Here I am again! Are you ready for our Castle Cottage Picnic? Me too! … But first I think you need, as promised, the story of our Milkman in the Lake District! Because we had one!

We found an order sheet in the cottage we were renting . . . filled it out, popped it into an empty milk bottle on the porch . . . and the next morning here comes his truck . . .

With Kevin inside, delivering local milk, eggs and butter and other groceries on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday … the UK is trying to move away from the use of disposable packaging and back to the reusable stuff. Considering how much trash we make these days, despite our recycling and composting efforts, it’s a huge undertaking. I applaud them for trying, and we got right into it. Whole milk in glass bottles from Town End Dairy!

Waiting on our porch the next morning . . .such a cheerful thing to find, plus you get a whole new relationship with an English Lakes person.

He’s a doll. He told me a secret about cooking fresh eggs I’m definitely putting in the book! Mandy called us the day of the Picnic and said she’d missed Kevin, that he was on his way to our place now, could I please get four pints of milk to bring along to the Picnic! Somehow, that is very darling to me. Like neighbors borrowing sugar. So small town. And now that we have our milk . . .

Let’s do both! MUSICA

It’s Castle Cottage Time… our May 11 Picnic, a visit to Hill Top, and Girlfriends galore. Reddest of Red Letter Days.

In picturesque Near Sawrey, “closer to Hawkshead than Far Sawrey,” the place where Beatrix Potter became the person she wanted to be.

A country girl, on a farm, where she could raise sheep, and paint the things she loved.

Early on the day of the Picnic, Joe and I were thrilled to go to Hill Top for a private tour of the house with Liz McFarland who’s worked for the National Trust managing Hill Top and collections there for 18 years, and her new associate (on her second day), Emily. To be inside Hill Top, those rooms, almost alone? Deep breath . . . So down the path, past the little picket-fence gate with the view across Post Office Meadow to Castle Cottage, we went.  Be still my heart.

Along the flag-stone path through the flower garden . . .

To the little kitchen garden in front of the house, brimming with rhubarb, banked by the bee house in the bee bole . . . Emily on the left and Liz on the right of me. Me looking at Joe, thinking, do you see this?

watering cans and pots…

reminding me of this . . .

We walked out of the garden up to Hill Top, the house Beatrix Potter bought in 1905, just after her fiancé, Norman Warne, died suddenly, only one month after their engagement ~ when Beatrix was 39 years old. If you can imagine, such a sudden change of plans, dreams halted, like driving off a cliff. She went to the place she loved in the English Lakes and bought Hill Top, which proved to be the doorway to her new life, a future she dared to dream despite the times in which she lived.

Beatrix standing in the doorway of Hill Top . . . the biographer Linda Lear called her a “Victorian Genius,” and every time I see this photo, that’s what I think of, a generous, romantic dreamer; an antique-loving, creative English watercolor artist; far-seeing, brave, pragmatist, preservationist, scientific, nature-loving human being, who could be grouchy if children stole her apples or left her field gates open. She died only five years before I was born. I’m proud to have her for my hero. She is still making a difference.

As I was walking in, I remembered that photo of Beatrix in the doorway and stopped and put my hand where she had been not so very long ago and smiled at Joe . . . I wanted to stand where she stood, and feel the place she’d been. The things that made her happy, make me happy too. That’s how you get your heroes.We need heroes to teach us how to be heroes. Spread your hero-love so your children will love them too. 

When we came to Hill Top the first time in 2012, they didn’t allow cameras inside ~ during my visit to the house, I had to sketch and scribble notes on a piece of paper I kept folded in my purse for this type of emergency ~ then go back to our rental to paint and write while the memory was fresh. 

The words on this pitcher are on page 189 of A Fine Romance. But this time, they said I could bring my camera . . . joy oh joy oh precious joy.

And so through the door, into the first room of the house, the kitchen, we went ~ or rather, I came in, turned around, went out, and came in again. Everything needs to be slow at Hill Top or you lose consciousness and miss the whole thing. Liz let me ask all the questions I wanted ~ as you can imagine she was a wealth of knowledge and volunteered all kinds of wonderful detail. It was truly a dream, as quiet as it must have been when Beatrix created it.

While she was talking, my eyes searched the room for Beatrix’s hat and clogs. And there they were, just where I saw them last time, just where she left them to the National Trust when she died in 1942. For us. For everyone. Forever.

And this was the cast iron range where she made her tea, the heart of Hill Top. They still have fires in it on cold days. I would love to try baking in it. I bet you’d have to practice! I do not see the dial that says 350º on it.

And there is her cuckoo clock that’s been ticking away the time for all these years. 

Everything was placed exactly where she wanted it . . . I saw three clocks, the cuckoo and this grandfather clock were in the kitchen, and there was another grandfather clock on the stair landing.

Beatrix’s father had these plates made . . . from drawings he found in books. Aren’t they wonderful? I love the wallpaper too. It’s William Morris . . .

Here it is up close, it covers both the walls AND, charmingly, the ceiling . . .

Joe’s look tells me exactly how he feels about being there. He knows that I know that he knows that I know. Simple as that.

They said I could set my hat on her table so I could take Joe’s photo. My hat, on Beatrix Potter’s kitchen table. So I had to take a picture of that too.

Beautiful. She loved dishes like we do! They’re everywhere.

In fact she loved all antique things. This chest was made by hand 200 years before she was born . . . she bought most all her furniture at farm sales and auctions . . .

We walked from the kitchen . . .

to the room next door, the parlor . . . the “best room” and a bit more formal.

You can see this cupboard in the corner . . . I painted her coronation teapot with the pink crown lid for A Fine Romance last time we were here. . .

On our way to the stairs we passed this little room, not part of the regular tour, it’s where the volunteers keep tools and where they put together the flower bouquets for the house. I love working places, creativity in action.  There was no running water in the house in Beatrix Potter’s time, and no electricity, not here and not in Castle Cottage. She could afford anything, could have lived in a mansion, but she preferred quiet, and little, with firelight, candle light, and oil lamps. Just an old-fashioned gal.

Hill Top is still mostly lit by natural-light with just a few pin lights here and there for emphasis (and so we don’t fall down and kill ourselves in the dark). There’s heat now too, to help keep things dry in the winter. When something wears out, like wallpaper or the rugs, they have new ones made to match. They work very hard to keep it real. That bannister, hard to not imagine her hand there. One of the thin places.

Upstairs in what Beatrix called her “Treasure Room” is her famous dollhouse . . . filled with tiny things, some of which Norman Warne gave her. I think one of her little (real) mice, Hunca Munca, had an accident while swinging on the chandelier in this house, and went to mouse heaven, much to Beatrix’s dismay.

I tried very hard to take photos through the tiny windows without actually splaying myself all over the floor in front of everyone. Cool and nonchalant are my bywords.

In almost every room there’s one of Beatrix Potter’s “little Bunny books,” open to a page to show where she’d painted something recognizable from Hill Top or in the village of Near Sawrey . . .

I examined everything minutely. But it was never her things, and not even her watercolors that drew me to Beatrix, it was her, her amazing competence and determination and when making life choices. And when something didn’t work out as planned, she picked herself up, dusted herself off, and started all over again.  Just like us. 

This was her small bedroom, her 16th century carved-walnut four-poster bed, with the heavy velvet valance (called a pelmet) and bed curtains that Beatrix embroidered herself. Because she, just like us, loved her home and liked to make things for it . . .

Tiny little Beatrix Potter stitches . . . maybe sitting in the rocker in front of the fire, with the sound of the cuckoo clock ticking time away, wool skirt warm around her ankles, shawl pulled close, needle in, needle out, sip hot tea in crockery cup, click when put back in saucer, bite of biscuit, crackle of fire, muffled sound as log falls to ash . . . needle in, needle out. New threads. Maybe red this time. Hold needle to window-light to see the hole better, thread it. Tie a little knot. Needle in, needle out.

She also chose William Morris wallpaper for the bedroom ~ I’m sure she agreed with his philosophy of decorating (and ideology too) . . .

On the fireplace mantle you can see that farm pitcher I sketched last time I was here, just where it was then, pride of place.

I took photos from all the windows this time, so I wouldn’t have to rely only on my memory.

 I love seeing what she saw.

Out this window I could see our Girlfriends lining up for their visit  to Hill Top (usually closed on Fridays, but opened especially for us that day) before walking over to Castle Cottage for our picnic . . . almost time for me to go too!

Downstairs, Joe and I were introduced to three lovely National Trust Volunteers who love Beatrix Potter and take such beautiful care of Hill Top, Trudy, Janet, and Carol ~ they’ve made dreams come true for so many by sharing their own.

And Carol surprised me with something she’d made! Hand embroidered, French knots, and the little blue jacket! I felt like I spent the whole morning crying!

My turn to give Joe the look.

I now had the supreme honor of opening the front door to Hill Top and surprising our Girlfriends waiting outside for a tour. 👏 Surreal on every level … and the first thing I noticed, taking this photo of Carrie and Christie, they had the look too. I think it comes with the house! 🤣 Cry for happy.

After many thanks, (many, many), saying, “we’ll meet you at the Picnic!” we found our way back down the garden path and to the  white gate, for one more photo of never forgetting…

Out onto the narrow lanes of Near Sawrey we went ~ and immediately we ran into Siobhan, looking so cute and springlike. We’d all been afraid it was going to rain that day, and it still looked like it might, we definitely needed our hats, coats, scarves, wool socks and leggings ~ there was a chill wind blowing off the lake ~ But no rain and that’s what really mattered! Because our day had finally come!

Mandy provided the chalkboard and Sheri made the sign . . .

Kellee and Sheri were at Castle Cottage helping Mandy, and taking care of last-minute details . . . the best girls, made it so nice for everyone! 

We borrowed chairs and little table from the garden in our rental … Kellee and Sheri set it all up . . . food and Petey . . . We were ready to go!

Luckily Kellee and Sheri had visited the Hill Top gift shop and come away with this copy of Peter Rabbit, the perfect thing to use as a guest book . . .

Not sure if they got everyone,  but they did get lots of signatures and messages, now a treasure ~ Kellee took it home to save for me when I get back!

Are we ready? Here they come!

Many from the Colonies! Many from Britain! From everywhere! Mandy in pink welcoming us to her home and garden. I said, “meet me at noon,” they said “okay,” and here we were!I stopped all day long, tiny time-outs to scribble in my notebook things I don’t want to forget to tell in my book ~ and to take a moment to realize where I was, this exact thing would never come again, that far view of the green hills, the rock walls, the sheep dotting the landscape, to smell the grass and hear the birds and the laughter of our girlfriends meeting each other here at Castle Cottage, an amazing evocative place that makes the fairy tale real . . . in the garden that Beatrix Potter made herself. This old saying, has to be true:

I didn’t do it alone! There were many other dreamers at this event! Lots of family too ~ This is Kathy and Sally ~ they are sisters, wearing black berets just for Joe! (Please don’t be hurt or mad at me if I get the names wrong, I am famously terrible at names but I’m trying!).

Sally unzipped her jacket to show me the Bob’s Big Boy T-shirt she wore in my honor!!!  Isn’t she cute? If you read Fairy Tale Girl, you’ll know why I laughed so hard to see it! (You can see our weather that day in those clouds, but it didn’t rain!)

Wonderful, creative Janette who makes such luv-lee gifts for us, and her husband ~ British alums … they were at our first picnic too!

Loved meeting Andi in person . . . (@Andi_Geary on Twitter).

Sheri and Kellee laughing with Ann . . . I met Ann and her husband Alan the first time at our Stourhead Picnic.

Mother and daughter showing us exactly what mom-love looks like! Mom is Meesha (I believe with all my heart but very willing to be corrected) and her daughter … who I think either just got engaged in Ireland, or maybe she’s here to get married…but I may be dreaming! There was a swirl of everything going on!

Family reunion at Castle Cottage, the daughter in the green scarf, Lauren, then her mom Janet, and then Alexis, Elaine and (I think it’s) Mary . . . Janet’s three daughters-in-law! Girl Party!

Petey met up with some of his old sailor buds . . . talked about the good ole days, ship life, the girls that got away, and all that rot.

More pals . . . Christine on the left, then Chris, then a face I know but with a name that’s got away from me 😳, and then Wendy…

Chris’s darling husband Neil brought me a card I’d written to her in 1999! I love it when this happens!

Chris with Neil . . .

Allison visiting with Joe, maybe the only photo I took!

Two luv-lee sisters from Denmark, Susanne and Marianne . . . and fat-faced woman from Martha’s Vineyard. Is it the hat? I hope it’s the hat. That way I can take it off. I am a hat person at heart, but hats with me would really rather not and say they did! Doesn’t stop me though, I love them, so far on this trip I’ve bought SIX! ☺

Siobhan is talking to Christie (@ChristieLevin50 on Twitter) and Sharon (@SharonSTealover on Twitter), wearing the luv-lee pink cashmere shawl with her husband John …

Gabriel and Nicoline are Picnic Alumni from Holland! They brought this wonderful quilt she made ~ LOVE . . . what it’s all about!

Speaking of which, Carrie and Stuart (Carrie has one of Mandy’s bags made from the wool of Herdwick sheep, the ones Beatrix loved the most and protected forever on the farms she left to the National Trust ~ Mandy’s business now, more about that later).

Peg, Lauri, Lindy and Glory, and Lauri made their hats! Perfect for this weather, and don’t they look cute!? Girlfriends Forever!

Because I ended up sitting and signing books girlfriends had brought along and visiting with everyone who sat down, and Joe was out on the lawn being the Belle of the Ball, there was no one in our family taking photos! I have nowhere near enough pictures! I don’t even have proof of Joe’s Belle-ness, but I did see it in action!  Of course, Joe’s eye spotted this impossibility (above) going down the narrowest of roads on the other side of Beatrix Potter’s wall … and had to snap the photo! I’m going, “But honey, where are the picnic baskets?” He’s going, “I thought you were going to do it.”  And so it is, all a big beautiful fabulous memory. But we have the truck full of logs!

I borrowed the photo Katrina posted of her darling picnic on Twitter @whimswishes (she’s @whimsicalwishesuk on Instagram ~ you can go there to read her amazing happy news 🍼). As for the food, reports came in, there were stuffed eggs, Victoria sponge cakes, sparkling Elderberry cordials, iced tea, Pe-ah Ci-da, Cucumber sandwiches, lemon drizzle cake, shortbread cookies . . . There was hot tea and coffee in Mandy’s showroom… On a chilly day . . .

We did get this one little photo with a glimpse of Carrie’s (@CarrieHerself on Twitter) picnic, from the back!


I did manage to take one video! Wanted you to see the day, feel it a little bit, perhaps get a whiff of the cold air and the “sweet clean smell of the green things growing” ~ armchair travel to Beatrix Potter’s garden . . . that’s Bernie and Karen waving from the right side of the garden, they met the first time at our picnic in Stourhead!

We gathered to thank Mandy and everyone who came from far and near to join in for this wonderful day. Mandy says we were 123 kindred spirits that day. I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed meeting everyone . . . and Joe felt exactly the same way. He said, “You are so lucky! So many nice people!” And he is so right.💞

And Betsy Bray was there, too … we met her at our little Vineyard Haven Library where she came to give a talk about Beatrix Potter a few years back ~ and then to my house ~ she introduced me to the Beatrix Potter Society and to Mandy and got this whole thing going!

The Society sends out wonderful hard-copy newsletters to all of their members! Rather a wonderful old-fashioned thing to do these days. They also have a free online Newsletter called Pottering About . . . love that they do this! Keeping the memories alive.💞

The National Trust was well represented, Trudy, Janet, and Carol, came over from Hill Top, proudly wearing their jackets with the “Forever, for everyone” Oak Leaf logos. . . Joe and I support the Royal Oak Foundation, “Americans in alliance with the National Trust” ~ we have membership cards which give us free admission into all the National Trust houses and gardens . . . you can learn more here.

Everyone lined up for Joe to take our class photo with Castle Cottage behind us, our Picnic in Beatrix Potter’s garden, class of 2018 … I also want to thank Doreen, Bev, Melin, Diane, Sandra, Gaylen, Lorreen, Susan, Bernie, Jane, Carol, Joan, Bob, Leisa, Emily, Mary Ann, Cathy, Amy, Luci, Jerry, Pam, Bryan, Deanna, Sheila, and so many others for being there and making it such a special day for me and for each other . . . And Jane Hope from Victoria Magazine was there taking photos too (course we didn’t get one of HER, just her shoulder) . . . Maybe SHE got pics of the picnic baskets! Maybe they will put them in the magazine! I will ask! I’ll let you know which issue this may or may not be in . . .

Mandy used her Herdwick showroom as a mini restaurant where she had hot coffee and tea for everyone . . .

I bought two of her bags! They are so beautifully made . . . I wish I would have gotten a backpack, but our car is SO stuffed, we are going to have to start shipping things home. All we’re allowed to buy now is postcards.

There were Herdwick iPad sleeves too. Durable and pretty, lambswool from local farms, Mandy knows where every color of thread comes from ~ and if you want, you can get them too . . . just go to . . . and tell Mandy I said Hello!

She also has a few Castle Cottage 16 oz. cups left for sale (Beatrix loved Jane Austen, so I put the quote below on the back of this cup), “Castle Cottage” from Castle Cottage . . . especially for everyone in England, it costs much less to get them from Mandy than ordering from us with all the shipping costs from the US! Just in cases.💞

At the last moment, I had a wonderful surprise when Rachel suddenly appeared at the bottom of the garden walking toward me . . . we thought she couldn’t come, and she really couldn’t, but she DID, and I was SOOOOO happy to see her! It didn’t feel right without her! Made the day complete.💞

I’m stopping right now, and putting this up even unfinished . . . I’ll add more to it later because it’s not done! But Joe is chomping at the bit, it’s a beautiful day, we need to go walking . . . I promise to take the camera! Love you! Hope you enjoyed Hill Top! xoxo

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  1. Holly M says:

    Wow! This is amazing. Love all the pictures, they’re all wonderful. I wanna experience this castle cottage picnic.

  2. Paula from Texas says:

    I have been sooooo enjoying my armchair trip with you! Your photos of Miss Potter’s house took my breathe away. It was so nice to see your friends and happiness all around.

  3. Nora says:

    how I wish I could have been there! But I felt as if I were.
    thank you
    thank you
    thank you

  4. pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

    Hello Susan, Girlfriends. what a lovely wedding that was, that dress was perfect, not flashy or poufy but clean lines and classic in all details. and that veil, absolutely gorgeous and the bridesmaids and the pages, so adorable and the flowers, all so lovely and beautiful. and I loved the milkman story, we have a milkman here, its a local dairy and we buy from them as my grandma always said milk tasted better from a glass bottle than from a carton or plastic jug, and boy is she right!!! that milk is delicious, sweeter than that stuff they sell at the store. we also get our cheese, yogurt and cottage cheese from the milkman and for a little extra cream we swap fresh eggs for it. I love having my milk delivered to my door every week, what a simple pleasure that is and I remember when I was a kid and we had a milkman, I loved hearing the clink, clink of the bottles when he brought our milk to the front porch, a homey sound. pretty soon I can swap eggs for blackberry honey… love that honey, its so good and so fragrant. perfect on toast, pancakes or in tea. well off to clean out the henhouse and lay in some fresh straw in the nesting boxes, we are encouraging more little peeps this summer and hopefully those hens have picked up on the idea. 2 are already egg sitterin’ 🙂 !!!! they are safely in the nursery and enjoying themselves, fussing over the eggs and clucking away. we also may be getting some newly hatched baby ducks soon, the girls got real busy on that already. have a good day and enjoy. hugs….. 😀

    • sbranch says:

      Lucky you, to still have that service available! I don’t know why we don’t have it on the island, we have lots of farms, not sure if any are dairies, but it would be a perfect business for someone and everyone would love it! I’m sure someone must have thought of it, maybe some sort of laws are a problem. Have a wonderful day Pat, always nice to hear from you!

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        it surprises me as well, but this is just a local dairy and they only do so many customers. I have no ideas about the laws, I would think there would be no problem, but maybe the health laws as some people are pretty touchy about raw milk ( goat or cows) and feel pasteurization is very much needed to kill off germs and bacteria. I don’t think that way, but I am not familiar with the laws here. but folks around here love these guys and the milk they sell, all I can say is it does taste better in a glass bottle than from a carton or a plastic jug…. don’t now why but it does. I love the idea of milk delivery service, in the long run it is so much cheaper than buying the milk from the store and its better for you. I guess also there may be a problem with the glass bottles as around this area, homeless people try to steal those and recycle them at the recycling centers.

        • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

          forgot to mention, we sort of solved that problem for ourselves, by building a container to put the milk bottles and other containers in and lock them down so the homeless cannot come around and steal them. sad we have to do that.

        • sbranch says:

          God, never let me be homeless. Can you imagine, no home?

          • Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

            It’s terrifying BUT makes you so appreciative of the samaller things in life…tiny thrift store vases with wild flowers or an empty milk bottle as a vase when you have a tiny home to put them in & sleep in!

          • sbranch says:

            Counting our blessings! xoxoxo

  5. Amanda says:

    So cute! I’m sad I couldn’t make it to the real picnic but this virtual picnic is good too.

    Have you thought about making your drawings into phone backgrounds? I’ve seen people do them as instagram live stories, then we can screenshoy them and have a little reminder of you throughout the day.

  6. Donna says:

    I loved every second of this post, every second! I loved peering into the curio cabinets, looking closely at the front door where both you and Beatrice stood…thank you! So happy you were able to take photos inside, makes me want to visit all the more. What a happy time for all, near and far along the journey!

  7. kathiellen says:

    Dear Susan,
    It is me again with another question…this one pertains to the twitter photos of you taken on the moors. Wuthering Heights is my all time favorite movie ( the 1938 version starring Lawrence Olivier and Merle Oberon, being number one…I love the others also! ) I love the pictures that you posted on twitter of the moors!! Do you have any plans on visiting Pondern Kirk (the fairy cave), the inspiration for Penistone Crags in the Wuthering Heights movie. It sounds like you may not be far from it! I looked it up and it says that Pondern Kirk is about 1k. North of Top Withens and about 5k. west of Halworth. Oh! If you go there, pick some heather to save and please think of me!! What an awesome thing to see!! I bought the book and will begin reading it soon. I am 68 years old and have loved that movie since I was around 10 years old. It is just hauntingly beautiful…I love Cathy’s theme from the origional soundtrack…it moves me to tears every time I hear it. Have another wonderful wonderful day tomorrow, and a peaceful, restful night tonight….I hope all of the stars are out! I’m wondering…are there a lot of night sounds where you and Joe are staying? ( tree frogs, pond frogs, Katy dids, crickets, owls, whippoorwills, loons, etc….All music to my ears!!!)

    • sbranch says:

      We were in the charming town of Haworth last week! Went all through the museum, into the lovely graveyard and the church. Heavenly movie … song makes me cry every time I hear it. Laurence Olivier was never more handsome! I could hardly believe it was the same man in other movies, he was so different and perfect for Wuthering Heights. Pondern Kirk and Top Withens are two places we will have to come back to see . . . they’re reached by gorgeous walks over the moors familiar to the Brontes, we wanted to go, but ran out of time. It’s a 3 mile walk from the darling town of Haworth, and next time we will plan for it! Sometimes traveling means simply getting the lay of the land for next time! And yes, our main nighttime sound is the brook that runs right next to this house, gurgling its way through town. We are sleeping with the windows open just for that sound!

    • Kathie Ferko says:

      You should definately watch to new PBS special on the Bronte sisters….
      To Walk Invisible…. It is great and very informative.

  8. Cathy McCann in VT says:

    What a charming picnic! And that dollhouse…..I can’t bear the beauty of it all. I love England so much, you make us feel as though we are there with you and Joe and these wonderful people. It brings such comfort and peace.
    Susan, I was in my library looking for the movie Miss Potter (they have it!) and I found a book by Elizabeth Villars titled The Normandie Affair. It’s set in the 1930s on board the ocean liner the Normandie. It was on the books for sale so I grabbed it. I had to tell you about it.
    Love traveling with you so much


    Thanks for sharing……..I truly feel like her spirit was reborn in You…….Blessings

  10. Michele Gavaletz says:

    No words – just heavenly! Thank you for every word and every photo. You’ve made my day!

  11. DeLores E Johnson says:


    I feel like I have been on the trip with you and here I am, sitting in my chair in Minnesota! Sure do appreciate your blog so I can keep up. Sounds so exciting. I guess it is one thing I will never get to do…go on a big trip. It has been fun reading this blog. Thanks.


  12. jeanie says:

    You write it all so well I feel as though we are chatting over a cup of tea, going through your photo album. It all sounds divine. I was following along on Twitter and oh, how I wish I could have been there!

  13. Christine from CA says:

    Yes i did enjoy the lovely picnic. Thank you so very much for including us!

  14. Anne in Maine says:

    Love, love, love this post!! It’s the stuff dreams are made of. The picture of you in front of Beatrix’s gate is priceless! A trip to Castle Cottage is #1 on my bucket list.

    P.S. LOVE your skirt!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Anne . . . and you won’t be disappointed. Feel free to have high expectations!

  15. Sandi from the Cape says:

    Such a wonderful picnic! You also look adorable in the last picture with Rachel in your hat, so you’re wrong….it’s all good! Can’t wait to see your next blog! xoxoxo

  16. Kathie Ferko says:

    Dear Susan…and Joe,
    Thanks again for the lovely blog…so envious of everyone at the picnic… It looked lovely!!!
    Love the photos… Thanks so much…. Especially loved the one of you in the doorway to
    the house… loved your outfit too… You certainly live a charmed fairytale life… As your book
    I keep looking at my English Countryside mug… So lovely … It has a special place in my china cabinet with my collection of teacups.
    Enjoy you coming days… can’t wait for more info and pictures from your travels…also a new book of these adventures.
    PS loved those wool accesories at the shop… I bought a sheep pin made with real Herdwick
    wool when I was in the Lakes many years ago…a cherished memento from my travels there.

    • sbranch says:

      There is something about being able to pet a Herdwick sheep (in purse or pin form) when you come back from the Lakes!

  17. Pam Butterick says:

    Susan…all so very lovely and special. I can’t imagine how awesomely you felt, AND satisfied, and THRILLED you were that night, tucking into bed and reliving the meaningful and beautiful day. I am so very happy for you, and so happy to read every detail and soak it in. You are surely a later generation Beatrix. 😒❤️❤️

    • sbranch says:

      Truly Pam, I’m just now coming back to consciousness. WHAT a week that was, really two weeks as the first thing we did when we drove into town was go meet Mandy for tea at Castle Cottage, and the last thing was to go back for dinner on our last night. And then everything in between! Thank goodness I stopped every day to write it all down, now I can read it and go, OH wow, that DID happen! You must be leaving on your trip soon. Bon Voyage ~ have a wonderful time!

  18. Katherine says:

    Love this post, your stories and your pictures make me feel I’m right there with you. Thank you so much for sharing your vacation with us.

  19. Cyndi in NC says:

    What a great day it was! I feel like I was there. (Of course I was, stowed away in a bag with the other girlfriends!) I can’t imagine how exciting the day was. Seeing Beatrix Potters home was amazing. I could almost see her there. What a woman she was especially for her day and the age. I admire her mighty. I have always loved her Peter Rabbit and friends as like many children, and adults, my mother read me the stories over and over. I still have the well worn book as well as my recently purchased small older volumes. Though the day was cloudy it was beautiful with all those sunny smiling faces. Oh and of course the icing on the cake was Jack!! What a cutie he is!! Thanks for another loverly day!

  20. OH MY!! If Beatrix Potter is your hero then you are mine! I am delighted beyond belief at every detail, every comment, every picture, your commentary, so funny and so touching, the quotes, so perfect and the appreciation and gratitude you express at all the little details that make life so magical is contagious. Thank you for showing us so much through your grateful eyes. It’s all so truly beautiful. Can’t wait for the book!! XXO

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so happy you enjoyed it Teresa! And thank you for being here!

    • Judy Young says:

      Teresa, I agree 100%! Love how Susan notices even the smallest details, and brings everything to life in a way that no one else can do. This trip is so special, I miss England so much and I love being there with Susan and Joe and all their friends. The new book is going to be spectacular, love having it to look forward to when it is finished. I have my English Countryside cup on display with A Fine Romance, they look lovely together! Susan, I believe you are blessed with the spirit of Beatrix Potter, you two would have been fantastic friends!!

  21. Jeannette from the Central Coast says:

    Loved every moment of this post! Isn’t it wonderful when one of your dreams come true? Thanks for taking us on an amazing journey!

  22. Barb Cowles says:

    Thank you so much for such a lovely post. I love that Petey was able to catch up with his old friends too. Joe, love the pic of the truck. Barb

    • sbranch says:

      Joe takes photos I barely see when walking by! But I love them later when I see them, nothing like an extra view point!

  23. julia walker says:

    Thanks so much Susan! I cried feeling your feelings about touching places Beatrix had touched. You know what I think? You acquired her soul. You are SO alike, don’t you think? I truly believe this.

    Cheers from Cincinnati,

    • sbranch says:

      We have a lot in common as far as running away from home to make a new life in a place we loved. And watercolors, old things, little houses, happy marriages, and self-sufficiency, and lots of other things, but I’ve never had the passion for science that she does.

  24. Debbie Boerger says:

    Oooo, Chatsworth. Amazing. Of course the sheep in their meadows, too. Thank you so much for sharing. But….you know I can’t resist “sharing” a small sheep story…. In 1977, we (ex Bob and I) went up to Isle of Skye. It was very early in May, snow still in patches. Of course this little Delta gal had to get up close and personal with a mamma and her lamb, just the cutest picture….until she made some noises that probably said, “Stay Back!” Then she charged me. I practically flew down those slippery rocks and just made it to the car before I got Sheeped, like dear old Alfred Wight (All Things Bright and Beautiful). She stood right by the car and gave me a Good Talking To. My legs were a bit rubbery for a bit. Then, it was something to tell at our late evening tea, watching the sunset over bay and mountains and far northern bay,that evening.

    We’ve got Willy’s “On the Road Again” all qued up, and Tom’s trying to stuff just a bit more into the car, poor guy. Then it’s Outta Here 😉 Look forward to catching up with all of your doings when we arrive back in Beautiful, Downtown Franklin. Life is still Good!
    Mucho Love and Gratitude,
    Debbie in between

    • sbranch says:

      I wondered if they would do that. We walk past them all the time, take one step toward them, they turn their backs instantly and nonchalantly walk away from us. But I though there might be just one who might take offense! Now I’ll be even more careful. Mother instinct is alive and well in sheep! Travel safely Debbie. There is good afoot in the world, that means you!

      • Cris in Oregon says:

        A few years ago, We had three mamas with their three babies for a few months in our back field. The sheep people that kept sheep out around us didn’t want to move them with the rest crammed in the truck since they were just born. What a treat that was. They never bothered me but one did jump over me practically to head butt my border collie that wasn’t a herding dog and wouldnt hurt a fly, because she got to near her baby and surprised and scared her so that she never goes near another big critter. Scared me too, I became more careful around them. But I fed them carrots so they accepted me. Just not my dog.😜 So yes be careful, walk softly and carry a big stick. Lol

        • sbranch says:

          How wonderful for you to have them for so long! I would love that! Yes, here dogs absolutely MUST be kept on lead when around sheep … they will run them to actual death sometimes, we learn more all the time! Yes, softly and with stick. Last night a field of cows came after us … !

  25. Teresa O says:

    Ooohhhh! What a wonderful time must have been had by all in attendance. As I commented in your previous post, my friend & I were right there with a plan a to be part of Castle Cottage picnic, but driving in England got the best of me. Instead, we took a tour about the Lake District & were surprised when the bus pulled over & parked. Like 2 little girls with their noses pressed against the window of a toy shop, we saw from across a meadow of sheep the picnic nearing it’s end. A bit sad & yet delighted that we were in England with our trip just beginning. We even took a couple of photos of the group still milling about Castle Cottage. Thank you for sharing the day. I wish we could have been there, but yet we were…just beyond the meadow where sheep grazed.

    • sbranch says:

      Wasn’t it pretty in Near Sawrey? The stuff fairy tales are made of! I’m so happy you were there, no matter how or when, I knew you’d love it. Almost every day while we were there we passed through the little village and I strained my eyes up to Castle Cottage at your same view. Just wonderful! Hope you are home safe and sound now!

      • Teresa O says:

        I loved every inch of Near Sawrey & most of England that I saw. You are so right it is the stuff of fairy tales & my dream come true. I hope to return one day to revisit those places I fell in love with & experience sights yet unseen. We are home now with stories to tell.

        I hope you have a book about your latest trip to England in the near future until then, I look forward to reading your wonderful posts.

        • Teresa O says:

          Oh & one more thing, I too had a chat with a milkman delivering milk in a glass bottle to the charming home we were staying in near Bath. I so wish the US would return to delivering milk to our homes, fresh & local. I was also pleasantly surprised at how delicious the food was in pubs in small villages, often using locally grown ingredients. Oh England, I miss you!

        • sbranch says:

          I will do it Teresa! Been writing all along . . . xoxo

  26. Nicoline Bostens says:

    Hello Susan and Joe,
    Just back from the UK. After the picnic we went to the beautiful North Yorkshire coast, near Whitby, then had a day in Cambridge (gorgeous city, you would LOVE it! plus, we were able to watch THE WEDDING from a giant screen on a market square, that was FUN!)
    I wanted to comment sooner but laundry and unpacking got in the way…..
    Boy oh boy, What a GREAT DAY we all had! Wasn’t it just the best afternoon, again! Just as nice as Stourhead, but probably even nicer, because of meeting up with the friends we made last time!!
    What a darling you are, giving us so much of your time, and sharing the good things in life, like cats, lambs, tea from cute mugs etc…

    We were so lucky to bump into Joe and Kelly and Sheri in the grocery store the day before the picnic, and being able to have a little chat with him, oh that was another cherry on the icing on the cake! The cake is covered in cherries….Talk about a red letter day!!

    Gabri and I hope the rest of your trip will be wonderful for you! We are looking forward to hearing all about your adventures, both on the blog and in a new book.
    Plus, we’re keeping fingers and everything crossed there will be another picnic in the future! Please keep us posted.

    Would you please tell Joe that we brought a bottle of Pimm’s home!!?? He made a glass and I really enjoyed it, even though I NEVER drink anything with alcohol, haha, but this was delicious!

    Lots of love from us both,
    Gabri & Nicoline and his creepy cousin says “Hi” to Petey:)

    • sbranch says:

      Almost forgot, Hi back from Petey, but he does NOT approve of the “creepy cousin” remark! xoxoxo

  27. Nicoline says:

    Hello Susan,
    Hi from Holland! Gabri and I are just back home after a week in North Yorkshire, near Whitby, and a day in Cambridge, watching THE wedding in the center of town, on a giant screen, so much fun!! You’d LOVE Cambridge, it’s full of the most wonderful buildings….
    But what a wonderful day we had at the picnic!! Almost better than the Stourhead one, because now we were meeting up with friends we’d made that day!! Seeing new and familiar faces, the DRY weather, so much fun, lovely memories!!
    We were lucky enough to bump into Joe and Sheri and Kelly the day before the picnic, and had a little chat with him, so that was a wonderful surprise, and another cherry on the icing on the cake! The cake is covered in cherries!!
    Please say HI to Joe, and let him know we brought a bottle of Pimm’s back home with us! I loved the drink he made for me, even though I never drink alcohol, haha! The boys are looking forward to trying one too!

    So, from both of us, wishing you lots more fun, and great adventures in the UK,
    hugs and kisses from Nicoline and Gabriel

    • sbranch says:

      Welcome home Nicoline! I know, wasn’t it fun to meet our old friends? Joe told me they’d run into you, was so sorry not to be there, but glad you were in the neighborhood! Pimms is very light on the alcohol, very heavy on tradition. You can even read about it on Wikipedia! Thank you so much for coming all that way to see us ~ It wouldn’t have been good without you! Got to know Gabriel a little better this time, he’s a doll, your partner in crime. SO happy I got that photo of the beautiful quilt you made. Just happiness all over the place! xoxoxo hugs and kisses right back from us!

  28. Meesha says:

    What a joy!, an absolute joy to be there at Castle Cottage with you and ” Girlfriends”!!! I can’t even put the loveliness, the beauty, the picturesque scenery into words! It was truly a little slice of heaven! And you Susan are every bit as warm and charming as I knew you’d be. My daughter knows how much I adore you, so she surprised me with this trip!!! that girl! She gave me one incredible Mother’s Day!

    • sbranch says:

      You were so cute Meesha, such joy on your faces, I could tell it meant a lot to you (which, if not before, made us instant kindred spirits at that moment). Was I right, were you in Ireland for your daughter’s wedding or engagement or some happy something like that? Thanks for being there … you’re so right, putting it into words is just not easy … way too limiting! xoxo

  29. Reading through this & seeing all the pics immediately brought the happy tears & a full heart, reliving the day, which was perfect from start to finish. It was THE loveliest group of happy, fun, smiling, gentle people, and the kind of gathering that maybe can actually heal our planet. I think Mother Earth soaked up all that lovely, goodness the whole day through and will be good for another couple billions years or so.😊Love you to the moon and back😘and hello from Stuart & I to all the darling people we spent the magical day with. ❌⭕️❌⭕️

    • sbranch says:

      Hi honey! It was quite a day, been quite a couple of months, quite a year, quite a life, and I know you say the same thing! Love hearing from you . . . thank you for taking us under your wing . . . will never forget driving up that narrow little street to find your house, then you, standing next to the fence, at your beautiful cottage in the wide-open-spaces of Wales. Was just heaven, and all of it was heaven. Already makes me a little wistful at how far apart we’ll be soon, when we get back to America, little bits of us will be left behind.

  30. Christabelle says:

    Susan, what an adorable outfit. British chic AND comfy. You would have made Laura Ashley proud.

  31. Jo'L says:

    Now I need to get my Amy and head out for tea to celebrate your trip and our inclusion. Thanks as always to you and Joe for taking us along.

  32. Pamela Tasker says:

    I Love Joe !! There I have said it !! you are so lucky to have him beside you in your life’s journey. Don’t get me wrong I love my husband too. But his walks and journey starts on Tee #1 and ends at Tee #18 or is it #19. Smile.
    You had me at your 5/8/18 post. When I opened it to read there was this adorable, adorable little lamb. My heart melted. If there was any way , any way at all that I could receive this photo I would be so blessed.
    As I was looking over all your posts from 5/20/18 and came upon the cast iron range and looked up towards the mantle all of those lovely little trinkets that are hanging there I became very curious. What must they be ? I have a thought but not quite sure. Although not looking like a bell, I wondered could they have once graced the neck of a sheep ? Looking forward to more posts. Thank you ! p.s. Bye, Bye Joe…he…he…he…

    • sbranch says:

      I know exactly how you feel. Today, all the electricity was off in the cottage we rented when we woke up, here, our first day! Joe heated water for tea on the wood stove and made us a grilled cheese sandwich, verrrry slowly, in a frying pan he put on top. How could I not adore a person who makes lemonade out of lemons so consistently. If I remember correctly I believe those heavy brass pieces were something the large work horses used to wear as decoration on their harnesses. Some believed they protected the horses from evil spirits. Always good to hear from you, Pamela!

  33. Hi, Susan, I just finished reading the Castle Cottage picnic blog for the second time, and wanted to say thank you for taking me along. I very much enjoyed seeing Beatrix’s home and land. I just finished reading the 3rd of your 3 books, and can see that your fairy-tale is continuing and getting better as time goes by. So happy❣ I sent the books to my sister, and she likes them as much as I did. Enjoy the rest of your trip‼️

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Barbara, just as I was saying, sister to sister . . . thank you so much! I’ve always felt I wasn’t in it alone. So happy you enjoyed the picnic! xoxo

  34. kathiellen says:

    Dear Susan,
    Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!! I just read your last tweet on Twitter and I think that I know what your surprise is!!!!! I hate to be a pain and keep asking about it (as I have in a few comments so I just zipped my lips)……but oh!!! I am soooooooooooo excited about this if it is what I think it could be!!!!! Can you hear my heart beat??!!! I’ll be singing 🎶…Chances are…..that I wear a silly grin…..the moment you come into view…..🎶 until I find out what it is!!! I just can’t figure out where that song comes into play right now, but THAT’S O.K.!!!! I LOVE that song!!! You have NO CLUE how I have been waiting to hear this news!!! Goodness…..I hope I am RIGHT!!!! If I am not, in my finest Emily Lotella impersonation, I will say…” never mind”.

    • sbranch says:

      You would never be a pain! We are excited, because it could be what you think it could be! But there are about a hundred million pieces that would have to fall into place yet, but again, this far, yay yay yay yay! I’ll share more in next blog. I’m just waiting to hear when I can give the next clue! That song doesn’t really come into play, mostly the words “Chances Are” and “silly grin!” Me, too, if it doesn’t work out, just a quick “Never mind,” and off we all shall go! You know how much more fun all of this is because of you? My books have always been word of mouth since the very beginning, moms to daughters, sisters to sisters, best friends to best friends, and to have the word go this far, as a possible thing, is all due to you. Blessed to the nth degree!

  35. Nor Azlina Lop says:

    Dear Susan,
    Loved every word and every photos in this post. Such a joy to read on this Saturday afternoon. Thank you for sharing your beautiful holidays with us. Anyone who has been to England can’t help but to just fall in love with the country especially its countryside. Such a magical place and so charming. I lived there for 5 years .
    The picnic looked lovely too and you look adorable in your skirt and hat.Glad that the weather was kind to everyone.
    Reading and following your travels has made me giddy with excitement. I feel like a little child………

    • sbranch says:

      How lucky for you Nor! I think it would be wonderful to have a chance to completely immerse yourself in another culture! Thank you!

  36. Margie says:

    Thanks Susan for a warm interesting picnic from a distance. Loved seeing Petie at Castle Cottage. Your pictures say it all with warmth and friendship. You look adorable in your hats and long skirt just like in the olden times. You and Beatrix must be sisters at heart. I wonder if Peter Rabbit was watching?

  37. Judith says:

    Sigh. My kind of peeps surrounded by sheeps! Great photos of the grand day out, but my favorite is of you 4 ladies and Jack photo-bombing you 🙂 (Stuart, we see you!) I love reading the comments from those that were there. You are one beloved woman. Blog Daddy is smiling down. ♥

  38. Lori Hamilton says:

    Thank you, dear Susan, for sharing the day with those of us who could not go! We married off our older son so we had a lovely (though hot!) day as well.

    Looking through Beatrix Potter’s house is such a gift, thanks for that, too. Yesterday my sister and a longtime friend went “junking” and I bought 2 old quilts that were in great shape for $25 each! I thought of you and the curtains you made for Hollyoak. 🙂

    Oh, and there are two bunnies in our garden, one of whom comes right up to my patio flowers and snacks on the little purple ones until they’re gone. I don’t mind, though. I’m naming him Naughty Peter!

    Enjoy the rest of your trip!

  39. Ginny Evans says:

    Hi Susan! Just had to tell you how excited I was to “join” you at the picnic (even if from Texas 😉 Thanks so much for taking us along.

    My 38 year old daughter’s engagement just got broken and her dreams of love and family “fell off the cliff” as you said. So sad, these girls. I hope she is able to creative a new life too. This is not the first time that your cheery blog has helped me mend my broken heart. Thanks again for all you do and share and paint!!! Blessings, Ginny

    • sbranch says:

      Awwwww, that is just so tough, I’m sorry to hear that. Don’t tell her, but next time you see her, make one of your hugs have me in it. This break up will pave the way for the real thing and happy ever after, but she won’t know it for a while. Thirty eight sounds all grown up, but we all know how close to 23 it actually is. Hugs to you both. Thank you for being here Ginny!

  40. Mar Bailey from Colorado says:

    With tears in my eyes, I am clapping in delight, at the wonderful day you all had. Thank you for sharing a dream come true.

  41. Suzette Shoulders says:

    Dearest Susan, It is as if we were with you! How special to be allowed to take photos in Hill Top! When we were there last year, we were trying to memorize things we loved… had I your sketching ability, I would have been drawing pictures, but you have given us such a wonderful piece-by-piece rendition of the rooms, her embroidery I loved, and the William Morris wallpapers, oh, my , quilt ideas abound! I feel so much better about the future of the world when I read your blog, and see the girlfriends from all over! Thank you for sharing with those of us at home! Suzette in Oregon, where it is getting a bit warmer, for my 70th birthday!

    • sbranch says:

      Happy Birthday Suzette! For years, before the Internet, I received the most charming and delightful letters from people who’d read my books. I always wished they could meet each other, for that exact reason, I thought it would make them feel better about the world to find out they are not alone in their love for home and family and the little things in life, if they knew about the zillion kindred spirits who feel exactly the same. And now here we are! A bit of a miracle really! Sending love!

  42. Judith Jackson says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your blogs and books and wonderful posts and art and positive attitude! I am so excited about the movie! You have had a very interesting life it will be a great movie.
    In 2015 my cousin and I followed your footsteps to hilltop. And I just got back from Vineyard Haven. We ate at the black dog tavern.
    If I could post pictures here, I would. I can’t wait to see your new book !

    • sbranch says:

      You’re making me a little homesick! Glad you were able to experience the Island in the spring! Thank you Judith, so happy to hear you had a good time!

  43. Lonnie - south of Seattle says:

    Oh Susan,
    I was so excited last year when you announced the picnic at Castle Cottage. But alas, when I checked the calendar…Friday May 11th, I was so disappointed I would not be able to fly across the pond and get back to my own tea party. You see I have been having a Mother’s Day Tea for family, friends and neighbors for years. This year was the 20th!! I was doing it up special with fancy dresses, hats and even gloves!! There were 15 of us. Such a great time but you just know I was there in spirit. Love your blog and you and all the GF. Lonnie

    • sbranch says:

      Twenty years! What a lovely tradition, of course you already had a tea party to go to! Maybe next time, thank you Lonnie!

  44. kathiellen says:

    Dear Susan
    Just another thought….. as I just finished looking at your last video on Twitter ( you are going to meet Rachel and Paul at a festival )…a really neat thought popped into the cobwebs of my mind… it would be way cool IF ( pertaining to #SBBooktoScreen ) your Close Friends could be used as extras in certain scenes!! It would be GREAT FUN to see You and Joe of course…but having your Dear Friends from way back when, scattered here and there through Project #SBBooktoScreen would be so memorable and fun for all of you, but for all of us as well! And while filming in the U.K., perhaps having cameo appearances of your Dear Friends across the pond!! I LOVE THE HOLLY OAK SIGN that one of us girlfriends created for project #SBBooktoScreen!!! It would be beyond a dream come true if the “you-know-who-people” would be able to film some scenes at the REAL Holly Oak……and then just buy it and give it to you as a THANK YOU for YOUR STORY and for helping them create a new CLASSIC film that will be treasured, loved and watched for years to come!!! I gotta crank up the prayers and get out those votive candles from Holy Nativity Convent… is time for a Divine Intervention……time to get out the HEAVY Artillary!!! xoxo Hi Rachel!! Happy belated birthday to your PRECIOUS Doggie!!!

    • sbranch says:

      My oldest friend Diana (she was in the book) is already deciding who she’d like to play her! I LOVE your Holly Oak gift idea!!!! Ha ha ha, wouldn’t that be the cat’s meow! Yes, Divine intervention is exactly what we need. That’s why I told you girls, I know you have powers! Rachel is right here in the room and I just told her Hello from you! xoxo

  45. ~ Del Gato Gordo Y Descarado ~ says:

    You are the only person I know of
    who can look just as pretty as she cries…
    Once again, many thanks for this sanity break, it was truly savored!

  46. Hi Susan,
    So glad your having just a wonderful time in England and sharing all the beauty of that country with us back home.
    I was wondering went your new calendars will be out and available to purchase and also when do you return to the states?
    Enjoy the rest of your journey through England! And thank you for taking us along through your blog and pictures and sharing with us back in the US on this magnificent trip.
    Hugs Madelyn Orange County CA

  47. Beautiful photos…so want to go there. But time is getting short 🙂

  48. If humanly possible, I’d go there to live and never look back. The beauty and peacefulness beyond belief.

    • sbranch says:

      I know just what you mean, I go home and try to make that little paradise around me as best I can, American style!

  49. Carrie Cline says:

    Love your Blog as always! Thank you for posting the pictures in Beatrix house❤️ The bedroom pictures inspired me with my bedroom ! I have a chest in front of my bed as well and I decorated like she had hers❤️ Thank you for inspiring me and spreading happiness wherever you go!

  50. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    Sweetest Susan,

    Watching Beatix Potter again tonight! I can picture Renee Zellweger in your three movies with Colin Firth as Joe! Can picture him feeding you tidbits off his plate at Black Dog……So excited for you and all the possibilities which you have truly earned, Girlfriend.

    Remember Ador used to deliver our milk in the 50’s. Believe they’re still in business. Who’d a dreamed back then that life would turn out the way it has.

    Treating myself for my birthday tomorrow to Sandra Bullock’s new movie 🙂

    So excited for you and Joe which we all enjoy thru your generous sharing.

    Lots of love, Sandra & Grasshopper

  51. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    P.S Change of plans – going to see The Book Club instead as gift to myself – yea!

    Much more appropriate for my state of mind 🙂

  52. Ellen Botts says:

    Loved the canal boats. Reminds me of Hyacinth Bouquet and her adventure. Did you see her or Richard? You trip sounds glorious. Ellen B.

  53. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    Susan Dearest,

    Started @ 5:00 am, after I fed Grasshopper, on my Birthday Cake & Ice Cream!
    Tasted especially good since I indulged for breakfast.

    Had second hunk buried with ice cream after dinner and threw the rest with ice cream away – better in trash than on my butt!

    Girlfriends, You MUST SEE BOOK CLUB! Required watching for each of you!
    Not going to tell you any more and give it away,,,,,,JUST GO!!!!

    Much love, Sandra

    P.S. One fiesta I had Mexican food and a Mexican beer at 5:00 am. Tastes even better.

  54. kathiellen says:

    Dear Susan,
    For the hundred-and-twelfth time ( my nose is growing now! ) I have studied all of your blog and twitter posts from this visit to the U.K. I need to say again what joy they have brought to me! I am currently reading THE TALE OF HOLLY HOW, the second in the COTTAGE TALES OF BEATRIX POTTER series by Susan Wittig Albert. These books are so enjoyable! I am reading about places that you have been and written about, which makes the books even more fun to read because I KNOW the places that I am reading about because of YOU!! DOVECOTE is such an amazing place!…I am in love with it!! I could have never imagined such a place…just for the doves!❤️ I absolutely love it! If I would ever win the lottery I would have one built in a heartbeat!! We have a lot of mourning doves that stay in our yard and I dearly love them! I call them ” the Missus (Mrs) Birds” because they remind me of little old ladies…. (I imagine all of them wearing shawls and babushkas, all in different colors) When our squirrels eat the heart from the kernels of corn on their post, the Mrs. birds are always there to eat the rest of the corn that falls to the ground, and then they look like big-busted little old ladies!! Having a place like Dovecote for them would be a dream!! Your time in England has flown by so quickly…only 2 weeks left! I hope that you enjoy every second that passes and I wish you and Joe a safe trip back home!! xoxoxo

    • sbranch says:

      We had been to Snowshill once before, I didn’t know about the dovecote that time. I was just sitting quietly in the garden, watching the birds and noticed these white doves on the roof . . . I thought nothing of it, was looking around admiring the flowers, then back at the birds, then I saw one go into a little hole in the roof … then I noticed the little holes and more birds, then I thought, wow, could this entire thing be a dovecote ~ went over and looked and it was! An entire two-story stone house built for doves. It was and is still, amazing! You have to love people who would do that! I too think of the doves and especially the pigeons as lovely old women, their voices just sound like that! Thank you for your kind wishes Kathiellen, it has been the trip of a lifetime. I will love going home too, it’s all good!

  55. DAWN TUTHILL says:

    You really get the most amazing clear pictures. I feel like I am right there with you. Thanks for taking us along. It is so beautiful there and all the history,houses,flowers,etc. I just love it!

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