It’s Monday! Why didn’t anyone tell me?

Oh my!  MUSICA




So, guess what Joe just told me?  It’s Monday! That probably doesn’t come to a surprise to you, but . . .


I coulda’ sworn it was Sunday!  Note: View from kitchen window right now, Squirrel hanging from bird feeder!

kitchen in the blizzard

I missed Downton last night!  I just found this out, I was gearing up to see it tonight, and I’m now in a bit of a dither.  Joe saw it, he said nothing monumental happened, that he thought Julian was “stalling.”


And look, we are in the middle of a blizzard right this minute!  Joe is outside  filling the bird feeders and digging us a tunnel to the liquor store.

kitchen in the blizzard

We have the best view from our kitchen window, cold on the outside, warm and cozy inside. It’s really a heavenly day!  Wind is blowing!  White flakes blurring the house across the street, big red snow plows going up and down the roads.


Jack is fascinated by the wildlife around the bird feeders. “Eyes on the prize,” that’s what he is thinking. Prize being fresh squirrel meat. Which he will never have in this lifetime.


And darling Girl Kitty only worries about where her next meal is coming from. After fifteen years of togetherness, she is still never quite sure.


Birds are well taken care of. We have the fattest fluffiest coldest birds in the world right now.



Merry In The Winter

And here is the reason I lost track of time . . . I’ve been on a roll, as you know, trying to finish Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams (which is listed on Amazon as #1 New Release!). Very exciting! And Look! 


Yesterday, which was supposed to be Saturday, so that today would be Sunday, so I would get to watch Downton tonight . . .


I did this!


I painted these words on the last page of the book!!!!  Aren’t they beautiful??



I must have gone delirious after this because, that was it. I jumped around joyfully for a while, it’s really hard to believe after so many months!  But then I re-introduced myself to the real life things like folding clothes and eating dinner and talking and talking with my darling man about our new dream of going to Scotland in the fall. I still have a ton to do on the book. All the corrections, and I have to design the back cover and the end papers and things like that! But it’s so close! happiness

fireAnd now, I’ll have you know, because of this wonderful fire Joe made, I am going to the kitchen to make grilled cheese sandwiches, which I will mash with the spatula to make them extra crispy, like this:

grilled cheese sandwich

and we will take our sandwiches to the sofa and cozy down in the storm with the throws that my grandma knit and WATCH Downton (yes Joe’s going to watch it again!), luxuriously maybe even twice, con kitty, just forgetting about the world, praying that the electricity doesn’t go out. But if it does, too bad, I will just have to take a nap. Because it’s WILD out there. Someone said we should expect 18″!  I am all for it!



Jack doesn’t care, he just waits patiently on the sofa.  Anyway,  I am so SORRY Girlfriends, that I messed up.  You can go ahead and leave comments about Downton, because I’m going to close the computer, and go watch it right now, and I won’t read anything you say until I’m done, so YOU can basically write the Blog this time! 🙂 And I’ll come back and comment on your comments!  A job for everybody! Love you Girlfriends! Stay warm! XOXO

the reason I'm so happy

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573 Responses to It’s Monday! Why didn’t anyone tell me?

  1. Nicoline says:

    Dear Susan,
    Oh my, the picture of dearest Girl Kitty made my heart jump! What a darling girl she is. I love Jack too, but we don’t get to see Kitty that often, so I wanted to give her a special mention!
    I’m sorry you missed a day, BUT think of it as a blessing, it’ll be sunday a day sooner, and you’ll get to watch DA yet again!
    I LOVE your ” The End” drawing, its gorgeous! And you’re making me hungry for a grilled cheese sandwich, which I cannot have because its almost bed-time here..!
    I loved your post of last week too, and posted a comment (2x) but things went funny in internet world, and they disappeared…I wanted to say how much I liked the pictures of Stourhead and how much we’re (hubby and myself) are looking forward to the pic-nic in September!
    Thanks for a lovely post, stay warm and cosy and enjoy DA with quilts and kitties, and Joe of course!
    Best wishes

    PS) I’m posting this a 2nd time, because it seems like my comment is still
    ” waiting for moderation”, even though others have posted later…..I just hope you’ll be able to see it!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh I am so happy you are coming Nicoline. I CAN’T WAIT! I think about our trip while I paint and it spurs me on! When I sat down last night to “Moderate” and read the comments, there were almost 200, and after moderating for 2 hours, there were STILL 200 (they kept coming in). So I gave up and went to bed. What happens is the new ones come in on top of the older ones, and the new ones are the ones that come up for me first! So that’s why the newer comments get posted first. I’m working through them all this morning and will probably find yours somewhere down there. Hope this explains it! Probably made it more confusing!

  2. Wende Taylor says:

    Hi Sue… have LOVED your recaps of Downton, reading your thoughts is like reading MY thoughts! Nice to see you, Joe n’ kitties snuggled in during the storm. Congrats on writing those two sweet words… “The End” which brings it all closer for me to read – yay. For me, any Downton episode is exciting 😄 cuz I love it so. I never saw 50 mins go so fast as when Downton is on!! I love the way Tom is teaching Mary to be a real person, he’s so great. Stay warm lovely lady.

    • sbranch says:

      I think Tom is teaching Mary too, but so far, that spark hasn’t quite lit up the sky! There’s still hope!

  3. Kathy Madigan says:

    I have a 15 year old kitty also, Nicky! Aren’t they the best!? I was heartbroken
    for Barrow last night. Hope something good comes his way.

  4. sondra fox says:

    Hi GF’s, Yesterday was Downton Day, here in my house. I get a repeat, then the new episode, so, I get two hours of Downton. Love it.

    Going back to read the comments from the GF’s. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  5. Scotland in the fall! May it be so….I love Scotland…Read Miss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson, my favorite author, and stop in Moffat. She was born and raised in Edinburgh, in the Lighthouse Stevenson family and her father was a first cousin of Robert Louis Stevenson. She wrote a lot, but Miss Buncle’s Book will make you smile!

    I am happy to see that others share my feelings about Mercy Street. I had to stop watching it. And I would have loved it if it had been a bit different. But it is not and I do not.

    Does anyone think perhaps Carson will retire and Will will take over his job?

    • sbranch says:

      I ordered it! Thank you Kristi!

      • Pat E says:

        You have to read the sequels too: Miss Buncle Married, The Two Mrs. Abbotts and The Four Graces. Also loved the Mrs. Tim series as a former military brat and Vittoria Cottage and the other books in the series. Well written and a lot of good quotes!

        • sbranch says:

          I kind of got a feeling I might need the rest of them!

          • deborah.t.norling says:

            Kristi Jalics ! Thank you for mentioning ” Miss Buncle “….I am looking forward to reading the series..yet another reason it’s so fun sharing with and hearing from all the girl friends and…expanding our horizons !

    • Diana from Tennessee says:

      Thanks for recommending the book. I ordered it too! I also had to stop watching Mercy Street. Disappointed,,,,

    • Laura Ann in Vermont says:

      D. E. Stevenson is also my favorite author!

  6. P.S. Congratulations on finishing your book! And I’m very excited about you coming to Hudson. It’s just down the road from where I live.

  7. Rhonda D. says:

    Happy (very belated) New Year Susan. It’s been busy, but I still check in and read your posts. This one was so cozy. I especially enjoyed the photo of the exterior of your home. It always makes my heart smile to see the warmth of lights shining through the windows. The storm just started here in the Maritimes a couple of hours ago. We’ll wake up to a winter wonderland. I had my days mixed up this past weekend too. I thought Saturday was Sunday, then I had to turn around and live Sunday on Sunday. It was the longest Sunday ever. I didn’t think it would ever end. Your Sunday must have felt kind of short. Congrstulations on “the end.” You’ve worked hard to paint that page. Exciting! I pre-ordered my copy today. It’s like waiting for Christmas all over again for me, only better. Cheering you on to the finish line. xo

    • sbranch says:

      My Sunday was extremely short! Ha ha ha! Thank you Rhonda!

      • Rhonda D. says:

        Oh yeah, as long as my never-ending Sunday was for me, I still missed Downton Abbey too. And no excuses for me….I had lots of time to remember…two full days of Sunday to be exact. What’s with us this past weekend?

        • sbranch says:

          God only knows. 🙂

        • Judy Young says:

          I missed it too! Couldn’t find it on On Demand. This morning I discovered it on On Demand (Fios TV) and so looking forward to getting cozy tonight and watching th episode I missed. Super Bowl was on Sunday and think that’s why I missed Downton.

  8. Diana H. says:

    Hi Susan and Girlfriends!! I have to disagree that Downton was slow this week. I feel we got all kinds of little snippets of information in this episode…… actually so much going on, the Earl, Edith and her new beau, Cora vs the Dowager, Daisy and Mr Mosely and then of course adding in Mrs. Patmore!!…. The Bates’ and Mary with Tom being a “chaperone” for Mary, Mary and her beau (?) will they or won’t they, Mr. Barrow and the hilarious house tour….everyone ganging up on Cora to put her in the MOST awkward of situations…. Mrs. Crawley and the Dowager’s little tea party… oh my, so much going on!! I think I might have to watch it again!! LOL!

    Oh, so excited about your “The End” and our new book getting closer! You are one hard worker girl and I hope you are so very satisfied and happy with the results! Take some down time and and sniff the winter air…. I so love to just breathe in winter. From my fireplace cozy place to yours…..Til next time!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m pretty happy about it most of the time. Some days I think it was the reason I was born, and then there are those days where I think, what am I DOING? xoxo Til next time Diana!

  9. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    Love the gorgeous scenes of snow outside your window. It looks wonderful to another southern California girl here in 82 degrees with Santa Ana winds. What happened to the bad storms we were supposed to get?
    Your kitties are so cute!! Those poor little frozen birds, how do they survive?
    I don’t watch Downtown Abbey so I don’t get the talk about the episodes. But I am a big fan of Poldark and can’t wait for it’s return.
    Congratulations on your new book being almost completed. Can’t wait to receive it, read it, and meet you in Pasadena.
    Stay warm and cozy!!

    • sbranch says:

      The doves are the ones that worry me…that was a dove on our porch railing in that snowy photo. They hover near the door to get warmth from the house. We put seed on the porch for them. See you in Pasadena!

  10. Martine says:

    I’m from Holland,Netherlands and the last episode from Downton was on Christmas day. So with your blog en the comments, I can relive it again 🙂
    I’ve got your book A fine romance for my birthday, and i love it, I can’t put it away.

  11. Julie says:

    Brrrr….looks chilly in Martha’s Vineyard! We got up to 74 today, I am missing our northern CA rain already. Love the picture of the little bird with its foot on a dish of seed. I am curious, when you painted the dish of seed, do you mask your white spots, simply leave a white spot or paint your white spots? Watercolor is SO interesting…and beautiful.

  12. Carrie in Medina says:

    Congratulations on completing your beautiful “The End”! I am so excited for you and for all of us! So much closer to having Isle of Dreams in our hands and hearts! Wishing you continued success and creativity as you complete your remaining book tasks!! Go Susan Go!!

  13. Sandra says:

    It’s so wonderfully snug at your place – how wonderful to have a log fire too! The snow is gorgeous and you’re so kind to all those freezing birds!
    The spring flowers are starting to bloom here: crocus, snowdrops and primroses – they’re very brave with our almost continuous rain. Not as romantic as snow at all!

  14. bravo! bravo for your finished book ! and for the delicious drawings! I think it’s really a deep pleasure for you to see your work close like that … deep satisfaction … and I admire you! (I’m an artist too – in textile art – , I have orders to honour, but in these times, this winter I’m … a little bit … lazy, in spite of a lot of efforts!) could you say me a little thing: doesn’t your cats go outside in the snow?

    • sbranch says:

      I take Jack out on the porch and he grabs for the door, he wants NOTHING to do with these freezing days or any flakes of snow!! It’s so funny! Thank you Polline! xoxo

  15. charlotte m. says:

    So excited about the book. I’m sorry, I’m not into Downton, but happy that you recorded it so you don’t miss it. I love the winter you get there. I looks so cozy in your house. Here, when it snows everyone goes into panic mode. That’s the south for you. (NC) I am so looking forward to your book. I can’t wait to read “the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey used to say. Have a Happy week Susan.

  16. Mary Eva says:

    Good morning Susan. Of course I love your entire entry – I ALWAYS do, but I just can’t stop laughing about Joe digging a tunnel through the snow to the liquor store! That just struck my funny bone. I do appreciate this little space we all have here with you, have for years. Thank you and stay safe!

  17. Debbie says:

    I want one of those grilled cheese sandwiches!

  18. Wanda says:

    I always watch DA on a Monday night, which means I can’t read your posts until Tues! I guess this week, I could have read it on Monday! haha I loved this episode. Joe is right, nothing monumental happened but I laughed out loud at several spots. I just love the characters and the dialogue! Enjoy the weather. A snow storm is the best event for truly enjoying a fireplace!

    • sbranch says:

      I did too, laughed out loud! The dialogue was wonderful!

    • Mary S. says:

      And I, too, thought it was hilarious when they were giving the tours of the house! The way they were all turning and saying, oh, I don’t know, or I’m not sure about that, or I never noticed that before! It was so funny, they were all just clueless! They’ve taken everything for granted for so long, and its like the visitors were opening up their eyes to things they never noticed. That was great! Love from Mary S. In Fresno, California

      • sbranch says:

        I’m sure Julian, who comes from that world, has noticed it many times in real life and wanted to share that with us. If you think about it, with the 500 or so years of history in some of those houses, all the details, where everything came from, unless it was a serious part of your schooling, or unless someone wrote it down, how would you know? And if you’re born there, it probably just seems like it’s been there forever, and unless you are a very questioning curious type of person, you might not even notice it! Hard to believe!

  19. Sharon Byars of North Carolina says:

    Congratulations on your book ! Looking forward to reading it and to your “surprise” at the end ? Just do not make the surprise “moving back to SLO county” as I would be so disappointed (as if that matters). Love your photos of snow. We get enough here to take some beautiful photos. Having seasons for the first time in my life is amazing. What would spring be without winter? Back to Downton, my prediction is Mr Barrow is going to commit suicide!! He is misunderstood and under appreciated and can not find a new job. The comment Mr Carson said about his position being obsolete makes me think Mr. Barrow will come to no good end. I watch it twice every week. Will need therapy when it is over!

    • sbranch says:

      You’ll see! 🙂 I’m so excited! No suicides I hope on Downton, that would be heartbreaking. Mr. Carson is being ridiculous to Barrow. Me, too, ready for therapy. I forget, these people are not real!

  20. Susan Cardot Lance says:

    So good to read your new blog for Monday! Could you do me a teeny tiny favor? Could you put up your Valentine desktop picture on the “free stuff!” area of your shopping section? I always loved to look at your hearts desktop on my computer screen.

    Thanks so much!


    • sbranch says:

      I asked Kellee to do that for you. She is making my book pages camera ready and is as busy as I am, but I know she will try! Watch for it!

  21. winnie Nielsen says:

    Oh my!! The beautiful words, “The End”. It is getting closer and closer to being in all of our GF hands to cherish. We are so lucky to be riding along with you as you go through the stages of writing and publishing a book. Who ever gets to be on the “inside” of great art these days? WE DO!!

    Downton had me all upside down again this week.. On one hand it feels like Mary and Tom are going to be just brother and sister in law. But then, it seems like she insists Tom to be with her as she navigates these new waters of a potential mate. She is flattered with the new beau but not totally on board with him. So… I am wondering if she will find that Tom’s steady but progressive self is what she wants again after all. In a way, she was sort of like this with Matthew in the early stages. He was “family” but she was drawn to him for his grounded and forward thinking approach to living. Matthew was a personality of the future generation and Tom is very much the same. It seems to me that Mary loves attention, but she is nobody’s fool. I just don’t think this is a done deal yet. Or lat least I hope it isn’t!!

    The last scene with Barrow completely broken down was so sad. Despite his poor behavior, he has struggled long against his being a homosexual in a society where it was a criminal offense. I can’t imagine the loneliness he has felt. Plus whenever he tries to do a good thing, he is accused of suspicious and wrong behavior.

    The rest of the subsets of characters seem to be building in positive directions at least for the moment. However, who knows what Julian Fellows has up his sleeve? He keeps me constantly on guard for a turn for the worse!!

    Thanks for all the snowy photos. The world looks so different out your window than mine down here in Florida! LOL!! When I look out my window, I see my fuchsia azaleas just opening up while my little Southern Red Maple finally turning a golden yellow. We are having Fall/Spring happening all at once this year!!

  22. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    Good morning Sweet Sue. Have to say I am a bit envious of you this morning. We woke up to about 3 inches of snow and I thought ohhhh I don’t want to leave my cozy house and go to work 🙁
    I so wanted to stay in and watch the birds at the feeders; it is so beautiful outside. Glad to hear the comments about Mercy Street, we have taped it but not started watching it yet; sounds like it is not for me. But I looking forward to Poldark. Hope you have a wonderful day. Congratulations on “The end”. xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      There are good and bad things about working at home. The good is when the snow falls! xoxo Thank you Joy!

  23. Amy G. says:

    Thank you for the winter photos; I miss winter in New England!! I lol’d at your ‘Joe, digging us a tunnel to the liquor store’ comment! As always, love seeing your beautiful house and kitties.

  24. Judy Ann Barrett says:

    Loved your post again this time. I had to laugh out loud when I read your line…”Joe is outside filling the bird feeders and digging us a tunnel to the liquor store!” That is putting your priorities in order! Ha ha. That would be first on my list! And that picture you drew of “The End” was absolutely gorgeous and so “exquisite”! I had to look up how to spell that word “exquisite” which means “marked by intricate and beautiful design or execution” which is exactly how you nailed it Susan! I cannot wait for “The End” to come out. Of course we all know how it all ends, but we love you and Joe and the kitties… but we cannot wait to see it all on paper “marked by intricate and beautiful design and execution” by Susan! Thank you again for another beautiful post to brighten our day. Much love from a girlfriend from Georgia,
    Judy Ann

  25. Marie C in AZ says:

    Congratulations on “The End!” Lovely snowy post…it was 88 yesterday here in Phoenix area! We love the weather but miss the snow every now and then.

    Now on to the real thing…that trip to Scotland! Oh, joy and happiness! You’ll have so much fun!

    And shock!!! I thought I was the only person in the US not watching Downton. I love Doc Martin, Sherlock, Father Brown, and and many others on PBS but just can’t seem to get with DA…but to everyone who loves it, enjoy!

  26. CarolK (cent'l NJ) says:

    I will have to keep my typing fingers off the keyboard re DA because my sister and I just had a marathon yesterday looking at the rest of Season 6. I borrowed the DVD from the library. We just couldn’t wait any longer the suspense was killing us. We laughed, we cried, we cheered, we clapped, and we drank tea. So much that we sloshed when we got off the couch to take a break. All I have to say is ~ hands down this is the best series I have ever seen in my whole life. Thank you Julian Fellows! I’ll probably re-watch every Sunday until the end again and continue reading all the girlfriend’s comments so I can see if their thoughts come close to what JF wrote. What a hoot! So happy for you that The End was in sight. Con’t (oops fingers slipped hehee) wait to have your new book in hand. In the meantime I’m reading “To Marry an English Lord” the book that inspired JF to write DA in the first place.

  27. Barb H. says:

    I will look forward to your post after you have watched the latest DA. I agree with some of the other comments that there was lot of subtle things going on in this episode. I don’t think Mary and Tom are destined to be together. They are more like brother and sister. I also don’t think the race car driver is for her either. I think it is very interesting that they have re-introduced Evelyn Napier into the mix. Did anyone else see his longing look after Mary left the dinner party? And there have been comments about how he still pines for her. I think more will happen there. So wonderful to have a show that keeps us guessing. I’m here in Mesa, Arizona as a Snowbird from Saskatchewan. It will be 84 and sunny here today, which is what we came here for, but I admit your description of the blizzard outside and the cozy fire inside makes me miss home a little bit.

    • sbranch says:

      That’s Charles Blake, right? I honestly didn’t notice! Need to pay better attention! My dad is in Cottonwood Arizona and he’s sitting out on his deck lately to enjoy the sun!

      • Mary in Phoenix says:

        So happy to hear Blogdaddy is out in the sunshine and getting his vitamin D 🙂 After the big snowstorms a few weeks ago, the temps are up in AZ and setting records! Looking forward to “perfect bunting weather” in historic Prescott on June 11th where more history will be made 🙂 Can hardly wait ♥ xoxo

  28. Muffy Myers says:

    You know Susan, if you and Joe visit Scotland, you will have to write a book about it. By the way, I am totally jealous. Scotland is the one place in the world that I need to see. Enjoy your snow, your kitties, your hubby and your coziness. =)

    • sbranch says:

      I’m definitely keeping a diary while we’re there. It all depends on what we see, a mystery!

      • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

        Even if you don’t want to do another book, we’ll still look forward to your blogs while we’re on your trip! Just like “our” trip to England, we’re right there with you❤️😊 Hugs!

        • sbranch says:

          I know, I think it’s going to be really fun to do the “travelogue” — hopefully we get lots of good reception up there!

      • Muffy Myers says:

        I cannot wait to read all about it. And, see the picture. I hope that you have a magical time.

        • sbranch says:

          I think it could be that way. I love the discovery part of things. I like not knowing too much what to expect.

          • Rhonda D. says:

            Can’t wait for “our” trip to Scotland. One of my very favorite places with one of my very favorite people. Sometimes I feel like I need to pinch myself just to see if this is really happening. Even if you don’t write a book about the trip, maybe you could do a diary, something like your book of Willards. It wouldn’t have to be fancy, just good memories for us to remember. Scotland is so full of magic, I just know it is, and I know you know it too. Exciting!

          • sbranch says:

            I know it is too. I know how the Dales made me feel, I think there will be more of that in Scotland. Can’t wait!

  29. Tara says:

    Dear Susan,
    We are lucky to live in New England where we can enjoy all four seasons! There’s nothing like hunkering down during a snow storm with a great book, a fire in the fireplace and a favorite bite to eat!
    I am also addicted to Downton Abby. Did you know Maggie Smith (love her!) has a new movie coming out on February 19th called “The Lady in the Van”? You can view the trailer on line.
    Looking forward to part 2 of your book!

  30. Melina says:

    I missed the first 3/4 of Downton myself. Folks lingered after the Superbowl (we ARE in Colorado, after all), suddenly I looked at the clock and wanted to throw everyone out on their collective ears! But I was the hostess, so I smiled, moved toward the door with firm hand on elbows, and got to watch poor Tom sobbing in the dark. I hated him so at first, but now he’s like one of my misbegotten kids. I’m watching the whole episode next Sunday right before the new one. Enjoy!

  31. Kathy G says:

    This last season of Downton is speeding along WAY too fast. Fellowes could have expanded in so many areas and continued. He must be tired!
    This is not my favorite season.

    • sbranch says:

      What’s your favorite?

      • Kathy G says:

        I’d say my favorite Downton season was #2 or #3. I loved
        the costumes worn then. And the story went slower. This season some proper manners are even missing.

        • sbranch says:

          It might be because of the times, they have changed rather radically. I can’t wait to start from the beginning. If I had a favorite time, it was the time of linen and hats.

  32. Mamey says:

    I am about ready to smack Carson!! Jeesh. Thank Goodness I don’t live in those times, I would never be able to hold my tongue..LOL…I thought Violet was a RIOT!! When she was pushing herself thru the crowd…I was cracking up…She is sooo funny!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Most of us Girls now would be accused of witchcraft and done away with long ago! Yes, Violet, it’s only HER in the room! Love her so much!

  33. Oh, Susan! Watching you paint ‘The End’ just melted my heart! ♡ We are all so very happy for you… and us!! Now you can enjoy painting the finishing touches, knowing that you will reach your goal in time. 🙂
    Enjoy the snow!
    Warm hugs,
    Dawn (in Illinois)

  34. Merci in Payson says:

    Dearest Sue,
    Not to worry, as your Joe said, nothing too exciting going on at DA. As previously mentioned above, best picture ever of Girl Kitty, so precious and so adorable! “The End” – finally, trusting I don’t turn blue holding my breath waiting for my book to arrive. Have reread “A Fine Romance”, which brought to mind the poor Scottish fellow who was disappointed you didn’t visit Scotland having spent two months in England. Also, refreshed myself with “The Fairy Tale Girl” – wow, can you write! As always, continued success!

    • sbranch says:

      He was SO adorable, that Scottish guy, he made us laugh. Thank you so much Merci. I pray you like this new one as much.

  35. Caroline Woodard says:

    Did you lose power?! What did you think? I have come to love reading your blog as much as the show! It is like sitting down with girlfriends and talking it all through:) I loved Mary’s dress she wore to dinner in London.
    Does anyone know why in the world stew meat can come out so tender one time and so chewy and hard the next?

    • sbranch says:

      We kept the power throughout! Interesting question about the stew meat, probably is the cut you get? LOVED Mary’s dress and especially that gorgeous headband. She looked beautiful!

  36. Judi says:

    I, also, record Manor of Speaking which comes on our PBS station right after the current episode of Downton. It is comprised of a panel of four people who talk about the episode of Downton that just aired. It is so funny! They, also, do a little bit of history about something mentioned in the episode.
    I tried to watch Mercy and I could not do it. I spent most of my time with my eyes covered. I am afraid I am like Doc Martin when it comes to blood. HA

  37. Carol from CT says:

    Dear Susan,
    I think it’s a riot that girlfriends write only about Downton and nobody mentions the Super Bowl, however, Lady Gaga’s performance of the National Anthem with only piano accompaniment was exemplary. Her sense of tonality and pitch was right For me the best drama is at the Abbey and on “Mercy Street” and not on the football field. I absolutely love close-up photography of animals. You have to take at least twenty shots to get one but it’s worth the effort. To preserve the facial expressions of our own pets is wonderful. Your kitty photos are always “awwwwwww”. I treasure the close-ups I’ve taken of my own ‘fur people’ too, namely Bitsy and Betsy. Congratulations on how far you’ve come with your latest book. For Susie, painting the words ‘The End’ is truly a TOUCHDOWN !!
    Love, Carol from CT … tra la

  38. Judy in Oregon says:

    I haven’t had a chance to watch Downton yet. Thought I had it set up to DVR on Sunday and was shocked to find out yesterday I didn’t have it on my machine. OOPS! Fortunately our local station broadcasts it a couple of times during the week so I have it now and will watch it today. Now that we are both retired I lose track of the days also so know how you feel. I am loving those two words “The End” and they are so beautifully done. Can’t wait to read the rest of your story

  39. Anthea Milton says:

    What lovely pictures of the snow, I am so jealous, here in WA I also have buds coming up and its driving me crazy!!! Of course I love Spring when it should come, but not when it happens in early February! We have had loads in the mountains but not the lowlands, although it did actually snow on Christmas day compelling us to sing Bing!
    Although British by birth I have yet to follow DA, but have enjoyed your rundown of the episode and the beautiful pictures, the clothes are divine, and I want something similar for my daughters wedding, not sure she would agree though!
    Enjoy your fire, the birds, the welsh rarebit (cheese on toast) and the beauty of the view.

    • sbranch says:

      I want something similar too. . . I would think she would love it! Finding those glorious fabrics that seem to glow might be the problem these days!

  40. julia walker in Cincy says:

    Hi Susan! I ordered “A Fine Romance” for a sister in CT. & am reading it before sending to her. I love it & know she will too! Question: Do you have Beatrix Potter’s journal? IF not, I’d like to send it to you. I’ve enjoyed having it & would now like it to be yours. Let me know. Julia in Cincy

  41. janejane says:

    We have snow in W. Ky. now, just not as much. Why is it that snow always looks prettier and rooms cozier at someone else’s house?
    Jack always looks like an imp and Girl Kitty is pure soul. Love them!
    As for DA, I really feel for Lady Violet. She always seems to be in a dither lately. I do hope something wonderful happens for her before the season ends. So funny that you forgot to watch!
    Pretty ‘The End’ for your book. Such a good feeling too.
    Stay warm!

    • sbranch says:

      I think that when you’re as well seasoned as Lady Violet, that its GOOD not to just sit in your rocker, but get out there and mix it up with everyone. So, I like her feistiness! She says, “It ain’t over till it’s over!” She has a reason to get dressed in the morning whether anyone else around her likes it or not!

  42. Meg A. says:

    Yay – finally a blog post I can read – and what a beautiful one. It’s been a hectic year for me so I’m only caught up on Downton thru the end of Season 4 and was afraid of those dreaded spoilers. Seasons 5 and 6 are sitting on my TV stand screaming at me: “when will you have time for us??” Hopefully in the next few weeks, I say, because I KNOW I’m missing out on so much.

  43. Jenny says:

    Congratulations on finishing your book! And I’m so glad I ate a perfectly prepared grilled cheese sandwich one minute before I read this post!

  44. Mary Beth Wallace says:

    Oh Susan, How exciting that you are planning to go to Scotland in the fall! My husband and I went there last summer for our 35th wedding anniversary. You have never seen a more beautiful place on earth. You will see shades of blue and green in the landscapes that you would swear you have never seen before in nature. Make sure you enjoy a train ride across the countryside and be sure to visit….please, please visit the Isle of Syke.! Wish I was there right now. I just walked this morning in the snow across our little farm on the plains of Ohio in my new Hunter wellies and pretended I was there!! I enjoy everything you write. Keep it up. I feel if we met over a cup of Scottish tea, we’d have a lot to talk about.

    Mary Beth

    • sbranch says:

      I cry every time Miss Potter comes on, because of the views of the Lake District. Once you’ve had a taste of such amazing beauty, it’s hard not to cry!

  45. Marilyn says:

    I always watch Downton Abbey on my computer on Monday morning. I just enjoy it more that way. I make cheese sandwiches just like that too. Yummm!

  46. Janice says:

    Hi Susan, earlier you mentioned that we only have two episodes of Downton left, but I think we still have three! …7, 8, and 9 (the Christmas special/finale). Also, does anybody know what happened to the Drews? I know they left Yew Tree Farm but after generations of the Drews working that farm, did the Crawleys provide another farm for them to go to, or were they left to their own devices?

    • sbranch says:

      A, Yay, so we have three left! That makes me so happy. And B. I don’t remember for sure, but I thought I heard they were going to another farm.

    • Wende Taylor says:

      I have wondered about the Drews too… they were too simply written off. They did such a wonderful job of loving Marigold and to have the child removed just like that by Edith, well no wonder Mrs Drew was not only devastated but totally heartbroken. Edith never really appreciated Mrs Drew for all she’d done, and then to ask them to leave the farm their family had been farming for so long?!? Good people getting the shaft is what it was.

  47. Janice says:

    I’m always behind and lost in my days. Do to panic disorder, so they say! I haven’t been able to visit my I-pad was shaddered and i just git it replace hooray. Now I can visit again. I have to back read a few. I haven’t watch downtonAbbey at all don’t have T.V at these moments. But funny thing I found a episode at a local goodwill few weeks ago. So I thought why not buy all of them jf possible to watch on the dvd player… Freat idea. You i deed have lots of snow. But inside looks very cozy Jack and Kitty are adorable as always. Grilled cheese sandwhich sounds perfect, hopefully the light s didn’t go out.. Sending love n hugs Janice

  48. Wendy Louise says:

    My favorite part of this weeks Downton was when Donk was in bed and the little boy came into his bedroom. The conversation was adorable between them. So sweet ! Made me smile so much and the part with the children in bed sleeping . I agree with Joe, it’s moving too slow!
    Hey, Paul and I went and saw “The finest Hour” and it was really good. It’s a true story and I think Joe would really love it. There is a love story besides the drama, and the love story lasted a life time. A very inspiring movie and it happened in your back yard! Gotta see it.
    So happy for you and your progress on the book, I can’t wait 😊 Love Ya, Wendy-Louise
    P.S. I had to go to the dentist to get a real crown on my one that broke UGH !😕

    • sbranch says:

      That was so cute! Donk calling him a philosopher! Darling! I had something like the same thing at the dentist last week, but he was SO good! And I’m okay, although I felt bad for him because while he was trying to work, my head was scrunching down into my neck like a turtle and he had to keep pulling it back out. It never hurts but that noise! Why do they not figure out what to do with the noise????

  49. Rosie from Illinois says:

    Just have one thing to say about Mary and the race car driver – they showed previews of a race, and I got a bad feeling… but I keep saying to myself, she already lost Matthew to a car accident, surely not! (though I suppose it would clear the way for Tom or whomever, however cruelly?) I just can’t help but worry a bit with all those ancient buggies flying so fast and so close together. Almost afraid to watch next week until I hear a recap!

  50. Terri says:

    I always watch a day late (or sometimes two) so my grandgirl and I can watch it together, even though it makes it hard sometimes to wait! But getting a little irritated with all the characters and Their irritability, this season. Except for Tom, who could practically wear a halo this year, compared to everyone else (which is strange, given his previous ‘rebel with a cause,’ attitude. He’s been so blandly, mild-mannered, I’d almost like to see him get riled up again, just to be sure it really IS Tom and not some imposter, coming back in his place…). Also, Mrs. Hughes, though she has gotten in a good zinger, here and there: “Have you found anyone to hit with that stick, yet?” And her comment about her and Mrs. Patmore having spoken “quite a bit,” regarding his requests for more cooking instruction – though I love her sense of humor – and patience!, I can’t imagine her taking it all in stride, much longer. I think Mr. Carson has some karmic come uppance, coming soon (or at least, I certainly hope so!). And I hope Mrs. Patmore gets a few words of sense and sensibility into Daisy’s head and heart soon too (telling Mrs. Patmore that the note from Mr. Mason “must have fallen into the rubbish bin” – talk about a load of rubbish!). Can’t help but feel sorry for Thomas, despite his past. I really hope he’s not being set up for a tragic ending. I’m truly hoping Mary will advocate for him more, given the similarity of his and George’s relationship to that of her’s with Carson (during that scene, I was totally picturing Carson carrying Mary on his back as a little girl). Aw, well, time will tell…Despite my irritation with everyone this season, I just don’t want to see it end. And if end, it must – I want everyone to have happy endings, even though I know the writers would probably consider that much too sappy. (Dear Writers, there is still a sizeable audience in the world who actually ENJOY happy endings!)
    And speaking of endings, congratulations on your own happy ending! That must feel great.
    Hope you guys keep your power and heat on. If all else fails, enlist those adorable kitties into lap and foot warming duty. Stay warm and safe!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m with you. Everyone pretending to be nice! Mrs. Hughes would NEVER have put up with this before she was married. Look how she was with the family about the wedding. I can’t believe she hasn’t snidely said something. But perhaps “management” is how she will handle this. I know, happy endings. It could be the name of a book “Whatever Happened to Happy Endings!”

  51. Vida Howard says:

    It is a blessing to be so entangled in something you love that you lose track of the days. Stay warm and enjoy your winter. I have a feeling you will not be sitting still much in 2016.

    • sbranch says:

      I do feel very lucky. I just wish I had 10 more hours in a day! 🙂 Course I would just fill them right up and start wishing for 10 more!

  52. Leah Brooks says:

    Every time Tom calls Mary his “sister”, I feel sad for your dream of their romance! I’m afraid Mr. Fellows has another plan in mind.

  53. Karen Dyser says:

    Well, I too missed Downton this week and was looking forward to reading your blog in order to catch up. I had a good reason for missing it. I went to the movie THE LADY IN THE VAN, starring Maggie Smith. Don’t miss it!

  54. Gloria Nugent says:

    I was surprised to catch my dove at the bird feeder fighting with a woodpecker over the food Here I thought they were so calm. Guess the bitter cold makes all creatures a little testy. I was wondering where the DA comment was early Monday. Keep warm and congrats on earning the pleasure of the those 2 last words painted so beautifully I am so excited to read it !!

  55. Happy Snow Day! Can’t wait to read the new book- stay warm xoxo

  56. Elizabeth Winterbone says:

    Ha! Joke is on me! I waited to read this post until after I had a chance to watch Downton and that didn’t happen until Tuesday night. So I missed the beautiful blizzard and crackling fire photos until now. And those lovely kitties! Doesn’t their fur always look a little different I the light reflected by snow? My dog Betsy is black and white all year until it snows, then I think she is a little black and cream. I love her all the same. Yes, I agree with Joe. Julien does seem to be stalling a bit. But I’m sure for the good of all! Stay warm, Susan. And congratulations on finishing your book!!!

  57. Genie in NC says:

    How awesome to pen the words “The End!”after tackling such a big project … saying ‘good-bye’ to a project that has become like an old friend, but also saying ‘Hello’ — with tingling anticipation — to something new and wonderful on the horizon. : ) It’s like closing the cover of a good book that you’ve finished reading, and then reaching for an inspiring new book to open and experience. Life is good. 💗

    • sbranch says:

      It is an amazing feeling. Even though there are still details to attend to, the THING, the bulk, is all there. Its almost hard to believe!

  58. Heather L. says:

    Ha ha ha!! That’s great!!! We never watch it until Monday night and so I was avoiding your blog post until we got to watch it this week — which didn’t happen to be until Tuesday! And so today I jumped on here to get your commentary and lo and behold I’ll be the one waiting!!! The snow sounds great!!! Enjoy it!

  59. Hi Susan and Joe and kits and girlfriends!
    Haha- too funny- falling into that work time-tunnel and forgetting what day it is, is something I would do. 🙂
    YAY! for another milestone passed with the painting of “The End” can’t wait to read the whole treasure in print.
    I am excited about your book tour in May and have marked my calendar to come and support you at The King’s English”!
    Downtown WAS kind of a time filler- though I didn’t like the advancement of the Mary-Charles relationship. Tom is teasing her into it. I also want to give Daisy a smack for being jealous and rude to Mrs. Patmore and Carson a big flea in his ear about the treatment of new brides. 😉

  60. Err- Henry not Charles…

  61. deborah.t.norling says:

    Love the cozy blog !…you forgetting it was Sunday…reminded me that many years ago…I went merrily through 3/4th’s of a year thinking I was 38 years old…My son overheard me telling someone that I was 38 and he said… are 39 ! ….I couldn’t believe it ..I was 39 for 3 months and then I was 40 !!

  62. Cathy Kawalek says:

    Susan, the lovely painting of the bird with one foot on the seed bowl is wonderful. One of my favorites, thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      That’s nice to hear Cathy, thank you! Actually, in the original, the whole bowl is there, but for some reason what I have here on my computer is cut off . . . but I liked him anyway.

  63. Sara says:

    Love all the photos, Susan, especially looking at–and out– your kitchen window, as well as the mourning dove, Jack & Girl Kitty, the stance of the cheeky little English robin, and the ‘O Happy Day’ girl. Girl Kitty is absolutely beautiful! How on earth did you get her to pose for you like that? It’s perfect!

    Did you know that mourning doves are monogamous? And they feed their babies crop milk? Because of my feeders, heated birdbath (because the lakes freeze), and scattering ground corn and sunflower seed on the ground, I have a pair of mourning dove who stay all winter. They nest in the huge blue spruce trees by the drive. I used to have two pair, but one of the other pair evidently died, because her/his mate spends a lot of time sitting alone on the power line. I’ll be glad when he finds a new mate this spring. There’s just something sad about a lonesome dove, don’t you think?

    Our third snow of the winter started a couple days ago and will continue through the weekend, and the temps are bone-chilling, but I don’t mind. It’s Indiana–it’s supposed to be cold and snowy in February.

    So glad things have gone well with finishing up the book. You are a trooper, Susan. Many a morning when I would awaken in the wee hours of the morning, I would breathe a prayer for you, roll over and go right back to sleep! 🙂

    Blessings to your cozy crew and most of all to you! 🙂 Sara 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Normally Girl runs from the camera, but a couple of days ago, when I took that, she just sat there like that and let me! I love that picture! Ohhh, it’s your prayers I hear in the early morning. Well, I can’t thank you enough. It is an amazing thing to be so supported the way I am through this process, and I can’t thank you Girlfriends enough. xoxo

  64. Pat Johnson says:

    YEA! “The End” never looked so good!!!! What a huge relief this must be for you. . . even though I know you enjoy creating this masterpiece! And the SNOW is amazing – oh, yes, another person from California here!! Know you are staying warm and cozy and Joe is digging the way to the liquor store! Priceless! Today was a wonderful warm day in Paso Robles – even did some work in the yard – even though I hate doing that! No doubt about it – the strangest weather ever! And I love to see the birds coming for their food – you surely do know how to take care of everyone……nice thing to do. I almost forgot to watch Downton myself. Love love love to watch that show. Keep up the good work and snuggle up by the fire…..sending hugs and rays of sunshine from San Luis Obispo County!!!

  65. Virginia says:

    My weekly Downton Abbey experience is not complete til I read your post and all the girlfriends’ comments. Am I going to miss this! Oh well, not over yet. I am planning a DA party for my friends when it’s over. Going to iron the linen-and-lace tablecloth, get out the best china w tiny pink flowers that has to be hand-washed, polish silver–it’s been years since I tackled something like this but it’s my DA tribute.

    Any many, many congratulations on finishing The Book. What a project–writing, painting, photography and all the rest. I have pre-ordered it and absolutely cannot wait. Reading it–and re-reading the others–will be compensation for missing DA. And they look so, so pretty on the shelf. I can see them from my desk.

  66. KarenP. (Wisconsin) says:

    I think Edith just keeps getting more and more beautiful with every episode. They made her so plain in the beginning but her character has grown so lovely in every way. I love her. How’s your snow today? Winter wonderland!

  67. Kathi H. says:

    Hi Susan,
    Congrats on completing your beautiful book! I can’t wait to get it!
    I would love to read all the replies, but alas, I’ll have to go back and read some everyday!
    I am a DOWNTON addict too! I try to see it 3 times each week, I have Comcast and see it 9 on Sunday, Channel 801 or 802/44, 9 on Tuesday Channel 801 0r 802/44, and Channel 217 on Thursday at 9. Just thought these times might be helpful if anyone misses it.
    Loved the coats Mary has been wearing. The one she had on when she was watching the races with Tom was a great color and style.Thank you for all your
    observations and love of DOWNTON. I so enjoy it. As one of the ladies replies said, “50 minutes never went by so fast”!

  68. irene brown says:

    Susan, I am a first time reader of your glorious blog that prompts beautiful comments by your beloved readers. In this otherwise messy world, you and your following provide some very pleasant words. Thank you. Irene

  69. Raenell says:

    You make me laugh, giggle, smile…….all those good things.
    Congratulations on finishing the book……I can’t wait for its’ arrival…so anxious for yet another good read. The stack of 3 will look so cool on the table:)
    Enjoy the snow……..while I sit here in 88 degree weather in your old stomping grounds of Southern California.
    Love, Raenell

  70. Janice says:

    Have you seen this? ? Hyacinth Bucket is obsessed with Beatrix Potter! Her opinion of the movie is interesting. And she was so happy to have a downpour while filming in the Lake District.

  71. Barbara from Wolverine Lake MI says:

    Sue, we are trying to work with a local library here in the southeast part of Michigan to make arrangements for you to add us to your book-signing tour. Hoping it works out!! I cannot find any privately owned bookstores! Had to approach a library. I have promised them I will help with all the refreshments 🙂

  72. jane says:

    I hope it’s a cozy Friday, Susan! Sounds like you’d better hunker down. Joe might want to hustle through the booze tunnel before it hits! It’s Jane the whiner and her sidekick Sue, preparing to pack our bags for the SLO trip — remember our story! Well, we are Nos. 6 and 7 in line for the Sunday book signing. Should we come now? What we really need to know is good places to stay. We have an “in” with Best Western and Executive Suites. But, the big question is should we be in SLO or Morro Bay? Will it be very difficult to get to Morro Bay that Sunday if we stay in San Luis Obispo? We love antiquing, paper and card stores, knitting shops, and eating. Also, I remember that once you did a blog from SLO and told about the fabulous fish tacos. Remember? Where is that? Very important. Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day in the freezing storm. How romantic! My husband and I are renewing our vows at church on Sunday (42 yrs.) and I’m already teary.

  73. Linda Metcalf says:

    I envy you your snow…we have only had a dusting so far this Winter. I have put out much bird seed and have enjoyed watching all the cardinals coming around. I am anxious for “our” Scotland trip. I’ve been twice and it’s beautiful AND I loved the bagpipes! You can breathe a bit now that the book is mostly finished.

    • sbranch says:

      Little breathing and then the calendars. It’s okay, I’ll work hard and then I get to stop and go visit everyone!

  74. Just have to add my best wishes to all the others, and say congratulations on reaching “The End” – wow! Better than crossing a marathon finish line! Cannot wait to read the new book, have it on order and am gleeful about the prospect of receiving it in my mailbox on some fine spring morning… a lovely thing to contemplate, on this well-below-zero evening. Love that picture of Girl, too, and her fathomless eyes. Usually when our cat Hodge looks at us like that, he is about to bat at someone’s head, but I suspect Girl is not a batter.

    • sbranch says:

      Fathomless, you are so right! The closest Girl comes to batting is when I am passing by, she will reach out to grab me, saying STOP, KISS ME!

  75. Pom Pom says:

    And now we’re all the way back to Sunday! Happy Valentine’s Day, Sue! I agree with Joe. It was sort of stall-y last week.

  76. Romy Silvester says:

    Hi Susan. I am a definite devotee of DA. I will be sad when it ends. You just get used to again every year and now it will over, this time for good.
    They better accomplish a lot in the last episodes.
    Oh, I think one of those window pane snowflake scenes would be a lovely winter framed picture. I haven’t seen those in so many years that I had forgotten they even existed. Brought me back to my childhood in Iowa. So beautiful and fairy like.
    Congrats on the new book.

  77. Pat B. says:

    Hi Susan. Yes, Mary’s dress was absolutely gorgeous. Those gloves made me want to go to the nearest thrift shop to see if I could find some! To wear where – I don’t know – ha! Loved those sunglasses too! Sooo chic. But if you blinked, you missed ’em. So I’m glad you posted a pic. Part of the reason I watch DT is to see the beautifully designed gowns/costumes. (The designers should be winning awards up the wazoo!) I’m on team Mary, but Edith has been wearing some killer outfits too. As for the guy in the bushes, could he be someone trying to get Ms. Patmore in trouble with “the law” for maybe not having a license to run a B&B?

  78. janice hearns says:

    Hi Susan – I need your help. About two years ago I was able to subscribe to UK Country Living through Amazon, but my subscription ran out and now they don’t seem to have that service any longer. Where do you go to subscribe to it?
    I lover your blog – been a Willard receiver since way back in the snail mail days.


    Janice Hearns

  79. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh, how I love seeing “the end”!! (as I’m sure you do too…) I have my book pre-ordered and cannot wait!!! We had this big snow storm on Groundhog’s day! Over a foot of snow..eeeekkkks

    (I’m so far behind, I can’t remember which Downton this was…sorry…


  80. Cindy A. says:

    I just ran across this and thought of your post. Enjoy!

  81. Laura S. says:

    That’s what DVR’s are for!! Sunday is the one day of the week that I DO know what day it is as I head out to worship. It’s the rest of the days that get jumbled for me.

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