Hey World, Take the Year Off!

Hello everyone! How are you doing? Lots of good news here in the House of Creativity, which it better be with all this stay at home stuff. But as you’re about to see, we went out for lunch! For the first time since March! MUSICA

I AM smiling under there! Love the way masks make my ears more elf-like than normal. Took our books and the newspaper and went to Edgartown for lunch! Was this a good thing to do? We won’t know for sure for 14 days.😷 So far, so good. Most people were wearing masks, but we also saw a few whole families NOT doing it. So that was a bit scary. But really, most were showing their children that we’re all in this together! 

It was excellent people watching! The passing parade. And everyone seemed to have brought their dogs. It’s disconcerting to see how much the world has changed, people in masks doesn’t feel real. I was so happy the dogs didn’t have to wear them. And they were all smiling!

  We had a lovely lunch, but I admit, after that guy on the street sneezed without a mask which sparkled in the sunlight as it whizzed by us way too close at 20mph ~ and then, realizing there was no way to buy an ice cream cone in Edgartown while distancing 😲, we gave up, and felt much happier driving around in the car. Our little island did so well for a while, we went a whole month with no new cases. . . but now, things relaxed, and there have been eleven new cases this last week!

So we had fun driving around town and looking at the sweet old houses and gardens . . .

In Vineyard Haven, where we live, it was a very hot, humid, sunny day … but 20 minutes away in Edgartown, it was fogged in, cool, and delightful!

Joe thought you’d like to see the Edgartown jail! 

We drove home via Beach Road. On the right of this long line of parked cars is the ocean. Not too many open parking places!

If you had planned to come to the island this year and then didn’t, here is a little island-fix for you. A trip to the beach, completely sunburn and covid-free.

Beach paths . . .

Families . . .


Umbrellas, sand and surf . . .Playing in the park . . .

And tons of boats! All the things of summer on an island.

This is more my speed . . . 5 mph, but only 3 on foot.

Going slow . . .

Our walk is heaven as always . . . 

. . . only thing that ever changes out here are the seasons. Soon we’ll be picking wild blueberries that grow along the road.

Once in a while we stumble upon evidence of other humans.

We have to go really early these days, it gets too hot and buggy later on, but look at the reward!

We hardly see anyone on our walk, which is good because Joe and I are especially lovely to look at out there. We each carry a dishtowel, which we swat back and forth, over our shoulders, behind our backs, across our legs . . . the trick to keeping the mosquitoes away. I’m not crazy about wearing bug spray on a daily basis!

And to all of you dreaming about turning in the summer heat for a windy, crisp, fall day, I have good news: The trees are “rethinking” their leaves! Every so often we spot a red leaf among the green ~ this one came drifting down in front of us. I had to bring it home.👏

First thing we do when we get home is wash our hands in hot water… and we have the BEST kitchen soap. It’s so silky and soft and makes such a good lather . . . I’ve used it at my kitchen sink for years (never wild about the look of plastic bottles on my counter). Love it so much, I thought you would too, so I got it for our web store.

It smells wonderful . . . provides aroma therapy too, lavender fragrance promotes calmness and wellness, reduces stress and anxiety.💞 Things we need more of these days!

I also found the same wooden soap holder I have, so it’s a set! It is the little things in life! I’m happy every time I use it! I sent it to my Virgo sister and she loves it too. Like Good Housekeeping approved!

Gazpacho seems to be my go-to dinner recipe these days. So bright and clean tasting, healthy, crunchy, and icy cold! I’ve made it three times so far! Starting to want to DO something about these dampanic pounds I’ve gained.

If you haven’t made it this summer, don’t forget to do it. While the tomatoes are juicy and fresh!🍅

I know I’m not the only person who takes pictures like this. Because it’s beautiful. Little vases, soap suds, old sink. Soul satisfying.That’s not rain! It’s humidity! I know. Feel sorry for us. But Joe put in window air-conditioners downstairs so we are very happy and comfy. And our clothes on the line look like a watercolor painting through the windows!I was excited to see a big box land on the kitchen porch yesterday ~ look what was inside! 2021 Calendars! They turned out great. Color is perfect!I keep being asked if I did an “England photo calendar” again this year. The answer is, I did do a photography calendar, but it’s not “England” . . .

. . . for 2021 it’s “This Old House, A Year on Martha’s Vineyard.” Here’s a sample page for March. Jack (ham-cat) makes an appearance in every month! 

They should all arrive at the Studio next week!

So guess what? There’s an event! And everyone’s invited no matter where in the world you live! It’s on August 19th at 1pm EST! I’ll be doing something new, dampanic-inspired, and fun! It’s a Zoom Party, originating from Duxbury, MA, but I’ll be at home! I’ll be talking about my favorite subject and telling a slide-show story of going to the English Countryside! And I’d love to take you along!
It’s free, you can read more about it and sign up to receive a zoom invitation by going to www.duxburyseniorcenter.org. Signed copies of books will be available, I’ll also get to introduce my new book Home for Christmas… we’ll have a door prize . . . guests can ask questions … and I’m not sure what else! My first time! Come!

And if you’d like me to do one of these Webinars for your local bookstore, call them and tell them! This worked so well last time and I’d love to! I think I almost
have Joe talked into making personal appearances! Bookstores can contact me at booktour@susanbranch.com. We’d planned to drive across country this year and meet everyone in person, but we finally had to give up on that idea . . . would love to do some fun Zoom talks and see you there! ❤️  We could have virtual tea parties! I have one planned with the wonderful family-owned
Titcombs Bookstore on the Cape, and there are others . . . I’ll put up a calendar with dates and times soon.
  And another surprise . . . for all of you who’ve preordered Home for Christmas, I made a special bookmark that we’re going to tuck into each book. Because we can! I can’t wait to see the finished thing . . . we should have them the end of August! For those first days of fall.I thought you’d like to see a page from the new book … We’ll have to save it, light candles, make tea, and read it at Christmas. Gives me chills!I have an update on the cups. First, the bad news: The first cups they made didn’t look right to the manufacturer. So they sent me a photo, and they were right, they were waaaay too light. Which means they have to make new lithographs. Which means a delay. We won’t get them now until end of August, first of September. I’m so sorry but I knew you wouldn’t like them the way they were! Please let sheri@susanbranch.com know if this will be a problem for you. We know what a great job this wonderful British manufacturer does and they want it to be right. BUT! The GOOD NEWS is that this delay allowed me to add more of them to the order. So anyone who didn’t get one before they sold out has another chance!👏 Kind of a little miracle if you think about it. We thought it was a done deal!What else? Oh yes, something I wanted to share with you. Staying at home DOES get hard ~ not everyone has to do it, thank goodness, but many of us do, and luckily we have the Internet! There are so MANY special things going on. So much creativity! British Time Out Magazine has created an issue called Time In! So go HERE and be totally inspired! And as our girlfriend Nancy T. so sweetly suggested, “Be a lighthouse in this rocky island of craziness!” This too shall pass.❤️And you know what else? Some of you DO know I’ve been designing my first puzzle. This is it. It’s done. And being manufactured by the same people who make my calendars! And yes, Kellee is putting it up for presale later this afternoon ~ it’s something new, so we’re trying to figure out how many we should order. I laid it out in the living room . . . it’s 1000 pieces, 27″ across, 20″ down. Called “For the Love of Books.” What do you think?  We hope everyone likes it, then I’ll get to do more!

We’ve had fun FaceTime visits with Paul and Rachel and even had a walk through their English (and I mean that literally) garden! But the thing I miss the most when I see my friends these days are the hugs! Joe is doing double duty these days!💞

We’ve also been taking night-time walks through our neighborhood ~ the fireflies are everywhere, more than I’ve ever seen, I guess because of the humidity, and they’re lighting up the night with their magic!

We have some great shadows. . .

Love the moon, open windows and music and bookcases and cats on sills . . .

And home sweet home we go . . . to book and bed. Hope you enjoyed your island visit, but I can’t go without sending love to all our girlfriends and their families everywhere, especially in parts of the world being hit hard by the virus. In the midst of sorrow and catastrophe, we’ve seen stunning feats of selflessness and compassion. Our frontline workers are so brave. I think if I were them I might threaten to go on strike if everyone doesn’t wear a mask. Why do they risk their lives and the lives of their families for us, I’ll never know. But I’m filled with gratitude for these amazing heroes. If I was in charge, they would all get a raise! Right now! Some of them are reading this,  💖  some of you have sons and daughters on front lines. Thank you 🙏, and please thank them. Special prayers for everyone in Florida, Arizona, California, Georgia, Texas ~ I heard something on TV the other day, “This virus is strong, but Texas is stronger.” And that is the truth for all of us, we are stronger than this, and in the end, if we never give up, if we join together 💞, we will win. I just wish we’d get it over with! Aren’t you done? I’m so done! But too bad for us, the virus has the last word!

Love you all . . . this post is too long! Next time I’ll do better. XOXOXO    


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755 Responses to Hey World, Take the Year Off!

  1. Kathy Hughes says:

    Susan, do some comments disappear? I know I left you a comment on the 22nd at 9:30 am. You may not have responded to my question, but I was just checking to see if you had. The question was about the gorgeous green used on the door and shutters in the 5th picture from the top of the blog. I’m ready to have my shutters and door painted, and that color is perfect. Just figured if a good friend lived there, you might be able to discover the paint color. Renovation has kept me busier than I ever expected, and I’ve not had time to even think about this virus. My mom turned 95 this week and fortunately is not in a nursing home. Everyone has stayed healthy and happy except for the BLM protest downtown Charleston where businesses were destroyed, and tourism is ruined for this year. Very sad!
    Thanks as always for your cheery posts and lovely pictures of the beautiful island.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m not sure Kathy, I don’t THINK so, but it’s hard to know if something disappears. That color is what many New England homes use on their doors and shutters, we have it on my house too. It’s almost black, but it actually has a lot of dark green in it. I don’t know the name of the color. ~ I just asked Joe, he says he thinks it’s Benjamin Moore Black Forest Green. So lucky to have your mom NOT in a nursing home! You stay safe Kathy! xoxo

      • Sharon Wagand says:

        Oh my goodness…just happened upon this comment…I live in Florida and that is the exact color we have used for years on the front door, shutters, and top of porch railing. We’ve had people ring the bell to ask what colors we used. The house exterior is Benjamin Moore Horizon Grey with white trim.
        I’ve been a fan for many, many years and so happy you continue to delight us! 🥰

  2. Joanne Dean says:

    Please don’t “do better”. I always look forward to your long posts! 🙂 Yes to the calendar, new Christmas Book, and puzzle! I want to preorder but am in the process of getting our new forever home in the woods and can’t provide a permanent address just yet. By the time I went to order this year’s calendar it was sold out! – 2020 is just, well 2020. Looking forward to a new Calendar and year. 😉 Stay well!

  3. Dear Susan,

    Completely dropped myself into your new post and thoroughly enjoyed my visit with you. So many exciting things going on. I’m so happy to hear you and Joe are keeping well. You are looking quite elfin in your mask. We’re staying close to home for the most part, and our garden is quite happy with all the extra attention it has received this summer.

    Just placed my order for your Christmas book — can hardly wait, Susan, for its arrival down the road. We know it will be just the ticket. How lovely of you to use this time to create something priceless for all of us to enjoy! You really are the cat’s meow, as Jack would attest.🐾🐾

    Wishing you glimpses of heaven in unexpected places.😘

    Heart hugs,

  4. Debbie Boerger says:

    Thankful it’s cooled off just a wee bit, so we’re having our usual friend over for grilled salmon. She has no TV at her camp, so we’ll be watching the first Endeavour, which we recorded. With each new season, I’m wishing more and more that I could give him and DI Thursday’s daughter the ‘dope slap’. Enjoy glimpses of the colleges in Oxford and hope we get to reschedule our trip for next year.

    Stay cool and safe, Dear Lady,
    Debbie in Lovely, Lovely Downeast Maine

  5. Carol Wakefield says:

    I just received my photo wall calendar and it is wonderful!! I think this may be my favorite of all of your calendars and believe me I have them all!! It makes me so happy to see your beautiful home and all of the touches that fill you (and me) with joy. This is such a treasure and will keep me smiling and counting my blessings all through 2021.
    Thank you so much for being you. For your optimism and blessing counting and uplifting messages. You are a treasure. (As is your precious Jack. Love his appearance on each page. The one of him in the mixing bowl reminds me so much of Tasha Tudor’s one eyed cat, Minou, curled in her yellow ware bowl)
    Carol Wakefield

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Carol … I’m so pleased with the way the photo calendar came out! It’s like a little home magazine! Love hearing from you! ❤️

  6. Karen says:

    Full?? No wonder I couldn’t sign up for the zoom lunch. It says it’s full. I’m sooo sad. I had trouble signing up right from the get go. People must have gone to it as soon as you posted it. You’ll have to tell us all about it Susan. There will be a lot of green eyed monsters waiting to hear all the news. I will be on the top of that list. Enjoy girlfriends and maybe even some guys too!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, it actually went kind of crazy and 1700 people signed up!!! So, that was shocking. I’m doing others though, and after that, perhaps there won’t be quite so much competition! I’ll put the future events up on my blog. Do me a favor… if you see this, tell me, if you were there, what would you want me to talk about? If you had a question, what would it be? I would LOVE to talk about something someone actually wants to hear about!!😃

      • Janet in Pittsburgh says:

        I am so happy to hear there will be more Zoom events. I missed getting in on the first one. I have been checking back to see if any openings have occurred, but then I thought. “Who in their right mind would could cancel out of this event?” LOL. I can’t wait to attend a future event. I believe anything you will talk about would be interesting. From your travels to England to your early days in California. It is all so interesting. Also, I would probably ask. “Is there still a chance that the movie may happen?” That would be my dream come true. Actually, that was meeting you in person, which I have been blesses to do twice already at your book signings in Hudson, OH. Blessings and health to you, Joe, and Jack.

  7. Rosemary from Texas says:

    I have just reread your latest post with the island tour…most enjoyable. It is nice for you to get out for a look around and lunch out. Masks, please everyone. The misinformation out there is becoming so frustrating…tweets and things. Honestly, why would you not wear one if there was any chance at all you could save your life as well as someone else’s. We are still trying to get to New York state to take care of family business but being from Texas, the land of the crazies, has pretty much prevented that. And, I do not blame New York for not wanting to let people into their state who have not taken it all seriously. Excuse me, please. Do not mean to go on about that. We are actually getting along very well with our grocery pickups and staying home most of the time. We all have things we miss…like our Tuesday girls get togethers…but it will happen again one day. Your blog is more welcome than ever, if that is possible….always hopeful, optimistic, happy and truthful. Thank you. Length of blog is not an issue…more is better. Love, love, love to you and yours.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s become “the principle of the thing” …. having to do with this being “a free country!” I keep waiting for someone to explain the difference between being “forced” to wear a seatbelt, and “forced” to wear a mask. Both are life saving. I don’t blame them either. We’ve been hunkered down for so long, waiting for it all to GO AWAY, doing the responsible thing, and we’re getting sick of it. I wonder how nurses must feel…seeing people who refuse to wear masks out partying, then having to risk her life (and her family’s life) to care for the people who get it? Anyway. We can only pray. This too shall pass. I miss hugs. That’s my worst thing. Joe and I are hugging about 5 times as much, on purpose, to try and make up for this loss. I read somewhere someone said, “I long for your embrace.” Made me cry! Take care, Rosemary! Just think, 2021 is practically tomorrow, what will the year hold for all of us??????💞

    • mary spring says:

      …I just finished reading your comment, Rosemary and I need to write to tell you “thank you !”.. with both of my daughters being nurses I’m sure they absolutely agree with you too on the wearing a mask issue !.. we are so tired of all of this too…I could go on and on with stories I’ve heard from them but I won’t…it’s all so stressful… I just wanted to tell you and Susan thank you so much.and as one of my daughter’s keeps telling me : we will get through this !!!

      • sbranch says:

        Yes you will, and the hero-work your children are doing is just so amazing. I can’t even put words to it. I just wish they could be honored by everyone wearing masks. It’s the least we can do. Give them hugs from us (if and when you can!) And our words of deep gratitude. ❌⭕️ xoxoxo

      • Rosemary from Texas says:

        Our deepest gratitude for your daughters’ angelic work, Mary. And, Susan, thank you, too for putting the word out in such a positive, encouraging way. It seems like you may be preaching to the choir is the only thing, according to the comments I read here. But, yes, we will get through this. My best to you both.

  8. mary spring says:

    …dear Susan !.. I just received your 2021 photo calendar and Heart of the Home calendar that I pre-ordered in the mail !! … both are absolutely wonderful !! unlike a lot of folks that wait month by month to be surprised , I just had to see every wonderful page !! ..thank you so much !!.. ( ‘already can’t wait for 2021 !! )… as so often you do , you give us so much joy and magic !!… with love, as always…

    • sbranch says:

      I always feel everyone can go ahead and look, because if they’re anything like me, they’ll pretty much forget until they get there again! Double enjoyment! Love to you Mary!

  9. Rosinda says:

    I’m so looking forward to your new Christmas book and surprise bookmark, too. Yippee! Your posts are so positive and uplifting. Big hugs and love to you and Joe from Canada! xo

  10. Sitting here with my coffee loving every word and picture on your comforting blog. Susan, M.V. reminds me so much of my own town O.G. (Ocean Grove) N.J. There’s nothing better than living by the sea. Since March, I have only been to the beach, grocery store and home. Other than that I enjoy walks through my beautiful, Victorian town every day. I have been looking forward to your Zoom meeting and wouldn’t you know it lands on a day when I will actually NOT be home! I am scheduled to be in N.Y. on the 18th and 19th. Poop! Hopefully you will have another Zoom meeting in the near future. I can’t wait for your new book! Oh, and I am so happy you enjoy the little “Jack” frame:) People seem to be reacting well to this idea and I have several orders in the works! I’m so glad you, Joe and Jack are staying well during these challenging times. All we can do is make the best of it (and try to stay away from the news)! Much love to you xoxoxoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, there will be more Zoom events scheduled, already are about 3 … I’ll put them on my blog. Good for you MaryLou! Fun painting!😍

  11. Beverly says:

    1000 piece puzzle yikes!! I have finished three 500 piece puzzles since February or March. Sometimes my grandson would be here and I would ask if he wanted to help me. He would watch for a few minutes and he couldn’t resist. He’s ten and a big help especially when I couldn’t get going again. I don’t think he had ever noticed fireflies before this summer. The fireflies here in Oklahoma have really been putting on a show every night. As kids I remember calling them lightning bugs and wearing them on our fingers as diamonds. Thanks for taking us on a tour.

    • sbranch says:

      Ours too, fireflies out again last night. We normally only have them in June, and usually it’s only two or three nights! Maybe they felt sorry for us this year and decided to put on a show! So magical, love seeing them in the dark! xoxo

  12. Eileen M Ammendolea says:

    Hi Susan! Thanks for the beautiful tour of Martha’s Vineyard. I’ve only been there once and I do want to go back again! It’s truly lovely! Here on Long Island this past week it’s been hot enough for the beaches but, alas, there have been so many shark sightings that it hasn’t been safe enough to enjoy the water. What a year! Well, there’s no place like home and at least baseball is back (at least for a while — lots of players are beginning to test positive for “you know what” so it might be a very short season), we have a little garden of lovely veggies growing and pretty flowers to look at, and lots of crafts to work on and books to read, so I will try to look on the bright side. 🌼🌞🌸 Oh Susan, I went to register for the Zoom meeting but it is full!😪😪😪 I hope there will be more. I was so looking forward to it! I hope you and Joe stay well and thank you for all you do.

    • sbranch says:

      Shark infestation, add it to the ridiculousness of 2020!😷 There will be more Zoom events … I’ll let you know on the blog! Thank you so much Eileen, stay healthy! xoxo

  13. Sharon says:

    Your posts are never “too long”. I look forward to them so much…like getting an old fashioned letter in the post from a dear friend, I treasure each one…photos, art, music…I often get teary with gratitude. You are such a rare gift!

  14. Debbie Boerger says:

    Thankful for this sooothing, calming place. Breeeeathe, Debbie, my neighbor tells me via email. We’ve going through a very rough patch on our end of the dirt road. Threats that would pretty much trash the serenity we’ve carved out for ourselves. I’ll fight on, but it may require an attorney.
    Worried sick about daughter who is extremely immuno-compromised, yet insisted upon going back to FL to teach 5 yr. olds. She’s 51, so we couldn’t insist she stay here.
    And last but certainly not least, my doc is trying out some changes in my medications. Visualize Linda Blair’s head in The Exorcist.
    Putting on sooooothing music to accompany our lunch and cribbage game.
    Mucho Love and Huge Thank You from my Soul,
    Debbie in Maine

    • sbranch says:

      Attorney never sounds good Debbie. I hope whatever it is gives up and goes away immediately! Makes me sad to hear your daughter left. I feel so bad for everyone having to decide what to do about school. Poor kids want to go back so bad, teachers too, and yet . . . the unknown. Prayers for your daughter. That’s the one group, the compromised of any age, I wish they could stay home and wait out this infection. Deep breath, it’s all you can do. Hugs to you and Tom. xoxoxo

  15. Julie says:

    I am surprised to read the island is experiencing so many visitors this year. This ensures more Covid cases of course, especially from those under the false impression that masks are not needed. Sigh. Frustrating.

    I’m feeling more hopeful these days. This uncertain time in our history with all its assaults WILL end. November brings so much to be thankful for but most of all, the option of new leadership. Only then can we take a deep breath, look back on our deeply injured democracy, garner all its lessons and move on, one personal action at a time. We will get through this together — meanwhile I’ll watch the gorgeous bees take a deep drink from my fountain.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, we’re surprised too. They saw that lull end of May and first of June, and in the came, in droves. It’s so hard for everyone. I totally understand. But it’s never going away until we deal with it. We are definitely going to have wounds that will require time to heal. Can’t wait to get started! Yup, watch the bees, take deep breaths of sunsets and count your blessings!💞

      • Debbie Boerger says:

        Not only did we have an outbreak of Covid among the migrant agricultural workers this week…8 as of today…we have an outbreak among out-if state tourists. The little hospitals are very worried. These folks were tested before they left their homes, but came on here without knowing the results…probably because it took way too long. Thankful they reported to the hospital when they got the results. No National Testing Program!!!??? Tom and I, next door neighbors, and best friend are going back to phase 1. Go into town only when absolutely necessary, not eating in any restaurant. Wear gloves, masks and be assertive in distancing. Firm voices, stern glares. Step back.
        Please be safe!
        Thank you for your very kind words,
        Mucho Love,
        Debbie in beautiful Maine

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, we’ve had to scale back too. Today was a birthday party for Joe’s nephew, turned 47. Small party, only family, nine people, but, including us, we were from three different states, and we made the final decision, despite our dearest desires, not to go. Too many have eased back. Oh well. There’s next year, God willing! Good for you Debbie, it’s the right thing. xoxo

          • Debbie Boerger says:

            Gracious, I hope none of the seven relatives get the virus.. Awful that we are still having so many new cases and deaths.
            Our local spike is growing exponentially. 10 new ones from the blueberry workers, and many more exposed over on “the Island”, where Acadia and Bar Harbor are located. We thought we were doing everything right here in Maine, but how do you know if a visitor is quarantining? We’d like to think people care about infecting others….Most do, but it takes only a handful before it goes exponential.
            Please post when it’s been 14 days since you were sneezed upon. Fingers and toes crossed…well, can no longer cross those fingers, but I Can cross these very long toes. 😉
            Mucho Grande Love,
            Debbie in unbelievably gorgeous Maine, thankful we had no damage from the storm….Hope the same for you and Joe.

  16. Carolyn Wilson says:

    Dear Susan, My post never made it here so I’m doing it over! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your blog. It is never, could never, be too long! Your encouraging words brighten my day and I just love knowing the newsy news in your corner of the world. I am so grateful for my daughter’s and my continuing good health, for a job, and for our home! We love being home so much – we have a new appreciation for each other and our home. Thanks to you, Susan, we get so many inspirations and ideas for making our home uniquely ours and to make good food! Reading is more enjoyable than ever and we are so grateful for our library and most especially, your books. Thanks to the internet we can watch programs and movies that are so enjoyable. Yeah for our air popper! I’m thrilled to be one of the fortunate gals who are joining you in about 2 weeks for your Duxbury zoom event! I have my tea already planned out. Homemade, delicious, and served with my special tea cozy and English mug!

    • sbranch says:

      Love hearing your happy voice Carolyn! You’re so lucky to be with your daughter/best friend! Love reading your blessings-counting. I checked to see if your other comment was posted, and I found this! I knew I recognized your name because I have a friend in England with the same name!!! XOXOXO

      Carolyn Wilson

      Susan please don’t ever even think of shortening your blog stories! Every bit of them are treasures to be enjoyed and read over and over! I never want them to end! Thank you for making our world more homey, beautiful, inspirational, kinder, and just livable in the midst of this dam panic. You give us hope and that is not a little thing! We appreciate you so much. I’m ready, in Hendersonville, North Carolina, to tune into Duxbury Doings and go along with you to a picture perfect fairy dusted English Countryside. It will be the next best thing to going ourselves. A memory book full! Then we will be whisked away to a nostalgic Christmas memory fest. I have already ordered my Christmas book and the beautiful puzzle too! Yay! I don’t know whether to make a pot of tea and cucumber sandwiches or hot chocolate with marshmallows and a nice big gingerbread man. Either will be perfect! I’ve taken the day off from work – hoowah for vacation days! What an uplifting event to brighten our day and give us pleasure. Susan I, too, am finding sweet little brightly colored fall leaves here and there. Nature is leaving these gifts to find to remind us nothing is forever and to keep hope alive in our spirits. We will stay committed to doing the right thing – wearing our face masks, social distancing, and loving our family time. Personally, I’m rocking my face masks. My beautiful daughter makes them for us. She uses our fabric scraps so each mask is a lovely memory! Another blessing in disguise – my complexion is lovelier than ever since make-up is redundant right now. Thank you Susan for all the joy you have given us.

      • Carolyn Wilson says:

        Susan, Thank you so much for your sweet reply. I think of you as a very special girlfriend! You and Joe are appreciated more than you will ever know!!!!!!!!!!! I was born in 1949, so I am around your ages. That’s why I so identify with and love your writing and reminiscences so much !Keep safe and well!

  17. Barbara Irvine says:

    Susan, my 2021 “This Old House” calendar arrived today, and it is wonderful !! I love all the photos, but I must admit my favorites are the photos of sweet little Jack. He has to be one of the most photogenic cats ever, and your skill with the camera has captured some adorable photos. I love him curled up in the mixing bowl on the kitchen table, sitting on the counter next to the stove, standing on his hind feet to peek out the kitchen door … well, OK, I love all the photos of Jack!

    The calendar is a lovely voyage through the seasons of Martha’s Vineyard, starring your beautiful house and yard.

    Happy August to all. The cicadas and katy-dids are singing, telling us Summer will soon be winding down. I hate to see Summer end, but some cooler weather will be very welcome.

    Stay safe, all, and let’s hope this pandemic will soon end.

  18. Sandra Lindsay says:

    What a joy to open the door and find my new 2021 Susan Branch calendar! The sticker “If friends were flowers I’d pick you” on the package made me smile.
    I spent the next hour just staring at each page! I love it. Your artwork is amazing. I look forward to putting it up in the new year! Now I wait for your new book “Home for Christmas” 🙂

  19. cathy bullard says:

    I loved when you mentioned that you & Joe were going out for lunch. You said we have our newspapers & books. My husband & I (unfortunately he passed away in 2016 always brought something to read when we ate out. Some observers would probably think “What a sad couple they are who read instead of talking. But we were not sad, we were just relaxing by reading.

  20. Peggy McAbee says:

    Susan, Received my calendar and I read every page already. I love being able to visit your home each month. I pray that 2021 will be a better year for all of us. Stay safe, Peg

  21. Shirlene Harper says:

    When will your new book about England, Ireland be coming out? I am looking forward to its release!

  22. Natalie says:

    I am so excited about your puzzle. I have pre ordered two. One for myself and one for my bestest friend who is also a Susan Branch fan.. 1st Christmas present bought for 2020

  23. Ginnie Judd says:

    Susan, I usually read your blog posts pretty quickly, and unfortunately only got to this one today, and the book reading registration is FULL! 🙁 Oh my goodness, what a great problem to have! Any chance they can up their registration limit? I’ll keep checking back, just in case. Love everything you are up to!

  24. Stefanie says:

    Thank you dear, for a spot of regular…whatever that may be!…It is truly a world “gone mad” as they say…I find that I am becoming more of a home body…doing things around the house…not that I am afraid to go out, it is really just such a hassle, and so different!…the older I get, I DO NOT LIKE CHANGE!!!…and let’s be honest, there really is NO PLACE LIKE HOME!!!…so, as always, thank you for allowing me (us) to peek into your world…gotta love sheets on a clothes line…a clothes line (sadly, something many do not know about, or may soon learn about!!!)…similar to an “iron”…my daughter moved way North, and she left her iron, I asked her if she wanted me to ship it to her…her response was “no”…”If I need anything ironed, I use my flat iron” (for her hair!), and she only irons that which shows (i.e. the placket!)…oh my…!…

  25. Margaret Riddle says:

    Hello Susan,
    Yes, your blog is delightful and uplifting in these covid days. I am the lady from Asheville NC. Recently I re-read “A Fine Romance” and it was wonderful again to take that marvelous trip through parts of England. I felt like I was along for the “ride.” I, too, miss the no-Covid hugs and I came up with a safe alternative, when one of my very talented former choir director/organists was in our area for awhile this summer doing a safe, mostly remote, music conference at nearby Montreat Conference Center. He was rehearsing organ music for a cancelled concert, now to be a video, hopefully. We each brought our lunch, we socially distanced, and then next, he treated me to the organ concert pieces in the huge empty auditorium. Just me! Afterward, as we walked to our cars, still masked, I had an idea: I stood behind him and instead of a hug, I patted his shoulder blades with my 2 hands and then I turned around and he did the same. It was a little thing, but it was safe and it was human touch to human. So try it and be safe! Also, another idea: I was thinking, as I looked at the charming paintings you do of children, I was reminded of the paper dolls that used to appear on a page in the monthly McCalls Magazine when I was a little girl.( I am now 77) I cut out and saved lots of them and played with them. Maybe you could do a paper doll with a couple of outfits on your blog, and maybe we could download them and enjoy them and let daughters and granddaughters experience with us what we once did. I hope you will think about it. Thanks so much for the beauty you share with us in your blogs and all your other creations.

  26. Danielle says:

    Hi Susan,
    A longer post is more to savor. It looks like a majority of the comments agree. The best pro face mask sign outside a business I’ve seen read “You know what’s uncomfortable? A BRA, but I wear one in public. Not for myself, for everyone else”.😂
    Glad to hear you are staying well, best wishes

  27. Margot in Sister Bay says:

    Hi Susan,
    I got so busy the beginning of July with sons and then my sister’s family, that I didn’t comment on your lovely earlier post. I had Covid the first week in June, never left the county, but many tourists up here and snowbirds. I gave blood last week. 💪🏼
    For some strange reason your post of late went into my spam folder! 🤨🥴 First time ever!
    So here I am! Hoping to order my things if it is not too late. How long is the book talk? I have an exciting event that day…I am meeting THE girl of my eldest son! Finally I will not be outnumbered!
    I love your Santa, as he reminds me of the Santa of my very young youth!
    Your Summer looks looks like mine! Love it!! Although it has been unusually hot here! Awaiting Autumn, which I never rush into…eating cherries 🍒. Apples can wait. 🍎

  28. Carol Johnson says:

    The zoom meeting you mentioned is closed. Do you know when you will post the dates of the other meeting I want to make sure to get into it.

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

    Hello Susan, Girlfriends. just dropping in to say howdy and to remind everyone that this Saturday, August 8th is national cat day. so don’t forget to give our fury feline friends an extra cuddle, snuggle, hug and kiss for the day and little extra treat of catnip or tuna won’t hurt. they are our best friends and the best weather forecasters around next to the groundhog. just check out the farmer’s almanac website: http://www.farmersalmanac.com and its only 46 days away to Autumn… wheeeee!!!! can’t wait for those cooler temperatures and the lovely colors and the lovely aromas of stews, soups and turkeys roasting with sage and onions… heavenly!!! hugs….. 😀

  30. dezi says:

    Susan, first I hope you’re safely weathering the storm! Now, I just found a movie on Prime video; Julian Fellows’ Romeo and Juliet. I’ve not watched it yet, but saved it to watch tonight. But I did view a bit of the beginning to see if my husband might like it. Spoiler alert, the costumes are amazingly scrumptious! Juliet’s especially. Hope you see this comment, you don’t have to post it if your quota is getting full. I saw Franco Zefferelly’s (SP?) Romeo and Juliet when I was 14. Loved the acting, loved that they actually spoke the Bard’s English, really fell in love with the dresses Juliet wore, and of course Olivia Hussey was perfect as Juliet. Was my favorite movie for a very long time. Let me know if you watch/like. 😊❤️

  31. Margot in Sister Bay says:

    Oh no! The webinar is full! ☹️

  32. Roxanne Klump says:

    Susan…I adore your blog! Do not worry about making it shorter. So disappointed that your Zoom is full. Hopefully, next time! Ordering calendars, can’t wait for you Christmas book and the puzzle. Shard my Sun Branch books with a friend and she is totally smitten. Thank you for your joyful photos and just sharing your life.
    Our world is so upside down and we must wear our masks and pray for this ugly virus to go away!!! Have Grandkids going back to school and so many family members in education.
    Blessings to you and your sweet hubby.

  33. Kimberlee says:

    Hi Susan!

    I wanted to send you an extra special 🌷thank you 🌷 for our SECOND chance at ordering your beautiful Blue Bird and Little Things mugs❤❤❤

    The BB will be going to my sweet mom on her 🤩70th🤩 birthday!!!
    I. Can’t. Wait. To give it to her.
    She will love it to pieces💕 She uses her Mother’s Day mug virtually every day💐 It will be great for her to have something new and beautiful.

    It will also be great to have the Little Things mug as a belated birthday gift to myself😄😁🥳

    Wishing you all of the love and joy that you bring to our days…

  34. Marigold says:

    Love everything about this post, Susan. What an encouragement and inspiration you are during this trying time. You help us keep our minds and hearts full of lovely things. The virus is ugly, but we don’t have to be. Beauty is all around us — we just need to remember to look for it. Love to you, Joe, and Jack.

  35. dezi says:

    Oh! My dear dearest new girlfriend! I have no idea if you will even see this comment at this 9th of August date, but I mentioned before that I am reading your older posts, in leu of my usual recreational reading, and while “expectulating you for hours”, waiting for newer posts, I get to know you better. Yesterday, I read the post where you mention Girl Kitty going to kitty heaven and I cried. Did your dad die that year too? “Was 2016 an, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” year for you? You come home from Scotland in November having the most wonderful time of your life and then suddenly meeting with the awful meanie poo poo comments about what you said concerning the elections! I read ALL of them! My heart sank at some of the strong reactions. Hope all that back biting didn’t mar your Scotland memories! I too have been willfully misunderstood due to prejudice. You stated your case over and over but their “ears” were closed. 😭. I myself couldn’t vote that year, but I have to admit I felt neither candidate was worth their weight in gold, so to speak, so if I had been able to vote I would have been in a right conundrum. A very nasty year of politics and I wonder if God isn’t intervening this year with this “dam-panic” in hopes we can find our collective humanity again. If not, I truly fear for our future. As a world and a nation. If I had a time machine, I would have made sure to give you hugs hugs hugs to help your pain!! Where is the LOVE? I have strong opinions myself, but was raised in a household where we were not allowed to express them, and that instinct has come in handy at times. Not always, though. 😏.
    SO SORRY if I am bringing back bad memories, but the last season of “Downty” was that year too. Oh, I loved loved loved your weekly commentary and was just as hooked myself, being so lucky to have watched from the very first episode, and after moving to Cottonwood Arizona (2013), my fiancé making sure I had the right HD Telly to keep on watching! Precious man. He too had to get hooked if he wanted any chance of spending Sunday evenings with me, as I had to watch the previous episode again before the new one! Of course!
    Your blog is a life line in our crazy mean world. Please enable my addiction with some more new Heart stuffs soon! ❤️💕🤣 Always—dezi

    • sbranch says:

      I will Dezi, I have just thought of the MOST wonderful thing I can make for my Girlfriends … it will take a while, but I’m so excited, and have been working on it nonstop. As for 2016, a couple of amazingly wonderful things happened that year. I made the New York Times BestSeller list for the first time in my life with Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams! A very big thrill for me. My Girlfriends made that happen, so very word of mouth, so it meant a lot to me. That was one thing, and there were other, family things, that were just as wonderful. But like you (and Dickens) said, it was the best of times and the worst of times, I not only lost my dad and my kitty, I lost my darling brother Jim, who was only 13 months younger than me. We went back to Colorado almost immediately after a 2 month cross-country book tour, something that wasn’t planned, for a family reunion and memorial for our lost men. Despite the good things, I can only say 2016 was the worst year of my life. These years following have challenged my happy gene. Not destroyed it, because you can’t really do that to a gene I don’t think (speaking oh-so-scientifically!), but you miss the people you love sooooo much. There’s a quote “You can never make up for the loss of someone who has loved you.” And that is the truth. Empty spots in life! We keep on, for them, still measuring up to their good expectations, doing what we can to make things better. I hear my Dad’s voice every day, “Do good work.” So yes, you surmised very well … I don’t really tell people the sad personal things for a long time, being that they are mine to own until I can stand to talk about it.💞

      • dezi says:

        I, too have lost very dearest loved ones. I totally know what you are feeling. My brother who was my closest and dearest friend when I was 12, my mum at 30, then my 1st, cousin, the only one my age growing up, and a very dear family friend was murdered when I was 38 and all my kids were still living at home. Might have been the chink that sent my marriage into the toity. That, and me getting cancer (also in my glands), and told I would live a year at best. It’s what took my mum. But I refused the radiation and chemo and spent the year playing with my kids, and six months later they’re all like we don’t understand, it’s completely gone. Two sons joined NAVY, and I was terrified God would put me through another great loss, but He spared them both and now I have a very precious life with my Larry. Have I let go of that pain completely? No, but I find the joy I can in life for them. Like you said. You mention Dickens, that Tale Of Two Cities is something, isn’t it? Only read it once but I’ve never forgotten it. Pretty intense book. To Kill A Mockingbird is still my favorite book ever, but I am waiting on three books I have heard are quite wonderful! Wink wink. Sally Field said in Steal Magnolias, “laughter through tears is is my favorite emotion.” I am so there. Love, and mask covered hugs and kisses!! 🥰

      • dezi says:

        Sus, Golly gum drops, I hope this might cheer you up a bit, I received a long awaited letter from my precious London pen-pal and today it arrived, and with it your book!!! It is a first addition I bought used, but it looks brand new hot off the presses, and oh my, I opened it up to look, though no time to read today, (my last kid turns 18 today), but I had to read the letter, and lo and behold, she asks what book do I have my nose into these days and I can tell her all about your beautiful The Fairy Tale Girl!! Cause my nose will be into as humanly possible. Do you get royalties from Amazon used books? I hope so. Have the best day ever, we are both blessed with the best of men, ever, smiles here to there. BTW why do books have on the info, and edition page ? 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1, just curious. God bless!–dezi

  36. Donna Squires says:

    Hi, Susan.
    DON’T stop the long posts! I know I speak for all the girlfriends when I say that I look forward to reading each word. It gives me a sense of “we’re all in this together” and will get through and that life can be fun and interesting even if it’s at home! Thanks for all your photos and time you put into these posts. I am appreciative of the uplifting messages!

  37. Debbie Boerger says:

    I just realized that your Twitter and replies on the blog are Proof (Woopeee!) that you and Joe are still safe. More than 14 days since the awful “sneezing man” episode!!
    We all love you Mucho Grande, my Dear,
    Debbie in beautiful Maine

  38. Margot says:

    Hi Susan,
    This is Margot checking in. Better late than never…You see it all started back in the late Winter of 2020… the Covid-19, the campaigning, lost Twitter account, a canceled tea party on the Cape, the tourists, catching the 😰19, the heat, family fun and issues, donating blood, then a blog post in the “junk” box, and a reply disappearing ( because I used the wrong device) still more campaigning… Calgon take me away! 🛀🏼…🏖 I did get “The Happy Santa” book ordered, (and my new glasses) but alas I missed the Zoom sign-up. 🥴 As Eric said, “This is a weird year.” Summer goes on with beach walks, gardens and fresh laundry! Beautiful!
    😷🐐🐐/🐄🤗 In Wisconsin 6 feet apart is equal to two goats or one cow. OXOXox. The little ones are for Jack. 😁

  39. Diana Hall says:

    Oh Susan, your posts are never too long…….they are such a blessing and a lovely respite from this “storm” we are in right now……. Thank you again for sharing your many talents with us. I am registered for the bookstore Zoom meetup and can hardly wait!!! Little joys…..big smiles!!!! Love to you, Joe, and Jack! From the hot/humid Midwest.

    Love = Diana

  40. Evie Tong says:

    Happy Birthday to your Joe ….
    and my Brian 🎈🎂🎈
    Alo-Ha-Ha ..w/much love, Evie in San Diego

  41. Cynthia says:

    Hello from a longtime friend. I work in a library, and love your books so much that I take them out regularly so they won’t get lonely there on the shelf! Your posts are a soothing balm during this most difficult time. Keep writing and don’t shorten your posts… they are just right for tea and muffin… or two. 😉 I would love to buy your kitchen soap, do you know if it is safe to use to hand wash dishes? I dislike the plastic dish soap bottles on the sink as well. I also dislike the thought of them languishing in pile after pile of recycling that likely never gets recycled! What did our grandparents use to wash dishes before the marketing geniuses convinced us all that plastic bottles of liquid soap were essential to our very survival? It is likely that it was bar soap. If it is suitable for dishes, I will be a regular purchaser. 🙂 Be safe, be well, keep sharing your lovely art and life with us. xo

  42. Debbie Boerger says:

    Just finished a much anticipated job. Freezing packets of fresh blueberries. I spread them in batches on cookie sheets, freeze, and you can just reach in a bag in scoop out what you need for pancakes latter in the year. Kept almost 2 quarts fresh in order to make an ‘icebox’ pie tomorrow. Won’t turn the oven on until it cools down, and it will do that tomorrow, yea!
    Graham cracker crust, baked in 9″ glass pie dish and cooled, a bit more than one quart blues and/or a mix of raspberries, blackberries. Make simple syrup, thickened with corn starch, add 1 1/2 cup blues, boil until thick. Cool, then gently fold into berries. Spread one 8 oz pkg cream cheese in bottom of crust, mound the berries into the crust, cool 2 or more hours in fridge. It cuts well, and it goes down soooo well. It’s Tom favorite pie. Don’t you just love it when the season tells you what to cook? Great trading veggies with neighbors. Just traded Italianish lettuce for more runner beans. Got several great cucks and tomatoes from other neighbors, so I’ll make some gazpacho after my little rest upstairs where the AC is on. I missed Bletchley Circle when it was on a couple of yrs ago, so I’m watching it on my tablet.
    Stay safe everyone, Mucho love to you, Dear Sue,
    Debbie in Maine

  43. Teri Byrne says:

    My dearest Susan,

    Oh I needed to see you today—to see this post.
    My life has been crazy, well, probably like a lot of other people, but your words and colors and joy-filled thoughts are what I believe in— (besides God)!

    I can feel the sea breeze and imagine your little fireflies x-x-x-x
    Please continue writing + sharing + drawing!
    I’m going to preorder everything I can from you.

    We are in this thing together!
    Luv forever,
    Teri Byrne

  44. Barbara Jean says:

    Susan, wanted to pass this on to you from Southern Living. Jane Austen’s Former Home is Available for Rent on Airbnb.

    Bibliophiles looking for an authentic trip back in time are guaranteed to appreciate this charming two-bedroom apartment in Bath, England.

    Filled with artwork and bohemian décor, this one-of-a-kind Airbnb is a winner on its own. Throw in the tiny detail that Jane Austen lived here with her family from 1801 to 1805, and we’re planning our trip across the pond.

    “Furnished with antique furniture, some of which has been in our family for generations, we offer a unique and authentic slice of history,” writes host Maxwell.

    From history buffs and writers, to avid readers of classic literature, you’d be hard-pressed not to find inspiration among the curious artifacts and quirky spaces outfitted in shades of blue.

    Looking for an escape? Prices currently start at $213 per night. Not bad for the chance to live like one of history’s most famous authors.

    And while you’re enjoying your stay, don’t forget to pop to Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House, the oldest house in Bath. Jane Austen is believed to have indulged in Bath’s sweet delicacy, the original Bath Bun.

  45. Kris Knarr says:

    I am SO sad!
    I thought that I had registered for your webinar! I guess I was mistaken!! 🙁
    I hope that you have recorded it and maybe will share it with us!
    Or, have another!!! Looking forward to hearing from you!! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I AM having more … AND, they recorded this one, they are sending me a link, which I’ll put in the next blog post! So we’re good! xoxo

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