Hello darling friends. Are you out there? We are, somewhere, but don’t ask me to be specific! I’m writing to wish you a Happy Easter, and catch you up on the last week here in luv-lee England by the sea! MUSICA (Luv-lee Vera Lynn)

Let’s do both! We’re off the ship! Goodbye wonderful Queen Victoria. We loved every moment of our time with you. 💞 Grab a cup of something hot and join me for the “homecoming.”

Waking up early last Friday, I went out on our deck in my jammies to see the lights and breathe my first breaths of England all around us . . . we’d arrived!

We had to stay on the boat until they could get the bags off and it was our turn to go. . . so we went to the Lido for breakfast ~ my last breakfast on the ship was perfection, one poached egg, half a broiled tomato, and a wee slice of hash browned potatoes. You have to agree it was pretty cute!

And suddenly, we were on land (where I continued rocking for two more days!). And there was no doubt which country we were in.

With just enough STUFF to keep us feeling as though we have everything. Which we do. I took pictures of men and bags while we waited for Rachel who was coming to pick us up!

Here we are, two people who should never have met because it was quite impossible, but who did anyway, as in a miracle, who have so much in common and so much love for each other. Together again.

And Rachel’s darling husband, Paul … we marvel every time we see them, which is never enough, how lucky the four of us are to have found each other . . .

We sat and had lunch and talked about a thousand miles a minute, but they had to catch a train home, and we are off in another direction, for now . . .

Into the careen-mo-bile we went . . . here’s the map of England I painted for A Fine Romance, I haven’t painted the new one yet, I’ll need to add Ireland this time! But see the foot going off at the bottom left on the map? That’s where we’re going to be staying for the first two weeks, in Cornwall, just below the Devon border. But, see the ship? Our hotel for the first night is on the coast, just above the ship’s smokestack. A short drive, for practice.

Hither and yon we went (that’s as specific as I can get about where we actually were) ~ It was clear ship-life was over and there would be no more sunbathing! Winter had returned! Our green and pleasant land is on the verge.

We are going to see the whole change of season as the trees bud into leaf, and the hedgerows become less brambly and fill with leaves, birds nests, and wildflowers, we will be witness!

But for now, the reality is that that white spot is snow, and baby, it’s cold outside. (Right now, inside, I am wearing two sweaters and a shawl. Joe’s out, and just called to tell me it had been hailing! Sounds just like home!)

Only drove past our hotel twice, trying to figure out how to get into the narrow driveway. But Joe did it. 👏 Each time he becomes more comfortable driving on the wrong side of the road . . . and I’m thinking I should get those things they put on a horse’s eyes so it doesn’t get spooked. Okay, a blindfold.

We checked in, then stood and marveled at the view from our room. Way over there, you can see a church with a clocktower and churchyard, and in the foreground there are thatched houses. Squealing. We are really in England!  Couldn’t get it to sink in! 

The Limestone Hotel in West Lulworth was the sweetest place to stay ~ we woke up our first morning in the total quiet of the countryside pierced by the music of birds ~ and the food there was amazing. At breakfast they actually handed me the menu tucked inside a Beatrix Potter Book!!! 

 Why? I don’t know, because they are English and can’t help themselves. Because they like to see Americans go bonkers. (Quietly bonkers, as we are strangers in a strange land and wish to draw as little attention as possible to our idiot selves!)

As we walked out, we saw the bin filled with their breakfast “menus.” I’m afraid I took this a little personally. Our first breakfast? On our first day in England? Doesn’t this seem a bit much serendipity-wise? Did one of you call ahead? 💞


We stayed only one night (lamenting the whole time, we wanted to stay longer, the story of our lives with everything we’ve done this week!), then we were off along narrow roads and through tiny villages to find our rental house near Bude in Cornwall (close to the Devon border), me with the camera glued to the car window. We left the ship on March 23rd, and today, as I’m writing you, the birds are still singing, and I’m in a whirl of everything we have done!

Colors have gone by in a watercolor blur, little dogs on leashes, flying white clouds, ancient churchyards, pubs, stone walls, cobblestone streets, and fields of lambs, feeling yourself falling back in time through your car window. Good thing I’m writing it all down or I would be totally lost!  We’re still trying to get our land legs! I could honestly write all day every day, I’m so inspired. I barely know what to tell you first . . . I’m trying to be organized . . . one thing at a time, stay focused . . .

So, on the way to the rental house, we made the all-important first stop at our favorite supermarket to stock up with everything we’d need to wake up the next morning and Sing Ho! This famous English market is like a good book, you get inside and you don’t want to come out. Every picture tells a story. Crisp organic vegetables, eggs so fresh and local the yolks are bright orange, seeded crunchy breads, salted butter, fresh from the farm whole chickens, and massive juicy, tart blueberries from Spain ~ and no GMO’s, they aren’t allowed in England. 💋

We found the cottage we’d rented, found the key, got ourselves unpacked, and slept like babies. And what do you know, the next morning the sun came out (for a while, the sun in England plays hide and seek with the clouds) … and here is our thatched cottage which I would have recognized anywhere ~ been dreaming of getting here for months!

This is the living room. It’s not grand but there are three small bedrooms upstairs, one for us, one for our luggage and one for Siobhan who is coming this afternoon to stay with us for the weekend (we have reservations for “Sunday Roast” Easter Dinner 🌸 ~ more about that later).We go off for a muddy walk, pop some musica into the car and wind our way through the brambly hedgerows, exploring all day, then back home where Joe builds a fire. I make tea and write, Joe reads maps while we watch Mary Berry make goat cheese on TV, and Goggle Box which may be the funniest thing on television. In between, I am reading a wonderful book, the Pulitzer Prize winning Washington by Ron Chernow ~ an amazing biography of our first President. Big fat book that Lowely’s John gave me… so big, will probably last the whole trip. I LOVE it. Can’t wait to go to bed and read! While we walk each morning, I tell Joe what I learned the night before. If you like history, you’ll love this book!

And as always, when we leave home, we are automatically lost.  Inside the rental house, too. Where’s my camera? Where’s my pen, where’s my jacket, hat, purse, phone … because nothing has a place here. I forgot. I took it for granted at home on the Island, how normal it is to have things where they belong. That is over. Not to mention how does this washing machine work, is this really the door key, and tell me again about the money. And the constant refrain “what do you suppose this is, means, stands for?” Ahh, glorious travel. Love being all so much more ignorant than usual. I’m ten years old again and everything is new. Things are so different here, it makes you think . . .Here’s our new tip for travel: You’ll love this, it works like a charm.

Don’t let these narrow roads scare you … get behind a truck (a lorrie), and let him run interference. He knows what he’s doing and you don’t. Never leave him if you can help yourself. Do not pass. That is idiocy of the first kind.

Narrow road where people park in your lane? No problem, follow that truck! His bravado will blow your mind, but just go with it.

Afraid that everyone is stopped around the curve? Don’t worry, you have a truck in front of you! (Been looking for a good place to use this quote and I think I’ve found it:)So where shall I take you, what would you like to see? That is my question. We have been to so many places, but I need to pick one because you can’t stay here all day and suffice it to say, neither can I! I know, I’ll give you a little taste of everything . . .

Starting with pubs, which you probably know are everywhere. Bastions of good will.  The food in England is two thumbs up and six stars. Here, we are in a beautiful candlelit place that Rachel suggested, in front of a fire at the St. Tudy Inn, in the tiny town of St. Tudy (Say, “sinteudie,” one word) ~ run by a famous chef here in England, Emily Scott. So lucky to come for lunch on a week-day just before Easter, I’m sure next week we’d never get in!

It was just yummy . . . this is “Port Hilly mussels with Bacon and Lovage” . . . (they forgot to mention in cream sauce!). Mouth fell in love.

OMG. Is all I can say, don’t look at me while I slurp them down and lick the shells!

After lunch we explored the village . . . because all this was waiting just outside the pub door. We looked over the roof tops and saw this . . .

And visited the wonderful church . . .

Where we found this marble tablet on the wall. Called “A Table of Kindred and Affinity.” It’s not about intermarrying, which is what we first thought, but then we decided it was more about keeping the peace in a small village! According to this rule-tablet, you may NOT marry your son’s son 🤓, nor your sister’s daughter’s husband! 😜 Don’t even try it! And even though you’re not related to him, it’s just asking for trouble if you marry your Husband’s Brother’s Son.

On another wall was this delicately carved thing . . . the church was lovely, we read that it got its start as a Celtic graveyard called God’s Acre . . . filled with history, and beautifully needlepointed kneeling pillows in every pew.

Perfect for Easter . . .

The church yard was peaceful, and the pigeons sang the national anthem, as they have forever, “My toe-huts-Bet-tee” . . . 🎵

Primroses were peeking from their winter lodging in rock walls . . . clusters of daffodils were everywhere.

Back through the village we went, back in time, past windows with lace curtains . . .

And BTW, if you like lace-curtained windows, you’ve come to the right place!

Because they’re everywhere. This gorgeous curtain was in an AMAZING village called Clovelly, pronounced Cluh-VELLIE. The black enamel door, the brass numbers, key hole, and mail box, a wee work of door art.

These curtains too, so pretty . . . want to come back and see what this wall looks like in the summer! I think those are climbing roses. Can you imagine? So romantic.

And these curtains . . . which also came with something else that Clovelly is known for . . .

Lots of friendly kitties . . .

Just like home . . .

And they not only like to be petted, they expect it (spoiled by us appreciative far-from-home tourists). . . if they see that come-hither gleam in your eye, they will come right up to you and rub your leg, making your day! As you can see, they live in a tiny, vertical, fishing village, very steep (what is the word for steeper than steep, steep doesn’t do it), built on the rocky coast, and every one of the cobblestones you see, and many more, were brought up from the shoreline below and laid by hand. There is a strong legacy of insanity that runs rampant in this village. It’s a real place with real people, not a museum, and all handmade. And no cars allowed. No vehicles at all. Don’t even try to bring your skateboard.

Near the front door of each home you’ll see what they call a sledge. Not a sled, a sledge. Residents pull everything from their cars in the car park home on one of these, groceries, fertilizer for their charming little gardens, firewood, probably their babies too, it all comes this way or it doesn’t come. Imagine the days before heat and electricity? At one time, we read, everything came down by mule, even tourists. There are still mules living up at the top near the gift shop.

Lots of different styles of sledges in Clovelly!

Real people live here, and that is one of them below Joe ~ he is RUNNING with his dog … normal people can barely walk on this street, but he is a runner and just getting home.

The locals really do have to put up with a lot to live in this historical place, there isn’t a lot of privacy. There are hotels and pubs so it doesn’t exactly “close” but most of the tourists leave by around 5 or 6 … later in the summer. And you should mind your p’s and q’s when you come because they will compost you if you don’t. 😹

We got there late, and the little tea room was closed . . .

but the tea room window was darling . . .

And this one, too, someone’s kitty has a wonderful view when he dines . . .

So worth the walk, and oddly, much easier walking up than down. Even if walking a steep road isn’t your cup of tea, no one needs to miss this lovely place where nothing ever changes ~ most of the time Land Rovers are available to take people down and bring them back up.

Because when they say down, they mean business. You can also stay at the bottom, at the Red Lion Hotel, and they will drive you in and out.

So back up the hill we went . . . seagulls crying and swooping over our heads. I tried to take pictures of them, there are two there if you can see ~ it was the best I could do, there were really maybe a dozen of them but they refused to gather together and pose for me. And so off we went, intrepid climbers, looking for a place to have tea so I could write this all down . . .

Then map man has another idea . . .

“You like King Arthur and Camelot and all of that, don’t you?” “Yes,” I say, narrowing my eyes at his oddly innocent question. Could be a trick.

So the next day we went to the inspirational castle ruins of Tintagel (pronounced Tin-TA-jel), with links to the legendary King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Anyone who’s read Mists of Avalon would love to visit this place of magic and myth. Besides the views and the ruins, there is a luv-lee tea room and gift shop too. There is so much to say about this place, but I will save it for the book I’m writing ~ In the photo above, we are about to walk back to the car the long way, and Joe is taking my photo as I am reading the sign that leads to the walk.

Now here I am with the sign saying, “Really?”

Because #1 “Unprotected cliffs and banks” got my attention, especially when I looked at the “path.” ⬇ Hello.⬆

But hey. Okay, let’s go. I’m insane, I fit in.

It did get better as we went along… although I did lag at times.

The views were wonderful, the air was salty and clean and smelled like clothes on the line. We were outside, walking in England, what could be more wonderful?

We met others, this happy couple who we could hear laughing all the way up the hill . . . but no, sadly, we did not think to say, “Can you please take our picture?” We really need to do better at that. 

Wow, get to use it AGAIN! Never before, then twice in one post! What are the chances?

On the way home, needless to say, we had more delicious and calming “tea” here in the tiny Cornish village of Boscastle at the Cobweb Inn which was built before 1600 (as a warehouse, although they say the townspeople could always get a drink there). It’s a place where muddy boots and wet dogs are welcome . . . crowded with local families of all ages. And us. A little bit in awe. We are still new at this.

So now, a few more bits and pieces, you’re almost caught up . . . we bought our first real, English, Hot Cross Buns ever, brought them home and had them this afternoon with milky Earl Grey tea. They were fresh, soft, and sweet, with no frosting on top, but they have a cross.  Easter!

I think I’ve shown you this photo before. I’m on the right, my brother Jim is on the left, and Stephen’s in front … all of us are the opposite of thrilled to be sitting with what we can’t help but see as a sort of monster despite the big bow and the eyelashes. Steve is still young enough to cry, Jim is faking his smile but bravely staying on the rayon knee for his mom who just wants a photo, and I am being brave too, as the oldest. We all would prefer to go somewhere else, anywhere else. Easter Bunnies were not really like Santa. I think they finally gave up trying to sell them to the crying babies of the world! But no matter how bad this was for us, I found something that had to be worse.

Talk about brave! These are really good boys! Is this not the worst? I laugh so hard every time I see it! I can’t get over how awful it is! I found it on line a long time ago, and I’ve been saving it for just the right moment to spring it on you! I hope you’re sitting down.

Okay, I’ve dried my eyes. I’m probably just tired, but that bunny strikes my funny bone in a place I can’t seem to get back from! I recognize the humor, it’s my dad, together we would go through a whole box of tissues snorting and laughing at that photo!

SO, snapping myself out of it! Changing the subject, while we were at the Limestone Hotel that first night . . . a miracle of coordination took place.

Off the boat, only one night at the Limestone (this bunny was on their lawn!), and yet, a package arrived there for us that very day! Perfect timing! Waiting for us in our room! And inside were the new cup samples. Eeek! As I was ripping open the boxes, I worried, remembering the first group . . .

. . . and how dark they were ~ I was praying these would be better. That color had been a setback, and approvals took much longer than they should have ~ I expected to approve the samples before we left home, but they didn’t make it in time, so we tried for Florida, and that’s when the dark ones came, and I just couldn’t say okay to them. But look!

Our new samples and they’re just what I hoped . . . And now they’re with us here! We have gifts! 🌸 I’m so relieved!

I wanted to show you . . . so you don’t worry! The color is wonderful, the flowers soft and none of them are black!

Love this sweet handle on the Spring cup.

And the pink butterfly!

And the softer spring colors look gorgeous on the bone china . . . all just splendiferous! Thank you for your forgiveness, I just couldn’t force myself to give you something I only partly liked, at best. They will arrive to the Studio, we hope, the end of April … fingers crossed! We want you to have them for Mother’s Day and will do everything we know how to make that happen. 🌷

Worth waiting for, pansies are perfect for Mother’s Day!

Bottoms all turned out well too. Kellee has put these up in the webstore, so you can see all sides, bottoms, handles, everything, just in cases.

Kitty cup too, Jack in the Box!

Immortalizing my boy.

My darling short one.

Kitty love is right!

Another cheery handle!

And the one that will always remind me of this wonderful adventure . . .

Another fine romance!

Lambs and hedgerows and spring trees and everything …

Yanks on Shore, Look out England! 💞

I have a little Easter present for you 💞. . . a skinny chick bookmark I made before we left . . . just click there, and print it out. I hope you like it!  It might make a good Easter-dinner place card. So what are you having? Ham? If you’re having ham, try my Fruit Compote with it … I think it’s in Heart of the Home, or maybe Vineyard Seasons, and it’s SO good!

And don’t forget my lovely cream-cheese and coconut frosted carrot cupcakes! (The recipe is also in the new version of Heart of the Home if you have it.) I’m very far away from most of you right now, but it doesn’t feel that way! And you’re never far from my thoughts. 💞

It’s a most wonderful time of year! Sending love XOXOX Here comes April, we start right off with a full moon!  And I’ll just say it now, Rabbit-Rabbit . . . good luck to us all! 👏


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466 Responses to EASTER in ENGLAND

  1. Susan (who recently moved to SC and drove three hours to Charleston to see you and never made it to Barnes & Noble) says:

    Oh my – I saw the picture of the Easter bunny (who looked like an alien from an old black and white movie) and the two little boys and I laughed so hard that I had tears in my eyes and had to go to the bathroom. Every time I would gain some control I would see it again and start laughing all over again. Even just writing this is making me laugh again and when I read what you wrote under the picture I found that it had the same effect on you, too. I don’t have a great sense of humor and I usually don’t get jokes unless they are for kids under the age of four, but the picture really sent me spinning out of control. Thank you for sharing it and for taking the time to share all the other fun stuff from your marvelous adventure – it really is the next best thing to being there.

  2. Angie says:

    Oh my —-that Easter Bunny is horrid! Those darling children are probably in therapy today as adults.
    LOVE LOVE all the gorgeous scenic pics. I am following Twitter travels and so enjoying the ride. Thank You

  3. Colleen Myers says:

    Beautiful trip without leaving my living room!!!Ty. Also, ty for my new found fear of the Easter Bunny!!! 😉

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    What a treat this was!! So enjoyed the view from my chair as we took the trip down all of those wonderful places. I have been reading “Isle of Dreams” AGAIN. You have really helped me look at my life thru this book. Today I saw an idea to fulfill a dream that I have had for quite a long time. That is adding a bedroom onto my 3 room cabin in Newport, Washington. The little room you added on for visitors is the one!! Mine will be attached to my house someway so I can utilize the bathroom in the house. It will become my “Fairy Bedroom.” I am excited. Will keep you updated – won’t happen though for a while. Looking forward to my journey with you both. Hugs & Love……..Pat

  5. Sheldon says:

    Thank you so much for taking us on your trip. I have always loved England and you make it feel as if we are right there.

  6. Debra Sewell says:

    Lovely post!! Geaat cottage. Grand to me. Lamby cake I love, the cups are so wonderful it’s dizzying. I like the cozy spot Joe was sitting in the pub. What a wonderful travel mate he is too. Thank you. This is a beautiful trip you two are taking.
    Debra Sewell

  7. Rhonda Jen says:

    Thank you for such a wonderful post. I live in West Sussex in beautiful England but spent Easter up in Cheshire on our narrow boat. You remind me in your blogs of how special a country this is and just how proud I am to call myself a British 😀

  8. Cheryl says:

    Thank you for such a wonderful post. I live in West Sussex in beautiful England but spent Easter up in Cheshire on our narrow boat. You remind me in your blogs of how special a country this is and just how proud I am to call myself a British 😀

  9. Cheryl says:

    My message is repeated I’m Cheryl not sure who Rhonda is 😯

  10. Maggie Giltmier says:

    Oh thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful fun time, it looks so lovely, and I know the people have to be so special. Hope you had a lovely Easter. Enjoy, but don’t forget to come home. Loved all the kitties! The streets look like a TRIP!!!!!!

  11. Yay!
    What a time you are having. You two travel SO much like we do that it just makes me feel happy all over to read your posts and say to myself yes- look over there- peek at that bit- and you do!
    Stay safe and warm and adventurous darlings!

  12. Darcie says:

    I’m currently in the middle of A Fine Romance, but I’ve taken a bit of a pause simply because I don’t ever want it to end! I’ve never been to England but it is such a pleasure to experience it through your fabulous book and blog. It truly feels like a gift! So thank you, Susan!

  13. Holly Jo says:

    Thank you for sharing your sweet soul with us Susan – I am so happy there will be a book too! England …… Ahhh, be still my heart. That Easter Bunny was completely terrifiying, those poor little kids having to be near it 😂😂😂 must have been family. I couldnt imagine a mother allowing her kids to sit on a strangers lap who is wearing that mask😂😂😂 My goodness sake!
    The cups look amazing! Im so happy – I already ordered mine. Im still kicking myself for missing your winter cup, which now is sold out and I will be short one season in my SB cup collection ugh. I didnt make that mistake this time. Keep on keeping on and keeping us along❣

  14. barbara⚓️ says:

    As always,a beautiful trip described so it feels like i am with you. It is like a dream. Thanks!

  15. You & Joe make traveling so much fun, thank you for your amazing awareness of nature, Happy trails !, 😊

    • sbranch says:

      We just got to Ireland, the sun was going down, we are just next to Galway Bay, can see the water, over the field of daffodils and dark and craggy rock walls, I went outside to the cold to just drink in the Irish air of my ancestors and I have to tell you… wah.

  16. Joanne Condlin Lawson (a/k/a Jody Condlin) says:

    Love that I get to go on your trips with you and Joe. Really enjoy reading your post and seeing your pictures. I know it takes a bit of effort to put this together for us, and I do appreciate it. Thank you. Enjoy! Looking forward to your next post and your book!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s a bit of effort that can be extra frustrating when the internet doesn’t work, and you would be shocked to know how MANY ways it can NOT work, there’s no connection, or the batteries have died, or suddenly it’s working, but we have to move and there’s no time, BUT, I love sharing, so I do my best and know you understand! I can only tell part of the story in a blog, it’s very exciting planning the book!!!

  17. Debbie Boerger says:

    Hope you are feeling better. Tom and I seem to have some sort of “bug” when in the UK, but the pharmacists always have just the thing. Over the counter remedies there are often prescription here. One is Vick’s First Defence, a nasal spray, I think it’s called, and some great lozenges. Be nice to have a kitty to snuggle with.
    Thank you for all these adventures😊
    Mucho Love,
    Debbie in Tampa, which it nice today

  18. Mary S says:

    ” “You like King Arthur and Camelot and all of that, don’t you?” “Yes,” I say, narrowing my eyes at his oddly innocent question. Could be a trick.” – ROTFL!!!!! And the Easter Bunny pics are just toooooo funny!
    I have to tell you this, Susan, because I am just so excited! My BFF since 3rd grade and I are making plans to go to England in May of 2019 for two weeks! A dream come true! She is great at planning, so she is doing that part. She is using your book as part of it. And HER name is Susan, also! And her mother’s name was Mary. (I talked to you once about the Marys and Susans in my life and how your sister’s name is Mary).
    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA xoxoxox

  19. Mamey Brown says:

    Oh how thrilled I was to see a new post today!! How exciting this is! Looks wonderful where you are and I can’t tell you enough how much I appreciate you sharing it with us. ENJOY!!

  20. Alison Barrow Worthington says:

    Gogglebox!!!! I couldn’t believe it when I read you had watched the programme as I am the proud owner of many of your books Susan and have your Calender on the wall(as I have done for a good few years) Myself ,George (my lovely husband) and Helena are “cast members”we have been away in Malta for a couple of weeks but are now back to watching telly and being filmed so if you get to see us we are the ones with books and cosy colourful blankets on our couch…and know that four of your books are on my bookshelves 🤓🤓😄Kind regards Alison xx

    • sbranch says:

      Oh no, how can that BE? What a small world. Well, you people have had us crying from laughter, you are so US, we can’t help but relate. We hear our own voices in a whole new way because of that show. There’s a new one on, I think, tomorrow night? Do you know if you’ll be on? I already know we’ll recognize you, I can picture the cozy room and colorful blankets! Now I will have to scan the bookshelves!!! Ha ha! Nice to hear from you Alison! See you on the telly!

      • Alison Barrow says:

        We just filmed yesterday (Mon 9th ) so should be on Friday 13th I told the crew about you and babbled on about your books and pointed to the calendar on the wall lol of course they were thrilled to know you enjoyed the show!

  21. kathiellen says:

    Dear Susan,
    I am so sorry that you are sick!!! if you can find UNKER’S SALVE anywhere there, I highly recommend it!! It has a very strong menthol smell and penetrates better than anything that I have ever used…a lot better than Vicks vapo rub! I grease up my chest, neck, shoulders, cover myself with a dish towel and apply moist heat, or just put on a long sleeve t shirt. That stuff penetrates clear through to your back and really relieves aches and pains! It is great for arthritis pain also! For coughs, like Vicks, rub it on the bottom of your feet and put on some warm socks!! Maybe they sell it there? I use to buy it at Shipshewana ( an Amish Community in Northern Indiana ) but now, living in Terre Haute, ( south central Indiana ) I order it on line. I have converted so many people to that salve and they all sing it’s praises! I hope that this clears up really fast and you get well quick!!! I wish I could send you some of my home made chicken noodle soup and some UNKER’S salve! !! I LOVE your new blog..as always, it is beautiful and will read it again and again!! Today is the first time that I have been able to read anything on my I pad since last Thursday…..Baking, Cooking, Cleaning, Easter, Visiting Loved Ones, S L O W L Y putting everything away after Easter, and recouperating. I LOVE it all but The Old Grey Mare Ain’t What She Usta Be, so it takes me a wee bit longer! I don’t know what I would do without Art…he helps me so much and I am so Blessed to have this wonderful man!❤️ I know that you know what I mean because you have Joe!!! Be Well My Dear!!!

  22. Paula Johnson says:

    Oh, Susan! There is too much to comment on in this post! Thank you for taking the time to post. I know how difficult it is to fit it in~~and thanks to Joe for waiting while you do–or cooking or whatever else he patiently does to make it happen. Thank you, Joe.

    You are both looking great! The picture of the broad windowsill and the storybook view from your window in the Limestone brought back happy memories. Your paragraph about being automatically lost when traveling struck a cord: how does this washing machine work; is this really the door key (the British are MOST creative with keys and key fobs); tell me once again about the money; and what do you suppose this is, means, stands for, etc. 🙂 Your gift of descriptive wording is outstanding. “How does a writer write?” Susan Branch once asked. She figured it out; it was there all the time! 🙂

    Each picture, each paragraph is choice and much appreciated. Thanks again! Blessings and hugs, Paula

  23. Holly says:

    It’s just too marvelous for words!! Next project should be organized tours! I love every last bit of your post. Have a wonderful time. I think about going to UK every day. Still planning each stop, trying to see each place my ancestors came from.
    I can tell how much you love what you’re doing from your writing. Ttfn

  24. Marilyn L Young says:

    Goodness there’s a lot to read by everyone and all of your answers too! I always have to read every single word! Everyone has said all that I can think of except, WOW! What a trip, all you are seeing, what pleasures! I love all of it.

  25. Helen says:

    Hope you & Joe had a wonderful, blessed Easter! Thank you so much for sharing your travels with us – I absolutely love seeing all of your pictures & reading about your adventures! I’ve been wanting to purchase one of your cups, but had not done so yet – but, I finally splurged! I just had to get your Jack in the Books cup! All the cups are so very pretty, but having a dear kitty & loving to read, I just knew that I needed to get this cup – can’t wait for it to arrive! Thank you again for sharing & enjoy the rest of your trip!

  26. Cindy Brosh says:

    Dearest Susan, though we’ve never met, I treasure these blog posts and the sweet tales of your travels more than I can say. I nearly shouted for joy in my office at work when I read that you’d heard the familiar “my toe hurts Bet-ty!” I’ll never forget the first time my husband and I heard it after I read “A Fine Romance.” We were at Inverness, in Scotland, and just like magic, there it was! We laughed out loud we were so happy. You enrich so many lives with your infectious joy. Thank you, and have a wonderful journey.

  27. Penny Harrison from Oceanside, CA says:

    Thank you for the wonderful wonderful pictures of this magical part of England! Brought back memories of our visit to Tintagel! Belated Happy Easter, and lovely April!

  28. Winnie. Nielsen says:

    Hello Susan from over here in Ortano, Italy along the Adriatic Coast. So far , your trip look so to be fantastic and I enjoyed all of your little stops here and there! It has been quite chilly here as well the past week and some days were wet and windy as well. But oh my the beauty here where few tourists come and there is delicious food everywhere. The Italians sure know how to take local produce and fish and turn it into something spectacular!!!

    The new mugs are so pretty and the one of Jack is so darn cute. I am looking forward to hearing more about the adventures in the coming days. Maybe soon we can wear our spring clothes and not have to many layers on!! LOL!,,

  29. Maryrose Watson says:

    Hello Susan, I love travelling with you! My parents took us all overseas when I was about 14 or so, and I can still clearly remember Clovelly and Tintagel! Lots of great memories. And that Hot Cross bun rhyme which I learnt as a small child, is still quoted by me every Easter! 😀
    I hope to visit these lovely places again one day. BTW, we used to call the pads over the horses’ eyes, ‘ blinkers’ . They were supposedly to help the horses not panic when a vehicle came too close…
    Have a great trip,

  30. Virginia Lempa says:

    Dear Susan, thank you for your wonderful story about your adventurous trip. My sister got me hooked on your books, and now, we tag along with you. Such fun to be included as we feel like we are. Can you please let me know the beautiful piece of music that was playing as you drove around in the rain, it has been removed and I have scanned your blog 4 times thinking I missed it. Please share. I saw that a few ladies mentioned the title to the piece and I was in a hurry thinking I’ll get back to it later…woe is I…It’s gone!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh dear, I’m not sure now which one it was … OH, I know, it was Gadfly! By Shostakovich. Beautiful!

  31. Kathy Thurman says:

    Susan, you take the most beautiful photos, and your descriptions of the cool places you travel make me feel I am along for the ride! Thank you for sharing your life with us 😊

  32. Thank you Susan for sharing your trip with us!! I feel like I’m there with you as I drink my coffee on this Sunday morning. The countryside, inns, pubs…everything is so old and charming, just how I like it! So nice to see the kitties greeting you. I can’t wait to greet my Jack cup…so looking forward to that coming soon. Thank you for taking the extra step to make sure the colors are just right (in your eyes) for your girlfriends 🙂 I certainly hope to meet up with you some day. All the best to you and Joe (and Jack too!) xoxoxo

  33. Dawn Tuthill says:

    Everything looks so pretty there. Looks like you are having a wonderful time and it’s only just begun. I love your bunny with the wildfowers through it. That would be great on a cup or anything. The new cups look nice. I love all your cups and wish I had room for one of each. I’m enjoying my virtual trip and looking forward to a new book.

  34. Sheryl Kirk says:

    Hi Susan,
    Now you have done it again. You made me excited about visiting England one day. I also know I must save up and buy some of your mugs…OMG…precious and even the handles are adorable. The photos take me there…thank you. Can’t wait for the next post. Keep on keeping on.

  35. Debbie Boerger says:

    Golf widow’s revenge…..not really, as I’m happy my Tom loves golf. Actually I do as well, even though I can’t play. My 32 or so years of watching golf with my husband have finally paid a dividend. I won the whole shootin’ match in the Master’s betting pool. By a big margin. 32 or 33 men and 3 of us women. $500.00 in cash!!! Don’t report us to the police, as gambling is illegal, uh, except the Lottery?

    Susan, I’m so happy you are at Carrie’s new place. Thanks for the Twitter pics. You are the very best travel director, and Joe is the very best chief map reader and bus driver.

    Sending love to all of you,
    Debbie in Tampa

  36. ~ Del Gato Gordo Y Descarado ~ says:


    add so much to this trip of yours-
    like hand in kid-glove with mink trim, so perfect…
    Thank you!

  37. Gill Smith says:

    So glad that you and Joe are having such a wonderful time here. There have been a few days when I thought the weather was being rather unkind to you!
    We passed like ships in the night, as you were driving up the M5 to Bristol, we were heading south from Worcester back to Braunton, Devon..! Small world indeed.
    Your friend Carries’ kitchen looks Devine, I could have made myself at home there, no problem! Enjoy your travels through the Devine countryside of north Wales, so excited to see where you sleep next!
    Gill North Devon U.K. X

  38. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    Sending your Happy Birthday wish early to be sure you get in the am!

    We are so lucky you were born, Sweet Susan, and what a tremendous influence you have and are having on my life as well as the rest of The Girlfriends!

    The Maharishi’s goal was to have 2% of the population mediating and it would change the world – well, Susan, you have at least 2% following and you’re definitely changing the world.

    Have a marvelous day, know Joe is spoiling you! May your every wish and desire be fulfilled today and in your year ahead, Dearest.

    Much love, Sandra and Grasshopper

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Sandra! So sweet. My birthday is wonderful so far, it’s 9 am here in Dublin and we’ve finally got a bit of Internet! So I can say hello to you all, but my girlfriend Elaine flew in to Dublin for my birthday, and she and Joe are not going to let me stay indoors today and write everyone, even though you know I’d like to! So pass this message around, a huge thank you for all your good wishes. Tomorrow evening we will be in Galway, in a house where we will be able to spread out…staying there for 3 wonderful weeks, so I’ll be in touch very soon… Love to all! And thank you again for those kind words, Joe is spoiling the heck outta me, just by being his own sweet self! xoxoxo

  39. Judy in Ohio says:

    Top o’ the mornin’ to ya , dear lady!
    Hope you have a magical time celebrating
    YOUR day in such a special place as Ireland!!

    Breithlá Sona! 😀

    Wishing you a wonderful time on your adventures there…
    and a year ahead that is full of all that makes you happy!!


  40. Paula Johnson says:

    Oh, Susan! There is so much that could be commented on in this post! Thank you for taking the time to post. I know how difficult it is to fit it in~~and thanks to Joe for waiting while you do–or cooking or whatever else he patiently does to make it happen. Thank you, Joe.

    You are both looking great! The picture of the broad windowsill and the storybook view from your window in the Limestone brought back happy memories. Your paragraph about being automatically lost when traveling struck a cord: how does this washing machine work; is this really the door key (the British are MOST creative with keys and key fobs); tell me once again about the money; and what do you suppose this is, means, stands for, etc. 🙂 Your gift of descriptive wording is outstanding. “How does a writer write?” Susan Branch once asked. She figured it out; it was there all the time! 🙂

    Each picture, each paragraph is choice and much appreciated. Thanks again! Blessings and hugs, Paula


  41. AngieTink says:

    Happy Birthday To You (Me Singing To You Out~Loud) 🙂 Happy Birthday To You Happy Birthday Dearest Sweetest Sue….Happy Birthday To You! & You Are Celebrating Your~Birthday In Ireland!!!!!! AMAZING 🙂 Close Your Eyes & Make A Wish! Sending #LOVE #Hugzzzzzzzz #Joy For Your Birthday! Yay! Popping The Champagne & Twirling Happy~Birthday!!!!! 🙂 xoxo #Poof P.S. I Left You Three~Birthday~Tweets In Twitterville Read~Them & May Your Day Your Month Your Delightful~Journey Be Filled With Lots Of #Magic! 🙂 I Love You! Darling~Birthday~Girl! What Are Your Birthday~Plans? 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      It’s been wonderful Angie . . . today we drive to the west coast of the Emerald Isle to begin a 3 week exploration of a place we’ve never seen. Each day will be a new adventure! I’ll be writing about it! xoxoxo

  42. Barb R. says:

    Hi Susan – just a sincere wish to you to have a wonderful and very memorable and very
    Happy Birthday!

    Love to you and Joe and a huge “Thank You” for sharing so much with the rest of us on your beautiful blog! Love it!

  43. Cindy B says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan! Hope you have a wonderful day! (How could you not, in Ireland?!) I am so enjoying your blog and Twitter (as always), but especially from Great Britain and Ireland. Best wishes to you and Joe!

  44. Deborah James says:

    Top-O-the-morning (or afternoon or evening) to our darling birthday Lass from almost-Spring-like Washington DC! I just couldn’t miss the chance to tell you how much your happy heart has helped soften the jagged edges of this dizzy world!

    Wherever you go or whatever do or see or nibble on, know that you spread joy through your talents and kindness and love of Joe and Jack and treasures found along your way. Your technical skills amaze and delight and offer all of us the chance to be a guest at your magical party! With “Happy Birthday” playing in the background, I stand and cheer and clap until my little hands are tired!

    May birthday wishes of every kind float and flutter around you today just like our glorious Cherry Blossoms and leave you in a puddle of pink perfection! Enjoy!

    You are loved! Deborah

    • sbranch says:

      Awww, that is the sweetest thing Deborah, thank you so much! We are seeing so much I can’t wait to share with you … it’s a beautiful world out there, filled with truly amazing hard working people just like us! xoxoxo

  45. Kay Stevens says:

    Hello Susan and Mitten Dha
    Welcome to the Duchy of Cornwall. Well, really that should be the Country of Cornwall! No doubt you’ve already been made aware of the fact that we Cornish have our ethnicity recognised and protected in the same way as the Scots, Welsh and Irish.
    I’ve lived here all of my life and regard myself as a true Cornish Maid.
    I’m looking forward to reading about Kernow in your posts and in your next book.

  46. Looking every day for your new adventures, How much fun you are having in Wales, & England.. thanks so much.. 😍

    • sbranch says:

      We’ve been traveling daily for the last week, meeting with friends, and no time left for the computer. But today we go to a house in Galway where we’ll stay for the next 3 weeks, praying internet will be good, and I’ll do a new blog soon!

  47. Susan Morse says:

    Susan: Happiest of Birthdays to you. I would like to share an “ah ha” moment I had this past summer, when I too turned 71 yo. It occurred to me that turning 71, was the Fiftieth Anniversary of turning 21 years ( a far more palatable number than when I reached 70 yo. ) I started reflecting on THAT birthday and various things that occurred during my year of being 21. There were more markers for being 21, that indicated “adulthood”. In reality, I probably didn’t become a real adult until I was in my mid 30’s.
    I am following your journey on the Tweeter feed. My journey to England, with two Besties, will be this July. Having a birthday in London sounds pretty quaint. Then into the Cotswolds, Oxford and Bath for public and private garden tours. We’ll spend a day at the Hampton Court Palace Garden Show too. I liken it to Neiman Marcus creating, decorating and enhancing a local county fair. ENJOY YOUR DAY and your travels. Have a Cuppa on me! Susan M

    • sbranch says:

      Love that anniversary … I probably didn’t begin to really understand life until I turned 51, so this will be my 20th anniversary of the awakening that began then and becomes more interesting by the day! Enjoy your trip Susan, and thank you!

  48. Regina Carretta says:

    Susan! Happiest belated, celebrate-all-year birthday! I am so enjoying reading your twitter and seeing photos, as 3 of us are going to Edinburgh, St. Andrews, Galway and Dublin next month….do let us know if you go to the Writers Museum in Dublin, as that is on my list, as are the Cliffs of Moher, Arran Islands near Galway….in Edinburgh, the castle, the Royal Mile, the history, Raggamuffins! are on the list, and near St. Andrews, the East Neuk fishing villages….I can’t wait to hear your impressions of Ireland as it is a totally new country for me….send more photo’s, but more importantly, do the “Susan thing” of living life, meeting people, taking in the colors and tastes of villages and towns….sending love (p.s. how is the weather? what should I pack?)

  49. Peggy Lison says:

    Dearest Susan,

    This morning I was alerted by the BBC news that they are currently allowing off road vehicles to tear across Beatrix Potters’ beloved Lake District which she meant to preserve as a wild place. The noise and erosion is not what she had in mind I am sure. Could you spread the word so that girlfriends and others will help defend the district as Mrs. Hellis would have wanted. I was able to sign a petition on line and hope others will too. I feel it is our duty to help preserve the district as it was meant to be. I feel very sad that they are allowing this to happen. Let’s put a stop to this by withholding tourist dollars and shouting out against this. Thanks and here is a link that people can voice their concern. Yours truly -forever a Beatrix fan. Peggy in Madison
    Richard.Leafe@lakedistrict.gov.uk or Save the Lake District

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Peggy, I’ve been googling and can’t find this story … would like to read it if possible. Terrible thought, but they are so careful and love Beatrix so much and have so much honor for her, I’m sure it will stop soon. xoxo

      • Gill says:

        If you look on the Bbc internet news site, there is an article published on 14 April titled “ Lake District authority violating World Heritage status”. It is in the subsection of UK, England, Regions, Cumbria. Which you find in the red band across the top of the page 🙂

        Looking forwards to seeing and hearing more about your Irish exploits! My siblings and I are in the middle of gathering all the documents needed to claim our Irish citizenship, through our paternal grandmother 😊🇮🇪

  50. Peggy Lison says:



    Whew!! Had a hard time navigating these cut/paste but here they are.
    Let me know if you think this is legit. It appears to be real to me. They are letting 3wheel atv’s and 4wheel all terrain vehicles on the precious off road areas of the Lake district and making a mess of it. I didn’t even want to look at all the photos of it:( Hope we can put pressure on them to stop. I would hate to be there and have all that roaring etc. in the beautiful land. I hope you are having a great time and are over the cold/flue. Cheers from Peggy
    ps. Hate to be the bearer of this news. Wish it was more fairy tale like but. . . .

    • sbranch says:

      It’s okay, better to know than not to know. I have a lot of faith in the English, they’ve done wonderful things so far!

  51. Janet Hundley says:

    Wishing you a very happy birthday and many, many more. Happy travels😊❤️

  52. Suzette Shoulders says:

    Ahh, Susan and Joe, You are having such a good time! I come look at your blog fairly often, want some GOOD NEWS from my girlfriend! Happy your travels in Cornwall went well, I haven’t been that far south in England… nor have I been to the ‘old sod’ where some of my ancestors came from, dear Ireland. But every place you travel, I love to read about! Happy Birthday hugs to you, and happy travels! Suzette in Oregon

  53. Debbie Boerger says:

    Don’t know how to thank you for taking us along. Tom and I watched The Quiet Man a few months ago! Thinking of all the Irish and Scots who made that crossing to America. So glad they did. Did you know that until recent years, German immigrants were the largest segment of our population? My German/Bohemian husband tells me that at least once a year. 😉

    Sorry I missed your birthday, Dear Lady, but I see many of the Girlfriends did not. Another wonderful year to experience and explore.

    Mucho love,

  54. Lori Hamilton says:

    Ah, Susan! Galway!
    My hubby and I are going in September and I’ll take all the tips you’ve got for places to see, etc. I CAN.NOT.WAIT. to read the next book and hope your internet works long enough for a new blog soon.
    Get well quickly. We love you “out here” and hope the rest of the trip goes smoothly. May the “road rise up to meet you!”

  55. co co says:

    Thank you so much for taking us on your trip. I have always loved England and you make it feel as if we are right there.

  56. Wendi Unrein says:

    Oh dear heavens I fell into this amazing world not realizing I knocked my mug over and coffee spilled out! I’ve been going backward in your posts as I have been out of town celebrating becoming a new step Grammy! 💖💖💖 I also have been digging up my English ancestry and seeing all these insanely amazing places I think I know why my heart has been pining for them!! I just can’t believe how amazing it all is and for many this is their daily life! I can’t believe it has been 8 years since I saw you last and by gosh you two, don’t age!! That means your life is full and happy!! I just finished the Irish share and it’s beyond wonderful!!! Can’t wait for more! Blessings ☘️

    • sbranch says:

      Oh no, we age! 😂 Trick is not to look at old photos! Happy new Grammy to you Wendi, it must feel so wonderful! Blessings on you and yours!

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