SONG for the AGES

When I was in England I found a song ~ MUSICA (don’t worry, it takes a moment to start) a song for the ages, I kept hearing it, and as the beauty of it slowly seeped 🎵 into my consciousness, I began to pay more attention to it, and finally I was in a castle somewhere where it was playing, 🎵and I thought, “What IS that? I’ve heard it somewhere before!” So, I bought the cd, put it in our car, and as we drove hill and dale, along the narrow roads,🎵 between hedgerows, past fairytale cottages and wild gardens, through England, the “green and pleasant land,” this is what was playing.


. . . as lovely old stone walls rushed past . . .


And views of small handmade villages . . .


where stones were laid, and cottages built, and no two chimneys are alike . . . get-attachment-aspx


with farms and sheep . . . and not just any sheep …


sheep with personality


and everywhere, reminders of what came before . . .englandwithitshistoryimg_7736

clues of ancient people and ancient times, our predecessors as they struggled to make a life, to become stronger, smarter, better . . .

stone walls line the roads

Your heart is soaring anyway when you’re doing that, from the history and the beauty, but if you have a sound track for your heart to soar to, it’s even better. It turns out img_2267 this song is the unofficial ‘anthem’ of England, taken from a poem (“And Did Those Feet in Ancient Time”) written by William Blake in 1808 and put to music by Sir Hubert Parry in 1916, as a positively heart-stopping tribute to the industrious generations that came before.  Learning about this song, brought me to something that has been going on in England since 1895 which was shocking to me since I was just finding out about it.  Especially since it’s been happening get-attachment-aspx in London for eight weeks every summer for over a hundred years (all you more well-educated Anglophiles will say this is very old news) ~ daily classical music concerts at the Royal Albert Hall (and other places) called img_7708“Proms.”And in particular, I wanted to mention the “last night of the proms” when the music they play, like this song, is wonderfully British, old and traditional, and touchingly patriotic ~ people dress up for it, and there’s a chorus and everyone sings along and cheers and waves flags.  I love tradition, and the quirkier, the more people-ish, the better. The Promenade Concert (Proms) has an interesting history, conceived by Robert Newman (a musical impresario) who said, “I am going to run nightly concerts and train the public in easy stages. Popular music at first, gradually raising the standard until I have created a public for classical and modern music.” And that’s exactly what he did.  Newman dreamed of generating img_4729a wider audience for concert hall classical music and he did it by offering low ticket prices,  in an informal atmosphere where eating and drinking were permitted as they listened to the music. And now all these years later, it’s everything just as he envisioned it, even more so, hundreds of thousands of people all singing together, the music of forever. Makes me proud to be human. Because people do these things. And here, for you, the last night of the Proms, a little taste. First song is the one that brought us here, Jerusalem, I’ve put the lyrics underneath the video…

And did those feet in ancient time,
Walk upon England’s mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On England’s pleasant pastures seen!


And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among those dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England’s green & pleasant Land.

And now because it’s a tradition of the heart, God Save the Queen 🎵. There are so many videos of the Proms on Youtube, you can Google and enjoy. Here’s a bit more MUSICA.


Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think on these things. Philippians 4:8

Where we went in England

If you’d like a very short but fabulously-done history lesson, look at THIS, the opening ceremonies at the London 2012 Olympics. These people are amazing.

Hope you enjoyed that! I’m off to put some Musica on and wrap packages. Have a wonderful day! Love you! About the recipe for those yummy short ribs: had to get the butcher at the supermarket to order them! Live on an Island. Recipe coming soon! ❌⭕️

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325 Responses to SONG for the AGES

  1. Ricki Teal says:

    Thank you. I have always loved England. You showed me something I had never seen before. Amazingly beautiful. Merry Christmas , Susan

  2. Christie Levin says:

    My heart is singing! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

  3. Diane says:

    Hi, Susan – being a movie fan, perhaps you already know that “Jerusalem” was
    used in the film “Chariots of Fire” – probably 30-some years ago. It is definitely worth watching, and I’m guessing it is still available in public libraries.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I loved it! I just didn’t quite pick up on it back then, nor at all the luv-lee English weddings and other events we’ve seen since. But I’ve got it now! xoxo

  4. JoAnne Daniels says:

    Susan — I LOVED Jerusalem! I’d never heard it before! So inspiring and uplifting. I definitely want it on my playlist! Thank you for sharing. I love your photos of the English countryside — would dearly love to take a county walk (or is it called a “ramble”) there. Don’t think I’ll ever get there but enjoy my armchair travel through PBS and your wonderful blog.
    I’m sitting here at the Library filling myself with all things British as God Save the Queen comes through my speakers. Today we are holding our Annual HolidayTea so we have lots of sweet and savory things to eat! Wishing you and Joe and very Merry Christmas!

    • sbranch says:

      The Internet has a lot of drawbacks, as I’ve come to realize the long slow way, but for us, it’s been wonderful! Happy Tea Party to you JoAnne! Have fun!

  5. Julana says:

    Thank you for sharing. I heard about the Proms when I was introduced to the singing of Bryn Terfel a few years ago. Enjoy his Christmas album……interesting to learn more background.

  6. Kate says:

    Philippians 4:8 is one of my favorite Bible verses. I try to live it, but come up short far too often Loved the history lesson today and the words to Jerusalem. Don’t they sing it at the Women’s institutes? Merry Christmas to you and Joe.

  7. Miriam says:

    Goosepumps! Tears! Beautiful!

  8. Rebecca Walsh says:

    HI, HO, making scones for tea time with clotted cream. Wrapping presents sounds like a good idea. In your Scotland waunderings did you make it to Finalystone (Clyde River near Greenock)? Just wondering.

    • sbranch says:

      Are you talking about Finlaystone House? We tried, but didn’t make it there… or did you mean something else? Enjoy your tea time Rebecca!

      • Rebecca Walsh says:

        That is indeed the name of the estate. I worked there the summer of 1971 (back in the dark ages). The tea was lovely. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  9. Ann Woleben says:

    Tears as I listened to “Jerusalem” – thinking of our world and wishing that we could all live by the scripture of Philippians 4:8. I daily draw on Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Your post is a welcome respite from the pressures of holiday preparations. Thank you, Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      That poem was written, it should give us all hope, because if that can happen, and so much more good in the world, then anything can happen.

  10. Trudy says:

    Oh how wonderfull!!!!
    This song -And did those feet- and -Jerusalem- was played bij de Wetherby Brassband in the Yorkshire hills at Hawes leaded by a friend of us on sunday after my husband passed away.
    In september there is a Brassband Competition at Hawes and is famous in England.
    Thanks Susan for this post and also about the Proms which we are watching every year!
    Gretings,Trudy (Trijntje Huppel on FB) of Holland

  11. Sharon in Fresno says:

    Merry Christmas Susan, I have been to England three times and I never knew that. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Kay Bennett says:

    That was wonderful, Susan. Thank you so much for bringing such beautiful photos and lovely music to all of us as we hurry through our busy days. So looking forward to England in May. Your blogs help to bring the English customs and countryside into our homes as we prepare for Christmas. Merry, Merry Christmas to you and Joe. Stay warm!

  13. Oh, Susan! What a lovely soundtrack to your travel memories of handmade villages and reminders of what came before! It’s so nice to be instantly transported across the Pond every time you listen to Jerusalem. I just love learning along with you! 🙂
    Your photos are truly enchanting! Happy wrapping and making merry!
    Warm, cozy hugs,
    Dawn (in Illinois)

  14. Melissa Davis says:

    I hope some day I will be able to travel where you did and see all the
    beautiful homes and scenery . After researching my genealogy , and finding out where my ancestors came from , it gives me more of a prospective of where I
    need to go visit . But , for now , I will travel through you and your wonderful blogs .

    Thank you and Merry Christmas from Texas

  15. Karen Holly says:

    Hi Susan!
    Happy Proms to you and Joe. Jerusalem was also sung during the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. It is just so British, isn’t it? Rule Britannia!

  16. marie says:

    Thanks for link to the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Olympics. I cried on the night and just cried again, very moving. It does make you proud to be British and I think we forget just how GREAT a country we are and how much we need to THANK those who’ve gone before. Thanks for the reminder Marie

    • sbranch says:

      How could we not fall in love with people who do that? It was so moving, and real, and people oriented. xoxo

  17. Peggy Willoughby says:

    Glorious! Thank you, Susan. Have a merry, merry Christmas.

  18. Linda Pintarell says:

    Thank you, Susan…something new and so beautiful. What a joy to listen to that lovely music and read along with the words. As always, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your pictures of the fantastic scenery of the gorgeous countryside of England. Here’s wishing you and Joe a Merry Holiday in your beautiful home.

  19. Jane Franks says:

    Oh, Susan, this is so fascinating! I have loved that hymn ever since I first heard it in Chariots of Fire (the movie) which we have watched dozens of times. It does encapsulate the soul of England. Here is some more information on it: Also, Ann introduced me to Helen Allingham! She has a first edition. Isn’t her artwork amazing? I can see this Autumn visit to England has given you some deep spiritual connections with the culture and history! I love it. Are you familiar with the magazine This England? It’s subtitle is “for all who love our green and pleasant land”. You would love it!! Thank you so much for sharing this. Jane xoxo

  20. Jackie in Colorado says:

    What a heavenly, lush post! I have loved Jerusalem since Four Weddings and a Funeral…Scarlett singing this is so sweet. I always think of England when I hear this. I believe it has been used in many British shows over the years. Thank you for this very sweet and uplifting post, Susan…you are an angel! I am now going into my quilt room to play said show on DVD and become inspired! Merry Christmas!

  21. Vickie Hall (from Canada) says:

    Wonderful! Brings tears to my eyes. Thank you Susan!

  22. Mar Bailey in Colorado says:

    With a big lump in my throat and “crumbs in my eyes” as my Grandmother would say, I thank you. I have never heard of this. Just spectacular. xxoo

  23. Gale Harris says:

    Once again you get to the heart of things. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  24. Pat Mofjeld says:

    I’ve always loved that song, too. Doesn’t it put all in perspective to look at history…

    • sbranch says:

      It does, it’s such a good thing. Someday we’ll probably open the Olympics with a before the Internet and after!

  25. Deb in Wales says:

    Hello Susan! I know the hymn by heart, and it is also the anthem of the Women’s Institute ~ never mess with their recipe for a Victoria Sponge!

    The Proms is indeed a national institution and now hosts events all over the UK which is a wonderful thing indeed.

    I loved the opening ceremony of 2012 so much I bought a dvd of it so can watch it over and over again. The Paralympics opening ceremony was amazing too. Made me so proud to be British!

    ~~~Waving~~~from Across the Pond~~~Deb in Wales xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Made me proud of you, proud that there is a teeny bit of your quirky, creative, never-give-up stamina blood in my own body. XOXO Waving back Deb!

  26. Beth Doherty says:

    I will make it to England yet and your blogs certainly help.
    Ireland twice, but must do England. Thank you for your inspiring blogs!
    Merry Christmas!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s the other way for us, and now we must go to Ireland!

      • mary spring says:

        .. oh, yes dream of going to Ireland next ! ( I’ve always wanted to go … )..btw, this post is so beautiful and so heart-felt.. I’ve been up for hours.. I haven’t been able to sleep.. and this music keeps playing in my mind.. so beautiful, as are the photos you’ve shared of England… once again, thank you…

        • sbranch says:

          It’s still just a dream, we’ll see what the future holds. I’m so glad you liked the music, Mary! It grows on you! xoxo

  27. Laurie B says:

    Susan, I am sitting here with a lump in my throat and tears running down my cheeks. This happens everytime I hear this ‘national hymn’ sang. Thank you. And thanks for explaining the Proms to me. This old anglophile always meant to look that up.

  28. Paula Frankel says:

    I first heard “Jerusalem” in “Chariots of Fire” – must see movie if you haven’t seen it.

  29. Valorie Veld says:

    Just lovely!!! Merry Christmas 🙂

  30. Karen Carpenter says:

    Susan, your blog today is so inspiring. I too love England’s countryside and I love all the history there. I am sure there are downsides but who knows what they are. The music was great. Thanks for sharing!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and Joe! That darling Jack too!

    Karen in Michigan

  31. Peggy says:

    We were privileged to sit in a private box one night of the Proms and there were !!fireworks!! inside the Royal Albert for the last number. Quite the imposing sight and the music was wonderful from first chord to last note. Another highlight was a female soloist wrapped in the Union Jack who sang Rule, Britannia. Beautiful hall.

  32. Brenda K says:

    Do you know what purpose the table-like stones in the cemetery serve?

  33. Tracy K in Colorado says:

    What a delightful post Susan. The houses, stone walls, narrow roads (eek!), sheep, and beautiful hills…thank you for taking me back to my visit there. I wish I had known about the Proms, what an amazingly moving event!
    Please feel free to share more about your journey!

  34. Nancy says:

    Is there anything else that makes us smile, weep and relish the good that is in the world more than music. . . . .perhaps baby things, puppies, kitties etc? Thanks so much for making the world seem just a little bit lighter this season. Best wishes to you and Joe for your holidays. Kitty hugs to Jack.

  35. Brenda Wilkinson says:

    Thank you Susan. What a wonderful rendering of Jerusalem. I love it. We sang it at my daughter’s wedding at St Mary’s Church Raetihi NZ. in 1999.

    Blessings for Christmas to you and your family. Thank you for your blog, it brings happiness to a lot of people.


  36. Kiki Nakita says:


    I believe the song is also in the movie Calendar Girls, but don’t quote me on it.

    Wishing you a Merry Christmas,


  37. Lynn Winders says:

    Oh Susan, What a wonderful gift you just gave me!!! I have been a true Anglophile for years and after one visit, my heart goes back there often. Everything that you picture and talk about provides me with mini-vacations but to have included this beloved (to me) piece of music, AND the proms, has just given me a glorious afternoon. I will go back and enjoy it many more times. Thank you again for sharing your spirit and your love of the beautiful and peaceful things in life.

  38. Kim Nagle says:

    Lovely towns and landscape, right out of fairy tales. Wonder if this feel is what convinced author Bill Bryson to leave the US and raise his family over there. He hailed from Iowa if I recall. We do have some of the rolling landscape, stone fences, horse and sheep country here in the US but one must search for it, starting in Vermont and going all the way done to Virginia.
    We were thinking of taking the Queen as well and I wondered where you rented your car? Are there car rental spots right near the dock? Do you have any suggestions re the type of vehicle? Also, I have never booked a BnB in Europe. We usually stayed in hotels or via our various tour guides. Did you communicate solely by email to reserve a room and send a deposit?

    Thanks Susan, love your blog..we share similar tastes in ‘all things quaint & cozy.’ Kim

    • sbranch says:

      Just google Hertz or Thrifty, they have cars right there in Southampton around the corner from where the ship comes in. Don’t get a stick shift because you will have enough to do in the adventure of driving without learning how to shift with your left hand. A smaller car is best if you can, because the roads are so narrow. B and B’s are good, but if you like, you can Google “self-catering rentals” and find houses with kitchens so you can make yourself at home. Depending on your time of year, a fireplace or wood stove can be a very wonderful thing. Take wash cloths with you if you use them, because mostly they don’t exist in England. And yes, we communicate by email unless for some reason we have to call, then we do. Hope this helps Kim!

  39. Laura Ann in Vermont says:

    Or try Emerson Lake and Palmer’s version of Jerusalem, which is a big edgier. (I find it’s best to listen to it with the volume turned up quite loud!)

  40. Karen Holly says:

    Hi again! Susan, I always marvel at how good and meaningful music can bring people together. There seems to be a song within our hearts that simply must come out and join with the song(s) of others. That gives me hope. Always!

    • sbranch says:

      Truly! I don’t know why there isn’t automatic singing everywhere we go. The world would be a much happier place! Sometimes I’m in a store or something and I think I should burst into song. I make myself laugh but I haven’t done it yet.

      • Karen Holly says:

        Maybe we should put “bursting into song” on our New Year’s Resolutions. There is so much good to sing about!

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

    good afternoon Susan, girlfriends. it is frosty and cold here, freezing to be more precise, and we are expecting snow by Christmas… love that. so I am here in the den wrapping presents by the woodstove and staying warm and cozy listening to some old classic Christmas shows.. like Perry Como in Colonial Williamsburg and the Danny Kaye Holiday special on Get tv check it out for some really marvelous old holiday shows and classics. Susan a question for you, have you ever considered going to Ireland, or Wales?? I think you would be in love with the Irish countryside, especially in the spring when the lambs are being born. well I have some holiday baking to do later on, and of course get the woodstove going in the barn to keep the chickens and the rest of the barnyard brats warm. the cats are happy… all snuggled in their basket by the stove and warm and cuddly, they look so cute sleeping. if it does snow, hubby will take them out one by one and roll them in the snow, then I get to listen to the feline version of cussing and swearing while they shake off and groom their fur to get that white stuff off their fur, poor babies. maybe this year they can roll him in the snow instead.. I said maybe. off to get some more wood for the stove and go break up the water or I should say ice on the pools and water tubs, and I have no doubt the hoses are frozen… just makes getting water to the brats all the more interesting and challenging around here. you all have a great day, stay warm and comfy and enjoy the holidays. hugs… 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve been talking about going to Ireland and Wales next! But it’s in dream stage just now. Hug the kitties for me! And stay warm!

      • pat addison ( cave junction,OR) says:

        I will, I know it is Christmas time now.. warm fires and sleepy cats. you should check out that and look at all the old specials they have going for Christmas, Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, the King family, Judy Garland, and so many others, specials from the past that we mostly saw when we were kids, wonder why they don’t do those anymore???

  42. Caroline says:

    Thank you for the lovely music! It really captures the beauty of this season. Where in the world on your blog did I see Joe cooking that wonderful salmon in the hot oil so that it makes the crust? I forgot to write down the recipe! It was extra delicious!
    My Mom brought me over the book Winter Solstice by Rosamund Pilcher. I had read it before and loved it but rereading it at this stage of my life is even better; so many things she writes about I know about now through you!!! Someday I will travel there and walk and walk and walk in beauty! Merry Christmas to you and to Joe and to all the girlfriends!!

  43. Laurie Walt says:

    BeautifulSusan! Love the music and the peel into villages and towns. I am feeling sentimental today and this really made me reflect on home. Love.

  44. Debi Hutchinson says:

    Ahhhhhhh, thank you so much for sharing all this! It was wonderful and beautiful. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

  45. Susan says:

    My first blog comment…ever! Just finishing your memoir(s). I am viewing them as my post-election treat. I am another Susan born in 1947 so, of course, many of your life experiences mirror my own. I’m glad that you are on the receiving end of the many gifts you have bestowed on others. A book recommendation, very New England-ish. “We Took to the Woods” by Louise Dickinson Rich, written in 1942. I think you will love it.

  46. Seona says:

    Ah yes Susan, us Brits do love a rousing rendition of Jerusalem! it was part of the service when I got married in the lovely little church on the hill in Far Sawrey – magical moments 😊

    Wishing you and Joe a very happy Christmas in your lovely home,

    Seona (aka ‘Baby Beatrix Potter’!) x

  47. Di Word says:

    Merry Christmas to you and Joe and Jack.

  48. Ann says:

    Love, love, love ‘Jerusalem’….it brings back great memories! Fifty years ago we sang it so often in chapel, which was held every morning (high school). Such a lovely tradition.

    Thanks for the memories and introducing a new group of people to this lovely hymn.

  49. Seeing your photos is the next best thing to being there! Thank you so much for sharing and for being an inspiration to me. Your uplifting blogs and twitter posts are a great way to start the day on a positive note!

  50. Lynda Dixon says:

    Another beautiful English song, I Vow To Thee My Country, a poem set to music by Gustav Holst. Never fails to bring a tear.

    • Gill says:

      I had that at our wedding as I prepared to leave England forever and go to live with my new husband, on his family farm in Norway. It always brings a little tear to my eye.

  51. Sue Conklin says:

    We lived in Kensington for almost five years and often went to the Proms. Did you know it’s called that because a section of Albert Hall was cheaper because there were no seats, and people had to “promenade”?

  52. Cathy Kawalek says:

    Beautiful! I have been in London for many summers during Proms and please let everyone know that they show the concerts on BBC live each evening. The thoughts about history are so important reminding us that there is a deeper thread of continuity that needs to be honored beyond politics of the day. Thank you for a lovely post and Musica today.

    • sbranch says:

      We’re about to get streaming BBC 1-4 here in America!!! I think in the next few months. The excitement is palpable.

    • Gill says:

      They are also broadcast on BBC radio, which is available online through the computer or iPad. It’s an easy way to see what is on and when in advance as all the information is on the radio website.

  53. Trudi Varton says:

    Wonderful hearing this very old traditional music from England! Truly moving to see the people singing & flag waving! Love the idea of teaching the public to enjoy classical music in an informal setting with the “Proms”. Classical music has always been my favorite of all. Thank you for taking time from your busy holiday schedule to share this with your girlfriends! Happy Christmas to you & Joe & Jack the cat!

  54. Be sure to check out “Clatterford,” several seasons of a wonderful British TV show about the goings-on at a small-village Women’s Institute. Originally titled “Jam and Jerusalem” in England. Wonderful stuff.

  55. Ginny Gaines says:

    It’s so delightful to read and see your visits to England. I’ve never been, but we went to Ireland, and the countryside reminds me so much of our ramblings through the country in Ireland. Both are wonderful, or must be in England as well. The picture of the sheep, really was reminiscent of all the sheep we encountered. You made a post, either during or before you left about reading the book “The Shepherd’s Life”, or maybe it was laying on the table. I bought a copy and just finished it, and I found James Rebanks book absolutely amazing. What wonderful writing. Thank you for sharing the book and all your wonderful trips. Enjoy those little chores of wrapping presents and listening to lovely music. Merry Christmas!

  56. Donna Bingham says:

    Hi, Susan! What a beautiful post. I believe that “Jerusalem” is the theme song of the WI’s….The Wwomen’ Institutes. The WI is an essential part of English village life, and last year PBS showed a great series called “Home Fires”, about the WI in one village during WW II.. Or maybe you’ve seen the movie “Calendar Girls” about a WI and their unusual idea about raising money!

  57. Kathleen McLaughlin says:

    I have enjoyed listening to “Proms” for several years now and have enjoyed some wonderful music. It is , thankfully, broadcast by our local classical station here in Eugene, Oregon. I might add that, other than the wonderful old buildings, the Willamette Valley has always reminded me of England.

    It has always been my heart’s desire to travel to the British Isles and see all the wonderful historic and literary sites that I have always pictured

  58. Julia says:

    Lovely post.i will be reading your books and not watching news next year. I need YOUR enlightenment to get me started In 2017! Enjoy your lovely home and Joe and kitty… THANKYOU for a year of wonderful posts … Julia. HAPPY HOLIDAYS

  59. Kat Fry on Rose Creek Farm says:

    Ahhh Another Lovely Right on Time Blog! Just what weary hearts need. The music is So stirring & the photos so beautiful. Reminds of what History our little Planet has. The things we have all lived through & survived. What a buoyant thought that is indeed.
    And Phillipians is one of my Favorite Go-To reminders. A sure fire way to lower the blood pressure and soothe the heart. Something else that has comforted & inspired good hearted people throughout History.
    Just love all their wonderful quirky Festivities. We have quite a few here in Texas, what a great Family we are.
    Old Dallas Cowboy Jersey #9…over a long sleeve hot pink tee…black leggings…pink & black dotted luscious socks…pink Maryjane crocs. And a Smile.
    Now I shall go out & let the goats & chickens out. I say ‘out’, they have about 3 acres fenced in that they graze in connected to their barn & the chickens are right next door with their coop & henhouse. But they love to get out where we are up at the Shop & hoophouse & graze up around the farmhouse & into the secret garden.
    You are just what today called for. Love ya’!

    • sbranch says:

      I adore goats and chickens. But neighborhood living doesn’t really allow for them. You are so lucky Kat, or should I say, determined! Because you made those goats and chickens happen for yourself. Love your outfit! xoxo

  60. Terry Jansen says:

    Oh thoughtful..and emotional!x

  61. Kathryn Phenix says:

    Thank you so much. That was simply beautiful. I was trembling and almost in tears. I’ve always loved “Jerusalem” but to hear thousandsThis singing with such feeling. Just awesome. This was truly a Christmas gift.
    I hope all of your family has a wonderful Christmas. Kisses to “Jack”.

  62. Margaret Harke says:

    Beautiful song. Loved the Olympic opening. Made me wish my ancestors had stayed put in 1635! England is a truly beautiful country and has such an ancient and rich history.Thank you for the music and the pictures.

  63. Anne Rowe says:

    I believe there is a youtube of Jerusalem being sung at William and Katherine’s wedding…showing the Royals fully involved in its performance. Have a Merry Christmas you and Joe!

  64. Peggy says:

    Lovely, just lovely. Thank you! Merry Christmas!

  65. Kathy Madigan says:

    Thanks so much for sharing. Very inspirational! Wishing you peace, love and joy.
    “Happy Christmas”, as the English say.

  66. debra sewell says:

    A nice post. So green. I will get to England and have a notebook i am keeping with things jotted down you have recommended, things from travel DVDs ive watched and books i have read. Bits about flea mrkts, bookshops, jumble shops, cafes, pubs and such i hope to explore. Thank you for sharing these memories with us. Can you post a few pics if your home decorated for Christmas. Your wonderful cozy fireplace, cozy homey and welcoming kitchen. We love seeing where you like to maybe paint in the evenings when you and Joe do get a chance to relax together in the same room. Say does he cook at home still.


  67. Barb Murphy says:

    I love this anthem. It’s beautiful.

  68. Jules says:

    Dear Susan, I’ve never heard of Proms either but I love the idea of it. I’m a lover of classical music anyway. Looking at the pictures in this post of England made my heart yearn for that country. I could live among those green hills and old stones. I’ve been to England a couple of times and am always amazed by the greenness and all those beautiful flowers! And what a perfect verse from Philippians to end with. Thank you for sharing such beauty.

  69. Sarah says:

    Yet another lovely, touching post and music for this cold dreary day here in TX. I’m sitting by the fire, sipping my cup of tea thinking about the lovely English countryside, homeland of my paternal grandfather. Thank you for this wonderful sojourn in this most ancient and special land. And thank you for the links….the Opening Ceremony ~ we all should revisit it from time to time. Beautiful!
    Enjoy your afternoon of wrapping gifts. Don’t do many gifts here. My husband and I just fill each other’s stockings for Christmas morning. That’s our favored tradition since the first year we married. It is perfect for us! I like to pick up things during the year, especially if I am away on a trip. My husband is usually more last minute, but creative with what he leaves in my stocking. What traditions do you and Joe share?
    Loved seeing your Vineyard home all snowy! Stay warm and cozy!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s what we did, all our Christmas shopping on our trip. Now it all needs to be wrapped! Traditions? So many, our entire Christmas is a tradition in a way. Always put things in the same places, a tree in the front yard, a tree in the kitchen, lights here and there, and we absolutely MUST watch THE 1951 Scrooge together (no other version will do); we dress festively and go shop downtown (in the mode of “Be an elf”) to do our part to support our small businesses, there are lots of little events here too, and we always spend Christmas Day in the same place, doing a gift exchange with old friends. Our own gift giving, to each other, is the least of our traditions, we almost don’t do it. Although I bought Joe a pink knit tie when I was in England. He doesn’t know. shhhhh.

  70. Pom Pom says:

    I remember that song from Chariots of Fire. It’s so “connecting” in so many ways. I love the pictures today. What an amazing place. Have you read Rutherford’s Sarum? I know I started it once, but it really was fascinating.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you for reminding me, I just ordered it. I read Rutherford’s London, and of course I read James Michener’s Hawaii, and I think Sarum is going to be a lot like Hawaii, which I loved. Sounds like a good winter book!

  71. Julie Ratcliffe says:

    Loved this post Susan. Sometimes it’s good to see a reminder of why I’m proud to be British. Thank
    And Merry Christmas!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I am always amazed at the charm of your country, wherever I look, something interesting, historic, or quirky ~ chalk horses on sides of mountains! Imagine!

  72. Thank you — thank you! Tears galore! Someday I hope I can make it there in person but you do such a tremendous job of bringing the English countryside and cultural history right to us wherever we are. Have a very Merry Christmas.

  73. Nancy J says:

    Thank you for sharing. This touches my heart. That place in me that loves England, the country side, the sheep, the stone walls, the Stone houses, the ancient history. The Chimneys, when I was there I kept taking pictures of chimneys. I read that no two are alike because the masons were allowed artistic license to create them and show off their handiwork on the chimneys. Fascinating. For safety they had a different chimney for every fireplace etc. Beautiful pictures. I always look forward to your next blog.

    • sbranch says:

      And also, because there were so few rules, they could be all shapes and sizes and because, as Wm Morris said, “Every workman in the middle ages was an artist” we have all of this beauty to enjoy.

  74. Naomi Jones says:

    I don’t know if you are familiar with Charlotte Church. Here is her rendition of it

  75. Simply beautiful! Thank you for bringing this moment of joy amidst the craziness of trying to get ready for Christmas. There is something about England that seeps into your soul and stays there. Looking forward to going back in 2018!

    Wishing you and Joe a beautiful Christmas and many blessings in 2017.

  76. Shirley in NJ says:

    Thank you Susan, sooooooh much. Best blog ever. Loved every part of it. Learned so many new things. Again, thank you. Merry Christmas!

  77. Pat E says:

    I’ve always been an Anglophile and even more so after I married since my husband was English. I can’t listen to too much of the music because it makes me cry and miss my husband and he wouldn’t like that! I was just re-reading some Miss Read Christmas stories and they make you feel like you are right there in the middle of a small English town. They are so cozy and comforting. Some friends and I have a trip planned for spring of 2018 and I can hardly wait to see all the little towns, gardens, castles and everything have read about and seen on TV and in movies!

  78. Gayle Hall says:

    How absolutely wonderful Susan. By the time the singing was done I was in tears of Joy!! You know I love your Blog, it is always the a happy time when it arrives. Sincere thank you’s for all,you do to keep all of us so excited with all you share with us. Happy holidays to you. love Gayle Hall

  79. Liz Thompson says:

    Thank you, Susan, that was so lovely! William Blake’s words are so inspiring.

  80. Diane welsh says:

    Oh Susan, you make me want to live there. pbs had a special on last night about Beatrix Potter, wonderful, then a baking show with Mary Berry, wonderful, and then a Downtown Abbey special and now your blog! My head is spinning with it all. Merry Christmas to you and Joe from me and all of us in Iowa.

  81. Robin Ann Barron says:

    or this:
    I dig Holst and Vaughan-Williams

  82. Regina Carretta says:

    Susan – this is lovely…..thank you. The Proms – my sister discovered that Julian Ovenden (Charles Blake from “Downton Abbey”) is a trained singer and performs often at the Proms – he has a strong, gorgeous voice – do YouTube search for Julian Ovenden and you will see clips of his vocal performances at The Proms…..let us know what you think….
    again, lovely informative blog…….thank you.

  83. Treese Hellstrom says:

    Hey, didn’t you Yanks (I’m Swedish) whop the Brits a couple of times? LOL. I guess things are so much more civilized now. It is a beautiful country.
    Treese/Colorado Cowgirl.

  84. Anne Wilson says:

    This makes me so happy. I am a Brit living in the States for the last 20 years with my American hubby. He recently retired and we bought a 32 foot motorhome and have been traveling your beautiful US of A for the past four months. Currently we are spending Christmas in Tucson, AZ. In the new year we will travel on, taking in Florida and the southern states before we finally depart from Philadelphia for England.

    Yes, we are going to live back home in England! And we will use your travels and books as a guide for exploring the country of my birth! You choose such wonderful places to visit and your appreciation of dear old “Blighty” is so contagious, we can’t wait to share it!

    Your love of my home country is such a delight to witness. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    • sbranch says:

      What a lovely retirement plan you have! I don’t have to tell you to have fun because I know that’s just what you are doing. What an education too! Sending love to you lucky people! xoxoxo

  85. Jo says:

    Just what I needed to get moving.

  86. Sandra Mailey says:

    Tears! Joyful tears – even sobs! So, so beautiful!!
    I have watched the movie Calendar Girls many, many times. There are so many wonderful things about it! But. . . one thing that always impresses me is the wonderful music! And now I know more about it, Thank you so very much for this beautiful anthem!! It’s such a gift knowing how important it is. No wonder it is sung with such pride and reverence.
    And God Save the Queen!! More tears!! Absolutely beautiful!!
    Thank you!

  87. Martha says:

    Thank you so much for sharing once again. Love the sheep with personality! You are truly the most romantic person I think I’ve ever met “online”. Just so you know I’ve ordered quite a few “romantic” items from your website!

  88. Donna Wilder says:

    True, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy~~ all words that beautifully describe you, Susan!
    Thank you for another wonderful post!

  89. Beth says:

    I was so glad to see your blog in my email tonight. I was so sad after hearing the sad news about our poor country – definitely needed a shot in the arm of Susan Branch. Thanks.
    Happy Holidays.

    • sbranch says:

      The poor world. Innocent people suffering at the hands of governments with too much power and men with too much anger. Blessings on us all. We need some magic around here, now!

  90. Robin Dewhirst says:

    Positively brings tears to my eyes, I knew that I was English ,Irish, and Dutch but in theory only. Hearing this glorious music and wandering the English countryside vicariously with tears streaming down my face confirmed my English heritage to my heart. Thank you for so generously sharing with us all dear Susan.

  91. Bernadette Wolf says:

    Susan~Thanks for the wonderful Olympic video, and music! I had the great pleasure to attend a WI meeting while I was in Durham, they start every meeting by singing ‘Oh Jerusalem’. It’s such a powerful song. We also sang it on the QM2 in the Royal Court Theatre, I love the song. Keep those wonderful photos and stories coming.
    Happy Christmas.

    • sbranch says:

      I think if you began every meeting with that song, your group would become so tight and uplifted, they could perform miracles! Happy Christmas Bernadette!

  92. Amy Lee from Salem says:

    Susan I truly love seeing England through your eyes and words. I also love the photos yet take as you and Joe toodles around this beautiful country. Simply wonderful😘

  93. Amy Lee from Salem says:

    Sorry about the comments I just sent, the note pad changed some words are the little smiling face appears to be crying. Whoops!

  94. Sharon Silva says:

    Tears….happy, flowing tears! I was just reading an article about the Royal Albert Hall and how the Proms are held there every year. I was telling my husband about it today and then I read your blog! How wonderful! I love how patriotic the British are, I feel the same about our country and hope others do, too. Someday I hope to stand in that audience and wave Old Glory and the Union Jack! God bless you Susan for reminding us of what is glorious and dear!

    • sbranch says:

      I was going to say, in a much (much!) smaller way, our Illumination Night, also very old and venerated here on the Island, reminds me of the last night of the Proms…probably not a fair comparison, but I do love the small town exuberance of this wonderful tradition.

  95. Dana D says:

    This is the most beautiful hymn! I first heard it at a church service in England and fell in love with it. It was set beautifully in Chariots of Fire, and it never fails to make me cry. Glad you found it-Everything about it represents England to me. Thanks for sharing it….made me cry…again!

  96. I really like that Bible verse, and I have often thought the world would be a better place if everyone in it would follow it.
    I think the Proms are a fabulous idea. How else does one get millions to open up their minds about music?
    I have never seen Chariots of Fire, but I would like to.

  97. Ceil G. says:

    Thank you Susan. I’ve always wanted to go to England, the land of my maternal Grandmother and Grandfather. I’ll not make it, but this stirs my heart and fills my soul until I meet up with them again.

  98. Nina says:

    Hi Susan! Happy Christmas greetings! Thank you for all of the snow covered pictures of your house. They really got me in the Christmas spirit. I was wondering if you would mind telling us what type of camera you use..or phone..if that’s not too nosey. Thanks, Nina

    • sbranch says:

      Not nosy, I’d be happy to tell you … I have just the regular stuff, my phone is an iPhone 6, but most of my photos come from the Canon T2i I’ve had for years.

  99. Sylvia Johnson says:

    Thank you❤️!
    Merry Christmas🎄!

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