with her girlfriend, Mrs. Hughes-Carson? And then Daisy can have a proper mother and father! And I just read a headline on the British paper, The Telegraph, saying that Lady Edith has found real life love with Andy the footman!!

  82. Cindy from West Chester Pa says:

    Not sure if this has already been said. I think Mary is uneasy with the race car aspect of Henry’s life. And since she lost her first husband due to a car crash, she may not want to travel down that road again (no pun intended). George is older now and she may not want to possibly have him have to deal with that. Call me crazy but I am still rooting for Mary and Tom.

    Love your Downton recaps and chats, I always look forward to them. Thanks and have a brilliant weekend.

  83. Cute post – I am a huge fan of DA too, Susan. : – )

    Nice re-cap – and as I can readily agree with you on the “playboy,” yuck – bad choice – it does look as though that’s where Mary is headed. I gave a millisecond’s thoughts to Mary and Tom – those two do not belong together at all. I like Tom too much to wish Mary on him! She is a beauty to behold but she is so mean! I was always hoping Tom and Edith would hook up – they’re both hard workers – but I do like the fella who helped her at the magazine! He was so good to her for that. : – )

    BTW I did a teeny tiny little post about DA here:

    Janet’s comments above = awesome. Can’t wait till tomorrow’s episode – my word are we ever going to miss them when they’re gone. /sniff sniff

    • sbranch says:

      Mary is nice to people she respects, which aren’t that many. But if she does, she’s a pretty loyal person. Look at her with Anna. Also, she has a ton of respect for Tom. I haven’t given up yet.

  84. Jody Gray says:

    I wake up on Sunday morning with a smile….its Downton day!!!!! Have you ever heard of Bregdan Chronicles? I have seen this on Facebook stating it’s comparable to Downton….just curious..have a great Sunday!

    • sbranch says:

      No, I haven’t seen it. I think everyone wants to compare themselves to Downton. I wanted to say, my new book is just like Downton! LOL!

  85. Linda C. says:

    I’m ALL IN regarding Henry Talbot (the delectable Matthew Goode) for Mary. I’ve swooned over MG in everything he’s ever done, so I was beyond thrilled when he first appeared in Downton last year. Now we’re talking! When he jumped into his convertible without opening the car door, I almost slid off the sofa – a 1925 equivalent of a magnificent steed and a handsome knight in shining armor. Yowza! Where are smelling salts when you need them? He’s handsome, sexy, dashing, manly, sexy, a bit dangerous, sexy – JUST what our Mary needs. Did I mention sexy?

    • sbranch says:

      LOL! I love you sliding off the couch! This is exactly why I love our girlfriends so much. Zero passion, no involvement, not interested! 🙂

  86. Merci says:

    Absolutely, what we “need” is sometimes much more important than what we “want” – I have definitely learned this. Again, you see, you are so gifted in so many ways! How fortunate to be considered one of your girlfriends!

  87. Merci says:

    Thank you, so kind of you to say so! Continued and much deserved success! Looking forward to “Isle of Dreams”!

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

    Testing! Just seeing if I can post on this blog entry, since all of my comments ( along with other girlfriends’ comments ) to the newest blog post just disappear.

  89. Betty Birney says:

    I have a bad feeling about Lord Grantham’s gastrectomy, which was mentioned. It’s the removal of most of the stomach. My husband’s father had one in 1938 and died in surgery – my husband was nine months old. Ironically, my mother had one in 1954 and came so very close to dying. I remember the day she hemorrhaged at home and my father carrying her to the bed. Luckily she survived (I’m exactly your age, Susan B) but had health repercussions the rest of her life. Eeek! Also just read in the UK papers that Lady Edith (actress who plays her) is dating the footman (actor who plays him) who can’t read. A very Upstairs Downstairs romance. She can read to him – how romantic!

  90. Kassi Rollins says:

    Looking forward to seeing you at the King’s English in SLC!
    Question, will you have your new book with you that we can buy? The ‘Isle of Dreams’? I don’t know if I should be purchasing before you come!
    Also, is it possible to invite you to a tea party while you are in town?! We would love to treat you!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, the books will be at the store when we all get there! You are so sweet, but we will only be in town the one day and then off we go to the next spot. Looking forward to meeting you Kassi!

  91. Judy Ellington says:

    Hi Susan! You must look at today’s (Sunday) comics and read “Rose is Rose”! I’ll swear she is reading your book!

    Please check-out “English Rose Tea Room” website (Carefree, AZ). They are having a “Tribute to Downton Abbey” on April 23, all day 10-5. Period costumes are required…. you would love this! Jo Gemmill (owner) is English and loves Downton like we all do. Would love to forward these two items, but I don’t think I can on a web-site!

    • sbranch says:

      You have no idea how true that is about the comic strip!!!! LOL! I’ve been to The English Rose and have met Jo! Wonderful place, I know I would love this event!

  92. Erika says:

    Johnny come lately…hate to admit it, but first time here was last week. Was totally enthralled with your recap of Downton Abbey. (was late getting there too…came in just as Mathew was killed !!!! was crying at that…and hooked then on the series!)
    Hurried here, last Monday looking for the recap …nothing…oh no… will you be recapping that episode? or just go on next Monday with the new one?
    I’ve reread the last one over and over…and perused the pictures…looking forward to your next recap. Erika

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