Our First Full Day in Jolly Old England

Right now, I’m sitting at a large oak table (already set up with watercolors, pens, brushes, paper and glue sticks) in the apartment we rented in Kent, England in the sweet little town of Tenterden.

Like a little theme music?  Oh yes . . . From my chair, across the wooden floor of this light-filled “lounge” (what we in America would call the living room) is a wall of windows with French doors in the middle and a little balcony outside.  We got here last night, after careening across the country via narrow, hedge-row lined roads, past brick and white-painted houses, churches, flower-laden trees, and lamb-spotted fields; we are now safely ensconced on the second story, above the High Street (sort of like our Main Street).  From my chair I can see out the windows, spottily, through trees still in the midst of leafing out,  a wonderful old house and a large monument in a wide green lawn across the street.

It feels like I’m in a tree house!  Isn’t this pretty?  The wind is blowing the leaves, it’s just beautiful!  And I feel almost back to “normal!”  Yesterday was kind of like the first day on the ship, but instead of trying to get “sea legs,” we needed to get our land legs back — we were still rocking when we went to sleep!

We stopped on the way to Tenterden, to wander around a bit and stretch our legs, had lunch at the Royal Oak Pub there (it had an organ, a wall of books, videos, and games, and a sun porch overlooking the garden, among other things, a little home away from home) just across the street from an amazing Roman wall built in the 2nd century!  We had the most delicious fish and chips there; a thick coating of deep fried goodness over tender fresh fish and a big bowl of freshly made tartar sauce and CHIPS (french fries)!

  Had to take a photo of this house surrounded in bluebells; you can see it’s just in front of that same Roman wall, across the street from the pub, with a path and a gate that was calling my name.  We didn’t follow that path, because we know they are everywhere in this beautiful country; we will have lots of chances!   And we wanted to get “home.”

We stopped at the grocery store when we got into town,  before we found our rental; knowing we would want to make it feel more homey — we bought the little necessities of life, flowers, milk for tea, apples, a big chicken, some vegetables and laundry soap.

Of course we travel with little reminders of home, this is a kitty felted by Kellee; can’t travel without a kitty!! Hardly takes up any space and doesn’t make a peep!

This gives you a little more of the picture of the lounge.  And this morning, I feel great!  Not swaying anymore!  Joe is still asleep, I have tea of course, in my William and Kate mug.  It’s 12 degrees celcius which I had to look up.  The way you find out what that means in a way you can understand (fahrenheit),  you have to multiply the number by 9, divide by 5, and add 32!!!!  Then you discover it’s almost 54 degrees!  Blue skies above, chirping of birds, mooing of cows, and whir of washing machine in the kitchen — just like home (except for the cows)!  There’s a Laura Ashley store in this town, I found out last night (yay), and our favorite market, Waitrose (where I will find the thing I love, “Breakfast Milk”)!  I don’t know what else is here, but we’re going to find out!  And we’re going to take you with us!

Plus, before I go, I thought you might like to see what we were seeing and doing while you were watching the ship go under the Verrazano Bridge leaving New York on the Queen Mary II.  Finally!  I can send video again!  Wasn’t that just thrilling???

XOXOXOXOXOX

The New York Police Department was with us (in boats and low-flying helicopters) until we hit the open sea; I thought the juxtaposition between the violins and the machine gun, the soft lights of my favorite knitting spot on the ship, The Chart Room, the falling light on the gray water and massive bridge was very interesting.  I was so excited at that moment I was running around with the camera like a crazy lady. It was wonderful.  I just loved hearing how you were watching too, the magic of the computer and the internet!

And this is the view this morning from the kitchen sink…. are we in heaven girls?  Yes, I do believe we are!!!  Just to remind you, we have a Quest, to fulfill our dreams for the next seven weeks, maybe enough to last a lifetime; to fill our inspiration cup by wandering through old churchyards and gardens, stone cottages, castles, country house hotels, past timeless hedgerows, under ancient horsechestnut trees, and over hillsides of wild bluebells, fields of wildflowers and baby lambs, tea rooms, pubs, flea markets, bookstalls, ancient oak trees, and country villages, on our way to visit Beatrix Potter’s house in the Lake District …. having the tinkle of little shop bells be our main music of the day!  With the camera in hand at all times!  Here we go!

Happy Mother’s Day Girlfriends!!! 

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325 Responses to Our First Full Day in Jolly Old England

  1. Margo says:

    So beautiful there! I have been loving reading along on your journey…

    BTW – easier way to convert from celsius to fahrenheit (I live in Canada and we switched from F to Celsius a few years back – so I still convert it in my head for this old school girl) take the celsius – times 2 add 30 take away 2. Easy peasy. 🙂

  2. Betty Marie says:

    You even have music for us, your to much!!
    I see you have a chair with a rose pattern, and your all set up at the desk. I would say you have fully arrived(settled in) and ready to explore the town & it’s countryside. Will be looking for more photos. I do think the front of that house looks much like a slip & fall area. In my home town that would be a big fat fine to pay. In England it is considered quaint, here with my America point of view, it looks run down. LOL

    • Barbara T, Wolverine Lake MI says:

      Betty Marie! you are so right! I have never been able to understand the difference between quaint and run down. My yard gets a bit “overgrown” and I panic. I asked my daughter – why is it that my front porch doesn’t measure up to others??” her answer caused me to laugh – she summed it up when she said: Spiders and spiderwebs. Yup, I guess that would do it…ha!!

  3. Candi S. (Long Beach, CA) says:

    Thank you so much for taking us along on your wonderful trip. I’ll send some So. Calif. warmth for you. Hope to visit England one of these days, but in the meantime, totally enjoying my “visit” with you. Love the house with the bluebells!!

  4. Kathy Phenix says:

    Oh, how beautiful. Whenever my sister and I traveled in England, we always spent lots of time roaming through the grocery stores and pharmacies. Such a wealth of real Brit stuff. The view from your little home is so great. Just had to share the blog with my husband. He appreciates you taking us all along. Love the little kitty and you brought along your Will and Kate mug. No wonder you had 12 bags in the hall outside your stateroom!! Just kidding. Have fun. Kathy in Florida

    • sbranch says:

      No, I get it, no wonder!!! Knitting. diaries, watercolors. kitty. Crazy. But happy.

      • Karen P. -Wisconsin says:

        One must always be prepared for whatever might arise…that’s my motto when packing!

  5. Karen Carpenter says:

    Bringing back so memories of my trip to England just 7 yrs ago. It was so much fun and I know you and Joe will enjoy every minute. We have talked of renting a place either in England or Ireland someday and you are making me want to make it happen soon. Have soooo much fun. Happy Mother’s Day!

  6. Kathy says:

    Susan –

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking us to England with you! It may be the only way I ever get there, and the trip is so much more personal with your comments and lovely pictures. I can’t wait for each new installment! Your rented home looks so cozy!

    Kathy in Los Angeles

  7. deborah says:

    Love the pictures,…so exciting to see what you guys are seeing! Thank you so much…..How fun, and what a great place you have to stay in!

  8. Janie Phillips says:

    It’s lovely to see just where you are — to see your watercolors, your view, and all the little touches of home. I love knowing about the town, and I can imagine the feeling of temporarily settling into a new life and having so much adventure ahead. Every day must seem like a gift waiting to be unwrapped! So glad to be at the party 🙂 Much love … xoxo

  9. Linda says:

    HELLO SUSAN,
    THANK YOU FOR THIS POST! THE PHOTOS WERE SO BEAUTIFUL+THOUGH EVERY RELATIVE I HAVE IS FROM THE NETHERLANDS, STILL SEEING YOUR POST MADE ME THINK OF THE DUTCH PEOPLE. DO HAVE A WONDERFUL VISIT ♥

  10. Mary says:

    Yes, I’m in love! Thank you so much for sharing your dream with us, Susan. It’s a dream I’ve had for the past 40 years. I know you’ll enjoy it enough for the both of us. Can’t wait to see where we’re going next.

  11. Georgie says:

    We are now home from Hawaii and you have set up home in England complete with Kith and flowers ! How wonderful! Now my transition back into reality won’t be as rough for I will have your dream to share 🙂 In between my loads of laundry I will be skipping up the paths behind you enjoying the sights, sounds and tastes of England.

  12. Lisa R (northern Arizona) says:

    Couldn’t be any more perfect!! You are officially in charge of all my travel arrangements from this day forward. 🙂

  13. Michele says:

    Oh, Susan! Thank you for taking us with you!!! I am having so much fun (w/ a bit of jealousy :0) Seeing all the pictures and videos. My heart is just drooling even over the rock wall!! I am so excited for you and Joe. Edge-of-my seat, anticipating opening each blog post to see more! Such a treat.

  14. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Your new little town in England is so pretty! The houses, the shops, it is all so cozy and dreamy!!! Any yarn or fabric shops nearby? Thank you for letting us peek into your daily adventures in England!

  15. Pat Johnson says:

    LoveLoveLove the Reading Chair in front of the window! I dream of just sitting & reading or writing orjust closing my eyes and thinking how lucky I am to be taking this trip with Joe & Susan!!! 🙂 Hugs…..Pat J

  16. Sandra says:

    Absolutely marvelous! Thank you so much, Susan, for taking us along; I’m having a fabulous time. Dave and I would rent cottages, apartments, houses, etc. when we traveled. I can’t imagine ever going back to a hotel; not when it’s so easy to find a “home”. Your home away from home looks comfortably cozy; a perfect respite although from what I’m sure I don’t know -smile-. Walking! That’s it, a respite from walking.
    Love your William and Kate mug; that’s a regret…I wasn’t in England last year to purchase one…dang!

    • sbranch says:

      We got exactly 12 of them into our web store. I never thought people would want them, they were so expensive, so I only ordered 12, thinking that I could order more. No way. That was it. Next time, I won’t make that mistake!

  17. Francine says:

    I can’t thank you enough for sharing all of this with us! What a experience!!! I can hear sheep from my front porch – reminds me of England! I have roses (for Mother’s Day) on my kitchen table…makes me feel more like I’m really with you, and I just can’t say how excited I am! I read your blog with a smile on my face the whole time! Thank you, thank you! Can’t wait until we hit the shops!

  18. Diana - Highland, IL says:

    Gorgeous pictures!!! That photo of the house looks like a postcard!!! I am so excited about exploring it all!….need to stop and take a deep breath and sit and mull a minute… Joe looked so very handsome in his tux!… Thanks for ALL the pictures and music… I am afraid I would have stayed and listened to the string quartet the whole time!! LOL… so much happening my brain is scrambled I think, but I hope you don’t spend too much time “working” and miss something special… we are right there with you so just enjoy!~~!

    HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL!!!

  19. Debra V. says:

    Susan, thank you for taking us with you on this trip. I could hardly wait this morning to see your twitter & blog to find out what new things you’ve shared with us. I loved the photo of Joe in the Tux. Also I thought the photo of you both in the Stateroom with Michael & Ken was delightful. Such a treat to go along with you. Love your cozy English Apartment with the Tree-house view. Looks like you’re all set up to work on your current Book. So it must really feel like home a way from home. Enjoy!

  20. Karen Saunders says:

    Okay……what is ‘Breakfast Milk’? Is it different than just regular milk?

    • sbranch says:

      I looked for it yesterday and didn’t find it, wanted to read the side of the bottle to tell you…will have to wait, maybe they don’t make it anymore! I think it was just milk with all the cream still in it…the kind that rises to the top, but not sure.

  21. Becky says:

    You are the best virtual girlfriend ever! So greatful for the trip, photos, information, and updates. I am a sucker for a travel log!
    If Joe likes old Roman artifacts, you must try to get to Bath, unless you were there last time. I was very lukewarm about the day trip to Bath last summer,but I ended up wanting to stay longer….just fascinating. A real hippie, artsy village with ancient world history you just can’t imagine. Soul enriching …and if you sip some of the sulfur smelling Roman bath mineral water (apparently illegal, but you can get some at the local restaurant)you extend your life. Doesn’t get much better than that! Can’t wait for tomorrow’s post!

    • sbranch says:

      Hard to believe that Romans came all that way in those days just to get their hands on England!!!

  22. Chrissy Thrower says:

    Sue Sue! So glad you are settled in. I was unable to sleep so I checked the bridge cam to watch you come into port.. It was awesome. How soon did they have you all disembark? It was 2- or 3 am here I think. It was great watching the ship getting tied to the. Dock after it inched it’s way up the waterway. Did you hear me holler Land HO? LOL!

    • Chrissy Thrower says:

      Just noticed your tweets about leaving ship and driving..I am having so much fun with you and Joe and the Girlfriends. Can’t wait for the next mini adventure. Just knew you and Joe would make that apartment so ‘ yours’ and so cozy! I could feel the warmth and smell that chicken roasting! Have you made any ‘fairy cakes’ yet?xxoo!

    • sbranch says:

      We were off the ship and on our way about 3 hours after it landed. Pretty good when there are so many of us that have to go, get luggage, find cabs, etc. Such an organized Queen Mary!

  23. Hala says:

    “If you go down hopping, Hopping down in Kent,
    You’ll see old mother Riley A- putting up her tent.
    With an ee-aye-o, ee-aye-o, ee-aye-ee-aye-o”
    Hi Susan, Don’t leave Kent without visiting an oast house (round building where hops for beer were dried out!) I lived in Kent as a child and my mum’s friend lived in one – she had a round bedroom!
    This one is the last working coal-fired Oast in Britain.
    Kent Life, Lock Lane, Sandling, Maidstone, Kent ME14 3AU
    Tel: 01622 763936
    Email: enquiries@kentlife.org.uk

  24. Rosemary says:

    I am about beside myself with the things you are doing and seeing! WANT TO BE THERE! I have so many questions but will not bother you or the girlfriends with them all.
    Joe looks dashing in his tux. The video was fun! Festive! escorted out to sea by the little TUG.
    How long will it take to have your book out? We are going to make an appointment with a travel agent soon. I will take my first cues off your blog because I want to do what you are doing. The Thumbelina Shop? Yes. Tenterden? Yes. Laura Ashley? Yes. Wonder how September would be. I think you have picked a lovely month with the trees just leafing out and the lovely greens of the fields beyond the stone wall and the village. Would love to look up the Langworthys…ancesters. I have a book that tells where they originated.
    The roasted chicken…from your Twitter…perfect. OK… I am basically out of control.
    Have a lovely day tomorrow. THANK YOU once again for your blog. PERFECTION.

    • sbranch says:

      September MUST be wonderful here in England … or, New England, is AMAZING in the fall. Shockingly wonderful!!! All the colors.

  25. Yvette says:

    Susan,
    I am so enjoying following your trip to England. whether it be via twitter or on your blog, I just love you!

  26. Susan says:

    Susan, thank you EVER so much for taking us along with you on this oh-so-memorable journey!! I’ll be reading along daily … and quietly wishing I were there! Funny thing, my hubby is a Brit and he never yearns to return… yet, you can take the man out of England, but you can’t take the love of some of that odd English food – out of the man! (beans on toast! eggs on chips! ewwwww)
    Enjoy every day in the gorgeous English countryside! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Joe loves those beans on toast and I do not understand it. They’re just like plain old 1950’s beans in a can, but he loves them. It’s kind of cute! But odd.

  27. Bobbie Ann Picard says:

    Susan, I love the rose chair, the flowers, the view, your desk….everything!!!! Thank you for sharing England with me, with us!!! Enjoy every moment and so will I!
    Blessings,
    Bobbie

  28. Jessica says:

    Thank you for allowing me to visit England vicariously through you and with you Susan (and Joe of course too)…thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
    It’s been perfectly, perfect so far…in every way!
    xoxo J~

  29. Cyndi in NC says:

    Oh how wonderful! I’m having a blast! But please explain what Breakfast milk is? It sounds yummy though. *L* I can hear the cows, love it! Of course you have to have a kitty with you!! Can’t wait for our next adventure. *S*

  30. Gini Gould says:

    Your gift to us is amazing. Thank you for all… Was up at 6am today to see if Susan had visited us girl friends. And you had!! (Big smile!) I agree with all that has been raved about and can relate to much having studied in London. Besides, I’m English- 2 Cooks (maiden name) came to America from England in 1609! Want to mention Kellee’s heartfelt kitty gift to you: Because of your delightful persuasive ways, I now have Susi kitty cat sitting at the computer keeping me company. She is same size as your traveling kitty. Susi is an original Steiff; the company started making kitties in the 1940’s. She wears her mohair proudly, yet shows her 64 yrs. of age; found her at a flea market and she needed a loving home. Just moved her from our bedroom to computer desk. Think she will remain here as my constant reminder of you, Susan. Bye my friend, Gini Gould

  31. Kate garfield says:

    Susan,

    What a lovely post! I’m enjoying these pics to the fullest. Loved the violins!!!!!
    Please enjoy each day and all that God has created on your trip.
    It’s delightful reading your posts!
    Thank you!
    Kate

  32. Karen Z @ Victoria, Australia says:

    Sweet Sue, had to come out from hiding today to let you know how much I enjoyed your trip to the U.K. Almost missed the boat(LOL) It was 9.30am our time, when I remember to look at the ship leaving via the link. What a great view. Watched as it went under the bridge and wondered where you might be watching from. I’m looking forward to the rest of the trip, making notes incase I get the chance to go one day. PS We also have lounges and celsius temps, so I have to go the other way to find U.S. temps. OXO

    • sbranch says:

      Hello down there Karen, you must be in late fall now! Always forget how backwards we are!!!

  33. Pat says:

    I absolutly love the countryside in England. I am glad you have taken me back. It has been many years since I have been there. I can’t wait until we go shopping in the many wonderful stores. Enjoy!!

  34. Kathy says:

    Happy Mother’s Day Susan!!! You are a kitty momma and my……..well,……all the girlfriends actually….Fairy Godmother!!!!! You and all you do is pure magic!!!! Having so much fun on “our” magical trip!!! Cheers!!!! xoxo Love, Kathy

  35. Mary Ann says:

    I am so excited to be in England for the next 7 weeks, teas, gardens, misty walks and old Roman walls…oh and the sheep!

  36. Hooray you are all settled in and you did get there in time for your Bluebells….so happy for you. The roses you bought for your apartment were just gorgeous and my favorite color. I must say your Joe looked “Dashing” in his tuxedo (Bond….Joe Bond) he does have that distinguished look doesn’t he. I think you said you are staying in Kent for 2 weeks and then moving on…hope you have accomodations like this apartment all along your way seems so much more “homier” than a hotel?? Also, being able to cook is a nice break from eating out all the time I would think? Have a perfect weekend and my prayers are with you while driving!! BE CAREFUL AND SAFE.

    • sbranch says:

      As for accommodations, you don’t know for sure until you get there. They do take photos in the best light, things aren’t quite what you expect! We don’t want to eat every meal out, it get’s old and we like to think we are really “living here” — there are so many places to rent in England. But most important … is there a stove? Is there a clothes washing machine? Is there a bed? Yes? Then we can talk!

  37. Julie (from Omaha) says:

    Just love your posts! Anxious for what is down the next path, beyond the next stone wall, thru the next shop door!! Are the people friendly? Anyone recognize who you are? Are they wondering why you’re talking to girlfriends they can’t see?
    Thank you, thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      The people are darling. That’s all there is to it. The put up with me and my mumbles!

  38. Connie K says:

    Love the post! It makes me wriggle with happiness to see your photos. Sigh – armchair travel at its finest. Thank you for sharing!!

    -Connie in San Diego

  39. Ann says:

    I KNEW you were going to bring the good weather with you Susan! Our first day without rain for a month. Please keep it up. The house looks lovely and so very YOU!

  40. Marilyn Simmons says:

    Oh, Susan….what a gorgeous apartment! You’ve only been there a day and already it looks like home.

    I’m thrilled that you’ve set up your watercolors already, because I have a very strong feeling that we are going to be seeing some wonderful paintings inspired by the beauty of the English countryside. I can’t wait!!!

    Marilyn (in Dallas)

  41. Jacquelyn Wirthlin - Las Vegas, NV says:

    So enjoying all the sites, posts, etc., plus all the interesting comments from the Girlfriends. Especially enjoyed a peek at your art table, just imagining what wonderful paintings you will create for all of us to enjoy again and again. Thanks again for including all of us. XOXO
    Jackie

  42. Gris Svejcar from Vancouver, WA says:

    Thank you, thank you and thank you for taking us along! I’m loving all your twitter messages, blogs, videos & photos. Keep them coming and thank you again!

  43. Laurel Young says:

    Be sure to get some jelly babies, they’re the best! Easy way of changing to Fahrenheit from Celsius – multiply the Celsius number by 2, add to 30 and you’ve got it or very close to it. Been doing it for years here in Northern Canada but still have trouble when we go below 0 celsius, then it’s just cold! Love, love, love seeing the blog of the trip, thank you.

  44. Linda - Bak, CA says:

    I was just wondering – did anyone recognize you on the ship?

  45. Julie Cavrich says:

    Thank you, Susan and Joe, for taking us with you. I loved the picture of you and Joe on the ship. You both look soooo happy. Love the apartment! So cozy.
    Loving the little town you are staying in. Looking forward to more cozy little towns. Thanks again! Love your little travel kitty!

  46. Marion Rose says:

    Hi Susan
    You are a wonderful tour guide!!!!! We are having a wonderful time on this
    trip. Thank you over and over for letting us come with you. Your apartment
    looks so cozy, even a chair that looks like home. Kitty looks very happy in
    England.
    I just had to figure out how to Twitter! I was feeling left out not being able to see the red shoes. You are helping me find my way around my computer.
    Your pictures today give me a good feel of the country we are visiting.
    Have a Happy Mothers Day my friend, Marion of Cape Cod

    • sbranch says:

      Our other girlfriends here can help you with Twitter Marion, it’s really easier than it sounds. Just a push of a button and you’re there!

  47. Juliana says:

    This is wonderful! That house with the bluebells reminds me both of a Thomas Kinkade painting, and the movie “The Holiday”. (love that!) Sooo glad that we’re all here with you!!! Can’t wait to see all the little shops. I can hear the little shop bells tinkling now! The thought of perusing a British book store – ooooo! Squeals of glee!!! What a great trip – Thank you!!!!

  48. Would love, love, love to see pics of the Laura Ashley store. I am loving your adventure!! Thanks so much for sharing it.

  49. Susan Bryza says:

    What a blessing your are, Susan. Thank you so much for sharing your trip! So much fun and I’m learning so much – and taking notes!

    I haven’t been to England since 1983 and then it was just London. I did make some friends on that trip (when in Amsterdam) who lived in Kent. We exchanged calendars at Christmas for years. I’d send them one of Colorado (they loved John Denver) and they would send me one of Kent. Your trip is giving me a chance to see what “Kent, England” is really like! Thank you!!

    Susan (in Dallas, leaving for Colorado two weeks from today!)

  50. Gloria Dyer says:

    I’m so happy for you and Joe to be all settled in your charming apartment with a room with a view. You are so smart to bring along all the things that makes you feel like home. Your video on the ship heading out to sea with the music playing on, just made me get weak in the knees. Thank you for a thrilling post!

  51. Chris Dowd says:

    I’m loving every moment of this. And truth be told, it is the only way I will be able to visit England; vicariously. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy, and thank you for sharing your trip. 🙂

  52. All I can say after reading this is just Wow! Such a fabulous experience and I am loving that you are taking us with. Thank you! I am enjoying it so much.

  53. Oh – and we really have to see the kitchen. And the potty room. I want to see what is different or the same as here!

  54. Carol from Connecticut says:

    Dear Susan,
    In the photo of your art supplies on the big oak table, there is a lovely box of pastel watercolors in the center of the picture. Would you identify that watercolor box? I would love to have one! Will you be carrying the ‘little cat’ in your on-line store? I hope so! What a dream of a journey you are on. Have you tasted Shandy yet in any local pub? Tra-la

    • sbranch says:

      What’s Shandy? The cat is a one-of made by my girlfriend! The watercolors are a great (and inexpensive) box of colors that I found at Michael’s Crafts. Tell me about Shandy! Ta!

  55. Dale Worness says:

    Looks like you & Joe have settled into your new “digs” very nicely. With the flowered chair and the vase of roses, you must really feel at home. I’m sure you could make an army barrack seem warm and inviting! That really is a special gift. Your pictures are great. They really make us feel like we’re along for the ride. Can’t wait for the next installment of “Susan and Joe’s Amazing Adventures in Jolly Olde England”.

  56. Silvia Niomi says:

    Land, sweet Eng’Land.’ Whew! that was some tight quarters on the lovely QM2. It was fun to see the video from inside the ship while you were sailing out to sea. Being part of the sardine crowd was very fun, I had some good times hanging out with the other sardines. Although, I did have shivers run up and down my spine when I found out that sardines were on the menu….. were they from the sea or from the suitcase (and I’m asking very gingerly)? Oh well, no time to ponder that now…. we are on to new adventures…. WeHeeeeee!!!!

    The one thing that impresses me when visiting a different area/culture is how your senses get hit with the very different sights, sounds and smells of the new place. It does feel surreal and dreamy. I can almost feel that sense of dreaminess when looking at your pictures. Thank you so much for sharing with us your wonderful images from your trip…… it’s exciting to follow along.

    England, Italy and Ireland are my top three places that I would love to visit someday. England, because it’s the land of enchantment, Italy, because my family is from there (loved the Roman wall) and Ireland, because I love the celtic culture – and gaelic language. Glad to see you made it to your destination safely and can’t wait to see where you take us next.

    xoxoxox ….. Cheerio, Slan (according to google) and arrivederci

    p.s. I am a flower buff. I’d love to see pictures of unusual flowers that are unique to England….(roses would be grand too. I understand they’re very fragrant there – to bad can’t smell via internet).

    • sbranch says:

      I know, we can do music, we can do visual, but no smell!!! Huge loss (although, in some cases, perhaps not!).

      • Silvia Niomi says:

        so true…. some smells are better left unsmelled.

        • Silvia Niomi says:

          I just remembered…. those bertie botts that the Jelly Belly company came out with a few years ago were a crack up. They really tasted like the smell of whatever they represented, some were a little scawy to taste.

        • sbranch says:

          LOL

      • diana says:

        I have been feeling very lucky to have come along on this wonderful adventure with you……makes me believe all things are possible.
        thank you so very very much.

  57. BookGirl says:

    Your view from the kitchen sink: I looked for Bert and the Chimney Sweeps to be dancing and singing “Step in Time!” Susan, you are a wonderful friend and I LOVE your posts!! Thank you for reaching out to all who love you!

  58. Tiina says:

    Wow! That’s all I can say is WoW! I can’t wait to see it all through you’re eyes.
    xo Tiina

  59. Marie says:

    Susan, a Shandy is a drink made with beer and lemonade! (What they call lemon/lime soda over here, like 7Up) You are making me homesick for the South seeing all these photos this morning. Up here in Chester, whilst the sun is shining this morning, the temps are still quite cool. At least it’s not raining! Happy Sunday, and Mother’s Day to y’all. xxoo

    • sbranch says:

      Hmmm, we have a “Skip and Go Naked.” It’s pink lemonade (made with lemons, sugar and water), beer, and of course, vodka! Ice, blender = pink heaven! Happy Sunday Marie!

  60. Joan Lesmeister says:

    From beautiful, too warm, No. Cal to beautiful, just right, England – Happy Sunday & Happy Mother’s Day all you beautiful people! Love your blog dear Sue, and all the comments! I remember buying the little glass bottles (I still have one) of milk with the cream on top, shaking it (a sweet lady in the bakery told us to!) & drinking right out of the bottle while walking along the streets & eating bakery sweets – heaven!!!! And, we walked so much we didn’t gain any weight, eating and drinking like that – my tip for the day!!! Don’t you love the packaging in the little markets and delis? Little English tins with teas, etc were my gifts to bring home to our dear ones! Beautiful flat, and pictures, thank you!!XXOOO

  61. Marie (Williamsburg, Virginia) says:

    Susan and Girlfriends, I FINALLY joined you! Computer woes…UGH!!! I had to play major catch-up (you’re worth it) and…mission accomplished. What a grand departure! I was with you in spirit.

    Yes, Susan, England certainly is charming, quaint, and oh so warming for the soul. It’s been years since my last visit, so I’m thankful for this holiday with you and the Girlfriends.

    Revel in every moment.

    Bliss!
    Marie xo

  62. Judith - Texas says:

    I’m SO enjoying our trip…..can hardly wait to see B. Potter’s home via pictures and your vivid descriptions.
    Love the quaint house and its garden; Roman wall has beauty of its own.
    Yesterday, while waiting in line at Sam’s (a wholesale store in Houston), there was a lady behind be looking at a Susan Branch journal (could that be you, lol) – the one with title of Mom Tell Me Your Story – she was buying it. Upon seeing it, my thoughts were of you and Joe and where you were on the trip. Thanks again for taking us along; I know it is time consuming but much appreciated.

  63. This is for Joe…..I have a wonderful little book called “English Country Pubs”. I found 3 listed for Kent–all with very old history. I thought you might want to know about them:

    http://www.starandeagle.com/starandeagle_history.html
    http://castleinn-kent.co.uk/about-us.html
    http://blackhorsepluckley.co.uk/index.asp

  64. Tawni urrutia says:

    Thanks a million to you Sweet Susan and to Joe as well! It’s such a joy to be a part of this trip. Seeing your fresh art supplies makes me so excited to see the remarkable book that will be a time capsule bursting with all of the charm and delights of Merry Ol’ England though your eyes! Happy Mother’s Day!

  65. Suzanne says:

    Susan, reading your posts from the ship reminded me of the trouble I had uploading photos during my trip to France. Since I’m packing now for our trip on the 24th I’m trying to decide whether or not to blog while I’m away. It is so frustrating, expensive and time consuming trying to make it all work. So thank you for hanging in there for us. I’m probably one of the few that understands the sacrifice it can be. One question though. How do you get your watercolors to post on your blog? Please tell me you did not have a scanner in one of those twelve suitcases!

    • sbranch says:

      All of the art I’ve ever done is already on this computer and I can access it through Photoshop!! Another miracle. We didn’t bring a scanner but we did bring a travel photo printer! As for travel blog, here’s what I found: in America it’s called an Air Card (I use it when on the train or driving cross country), in England it’s called a Dongle; it’s a thing about 3″ long by 1″ wide that you plug into your computer, it has a phone connection in it, so when you use it, you are always, no matter where you are, hooked up (as long as there is phone connection availability) — it’s SO wonderful.

  66. Georgie says:

    Huff Puff! I’m catching up with all of your wonderful activities!

    You’ve sailed the Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2
    Now you’re settled in Tenteden in your Room with a View

    You’ve had dinners and teas, rocked and rolled on high seas
    There’s been dancing and haircuts, walks on deck in the breeze

    Oh the pictures you’ll paint and the tales you will tell
    From your trips through the hollows and your views of the dells

    We’re all here traveling with you, and await every day
    Just to see what Dear Susan will be bringing our way!

    Thanks for sharing your dream and bringing us along!
    Georgie from NJ

  67. Kirsten Anne Wichert of So. Calif. says:

    All I can say is WOW! The photos are beautiful……so glad we all could go together to see how beautiful England is… Hope you are having a fabulous time with Joe! Thanks for sharing.

  68. Peggy says:

    I’m eager to know (and please forgive me if you’ve already mentioned and I missed it) what kind of car you had to rent to haul yourselves and twelve bags? I guess it would have to be quite large and scary to drive on those roads. Do you share the driving chores or are you the navigator? (I’m smiling, thinking of my husband and me in Italy. Yikes!) Be safe and hang on tight!
    XOXO, Peggy

    • sbranch says:

      It’s a skinny silver station wagon, the safest, most armor-sided we could find, a Volvo. 🙂 Joe does all the driving, because my head does not wrap around the left-right situation. We also have a GPS in this car; a British voice says, “At the roundabout, take the 3rd right turn” and then, again, “Turn right.” If we miss it, she just goes on with new directions from our “lost” position. Another little miracle we didn’t have last time we were here.

  69. Lynn McMahon says:

    Happy Mother’s Day!
    Susan, can I ask you one more time what kind of camera you have?
    It takes great pictures!
    Thanks~
    Lynn

  70. Holly says:

    Do you feel more creative being “up in the treehouse”? My last studio in WA was upstairs, and had trees all around, and big windows. Even the ferry horns and smells of the ocean were there. I miss that work space, because it felt just right, and the creativity flowed!!

    I have two questions: 1. What is “breakfast milk”? 2. Can I go to Laura Ashley with you? (I would be in shopping heaven) 🙂

  71. Laurie says:

    wow, thank you so much for sharing, who knew Laura Ashley stores were still around. I am enjoying your trip greatly. I can’t wait for you to see Beatrix Potter’s home in the Lake District. She is an inspiration to me as you are too.

  72. Pat Emsley says:

    My husband was English and had beans on toast almost every day! His great joy was when he could find real “English” beans! My one regret is we never got over to England while he was alive, so it will be the next best thing to travel vicariously with you, someone who will do it up right! Enjoy for both of us!

  73. Kathleen V. says:

    What a beautiful place! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I was going to suggest an easier way to convert from Celsius to Fahrenheit, but Margo already did that!
    Looking forward to your next adventure.
    Kathy from Holland, Michigan

  74. janet says:

    SO GLAD we have arrived! How sweet of you to get fresh flowers to make this home for us, watercolors, kitty and all. Now. . . . what to do next. That cozy chair by the window looks like a great spot to settle in under the tree and relax while we consider what to wear for tomorrow’s adventure. ah. . . . .

  75. I need some help Girls if anyone can?? My daughter is travelling to Austria in a few weeks to study abroad and finish her Music Degree….I’m a nervous Nellie I guess it’s a Mother thing; but, she is so excited so I am keeping my fears to myself. I think the biggest mystery is how to handle the money portion and she is getting a lot of advice on which charge cards to take. I’m concerned with fees for conversions and using ATM’s it sounds quite costly. I also don’t want her carrying around a lot of cash for obvious reasons. She will be making a side trip to Munich, Germany and 4 days in Paris. If anyone has some cost saving suggestions I would truly appreciate hearing them. I’ve heard about the AAA Travel Money Card but read the comments and people were not thrilled with it and experienced 7% conversion charges on top of other fees. I just want a hassle free experience for her and not getting over there and told she can’t use the card she has…..she is so excited and very responsible so I need to relax or else the entire month she is away I will be sitting here in a stooper!!! This is her trip of a lifetime and she deserves it so any suggestions will be appreciated, and hope you don’t mind me asking this question Susan I just felt someone might have an answer to my concern. Happy the kitties are doing well I’m sure that makes you feel better.

    • sbranch says:

      Don’t mind a bit … we looked for these same answers — there are ATM cards that don’t charge, we found it to be the safest and cheapest way through our Martha’s Vineyard Bank, but I bet some of our traveler-girlfriends have more ideas.

      • Peggy says:

        ATM is the only way to go. Don’t consider anything else. She’ll be just fine and I hope she has a wonderful month!

    • Holly says:

      Hello, When I used to travel a lot, I used my American Express for every purchase, and to get cash too. There were no charges, except my yearly fee. However, it’s been a few years, so that may have changed.

  76. Victoria says:

    Love all of your pictures and your descriptions!…worth a million thoughts and feelings…Priceless!! You and Joe are such a charming couple!
    If you had 12 bags… I was thinking about all the luggage all of us girlfriends would have stacked up all the way down the hall… ha ha ha ha ha !
    Wow! I’m learning so much from you just from your logistics of all this … Sometime, (not now)…. Too many spectacular things to talk about.. You’ll have to tell us how you went about planning this trip and your strategy for packing … let alone, instant homey cozy!… maybe you could somehow include it in your new book, “Our trip to England”…. Or something like that … just a thought..
    I am loving this trip!!! There’s nothing like the English countryside and architecture and enjoying it from your perspective! I am so thankful to you for sharing it! You’re going to all the places I would love to go!!! I just can’t find the words to express to you how much this means to me, but the girlfriends are doing a great job! Ditto !!! Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!….
    Oh! …Just one more thing… I hope you can do some shopping for your store while you’re there… Especially, the Cotswold book. Please put me on your list for one if you can find one.
    Blessings
    XO!
    Victoria

    • sbranch says:

      Loved your comment, good ideas for inclusions to the English Diary! Thank you, Happy day Victoria!

  77. Heidi Rose (Issaquah, WA) says:

    I am SO loving this trip to England with you and can hardly wait to see where we’ll be going next! 🙂

  78. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Good~Afternoon Sweet Sue…I Do Believe it’s going on 2:38 pm Your England Time…it’s 9:38 am My time… I have a few Friends in England & They told Me England is 5 hours ahead of Us…. 🙂 so I am Catching Up…I’ve just read & Re read this very English Blog… Now Commenting 🙂 then I read The Next….I am so Happy You & Joe are Safe & Sound & all Settled in…Your “Flat” seems so Cozy…a “Home” away from “Home”…I am Now craving Fish & Chips! Yum!….Soon it will Be Tea~Time…My Tea Cup is ready… 🙂 Mother’s Day was Fun…Jonathan & Taylor gave Me these Tiny Garden Gnomes for My Courtyard Garden…Taylor said “Grand~Ma Angie These little guys will guard your flowers & play with all your garden fairies” Omggggggggggggggg Beyond Magical! so On this Blog I send You Welcome to Your Enchanted~Cottage…. Pixie~Dust….& Much Love & Hugzzzz….I am Breathing in all Your English Magic Sweet Sue…I Must Fly to Your Next Blog! Love Love Love! xoxo Poof! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Garden Gnomes! How well they know you!!! 🙂

      • Angie(Tink!) says:

        lol… 🙂 Yes They Do! Sipping Tea…1:25 pm My Time …6:25 pm Your Time what’s for Dinner Tonight? xoxo Poof! 🙂

  79. KATHIE FERKO says:

    Hi Girls…Hi Susan…and Joe of course,

    Thanks for the lovely photos from England. I feel like I am visiting again…without the hassle of flying! I loved those ancient Roman Walls all over the country…..Chester being one of them. Knowing there age and walking over them was awesome! I love your apartment and it’s decorations…so homey…so British.
    Can’t wait for the trip to the Lake District…It was so beautiful…but did not get to see Hilltop…so I am anxiously waiting for the tour.
    When I was in England we had a shandy…..but for a non-alcoholic cooler…I loved Sparkling elderflower water. Wish we would have it here. Closest thing I found was elderflower cordial.
    Watching with amazement..
    Kathie from Limerick, Pa

  80. Susan, you and Joe are so cozied in! Love the flower chair by the window! Sunshine in England for you, how wonderful! Love the view from the kitchen window, This is so exciting! I forward all your blogs to my husband so he can enjoy it too! What fun it must have been to listen to the violins while heading out to sea from NY harbor!
    This is so much fun!!!!!
    Thank you dear sweet Susan, and Joe for putting up with all of us!
    xoxoxo

  81. Lori C. says:

    Oh my!!! The fabulous photo of the house with the bluebells growing in front just feeds my soul!!! I half expected you to say that Michael Kitchen and Jenny Agutter and the Railway Children came wandering up to talk with you!

  82. Jennifer Christenson says:

    Be sure and check out the Cath Kidston store while you’re there too!!! My friend and her family just got back from a trip to England/Scotland and she just about had a heart attack when she saw there was a whole Cath Kidston store!!! She was familiar with her wonderful fabrics but had no idea there was so much more.♥ http://www.cathkidstonusa.com/

  83. Enikö says:

    Tenterden looks like it’s out of a fairytale…love the green and the bluebells…I just bought one for my garden! xo

  84. Brenda says:

    Oh yes it is a lovely view! How excited you must be each morning when you wake up.

  85. Patty Craddock says:

    Susan, I am enjoying your trip so very much and I am getting some great ideas for a trip with my sister and her daughter, whenever we can get our schedules to agree. Thank you so very much. Please, more tea room photos. Patty

    • sbranch says:

      Went to one yesterday, here in town. Blue China plates hanging on the walls, low ceilings into the kitchen area, just charming.

  86. Mary Ann - Central Highlands of Mexico says:

    We are having a great trip, aren’t we! Thank you for all the photos and descriptions. I’m getting ideas of where to go and what to see the next time we are able to go to England. Joe looks like a tall man, as is my husband who is 6’7″. Has he been keeping his head low? My hubby had a couple of bumps as souvenirs.

  87. OH! I’m in love 🙂 *sigh*

    I am so going to make a hedge row up my Ingleside lane! I’ve just got to figure out what to grow up for the hedges 🙂

    any suggestions?

    I love how the lane is grassed over. I keep telling my husband to let that happen to ours, but he keeps killing it off on me lol

    it’s perfectly old fashioned 🙂

    Oh I’m having a fun time catching up with you!

    Love,
    Denise of Ingleside

    • sbranch says:

      I do have a suggestion: hedges are important because they house birds and all kinds of wonderful critters…try to find something that’s native to your area, so it will really thrive. Also, mixing plants is a good thing too…so if a blight comes, you don’t lose the entire thing. Makes the hedge prettier too.

  88. oh I was thinking the same thing, but wasn’t sure if it was “allowed” up a lane… I love switching things up and being different. I’m definitely going to do that. Now to get the bushes.
    Thanks so much, Susan 🙂
    Love,
    Denise of Ingleside

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