Rosamund: What do you think makes the English the way we are?

Violet: Opinions differ. Some say our history, but I blame the weather.


good morning

tea timeA two hour Downty means you will need a cup of tea to go with this recap of the very last episode . . . and wasn’t it wonderful!?  Run, go get your tea, I’ll wait!Spring songI had a scientific revelation during Downty last night.  I realized just how important good news is to the human psyche. ♥  Each time something wonderful happened I had a physical reaction, I could almost feel my endorphins popping, my heart warming. We need to include more of this in our daily diet.  I think we would live longer with big helpings of good news in our lives.sweetnessTwo hours of it. Thank you Julian. I could barely see through the camera because of the laughing or the tears.


Did you love the chemistry between these two? What a difference now that they are an old, committed, married couple. Oh dear, I already have a lump in my throat and this is only the first photo! But they were so sweet!IMG_6351Him wanting to find something better to do than race car driving, and her, SO supportive and sweet.IMG_6347And jokey and mooshey and cute!IMG_6353

The other thing, there must have been a hundred kisses in last night’s episode, did you notice? Everyone was kissing everyone!IMG_6222I loved her outfit here, in the beginning when he was so worried about his future.IMG_6227

And this gorgeous cocktail party on the lawn, must be cocktails before dinner because look what they are wearing. I don’t think they would do black tie for a barbecue. For that matter,  they probably wouldn’t do a barbecue.IMG_6229Where will we go for this kind of elegance in the future without Downton? Could someone please tell me? IMG_6251

I loved how Henry had become one of the family.  Mary let him just drive off with her previously reviled sister, alone across the English Countryside, under the wild sky, past the sun-splashed lamb-filled meadow to take her for her rendezvous with her lovely Aunt Rosamund for din-din at the Ritz.


In London. And despite the perched hat, how kind he was to her. Like a brother. For a moment I thought perhaps Julian would make something shocking happen between these two.  But then I thought, maybe if it was Season Two, but never here, never.


She shares with her new brother that pretty much for sure Marigold’s father, Michael Gregson, is NOT coming back. Which surprised me, because I had pretty much figured out he WAS. But no, Spinster Edith will be putting Marigold in school in London and live out her life alone forever. While Henry was fretting all the time, what would he do in the future. Note: Edith’s dress sort of goes interestingly with the drapes, circularly speaking.

IMG_6490But there was never anything to worry about, because the three best friends, young and alive in 1925, could do anything.


Making a life for themselves in a time that really, for people like them, there were no lives except taking care of huge houses. So they are the mother of invention. I would definitely drive to York to buy a car from them. Just for the conversation alone!


Henry was worried Mary might not like it, it might be beneath her.


But ARE YOU KIDDING? Heck no, she LOVES it, loves him, loves everything! And P.S. for a little frosting on the cake, she whispers to him that she is going to have a baby!!!


Could she have been any better last night? She was personally responsible for several of my endorphin pops . . . she’s visiting her “spiky” Granny when she gets an idea! Very mysterious.


And then later, when Edith shows up at the Ritz with her Aunt Rosamund . . .

IMG_6288wearing a lovely outfit with sexy arm bracelet, delicate beads, interesting filmy dress piece around her neck, which is a good thing because . . .


She discovers there’s been a set-up and that instead of her Aunt, she will be dining with Bertie, richest man in the world who recently dumped her and who has the mother we fear.

IMG_6294He declares his undying love for her and says he canNOT live without her and wants her to marry him immediately, with Marigold and all, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. With only a slight hesitation in the name of self-respect, she goes for it, and moments later . . .

IMG_6300Robert is telling Cora that they are going to Brancaster Castle to meet Bertie’s scary mother and have a party to announce the engagement. And everyone is thrilled!


And off we go . . . because wherever they go, we go!


And that dinner at the Ritz was all Lady Mary’s idea. Total redemption. And there’s that new puppy.


And there’s Edith’s new home. (Brancastor aka Alnwick Castle)


Despite the fact that the scary mother has already said that she wants her son to rebuild Brancaster as a Moral Center (frightening thing) to which Robert rolls his eyes and says the immortal word we all love to hear, “Golly.” Edith makes short work of that by telling the mother the truth about Marigold. Which the mother is not happy about and calls Edith Used Goods. Gasp.

IMG_6383But Bertie is having none of it, and will walk over his mother’s body to get to Edith. So far so good. We are proud of Bertie’s backbone.

IMG_6402But we don’t know what might happen at the announcement dinner, to which the entire world had evidently been invited, because the mother seems bound to ruin things.  (Who are these people? I always wonder if Julian’s niece is there, all the sisters and brothers of the actors, because it does look like a nice party and it would be good to get some double duty out of it).


And for instance, who are those two women? I don’t recognize them. I think maybe Julian’s entire family, and the family of his friends wanted to make history by being on the last episode of Downton Abbey.


Anyway, Robert comes to the rescue of Bertie and Edith with a whispered last minute threat to his mother, “If you want to keep your son, you better do what he wants.”


And so she bites the bullet and announces the marriage of her son to Lady Edith who then becomes the future Marchioness of Hexham.

IMG_6412It’s a done deal!!!!!  Perfection. Based on honesty, which the scary mother truly comes to respect Edith for. Well-done Edith!!!

IMG_6409And mummy is thrilled just like the rest of us.  Love the crown.

IMG_6420And more kissing occurs. And Marigold will grow up in Brancaster not in London. Hopefully Edith gets to keep her magazine, but it didn’t come up.

IMG_6323Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Carson is spilling wine and feeling bad  because he’s developed shaky hands and everyone is worried.


See? Worried.


And if they’re worried

IMG_6331We’re worried


Meanwhile the evil butler Barrow, turned child-adoring wonderful man is leaving Downton for a new position. Having been more or less shoved out the door for this entire season by Carson.


Miss Baxter kisses him goodbye and he tells her, “You believed in me before I believed in myself.”  That’s the truth! And off he goes to his new job . . .


As one of only three servants in this dead-quiet house of mirthlessness that really ought to be instantly turned into an antique store so I can go shop there immediately.

IMG_6401First thing I would buy is A. all the small lamps, B. the horse boxes, and C. the candle snuffer.  Poor Barrow. His life has just narrowed down to nothing. Talk about lonely.

And while he’s trying to adapt. . .

IMG_6304Isobel is telling Violet (in a room filled with delicate softly-worn furniture) that Lord Merton (Dickie) has a dread disease and that she is now crying all the time and wishes she had married him, but his hideous daughter-in-law Amelia, slams the door in her face, and she and his rotten son Larry seemed to have kidnapped him and won’t let her see him.

IMG_6389Violet is having none of that. Lightening flashes in her eyes. Because, “It’s good to be in love whatever age.”

IMG_6394And advises her shocked best girlfriend, let’s do what my father always said, “If reason fails, try force!”


So off they go, right making might, to break down the door to rescue Dickie, which they literally almost have to do because that woman is so nasty . . .


And Isobel tells him, get your things, you are moving in with me. And Dickie gives these creatures the house and sets himself free . . . even though he is still dying from pernicious anemia, at least, we think, his last moments will be happy.

IMG_6544So Lord Merton and Isobel get married because they are in love and need each other. But still more joy to come, because they are told by the doctor he doesn’t have pernicious anemia after all, only plain sensible handleable anemia! The regular kind!!!  Hooray! And he was smart enough to marry a nurse!


And then there is Anna, big with child that she is clearly carrying a little low, and feeling a bit achy.


And who is there to once more save the day?


Mary of course.  “Don’t be ridiculous,” she says, “I’ll give you one of my nightgowns, get into my bed.”  Carson’s reply when he hears Anna is having her baby in Lady Mary’s bedroom? “Surely not.”  He was already upset by having a pregnant ladies maid in the first place, but this, in his estimation, took the cake. Poor Carson. Nothing is going right.


But darling Henry is all aflutter when he runs to tell Bates!


And Anna and Bates have a son! Not twins, like I hoped, which would have been over the top Julian-wise, I’m sure, more American than English. I’m perfectly happy with this bouncing baby boy. More endorphins of joy.


And there they are, celebrators in chief, with the champagne for the new mummy and daddy. Aren’t they sweet?


More kissing. And their baby will be brought up in the nursery with Mary and Henry’s baby.  Could anything be better????


And all the while, women are growing in power.  Denker puts on nail polish. “Nude.” So racy.  Still a holy terror, this woman.


Mary gets a hair dryer.  Hey! I didn’t have a hair dryer like that until the 70s or something! We had a box, with a big plastic hood!  But here it is in 1925 in England!


Daisy has a love interest we’ve all hoped for for a long time, Andy. He likes her.

IMG_6312Despite her disapproval . . .


. . . and great advice from Mrs. Patmore. Daisy isn’t in to Andy at first, because, as Groucho Marx (and Mrs. Patmore) said, “She won’t belong to a club that would have her as a member.”


Until one day, she sees this, and we see the endorphins visibly racing across her face. Women love men who can fix things. It’s a common truth.


She’s “never changed her hairstyle in her whole life” but now, because of Andy, she wants to look cute at Edith’s wedding, so she borrows the hair dryer and gets the scissors and decides to take matters into her own hands.


But when we see her next we realize there’s been a problem . . .


It didn’t work out quite the way she hoped.


And Andy, not having the brains he was born with, laughs.

IMG_6531And, Anna, hairdresser to the star, takes over and fixes everything. Because there can never be too much kindness in the last episode of Downton Abbey.  IMG_6653And Andy loves it and loves her, and they go to live happily ever after on Mr. Mason’s pig farm, along with of course, Mrs. Patmore, because Mr. Mason makes it clear he wants her there. Sigh. Joy. Exploding Endorphins.

IMG_6483All the while Robert is irritated because his wife Cora has an interest that isn’t about him. He complains that she spends too much time at the “wretched” hospital.

IMG_6487But then the adorable Rose returns, a new mother herself, and wiser than ever before . . . and in the nick of time . . .


Because after her welcome-home dinner where Mary looks incredible in red


And Rose shines in pink . . .

IMG_6466And Edith sparkles in silver . . .IMG_6501Rose takes Robert to watch his wife in action at a meeting for the hospital.


And he is impressed to see her

IMG_6502being so important to so many others, and instead of being jealous anymore,


Robert realizes that not only is Cora good, kind, and beautiful with excellent taste in hats, beads, nightgowns, and glassware . . .


That she is a whole person with needs of her own and he is proud, PROUD of her, and loves her very much. Tears.


And Granny forgives Cora for taking her job . . .

IMG_6645And there is still another kiss. I mean could it get any better?


Well, yes, it is lovely when Edith thanks Mary for giving her her life back and Mary says they are blood and they have to try harder to be nicer to each other in the future. OH MY. Did you ever imagine this day would come. . . .?


 And Mary continues her streak of kindness, she won’t announce the baby until later (she whispers in the church) because she doesn’t want to steal the moment from Edith. The ultimate sacrifice has been made. It is official!


It just didn’t end. Edith was radiant in her wedding gown, the woodwork was gorgeous, and the flowers were wonderful.


Lots of guests to witness her aura of light, and her dad is so proud of her.


And she marries for love while her mother looks on sobbing from inside, like me.


She was a beautiful bride . . . his ascot is lovely. Her headband is tickety boo, too.


After Edith changes her clothes to go on her honeymoon, she says goodbye to her new mother-in-law . . .


. . . who turns out to be a doll and they kiss of course.

IMG_6619And Edith’s editor, Laura catches the bouquet, which is perfect because Tom needs a wife and he already made it clear to Laura how much he likes strong women.

IMG_6584But at the reception that is also a New Year’s Eve party, complete with toasting and a beautiful Christmas tree, Carson has a terrible time with the shaking. Something clearly must be done.

IMG_6585And who happens to be there to help out?  Our boy. The sad one who misses all his friends at Downton terribly but is resigned to his sad new life.


And the deal is made that Carson will retire, and Barrow will take over as Butler, but Carson will be in their lives forever and the two most important men at Downton Abbey shake hands and express deep gratitude to each other. This is killer.

AND THEN, just when you think you can’t take it anymore


   Mrs. Hughes begins to sing Auld Lang Syne and it echoes all over the house


And joyous Barrow pours wine for Mr. Moseley who now has his own cottage and a permanent teaching job, and I would have to say, the future MRS. Baxter Moseley . . . if he ever has the nerve to ask her.


And the singing echoes out into the snow, and across the land, “should auld acquaintance be forgot . . .”

musicAnd with that, every T is crossed, every i is dotted . . .


And just like Gone with the Wind, Downton Abbey is a story with history and characters that we will never forget. Well, done Julian Fellowes and everyone who put this wonderful thing together! We enjoyed every fragment of it!
Spring songAnd now, what can I do to take your mind off the pain? How about some new  FREE STUFF? Springtime computer wallpaper, stationery, a Mother’s Day crown, things you can print out for you and your friends? Just click there, and it’s yours! From me to you with love.DoctorOrderedIMG_6112

And remember these little darlings? The dancing cupcake toppers?


The easiest do-it-yourself project in the world?


We have them, in time for Easter, which comes early this year, on March 27th!
IMG_7058And don’t forget these wonderful Springtime Recipe Cards (you could also use them as postcards or even cocktail invitations for your next lawn party, or Easter egg hunt).


And the recipe cards would be a great gift along with our Lamb Cake Pan, perfect for Easter, Mother’s Day, Earth Day, or a new baby. See the tricky way we figured out how to keep the head on the cake? Here’s the How-To along with the RECIPE for the most delicious cake . . .

Spring songAnd here’s what is cheering me up . . .


These are what’s called “the signatures” for the new book. Like little pamphlets of 16 pages each, this is the way it looks before the book is bound.


But they are the real thing . . . Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams, in full color on the same paper that will be in the actual book . . . SO exciting . . . they did a wonderful job, all printed in the USA!

Martha's Vineyard, Isle of DreamsHere’s the way they look if I start spreading them out . . . They will ship from the printer in about 3 weeks, and you will have yours as soon as we receive them.  Kellee and Sheri are gearing up at the Studio, getting lots of extra help so you won’t wait any time at all. And all of the information is up on GoodReads.dancing chicken And here is one last thing to cheer your day. It’s a video one of our Girlfriends sent me, a darling interview with Maggie Smith I know you will love . . .


Bye for now Girlfriends. Don’t forget, a new WILLARD is coming April 19th, be sure you’re signed up because this one will be a doozy including a wonderful Giveaway I’ve been planning since last fall! By then if everything goes right, you should all have your books!

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614 Responses to BUT I BLAME THE WEATHER

  1. Bitsy Gannon says:

    You made my day!

  2. Cheryl says:

    I loved the way Downton ended so much! It was wrapped up so nicely! Great recap!
    I love seeing the book so close to being in my hands!

  3. C.Mary says:

    Hi Susan,

    I kept wondering what you were thinking, while I watched the final episode! I too thought it was a sweet ending. That being said, I did feel it was a bit rushed…not sure if it’s just because I never wanted it to end. *sniff sniff*
    Looking forward to your new book. Thank you for your wonderful blog, it always brightens the day.~CM

    • sbranch says:

      Julian was always condensing things. Someone said, I think it was Mrs. Patmore, “Three months to the wedding” and boom! Next scene, the wedding! Thank you CM! xoxo

  4. Penny Cooper says:

    It was a wonderful ending ❤️ great summary as usual ! 👏👏 I agree we all should have more good news EVERY DAY🌷🌷🌷! I loved all the sweetness & goodness of the last 2 hours .he clothing & beautiful dining tables –amazing .
    Thank you also for all the free stuff -so generous ! I will print those axorable chicks for my grandchildren’s Easter cupcakes .
    Hopefully something as elegant & fun will be produced to entertain us soon .
    Hugs 💐 Penny

    • sbranch says:

      You are welcome. Back when I sent out snail mail Willards, I always included a little something, a gift enclosure or a page of stickers or something. And I’m thrilled that I can still do that through the computer!!! All magic, all the time! 🙂

  5. Candy Charters says:

    Susan, I have simply adored your recaps of each episode of Downty this season!

    I must say, I expected to be sobbing by the end of last night’s final episode, but there was just SO MUCH HAPPINESS that I simply beamed for the entire time! (I may have misted up a time or two, but no sobbing!)

    Julian actually made us feel, at the end of the episode, that life is going to go on, in one wonderful form or another, for everyone at Downton! (And did I read somewhere that there is going to be a DA feature film, minus Maggie Smith??)

    If the film is the case, there are certainly a number of wonderful avenues to follow….Lady Mary and Henry and their two little boys (counting George, of course!) and Henry’s new partnership with Tom Branson; Bertie and Edith, a/k/a the Marquess and Marchioness of Hexham and their little Marigold (plus siblings??); Tom and Laura, with Sybbie and possible siblings; Isobel and Dickie growing older together; Anna and Bates and their little boy (++??); Mr. Mason, Mrs. Patmore, Daisy and Andy at the pig farm; Baxter and Molesley and whatever might develop there; Elsie (Mrs. H) taking care of her Charlie (Carson); and Barrow taking care of those remaining at dearest Downton – Robert, Cora, Lady Mary & Henry and all the adorable little mites inhabiting the nursery! THIS is a film I can’t WAIT to see!

  6. Troy Louise says:

    Thank you for the wonderful recap of a most wonderful finale! All I wanted was to see Edith get married, and it finally happened! Hooray. The whole show was so fun. What will we do now? I love your cupcakes with the cute little chicks. Have a happy week – we started it off with snow this morning.

  7. Faye Tresvik says:

    A wonderful final episode. What will we fill our Sunday evenings with now. I always look forward to your posts and will miss them. I am making my first trip to England in August and the tour will be making a stop in Bampton – we will visit all the familiar places of Downton. Cannot wait! Spring is coming – thank you Susan for your uplifting blog. I will await the arrival of Martha’s Vineyard next month! Faye in NH

    • sbranch says:

      You are going to have so much fun! I’m happy for you and your interesting travel plans! Yes, only a few weeks until that book is finally here. The great thing about having it printed in this country is how short a time it takes between when you turn it in and when you get it. Printing in other countries means literally months for them to get it shipped to you. Very hard for the impatient types like me!

  8. Kathleen says:

    I love your summary almost as much as watching Downton on Sunday nights. Will miss both. Thank you Susan

  9. Clairellen McLaughlin says:

    Dear Sue, your summation is perfect…it’s bringing back last night’s tears and SMILES! Did you ever find yourself smiling so broadly for so long – and you didn’t realize it until your face muscles started to ache a bit? I just knew I was totally right there at Downton with our close friends!

  10. Diane says:

    Golly gumdrops…a wonderful ending-it “hit” all the right notes. And, lovely Isobel got much more than a “squeak” from Dickie. The love bug certainly abounds in the Abbey!❤️🍾

  11. Susan Lance says:

    Thank you for the computer wallpaper! And for all your wonderful encouraging words. I love your March calendar too. “10 years? Poof!” Here is my dream come true… I have been wanting to work at Disneyland for years but thought too much time had passed but I applied and they hired me! I just started this past week!😃

  12. Tracy Jones says:

    Hi Sue,
    I watched it last night too and cried at the end…I am so sad to see it go – I could watch it forever! I think Fellows ended it well although he left a few things for us to wonder about. I think the best part for me was Bertie coming back for Edith. True love…I can only wish. xo Tracy

    • sbranch says:

      With all the kissing, I think Julian’s whole message was love, or if not that, than kindness.

  13. Judy Tracy says:

    Loved your recap! Thank you so much. I’m with you…we need more happy endings. It is a win-win with hope for all of us who need such encouragement that all of us can find happiness even if we have drought times when everything seems hopeless. Look at Isobel Crawley. So happy for her! And Edith:>)
    Love that you have shared your enthusiasm for Downton Abbey. It only adds to the joy of it all.
    As ever, Judy Tracy

  14. Linda Pintarell says:

    PERFECT…Happily Ever After…ENDING. Sequels…can think of so many ways to go…but don’t think it will happen. We can make them up in our own minds and have so much fun doing it. Perfectly summarized, Miz Susan…thank you so much. Can’t wait for your book to arrive in my mailbox…it will be such a wonderful SPRING reading.

  15. Chris Miller says:

    Dear Susan, With tears in my eyes and laughter bubbling in my throat, I came to the end of your recap of our beloved Downton Abbey. Thank you for making me laugh out loud to your narrated photos of last night’s finale. I really needed that. Your insights are spot-on and feeling the love and joy again was a gift. Love truly does conquer all and last night’s Downton was full to the brim with it. Your contributions to my emotional well-being are always immensely valued and greatly appreciated!
    Much love to you!

  16. Laura says:

    Oh I can imagine they’ll all miss their story life together…so maybe there will
    be the reunion episode when Tom gets married 💕

  17. Joann says:

    Dearest Susan,
    Before I forget, I need to tell you that I am THRILLED the books are now printed in the United States~ BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!

    OK, down to business: Downton was extraordinary!! Cadie and her husband came over and we fixed tea and snacks and fancy little desserts and enjoyed every single second of it.

    Of course, Cadie and I, both being advocates of good health, thought long and hard about that pernicious anemia, which is a B-12 deficiency. So, Julian doesn’t expand on this………….but it is VERY likely that his son and terribly wicked daughter-in-law POISONED him, because LEAD POISONING causes pernicious anemia, and when Isobel removed him from the house and loved on him…………..well, he improved!!! Yay!!

    So, they were even more wicked than just being greedy………….they were KILLERS!! Ahhhh, the subtleties of the story. Now I wonder how many more things I’ve missed in the series because I just wasn’t in the know…..

    But, yes, I was wishing for twins as well, but happy they have a boy….no name? I didn’t hear a name. Did anyone hear a name? Yes, Violet getting the last word in was fabulous….perfection!!

    What a lovely evening and what a lovely show in every way….. ah…love!
    p.s. LOVE the book coming together……..

    • sbranch says:

      I didn’t hear a name either. I have a list of questions I would love to ask Julian, IF he was crazy enough to be on Twitter, which he is not! Poisoning. Of course. That wicked wicked couple!

      • Julie H from Michigan says:

        I thought Anna said John.

      • Susan from Bainbridge Island,Wa. says:

        Anna did make the statement after Bates said that he is a father and he has a son….Anna said, yes we have a son John…maybe meaning the baby is named for his father, John. That is what I picked up, but we will never know!!! I would love to think the baby is named for his father. Bates is such a loving, kind man and has been so supportive and loving to Anna….

        • sbranch says:

          For some reason I thought his name was John too, so maybe I heard that but it didn’t totally register.

  18. Robin Ann says:

    Wasn’t it just wonderful? And look at the pictures – could any of those lovely actors’ expressions be any more perfect? Brilliant! There were moments when I dreaded something bad happen – as you said, Edith and Henry? egad! – but then I thought “no, they couldn’t, they wouldn’t” and they didn’t! And what about Mrs. Patmore and Mr. Mason? Happiness all around, I do believe! And yay! for Mr. Barrow, who’s so fine with Master George, and yay! for Mr. Carson, retiring gracefully, and yay!!! for Robert, for smoothly arriving at a happy solution! Yay for everyone!

  19. sylvia in seattle says:

    Great recap as always. I will miss all of them for sure. Tried not to sob at the view of Highclere in the snow. The existence of a hairdryer surprised me! I wonder what Carson would have had to say about it . . . Daisy’s new hairdo was cute. Here we saw the BAFTA award celebration before and after the last episode. Fun to see all the cast and crew celebrating.
    Also fun to see the signatures of your new book. Can’t wait for the whole package to arrive. It must be so thrilling for you 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Carson would be scared of it. Remember him with the typewriter? Stand back! 🙂 It is thrilling. I bit off quite a lot in the last little while, but today I finished the last of the 2017 calendars. And I only have one more project and after that I am clear sailing for the book tour and then to England. It’s a big relief and also a kind of shock. Sometimes you just don’t think you will ever get it all done!

  20. Linda Lindquist says:

    I think you may be right about all of Julian Fellowes’s relatives wanting to be in some of the scenes. Did you notice the butler at Brancaster after everyone arrived to meet Edith’s mother-in-law-to-be? He looked and sounded exactly like Alistair Bruce, Downton Abbey’s manners expert. Thanks Susan for all of your delightful commentaries on Downton Abbey! I have looked forward to them and shall miss them almost as much as I will miss the characters on Downton. Still wish you were able to make it to the Pacific NW on your book tour. Maybe next time around?

    • sbranch says:

      I thought the same thing! He was almost more aristocratic than the aristocrats!

    • Deb W says:

      That WAS Alistaire Bruce as the butler! They snuck him in an earlier episode too. The one where Rose is ‘presented’ at Court. He played the official that announced each girl as she was presented. Those are the two that I know of. I wonder if he did any other cameos on the show?

      • Sharrie says:

        May I recommend “They Also Serve: The Real Life Story of a Lifetime in Service as a Butler (Lives of Servants)” by Bob Sharpe. There is a series of books, told from the servant’s point-of-view, and is very insightful.

        Bob Sharpe worked in several houses and was a butler. He said butlers were prized for their aloofness and snootiness in the house. So the snootier, the better. It explains Carson’s demeanor, definitely!

        The books on the Cook and the Housemaid are very eye-opening. Just think if you were in charge of washing the dishes and dishsoap didn’t exist! Hard to imagine in this day and age. Ouch!

        • sbranch says:

          I’m sure it was hard, but at the same time, if they had an interesting family, it might have been an interesting job as long as you got to get around the house a bit.

  21. winnie Nielsen says:

    I have been checking off and on today to see your recap. Waaaaaaa, it’s over!!!!! Wasn’t it just the best? I was relishing every last moment and hoping for so many good endings which did come. In the link from today’s New York times, there is an interview with Jullian Fellows awhile back about the final season. At the end of the link, there was a question posed to him if this was the end and he said he sort of left it all open on purpose because he might want to show what it was like for Mary to be involved in farming and things like that. It gave me hope that perhaps this is not the last of the Downton story and that perhaps there might be more.

    Besides Edith’s beautiful wedding and new life ahead, I still felt unsettled about Branson. We assume he will be going for Edith’s editor but Julian did not give us anything but a hint that it might be an answer. And Barrow? What sort of life does he really end up having as the new Butler? And George, Cybbie, and Marigold? Plus a new child with Henry? What happens to these children? And did Ms. Patmore and Mr. Mason connect together more than as friends? Not everyone got a sweet and nicely wrapped up ending last night.

    I loved this series so much and now I must purchase the DVDs so that I can watch it over again from the beginning. Like a good wine, I think it gets better and better each time I see it because there are always details I missed.

    THANKFULLY, your new book is getting closer and closer to being in our hands. I can’t wait! And we have Easter and Spring upon us too which is always uplifting. But, I will miss Downton Abby!

    • sbranch says:

      It was the Best! Julian must feel very strong pressure from the entire world to go on. It took guts for him to stop. But I’m sure he almost feels guilty for doing it! I know, questions. Probably the reason you can’t find Julian on Twitter, people would be asking questions all day! Don’t forget the nasty Grey family, what happened to them?

      • KarenP. (Wisconsin) says:

        The nasty Grey family lived miserably- ever-after in the house they wanted but cut off from a loving father and stepmother. Horrid, wretched people!!

  22. Debbie Dority says:

    I watched this morning, with tea in hand, but no hanky, so weepy and happy during the entire time. And quite shocked at how MUCH I cried when Lord Grantham asked Barrow to be head butler and figured how to keep Carson too. Alone in house so no shame in wiping nose and eyes on my tee shirt. I know, sorry, probably TMI but there it is. Thank you, Mr. Julian, for the best ending ever! Thank you, Miss Susan, for best summing up ever!

  23. Stephanie says:

    Thank you so much for your wonderful Downton episode reviews – charming, entertaining, touching and just lots of fun! I looked forward to Mondays to see “what Susan Branch thought of the episode.” I’ll miss your reviews as much as I will miss Downton! Looking forward to receiving my book soon!

  24. Debbie says:

    The last episode of Downton was perfect! I was in tears at the end, and that was bad because I have a cold, but they were tears of joy…I just love happy endings

  25. Martha Rodik says:

    Absolutely love the cupcake toppers! Thanks so much! So cheerful. Crocuses are blooming, tulips & daffodils are peeking, birds are chirping in the mornings . . . Spring is Coming!

  26. Sandy Bloomer says:

    Dear Susan:

    My daughter Katherine and I had tea with homemade scones, or as the Brits pronounce them Scuns 🙂

  27. Gail Golden says:

    Oh, how I love happy endings!!! I laughed, cried, cheered, clapped and felt like all is well on the earth! I could just kiss Julian for this wonderful end to the series. I’m happy, happy, happy. Until I remember it’s over….but I can watch it over ad over again to my heart’s content, once I buy the series. I will enjoy it even more because I know it has such a happy ending and everything will be okay! I think the reason I loved the ending so much is that I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s when we had happy tv shows and movies. I think Julian did, too, so bless his heart for making us happy. I hope there is a movie! And I tell you, I would go to a museum to see all the beautiful clothes up close. Looking forward to your book, Willard, and the giveaways.
    Blessings to y’all,

  28. Deborah Hatt says:

    I wept so many tears while watching this final episode of Downton, I looked like a puffy faced dowager myself by the time it was ended! I was so happy for every one of the characters! How delightful!
    And may I say, dear Susan, I “discovered” you, for who you are that is, last August. It was during a stressful and sad time, as my 86 yr. old daddy was in hospice care, I read “A Fine Romance.” It was, along with my Bible, a great source of sweetness, and comfort, as my mom and I sat at dad’s bedside for 11-13 hours every day (other family members sat with him all night). It was after I started reading it, I realized the author was the same person who painted my favorite calendars every year. I LOVED the book – the art work, as well as the narrative, which made me laugh out loud in places.
    Ever since those days last August and September (Dad went to heaven Sept. 17), I have been reading your blog, looking for more of your art/cookbooks, and writing in my “Book of Days” (I bought used copy from Amazon – in very good shape, I might add). I will forever remember “A Fine Romance” with great fondness and heart-felt tenderness – associating it with those blessed, sweet, and gentle weeks when Dad prepared to meet our Lord. I come from a large family, and am the oldest, like you. Those three weeks at hospice were precious, a true Gift, with all of us gathered, sitting with Dad, being together at the beautiful hospice facility, and walking in the lovely gardens on the grounds — it was a remarkable and unforgettable time in all our lives. I would share some of the funny scenes from “A Fine Romance” and we would all have a chuckle (I especially recall your story about your husband driving through the round-a-bouts and driving on the other side of the road – the dialogue was priceless!). So, thank you, dear Susan, for helping us all, through a stressful time, with your humor, sweetness, and gentle and heart-felt artwork. God Bless You!

    • sbranch says:

      Well, you make me cry Deborah, I feel honored. Thank you for your kind words. I’m so sorry about your dad, but it sounds like you did everything as right as it could possibly be. Hospice is a miracle wherever it is and the people who work there are amazing. Sending love xoxo and Thank you!

    • Charissa says:

      I am so sorry for your loss, but happy to know you felt that you received a true Gift. Glad Susan’s book helped too. Thinking of you xoxo

  29. Cindy Stierhoff says:

    I just knew you would sum up the beautiful ending last night of Downton Abbey into a perfect package, well done Susan. I too thought making people happy generated a very physical reaction in me. All alone in the night as I watched, I clapped, laughed and cried with joy. Hopefully we will see all these wonderful actors again sometime in a new adventure.


    • sbranch says:

      I think that’s why nurses and teachers do what they do, despite the hardships they face doing it.

      • Cindy Stierhoff says:

        I went back this morning to reread your update and saw the intro ….Rosamund..do you remember the artist Rosamond? She was a watercolorist that painted the most beautiful women. She had a gallery in Northridge, 70’s, and that is where I would visit her and all her beautiful paintings. She became quite popular.

        • sbranch says:

          I’d moved away from the Valley by then, so I think I missed her!

          • Cindy Stierhoff says:

            Well she was actually from Northern Ca, Christine Rosamond…..last placed she lived was Carmel, Ca. You were already gone from that area too, early 90’s. Look up her work….think you would really like it. Soft watercolors like you, different style ofcourse.

  30. Arden says:

    Susan: you will have to watch this last episode again because I’m sure you didn’t enjoy as much as you should have, taking all those photos of each scene! I can’t wait to watch it again. Thanks for your charming commentary! Lovely….

    • sbranch says:

      I have all six episodes on disk, which I have never watched, but now I will! Thank you back Arden!

  31. Carolyn Fitzgerald Rodgers says:

    Ahhhhh! Do you remember the tender talk Violet had with Mary in a recent episode, when Mary was crying her (cold-but-warming) heart out? All about Love.
    And Violet’s comment to Isobel in the final one: “It’s good to be in love, whatever the age.”
    Then there’s this: Has there been any conversation in any of the extra Downton Abbey material, about the theme music for the series? Not in my hearing. However, it has a name, “Did I Make the Most of Loving You?” and various renditions of it can be found on numerous websites on the internet. Memorable! Now, there’s a piece of music you won’t want to get out of your head . . . It haunts, in the best way, and may console us as we grieve.

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, ” as we grieve.” And so it is. Yes, the music is wonderful, we’ll never forget it.

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

      Thank you for sharing that, Carolyn! I ran straight to YouTube to hear the song with lyrics. It’s very pretty!

  32. Kay Bennett says:

    Oh yes, Susan, the final Downton was rich with all emotions. Your recap was wonderful to experience it one more time. I love the interviews Maggie Smith gives. It’s amazing to me that she hasn’t watched any of the episodes, but says they gave her a boxed set. She can be so witty. It truly was a roller coaster of tears and joy. What a wonderful way to finish out the series. I was especially glad to see Barrow return to Downton. His character really changed as the story moved toward the end. Thank you for inserting the link to Alnwick Castle. I am looking forward to visiting it when I visit England next year. My Daughter and I will follow your visit this year with great interest and hope to get some traveling ideas. Than you so much for including us all in your trips to wonderful England!!

    • sbranch says:

      It makes it so much for fun for us too Kay. By the way, was there a garden at Highclere? So many of the large houses have these massive gardens, but I don’t remember anything like that at Downton, only beautiful open meadows.

      • Kay Bennett says:

        Yes Susan, there are gardens at Highclere. There’s the Monk garden where there are several fruit trees, the white boarder garden and the Secret garden. They all have beautiful flowers and climbing roses. Unfortunately we were there in Sept.. and most of the flowers were not blooming. We’re going in the Spring next year to enjoy more flowers. Regardless, the grounds are so beautiful anytime.

  33. Trudy says:

    Thanks for telling the last episode of Downton in your way.
    In Holland the last episode was in december with Christmas.
    But I have good news for you! Julian Fellowes has made a new story with 3 or 4 episodes. Last sunday was the first episode on the English television but I forgot to watch!!! So I cannot tell what is happening but I know it is again in the 1930-40 style.
    Do hope it will allso come to USA.
    How wonderfull your book is almost ready!
    Greetings,Trudy from the Netherlands

  34. Oh-My-Goodness…Golly! I cried like a baby at the end. I knew I would. Loved, loved, loved this show. There is certainly nothing else like it.

    • sbranch says:

      No, there really hasn’t ever been. I don’t think he could possibly have known how much we would have loved it.

  35. Carol D. in Sierra Madre, CA says:

    Dear Susan,
    You caught so much of the same little points of Downty that I did last night! Violet’s quote at the top of your post. Last night I laughed and repeated it for Michael! The beautiful Christmas tree (I’m a sucker for anything Christmas), the tiaras, the puppy (who grew quite a bit by the wedding), those clouds, and of course the entire end to the story along with all of the magnificent costuming! I’ve loved your recaps of each week. It always cleared a few things up for me (because sometimes I couldn’t decipher the “British” english as quickly as I needed to!) I’m going to miss that on your blog! But you always have so many fun things to tell us other than that I’m sure I’ll get over it in no time! Have a wonderful day! Say “Hi” to Joe for us!

  36. Ach!, the tears are rolling, just as they were last night. And I’m just getting over a cold, so I will be snorky for the rest of the day. It’s ok though, it’s all worth it. It was a full-English happily-ever-after and more than made up for the heart wrench of the losses along the way. I just send Julian Fellowes my everlasting love and appreciation because isn’t that what life is about- having the ones you love find happiness and love and become showered with kisses? It’s the point of life- all that love. I reveled in having all the ends woven into a beautiful, life-affirming tapestry. SO lovely and delightful- I guess I am still full of those endorphins too. 🙂
    Thanks to you for all the wonderful wrap-ups and the dishing over the details- it made it exponentially more fun. <3 Let's pull out the hats and the gloves and plan a tea -just to savor the fun a bit longer. Those cupcake toppers are just the thing and I will try the lamb neck reinforcement tip too. Getting my pan out now!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I’m not even getting over a cold and I’ve been snorky all day too! xoxo

      • Lawls!

        BTW I sent a pic of some lovely gloves to you on Pinterest. I don’t know whether it will show up for you since your pinner name is not just your name but I tagged you with them on my “Cool Togs” board. So cute!- they made me think of you. 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          I need to relearn Pinterest. I think I have it figured out and then some part of my computer world falls apart and I have to start all over! I like that you thought of me Gabi! Thank you!

  37. Having known the end of Downton for weeks and weeks, I couldn’t wait until you saw it! It was perfect. I mowed through a lot of tissues myself. I loved reliving it through your excited recap!

    • sbranch says:

      You were a good girl not to spill the beans, and it must have been hard! It was so worth it for me, I’ve really thought about it all day!

  38. Caroline Woodard says:

    Thank you Susan because your blog and your new book coming out made the end more bearable. I think Larry Grey and his mean wife were poisoning Dickie!!!.. another hour and The Greys would have been arrested! A beautiful and heart swelling finale. I heard today that Julian Fellows will make a series about New Port and the mansions as his next project; maybe we will see Rose! Thank you for all your wonderful recapping. You made it all even more fun!

    • sbranch says:

      I hope he really does the Newport thing . . . I keep hearing about it, but I’m still not sure. It would really be fun for us.

  39. Melissa says:

    I always love your recaps, Susan! I was so sad to see Downton end but what an ending it gave all of its fans. I have to say, I would have been very disappointed if Edith had not gotten her happy ending. In earlier seasons and episodes she could be a real pill, but who could blame her – middle child and all. I nearly died when Sir Anthony left her at the altar! Thank goodness, Julian gave her a redemptive finish and she was so lovely in her wedding dress. I think the Downton folks should do a book on the clothes – I love the clothes, hats, day and evening wear! The whole final episode was a redemptive and happy ending – and yes, we need more happy endings to be sure. Speaking of happy endings, I can’t wait until your new book comes out! I keep rereading parts of “A Fine Romance” and “Fairy Tale Girl.” Thank you so much for sharing so much of yourself with all of us. Bless you! Happy almost spring!

    • sbranch says:

      I write about the connection I feel to you all in the new book . . . I think it would be the same for any of us! Me too, with Edith, and Mary too. I just wanted everyone to be happy and I love Julian for giving us that.

  40. Jane S. In PA says:

    Thank you for the wonderful Downton recap. It’s nice we can all share in this together and review the lovely bits of the show. I think your books are continuing that charming English connection for us, too. Something to savor. Thank you.

  41. Cyndi in NC says:

    The three of us, my husband, daughter and me, all sat and savored every minute of the last, BOO HOO, of Downton. There were tears and laughter and a little sadness that we would not share in that world anymore. That is until I buy the whole set. *L* Husband and I have been watching the series on Amazon trying to catch him up. Every now and then a fact from the past came up and he would say hey I haven’t seen that yet! Poor dear, there are so many things he has to learn yet. I have no problem with ending on happy notes for all. Wrapped up tightly with a lovely bow! I am ordering several books so I can read about the manners and way things were done. Also all about tea time with recipes!! Yummy little cakes and things. YUM! Anyway, we’ll just have to wait for the next England trip and all the fun we’ll have with you and Joe and Petey!!! Fun, fun, fun thanks goodness! Then the book. So see there is always something to look forward to. *S* Also we can always look forward to your next blog or Willard let alone a new book. I have faith that you will come up with many more wonderful books. Hugs gal!

    • sbranch says:

      I think we are going to love the trip across the sea, England and Scotland, and you’ll all come and we are even better friends than we were the first time, so it will be even more fun!

  42. Kathy Hughes says:

    I love “happily ever after” just like a fairy tale. The last episode was no exception—-absolutely perfect. Congratulations on your most excellent Downty blog!
    Happy Almost Spring!

  43. freda says:

    Sweet Susan,I just knew you were going to use the blame it on the weather line. I laughed when she said it because my family is of English ancestry and we blame everything on the weather. Who knew so sad to see it end but everything turned out right. I will miss your recaps and the girlfriends comments, maybe we can all agree to watch something else and discuss it here. Sounds like a book club huh? Enjoy your day.

    • sbranch says:

      But what? It would have to be something that grabs everyone . . . we’ll see what happens, maybe something will show up. Have to watch a few episodes of something before you know you want to keep watching.

  44. Ruth Winkler says:

    Susan, You left out one kiss. My favorite. The one the Lord of the Manor gave on the forehead of his new puppy as he left the Abbey with his wife to meet Edith’s mother in law before the engagement announcement. So precious.

  45. Chris Wells From Knickerbocker, W. TX says:

    As much as I was dreading the end of this series, I must say the last episode left me completely and utterly satisfied. Like when you read a good book and get to the last sentence and you just smile and close the book! Everyone was so happy, and that after all, is all that we wanted for our fictional family…..happiness! And I loved that the Crawley family was changing with the times, even if it was hard on Carson!
    And the castle where Lady Edith will be living with Bertie…..holy cow!!! It sure made Highcleere look ordinary!!
    I have decided to go back to the very beginning, and every Sunday watch an episode. Since I have only been watching for a little over 4 years I have missed enough to make it fun and there won’t be a hole in my Sunday evenings!
    What I will miss is your commentary! It makes me laugh.
    Loved that THE BOOK is so close to shipping! Can’t wait!
    Love ya!

    • sbranch says:

      Love you back Chris… we’re going to the Learned Owl again, and I think that’s where we met you and your family.

      • Chris Wells From Knickerbocker, W. TX says:

        Yes!! It will be Austin this year!! I am looking forward to it. The date is circled on my Susan Branch calendar! 🙂

    • Deborah in Odessa says:

      Hi Chris. I like your post.I love the Sunday watching idea. I think I shall do that this fall and winter. I hope to see you in June….unless I can’t make it. So far my plans are looking good. My friends and I are so eager.

      • Chris Wells From Knickerbocker, W. TX says:

        Oh Deborah, I hope your plans don’t fall through! I am hoping to meet you! If not, the next time I am in Odessa (the company I work for has an office and warehouse there), but that is practically never; we must meet for tea! Or you can venture to San Angelo!
        Crossing my fingers for your trip!

  46. Barbara says:

    Dear Susan,
    I, too, have known the ending for weeks and weeks (since I now own the DVDs of all six seasons). But reliving the episodes through your most delightful, insightful, and witty summaries is almost better than watching.
    I am so happy you do this for us all (and, I’m sure, for yourself as well since the love shines through so clearly).
    I am counting the days until the next book. And the one after that about your upcoming return to England!
    Thank you for everything you do.

  47. Debbie S., IL says:

    Susan, I’m one of the few people (I have no explanation!) who really didn’t start watching Downton until this last season. I have loved every minute of it, as well as all your recaps! My daughter, who has watched from the beginning, is so sad it is over but I told her I get to look forward now to going back and watching from the beginning and she can go back with me! That’s the beauty of these things, they are there for us to enjoy forever. So very excited for your new book!

  48. Kathy Phenix says:

    It was a beautiful ending but I wish they had used the full 2 hrs. I was out of breath by the time we raced through so many momentous occasions. So happy for everyone though. I can’t think of another show with such memorable characters. beautiful settings and costumes. I will miss it terribly.

  49. Marianne in Mo. says:

    Wonderful job on the recap! I only wish last nights’ show could have been three hours, as it seemed a bit fast-paced for me! I would have enjoyed a bit more of the changes in everyones’ lives. So sad it has come to an end. I wonder if Indian Summers will be returning? Have you watched that? I caught it by accident, as my dvr doesn’t distinguish the different Masterpiece programs. It was rather good, though sometimes hard to watch the barbaric acts of those times.

    • sbranch says:

      I have to watch it again. I did watch Indian Summers. Very interesting, historical, and visually wonderful. Yes, man’s inhumanity to man is sometimes a bit much.

  50. Jules says:

    I do believe you are correct in saying that we would live longer if we had big helpings of good news. Your blog is certainly a source of good news in a world that focuses so heavily on the bad. I’m a bit of a late bloomer and just started reading “The Fairy Tale Girl”. I can already tell you that I’m glad you ended up with the man that you have. And not that I’m glad you’ve had your share of heartache but your experiences have made you into the lovely person that you are. You know, sort of like how a beautiful butterfly has transformed from a caterpillar.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh thank you Jules . . . it’s a story so many of us have had to deal with . . . I don’t feel alone! And thank you . . . It all ended up just the way it was meant to be. xoxo

  51. Christine from CA says:

    What a wonderful complete review of Downton! I will so miss it! My two favorites were the beautiful picture of the Abbey in snow! reminds me of a great gingerbread house sprinkled with powdered sugar! Then when the Dowager talks about why the English are the way they are! The Weather!! Loved it all. Thanks to Julian for Happily ever after! Sigh!!!

  52. mary cunningham says:

    A wonderful synopsis of the different segments of Downton (~.~)Thank you

  53. Jann says:

    Hello Susan,

    Loved your view of Downtown, so nice to see it again.
    Just wondered if you have already heard of the living museum called Beamish, it’s in the North East of England.
    In the scene where Mary, her husband and Tom go to the garage, it looked so like Beamish.
    Thought you may want to look it up to see if it would be good for you to visit.
    I was hoping to come to the picnic at Stourbridge but I’m just four days short of being able to make it. I’m sure you will all have the most wonderful time.
    Thank you for giving so much, you make lots of people very happy in so many different ways.

    • sbranch says:

      I Googled it and I think you nailed it . . . looks just like it! And it’s up there . . . I thought they were supposed to be in York. If we get over there, I would love to see it. The whole country is like a living museum to me. Sorry to miss you in England! And thank you for your lovely words Jann. xoxo

  54. Melin says:

    Dear Susan,
    Have you not responded to most of my comments because I have had my business name on them? You seem to respond to everyone elses comments. I do not need to have my business name attached, if that is the case, although I have seen you respond to other business owners. I wrote a comment earlier today and have been waiting for an answer.
    Just curious because we all value your comments.
    Thank you with much love,

    • sbranch says:

      Not at all, Melin, in fact, because of Downton, so many comments came in at the same time, that I’ve been reading and approving as fast as I can, but I still have 123 waiting for “moderation.” I’m sorry if I haven’t commented, sometimes, because of time, I just read and try not to comment… although, you can tell, I do like to be in on the conversation! Love that you are here, and thank you for taking time to comment!

  55. Jackie says:

    The sadness I felt before viewing the finale has been replaced with contentment. I thought the ending was perfect and I feel grateful for having the opportunity to enjoy this masterpiece of a series from start to finish. I have no doubt that it will be enjoyed by future generations for many years to come.

    • sbranch says:

      It really was a perfect ending. I feel 100% satisfied, but still a little sad that it’s gone.

  56. Karen Saunders says:

    Well…..even tho I was wrong about Edith (and I’m rarely wrong about plot twists…my husband hates going to the show with me cause I always know who did it!!) I’m glad Bertie turned out to have more of a backbone. I’m like you….where are we going to get the elegance??? All through the show I’m thinking ‘I don’t want this to end..I don’t want this to end’…..but it does. Now what????? I’m glad your book is almost here, that’s all I can say!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I guess we go back to mundane TV, or no TV probably is more like it! We’ve been spoiled!

  57. diana from ancaster says:

    loved loved LOVED the show – am a sap for Happy Endings!
    Violet was Pefect – they all were!

  58. Laura Croyle says:

    I absolutely Love “Happily Ever After” endings! It was So Wonderful how everything turned out for everyone! Sigh……I think I dreamt about Downton all night long! I didn’t want it to end, of course. Don’t know what I’ll watch on Sunday nights now. Need some good books to dive into in the meantime! Can hardly wait for yours to be released! Waiting for Spring to arrive, as well! At least the daffodils and the cherry trees are blooming here in the PNW! Absolutley Loverly!!

  59. Barbara says:

    I loved your recap of the final (how I dislike that word!) Downton Abbey. I am still laughing over the picture of Anna “obviously carrying the baby a bit low”. I didnt notice it last night, but that still picture is priceless! I needed a good, long laugh!

    • sbranch says:

      Me too, it was kind of on her knees. I thought maybe they’d simplified things and just used a balloon!

  60. Pat Johnson says:

    Oh my! Such a WONDERFUL evening spent by all!! I must admit that it was difficult for me to grasp everything because I was weeping all along the way. You are correct about it being like Gone With the Wind – Sad with plenty of tears because the beautiful adventure is gone – the last word has spoken – the last view of the beautiful, elegant castle. And then……..I remembered……I have the DVDs and I am sure I will watch Downton many more times to come!! I must admit – I found it difficult to understand the impact this had on me. I was actually happy that I could shed tears of sadness over something that was ending. I knew exactly how much this had meant to me. There is often so much trashy stuff on TV and this was definitely the PRIZE!! Thank heaven it came our way!! Now I await the day I receive your new book and I can hunker down, under my warm blanket and read away. I am reminded at how much you, Susan, have given me over the years. Not only the joy of your art work – but you have taken me to another land and into dreams I never knew I would get to go to. Once again I say……. Susan Branch you are a joy – a wonder – an amazing talent and a pretty fine BFF!! Hugs galore, my dear……..

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Pat, you are too much! Your words are so sweet! Thank you dear! I understand about the impact, it’s rare these days to get something where you know the person is thinking about his audience as he writes! Hugs galore back to you!

  61. debra sewell says:

    Fabulous post. I love Downton Abbey. Thank you for photos, updates. I do NOT have cable so cannot watch it. Therefore, i miss this whole Season. I will get it thru my library when it comes to DVD. Eventually when they come out with a grand Deluxe Edition i will buy. The whole set. Otherwise i check out from library all BBC series, and many older PBS ones we all love. Those little cupcake toppers are adorable. Think spring..its very close so i think it is whispering in our dreams.

  62. Helen-Louise says:

    I agree with you: where we will find so much elegance to view now? And BTW – you are absolutely hilarious!! Your captions to the photos are perfect. “Golly”, you should be a writer! ; )

  63. JoanS says:

    Love, kindness and kisses all around. So much warmth, just like being wrapped up in one of Mary’s delectable coats Thanks to Julian for ending it so beautifully and to you for your delightful recap.

  64. Nettie says:

    I could barely wait to read your recap today. I kept thinking during the show “what will Susan write?” You never disappoint girlfriend.
    Please come to our beautiful Finger Lakes with your new book….you have a lot of girlfriends here and we would love to meet you and perhaps have tea??

  65. Gina P. from NY says:

    Susan: wonderful recap, as always. I have to ask – how do you get those pictures? Do you get up close to the “telly”, and still manage to watch the show?

    It was a wonderful ending… almost everyone’s story came full circle, but Julian still left us wondering about what’s to come. There is still talk of a movie, so down the road we may meet Henry and Mary’s new child, perhaps Bates and Anna will have more children, and what about Edith and Bertie? Maybe a son to inherit the title? My guess is that if it does happen, perhaps Julian will move the series into the early 1930’s. That would put Cora and Robert in their 60’s, and sadly the Dowager probably wouldn’t be around, but then, I don’t believe Maggie Smith wanted to do the series beyond season 6, if it had continued, so that would work out (except we would miss her terribly)! Anyway, enough of the future – this episode was beautifully written and had me both crying and laughing the whole way through. Susan, it sounds like you have warmed up to Henry after all. I know you wanted a Tom/Mary pairing, but this has worked out for the best I think, don’t you?

    As for Edith – Brava! I was hoping that Gregson would return, but Bertie really convinced me that he was the one for her. Edith looked lovely coming down those stairs to meet Robert. I read yesterday in a behind the scenes clip that Gareth Neame said that when Hugh Bonneville and Laura Carmichael were filming that scene, they had to do it over, as Hugh began crying when Laura came down the stairs in her wedding gown. Isn’t that sweet? The article said that he had really taken on the mantel of a father figure to the girls, and perhaps feeling those feelings and also knowing that it was an ending of sorts really got to him.

    I have owned seasons 1 – 5 of this wonderful drama for awhile, and now season 6. I feel these DVD’s are one of my most precious possessions. I never get tired of watching this wonderful program. How sad we are that our “Downty” won’t be there to fill our Sunday nights with such joy…

    • sbranch says:

      Makes me cry to think of Hugh Bonneville crying! I would have too if I were him, he knew it was the last time, it must have been something for all of them. Yes, I am totally over the Tom and Mary thing and so happy with the way Mary and Henry were together, perfect chemistry, very charming. I just take pictures of the TV screen. I think that might be why I missed seeing Andy take the lock of hair . . . probably I was fooling with the camera!

  66. Suzie J says:

    Hi Susan,
    Lovely recap on the Downton finale! Oh, what a wonderful ride that show has been over the last six years! As you and many others, I too, have fallen in love with the glamorous dresses, jewelry, and lifestyle. Ahhh….to dream! CONGRATULATIONS on your latest book being in press!! You’re an amazing author! I so enjoy each of your books and the adventures and happy tales within! I look forward to meeting you here in Salt Lake during your book tour! Wishing you all the best and HAPPY TRAVELS!!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so excited to get to Salt Lake this time. Last time we ran out of books before we could get there. We’re pretty sure that won’t happen this time! If we gauged right that is! Thank you Suzie, see you there!

  67. Susan, I don’t know if we’d live longer but we’d certainly live better…a life worth living should we have more good news daily. Another great review; thank you. Now I can break open the packaging on my Season 6 DVD and begin from the beginning. I am a great fan of delayed gratification so it’s going to be wonderful, all over again.

  68. KarenP. (Wisconsin) says:

    I was excited to read that in real life the actors who play Edith and Andy are dating! A Downty romance! ♡

  69. Laura says:

    I love you Susan and your recap of The Downton finale was LOLS!!!!!!!!! We are going to see the “Dressing Downton” exhibit in Chicago for Mother’s Day!! I am planning to snatch that red coat and non chalantly walk out with it on…with that dress Mary wore when Matthew proposed underneath…and one of Cora’s hats to top off the look.

    • sbranch says:

      Good girl. I’m all for it! I wouldn’t be able to resist myself. I wonder if they frisk everyone before they let them leave?

  70. Fangirl from CA says:

    If you are looking for lovely 1920s sets, costumes, and furniture I would recommend the Miss Fisher Mysteries series. Set in Australia and filmed there as well, there are only 34 episodes over three seasons. Quite good dialogue too, though Miss Fisher is much more liberal than the Downtown characters, and the episodes are produced for a fraction of the cost of Downtown.

    • sbranch says:

      I saw a couple of episodes somewhere along the way and I agree, the costumes were wonderful.

  71. Tina Mandeville says:

    Oh Susan, what a fabulous ending! One can only imagine that there is so much pressure in a “final episode” but this one truly delivered and I am so grateful it had nothing to do with tragic ends for a change as this seems to be the often path. It can be done! I agree, what a difference a good story makes and the “good feel”, the warm fuzzies it lends. You did a fabulous recap. The entire show was such eye candy….just stunning and if further awards are given, they have been earned on all fronts. And I would be lying if I did not admit to man crushing on Henry….goodness! There, I said it…and I can’t quite possibly be alone! He and Mary made the most darling couple! There is seemingly so much story that could be left to tell but as all good things come to an end, their happy ever afters will well suffice for us “fairytale girls”! Will dearly miss Downton but its been another wonderful thing for us to all share! And speaking of wonderful things…..looking so forward to the months ahead all all you have in store and have in store for us! I will be seeing you again! xo

    • sbranch says:

      Goodie Tina! I so agree, after all my whining about wanting her with Tom, I think Mary and Henry were adorable together!

  72. Victoria Miller says:

    That final episode of Downton really took the cake, and your recap, Susan, was the icing! And that kidder, Julian Fellowes, who in the preliminary talks before the last season kept hinting to keep in mind that it wasn’t going to wrap up in a nice neat package, but that it was just going to stop in the course and we might not be happy with it. Keeping us all on tenterhooks right up until the very end! (And, using that expression caused me to wonder what in the world it means, and I looked it up….fascinating. I’m not going to tell, either. The very interesting story can be found on World Wide Words. ) Fascinating to see ‘the signatures’ for your latest book, and what a treat to see how your books are made from conception to delivery! My 70th celebration of my birthday (how time flies when you’re having fun) is near the end of April. Treating myself to the Downty series, so I can watch it all through, and it seems that’s about the time your new book will be out — looking forward to most splendid times to come. Meanwhile, I’m reading about Cary Grant and watching his films (it began as a fun thing to do for Valentine’s Day….an upside of being single). As Auntie Mame said, “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.” Susan Branch and friends know how to feast!

    • sbranch says:

      XOXO Victoria! Love how curious you are about everything!

      • Victoria Miller says:

        Susan, you are such a beautiful person, and it’s such a pleasure to have you in my life. I can still remember the day I discovered your ‘Summer’ book in Border’s bookstore and what a marvelous delight it was! And the delight has kept coming ever since! Thank you for your wonderful generousity of spirit, and great wonder at the wonderful world we all share! XOXO right back to you! And all the girlfriends are great! Love reading the comments!

  73. Ericka says:

    One of my favorite moments was when Mary bent down to start taking Anna’s shoes off – Mary undressing Anna in a lovely turn of events.
    Oh, the costumes in this episode! Especially Mary’s outfit when visiting Granny (that hat!) and Edith’s wedding dress – the lace on the top of the dress and the sleeves, ugh, I’m obsessed with it.
    I’m looking forward to one day soon watching the first season again, this time with the knowledge of what awaits each character. I’m sure I’ll pick up on so many details I missed the first time around. Doesn’t it feel like we’ll never again have a show that emits such loveliness, that gives you such a beautiful feeling when you watch it?

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, it does feel that way. It was very special. I watched many of the episodes twice, and you’re right, you get so much more out of them the second time.

  74. Debra Henderson says:

    I just LOVED it when the bouquet was caught, and Branson, in his wonderful Irish brogue, says, “Well, aren’t you the lucky one!” Hint, hint!!! What could be luckier than marrying Branson! ;)))

  75. Deborah in Odessa says:

    Sniff, giggle, sniff , happy. You summed it up well and I loved it. I loved the episode. They were all beautiful.

  76. Julie C says:

    OK I went on a rant about Mary last time so… Well done Mary (Julian Fellowes) Well done! I loved the ending. Gave me everything I wanted. I got a laugh when you said to turn that sad castle Barrow worked in, into an antique store. Glad we got to see Daisy grow up a bit. That was a cute story line. Love the puppy. Sad to see them go, but like you said, Happy Endings make us feel good! Looking forward to your next book. Kisses to the Kitties!

  77. Janet Reilly says:

    Absolutely breaks my heart that I don’t have Downton to look forward to on Sunday night. Loved your great recap which I will reread when I need a reminder of the happiness, elegance and quiet joy it brought me. I am going to miss this so much! Sigh…
    But Julian hints there may be a movie. I hope so as I would love to see these wonderful characters continue.

    • sbranch says:

      That terrible thing about nothing lasting forever, even that lifestyle that went on for literally hundreds of years, it went away very quickly. For good and for bad.

  78. Pom Pom says:

    I loved it so much. Now I’m into more books about DA-ish life. Servants: A Downstairs History by Lucy Lethbridge and The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy by David Cannadine. It’s so fascinating and DA taught us so much and tweaked our curiosity. Thank you for the freebies, Sue!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s what I loved, maybe even the most, about Downton . . . it was history, and we got to look at a little of it.

  79. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh Susan you did an amazing job recapping this final episode. I felt so bad that it ended….but was so happy how it ended! Loved how Mary was so nice…and did so many good things. Guess the old saying “when Mama’s or should I say Mary’s happy…everybody’s happy!” Lol if I had a favoriteCan’t wait for Willard and your new book! (By the way it was 80 degrees here in Iowa today!:)

    • sbranch says:

      Gert! How do you go from 2 degrees to 80 with no 60 in-between?

      • Gert~Iowa says:

        You know—-that is a good question….lol Only in Iowa!!! Today will be in the 60’s!!! Windows open..(sounds of spring–birds are singing…motorcycles zooming by….dogs barking, including Rusty…children laughing, as they’re playing outside!) I know Mr. Winter will return, but for now…we are all just loving it!!

        • sbranch says:

          60’s Okay!! The kids in our neighborhood played outside today too. Such a nice noise they make!

  80. Gert~Iowa says:

    I meant to put “One of my favorite parts on the show was when Violet said “If reason fails, try force.” Loved it!!

  81. Glo says:

    Thank you once again for your summary of last night’s amazing Downton Abbey finale, (which I watched twice…one right after the other after saving it). Along with observations already mentioned, I noticed how ‘downstairs’ ended ‘upstairs’, and vice versa. Mary was taking off Anna’s shoes for her, Anna was in Mary’s bed; Robert and Cora were bringing champagne up for Anna and John Bates ~

  82. Thea says:

    I will miss your recaps! I’m such a happily ever after person so that last episode just…wl, it just completed me!

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

    Well, it was all just wonderful, wasn’t it? I can’t even think of any final comments, I feel so content with how everything worked out. I will miss your Monday recaps, though. They were just grand – so entertaining, so fun. I so enjoyed each one. The pictures of “the signatures” are so exciting! Soon you’ll be off, meeting and greeting all of us who love you and your work. I had so hoped to be settled back in Ohio in time to meet you at the Learned Owl, but it doesn’t look like that will happen. We thought we were going into escrow and we would have been back in time, but it didn’t happen. I’m pinning my hopes on Vromans now. The last time around, I wound up in the dentist’s chair the very hour I had planned to be in Pasadena. Here’s hoping we might still be here for it ( but not for long after it! ) .

    • sbranch says:

      Passing ships Susan! Hope to see you!

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

        That’s exactly what I’m afraid of – passing you coming west while I am returning east ! Well, there’s always the NEXT book. Surely I’ll have a permanent address by then! LOL

  84. Lori says:

    Susan, I have loved your clever, thorough, witty, creative recaps of this wonderful, historical series…
    Do catch the scene when Andy takes a piece of Daisy’s cut hair as she is cleaning up… ever so deeply sweet.
    A moment that hasn’t been mentioned but was heavily poignant for me was when —after years and years seeing Mary have her every hairstyle and necklaces and underthings attended to by her lady-in-waiting, Anna — Mary suddenly falls to the floor at Anna’s feet and begins to untie her shoes for her ((did we think she may not have known how??)) and proceeds to gather a fresh nightgown and turn back bed coverings…. This was so special to me as a testament to their undying respect and friendship.
    I will miss your “voice” on Mondays, Susan. Thanks for all the passion you shared with your friends and readers.

    • sbranch says:

      I agree, that moment with Mary and Anna was wonderful. The whole thing was wonderful. I can’t wait to start over!

  85. Melissa says:

    “With any luck, they’ll be happy enough which is the English version of a happy ending”.

    I am a happy ending lover. I like things all tied up with a bow so I can look back on Downton with only smiles. I am so grateful Julian gave us that gift. It was perfect.

    • sbranch says:

      I do too Melissa. I love happy endings. Always disappointed when I’m reading a book, get to the end, and they just leave you to guess, or worse, don’t even leave a chance for happiness. It was a gift.

  86. Jan from Northern CA says:

    Hello again,
    I wrote this am…..only 6 of the girlfriends were posted. ?? why mine still in moderation. Was something in it not ok?
    I gave my boxed set of Downton to my BFF/Sis Eileen. She has had it since last week Wed. She’s just about to finish season 4. She’s hooked! We watched a couple episodes this morning. Since I knew what was going on….I was able to enjoy all the details 🙂 The sets are so beautiful. I would love to try some of those dresses on!!
    Looking forward to your book. Will hopefully see you in the spring. Going to make those cute cupcakes for Easter with the Godkids! So fun. Saved the cute spring desktop to my computer awaiting the spring which is already sprouting here in Northern CA. Well, again…thank you for your Downton reviews and all the other lovely blog messages you send us.
    Jan from Northern CA

    • sbranch says:

      Not at all Jan, it’s just that after Downton, comments come in so hot and heavy, I try to “moderate” — I moderate 2, and 6 come in. 🙂 So here I am, with 137 comments waiting, drinking my tea and working my way through them. Love hearing that you got your sister hooked! So fun to talk about with a girlfriend!

  87. Amy Lee from Salem says:

    Thank you for all the wonderful recaps over our not to be missed Downton Abbey, it’s been such a pleasure. I have no doubt that you will write more delightful blogs in the future full of sharing that continues to brighten my day. Your lovely gifts are always appreciated. I plan to make my Grandchildren cupcakes with those dear little chicks on top, they’ll love them!

  88. Ruth thomas says:

    Loved everything about our last show except the inference that Tom will end up with the horrible school teacher. That glorious wedding dress and veil down the stairs..oh my. How will we go on. Loved it! Cannot wait for the new book❤️

    • sbranch says:

      I think Tom will go with the editor, Laura, that works for Edith, and she seemed to be a doll. I think that schoolteacher took a long hike off a short pier!

  89. Ginnie says:

    Sigh. I’ve loved Downton Abbey from the very first night it was broadcast, back in 2011. And loved every minute since.

    The best line in your whole post was pure Susan Branch, not Julian Fellowes: “As one of only three servants in this dead-quiet house of mirthlessness that really ought to be instantly turned into an antique store so I can go shop there immediately.” Ha! I laughed out loud. I can just see you shopping there, moving old lords and ladies out of the way so you can select your stuff.

    • sbranch says:

      Throwing my body over those horses on the mantle before the Girlfriends see them! 🙂

    • Charissa says:

      Ginnie, This line of Susan’s had me laughing so hard as well. I loved the way you so eloquently noted it:)

  90. Liz says:

    I loved your recap, Sue. You had me guffawing: “Meanwhile the evil butler Barrow, turned child-adoring wonderful man is leaving Downton for a new position. Having been more or less shoved out the door for this entire season by Carson.” 😀
    What will we have to look forward to without Downton? I loved the way Julian brought all the family back together at the end, so we could love them all one last time. Sigh.
    If you like good news and endorphins, may I acquaint you with the Good News Network? (www.goodnewsnetwork.org) Free once per week in your inbox or for a modest annual fee, every day. It’s the only news I take in these days – always a happy read!
    Best wishes!

    • sbranch says:

      There is actually so much good news in the world, but we hardly ever get to hear of it. Thank you Liz!

  91. Robin in New Jersey says:

    Oh what a great recap, Susan. I cried at the end just like I did at the end of the show last night. My youngest daughter and I guessed a couple weeks ago that Barrow would get Carson’s job. What did they name the baby? We were throwing out names after the show ended last night. John Robert? John Carson? It has been so much fun to come here every Monday and read your take on things. I can’t wait to watch this entire season over again. It was perfect! One of my daughter’s is learning to play the Downton theme on the piano. Every time I hear her play it, a little sadness creeps in and I sigh. Now, we all have your book to look forward to! Yeah! And spring! Blessings to you, Susan.

  92. Karen from Milton, WA says:

    The entire episode was so perfect…..such great lines delivered so well by so many. I laughed, I cried, I clapped my hands—- Incredible!

  93. Lynn Hamilton, Rochester, NY says:

    Ihave so enjoyed your summations of DA …. you always catch every single nuance; your descriptions of the costumes are divine; I shall miss DA very much and have purchased all the dvds and shall have my own DA marathon~
    wishing you safe travels on your book tour and your journey to the homeland in the Fall and I have pre-ordered (months ago) two copies of your new book, one for my very special Anglophile g/f and one for me. Thank you for all your words, drawings, humour and sharing Joe and the kitties with me and all your dear fans~

  94. Marilyn S says:

    I agree with everyone – it was a perfect ending. My husband watches it with me and he kept a wedding count of all the weddings and possible weddings to be. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a reunion show in a few years and see what is happening with everyone? I know they are just fictional characters but they seem so real! And Susan, thank you for doubling the pleasure with your witty, fun recap the next day. I am so looking forward to your new book and hope you get a few moments to relax and enjoy yourself!

    • sbranch says:

      All my work will be finished in a couple of weeks now and I will have some time to attend to real life, maybe even get to plant my garden before we go . . . if the weather keeps going as it is. Thank you Marilyn!

  95. Marilyn Young says:

    Oh my Susan, I was hoping for your recap of last night’s Downton Abby and, sure enough, there it was! You did a fantastic job of it and I loved every bit of it. When it finally finished last night, my mouth was totally frozen from sitting there for three hours smiling like there was no tomorrow! Took me a bit to unwind my lips and quit smiling. Hey, you must admit, they did an awesome job of finishing the show off, literally. Much happiness, kissing, marriages, babies, all the good stuff, even Mr. Barrow. Can’t wait till your book is in the mail. I keep thinking that I surely ordered a signed copy since I was so enthralled with the first book. But I keep wondering if I did indeed order same????? How will I know??????

    I expect to see you in California this year.

  96. Carolyn from SoCA says:

    Dear Susan,
    I have to admit that I am as sad about not having your recaps to anticipate and ponder as I am about Downton coming to a conclusion! (well, almost as sad) Thanks for the memories Julian Fellowes and Susan Branch!

  97. Judy in Ohio says:

    Good morning, dearest Susan!
    I am writing to you through tearing eyes…and I am not exactly sure why.

    It may be that I am so excited about all of your beautiful and fun “gifts” that I can print out for Spring and Easter …or maybe (absolutely, actually) it is because I am so appreciative of your ability to tell a story…and especially with such detail as you have here of the FINALE of our dear Downton Abbey…because as it happens I MISSED IT…but knew I could depend on your particular penchant for this series also.

    It is a complicated story of how I missed it (short story: I think I messed up the recording of it!)…and I was so sad when I went to view it and could not FIND it!! And then I could not find it listed anywhere on the PBS TV GUIDE sight for the foreseeable future. My heart just sank! (I was the one who had viewed the whole series of the past 5 seasons during the past fall, remember?)

    But thankfully I knew I could depend on my dear friend Susan for a play-by-play…complete with all critiques and details down to the tiniest and finest particulars…and SO YOU DID… and I was quite right!!!

    I just want to thank you so much!! Not just for coming through for me this time, but for always coming through for me!! You ARE always my dose of good news and cheer…and when I most need it, particularly!! Today, especially,you put the zippity right back in my doo-dah-day!!! 😀

    I will still keep looking for that finale …but in the meantime, I am sure your rendition will keep my mind in check and my endorphins popping until I see the whole two hours for myself!

    Have a great week!!
    And thanks VERY much, again. 🙂


    • sbranch says:

      You are so welcome Judy! How frustrating, the recording! You’ll find it, I know they put it up in different places afterward. I thought PBS was one of them. Happy to know you have your zippity back! 🙂

  98. Jo says:

    Loverly, absolutely loverly!
    Thanks for the recap and thanks too for publishing your book here in the good old U.S. of A.
    Now to bed to refresh the eyes after all of the tears (just finished watching the last episode online).

    • sbranch says:

      I love that it’s printed here too. It does cost twice as much as it does to do it in China, but it’s worth it to me to be able to put those precious words on my book “Made in America.”

  99. Nicoline says:

    thank you, thank you for the wonderful recap of the last episode of Downton Abbey. We saw it around Christmas time, and I now realise how I had forgotten, and wow, how much happened during that last show!
    It was wonderful ” watching” it with you again, so many thanks for that!
    Plus, you are so right about the happy news and good news we all need. And I very much hope you realise what a huge part YOU play in that, by ging us so much good news, happy things to think about, cute and darling pictures, and just making us ( the readers/girlfriends) happy and feeling better in ourselves.
    Thank you, dear Susan
    With love from Nicoline

  100. Rosemary from Oregon says:

    Hi Susan,
    Loved your humorous and insightful Monday re-plays of Downton Abbey and the all the blog comments.
    I agree that the finale was so satisfying and think at least 4 more marriages are in the future: Daisy, Mrs Patmore, Mr Mosely and Tom.
    I was in the travel section of the library recently and nearby, I came across a wonderful book that you all would love: Downtown Abbey, A Celebration, written by Julian’s niece: Jessica Fellowes in 2015. Gorgeous pictures, especially of the hats, fashions and background on the characters and settings, as well as a narrative summary of the 6 seasons.
    She also wrote Chronicles of Downton Abbey in 2012 and A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey in 2014. Lot of background info on the fashions, history, manners, making of the series. And to think Julian wrote every episode. Enjoy reliving all the memories!

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