The Fair and Pleasant Land

Rabbit-Rabbit girlfriends! Hello from this Fair and Pleasant Land.  With MUSICA we were listening to last night (because I brought a playlist on my phone, a minor miracle it seems to me ~ you can now carry around the soundtrack to your life! 🎵 How can you not be happy with this playing as you unpack and dance around strange new surroundings?) . . . Missing you, missing me?helloOctober

Ah yes, it’s time once more for Vagabonds on Parade!


I almost don’t know where to begin, we’ve been so hill and dale since last we met! Sorry it’s been so long, I promise, I have tried daily, futilely, hopelessly, to upload photos for the last two weeks, to no avail!!! But we are in a new place, and although quite squirrelly (as one would say in America), due to extreme foreignocity, it is surprisingly working this morning and I am making hay while the sun is shining!  SO, HELLO Girlfriends!!! What a trip we are on, what an amazing sojourn! So let me show you a bit of it, because, as you knowa picture


The sky has been outstanding, day and night!  The short version so far, is that we left Stourhead, still on wings because of our amazing picnic which I wrote about in the last post . . . and drove, oh where, oh where did we drive, it is going way too fast already! SO, consult trusty diary:  Ah yes, its all coming back now . . . we found a luv-lee cottage in the Cotswolds for a few days, and relearned how to turn on bath water and how to work washing machine, as we do wherever we go, because, it seems, no two plumbing units are teathe same.  On our daily walks, we’ve traversed mud flats, gotten up close to lots of pheasants and discovered an abandoned WWII air strip. We visited farm stores for award winning butter, and have gone to pubs for Scotch egg with crispy strips of pancetta, and poached trout with Marie Rose Sauce (a lot like 1000 Island), we’ve had tea and Lemon Cake, and scones with British marmalade, and in Stratford-on-Avon, at the birthplace of William Shakespeare, we learned that putting bells on the toes of your shoes was a popular women’s fashion of the 15th century. Luv it. Not often, but often enough, it’s poured rain so Joe bought wellies (I brought mine), but we’ve had plenty of sun, and always massive clouds, like these above, and that sky up there, my girls, is over Scotland!!! Oh yeah, that’s where we are this fine bright sunny morning! In Scotland, contemplating the true meaning of plaid and grateful to be doing it.


But more than anything, this is what we came for, these long walks in the English Countryside and this is why we’ve been Falling in Loveall over again! Not just any old love, no, mad love! That’s Joe ⬆️ outside the little hotel (that’s not the hotel in this photo!) we found by happenstance called the Devonshire Arms Hotel, on a 30,000 acre property owned by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire (please tell me, who owns 30,000 acres? But VERY grateful to the Devonshires, because they share!). ‘Course we didn’t know all this when we checked in . . . and here we are, straight out the front door of the hotel, not even unpacked yet, going for our first walk, even though it was getting late, but the grass smelled so green, the air was so fresh and clean, the path was calling our names. The walk started out rather normal, despite the fabulous rushing river alongside us the whole way, then we rounded a bend and waaaay off in the distance, we saw what appeared to be castle ruins, and immediately kissed our 6:30 dinner reservation goodbye because nothing could stop us from going there that very moment!englandwithitshistory


As we got closer and closer, we became more and more curious, what IS IT?  And then, castlewhile walking around and through it, we found out it’s called Bolton Abbey. Owned, yes, it too, by the Duke and Duchess. AMAZING place. Half of it is ruins, the other half is a church, we went inside and lit candles, and wandered through the lovely old graveyard. This place had all the accouterments a person could wish for. Besides the story of people and history, there was a charming tea shop, and walks that went on forever, over bridges, past waterfalls, through fields of cows and lambs, on stones across the river, skirting places so narrow you would think they wouldn’t allow the public to go there. All ours, we could just go till our hearts content.justrightimg_0939

Crisp breeze, fast moving clouds . . . (isn’t he just asking for a tea bag to get caught on those glasses???)


YOU walk through them, no YOU do it, no YOU do it . . . Okay, we’ll both do it . . . and so we did … not one thing happened. No biting, no stampeding. Getting to know our farm animals. We have been too cut off from the farm!



Oh boy!


Only the tiniest bit of fall was beginning to be visible, but there was a sweet chill in the air, and the roar of the river, and we were cozy in jackets and boots . . . birds sang and skittered in the trees, mallard ducks flew right across in front of us, quacking the whole way . . .tea time!img_0995

We walked it, every day, a different trail. We’d planned to spend one night at that hotel and then head north, but each day, we just could not leave, so we added another night, until we had stayed four. We slid in mud, we got drenched, and we were so happy we tried to take a selfie to record the joy. Let me say first that we are not selfie-takers. This was our first stab at it. One out of three ain’t bad.


Realizing my head would not fit in picture, Joe says, “Here, let me hold the camera…”


“Okay, but let me get my glasses off . . .”


Third time is charm… we don’t wear makeup or dye our hair but we are happy in the English Countryside!luckyinloveimg_7739

Still showing signs of being caught in the rain, we came back from a four-mile trek feeling birdravenous . . . to, of course, a tea room, which they have so charmingly and strategically placed everywhere we go. We are so grateful! While sitting there, the sun shone on us AND it rained. We fed a little brown bird scone crumbs and took about a hundred pictures of him. Nice that we don’t have to buy film anymore, because we’d be in big trouble.😜


This was the hotel … You wouldn’t believe the breakfast that comes with the room. Silver tea things for starters. Lovely in every way.having tea


Even Petey was sorry to have to say goodbye.  (Come on Petey, get in the car . . . nooo, don’t make me . . .)


girl and dogBack-tracking a bit . . . to talk about dogs!!!!! They are everywhere. 💖  Everyone has a dog. They are on our walks, on the streets, in all the pubs.  I feel lost without one. When we walk, we are the only people who don’t have dogs.  We love meeting the owners, stopping and saying hello  . . . This was a guy named Peter and his adorable Airedale, George.


This is Rex . . . a beautiful border collie . . .  he is standing next to a “fairy ring” we’d just found (we weren’t sure what it was), built by


this wonderful English gentleman named Mike, who’d just come around the corner on that path . . . we visited with him for a long time. He told us the circle was a fairy ring he’d made from tree stumps ~ the idea of his recently deceased dear wife named Hazel . . .


And there it was. Ready to be found in the woods by just anyone (like us), who would take balloonspictures of it and forever wonder how it got there. When I first saw it, I thought it would be great to take my girlfriends here, make a bonfire in the middle, and do that thing I’m always wanting to do . . . toss in certain silly or incriminating pages from my diaries saying prayers for wisdom as they go up in smoke . . . but Mike said that recently there had been a children’s birthday party here ~ which was just what Hazel had hoped for. 💖 And so, the things of her heart (no doubt there were many more than this) will last forever.If you do it with heartdog

And now, back to dogs, they are always in pubs, we love them, and we love a country that allows this . . .  we go and take pictures of them . . .tea time


We have tea or dinner (like this delicious risotto) in front of a cozy fire watching dogs and people, listening in on conversations we can barely understand, while Joe looks at maps and I write in my diary or read about what we did that day . . .


Or we read local magazines to learn about what’s going on  . . . (that’s our Bolton Abbey on the cover of this magazine!)  “Our” Bolton Abbey! Ha! Newly claimed! Don’t tell the Duke and Duchess! We’d like to stay on their good side!


The food has been beyond wonderful. These are roasted vegetables, parsnips, carrots and tomatoes, poured over mixed greens that could not have been more healthy and delicious. Seven pounds by the way, at the Devonshire Arms Hotel Brasserie. Go there! 👏cake


Cakes! This was a tea shop in Sedbergh. But this scene is everywhere. Thank goodness for the walking.


Sedbergh also had the winning bunting of the trip so far.  In a country filled with charm, that is saying something. But I’m sure you have to agree, lamb bunting wins!



The lambs went all the way down the street, criss-crossing back and forth across the amazingly narrow roadway built for horses (that car is making it’s way down the street)! I think maybe the kids at a local school made it.  BTW, the cake shop is just behind where I was standing to take this photo. I got the lemon cake.yumimg_4694

Here’s the other thing I’m thankful for. Map man. Electricity guru, Cool-Hand-Luke wrong-side-road-driver, and heavy-lifter extraordinaire, not to mention Pear-Cider toaster like nobody’s business.💞


Our Sat-Nav in the car (better known in America as GPS) is trying to tell us how to get out of this town!  Joe does it with élan.


There is so much more to show and tell in this wonderful place with constantly thought-provoking images like this one, but it’s time to go outside and see what’s going on around here, we arrived just after dark and we’re not sure where we are yet . . . on our first full day in Scotland . . . We are staying at a little cottage in Laggan, so far from the madding crowd it is almost scary ~ two hours north of Edinburgh, at the base of the Cairngorms National Park for the next two weeks, and interestingly, just down the street from the Dalwhinnie Whisky Distillery ~ I think there are distilleries everywhere, whisky being a major cash-crop for Scotland ~ we saw it on our way in. There is a fireplace here! And my iPhone plugs into their stereo! And it’s so quiet, we slept like lambs last night. Who could ask for more?  So lucky. How did this ever happen? Must have been Joe.Lucky us

img_4682I’ll keep taking pictures for you . . . I love having you along. Watch Twitter if you can, because so far it’s been much easier to send pictures to Twitter than it has to get them to go from my iPhoto onto the blog!  I know some of you don’t use Twitter, and that’s okay, I don’t think you have to really join, but if you go here you can just look at the photos. Off to mess with the washing machine! Wish me luck!  Love you Girls. Have a wonderful day! ❌⭕️

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509 Responses to The Fair and Pleasant Land

  1. Christie Levin says:

    Dear Susan, I have always wanted to visit Scotland, and now thanks to you and Joe and all your wonderful Tweets and Blog posts, I am! And having the best time!! Thank you so much! xoxoxo

  2. Georgie Bonsanto says:

    Sending XOXO to you as you continue your WONDERFUL wanderings through backroads and castles and pastures right into our hearts.

    Love You!

    P.S. Joe is getting better every day and says “Hi!” 🙂

  3. Pom Pom says:

    Oh how perfect! I like Joe’s wellies. That IS fun that everyone has a doggy and pets are welcome in restaurants. It sounds like you are having a wonderful adventure, Sue!
    It’s October! Time to get Autumn down from the shelf. I’m going to go do that right now. Sending love your way and thank you for sharing!

  4. Vicki says:

    OH, it is absolutely marvelous! You and Joe look perfectly amazing AS YOU ARE! Don’t change a thing. Happiness really is all you need. But could you just daudle a little in front of the fire while I sample each of those cakes? Mmmmmmmmmmm. Tasty! Your pictures look like paintings of countryside and castles instead of photos. Have a wonderful time. Blackwood is my maiden name and supposed to be Scottish I think? Let me know if you see the name somewhere….and I will come popping out of nowhere to check it out! Lol!

    • sbranch says:

      I think I’ve already heard it, but where, I’m not sure! Time for Google! Thank you dear Vicki! xoxo

  5. Jackie P. says:

    Smashingly wonderful to see your post! Been following on Twitter, but this is a good read. You must have FLIPPED when you saw the lamb bunting! Who would have expected that? You and Joe look fabulous! The countryside is feeding your souls. Enjoying the ride. Ta-ta!

    • sbranch says:

      Truly is feeding our souls. Deep breathing of fresh country air, hearts on display, strung across streets in form of bunting!

  6. Trudy says:

    Love the pictures you send and they have lovely memories for me.
    We often wend for our holidays to this part and visited our friends who are living in Wetherby and near Liverpool. Our last holidays where in Northumberland and we made several trips to Scotland.
    Enjoy your days in Scotland and I cannot wait till your next blog.
    Greetings Trudy from the Netherlands

  7. Claudia says:

    So happy to see your journey so far, Susan. Lovely, lovely!


  8. I’m enjoying reading about your tour. Love the sheep banners and thinking of doing one across a little hall. Pictures are appreciated!

  9. mary spring says:

    ..yaaay !! you did it !! you came thru and just as spectacular and wonderous as ever !!..’ beautiful and memorable time in England and now we are in Scotland !! what a journey !!!…let’s go walk !!

  10. Deb says:

    Oh, Susan! The pictures and comments make it just like being there with you and Joe. Sorry, but Petey is creepy! It’s such fun seeing all this through your eyes. Keep on enjoying and sharing. Travel safe.

    • sbranch says:

      Petey has a hand-painted face (now, poor thing, must stick up for him) by some woman who clearly had it in for sailor boys! BUT Joe won him in a contest, on board a ship to England when he was 12. So despite the cruel trick by sailor-devastated doll-artist, he is our lucky star.😜

  11. Shannon(Pennsylvania says:

    Oh, dear Susan, just tore through this post and have to say it was well worth waiting for! I was getting a little nervous! Am leaving for church so I will come back later and give it a proper read. You and Joe are absolutely adorable in the selfies❤️❤️Hugs!

  12. Jeanette in Illinois says:

    Hello dear Susan!
    The trip has been glorious and am enjoying it so much. Thank you so much for taking us along. One day when I can take it myself, you have paved the road to a delightful, magical sojourn!!!

    The scenery is breathtaking at every turn, scrumptious tea rooms and all the delightful creatures…perfection!

    May blessings follow your every step!
    Squishy hugs and love,

  13. Deb W says:

    OverWHELMED with excitement at a new post!!!! Gorgeous countryside (better your knees than mine), snorting with laughter at the idea of biting cows, photos of yummie food making me think it’s time to get out of bed for some breakfast! The picture / drawing / map of Stratford-upon-Avon is so evocative of your style, at first glance I thought you had done a page for the NEW BOOK already! LOVE the lamb bunting and hoping for something similar soon in your shop? Reeeeeeeealy looking forward to your impressions of Scotland and experiences there. Do you head back to England after your two weeks in Laggen, or will you tour around a bit? Hope so.
    Slainte’ mhath!

    • sbranch says:

      We run down to Bawth after these two weeks because our darling Rachel is turning 50 and we are going to spend her birthday week with her there!

      • Rachel Lucas says:

        I am most thrilled to say….(NOT the 50 bit!) And it’s Barth around these here parts, and Buth where you are now!! xo

        • sbranch says:

          Good grief. I once wrote to my dad, we’re going to Bath (American pronunciation), he wrote back, how about shower? So there you go! Buth. I knew we were in trouble. 😃 I’d like an emoji with a Scottish hat!

          • Debby says:

            You need a picture of Benjamin bunny in Mr. Mcgregors Tamoshanter (sp?) Have been following you every day. Really fun. Debby

          • Hala says:

            Will be happy to offer shopping recommendations when you get Barrrrth! Glad you are enjoying your trip. Hala (nr. Bath) xxx

  14. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi Susan!! beauty is everywhere and all I can say is that it is taking a monumental amount of restraint not to drop everything here, jump on the nearest big huge boat and sail away to fairy tale land….. it is inspiring and I am so happy that you both are enjoying this journey so much.
    Will keep up on Twitter and hold down the fort here….( even though we are moving to Florida in 3 days which is a story for another day!!)…
    BTW…purple is your color… you look great!!!
    Hi to Joe ( aka Mapman and Bracelet Untangler Extraordinaire)
    Happy Discovering to you both!!!…..
    and remember ….. America misses their special daughter!!🍃🌸🍃xo

    • sbranch says:

      Yessss. Bracelet Untangler too. Joe’s talents are never-ending! He can untie things that I would cut with scissors before my patience would let me get it untied. I think he can untie thread! I’ll tell him you said hello and remembered about the bracelet! Moving in three days! I’m sure that is a story! Take it easy . . . and all my best to you in your new home. Making a home. Luv-lee. And thank you for that “special daughter” mention … As much as I love what we are doing, if I stop and think, homesickness is always lurking.💘 Good luck with the move Cindy!

      • Cindy Maulin says:

        thank you for your well wishes and kind words about our moving…. this has been way more bittersweet than I had anticipated and I find myself facing moments of panic accompanied by extremely freezing feet….your words made me remember that home is where the ❤️ is….. I am hand carrying two of my most prized possessions….. Heart of the Home and Autumn are safely tucked into my take-with-me-in-the-car tote….Now… you’ll have to swing by Florida on your next book tour!!!! I’m your gal!!
        love and hugs,

  15. Denise in SC says:

    Was just wondering how your trip was going and here you are! I am relaxed just looking at your pictures-thanks for sharing. Love that you stayed extra days in one spot; that is truly living in the moment.

    • sbranch says:

      Leaving room for serendipity is hard, but so far we’ve been lucky and it’s been the best part of everything! Thank you Denise!

  16. Linda in Pennsylvania says:

    Oh my gosh – what a wonderful blog. You and Joe look like you’re having the time of your life! I don’t think I’ll get to see the UK in my lifetime (however, one never knows!) so I’m happy and grateful you’re taking us girlfriends along. And I do follow you on Twitter and love all the pictures. What an adventure! Also, thank you for taking time out of your walking/exploring/discovering/enjoying to create this blog. xoxo

  17. Brenda K says:

    Thanks, Susan, for the wonderful, lovely post so full of amazing photos. I felt the weather as I looked at them; I smelled the food; I heard the cows and dogs. Long may your trip continue!

  18. Mary Windemuller says:

    Thank goodness you finally have reliable (I hope!) internet! You are sending great pictures and funny and informative journaling……and, often, you speak my heart! It’s a gorgeous place where you are! To be able to stay there for two weeks is enviable for sure! Sending my love and prayers as you two travel that beautiful country and walk side by side. -Mary

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Mary! I’ll never forget the serendipity of our meeting.❤️ It was wonderful meeting you and Sue and your guys! xoxo

  19. The Devonshire Arms! What a serendipitous find! I love your selfies. You really captured the joy I know you are feeling….and sharing. Thank you! 💕

  20. Julie says:

    What a great post Susan. We will be in England on four weeks and have a cpttage booked again in Thirsk in Yorkshire. We visited Bolton Abbey last Fall and can’t wait to go back. Dis you see the strid? Very dangerous piece of water!! Thanks for bringing us all along. You’re getting me all excited!

  21. Candice Black says:

    Dear Susan and Joe,
    All I can say is you are doing it all right!!! Absorbing it all and being so wonderful sharing it with all of us! I can say that you are looking quite “British” with your layers of clothing, Wellies, smiling faces and rosy cheeks. It is those walks and the wonderful sea-breeze infused air as my Mom used to say, because the UK is after all an island, surrounded by seas!
    I totally agree with you about everyone having a dog… many different breeds too. My cousin’s all have dogs, they take them everywhere. My cousin has a Boxer named Greg and they take him to Cornwall for a visit every October, when the dogs are allowed on the beaches, which is only certain times of the year which I believe is early Spring and Fall.
    Enjoy every second of your wonderful trip through Scotland!

  22. Julana says:

    Thank you for sharing a window onto your ramles!

  23. Ann Waddell says:

    Hello Susan,
    It’s wonderful to get a post from you, and from Scotland!!! I LOVE the sheep bunting, which is a winner in my eyes, too. Every time I travel, I run into sheep, so they have a special place in my heart. I have seen these beautiful beasties in France, Englad, Wales, Greece and China!!!! Each time it was unexpected and pure joy. Thanks for the great pictures, and warm reminders of how lovely and lucky (lucky in my mind) it is to see sheep, especially unexpectedly.
    Love, Ann

  24. shanna says:

    Love being on this trip with you. Yes, it only seems to be the US where there is trouble taking your dog into restaurants and bars and stores and businesses. San Francisco is more lenient, but only “foreign” countries seem to be sensible about it…More Dogs in Pubs, please!

    • sbranch says:

      Absolutely agree. In all cases, put humans (and their human needs) first!

      • Vicki says:

        And what I also don’t like here in the U.S. is how no matter what kind of apartment or guest house or duplex or condo or cottage or whatEVER is advertised for rent as living space, it’s perpetually tagged with the ominous words, “No pets allowed!” I was a renter for years and I often had pets (I know you did, too, Susan; like before you left for MV when you were living with your sis, post-Cliff). And I was a very clean and conscientious tenant! It’s silly and sad that good people with warm hearts have to be deprived of the healthful and precious relationship of a sweet dog and/or kitty in the comfort of their own home, no matter where they hang their hat.

    • Rachel Lucas says:

      At many places, shops, cafes etc it’s at the ‘discretion of the proprietor’ but those establishments that don’t allow (well behaved, naturally) dogs in are NOT popular with those of us who love our canines!

      • sbranch says:

        When we see a sign that says, “no dogs” — which is truly rare, we are NOT going there. We laugh at the signs in the pubs that say, “The furniture is for the people, not the dogs!” LOL! Sign of a good pub, love thy doggies.

  25. Ann says:

    Thrilled to know that you have made it safely across the border to Scotland and what fabulous adventures you and Joe have had along the way. Love the pictures. May your Scottish adventure be filled with spectacular scenery, fair weather to enjoy it and welcoming hospitality your reward at the end of every walk. Enjoy! With love from Ann in Chester xx

  26. Kathy George says:

    We love following your updates of your trip since it is almost like being there. One day we hope to follow your footsteps on those paths. It is on our bucket list. Cheers to the map-man!!!

  27. Good morning! Love to see the skies, pubs, and dogs of Britain! 😉 Not to mention all the other wonderful sights… my husband and I are visiting Scotland soon and this is such a fabulous preview! Keep those pictures coming–whatever did we do when we only had “real” film?? Also, how in the word do you pronounce “Cairngorms?” That national park is on our list (looks like there are amazing places to hike there) and I’d like to take a respectable stab at saying it correctly 😀
    Take care…

    • sbranch says:

      I think there is no hope actually. We are saying Kaerngorms. Just like it looks. But it’s a total guess, which is what we do with almost every road sign! Knowing we are wrong! 😜 We’re going to look for a book!

    • Rachel Lucas says:

      It’s just Care-n-gorms, can ski there too! Have a great time x

  28. Susan P. says:

    Susan and Joe,

    EVERYTHING IS JUST RIGHT….. I have never been to Scotland….So happy I tagged along with you two. I have been following you on Twitter…but all these great new picture just make heat soar!!! One of My favorite saying…”the gypsy blood stirs in me”…so perfect for this season….The Fairy Ring….how special is that…I am sure if you stood in the middle you would of felt some strong and amazing magic there!! Did you? The Wellies..oh yes you truly need them…now you are ready for any weather and mud slipping and puddle splashing and cow and sheep crossings!!! Thanks for the memories that I will treasure for ever….When I am old and gray…er haha…and I start to babble about my trips to England and Scotland..they will defiantly say …YES, SHE HAS TRULY LOST IT….only my children will know that I traveled many Magical places through you two and my books. Thanks, Love, Susan P.

    • sbranch says:

      Very sweet, and yes I did stand in the middle of magic circle and felt especially blessed! Discovering fairy circles doesn’t happen every day! xoxo

  29. diana from ancaster says:

    a fair and pleasant land indeed!
    loving it all especially now that you’re in the Highlands!

  30. Kathiellen says:

    Dear Susan,
    I just finished reading your glorious blog from Scotland!! Gosh, thank you once again for taking the time away from your trip to share with everyone!!! I really do feel like I am there with you!!! You are one in a million, Susan and you are dearly loved!! I love it that you could just walk through the field with those beautiful cows!! That would have thrilled me!! I would have had to stay there and get to know them all!! And….the sheep buntings…..Oh!! They are just PRECIOUS!!! I LOVE them!!! I hope that you were able to get that recipe for the roasted vegetables!! …..or figure it out, because it looks SOOOO GOOD!!! Like all of your other blogs, I will read this again and again and again!! You bring such happiness to me and so many people Susan!! You are a VERY AMAZING WOMAN!! …..and ALSO, YOUR MAN JOE!!! …I am SO GLAD that God put you two on the same path!! There just could not be a better fit!! Thank You Joe, for everything that you do taking care of OUR GIRL, and for helping to make so many people so happy!! I LOVE your pictures that include Petey!!! I was very excited to find my own Petey on e-bay 2 weeks ago!! He is such a neat little guy…he makes me smile!! Have a Luv-lee afternoon and savor every minute of your visit to Scotland!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I love you Kathiellen, your joie de vivre shines through every word!!! We’re having a wonderful time, appreciating every moment for the true gift that it is, and just happy we can bring others along to see it too. Thank you dear one!

  31. Karen Holly says:

    Susan, thank you so much for this update on your trip to England and Scotland. All of your pictures and experiences put me in a state of mind that can only be described as a unique combination of British Royalty, Outlander, Shakespeare and an ounce of Jane Austen for good (great) measure. What could be better?

    Best wishes to you and Joe as you travel on to your next glorious discovery and adventure!

  32. Njean says:

    This is so wonderful. After waiting for you to be able to load pictures this was a treat! I read everything to my husband and he has become a great follower of everything Susan Branch too! It is great to read your stories and wish I was there in body, but spirit is good too!

    • sbranch says:

      Spirit is a bit of a miracle too, it wasn’t so long ago that everyone had to go it alone, but not anymore! Hello to you Njean, and to your husband from me and Joe!

  33. Lorraine says:

    I’m loving the photos and longing to go back. Hopefully in 2018. Thanks so much for sharing and including us in your adventure. Keep snapping those photos and enjoy everything.

  34. Kerrie Foley says:

    I SO look forward to seeing a blog from you!! It absolutely makes my day!! I’m loving Scotland and your pics are fabulous! Thanks for the little perk each time you post!!

  35. Deb in Wales says:

    Soooooooo relieved for you ~ I know all about the intermittent rural internet as I live with it every day. I am used to it, but you must find it so frustrating. Well done on overcoming it! Have an extra glass of Pear Cidah! Buffering and intermittent service is a fact of life in wonderful, west Wales! It’s like paying a price for living where I do.

    Yup, distilleries on every corner {almost} in Bonnie Scotland. It’s how I came to love the amber nectar, but we won’t go into that today {giggles}

    What fun you are having. Love the sheep bunting. That should be a legal requirement in every village across the land. Roared at your selfie. I have yet to do one myself! Isn’t digital photography the best? I mean, you can’t beat good old 35mm film for character, but for the sheer value of being able to take photos of absolutely everything, and know if you got the shot, is a dream come true for memory keeping.

    Of course, I’m totally smitten with all that cake and tea, and have enjoyed reading the menu boards, but I am positively drooling over that cheese board selection. We do make some jolly good regional cheeses in the UK and each area seems to have plenty to offer.

    Here’s to the next fortnight in the Highlands ~~~ don’t go near any stone circles now, will you?

    ~~~Waving~~~{not}from Across the Pond~~~Deb in Wales

    • sbranch says:

      There’s a stone circle near here, but I already decided to take no chances, I’m not touching anything! xoxo

  36. KarenP - Wisconsin says:

    Love your pics….following your dream journey….seeing you and Joe in your elent…bringing us gems we might never see. Thank you Susan. Love you. 💕

  37. Kathy says:

    Hello Susan and Joe,
    I was so happy to see your post today and where you two are on your great adventure. So beautiful, simple and lovely all at the same time. Thank you for taking me along!

  38. KarenP - Wisconsin says:

    Love your pics….following your dream journey….seeing you and Joe in your element…bringing us gems we might never see. Thank you Susan. Love you. 💕

  39. Sandra says:

    You’re both having a wonderful time! I like the wellies! I’m glad you visited The Cotswolds for that is the area I come from. In fact, I was just there last week!
    I love the lamb bunting and roasted carrots, potatoes and wonderful parsnips are my favourite winter vegetables! I love all your photos.
    Here are mine from my visit to The Cotswolds in June:
    Do you recognize the style of the area and the beautiful Cotswold stone?
    England loves visitors from abroad!

  40. Donna Lizbeth says:

    What a fun read to wake up to this Sunday morning! You guys are having such fun…Enjoying “travelling” along with you. Thank you ever so much taking us all along! Love “your’ castle and property! 😉 Travelling hugs ~ Donna Lizbeth =)

  41. chris consentino says:

    oh, my goodness! what a lovely sunday-surprise!! I listened to the ashokan-farewell….what a sublime rendition…and, it brought me back to a moment when that song was so popular due to ken burns’ civil-war series….my son, a young teen at the time, went upstairs and played it…by ear…..on his keyboard. wow. just a lovely blessing. it was a moment of wonderfulness and I thank you for bringing it to my heart this morning. see, you never know what you really bring to us, yeah? do you have any of the Stewart clan to “look-up” while there?? that would be simply sublime fun!!!! do take care. keep well. ENJOY ever single minute!!!! thank you. xoxo

  42. Angela Bell says:

    Oh Susan, traveling with you and Joe is just the best! My heart leapt for joy when I read about the Fairy Circle, what a wonderful, magical way to honor a loved one. The lamb bunting is just adorable and upon second look I realized those lambs looked very familiar to me, have you ever seen Shaun the Sheep ( I wonder if the school children who made them had Shaun in mind? Looking forward to more magic from you. Here is a Celtic Blessing for travel. God be with you at each stop and each sea; at each lying down and each rising up; in the trough of the waves, on the crest of the billows. Each step of the journey you take.

  43. Dawna says:

    This is so exciting. Thank you for sharing it all. I have been peeking in on Twitter too!
    Your discriptions are so nice.
    Very interesting about the dogs. I have noticed this past year people bringing their dogs to the groc. store. I thought it was just something local. There was a full size poodle on the bread isle the other day.

  44. Barbara S. says:

    Oh!! This is so wonderful to get to go along with you and Joe on this amazing journey! I’m wondering how long did it take to drive from the English countryside to Scotland? Thank you for your photos, too! Hugs from Barbara S. in Florida xoxo

  45. Rhonda Williams says:

    What merry merry time you are having and me as well! Safe travels.

  46. Sherry Winchester says:

    How did we get so very lucky to have such a wonderful charm…and that “charm” is you, Susan! You’re a Wonder! Thank you! And thank your Joe as well! Happy Travels! We’re right there with you…. :^)

  47. Maria says:

    I spent 2 glorious weeks in Scotland last year, almost exactly a year ago, with my BF who is from Glasgow; my first major vacation too! I’m planning to go back as soon as possible so your trip is tiding me over until then. So much to see and the most beautiful country on earth! Keep the news and photos coming!

  48. Sydney Gines says:

    Thank -you. Your journey inspires me and brings out my creativity and joy. What a beautiful wandering and roaming and daily adventure of charm and adventure. Glad to follow along on your trip with Joe. I love it all. Especially no make up. Ha.

  49. Kathie says:

    Thank you for the Twitter link. Loved every bit of it. I think Petey moved his arm to wave!

  50. Jane Townsend says:

    So pleased that you’re both having a great time over here. Its good to be reminded what a wonderful country we Brits live in!!

  51. Freda says:

    Love this blog so happy you share with us. I think the fairy ring story was so sweet and loved your selfies. You and Joe do not need haircolor or makeup you are beautiful just the way you are. My birthday was yesterday and I love the month of October too.

  52. So incredibly beautiful- that England that I adore. Thank you for taking us along on your lovely journey. I feel I left a piece of my heart there. The Devonshire Arms looks like a wonderful place to enjoy the gorgeous area. I’m taking notes! You and Joe are just so adorable and full of joy! Your walks are definitely my cup of tea. xoxo ♥

  53. Barb U from Ohio says:

    What a treat today to find a new blog up from you. I have been following your travels on twitter and have seen pictures there, but it’s nice to find more on here. It’s probably the only way I’ll ever get to travel to England and Scotland, but you make it feel like I’m practically there. You and Joe look so happy and carefree in the pictures and you can tell you are having the time of your lives. I know you have schedule you are following, but it’s nice if you have room to alter it a little, it is a vacation after all, and the best surprises come sometimes when exploring off the beaten path. Scotland looks beautiful and I so look forward to seeing more pictures of it. Safe traveling and enjoy!OXOXOX

  54. Kathy says:

    Thank you, thank you, for this post! I look forward to every single one!

  55. Karin M. says:

    THANK YOU, thank you, thank you for sharing your journey with us! Right now I’m a very tired mom, and just now finally starting to feel a bit revived, after reading through your books, posts and tweets. Even the music you link is wonderful. I’ve even changed over from drinking coffee to TEA!
    I’m a photographer, for many years now. My style is even beginning to change a bit, as I look at my photos as potential watercolor prints. Thankfully Photoshop and my Wacom tablet can help me a bit with this.
    This is just meant to be, the good timing, when I picked up your book again (have had a few for years), even your travels. We are military, but just moved in next door to a wonderful lady and her husband, who coincidentally is from Scotland! She and I are starting to plan a trip to the UK now. FUN!
    Thank you, in so many ways, for bringing a touch of beauty to all of our lives. 🙂

  56. Betsy in Pennsylvania says:

    It all looks so wonderful! Thank you for trying to post on your blog. Poldark started last Sunday night…….I hope someone set your DVD for you. xoxoxo

  57. Jenny Young says:

    I wonder if the sheep bunting had anything to do with Yarndale? I’ve read about it through Lucy’s blog Attic 24. The sheep is a symbol of the event & they always go all out decorating the town.

    I’ve visited Bolton Abbey through Jacquie’s blog Bunny Mummy.

    Two of my favorite British blogs, your pics are very familiar to me after following them for such a long time…even though I’ve never been out of the US.

  58. Robyn Brown says:

    What fun! Thank you for taking us along. I love the selfie of you and Joe. It’s just too precious. I also love that you’re both natural. No dyes or plastic surgery. Just real, lovely people 🙂 the best kind!

  59. C says:

    Hi Susan, Glad to see that you are having a fabulous time! The photos are amazing! Thank you for sharing your adventure with all of us! (I’ll think of you when I drink my cups of tea.) ~Best wishes, Charl

  60. Kathy Madigan says:

    Thanks so much for taking us along on this wonderful trip. I’ll never get to
    Scotland, so living vicariously through you.
    By the way, I did purchase your beautiful 2017 calendar and I didn’t think
    there’s a notable difference in the thickness of the pages. Love it!!

  61. Elly says:

    Hi Susan!

    Don’t they just have the BEST CLOUDS in Europe? I LOVE the weather there, though I know they’ve had some really warm days there recently!
    Wish I could see the darling mug with the windmill, a bit better! It looks vintage, and being Dutch, that kind of image always evokes such wonderful memories for me. I grew up across the canal from a grain windmill, very much like the one on the mug!
    So glad to know and see you and Joe are having another wonderful time traversing across the hills and dales of England and Scotland.
    Stay well and have a safe and lovely journey!
    Love and (((hugs)))

  62. Denise :) says:

    Enjoyed your post and sharing in your adventures, immensely. I had to laugh when I saw your lead-in . . . I started my post with “rabbit, rabbit” this morning, too! 🙂

  63. Carol Strutt says:

    I bought a map of GB when reading A Fine Romance. Use my yellow highlighter to follow your travels. Pulled out my pink highlighter to follow this trip also, so much fun! Anchors Aweigh blog teacups with hearts, available? Where? How? Must have!

  64. Kathleen says:

    Thank you so much Susan! I am so enjoying your chats. You are so kind to share your trip with those of us who will never get there…. I made tea and had a delicious scone to read today’s entry. It’s so beautiful!

  65. Heartsdesire says:

    Oh Susan, when I saw that picture of Joe with his glasses, I thought the same thing and had a good laugh. Poor Joe, he’ll not live that tea bag incident down soon. Thanks for the beautiful music and the lovely pictures of Scotland. Even a bit of rain can’t put a damper on things. Fall is starting to show up, even here on the south end of Vancouver Island. We have been fortunate to have had a visit from William and Kate and those two adorable children. Little Catherine looks so much like the Queen. They were staying in Victoria, left yesterday. What a lovely family. Your third-time’s-a-charm selfie looks perfect. You both look so happy, and who wouldn’t be in those surroundings. Enjoy your travels, and I’m so glad you are able to keep us posted.

  66. MargotB says:

    I always have my wellies along with matching brellie, just in case. Arnie says calls my wellies, my Cornish bedroom slippers. He had been stationed in Cornwall. He says my coordinating rain gear is…So Margot. LOL
    What is the cake next to Joe’s tea on the cafe table?
    I looked at the Twitter, and I do love a man in a kilt!!! Do the shoes make the man? LOL.
    Keep having fun! And HB50 to Rach!


  67. Gail Golden says:

    So happy to see a post from you. Looks like you and Joe are having a blast. Love the selfies – hubby and I are terrible at it. (got a selfie stick… works great) . The lamb bunting is just precious. I love sheep and lambs, and have to make one of those for my little cottage.

    I’m enjoying this trip so much. Thanks for the update and keep us posted. (I’m on twitter and am glad you’re doing that.)
    Blessings to y’all,

  68. Francine Pedro says:

    Dear Susan and looks like a wonderful trip…I want to go there! I don t know what would be the most fun, the walks, the tearooms, but then,I saw the lamb bunting! Wow, have a wonderful time, we are enjoying your pix so very much! Take care.

  69. Jan Lane says:

    Being married to a Brit myself, I have had many lovely journeys through the beautiful British countryside. He is in fact, over there as I write this. Next trip I am definitely going. I have yet to make it to the Scottish border, but the Lake District is certainly scenic.

    My favourite area is still the Cotswolds. I also am fond of Devon, having ancestry to trace there since the 1600’s and earlier.

    Nothing surpasses these casual strolls across the green pastures and through the woodlands, with magic calling to you from every corner.

    I am enjoying this adventure with you and Joe. Have a glorious holiday.

  70. June Emmert says:

    I have not been to Scotlsnd, but to England ,Wales and Ireland.
    . Thanks for sharing, for my mother’s maiden name was whigham, the oldest recorded name in England, yet the family ended up in Scotland.
    Even though I am not a mystery reader I have enjoyed Alexader McCall Smith’s books.
    He is from Sotland. Have you read any of his books?

    Thanks for your interesting blog.

    June Emmert

  71. Valorie Veld says:

    Sheep bunting?????!!!!!! I’m in love 🙂

  72. Sue says:

    At last I have made it to Scotland…thank you so much for taking me, well, all of along..
    xoxo Sue

  73. kathleen goblirsch says:

    My three cats- Hazel, Rocco and Simba are playing a bit too rough as I vacation with you. A cat on the lap…could be like a cow on the run. I love the food, castles, walks and most important, your Joe. What a God made relationship! My Mom passes away on August 28th, and I just had slowed down on reading anything. Today I am going backwards on your blogs, as this season….I am ready to enjoy. Where better to begin. Susan Branch!

    • sbranch says:

      I slowed everything down, at least in my head, when I lost my dad ~ I know how that feels. xoxoxo

      • kathleen goblirsch says:

        Susan…..thank you for knowing how i feel. My Mom loved your books and art and there is nothing more relaxing then tea, a cozy chair and reading your quotes, posts and pictures of travel. IT truly is a reminder the world is big and adventure is there…when you are ready. Bless you!

        • sbranch says:

          Thank you Kathleen. xoxoxo Here’s to your mom! And mine, and all the good and wonderful women who have taught us the meaning of life through the little things they’ve held so dear.

  74. Jan says:

    You are too cute describing all the marvelous things to us! Love it!! Enjoy and we will all continue to enjoy it too.

  75. Ann in Albany, NY says:

    How beautiful! Thank you for taking us with you. Following on Twitter too – think I finally got the hang of it.

  76. Carol ann Britt says:

    I admit I am jealous but happy for you. Thanks for sharing

  77. Christina M Thompson says:

    I am in love with your writing, and your painting!! At 52 years old, I bought a set of watercolors and I am trying to paint for the first time!! Thank you for the inspiration!!

  78. Deb from Dixie says:

    Dear Susan and Joe (aka map man)-
    tapadh leat airson a bhith a ‘roinn do thuras iongantach a ri dhuinn. aoibhneas sailean bho thu an dà chuid mar ghrian tro bhogha-froise!

    Which loosely means ( if I got it right) –
    Thank you for sharing your incredible journey with us. Joy beams from you both like sunlight through a rainbow!

    My great grandparents are from the U.K. And I have never traveled there myself , so once again, I get to tag along with you, Joe and the girlfriends and enjoy every minute of your trip! Learning something new with each new path you take…..such fun! I have been putting the name of each town/ hamlet you visit into Google earth, and like magic, the globe spins and takes me across the ocean to explore the amazing lushness of the English and Scottish countryside.

    Thank you again for taking all us girlfriends along! I am following on Twitter too, although have not braved trying it myself yet! Love reading all the fun posts and seeing the photos! I have to say those Lollypop girls are hilarious. ( Such a great example of kindred souls connecting) .

    P.S. ….And because bright orange shoes seem to be quite trendy there…. please tell Joe that bright orange Wellies are available in men’s sizes…. and look great with a kilt!

  79. Margaret says:

    Dear Susan and girlfriends!
    If I had a dog, it would be an Airedale named George or a Border Collie named Rex! You are living my dreams…and a Fairy Circle created from the mind of a kindred spirit named Hazel that I’ll meet one day in heaven like an old friend you introduced to me on the glen. Ten years ago, I had tea in the same restaurant in Stratford-on-Avon while my friends ran across to Starbucks…they came running back 10 minutes later, realizing the error of their ways but they had bought me a Frank Sinatra CD while they were there…the Cotswalds and Frank, not a bad combo at all! God bless you and Joe for including us on your travels…Are berets just not done in GB? By the way, y’all would probably enjoy reading the cozy mystery series by Krista Davis that takes place in a town dedicated to dogs, cats, and their humans! Fun stuff! …now quit playing with laundry and get back out there with the cakes, plaid, bagpipes, and Map Man! LOL !

  80. Pat Prohl says:

    Love your post, made me feel as though I was there too! So identify with the washing machines and their idiosyncrasies and varied modes of operation. We even took pictures of doing laundry in our Cotswold cottage! Hands up in the air and shoulders shrugged, what do I try next?? Devonshire Inn, etc sounds wonderful, 30,0000 acres, wow!

  81. Barbara says:

    Susan, so excited for you and your hubby! Love the stories and photos! My husband Ken and I (Barb, like the dolls, sorry no corvette!) are heading to Scotland on the 15th! So excited!!!! Cannot wait for your next set of photos! Enjoy your trip! PS We are stopping at Inverness the week of the 14th to the 22nd for the Gaelic festival. Enjoy!

  82. Anne Krush says:

    LAMB BUNTING!!!Bring some home for your shop!! Thank you for taking us on this trip! Your photos are mesmerizing and love Is contagious!

    • sbranch says:

      If I was spider man I could actually have done that! 😃 But Joe thought it might give Americans a bad name!

  83. Di Word says:

    I am enjoying “our” trip so much. Thanks for letting me come along.

  84. Cindy Tuning says:

    Oh happy day! Love the pictures and the time you’re having AND especially that we can go along too. That was one of the first things that I noticed the first time we were in Scotland..seems everyone has a dog. It was cold when we were there and I thought it must be a lonely country with towns so far apart and thats’s why they have dogs to snuggle with. I went into a store today and they had all your calendars {another reason for “oh happy day”} and the cashier said “OH, don’t you just love her!” Right here in my little city another blog girlfriend! We could have chatted all day. You make the world so much smaller. xoxo

  85. Karen Carpenter says:

    Had been thinking of you two this morning and wa-la your email came. Looks like your trip is going fabulous! Love the places you have been and all your walks! Enjoy every minute! Can’t wait for the next update. Thank you for sharing with us.

    Karen Carpenter

  86. Grand Pam says:

    Loving our trip. Thank you to you and Joe.

  87. jeanie says:

    What a wonderful treat to stay “with” the Devonshires! OK, not “with” but close! I’ve read all the Mitford books and the one by Diana, the late Dowager Duchess of Devonshire. She really took that place (meaning the entire estate — the town, all that) and turned it into a venture that could save the estate — one of not too many still in the hands of the original owners — into one that could sustain itself.

    And boy, has it! That’s absolutely glorious. How I’d love to be walking those fields, communing with the cows, petting the pups and taking tea to my heart’s content. Yes, a good thing you are walking with all those tasty and tempting treats! What a joy your trip is and how wonderful for you to discover such terrific places together. Biggest smiles and continued wishes for safe and happy travels!

  88. Best sweetheart selfies ever, Susan and Joe!! What a delight seeing you both walking the paths of this wonderful adventure. ♥ I love the serendipity that makes it possible to stay longer in a place that enchants you! Cheering on the Map Man who is making dreams come true each day! Over the past few years, Autumn has become my favorite time of year to travel ~ quieter, richer colors, slower paced, and the coziest places to stay. ♥ I’m so grateful that you can savor this Autumn adventure (and fill your diary with the magical memories), Susan! I just love following along quietly on Twitter… and enjoying new discoveries around every corner! Happy days in Scotland!
    Warm hugs,
    Dawn (in Illinois)

  89. Ann Woleben says:

    Susan, finally a post! I was beginning to think that you and Joe had been kidnapped. The photos are amazing and I am thrilled with all of the adventures that you so willingly share. I am going to prepare a pot of ginger peach tea, have a butterscotch brownie and re-read and re-read this post and just take my time looking at each photo again – and pretend I am there!

  90. Penny Bohlen says:

    You’re the type of guys who like to run around. You’re never in one place you walk from town to town. You pet them and you hug them (dogs).. You’re the wanderers, you’re the wanderers you go round and round and round and we get to wander right along. Thank you.

  91. Jeannette from the Central Coast says:

    I used to love reading Dick & Jane…now it’s “Susan & Joe’s Great Adventures.” Love our trip so far! So glad you were able to post today and can’t wait to hear of your travels through Scotland ! Carry on…

  92. Pat Johnson says:

    Oh My!!! It makes me so happy to see you two traveling once again!! I know you are aware, Susan, BUT you really got a catch when Joe came into your life. I am so happy for both of you…. keep up the happy traveling and sharing. Great pics and super reading. Hugs & love……

  93. Rachel Anna says:

    Thank you so much for sharing all the wonderful details of your journey…your descriptions and photos make me feel as though I’m right there, too! I’m so grateful to experience a bit of Great Britain through your eyes!

  94. Vicki says:

    “We don’t wear makeup or dye our hair but we are happy in the English Countryside!” Honey, nothing else counts and, oh my goodness, did I enjoy your ‘mini-book’ this Sunday afternoon with your WONDERFUL post from Lands of Her Majesty. You just took me away from all that’s harsh, into gorgeous and pristine, dream-like countryside where everything is good and fresh and organic the way life SHOULD be everywhere else. I love how you both tramp around on foot as if you’re in your 20s. All those walks everyday to the beach back home on MV have paid off; you’ve got strong legs and good endurance! Your happiness, as always, is infectious; thank you for sharing as you and Joe make more memories together. (I think Joe’s the bomb.) It’s travel excellence; travel extraordinaire … and I’m so glad to be able to peek in. And even more glad to see someone nice having such a glorious, great vacation. What a fabulous way to do research for your next book (hoping, hoping, HOPING for that next book…trilogy-plus-one…). Seeing your fun selfies (and other stunning photos), and borrowing from Robert Browning, 19th-century English poet (or Anne of Green Gables), you’re in your heaven, “all’s right with the world”…

    • Vicki says:

      My own world in hot, dry SoCalif could do with some of that GREEN and ‘moisture’ in your photos. It just all looks so replenishing and nourishing!

  95. Ruth G says:

    I so love hearing about your trips and and am excited that you are now in Scotland! I was there this time last year and so want to return! Thank you for sharing.Have a lovely time.

  96. Cheryl says:

    A book must definitely come out of this trip. Pretty please…

  97. Virginia says:

    So relieved the internet is cooperating and you can share your photos and trip diary with us all. And what a trip it is!!

    If you go back to England, this time or in the future, maybe you can find time to visit Askrigg, the village where they filmed ‘All Creatures…’, deep in the Yorkshire Dales and looks unchanged since forever. Even the pub that stood in for the Drover’s Arms is still there. Naturally–there is always a pub! What was I thinking?

  98. Liz Sobolik says:

    Gasp, the Lamb Bunting, oh my goodness!! I think I’ll have to make one for myself!
    I love traveling along with you and Joe and Petey. Sigh.

  99. Flo says:

    Looking forward to more Scotland travel notes and wonder if Loch Ness and Loch Lomond are on your itinerary. (I dipped my feet in Loch Ness when my husband, two sons and I toured Scotland so I could tell friends I had waded in the water where Nessie swims)
    My maternal grandmother was pure Scottish with her family roots in Paisley, famous for Paisley Prints.

  100. Laurie Walt says:

    Miss you too Susan, but LOVED the post and pictures! Keep em coming please😊 Fireplaces, tea, castles, lambs, cows, fairy circles, candles in churches, and adorable selfies! Love.

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