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. Bonnie says:

    Have you been able to have lunch in the courtyard yet? We love the Queen
    Victoria and wish we were aboard. Love your posts.
    Have a great trip!

  2. Diane from Poulsbo says:

    I am so glad we are settled and sailing! Whew! Being in that suitcase was getting stuffy! But I am loving our pear cider and french dinners, book signings, and our room is so perfect! I am so happy you opted out on that bunch of mugs! It will be well worth waiting for to be able to see my beautiful Jacks eyes…and to have a cheery English countryside on the mugs I have ordered! They can be my Mothers Day gift to myself when they arrive in May! 😊 . Have a romantic time! You and Joe are the cutest couple ever! Xoxoxo

  3. Beverlee Moreno-Ring says:

    Oh that was wonderful! Feel like we are really with you on this trip! Thank you for sharing everything and don’t worry one bit about the cups being late.. we want them to look like what you intended as well and will wait until they are perfect!! Want them to be just like you created them. Have a wonderful trip over! Bon Voyage,

  4. Marilyn Ghere says:

    Susan, It is a huge treat to have you share so many wonderful things from your Grand Adventure. I have always wondered if there is something in the DNA of those of us that are enthralled with the charms of England ? I am working on my family history, so I hope to find out if I have English ancestors. Thanks again for ‘stowing us away.’

  5. Beth Bruno says:

    Susan – Thank you so much for taking time out of your trip to visit with us at Barnes and Noble last night! It was so special to have the opportunity to see you off on your trip. We will be happily following along. xoxo Beth

  6. Carolyn Rector from Ohio says:

    I promise you, you will love the circular knitting needles and will never look back. At lease, that’s my experience. Love hearing all your wonderful stories. and will be following you and Joe on this trip of a lifetime. At least in my eyes. I love to wake up and find a post on your blog, or a twitter. Have a wonderful time, Bon Voyage!!!

  7. CarolK says:

    You are amazing getting a blog in before heading out to sea and Bermuda. Like that old Jamaican song goes “don’t worry ~ be happy”. Everything will work out fine with the cups. I’m sure all the girlfriends understand and appreciate your quality control. Meet you on one of those blue, round thingies to knit and snooze the day away and remember to savor “il doice far niente” (the sweetness of doing nothing).

  8. Karen Williams says:

    Every picture tells a story…and your stories are fabulous! Petey looked cute having a liddle sleepies, all tucked up!!
    I was watching you leave on the web cam!! So excited for you, I waved!!! 😹. How daft am I??
    Those rugs are enormous and your cabin oooks super duper! Enjoy getting dressed up for the evening events and the shopping and diary writing in the day times!
    UK 🇬🇧

  9. Phyllis Skalko says:

    I agree with you….wait until the cups look just the way you painted the sample.
    You are always worth waiting for!!

    OH how I wish I were walking the decks with you and Joe…next best thing is to have you there and sending us messages and glimpses of the splendor. Rest easy and dream deeply.

    p.s. Do you think in your vast creative space there is room to create a shelf, or mini cabinet or hanger to hang all your loverly cups??? I have them ALL!! how to find a place for them so I can look at them all the time…

    bye for now

  10. Trish Frisbie says:

    Thanks for taking me along. I read each word with pleasure. Lovely to see you n Joe looking so happy. How exciting and a trip to treasure as is a dream of a lifetime. Bon Voyage!

  11. Barb Urbank says:

    Very excited to be tagging along on this grand adventure with you! The ship is beautiful, as is your room. Time now for you to get some rest and relaxation as you sail on! Have fun with the circular needles, I have used them and I’m not much of a knitter, but they are great for larger projects so all the knitting is not bunched up on straight needles. We will patiently wait for the mugs to be done right, no worries. Thank you for insisting they be re-done right! I love the pictures of you and Joe on the ship, you both look so radiant and happy! Have an easy trip, rest up and will be checking for more pictures and posts when you can do them!

  12. Susan C. Daffodiltealady says:

    So good to be at sea at last! Thank you for the teacups update. Will we be going to tea in Hamilton, perchance?
    Breathlessly awaiting your next post!

  13. Kathy from Holland, MI says:

    It is so exciting to be on the cruise with you! Love the Knit and Stitch yarn shop. Been there in the pretty little town of Cocoa Village. I think you will like the circular needles once you get use to them. The stitches stay the same size, just like they are on the needles. Sounds heavenly to sit in the sun and knit!
    I am looking forward to photos from Ireland 🇮🇪. All the different colors of green and the stone fences.
    Thanks for taking us along !

  14. Theresa says:

    I can smell the sea air from here!! This is going to be a wonderful trip!! 😁🌺

  15. Denise S says:

    On official behalf of all the girlfriends, I assign you the job of forgetting about the mugs and enjoying your trip. We can wait for the quality we all know you desire. Sometimes life happens when we are planning other things. So don’t worry and relax. You have contributed much to the world this year!!

  16. Lisa G. says:

    Your description of what you thought (what we ALL think) lifeboats are like is just hilarious. 😀 Yup, too many movies. Bon voyage!

  17. Sherry says:

    It’s just such a blessing to me to see you and Joe having such a great time and letting all of us enjoy it with you. I can tell how grateful you are for all of it. You both look so happy. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

  18. Laura L. says:

    You are all ready for a lovely voyage….with your beautiful tea cups, a most favorite book (be sure to check out Jamie Ford’s website…he’s a kindred spirit), a new knitting project (don’t worry, your knitting will turn out perfectly), and most importantly, your sweet husband to share your days with. I’m grateful to share your journey!

  19. Terry Jansen says:

    Don’t worry about the cups Susan, I don’t mind waiting..it’s kind of nice in a way..not so long ago we all had to wait for everything! I’ve just read your blog to my husband..we sit and have a cuppa together… and now we’re off to enjoy our lovely Autumn weather. Happy trails!

  20. Vicki South of Arroyo says:

    The delay in the Spring cups et al is no problem for me; I’m grateful, rather, that you insist on great quality control.

    Love all the descriptions of your departure and on the water!

  21. Fran says:

    I’m so excited about your new adventure and look forward to all the lovely photos and stories to come! Have an absolutely WONDERFUL time and we’ll all enjoy tagging along with you and Joe. Thanks for sharing with us!

  22. Peggy says:

    Thank you for providing us with quality products! I will wait however long it takes. No worries!

  23. Terry says:

    Hi Susan!
    Have a wonderful trip! I recently suggested to my husband that we sail across the ocean to England and he said “YES!” So, I am going to soak up every moment of your trip and take notes too!
    I will happily wait for my Jack cup. Thank you for making sure they are wonderful.
    I think you will enjoy your circular knitting needles. The best part is that when you set it down there is no worry about your project coming off of your needles.

  24. Karen says:

    Hi Susan! Oh it looks like you and Joe are just having a blast! You have lovely weather! And, if you haven’t been to Bermuda you will love it! It’s a mix of all things British and island beat rolled into one, just lovely!
    Don’t worry about the cups; these things happen. All will be right again I’m sure!
    Have fun and looking forward to your next blog. Tell Petey his cousin, which we own, hopes he has a great journey.
    Much love! Karen xoxo

  25. Diane V. says:

    It was wonderful to see you at the Barnes and Noble in Charleston. I was so happy that our vacation to Charleston coincided with your book signing here. Have a wonderful, magical trip!

  26. Peggy Ott says:

    Susan this is delightful!!!! I am having so much fun traveling down the road with you, Joe and Petey. Just can’t wait for the next step of the trip. Pictures are beautiful and your story of the travels make my heart sing with excitement. Thank You so much for including us, for those of us who could not partake in the lovely planned trip. Keep the pages coming…can’t wait for the next read. I will get my cuppa; get near the fireplace and cozy up for more travels down the road on this wonderful trip!! Safe travels til we hear from you, Joe and Petey again!!

  27. Lorna S. says:

    Bon Voyage Susan, Joe and Petey too!
    I am all settled into one of the lifeboats hanging have the sea; and at night I can watch Peter Pan take that star to the right to NeverLand. This ship is so lovely and bright, yet calm. I love how easy it is to get around and peek at all the comings and goings. I’ve started my scrapbook/sketchbook and am having a great time in my lodgings, listening to the ocean slide by the ship and the cruisers strolling along the decks, sharing magical moments and delightful days . Thank you so much for my stowaway ticket. I love being part of the girlfriend gang. Now on to business – you are everything I would want you to be as a businesswoman – caring, concerned, and worried. Caring is good, concerned in okay – but throw the worry right over the railing. I would rather wait months for something that accurately reflects your work as an artist, your words as a writer, and your soul. Girlfriends trust you – you got us on board didn’t you? So let go of the worry and trust us to be thrilled when the cups meet your expectations and arrive at their final destinations.
    Have an enjoyable time out in the open, and don’t forget to order the extra bacon for breakfast. Yum.
    Sleep tight! The sea air sure smells fantastic to a land lubber like me.

  28. Ann says:

    Have a wonderful trip you and Joe, the two of you have worked so hard and deserve some time off. The above shown paperback bitter and sweet is a lovely book in the Great Northwest (my home state) I think you’ll enjoy the read. These recent blog posts are such a surprising treat I wasn’t expecting them thank you for taking the time ( I would be busy drinking pear cider myself!). All the best happy trails.

  29. Tana says:

    I’ve made over 10 lovely Russian Wedding Ring scarves on circular needles. I loved it. 106 stitches on the needle, then knit for 4″. And when you start the second ring, you attach the first one through your needles, and then 106 stitches, knit for 4″. Then the same with the third ring. You attach it to the second ring. They look so pretty around the neck. They braid themselves around each other. Can’t wait to see what you will be making. Have a lovely trip. I can just hear Bette Midler singing “I want to get you on a slow boat to China, all by myself alone….”

  30. susan mcmillan says:

    Looks like a wonderful trip! Keep the memories coming. Its ok for the timing to be late for the cups. You must get it the way you want it! RIGHT!
    Have fun,

  31. Paulette says:

    You made the right decision with the cups. They’re worth the wait! Enjoy your vacation!💕🇬🇧

  32. Karen Baron says:

    I appreciate the details you provide in this blog it is hard to see from where I am in the suitcase! I am glad you are the quality control! Maybe we will get the Spring cups by Mother’s Day! 🌻🌼🌹💕 Thank you! Love Karen Baron

  33. Kari says:

    Hi Susan,
    You are absolutely glowing! It is so fun, fun, fun to read all of the details and my imagination had the complete picture you described of the wet-hair-against-the head-shark-reflection-in-the-eyes-lifeboat! I am still smiling! Thank you for sharing the joy and your happy gene, I think it is contagious! Sending lots of love to you both as you head to the Motherland of Ireland! xo Kari

  34. Stacy says:

    Oh I hope you enjoy Bermuda. It’s like sunny England! I’ve been married to a Bermudian for 25 years and we lived there for many years. Enjoy your voyage.

  35. Jan Martin says:

    Love being tucked into your pocket for this wonderful adventure! So far so good😊 I can’t imagine the excitement level, looking forward to the weeks ahead. I am sipping tea from my Bluebird mug while stitching my BLUEBIRD cross stitch….happy. Know you & Joe are making magical memories ❤️

  36. Cris says:

    So happy to be a stowaway. Love the yarn. I think you will really like the needles once you get used to them. It may take a little getting used to the direction you are working but it will all fall into place.

  37. Fran Fettrow says:

    Dear Susan,
    What wonderful “ME” time I have had today reading your post. In my heart and mind I am on this trip with you. I am putting this same trip on my bucket list, but for now I will live and dream through you. I am already looking forward to your next post to see what fun we are having…!

    Your and Joe are just adorable.
    Bon Voyage…!

  38. Barbara Vlcek-Vinikow says:

    Hi Susan! Here’s how I made your acquaintence: Last July, here in Reno, NV, where I live w/ my sweetheart husband, the city has a month long arts festival called Artown! I was attending one of the many events at the public library, a display of watercolor paintings. As it turned out, there was also a display of nearly 2 dozen darling Fairy Houses created by a young woman of amazing talent. I was so charmed by them that I signed up for her workshop to learn how to create one myself. I was about to leave the library when I thought “Gee, here I am with all these books, maybe I should look for something to read! So I began walking through the stacks & scanning the shelves, and right at eye level I saw a book titled, “The Fairytale Girl”!!! Perfect!!! So, I checked it out and began reading it that evening. I absolutely loved it and almost could not put it down to go to sleep! As soon as I finished the book, (in about 3 days!), I returned it to the library and checked out “Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams”. Once again, I was so intrigued I had a difficult time getting anything done! The library didn’t have a copy of “A Fine Romance”, so I went to Barnes & Noble and bought their only copy for myself! I absolutely love the ease with which you’ve shared your life story. I love how you evolved emotionally and how you were inspired & had the courage to explore your own artistic creativity!!! And, I love how your family, especially your sisters, and your girlfriends encouraged & supported you through challenging times. Your story is one so many of us share & identify with. I told my sister about your books and she went right out and got them from the library & read them. And I’ve bought others for my friends. Anyway, thank you for sharing your life’s adventures with us, and for your beautiful, charming paintings, and your wonderful cookbooks!!! I hope your journey to England is smooth sailing and that your visit there will be everything you’ve dreamed it to be!!! I’ve always wanted to visit England, hope to one day…in the meantime I’ll enjoy yours with you!!! Sending you & Joe love and good wishes!!!

  39. Janie says:

    I have a feeling you are much more worried about the delivery dates than we are. I am sooo looking forward to my Jack cup, but I want him to look perfect, and I know that is what you will insist on, because that is who you are!
    Have a wonderful cruise. It’s my favorite mode of transportation by far!!

  40. Carol Strutt says:

    Do not worry about the cups! Worry about having a wonderful time. I have preordered my cup and am more than happy to wait until you are happy with the finished product. That’s why we trust you so. If I have to wait until next Spring to use my cup that’s ok because I will have my Summer cup not long after. Always wishing you the best!


  41. Anticipation… anticipa-a-tion is making me wait… for England and Ireland! I love seeing the photos of your room and the ship. I have never been on a cruise ship, so I really don’t have a reference point except for photos and the Love Boat. ❤️🛳️ Ha! (Speaking of mouse ears… the family really wants to do a Disney cruise, but the hubby would like nothing more than to sail across the pond on your Queen Victoria. He’s talked about it for years.) Your stateroom looks luv-lee!! You and Joe are just a precious couple… so fun to see your smiling faces. But those cups… I feel so sad for you about them… sort of socked in the gut. I can certainly see why you were so disappointed. Not happy, springy “Susan” colors at all!! That is so hard on an artist’s sensibilities! Yes, it’s worth waiting to get that right, for sure. Don’t you worry; your girlfriends will be patient for the real thing! 😊 Wishing for you and Joe the best trip yet. Thanks so much for your generosity in sharing your adventures with us. xoxo

  42. Karen Schrimpf Saunders says:

    Don’t you worry……I understand and am with ya. No way I’m canceling!!! Have a fun trip you two!!!🎈🌷🎈🌷🎈🌷

  43. Evie Tong says:

    Dear Sue… wishing you and Joe safe travels and happy memory-making💞
    I just joined you on Instagram… looking forward to your English countryside
    postings 🌷🐰🌷🐿🌷 With love and Ah-Lo-ha-ha, Evie in San Diego

  44. Kelly says:

    I crossed the sea on the QE2 42 years ago, and I’m thrilled to be crossing now with you. Bon Voyage!

  45. Jeannette from the Central Coast says:

    Bon Voyage Susan & Joe! I know you are having a wonderful time already. Enjoyed this post so much – almost felt like I was on board. I see you are reading one of my favorite books “Hotel On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.” It’s on my “read again in a few years shelf” in my library. For now, carry on and safe travels until you arrive across the pond:)

  46. Beth T. says:

    Oh, visits with you are such a balm. So glad your trip is underway–you look to be having a splendid time and your room is adorable–just big enough but still cozy! Happy to know that Duncan and Jack are fast friends, and that Duncan knows all about the reassurance of emailed photos. It will be so much easier to have a light heart this way.

    Which reminds me–Joe looks very dapper, all dressed up! Sometimes it’s nice to leave the island and put on city clothes, eh? We live in the country, and we feel the same way–we surprise ourselves sometimes when we dress up and see each other. 🙂

  47. Judy B - Portland, Oregon says:

    So excited to be taking another trip across the pond with you and Joe! You make a superb tour guide and can’t wait to see Ireland and Wales, where my ancestors immigrated from.
    Bon Voyage!

  48. Joan kotvas says:

    Thank you for the update. Happy you are so quality oriented about the cups. Would rather wait for the quality we are used to. Have a wonderful trip and looking forward to future blogs. It looks like your room is larger than the last time. Wonderful to have more space. Just came back from Myrtle Beach. Thought I was the only person who just had to have my favourite cups etc with me. Naturally a few Susan cups!❤Just can’t help it. My poor husband has to make so many trips unpacking. I feel fortunate he is so accommodating. Safe trip and enjoy it all. Safe trip and have a few more sleep ins.

  49. Janice Woodward-Lonsdale says:

    Dear Susan,

    I am such a fan – I have, and love, your books; your cookbooks, cups, tea towels and more! No worries from me about your beautiful cups being late; keepsakes are worth waiting for. I am enjoying your exciting voyage right along with you, your dear Joe, and adorable Petey. Bon Voyage! May every day be packed with happy adventures.
    Love from a girlfriend in New Zealand and Carlsbad, CA

  50. Joann says:

    So fun traveling along………………..Enjoy every second of every moment. xoxo

  51. Colette says:

    Dear Susan, Thanks so much for taking us along on your wonderful journey. My husband and I are leaving on March 31st to spend the month of April in Nice and will arrive in London on May 1st for the whole month. I am counting the days. Enjoy your days at sea. Once you get used to the circular needles you will never want to go back to the straight ones. They are magic. Cheers.


  52. Carolyn Collins-Hunt says:

    Safe travels Susan!

  53. Kathy Pinkerton says:

    Just wondering how your “work in progress” knitting project is going! Please post a picture of your finished project, if you think about it sometime! 😊💕

  54. rhea says:

    Wow. You guys look so happy (and skinny! ) together. I can only imagine the giddiness you must be feeling. The ship is Huge, way bigger than I imagined, and high! You better be holding on to that railing when you’re taking those looking down at the water photos. Made my stomach roll a little but seeing those rescue boats made me feel better. I really did think that they would be row boats with paddles, phew. When I saw the itinerary with so many days not going into a port, I got a little nervous coupled with you signing your FULL name!!! Then I realized that Im a scaredy cat, always have been, and needed to put on my big girl panties and know that you will be having the time of your life and all is good, couldn’t be happier for the both of you. You should say from the heart of the boat!! Everywhere you go you bring warmth and comfort and joy. I just love you to pieces.
    Bon Voyage (for now 🙂

  55. Brooke K says:

    This post makes me absolutely giddy with delight, Susan! I am having some insomnia, and what a cheery site it was to find this post in my inbox. I grabbed a cuppa and wrapped myself in a blanket, and enjoyed reading every. single. word. And then I had a nice little “happy cry” when I saw the picture of you and Joe in the glassed-in gang plank. It’s official: I want to be YOU when I grow up. 🙂

    Enjoy every single moment of your journey. Thank you so very, very much for bringing us along with you. What an amazing adventure this will be! Love and hugs to you and your fella on this great travel extravaganza! Wishing you good health, restful sleep, good food, easy smiles, and lots and lots of wonderful things to journal about! ENJOY!!

  56. Betsy says:

    Safe journey! We are all with you in spirit. You know what they say “all good things come to those who wait”. The cups are worth waiting for. xoxoxoxo

  57. Peg says:

    It is snowy and windy here in my corner of NE, so reading about your sunfilled
    voyage is a treat! Those knitting needles brought back warm memories for me. My mother used to knit with them when she made sweaters, so they are not so newfangled as one might think!
    Safe journey, Susan…

  58. Renee says:

    I only knit on circular needles….. you will love them. Your tension will stay the same. and you never have to worry about dropping a needle and having it roll away!! Happy knitting… happy sailing…………….

  59. Susie says:

    Thank you again for taking the time to document your trip for us. It is so exciting!

  60. Arnette Webb says:

    Hi Susan! So glad you’re having fun. And it just started. I was just by Cocoa Village a few days ago. By Port Canaveral too. I will need to go to the yarn shop. I crochet. And of course the antique store. I’m one of the stowaways (way in the back next to the refrigerator) and we could use some tea! Safe travels!

  61. Bev Becker says:

    Dear Susan: Up in the northeastern tip of Ohio we get just the edge of the three storms to hit the eastern coast these past weeks, and having only flickers of lost of power, can only imagine the conditions of the people of have waited so long for the power to be restored. I have my Great Grandson (16mo’s) living at my home, and think of trying to take care of babies in that kind of weather is scary. Hope and prayers for all who are effected. Sorry for the sad comment. Just as we wish you a happy and safe trip, stick in a prayer for all who are in trouble.

  62. Bev Becker says:

    Dear Susan: Up in the northeastern tip of Ohio we get just the edge of the three storms to hit the eastern coast these past weeks, and having only flickers of lost of power, can only imagine the conditions of the people of have waited so long for the power to be restored. I have my Great Grandson (16mo’s) living at my home, and think of trying to take care of babies in that kind of weather is scary. Hope and prayers for all who are effected. Sorry for the sad comment. Just as we wish you a happy and safe trip, stick in a prayer for all who are in trouble.

  63. Jackie in Colorado says:

    Dear Susan and Joe,
    Have a marvelous trip, drink up the Mangers, smooth sailing, and trust me…circular needles will become your biggest friend so relax and enjoy the process. Stateroom is mahvelous!

  64. jeanie says:

    Oh Susan, I’m so sorry you had to deal with the cup situation on your last nights on land. But it certainly looks wonderful aboard ship. It’s nice to see you outdoors on deck without a winter coat! Soak up that sun for us, won’t you? I wonder if your Diane Byrum is our Diane Byrum (former Michigan state legislator, university trustee!) That would be a fun small world bit!

    Have the most glorious time — but I don’t need to tell you that. I think glorious times are in your DNA!

  65. First off, I am totally jealous and look forward to reading all about your trip!
    Secondly, I must tell you the sweetest story, all true. I wrote on your blog a while back my lament about knocking off the counter and smashing my favorite Susan Branch mug, the one with the little house, which was a first mug issued. So, apparently it was read by a lovely Girlfriend ~~~~Kelly from Walnut Creek~~~ who
    emailed me and offered to send me the exact same mug! I was totally shocked a bit, because people are not generally so kind and generous, but she is the real deal, would not accept any payment and I received it lovingly packaged and with a lovey card and note. This community of Girlfriends is very special. Kelly from Walnut Creek, you are wonderful and thank you again. Susan, you inspire kindness and we need more of that in this world!
    Thank you so much. You are very special, indeed. and kindness is your legacy.

    • Susie (Rocky Point, NY) says:

      Wow to Kelly from Walnut Creek. Spreading more happiness around the globe. Brava!!

    • Kelly from Walnut Creek, Ca. says:

      Janice, truly gave me joy to be able to send the mug to you! This is so sweet of you to post this. 🌷🌻🌷

      I hope that you enjoy following Susan & Joe to the UK!🇬🇧🚢

      Sending lots of love❤️,


      • sbranch says:

        SUCH a sweetheart Kelly, the kindest, most thoughtful thing for you to do! What a great surprise! xoxoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Oh my goodness, I love this so much! Girlfriends, this is just what we do! Kindred spirits and joy to the world! xoxoxo Yay for you Janice, and Yay for Kelly too!

  66. charlotte m. says:

    Bon Voyage Susan and Joe. I agree with Janet. The cups will make everyone so much happier if they are done correctly. We can wait for that. Patience is a virtue, right? And it will be rewarded. Save travels across the sea, Susan. Until we see you next…

  67. Dd says:

    Looking forward to posts and Instagram pics. Your first book was so helpful in planning our trip I look forward to t next. I wish there had been more about Scotland, on my bucket list. Bon voyage

  68. JoAnn Logan says:

    I’m eager to follow your journey. You were both looking very cruise elegant in your boarding clothes! Wonderful photos of each of you. Sorry about the cups, but don’t worry. We all can wait. Best for them to be what you wanted, not second choice. Jo

  69. Laura Brown says:

    It was a pleasure meeting you in Charleston. You were so gracious and kind to my tongue tied and silly words.
    There were two specific things you said that I keep rolling around in my thoughts, “We shove paper around and nothing gets done.” and “For anything that’s worth it, ‘it’ should take time.” (Please forgive me if I didn’t get your words exact, I tried. I was writing with a full heart!). Both thoughts were spoken in an encouraging way to say we can’t let life’s distractions keep us from applying ourselves to the fulfillment of our dreams. You words speak to the heart of all the things that can be important and not so important, we need to try to put our dreams (if writing, painting, whatever!) at the top of the list and protect the time we set apart for them, and TAKING the time to actually do our IT . God bless you Susan the Encourager and Joe the Encourager of the Encourager! (We need the salmon with a crust recipe, pretty please.) A safe, wonderful, enjoyable and productive (your own IT travel book) voyage to you!
    Now…where is my Julia Child cookbook?…looking for an Apple 🍎 Mountain 🏔-

  70. Ruth Klunder says:

    Hi, Susan! You are half way to Bermuda by now,arriving tomorrow. I hope that you are knitting away and relaxing away any worries about the cups! We all understand! I want to thank you for the wonderful, gracious time you provided for all of us at the Charleston book signing. You and Joe are just so genuine and so caring about all of us who treasure you and the splendid joy that you share. My husband John said after the event was over, and he could shake your hand, ” I can see why you love Susan and all that she does!! She and Joe are such nice people.” I hope that you enjoy the Charleston tea. We are all SO excited to hear from you when you are able to get through!! Happy Sailing!! xoxo

  71. Ruth Simpkins says:

    Have a wonderful trip! Can’t wait to read all your posts! Thank you for making the spring mug right.

  72. Sandra Mailey says:

    Bon Voyage !! Have a wonderful trip. So very glad you are taking us along, so I guess I am wishing all of us a good trip too!

    You have already had quite an adventure on the way to the ship. And then to have more exciting stops before landing in the UK is a real blessing!

    Don’t worry for one minute about the problems with the cups!! We all appreciate your desire to provide the very best end product available We can wait a few more weeks for superb quality. Good things are worth the wait!

  73. Jules says:

    Dear Susan,
    Don’t worry about the cups. I’ll wait. I’m anxious to see more of your trip. Thanks for taking us along.

  74. Linda Royalty says:

    I am looking forward to seeing and reading about your wonderful trip! Hope everything is smooth sailing all the way.

  75. linny says:

    Thanks for again, sharing your delights! Wonderful to see. Hadn’t ordered cups yet but still will nonetheless — I know I want them the way Susan sees them!!! They are just precious
    Have the best time ☘️☀️🌺Ld

  76. Pat Mofjeld says:

    The circular knitting needles are MUCH better to knit with! Easier on hands and arms. You will come to love them!!! Pat M.

  77. Jana says:

    A truly bon voyage if ever there was one! And all the beauty and comforts there for the taking … now that’s what I call Living Your Joy!

    May the end of every day be the end of a magical day, whatever that feels like inside and out for you.

    Happy sailing to you and Joe and Petey!

  78. Ellyn P. says:

    Just a quick comment about the circular knitting needles. You will LOVE them!
    It was a bit of an adjustment for me at first, but now they are all I ever use.

    Don’t overthink them, just go for it and you will be fine. 🙂

  79. Kindred Kate says:

    Hi Susan! Thanks so much for “taking us along with you!” It’s almost as good as the real thing. It’s very fun looking forward to what we are doing everyday… what an adventure! I wish you weren’t going to be out of contact for awhile but it will be worth the wait.
    No worries about the mugs- I ordered 2 Mother’s Day mugs- I would much rather have them done correctly. Good for you that you were assertive and demanded excellence! I love your artwork & it should not be compromised!

  80. Linda Smith says:

    You’re right – the cups need to be redone – in your more delicate style. Am also reading “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” to “join” you on your trip. Have so much fun. I love England!

  81. Sandy Garvey says:

    It’s snowing here in Illinois. But your ship pictures look oh so loverly. Can’t wait for the next installment. Love being one of your stowaways. Have a safe and wonderful voyage.

  82. Susanb says:

    Loving all the Tweets, and the blog post too, traveling along is wonderful. I will wait for as long as it takes for those beautiful watercolored mugs! I have them all so far and love everyone of them! Thanks for doing what you do, always giving us heart! ❤.

  83. Linda says:

    Here’s hoping your voyage is safe and restful after your hard winter labors. Loved the picture of you and Joe-you both looked slimmed down and young and happy!!!! Have a great time and let us see what you are knitting! if you want to find me on board I will be happily browsing in all the gift shops or stuffing my face at every buffet!!! HA!! Have fun! Linda from Idaho where the sun is shining and temps in the mid sixties. Beauregard (my cat) is happily watching the squirrels finding peanuts I put out in the snow now uncovered and ready for eating–they come up almost to the door (full glass) and he makes a chirpy chattery sound to try to attract them..comes from being a wild cat for 1 1/2 years till I seduced him indoors.

  84. Debra Sewell says:

    Lovely exciting Willard!!! Glad you said NO to cups. Never lower your standards. They need to do it right. Great ship photos and soooo glad you are not trying to sail from New England as it’s wrapped in Father Winter. Be safe if seas are choppy as you prob will get wind and rough seas.


  85. Marie (CA) says:

    I am so happy for you and your sweet hubby to be enjoying such travels–you both deserve every happiness.

  86. Barbara Elliott says:

    Hi Susan,
    I hope you are having the most wonderful time! Don’t worry about using the circular knitting needles. Your stitches will be just fine travelling on the “skinny part”. Circulars are the way to go. All of your knitting stays right in your lap and the weight is always balanced. You won’t feel like a duck flapping your wings with those long single points. You probably won’t want to go back to single points, EVER!! I translate as many patterns as I can to use circulars. Wishing I could be a stairway LOL!!

  87. Kay Deering says:

    Dear Susan:
    I would rather wait for a cup that has your “stamp of approval” on it than something that will not reflect your creativity and look exactly like what you had in mind. I have four spring cups ordered and one Jack cup…and look forward to them whenever they are ready. They are part of a collection I am giving to my nieces (and me!), and they will be heirlooms to always be treasured. Enjoy your trip, you bring me so much delight in all that you do. Thank you, Susan! 🙂

  88. Mary Whiting says:

    What a wonderful life you and Joe share. Thank you for letting us tag along. I am taking notes for our trip shortly. Enjoy and be safe.

  89. Carol from CT says:

    BON VOYAGE J,S & P… (sounds like Wall Street)

    HOOOOOOT, hoot, HOOOOOOT, hoot
    And a Bon Voyage TOOOOOT!
    Setting sail from P-Everglades, a beautiful route!
    Did Petey salute! Does all this compute ?!?!

    Good for you both; the time of your life!
    Ahoy! happy husband. Ahoy! happy wife.
    All those carry-on bags; all that great homey stuff;
    WOH – hang on to your teacup if the waves get rough!

    The sun’s on your face, the wind’s in your ear.
    “Hey it feels so good! We’re leaving the pier.”
    “HA! It’s snowing at home while we bask in the sun,”
    “Wish y’all were here ‘cuz the trip has begun.”

    While crossing the pond there are miles of smiles
    And stem glasses of Magner’s to drink quite in style.
    “I’m sipping my ‘peah’ during mile after mile
    Of anchors-aweigh -aaahhhh” — yet meanwhile …

    Don’tcha know it this poet can’t stick with a style!
    Her brain’s in a snowdrift. I’m turning senile!
    Hey back up the boat. I’ll be rank and file!
    Come get me, come get me, this weather is vile !
    Pllllleeeeeeeze !
    Love, Carol from CT … tra la … COME GET ME! AAAHHH !!

  90. Donna H. says:

    Loving every single word and photo! You have a gift for making us all feel loved and valued. <3

  91. Elyse adams says:

    Dear Susan
    have the best time in the world! It is wonderful to be a girlfriend for so many years!
    I am so happy to stow away with you !! Each post makes me giddy! It know it will be a marvelous voyage! Enjoy the ship, it is a great time of life to travel!! We all love these
    Adventures with you! Best to Joe! Can’tbwait to Hear from you!
    Elyse Adams

  92. P.J. says:

    Dear Susan,
    The Queen Victoria DID sail from New York to Southampton, at least once, in 2015, on the last leg of an around the world cruise. I know because my hubby and I made our first crossing on her, thanks to your inspiration and A Fine Romance! You had talked about taking another trip that year, and I actually thought you might be sailing with us, but then you postponed your journey. She sailed from Manhattan, too, rather than Brooklyn, which was fantastic. We ADORED the Queen Victoria and were spoiled!!
    The Queen Mary was a bit of a disappointment after the Victoria–took us three days to find the Queen’s Room and the King’s Court was chaos! Hope the Victoria will sail from NY again, but if not, I may have to head to Florida like you! Enjoy every moment–I know you will! I’m so envious, but happy you’re taking us along for the journey!

  93. Carla vdM says:

    Loved reading the beginning of another journey on board, enjoy your voyage to the United Kingdom. Hope it will be a smooth voyage.

  94. Pat Johnson says:

    ANNNNNDDDDD off they go once again …….. The marvelous Queen and her dashing King…….adventures they will collect and send back to us. What a life they lead!! I must admit that for a second I was jealous ……. and then…. not so because I have a front row seat that I can observe every movement IN MY PAJAMAS & CUP OF COFFEE…….OR WINE!! I feel so blessed……have a marvelous time and send the good stuff our way. I truly needed this trip! Hugs & Love to you both………..QOE Johnson

  95. Amy Lee from Salem says:

    What a beautiful ship and how lovely you and Joe look together. Won’t make this long but want you to know I will gladly wait for my new Susan Branch cup for as long as it takes for it to reach me. Thanks for keeping us posted and enjoy every minute of your journey. Hugs💟

  96. Diane Lauren says:

    I would rather wait a bit longer for my 2 Jack cups than receive a product that does not meet your standards. This is just one of reasons you have such a tremendous following. You are such an inspiration and the reason I decided to start my own watercolor journal.

    Enjoy your trip & thank you for letting us tag along 🙂

  97. barbara🌊⛵️⛵️🐋🐬🐟🐟 says:

    Dear Susan, I sailed across the ocean blue….the Pacific . The ship was a bit smaller…42’. And a small crew…5 of us all together. But ocean is ocean and it goes without saying “it was swell” in many ways. I found my husband. I learned about storms and flying fish (they can actually ‘fly’ into boat!) We saw whales and dolphins. Ah, the smell of the sea.
    Have a lovely trip, Susan and Joe.

  98. Margaret Carr Balcer says:

    Bon Voyage! Have a wonderful crossing! After the book signing I am so inspired that I am reading A Fine Romance again, so England is fresh in my mind again! Thank you for sharing your adventures with us.

  99. Gretchen says:

    What fun! You made me feel like I’m on the ship with you with visions of sunning on the deck with one of my favorite books, The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. My book club read this book about a year ago. I loved the book. I’m looking forward to opening my mail and traveling down the winding roads and soaking in all the atmosphere. Have a safe and wonderful trip.

  100. Rosinda says:

    Bon Voyage, dear Susan and Joe! Wishing you smooth and happy sailing across the Atlantic. I’m especially excited for your port stop in the Azores. I was born on the Island of Sao Miguel. Love that you are passing through there! Love and hugs from Ontario, Canada. xx

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