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. Sarah says:

    I’m late seeing your post, but savoring each and every word, quote, and wonderful photo. This all sounds like a dream to me. I do think you two are doing it RIGHT! Stay those extra days when it feels too comfortable to move on. Walk that English countryside to your heart’s content. My “chef” and I spent three weeks driving around the English countryside in the 1980s, traveling through the Lake District up to Edinburgh for two nights and then back to London via Yorkshire. My grandfather was from Yorkshire and immigrated to America as a young man. If you find yourself in Helmsley, Yorkshire, stop in the Black Swan Inn and take a photo please. The inn was once my grandparent’s home. We spent a night there. Indeed, a very special thing for me!
    Thrilled you had internet and could get a post off to all of us eager for any news from Susan and Joe. 😉
    Oh, our Sadie would be right at home in the English countryside. We would be taking walks, stopping for tea and goodies, and having a delightful sojourn as well. Happy travels, you two! Hugs from Austin, TX.

    • Kat Fry on Rose Creek Farm says:

      Oh My! Hello there my dear Friend & fellow F.O.S.B.! So great to read your comment. Isn’t this such a Grand Adventure all of us are on! Thanks to Sweet Sue & Joe! I always love reading your comments. So sweet & lovely & thoughtful. Just like you. What a wonderful history you have. Love to you from Rose Creek Farm in east Texas

      • sbranch says:

        Aren’t we lucky! Love our connection!

        • Sarah says:

          Yes, you book signing in Austin connected friends who would have never met otherwise. Life is full of good things that come our way in the most unexpected ways. Rachel and I met for breakfast yesterday. See how Susan Branch love has spread across Texas!
          Your trip has me planning a return for myself sometime in the future. I want to revisit my roots, return to Helmsley and really explore this area.

  2. Diane M. Ely says:

    Sounds wonderful, beautiful pictures, crisp air, and Pear cider, sounds perfect, thank you for sharing!

  3. Paula from New Romney, Kent, England. says:

    Hi Susan, loving the latest update on the Scottish leg of your trip over here. Your selfies are an absolute hoot. BTW, glad to hear that Joe DOESN’T wear make-up! Yes, it is a well known fact that we Brits (and I am including you and Joe in that statement) are bonkers about our dogs…. oh, and gardening. Have you seen Nigel and Nellie yet on Gardeners World? Some watch it for the gardening tips but most tune in just to see Nigel and Nellie (or is that just me??). Can’t wait for your next post. Love to you both, Paula X

  4. Ann Jane Koerber says:

    Honestly, Susan, not being a distance traveler, I am truly enjoying your (our) trip abroad! You and Joe look like you’re having a wonderful time and you both deserve it after this past year! I look forward to your next blog and have been checking on twitter, too. Enjoy! xoxo

  5. sylvia in seattle says:

    Titter is good when you have no connection BUT the blog breakthrough is the best. Love all the pictures and descriptions AND comments from one and all. Happy birthday to Rachel in advance. What a fun friend! You are stunning in purple argyle, Susan :-). You and Joe in that selfie also adorable. You stood in that fairy circle?! Of course why wouldn’t you, but please “mind how you go” if you encounter any unusual standing stone formations :-(. EEEK. Oh my, oh my those Devonshires – what a family. I think I must plug in The Duchess tonight for the 10th time at least. I am so grateful for your attention to us Susan (and Joe). I’ve seen some of the world, alas, never England and it is so wonderful to experience it through your pictures and words. I wonder what Joe would write if he would write a book! Yes, I do really wonder about that. I like Petey just for the record! If I ever find one I’ll try to buy it. Thank you again for sharing all this loveliness. Oh my gosh, that stop for tea and scones and cake – YUM.

  6. Loretta says:

    Dear Susan…..what a treat to go thru your vacation with you and Joe!!! Loving it….you bring it all back to us! Take care and continue to have a great time!!

  7. Kristin Dimmich says:

    LOVING being able to tag along with you! We will be wandering around Scotland next June with friends. The men will be playing some golf. Scotland golf on both of their “bucket lists”! We have been 3 times before…… of our favorite places on earth. Really has a calming beauty. Enjoy!!!

  8. Cindy says:

    Oh my! I’m ready to pack my bags and head to the English countryside. Thanks so much for taking us with you!

  9. So enjoying your travel log and pictures … patiently (?) waiting for the next installment. Thank you for taking us along. 🙂

  10. Gwen McLean says:

    You and Joe are so much fun to follow (sorry if that sounds creepy!). My husband is from Scotland and his entire family still lives there…a small town 15 miles west of Edinburgh. For his 60th, we’re taking the QM2 eastbound, and then a road trip through the English countryside and up to the Scottish highlands. It will be our 4th sailing (I love the Chart Room too! And the observation deck! And the Commodore Club! Oh, the whole ship. And the QV too :-))…but our first trip north of Inverness. So I’m very excited to follow your travels. Thank you so much for sharing.

  11. Sharon Elaine says:

    My grandma was born in Paisley and came to the US at the age of 10. Her parents both born in Ireland. Always longed to see both. Thank you for taking me with you.

  12. Gina P. from NY says:

    Hi Susan:

    How are you managing to eat all that cake and still look so great and fit? Must be those walks through the countryside, the fresh air, and having such a handsome and loving man by your side! So nice to be an armchair traveler in your overseas adventures – thank you for including all of us girlfriends!

    Going to take my Autumn décor down from the closets tomorrow, go to the farm market for my Jack be Littles, quart of apple cider, and a crispy hot cider donut! My favorite time of the year…

    I don’t tweet, but am enjoying your posted pictures. They are lovely… safe travels, and look forward to hearing from you again!

  13. Lisa G. says:

    Oh, that risotto looks good (not what I’d expect to see in a British restaurant) 😀 And the cakes!! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  14. Linda F. from Richmond, VA says:

    Susan – When you return home, you must consider reading CALL THE NURSE – True Stories of a Country Nurse on a Scottish Isle – if you have not done so already. Londoner Mary J. MacLeod and her family moved in the 1970’s to a remote island in the Scottish Hebrides where she assumed the duties as the island’s district nurse. It’s a compelling account about the people from rural Scotland that MacLeod published the book in 2012 when she was in her eighties.
    Also – I share your devotion to Beatrix Potter figurines. I started collecting them in the 1980’s and have been lucky enough to have accumulated 56.

    • Elaine in Toronto says:

      Wow! Linda, that’s a lot. Do you know how many were produced? My friend and I also collect them and we were lucky enough to find some at an antique show on Sunday. The prices ranged from a low of $15 to a high of $75 but averaged out, the five she bought were $45 each and my six were just under $40 each. It’s such fun to search for them. How do you display yours? See what you inspired, Susan?

      • sbranch says:

        What a great find! I rarely find them anymore for under $100 . . . especially here in the UK. You did good!

  15. Margaret Harke says:

    I was so happy about all the great times you are having that it just made me cry. After reading your story of life and love. I think it is just wonderful that you are getting to do all this traveling and having such a great time, exploring and discovering and most of all, doing it together. Thank you for bringing those of us at home along.

  16. Tina Hepworth says:

    Oh recognize that sooooo well-lovely to see again.
    Was born in UK, and lived and worked in Yorks for 10 years! My husband went to school in Sedburgh, from 11-18, which is a “public”, i.e. “private” boys boarding school. Now apparently it has girls also!!!!! ( He hated every minute of it:-()
    Thanks Susan!

  17. Tina Hepworth says:

    Sorry-forgot to say, it was so strange to see the Devonshire Arms, as my s-i-law called last week to say she was hosting her 70th ‘birthday tea ‘ there-wish I could go.
    Some English Cakes may ‘look’ plain, but never taste plain when they are are from scratch-no boxes/mixes etc, just, butter, sugar, flour and eggs base-wonderful!!!!!!!

  18. Lynn Marie says:

    The Luv-lines continues! That lamb-bunting is the cutest and surely must have been strung just for you…some kind of karma sent on before you! We are all so enjoying going on another trip with you. Thank you!

  19. Terri c. says:

    Just lovely to be “along” on your trip, you can’t imagine how much fun it is to read your posts! Thanks a million for sharing!!

  20. Mary/Indiana says:

    All soooo wonderful! But I don’t know if I missed it so I’ll ask,
    Are you going to visit Downton Abbey??? I’ve been bingeing
    on Amazon Prime for a week now! I have Season 6 left to watch.
    I can’t begin to tell you how Great it’s been and no commercials!
    It’s like reliving the past 6 years of your life alebit, their life!
    Look forward to your next blog!
    Until then, Lady Grantham is calling my name!

  21. Joanne Conte says:

    Thanks for taking us along on your trip. I’ve been to England, but never Scotland. The scenery is gorgeous. Actually a dear friend of mine and her hubby and 2 friends who are doing the reverse driving are in Scotland and Ireland right now. I must say the way you and Joe are doing it with the transatlantic trip in addition sounds much better to me than 2 long plane rides. I don’t like planes! I traveled to Italy as a child with my parents on an ocean voyage. That is a trip I have never forgotten.

    Safe trip home- beautiful pictures.

  22. Kimberly says:

    I expect one day to read that you two bought a cottage in England and will be moving, forthwith. Or at least will be living there part of the year. You love it there so much that I can’t imagine how you’re resisting that urge! We all want to live there!

    I think it’s interesting how they only frost the tops of their cakes. And they’re all only one layer. So very British!

    Y’all look so healthy and happy after all that walking and fresh air. Loving going along with you! So is there a dog in your future? Maybe you can rent one while you’re there. 😉


  23. nettie says:

    you and Joe are adorable I am so happy for you to share this experience together……pure joy radiates from your beautiful faces…..thank you for letting us ride along………be safe

  24. Ellen Eastman says:

    Wow – thank you Sue, and Joe! I must say you both look more relaxed than I have seen in a while. HUGS!!!

  25. VickeyB says:

    Dear Susan–I was so THRILLED to see your pictures and info about Bolton Abbey and The Devonshire Arms. You asked : “Who owns 30, 000 acres?” and by now, I’m sure you know the answer to that is “The same people who own Chatsworth,” the beautiful estate you have taken us to in previous travels.

    The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire own Chatsworth, Bolton Abbey–as you mentioned–and Lismore (in Ireland) among their other properties.

    Perhaps you know the late Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, Deborah, was born Deborah Mitford. She was the youngest of the famous Mitford sisters, and was the sister of the writer, Nancy Mitford. If you have not read Nancy’s novels “In Pursuit of Love” and “Love in a Cold Climate” YOU WOULD LOVE THEM. They are absolutely hilarious, and perfect girlfriend reading material! All Nancy’s comic novels are terrific, but the two I listed were (very) thinly-disguised stories of Mitford family life as the girls (and their sadly-out-numbered only brother) grew up, and are really laugh-out-loud funny.

    Deborah also became a writer later in life. She wrote several beautifully-illustrated histories of Chatsworth itself, along with several small books about country life, and her wonderful autobiography, “Wait For Me.” There is also a compilation of letters between “Debo” as she was always known, and Patrick Leigh Fermor (travel writer extraordinaire) as well as one of letters between the six sisters.

    These are all “girlfriend-quality” books!

    Now, you and Joe will have to go to Ireland on a future trip, to take us to Lismore, since you’ve shown us Chatsworth and Bolton! Then, we will have done a “Devonshire Hat Trick.”

    Love traveling with you!…….VickeyB

  26. Felicia says:

    Lovely, lovely pictures Susan. Thanks for taking us along with you. Hope you have better luck with the laundry than we did with ours in Paris this spring. You are absolutely correct that doing laundry in a foreign country is a central part of the adventures of travel. At least your instructions are in English, one hopes! We “cooked” our clothes in a contraption in Paris that both washed and dried them….too hot in both cases. And it took three runs through a wash cycle in a small village before I could wrestle the machine to let loose with the locking mechanism to free them from the wash! Good luck with your laundry adventures!

  27. Shelli Bennett says:

    What a wonderful post! My mom in Oregon (I live in Australia right now with my husband who seems to be much like your Joe and even looks like him!) makes sure to send me links so I don’t miss one. How great you wandered into Duke and Duchess of Devonshire land! I have a girl-crush on the Mitfords and I love to see anything on the great estate Deborah Devonshire once lived on. 🙂

  28. Kathie says:

    Love Edinburgh. Are you going there? Isabel Dalhousie town; one of my favorite reads by Alexander McCall Smith. His books are so full of Edinburgh, I feel I know it personally. You and Alexander. Giving us a lovely view of the world. Thank you so much. Lamb buntings. So sweet. Safe journey.

  29. Chris Wells. Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    Oh! I am loving this trip! A bit of heaven on earth….with our dogs! How perfect! If I could take my dog to a pub, I would eat out more often! Here she is only welcome at Lowe’s, Home Depot and Pet Smart!
    Susan, if you don’t turn this into a book….(I know….another year completely immersed in work) I will be disappointed!
    Love to you both!

    • Barbara A Case says:

      Yes, I agree Chris ! another book is definitely in order ! I read and re-read “Falling in Love with the English Countryside”. I never get tired of it !

      • sbranch says:

        I’m learning so much here. That makes a new book so much easier to do! My only problem is dealing with all that goes with writing a book. From time away from friends, family and Joe, to the cost of the publication, to the difficulties with promotion … those practical things are what I know about now. But probably I won’t be able to stop myself, because when you learn about amazing things, you just want to tell the world! xoxo It’s because of you girlfriends, and this blog, that I’ve been able to keep writing books, so I just thank you all.

  30. Miss Merry says:

    So happy to see the blog and share in the trip! Praying this is another book; your adventures are my day dreams! I do have to ask, what is in Joe;s cup at the outside tea room? So glad you are having such a luv-lee time!!

  31. DeLores Johnson says:

    I have been waiting to hear from you. I was afraid I had missed it! How interesting to see the places you have been. Scotland is such a beautiful country and I am glad I could travel with you! Thank you for sharing with us.!

  32. barbara lassiter says:

    Ohhhhh. Two weeks in the same place in Scotland. I might be just the least bit envious…ok, jealous is probably the better word. LOL! Thanks for sharing with us when you can. Everything looks so magical!

  33. Barbara Jean Miller📖 says:

    You are so far away and yet so close via the pics,susan. Continue to bless are eyes with the beauty of Scotland. Dear Joe and Susan, have fun!

  34. Lois Madden says:

    Caught up with your delightful travel blogs at last! How I’ve enjoyed being the armchair traveler courtesy of you and Joe. Hope you’re able to catch up on my comments to earlier posts. My husband, Jim, and I are on a mini holiday in area around Nashville, TN. Tomorrow is our 35th anniversary! Wow, where has the time gone⁉️ I’d much rather be spending time in the Highlands of Scotland… that’s for a future anniversary. But my brief time away, from caring for sick kitties, has allowed me to catch up on your delightful travel blogs. I’m so happy the two of you are having a bonny trip of a lifetime. Just finished watching Poldark… hope you get to see episode 2. I wonder if it’s a different version than we see in the states? Wishing you both pleasant days creating memories and cozy evenings by the fire.

    In Light ~ Lois🐾🐾

  35. Brenda says:

    I’ve been waiting for this! I saved it until past bedtime to read it when everything was quiet and I could enjoy it fully without any interruption, lol. Can’t wait until the next one : )

  36. Ericka says:

    Lamb bunting ALWAYS wins.

    Thanks for letting me live vicariously through you for now. I will get there one day! In the meantime, I will read your blog and watch The Great British Baking Show. 😉

  37. Ericka says:

    Just had to tell you that I’ve been really sick this past week with a terrible sinus infection, but while I was home not able to do much of anything, which can potentially be so depressing, I got to read all of Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams! It felt like a real treat – thanks for helping to make me feel better ! 🙂

  38. Kathleen McLaughlin says:

    You have just given me a lovely break by allowing me to travel along. Especially, love seeing the photos of Scotland, the one place I would really love to see, the land of my ancestors. The music makes it perfect for reading your blog and enjoying your lovely pictures and comments on this rainy Oregon evening. You might be interested in knowing the current love of my life, Joe the cat,it is on my lap while I sit here. Keep having a wonderful time.

  39. Darlene Catuara says:

    Love love lovethis blog and thank you so much for taking us gals along with you and Joe! it was especially fun to read it tonight since I just got back from Pamela’s tea house in Garden Grove, CA. Pam is straight from England and her blue ribbon scones prove it! Of course the ones in your pic look twice as high and twice as fluffy. Must be the water. LOL
    I just love all your pics and your writing is so vivid, I can smell the crisp in the air and feel the wind on my face. The landscape is compelling. Enjoy two glorious weeks in remote Scotland with your honey. You are truly blessed!
    Much love, Darlene

  40. Pat Mofjeld says:

    We are loving the trip–thanks for taking us along!!!

  41. Priscilla from Brooklyn NY says:

    Thank you, dear Susan , for your beautiful pictures. I’ve never been to England or Scotland but would so love to go. So glad that you and Joe are having such a wonderful time. (love your selfie) Love your blog and it’s so kind of you to take us along on your trip. Enjoy every minute.
    Love, Priscilla

    • sbranch says:

      Love having you here Priscilla! Makes the trip even better . . . watching and thinking, “Oh they’d like to see this!”

  42. Christie says:

    I was so excited to turn on my computer and see a post from you! YAY!! I was along for the trip through England and I’m so excited to be vicariously traveling with you and Joe once again! It looks like we’re having the most fabulous time!
    I hope to go to Scotland someday, my fathers side is Scottish, from the Highlands. But until I make it there myself I’m so grateful you’ve taken me along on your trip.
    PS: Joe and the tea bag… will he ever live that one down?! Hahahaha!

    • sbranch says:

      No, the tea bag thing is forever. If we hadn’t spent so much time on the pros and cons of those eyeglass strings he wears, I might be able to let it go! 😃 Hope you make it to Scotland ~ it’s extra interesting when there is family involved!

  43. Nina says:

    Hi Susan! I just came back from the movies (Bridget Jones Baby) (very sweet). and there it was..a new posting! You doubled my fun today! I have now become a twitterer or is it tweeter so that I can keep up with my daily dose of English and now Scottish
    castles, pubs(loved the orange patent leather shoes) and heavenly scenery. We armchair travelers are so lucky to have your take on such a lovely country. By the way…I just recommended your last three books to my library. Shocked they didn’t already have them. Must rectify serious lapse. Enjoy the glorious fall. It just makes you feel more alive doesn’t it? to plant some mums…love, Nina

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Nina! So glad you’re enjoying the trip! Thank you for doing library duty! Makes me happy to think of the books there. Happy Mum planting!

  44. Nina says:

    well….tomorrow …but soon:)

  45. Jane Franks says:

    Hey, Vagabonds, everything is just fabulous! I keep saying the same thing over & over. I feel like an idiot! But what else can you say? It just is! The only thing I’m missing is all the exercise you are getting walking all over the place! Which I sorely need from sitting and working on the book! That will have to come later! I had to smile at the cow episode; lots of cow experiences here; had a bull snort at me one time and Gene had to tell me get out of the pasture! I was clueless, but cows didn’t mind sharing! Love your purple argyle sweater by the way, a nod to your Scotland adventures? The cake and whatever is in the cup (hot chocolate?) looks scrumptious, too. Can’t wait to get to the computer every morning, or evening — whenever I get time — and see where we are headed next!! Absolutely loving this romantic wild “northern-ness” and magic of Scotland!! Wow what an adventure! I’m just babbling here like I’m delirious! Thank you so much! Happy Trails!! P.S. Gene is loving the photos, too, and says hey hey to both you and Joe!

  46. Wende Taylor says:

    OMG I laffed out loud at your selfies! Hilarious! And the comment about the tea bag lol! It’s great tagging along with you – I’ve toured England and Scotland as well and LOVED it all. Especially love that dawggies are allowed in so many places (unlike Canada). Have been following your trip on Twitter and enjoying your pictures – thanks for your new blog post and Lang may yer lum reek (I wish you well for the future). 😄 Happy travels Sue n’ Joe

  47. Janet Johnson says:

    Your post filled me with wonder, warmth, longing and a bit of depression. I’ve wanted to go here all my life, land of my ancestors, and I don’t foresee ever being able to go. So I just love (and ache) when you post about it, and I hope there will be another book on the UK someday.

    I love that there are dogs everywhere and castles and fairy rings and pubs, oh my! Looking forward to (and dreading a little bit) your next post!

  48. Kathie says:

    The lamb buntings remind me of another blogger who lives in Skipton and blogs as Attic 24. They have an annual festival there called Yarndale. She and her friends are ‘hookers’ (crocheters). This year, one of her projects was crocheting hundreds of little sheep wearing coats of many colors. You can visit her here Her blog is full of the dales and the coast of England and the canals and yarn crafts. Lovely. When I need a little more England, I visit Attic 24.

    • Laura S. says:

      I thought of Lucy and Attic 24 also.. at first had to wonder if she had done them and then realized they weren’t crocheted.

  49. Judith says:

    Sooooooooooo enjoyed your blog! Do I feel a sequel to “A Fine Romance”?! I hope so. I am furiously writing down notes from this blog to stuff into my copy of “Romance”….fingers crossed, next Spring I will be searching for lamb bunting me ownself! And those CAKES! I think it would be seriously fun if you and Joe did a book together…one chapter from you and the next from him. In the meantime, enjoy every single second of the now.
    Following in your footsteps!

  50. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    So happy to be on this trip with you and Joe and Petey. I think Petey is cute, and with the history he has with Joe, he must bring you good luck!
    The photos of the green countryside, the beautiful sky and clouds, look breathtaking.
    But my favorite is the cows!! Love them, and how great you were able to be among them without fear.
    Looking forward to more wonderful photos.
    Have fun!! Take care!!

    • sbranch says:

      Petey got us out and back last time, I we’re pretty sure it will be the same thing this time! Thank you Lisa!

  51. Martha says:

    Glorious skies, rolling countryside, cutest pictures (even Petey), and sheep in the air! Looks like you two had an absolutely wonderful time exploring. It looks so peaceful there! Thanks for sharing!

  52. Judy from K.C. says:

    Wow such beautiful photos . The countryside is absolutely stunning. It is wonderful that the land seems so preserved as if it has not changed in centuries. I feel like Charles Dickens could be found roaming the streets under the bunting…
    Enjoy your time there not to worry about posting issues you can savor the moment and catch us up as u can. Much love and safe travels !

  53. judi says:

    Love that the land is so free for all to wander and enjoy …. And dogs welcome in pubs. So civil over there … And happy hearted. Oh, the lamb bunting, do the sell them?…did you buy one? Thanks for the update. Xoxo judi

    • sbranch says:

      I didn’t see it anyplace for sale! So, no, I just took pictures, thereby, in my way of thinking, owning it! Yes, civil is the right word!

  54. charlotte m. says:

    Oh, Susan, thank you for the descriptions and for every single photo you share. I love the sheep buntings. I must remember them to tell my daughter, and avid knitter. I dream that I am there, walking with you through all that beauty. Looking forward to more.

  55. Linda Metcalf says:

    I’m loving this trip! Scotland is such a magical place. When I saw the kilt I thought of our tour director thru Edinburgh castle. His name was Keith and he was in full kilt gear….He said “and ladies in case you’re wondering …yes I do wear my kilt in the traditional fashion ( no under drawers) ” “pray for a strong wind!” He was a joy!

    • sbranch says:

      I can think of a hundred ways to reply to this, but I think I won’t! ☺️ Gotta love travel! SO enlightening!

      • Judy in Ohio says:

        Oh, my!

        My husband’s clan is from Scotland…but for “some reason”, in our 37 years, I have never been able to picture him (nor his 3 brothers) in kilts!

        Their (our) last name is MacDonald and as I understand it, each family has their own plaid/tartan design. VERY interesting I think!!

        It sounds like you and Joe (and Petey) could not be having a better time…And coming from one who is along for the ride, I am having a BLAST!!

        It is a weird experience “traveling” with you and falling in love with places I will never see and people I will never meet. STILL FUN however!

        Thanks so much…Looking forward to the rest of the journey!! 🙂

        Remember, there is no bad weather in Scotland…only the wrong clothes!! 😉


        • sbranch says:

          That last statement is so true! Prepare! Bring layers! Yes, you can Google your Scottish name and the clans all had their own tartan … We Stewarts are in red plaid!

          • Judy in Ohio says:

            I love the red plaid! 😀

            Ours is kinda green and blue…and there is another “MacDonald” one that is red! (I am not sure why there is more than one design, so I will have to look into that further!)

            And…do you know that I found the design at “Spoonflower”… where YOUR fabric designs are! (I am going to be looking more into those also!!)

            Layers…now, I do know something about that…living in Ohio!! 😉

            Keep having fun!!

            LOVE your stories and pictures and details!!
            (I can almost smell the heather!!)

            Thanks so much!!


          • sbranch says:

            We have green too … there are dress plaids and everyday plaids. It’s the plaidiest place I’ve ever seen, and I couldn’t love it more. Right now I have a cold, I’m cozied on the sofa with a plaid scarf and a different color plaid shawl. I look like a fabric store, but I’m cozy!

  56. AngieTink says:

    Merriest Monday Sweet~Sue & Joe… Twirling With Delight…Excellent~Blog~Post! We Are In Scotland!!! Hooray! I’m Doing The Pumpkin~Jiggity~Jig In That Fairy~Ring!!! I LOVE Your “Selfies” Oh So Cute!!! Happy~Glorious~October!!! xoxo Poof! P.S. Rabbit~Rabbit

    • AngieTink says:

      🙂 <3

      • AngieTink says:

        Poor~Me…. My “Pixie~Dust” doesn’t Show Up <3 is Suppose to Be a HEART 🙂 🙂 🙂 So "Smiley~Faces" will Have To Do! 🙂 🙂 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          Oh my, this is shocking ~ like going out without your makeup! Or no pants or something! You look so normal! Kind of nice, for a change, don’t feel bad, I can’t even begin to imagine why it’s not here! You’re as adorable as always despite all of this!

          • AngieTink says:

            Lol I Am Laughing Out~Loud My “Funny~Girl” Tis Very True!!! But I Am Covered~In~Glitter Every Day!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Hugzzz & Love!!! Sweet~Sue

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Angie! Same to you!

      • AngieTink says:

        & Lots of “Fairylicious~Kisses” & a Cuppa~Scottish~Tea & A Scrumptious~Scone & Give Petey An Extra~Hug From Me! xoxo Poof! 🙂 Jiggity~Jig!!!

  57. Willemien says:

    Dear Susan,
    Aahh, those sheep! They look so adorable! I wanna make them too, nice for a birthday party! Perhaps for my son, who’s gonna be 1 year old in november.
    Lovely post, you and Joe have a wonderful time in the countryside!
    Lots of love from the Netherlands, here we have sunny day, leaves color orange, and it smells like autumn! My favorite season.
    Love from Willemien

    • sbranch says:

      Isn’t it great to see something like that and be so inspired? Love it! Us too, nice and sunny here in Scotland!

  58. Jaclyn Tarlowe says:

    What a beautiful post! And so timely as well since I am reading a wonderful book set in Scotland called “Three sisters Three Queens” all about the sisterly relationships of the Queens of Scotland, England and France during the Tutor reign. Have a great trip! Keep packing us on your suitcase 🙂

  59. liz h says:

    Yeah! so good to hear from you I missed you. So glad your having a great time but I expected that. You take your happiness with you. Im enjoying the trip.

  60. Andi Geary says:

    Lovely to see you both enjoying the UK, I only wish I could bump in to you both on a lovely walk! The Selfie made me laugh, you got there in the end. 🙂 Lovely reading all about your travels. I’m loving the twitter and all the pics and updates. Bye for now x

  61. Catherine Wegner says:

    Beautiful pictures and it all looks and sounds so lovely! Thanks for taking us along!!

  62. Marianne in Illinois says:

    Oh my Susan, just look at all these “girlfriends” attached to your wonderful trip through the English countryside! I too check my email and twitter feed daily for a daily dose of your trip you are graciously taking all of us along for the ride.I’ve been to the UK several times and this just makes me long to go back! Thank you for taking us in your back pocket and showing us your adventures!

  63. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Oh how beautiful all of your photos and words are!!!! Thank you for keeping us along, dragging all the Girlfriends through your hiking and sightings, now in Scotland!!!! I KNOW Petey will be protector and guide to the very end!!!! And, I must compliment you on your beautiful hair…..I love it! You are aging gracefully!!!! (I thought I noticed “no hair dye” last summer on your book signing tour!) You look sooooooooooo pretty!!!! I, too, do not color, and love waiting to see what I end up with! It takes guts to go natural!!!!! You wear it well Susan! (I used to tell people my gray hairs were “my silver medals of motherhood”.)So wear your silver medals with pride Susan!!!!!!!!! Also, just received my 2017 wall calendar in the mail over the weekend. I immediately handed it to my hubby, as he hides it in his closet until my birthday on January 1st, then gives it to me for my gift. Can’t wait!!!! Take care and enjoy Autumn the Scottish way!

    • sbranch says:

      I used to color my hair, and perhaps, never say never, someday I will again, if I get the bug. But I don’t see what I get for doing it. I spend time and money, but what is the return. Does Joe love me more? No. Do my friends like me more? No. Do I feel healthier, thinner, smarter, more creative, or more model-like? 😜 Nope. So why in the heck do it? Just for a change maybe, and that’s always fun, which is why I would never say never! Because fun is Good! You are a sweetheart, as always, dear Carilyn! xoxo

  64. Gerri Daniels says:

    Thank you for sharing with us…I feel like I’m taking each step with you. Wish I could get the benefit of those walks, too! What lovely scenery. England/Scotland was one of those places on my bucket list…maybe someday. But in the meantime you are generously sharing with us. Keep on keeping on with your wonderful journey and savor each moment.

  65. Diana from Ohio says:

    Susan, Love the postings. Also thanks for posting the link to twitter. Otherwise. I wouldn’t have seen the beautiful Abby. I almost can smell the air. Always wanted to go to England but this is great. Thanks for sharing your trip.

  66. Linda Wilson says:

    So beautiful and amazing – thank you for sharing! Did you go to the Dalwhinnie Distillery? Dalwhinnie is one of my favorites for scotch. We tasted at the Chivas Regal at Strathisla in Speyside. Had never tasted scotch before and found Dalwhinnie there. SO much fun! Looking forward to seeing more from your trip. Happy tea time!

  67. Rosie Price says:

    I loved going to the USA to meet some of my special penfriends, but I realise how lucky I am to be living in the UK. Your photos, especially the tea shops and the pubs and the lovely countryside remind me NEVER to take it for granted. Your journey and enthusiasm delights me too. Oh and the picnic was such fun. Love and blessings. Rosie Price

  68. Lucy de Leeuw says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. Can’t stop smiling. The history, the countryside, sharing with the locals what better way to enjoy your adventures. Love, love the dogs and the sheep and the cattle etc. Oh and it is time for a cup of tea! Cheers! Looking forward to the next chapter…

  69. Robin on the Vineyard says:

    Susan this requires another book and I can’t wait to read it!!!! I hope you and Joe are having the time of your lives there! xoxo Robin

  70. Cindy B. says:

    Thank you for sharing– it all looks wonderful! Have a great time, you two!

  71. Susan rousselo says:

    What an amazing journey! Thank you for taking me along! I hope your day is full of much love and laughter! I can’t wait to see the next post!

  72. CarolK (NJ) says:

    I had to laugh at your selfies. My Ray and I just got back from Maine and tried the selfie thing too while up there. My arms are too short and he can’t hold a camera straight to save his life so we got lots of the top of our heads and sky! Loving all your beautiful pictures. I bet about now you’re missing Jack a lot. Happy trails to you and Joe……

  73. Thank you for taking us along. I loved the lemon cake. 😉

    Cannot wait to see what book comes from this visit!

  74. debra sewell says:

    I am so flipping out over this pos. The food!!! The cozieness, rain, long grass, thefood, pups can be in a cozy pub. I just want to bake and eat it with big hot cup of tea!!!!! Lovely post. Im so anxious for next post. Excited about this trip you are on. I do not do selfies. If do have only eyes and glasses showing too as camera does not do well to my plain jane carol burnett face..

    • sbranch says:

      My biggest fear is Skype, and when you accidentally push the button so the photo screen is suddenly YOU!

  75. Debbie Boerger says:

    The more I read your posts on both Twitter and your Blog, the more I am confirmed in my own love affair with England…and Scotland, Wales and Cornwall, which do insist they are “different”. The first time I “took” my lovely Tom, I was a bit uncertain as to how he’d see things. He loved it so much he wanted to return 2 years later, 2015. My question since the first long visit in 1977 is, if we Yanks all love the county side and the customs so much, why do we not make it more like England here? Dogs allowed, open space, ancient trees allowed to become more ancient in spite of the one lane roads.
    Remember Wallace and Grommet? When one of them found his lady love, they’d look at each other and do the thing with the fists. Elbows to sides, fists in front of chests…and bump them together at thumbs and index fingers. Tom, to my amazement, began doing that while we were sitting in a garden, at our B&B near Box, a few miles from Bawth. We ended up staying a week. Such lovely countryside.
    Happy, happy, happy travels,
    Debbie in Maine

    • sbranch says:

      We could make it more like England, but it would take a lot of us deciding to clean things up for it to really work. Plant some trees, perhaps a hedge or two, get the TV’s out of the bars and put in fireplaces and stone floors and let the dogs in! Works for me!

      • Cynthia says:

        Susan & Debbie, I so agree with both of you on reclaiming a more country feel in the states. Think it would make for a better way of life for us here. Noticed out west dogs are allowed almost everywhere & I loved that personally when we vacationed there. Did a all too short visit to the New England states, as I was reading AFR, & pretended I was in England while there…Think we all could benefit to a slower more in tune way of life.

  76. Glenda says:


    Last week I was in an English/British shop in Old Colorado City, CO. It is a great shop with a tea room in back. Nice owners too. I walked in and shopped for the things I had hoped to find for gifts. I told the owner she had pretty much everything but was missing something pretty special. She looked puzzled. I told her she was going to love me and wrote down your blog and A Fine Romance and told her all about it. Well while I shopped she got online and looked up your book. She was so excited and knew the area of the preview……another girlfriend hooked! 🙂

    I have been ill for the past few days and so enjoyed your blog and sharing your journey. Glad to see you have more pictures of Joe too! You two are the cutest couple and seem to have so much fun together.

    I have bought all of your books and read the last three not being able to put them down. I even bought Cliff’s book. So glad you found Joe! I don’t know how you do it, but glad you and your spouses can all be friends. He seems to have humbled as he as aged, which is a good thing. 🙂

    My friends were on the Queen Mary with you and told me they thought you were as special as I had said you were…even took a picture of you waving. Thank you for going along.

    Can’t wait for your new book on this journey with you and Joe! Enjoy!

    • sbranch says:

      How funny, you know Cliff now too … this is true Girlfriend stuff! And your friends were on the Queen Mary 2! Amazing what a truly small world it is! Thank you Glenda!

      • Glenda says:

        It sure is….by the way, hope the movie/movies are still in work. Trying to think of who would play you, Cliff, and Joe is fun, “fairy tale girl”. 😁

        • sbranch says:

          Just heard from person writing screen play. First draft is done. Soon I will get to put in my 2 cents. Then the impossible part starts, finding movie/TV makers with $$$ who believe in it too!

  77. Laura S. says:

    Luv-Lee it is! I absolutely LOVE the idea of the dogs in the pubs! It could probably never happen in the US. The powers that be and the health dept would never allow it or some…UN-Luv-Lee would sue someone over it. I actually found your site (and you!) thru the blog of a woman (Bunny Mummy) in the East Midlands there (grew up in Yorkshire) and has purposed (and does) walk at least 1000miles (meters?) a yr and posts the pics. I so do wish that we could have half of the walking trails that they have throughout the countryside over here. Nicely kept, pre-planned, etc. I’m so glad you’re taking us along! (and you’ve got me speaking in a totally nicer and different tone than my usual for some reason, lol)

  78. Maria says:

    Love seeing the pics! Beautiful!

  79. Karen Lotito says:

    Hi Susan! It all sounds so lovely and wonderfully relaxing. We definitely need to make afternoon tea a custom here! I am so looking forward to getting back there as there is so much I haven’t seen. Safe travels! Best, Karen 😊

  80. viv says:

    Thank you for your continuing efforts to blog. It’s beyond enjoyable.

  81. Rae Ann R. says:

    Love, love loving all your Twitter and blog posts…you and Joe look so very happy and in love in your selfie pics…I know you are enjoying every single minute of your adventure…safe travels for you, Joe and Petey…

  82. Patti Lyon says:

    Thank you for sharing your memories. I’m smiling……………

  83. KarenP - Wisconsin says:

    You and Joe “fit” there. You just belong. I can see it with your handsome/gorgeous English countryside looks. I love it. It was to be.

    • sbranch says:

      I agree, Karen, our very first conversation the night we met was about going to England. Took us a while, but we finally did it! xoxo

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

    hello there, oh boy we are in Scotland so where are all the bagpipes?? oh I love it…Fall in Scotland!!! what are Scotch eggs??? I hope Petey isn’t too upset with us, I sort of grabbed him and stashed him in the trunk with us, well he didn’t want to leave and you wanted to get on the road. this is definitely my kind of place to visit, fairy rings, tea shops castles and abbeys, and cows and that cow over there mooed at me!!! when do we go to Edinburgh for some shopping?? and then maybe go to London to shop at Harrods for some souveniers??? love all the beautiful pictures, wish I was there and are we going to Loch Ness to see the monster??? have fun, enjoy and stay in touch. have a great day and great time there… hugs….. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Loch Ness tomorrow! Wear your anti-monster protector. Next week, shopping in Edinburgh! Chances are we’ll stay out of London as we can go to New York for your basic same thing. Harrods is on the Queen Mary 2, so you can get everything you need when we get back on the boat! Bag Pipes, we got some last night! Where were you? xoxoxo

      • Rae Ann R. says:

        Hope you get a glimpse of the Loch Ness monster😳🙈😬

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        where was I??? I think I was out looking for an anti-monster charm to wear. do we get to see Holyrod where Mary Stuart was Queen of Scotland??? I missed the bagpipes… 🙁 DARN!!!! oh well maybe I can hear them another time, they should be around there somewhere. oh boy Edinburgh and shopping can’t wait for that… need a good plaid skirt and shawl and some nice warm sweaters. off to enjoy the Fall here, planting some mums and pansies.. pansies survive very well around here, even in the snow. and we have been getting up in the higher elevations like around Crater Lake, just means a cold snowy winter for us… for now we are enjoying a wet start to the Fall season, but the rain is much appreciated here. love this trip and is there a prize for whoever spots Nessie first???? have a wonderful day. hugs…. 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          Found a fabulous website filled with tweed and lambs wool, all kinds of goodies to help keep us warm … Google House of Bruar … its FREE to look.👏 We popped into a huge store the other day, just passing by, never heard of it, but it looked interesting, and wow is all I can say.

          • sondra fox says:

            the area around where the Loch Ness monster is supposed to be is beautiful. we were there last fall. when we left Scotland, bagpipes saw our cruise ship off. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

          • sbranch says:

            Yes, that’s Loch Ness. We’re going up near there again today, to another city called Fort William. I’ll be updating the blog asap, but it’s so busy out here!

  85. Debbie says:

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful trip with us! You really lifted my spirits with this post, thanks so much & enjoy every minute of your travels!!!

  86. Jana says:

    Couldn’t be more delighted for you both for this heavenly adventure. I can almost smell the air and the “scent of water” (book by same name from Elizabeth Goudge, my favorite English author of all time) as you describe your ramblings. Thank you ever so much for sharing your travel log with us! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Lately the water smells very cold and fresh, like right off the top of some icy green mountain. xoxo

  87. Carrie in Medina says:

    Loving this armchair travel thanks to you, Joe and your wonderful posts! You both look adorable! Must be the fresh air, great walks, amazing views, and tea! Had to laugh at the tea bag in the glasses! CLASSIC! Thank you!! Enjoy and be safe!

  88. Gill says:

    Oh, it is so lovely to travel along with you both! Thank you for the link to Twitter, I don’t tweet, but it was nice to see all the photos there. I, and I expect other girlfriends, would love a list of all the Scottish books you get recommended. Of course you know the Outlander series; do you know of DE Stevenson? She is a great, great of Robert Louis Stevenson, and wrote lots of gentle stories, usually set in the countryside around Edinburgh, just after the war. And, if you are looking for any picture books for smaller family members, may I recommend the Katie Morag stories? I rather think you will like those! By the way, I have Petey’s long lost brother! He keeps guard over our schoolroom ( now used for sewing and hobbies) looking very “stiff-upper-lip” in his rather shabby guards uniform, complete with bearskin busby!

  89. SusyQ says:

    Oh, you’re back! You’re back! I’ve been checking your blog daily, anxious for news of your trip. The latest photos are glorious. Thank you for taking us with you.

  90. Christine from CA says:

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip and scenery of Scotland. My mother always called a circle of toadstools a fairy ring! You stand in the missile and magic happens!! Thanks again, looking forward to more pictures! Love to you and Joe!

  91. Ruth Thomas says:

    Absolutely lovely! I am related to William Shakespeare! Cannot even imagine how the air must smell there. Thank you for taking the time to share with we girlfriends. Getting ready to go to California for 2 weeks, first time I have been on an airplane since 1962😬 But I will be fine and get to see my sister and her family and many close friends. Have fun!

    • sbranch says:

      William Shakespeare! Wonderful! Yes, we learned he had a daughter Susanna and twin boys! Happy trip Ruth!

  92. You are the most economical way to see the world! I made a cup of tea, got cozy in my fattest arm chair and voila! I’m right there with you! You and Joe look so great and so happy! So happy you are there, and bringing us along! I can practically feel the air on my face as you show us around. Beautiful!

  93. Steph D says:

    1. Poor Joe, he will NEVER live that tea bag down!
    2. That carrot cake looks AMAZING.
    3. I LURVE that selfie – you two are SO cute and happy!! <3 <3 <3

  94. KarenP - Wisconsin says:


  95. Susie (Rocky Point, NY) says:

    Happy, happy, joy, joy! So glad to hear from you and read about the journey. Lovely countryside. Makes me wish we had sheep here in the USA to keep our green grass nice and trimmed. Notice no garbage in the streets and countryside! Do you come upon any? I highly doubt it. You and Joe look like you are having an absolute blast! I’ve been following you on Twitter too. Toodleloo! xo

    • sbranch says:

      Once in a while, of course, we see trash containers, but not any trash just floating around. I think people keep things cleaned up. We have sheep in America, but we just don’t see them much. I don’t think we see them as things of beauty and country pride. Here there are still lots of small farms with clever hardworking farmers doing things the way they have for generations, and the country gets behind them. Mostly our sheep and farm animals are like $$$ products. Sadly. They had a terrible thing happen here with Mad Cow Disease, and many animals had to be killed. It probably gave them a new respect, sadness, and love for those things that might have been taken for granted. Now most everything is organic here. It was a terrible lesson.

  96. Barbara Roycroft says:

    Hi Susan I’m glad your enjoying your trip to England , or should I say the British Isles. We’re sitting in Logan airport awaiting our flight Home to London. We’ve so enjoyed our trip visiting Chatham, Martha’s Vineyard, Woodstock and many more in the last 12 days. Hubby treated me to three of your books along with a small calendar so I’m all set to go ! Looking forward to your continued tales of your journey xxxx

  97. Emily DeArdo says:

    Oh, I HAVE to get to England SOON!!!! These pictures whet my appetite even more!

  98. Tisa says:

    Just spotted this ended auction on eBay–are you ready for it?
    Lenox ‘A Proper Tea’ Susan Branch Tea Pot Creamer Sugar 8 Dessert Plates Retired sold for $1,055.00!
    Made me smile 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Crazy! And that set is maybe only about 15 years old! Wish I would have got a bunch of them. Could have retired in splendor!

  99. Crystal says:

    Dear Sue and Joe, I am really enjoying your trip. We downloaded maps on our GPS before we went to England and Scotland and it was great especially in the many roundabouts. Your selfie was cute, good job. Safe travels and thanks so much for sharing. Love, Crystal

    • sbranch says:

      The first time we came, there was no Sat Nav (otherwise known as GPS) in cars yet! No Google either! I don’t know HOW we did it.

  100. Deborah in Odessa says:

    Aye, ’tis a bonnie trip. I love it all. Thanks for sharing.

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