Seventh Heaven

We’ve been driving, darlings, but I’m here to catch up! First thing you should know? Seventh Heaven. That’s the truth.  MUSICA 🍀☘🍀

We’ve driven hill and dale through small villages . . .

and little country places all clean and windswept . . .

in WEATHER, because it’s wild over here right now, just like it is at home!

Lots and lots of rain . . . and wind . . .

And sometimes some pretty scary fog . . .But Map Man has become such a good driver, despite the wrong side of the road and the wrong side of the car, there is no fear, much anyway, and onward we go! Cling to each other as rocks of gibraltar.

And no matter where . . .

. . . we go . . .

. . . the view is charming and sends your mind to the moon … think of that tree in the summer, what it must look like . . . see the bird at the top, and the lamb at the bottom . . . and those hedgerows? They’re growing on rock walls . . .

We drove across the Severn from England into Wales . . . where SO MUCH HAPPENED, but we will skip directly to our Girlfriend Carrie and her husband Stuart because we stopped to say hello . . .

Her darling new-to-her house by the side of the road . . . we had just pulled up, and they were outside waiting! Thank goodness for cell phones and GPS!

We went for a luv-lee walk to the top of a hill overlooking the village …

And those of you familiar with @CarrieHerself (on Twitter) will recognize her famous wonder-dog, Jack!

We could have walked and talked for days!

But I know what you want! You want to see Carrie’s house, right? I can do that, she told me so! Thank you Carrie! We both agreed, Petey fit right in!

Carrie’s adorable Beatrix Potter shelf. 💞

And the shelf in the bedroom she’d fixed up for us . . . I took this photo with my cell phone from the bed! You could stare at it for hours! So pretty, with sweet old books, pictures, and china.

We had tea in our jammies in the morning in very recognizable cups! This is one side of Carrie’s comfy kitchen . . .

And this is the other. Just love her colors, greens and blues, and daffodils! Notice fluffy white chick-magnet in basket on floor next to chair . . .

Here we are, up-close and personal with the chick magnet. 💞

A couple more photos . . . Here’s Carrie’s desk.

Every Welsh, English, and Irish family that lives in the country has mud in their everyday lives and needs one of these areas in their home.  We brought our Wellies with us and even though they take up space, we are so happy we did! We keep them in the car so we have them when we need them. May not always be mud, but tall grass is WET! And walking is such a wonderful pastime. If your boots are rubber you can walk right into river water!

And this crooked little house is just down the street from Carrie. I think she could start a magazine of her adorable village (but mostly of her house) called An Eye for Details. She’s trying to retire from the B & B in Oxford that she runs with Stuart, but I keep thinking of new things for her to do. 😘

They were so good to us . . . but all too soon, as with every good thing, it had to end, and we had to go!

I needed to stop on our way to pay my respects to someone who helped to make life fun when I was young. It was very touching to be there. Miss her! When she died so suddenly it was like a light was turned off. She went home to the wind and the sky of Wales that made her.💞

Laura Ashley’s grave is next to a field ~ I walked over to take a photos of these cavorting lambs kicking up their heels, saying, Spring! Life begins again! Then again, back into the car we went . . . and on the road again . . . to

. . . the top west side corner of Wales (loving every bit of Wales, what a wonderful interesting place it is ~ More! More! More! I’ll show you in the book), to Holyhead to catch . . .

. . . the ferry to Ireland . . . 🍀

Across the famously fearsome Irish Sea we went . . . intrepid brave travelers that we are . . .

It became clear very soon that we were going to get lucky (I’m the canary in the coal mine), that the Irish Sea was going to treat us like the big babies we are . . .(I am) …

It was gentle sailing the entire three hour trip . . .

But just in cases, we were ready. You can have your own room on the ferry, for not a lot of money, if you aren’t sure and taking no chances, would rather be seasick in private. You give them your car keys, and they give you the key to a room . . .

Perfectly wonderfully comfortable, you can lie down. It even has TV and a shower should you feel so inclined! This ferry goes night and day, does even longer trips, some people commute on it, so this room could come in very handy.

Two lounges, a breakfast room, video games  . . .

The good ship Epsilon goes places! Sails to France! Very tempting!

But we have a plan, and suddenly, thar she blows, our first glimpse of Ireland . . .☘ A place I’ve felt connected to from far away, a place we’ve always wanted to see. The first time for both of us.

The ferry lands about ten minutes from downtown Dublin . . . Joe set the GPS and boom, here we were.

In Dublin we met up with one of my oldest and dearest friends, Elaine (and Joe’s too ~ I met Elaine in California, she moved to the Island and worked with Joe at the Black Dog for a while). She flew in from California to hang around in Ireland with us (and help me celebrate my birthday in Dublin, which is what we proceeded to do) …. here we are at Trinity College. It was her first time in Ireland too, and she’s a Duffy and a Sullivan! 🍀

This is Elaine and me in the way-back machine, on a waterski weekend in California. You might remember Elaine from The Fairy Tale Girl … she hired me to work in the record department of Stereo West. (Fired me too! ⚡ But I deserved it so I forgive her!)

Here’s to old friends! All those years ago, who would have thought we’d be together in a pub in Dublin in 2018!?

And to add to the birthday joy of the moment, more darling friends, Rachel and Paul flew over from England to join us!

Paul, the proper English Gentleman . . . so cute!

Lowely and John sent birthday flowers to the hotel! Yes, verklempt! The card was all in “the Irish” (as John had requested), “Breithla Sona!” Happy Birthday! 

Of course, we did the “ring thing” at the restaurant on my birthday dessert. Everyone put their rings over my candle, and when I made a wish, they made one too, and when I blew out the candle, ALL our wishes came true. 💞 Then everyone had to suck the ice cream off their rings!

So Joe’s ring slipped out of his fingers and rolled into the restaurant, causing panic, everybody UP (I grab the camera!) … but we found it and all was well! It was, as they say in Ireland, “Graaand” ~ a perfectly lovely wonderful fun and funny evening in a very delicious restaurant called Peploes … I’ll put more photos in the book-to-come, I’m writing every day, but keeping up here is impossible, there is SO MUCH to tell you . . .  Joe gave me the most perfect antique thing he found in Dublin, I painted it already, I’ll put it in the book! MAS MUSICA!

And then, because time just refuses to slow down, Rachel got back to the clamouring fans of her Sugar Moon Brownies 😋, Paul went back to his law office 📚, and for us it was off again, on our trek across Ireland to our new house on Galway Bay, with Elaine tucked into the front seat . . .

This was our first glimpse of our new Bayfield House, just turning into the driveway and already madly in love with it . . . and since then . . .

Our neighbor has moved his cows into our field . . . we can see them out the living room window right this very moment, but these two photos are from the car window as we were pulling into the driveway . . .

I love them so much. Bunch of moms and their babies, a family. 💞 Ireland, I have learned in just these few days, is a place that seeps into your heart a little at a time, the more you read, the more you know the history, the closer you feel to these wonderful people and everything that’s happened here.  I’m writing every night and loving it. 

So right now, I have to stop, because Siobhan just arrived, and she, along with Elaine and Joe are looking at me, 👀 we have a reservation for dinner at a place just up the road. We are walking! Past the cows, and the rock walls, along Galway Bay! I have to go get ready. But what I’m going to do is come back later and add on. So read this, and then get ready for more later. Like a serial! XOXO

Here I am again!  Drinking my tea in this quiet house with the huge picture windows, watching the brown cows and the magpies waking up outside, and beyond the green fields and rock walls, the tide coming in on Galway Bay. More photos? Oui! MASS MUSICA? (This was playing in our car BBC while we were driving hill and dale in the countryside, past all the lambs and daffodils and I’m still not over it and never will be!) 

As I’ve been saying, the hiking and walking-pub-tearoom life is a lifestyle here. It’s easy to walk from one town to the next over narrow ancient paths, and there is always a public house along the way, so you never have to worry about food, drink, facilities, and warmth.

Very often there’s a crackling fire you can cozy up to . . .

While you flirt with nearby dogs.

The food, btw, is SO GOOD with a focus on freshness and health. I have a theory … Maybe it’s because they had that horrible event with mad cow disease in the late 90s that was killing people and was so difficult to stop that they were finally forced put down an estimated 180,000 animals in the British countryside ~ it had to be a horrible life-imprinting/changing event for everyone. Even from far away, I saw what was happening and hurt for all those farmers and their country neighbors. I’m not sure if the fine quality of pub food now has anything to do with that, this is just my own take on it, but I remember when people used to disparage British cooking, and it makes sense, because no one could every do that now! I think everyone would have automatically been made hyper-aware that you are what you eat, and now, everywhere you go, even in what seems to be the middle of nowhere, the food is fresh and organic and locally sourced.  Every ingredient is listed on the menus and we’re told it comes from such and such farm … every imaginable allergy is carefully watched over. Some menus are almost entirely gluten free! Unless you eat their yummy seeded homemade bread!  But in most places, you can order gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, vegan … any way you like it. 👍

So, yes, you walk and walk, then go sit in front of the fire and eat something wonderful . . .

And if you’re lucky, you’ll be in a pub with a view, and perhaps a little critter will come visit your window . . .

Could happen!

That view also included the cottage belonging to Doc Martin (of the much loved TV series) because we were in charming Port Isaac in Cornwall . . . the house is the smaller of the two grey-stone ones in this photo … we walked all over the hidden narrow paths between the whitewashed or stone cottages in this wonderful magical village by the sea.

I could really go on all day . . . but my people are waking up, they will be milling about soon and wanting me to move my hiney out of this chair.  But before I go, you should know there are daffodils EVERYWHERE. Whole roads are lined with them. I keep asking myself, “Who does this?”

And then there are the castle gardens . . . with massively old trees . . . and more lovely sheep to keep the grass cut and tidy looking , like a huge park.

Look at the expression on that one “hiding” next to the tree!

I got to pet my first lamb! But I don’t think it’ll be my last!

This is an amazing little village in Wales called Beddgelert . . . go there if you can, it’s in the Snowdonia National Park and as sweet as pie.

We walked over the bridge to have dinner, and came back after dark without the slightest light to guide us . . . except for our handy “torch” (flashlight) . . . and the cold river rushing by and stars overhead.


It has been wonderful so far, and this is just the tip of the great big emerald-green iceberg. More to come!!! You know we still have our picnic in Beatrix Potter’s Garden! And our house in the Cotswolds! We’ve only just begun!

But here comes Mother’s Day! And before I went away I designed a new crown! I’m giving you plenty of time to make it ~ it’s a crown project! Isn’t it adorable? Kellee put this one together for us ~ You can make it either with or without the band at the bottom, and use it for any day!

Click HERE for the How-To directions and to print out these papers . . . because

And very soon our Mother’s Day cups will ship from England! At the end of this week!

ALL of them are shipping. They have to get over the pond to America, then go through customs, then be trucked to the Studio, and then, finally, to you . . . we will be shepherding them from here, cracking that whip, fingers crossed that they make it to everyone for Mother’s Day 🌷 . . . And thank you so much for your patience! I have them all here with us, and they turned out beautifully!

And now look! Not to drive you nuts, which I don’t mean to do, but with the lateness of the Springtime cups, we are running into a log jam. (And as Siobhan says from her peanut gallery over on the sofa, “But the good news is you can have two cups at once!” She doesn’t realize that our cups runneth over!) Anyway, this may be our last collection ~ I feel like I’m taking up too much of your cupboard space! Maybe I’ll do another one for next Christmas? We don’t get home until July 1 and I wanted to make sure our Summer cups were designed and ready to go before we left home. They sent me the first samples when we were in Cornwall. They should be shipping from England around May 20 and probably from us at the Studio around the 2nd week of June, if all goes as planned 😜. This means, for those of you collecting, we will have all four seasons! So here’s a closeup of what is coming:

The collection would not have been complete unless we had a God Bless America cup! So here we go! Fireworks, bunting, flags and all!

The back, “Of Thee I sing!” I photographed them all in the backyard of the Cornwall house on the vintage tablecloth I bought for the Picnic! Perfect timing.

Here’s the side, and the Statue of Liberty . . . btw, I picked the little flowers from the lawn.

  Because even though we are traveling, cuteness matters!

Zee bottom, “Sea to Shining Sea.” And now . . .

SUMMER! (Will it ever really come?)

The Summer back, you can see the dog pulling the kite on the beach . . . This is the smaller 11 oz cup (like the other three seasons have been) as opposed to the rest of them which are large 16 oz cups. But they’re both that thin strong bone china we love.

Here’s SUMMER from the side so you can see the kite tail and read the rest of the quote…

And a little reminder while you’re drinking your tea to go play . . . they are not long the days of wine and roses! And next . . .

A celebration of the little things that make life sweet with A RED LETTER DAY!

Everything needed for a homemade happy life . . . your basic “How to be Happy!”

Here’s the side . . .

And the cheerful handle with dancing and singing cats!

And a little reminder on the bottom . . .

Next, behind door number four . . . the GARDEN . . .

With lots of wonderful old-wives tales gardening tips on the back to make it interesting . . .

Picket fence and humming birds!

And scattered flowers for the handle. Oops, I forgot to take a photo of the bottom! BUT I remember, there’s a red-handled trowel and it says, “You can bury a lot of troubles digging in the dirt.” Truer words were never spoken! 🌸

And that’s the four for Summer! Kellee will put them in our web store for preorder within the next couple of days. I’m thinking of ordering a lot less of these, mainly because I fear that you are being inundated with cups! So, to be sure, if you want one, place your order, so I will know.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program! I’ll see you in a few days!

 We went to Cong here in Ireland, where much of The Quiet Man was filmed (see it if you haven’t already, it’s a guaranteed love-fest!). This photo was in the bathroom of the actual Pat Cohan Bar you see in the movie, and that’s where Elaine and I are sitting above. See what I mean? It’s never ending. More later! Have a wonderful marvelous magical day of joy and happiness  and good and delicious and healthy things to eat. XOXO 


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511 Responses to Seventh Heaven

  1. I have been to the UK 3 times and Ireland 4. I can never get enough. The beauty, the history and the people! Always something new to see.

  2. Judy says:

    Happy belated birthday my friend! You look more beautiful each year! Love you! xoxo

  3. co co says:

    I especially enjoy the glimpses into your friends’ homes and your holiday homes. It helps provide a sense of place.

  4. Susan Hite, OKC says:

    As soon as my friend Jo Logan found out I am sailing on the Queen Mary II to England this fall, she introduced me to everything Susan Branch. Am loving it all. My ancestry is English, Irish, Scottish. I have always had the feeling I “left something in Ireland,” though I have never been to any of the ancestry countries. Thank you so much for sharing pix of the Ferry to Ireland. I will have to do it alone, but I hope very much to make that crossing while I am in England. You made it seem much more inviting. I wish I hadn’t waited till I am 73 to make these travels.

    • sbranch says:

      Now’s the time. And I’m pretty sure you’ll find the thing you lost when you get here. Enjoy every moment Susan, I’m so happy for you. Say hello to Jo for me!

  5. Kim from California says:

    The new tea cups are darling! I’m having such a good time following along on your adventures! Thank you for sharing! 😀

  6. Patricia Edde says:

    Hi Susan, You’ve been interested in the Decorah eagles and eaglets so thought I would share some, hard for us here in Decorah, news. Papa eagle hasn’t been seen for 3 nights and no one knows what has happened. The raptor resource people have been on the ground looking for even just a glimpse of him but so far nothing. The babies are alright – mom has been keeping them well and feeding them – but on the cam feed you could hear her calling out for her mate. I asked the RRP moderators if she could feel a sense of lose regarding her mate. They said “no”, but in listening to her I felt differently. Elephants will mourn for their lost members for days, even a week or more. We know that dogs and cats mourn so why would any other species be different, especially ones that mate for life. Anyway, I wanted to let you know and I hope that we’ll find out something tomorrow. Be well and continue your great adventure.

    • sbranch says:

      Please update and tell me he’s back. Very sad to think of. Oh no was my first thought. 😱

  7. Sonya Hewes says:

    Us inundated with cups you say? I think not! They are beautiful!! ♥

  8. MarySue says:

    Adored your afraid-of-fog face drawing. 🌵

  9. sharper says:

    Belated happy birthday…it appears it was wonderful. I love seeing the cottage pictures….Carrie’s adorable house was precious, and you were careful to highlight all the lovely decorative shelving and warm kitchen atmosphere. It was amazing! Hope your new book, btw…I’m so excited about that….will feature lots of cottages and food. That’s the second thing I really enjoy is the food pics and your descriptions of the pubs and tearooms. It’s like I am there…..and that is a gift you have given us. You have a nice blend of cottage pics, food, and countryside…..hope your book is the same and it will be a winner!!!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s everything I love too, so I think we’ll both be happy. Joe and I are figuring out some of these amazing sauces they do for their Sunday Roasts. Beyond YUM.

  10. Jana says:

    Thank you, Dear Susan, and Happiest of Birthdays to you! I must say this whole post was lover-ly, but the icing on the cake was seeing Carrie’s kitchen, dog, hubby, and Carrie herself! The little bookcase on the wall in your guest room was a feast for eyes and heart. So appreciate the pace at which you travel and how you soak it all in and then share it with us, your girlfriends who adore you!

  11. Carolyn Rector from Ohio says:

    Thinking of you in your Irish house knitting with your friends. Wondering how you like your circular needles?
    Love love all your posts, thank you for sharing Looking forward to your next book.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m still not sure. I stopped in Wales and bought the old fashioned straight kind. Now I’m stumped as to which to use. Everyone says I will love the circular ones but I’m concerned that my stitches won’t stay regular!

  12. Joann says:

    What a delightful post, as always! We just came back from CA to do a little grandson babysitting and I did a little floral arranging class and we went to Full belly Farm, etc. It was COLD and rainy!!!!!!!!!!!! And, the day before we left, the sun came out, so it’s just been a bit silly weather. Looks like England has sunshine now, so enjoy that!

    If anyone near us wants to join us for a tea in your honor and I’ll put out all my Susan Branch dishes, books, etc. please come! Day after your picnic!!

    • sbranch says:

      What a wonderful idea!! Kindred spirits in your kitchen, plus you were with us at the last Picnic so you’ll have first hand information of what it was like. FUN Joann! Put it on Twitter and I’ll RT it!

  13. Marilyn L Young says:

    What can I possibly add except that I want to go to all these places and know I can’t now! Thanks for these photos, these second-hand experiences and for all those beautiful cups! I wish you a Happy Birthday (belated) and you and Joe continue along your merry way until you return home. Blessings

  14. Darla Unger says:

    Happy Belated Birthday! What a great blog , The pictures were all like I was looking at a book. Your friends house looked so warm and totally inviting. I Loved the pictures of the beautiful cows. Thanks for taking the time to fill us in. Glad your having fun.

  15. Pam Butterick says:

    Such a wonderful blog…really very, very dear to me and hundreds of others😍 THANK YOU for your wonderful pictures of Carrie and their dream home (it is dreamy!)….and for all of the blessedly sweet lambs, cows, trees ☺️. And hedge rows and pubs and doggies and seagulls…and the musica…and Gladys Taber ☺️😍…it was 2 years ago RIGHT NOW when our church choir toured Ireland and Wales and sang concerts, and reading your blog brings it right back into my heart. Including the trip on the ferry☺️.
    And yes, I now need MORE mugs….I might need to put an addition on our house😂😂😂. The new mugs are fabulous…. 4th of July…Of Thee I Sing…it melted me. ❤️🎵🇺🇸. I’ll stop here, even though I have hours more thoughts to convey, from my heart. Travel on, be safe and know that our hearts travel with you. 😘☺️😍

  16. Stephanie C says:

    Dear Susan, I have a problem. I have always gotten your letters sent to my email, but somehow this one didn’t make it. I had been looking every day but no letter. Then my Mom had mentioned your letter and I said that I hadn’t received it. I had to go to your blog to get it. I tried to sign up again, thinking maybe I had fallen off the list, but it said that I am already signed up. Could you please help??? I am an old faithful “snail mail” friend from waaay back. I hate to miss these as I am an armchair traveler too. So glad you are enjoying your trip and taking us with you.
    Sincerely, Stephanie

    • sbranch says:

      I sent this to [email protected]/~susanbs3/susanbranch/ … maybe she can help, I have no idea why this happens sometimes! Sorry, but hopefully something can be done! Thank you for letting me know!

  17. Stephanie C says:

    Oh and Happy belated Birthday too!!!

  18. Cindy Johnson says:

    I just can hardly take any more of this wonderful blog ! EVERY day I look to see if I can be transported to Ireland – England and Wales. I read comments of the girlfriends and I feel the same about the book, cups, lambs , pubs, and Carrie’s house …everything. Just ordered 2 more mugs and know my spring cup is coming soon. Thank you for sharing God’s gift to you….and us.

    • sbranch says:

      It is seriously a world of kindred spirits here . . . we love all the sweet and simple things in life! Love to have you here Cindy!

  19. Diane Scharf says:

    Hi Susan, We went to Scotland during the middle of the mad cow disease epidemic. We were pleasantly surprised with the veggie food in the pubs. Wonderful for me since I am a vegetarian. Sorry I won’t make the picnic. Diane

  20. Leslie Gammelgaard says:

    Happy birthday, Susan! How wonderful that you can celebrate with all those folks you love sooo much in your fairytale land come true! We love seeing a bit of your travels… enjoy everything!
    (Your Summer cup is fabulous btw!)

  21. Stephanie C says:

    Thank you so much for taking time out of your vacation to help me. You’re the best;)

  22. Cindy Brosh says:

    Happy happy birthday Susan! Thank you for these lavish photos and your always gorgeous prose. Ireland looks amazing. I’m wondering if you know the Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donahue? He lived in County Claire and was an avid student of Celtic culture and spirituality. If you haven’t found him already, his book of blessings called “To Bless the Space Between Us” is truly delightful. Happy happy birthday to you!

    • sbranch says:

      I do … he is lovely …
      “For everything under the sun there is a time.
      This is the season of your awkward harvesting,
      When the pain takes you where you would rather not go,

      Through the white curtain of yesterdays to a place
      You had forgotten you knew from the inside out;
      And a time when that bitter tree was planted . . .”

  23. Julie says:

    Now is not the time for me but I hope hope hope one day to visit the sights you have shared. A boy with autism and a daughter with a nut allergy makes travel tricky. I am delighted to hear you say that allergens are noted at the places you’ve eaten. I hate to be high maintenance but we must be safe. Love “accompanying” you on your trip. thank you!!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s very surprising, I haven’t been to a single pub or restaurant that doesn’t cater to all sorts of allergies, I think you would be fine in the UK or Ireland. If perchance you landed in one that DIDN’T pay attention to those things, drive about two blocks and there’s another one and they will. You have no worries here. And no one sees it as “high maintenance.” They are nice as pie about it, just part of serving the public good and healthy things for them to eat.

  24. Joann says:

    Oh yes………….Happy belated birthday. Daughter Amanda’s is April 13 and I (horribly) forgot her husband’s birthday this year, which was April 6. So, I’m completely off this year………..

    But we thought of you, as always, and wish you the very best!!!!!!!! Love the photographs of your travels!! As always!!


    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Joann. If I didn’t have the calendar to remind me, I’d forget my own birthday out here in the world of nothing is actually real! xoxo

  25. BOBBIE PARIS says:

    Would have loved to see Laura Ashley‘s gravesite!!! Loved her fabrics, clothes and I still have EMMA and LAURA ASHLEY NO 1 scents!!! Love her stores, China, stationery, etc. can you tell I loved Laura Ashley? Love you too! Be safe!

    • sbranch says:

      I can tell. It was wonderful out there in the wind and the sound of the baaing lambs . . . wonderful and sad too. Touching.

  26. Cyndee in Kalamazoo says:

    Oops…no one has seem to notice on Twitter, but unless the Royals have Forman as one of their many names, I don’t think they are going to name all their sons GEORGE.

    Loved seeing Carrie and Stuart’s cottage. Carrie has done so much in a short time.I can see she has been ready for this change.We are so glad we got to stay at their B&B last summer.

    • sbranch says:

      Ha ha, you are so right! Carrie is in her true place, she radiates joy and I have to say that Stuart does too.

  27. Patricia says:

    Happy Birthday! Thank you for taking us along on this beautiful tour!
    I have many happy memories of being in Wales. I celebrated my birthday in a charming pub in Caernarvon, Wales a few years back. I was delighted to see you were in Beddgelert – the sweetest place.
    Happy travels…..looking forward to seeing your posts and book to come!

    • sbranch says:

      What a magical place it is, indeed. (Now I say indeed, and the other day I said, alas! Something is happening here.😆)

  28. Cyndee in Kalamazoo says:

    I meant to say…I saw your vote for the new baby’s name on Twitter.

  29. Debi Hutchinson, CA says:

    I sit here at my desk (during my lunch hour, of course), reading your blog, and dreaming of Ireland. We’ve been blessed to have visited Ireland and, like you, fell instantly in love. My husband’s great great etc. grandfather was Seamus O’Sullivan. With a name like that, we HAD to visit Ireland! Thank you so much for taking us along!

    Also, if you want my vote…yes, you should design Christmas cups!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      What a name. One of my favorite things are the names on the pubs and businesses in the villages! Quinns, Murphys, Fitzgeralds … like a song!

  30. Joyce Mahan says:

    I’m SO glad that I took a brief peek at your blog. I didn’t realize that you had updated it. I’ve been following you on Twitter. Which is fast, and I like that. But your blog had a few more details. Have fun…following you from distant Baton Rouge!

    • sbranch says:

      I can’t even get it all in on the blog, things happening so fast, makes me glad I’m keeping a diary . . . for the memories! I’m happy to have you along Joyce!

  31. Julee Collins says:

    I’m so glad I had to check my spam folder for something else a few days ago, as somehow this had found itself in there! OH NOooooo! Panic button was definitely hit, as emergency rescue was begun immediately; no idea how that happened, but I enjoyed it even more than usual, for its narrow escape. So maybe the “rebellious” nature of Stephanie’s , mentioned above, just attached itself to mine, too! Happy Birthday to you, dll year long, amazing Girlfriend, and may the joy of that day just keep repeating itself each day of this dream-come-true” trip!

  32. Dear Susan and Joe,
    Loving your journey. Keep well, stay adventurous and have loads of fun!

    I am sad Carrie is retiring from the B and B- we loved our stay with them in Oxford, but their new home in Wales looks beautiful and full of their charm too!

    • sbranch says:

      I think they’re keeping it . . . their housekeeper will still run it for a while . . . and Carrie will oversee it. I hope their housekeeper can cook like Carrie can!

  33. Lorraine says:

    I love all the photos. Carrie’s house was definitely swoon-worthy. Oh my… That shelf in your room was amazing. I just stared at it for ages, trying to take it all in. I need Carrie to come to my house and fix my shelves.

    Happy Belated Birthday! My oldest daughter and you share the same birthday but I was out of town this year and it’s been a bit chaotic. Enjoy every moment. I am! Love to all.

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

    I don’t know what to say first, because everything about this blog is so wonderful! I especially love the photography from Wales, since my ancestors came from there. How I wish I knew more! All of your photography draws me into each picture. Can’t wait for your book! And I so hope the inspiration to do a cup from Wales/Ireland happens. New cups? Love them! Enjoying this trip with you! 💚

    • sbranch says:

      So happy to hear that Susan. Wales was a treat, we get to go through a wee bit more on our way back … it’s a gorgeous country and you can see.

  35. paula says:

    My goodness what a lovely time you and Joe are having, I m green wishing I could be there !! I had to giggle seeing that adorable little lamb next to the tree how sweet , cuddle cuddle indeed !
    I will have to order the garden/flower cup for my daughter, she loves loves plants !! and the 4th July, I do believe is calling my name .
    Thank you for sharing your joyful days with us , and
    safe travels!
    Blessings xoxox
    Happy belated Birthday friend!

  36. Patricia Edde says:

    Hi Susan, papa eagle still has not been sighted nor found. The last time he was seen at the nest was at 7:30 pm on 4/18/18. All of us who care about the eagles are in a state of deep sorrow. Not knowing is the worst. There has been another male eagle hanging around but so far mom won’t let him near the nest but also doesn’t appear to be afraid of him. I am still hoping for my Hollywood ending – that dad will come swooping back in and they will enjoy a very happy reunion. I just watched some footage from the 18th when we had that bad snowstorm and he was sitting close to mom and they were touching beaks and alittle while later he was gone. She must miss him so much and I know the experts would say that I am anthromorphizing (sp?) them but I believe what I believe. I wish I had better news to tell you, but the eaglets are doing fine and mom is doing what all strong women do TCOB. I just ordered your new cups and will wait patiently for their arrival – first I am looking forward to the Spring cups. Thank you for always creating such beautiful things for us, you are an American treasure.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m happy to hear about the babies doing well, and so sorry about the dad. Nature is as nature does, but sometimes it’s hard.😥 And thank you for you kind words, so sweet of you to say that. xoxoxoxo

  37. Hi Susan,
    Wonderful, wonderful posts on your glorious journey! I am a Davies by birth and Tuttle by marriage, so there’s Welsh-English blood flowing through my veins. And my paternal grandmother Lillian Stafford Davies hailed from Northern Ireland. Even if I never make it back there (I did visit London for a week in the mid-90s), you are taking me there on your fabulous trip. Can’t wait for the book and your next post. Royal baby and royal wedding fever must be heating up now!
    Stay well and belated Happy Birthday (April 12, same day as my hubby John who turned 75 this year).
    Cheers, good health and hugs to you and Joe!
    Nancye T., Wells, Maine

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, the baby and the wedding are rolling across every front page. I hope by the time we get back to England the bunting is aflutter in every town! Happy birthday to John!

  38. jeanie says:

    Loving your posts as always — planning my October England and Wales visit so I am inspired, delighted and in awe, all at once. Must order a red letter day cup when they go online! Cats that look like mine!

  39. Sheryl Kirk says:

    Hi. The crown is adorable. I still have the one from last year. Thanks.

  40. jennifer says:

    I am not on twitter, but hope you won’t leave Ireland without hearing A SONG FOR IRELAND. I first heard it in a pub in Dingle. It made me cry! Such beautiful words and poignant music. Several versions are about, but Mary Black’s is my favorite.

    Blessings on your travels, and many thanks to you and Joe for sharing.

    • sbranch says:

      Been driving around with this song playing in our car for the last two weeks! Makes me cry … xoxo

  41. Pat Johnson says:

    Oh, yes…… You are MARVELOUS!!! No need to write back…..just wanted to wish you a Happy Birthday and let you know that you STILL make my days and fill them with joy. I look forward to a new book. I am on the second book for a re-read of multiple times. The thing about reading the books over again when you are old………you don’t always remember what you read before so it seems to be NEW!!! AHHHHHHH what we have to do to stay young……… Happy trails, my dear. Hugs to Joe………

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Pat, you are so sweet. Today we pack to go from Ireland to the Lake District … back onto the ferry and over the Irish Sea tomorrow … everything going way too fast! So I have a few moments, and when I do, I love to write back! Thank you as always for your kind words, it’s a pleasure to see you here!

  42. Jane Armour says:

    Pure bliss for an armchair traveler!

  43. Linnea says:

    My friends and I had a fabulous trip to Ireland and England last year. If you are nearby, visit Doolin and also take a ferry to the Aran Islands. Be sure to stop at McGanns Pub in Doolin. The food was wonderful and the people, music and ambiance even more so. Another highlight was time spent in the Cotswolds at quaint villages and charming B&Bs. So enjoying your blog and reliving our experiences. Safe travels!

    • sbranch says:

      We tried to go over to the Islands, but it was SO SO SO windy, we didn’t try very hard! 🤢

  44. Sigh says:

    Why do people gush about loving cows and lambs, yet eat them? You know they suffer terribly in the process to get them on your plate, right?

    • sbranch says:

      A huge important subject. It isn’t the same everywhere, they don’t have to suffer, I hope things are changing. But where there is money there seems to be a problem. Although I wonder what the countryside would look like if we didn’t have animals anymore. People couldn’t afford to hold onto the land, more space for houses, telephone wires, wal-marts, and roads.

  45. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! HAPPY BIRTHDAY 🎂💕🌸🎂💐🎂 to you!!!!! Your terrific travel pictures are so much fun to look at from so far away in Michigan! So much to see and dream about as your days unfold into such beautiful memories for you and Joe, and Petey, of course! Will a new book be on the horizon Susan???? Hope so! Slipping into Spring has been a rough road. My 93 1/2 year old Dad took ill on Good Friday with a leg infection, was in hospital until after Easter, and my sister and I are now taking turns traveling to the island caregiving him. So, every other week I am unplugged because he requires so much time, and the visits are filled with one-on-one conversations, which are truly an opportunity to love him even more, and cherish times I can fill my heart with. Blessed privileges! So, I am just popping in to let you know I am thinking of you both and can’t wait to see more of your fabulous adventures! Take care. God Bless.

    • sbranch says:

      “Blessed privileges” is so right, Carilyn. My prayers are with you and your Dad. And your sister too. Sending love. xoxoxo

  46. Cathy from Golden, CO says:

    Just loving re-reading…LOVE Carrie’s home & all the pictures of the pretty countryside. Happy Belated Birthday. What a birthday this year! Thank you for sharing!

  47. Rhonda D. says:

    Hi Susan…Wishing you a very belated Happy Birthday. The flowers from Lowely and John were just beautiful. I’m so enjoying tagging along with you on this trip, drinking in all the beauty, new people and places. Thank you for taking the time to keep us updated when you can. Loved Carrie’s wee but and ben. It’s such a cozy spot. I felt like I just wanted to go curl up and stay there. Enjoy your travels and be safe. (But I already know you are in very good hands with Map Man).

  48. Regina Carretta says:

    Susan – you are fueling my anticipation! Two weeks to go until 3 of us head to Edinburgh, St. Andrews, Galway and Dublin! It will hopefully include the Cliffs of Moher, Aran Islands, Connemarra, charity shops!! Raggamuffins in Edinburgh (thanks to you), The Traditional Irish Music Pub Crawl in Dublin….we have all of our B&B’s reserved – I have a feeling I will return and return again….last year 4 of us went to London for a week….the next trip? The Lake District in England…..I will need to re-read your book and your blog for the 5th time! I can’t say enough how much your photo’s and sentiments mean to us – at this time in our dear, dear country, we need your voice of community, of respect for cultures, of graciousness and kindness…..I am ready to start packing!!! love and thank you thank you thank you…be safe!

    • sbranch says:

      Let me know how it goes Regina… I’d sure love to be at Raggamuffins with you! What a trip you have planned! Have fun, sending love xoxoxoxo

  49. Gill Smith says:

    Hi susan, loving keeping up with your travels on Twitter!
    Sooo glad you and Joe are having a ball , and what a wonderful time of year to be here. A little late arriving, but Spring is my favourite time of year too! Just popped in to tell you, we went to the cinema to watch a film called …..The Guernsey Literary and potato peel society.
    The reason I think you may be interested in this film, it was filmed here in north Devon!
    “Guernsey, was Clovelly! I know you loved that place.
    The plane they travelled on landed on Saunton beach, Clovelly in the back ground. Lots of scenery around Hartland point too.
    Apart from the scenery, it was a good film to watch.
    Not long now for your picnic, so wish I was coming……..LOVE the Lake District. You are going to have a ball! Super weather forecast for the weekend, Enjoy!
    Gill Devon U.K.

  50. Hi Susan !!! I just wanted to tell you I LOVE your artwork , books, fabric etc etc etc. !! I just finished reading Fairy Tale Girl and I had more than one Twilight Zone moment …… or a parallel universe or something ….. because SO many times while reading it I stopped in my tracks because of the unbelievable similarities between your story and mine ……. right down to my kitty Petunia passing away at only 2 years old after my guy left me and moved from Pa to California to pursue a music career in 1982 …… I got a job working in a Laura Ashley store in Philly …… jotted in my someday fun career goals diary to “travel around the country taking pictures for Country Living Magazine”……I eventually followed the boyfriend to California ( we’re married now for 31 years ……. not happily ….. he’s opposite of me ….. hates holidays and family stuff …… wants to move to a hot climate and lay on a beach….. I want to live on Nantucket Island in an old house with a history to it and sew and quilt) . He will fly anywhere …… You have to practically drug me to fly ….. and I’ve always said I need to see the pilot …. ask him how he’s feeling today …. any problems at home? does he need a nap first before we take off ?). I also grew up just wanting to be a wife and Mom ….. that’s what my mother and all of my friends’ mothers did …… what the heck in 1976 when I graduated from HS and had to pick a college major . AND old movies and all of the music from those gems are my favorites !!! (my husband tells me I was born in the wrong decade and my kids think I’m weird – at least my 2 new daughter’s in law get it !!! ). Thanks for reading this rambling run on comment ! Just had to tell you we might be related in a different universe 🙂

  51. Suzette Shoulders says:

    I have been checking and checking for a later blog post than the April 17th one, and finally thought of looking at the comments, and found out a bit more about your travels! I did recall that the picnic at Castle Cottage was happening on May 11th, oh, won’t you have fun?! I hope the weather will be as perfect for you in Near Sawrey as it was for me and my friend Jenny last May! I loved the flowers there, and the Lakes are so divine… I love thinking about Beatrix saving that area from developers! Hooray for the power of one woman! Happy Travels to you and Joe! Your devoted fan, Suzette, in Oregon

  52. Judy Young says:

    Very Happy, Very Belated Happy Birthday Susan! It looks like it was a “perfect” birthday!

  53. Eileen Ammendolea says:

    Oh Susan! I haven’t been to England and Ireland in years! Reading this and looking at all your lovely pictures makes me want to go back again so very soon! Thank you for sharing with us!

    • sbranch says:

      It is a very special place, like Walt Disney would have planned if he had that HUGE of an imagination. Very fairytale land!

  54. Thank you, Susan, for sharing glimpses of your wonderful vacation with all of us! Here’s wishing you a belated happy birthday and also a very happy Mother’s Day today!!!!! Love your blog!!!

  55. Leslie Fama says:

    Hi Susan!

    Thank you so much for posting everything we needed to make the Crowns! I made 2 (one for my wonderful big sister and one for myself). She was thrilled! We met for a pre-Mother’s Day dinner and we both wore our crowns as we strolled through town. We received so many compliments on them. The day was made even more special as we both received our beautiful Mugs that were delayed. They arrived the day before Mother’s Day. Perfect timing! I took a special photo of us wearing our crowns. Would have loved to post it for you, but did not see an option to do so. Thanks again. Safe Journey back across the pond – I love following your wanderings thru England!

    • sbranch says:

      Yay! I LOVE those crowns, I’m so happy you do too! And you got your mugs! Frosting on the Mother’s Day cake! Can’t post photos here, I’m sorry to say, but you can on our Facebook page … would love to see you two!

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