Hi everyone! Isn’t it about time we get back to England? I think so! Go get a cup of tea, this is a Calgon Blog Post. Off we GO! MUSICA.💛

Every time Joe photo4and I have gone to England it’s always been in the spring.  That’s what we saw first, and what we fell so madly in love with. Until this last trip, which was our first experience of a British Autumn. We wondered if we were crazy, leaving home in New England in the fall, 🍂when it’s so gorgeous here. And what makes the spring so wonderful in England (as opposed to the fall) are all the newborn baby animals ~ fuzzy yellow ducklings, frolicking lambs, and baby swans (cygnets) are everywhere you go ~ not to mention the forget-me-nots in bloom, fields of wildflowers, hillsides covered in bluebells, and the wild apple trees in tender pink and fragrant bloom. 🍏 apple trees in bloom

We wondered, if we went in the fall, would we miss all those springtime things? Would we be disappointed?  How could anything be as beautiful as this? So it was with a little trepidation that we ventured forth last September. And that’s what I thought I’d show you today. What is fall in Britain like? You’re about to see. We walked everywhere . . .  follow me, and please shut the gate behind you.

path gate

English people are so polite. Even their signs say please.

endorse fall path walk with siobhan in stow

As I’ve mentioned before, there are thousands of ancient pathways all over Great Britain,  all made by hand, and each one is an adventure. Since the beginning of time, long before there were cars, there were people who walked everywhere they went, from town to town, to market, to church, to visit each other and borrow eggs or help birth a baby ~ that was the mode of travel, and a good one if you ask me, especially in this green and pleasant land . . . and all those criss-crossing paths are still there.iwalkJane could have ridden a horse, or taken a buggy ride, but she preferred walking.

endorse fall walk aylesbury canal

Us too. The slow way, through fields, next to rivers, over hill and dale, we were done with our work for the time being, and free as birds . . . as you’ll see, this is mostly my view of Joe. I dawdle taking pictures …

endorse walk

You can go for miles on these paths through the dappled woods, even from town to town. It’s a people kind of country because of these paths, more than a machine kind of country.fullsizeoutput_3651


The paths are often marked . . . there are great “Ordnance Survey Maps” that show where they are, but really all you have to do is look around you, because they’re everywhere.

endorse walk sign

Some are more marked than others . . . when you see these little signs on gates and fence posts, that means you go girl.

endorse walk stileThose signs are often out in the middle of nowhere, see the little arrow sign on the left side fullsizeoutput_2372of the fence?  You wonder who put that there. Is it the government? Is it the farmer? Is it a good samaritan? I don’t know. And the wood thing in the middle, that is what they call a stile . . . it’s there to help us climb over fences so we don’t leave gates open and let farm animals escape. No gate, no escape!

endorse walk stile

See? You just step up and over . . . then follow that little dark path next to the ancient wall and see where it goes . . .

walk devonshire arms bolton abbey

Because you never know where it will lead. That’s the serendipity of the English countryside. Each day is an adventure. Look at that sky! And we didn’t let the animals out! The Queen Mary 2 dropped us off in England in the middle of September, and as time went by, the trees began to change . . .autumn


“When from every hill of flame, she calls and calls, each vagabond by name. . . ” I took lots of photos. I knew you’d want to see. And it was heavenly. See the clouds reflected in the water?livingnaturefall

So many lovely lakes in England, reflecting the sky. We found that we didn’t miss fall in New England after all. How could we?everythingwasromantic


Here are a couple of lucky guys from the hood who get to fish at Blenheim Palace (where Winston Churchill was born). The peace of this alone could make me move here.


I really wish you could smell it and feel the breeze, because the air is sparkling clean and cool and the leaves are swirling around us and it’s quiet except for birds twittering in the trees, lapping water and leaves crunching underfoot, the way it’s been for centuries.word shell summer

fall climbing hill woodstock

The trees sway and rustle in the wind, the sun shone through them putting golden light on everything.

walk joe

↖️ See the little yellow arrow? They’ve even built bridges out in the woods. Many of them are very old and made of stone. And walkers rule. Look at my honeyman. He is beside himself out there.

endorse me walk

Are we happy?fullsizeoutput_f4ba

Oh, yes, we are.

me tea

We are ecstatic. Can’t believe our good fortune. (Do you see my eyes are saying, “Can you believe this?”) The good thing about all that walking, is all that food!  For once you can eat!  To be out there with the birds and the quiet, even when we get rained on, is the happiest thing we do. You just feel God’s in his heaven and all’s right with the world. 💜walk

Behind every little town there are paths, bounded by hedgerows, rivers, and stonewalls.

fallAnd views to forever . . . you see that green patch way in the back and you say, let’s go there! No cars, no noise at all, serenity. More Musica?


And, not to worry, there were PLENTY of animals, because everyone in England has at least one dog ~ we were the only people without a dog to walk.  It was almost embarrassing. Like, Where’s your dog? What’s wrong with you, don’t you like animals?  And I think I pet and took a picture of every one of them. I’ll show you next post!animalsfall

Here, we’re on the grounds of a manor house we’d come to visit. Most, if not all, the castles, palaces, and manor homes open to the public, have acres of lovely gardens you can walk through ~ some are formal, but they usually include wild woodland and river walks, blazing thickets, little cottages, sometimes tunnels or a stone circle, a red fox here and there, dozens of pheasants grazing, and pigeons, high up in the trees, cooing “my-toe-huts-bet-tee.”FollowYourHeart


See the hedge opening at the back? Does it not just boggle the imagination? Don’t you just want to GO there? Okay . . . . get ready to kick all those leaves up and twirl  and dance with the joy of it . . .


Here we are on the other side of the hedge! Ahhhh.

“And straight was a path of gold for him . . . “  Robert Browning


You come around the corner, and there’s this . . . you can see the manor house we just came out of, called Waddeson, in the background ~ but we loved the leaf blower . . . yearned to throw ourselves in, but old enough to know better!

foot lost in leaves

But I did play hide the foot.

fall sheep lamb

And, of course, there were sheep everywhere, just grownup lambs, still adorable . . .

Joe walkAnd there were wildflowers . . .stripofflowersfall

And wonderful fall gardens to visit with centuries-worn stone manor houses and brick walls . . . and don’t forget, every garden comes with a gift shop! And a tea shop!


We brought home memories!pink-flowers


Just as beautiful, in any season . . .


See the bell on top of the little house?


And the church bells rang, as they have for centuries . . . and your heart swells from the beauty, you want to throw your arms around it!


We walked in the graveyard at night, and the wind blew and the Hunter’s moon shined down on us and turned the leaves to gold . . .

“From all who dwell below the skies, let faith and hope and love arise . . .”

endorse fall newark park staying at siobhans

And as you drift around, from garden gate to castle doors, you hope that nothing ever happens to change these wonderful old places . . .

“October is the jewel set in the hand of time.” Gladys Taber

endorse fall

Because it’s magic. And all serendipity. You just never know what you will find.


And speaking of Magic: here’s our friend Siobhan. You could go on a walk by yourself. And star and moonthat’s fine, you will have a wonderful time. But if you go with Siobhan (pronounce it Shiv-on), you will find magic. I know, because I’ve tested it several times, and so far my theory has never failed. Once, we were walking, and three large white horses with flying manes came running up to us! Here she is holding off stampeding cows. We could not have survived this walk without her.Friendsendorse fall walk following siobhan around malmesbury

For example, since this is the town she grew up in, she knows every crevice of it, all the hidden paths you can take to cross through town. Isn’t it wonderful? Can you imagine how long this leafy little alleyway has been here? Neither can I. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for hide and seek? You could scare the bejeebers out of anyone coming around that corner!


She knows every shortcut. And don’t you love a town that has these little walk-throughs between the buildings. You don’t have to wait until you get to the corner, since there aren’t many of them anyway. The village was made for people on foot, not cars.

path alley stow

Centuries have come and gone . . . but these little pathways through the rural villages are all still there, and keeping all their secrets.thoswhodontbelieve


One of her hidden paths took us past this farm . . . and through the town, with a faint tang of woodsmoke in the air . . . (and now, because I never get tired of hearing this Music, for you and in the name of hope.💞)


. . . she took us to visit this wonderful Abbey House with the wonderfully symmetrical garden . . .

endorse walk

Siobhan taught us how to dress, yes, you DO need Wellies, pretty much year round, don’t even think of going without them . . . and see the dog tail at the door? He’s going with us! (And there’s his bunny toy, bottom right.)

endorse walk

And off we go . . . out her front door, walking through the woods, along the river, to this place . . .

dog dusty

I wasn’t sure who was happiest, Dusty, nosing through the grass along the water’s edge, racing out to the woods following some crackling noise, or us!


I honestly think it was us.

endorse walk

So the rule is, wherever Siobhan leads we will happily follow, loving it, through the musty smell of fallen leaves.


These kinds of far views are all over England, the sky is huge and I can’t tell you how many photos I have of clouds . . . I don’t think England has mountains, I think it only has valleys. You ride along the top, and suddenly you’ll come to a valley, but hardly ever to a mountain.

“I don’t own an inch of land, but all I see is mine.” 💜 Lucy Larcom

tree fall

And we walked in the shade of ancient old trees . . . SocietyGrowsGreat

And no, we don’t ever get tired of it. Who gets tired of magic?

Well, I think I have to go, but I’ll have more England for you in the next post ~ I have Plaid to show you! And Carrie’s house! And poppies and reindeer heads! Dogs! And Food! And Bunting! SO much to look forward to!😁fullsizeoutput_f820

In the meantime . . .Little things in lifeNow, before I go, I have to tell you about a TV show that I bet you already know about, but just in cases: You should try to find A Place Called Home.  It’s on Acorn TV (probably other places too) ~ it’s set in rural New South Wales in Australia, and is so well-written and so well-acted, and so exciting that sometimes you’re forced to wring your hands and yell at the TV screen, because it’s very fast-paced and everything that COULD happen, does. The music is great and the cars are fabulous! Set in the 1950s. If you have any worries on your mind, this will give you respite. And Joe likes it as much as I do. There are three seasons available right now . . . a good winter hibernation project! We pour wine, make dinner, get blankies and settle in. Give yourself a few episodes to get used to it, because it just gets better and better.


OMG, look at the time! I gotta go!


But just so you know, life goes on as usual around here . . .


Jack is still our best entertainment . . .


I just finished the May page for the new 2018 calendar . . . that’s my rendition of me and my mom . . . I loved working on this . . . can’t wait to get out to California to see her!


My shadow keeps me company  while I work . . . the ferry horn blows out over the harbor.


Joe and I walk in our very own woods here on the Island every day . . . sandy dirt road, leafless trees, icy air, blue skies, and sparkling sea . . . the best part of our day.❤️


This paper mug has gone off to get a price quote and a sample made . . . it might even be here by the end of next week!!!! So excited. I love this thing. I would even buy one, so I’m thrilled to be getting it. Fingers crossed that they can do it, and that we can afford it! It’s a mug, even though I call it a cup, it’s big, holds 16 oz, would be dishwasher and microwave safe, and made of thin bone china. All the things I love! It even has a theme, it’s called Little Things, because it’s all about the little things in life. This isn’t the only design, there are three, one is Love, and the other is Nature! (England and Christmas are both in the works!) I’ll show more soon! If the sample works out, it will go right into production and I think we’ll have them before Mother’s Day! Don’t worry, this paper mug is all glued together, it will look a lot better when the cutlines and scribbled numbers go borderUpdate on the book signing at the Apple Farm in San Luis Obispo: It’s definitely Saturday, St. Patrick’s Day weekend, the 18th of March, at 2pm. If you can come, try to reserve a place to stay, sooner rather than later. I think they might be selling tickets (not for me, for them),  I know they’re putting up a tent, and having food, and I’ll be giving a talk, answering questions, and then signing books. Kellee and Sheri will bring lots of books and other fun things from the Studio. Sounds like a Girl Party! I hope you can come!word dream

Prayers for the new President, and for us, my beloveds, for the kitties and doggies, for the trees and our history, and for the world.💞

Let beauty, truth, and good be sung, from every land, from every tongue . . .CountingBlessings

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744 Responses to CALGON BLOG POST

  1. Steph D says:

    Gosh, this was a RELAXING post to read! Thank you! Also, I JUST realized today I can click on the pictures to enlarge them and was SO happy I got to get a really good look at Dusty. He’s SOOOOO CUTE!

    • sbranch says:

      He is adorable and the apple of that household’s eye!

      • Linda says:

        Oh, oh, I can’t see any replies from your response to this post. It says there are more than 70 but they can’t be seen and there is no arrow to other comments. This hasn’t happened on any other post that I’ve come across. Any suggestions? Thanks.

      • Linda says:

        Hi Sue, today in looking for responses to you post, all the comments have once again disappeared except the first. I can’t find a button to allow or go on to the many comments for your past. Any idea what might be causing it? This hasn’t happened on any other posts for me. Thanks for any help. Maybe when I hit send they will magically appear. Also someone else’s name and email address keeps showing up in the address section and needs to be changed. Weird.
        Thanks. Linda

        • sbranch says:

          I sent your comment to my computer, blog-wizard. He went in and tightened things up. Hopefully that fixed it, but from here, I can’t tell what’s going on, it all looks normal to me. Please let me know if it’s better. So sorry!

  2. Becky Maxwell from Central Coast of CA. says:

    Keeping fingers cross that all works out on the mugs. I will buy if it does. I am planning on seeing you in March. Have a wonderful and safe trip out here. Have fun visiting your mom.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    We were in England in September, too! We followed a few paths but not nearly as many as you did. There is one in Chawton that we followed between two huge hedges. As we had no wellies, we couldn’t continue into a field. It was fun while it lasted. Thanks for showing us your memories and letting me revisit mine!
    I LOVE the mug!

  4. Sharrie says:

    A lovely post! Yeah! DO Count Your Blessings – Every Day! Life has been rough lately but I look forward, to nature, sunshine, and girlfriends. Best wishes for all the GFs!

    I also think there should be more poetry. It makes us slow down, read and imagine. Ah! How lovely it is to see words that paint a mood or moment. Thank you, sweet Susan!

  5. Deb in Wales says:

    Good Afternoon from Wales Dear Susan and Joe and Jack Kitty ~~~

    What a blissful joy to find this today; it’s charm and elegance is exactly what we need to escape events of the day. Oh, how my heart went pitter patter to be transported to an autumn day in the shires of England ~~~ and yes, I know that certain smell, that one day in the year when you wake up and it tells you that Autumn, Blissful Autumn is HERE!

    Joe picked a pretty wild Campion for you!

    Will you join me for fika? Yes, another new Swedish concept {new for us, not for them} which sums up perfectly the fine art of coffee, cake, and a good chat! I think it is exactly what we need more of in this funny old world of ours ~ the fine art of the Swedish Coffee Break. If it is anything like an Icelandic coffee break then it is going to be good! We’ve earned it after today’s ramble through the countryside ~~~ and soon there will be special mugs to accompany the fika too! {can you hear the sound of Girlfriends squealing in delight all over the world?}

    ~~~waving~~~from wildly wonderful wind~free west Wales~~~Deb in Wales xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Is it like teatime, only with coffee?

      • Margot in Sister Bay says:


      • Arline in So CA says:

        Yes! My niece just came back from Sweden after picking up their Volvo at the factory and told us Fika means “to have coffee”. I’m sure it has as many variations as English tea, but where they stayed it always had to have at least 5 things to eat. Some say 7! It’s considered rude to take the last piece of anything and good form to start by talking about the weather….. they had a wonderful time.

        • sbranch says:

          So, it’s like High Coffee! 😀

          • Margot in Sister Bay says:

            Yes, but it does not have to be in the late afternoon. Fika (fee-ka) is done at least once a day. A “coffee break” if you will. Fika is coffee, or sometimes tea, with some baked good to eat. You can do it by yourself or with friends.

          • sbranch says:

            Oh! Then we do Fika often, after our walk we sometimes stop for coffee and split a big plain cruller!

      • Deb in Wales says:

        The Scandinavians in general are not big tea drinkers. In Iceland ‘Coffee Hour’ as I learned {now probably Fika is the word!} is a time honoured tradition and everything stops for coffee that is brewed and often freshly ground by hand. When I lived there, I went native and bought a sweet ceramic and wood grinder {looks a lot like Pfaltzgraff} and bought my beans at Hagkaup {local supermarket}
        I also learned the average Icelandic household goes through a pound of coffee beans a day! That’s a lot of grinding by hand.
        Their coffee is absolutely the best I have ever tasted anywhere, and I put it down to the wonderful springs that supply the taps across the land, with pure, unfiltered and non chemically treated water.

        • Deb in Wales says:

          should say minimally unfiltered!

        • sbranch says:

          How interesting Deb! Now I want some of that water. Not to mention the coffee. Love that you “went native!” That’s the way to travel!

          • Deb in Wales says:

            I lived there for four years ~ I went native in more ways than just the coffee! lol

            You see, I was married to a USN CPO and we were stationed at NAS Keflavik. I got myself off base and immersed in the culture as often and as much as I could. It was the most magical gift to experience the very different culture and history. I don’t know what the Icelandic equivalent of Anglo~phile is, but I’m one of those. I must have been a Viking warrior princess in a former life!

          • sbranch says:

            I have NO doubt this is true, Deb!!

        • Margot in Sister Bay says:

          Deb you are correct that the Scandinavians predominantly drink coffee, and lots of it!!! I have grown up surrounded by this culture, and still am. Fika is a Swedish word. On the peninsula there are Swedes, Norwegians, Germans and Bohemians and on the Island are Icelanders. My mother- in-law drinks a pot full all day long! On Sunday, if you don’t smell the coffee brewing by the end of the sermon, I feel the panic ensuing! Lol

      • Jana says:

        Deb, you are so right that girlfriends all over the world are squealing with delight over the idea of a collection of precious Susan Branch happy mugs!

  6. Shannon(Pennsylvania) says:

    So happy to see this post today. “God’s in His heaven, and all’s right with the world.” I plan to keep this phrase close to my heart today.❤ Hugs

  7. Gill Smith says:

    Oh Susan what a beautifully written post I LOVED it. So happy you enjoyed your visit to our wonderful little island in the Autumn. I love spring, but Autumn comes in a close second! Holding my breath now for the next book , containing all you photos and thoughts of Scotland! It’s just GOT to be done! Waiting with anticipation……….😉
    Love Gill xx

  8. Pat W. says:

    Dear Susan: How absolutely delightful your recent post!!! I cannot express in a million words how much I enjoy your words & photos & art work….it lifts my spirits…brightens my day….encourages me to count blessings…do good for others….you are such an inspiration. I am so grateful to have found you. Thank you so very much for sharing all of these wonderful things with all of us.

    Have a pleasant trip …. say “Hi” to Mom for me.

  9. Christine Perica says:

    Such a perfect post for this day! Thank you for taking Glenn and I on a wander along the English footpaths so our hearts can dwell on the beauty and goodness of the world this day. Praying for all you mentioned, Susan. You make our hearts swell with thankfulness!

  10. shanna says:

    Thanks, Susan. I just love the painting of you and your mom!

  11. Janie Phillips says:

    I find some of the best shows on Acorn TV. I agree with you about A Place Called Home. Don’t you just love the clothes? ❤

  12. Loris Mills says:

    Such wonderful walks! Can’t wait to see the plaid 🙂

  13. Regina Carretta says:

    A wonderful way to wake up today…..thanks for the trip through the English countryside…..”A Place to Call Home” is one of the best series I have seen in a long time – educational, about the time period, politically and culturally – really talented actors and characters that come to life….the series forced me to join Acorn TV online, where you can watch all 4 seasons….they are now filming Season 5 – good news for us all!
    Thank you again Susan! Sending thoughts of joy, quiet and not so quiet! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      OH! Four seasons, even better. We just got to season three!

      • Chris H says:

        Apparently public pressure here in Australia encouraged the producers to film a further series

        • sbranch says:

          Yes! Season Two ended with THE END, it was OVER ~ but after that there was a surprise surge of interest and they were offered a Third Season. So, while watching, you get to the end of Season Two, and it does that thing, it ends. But you start Season Three (which we just did) and they ran the last episode of Season Two with a new ending! Never saw that before, but very glad they did it!

  14. Jean Wakeman says:

    Dear Susan
    Stunning, moving. I cried at the end of this post. Too old to travel, seeing through your eyes is wonderful.

  15. Holly Y. in Concord,NC says:

    What a beautiful post, such a blessing to read! Going to England is now officially on my bucket list😊 Can’t wait to see more pictures of the dogs! xoxo

  16. Sandra says:

    Wonderful pictures of England as I know it! I’m planning on visiting this spring – because of the flowers! I love the May picture of you and your mum for the 2018 calendar. My birthday is in May!

  17. Nancy says:

    What a wonderful gift to wake up to today, my birthday! England is my dream trip, and viewing it through your eyes is the next best thing. Thank you for sharing!

  18. Claire from Atlanta says:

    Thank you , I needed a walk with you and Joe this am!
    Love the cup, fingers crossed, cause I need several of them!!
    Glad to see Jack is up to his mischief!

  19. Julie Fellows says:

    Thanks for sharing your Autumn pictures and the story of the beautiful walking paths. (A walking tour in Ireland and Scotland is on my wish list! ) It’s a wet and grey day in my desert Southwest home -that’s the Arizona version of winter. We never really have Autumn here and being a Midwest gal originally, I miss that season and all of her glories the most. I can almost smell the leaves and the wet earth as I read of your adventures. Off to make a lovely cuppa to really feel as if I have been roaming the pathways with a friend and a dog–although we live with 3 cats! Don’t tell them:)

  20. Mary mccumber says:

    Dearest friend~JUST what I needed on this very emotional day! God bless our United States of America! May we all soon follow LOVE~

  21. Melina says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I needed a new post from you today. In the world I inhabit, I find I often need to escape to yours. God Bless You.

  22. Anne in Maine says:

    Thank you so much for that beautiful post! While others are glued to their television set right now, I am taking that lovely, relaxing walk through the English countryside. I so hope your mugs are able to go into production. Fingers and toes crossed! Love the sample you are showing us! Have a wonderful weekend. Anne

  23. Mar Bailey in Colorado says:

    I was feeling a bit apprehensive about today. I made a fire, as it is cold and dreary, made my tea, pulled Faffi on my lap, and read my mail. Hallelujah…a post from you! My world feels better and I feel ready to face anything. I think England in the Fall is spectacular…all the leaf crunching, don’t you know.
    Thank you so much for your settling post. xxoo

  24. Rebecca~~Riverside, CA says:

    A beautiful post, a lovely distraction for the day. England is so beautiful. It’s been years since I’ve been. I’m looking forward to reading the next post.

    Best wishes to all.

  25. I love your watercolor of you and mom. So charming! I see that Jack is hard at work supervising your work day…he’s the best kind of boss.
    I’m enjoying your 2017 calendar (hanging cheerfully on my fridge) and can’t wait to see 2018!

  26. Sandra Mailey says:

    Thank you for this lovely respite. It came in the “nick of time”.

    We can never see too much of England with all its beauty and antiquity. I just LOVE it, and want to be able to spend some time there before I’m too teetery old to walk anywhere.

    Am also looking forward to seeing the mugs in reality. The model is great, but the real thing is sure to be even better. You always have something exciting to share. This is so important in these uncertain times. One must hang on to the little things. XOXO

    • sbranch says:

      And that’s a pretty easy thing to do because at least THEY never change! If you love decorating and fooling around with your house, you probably always will. And the same with naps and books and gardens and kitties and all the things that make life sweet.

  27. Gail Osgood says:

    Thank you for posting the lovely pictures. Just what I needed on this sad, sad day 🙁 (It’s sad for me. I can’t speak for others). I LOVE “A Place Called Home!” I’ve been watching it for a while. It’s fabulous! I also love the mug. Maybe it will be out in time for my birthday in April!

  28. Barb in MI says:

    I decided to check your blog today at noon as the perfect way to soothe my soul from the anxiety I am feeling. It was the right choice! I felt like I had a walk in the peaceful English countryside along with you. I, too, pray for our country every day and for our leaders to make wise decisions for the good of us all. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Looking forward to the rest of your posts!

  29. Mary Lawrence says:

    God bless you Susan,you fairy god mother of us all.I love England and cannot wait to go again.I worked for Laura Ashley and have loved all things English forever!I will be in line to buy your mugs.God has given you the talent to give Joy!So,enjoyed your blog,look forward to more.Mary Lawrence.

  30. Sue A. says:

    Thank you for a beautiful post, much needed on this fateful day. We all need to be reminded of the good and inspiring today.

  31. Carrie in Medina says:

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!! It almost felt as if I were walking with you all! So fun! And, speaking of fun . . . Love the mug, cannot wait to pick one up — just too cute! Thank you so much for this wonderful post!!

  32. Terri Lowe says:

    Such a wonderful read to start my day! Would love to do England the way you do – walking magical paths. Must begin planning.

  33. jeannine leonard says:

    I do so hope for the little things mug to be a reality. Thank you for your wonderful post today, it was what I needed. Emily says thanks for the pictures of Jack, she just loves that kitty of yours.

  34. Coraleen Rawls says:

    Thank you for your blog, on a day like today we need your beautiful watercolors, photos from your trip and a moment for the spirit to get away on to your pages.
    Until you get inspired again,

  35. Marigold says:

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing the beauty of England with us. I have neither the money or the health to make such a trip of my own, but seeing the splendor through your eyes more than suffices!

    Jack in the Sack is way cuter than the Cat in the Hat.

    And your mug is 16 glorious ounces???!!! Most of my mugs are that big, so needless to say, this Girl-Who-Loves-Big-Mugs is trying to get up off the floor and compose herself.

    And yes, prayers for our new president and our country. We citizens, by the power of our words and our actions, can either make America the Beautiful or America the Ugly. The world is watching.

    • Margot in Sister Bay says:

      Amen Marigold!
      My mom wouldn’ t let me travel to Europe to visit relatives, when I was in high school, unless I changed my attitude about our country. When we travel, we are representatives of OUR country. United we stand.

  36. Linda says:

    Thank you for this post. I too love the English countryside. So beautiful and accessible to people. It is a gentle but amazing reminder that the world still has many places of peace and to dream of a world greater than time.

  37. Hi Susan,
    Beautiful pictures! Stiles are so interesting… I’ve seen some that are ladders and some that are just holes in the stone wall but none like the one you showed… creativity and resourcefulness 🙂 Georgia

  38. Jane Townsend says:

    Fabulous post Susan; I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – it’s lovely to see our country through someone else’s eyes – thank you.
    I’m also looking forward to seeing your china mugs in your on line shop they look perfect.

  39. Karen Duenas says:

    Thank you for the serenity of fall in England. It was a great day for a walk on their footpaths.

  40. Ann says:

    Oh, what a lovely post on a rainy day here in SLO. For some reason the one with all the pink flowers really was beautiful and I gasped when it came on . Do you think those flowers are bleeding hearts?

    • sbranch says:

      Bleeding hearts usually come in the spring. I’m not sure what they are, but I’m thinking maybe wandflowers.

  41. Miriam says:

    This is magic, this is love. Thank you so much!

  42. Debb S(from Minnesota) says:

    Thank you thank you for this wonderful diversion on this most politically difficult day! Life will go on somewhat as we know it – after all we still share the same sun and moon and stars hovering over us and around us, and Susan, your sweet and serene spirit still shines.. I am so grateful for your presence here!

    • sbranch says:

      And we the people are a wonderful bunch!

    • Margot in Sister Bay says:

      The President said the same thing our beautiful country we all live under the same stars and pray to the same God.
      One heart
      One home
      One destiny

  43. Pat Stansel says:

    I’m really liking your mug design—can’t believe how fast it’s coming to be !! I want them !!!

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

    I just loved this post! The more I see of England, the more I want to go. I’ve always enjoyed the greeness, open spaces, rock walls, etc etc. It reminds me so much of Upper State NY close to the St. Lawrence River and such. Rolling hills and green with animals. Gee, I’m talking myself into going visiting my relatives in the area again. Don’t get back there near enough.

    I see all those wild flowers and makes me want Spring to arrive so very soon! I have my list of ones that I want to plant this Spring. I am wondering what those pink wild flowers were. They are so pretty and would be fun to have those in my garden.

    Until next time…
    Carol M

  45. Barbara Weaver says:

    Ahhh. Enjoyed every minute of this tour along England’s paths. Thanks, Susan!

  46. Margaret Harke says:

    You must have found the Public Road to the grounds of Blenheim Palace through the green gate in Woodstock as described by Bill Bryson in his book, Notes from a Small Island. Those grounds, park, are so beautiful. I loved my fall stay in England.

  47. Lynn Marie says:

    Loved all the pictures and can’t wait for more! I hope the mug works out—you know we all want one .

  48. Marty from NYC says:

    How very YOU to offer such peace and beauty and good news today. “Life is short, Be swift to Love! Make haste to be Kind!”- Henri F. Amiel. Great pictures, words and thoughts for such interesting times. Thank you Susan.

  49. Sussi says:

    Thank you for sharing

  50. Gail says:

    I loved every minute of reading this wonderful post. Can’t wait to see the finished product / mugs, and I definitely will want one of each. I’m going to try to find the tv show you mention. We’ve been watching Monarch on the Glen, which is set in Scotland. About 70 episodes, and we’re coming to the end, so we’re looking for another good show to watch.

  51. Vickie in Olympia says:

    What a blessing to read a new post on such a day! Thank you for bringing and keeping us together with the beauty we need to stop and appreciate. You eyes open so much gratefulness in our hearts.

  52. Kathryn Phenix says:

    Love this blog. It makes me miss England, so much. I used to visit 1-2 times a year when I lived in Germany 1972-78. My sister and I made more excursions in the 80’s and loved it even more. Now I just don’t have the energy required. My husband and I really loved watching “A Place Called Home”. Can’t wait for a 4th season. Kisses to Jack. And what a beautiful dog in your blog. Looks like a Goldendoodle.

  53. Nora says:

    And, again…………..JUST what I needed to be centered on this momentous and historical day. I’m off to make tea………and meet with one of my students.
    Thank you Susan. Bless.

  54. Lyndia from Corte Madera, CA says:

    Thank you for the lovely post. Just lovely! Your posts are always a wonderful reminder of life’s gifts. . . . .just get out there and grab yours. The cups are wonderful. Can’t wait to get mine. Blessings to you and yours and to our country.

  55. Pati says:

    Thank you for the beautiful post today! Much needed to help me just breathe! To much sadness in my life right now. Love “A Place Called Home” and also, “Where the Heart Is.” Cup is just adorable. Can’t wait to see the English one!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ll have to check out Where the Heart Is. And I’m sending love Pati, for your sadness, and hugs. XOXO

  56. Marianne in Mo. says:

    Love the photos, thank you sooo much for a fall trip through the countryside. It’s been gray and gloomy here for DAYS, and has succeeded in bringing my spirits down. To see the gorgeous sunny skies, meadows, hills and dales washed with color was just what I needed! The creatures were equally enjoyable, can’t wait to see all the pups you encountered!
    Loving the mug design too!
    Any word on the movie yet?

    • sbranch says:

      I’m meeting the screenwriter when we get out to California and she is going to give me the first draft of the script! EEEK. I’m really looking forward to meeting her in person.

  57. Kay Kay says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Susan!
    I looked at my SB calendar this morning and prayed for a BLOG post as I knew so many of us NEEDED to hear from you…especially with a CALGON post. You made me smile and thrill to our trip to England and sanity.

  58. Karen Carpenter says:

    Thank you for this beautiful post on this day! It gives me hope and good feelings! Can’t wait for the mugs! Something to brighten every morning!

    Karen Carpenter

  59. Ann Woleben says:

    Your trip was simply divine and magical~so glad I can travel there through your blog! The cup is a must have! Love it! And yes, prayers for the Trump family – may he be guided in a positive path.

  60. Ellen from New Hampshire says:

    Lovely post with lovely photos and words of comfort and encouragement. It’s so wonderful to look around and see magic and beauty everywhere. Just what I needed today. Thank you.

  61. Barbara in northern California says:

    OMG, Susan.
    You have outdone yourself with these photos. I relish every single one!
    And the feelings they, along with your words, bring is, as others have said, soothing and ever so happy.
    Oh, to be in England.
    BTW, I’m rewatching Downton Abbey and not only is it as special and lovely this time around, I do believe I want Julian Fellowes to write the script for the remainder of my life. Those words!
    (A small note: baby swans are “cygnets” not signets.)
    Have a glorious year!

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, How smart, getting Julian Fellowes to write our life scripts! Oh yeah, cygnets! I knew it was something like that! I’ll fix it!

  62. Emily R. says:

    *sigh* This was so lovely to read! I was just in England in May but I’ve been dreaming of going back since the day I had to leave. The closest I got to a country walk was the day we went to Chawton to see Jane Austen’s house, and walked through a field from the bus stop…it was a dream come true, walking through the English countryside to a cute little village after riding a double decker bus! What a magical country. Thank you for sharing so much of your trip with us!

  63. Julia in Florida says:

    Oh Susan I knew you’d write today! I can’t wait for the mug! Oh is Emma making them? Or state side? Thank you for microwaveable! No news in this house is on – for years – and so I am reading your book and this wonderful English countryside… I’m still waiting to see your table cloths hanging in the spring cool air… thank you for today especially!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I tried Emma a few years back, and they weren’t doing any other artists, at least then, so no, not Emma. Which is good, because they are different from hers, which makes it more fun! Not quite ready for hanging table cloths yet, but soon!

  64. Jane says:

    Oh, what a lovely post, Susan. I brewed myself a latte, slice an apple and scooped up some peanut butter, and put myself in my sewing room, away from the noise of the day. I played every stanza of music and drank in the gorgeous photos. My husband and I were in England the Fall of 2012, shortly after you and Joe had been. I am now so very inspired to take the time to do my travel scrapbook and enjoy once MY photos of trees and paths, Beatrix Potter and York, London and Scotland too. It was my very favorite trip ever and we are now planning to go to Ireland, probably in the Fall once again. You always inspire and comfort me. Thank you for the prayers for the President. I, too, prayed for him this morning, even though he wasn’t my choice. We need to support our country and continue to pray for the people of this land and that, only with God’s help and guidance, we can reunite Washington DC. You are a treasure, my dear!!!

  65. Colette says:

    We used to go to England every Spring and since we retired we started going in the Fall and never went back in the Spring because the Fall is not as wet as the Spring. This year over a six weeks period we had two days of rain. You are right, it is magic. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.


  66. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Perfect…Musicas…photos…drawings…your wonderful words…and prayers! Thank you! xoxoxo

  67. Kelly Fortner says:

    Thank you for all your remembrances of England , one of my very favorite places (with Ireland and Scotland and Wales) to visit. Walking with you through the countryside is a delight to all the senses. Love Jack the cat . . .

  68. Thank you for this wonderful post. I am planning my family’s first visit to England in late spring, and the first place we are going is to the Cotswolds! I have been using A Fine Romance to help with the trip planning, and we are all so excited. Can’t wait to walk those footpaths. Love the mug, too!

  69. Kate says:

    You are a wonderful writer, thank you for your blog!

  70. Stephanie P says:

    What beautiful pictures! I can hardly wait for our trip at the end of May now. England is a place we have never been before and has been a dream of mine forever. Any thoughts on where to stay with a family of 6 (kids ages 15,12,11 and 10) in the Cotswolds? We only have 3 days there. We will be in London for 3 days before we head into the countryside and then off to Spain, France and Germany to visit friends and family.

    • sbranch says:

      I would get a house, so you can get up and make breakfast and have a degree of normalcy with the kids. You can google “self catering cottages in the Cotswolds” and you’ll get more choices than you can imagine.

  71. Susan Cohen says:

    Love the mug!

    Thank you for a beautiful read on a sad, sad day for America.

  72. Kathy Madigan says:

    Thank you so much for taking us along on your walk. It was very beautiful and

  73. Darylene from South Dakota says:

    Oh, Susan!

    I could comment forever on this fantastic post. My mouth literally fell open when I saw what was beyond the hedge. Awe inspiring! Your walkabout made me feel like I was in an episode of the British show “Last of the Summer Wine”. Have you seen it on PBS? It, too, takes a few shows before you ‘get’ it. But then, it’s wonderful and fun. And your chosen musica about made me cry! To sum it up, your timing on today of all days, was perfect. Siobhan may be magic, but you are, too, and I do believe in magic!

  74. Mary Beth McGrath says:

    Exactly what I needed today! Thank you!

  75. Karen Holly says:

    Oh Susan, thank you for this relaxing and beautiful post. England is so beautiful! And I LOVE your mug(s)!!!!!!! They are a great idea and something each and every girlfriend would enjoy. I hope all works out so they can be in production soon. Enjoy the rest of your day!

    • sbranch says:

      A few years back it would have been impossible for me to get them made, but things have changed to the point where it’s finally possible. I’m excited, I’ve been a mug person all my life!

      • Karen Holly says:

        Susan, I am also a mug person. I have so many Emma Bridgewater mugs- my first one was from the British Edition of Country Living Magazine celebrating their anniversary. The mug has a glorious duck upon it. And soon there will be Susan Branch mugs for all the girlfriends! How wonderful!!!!!!!

        • sbranch says:

          Me too, I have lots of Emma’s wonderful mugs and probably always will! But I am enjoying putting my art on something I actually collect!

  76. Judith says:

    Phew! Much needed lovely distraction on this distressingly sad day. The queen should award you some kind of medal of honor for being such a grand ambassador for England! Wonderful photos and descriptions. And, as always, photos of Jack just melt the heart ♥

  77. Nancy says:

    I went looking on Netflix and found the title of the television series to be to be “A Place to Call Home.” 😊 Love all the pictures in this post and visiting England in the fall with you and Joe.

  78. Fancy says:

    Thank you for acknowledging our new President. Although the election was not a unanimous vote, I do believe he is the President of our whole United States, just like all the Presidents in the past. And I believe we should all pray for him, and respect his position. Thank you for a very beautiful relaxing and informative blog about England today.

  79. vicki panzarino says:

    Great post, Susan….We are booked to visit England again next July….first time to go in the summer……can’t get enough of it….This trip will be mainly in the Cotswolds. Love the mug!!!! Looking forward to the real thing!

  80. Patti says:

    What a delightful post! It felt like I was along for the walks. Loved the music accompanying the read so perfectly. A pleasant afternoon interlude for me!
    AND! I can’t wait for the cups to be available. Your sample is special! I’m a buyer! (and carried away with exclamation points!)
    Hugs from Columbus, Ohio!

  81. Monique says:

    So pretty on this damp grey day here..all dreamy..particularly love the other side of the hedge:)

  82. Georgia Crews says:

    Loved your blog makes me want to go to England so bad. Yes I love A Place Called Home I am a retired nurse so I can relate to the nurse in it such a good show and so much happening al the time. Love ya Georgia

  83. Sherrill Riley says:

    Oh My Goodness – What Wonderful Mugs! Please Please – I will buy many for me and for friends! Love this post – takes me to wonderful places! Thanks for being you!

  84. Margot in Sister Bay says:

    Thanks for sharing your vacation photos.

    • Margot in Sister Bay says:

      I prefer walking too Jane Austen!!! I love secret garden paths or paths through the woods. I have Wellies AND hiking boots. I love the basket of apples above your poem drawing. I think you should put a maple leaf near the second stanza. I think the cows ran toward you, because they were happy to see you!! 🐄

      • sbranch says:

        They were cute but I read later that actually cows (because you’re in pastures with them all the time) can (but don’t very often) hurt people. I was surprised, I always think of them as being so benign. They certainly never did anything to us! Yet!

        • Margot in Sister Bay says:

          Lol…yet. They do hurt people. One can get kicked while milking if one is not careful. I know if there is a bull in the herd he doesn’t really like it if you get too close to HIS girls. Some cows are friendly, just like the children’s poem. On Arnie’s best friend’s farm one of the cows kept peeking at me through the barn window and when we were tying up she was following me around. His cows only let his wife and daughter milk, so he thought they wouldn’t let me tie them up. We’ll they did. We are all girls, I told him. Lol…

          • sbranch says:

            You’re so right. I have a new respect for cows. Siobhan said, “Just keep walking. Don’t make eye contact!” LOL. We did what we were told.

          • Margot in Sister Bay says:

            Small children and dogs follow me around too! I always had a following in VB on the beach. Arnie said he never saw anything like it. I guess at 5′ I am not intimidating. Lol…

          • Margot in Sister Bay says:

            Oh…I meant to add that I love the dog with the one black ear and one black eye!!! I need a doggy.

          • sbranch says:

            That dog was adorable, I was down on my haunches to take that photo and he came right up to me.

  85. Hope says:

    I am a couch potato…not by choice but by illness. Today I was able to go where I would go if I could. Not the freeways but the byways! Thanks for the lovely walk on this winter day here in Winnipeg, Canada. I could almost smell the dirt!

  86. Becky Maggio says:

    Loved the post and OMG… all those amazing pictures!! My soul gets restless each time you share your travel photos. Thank you for bringing the girlfriends along 😁 The mugs!!! Yes, please. I am into my second year of painting classes and you continue to inspire and encourage me. Where do you find the time and fortitude to get so many things done?? LOL

    Say hello to your sweet Joe from me and my sweet hubby… Becky and Vince

  87. Andi Geary says:

    Love reading how much you love England. It is so wonderful here in England the seasons are so beautiful. We are lucky enough to have a Wonderful Tudor House with groumds, 5 minute walk from our house, its our local park!! Fab news about the mugs!! I can’t wait to see them come to life, especially the Christmas Mugs! Well done. Regards Andi Geary 😀

  88. Kathleen Hinson says:

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful trip! We went to England and France in the spring of 2014. Loved every minute of it:) The best part was Giverny in the spring. The flowers were incredible!! It felt as if we had stepped into one of Monet’s paintings! Now I can shake off the depression I, and so many others, are feeling today and go enjoy my little neck of the woods. And my hubby and I are also huge fans of “A Place to Call Home”. Enjoy your weekend!

  89. Delaney Ann Prins says:

    So uplifting and joyful in our grey doldrums of a Michigan winter. Thank you for your post,

  90. Deborah says:

    Thanks Susan! This was a perfect post to start off the weekend! Love the design of your mug; can’t wait to get one or most likely the entire set. Your art just makes me happy!

  91. Sally Roth says:

    I had hoped you’d have a “luverley” post today to cheer us up. Thank you, thank you for being telepathic!
    Walking is such a delight in rural England, and my daughter says that feeding the ducks is an Olympic event in Britain! I’m sure you saw plenty of that.
    I cant wait to see those cups… Blessings to you and Joe

  92. Sara says:

    Absolutely LOVE your mug!!! I would definitely buy one. I just finished reading The Fairy Tale Girl and loved every minute of reading it!! Quick question… Did you ever think of changing your last name back to your madion name after your divorce?

    • sbranch says:

      Not really, because I had started painting, and my name was on them, for one thing. Also, I kind of liked my new name. I just put the old one in the middle. xoxo

  93. Eileen Ammendolea says:

    An absolutely delightful post! I enjoyed taking the walk with you!

  94. Lorraine says:

    As so many others mentioned, I am also incredibly grateful to find your lovely, lovely post today. Thank you.

    Looking forward to seeing the plaid and dogs posts – two of my favorite things! I’m also looking forward to seeing the finished mug. How exciting!

    Thanks again…

    • sbranch says:

      I just turned on the TV, they are showing the Women’s March, and if you would like a shot of positive Happy, turn it on, because it’s rather wonderful.

      • Lorraine says:

        My daughter, granddaughter, and a very dear friend marched in Chicago, and another very dear friend and my aunt marched in DC. I am so proud of all of them. They were oozing with love about the experience. Sisters are doing it for themselves! It was wonderful. Did you see the women in Antarctica?!?! Love and support was shared around the world.

        Alas, I stayed home with a healing, but still slightly weak, knee. I wasn’t sure I could do that much walking and standing, and would feel like the old, wounded wildebeest who holds up the herd and gets eaten by lions. But I was there in spirit and have lent my assistance in many other ways.

        Once again, thanks for sharing the love, optimism, small joys, and comfort. Peace be with you.

        • sbranch says:

          I did see the Antartica girls, it was wonderful. Feel like crying? Look at THIS … LOL, on the wildebeest. Best you were at home. You were certainly well represented! I stayed home to work (deadline looming) but instead was glued to TV. I should have just gone! Peace be with you, with us all. xoxo

  95. Jo'L says:

    Thank you for the blessed respite.

  96. Eileen R in Pleasant Grove says:

    What beautiful, beautiful photos! Nothing more fun than a walk with a best friend, human or canine. Love all the quotes, too! Love, Eileen

  97. Deborah in the fields of Michigan says:

    Thank you for this – your most wonderful and sweet post ever, I suspect. So many aspects of it brought tears to my eyes, simply because of the marvelous beauty of the earth. Our God is so good and gracious to us, if we will just get off the fast-train and look at all His handiwork. And a special thank you for the positive comment of hope, peace, and good wishes for our country, our new president and his family, and for us all, as we join hearts and hands together to help mend our broken fences, heal broken hearts, and lift up those who are weary and sad. Because, in the end, it’s up to “We, the people” to patch up the divisions between us and make for a better tomorrow. God Bless America. And God Bless YOU, Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      SO true Deborah, so very wonderfully said, “if we will just get off the fast-train and look at all His handiwork.” And every single other one of your beautiful words. xoxo

  98. Mary Valli says:

    Hi Susan,

    Loving the England updates. So many beautiful photos!
    Really love the artwork representing you and your Mom. She’s so beautiful!!

    Mary Beth

  99. Linda Michael in Pennsylvania says:

    What a wonderful, relaxing blog. I love the clouds reflected in the water. So serene. Thank you for this. Regarding the mugs – make sure to order plenty – I’m already planning on ordering one of each, as I’m sure many of the girlfriends will. Also, I think a darling giveaway would be your paper mug sample – oh, I would treasure that. xoxo

  100. Liss says:

    Love your post!
    Can’t wait to purchase your mug!
    Do you have any book signing events scheduled in New England?

    • sbranch says:

      Not right now. Just haven’t gotten around to scheduling anything yet. But come back, because if I do, I’ll be sure to announce it here.

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