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!Comfy? 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!
Ray 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 to 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 up 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.
Which everyone loved!
Making everyone cry!
Rachel 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. 💛The 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.🎈
And 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 . . .
It’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 . . .
One of my favorite things, the light through the trees, dappling my stove, the walls, across my kitchen floor . . .
The vases are filled . . . my soul is braced . . .
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,
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.
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
Yes, 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. xo
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.
And 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!
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.🌟
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!)And for you . . . ideas for delicious and
Grab all the summer you can . . . Pack your bags and 🎵 come with me, to the sea, to the sea, the sea of love . . .
Love you! Have a wonderful day.💝 Don’t forget: “Layers.” ❌⭕️❌⭕️❌
I just got my cookbook (I have the old one)!! So excited!! Want the whole day just to drink tea and relish your wonderful recipes and art!! Thanks for sharing your trip with me!! Thank Joe too!! Bon Voyage!!! Safe travels..I will eagerly await the wonderful adventure~~~~~~
Oh, you make me smile…
I am writing to say that twice and possibly three times I have written you notes and immediately following I receive a box that states I have already written the same thing before…..This is not possible and all I can think of is that I might use certain words again which trigger an alarm that I am copying myself……and then my note is discarded……..Particularly so in this case as I wrote my condolences in Girl’s passing. I absolutely adore you and Joe and all your work and eagerly welcome every new posting and book and have a small group of friends that I have introduced to your work and issue little Susan Branch Alarms to let them know when you have put up a new post or a new Willard and all about your books……..Tomorrow morning I will signal that you depart for your fabulous voyage again on the Queen Elizabeth 2 to England and Scotland so they can all watch for your posts of your trip and I will not bother them so much.
Thank you again for all the great joy and pleasure I receive from your wonderful work……especially now that it is time for the Autumn book to be used!!!
There have definitely been gremlins in my blog … and we never know when or why they will strike. I’m sorry Kathleen! Thank you for trying again. Say hi to your Girlfriends, so happy to know you’re coming along! xoxo
So very sorry to hear about Girl Kitty. She had the most expressive, beautiful eyes.
Each of your posts reminds me that dreams can and do come true.
Best Wishes for a better than you imagined time in England and Scotland. Thanks for sharing the journey with us. Bon Voyage.
I’m so sorry to hear about sweet Girl Kitty, but, as others have mentioned, happy that you were home when she did pass away.
I know you are busy today preparing for your voyage but I am happily waiting for your cheerful messages that I know will follow! Have a wonderful trip!
Lovely Susan, I’m a fellow Anglophile, journal/diary keeper who fell deeply, truly madly for New England in 1986, with then “boy” friend, now husband Tom. Oh boy, the writing was on the wall…a handsome sailor..all around good guy who restored my faith in men at age 40, introduced me to stone walls, old houses reeking with character A neighbor, another Anglophile and Dirt Road Person in our small village in Downeast Maine, brought me your trilogy. She knows what I usually read, so the note she left said, just kick back, read with tea, and enjoy. Now I know where the inspiration for her screen door came from. As it usually does, guardian angel gifts come at just the right time. Last fall, Tom and I spent a month in the North of England and Scotland and southern and central Scotland. Two years before, we spent a month in England, the south east and south central parts. Oh yes, my dear, National Trust and English and Scottish Heritage do lodgings in properties they manage. My first was Virginia Woolf’s Monk’s House, the attached garden shed, where we owned the entire exterior after it closed for the day and before it opened. In lovely village of Rodmel, where after 4 enchanted nights we moved a few houses down the road to Deep Thatch Cottage owned by a great couple. Spent a week there exploring out form there. Charleston, Many gardens, Lewes, the high South Downs such as Ditchling Beacon, white knuckle driving on lanes with the buzzer screaming constantly, oncoming bikers, you know the story!! Oh, and Roman ruins, villas, remains of actual Roman roads….Soooo much history, so little time. We also loved great conversations and food in the pubs, tea rooms, cafes, etc. I spent time there as a kid of 32 and older. Celebrated “my” Queen’s Silver Jubilee in London. Other trips followed, but they are way, way better with the Love of Your Life, No? Anticipating seeing where you go on your adventure. We were scheduled to return to England this coming Spring, but Tom has some health issues that need fixing. By the way, I was born in ’45, almost a Boomer. Thank you for sowing all this happiness. And may you have many more years of same,
Susan, You write the best: blog, letters, books! The flow of conversation is like we are all in your kitchen having tea together, but in very small groups. 🙂 I am sorry to learn of Girl’s passing. I believe we all go over the same rainbow and will definitely see our furry loves again, as we will see our human loves again, one day.
I meant to send this off weeks ago before you left for your trip, but the new school year began and other life happenings. Wonderful to read your blog and experience some of the joy you and Joe are sharing with us from your latest European Vacation. Thanks for sharing you and your many Divine gifts with all of us!! 🙂 Suzanne
Thank you Suzanne, so sweet to read your words. Have a wonderful day!
Love all your posts…Gerri