Hello darlings, how’s everyone? I’ve been LOVING reading your wonderful comments, so happy you could be with us at the Picnic! Here I am again, trying to keep up, but everything seems to happen at once. Some amazing news in this post, along with the amazing views of the beautiful English Countryside . . . MUSICA

But before I start, I just want to say (gone but not forgotten), Happy Memorial Day everyone! Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend.

Lilacs into the sea for remembrance 🇺🇸 And prayers for never again.

We’ll be thinking of you! It’s a holiday weekend here too, celebrating spring into summer, they call it a “Bank Holiday” and we don’t quite yet have a full handle on what that means! All we know for sure is . . .

 So off we go, right where we left off, a few days after our picnic . . . the story continues. When I was at Hill Top, I looked out the window and could see a stone bordered farm road going up behind Castle Cottage (Cottage is on the right behind the tree, and the dirt road is behind that) . . . it’s the way to one of Beatrix’s and William’s favorite places …

A small lake where they would go on beautiful summer evenings, and get in their little row-boat, and he would fish and she would sketch. (That’s them above, see her gorgeous hat on the chair? I believe this is either the day after or the day before their wedding day.)Which is what they were.

So off we went one quiet afternoon, up the stony path to Moss Eccles Tarn, the wee lake (tarn = lake in Lakeland talk) Beatrix Potter owned and left to the National Trust.

Taking pictures the whole way . . .

Through gates . . .

over the rugged footpath . . .

being sure to close the gates behind us . . .

. . . loving the view on all sides . . . (and speaking for myself, the one in the middle is pretty cute too).

Nothing had changed since Beatrix and William walked here . . .

Although these were probably somebody’s great great great great, and so on, grand sheep.

After maybe two miles or so of easy walking (because it wasn’t raining!) we arrived at the small tarn.

We were all alone in this beautiful tranquil place the Heelis couple loved so much . . . I was reminded of Beatrix’s words written later in life when it became difficult for her to get around . . .

They stocked the idyllic tarn with fish and planted water lilies, if you listen close, you can detect a little slap of water against a boat, hear oars splashing in the water . . .

Maybe not the booming of the snipe, but definitely the baaing of the lamb. Only nature noises here, in this picturesque landscape, with farm critters to share it with . . .

Sweet wildflowers everywhere . . .

And this view . . .

. . . as back into the village we went . . .

past Buckle Yeat Guest House . . .

. . . to Tower Bank Arms . . .

For lunch in their little garden.

From our table we could see the pilgrims going into Hill Top . . .

I started to take photos of the village when Joe popped out the door with the menu . . .

Never want to forget this wonderful place, and I won’t!

There’s the Castle, the long gray building in the back of the photo . . .  the Castle that Beatrix bought the “Cottage’ from, that’s how Castle Cottage got its name.

We noticed this door on the back of that long building as we were coming down the hill.

Because as Mandy had explained to me, when Beatrix Potter bought Castle Cottage, it was just a tiny thing ~ just the first third of the house starting from the left ~ the whole thing was only the two windows at the top, the three on the bottom, and the house ended there. Very cute I might add. I would have fallen in love with that little house with the perfect view too! In 1913 Beatrix and William added on the next third with the simple porch . . . in 1923 they added the last part on the right with the bay window. So this house was really and truly theirs.

Shall we go inside?

This is the side door into the original cottage. Of course it has all been changed, long before Mandy and Bill moved there seven years ago. The basics are the same, just modernized.

This was originally the kitchen which in those days was basically the center of the house (actually that’s still the same now!). Now I think this room is a little office for Mandy.

This fireplace would have been where they did all their cooking

I followed Mandy from room to room . . . loving every moment of it. She has kept it simple, but the rooms and spaces speak for themselves.

This is the bay window from the inside. Mandy said this is the room Beatrix died in, with that beautiful view of her most inspired place as the last thing she saw. It’s also the room that held her personal photo album . . .

. . . and her beautiful grandfather clock is still there . . .

Ticking time away. So delicately pretty  . . . she had three beautiful grandfather clocks in the two properties . . .

She painted here too ~  this is one of her bits of book art . . .

And here is the staircase she painted . . . All of Near Sawrey worked as inspiration for her little books.

Mandy had this adorable towel in the bathroom. I went right out and bought a few to take home. The words are from the letter Beatrix wrote that inspired her first book . . .

Mandy chose this wallpaper and I love it, although if it were mine, I would drive myself insane by painting titles on all the books!

And across the drive from the side door of the house is this amazing relic of a barn that belongs to Castle Cottage. It’s from the 1600s and I don’t think it’s ever been changed. Wonderful little white washed stalls and stone floors…

And low doors, a fascinating step into the past, the real past . . . Once again, thanks to Mandy for her generosity in showing me around her home. Both Joe and I could not possibly have enjoyed it more.

And, I wanted to let you know, I was honored to learn a couple of days ago that the National Trust put our Picnic at Castle Cottage on their Facebook Page 👏 Very nice!

SO much has happened since we left the Lake District . . . I can barely keep up with it. Happy to be recording the moments daily, otherwise I’d miss so much.

For one thing, we had the wedding! Wasn’t it great? Loved watching everyone arrive, seeing the dresses and hats! Joe and I carried on full commentary between us. “Look at that hat with the feathers!” “Love that dress!” “Oh, look, there’s Oprah!” And the wedding itself seemed relatively low-key, and personal, despite romantic carriage and beautiful white horses and long walk to castle, etc. etc. etc. But it was all heart, and very real, and filled with traditions, old and new. Everyone loves to see Diana’s boys happy. And this one got his girl ~ just a girl, in love with a boy . . . So much national pride evident, equal opportunity for adoration . . .

We watched every bit of it from a little cottage we rented in the Peak District. Was so proud, I GOT THE KISS on my cell phone! Took the picture exactly when it happened on our TV! I didn’t know it was going to happen, so it was just a lucky click!

I also got this photo, with the little page-boy’s reaction as the music began and it was TIME to go down the isle. So darling! That smile! I feel like there’s lots of pressure on these two to “change the world.” Made me cry to hear it, everyone wishing for a hero to make everything okay. I think the world did become a better place with this marriage, BAM, right through another barrier that keeps us apart, with all the love in the world . . . Blessings on them both, for ever and ever . . .

This was our perch for the wedding watch. . . in this romantic little cottage just a hop skip and jump from Chatsworth House. This photo is from our front porch, the bluebells were everywhere when we arrived. You never know what you’re going to get, but we loved this place. Great walks from here . . . right out the door and across the loveliest countryside ~ made us grateful just to have eyes and feet!

And here’s the cottage, from the street, looking back at the porch. Called Brookside Cottage. We spent a day at Chatsworth walking the gardens, then drove over to Staffordshire to visit the factory where our cups are made . . . of course they would be in Staffordshire, where all the finest bone china has been made . . .

I wore my new English dress.

We got to see our cups being made and meet the talented potters who do it. We discovered each cup is almost totally made by hand, and got to see the process and how much time and concern is put into them before they go out to you! And that’s a lot!

It’s a small family owned business, started in Scotland in the 1950s by the father, now being run by the sons, with back up from the children. Ian took us on a tour and explained that each individual cup is handled over fifty times by actual human hands! 👏

The molds are made right there in the factory. Each mold can be used maybe six times before they are crushed and recycled to make new ones.  They make the clay for the cups in a huge mixer, and each mold is filled with wet clay. They allow them to dry slightly, in a precisely-timed drying period, then the liquid clay is poured off (and saved to use again), and what is left, a thin dry edge still in the mold, is the cup!

The handles are made separately and added, one at a time.

They are fired in the kiln three times, the first time takes out all the water which bonds the material and makes the cup and handle strong.

The cup goes in to the kiln the size of the one on the right, and comes out, fired, and all the water burned off, shrunk to the size on the left! Then they’re glazed, and fired again which is what makes them so shiny and pretty  . . .

Then, to make them even shinier and prettier, the design is added, applied one-cup-at-a-time, then fired for the final time.  They showed me how to add one of my own designs to a cup, then fired it while we were at lunch and gave it to me to take home! Pretty amazing. We went round the whole factory, and met everyone ~ I thanked them all, and told them how much you are loving your cups, how much we all love the thin lip, and the big handles, how light they are, how BIG they are. Hopefully adding to the pride of craftsmanship already on display everywhere in the factory.  💞 Some people had been there for thirty years, which is saying something!

And now you know why we travel like this! We approved all the new designs while at the factory and then we got to take them with us! They look beautiful, Girls, if you’d like to be reminded what they look like, go HERE, scroll to the bottom of the post and you’ll see fronts, backs, handles and bottoms.  We aren’t sold out yet . . . and still have a few of the others left too. I know it’s crazy, but think Christmas if it works for you, because we’re going to let ourselves sell out of them ~ I thought I should let you know. The new ones are supposed to arrive to our Studio by the end of June, just in time for us to arrive home on July 1!

And now, our next stop . . . the magical Cotswolds . . . I walked out early on our first morning (actually that was yesterday morning) and took this picture in the mist  . . .

Then I looked the other way and took this one. This village was built in the 1500 and 1600s (but the area has been inhabited for a thousand years), it’s not very commercial, it has no stores, only one museum, and a couple of hotels, basically it lives on beauty alone.

It has been the subject of artists forever, for obvious reason . . .the honey-colored Cotswold stone makes the villages almost glow . . .

Things haven’t changed very much.

There’s Joe trying to open the door . . . we had just arrived at our new cottage!

This is the kitchen, into the “lounge,” which is what British people call the living room. It takes two days to get moved in, to remember where you put everything. Where’s the paper towels, where did you put the laundry soap, is there toilet paper upstairs ~ figure out where you can plug in your adapters, empty the ice chest into a new refrigerator and then wonder where you put the cheese  . . .

. . . learn how to work the washer and dryer . . . no two seem to be alike! There is only one machine where we are now ~ it washes AND dries . . . our first load is in right now!

We woke up yesterday morning in our new cottage and slowly came to the realization (starting with the bathroom light, and moving toward the kitchen) that the entire village, for reasons still unknown to us, had lost power. Which was why I was out wandering around in the fog at 7 am, looking for someone to ask if it was just us, or was it everyone. The girl across the street, Laura, saw me out her window, and leaned out to tell me what was happening…there would be no electricity until 3 pm.  No lights, no heat, no stove, no hot water (so no shower), no computer, and no phone.  Joe made a fire in the wood stove, and we finally decided to try making tea on it.  (Note gigantic fireplace opening that at one time would have been a huge cast-iron cooking unit much like the one at Hill Top.)

It worked ~ after a while, the water did get hot! We had tea! It was fun, so we heated our cups and made more tea, then Joe made bacon . . . life was getting good again.

Then we tried a grilled cheese sandwich and it worked like a charm! And then, because we could, out we went for a walk . . .

In the beautiful English Countryside, mas MUSICA

Which, right now, is frothy with Hawthorn and Cow Parsley and needs no electricity to be its best self . . .

What they call “Cow Parsley,” we call Queen Anne’s Lace ~ in the background is a buttercup meadow buzzing with bees . . .

Cow Parsley is everywhere, along all the roadsides and across fields, every hedge is lined with it . . . hillsides look like beer, yellow flowers topped with frothy white foam flowers!

The footpath led us into a field with cows. At first they were all far away and minding their own business ~ but suddenly, they seemed to key in on Joe . . . I’m not exactly afraid of cows, but they are bigger than me. In a pack, they could rough you up.

Yup, they were coming for him ~ Joe says to me, “Stay over there.” I say, “So they kill you first? Then I die a slow death because I can’t live without you?” And so on. Excellent conversation.

“Honey, they’re still coming.”

“Honey, they’re starting to run!”

Made it alive to the pub . . .

And so it goes each day of discovery . . . we’re still trying to educate ourselves as we go along . . . we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to charming, historical, well-loved Haworth, perched on the edge of the moor, and to the Bronte Parsonage. Can’t say enough nice things about it, both the town and the house, and all the things we learned … definitely will put it in the book! We’ve been running around saying Heathcliff! Cathy! ever since! There’s been lots of reading in pubs ~ Joe reads maps and newspapers. I’m still reading my wonderful George Washington, A Life biography, in fact, we’ll be visiting his ancestral home this week . . . also love Country Life Magazine, reading about “lively American girls mixing with British royalty,” saw the whole wedding in Hello, writing in diary, all luv-lee things to do in pubs while you eat something delicious, such as this  . . .

. . . amazing lunch of local soft boiled eggs with hollandaise and fresh asparagus, and red grapefruit, drizzled with basil oil . . . pub food been berry berry good to me . . .

We found the home of Governor William Bradford of Mayflower fame in Austerfield  . . .

Too many stories to tell in one little blog post, can’t keep up with it because every day is something   . . . but I knew you’d want a taste of it … this scene, a feast for the eyes, had to show you, and sheep and lambs decorating the landscape, adding so much charm . . .

This one was brave . . . they usually run from us as we get closer . . . one second later, he did!

The mother-child relationship is as ever it should be, mom is saying … “Come on, Edwina, get out of there, just bend …”

“That’s my girl, you can do it . . .”

“Good. Now let’s go find your brother . . .”

It’s so fun that you can walk across country and be with them . . .Makes me happy I decided to do Mary and her Little Lamb for the September page of my calendar! I think this is for the 2019, but maybe it’s this year!

We also visited Wirksworth in the Peak District again to surprise our friend Jean Hurdle who we met in 2012 when we stayed in one of her holiday cottages . . . you might remember from A Fine Romance (p.138), she has a peacock on her property by the name of Mr. Darcy ~ it was raining when we drove in ~ Jean was in her garden with her hands in the mud, hair dripping wet. We pulled up, I lowered the window, said Hi Jean, she peered up at me, stood up and walked toward us with a priceless look of surprise on her face. We had a wonderful time catching up over a cup of tea.

Filling ye olde creativity cup to last a few more years . . . and it’s working!

And now, finally . . . I have interesting news I couldn’t wait to share with you. I came home a couple of days ago to two amazing emails . . . the first one was from the luv-lee editor of Victoria magazine.

I’m thrilled to tell you, our Castle Cottage Picnic in Beatrix Potter’s Garden will be featured in their September issue! Yay! Now this picnic never has to end!September! And secondly . . . don’t get excited, because I’m trying not to get excited, but . . . I heard from the screenwriter who optioned my last three books.  She emailed me and asked me to call her. We had to coordinate our time, she wouldn’t tell me anything, and I was so curious! I finally got her on the phone and yes, it was a good surprise. A beginning of sorts. Took me two days to digest it. It isn’t what you think it is, but it’s getting closer!

So here goes: The development company of an award-winning actress has asked to read Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams! I know who it is, but I can’t say. 🤗 That’s all I can say. And that’s all I really know! Which is pretty much nothing!  Eeeek. Not sleeping. Hopefully, I’ll have more to report by the time we return to . . .Believe me, you will be first to know! Maybe it will come to something and maybe not. Joe shrugs and says, “Why not?” But this is wonderful and right now, so let’s take it! We are only interested in the good news! There’s nothing to lose, right? Just going along with the breeze? Eeeek. 

But, that’s not all, because two days later, I heard from the screenwriter again! And this time, since my phone wasn’t working, she had to tell me what was happening in an email. Lots of positive back and forth, but the general gist was that she’d had another meeting that morning with another well-known production company who were also excited about reading all three books!
So that means two development companies are potentially interested in my story of starting over! We shall see what we shall see. I try to be calm because I still have to do the laundry and peel the carrots as if nothing has happened! It’s like me sitting here, so beautiful🤓, in jammie bottoms and t-shirt, stripped socks and the lamb birthday slippers from Rachel … but over there, is that other girl, and SHE has a book that’s loose in the world for a reading! I have to ignore her and go fold clothes. But I can hear her in the corner, squealing and giggling and jumping with excitement. I smile sublimely, shake my head, and get on with life. We don’t know.💞 It’s the future.

 My little house on the non-prairie. Holly Oak. OMG. Who would have ever thought as I stood there in front of that house in the snow? Ever? (Not that anything has actually happened.😜) The screenwriter had a request that if you, or I, or we, talk about this, update it or whatever, on Twitter or Facebook or wherever, that from now on we use the hash tag #SBBooktoScreen. I’m not sure how, but she thinks it will help. Of course I would love if it would happen! In my heart I shiver at even saying that, because then it gets real, but of the two choices, not happening or happening, I think I choose happening! More fun!  Step into unknown! But if it doesn’t happen this time, I don’t think she will give up, and you just never know! So, Tweet me and tell me what you think! None of this would be possible all these years without YOU, your word-of-mouth to and from your moms, your sisters, your aunts, your best friends, and all our luv-lee Girlfriends! It has been amazing. John and Paul said it just right:  Until the next installment. Keep us in your prayers, and you’ll be in ours. XOXO

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617 Responses to TRYING TO KEEP UP!

  1. Sandy Artman says:

    #SBBooktoScreen sounds like an idea whose time has come! Isle of Dreams is the first of your books that I read. I resonated so much with your thoughts and feelings. I have a roommate and I invited her to read the book and even though our experiences were vastly different, she felt the same resonance. Gosh, that’s two of us living under one roof and just think about how many others there are in this great big world! Yep, this is one of those times when I feel all is in divine order and what a wonder to watch it unfold in its glorious perfection! God bless you, Susan! My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  2. Susan,
    Am so loving sharing your trip vicariously through your blog. It’s a wonderful escape from the craziness here.

    And, to hear that your books may be made into movies made me get goosebumps.
    If it’s the actress I think, it will be phenomenal. Who would you like to portray you? And, Joe? Your story is so inspiring.


    • sbranch says:

      That’s the fun part, trying to imagine who! I have no idea really, but when we’re watching TV, we “shop” the actors! It’s all fairly premature, hope they like the books!

  3. Jo'L says:

    Well, “just a girl. . .”, you have been making dreams into reality for years now, so why would you stop? Hip, hip, hooray!

  4. Betsy Brunette says:

    The pictures, the glorious sentiments, and the huge news that something BIG is about to happen…’s all such good news to read today. Just can’t say enough how much you have colored our world. Thank you.

  5. Stephanie C says:

    Hello Dear Susan, love the pictures and the armchair travel with you and Joe. I just love the Queen Anne’s lace it, is so romantic and cottagy!! I am thrilled for you about the possible screenplay! I love Susan Saranden’s voice and think it would be perfect! Oh, and the cows think you are going to feed them, that’s why they come to you.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you for insider cow info! We shall hold up empty hands when they come running! Thank you Stephanie!

  6. LINDA LORENZ says:

    Wish I had one of your books to read AGAIN! Still laid up with a broken leg since March 14! I have read them all at least twice! But because of my having diabetes bones heal more slowly. Then the other day things went from bad to worse, the house got hit by a lighting bolt and fried my telly! I feel like I am in Siberia without my tv! Thank God for my dear 84 yr old Mom who has been taking care of me! I would not survive without her! Go back to hospital on June 14th so a few more weeks till I get the cast off and we see whats what with the leg! Wish me luck! Luv Linda L

    • sbranch says:

      Wishing you HUGE amounts of good luck Linda, that is a LONG time to be stuck! June 14 is coming up quickly, pray it’s all better and you can go free! xoxo

    • Linda Becker says:

      Just read your comment and hope all is well with your recovery, thank God for your dear Momma. Life does have its ups and downs for sure but positive people like Susan and her husband sharing their story and beautiful journey add to the gifts nature has blessed us with in this big wide world! We are all here to be a light…..

  7. Ahhhhhh! #SBBooktoScreen Could not be more thrilled! Your inspiring story is EXACTLY what the world needs right now! This news made my day! Enjoyed your blog post, especially seeing how the beautiful cups are made! Love your new English dress- it is perfect!

  8. Linda K says:

    Ohhh yes yes yes……and she lived happily ever after!!!!! Oh Susan!! If you could have only known about the “now” in those hard days…you would surely have lived them anyway just to get to Now!!!!!! Every emotion eeked out of me reading through those books! You are my champion!! Prayers ongoing and may the best continue to bless and happen for you!!! I cant get enough of the countryside, lambs and goats!! I was so born in the wrong time and place, lol!!!! I hear goats are good in the garden. Ive been pestering my poor husband-who isn’t budging!! Thank you for you!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Isn’t that the truth! I would never have imagined. I thought I was destined to be alone the rest of my life! And now look! Thank you so much, Linda!

  9. Barbara Anne says:

    Oh WOW, start to finish, WOW! Look what collecting quotes, practicing your art, being brave, being in the right place at the right time, and a tincture of time gets you!!

    How sweet it is!!

    Hugs and happy dancing! 🙂

  10. Diana says:

    I am enjoying all your photos and commentaries so much! I will need to re-read “A Fine Romance” once I am fortunate enough to visit the English countryside. In a past blog post of yours you had visited a convent and I fell in love with a clock you had photographed because that had a quote by Saint Herman of Alaska. I purchased the clock for my husband’s birthday which we spent in Alaska, wanted to thank you for leading me to it! So exciting that your story may become a movie, as I read it I pictured you as a young Diane Keaton 🙂
    Also, I love your blue English dress <3

  11. Lynn says:

    Dear Susan,
    I’m loving the walks through the meadows, towns, and villages. Loving all the lambs and cows on the run (they were just as curious about you as you were them. “Oh look, it’s a couple of tourist! Let’s go check them out. Wonder if we can get a little closer….closer… before they get away…..” lol
    Thank you for taking us along.
    And what a BONUS it will be to see your books come to life in a movie!! Such exciting news….production companies and award winning actress…..the fairytale continues. 🙂
    Your blog is a breath of fresh air. Thank you so much!

  12. Tina says:

    Susan and Joe…thank you for being SO GENEROUS and taking us on this adventure with you! Susan, always love your storytelling heart that shares SO MUCH more than only photos. Happy travels…safe passage home!

  13. Valerie says:

    Oh my dear Susan ~ I’m dreaming, but wouldn’t it be a kick if Paul McCartney could be in your ( yes, soon to be) movie, playing Reginald Owen? LOL
    Fingers crossed.
    Enjoying yours, mine and our adventures

  14. Sonya Hewes says:

    Oh, my gosh, I LOVED this post, Susan! So exciting and I vote for #SBBooktoScreen! And I had to laugh at Joe running from the cows! Glad you made it safe – I would have been screaming all the way. lol

  15. Cyndi in NC says:

    I don’t even know where to start but #SBBooktoScreen is a good place to start!!!! OMG! what exciting news. Then there are lambs, my favorite, your cups, Beatrix Potter, lambs again and the beautiful English countryside. It’s all so great to see. This is way better than some dry article. It’s our adventure and we’re all loving it. Then there is the wedding! Oh my, it was such a happy event. I also have to say I love the tiara! But her face shown brighter than the tiara. *S* She was a beautiful bride for sure. I wish them all the best in their life together. Hugs dear travelers, have a great time!

  16. Kathy Horne says:

    Hi, Sue, on a slightly different topic…any chance you could lend some support (moral or otherwise) to a small tea shop in Ellicott City Maryland? Linda from “Tea on the Tiber” is a small business owner whose business was just demolished for the SECOND time in two years by a “once in a thousand year” flood. I have been there several times and think you would love it. Please look at her Facebook page to get a sense of the place and what they’re going through. I have no connection to her, other than being an occasional customer and wishing to help that community. Thanks! Kathy

    • sbranch says:

      Remind me again when I get home, Kathy, if you can . . . when I have time to look things up, right now, Joe’s toe is tapping, Ray and Paul’s stomachs are growling, everyone wants to go to lunch and I’m the slow boat! Thank you!

    • charlotte m. says:

      Just looked at the facebook page Kathy. So sad. It looks like it was a lovely place. I hope she is able to recover from this, but it looks awful.

  17. Peggy Ott says:

    #SBBooktoScreen…Wow I am so excited for you!! This journey for me has been wonderful. From the moment of picking up your books and reading them and getting lost in time. This wonderful and exciting trip you have taken us on and the lovely, beautiful pictures that take my breath away. I get my email, get my coffee and just get lost. I will be so excited for you! I am always waiting for the next email. Reminds me of when I was a little girl and waiting for the young girls sewing magazine to arrive in the mail. Just could not wait with excitement. So fun at this age. Keep inspiring us!!


  18. Julana says:

    Thank you so much for sharing these pictures, Susan. I love being able to see these places through your eyes.

  19. Nicoline says:

    Dear Susan,
    Well, more enjoyments from you, this time from the Cotswolds! Isn’t it the BEST!! So many pretty villages, houses, stately homes to see….We were there last year, with the boys, and they loved it all too. One day we were driving along a tiny lane when we saw a sign that said “Tea in the Churchyard”!! Well, we HAD to have a look and a taste of course!! Sitting in the sun, next to an ancient little church, with tea and cake, what could be better!!
    Talking of tea and cake, have you and Joe ever had a “cream tea”?? You show us lots of pictures of yummy food, but I don’t remember seeing you have a scone with jam and cream…..
    How nice to see how your pretty mugs are made!! Love your dress! Thank you for sharing that too! Have you ever thought of making cake plates, to go with the mugs? Sort of the size that would hold a scone or slice of cake, or a sandwich..??
    Congratulations on hopefully getting to be on the big screen! I think I agree with someone who commented earlier, would love a series so we could see more, haha!
    Oh one more thing….I was handing out my hollyhock seeds at the picnic but I didn’t get to see everyone, and I still have some left over. So ifthere are any girlfriends out there who would like some, please let me know, and I’ll be happy to send some. They can email me at

    Lots of love from us here in Holland and beware of those cows!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Nicoline… Yes we have had a cream tea! Of course, all that deliciousness is not to be missed! I’ve painted a scone with jam and cream a few times too . . . Love you dear xoxo

  20. Marlana Sendra says:

    Wishing you and your hubby all the best. Enjoyed your posts of your lovely trip! I hope to see your book turned into a big screen movie. Take us for now!

  21. Linda says:

    and OH MY STARS!!!!!!!!!!!!
    HOW AWSOME IS THAT?!?!?!?!?!!?
    So EXCITED with you!!!!!
    Thank you for bringing us with you on this trip! And I am toadally
    waiting for the film to appear!!!!!
    One of the photos you shared of Tower Bank Arms, it’s in a series called “The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends” I recognized it and a few other photos. It’s such a cute series, you should check it out

    Linda 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Oh yes, it’s famous too, most of Near Sawrey, because of Beatrix! xoxo Thank you Linda!

  22. I adore reading about your trip and seeing your lovely pictures…thank you for taking me and the “Girlfriends” along with you <3

    Oh my word, my heart is filled to the brim with excitement for you! Can't wait to see what develops!

  23. Debbie Boerger says:

    I’m HOME! Just finished relishing each and every word and picture of this blog. Even though we had to cancel our Cotswold trip this month, I enjoyed travels with you and Joe almost as much. Last trip to England, we flew into Leeds, and drove just a few miles to Otley. Lovely little market town just “under” the moors of Haworth. We were due to fly into Bristol this time, and go up into the Cotswolds from there. We adore Aer Lingus.

    Mr. Tom is out in this beautiful day, mowing the natural lawn, AKA weeds. So pretty, especially the bluets. We’re starting this years compost. Sadly, the bucket of apples from our heirloom Balwin tree all rotted down cellar. They had a wicked cold winter here, even a steel water bottle split wide open. First time things in the upstairs fridge leaked. Nothing broke. So, this coming fall, we’ll put the apple crop in an appropriate place…maybe a steel drum to make cider…or in the “root cellar” to make apple sauce. Little signs of the severity of the winter all over the house, nothing serious. We’re learning!! Growing up, I never had to deal with really cold weather, and certainly don’t in Florida.

    None of the “Dirt Road People” are home right now. I’m taking my tea out on the porch and jumping up and down, going eeeeeeeeeee, in excitement over the interest in the books. Well…maybe not actually jump. ;0

    So much love and thanks coming your way, Dear Lady,
    Debbie, now in Maine!!!!!

  24. Susan,
    Such a fabulous post! Thank you! And now I’m wishing and hoping that #SBBooktoScreen becomes a reality. How exciting it will be to savor your amazing, uplifting story on the big screen. As the excitement evolves, I hope that Hollywood treats it with the respect it deserves. Your adventures this time around are sure to make a fabulous travel book. Thanks for the wonderful chance to “arm chair” travel with you. Enjoy the final month of your adventure and get back safely to the Island and your boy Jack!
    All the best to you and Joe as you complete your journey,
    Nancye T., Wells, Maine

  25. Freddie Ann says:

    Shhhh, I’m at work and just had to read a little more of your blog and came to the “cows chasing Joe” part. I was laughing out loud. Now, I work in a law office and laughing doesn’t happen a lot and someone poked their head in my office to see what was going on . . .. “nothing.” You brightened my day (but I better stop for now and get to work). I have so many other comments that I will have to send them when I get home.

    • sbranch says:

      Ha ha ha, happy for a little laugh! Thank you Freddie, you returned the favor! shhhhh, back to work now!

  26. Cj says:

    Well I vote for Meryl and Joe can be Clint?

    • sbranch says:

      Joe is much younger than Clint! 😬 (He’s reading over my shoulder right now!!)

      • Deborah Ferguson says:

        As much as I LOVE Meryl~I think the first Susan representing her as a young woman has to be someone that looks young, innocent and pure, then morph into someone older. Meryl does not seem pure enough to me.

        • sbranch says:

          I don’t know what they will want to do, first book, second, third? Or none, or all! Fingers are crossed that whatever they do stays true to the story, but after that, I’m putty in their hands!

  27. Beth Doherty says:

    Loved your latest blog. SO beautiful… and the lambs! And such exciting news!

  28. Betty Benefield says:

    Hopefully, book to screen will become a reality for you and all of us who love your books. I just hope that the screenwriter, producers, etc., take great pains to keep it authentically “Susan Branch.” I’m afraid I won’t like the screen version if they tamper with your book versions too much. (I’m one of those who always says, “The book was better!”) That being said, I am happy someone is interested enough to read the books and hope they can do them justice when they are translated to film. Keep us posted!!

    • sbranch says:

      Me too! I think they leave more room for your imagination. Also, in a book, there is only one voice. With a movie, there are the voices of the investors, the actors, the producer, the director . . . so things can easily go a different way. So many cooks in that kitchen!

  29. Judy says:

    Hi Susan, Hi Joe, I am SOOOO enjoying this vacation/stay-cation??…whatever… that I am on with Yuns! I hear the birds, smell the flowers and earth and foods, feel the lambs fuzzy wool… everything is so REAL!
    And to think it could stay real… in a movie…OMGOSH!!! *squeal*
    Keeping Yuns in my Prayers!

  30. Carmen Stephens says:

    Thanks for the lovely tour!! The Bluebells are a favorite. I try to plant some wherever I live, like Johnny Appleseed did with his.

  31. Nancy says:

    #SBBooktoscreen….spreading the word, how exciting for you. Loving your English travel adventures.💕

  32. Debi Hutchinson, CA says:

    Wow! Movies about your life! From your amazing life, to your fabulous books, to the big screen! Again, all I can say is “WOW”!!!!!!! You, dear Susan, should be proud. So, from me to you, thank you. For enriching my life, for expanding my boundaries, for increasing the number of girlfriends, and mostly for being you. Sending hugs and kisses.

  33. Elaine Woodford says:

    Oh. My. Goodness. I think I am (almost) as excited as YOU about a potential movie!!!!!!! I chuckle as I think of who will play Cliff….and what he thinks of your book/movie. Hahaha, as I chuckle wickedly…..

    Absolutely loved this blog. Your photos are amazing. Some should be framed in thick gold frames and sold in your store. Sigh…I must read and ogle this blog a few more times. (I have a 32″ monitor!) And I’m off!!!

  34. Elaine Woodford says:

    P.S. I love Cliff now and own his book.

  35. Mary S says:

    Dearest Susan,
    Wonderful pictures, as always! Soooo thrilling to see them all, especially the ones of Cotswolds in the mist! They don’t even look real, they are so incredibly beautiful!
    The cow encounter was just too funny!!
    Breathtakingly excited about the possible movie of your books! I know they will make a great movie!!!
    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

  36. Robin on the Vineyard says:

    oh my goodness, to all of it! what a great blog post! this is all so exciting. Looks like a wonderful trip!

  37. Janice Nelson says:

    Reading this blog post made my day! And I did not expect the twist ending. I have been following and collecting your books since the 80’s so this is quite exciting for me as you have been part of my life (every holiday and season) for so long. I just broke out my summer book.

    I still cannot figure out who the actress is. Hint????

    Keep posting these wonderful pictures and stories from your trip. They are the balm we need in this crazy world.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m glad you like them Janice … trying to think of a hint that won’t get me in trouble and jinx everything! Everything I can think of is like a klieg-light of obviousness… I dare not!

  38. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Your photos continue to be so breathtaking! You are chasing each and every English day to the max! WOW, each photo tells it’s own tiny story!!! You look sooooooooo cute in that precious outfit on your visit to the China cup factory! You are adorable Susan and I just love your outfits and easy breezy style, with an English flair! I can’t breathe after reading about your #SBBookToScreen news!!! Like who is she??? It leaves the lungs up in the throat! Trying to realize that all of us Girlfriends might one day be sitting in our favorite movie theaters, watching our favorite author/artist (portraying YOU) life story on the Big Screen!!! Oh Susan, I am so very happy for you with this recent news on what is possibly going to happen! Keep breathing, and take care. God Bless You. Love, from my little bungalow in Dearborn, Michigan (I must finally start planting my Petunias, Marigolds, and Zinnias in the front flower beds. My planting is late this year, as my sister and I are still caregiving our dad. However, we spend fewer days on the island with him, as he has improved by leaps and bounds!) Byebye!

    • sbranch says:

      Well, you know it’s easy to give up ~ I get lazier as I get older! But I refuse to stop at least trying, even only periodically. I’m just way too comfy in old sweaters and jeans! So thank you! Your garden will be wonderful. I’m looking forward to the dirt when I get home, only about a month now! Been deadheading flowers in everyone else’s garden lately! SO happy to hear about your dad! Keep that up!

  39. Elise vinecki says:

    Hi Susan,
    first time I’ve commented but been a fan for many, many years. I’m a home school mother of eight kids, and at the present time I’m on bed rest because of health issues. I love your books, blog and especially you sharing your travels with people like me. Thank you, thank you. Would love to see your books become a movie. Your story is so inspiring. God bless.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh my, you have your hands full don’t you, Elise! Thank you so much, Good bless you too, feel better soon. xoxo

  40. Barbara Weaver says:

    Sandra Bullock, Sandra Bullock, Sandra Bullock? Eeek!❤️

  41. Sandi from the Cape says:

    Oh Yeah! This will be a movie! Because I’m willing it to be!!!! I asked you last about it in July when you were here on Cape at the Brewster Ladies Library turned church gathering. You didn’t want to even give it a thought, but I knew this, your story is too good not to do! Congrats and I love the pictures of you and Joe traipsing through the English Countryside. I’ve never know cows to be willing to actually run to get to you, so really glad there was a pub in sight!

    • sbranch says:

      Your positivity is putting chills down my neck! Thank you Sandi! I guess we’ll see! And yes, Yay for Pubs! xoxo

  42. Sally says:

    WOW! Is there a page we can show our support for the making of the film? I still am hoping for a PBS series, so I’m throwing that idea out there in case the world is listening. Many episodes aired in the fall to winter season with cups of tea and lots of cake (your cookbook recipes) would make all current gfs and new ones beyond supremely happy. (A gf can dream!)

    • sbranch says:

      Of course, PBS, because they do such wonderful things. Maybe… who knows what will happen? That’s the fun part right now! A gf is IN CHARGE of dreaming. Kisses xoxoxoxo

  43. Pam Lewis says:

    #SBBookToScreen So exciting to hear of the possibility of a movie of your life adventures! You are an inspiration and so many will be touched by hearing your books read or made into movies. Yeah! There are good things in the world 🙂

  44. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    Dearest Susan, You are magical! Your blogs arrive when I need you most. Yes, I too am starting over with your incredible example and support. It’s been a long and gruesome journey since our fire and mudslides – still recovering!

    Been a perfect time to review, clean out and create a life I love…yea 🙂 I am now attracting only “healthy relationships and am always treated well.” It’s time as I turn 74 June 8th! I’m so ready to be spoiled, pampered, loved, protected, taken care of, appreciated, honored, treasured, valued, and played with!!!

    No one is right or wrong – it’s how we choose to be.

    Not dated since divorce in 1990 – I’m so ready for Mr. Right! I have a new blue tooth brush for him, set of brand new towels, extra place setting of dishes, glasses and “Joe’s Black Dog” coffee mug ready and waiting….open to whomever he’s going to be rather than old me’s ideal man!

    Hallmark’s Good Witch had a perfect poem: “I Do” as part of a wedding ceremony which puts commitment, trusting and risking in proper prospective! Think it’s Season 3 or 4.

    Susan, you’re such an inspiration of possibility to all of us …..especially living in an always positive, cherishing state of mind.

    I thank you, love your stories, pictures, food, sharing, and way of being – thank you so much!

    I loved the wedding too – especially tears running down Harry’s face thru the ceremony. Truly a genuine fairy tale relationship filled with happiness they both deserve.

    Much love, admiration and appreciation to you, Dearest Susan,

    P.S. I have little thrift shop assorted vases all around my tiny studio filled why fresh flowers – I’m sure little fairies living in them sprinkling magical dust throughout as I sleep.

    • sbranch says:

      Such a joy, those little vases. I love all your positive words . . . and the heart that put them on “paper!” Love you Sandra!

  45. Penny Harrison, Oceanside, CA says:

    Beautiful pictures once again – love, love the little lambs and the curious cows! – old stone houses and gobs of wildflowers everywhere! Had Mother’s Day morning tea in my Mother’s Day cup – now looking forward to the next two I ordered!
    Thank you for everything you are and do and sharing yourself with all of us!

  46. Di Word says:

    Good on you, Susan!!!!! Congratulations! Hoping for a wonderful outcome.
    I have a new Corgi puppy named Happiness Word. We are leaving for my condo in Colorado on Monday. Will be keeping up with your adventures and having some of our own. The best of everything to you and Joe.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh nooooo … a Corgi puppy … oh oh oh, you are so lucky! I can only imagine what your baby looks like. I love the name! Thank you Di!

  47. Kat Fry says:

    Just What We All Need Exactly When We Need It! You Sweetie Pie You
    Every step you take is filled with Charmingness Dust.
    I could feel myself there with y’all.
    And laughed so hard at the cows coming after Joe and y’alls conversations.
    When I look at scenes from the countryside I can feel weights & worries just lift away. Leaving behind deep breaths of fresh country air.
    What a Doll Beatrix Potter & her Sweetie were to leave all of this for generations to enjoy. And for you to fall in love with it and share with all of us!And those Cotswolds…breathtaking!
    You looked every inch veddy much the cute English Rose.
    Now, when I sip from my mugs I shall picture all the lovely hands that went into its life.
    Be Still My Heart along with a kajillion others! We are closer and closer to seeing y’all on the Big Screen! I am already planning our Red Carpet Premiere outfits & snacks!
    As I sit here still wearing my pink & black striped glittery tankie and pink layered tutu and favorite tiara in barefeet. Because…well…because I can.
    And sometimes when life gets a bit stinky-cheese a girl needs her power clothes.
    Looking forward to more June Jewels. Kiss Joe. Catch ya’ on the Flip-Flop
    As Ever, Kat on Rose Creek Farm

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, Kat, “charmingness dust!” I gotta git me somma that! 🤣 And I think I know where to look! xoxoxoxo

  48. Georgia Larson says:

    Dearest Susan,
    As I sit here with my morning coffee I realize, not thousands, but it’s now much more ….. say millions of girlfriends lives you have touched. With your books, art, photos, travels and of course those AHHHHH Moments we ALL HAVE HAD with your inspiration. I know I get support in saying “you’ve made us appreciate life so much more” just by sharing your life with us. I’m aware of “the industry” enough that all those high developers don’t do anything without knowing their returns. Sooooo, that only shows & proves what impact you’ve made on every single one of us positively, emotionally, spiritually. YOUR ONE OF A KIND GIRLFRIEND. That humble girl ….”Say Whaaat” “Valley Gurl” from Reseda, who relocated to SLO then an island in the Atlantic…. I’m so very proud to say I know you.
    From another “Valley Gurl” who relocated to an island , however the Pacific.
    Movies can be legends & im sure yours will be too #SBTheMovie.
    Happy Bank Day

  49. I am so excited & happy just watching you & Joe, a movie 🎥 will be the best, my granddaughter lives in Vineyard Haven works @ school in Oaks Blull & also the YMCA, Have told her. All about your books & she has read ☝️, fingers crossed. 😎

  50. Jennie Lou says:

    What a grand adventure! Thank you for bringing us along. I adore “walking” the countryside with you and Joe – I even had a racing heart when the cows rushed him! (Your conversation sounded just like one at our house when there is a “bump in the night”). The MUSICA is heaven to listen to as well, so soothing and romantic. Speaking of which, like most folk, I, too was glued to the telly for The Wedding – and again, the Derby today, the Queen and her horses. When I read about the production company’s interest in your book, it was just like a an episode of “As Time Goes By”. Summer is starting to bloom here in the Pacific Northwest, so I am surrounded by the greens and pinks as you are, now all I need is a thousand-year-old-cottage, some sheep and a pair of legs that will carry me all over the county as they did when I was younger. But, like Miss Potter, I have miles of memories to carry me down the lane. Happy June, dear, and the very best wishes for your continued successes!

    • sbranch says:

      Your beautiful words: “now all I need is a thousand-year-old-cottage, some sheep and a pair of legs that will carry me all over the county as they did when I was younger.” Sigh. All so evocative and beautiful. Blessings on you dear Jennie Lou. Lovely to hear from you and your miles of memories. xoxoxo

  51. Darla says:

    Pictures were amazing!! Thanks for taking the time to fill us in. Also the grilled cheese looked like a picture.Thanks again🌻🌻

  52. Jill says:

    Oh, the Cotswolds! I am so envious — it’s at the top of the list of places I’d go to if I ever get to England. I loved reading about where my “Jack in the Books” mug was made! And I NEVER would have made the connection between cow parsley and Queen Anne’s Lace (Queen Anne’s Lace is a MUCH prettier name than cow parsley!) And now, regarding the big question — the person who first popped into my mind was Diane Keaton. And then I thought — Julia Roberts? Both would be fabulous! Oh, and I think you may have a new fan. My sister didn’t know about you so I lent her my precious “Isle of Dreams” book. I just hope I get it back!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Jill, it’s that word of mouth, sister to sister, that has us all here in the first place! Your imagination is just like mine! xoxo

  53. OMGoodness!!! How fun your Beatrix Potter Picnic will be in Victoria Magazine!! Thank you for doing beautiful girlfriend things, what a breath of fresh air in this world today!! And like those of us who watch When Calls the Heart – we are called “Hearties” well all of us who adore and follow you need a name too!! Maybe “Susie’s”!!!! 💕🤸‍♀️💕

  54. Deborah says:

    Congratulations, as I just know more great things are happening for your writing efforts, and wonderful art!, how exciting. This blog installment just really touched me, the lambs! The barn, the countryside! The kiss! The cozy cottage, the pub!! But especially
    the Beatrix quote “Thank God.” As you, Susan and Joe, are my legs and eyes at this time as you wander the incredibly peaceful, bucolic, heavenly English countryside, I am undergoing surgeries, chemo, and soon, radiation.
    My hopes of seeing firsthand what you lovingly share with us all is currently on a long hold, but I never say never! So reading your lovely descriptions and drinking in your incredible photos is like a soothing balm to my panicked soul. By the way, I just smile knowingly at your take on the wedding, as I felt the same way!!! Yes, elaborate, but with a sweet Simplicity, just a boy and a girl in love. I so enjoy your wonderful sharing of this kind, pretty, and gentle world. Thank y ou, you r long, long time follower, Deborah T.

    • sbranch says:

      Awww Deborah, I’m sending all my love and prayers for a happy getting-well … and a smooth road ahead. Let your imagination take you away to this green and pleasant land . . . visualization, right now, is your best friend. See it done, better, over ~ deep breaths, blue skies, scudding clouds, and the smell of cut grass. Arms around you for a big hug. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox Don’t think I don’t mean it!

      • Deborah says:

        Thank you so much…

        • Debbie Boerger says:

          From one Deborah to another…..”Our” Susan has given many of us a warm place to go for comfort and being outside of our own stress and pain. I’m certain many of us…not just the many Debs, Debbi’s, Debby’s, Debbie’s…are sending you hugs right now! Hope you can feel them.
          Debbie in Maine

  55. Dearies,

    Oh what a lovely adventure you are having!
    Fingers crossed on all the good developments. xx
    Wring every last drop of joy out of the rest of your trip- as I’m sure you will and be safe while traveling.

  56. Pat W. says:

    Oh Susan….you are such a shining light and so inspiring; I do not know where you get all of your energy but I’m glad you have it & keep going. The time you & Joe are having is so wonderful & the pictures are beautiful…some just take my breath away – just like my being there. I cannot thank you enough. Enjoy!

    And, I know your story will be a terrific film. Take care.

  57. Are you bruised from pinching yourself?! Your trip looks like a dream and then this great news while you’re in the Cotswolds?!! Oh my….Ain’t life grand?! I’m SO happy for you!! Congratulations on, well, EVERYTHING! XXO

  58. Andrea McVety says:

    OK now I can’t sleep!! Tears of Joy whether it comes to fruition or not. So happy and proud. Thank you for the beautiful LONG blog. All the pictures make us feel we are right there with you. Safe travels and so, so proud of you. xo

  59. Emily says:

    That is wonderful news for you, but I must say I wouldn’t like sharing you with the mainstream world. Your books have been such an inspiration to me for decades now (as I grew from a girl into a woman) that I’m afraid “Hollyweird” might sully what was so special about your books and your story. I could see your life story as a PBS miniseries in the vein of the newest PBS Little Women adaptation– A bit more highbrow with more attention to detail–than Hollywood could do. Just my opinion because I love you so…

    • sbranch says:

      We would always have the real thing, but I worry too. Doing everything one moment at a time. My theme words these days are “we’ll see.” As with any project outside yourself, whether it’s making a calendar, or a tea pot, or a movie, or even a book, you are not alone and others with power have ideas they want to insert. Which is why I publish so many things myself. Because when you “license” your art, you only get one choice, to say yes to the people who want to make something using your art, or to say no. Hopefully you are on the same page with these folks, but no one really knows until you’re actually into it. And for sure, I can’t make my own movie. So, we’ll see. I SO appreciate your concern. xoxoxo I am blessed with friends like you.

  60. Kristie Carter says:

    Hey Susan!
    Well, my original message to you somehow went into the Abiss! Oh well, prayerfully the Universe will shine down upon me and answer the way my heart needs to be answered.?
    Anyway….I first of all wanted to thank you for sharing your life with us…your every day, special times, etc…thank you!
    I also wanted to ask you something….I’ve read Isle of Dreams , probably 6-7 times…wonderful book! I know the “why” of everything however I’d love to know about the “how” of everything….How did you get through it all? How did you continue to have joy? Peace? Happiness? Laughter? Kindness? Etc? I’ve been hurt many many many times…and all from people who were supposed to have loved me… say for the past 30ish years?!
    I’m stuck in the ditch of “ok….what do I do with all of this?” ……I’d love for you to share the How’s of your tone on Martha’s Vineyard……thank you and warmest wishes and many prayers on your trip!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so happy you enjoyed the book … I did write it for others who might be going through something like I did … I’m glad you are using it that way. The how … well, as you know, there isn’t much choice in these situations. You have to, which is basically how. I cried, I wrote in my diary, expressing my sadness, wondering why why why, and during the day I began digging my way out through research into others who made their own life and meditation, some of these became my life heroes. I wanted it never to happen again. Although, again, we don’t have much choice when our best laid plans are foiled by the best laid plans of others. Loyalty is my most valued quality in any friend. The joy, peace, happiness, laughter, kindness all came back through meditation. If you tell yourself joyful things every day during meditation, you will FEEL those lovely things and it will come back. And surround yourself with the things that feed your soul, wonderful books, good old movies, healthy food, exercise, quiet. And educate yourself, take a class, read history, feel yourself get stronger through self sufficiency. The more you can depend on yourself for your needs, the less power negative people can have over you. I hope this helps… being stuck is no fun, but you have to know, within yourself are all the tools you need to move forward. Happiness lies within. It won’t happen all at once, each day is a new chance to begin again. Just put some red letter days or even moments in there for yourself. And one day, the cloud will lift and you’ll feel it again, lightheartedness. Sending love and all my best wishes. xoxo

  61. Kristie Carter says:


  62. Christine says:

    I love hearing about your fantastic holiday travels!
    And your wonderful news… Wow! When I look at that photo of you in front of Holly Oak, that could be any of us, but you made all of this wonderfulness happen for you, (which is fabulous) but then you went a step further because you are such a lovely person, you shared with all of us by writing your very personal books about your life. I think you are a strong, kind, thoughtful woman to do that for yourself and others. Thank you! Of course they would want to make a movie out of this, it has American Dream written all over it!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, you are so right, it could be any of us…one of the things I love about that photo. Starting over is such a common denominator for most of us. I wished so much at the time, that I could find a book where someone told the details of how they did it. I looked constantly but never did, only bits and pieces from here and there, but no details. It was like they went from zero to sixty with no in-between, but the in-between was where I was existing. I needed the how of the middle part. That’s why I wrote it. And if you don’t know where a person comes from, you can’t see the distance they’ve traveled. Which is why I wrote Fairy Tale Girl. Everyone will have their own path, make their own way, this was just one . . .at least I put it down so if anyone out there is looking the way I was, maybe they will find my books and it might help. Thank you so much Christine, for your kind words! xoxo

  63. Gill Smith says:

    Wow wow wow!
    I am loving following your adventures on Twitter every morning, noon, night time too!!
    You and Joe seen to be having the time of your lives, discovering our little beautiful island.
    It makes me so very happy, that it’s making you both happy too!
    Cannot wait now for the new book, and fingers crossed the FILM!! Oh my you must be soooo excited.
    Through you and Joe, I am reliving all the beautiful places I’ve been to over the years. Every day , to my husband, I say ohhh we MUST go there again!!
    Fingers crossed we will. We sometimes take for granted what we have on our own doorsteps. Thanks for letting me remember through your photos and wonderful blog, our wonderful holidays spent over the years, in just the places you are visiting.

    Take care and enjoy the rest of your adventure!
    Gill Devon U.K.

    • sbranch says:

      We most definitely are. “Discovering” is just the right word, Gill, there is so much, around every bend! Thank you and your countrymen for taking such amazingly good care of it. xoxo

  64. Well, after a week away with the family, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and catching up. I have been waiting since I saw the email come through until I had time to sit and truly read and savor this post. It has been a particularly trying week (err… couple of months) for me with one of my children, and when I began to read this post and look at the very luv-lee images of the beautiful English countryside I could literally feel my pulse slowing. There is nothing so soothing as seeing God’s creation as it should be with nothing to spoil the view. Lucky Beatrix. I laughed so much at the thought of the cows coming for Joe… so glad you two were able to escape that. Your big news… so exciting… but I have to tell you I have mixed feelings about the book to movie. I cannot imagine what a dream it is for you, but I have come to the place that I really don’t trust Hollywood to do justice to books I love …and yours is much too precious for them to take and ruin (or even cut out the important parts that they might not deem important). I am (not trying to be a Negative Nelly – but I walk the line between optimist and realist) hoping that if/when this deal does happen, that they will give you some sort of creative governance so they don’t just ruin your PERFECTLY wonderful story. With that said, I couldn’t be happier for you that this dream, too, may become a reality. Blessings…

    • sbranch says:

      I hope so too! You just never know how it will all turn out! I hope your trying months are over and everything smoothes out for you, Christi! Glad you had a wee calgon moment with us in beautiful England if only virtual. xoxo

  65. heather says:

    Oooooh I love seeing all your gorgeous photos of your time in England and it just makes my heart ache with joy! The lambs! The flowers! The stone cottages! All the merry frolicking! I can hardly stand it (but please, give us more, haha!)

    So intrigued to hear more about this book-to-screen business! I will mention it on my instagram. I’ve got your books out right now, because they seem like good summer reading, and the kids are all out swimming with grandparents and I am doing luxurious things like…..eating my own food without anyone else wanting a bite, or having to make sippy cups 😉 livin’ the high life here! And loving all your beautiful photos and happy news!~

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you for the Girlfriend-word-of-mouth Heather, there is just nothing better than that! Keep livin’ the high life! No sippy cups!😂 xoxoxo

  66. jeanie says:

    Well, that’s about as way cool as it gets! I’ll tweet the heck out of it and blog it too.

    Our trip to the UK is in October so I’m savoring every sentence of this and all your posts, writing down notes, rereading A Fine Romance and happily anticipating only good things. The factory visit was fabulous and by the way, my “Jack Cup” arrived and I adore it. The black and white Jack reminds me of black and white Lizzie and every book on the side is “my thing.” Even the cats on the handle resembled the late great Stimpy and Gypsy! Loving Beatrix-land, Cotswolds, sheep, the whole darned thing! Thanks for giving me something to stimulate sweet dreams tonight!

  67. Cindy storrar says:

    Hi Susan and Joe, my husband Dave and I are in England right now, first the Cotswolds, now the Lakes district. Love, loving every moment. We “ran” into you in lower slaughter as we rounded a corner and saw you in your gated cottage yard hanging laundry. I wanted to share with you what my journal says about that encounter. “I saw Joe as I rounded the corner, he was in the yard behind the gate. I stopped, stunned to see him and said, Joe? Then I saw You, Susan, and said Susan? I couldn’t believe it. You asked who I was, I told you our names and my love of all your books, art, cups, all of it for over 25 years, then we talked like old friends, as we really are of course! You were lovely, he (Joe was too), we took pictures and said goodbye. It was meant to be, God sent, no other way! So happy! We did some other things that day but this outdid it all. Thankyou Susan and Joe for being so real. girlfriend, Cindy

    • sbranch says:

      Lake District . . . how are you loving it? A little bit of heaven … so nice to hear from you Cindy, that was such serendipity … I was telling Joe hardly anyone ever recognizes us, we have to go to England for it to happen! Lovely to meet you both, Please give our best to Dave… keep having fun! I sent you a photo!

  68. Ruth Klunder says:

    Dear Susan,
    I just feel like gushing…You have outdone yourself keeping all of us informed as to where you are, what you ,Joe, and friends are doing, and even pictures of precious Jack holding down the fort back on the Island!! It seems like a year since we met you in Charleston at the book signing…In fact, we have been back to the same bookstore since, and I felt so nostalgic remembering that you were right there, in that spot…enough gushing! Someone on an earlier blog comment mentioned that you look like Beatrix…you do… only cuter, and with your hair up you could be in a Beatrix movie!!! I love the wonderful, unusual names of places, towns, pubs, the expressions used, and all other things British. They are quite the people…so proper, everything is “lovely,” the sheep and lambs are adorable, the towns and villages are so sweet, and the food looks wonderful. Well, I guess I gushed some more, but I just wanted to say thank you for all of your effort just so that we could see where you are and what you are doing.

    • sbranch says:

      You are more than welcome Ruth … it’s my total pleasure to share with my girlfriends! xoxo

  69. kimberley says:

    wow! big news!
    but in more mundane matters, be careful with cows. I just recently learnt how many deaths they cause a year! You wouldn’t think it!
    I get jealous thinking of all these beautiful places in my country I have never been to but then we have little slices of heaven in our urban busyness too – an old manor house, and a another old house turned into a museum. The ruins of an old abbey and remnants of an old shipping business. This post made me appreciate them more xo

    • sbranch says:

      We are being careful, definitely not challenging them, staying away from bulls and moms with calves. They are so big, they are intimidating, but usually considered docile. Only not by me, I steer clear, so to speak! Your country is so amazing. It has beauty to the stars and back. And awesome history. So inspiring in its hand-made-ness. That you have managed to hold onto so much of this in these days of money-is-everything, is wonderful. Never let it go away. Thank you forever to the National Trust on behalf of the world!

  70. Barbara w says:

    Where in Staffordshire is the pottery factory you use and are there tours for the public and/or a gift shop. We’re visiting the Emma Bridgewater Factory and would love to visit the factory you employ. We’ll be in the area in October. Thank you much.

    • sbranch says:

      You’ll love Emma, but our factory doesn’t do tours . . . it isn’t set up for that from a safety point of view. They let us come because we buy from them. But Emma is perfect for it!

  71. Carol Ybarrondo says:

    Hi Susan and Joe, just have to tell you, your pictures on Twitter are fantastic! Have so enjoyed traveling along with you both, riding in the car, fabulous musica! The great thing about your pictures is that on my phone when I enlarge them, the detail is so sharp and clear. I can even zoom in and look at the detail of the flowers on the wallpaper, and the quilting of the spread that took 15 years. Amazing! The best trip EVER! And I haven’t even left home, lol!! Keep having a wonderful, safe trip……..Carol

    • sbranch says:

      Love that Carol, it’s true, it’s all in the details! Thank you so much for coming along with us, you make it much more fun!

  72. sue says:

    Dear Sue and Joe,
    I am so enjoying following your journey. I assume Joe is used to driving on the left side of the road. I’m hoping to come to England and Wales in a year or so, but am afraid to drive there as I would be alone… what do you think, could I handle it? I do really think you need to go by car to really see the countryside, and get to meet the local people,versus taking a tour.

    I do think you will get a tv or movie deal. I think a mini series would be best so as not to just touch the surface of everything. I think it’s Reese Witherspoon that bought the rights,…. but I think Mandy Moore from This is Us would capture your essence and look more like you. My choice for Joe is still up in the air, but I saw Ethan Hawke on tv the other night and with facial hair, he looks much like Joe. I’m not sure how tall he is. Make sure you have good representation in the negotiations and you may be able to buy a little place to partially retire in in the Uk. As you’re an artist, they may possibly tie in things that one can buy of yours, so make sure your deal includes that, and possibly a percent of ticket sales ect. I remember Maria of the sound of music sold her story rights for a lump sum, and has never gotten anything from the residual sales of the cd’s ect. She would have been a multi, multi millionaire . Have to go now, enjoy the rest of your stay.
    Safe journey home,
    Love Sue

    • sbranch says:

      If you’re worried, I can report that some of the tours are really nice. You can opt in or out of the day trips, just lounge around your hotel when you want, or go if you want. They take you to wonderful places. Joe is really good at driving on the left now…we are hoping he hasn’t lost the ability for driving on the right since we go home soon! I think I could do it if I had to. I watched my girlfriend Elizabeth drive for her first time and she was scared to death and she did it just FINE! And as for the possible movie, the the actress looking at the books wouldn’t necessarily play the part . . . she has a development company which puts together movies using all sorts of cast and crew, and actually, it’s that company looking at the books right now, not her. If that makes sense. I have an LA lawyer to help me. But I’m a babe in the woods so we’ll see what happens, I will do my best! Thank you for excellent advice, Sue! xoxo

  73. Kassy Mikulski says:

    One of my friends, who is from England, let me borrow your trilogy of books last year and I absolutely loved reading them. Your diary style is so charming! I had heard of you years ago and glanced through one of your cookbooks, but I don’t cook much so I lost track of you. But these current journals are the bees knees. I’ve been re-reading them (my own) lateley and am on a mission to read all of the blog articles, and all of the Willards. THANK YOU for your delightful outlook, your appreciation of all the small joys God has given us, for free! And, thank you for sharing with the rest of us who see them the same way. I love being a stow away on your trips. I can’t wait for the next one. Hugs to you, Joe, and Jack.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Kassy, so sweet of you to take the time to write and tell me! Have a wonderful day!

  74. Debbie Boerger says:

    Hope you all had a very happy Trooping the Color day. Something that I remember often.

    Sue and Joe, if you are anywhere Devizes and the very long steps of the Locks, you should go and just watch for awhile. Tom and I had a wonderful time visiting some of the canal boat people. Tom even took some turns on opening and closing the gates. This is an area I know well, mostly from my trips to study “ancient” Britain, pre-Celtic to Romans, Saxons. Both of my husbands have been Great Sports, as long as we spend comp time in the pubs!!!
    I hope you visit Avebury, not for the Henge and Circle…though they are amazing, but for the Alexander Keiller Museum and house. You walk through the rooms in which you can sit, touch, play some billiards, listen to the declaration of War with Germany, and chat with local people. I was totally gobsmacked to walk on the Ridgeway path, imagining my ancestors of literally several thousand yrs. ago doing the same. The path up by the Uffington White Horse offers some of the most bucolic vistas of England. So much to do in that area, I’d have needed a lifetime….
    I’m checking out airb&b for apartments in London. Wow, very nice and affordable. This is for the Bayeux Tapestry exhibition in 2020, but I think we’ll have to return to England before then.
    Your Twitter pictures have been the best gift. Finally, finally getting my spirit and stamina back. Walking a bit every day on our wonderful road, just glorious.

    • sbranch says:

      We’ve been walking the canals a lot, doing just that, visiting with the boat people, watching them open and close the gates, it’s pretty wonderful! We were at Avebury yesterday, although it was the ancient ditch with the ridge path and the stone circles with lambs in the fields that got me more than the house. Imagining my ancestors walking that path, and maybe even digging that ditch with antler horns, can you even imagine??? Three thousand years before Christ. How can that BE!?! And what a mystery to ponder. We did love the house too, especially the garden and ESPECIALLY the tea room! SO happy to hear you are feeling better . . . waking is a great cure!

  75. Nor Azlina Lop says:

    Dear Susan,
    Good Sunday morning….we are 7 hours ahead of you here in hot sunny Malaysia. I have been having fun following you on your tweets and taking everything in. I saw some photos of narrow boats and suddenly I thought of you and Joe doing a canal cruise sometime in the future. I have been watching a BBC series of Great Canal Journeys on YouTube and love it very much. Maybe you already knew about this wonderful series but if you haven’t ,I highly recommend it. The host, a husband and wife team are in their mid-80s and they are such an inspiration.They too have recently wrote a book about their canal journeys.
    I have been rereading your blogposts of your previous trip to England and love every bit.
    Is Wiltshire your last stop before leaving? Wishing you and Joe well. Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us. Such a delight……

    • sbranch says:

      When we walk the canals we love to talk to the people in the canal boats, especially the ones who don’t live in them, the newbies, on holiday, to hear what they say, and what they say is WE LOVE IT! The are almost giddy about it! I haven’t seen the series, but I will look for it! Thank you for telling me. Yes, Wiltshire is where our last rental house is … we’ll stop in Hampshire, must visit Jane Austen in Chawton just one more time before leaving on the ship on the 24th. Thank you Nor, it’s been fun to have you along!

  76. Hi again Susan,
    I am sorry but the Great Canal Journeys series is on Channel 4(UK). I apologized for this mistake.
    Maybe our UK girlfriends can help to clarify this.
    Have a good Sunday.

  77. Pamela C Betz says:

    Susan– I think your books would make a fabulous BBC series. There is to much for just one movie. Good luck for all of us. Pam

  78. Ginny Evans says:

    Oh, I loved all the photos of the countryside and quaint British details. I’m so excited about your (potential) movie!! Do we all get parts as extras–you know, as invisible letter writers and all? 😉
    And I loved seeing the cup factory and learning about all the care they take. So William Morris of them, eh?
    Enjoy every second.

    PS thanks for the encouraging words for my daughter (with the broken heart). I passed on a SB hug. Oh, Mom, she said in a loving way, you are so cheesy.

    PS #2 I just read what Cindy said above. Didn’t you adore Lower Slaughter? I bought the sweetest water color of the village in the Mill shop. The day we took the foot path there was one of the nicest of my life.

    • sbranch says:

      You know what? At this point, anything is possible. That’s why I like this point so much! We loved Lower Slaughter, we lived across the street from the Mill and walked the path to Upper Slaughter 3 wonderful times!

  79. Christie Levin says:

    In your Cotswold garden hanging out your laundry ~ that’s another lovely picture of you fully living your England adventure 💖 It is the little things woven in with the big things that makes the whole completely wonderful. Carrie sent me a photo that I hadn’t known she’d taken of me hanging up my laundry for the Oxford air and sun to dry, and it is a sweet memory among so many lovely moments💖 i hope that the rest of your time in England doesn’t rush by, but moves at such a leisurely pace that every wonderful hour stays fresh in your memories. xoxoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Christie! Well, you’re right, we have to wash our socks even in England . . . homemaking is definitely part of the deal! Making a home away from home has its own little challenges! As the days get fewer, I find myself noticing everything even more. Yesterday we were in Avebury, the stone circles, the ditchbank … the wonderful little town, a perfect place for noticing! Thank you for your good wishes, I think it’s going to happen! xoxoxo

  80. Kindred Kate says:

    Hi Susan! I’m responding a little late. I have a feeling you are either sending your latest blog as I write this or are writing it right now! So I hope I still get a response from THIS reply. I am SO excited, happy & proud that you have offers to make your books into a movie. Surprised? not one bit. As I read each one, my imagination took over & I too, saw them as a movie… “a beautiful, sad & disappointed young, artistic woman wondering whether she could make it on her own after her ‘fairytale life’ had been shattered.” Absolutely the stuff that movies are made of! Only it REALLY happened! I wish it could be a TV movie, so that there could be many episodes. Your life is a LOT to cover in just one movie. Of course, the first Academy Award winning actress that comes to mind that owns her own production company is REECE WITHERSPOON- right? She always plays strong & resilient women that have had some hardships in their life. She’s as cute as you are but blond? She’ll have to wear a wig! Hmm…now Natalie Portman is an Academy award winning actress that has her own production company & she LOOKS a lot more like you!! When will you be able to tell us?! Well, when it finally does happen, I hope that the first thing you buy with your millions will be a cottage in England. Will it be located in the Lake District? Loved your pics of the production of your mugs. I will be sending this blog to the 2 “Mom’s” I sent them to so they can read all about them. MY beloved mother passed away in 2016 so I have “adopted” 2 more! One of them is a watercolor artist like you so she was thrilled with her gift. CBS Sunday morning just had a story on the English pubs that seem to be closing at an alarming rate, according to the story. It was about one of them that been bought by the entire community to keep it open! Have you run into this problem at all? Congrats on the Sept issue of Victoria. It’s a very favorite magazine that I subscribe to & am looking very forward to the Sept issue now!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m gearing up to write another blog, that’s as close as I’ve gotten … but it’s coming. We have to leave soon and are trying to scoop up as much goodness as we can before we go. Thank you for the kind movie comments … who knows what will happen? Not I! Maybe something will, and the fun thing is, I wouldn’t be in it alone! I would tell you the moment they tell me it would be okay to talk about it. Believe me, as you must know, keeping my mouth shut is not my strongest suit! You are so smart to adopt a mother! They need us and we need them! We do hear of the problem of the closing of the pubs, but being unfamiliar with almost every place we go, we can’t see it ourselves. There are lots of them it seems to us. It would be a very sad thing for them to go away. Support your local pub is what I say! I’m so excited about Victoria, thank you for mentioning it. I just found out they will also feature A Fine Romance, which is soooo nice of them! And nice of YOU, to send such a lovely comment. Until next time, xoxoxo

  81. AngieTink says:

    Sweet~Sue I Need You….11 Dayzzz Ago My Mom Irene~Charlotte Went Into The Hospital Very Sick & Monday They Put Her Into The Hospice~Hospital & Tonight June 12th At 10:15 pm My Mom Passed~Away…Oh My Goodness…Tears & Sadness But I Know That My Dad Greeted Her & Took Her To Heaven…& All My Mom’s Peeps Hugged Her & Celebrated Her What A Party In Heaven This Week…#RIP Irene~Charlotte & Now Irene & Walter Are Dancing Cheek~To~Cheek In #Heaven…xoxo #Amen P.S. Mom Was 80YearsYoung……

    • sbranch says:

      Oh my goodness Angie, that makes me so sad. I’m so sorry. Only 80, and I know, young until the end. No words can express my sorrow. It’s easy to see she was the light of your life, and I’m sure you were hers. My prayers go out to you, and blessings on your mom and dad, together again in heaven. Kisses and hugs sweet Angie.

      • AngieTink says:

        Thank~You My #SweetSue I Think I’m Still In~Shock But You Know That I Am A Believer & Now My Mom & Dad Are Angels~In~Heaven #WatchingOver #Me & All Us #Kiddos xoxo #Amen Hugzzzz & Kisses & Everything…..

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, I am sure you are. It’s the strangest thing I’ve ever been through, losing my dad, and the strangeness, for me, has never gone away. It’s the thing about time I completely and totally reject! One day at a time sweetheart, that’s all you can do. It’s a lifetime of memories you have stored up that will see you through. xoxoxo

  82. Linda Bleeke says:

    I love reading your blog posts, especially this one. One day I too hope to get to the home of Beatrix Potter and surrounding towns. I am preparing to start a new blog of my own, as I also write children’s stories and am working on getting some published. You have been such an inspiration to me as I walk parallel to your life. I also have hopes and dreams that my life will get better in the future. The fact that you survived when you didn’t know what the future held, gives me the strength to move forward into this new chapter of my life. Love you and your stories. Safe journey home. xoxox

  83. Debbie Boerger says:

    Love the video’s of Avebry and Bawth. We loved the buskers in Bawth, and a lovely tea room with the Best cup of hot chocolate.

    When I was a teen, my next door neighbor and I were total Anglophiles. She and her wonderful mother and father sort of adopted me…or I them…and started me down the wonderful adventure of studying history. On weekend nights we could read the entire night if we wanted. She knew she would be a journalist, and she accomplished just that, beginning with being the editor of our high school newspaper as well as our college one and ending as Editor of various publications. I thought I was destined to be an “artist”. We dreamed of a house on a cliff in Maine, where she would write and I would illustrate. No, neither of us had ever been to Maine, nor did we know anyone who had!!! I was one year behind her, but we stayed close for years. I somehow internalized Maine. Then I met Tom, whose first wife is from Maine. So began summer visits to spend time with Tom’s two kids. We stumbled upon this property in Franklin during one roving trip, sort of looking for a place on some water…..and here we are.

    All the above verbiage is to show how “Wishcraft” works. You dream, visualize, but you must also take concrete steps to make it so. I have finally learned to listen to my spirit and intuitions. Of course there is luck involved in making dreams come true. The trick is to be where your spirit tells you when the bolt of luck strikes.

    When you are in Chawton, will you take a dip into Winchester? We had 5 nights booked at the Old Vine right across from the Cathedral green. Ahhhh, Winchester, seat of the old West Saxons, including Alfred the Great. Even if I can not visit again, I have tons of mental scrapbooks to keep. The journals help open them………

    Mucho love to you and Joe,
    Debbie in Maine

    • sbranch says:

      Wish craft! Love it . . . the heart knows what the heart needs. It makes me so happy that you are in your dream place. We love Winchester! Have a wonderful day in beautiful Maine, Debbie!

  84. Chris says:

    OMG! I am so excited to hear that your books can possibly, (WILL ) be a MOVIE!!! I love all of your books and I love your blogs and your ART!! Thanks for sharing your gifts!! xoxo

  85. Amy says:

    Hello Susan,

    I wanted to drop a note as we just got back from England two days ago. I’ve wanted to go my entire life and after reading “A Fine Romance” last year, I decided it was finally time to make that dream come true! How ironic that you were there and how close I may have come to crossing paths with you, when you were a big part of my inspiration. We absolutely loved the countryside – we stayed in an adorable cottage in the Cotswolds. Using your book as a guide, we explored many National Trust properties, pubs, and tea rooms and just had a really wonderful time. I just wanted to thank you and let you know what an inspiration that book was. Cheers!

    • sbranch says:

      Welcome home Amy! How wonderful you were able to make your dream happen! Proud of you! Makes me happy to hear it! xoxo

  86. Suzette Shoulders says:

    oh, Susan! You and Joe are getting close to the end of your wonderful English adventure! I have a friend who says, ‘Why do you go to England so often?” and of course, one says something about the history and the people, and the wonderful countryside and buildings… but I am such an Anglophile, and always will be! How can you not love people whose name for fireweed is ‘Rose Bay Willow Herb”… always my heart will be in England, and always I will be looking forward to our next visit there ! So glad you shared your journey with us, dear girl! My daughter ordered a ‘Victoria’ subscription for me for my birthday because of your tea party /picnic being in the September issue! Suzette in Oregon

    • sbranch says:

      I know, it’s getting close. And all I want to do these last few days is sit outside and breathe in this rarefied air. We have loved every moment, as I can tell you know! I do want to go home, I’m ready, but I’ll be doing everything I can to bring this with us! At least in pen and paper, and definitely in memories. Glad you could join us Suzette! And always something to look forward to…Victoria! You raised a wonderful daughter! Happy Birthday! xoxo

  87. Jayne says:

    Trying to keep up indeed! I thank you for the wonderful walk through the Cotswolds…wished I couldve been two steps behind you all along the way! Enchanting! My trip there is so fresh in my mind, but it was decades ago and I had two small children in tow…still a wonderful way to see the countryside through their eyes as well as mine! The wedding! We stayed at CLiveden the last time we were in England, and oh my! what a treat…beyond anything, and I bet even Miss Marckle was in awe at the beauty…the River, the gardens….thank you for sweeping me away with your post

  88. Debbie Boerger says:

    Gasp, gasp!!! I can finally breathe after reading through Gardening Gent’s (Andrew Bently) twitters. The man is hysterically funny. Oh, thank you Susan for opening that portal for me.
    Our dear friend is back from her back to back trips, and we’re going to everyone in this area’s fav eatery….Ruth and Wempy’s on Rt 1 in Hancock, Maine……the best “ordinary” food anywhere.
    My French lilac is just bursting into full bloom…it’s a deep bluish purple, and with the yellow and black butterflies on them and the Siberian Iris of the same color, I am delireous (how’s that for spelling :O ?) with joy. Couldn’t get to Winchester this year, but seeing Chawton’s gardens with you was the Next Best Thing. Thank You.
    Debbie in beautiful, sunny Maine

    • sbranch says:

      I know, isn’t he funny? So English! You put Iris together with Siberian and you’re bound to get delireous!!! xoxo

      • Debbie Boerger says:

        You are a hoot, Sue. Bet you got some or that from your dad!
        Have a happy day on Sunday, with happy memories of him!

  89. kedra sugg says:

    The world, (and certain people in it) are scaring me to death right now – thank you for a little peaceful, loving respite. Praying that your world and mine can continue, with our love of history and beautiful nature.
    Blessings, my friend.

  90. Marilyn L Young says:

    Sure hope there is a movie! I’d love it to be a story of your life and on Hallmark in a series! Thanks for all the pictures, I feel as if I were there the whole time.

  91. Kate says:

    Lovely post. Lovely pictures. Lovely life you lead. Thanks for sharing.

  92. Deborah James says:

    Dear Friend, My heart is so confused today. I can’t imagine the thought of your merry adventure coming to a close and yet I am giddy with excitement at the thought of a new book and movie to melt into! The lambs, the pubs, the castles and friends, the picnic and trains and wedding and milkman, cows and cottages, I have loved it all! It has been a dream come true to see England and Wales in their sweetest shades of light and love. With such thanks to both of you for opening the pages of your journal along the way and sharing this magical trip with all of us! Safe travels to you and know that home and Jack and avid readers await! Cheers to both! Love to you, Deborah

  93. Debbie Boerger says:

    Beautiful Lacock! In 2013 it was Tom’s 1st day of his first trip to England outside of London on Business. We stayed at the Red Lion right across the street from the ancient tithe barn. Our “home” for the following 10 days was a bnb outside of Box, on the Bawth Road, down a country lane with the cows, pigs and chicken that made the breakfasts so special…along with the warm Aga in the kitchen. So much to do and see in that area.
    I know your departure day is nearing, but you have the lovely ship Queen Victoria to look forward to. Hope you can accumulate “points” with Cuinard Lines!
    Debbie in Maine, where the gentle rain is falling 🙂

  94. Christie Levin says:

    So here is a funny thing ~ all the times I’ve read your blogs and jumped into your photos, I’ve had the feeling that I was ALMOST there, too. (I know I’m not alone in feeling this way). Your writing and photography styles are magical that way; Carrie’s posts do that too, alone of all others that I’ve seen. The interesting thing is, now that I WAS there with you and Carrie at some of these places & times, the feeling is still the same ~ your blog and tweets are somehow SO in-tune with/imbued with the place and moment you are sharing, that the experience at your end and the sharing in it at this end are both as close as can be ~ I’ve decided it confirms the existence of literary osmosis. I hope this makes sense because it really seems quite wonderful to me.

    • sbranch says:

      It makes perfect sense to me! I have literary osmosis all the time, I think we all do, when reading something that interests us, or touches us or just makes us think. Imagine all the time we’ve spent swirling in dreams while reading our books! xoxoxo

  95. Christie Levin says:

    On re-reading the above, it just doesn’t make good sense, so please delete it (and this) and just know you are doing a STELLAR job communicating, which is a very good thing!! especially for those of us who just don’t have that particular gift. Thank you, Sue xoxoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you back Christie . . . I hope you don’t mind I published your comment anyway, mainly because I think you put into words how many of us feel! I get that from the comments left here too . . . it’s definitely a wonderful thing!

  96. Lynne Farrell says:

    I’m feeling very left out on this trip. I don’t do twitter and I miss your writing.
    It’s been a long time since we’ve heard from you on the blog.
    Sorry to whine but everything is so terrible here at home(the USA) that I long to be in England again. Please write.

    • sbranch says:

      I will as soon as I possibly can. Hard, our last couple of weeks, to make Joe stay home for a day, or go out without me. But I will asap. I miss you too!

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

    Hello Susan, Hello Girlfriends, Happy First Day of Summer. weather here has been a little wacky, sunny and warm, then cloudy and cool , then thunderstorms and rain, and even got some snow in the mountains, not much but it was enough to coat the ground there. sorry I haven’t been around, its been both hectic and busy with a bit of sadness thrown in since we lost Tabby Cat on Memorial day. it has been rough seeing as how that cat was a big part of my day each day and my constant buddy, he’d follow me from room to room always chatting and bellowing at times. he would be there for his morning coffee, and always there for ice cream at night, I miss that especially since he was so silly getting into the ice cream dish …. got ice cream all over his face and looked goofy. if we had cones he was first in my lap for a lick or 2 or 3 or more. he loved drumsticks. if I was cooking dinner, he would wander in and comment on it, always putting in his opinion of things. if we had peeps or baby ducks in the house he would be there to look after them and keep them safe. so its been hard here with Tabby being gone. I sure do miss him. on rainy afternoons he would be in my lap and adoring being petted and fussed over. he was my spoiled baby, spoiled with love which he spoiled me with… his love. well I have to get outside with the last of the laundry load and get it hung on the line. any idea of when you will be home???? hugs…. 🙂 🙁

    • sbranch says:

      July 1, and I am so sorry, Pat, about losing Tabby, that’s just the worst. Hugs back to you. xoxoxo

  98. Frances Fowler says:

    Susan, where did you get your “English” dress! It’s all like witnessing a dream, thank you for sharing with us all. And don’t take this the wrong way because it’s such incredibly exciting news about the latest development in putting your story on the screen, but no matter how marvelous the writing or the actors, it’s a rare exception for me to say the show or movie was better because that would be absolutely impossible in this case, but maybe that’s because many of your readers, at least of a certain age, started out decades ago with your first books and it would be hard to reimage that. Then again, there are plenty of movies/books where the book would always win out if I had to, HAD TO, choose, but no way I would want to because they both bring something different to the screen and I’m happy I never really have to pick my favorite. I’m rereading Martha’s Vineyard: Isle of Dreams again (the others get their turn, too). So marvelously inspirational. Well, they all are, in their different ways. Love to all the sheep 🙂

  99. kathiellen says:

    Dear Susan,
    Your last Twitter video ( earlier today ) made my heart very heavy. No one but YOU could even come CLOSE to making me feel like I have been on a wonderful visit to such an enchanting, beautiful place as the U.K. You have shared your heart and your time beyond all imagination with all of us during this lovely dream. I am sure that each one of us who have “traveled” with you on your journey feels such gratitude for all that you have done to make us feel part of your dream, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. It has been so much fun following you and Joe everywhere! Now I will follow you back home…Leaving tomorrow will not only be bittersweet for you, but for me as well. It all has been so much fun for me. I hope that you and Joe get a well deserved and badly needed rest on your journey home. I know there will be one happy Kitty-Boy waiting for you when you walk through the door!! God bless and keep you both! Smooth and safe travels!! xoxoxo

  100. Debbie Boerger says:

    I know you will miss the Green and Pleasant Land. Your last tweet picture…..Was that possibly the South Downs Way? Did you go up top of Maiden ‘Castle’ near Dorchester? Tom was gobsmacked by the views from Ditchling Beacon eastward on the S. Downs Way.
    Hope you enjoyed your farewell for now and can think of seeing your Jack and Home. Not to mention a lovely time on the Queen Victoria. Thank you so very much for all your efforts, successful efforts to be sure, to make all of us feel as though we were right there with you. 🙂

    Mucho love,
    Debbie in Maine

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