A Giant P.S.

All the stuff I forgot to tell you in WILLARD! Consider this a giant P.S. Here’s one of the songs we had at Joe’s party . . . MUSICA!ComeSitStayComfy?  Okay, well, I thought I’d show you a few more photos of the party itself . . . starting with the man of the moment . . .


Our good boy (in dreams I walk with him) received a special cup from Rachel and Paul for his birthday.  And btw, we really couldn’t have done his birthday party without our darling English people  . . .🌟


Here’s Paul putting up the lights, while the music is playing . . . gotta have twinkle lights at a garden party!


We had a nice little breeze that blew the tablecloths off as fast as Rachel, Diana and Elaine (and me too) put them on!


It was the perfect chance to use all the vintage tablecloths I’ve collected from flea markets over the years!


But wind or no wind, it all worked out, and everyone came!


balloonsRay and Paul started off the entertainment portion of Joe’s Happy Birthday Toasts with the perfect rendition of a little-known song called, ‘Philological Waltz’ (by Flanders and Swann, click there for the youtube version, it starts at 1 minute in) ~ Now Joe and I are trying to figure out what WE should sing for Ray’s birthday in October while we’re in England! Any ideas?


Next up in our talented neighborhood, my girlfriends sang Martha’s newly-written words balloonsto When I’m Sixty-Four . . . And Elaine (who came out from California) fixed it so they had the music playing over the speakers  while they sang to Joe . . .

🎶🎵 “. . . Sue will still need you ~ you will still feed Sue, way past sixty four! 🎶🎵


Looking at me and saying, aren’t we so funny and adorable! Yes, you are! 👏 That’s Martha upSingingBird front, you can barely see Barbara behind her, then Peggy, Elizabeth, Siobhan, and Elizabeth’s sister, Robin.

🎵 🎶 “Every summer you can have party in your big back yard, it will be pot luck . . .” 🎶


An appreciative audience . . . including Gerry (married to Martha), on the left . . . he’s a doctor ~ and at one time he was a ship doctor, so he wore his old uniform and gave a fantastic speech in honor of our soon-to-be ocean voyage and Joe’s Birthday, of course.Birthdayyes

Which everyone loved!


Making everyone cry!

naked cake

balloonsRachel and I call this the “the naked cake” photo . . .  it’s coconut with lemon cake and lemon filling. Rachel, who’s a baker at home where she lives in England, decorated it so beautifully … she scattered it with loads of tiny purple and orange flowers from the garden and it looked so pretty, but we ate it up before we remembered to take a picture of it! There were Happy Birthday candles on top which Joe blew out so his wishes will all come true. It will all have to go into the memory book. 💛IMG_2575The party lasted long into the cool of the evening, Frank singing Come Fly With Me right up to the evening stars 🎶 . . . a lovely celebration for a guy named Joe.🎈

June 2010 141And now it’s over, we waved a tearful goodbye to the ferry until everyone was so very tiny . . . our guests have all gone home, the beds are made up, the kitchen is quiet, and the house is back as it always was, except now with a new glow of party DNA that I’m sure will last for all eternity, magical house of dreams . . . I toasted up some of that delicious canned Boston brown bread this morning and had it with my tea, all buttery and crisp-edged . . . little thingsflowers

IMG_6175It’s cool today, a tinge of fall is setting in, I even have a little shawl over my shoulders this morning, the boat whistle just blew out in the harbor . . . the long shadows of the changing season are beginning to appear . . .

IMG_2505One of my favorite things, the light through the trees, dappling my stove, the walls, across my kitchen floor . . .tea cup

IMG_2639The vases are filled . . . my soul is braced . . .VonArnimQuote


Jack is getting all the attention he requires . . . here he is throwing himself into whatever Joe is doing . . . love me, pet me, aren’t I the cutest thing . . .?

B  E  L  O  V  E  D


Yesterday I worked on the cover for the 2018 wall-calendar (believe it or not! This is why I never know what year it is!), then I meandered through our old neighborhood into town to pick up the mail . . . past the picket fences and the roses, under the trees, taking my own sweet time,Home sweet home


with all the singing cicadas serenading, loving the Island, loving our home, our friends, feeling so blessed . . . we can already tell that folks are packing up, going home, leaving us . . . it’s getting very quiet around here.little thingsMarch2010 214

This is Tuesday . . . Willard starts going out at 9 am my time this morning . . . and it will be going for the next three days, twice a day, until they’ve all been delivered. Did you know that there are almost 56,000 souls who have signed up now, sisters, moms, grandmas, BFF’s, Girlfriends, all receiving Willard?  It’s hard to imagine, but I love our kindred spirits. In this crazy world, we need each other.💞 Because

normalYes, we are! Never doubt it for a moment. There are many more people just like us than not. We are the builders, the sharers, the ones who try hard to make it a wonderful world, who see the good in things, we should be proud and never give up. 💕 My dad would agree. So that means we are right. Thank you Girls. xoYouHaveToBelieveWeAreMagic

starry night What else? (Losing my mind a bit, but oh well, what else is new?)  Oh yes, Thursday night, August 25th, I’ll be giving a little talk for the Library in Aquinnah ~ in case you’ll be on the Island, it’s at 5 pm at the Old Town Hall . . . I’ll sign anything you like, new books, old books . . . 💗 Bring it all.


BeatrixAnd my friend Betsy Bray wanted me to remind you that she is taking a tour of “not-too-many” (but of course, all kindred spirits) through the Lake District next June, 2017. Go HERE for more info, and read about Betsy too … she was elected the first-ever American Trustee for the Beatrix Potter Society in 2012. Her tour would be perfect for anyone not wild about driving on the wrong side of the road, not to mention the fact that Betsy is a Beatrix Potter expert . . . knows all the backroads and little stories about the Lake District and going with her would be a real treat . . . in case Hill Top and the Lake District is on your bucket list . . . you would have a whole year to prepare!You can't have everything quote; susan branch art


We, on the other hand, have only a couple more weeks to prepare for our adventure on the Queen Mary 2.  I’m already gathering clothes to pack. Trying not to take too much. Living with my new watchword, “layers” ~ topping it all off “with something wind proof, and rain proof!” 💦We know where we’re going. Boots, tall rainy grass, hills and dales.  And another notch in the belt of our dreams come true.🌟rainy dayIMG_1170

So reaching for all the summer I can get . . . here is my breakfast this morning . . . blueberries we picked on the side of the road on our walk yesterday . . . over Cream of Rice (which I will love forever, not growing out of it!)Sweet MorningsAnd for you . . . ideas for delicious and

EasyFruitDessertsGrab all the summer you can . . . Pack your bags and 🎵 come with me, to the sea, to the sea, the sea of love . . .packing

Love you! Have a wonderful day.💝 Don’t forget: “Layers.” ❌⭕️❌⭕️❌pink-flowers

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513 Responses to A Giant P.S.

  1. Mary Brehm says:

    Looks like you had the most lovely of times surrounded by friends showering you both with buckets of love. There are certain people in this world who exude happiness, charm and enthusiasm for life. You, Sweet Sue and Wonderful Joe, are two of them. You reap what you sow <3. It was a chilly 52 here when I woke up this morning and the long shadows of sun dappled my kitchen floor as well. We have been picking, beans and cakes and lovely tomatoes and basil and savoring our bountiful harvest while it lasts. I am excited for fall, but trying not to rush it. Savor is the word of the day. Slow down and enjoy the now. Love to you and thanks again for sharing.

  2. Marty says:

    Dear Susan:
    You knock our socks off with every post! Can’t wait to see whats in Willard.
    So glad that the party was such a joyous affair! and now on to the excitement of the trip.
    Do you think “Lydia the Tatooed Lady” might amuse Rachel for her birthday ? or maybe , given her delicious confections, “The Good Ship Lollipop” or because everyone loves England and the Beatles “Penny Lane”‘?
    Your living room looks so tranquil after such a big party- and watching the shadows deepen each day is slightly bittersweet.
    Hoping that everyday is special for you,Joe and all the thousands of like-minded folk who enjoy you so- Marty

  3. Melissa (from eastern PA: formerly of the Midwest) says:

    What a fun day for you and Joe! I love your Living Room wall color and that couch with those old quilt pillows! How comfy is that! I’ll be trying that Lemon Ice dessert, it sounds like something I grew up with and could never find a recipe that matched with my memory, thanks so much for sharing.

  4. KarenP - Wisconsin says:

    What a wonderful party for Joe! The musical tributes were such a gift! Everything was sparkly and festive and joyous for the birthday boy! Even the sky sparkled! How DO you capture stars like that!? Amazing! You are the Queen of Party Planners, for sure!

  5. Cathy from Golden, CO says:

    Awwww – good morning, good morning, good morning to youuuuuu! What a wonderful way to begin my day – sipping a cup of coffee, listening to Mr Sinatra and reading a note from you – a hyacinth for my soul! Those roses are gorgeous – so lovely. Wishing you a HAPPY DAY!

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Wonderful blog, wonderful Willard! Happy belated birthday to Joe! Can’t wait for your upcoming trip and activities. Sure the kitties will miss you tremendously but hope they are ok with their sitter. Thank you for such a lovely start to the day!

  7. Shannon(Pennsylvania) says:

    Oh my, Susan, you have the knack for making my burdens lighter and my joys greater just by reading your posts! You are such a blessing to us all. Wob you, wob Joe, too❤️❤️And, I found a can of Boston brown bread behind a jar of mustard in my pantry just yesterday! I think it’s been hiding out there since last fall. I forgot about it for breakfast this morning, but it will be a fine snack this afternoon😊

  8. Irene Harrison says:

    I showed this post to a co-worker who summed it up perfectly when she said, “This makes me so HAPPY!” And that should make YOU happy that you are living your life in such a way as to better the world around you!
    I absolutely LOVE those delightful, cheerful chairs and hats at the beginning of this post!! Pleeeeez incorporate them into one of your calendars! Thanks for sharing your happy gene with all us “thirsty-for-your-cup o’cheer “girlfriends!

  9. Maureen from San Jose says:

    Now that looks like the perfect birthday celebration! Such fun!! 🙂 I also appreciate the packing list. Tomorrow my darling dearest and I are taking the California Zephyr to visit friends in Michigan. Eek!! So excited to take a train trip~our first one!
    Have the best day!

  10. chris consentino says:

    oh, my goodness. thank you! oh! thank you. was having a “misty-morning” in my heart due to our grandson’s first day of kindergarden….HOW could this be?? his Papa (our son) JUST started kindergarden…(in MY little mind & heart)…ever so little time ago. wow. enjoyed this “visit” from you, Susan. you kind of KNOW just when to pop-in, yeah? cooooler temps….aaaaah. nice. appreciated. whew!! mmmm. xo

  11. Sandra says:

    What a wonderful party for the deserving Joe! Soon you’ll be off travelling again. Such an exciting life!

  12. Rachel Lucas says:

    So loved reading this and reminiscing about our wonderful visit and that incredible party! Thrilled to be there…girlfriends, you were all with us in spirit (that was one FULL backyard!)…we felt the love! Happy Tuesday xoxo ps 82f here today, sunny, breezy…perfect late summer day

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Ray! So happy to see you here ~ it was amazing. We’re almost having a fall day! See you soon! xoxo

  13. Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

    Thank you, Susan, for including all us Girlfriends, via virtual reality, in Joe’s birthday party — we had a wonderful time! And so many fabulous friends in real reality who came from near and far to help you celebrate — it’s a testament to the wonderful people you are! And now can’t wait to hop aboard the QM2 with you – I’m packing my virtual reality suitcase today!

  14. Linda says:

    Oh Susan . . .
    I have had fun sipping my coffee this morning and breezing through your newest Willard and PS : )

    I have been working on mailing you a fun letter, hope to finally finish it and send it out by the end of the day !!!

    Happy Tuesday,
    Linda of So Cal : )

  15. Sandy Engel says:

    Continuous Thank You’s for this wonderful Willard and PS…….and for enriching our lives through the years, and continuing to do so with your generous spirit to share…. Inspire……motivate…..bring great cheer…….I never want your book writing to stop……please continue❤️❤️❤️…….and thank you again for all you have shared with us already❤️❤️❤️
    PS…..I’m all packed for Scotland😊

    • sbranch says:

      Good girl, we are going to have some fun over there! And thank you for the very sweet words ❌⭕️

  16. LYNN says:

    What a wonderful party and spectacular music! You should have your own Pandora/Spotify playlist.

  17. Donna C says:

    Love what you said….”in this crazy world, we are the normal ones”. This was a beautiful post and makes me cry….thank you. xo

  18. Suzanne says:

    What a bonus day Susan a blog and Willard on the same day! It’s like sunshine and roses after a light rain! Thank you for the party pictures so fun to see… My invite must have got lost in the mail. Cannot wait to travel with you next month looking forward to a Autumn over seas! Love to you and Joe and the kitties I am half way through the new book and I am savor inf every little bit and scrap!

  19. Carol Maurer~~~~ Kennewick, Wa says:

    So glad that Joe’s birthday party was such a success! All looked to be having a grand ‘ol time!

    I agree with you…. Autumn is in the air, sort of. Still very warm here, but cooling down for evening walks earlier and earlier. So is the darkness coming earlier and earlier.

    This Saturday night is my high school class’s 70th birthday party. All of us are turning, or have turned 70 this year. We’ve been planning this for several months now. We have to celebrate as often as we can these days.

    Looking forward to receiving my Willard!
    Hum…. should I start packing now for our trip to England as well? Looking forward to this trip and seeing all the places with you and Joe once again.

    Cherio xoxoxox

  20. AngieTink says:

    😊💖😇💙😚💜🌸💛🌻💚🍁🌟✨🎶 #Hello Sweet Sue I Just Read “Willard” A Second Time (Goosebumps) Thank~You For All Your~Magic 🌸💚🌟✨🎶 Sweet Sue… & Now I Fly Here To Your Blog & What To My Surprise…. A Glorious… P.S. 😊🌻There Is a Huge Smile On Me Pumpkin~Face! I’m Trying To Think Of The Perfect Song 💚🍁🌟✨🎶 For Ray’s Birthday…. You’ll Come Up With Something Wonderful….Joe’s Birthday~Party Was Filled With So Much Joy & Love & Laughter & Oh So Wonderful~Friends!!! Thank~You For Including All Of Us!!! Autumn Is Even In The Air Here In Hot & Sunny Florida…You Can Still Feel It & Smell It & See It I’ve Been Going Out & About Buying A Few New Autumn Treasures To Begin Turning Our Home Into An Enchanted~Autumn~Cottage Yay! 😚🍁🌟✨ I Know You Have Got To Be BEYOND Excited About Your Voyage Across The Pond…You Know That My Bags Are Packed With Extra~Pixie~Dust 🍁🌟✨🎶 We Breathe In These Last Sizzling~Summer~Dayzzz As We Welcome~In All The Magic Of Fall! My Wings~Are~All~A~Flutter xoxo Poof! 😊💖😇💙😚💜🌸💛🌻💚🍁🌟✨🎶 Sending Love & Joy & Kitty~Kisses To You & Joe & Girl~Kitty & Jack!!!

  21. Phyllis Patton says:

    It’s always such fun to grab a cup of tea and sit down and read your long posts including your pictures and music to go with. It’s fun to be swallowed into your lovely, artsy world. Thank you so much for sharing with so many. I have almost all of your books and recently built them up in a tower like your art work with a doily and a Christmas cup and saucer on top to take a picture. Then I did it again with my only Beatrix Potter figure which is “Hunca Munca”, So fun! We are married 45 years last month and were planning a trip to the Lubec, ME area and Bar Harbor, but as I received a complete left knee on May 5th, I began to think those rocks may be too much for me. Since I had just finished your three books while recuperating, I began making rehab and walking goals to be able to visit your island next month in your absence. I found a lovely cottage for us to rent in Oak Bluffs, with a sweet pink Dutch door and a kitchen almost like Holly Oak’s. So as you are gathering things to pack, I am too. Our tea mugs where the first to go in my old wicker basket. I also collect and use daily vintage tablecloths and love yours for Joe’s party. Thank you friend!

    • sbranch says:

      They look good together! 😀 Knees are hard, but at the end of the day, voila, freedom reigns. Quite the miracle! You will have a wonderful time, and you deserve it! Congratulations Phyllis!

  22. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    Willard was splendid this time around, right to the very end with one of my favorite quotes – it always pierces straight to the heart. I did have to lol when you said IF the diary of your next adventure is interesting you might write a book! Girlfriends already know we would love it!! With all your big doings to tell about, I love that you always bring it back to the beautiful, simple, cozy things of life that are within everyone’s reach. You spread JOY like fairy dust in everything and to everyone you touch. ❤️❤️❤️

    • sbranch says:

      It always comes down to the smallest things. A Bubble bath you say? Oui! And there’s a perfect day.

  23. Barbara Kuzdzal says:

    Hello Susan,
    Isn’t life grand? You did a fresh new blog on my birthday, and now another fresh new blog on my 41 wedding anniversary. I see that as a special treat. I was waiting for the pictures of Joes party and they didn’t disappoint. Have fun preparing for your trip as we both know, the anticipation is part of the excitement of the trip. We’re all happy for you to be going, and looking forward to you sharing it with us.
    Barbara Kuzdzal

  24. The party looks SO magical!

  25. Laura says:


    The party looks like it was so fun! Happy you have the party ‘glow’ caressing your walls. Loved the image. Love to you, your Joe and the kitties!


  26. Teresa says:

    What a wonderful party and a special night. I love seeing pictures of everyone under the tent. It looks so lovely and I am sure you did a perfect job. But what makes the party is the people! Thanks for sharing that special event with us. PS, I love that watermelon surprise!!!

  27. Sue Conrad says:

    I am Irene Harrison’s coworker–at least one of them!! She has introduced me to your website.
    Honest to goodness—-you are so talented!!! I’m enamored with your talents!!!
    I hope you know your creativity makes your admirers VERY HAPPY!!! You allow us to share your life and to appreciate your creativity.
    I’m a self-taught crafter and LOVE the process of creating; therefore, understand/appreciate your talents.
    I hope it’s not too selfish to ask you to continue doing what you do.
    Enjoy your adventure on the Queen Mary 2!!!! You deserve many notches in your belt.

  28. I was so happy to see Willard this morning. My daughter is leaving Boston for London tonight to attend our friend’s wedding in Oxford. She had wanted me to go with her as her husband could not go this time but my health has been poor and I had to decline. But that meant my fourteen year old granddaughter would go with her and I know it will be a lovely trip for them. They promise to take photos.

  29. Marie Knight (Long Beach, CA) says:

    Fabulous post! The pictures of Joe’s birthday party are wonderful. It looks like a fantastic time was had by all, you could feel all the love and happiness. If you haven’t already, please do tell Jack he is the cutest thing! The picture of the night sky reminded me of your dad and one of my favorite sayings… “Perhaps they are not stars, but openings in the Heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines upon us to let us know they are happy.” I’m very happy you and Joe will be adding another notch in the belt of your dreams come true, with your upcoming travels. Nothing like a cruise to begin your new adventure! 🙂

  30. Hi Dearies,

    Looks like a wonderful party was had by all. Wishing Joe many happy returns. 🙂
    We’re getting excited for England too. Hoping all goes well to see you at Stourhead.
    I’m a bit nervous about the driving and so forth but counting on it all working out. (fingers crossed into knots)
    Have a good rest after all of your work and frivolities!
    Hugs to you, Joe, and the kits.

    • sbranch says:

      You could get a driver…they have them, maybe it would be worth it. Someone English who’s used to it all! Hope to see you Gabi!

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

    good morning everyone, just got in from feeding and watering the chickens, and securing the fence as they like to dig right around the fence. they don’t mean to do that just to do it, but right by the fence allows critters to dig their way in and wreak havoc on my birds. also delivered a load of eggs to the liquor store for selling…14 dozen laid this week. I just put a big long chunk of wood by the fence inside to stop the digging, and they aren’t too happy with me. oh well at least they are safe for now…. featherheads. they dig in the dirt to get bugs and worms and to create wallows for their dust baths… now I don’t mind if they dig in the middle of the yard, but not along the fences. got off a triple digit week, yuk!!! last week it was miserable and least the temps have gone down where it is bearable. and I agree Fall is coming, the days are getting much shorter and the nights longer. the katydids are singing long and loud, the county fair is over and the last big yahoo for the summer is coming up… Labor day carnival and tuff trucks competition. the tractors chug on by on their way to the gas station, time to start getting ready for the harvest, its now blueberry, and blackberry season here and soon it will be apple season. the canning is all done with the exception of applesauce and apple butter. the last batch of peeps is still in the nursery and will remain there until the peeps are fully feathered and a bit bigger. mama is looking after them, and Reuben is strutting around like proud peacock… LOL!!! well until the ducks bite him in the tail. looks like a good day for bread baking, and maybe some 7 can soup in the crockpot for supper with a big salad and garlic bread. I’m feeling a bit lazy today, and 7 can soup takes no time for prepare for supper and tastes good on cool evenings. so off to get the bread made and baked, and the soup in the crockpot… have a great day today everyone, hugs…….. 🙂 P.S. save me some space in that trunk, need to do some shopping in Edinburgh. 😉

    • sbranch says:

      Stay busy dear Pat! See you in Scotland!

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        thank you Susan, I plan to. still have pie crusts to make and freeze for use over the holidays, and cookie dough ( why buy when you can make and freeze your own??) do you think the people in Scotland would be offended is I wore my new warm poncho??? its nice and has lovely Fall colors, I can’t wear my heavy winter jacket all the time.. too heavy. I had better get busy with the ironing… more laundry today. plus I still have some room left in the pantry for apple butter, apple sauce and perhaps pumpkin butter. see you in Scotland, hugs…. 🙂

    • Charissa says:

      Hi Famous Pat it’s Charissa Stover, Susan put up the info on having a pen pal and I thought of you. Would you have time in your busy life for a pen pal? I love hearing about your life and your spunky attitude. And instead of making Susan moderate all our comments to each other I thought maybe we could exchange letters? What do you think? Are you on Facebook? or is there some other way I could privately contact you to exchange information if you are interested?

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        I would love a pen pal. I have one very dear girlfriend I have writing to for over 15-16 years and we never run out of things to say or marvel at, we just chat back and forth through the mail. I would definitely love that. no I am not on facebook or twitter, I don’t like those and stay away from them. but I would love to have pen pals from Susan Branch, it would be so much fun. so lets do it… hugs…. 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          You could give each other wonderful recipes like you just gave us Pat! And Charissa is such a doll! You both are! Match made in heaven! Have fun!

        • Charissa says:

          Yay! Thank you. Great… I am so excited:) I am just trying to think how we can exchange info so it isn’t online for all to see. Do you do anything online at all that would allow private messaging? If not, i will figure out a way to tell you in code over these comments;)

          • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

            nope but I can send you my e-mail through here if Susan will allow it, she did once before for Janet and Carol

    • Judy from Maine says:

      What is 7 can soup.

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        7 can soup is my way of making what I call cheater’s chili when I don’t have the time or the energy to cook all day and make the real good chili. so I cheat and make 7 can soup. here is the recipe: 1. 15,25-ounce can of Del Monte’s fiesta corn; 1. 15-ounce can of meat only chili; 1. 15- ounce can of kidney beans; 1. 15-ounce can of pinto beans; 1. 15-ounce can of black beans; 1. 15-ounce can diced tomatoes; 1. 10-ounce can of diced tomatoes with green chiles, like Ro*Tel; salt and freshly ground black pepper; 8 ounces of cubed velveeta cheese. empty corn, chili, beans ( all of them), tomatoes and Ro*Tel, juice included, into a large pot over high heat, bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer 10-15 minutes to bring all the flavors together. salt and peper to taste, dice the velveeta and stir into the soup, serve immediately. serves 6. enjoy!!! 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          Yum! Add minced red onion and a dollop of sour cream. And don’t weigh yourself for three (3) days. 😜 We need insulation for winter!

          • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

            ooohhhhh yummy!! that definitely sounds delicious.. may try that next time, I love this put a recipe and some always adds just the right thing to make it even better.

  32. Susie (Rocky Point, NY) says:

    I felt like I read the last page of a really good book first, reading your PS to Willard before I saw Willard, but, could I wait? Goodness no. Hee hee! Looks like a great time was had by all and Joe was honored for being his wonderful self. Perfection. Now I am doubly excited; I have Willard ahead of me. Oh joy! Pack light for your trip; mix and match. Pick up a new wonderful accessory here and there along your way to add to your memory of the trip.

  33. Kelley S. says:

    What a fabulous party! You and Joe are such a perfect match – always caring and doing for each other. You just might restore my faith in romance. The tent, tables, cake – everything looked perfect. When you pull out the fairy lights, that’s a party! Joe must still be thrilled at the very thought.
    Can’t wait to travel vicariously with you across The Pond. Scotland is one of my favorite places in the world. Better keep an eye on Vanna. She might run off with a handsome Highlander.

    • sbranch says:

      Romance requires two to tango. That’s the lucky part. He has as much fairy tale in him as I do. OH MY! You are SO right about Vanna!!! Thank you for the warning!

  34. Nicoline Bostens says:

    Dear Susan,
    Happy happy birthday for last week, for Joe! It looks like you had a wonderful time, lots of singing:)
    And soon you will be having your next adventure, sailing across the ocean to good old Britain!
    I am so looking forard to the Stourhead pic-nic….! Can you tell me please, what time will it be? And besides our basket of food, what else should we bring?
    Will it be on the grounds somewhere?
    Counting the days now, getting excited!
    With lots of love

    • sbranch says:

      Did you get my other answer Nicoline? In case not . . . I’ll be there at noon, near the grass bridge, which you’ll be able to see as you come through the only gate into the park. Just bring something to sit on . . . like a chair or a blanket or whatever you usually use at a picnic. So much fun! See you there!!!

      • Nicoline Bostens says:

        Thank you very much! Yes I did get your other answer. I’m sorry to post 2x …..
        I replied to you other answer too, haha, so we’re going back and forth, sort of…
        On the saturday before the picnic, Stourhead is having a SCONEFEST!! Yeah! so, just in case you’re hungry, you and Joe could always go 2 times in that weekend!
        And BTW, I hope you’ll get to visit Mottisfont, with the Beatrix Potter exhibition, its lovely!

        • sbranch says:

          No problem, just glad you got it! Yum! A sconefest! We’ll try for Mottisfont, but looks like BP exhibition’s last day is the 18th. But I’m pretty sure we’d like it at any time, it looks wonderful!

  35. lovely birthday greetings to Joe; what a memorable party! recipes look delicious and just the ticket to say good-bye to summer. I sure hope there’s another book coming out of the next UK trip…hint, hint. I’m packing for a trip to Ireland…21 inch suitcase plus an over sized bag and your tip about layers is a good one. I’m taking my dress that has a print on both sides so it’s a 2 in 1 dress and with scarves, will be worn many ways. Trip planning is such fun, going on a trip is so wonderful and coming home divine.

  36. Susan P. says:

    Dear Susan,
    I haven’t even received Willard yet…but your P.S. (Positively Susan) was the best thing to see on this cooler day… low 90’s….with a hint of Autumn in the air..In CAlifornia…Yes just a bit cooler….but some leaves are already falling…don’t know if the tree is dead or just early this year. hahaha Your blog was so perfect…the best picture is the one of your home with all the lights on and the tents lights on also….there is something so peaceful and comfy and warm seeing a home at night with it’s light on…a safe haven!!! So enjoy your trip this fall. Love, Susan P.

  37. Maureen Whitman says:

    What a fabulous party. Joe must have felt pretty darn special. Everyone deserves to be spoiled like this once in a while!

  38. What a lovely party! I must say, after meeting Joe I can see why you love him so. He was just the nicest person, so kind and patient with all of us waiting in line to talk to you at Malaprops. Best wishes for a wonderful year, and I’m looking forward to hearing all about the trip. xoxo Jacqui

  39. Barbara Patterson says:

    Since we met at Malaprop’s your offerings have special meaning! Happy Birthday to your darling Joe who chatted as we waited for our very own signing! And early Bon Voyage! I’ll be along in my heart…cheerio! PS.Joe, please kiss the ground for me when you get there!

  40. Delaney Ann Prins says:

    The light is changing here too and the leaves have. A chartreuse tinge to them and some are in Fall mode with deepening reds! The sky and clouds are a deeper blue, yes it is true Fall is on its way! Love your birthday celebration for Joe- the very best gift! And now to set sail soon! Enjoy your time in England!

  41. Lori says:

    Hello Susan! It looks like the birthday celebration was a smashing success. I also appreciate your little reminders that EACH day is a celebration! You are so right, we are the normal ones! Hmm, I need to start packing for “our” trip. 🙂

  42. Sandy says:

    What a wonderful birthday bash for Joe. You really do live a fairytale life Susan and I’m so thankful you take time to share it with us and make us feel included. Thank You.

  43. That looked like the best birthday party ever! I love the singing idea…beyond the happy birthday to you song. 🙂
    Thank you for always brightening my day!

    • sbranch says:

      Everyone has to be brave, but it makes a party so wonderful! No one has to be perfect . . . we’ve had poems and songs and kazoo recitals and fiddle too! One 4th of July I read Casey at the Bat and cried at the end!!!

  44. Kathy Miller says:

    Where is that darling light pink and white tent from?

    • sbranch says:

      We rented it at Tilton’s . . . it doesn’t come large, you have to get little ones and put them sort of together . . . but that’s the only way to get the pink and white!

  45. Lorna says:

    You throw the most delightfully relaxing and fun parties! Joe certainly deserved the attention and love that shone in the pictures. Music, serenades, speeches, and coconut lemon cake – absolute bliss and joy. Thanks for bringing us along.

    And, may I just say, I am quite excited about the upcoming trip. Will Petey be with you? I so hope you will post bits and bobs along the way for those of us who can’t fit into your suitcase. Before you go, I will have re-read “A Fine Romance” and gotten out my maps of the English countryside so I can really feel as if I was with you. This year I thought I would keep a watercolor sketchbook of the places you post! I know it seems silly, but I have cherished the stories from Betty Neels, who was able to describe cottages, road, building, pubs, tea rooms in England, and heroines’ travels on ferries to Holland. From the time I was 13 I wanted to go there and follow her 100+ stories. I will never be able to thank you enough for taking me there a few years ago. And hopefully this year too.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Lorna . . . and yes, Petey is coming … and I’ll post as often as possible, leaving time to go see things so I have something to show you! xoxo

  46. Debi Hutchinson says:

    Another happy birthday wish to Joe! Your party looked lovely. And I’m so excited about “our” trip on the Queen Mary 2! Can’t wait!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Gets closer by the day!

      • Vicki says:

        In the late 1930s, I think it was 1936, my great-uncle & aunt took the Queen Mary back to Europe just after her maiden voyage to New York. She was brand-new. So, it was only the second time she’d been out across the ocean…VERY exciting for my loved ones; they were a young, fun couple and my great-aunt was still in her 20s. My great-uncle was, in a way, sorta like Cliff…had realized big success in business, even during The Great Depression (self-made, ambitious man) while still so young just out of his teens (so, they were a fortunate couple to have had such early wealth). Can you imagine how luxe and lovely that cruise would have been?! As a family, when the ship came to be moored permanently in Long Beach (Calif.)…I was in high school at the time (’70s)…we of course checked it out and, although she was clearly much different than when in her heyday, it was pretty fascinating to get a glimpse of what life might have been like aboard ship in those years before the war.

        • sbranch says:

          I think the Queen Mary in Long Beach is QUITE something. How lucky they are to have it. And yes, your Great Aunt and Uncle, very lucky too … between the world wars, 1936! Must have been heavenly.

  47. Happy Birthday to Joe – I remember visiting your lovely cottage on the Vineyard in 1987 when it just also happened to be Joe’s birthday. You bought him a lovely Adirondack chair with a big bow tied around it and I remember the banners all the way across the street on the drive to your house. I recall my friend Natacha and I wondering who on earth was Joe?! We found out he was the delightfully hospitable man who made sure we had huge wine glasses filled with champagne…. while you Susan gave us a tour of your beautiful home and your art. All because I called asking if you had a gallery, where we could see your artwork and you said “come on over… my home is my gallery!”. So we did! LOL.
    Coincidentally, my lovely sister in law just bought me a copy of “A Fine Romance” for my birthday (the 8th), and I adored it. So glad that the two of you made it to Middleham to visit the home of one of my 2 heroes – Richard III (David Bowie is the other one and I’m still heartbroken at losing him earlier this year). Middleham is the most amazing place? I’ve been a fan and advocate for Richard since my teens (decades). Your trip to my homeland (moved here from England in 1983 made me terribly nostalgic, but you went to all the right places – you did it right! Well done!

    The book was a delight – thank you for writing it.
    Warm wishes from Sunny South Florida!

    Angela (who took your advice as you signed in my copy of Vineyard Seasons)… you said “Never Go Home”… and I didn’t! 😉

    • sbranch says:

      You just brought back the most misty of memories Angela!!! How amazing. I remember putting up the banners around town so Joe would see (or at least think!) that the whole world was celebrating. I just read this to him, thanks for the memories! Loved Middleham! What an education that place is! Don’t you love that they found him?!

  48. Carol Tuchschmidt says:

    Susan, you pack-on-paper (the way I do) complete with lists of outfits! I love that! But you made me burn a batch of the Ghiradelli Chocolate Chip Cookies I was making, because I was so delighted by this PS blog piece that I completely ignored the oven timer. (I think this means you owe me a dozen cookies. But I’ll let it go this time, since you’re busy packing.)

    Have a wonderful voyage and holiday in Jolly Olde!

  49. Linda Pintarell says:

    LOVED reading both Willard and the P.S. blog PLUS listening to some wonderful music. Any chance you will post your music list from the party? You and your girlfriends have already done the work and it would be FUN for us girlfriends to benefit from your musical fun time! Also – that tomato bake sounds luscious, luscious, luscious. So easy but so tasty…can’t wait to try it. Also can’t wait for your blogs from your trip. LOVE to travel and you know how to do it in the most amazing way…plus sharing with all of us. Take care, Miz Susan; Hi to Joe!

    • sbranch says:

      I think I could just give the names and performers for the Music … unless someone knows how I can find a link that gives links to all the songs at once? The Tomato salad is pure flavor of the season … you’ll love it.

  50. Vicki says:

    Thank you for sharing the birthday party with us! What a bunch of delightful people; they all look like people good to know. I love seeing the closer-up photos of your beautiful home; it is SPECIAL. I just drove down our signature street of houses today which feature vintage California Craftsmans (like you see in Monrovia; a lot of filming is done there as here [north]; the movie companies love these old houses and streets) and, oh, would I love to have one; so roomy, the most gorgeous leaded-glass windows and the front doors, wow; they are simply works of art, those large doors surrounded by equally-gorgeous little windows. New homes today? They can try, but they can’t make ’em like they used to.

    You sound contented, Susan. I’m so glad. (My own pop would approve; he believed we should count our blessings every single day, and he did.) When you share the good feelings for us, it pays forward and warms the heart; brought a smile to my face today. What a gift you have! These posts of yours have to take some amount of time for the cutting/pasting, narrative and photos; again, thanks!

    Joe and you have had a whirlwind few months. I admire your energy!

    • sbranch says:

      My pleasure Vicki … it’s fun to think what you all would enjoy reading and then try and make it.

  51. Theresa White says:

    Always wondered if there will ever be a “Spring” book to complete the seasons?

  52. Kathie says:

    I was ready to wash windows and thought “Susan must have a new post” to delay the chore a bit. And there you were! The party must have been so much fun, music and all. Thanks for sharing your sunshine. Now, on to those windows. Toodle ooh.

  53. Karen Lotito says:

    “Layers” are perfect for QM2!!! Our dear friend Clare will be arriving from the U.K. (she lives just below Hull in the Northeast) on September 1st! We can’t think of a better way to cap off the Summer than have our dear friend here visiting! My mind is dialing in to Fall now. Every Winter I say “I want to move to Florida” and every August I say “I’m so looking forward to Fall, cool weather, changing leaves, sweaters, etc.” So really, I guess, as much as I love it, I could never move to Florida. I so want to get back to Martha’s Vineyard. We have only visited once and I immediately fell in love with it. In fact, I just read Anne Rivers Siddons book “Up Island”. Martha’s Vineyard definitely helped the main character in the book heal. It was a beautiful story.
    I’m so glad that Joe’s party turned out wonderfully! It looked like so much fun. There’s nothing like good friends to help celebrate. Have a lovely day and be well and be happy!

  54. sylvia in seattle says:

    What a lovely party. I used to play that Flanders and Swann record for my kids long ago and remember that funny song so well. I wonder if they figured it out back then . . . . What fun friends that would sing it to you and Joe 🙂 I wonder if there are some songs about pen pals? Susan, I’m putting the last stitches in a long delayed quilt project today and it is a red binding using your newly minted fabric of small flower/tree shapes on a tiny grid, which turns out to be just the perfect thing — must be why I waited so long to finish it. There is just no feeling like finishing a quilt! Well, packing just the right stuff to take to Scotland must be quite a giddy feeling as well. I’m having fun just anticipating the travel blog postings. Wheee. Is that a slight foggy twinge I feel in the air? Oh boy, Fall is on the way.

    • sbranch says:

      I think finishing a quilt and finishing the writing of a book must be very much a like. You’re glad its done, but a little sorry to see your forever project disappear!

  55. Nellie Bragg says:

    Oh, my!! What an amazing party!! And to have Rachel’s talents at hand for decorating that already beautiful cake!

    Though we only spent 3 nights on MV one very rainy October 6 years ago, your posts about life there give me a healthy dose of homesickness! Really need to do something about that!

    Joe shares a birthday with our granddaughter who is now ten. Great to have a Leo in OUR family.:-)

    Our oldest daughter actually shares my birthday, and hubby’s is two days later in April. It has to be time to have a glorious party just like yours! The invitation list is being mentally organized!

    I look forward to coming along on that boat with you when you set sail. Making a list so I’ll be wearing the right thing!:-)

    Adding brown bread to my grocery list; forgot to pick it up when I shopped earlier. Very tasty breakfast for sure! Happy you are able to find blueberries when you go walking. Our berries have disappeared until next season when they will hopefully give us another bountiful harvest.

    We’ve had some cooler temps the past couple of days, a hint of how autumn will be. No time to become too excited, however, as summer’s heat returns in a couple of days. Have really loved the cooler mornings, though.

    We send our very best to you and Joe as you make these preparations for travel once again! Give Jack and Girl Kitty extra hugs from us!

    XO Nellie

  56. DeLores Johnson says:

    I am enjoying your book, A Fine Romance. I have learned so much about the homes and the people that lived there years ago. I cannot seem to put the book down!!!
    What a lovely party you had for Joe. I am sure he really appreciated it. You were so fortunate he came into your life.

  57. Peigi says:

    Another simple summer treat: Watermelon with lime juice.
    Smooth Sailing!!

    • sbranch says:


      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        add alittle club soda or 7up for a splash of sparkle and its a refreshing afternoon drink for sitting out on the porch. toss in a few blue berries for garnish. yumm 🙂

  58. Lisa Hay says:

    I love that from GF Mary – “Savor” is the word of the day! I needed this break to the best blog ever! 🙂 Been running so fast I need to remember to SAVOR!! These times will go by too quickly!
    Hugs and Love,
    Lisa Hay xoxoxoxo

  59. Hello,
    Thank you for sharing the party! Wow, what a fun time. I am so happy you had good weather for an outside party. I just love outside parties.
    Thank you for the recipes too.

    xx oo

  60. June Emmert says:

    Dear Susan,

    You are an incredibly inspiring person, and all that you share makes
    so many happy! I won’t try to describe all you presented but to
    say thank you for sharing. So generous and thought

    It is so heart touching that someone like you is sharing beauty, whimsey,
    and love to so many.

    Thank you.

  61. Gill says:

    What a fabulous party you all had! So funny about the table cloths! It happens to us all, but as soon as you get enough stuff in place it’s ok😉. If you fancy a little English cottage of your very own , have you seen that Sir Issac Newtons 900 yr old cottage is up for sale? It’s called Newtons Chapel and it even still has the apple tree!

    • sbranch says:

      It was owned by Sarah Ban Breathnach at one time, the woman who wrote Simple Abundance! If I was granted clonehood, along with perhaps a million dollars, and could live a double life, it would be perfect! Dreaming is free! I wonder if it’s for rent????

  62. Ann Y. says:

    Oh, it looks like it was a wonderful party – and I love the idea of the vibes from it staying in your house throughout the years ! When we stay at B&Bs I often sit in the dining rooms and think “oh, the holidays and parties that were celebrated here…” and you can still feel the love. I have an idea for the song to sing for Rachel – it’s our family birthday song we always sing. I think my brother learned it from a radio show ( we are talking old here) called Big John and Sparky. That was years before me ( he was 16 years older than me and now gone, miss him still) but we ALWAYS sing it after Happy Birthday. Now, as the years and miles have pulled us all apart we will call each other and sing it. On Facebook we write one line of the lyrics until the song is completed for the birthday boy or girl. I am not sure if the music is online anywhere, but here are the lyrics:
    Today is a birthday, I wonder for whom?
    I know it’s for somebody right in this room.
    So look all around you for somebody who is smiling and happy…my goodness it’s YOU!
    Happy Birthday (Rachel), from all of us to you.
    Happy Birthday (NAME), from all the family, too.
    We congratulate you, and may good luck follow you.
    Happy Birthday (NAME)…may all of your wishes come true!
    We have sung that whenever we happen upon a birthday celebration…I do it at school for my students and they love it. My husband does it at his work. We recently returned from a river cruise through Provence, Lyon, Avignon…and sang it for people having a birthday on the cruise who were sitting at our table. Maybe this could be a job for us in retirement ??? Anyway…If I can find a clip of it I will post it. It’s a tradition I just love! SO happy for you going on your trip…I was telling my dear husband about it on our 5:15 AM walk this morning…hint, hint!!! Safe travels, cozy times, happy days !

  63. Monica D. says:

    Susan, I do hope you’re putting together Joe’s birthday music play list for all of us girlfriends who couldn’t make it to the party 😉

    • sbranch says:

      I think I could write down all the songs ~ would that be okay? So far I haven’t seen any sort of link that I could give out for the whole list . . . through iTunes, I paid something like a dollar for each song . . . I’ve never done this before, so I’m not a hundred percent sure how it works. Do you know if there’s a way to email the whole list to someone?

      • Rachel Lucas says:

        Just to butt in, but I think royalties have to be paid each time…so maybe just a written list! I would happily spend another afternoon with Sue working it all out! It was the BEST playlist in the world!

  64. Ann Woleben says:

    What a lovely party for Joe~very deserving I’m sure. Excited to know that Willard is on the way! Sending up prayers for a safe voyage and trip~looking forward to your posts from across the pond.

  65. Betsy in Pennsylvania says:

    Susan, I know you are busy but I have a question. Where did you find that picture of the queen in the beautiful little frame in your kitchen? My daughter and I are crazy about the queen and I would love to give her that picture for her birthday. Can you help? xoxoxoxoxo

    • sbranch says:

      I’m not 100% sure, but try HERE . . . give them a call and describe it … I maybe found it here when we stopped in. They had so much!

  66. Martha says:

    What a beautiful setting for a party! Vintage table clothes are gorgeous! Seems that you enjoy the changing of the seasons as much as I do. I’ve lived in Ohio all my life and love to watch the seasons change. Thanks for the fruit recipes!

  67. Tamara Scire says:

    So much happiness, thank you for sharing, Susan, what a beautiful party you gave your man! Love it!

  68. The best PS ever, dear Susan!! Happy tears!! It truly felt like we were all there celebrating Joe’s special day. Thank you so much for including us! 🙂

    We are enjoying three delightful, cool days in a row here. I’ve been extra busy moving perennials around from my cutting garden and transplanting them along the inside edges of my ‘Susan Branch Herb & Tea Garden.’ Since it is the heart of my garden, I needed to have my favorite old-fashioned flowers all around the white picket fence! ♥

    Thank you for so many wonderful fruit dessert recipes! We have been savoring the season with fun fruits each evening ~ jackfruit, dragon fruit, prickly pear fruit, fresh figs, and all the sweet delights of the Midwest, too.

    So very true ~ “Home was never sweeter than now.” Savor every moment at home, so you can carry a bit of ‘home’ in your hearts as you set sail.
    Love you both,
    Dawn (in Illinois)

    • sbranch says:

      We’ll definitely be taking a bit of home with us, how could we not! xoxo Happy fall to you Dawn! Love your garden plans. I’ve already been planning my spring garden, believe it or not, planting a few things for next year!

  69. Elizabeth says:

    Your tablecloths are so pretty. Where do you find them? Enjoy your trip coming up.

    • sbranch says:

      For fun, whenever we can, Joe and I have always loved to wander through antique stores, yard sales, places like that . . . so those tablecloths were slowly collected over the years, whenever I see one that I can’t resist that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

  70. Joyce Howe says:

    Susan, I needed this today more than you could know. Your posts always bring such a smile to my heart. Thank you for your wonderful, sunny words and sharing the happy party scenes. You are both so fortunate to have such a great group of friends and family to celebrate with.

    Thanks much! And Happy Belated Birthday to Joe.

  71. Sarah says:

    Oh, what a wonderful party! I had to scroll up and down reading and rereading every detail several times. How delightful to have a lawn party, and you have the most perfect lawn outside that special home. Love that all your girlfriends joined in with the prep, the toasts, the songs, etc. I can just imagine the glow of joy that beams from this occasion. Like you said, “glow of party DNA that I’m sure will last for all eternity”. Eternity ~ just think of how this will now be a part of this home for generations to come. Sweet thought!
    My sweet husband’s 72nd is today. He is getting his favorite ~ German Chocolate Cake, but I hosted a small birthday party for a friend who lives in assisted living now. Served the most delicious coconut cake, layers with coconut cream filling and covered with clouds of seven minute frosting. I could (and often do) eat the icing by the spoonfuls. Beyond heavenly!
    Enjoy your days of fall splendor and the anticipation of the upcoming voyage and time in the UK. Eager to read and see what you will share as you make this trip.
    All the best to you and the birthday boy! Hugs from Austin, TX……..Sarah
    PS I vote for “Lydia the Tatooed Lady” You must make a recording for us!

    • sbranch says:

      I do love that thought. It’s a giving thing, a house gives to you, and you give to the house. I think about the folks who lived here before us, and I really do think about those coming after, and how LUCKY they will be to be the caretakers (because that’s what each generation really is, not only of this house, but of the world) of a place like this and its days of splendor (loved your words).

      Happy birthday to sweet husband!

  72. Sara says:

    Be sure to REST when you can!

  73. Jane Franks says:

    Wow, what great timing, Susan. I’ve been up to my ears in forms, forms, forms for the VA and Gene’s benefit. It will be worth it in the end, though it means sacrificing creativity for a week to pull all the facts and figures together. But I needed a breath of fresh air, and this is certainly it!! What a lovely birthday party for Joe and so much fun; thank you so much for all the photos! I was dying to see how it all turned out!! He sure deserved that, for all the behind the scenes work that I KNOW he does to help you keep going. What a special guy you have there, but I don’t have to tell you that!!! I can feel the excitement of fall in the air and embarking on “our” great adventure to cross the sea again!! And I have so much to share and show you of what I am doing with the fairy tale — reviving old skills, using brushes and pens again; and Gene’s darling illustrations, but it will have to wait. By the time you get back from the UK I may dare show what I’m doing! But this is about YOU!! What a great finale to a fabulous year of accomplishment for you, and inspiration for us! So grateful to tag along . . . sometimes from a distance, but here and inspired by it all!! Blessings to you both!! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Jane you are an inspiration to so many, for what you’re going through, you do it with such aplomb. Proud of you. Thank you for taking time out for your kind thoughts . . . blessings on you both … you go girl!

      • Jane Franks says:

        Thank you so much for your encouragement. It means more than you can imagine! Today is what matters for now!! The rest will come!! Yes!! xoxo

  74. Rose Ann Bacher-Giallombardo says:

    Dear Susan, You are the light of so many lives & certainly you are of mine.
    My tiny vases & colored Ball jars are all filled here & there w/ the last of summer flowers in my cozy little house. My 2 Rose of Sharon bushes are in bloom, one white & one pink. I’m praying that the deer stay away, they have already eaten some of the buds 🙁
    Thank you for sending us a glimpse of your Joe’s joyous birthday party!
    May you both always have peace & laughter to share w/ others.

  75. Kat Fry on Rose Creek Farm says:

    As always Absolutely Loverly! Willard and this wonderful P.S! What a Treat!
    I have been exercising & low carbing like mad, so has the Magnificent Jesse! to be able to fit in a small travel bag for the Grand Adventure Fall 2016! Well…actually…wee untruth. Since we got home from my Senior ‘senior’ Road Trip where we had the time of our Lives helping Keep Austin Weird with you n Joe we’ve slipped back into old habits. Foot long chili cheese coneys, sweet onion rings & cherry Dr. Pepper. Yumm! We may make your luggage a bit over the limit! But!!! the Bon Voyage is on our 46th Anniversary! Sept 8th! How amazingly Enchanting & Magical! And heading to 2 of our favorite places outside of Texas! Our Grand Adventure Fall of 1998 where we toured on the cheap via Eurail & backpacks, among our favorite places were Scotland & England. Fall there is to breathed in & held for as long as possible! Be sure in Edinburgh to get a snap as you exit the train station into the park next to the floral clock! A dear friend Elanore, was a ‘war bride’ & married her Yank, They would take a snap at that spot every time they went to visit and asked us to do the same for them. She was so exquisitely Scottish. We took our snap there & had the 2 snaps of their honeymoon snap & our pic framed together. Such a special memento. As you listen to those pipes playing & feel that chilly air & all the history of the place! Goosebumps I tell you Girl! Goosebumps! What a treat to think of y’all there! And whaaattt! 53,000 of us! We are strong & mighty & loving! and so doggone awesome! Safe sailing! Love to Joe & the kitties.
    P.s. Not to worry…we have been getting back in the groove of delicious healthier eating & doing our walkies along with Farm Chores. Sonic is just a once in a great while ‘take us back to our teenage dating days; treats. Although…while in England & Scotland “along with y’all” we will splurge for bangers & mash, shepards pie, scones with clotted creme & lemon curd…………….

    • sbranch says:

      Don’t worry Kat, invisibleness removes poundage! You’ll fit in fine. And Happy Anniversary to Youuuuuu! Can’t wait for the pipes, it will be crying time again!

  76. Pam Wilson says:

    Oh to have been a bird in your garden during Joe’s garden party! How delightful! (And wonderful of you to have shared the memories of Joe’s Beatles Birthday with all of us!) And now on to the Queen Mary 2 voyage—enjoy the anticipation and we all look forward to hearing all of those adventures as well!! xo Pam

  77. Pom Pom says:

    The party looked super fun! I’m so excited about your trip! Can’t wait!

  78. viv says:

    Always feel as though I’ve visited with a dear kindred spirit. Can hardly wait for my Willard. What a dream of a birthday garden party. Thanks for letting us attend.

  79. Gaili Schoen says:

    RE: what to sing for your friend’s birthday
    Here is the best duet EVER – originally sung by Ethel Merman and Donald O’Connor in Call Me Madam:

    Such a great song! We just sung it to my mother-in-law for her 90th birthday, to celebrate the part of her life when she met her husband.

    If you want to do it Karaoke style let me know and I’ll send you the backing tracks I recorded, for you to sing with 🙂


  80. Lori says:

    lovely and charming, as always. leaves me with a smile on my face. 🙂

  81. Sharon from AB, Canada says:

    Thank you so much for Willard and this post. It was so full of joy, excitement, friendship and love.

    I have a question about the charms. How do you clean them? The silver is starting to tarnish and I don’t want to damage the glass. I love the charms and treasure each one of them. Thanks for the help.

    • sbranch says:

      I use a silver cloth … you can get them in jewelry stores and they work great. You can clean them first with a toothbrush if they need it, but mostly if it’s tarnish that’s the problem, then yes, the silver cloth.

  82. Diana Crick says:

    You are my IDOL! You live life to the fullest, a life filled with love and honesty. Treasure each other.
    I hope you have a wonderful voyage. I crossed the ocean, both ways on the Queen Elizabeth. When we docked in Southampton the dock workers were on strike and would only remove the First Class passengers luggage, so they were able to go ashore. We had to stay on board another day. It was an adventure though as we were allowed to go into all the First Class rooms. It was so much fun! I was 6 I think…

    • sbranch says:

      That was mean. I think if I were the dock workers I would only take off the SECOND class passengers! 😀 In the spirit of Robin Hood! Ha ha, you were six. Perfect adventure!

  83. Kristen says:

    Susan, you have brought excitement and hope for some happy times this summer with your Willard and blog post today! Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m so inspired to use little things to decorate and to invite everyone over for a fun evening. There truly is nothing like time spent with friends and family! I will be watching your travels as I recuperate from surgery, and I know I will enjoy everything you have to share!

  84. Elly says:

    Finding you blog post in my inbox this morning was icing on my 65th birthday cake today!
    I spent a quiet day reading and just reflecting on the wonderful life I have had!
    One of my dear daughters posted old photos of me at different birthday celebrations,
    both as a child in the Netherlands and here in the States, on my Facebook page,
    to share with family and friends. What a journey down memory lane!
    Now you and Joe are getting ready to embark on another wonderful trip to England!
    You’re right, one shouldn’t pack too much! I realize people really don’t care whether you’ve worn that outfit the entire time you’re on vacation! Especially when one goes abroad!
    Even thoughbI packed a small suitcase, I still packed way more than I wore , when I went to Eurpe last summer. As long as you have “your woolies” with you, you’ll be all set!!
    Have a great time Susan and Joe! And SAFE TRAVELS!! ❤️❤️

    • sbranch says:

      Happy Birthday Elly!!! Love the way you spent it. I’m a quiet birthday person myself. I know we’ll take too much, we always do. We keep thinking how long two and a half months is, which is the wrong way to think!!!

  85. Mary/Indiana says:

    What a Wonderful Birthday Party! Joe is a lucky guy (and vice versa)!
    Loved the twinkling night sky of your Island! Makes me want to hop
    in the car for a Roadtrip! Maybe talk Hubby into a late September drive.
    Will it be too early for Fall foliage? Thanks for sharing another fun-filled

    • sbranch says:

      Late September should be a wonderful time for foliage . . . by Halloween, we’re wet and windswept and most of the leaves are crowding around the trees and gutters.

  86. Loved today’s photos and messages! Thank you so much for including the poem “Little Drops of Water” in your post. I send monthly cards and notes to my four out-of-town granddaughters (ages 14, 17, 22, and 24), and try to include a nice thought, poem, or Bible verse–this will be perfect for this month’s note!

  87. Janice says:

    A lovely birthday party.. Love the idea of all the vintage table cloths… Lovely musica too.. Your living room is so inviting Susan.. Walking to the mail box slowly along the way reminds me of when I was a young girl in McCloud Ca. Walking along to the postal to get the daily mail. Those are my fondest memories. And I just wrote on my blog about the sun shinning through the windows in my living room.. How much I love it in the afternoon.. Kindred spirits.. My wish one day to visit the Lake District awe. Not to sure about a boat cruise, I will leave that to you and hubby… Hope you had a wonderful day.. With Janice. Ps I can’t wait for the Willard…

    • sbranch says:

      Walking anywhere always leaves space for adventure, even of the smallest kind. Once in England, a red fox crossed the path just in front of us!!! Foxes, we don’t see everyday! xoxo

  88. Ginnie says:

    Fabulous! And I can’t wait for Willard. Your writing and artwork and pics are like candy. But non-fattening.

  89. Gloria Nugent says:

    I. Am looking forward to the plaid things you may purchase on your next journey ….ha. I am also anxious to experience the trip through your eyes/photos until the day I might get the same chance! So filled with gratitude for this lovely & inspiring blog and YOU Susan💝💟💖

  90. Sally Roth says:

    Oh what a loverley blog post! I adored it ALL… especially the photo of HM The Queen on your kitchen shelf and “never give up” (Sir Winston). And Joe’s party, what fun.
    Your last paragraph is so perfect and encouraging to those of us who agree that “We are the builders, the sharers, the ones who try hard to make it a wonderful world, who see the good in things, we should be proud and never give up”.
    Enjoy the last days of summer in your beautiful place with people you love and the anticipation of The Sea Voyage! Sally

  91. Sharon on the coast in South Carolina says:

    Thank you sharing Joe’s birthday party with us. It looks like everyone had the most wonderful time. I sure would like to have heard the girls singing “When I’m Sixty-Four . . .” and Gerry’s speech that made everyone cry. The cake looked absolutely scrumptious! Oh, to have a birthday party like Joe’s would be a fairy tale dream come true. I am just looking forward to receiving my Willard.

  92. Chris H says:

    What a fun-filled birthday bash. And it’s a testament to the love and regard you and Joe are held in for so many of your special friends to come from afar to celebrate with him.
    My husband and I have a week’s holiday in England in mid September……..all a bit crazy as we head from Australia for meetings in Colorado Springs and then on to the UK ……and unfortunately nowhere near the length of time we had a few years ago but I’ll take what I can get of that beautiful island. We’ll try and see a few different places thought his time.
    I hope your journey is safe in the travel department and serendipitous in all other ways.

    • sbranch says:

      If you go to London, only 35 miles south, another world at Hever Castle. Try to go there, you will love it. Travel safe!

  93. Sandy says:

    Susan, I’m so glad to get the PS because my Willard arrives along about day 2 of the big send-out. You always make me feel so good about ordinary life! I’m just chatting with a facebook friend about living so as not to have regrets. My life is pretty simple but I believe it’s what God wants so I’m content, and if I die tomorrow, I won’t have regrets. I’m the one getting the new little house, a manufactured one, complete with a clothesline for sheets to flap in the breeze. bless you dear one 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Regrets would be my biggest fear too …. want to make sure I keep away from them. Most of my regrets so far (besides things out of my control) have to do with things I didn’t buy in antique stores, so that means, so far so good. SO happy for you Sandy, you will love your flapping sheets, and your new little house where you can put a flower in a vase and bake some brownies and feel all the glow of who you are, and the life you made for yourself. ❤️

  94. Penny says:

    Looked like a wonderful celebration for your guys 64th birthday 🎂! Lots of good friends coming round filled with love & good wishes 💞!
    Have amazing & magical travel across the sea to lovely Great Britain 🚢…..✨ look forward to your blogs & pictures! I loved every minute on my RICK STEVE’s 14 day walking tour May 2014 🌠 ….cheerio .

  95. Pat Johnson says:

    There are many things in life that change – some for the better and some for the not-so-better……. You, my dear Susan, are in a league of your own – the BEST I might add! I must share with you how very proud I am of what you do, say and admire – a definite CLASS ACT! The party for Joe was out of this world – but then having been married to someone very much like Joe – he is also a class act and AMAZING! I think back to when I first joined you, all those many years ago, and I am, once again, so proud of your accomplishments and that you share them with the world! Did you ever imagine? Well, we all knew you were going places…… and you did. Am looking forward to the upcoming trip. And to see what you will come up with during the next year. Thank you for sharing your talent, your gifts, your life, your beautiful house and life on the wonderful Martha’s Vineyard. I am a fan!! ….. for life. Hugs

    • sbranch says:

      I never for one moment imagined. It’s been just a wonderful ride. Now it’s my 30th year, and all quite a miracle to me. Love you Pat!

  96. Karen Carpenter says:

    The party looked absolutely fabulous, darling! Joe looked so happy! You two have such an adventure ahead, can’t wait to experience through you! Have fun!

    You have only just begun,
    Karen Carpenter

  97. Stacey says:

    What a fun party this looks like it was! I love that you set up pink and white stripe tents!
    That coconut cake looks divine, Happy Birthday Joe!

    • sbranch says:

      We had the pink and white tents for his 40th, so we really wanted to have them again ~ you can’t get them in “large” — which is why so many people use white ones, but you can make little warrens out of the smaller ones, we really had three tents. MOST delicious cake! xoxo

  98. Cyndi in NC says:

    I”m so excited for our trip!!!! I promise I’ll pack light this time! *S* I love the Cream of Rice picture, love berries. Yum! I’m glad Joe’s party went well. It looks like it was a lot of fun. Enjoy the island till it’s time to get on the ship.

    • sbranch says:

      We are doing that very thing. Our friend Siobhan is still here, so she and I went and checked out galleries and jewelry stores downtown yesterday . . . fun! xoxo

      • Cyndi in NC says:

        That sounds like so much fun. I know you two had a great time. I bet there was a yummy lunch to keep you fortified for your adventures! Enjoy your time with Siobhan!

  99. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi Susan!!! Got the Giant PS first…and just loved seeing all of the joy at Joe’s super party!!! Full of love and laughter and life!!! Patiently awaiting the arrival of my Willard….know it will be a wonderful as ever. Enjoy Thursday night in Aquinnah… loved that quaint little hamlet!! Would love to be able to be there…..but… life has a way of sorting things out for us….Just received the 2017 wall calendar and did not even unwrap it… I never look ahead so that each month is like a little gift ….. wonderful!!!
    Good luck on the packing for England…. not long now!!! good advice… #layers

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