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. Donna Kozak, Langley BC Canada says:

    Yes, I think Joe is right – Julian is stalling – and Daisy is becoming a pain !…and oh, dear, poor Barrow (how will he end up ??) Oh, well, maybe next week, we’ll have a little more excitement. In the meantime, enjoy the snow-day and your grilled cheese sandwich which looks pretty yummy to me. I think I will just have to go and make one myself !

  2. I won’t spoil the episode for you, but I just plain did not like this episode very much. Nothing made my heart beat a little faster this time. Curious about what you observe!

  3. Barbara Weaver says:

    That fantastic shawl and gown Mary wore to dinner in London! Just beautiful. Tom’s brotherly advice to her was spot on. And, then, his very wisely saying they should open the house and charge visitors to tour it! He’s the one that will keep the place going.
    And, last…
    Poor Thomas crying at the end. I’m feeling very sorry for him.

    Not a bad episode at all!

  4. TeriGrace says:

    You really didn’t miss anything too terribly exciting…. though Carson and Daisy each need a swift kick in the rump-us. And Violet too. But the old girl did have a low-blow….. Look forward to your take on it all. Been checking the computer all day. Good to know you’re only human too! Congrats on the book!

  5. Frances Fowler says:

    Omg, wonderful snow! Georgia would be shut down completely, a state of emergency declared by the governor, and not a loaf of bread nor a gallon of milk left on the shelves! Girl Kitty, like other cats I think, is unsure of the next meal if so much as half of the food left in the bowl is gone Starvation approaches Enjoy DOWNTON (Julian is having to cram everyone’s happy endings without the one or two extra seasons it could have gone). And congrats to making it to Amazon’s top spot on the New Release list — it’s well deserved!

  6. Pat says:

    I’m sure I speak for most of us when I say that we are waiting for your witty, splendid commentary before we would dare comment…waiting in anticipation!

  7. Darylene from South Dakota says:

    Dear Susan –

    I just pre-ordered MV – Isle of Dreams, and am feeing the delicious anticipation of seeing it in my mailbox this spring. Bless you for getting it to us as quickly as you are. I noticed you will be at The Kings English Book Store in Salt Lake City. It’s one of my favorite, and it’s ironic that when I lived in Salt Lake City I never knew of you. But, now, I definitely know and love you and, I’ve moved to South Dakota. But Salt Lake will always be home. I just wish I could be there and meet you. Regardless, you will be a smashing success!

  8. Diane Byrum says:

    Oh, they way Julian ties all the characters together with each little vignette. I didn’t shed one tear last night. Julian may be “stalling” but I think we’re in for a real blow up between Mary and Edith. And I’m not sure how much more of Mr. Carson’s domineering at ‘home’ Mrs. Hughes can take. I also think we’re in for a real shocker with Thomas. He may have had his nasty, evil issues in the past, but I think he’s really come to cherish his connection with the Crawleys. We’ll wait and see for several ‘blow ups.’ You’re in for a treat to see the Dowager in a ‘dither’ as you put it. Enjoy Downton and can’t wait to read your fabulous commentary.

  9. kellypea says:

    I get my days mixed up at times as well. Life is always an adventure, isn’t it? I was so happy to see this in my email just now and am living vicariously, enjoying every bit. Thank you for sharing your wonder — it’s 80 degrees here and I needed to look out someone’s winter windows. <3 ps — Hearty congrats on finishing your book! Can't wait to read it.

  10. Rae Ann R. says:

    We just finished watching Downton today! Watched the super bowl for the commercials last night…I agree with Joe~other than the dowager’s reaction and my surprise the ladies knew very little as docents in their elegant home, nothing too monumental happened. I forgot to tape Mercy Street and don’t think there is a repeat this week so could you please summarize last night’s episode if you taped it…thank you in advance. But the BEST news is the beautiful “The End” painted in this blog…it won’t be long now, will it? Can’t wait! And in the meantime, snuggle in and enjoy your snowstorm…xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      I’m not watching Mercy Street! I tried, but too many limbs were coming off, one was too many. Which commercials did you like best? You are so right, it won’t be long now!

      • KarenP (Wisconsin) says:

        I am watching Mercy Street and find that I have to turn away quite frequently!

        • sbranch says:

          I can’t handle it at all. Too bad, because I would love a historical Civil War program, but not based on the hospital because it was just too bloody awful.

          • Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

            I feel the same. Just a few minutes into the first episode was enough for me. At least now I know I’m in your good company, SB!

          • sbranch says:

            Me too, maybe 10 minutes and I was done!

          • Judy F., Orange County, CA says:

            Susan, I’m with you on Mercy Street! Way too bloody and upsetting for me. So looking forward to Season Two of Poldark!

          • sbranch says:

            Me too … I wasn’t sure one was coming.

          • Jane Franks says:

            I’m with you, too, on Mercy Street. Just too ghastly and depressing.

          • sbranch says:

            Yeah. ghastly!

          • KarenP. (Wisconsin) says:

            It really IS dark and depressing. Not sure I will continue watching but was trying to give it a good chance..just for the historical aspect and I like the compassionate dr and head nurse but after this week…..I don’t know. 🙁

          • sbranch says:

            I love history! But I need it more like the way Julian does it. Of course people are dying in the Civil War and that has to be a part of it, but must it include sawing noises?

          • Pat Mofjeld says:

            Me, too, (too bloody) but it also was too “gray”…kind of a “downer” every second. Frankly, I was disappointed… 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            I felt the same way about Outlander. SUCH a disappointment! I come from the Roy Rogers school of killing, you shoot the gun and the guy falls over. Period.

          • KarenP. (Wisconsin) says:

            Absolutely right about the ghastly, graphic content. I don’t need those images in my mind, either. Will miss DA so much!

      • Rae Ann R. says:

        My favorite commercial was the Doritos ultra sound, but the singing sheep came in second and the super bowl babies came in third…loved Lady Gaga’s Star Spangled Banner and Cold Play at half time.

      • Belinda says:

        Rae Ann….and Susan which commercial did you ladies like? I think my favorite was the sheep singing…..too cute!!

      • My favorite Super Bowl commercial was the singing sheep of course! I was thrilled with the cuteness of those lambies!

  11. Nancy says:

    Congratulations!!!! “The End”😊😊😊. Love your blizzard pictures especially the bird on the fence and kitties all snug and safe by the fire. Be warm and toasty!

  12. Katherine Schaffer says:

    Nothing monumental!1??!! There was a very special first kiss!

    • sbranch says:

      I thought it was great . . . it’s just that the week before was so shocking we don’t know how to act!

      • Diane from Poulsbo says:

        Isnt that the truth….lol! I did love this week, and was thankful when I saw Robert doing so well. I received my season 6 dvd set…and peeked ahead …all the way to the end because I simply could not help myself, but I wont give anything away. I still want to enjoy the last of DA with all the girlfriends. 😊

        • sbranch says:

          You’re a good girl not to tell us. It is SO delicious. I don’t want it to be over!

          • Diane from Poulsbo says:

            I dont want it to be over either…and boo to Mercy Street! I was hoping for another great production, but it isnt this one for me, personally. I hope we get a mini series about YOU one day soon! Xoxo

          • sbranch says:

            Yes, well at least we would have very very little blood, except for those paper cuts!

  13. Deb W says:

    Joe watched Downton without you and didn’t tell you it was on!?! I’m shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

  14. Lois Rehm says:

    Congratulations, Susan! Enjoy your well-earned respite as you and Joe enjoy cozy time together by the fire with kitties nearby.

    My husband and I watched Downton last night. He found it on the ho-hum side. Is it just me or do others find that some of the characters are getting to be irritating? For instance, Daisy’s militant attitude about the farm and her wanting to keep Mrs. Patmore at more than an arm’s length from her father-in-law; the Dowager and her tirade over the hospital; and Carson in his grumphood over Mrs. Hughes’ cooking and household management. Maybe it’s Julian’s genius in shifting support and affection so that some of it is apportioned among other characters like Barrow, who lacks a real friend and seems almost at his wit’s end in finding other employment; and Lady Edith who emerges as a more interesting and genuine person, despite the put-downs Lady Mary dishes out.

    Will be interested to hear your take on last night’s episode.


    • sbranch says:

      Isn’t Mrs. Patmore handling Daisy sweetly? I think Daisy’s just afraid of losing something, but she is a bit irritating. And Carson. Good grief! I thought the dialogue was just wonderful, laughed out loud!

      • KarenP (Wisconsin) says:

        Yes, is Carson just oblivious to how he sounds toward his new bride or what is it??!! I must say Mrs. Carson is doing a GREAT job of not flinging the plate across the room! The picture of restraint! I love her comments about it to Mrs. Patmore and Daisy! Precious! I just love her!

        • sbranch says:

          I love her too! I don’t know why she doesn’t talk back to Carson! I think I would have to explain a few things to him!

          • Linda says:

            I believe that’s coming!

          • KarenP. (Wisconsin) says:

            Must be in that culture it is just not done! We see little glimpses of her speaking out and I fear (?) that one day we will see an all out explosion!!

          • Don’t forget this is 1924! Women without property have yet to get the right to vote! Speaking up probably would never have entered the mind of a woman of her class. My theory on why everyone is so irritating is that Julian is making it easier for us (and himself) to say goodbye to these characters.

        • Jane Franks says:

          Oh, I agree. It is a wonder she hasn’t let him have it with the frying pan! Daisy is being a bit selfish, but I think she has had such a special relationship with William’s father she is afraid of losing that. I do feel sorry for Thomas and I must say for the first time I was really angry at Carson. But I think that is exactly what Julian wants us to feel. The unfairness of rejecting a person when we don’t agree with their view or lifestyle. And weren’t Edith and Mary’s clothes gorgeous! That green/aqua and gold outfit with Mary’s gold headband for the dinner party! Wow!! I’m liking Tom and Mary’s brother/sister relationship, but I’m thinking it could in the end lead to something more. Henry Talbot just doesn’t seem to have staying power to me! And what about the scene with the little boy in Robert’s bedroom! That was great . . . “more of a philosopher than a thief!” There are certainly a lot of loose ends for Julian to tie up in the next 4 episodes. Wonderful all around!

      • Judy F., Orange County, CA says:

        I’m waiting for Mrs. Hughes to hit Carson over the head with one of Mrs. Patmore’s pots!!

    • Mary says:

      I agree about Daisy’s character – so annoying! And Mr.Carson needs a bit of an education. But the dialogue is funny.

  15. Sandra James says:

    Susan I agree with Joe not to much happened on Downton last night. I have been busy going threw your book “A fine Romance” with a fine tooth comb and taking notes. My husband and I will be going back to England next June. we’ve been to England 8 times but only once in the country side. I loved your take on driving in England and couldn’t stop laughing. [ sooo true] We will be taking the Queen Mary over also. Hope it’s not to hotsy totsy ! since your going back to England and Scotland I have found a tour you might want to take it’s called Secret Cottage tours in Morton in Marsh. It’s a Cotswold tourism tour. it sounds wonderful you can google it. We will also be visiting friends while there. We met a couple on a Baltic cruise and they visited with us last year.I plan to be at your book signing in Ohio in May and looking forward to it. we live in Indiana.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s not too hotsy totsy at all! There are all kinds on that ship, some people do the whole sparkle thing, but others come and get only room service! It’s a very big ship! I loved the look of the Secret Cottage tours! See you in Ohio!

    • Charissa says:

      I loved that you said hotsy totsy:) I haven’t heard that in a while. Hope you will tell us all about your trip when you return;)

  16. rose wade says:

    I watched Downton, and I have to agree with Joe.

  17. Sheila Anderson says:

    Oh, how I miss snow! We’re having a warm winter in Texas, but I love seeing what you see outside your window. Can’t wait for your book!

  18. I missed it last night, too!!!! The Super Bowl got in the way and by the time I remembered – it was too late to record it!! *Note to Self – RECORD every episode!!! Hopefully I can watch both next week. Surely they will show last week’s once more!!

  19. Celeste says:

    At the end I felt such sympathy for Thomas who is suffering from such misperception at this point. All his smarmy deeds have caught up with him, but the attitudes toward homosexuality in those days have put the icing on the cake for some in the kitchen. Poor Thomas is caught in the societal changes but his genuine attempts to finally connect to other human beings is looked at with such suspicion….even playing with George was questioned. My heart went out to him…so lonely.

    • sbranch says:

      Mine too. I want him to have happiness. Poor thing.

    • charissa says:

      I just want to be his friend and maybe his therapist. I couldn’t stand to see him cry. And whole i know he did it to himself… no one deserves the pain he was in. I was hoping Mary might save him or Edith. He did save her from the fire. Doesn’t she need anyone at her flat?

    • Cindi says:

      I admired the script writing as I felt my heart break for Thomas, whom I’d despised ever so recently. The story has turned us, or at least me, favorably toward him, and that is a bit of irony. I want things to work out for everyone this season. I can dream, can’t I? I will miss these characters.

  20. debra sewell says:

    This was a great post. I love alllll your window pics of peaking out from a cozy glowy kitchen. My fav room in any house. Its the heartbeat.but i reallllyyy love your fireplace. Thanks

    Debra Sewell

  21. Georgeann says:

    Oh happy day! I love your snowy day pictures. Being in east Texas we have had not a flake
    Of snow this year. And I LOVE snow. Plus the fact that my husband and I chose years ago to do away with our tv….makes the talk about the series something I have to skip over. Thank
    You for making my day! Hugs from Texas.

    • sbranch says:

      Well, we will get back to what passes for normal very soon! But at least you can have snow vicariously!

  22. Gladys Marie says:

    Have simply and thoroughly enjoyed every bit of this visit with you. Placing myself by the fire; adoring the snow and birdies and kitties, imagining painting as you do; savoring the extraordinary grilled cheese. Bless you and thank you.

  23. Victoria Miller says:

    You are not alone about missing Downton Abbey last night; I did, also. And I wasn’t even finishing my book! However, I will catch up with it eventually. The snow LOOKS fabulous. Here in Southern California, it is 85 degrees out, and earlier there were some Santa Ana winds. Yesterday a small, drunken very yellow butterfly flitted and tumbled past my window. Drunk on all the sunshine, no doubt. Congratulations on being in the wrapping stages of your new book, which we are all so looking forward to! Enjoy your snow days! (I don’t miss snow AT ALL; however, I do enjoy looking a pictures of it.)

  24. Jane Corbett says:

    I think Mr. Carson is going to fall ill, which will convince him that it is time to leave work and hand the reins over to Mr. Barrow. Mrs. Carson will also retire at that time, leaving Anna to fill in for her.

  25. Betty Koger says:

    I was depending on you for your report on Doulton….we watched the Super Bowl…but it’s okay..I forgive you..will watch the rerun….nice posting…all your winter scenes..Joe’s fire..would like to join you…love to you and yours. ☃

  26. Judy J from West Warwick says:

    Oh Susan, you didn’t mess up. You were just caught in the wonderful flow of creativity.

  27. Maile Marquand says:

    I’m staying warm – it’s 86 degrees outside right now at 2:30 in the afternoon near Venice Beach CA! Too hot for me!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh dear, yes, I guess you are staying warm!

    • Judy F., Orange County, CA says:

      Maile, us too down here in south Orange County!! Didn’t we just get over an awful hot, hot summer? Everywhere else, people get winter…not us! Way too hot for February.

  28. Arline in So Cal says:

    It WAS strange after all of the Super Bowl noise to still have Downton to do after the game. I only watch the opening and halftime, but it seemed pretty good. Lada Gaga has depths, and so talented, but her eye makeup make her look like a character out of “Twilight”. Joe was very correct. Not a lot of surprises or closures, but the episode was still glorious and funnier than most, which was definitely needed after last week. Loved the family not having a clue about the artwork and history of the Abbey. Would think Mary would not like to get caught with her pants down — so to speak — with the visitors knowing more than she did. And poor Mrs. H! Carson has always been so kind and caring towards the family. He certainly is doing an about-face with his bride. He can’t eat his salmon without some nice horseradish? There is no making him happy. His crankiness is making us look with kindness toward Thomas by the last scene. But I’d like to know . . . if forward looking Edith is dressing without a maid, how the heck does she manage the endlessly changing hair styles?

    Loved the winter pictures of the birds. It’s 85 in So. Cal and the finches have gone through a whole sockful of seeds since yesterday.

    • sbranch says:

      I thought it was funnier too. Julian must be really something to sit next to at a dinner party! And Carson, he’s a bit of a stick!

  29. Jana says:

    In every ending a new beginning. What will life be like when this one goes to press? Can’t wait to read and s a v o r Isle of Dreams. I just moved to a new house, new state and have not had television since Season 6 began! I’ve read all your posts anyway to get a little glimpse. Now the season is almost over and I don’t want to watch until I am all caught up. Perhaps they will air the whole season again soon. I sure hope so. Blessings and peace and joy and love and total winter delight to you, dear Susan of the Branch! P. S. A visit to Scotland is on my dream list! Do pave the way and I’ll have fun seeing where you and Joe decide to visit.

    • sbranch says:

      When it goes to press, I have the 2017 calendars to do, and I have to prepare my first book Heart of the Home for reprint to celebrate it’s 30th year! Then we leave to go say hello to everyone! We will be happy to pave the way for you Jana!

  30. Mona in Riverbank CA says:

    It is a sunny 70 degrees here, and yet I would rather be there where you are, glued to the window watching the snowflakes fall, curled up with kitties and my favorite blanket, and buried in snow. Sorry you lost a day, but glad to see that your lovely book is almost done – it’s so exciting! Enjoy Downton Abbey; it’s still great even the next day (like good soup!). =^..^=

    • sbranch says:

      Well I just watched it, and I loved it, as usual. It was nice not to have any sort of blood bath in this one!

  31. Nancy says:

    Even though I watch Downton, I love your recaps…you always seem to read so much more into the story than I get out of it. (Maybe because I am sewing or something to keep my hands busy at the same time!). I waiting for Mrs Carson to grow a spine and tell Mr. Carson that he can make dinner from now on!

  32. Katherine M. in Austin says:

    Your snowstorm looks lovely! I believe I will stick with the 61 and sunny here in Austin, Tx. I’m not sure I could handle your cold snowy day.

    Congratulations on “The End”! I can’t wait to see the finished book. I was going to pre-order, but will now buy it in person for you to sign in Austin, at BookPeople on June 18. Wowie-zowie (that really dates me)!!!!!!!! This is so thrilling. I’ll love meeting you and the local Girlfriends. O happy day!

  33. Nancy says:

    Mr. Carson is such a prig about his meals. With a professional cook why torment your wife.?
    Mary is heading down the social ladder with the car racer while Edith is advancing with her choice of beau. Robert needs to get out of bed…an ulcer does not need bed rest. Violet is on the war path about the hospital. Anna’s baby is doing fine. A funny open house with the family realizing they do not know all about their home.

  34. Cindy Tuning says:

    Was pretty much an uneventful episode wasn’t it? I do like Henry. He’s not bad,he’s just pretty. The clothes though…Mary was exceptionally stunning last night although I didn’t care for her demeanor . Confidant but it comes off as arrogance to me. And Thomas…that’s not going to end well. I feel bad for him even with all of his past conniving . Well, I’m sure you have a lot of comments to get through and I just wanted to add my two cents. It was so comical during the house tour that they really couldn’t answer many questions about their own home. So glad you’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. The storm looks lovely !!!

    • sbranch says:

      I was thinking they might have saved all the best clothes for last! Everything was so beautiful! They took their house for granted! Isn’t that funny, and human nature!

      • Deb W says:

        I was thinking the same thing about the clothes! They really seemed to have gone all-out this season. Which made me realize…… even with all the talk of rising costs and others losing their estates, the 20’s were a pretty prosperous time….. until ‘the crash’ in 1929, then the worldwide Depression and the run-up to WWII…… yep, Julian was right to end it now, and go out on top.

  35. Penny Cooper says:

    Downtown was a bit slow last night honestly 😢. The only big deal was the Dowager being really cruel to Cora . Guess their saving up the Big Bang for the end .
    So glad to see you completed your book 👍way to go Susan 👏👏👏.
    Penny 👯

  36. Susan, this is soooo funny…thinking today was Sunday! Haven’t we all done it though? Gotten confused on a day and either skipped or missed one? Glad you get to watch DA on Monday…gift!
    Congratulations on being so close to The End as life returns to normal. Miss Emma is my “Girl Kitty”; Miss Emma is always just a tad anxious just about everything.
    Snowing heavily here but not sure about 18 inches…I’m hoping for the 1 to 3 inches weather report stated. Those grilled cheese sandwiches look wonderful; thanks for the supper idea.

  37. Judy C in NC says:

    We are definitely in the same boat, but because of the super bowl. We moved to North Carolina from Denver Colorado 12 years ago, so we were going to be happy regardless of who won and the game did not disappoint. We have our evening already set up for Downton tonight and eagerly anticipate all the goings on.

    What a wonderful feeling to be so close to completing yet another masterpiece. Congratulations. Judy C

  38. Ann Woleben says:

    Susan, the snow pictures are so beautiful. We had the rain, sleet and wind of the blizzard that blew your way. Jealous! Compared to last week’s bloody dinner party, last night’s episode was fairly calm. For me there was a mixture of laughter, tears and a bit of suspense. Edith and Mary have fallen back to their sibling rivalry. I do love Edith’s male friend and I love that she took him in to see Marigold. That darn Henry is getting on my nerves. I really, really want Tom and Mary to get together. If Mrs. Hughes doesn’t slug Mr. Carson, it will be a miracle. He just won’t let the food issue alone. I wonder how well he would prepare the food if the task fell to him. Tears for poor Barrow – constantly antagonized to “get a job” and now suspected of luring the young man to his room when in actuality he is teaching him to read. I fear for Barrow’s mental stability. Laughter at the Dowager Countess losing her position to Mary and refusing to speak to her. Even more laughter when the family tried to lead the tour of their home. They were struggling with almost every question. Imagine knowing so little about your home. Once again Tom is the straightforward thinker, realizing that in time the tours may be a necessity, especially since Mary wants to continue to live and reign at Downton. Ah, the life of the rich! The little boy who happened into Donk’s room had the right idea – who would want to live in such a huge mansion. {Personally I would like to try it!}

    • sbranch says:

      I think Carson could manage peanut butter on toast at best! I wonder about Julian and his comment, basically, about how these people knew so little about their home, how much they took it all for granted. Interesting. I think Downton is the perfect example of more is less! I would never want a house that big now matter WHAT! I can barely handle what I have. What if I had 12 servants to worry about! EEEEK!!!!

  39. Barb from Ohio says:

    I checked here several times today wondering when you’d give your weekly Downton review and it wasn’t here! But I can see how you’d forget with the way you’ve been working so hard on the book, and one day simply rolls into the next. I did see it as we aren’t into football at our house and hubby watched some old movie on the upstairs TV, but my daughter and I watched it faithfully. Wasn’t a whole lot happened but the open house, but I’ve come away feeling more sorry for Barrow than ever. I just knew they were going to make something out of the footmen spending time with Barrow when no one else really knows the reason. Hope Barrow doesn’t do anything rash, but he was quite upset at episode’s end. Beautiful pictures of all your snow! We might get some tonight but it has been an almost snowless winter for us here. I’m not too happy with Carson giving his wife so much grief about the cooking and housekeeping even. I keep waiting for her to tell him off pretty soon, if wives ever did that in those days. Have a good week, enjoy all the snow and we’ll be patiently awaiting your Downton recap whenever you can manage it.

  40. Martha Rodik says:

    How cozy your home looks with the snowfall! Kitties are so comfy cozy too. We’ve had an absent Winter here in Ohio. Very little snowfall this year. I enjoyed reading about Joe, shoveling the path for access to the liquor store. I always get excited when I see there is an email from you! Thanks for letting us into your home. Cannot wait for the book in May!

  41. Christine Morgan says:

    I thought that Mary’s outfits were over the top beautiful in last night’s episode. All of the costumes are always so wonderful but her dresses were exceptional. Can’t wait for the book!

  42. Susan Martin says:

    Downton is fine, but I’m so excited about Isle of Dreams!!! I’m off to call Kellee or Sheri and see if I pre-ordered or not! (See how excited I am – I can’t remember!) I loved The Fairy Tale Girl so much – I’ve been listening to my Beatles CDs non-stop since I finished it…love the way you tell a story, Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Susan! I think you will like this one even better, because maturity definitely helps in the way a story goes, as far as detail is concerned! xoxo

  43. Carol in Oregon says:

    First thing this morning I logged onto my computer to see what you had to say about Downton last nite. Imagine my surprise – no comments! Now I understand why.
    Your snow storm looks beautiful today! Have a good week.

  44. Erin says:

    I’m so excited that you’re coming to Woodstock, Georgia for a book signing! That’s my neck of the woEods! Hope I get a chance to say hi!

  45. pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

    Happy Chinese/Lunar New Year Susan, Joe, Kitties and girlfriends, Kung Hei Fat Choy ( pronounced kung hay fat choy), its the year of the monkey which means lots of fun and mischief ahead and loads of energy. wishing you all a new year filled with good health, lots of happiness, prosperity, and loads of fun. its sunny for once here in Oregon, its been pouring here and its nice to have the sunshine around instead, the ground got a good soaking and its soaking it all up which is very good for us. already glancing at the catalogs for the garden and pruning the rose bushes and shrubs around here, best to do it now while we have the sunshine. the view from my windows is lots of birds on the feeders and the suet feeders, and of course a good view of the barnyard crowd and all the mischief they are getting into, they are getting ready for peep season as that will soon be here and we want another busy barnyard again this spring and summer. love the grilled cheese sandwich idea, I may include a slice of meatloaf and add some soup on the side, I love soup and sandwiches. stay warm Susan, off to go fold laundry and add another load to the washer, then get supper going. have a wonderful evening everyone… Happy New Year!!! hugs…… 🙂 oops forgot tomorrow is Mardi gras, so Hapy Shrove Tuesday and let the good times roll!!! hugs…. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      You are so up to date with real life, and me only just now finding out today is Monday!

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        HAPPY MARDI GRAS everyone. Let the Good Times Roll!!! I kind of have to stay up to date with the all the chickens and ducks, and gees and turkeys around here… good practice for when they do their eggsitterin’ this spring. one has to keep track of all the hens in the nest boxes and about how long they have to go before the hatchings begin. or if we use an incubator one has to remember how many turns each egg got and how long the individual eggs have been in there. gets rather confusing to people during peep season, but I manage to keep track. and since we have a good wet and snowy winter I expect we will have an even busier barnyard this season. 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          That’s nice to hear! FUN!

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            thank you Susan. I really hope we can get those ducks busy laying eggs and hatching them out, well we will no doubt use the incubator for them. they pile in the eggs before they decide to sit on them and incubate them, so it gets rather objectionable in the henhouse when they do that…PHEWY!! but we do hope the hens will get busy and with their new nesting boxes it should be extra productive this spring and summer. would also be nice if the geese and turkeys got busy as well. we will see. will keep you posted!! hugs…. 🙂

  46. Grace says:

    DA Series 6 Episode 6 (Recaps are not easy to write but here goes):
    Lots of chages are happening at Downton Abby. The honeymoon is over. Carson can not stop picking on his new bride and pushing Barrow out the door. He needs to chill and take a large sip of the wine he tried to tempt Lord Grantham with. Barrow has quite a few bad incidents in the past but he did save Edith from the fire. Barrow deserves a little compassion and not just from the youngest Crawleys.
    Daisy should spend more time studying and less time interfering with Mrs. Patmore’s and Mr. Mason’s friendship. Mr. Mosely’s tutoring Daisy has impressed the village teacher. He encourages Mosely to be tested for a possible teaching career.
    After learning Cora has replaced her as the hospital board president, Lady Violet creates aristocratic drama at the DA Open House by calling out Cora’s lack of loyalty. This more than makes up for Cora’s, Edith’s, and Mary’s inablity to answer any questions concerning Downton Abby history, art and architecture.
    Who cares about the past when common folks can watch the upperclass fight? The open house highlight was the cute Yorkshire accented boy who sneaks into Lord G’s room and questioned the cosiness and comfort of the house.
    Edith and Bertie visited the sleeping children’s bedroom. On seeing Edith’s ward, Bertie sweetly says “God Bless Marigold”. Will Edith get a happy ending or will it be derailed by Mary’s suspicions about Edith and Marigold?
    In London a shelter from the rain provided the romantic setting for a Henry & Mary first kiss. My reaction was “Susan’s not going to be happy”.
    Is Sir Julian going to provide happy endings for everyone except poor Barrow, who is left crying in the servant’s hall? Who will teach Andy to read if Barrow goes? Will Daisy and Andy get together? Will Mrs. Hughes start being called Mrs. Carson? Will Marigold ever talk? So many unanswered plot lines and just a few more episodes to go!

  47. Mary Lawrence says:

    Some of the linescwere spot on,so funny.I will miss all the people that have become our friends.For once I felt so sorry for Barrows he can’t win.Nice or not.The clothes are wonderful as usual.I loved every moment.Mary Lawrence

  48. Rita Bright says:

    Ahh, your post is just what I needed. Pictures of beautiful snow and adorable kitties. I miss snow after growing up in Ohio and I miss kitties and pooches. I’ve always wanted to do watercolor painting and I guess that’s why I love your designs so much. The blue flowered background today is so lovely. Wish I could stencil it in my bedroom. The first book that I bought of your’s is A Fine Romance. Loved that it was written as a diary. Our last trip to England was in ’84 and I remember how beautifully romantic it was. When you watch this episode of Downton–maybe have a kleenex handy. I also hope Mr. Barrows finds happiness.

  49. Fabienne says:

    Of course loved your blog today! We are warm and windy in CA today. Okay, can you or anyone tell me why Barrows left hand is so significantly bandaged? Have seen it before but really noticed last night at end when he was crying in the chair…poor fellow. Is it a war injury or what happened? I would think Carson, the grump this season, would not be happy with bandages showing when serving at table???? Anyone have an answer? I love the series and will cry for sure on last episode. Susan, you always make the best comments…spot on perfection of each character.

    • sbranch says:

      If I remember correctly it is a war injury and I think he let himself get shot in the hand so he could come home. I heard somewhere along the line that we are not going to like everything that happens at the end of Downton, and somehow I’m afraid the sad part will be Barrow. Unless of course Mrs. Hughes KILLS Carson, which could happen. A small poisoning during dinner.

      • Cyndee Randall says:

        I have thought about both of these events! The sad Mr. Barrow, and murder!

      • Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

        LOL! Really, I suspect Mrs. Hughes will reach her limit and dump a plate of food right over Carson’s rather arrogant head.

      • Sandra James says:

        Mr. Carson can’t be poisoned because he won’t eat the food Mrs. Hughes fixes lol !

      • Julie Buck says:

        At this point, I think I’d help Mrs. Hughes get rid of the body! Mr. Carson needs to be made to understand that, in his own home, he has no staff and he is not in charge of telling his wife what to do and how to do it! I feel almost like he wants to be living back in the big house so he can be waited on by professional staff… But most of all, I think I’m worried about Thomas. I know he’s done some awful things, but he’s also in an awful predicament, and because of who he is (both sexual orientation and a general nastiness) he has absolutely no friends. How all alone he is. I’m very worried that he will kill himself. I also worry that the Dowager Countess will die in one of the later episodes. I think all this apoplexy can’t be good for her!

        • sbranch says:

          We have two episodes left. We are on pins and needles because for sure Julian could just kill someone off willy nilly, but I’m hoping he will go the Jane Austen route and let everyone live happily ever after, or at least, live. LOL on helping Mrs. Hughes get rid of the body. There are some experts at doing that residing at Downton!

          • Laura says:

            What, only two!?!

          • sbranch says:

            Yes, that’s it. 🙁

          • Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

            I am hoping Julian lets us end with a new baby, and a beautiful wedding! The clothes this season are stunning. Mary has always had lovely frocks, but now Edith has them too. That ensemble she wore on her date in London was divine. I just wish the gowns didn’t float across the screen so fast. I want to savor them!

          • sbranch says:

            Me too, lets have a slo-mo series of Downton Fashion Show! K?

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

            I think we have 3 episodes left, the 3rd being the Christmas episode. I have noticed, too, that time passes quickly sometimes. Several weeks were said to have elapsed between the last two episodes, from Robert’s surgery of the week before to his recovery in last Sunday’s. One of the times I really noticed it was when Edith talked about getting Marigold back from ( Sweden? Switzerland? Some S place! ) so she could take her back to the Drew’s farm. Next time we saw it, Marigold was there.

          • sbranch says:

            The do not let grass grow under their feet at Downton!

          • Mary S. says:

            Oh, no!!! :'(

          • sbranch says:

            Some of the Girlfriends are saying there are two more episodes, PLUS the one they call the Christmas Special. So we just watched episode six, we should now have seven, eight, and the Special! Much better, don’t you think?!

          • Jennie Lou says:

            Don’t you think Julian could make a neat package by bringing the story full circle and have the Dowager, Cora and Mary help Mrs. Hughes carry the late Mr. Carson out of Downton in the dead of night? Barrow, ever the nosy parker, leans too far over the upstairs balcony to see who’s up to what and…oops, over the side…

          • sbranch says:

            And on the way down, he grabs the hand of Denker who just happens to be nosing around where she shouldn’t be, as usual. Ties everything up into a tidy package. Although I have softened toward the evil Barrow. I feel bad for him, he cried!!!

          • Pat Mofjeld says:

            Well, I hate to tell you my guess for the future–I think Mary’s race car driver will be killed in an accident on the race track…

          • sbranch says:

            Can they kill him and have the grieving over in time for another romance to bloom so that all ends happily ever after???? These are the questions. If so, I say “go for it!” LOL

  50. viv says:

    Excited about the book being almost ready for printing and always love your photos. I feel as though I’m in the scene with you. As for Downton…what about Mr. Mosley and his new prospects? I’m cheering for him.

    • sbranch says:

      Me too, such a good man. I keep waiting for a spark with him and Baxter, but it never really happens.

  51. Mary Brehm says:

    Hi Sue Maybe today should have been your ground hog day! haha! I was thinking that maybe you lost power in the storm and couldn’t post. You poor thing, you must be pooped out. It was sweet of Joe to let you sleep. I so look forward to your posts and last week was crazy with the site being so wonky. I enjoyed Downton although it was a bit slow. I really have a soft spot for Thomas. I hope he gets to redeem himself and have a happy ending. Daisy is getting tiresome and Carson needs a pot of bangers and mash dumped on his head! Robert certainly recovered nicely after the blood bath last week.
    I am so jealous of all that snow. Sounds like such a cozy night, grilled cheese and a fire. The only thing that would make it better is a nice foot rub : )
    When I saw that post on twitter of the “the end” painting my heart skipped a beat. How exciting for you and for all of us as well. I can’t wait!
    I went to an antiques show yesterday and found a Benjamin Bunny figurine, an Emma Bridgewater cup and bowl with pretty blue hearts on it and Two Gladys Taber books for 6 Dollars! I feel like I hit the mother load! So much fun!
    Have a cozy evening

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, it has actually been groundhog day here for several months! I wake up to, “They say were young but we don’t know, won’t find out until we’re old . . .” every single morning! 🙂 I know, the site was crazy last week. It really required some expertise to get us fixed back up! Loved your Downton update! What a DEAL at the antiques show! You did hit the mother load!

    • charissa says:

      I loved hearing about your deals. I love to antique and go estate or garage saling. The thrill of the hunt;) I would definitely say you hit the jackpot. Well done xoxo

  52. Miss Jean says:

    I am so excited that you will be coming to Denver on your book tour! It’s in May so we should have wonderful weather for you. Although, we have been known to have blizzards on Mother’s Day and our last frost date is May 15th, so you never know. Either way, we’ll give you a warm Colorado welcome!

  53. Kate says:

    Susan, I am going to have to admit something that I have fought against, but I am beginning to think you are right about Tom and Mary. While I have never warmed up to her, Mary sure seems to depend a lot on Tom and wants him around all the time and she seems almost human when she is with him. So, you are right. They will be a couple by the last show looking into their future of running Downton together, arm in arm as husband and wife and I can live with that. Just so Downton is cared for properly. Congrats on getting to the end of your book. Can’t wait to read it. And looking forward to our Scotland trip together!!

  54. Robin says:

    I wonder what the birds say to each other about Jack, the cat who watches them so intently. Do they feel brave swooping in to nibble seeds while he watches from close by? Does Jack enjoy their show or is it frustrating for him? Musing on the animal world while we muse on the Downton world!

  55. Donna Klein says:

    I’ll be watching tonight as well due to Super Bowl last night. We had the high winds/blowing snow weather advisory yesterday, cold and blustery today. But celebrating my last chemo treatment today!! Feeling warm and sunny in my world 😊 Cannot wait to read your new book! I’ve been looking so toward to it since I first saw you mention your first little house a couple years ago, and so happy it’s almost here! Stay snuggled in and enjoy your day 😊 Cheers

  56. Mary Beth McGrath says:

    Share your sympathy for poor Thomas, and I am dreading a suicide as well. It reminded me of watching the original “Upstairs, Downstairs”, when James Bellamy checked into that hotel room and we sat there horrified at what we knew was going to happen!
    On a much lighter note, I am looking forward to a scene during which Mrs. Hughes dumps a bowl full of trifle or something equally gooey over Mr. Carson’s head! She has much more patience than I would.
    Here, west of the Pike, we got 7-8″ of snow from this storm, but much lighter and fluffier than the last one. Enjoyed the day making a s’more pizza with two of the grandchildren.

  57. Mary says:

    I love everything you write, you make the humdrum seem so wonderful! I love winter too much to the dismay of so many folks I know

  58. Nancy Jane says:

    I remember someone saying that you could go to PBS dot org and watch the recent episodes of Downton Abbey. Nothing monumental but very enjoyable.

  59. Abbe Richards says:

    Susan, Oh my goodness, I’ve done that so many times… thinking one day is another! This ep WAS (just imagine those caps are italicized instead:) a bit on the slower side, but I think one of my rather random faves was when/how the women had very little idea about some of the amazing pieces and architecture in their home, and the way their eyes were opened to the extra details they’d overlooked for so many years.
    Unfortunately, the hopes that Tom will eventually open his eyes to how great he and Mary would be together seems to be galloping off into the distance, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m hoping for a surprise twist to it all in the end. Regardless, your photos of your home are wonderful and heartwarming.. thank you for always bringing a little East Coast cheer into my hot Arizona home! Grats on finishing your book!

  60. Cathy says:

    We are central NH and it has just started a few flakes falling this Monday evening. I loved Downton as always I love the snappy come back from Edith to Mary and the lost little boy and Robert calling him a philosopher. And the dreamy clothing.
    We shall see how much snow we are going to get. I am off to get some sleepy tea and tuck in for the evening.

  61. Kate says:

    Oh, and Susan, I read somewhere that Julian Fellows was writing a script for a series about the Gilded Age in New York City at the turn of the century. It sounds like it might be very good. And also he is writing about the earlier days of Downton when Lord Graham was a teen-ager before he met his American wife. So, maybe we have a lot more good tv viewing ahead.

  62. Cyndee Randall says:

    I agree with Joe; Julian is “stalling.” Or maybe he has just run out of inspiration. I watched last weeks episode before the Big Story last night. It struck me that life must be very interesting when you entertain Neville CHamberlain for dinner and suddenly your husband is being whisked off in an ambulance and off you go to be by his side…wearing your tiara. Wonder if it is a common sight in England….

  63. shanna says:

    Poor Barrow, sobbing by the fire. But why was his hand bandaged? That is the question.

  64. Margie Orr says:

    Lucky you, I just looked at the radar. We might get 1-3 inches of snow. 😒 So this is the year of the monkey . I have yet to watch Downton Abbey and mercy me Mercy Street…enough blood on Downton last week to last a long time! As all your other blogs bloggers haven’t, I haven’t looked yet at Downton Abbey. Love your cozy snow pictures… the snow and miss the crystals designs on our window panes. Your pictures of the snow caked on the trees and railing is beautiful…….I am envious of your wonderland. Do you have emoji free? It’s like little pictures. I bet you could make a better app after you finish Isle of Dreams end page…have fun! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  65. Angie says:

    Loved your writing and pictures today. DA was sad at the end, but a good cliff hangar. The ‘patient’ was looking pale but is sitting up in a chair now. That was the good news. Sorry you missed it. You do have a much more in-depth perception of what is going on than most. Suicide? That one never even occurred to me. Maybe you should write scripts next? Stay warm, cozy and cuddle with a cat.

  66. Claudia Cole says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get another day for free? I love being a sleepy head. Besides, you have the most beautiful, kitty cat cozy home for a winter snowfall.
    Joe was right about the Downton episode. The most exciting part was wondering when and how the dowager Mother was going to find out she was being replaced by Cora. So now she is not speaking to her daughter-law. Oh, bother! Can you believe Carson’s constant criticism of his wife. She should just quietly say, with a smile, “If you don’t like it my dear husband, then do it yourself!” I wonder if they don’t go back to living in the servant’s wing again. Mr. Carson would really like that, I think.
    I am also wondering if Tom will end up with Mary. I like his character and I think he would be so good at managing the estate with Mary.
    Keep warm and make a snowman for the kitties.

    • sbranch says:

      We actually do have a big giant totally free day coming at the end of the month because it’s Leap Year!!!! What will we do with it?!

      • Claudia Cole says:

        I don’t know. First we need to see what the weather will be like that day and take it from there. If it is sunny and warm, I might drive to Salt Lake. If it is not so nice, a museum might be a good choice. What would you do with an extra day? Do the kitties like car rides?

        • sbranch says:

          My kitties would rather stay put at all times. Although we brought Girl from California on a 10 day driving trip and she was WONDERFUL. It was so fun to have her in the hotel with us at night. I loved it and she seemed to thrive on the constant togetherness.

  67. Stephanie C. says:

    Hi Susan! I heard on the news that Cape Cod and “the islands” were going to get a lot of snow so I couldn’t wait to see your pictures. I am so envious! I love snow and winter and we have not had much snow to speak of here in Northern Indiana.

    I am soooo excited about the new book!!!!! And your upcoming trip to England and Scotland. I love traveling through your details and pictures on your blog. Enjoy the snow, the crackling fire with Joe and kitties and the grilled cheese! Love them too!

    • sbranch says:

      We will have such a good time on this trip, I’m thrilled I can take everyone along on the blog! Lots of snow out there, can’t wait to wake up to the winter wonderland!

  68. Beth Doherty says:

    Yay! I just ordered the third book I have by you; but this time right from you. First book was a wonderful Christmas book, second is A Fine Romance, and just ordered A Fairytale Girl. I live in Florida most of the year, like now, so I really enjoyed your as its happening snow storm pictures. I’m keeping up with your Willards & blogs on my new from Christmas smart phone…and I’m getting smarter.
    Thanks for sharing your life with us fans. Beth

  69. Watching Downton Abbey last night, I kept thinking – Uh oh, Robert didn’t go to the big hospital. That means something still has to happen to change the Dowager’s mind. Violet was getting so upset last night, I wonder if she’ll end up being the one who needs the hospital…

  70. Kathleen Trepp says:

    Hello Dear Su
    Your Sunday omission is certainly well understood by me as I on a usual basis just gloss over Tuesday and almost every week am finding it is Wednesday! A dear friend often calls to announce Tuesday to me….
    I have found that by choice I usually watch ‘Downton’ on on my large computer monitor because I can sit with my nose 12″ away and can see much better the many details and can hear so very much better as I was often missing important dialogue, it has made my enjoyment of the show so very much more wonderful… know this is a great offer generously made b
    I have a small group of my own girlfriends who I write to every time there is PBS! post by you to alert them to the joy available……..they were all unaware of your great work, and the great joy you bring to me and all your girlfriends……BUT I have just announced in my little alert notice that I feel YOU must be the person to follow in Jullian’s foot steps and keep ‘Downton’ alive after this season……no one could do better than you to keep the story line alive and interesting……imagine how fun all the audience would have!!!……..Maybe
    others will join my call for your ‘election’ to be the new writer for ‘Downto

    • sbranch says:

      Wouldn’t THAT be fun! I don’t think I could ever be that charmingly acerbic which is needed to make the Dowager the fascinating person she is. But I love your faith in me! xoxo I also like you sitting with your nose 12″ from the screen. That makes perfect sense to me!

  71. Beth Bruno says:

    Hi Susan – I have been reading your Downton recaps but we do not have a TV, so a friend loaned me season one last week and I sat and watched the entire season this weekend! ( I could have done it in one sitting, but I did have to do household tasks and there was Duke basketball and the Super Bowl to watch, which required trips to a sports bar for beer and wings, since we do not have a TV). Anyway, I loved season one and can’t wait for season two. I will watch that next week. I have tried to just skim the recaps so I don’t spoil it for myself!
    I have pre-ordered the book and can’t wait for it. I know it will be wonderful. I see that you are coming to Malaprops in Asheville, but no date yet. Will it be between June 25 and 30? I can’t wait to see you there!

  72. mindy Gauthier says:

    All this snow gave us a four day weekend in RI but your pictures look so much more intense than what I saw out my windows today! So happy for you about your book. My mom, sister, daughter, and I had the pleasure of meeting you this past Fall at Titcomb’s book shop on the Cape and I am so glad you’ll be there again with your new book! We have all enjoyed Fine Romance and Fairytale Girl so much. Enjoy your new found freedom and your cozy home.

  73. Bonnie Porro says:

    As a docent myself at the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Dallas, I was astonished at what the ladies of Downton did not know about the artifacts, paintings and furnishings in their lovely home. I just had to chuckle every time one of them said “well, I really don’t know anything about that.” That was all my fellow docents and I could talk about this morning at our pre-shift meeting. Everyone of the watches Downton.
    Hope you’re keeping warm up there in MV. Haven’t been there in some years but did my nurses training in Boston and visited the islands several times. New England is so lovely in every season.
    Cannot wait for the new book to come out and hope to be seeing you in Austin.
    Jack is adorable and looks much like my little tuxedo kitty named, “Kitty.”

  74. Vita Avanesian says:

    The main reason I love Downton Abby is the exceptional attention to detail in the clothing, the set, the hair styles! the color of the walls!! Everything! They could be speaking jiberous and I would still love watching it!!

  75. Kim L says:

    I think the writers have forgotten that Cora is something of an art person (remember the affair that wasn’t). She knows more than the others. Being raised by nannies doesn’t help Mary or Edith learn about the house or their own history. Daisy is afraid of losing her only father. Her own abandoned her. Keyboard is balking can’t write more!

  76. Happy Day for you. How exciting to have the book just about done. 🙂
    I am so excited for you and for me. I have my copy pre ordered.
    xx oo
    Enjoy the snow storm.
    Love you,

  77. carmel says:

    Congratulations! “The End” looked just beautiful! The snow pictures with creatures great and small were so lovely. Thank you. I can feel Downton winding down – seems like so many story lines are heading toward some type of good or satisfying ending. I fell asleep during the last few minutes of Downton and had to go bed so I missed Mercy Street. I know many of you won’t watch it because of the hospital scenes, but my feeling is that if those brave souls could take it, so can I. At least I know these are reenactments and spared the real life horrific events that took place. I close my eyes sometimes too. What I find most difficult is the suffering of many of the characters. However, a most interesting series and it gives me another view of what happened during that era. A lot of those women were really something.

  78. Gaili Schoen says:

    Haha- there are many degrees of “done” when it comes to book writing! Congratulations on your first degree of done-ness.

    • sbranch says:

      There sure are. The done I’m at now was the deepest, but now there are so many little things. I paint the spine, and I say done, I do the corrections and I say done . . . but is it ever? Yes, sooner or later! Thank you Gaili!

  79. Patty in Michigan says:

    So jealous of all your glorious snow. Here in Michigan we haven’t had that much this winter. So strange. I would love a good foot just so we can light candles, make a fire, and maybe grilled cheese too. Your’s look so yummy! So thrilled to see you are nearing the completion of the book. Can hardly wait!!! Stay cozy! xoxoxo

  80. Kate Taylor says:

    my mother has the DVD’s and has watched to the end. The beast wont give me a single hint how things unfold! I want happy endings, with pairs, Mosley with whats her name, Andy and Daisy, Mrs Padmore with Mr Mason, Edith with the agent, and poor Thomas off to America to find better life? Really I just want to be tall and thin and have all those dresses. OMG! If I could go back and do it over I be a movie wardrobe person.

  81. Hi Susan:

    I was thinking of you today and hoping you would write a post about the blizzard you’re having on the Vineyard, so I was very happy to see your snow photos and read about your lovely fire and grilled cheese sandwiches. Your blog always makes me feel good–thank you for sending something so positive out into the world. I love snow too, and there is no better feeling in the world than being in a warm, cozy house watching a snow storm through the windows.

    Here in Boston, we got only a few inches of snow, but I enjoyed the day–made mushroom barley soup, had tea and a scone on my chaise longue, and read a really good book.

    Congratulations on finishing your book! I am so looking forward to reading it.


  82. Linda from Virginia says:

    Remember that the theme for Season 6 of Downton Abbey according to Julian Fellows is resolution. Fellows is gradually tying things up in a bow. The story so far has reflected the history of 1926 – families opening their homes to the public in order to carry on, members of service leaving their jobs for something new as Daisy, Andrew, Molesly may do. Fellows is showing us the growth of Barrow’s character in showing how good he is with George and that he is teaching Andrew to read. I doubt he will commit suicide. Fellows is more and more showing us Mary and Tom as brother and sister, but at the same time Tom is accompanying Mary to social events. It looks like he is going to join the world of car racing, but what will his personal life be?

  83. Kay Bennett says:

    Hi Susan,

    Not surprised you missed Downton with all that you are doing. So glad, though, that you recorded it and can watch it. I thought it was interesting. Loved how Maggie Smith gets so upset at everyone. She is a treasure. It seems to me that everyone is looking to their future and making plans beyond Downton. (sadly for us) Tom and Mary do spend a lot of time together. 🙂 I felt sorry for Barrow as he is trying to do the right thing for a change. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the latest episode.
    Stay warm, wish we could send you our 80 degree weather here in CA.

    (I posted this at 2:00 this afternoon but it is still in modification so am sending again,THX!)

    • sbranch says:

      There were lots of wonderful comments, it’s taking me a while to get to the bottom. I’m going to have to stop commenting myself if I ever want to get them all up!

  84. Margaret says:

    Barrows shot himself in the hand intentionally so that he could get a medical discharge, that’s why he wears the bandage. When he returned to the mansion, everyone thought he was the war hero. Then he stockpiled all sorts of much needed things from the war effort to sell on the black market but that all went bust too. A great scene with him going bonkers in the shed where he had everything stored.
    I totally understand missing a day due to writing and creativity. As I was nearing the end of writing my second dissertation, it was a Sunday evening. I couldn’t wait for the computer station to open (the days prior to internet! whew, I’m old!) on Monday. So, I computed all of my statistics for the study with a calculator that had no standard deviation function. I stayed up all night without realizing it. When the sun came up, I thought it was dinner time. I was finished so I went down to the local dine-in pub to celebrate with a beer or two or three… I could not understand why it was closed…then I realized it was 7 AM! LOL! Congratulations on your great achievement of another fantastic book! I can’t wait to read and study it. I love learning to watercolor paint from your examples. You’re such an inspiration. I love that it’s a new month, got to turn the page on my SB calendar!
    Don’t you just love how wonderful it is to watch Tom come into his own and to remind Mary that true love has no social boundaries? Mrs. Hughes is about to boil over…can’t wait to see that happen. She has always been brilliant to help Carson understand life…remember the field trip to the beach at the end of season4? He wanted to treat the staff to visiting a library or museum. And what is with Daisy? So jealous and petty, and suddenly political…I suppose she is the social guidepost for the show. Still, I’m weary of her tantrums. Mrs. Patmore is building up to set her straight though, just as she always has…remember the way she straightened Lord Grantham out about the memorial and her nephew? Great character.
    Maggie Smith is excellent. Have you ever seen a movie based upon Agatha Christie’s “Evil Under the Sun”? She is superb in that one too, as are all of the actors in that movie. Great soundtrack adapted from various hits by Cole Porter! One of those great treats of a movie.
    Enjoy your beautiful snow storm, sweet kitties, and loving hubby! We’re supposed to get a half inch of snow or ice tonight…Whoa, in Georgia that can be paralyzing…and NOT pretty. My kitty is busy running from window to window…he knows something is up.
    Take care, God bless, and congratulations!!!!! Scotland, here she comes!!!!

  85. jane says:

    Hi Susan! It’s the whiner from the Pacific NW who wrote you when you announced you weren’t coming to Seattle for book signing, remember? And you wrote back and suggested I take the train to San Luis Obispo, remember? GUESS WHAT!!!??? My friend, Sue, and I have the two BEST hubbies in the world (along with JOe) who both said, “You MUST go! And finally meet Susan, the woman of your dreams.” (I told you I’d rather meet you than the Beatles or Julie and the Queen, remember?). OH, MY! We made reservations on Sat. And are already planning for the train ride. We are going to do smash books all the way down and back, read your book, knit, and gaze out the window. We got a big bedroom compartment with a table so we have plenty of room. I googled your train ride blogs and a couple very helpful ones came up. Sue talked to the book store and we are on the list for tickets (as soon as they are printed) for the event they are hosting. What are the VERY MOST important things not to forget for the train ride? This is a dream come true. I’m thrilled for you that you finished and can now start making plans for your fun tour and the U.K. Stay cozy.

    • sbranch says:

      OH my goodness!!! That is so wonderful! You will have electricity in your train room. If you want tea in your room, you will need a small electric tea kettle (coffee is provided at 6 am every morning in each car), and we always bring a short extension cord so we can put it out of the way … bring snacks and your slippers. Wet a towel before bed and hang it in the room to keep it from getting too dry. There is a larger shower room downstairs in each sleeping car, MUCH more comfortable than the ones in the room. Sleeping on a train, when you haven’t done it before, can be troublesome. Bring your own pillow, it’s a big help. Those are the basics! I think the route you will be on is the most beautiful of all the train trips I’ve taken . . . especially up by Crater Lake. If you are on the Coast Starlight, which I’m sure you are, there is a Parlor car you will love. Thrilled for you!

  86. Deb W says:

    Just in time for your trip to Scotland…… Eilean Donan Castle posted on Facebook today that they have remodeled the nearby Loch Duich Hotel into self-catering apartments. Right up your alley! You ARE going to Eilean Donan, aren’t you? It’s right on the road to Skye…… you ARE going to Skye, aren’t you? (Can you tell I’m projecting some of my travel fantasies onto your trip?)

    During the England portion of the trip, will you be going to Highclere Castle, or have you already been?

    • sbranch says:

      Maybe, I’m not sure yet. I’m more of the little cottage type of person, but Downton definitely intrigues me. I wrote down all your suggestions for when we get around to planning our Scotland trip!

  87. charissa says:

    No DA blog… no problem. We all have done that before. And you have been working so very hard:) Congratulations on a kind of end!!! I can’t wait to get it in my hot little hands. I think others have pretty much covered the episode except for… why did O’brien keep that darn letter from that awful man? She needs to burn it, as Mr Molesly said. I guess she is not over him. It’s a shame. Oh your pictures are so beautiful. Your house looks so lovely in the snow!!! What a perfect day of DA and snow and grilled cheese and cozy kitties. A tunnel to the liquor store? I knew I liked you;) xoxo. Ps. All your birds and squirrels told me to tell you thank you for keeping g them fat. You are their favorite person in the neighborhood.

    • sbranch says:

      O’Brien definitely is a puzzle. I can’t IMAGINE what that is about. WHY would she even THINK of going to visit him?

      • Jane Franks says:

        I wondered about that, too. There has to be more to that relationship than we know. Could she have been secretly married to him, before he went bad?? (A ghastly thought!)

  88. Patti King says:

    A thunder clap and sudden down pour…then a *Kiss*! Golly! Both Mary and Edith were kissed by their beaus!
    And…. Cora “This is a secret Baxter” She should not have had to request that!
    Loved Lady Marys ric rac hat.
    The word krieky, spelling? so funny, during family dinner.
    So many spicey snappy statements. Mary….”Oh shut up!”
    Lastly, the Grantham family needs to get familiar with their family history!

  89. Elaine from MN says:

    Hi, Susan,
    I pretty much DVR everything nowadays in case I miss something (OK… so I can fast forward through commercials) … someone calls, their accent throws me for a loop and I have to hear it again, etc., but Downton Abbey is repeated Wednesday nights here so I have yet another chance to see it. So between your wonderful blog, Sunday and Wednesday nights, I can almost make it to the next Sunday night. Seeing “The End” to my next favorite book was exciting. Can’t wait for my own birthday present to arrive!
    Happy snuggling…

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Elaine!

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Elaine, we watch it a second time because we realized we miss a lot otherwise…accents are easier to understand the second time and it is fun to look at the clothing and room settings… 🙂

  90. Kelly B. says:

    Susan, congrats to you on getting to the end and yay for all of us! We’re that much closer to getting our new books; the rest of the story! I was thinking of you all on MV today when I saw on the weather channel that Vineyard Haven was expecting so much snow. It looks like heaven. Can’t think of anything better than a beautiful white storm, cozy fire, and grilled cheese, and to shae with the one you love!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s all icy this morning. Our outdoor thermometer is completely plastered in snow so I can’t tell what the temperature is.

  91. Deborah in Odessa says:

    Hi there! I guess you are getting more snow. A tunnel….lol. I love your musica choice. He is one of my all time favs. I can’t watch Mercy Street either. I rather enjoyed the slower pace last for DA ….it will pick up again. I am going to miss it. Carson needs to watch it!! His bride may set him back a bit. He needs it.Poor Barrows…..I feel sad for him….his world is changing and he should have been nicer. Congrats on finishing the new book. Calendars !! you sure are busy. We love it. Enjoy the snow ,warm fire and cheese sandwich.

  92. Debra Henderson says:

    Susan, PLEASE write another blog giving us your thoughts on Downton! I always look forward to reading them on Mondays! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I have to finish my book and get it to the printer, otherwise you know I would!!! But here I am reading everyone’s thoughts and it’s as good as when I do it!

  93. Amy Swanson Haan says:

    My cat sits on his canopied cat bed watching birds at the feeder every morning too. Looking forward to seeing you in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in May!

  94. Laurie I says:

    I have to admit I haven’t watched Downton yet from this past Sunday, but I have Season 6 on DVD so I will catch up before next Sunday.
    Your pictures are beautiful. Here in NC we haven’t had hardly any snow this winter yet.
    I have your book A Fine Romance, and love to look back on it. I’ll have to look into your latest one.
    Be warm and stay safe. Oh, and I have a 15 year old kitty named Kit-Kat. He’s mostly concerned about his next meal as well. ( :

  95. Charlene says:

    DA made me a little sleepy last night but I couldn’t miss it for the world.Costumes are glorious and I loved that they didn’t know anything about their home!! How funny is that.Can hardly wait for June 8th in Pasadena. Will have your new book by then. Congratulations on finishing. Stay warm and cost!

  96. Candice says:

    FYI to those who missed Downton and/or Mercy Street. Both shows are on PBS’s web site and each episode is available for a week or two. Very often I watch both shows on my iPad. I cannot wait for your new book!

  97. Karen from Milton, WA says:

    Congratulations Susan. I jumped up and down and clapped my hands too!

  98. Marilyn Young says:

    I was off last week and didn’t realize it was Sunday! I was furious at myself for missing Downton. I got caught up this week with both weeks but, at the critical blood happening, I got a huge cramp in the toes on my left foot and had to jump out of my chair screaming and trying to control myself until things calmed down. Who gets Charlie horses in their toes? Me!! Anyway I missed what the Master said when he was letting all that blood fly around. Oh well. Can’t believe how beautiful it is with all that snow at your place and wish I was there. I’m literally sitting in my chair with my special friend Mollee on my lap typing away.

    • sbranch says:

      I quit watching so I don’t know either. Jack has wedged his fat self between my fat self and the back of my chair. We share.

  99. Mary Frances Smith says:

    Hi Susan – and all the Girlfriends!

    Wow! Is it gorgeous at your house!! It was a beautiful SUNNY day here in the normally rainy Seattle area. We haven’t had more than 15 minutes of snowflakes in a couple of years. You are SO lucky!! I love a good snow storm.

    Love reading all the Downton recaps but I don’t remember ever hearing anyone talk about the discussion show that came on last year on our PBS channel (which isn’t on here this year) called Manor of Speaking ( . I really enjoyed it and was sad they weren’t airing it this year, but I found out it IS still being filmed and you can watch online. This is the link for their show which is about episode 6: .

    There are regulars on the show and every week they have guests, some of whom are experts in the time period or British customs and even some famous people every now and then. They all sit around and discuss what happened, which characters had the best week and who had the worst week, what they all think might happen etc. And they have phone interviews each week with someone on or connected to the show. (Last week was the woman who plays Mrs. Patmore for example.) I think they’ve been doing Manor of Speaking for 4 seasons, so the season the links refer to doesn’t correspond to the season of Downton they’re discussing. (Manor of Speaking Season 4 Episode 6 is about Downton Season 6 Episode 6.) They even have a butler (Mr. Rogers)! It’s fun. Thought you all might enjoy it too.

    Mary Frances

  100. Terri W. says:

    Congratulations on being near the end with the book! Going to order mine now. And thank you for sharing your blizzard. We rarely get them here and I’m not a huge fan of snow and cold, but your photos made me long for a snow day with snacks and throws and books and movies.

    As for Downton, I was appalled that the Granthams knew so little about their home! Quite embarrassing, I thought, although they didn’t seem to mind. I’m trying hard to feel badly for Barrow, but he’s been so terrible until recently that’s it’s very difficult. As far as all the romance, I’m going to wait and see.

    Wishing you a warm and happy week!

    • sbranch says:

      I was surprised too, but I realized they’d always had it, it was not questioned, so they took it for granted. Didn’t stop to educate themselves on their hundreds of years of family existence. Interesting! Houses, no matter how young or old, should come with a written history.

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