LET’S GO Girls . . . xoxo

Hello again! Let’s go girls, we’re heading off for real again in just a little while, the Queen Victoria ocean liner trip across the Atlantic . . . happy trails to you and us! MUSICA! (They played this and all the wonderful songs of this era in the Commodore room last night!) Life is good.🎉 🎵 Let’s go dancing . . . 🕺💃

And so, very very comforted, our departure begins . . .

. . . Driving along, seeing this sign, knowing that’s the port we depart from, I am filled with excitement . . . my cup runneth over. 🤗

Joe takes the rented car back, the porters come and take away most of our luggage and deliver it in our room . . . I sit patiently with our carry-ons, admiring the boarding outfits of the other passengers,  until Joe returns, and then it really is time . . . we check in, get our ID cards, and run to our room where we just throw everything in. The day is too nice to hang out there, we can unpack later . . . but first . . .

We wander and explore . . . and take pictures from ship to shore on a positively glorious day . . . How do you not cry? Just to think of it!

ALL three of the people over there on those turquoise-terry-covered, round lounges are out-cold asleep!!! We were getting the gist . . . this ship departed two months ago from Southampton (most of the people on board have British accents), they’ve stopped at ports all over ~ on their way home now, up from South America, they are officially experienced “old salts,” and no beautiful port is going to be better than a cozy warm afternoon nap in the soft Florida sunshine (right at 70 degrees, with sea breeze).

And in our old salt ways, we know one thing we’ve waited for a long time, a first-thing’s-first, sit and drink a luv-lee Magner’s Pear Cider over ice before we make another move. We know there’s bon-voyage champagne in the stateroom, but this is what we really wanted to toast this trip with. Better than we remembered it. Yum yum yum!

Then we do the thing I can never get over, we take pictures of the HUGE rugs they have on the ship. Here’s one, but they are everywhere.

And comfy corners we would like to try out. This ship, the Queen Victoria, is much more like the QE2, which is our favorite of all ~ and this one is very much like it. Smaller, and really beautifully laid out. Only problem, so far it looks like it never sails into or out of New York. So more trips to Florida may be in order in the future. (We already have to come back, we barely scratched the surface of all there was to do on our path south.)

More sitting around . . .

More taking pictures. But we know it’s time . . . we have to go unpack ~ we have to go to dinner, and our bed is covered with suitcases!

In our room, on the TV screen, is our Itinerary, and the only thing missing is the date, March 23, and time of our arrival in Southampton . . .

Georgie on Twitter found the Webcams for our departures . . . and put up a screen shot of the live video of us leaving Fort Lauderdale/Port Everglades. It’s all so amazing, what we can do and see via the Internet!

I’m unpacking, going in and out the door to the deck to take pics, and here’s one of our escort boats, that brings us in and out of the harbors . . .

Back out on deck . . . we see only Majestic and Queenly.

There is couple, if you look closely, dancing in the dark . . . listening to the music wafting  from inside . . .

A deep breath of salt air before bed, smooshed into cocoon of feathers and down . . .

Next morning, Petey and I slept until 7 am (unheard of), up in time to catch the sun coming up outside our stateroom balcony door . . . you can see we are all moved in  . . . kitchen on the left (fridge around the counter there), living room on the right, bedroom in the back, bath and closet beyond that, then the door to the l o o o o n g hallway to all the ship’s delights. Hello!

Yes, wonderful things! Yawn 😵, make tea . . . so glad I wasn’t born before tea . . . I brought our cups. Little bits of home to ward off homesickness. Not feeling homesick a bit yet. Duncan, Jack’s new best friend, is texting photos of Jack every day and so I am happy. He looks good. Rolling on his back to be petted.

Out onto the balcony, birds crying, water whooshing, OMG. That’s all I could say, OMG in all directions. Go get book, bring tea, get diary . . . get in chair, do not move.

Soaking up the Vitamin D . . . almost shocking in it’s unrealness considering that home is being buried in snow even as we speak. But everyone should know, there is hope, under that white sky, lies a toasty warm sun that you will all see very soon. 🌞

 Second day, we docked in Port Canaveral . . . and off we went to Cocoa Village, driving past the Disney Dream liner (note mouseka-ears on funnels), to a shop . . .

suggested to me by our Girlfriend Diane (Byrum) 😘 . . . in the nick of time I may say, because I didn’t have time to do this before we left, and I really never feel quite right unless I have a little project to take with me. ‘Twas a wonderful store, thank you Diane, had it ALL, and more. I was completely confused by all the delicious choices.

So I got yarn and very weird needles (they convinced me this was the way to go, mainly because they didn’t carry what I am used to, the long, individual wooden needles I learned to knit on a hundred and fifty years ago ~ this is likely another baby step in joining the 21st century), and unless a miracle occurs and I suddenly know how to read patterns, this will be a gorgeous wool scarf/shawl. (What happens when the stitches go onto that skinny wire, does everything stay the same size, this is a bit scary!) Oh thee of little faith.

And right next to the yarn store . . . Oh yeah, THIS! Hello!

Which was a perfect place for Joe to hang out while I made yarn purchase . . . and then I joined him and found these! “Made in England” it says on the clip-on backs. Only $10 and they cried out, please take me home.🇬🇧 And so we are.

Walked down the block to Cafe Margaux for a delicious French lunch.

Then back to the ship where we met a kind victim who answered the call, “Please could you take our picture?” Gotta have at least one with us both in it! We’re standing on the glassed-in gangplank to the ship. Ahoy there you two very happy people.

We had an excellent vantage point for life-boat counting. Look at these wonderful things. I always thought lifeboats were like row boats, open air, two wooden paddles, no engine, eight miserable huddling survivors looking fearfully at the sea, shark reflections in their eyes, wet hair glued to heads, begging for a piece of hardtack, a drip of water for parched lips. (Too many movies.) But no, these boats are heated and they have radio contact with the world. Plus, they make the perfect emergency hiding place for you stowaways, just in cases the captain shows up to try and find out why we order so many English Breakfasts every morning, ship’s almost out of bangers and beans. 😘

Here are some of you cutie-pie stowaways who met us at our book signing at the Barnes and Noble in Charleston last night! Was that fun or what? 🎉 Nicest most wonderful Girlfriends in the world! And the boyfriends were VERY fun too . . . asking questions and everything! Even the people who work for the store said you were wonderful. They loved you! Because they have excellent taste.

And here I am, returning to the ship, giddy with the spirit of our wonderful friends, carrying my luv-lee bon voyage gifts from darling Girlfriends. I’ve been opening packages this morning. It’s like my birthday in this room, ribbons and tissue and cards and tea and books and all sorts of wonderfulness.💞 Goes excellently with the morning clatter of room-service breakfast dishes. my darling friends, for all your good wishes. 💝 I’m so happy to have you along, you make everything better.

So, last but unfortunately not least, I have not-so-good news: I should probably have told you this first, but it’s hard enough to do it at ALL, so here I finally am. See our darling Spring cup ⤴ there? All light and airy and sweet and approved “as is” a few weeks ago? Well, the next step was for the final samples to be made (of all the cups) for my approval . . . which they did, but they didn’t make it to the island in time, so we had them sent to Joe’s brother’s house in Florida so I could approve them before we left . . . the package arrived while we were there, phew, I was so relieved and excited to open the package to see the finished cups ~ I was beginning to worry I’d miss the package and be unable to get them to you guys on time.

But, when I opened the package, the Spring cup looked like this ~ the outlines were harsh, the flowers were dark, the lambs were dark, it was too black . . . it wasn’t soft and sweet and watercolory  like the approved one above. And the others were the same. In my heart, despite the timing issue, there was no way I could say yes to this, no way I could make this the cup that you would have to receive. I tried desperately  to rationalize, but: Could. Not. Do. It.

It wasn’t just the Spring Cup. The Mother’s Day flowers were almost black, Jack had no eyes, and the English Countryside was beyond a stormy day, it was one dark day in the middle of the night . . . SO, I said to our wonderful English manufacturer, “I understand the time problem, but we are going to have to fix this.”

Because they need to look like this . . . And they were very nice about it, but it’s a setback, and now we’re being told they won’t ship until April 20. Which means, after getting through customs, we probably won’t get them to the Studio until May 1, and that’s if everything goes right from this point on.  So, if this is a nonstarter for you, if you can’t wait for them, we understand completely, please contact Sheri@susanbranch.com, and she will fix you up with a refund before we get any further . . . I’m so sorry. (If she doesn’t get right back to you, it may mean there are many refunds wanted … so don’t worry, I promise, she will reply to you asap.) Sometimes things happen, especially when you don’t want them to.  We’ve been very lucky so far, it’s gone swimmingly, and will do so again one day, I trust. But right now, there’s trouble in River City ~ we’ll do our best to make everything as right as we can. Now go read the top part of this post again, start the musica again, skip the cup part, and start here, it’s much more cheerful that way. Happy ending and all.

We leave Charleston at 1:30 today. turning to the open sea ~ as soon as we leave shore, I will likely lose contact ~ which is why I’m here this morning, to say Bon Voyage Girlfriends! If you leave a comment later, it might not go up (via moderation) until I get contact again. I promise I will do everything I can to fill you in periodically, but if you followed me last time, you know “at sea” makes connection difficult. IF you don’t hear from me, it will be because I’m cut off! We land in Bermuda in a couple of says . . . but that’s not America, so I just don’t know what service I will have. But keep the faith, I shall return! In the meantime, I’ll be taking pictures and watching you stuff yourselves with ocean liner food . . . we’ll send you for a massage, and to get your nails done, and take you for tea, and dancing in the Queen’s Room. 

Anna Susanna Dana Branchburger the third. XOXO

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305 Responses to LET’S GO Girls . . . xoxo

  1. Alice says:

    Me, too–thanks for taking us along. You’re answering a lot of my wonders about what it’s like to sail on a big ship. I may or may not ever get there, but who cares? I’ve seen it with you. I so needed this trip today. Happy Spring!

  2. Ann says:

    Just to let you know we had some much needed rain here in the SLO area and the gardens are looking lovely. You will love circular needles and no the stitches don’t change size when the move to the flexible chord part. Have a safe and wonderful journey and I look forward to your next wonderful post. Bon Voyage!

    • sbranch says:

      Love all the knitting assurances! I’ve rolled the yarn into balls, onward and upward with the knitting bravery!

      • MarySue says:

        This novice knitter asks why do you roll the skeins into balls please. Enjoying being a stow away. Who knew I’d be so thrilled over being part of such mischief. 🌵

        • sbranch says:

          If you don’t roll the skeins into balls, your skeins will tangle uncontrollably and you will be rueing the day you ever tried to knit!😜

  3. Darla Unger says:

    What great pictures, Thanks for the blog … your room looks homey, Have a Fun trip!!

  4. Phyllis Patton, Lancaster County, PA says:

    I am so excited for you, Joe and Petey setting out on the Queen Victoria. And now, for a bit, you will have some peace and quiet. It is so interesting that you drove south to catch your ship in Port Everglades driving right past Charleston, SC and then you sailed back that way to do your book signing at Barnes and Nobles. How cool is that! So much fun. I would have been afraid to get off, “in the cases”, I couldn’t find my way back and the QV would sail away without me! But that is why you have your Joe. Enjoy and thanks for letting us come along. Oh, how I’d love to be there in real life!

  5. Freddie Ann says:

    Oh my, can’t wait until your next letter (hoping Bermuda has good wi-fi for you (and us). I’m so happy we get to come along with you. I must mention that you both looked smashing on your first day aboard the QV. The webcam picture was pretty cool – loved the colors. The lifeboats are amazing.
    Take Care,
    PS: I do not knit and I can’t even imagine how you would knit with needles hooked together with a wire – it seems like the yarn would just go round and round???

  6. Susan P says:

    You are off to a well deserved vacation. ENJOY,,,ENJOY,,,AND JUST IN CASE YOU HAVE ANY DOUBTS ABOUT ANYTHING… ENJOY ONCE MORE. It is like eating CHOCOLATE….one is fine…two is great..3 is ENJOYMENT beyond the moon. hahahha
    Also rest your mind about the cups ..you did the right thing! The cups will have your name on it from now until the end of time..some little girl not even born yet will inherit that cup and be so happy that you said NO… this is not what I wanted on my cups. We all understand and appreciate your wonderful works of art…we can wait a few more days. So, some may not get that cup on Mother’s Day..but isn’t it fun when a gift comes out of the blue for no reason at all and surprises you!!!! WOW what a way to start a day with package from Susan Branch on your door step…for no reason other than you are loved by someone.
    Enjoy all the adventures waiting you and Joe. Love, Susan P.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you darling Girl, and thank ALL OF YOU…I get to read for a few moments! Thank you for your wonderful comments!

  7. Christie Levin says:

    All the photos are super, and I especially LOVE the one of you and Joe so happy together on the gangplank, ready to set sail on the salty sea, and the one of you in front of the ship at night, loaded down with gifts from the hearts of your Charleston Girlfriends. How lovely for them to be able to wish you Bon Voyage in person. Hoping your day in Bermuda is dreamy! xoxoxo (PS – Of course you are going to make sure the cups are as they should be before approving them!! You can let go of any worries that your decision could make anyone unhappy!!)

  8. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    It’s really happening! What a thrill and know you’re enjoying every second…..we all are vicariously – thanks!

    Circular knitting needles are so much easier!! I’d never go back to the straight.
    Your circular are wooden – I found the steel ones from Germany are best!

    How do you have time to sleep with all you’re doing and what’s going on? Keep us posted – we love it, Sweetest Susan.

    XOXO Sandra and Grasshopper

  9. Debbi says:

    Hi Susan- i put pictures of the Charleston signing on my blog- hope you enjoy!

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      Thank you, Debbi, for the wonderful pictures of the Charleston book signing. So much fun. Debbie in Tampa

  10. Penny Harrison from Oceanside, CA says:

    wonderful blog and wonderful pictures! Thank you! I can wait for as long as it takes for my next cups to arrive – anything worthwhile in life takes time and patience! xoxo

  11. Anne says:

    Wishing you a wonderful, wonderful time! And if you have not yet read it, I commend to you Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson. Sweet, romantic, and very English. Bon voyage!

  12. Judy in Oregon says:

    The ship looks amazing and your room so cozy! I always see quilting patterns in the carpets and floors wherever I go so really enjoyed seeing the very modern design of the carpet. You and Joe look so relaxed and happy and the Spring cup situation is just a small glitch and I will bet that not one person will not want what they ordered. Anyone should understand that you would not put something out there that was not up to your standards. Have a wonderful, wonderful voyage.

  13. Evelyn higgins says:

    These ladies are very fortunate to be able to meet with you! I am from Nova Scotia, Canada and so enjoy hearing from you and it is as if I do know you as I read your wonderfully written messages! My friend Lynn and I just wanted you to know you have friends here too who are so pleased to know you and you wonderful stories. Thank you for sharing. Evelyn ❤️

  14. Evelyn Higgins says:

    I guess we cannot send messages from Canada maybe. I have tried before

  15. JudyH says:

    Oh I’m so looking forward to following along on this trip! And I will wait patiently for my “Jack” cup.

  16. Dixie Johnson says:

    Susan—Glad you’re on the ship & can rest a little. So glad you loved Williamsburg & Charleston also. The South is very welcoming, isn’t it?! Have a great time—I can never get enough of the UK

  17. Dixie Johnson says:

    Susan—So glad you’ve enjoyed the South—Williamsburg & Charleston are very welcoming,aren’t they?! Now you can rest a bit on the ship. Have a wonderful time in the U K–I can never get enough of it!

  18. Debbie Boerger says:

    You must not have stayed in Hamilton long. And, I hope the seas are calming down. Hope your bracelet is doing the job.

    I’m feeling very much better after getting 3 shots just under the skin of my lower, rear skull. Seems I have occipital neuralgia, what ever that is. Doc said the relief may not last, so I’ve been using my good days for chores, and planning some good meals for Mr. Tom. Tomorrow will be one of our fav Indian dishes, Prawn Korma. I did much of the prep this afternoon, toasting the seeds and ground spices. Makes all the difference to do it that way. I made it for the Maine Girlfriends and served 8 garnishes. They loved it.

    Wondered if they have an Indian buffet on the Victoria, because she was the Empress of India and adored her helper late in life. When we made our first trip to Victoria, British Columbia…one of the most beautiful cities in N. America…we had buffet in the Indian themed bar at the Empress Hotel. (One day we had High Tea) I had a bit of everything, but I blew up my mouth and sat there with tears streaming down my face. The lovely Indian waiter quickly brought me some bread and told us Never to try to cool it down with a liquid. I’ve been cooking Indian and Thai for years since, and learned how to make it Just Right. So happy to be able to cook again. Detest being on the disabled list.

    Next…the Azores, where my best friend went last summer. She loved it. Hope the weather is clear so you can see all the mountains (volcanoes). She said the flowers were amazing.

    Sleep well, Sue, Joe and Joey.
    Debbie in Tampa…and Tom as well.

  19. Karen from Connecticut says:

    How lovely! You will like Bermuda 🇧🇲! The beaches are wonderful – the one we went to had rocky caves and tunnels to wander through. I hope the weather will be warm for you! Enjoy your cruise 🚢!

  20. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    Think of all the cashmere you can buy in Scotland and all the memories you’ll have as you knit and wear the items……so so happy for you! Bet Jack would even love a little cashmere throw of his own for in front of the fire……

    XOXO Sandra and Grasshopper

  21. Julie V from Springfield, MO says:

    It is finally here – have a simply marvelous time! Loved the picture of you and Joe together on the gangplank. Thanks to your wonderful description I can feel the warm sea breeze and sunshine on my face. By the way good book selection with “Hotel on the corner of Bitter & Sweet”. As for the cups I am more than happy to wait one more month – appreciate that you want them done right.
    Have Fun!

  22. Barb - Ludlow, MA says:

    Hello Susan, I am so very “excited,” for you and Joe and all of us whom are lucky enough to go along on another trip to England! Yeah!! Enjoy!!! 🙂

  23. David&Kimberly Dale says:

    Bon Voyage!🎶🎉🎉🎉💏🍷🍷

  24. Wendy Olson, Tustin, CA. says:

    Safe journey Joe & Susan! I’m so happy you are taking all your girlfriends with you, and me as well! You are making precious memories; enjoy every minute…..

  25. Ikwig says:

    It sounds rather odd to say it, but actually the later date on the cups works much better for me! I ordered one for my mum for Mother’s Day, to be sent directly to her (believing fewer hands means less chance for breakage), and was trying to figure out how to announce it’s coming was for that day’s celebration when it arrived April; coming sometime in May or even June will be much easier to explain! And thank you for watching out for us and making certain that the cups we get look right!

    Have a safe, happy, healthy, wonderful trip! I’ll be following along here and on Twitter, whenever you have the chance to post!

  26. Betty Welton says:

    What book are you reading? Have fun. Happy for you and Joe. I know you miss Jack but he will be fine. I had a couple white and black kitties like Jack. They lived to be close to 20 . Sweet kitties. My kitties now are grey striped. One is real sweet. The male. The other one no so getting better. Blue grey with stripes. Female. Only had the last one about a month. Approximately 10months old. She is getting better. Anyway. Have a good time will try to keep up with you .

  27. Joan H. says:

    Love all the photos and trip descriptions , Susan ! The yarn looks so yummy and the open ocean is something special …haven’t taken a cruise , so that view all around is overwhelming . Love the original cups too ; before reading your explanation, kept scrolling between the two photos …there was something very different , but couldn’t put my finger on it ! The original is better by far . Enjoying reading about the trip . Thanks for taking us along ! 🚢 🇺🇸 🇬🇧

  28. Jennie Lou says:

    Have a wonder-full time and don’t forget to come home!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ll try not to forget, my cat is being held hostage in the house of creativity, so I’m pretty sure we’ll be back!

  29. Julie C says:

    Love the pictures of Joe and you, and Petey. I can smell the fresh air! Glad you are waiting to get the mugs right. We have waited to get a mug of our dear Jack, and we want it RIGHT! I don’t care how long I have to wait. You and Joe look so happy. I wish you a safe and happy trip. Kisses to Jack.

  30. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    Hey, Girlfriends, just came up with simple ending to corned beef & cabbage.
    Just tried coffee ice cream* with Bushmill’s Irish Whiskey…OMG! Zapped ice cream in microwave for minute, stirred in couple of glugs of whiskey to taste.
    Rough stir so you don’t liquify ice cream. Put in pretty glass (wine, champagne, parfait, etc) and don’t drive – they’d ticket you for “speedy drunkness.” It’s easy, fast and impressive. Enjoy.

    XOXO Sandra and Grasshopper
    *I used McConnels of Santa Barbara Turkish Coffee – keeping it worldly.

  31. Cathy L says:

    What a great ideal to take us along on your trips. Really one of the best ideas ever! This is so much fun! The little rain we received here in So. Cal. makes me feel I am there.
    And British breakfast on board, another great idea!
    Thank you for the photo of the knitting shop. I too tried the “circle” needles awhile back, but do much better with large regular needles and all I can make are scarves (but I love making them.) So keep it up.
    Sail on Britannia!

  32. Gayle Hall says:

    Oh my dear friend Susan, I cried with every word you wrote. They were tears of joy for you, and for the privilege to travel along with you. And hey I would be good with a trip in the lifeboats . How cool are they. I was with you on the discription of what they should look like. I guess we really are still traveling with Cary Grant and Deborah. And oh how adorable was Petey all cuddle up in bed. His twin brother is very envious. I told him to he was in bed because he was seasick. That cinched it …….he was then glad he was not there. Phew that quick thinking worked. 🤓 Continue to have great moments Susan. I will be waiting to hear about all of it. Bless you both and God go with you, love Gayle Hall

  33. Patricia Edde says:

    Dear A.S.D.B,
    First may I say, coming from an era of
    Marge, Marge bo Barge banana fanna fo Farg, fee fi moe Marge, Maaarrrge”, I simply love your nom du plume. So glad to see that you left with beautiful blue skies and sea and that you had your priorities in the right place, drink first, unpacking much later. Your cabin is gorgeous. I just got on the Cunard web page so that I can keep looking at schedules for future trips and dream a bit. I need to take up knitting (or I should say the attempt to knit) once again. So much time lapses between 1st attempt and next attempt that I have to keep referring to youtube to remember how to cast on again. I can knit a very simple scarf but that has been it so far. I keep waiting for the zen moment when you get lost in the motion and experience a sense of peace but so far, my type A personality is still very present as are the tense shoulders, puckered mouth and forehead frown lines. Oh my. Speaking of peace (I think this is still on subject) I just saw “A Wrinkle in Time” and they showed a trailer for a new movie about Winnie the Pooh and a grown-up Christopher Robin due out, I think, in November. It looks as charming as Peter Rabbit.
    Two thumbs up girl to your shopping trip. I feel that if I don’t come back with at least 3 bags, I haven’t really done my job and by the time I get home, it feels like Christmas cuz I’ve already forgotten what I bought.
    One last thing, please don’t feel bad about the later date for the arrival of the mugs. We, the girlfriends of Susan Branch, pledge never to be disappointed when you refuse to send out anything to us that is not up to your standards, nor shall we cancel any order because of the above mentioned. (this pledge would have been signed in blood but we all couldn’t get together at the same time in the same place to do so – you’ll just have to use your imagination)
    Love and amazing adventures to you, Joe and Petey and all the wonderful souls, both 2 legged and 4 legged that you meet along the way.

  34. Christine from Willow Glen, CA says:

    I just told my husband about your 2nd trip on these boats…..we are going to plan a trip just like this when our daughter goes off to college in 3 years. But for now, I will learn all about it from your wonderful posts and books!!! Have so much fun for us all!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I am doing that very thing. After dinner last night, such a beautiful night, we strolled out on deck, round and round, under the stars …that’s how beautiful it’s been. Saw a few of you doing the same thing . . . Love having you along!

  35. Susan Morgon ( Ohio gal from SoCal ) says:

    I’m so excited that we’re all on our way to enjoy another adventure with you! Also, I just love that you care so much about your finished product that you insist on it’s being just so. I will love mine all the more! Thank you! 💚

    • sbranch says:

      So happy to hear that from all of you . . . you are exactly the people I love making things for!! We don’t just want anything, we want something WONDERFUL! Thank you dear. xoxoxo

  36. Lori Hamilton says:

    Bon Voyage!!
    You’re on your way & I’m looking forward to traveling vicariously through you. Can’t wait for the pictures and blog entries. Have LOADS of fun!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s been lovely so far . . . meeting and talking to lots of English people, and some Canadians too. Not too many Americans, at least yet . . . this ship started in Southampton and has been going for the last two months … lots of people are now on their way home! Learning a lot from them!

  37. Helen says:

    The beginning of your journey looks and sounds so wonderful… So glad you made it out of the cold and snow and are now enjoying some warmth and sun. As I am in Illinois, I will try to enjoy your views till my vacation comes. Have a wonderful trip and I know that all of the girlfriends will be waiting to hear from you as the trip progress. Thanks for sharing.

    • sbranch says:

      We’ve had two delightfully warm and sunny days at sea, so perfect it’s hard to imagine it’s still March. We’ve fallen into the rabbit hole to a very unfamiliar place and love every moment. They say it’s snowing in London!

  38. Barbara Anne says:

    Happy SAILS to you, Joe, and Petey … there and back again … with all of the delights in between. What joy!

    Wishing all goes well with the proper coloring for each and every design on your charming mugs.

    Will be popping in to travel with you as I did before. Ta for bringing us along. It’s a wonder the ship doesn’t list a bit with all of us in your room, but then we’re probably as light as kindly feathers. 🙂


    • sbranch says:

      You are my favorite people on this ship, and that’s saying something because this seems to be the ship of kindness. Having a wonderful time, and so happy you are with us, makes it much more fun!

  39. Cyndi in NC says:

    I love ship food and I think I’m gaining weight everyday!! So I guess I’ll have to take a couple of laps around the deck! Lovely traveling with you again. Did someone say champagne? Hugs to all!!

  40. Betty says:

    So exciting, watch out for the Bermuda Triangle! Your room looks so cosy. Travel safely. It’s snowing here in the UK today but that will be melted away before you arrive and I think you will be perfectly in time for bluebells, cuckoo’s and spring lambs! X

    • sbranch says:

      I think we went around the Triangle, anyway it’s definitely nicely, safely, south of here! We arrive on Friday! Hoping snow sees us coming, gets frighten, and blows away! I forgot to bring a hat!

  41. Helen Edwards says:

    Enjoy! You will need to stop in Lancaster County PA on your next trip south, even if it is just for a slice of tomato pie and Wilbur Buds in Lititz. Looking forward to future photos!

    • sbranch says:

      They’ll be coming. Not a lot of connection here on the ship! You would understand if you looked out our window right now, we’re in the middle of the North Atlantic and it’s ocean as far as the eye can see! I just bought a little time to say hello to you and all my Girlfriends here on the blog . . . We arrive in England on Friday and everything will get easier then!

  42. Susan says:

    Thank you for sharing your adventure! And also for the quality control of the mugs. I would rather wait for one as it is shown on your website than have one that’s not right earlier. Happy travels! xxo

  43. Barbara Irvine (Connecticut) says:

    Happy St Patrick’s Day to Sue, Joe, Jack, and all the Girlfriends! I had lunch at our local Irish pub and the joint was jumping … they opened at 9 this morning, so everyone was pretty well oiled by the time we arrived at 11:30. They had decorations every place you could put a shamrock, leprechaun, green lights … all over the place! And the staff were all decked out in green, beads and shamrocks looped around the necks, shamrock earrings, and some crazy socks with shamrocks on them — fun!

    I had the Shepherd’s Pie, which is my favorite, and they give a very large portion, so I have a doggy bag with enough for another two meals.

    So I’ll put my kelly green cable-knit sweater, my shamrock scarf, and my shamrock pin away again until next year. I hope everyone had a fun celebration!

    • sbranch says:

      We are having a St Patty’s Ball tonight on the ship! It’s a day for celebration! Thank you Barbara, loved hearing your fun day!

      • Barbara Irvine (Connecticut) says:

        Oh, I can’t wait to hear about the St Patrick’s ball on the ship! We want to know what you and Joe are wearing, what the music was like, and how it all went. And the food! Photos, if possible, please … How fun the ship has all these celebrations for your crossing!

  44. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    Sweetest Susan

    Anything you do is worth waiting for from Blog Comments to Mugs – you name it.

    You’re the best and we love you!

    XO Sandra & Grasshopper

  45. Debbie Boerger says:

    Oh My Goodness!!! That close up of Joe sipping his (?) a gin drink? made my heart flutter. Just a little flutter, ’cause my Sweet Baboo is way perfect for me. I may be a Woman of a Certain Age, but I still get a-flutter for a handsome man. I have a similar picture of his sweet face stuck up in the back of my little glass doored cabinet in our bathroom. I’ve about worn the nose off pictured face from giving it a quick smooch/tap. And right next to it is a pic of Moi with this totally goofy, in love look by candle light in a little cafe in Quebec City.

    You probably needed this glorious rest time on the glorious Victoria. You were a Whirling Dervish the past couple of months, getting everything finished. looking forward to seeing Ray and Shibon (sp?) again.

    We’re having our corned beef and cabbage dinner today, as I was a bit off yesterday. Tom wore his green Stewart Tartan shirt with a little crochet shamrock on the lapel…Mr. Tom, who is all German and Chech. But everyone is Irish on St. Paddy’s Day!!!

    Love you, Dear Lady,
    Debbie in Tampa

  46. Joan Haggerty says:

    You make everything look so exciting, Have flown to Ireland 2x, but the Victoria sounds wonderful, You & Joe look so happy, Love to you both on your adventures… 🌊

  47. Joan Haggerty says:

    Have a great adventure, you & Joe make everything look so wonderful, love to you both, from Mashpee .

  48. No way, Jose!..I don’t want a refund…I’ll wait for Jack (he’s worth waiting for). In the meantime, I have been spending an hour or so each weekend at Catsbury Park Cat Café (in Asbury Park, NJ) trying to decide if I really want to take the plunge and adopt an other kitty. I may just move in there and have them all adopt me. Anyway…I am enjoying your wonderful pics and can’t wait to see more of this wonderful adventure. You and Joe look like the sweetest people, I hope to meet up with you one day…especially in England! Safe travels!

  49. Betty says:

    Hi Susan,
    Glad to hear you and Joe are having a wonderful time.

    I noticed that on the Queen Victoria’s Itinerary you arrived at Praia Da Vitoria on March 19th, is this port on the island of Terceira, Azores?

    Thank you and have a blessed trip.

  50. Lorraine says:

    Hello! I hope by now you are in Ireland. I’m so happy for you and incredibly grateful that you are taking us along.

    I have a question – has anyone else mentioned staining in their mugs? It has only happened to the Winter mug (I also have Autumn, Bluebird, and Little Things – and they’re fine – and Spring has been pre-ordered). The stain isn’t topical – it appears to have absorbed into the mug. I took a picture but I’m not sure where to send it. Please know that I’m a little disappointed this happened, but I do not want to send it back because I know you are sold out. I’d rather have a stained one, than none at all but wondered if there is something I can do or if this is truly a flaw. I drink a lot of tea but I’m not the kind of person who leaves stains on mugs/cups. I have treated water that is not hard and doesn’t leave film in the cups. It’s really a curiosity… I’ve tried Bon Ami but I am reluctant to use anything stronger than that. If you, Kellee, or someone else would like to see the picture, let me know where to send it. It’s not necessary for you to post this comment, I just couldn’t find anywhere else to send a message.

    Thank you and enjoy your trip!

    • sbranch says:

      We aren’t even to England yet! No, so far, on the staining, I haven’t had that happen! No one has said anything! Is it tea? Try cleaning it with toothpaste! You can send a photo to kellee@ and maybe I can ask the manufacturer. Mine are pure white still. I’m so sorry!

      • Lorraine says:

        Stuff happens… All the other ones are fine. It’s just this one. I tried the toothpaste and it didn’t make a difference. I also tried a Mr Clean eraser – my go-to for stubborn stains – and it didn’t help either. I’ll send Kellee the pictures. Please don’t worry about this. I’m ok – just wondered if anyone else had this problem. Thanks.

        I see your new blog. Yippee! Have fun!

        • sbranch says:

          Terrible — my girlfriend said denture tablets get stains out of her cups, you could try that next. I’m so sorry! My Emma Bridgewater cups are all stained inside, which was one of my go-to gloat moments about my own cups, which I thought were impervious to this.

  51. Jo'L says:

    Loving your adventures, the time you and Joe can have together in a new setting, doing new things and reading new books (love the one you pictured, hope you do too).

  52. scottygrrl says:

    No worries, waiting for a higher quality product (the cups) is worth it.

    Also, I love to knit on trips! The yarn you bought is oh so pretty, and don’t fret about the circular needles – trust me, the stitches will be FINE.

  53. Carolyn says:

    Beautiful photos! By the way, I loved the book “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.” Have a lovely and wonderful adventure!! Hugs!!!

  54. Daralyn says:

    Ha! The book you are reading, we read in our book club! So fun to think we read the same book… we gave it a 4.5 out of 5 in our rating. I hope you enjoy it too.

    Thank you for letting me travel along with you! You and Joe are great travel companions 🙂

  55. Amy says:

    I see you read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Wasn’t it wonderful! May I suggest a few other books for future trips? Pears on a Willow Tree by Leslie Pietrzyk and The Poet of Tolstoy Park by Sonny Brewer. both are excellent reads and would be great on a trip or a quiet afternoon with a cup of tea.
    Susan, thank you for sharing your life with us. My mother passed away two years ago from cancer and she loved your work. I discovered you while going through her favorite things.Through your books and blogs I feel close to her because she was definitely a kindred spirit with you! My heart is full when I visit with you. Thank you again for being a sweet sister and sharing your love of life with us.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, wonderful. Thank you, Amy, for the lovely words about your mother. I feel honored and touched. XOXOXO And for the books too!

  56. Gale H says:


    Thank you for taking us along with you. I’m so glad you are enjoying your spa experiences and wonderful meals on land. So enjoy all your photos of places I may never visit. You sharing this with your “girlfriends” is wonderful! May every day bring you an abundance of beautiful surprises! Can’t wait for “our next port.

  57. Candice says:

    Dearest Susan,
    This virtual trip is so amazing, I feel that I am right there with you and Joe on your adventure! Brings back wonderful memories for me. I can smell the scents, feel the air, the birdsong, lilting accents, driving along the country lanes, wonderful food, being in awe of the history everywhere around you. Thank you for taking the time and sharing!
    Have a “brilliant” time! xo

  58. Anthea Milton says:

    I see we have the same taste in books, I read On the Corner Of Bitter and Sweet a few months ago and really enjoyed it as I live North of Seattle and it was nice to hear something with a historical twist. My daughter works in Pioneer Square which is near the hotel and I am trying to arrange to see the Japanese suitcases before the hotel is sold for small rooms for Yuppies. Seattle is undergoing an upgrade which means the planners are killing anything with character, beautiful houses, old trees and replacing them with towers of boxes for upwardly mobile tech workers……its very, very sad, there must be a compromise between old and modern or Seattle will lose all its soul!
    Have a wonderful trip, say hello to Wales for me, my original birthplace and Bath. if you get near there, as that is where we lived for many years before bringing our family to the US, Ta Ta for now.

    • sbranch says:

      Go fight city hall! It’s what I love about England, they have so much respect for their history . . . at least to my eyes, I’m seeing it everywhere. When these things are gone, they are gone forever, and always replaced with “less than.” Wales in a couple of weeks, and I will say hello for you! I can’t wait!

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