Our Last Day; saving Best for Last . . .

Our last day in England we went to visit Jane Austen’s house in a little country town called Chawton. I can’t really say we saved the best for last, because there was just too much best on this trip!  But add this to the pile, because it was best too.  The house is in Hampshire, very near Southampton where the ship sailed from . . . that’s the lowest, middle part of England on the map.  I’m watercoloring a map of England for my English Diary, so you’ll finally get to see where we’ve been (hiding in those suitcases you missed way too much!  We’re going to make up for that!).  So here goes, get ready, it’s a little bit long . . .

First off, you have to know how this quiet neighborhood sounded this day!  The only thing missing is “my-toe-hurts-bet-tee” the nature national anthem of England, but trust me, the wood pigeons were out in full force!

There’s the house! That’s Jane Austen’s House!  How beautiful!  Let’s go find a parking space!

On our way to the house, we walk through the neighborhood . . .  the neighborhoods were almost always as wonderful as the houses we were going to visit!

 Many of the homes in Chawton have thatched roofs . . .

There are many rose-covered cottages . . .

 This is the pub across the street from the house . . . in case you’d like a bite when you get done, or a peah ci-da. In case?  Don’t you love the flower boxes?

On the corner, directly across from the house, you can stop for tea in this wonderful tea room called “Cassandra’s” — which is the name of both Jane’s beloved sister, and her mother.

So here we go, are you ready?  I was so excited!  Hope I don’t accidentally run anyone down!!

We had to go into the gift shop to get our tickets.  My first question:  ”Can I take pictures inside the house?”  (Not every house we visited allows photography, I really didn’t expect them to say yes;  but I was hoping and praying.)  And then, Yes You Can!  I can?  Oh Boy.  Let’s go!!!

There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart.  Jane Austen

Jane was born in 1775; she started writing Pride and Prejudice when she was 21, but it was in Chawton House at this amazingly small table that she finished it; it’s here she wrote and revised her greatest stories.

At this very table.  Her books came right out of her brain, through her hand, onto the paper, one letter at a time.

We were invited to try writing the way Jane did … with a feather quill pen and ink!  I couldn’t wait to get my little fingers around that!

If you look close, I think you can tell that I tried it!  I loved it!!!  I bought a feather and ink in the gift shop; I’m going to write with it in the English Diary so you can see it in action!  How she did this I will never know, there could not have been much “rewriting” on her books; no word processor or even a typewriter to make it easier (or even a ball point pen for that matter)!  Because you have to dip the quill pen in the ink about every 2 or 3 letters or it runs dry!  You have to blot it too, or your arm will drag through and smear it!  It’s a slow process, but it’s what she knew; and that’s how it is with book writing, no matter how you do it, you just keep going every day, until it’s done, and then, viola, you have a book!

Before I show you details in the house, let me show you just how charming this chock-full-of-history cottage is.  This is the bedroom that Jane shared with her sister Cassandra.

This is a canopy tent bed of the period. Where they didn’t have the exact furniture owned by the Austen family, they used period pieces so we could know what things would have looked like.  Love this bed!  I would like to be twelve years old and have this bed!!!

 There are bouquets of cut flowers from the garden all over the house; on mantles and window ledges . . . you feel like someone really lives here . . .

Here you can look across the street to Cassandra’s Tea Room, how convenient!

There are fireplaces in every room, some of them very tiny like this one.  Isn’t it cute?  Wouldn’t you like to warm your feet by this fire?  (Well, maybe not today . . .)

They’ve put little cards on or next to everything, so you can know what you’re looking at . . .

It’s a house to go slow in, you can feel the reverence and the joy of the people who are there.  One girl came bounding in to the room I was in, we looked at each other with huge eyes, just shaking heads at how happy we were to be there!

They have made it so nice for us; it’s all here for the savoring . . .

There are lots of glass cases with personal things belonging to Jane and to her family.

Gorgeous 200+ year old bracelet owned by Jane . . . I would love to have this bracelet!  Look at the detail. 

Another adorable fireplace . . . and lovely period dress . . .

This is not the piano belonging to Jane, but it could have been, and so gorgeous, handpainted.

All the wallpaper you see is Laura Ashley which is very appropriate as many of Laura Ashley’s designs were inspired by antique papers and fabric she saw in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.  Something else that adds warmth and charm to this house.

And there are fragments of wallpaper they found in the house, like this one . . . very pretty too, light and clean like the ones they’ve chosen for the rooms.

This quilt was made by Jane, Cassandra and their mother.  Jane Austen‘s  stories capture the essence of her time; in the last two centuries, her books have rarely been out of print! She died very young, at age 41, in her sister Cassandra’s arms. ;-(

The house has lots of homemade touches such as these embroideries…

In every case, Jane said it like she saw it.  This was on the dining table.

Here’s the bakehouse … and next to it is their little donkey carriage . . .

The kitchen!  I could feel very at home in here!  If someone would teach me how to work that stove, it would be Hot Milk Cake for everyone!

Little details like this jar of cut herbs from the garden make it feel homey, like you could move right in!

And the garden!  With benches and lawns to sit and stay in.  Jane and her family grew everything they needed in their cottage garden, vegetables, herbs, and flowers; Cassandra kept bees so they made their own honey.

Their favorite flowers were “Sweet Williams, columbines, peonies, pinks and laburnums” … they also grew “gooseberries, raspberries and currants” … they made their own jams and jellies and summer wines, kept a pig and chickens and had two donkeys to pull them in their carriage.

The garden smelled like perfume and sounded wonderful too; see the blackbird on the garden wall?  He was singing his heart out . . . we took the equivalent of a whole “roll of film” just on him!!!  What a perfect last day it was . . .

 Then it was back to the gift shop again, of course . . . I had to get my quill pen and ink!  And some postcards and some books …. and this ….

. . . my irresistible Chawton House dishtowel, which is hanging now on my stove, because we are HOME ; I’m writing this from my studio; Jack is asleep on the pillow on top of the fax machine (I’m speaking of my kitty Jack, not my dad Jack, just so you know!), Girl is in the chair; there are lawnmowers going outside; a soft breeze is coming through my window and I can see butterflies flitting around my picket fence garden . . . Joe is out back trying to bolster the rose arbor so it will last another summer!

We’ve been unpacking slowly and opening our mail so there is an impromptu gathering of little things on the shelf in our kitchen … 

And we finally got to drape our Jubilee bunting on our own kitchen windows!

 As you know, we all got a bit drenched and waterlogged in England!  Personally, I didn’t mind at all; it was moody and wonderful having fires and wearing sweaters, watching the black clouds roll in across the dales, getting to use my new William Morris umbrella, and the gardens were green and lush and so beautiful . . . so we didn’t know we missed the sun . . . but this was the view out on our walk this morning!  Oh yeah, it feels very good to be home!

OK girls, I guess I better get going . . . I hope this post was long enough for you!! :-)   But I just couldn’t let you miss anything!!!  Hope you enjoyed it!  I will try to make the next one shorter!!!  How are you all doing?  I’m worried about the heat, the fires and the loss of electricity for so many!  I hope you’re all holding on!  Stay cool Girlfriends, watch out for neighbors and pets and see you soon!!! xoxo

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583 Responses to Our Last Day; saving Best for Last . . .

  1. Barb (Ludlow, MA) says:

    Hello Susan,
    This post on Jane Austen was fantastic! I too am always left wanting more of your writings……pictures….videos…musica! Your blog is like a great novel……we the readers ie girlfriends are always wanting more!

    The weather here was humid over the weekend in the high 90′s. I had such a busy weekend this was the first chance I got to comment, although I did get to read this post late Friday evening.

    My husband and I were on our way to NHampshire on Saturday and we got a surprise of a lifetime. We take the backroads as we enjoy rides and seeing everything in the country. Well still in MA now about 35minutes North of here we pass by (Wendell State Forrest). All of a sudden a (MOOSE) comes out of the woods……which stood (7ft tall)……..Large Antlers, Forrest Black in Color with a tad of Tan. We were so EXCITED and Startled at the same time as it was about (20ft) in front of our car. This is the first Moose we have ever seen in our lifetime. Luckily for us the Moose just trotted to the other side of the road and off in the woods he went. We will never forget this moment!

    I hope over your weekend Sue……..you got to go swimming in the nice cool waters of MV. Do you have any veggies ripening in the garden yet and are your gladiolas out yet? We have a few big tomatoes finally turning red…! Nothing like a fresh picked hot tomatoe from the garden that you could just eat right then and there.

    Have a wonderful day to you……..and to all the girlfriends! Hugs & Smiles Barb

    • sbranch says:

      Moose! I’ve seen a moose, what funny bodies they have, big top and skinny legs! Exciting. The glads are on the verge!!! I will take pictures. The tomatoes are coming along, but still green.

  2. Carol from Connecticut says:

    Dear Susan,
    I know it’s bad luck (well…..) to open one inside the house, but will you show us your new William Morris umbrella?
    Affection, Carol

  3. Lynn McMahon says:

    Beautiful post!
    Thank you and Happy Monday!
    ~Lynn

  4. Karen (Holly Springs, NC) says:

    Susan,
    Loved the post! Thanks for taking us with you on such a beautiful trip. The picture of Jane’s Kitchen, reminded me of something you would paint. :) I had to look twice! Loved it.
    - Karen

  5. pat addison says:

    good morning susan, everyone, what a wonderful house, and i would love to be let loose in that kitchen, i’d be right at home there. all the copper pans, and kettles and the herbs drying and the fresh ones on the kitchen table…just like i keep my fresh herbs, in a jar on the counter so they stay fresh while i cook. loved the trip to England, thank you for letting us tag along. well off to go take care of the birds. the chickens, turkeys and ducks are demanding to be fed and the water containers need to be filled, plus the duck pool needs to be emptied and cleaned out then refilled. plus have laundry to get out on the clothesline for the day and pot pies to make for supper, busy day here. have a wonderful day everyone, stay cool. hugs…… :)

    • Tawni urrutia says:

      Hi Pat! I was wondering if you’d be willing to share yor potpie recipe. I LOVE them, and could certainly use a tried and true recipe!
      Thanks a million! Have a wonderful day!
      Tawni Urrutia lodi ca

  6. Jack says:

    OK , Ok — good on Jane Auston , Lambs , Goats and Houses — what about the
    SURPRISE~~?

    • sbranch says:

      You are showing your TRUE colors. Do you remember torturing me at Christmas time with your surprises??? Uh-huh, payback time. Oh the power :-)

      • pat addison says:

        uh oh, did i miss something???? must have been hanging out in that kitchen way too long. what surprise?????

        • sbranch says:

          I brought something home from England with me . . . something for a special give away…. I’m excited too!!!

      • Jack says:

        Never mind your red herrings and attempts to divert attention — and any other of your female wiles — a promise made is a debt unpaid . . .

        • sbranch says:

          I hope you are aware that you cannot win?

          • Rhonda D. says:

            Maybe he cannot “win,” but good luck trying to keep ahead of him. (I think this is all part of their job description in life! Man wiles?).

          • sbranch says:

            I’d love for him to win, but as family, I’m not sure it would look too good :-) I brought him something special from England; I just have to get it to him! Don’t tell him! :-)

          • Julie says:

            Atta’ girlfriend-
            Two can play the “I’ve gotta secret” game,
            as easily as one-
            I’m sure your Dad, Mr. Mischief
            is simply gonna’ LOVE that
            inscribed, signed photo of Camilla…..
            a wink a’ dinky-dinky !

            Considering the Queen was totally absorbed in the Diamond Jubilee,
            Camilla’s mugshot is the next best thing-
            especially if she signed it with a quill pen.

            He’s SO darn lucky
            to have such a thoughtful firstborn.
            All this, plus the smashing gingerbread-
            really,
            what more could a doting father ask for ?

          • Carol from Connecticut says:

            I heard Susan brought him back a six pound fruitcake!

          • sbranch says:

            Who told you?!

  7. mary spring says:

    Yay !!..thank you for correcting the link for hot milk cake, Susan ..( and thanks Georgie, as well !! )…got to try this one…it looks good !!!!

  8. mary spring says:

    P.S….Susan , funny how your father reminds me so much of my father !!!!!!!!…with love

  9. Miss Pat in Indiana says:

    How very lovely! The dish towel looks like something you might have painted and printed. Something to think about, maybe.

  10. Donna Ray says:

    Oh Susan…..that tiny little table! We think we need so many creature comforts and tools and stuff to be productive and there Jane sat at that teeny table, messy ink and all, and gave us such wonderful stories. I love how you told it…..from her brain (and heart I might add), through her hand, onto the paper. You are the best, Susan, at capturing and sharing such wonders! Thank you. This whole experience has been super and there’s more and more and a book and a surprise, or two! Fun, fun, fun! As always, DonnaRay

  11. barbara miller says:

    oh,my! i had such joy to sit and read your post on your trip to jane’s house. i needed to listen to the birds and see the gardens. i needed to look out her windows. thank you. i wish i could tell you about my life with its ups and downs. you see ‘visiting’ England has kept me sane these last weeks in a small measure. thank you

    • Gini Gould says:

      Dear Barbara, Thank you for sharing about your hardships with us. I’m sure many will lift you up in prayer. I’ll be one of them.

  12. Kerry S. from San Pedro, CA says:

    In the midst of the kitchen remodeling project here!! When the guys removed the awful false ceiling (installed by the first owner of the house – an enthusiastic do-it-yourselfer) we found that the cupboard where all the “crockery” was stored has started to pull away from its mooring! I knew that I was possibly overloading and had already been packing sets of dishes away to go to good homes! Texted my husband to tell him timing is everything!!
    Anyway – last night we shared a bottle of Mangers Pear Cider!! Bought a 4-pack at Bev Mo on Saturday! Love it! Lighter than wine but not overly sweet – just a nice light summer drink! Also heard a man interviewing on one of the NPR programs last week who said that ciders are making a big come back. Said they are part of “buy local” movement. He said that the Founding Fathers probably drank cider they had produced. Beer not big until that major German immigrations in the 1800′s! So Susan – again ahead of your time! It is a wonderful treat! Thanks for the suggestion!
    Back to packing – tackling the stemware next!! Kitchen now divided between dining and living room and will be for at least 6 weeks!!
    All the best to those FOSB who are undergoing treatment for cancer! Little prayers being offered each time I read one of your posts!! My kitchen drama tiny in comparison – which I tell myself all the time!! LOL XOXO to each one of you!

    • sbranch says:

      Joe found Magner’s Pear Cider here too, so we are HAPPY!! We shared one the other night, and all the memories were in the taste in that bottle! I think it’s a little hard to get still, but I know it won’t be long. My girlfriend Lowely tasted it and went right to the liquor store to special order it! It’s pretty darn wonderful. Good luck with the kitchen, the pear cider will help! :-)

    • Margot says:

      My Swiss (German speaking) grandfather made hard apple cider when he immigrated to Milwaukee.

      • sbranch says:

        I think it could be easily made here in this country . . . people just haven’t done it for a long time.

        • Kerry S. from San Pedro, CA says:

          I think it tastes better than white wine! We want to try the hard apple cider now! Think that we’re going to see more varieties coming on the market!

  13. Rebecca Walsh says:

    Loved the posting and will miss all the stories of England. May you travel there soon (again). Here in Colorado, the fires are mostly contained and we have finally begun to get some rain (Hurray). Please keep posting wonderful news from the island so we can follow along with all your adventures. Off to make a Hot Milk cake for my hunny.

    • sbranch says:

      Don’t worry, I do have lots more stories I didn’t have time to tell! Your hunny is in for a treat!

  14. Susan, I would love to travel and visit Martha’s Vineyard one day…never been to that area before. Have you ever done a post about the area? I’d so love to hear your recommendations for the “must see” places to visit and “must see” places to dine. :) Thanks for all you share and for all you put into your blog. As a fellow blogger, I know how much time/commitment it takes. Please know your readers do so much appreciate you!
    XO

  15. Beth says:

    Thank you so much for bringing us along on your trip. It’s only been a year and a half since my last visit, but I miss England so much!

  16. Diane says:

    Oooooh, I’m in love with Jane’s house, especially the tiny fireplaces! …and you dear girlfriend are absolutely amazing with your pictures and descriptions of e v e r y t h i n g. Please don’t shorten anything going forward. I couldn’t bear to miss one little tidbit.

    Diane in North Carolina

  17. mary spring says:

    …oh dear..”female wiles ” and “red herrings”..should we take offense ?!?..( I don’t know or have the symbol for a happy face..)….

    • sbranch says:

      Just do a colon, then a dash, then a smile parenthesis and it will turn into the little yellow happy face. I think. I know, my dad thinks we have female wiles. It’s OK. We know the truth.

  18. mary spring says:

    P.S. Susan, thanks, see how you are ?!?..(..in regarding the smile parenthesis..got to wait ’till my genius daughters get back from their vacation in Rhode Island to help me with that one…by the way…again , thanks for your patience and all that you do !!!!….with love..

  19. Miss holly says:

    It is such a joy reading your posts…truly…it’s like a serial….where you just can’t wait until the next episode !!! Thanks for the trip talk…..it’s the best!

  20. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan!
    Welcome home!!!!! Jane Austen’s home and gardens are so beautiful!!! How amazing the colorful blossoms are like a painting of their own. Maybe you could paint/draw us a diagram of “how to plant a Jane Austen garden” for our very own yards!!!! Do you “dream of England” now that you are back home? Thank you for taking us on such a wonderful summer vacation!!!! You are the best!!!!

  21. Joann says:

    Oh my goodness….good ‘ol Jane!!! As a high school English teacher, Jane Austen, of course, is a favorite….but in college, my favorite English professor was the president of the international Jane Austen Society….and what a wonderful professor she was!!

    I have always wanted to see this part of the world; I’ve only had a brief overnight in England, but hopefully, that will change in the future…

    For now, I have thoroughly enjoyed our travels together and the wonderful photographs, commentary, and insider’s information about the wonderful things to see and do in one of the most beautiful places on earth…

    Welcome Home Susan….
    xoxo
    Joann

  22. Sara Finally in Georgia!!! says:

    Hi Susan!!!

    Oh what a wonderful trip!! So much excitement and beauty from our hiding place in your suitcase :) I have been moving so it took a little catching up but oh how I enjoyed every minute!!! I can’t wait to see more! Your dad is cracking me up! But since HE did bring it up…… when is the surprise???? LOL!!!!!!! :)

  23. Lynn Cooper says:

    What a wonderful read for me as I sit here with my morning coffee, and the birds chirping inside the house from this blog as well as outside, since all of the windows are open. Your blogs make me want to go to England and see many of the places that you and Jack saw. I have not been to England in years, and plan to return. There is nothing like its charm, and its people are absolutely lovely.
    Lynn Cooper

  24. Lynn Cooper says:

    Back again…I just Googled Jane Austen’s gift shop at the museum. There are many charming things here, and I am a true sucker for bookplates. Check it out. If I buy anything, I will have to figure out the pound rate before I make a purchase.

    • sbranch says:

      I think they might do that for you . . . but generally, when we were there you needed about $1.60 for each pound. It’s a lovely gift shop!

      • Cindy Maulin says:

        hi lynn cooper…fyi..i found an app for the iPhone that converts monies….i used it when i purchased some Emma mugs for my daughters for Mother’s Day….i think it’s called “eCurrency” and you just put in the countries…plug in the amount and it tells you the conversion to US dollars…if you don’t have an iPhone..Google Money Conversion and see what pops up!!! good luck…. ps love jane austen too!!

  25. Rachel in PA says:

    Thanks for taking me along with you to England. I’ve enjoyed all of your posts immensely! I really can’t decide which one was my favorite—they all confirmed for me that I need to visit myself! :) I’m so glad that you and Joe had such a marvelous trip and that you are back at home safe and sound.

  26. Crystal Burns says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thanks for all the beautiful photos and for sharing your fun travels in England. That is one place I plan to visit in the future so I love seeing and reading all this. This is one of the highlights of my day. I treat myself to reading your blog. Otherwise I am busy doing yard work and housework of my own. You inspire me to enjoy the simple things in life like bringing in flowers and fresh herbs from my gardens. Thank you very much. Take care.
    Love,
    Crystal
    P.S. Today is our 36th Anniversary. We plan to go out for a nice dinner to celebrate. That is after my husband cuts the grass.

  27. Regina says:

    I had so much fun on our trip!! I can’t help but think about the future when future generations will be visiting your home and saying this is where Susan wrote and painted all her wonderful books!! :) You brighten my day!!!

  28. lani says:

    Thank you Susan for sharing your travels. I am grateful for your generous spirit and your patient husband! It was all so fun and lovely.
    Lani

  29. Margot says:

    Thank you sooo much for sharing the pictures from Jane Austen’s home!!! Not only having to use a quill, but such a tiny table to write on. Amazing!

  30. judy dow says:

    Tears in my eyes while taking the tour of Jane Austin’s home. Who hasn’t read some of her writings and had them hit straight to the heart. The heat finally left in Granger, Indiana. Only 80′s now but still draught conditions. Our delicious Indiana corn is suffering greatly. Burn bans are up across the state. Never fear though…Ethel and I did make s’mores the other night over the flame of the gas stove. It just wouldn’t be summer without them!! Enjoy your time at home. Hugs to Joe and the kitties. luv lucy

  31. christelle says:

    Hi Susan,
    I read your last post yesterday night. And now at work while on lunch break, here is what I read in the newspaper: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2012/07/jane-austens-ring-goes-up-for-auction.html
    I thought I might share this with you.
    I always enjoy reading you so much! :)

  32. Dorothy Ann says:

    * Good Morning (Pacific Northwest Time) Susan * 11:54 AM

    W H E N ?

    (Is that O.K. Jack?)

    Luv from Dorothy Ann on Cougar Mountain, Washington

  33. Jan says:

    Susan,
    Just bought some movies to watch at our cabin. Pride and Prejudice was one of them. Didn’t realize it was a Jane Austen movie, or at least I think it must be? Loved the post!
    Jan

  34. Suzanne Talbot says:

    LOVED this blog, Susan, about Jane Austen’s house!
    Feel as if I was actually there.
    Have never read Pride and Prejudice and now can’t wait to read it! Unbelievable that she wrote on that tiny table, with a quill pen. We take so much for granted today.

    Her home looks looks like a happy house, full of light.
    Wonderful wood floors.
    Gorgeous garden!
    Darling bird singing on the wall.

    I love the houses in the town and the doggie in the window.
    Everyday in England and on the ship with you, Joe and Petey was so enchanting.
    But seeing your “pond” with the beautiful sparkling blue water on MV makes me glad you are home again. Especially, home with Girl Kitty and Jack!

    Thank you so much for an incredible two months!

    xoxo
    Suzanne, in Carmel, CA

  35. Pingback: Set sail for adventure , Archive » Take a trip with an Austen fan

  36. Carolyn says:

    Hello Susan,
    The pilgrimage to England was most delightful. Thank you! And Joe also. Traveling the less traversed road, observing the beauty and serenity, anticipating each turn with the excitement of a new adventure will be more
    appreciated in the years to come. Especially as we peruse the Diary again and again. Memories are indeed a great blessing.
    I must also say thank you Jack. I have enjoyed your wit, reminding me of my Dad. Passed over forty years now.
    We are indeed a community for each other.
    Blessings to all you Girlfriend’s. Prayers for those who are struggling.
    oxoxoxo :>)
    Carolyn

  37. Carol from Connecticut says:

    Here is the CBS Sunday Morning segment on the “Woolrich Company: Part of the Fabric of U.S. History”. We get to see the adorable sheep. Some girlfriends mentioned this segment in the replies but I can no longer find you. I tried. Oh well…here it is…..enjoy! Baaaaaa…

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-3445_162-57468193/woolrich-part-of-the-fabric-of-u.s-history/?tag=contentMain;contentBody

  38. Susan, I just had to share this with you because you know how much I adore gladiolus….after a very long day working out in the garage (you have been away and don’t know we are cleaning out 56 yrs. of “stuff” to make Jim a “mancave” and we picked the hottest week of the century….and we only had the dumpster for 7 days)…..now, back to my story…we come in after 8-12 hrs. of work and tonight Jim said “let’s go out to eat so we can just relax” music to this girls ears…we chose to eat at this diner for someplace we have never tried and it was delicious. Now to the point of this comment, I am looking out the window over to this market with rows of tomatoes, peaches, melons, and what do I see right in front of me….GLADIOLUS…there were only 3 of them and right in my view…Kismet I believe and there was a pink, yellow/pink, and a gorgeous red/orange and they were just lovely and all I could do was think of you and Dawn (corn)….isn’t life full of surprises….there could of been hundreds of flowers and just where we chose to sit is where they were. I told Jim how much I want to plant some next year and he said exactly what I asked you months ago “don’t you have to dig them up each year”….I said no honey “Susan” told me she digs a hole once and they are on their own, and I’m rambling (fatigue) can’t wait to see pics of your lovely glads anytime now. I’m so happy/lucky that Jim is part of our blog fun and is interested in the things we all enjoy. Aren’t we blessed with such wonderful men in our lives…sigh.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes we sure are! Glads will be ready any day now. . . I will wait until they are all blooming, then take a picture!

      • THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH……I can’t wait to see all the colors I’m giddy with excitement (doesn’t take much for me does it)?? My Mother planted rows and rows of them and they lasted for days when the spent blooms died there were so many to take it’s place….just a very lovely flower.

    • Dawn from Minnesota says:

      Everyday as I water my (first-in-my-life) glads, I think of you both!!!
      And after last night, I need to “ThankYoU” Susan, :) for the recipe
      of Hot Milk Cake. I made it last night….oH my, Yum!!!….with sliced ripe
      peaches…and the warm vanilla cream sauce….it really IS wonderful!!!
      As Bret was eating it, he said, “This is really good Babes!” And as he rinsed his bowl, after seconds, he said, (and I think he was licking his
      lips) “that was tasty!” Feeling ‘Blessed’ I get to say, “Guess who gave me the recipe? Susan Branch!” He gives me a wink and smile ;) :)
      “Tell her it was really good!” So, girlfriends…..try this one, it’s a keeper! And speaking of girlfriends…. I can’t get you out of my head….Prayers &
      Wishes for an “ordinary day” as many of you face some of Lifes tough
      stuff! I really do think of everyone here! I know in my heart that
      Susan will help make the tough days a little sweeter…it has worked for
      me! And….thinking of sweeter days…..did I mention how really good
      the Hot Milk Cake was? Simple…sweet……perfect! “Thank You Susan!”
      I enjoyed your post about Jane Austen and all the comments that
      followed….And oH, Mr. Jack…..what a nut! :) Yesterday, I watched the movie, Father Goose w/Cary Grant as the WWII shore watcher….and as he is helping Leslie Caron and all those little girls onto the broken down
      boat of his…..he say’s, “…this is Not the Queen Mary, there is no room
      for baggage!…..” I immediately think of SUSAN…..Our trip to England
      and …..oH Mr. JACK!!! And, all those thoughts made me smile and feel
      oh-so happy! And feeling happy made me think of cake…and cake made
      me think about Susan’s Hot Milk Cake….so I baked a cake….and….well, the rest is…….Aaha! Breakfast!!! And after breakfast, I’m gonna go water my “corn!” and hope that the day is Happy for everyone!!!
      XoXDawn

      • Bless your sweet heart and “corn”….you keep watering those reeds and soon you will have GLORIOUS GLADIOLUS I promise and know of what I speak. Now, about this Hot Milk Cake that you made, I remember last Winter when Susan posted the recipe on her blog but I did not make it. You have inspired me to make it as soon as I start using my oven again (trying to keep the heat out of my “cozy” kitchen)…..it truly holds the heat. My sweet Jim is taking pity on me (can you see my sad “pouty” face) you have to say that in your Shirley Temple voice….and took me out to dinner (I truly think my helping him with getting his mancave put together is getting me BIG POINTS)….YAY…. or else he is sensing that the temptation for me to use the oven is inching very close to me pushing BAKE! Stay Happy that makes me Happy!!!

  39. Jackie P says:

    Wonderful post full of great pictures. My two favorite shots (although it is really hard to choose favorites!): the one in Jane’s house, looking down the stairs to the window/landing and the last shot of MV. You captured the colors and light of the island perfectly. Thank you.

  40. Mary Cunningham says:

    Hi Susan….Welcome home…there’s no place like it! Sad to leave England, but I know you will create a wonderful memory book for us to buy in the near future! I thought it was so funny how when I saw the picture of the rocking chair with the cushion and the tie drooping it looked to me like a strap falling….flirty little chair on a hot July day…lol…then I read your comment about it….so funny how minds think alike! I bet that chair has heard some stories in it’s day….hot here in central Indiana, getting up early to go to the woods with Dash and Buster….dew still on the grass, birds singing, and we were 7 feet from a doe on our path, then the dogs barked at her and she ran farther away, but still stopped to watch us….ah the country life…..have a good week getting back on “our” time….can’t wait until your next entry… “HUG” Mary (Barefoot Sparkler)

  41. Daena in NJ says:

    Your travel blogging has been wonderful. If I ever travel England is certainly a country I would like to see. I just came across a short video about the well known English poster “The Story of Keep Calm and Carry On.” There’s a marvelous bookstore shown that’s in an abandoned train station. Here’s the url:
    youtube.com/watch?v=FrHkKXFRbCI
    I hope you enjoy it.

  42. mary spring says:

    …helloooo, Susan….where are you ?!??… :D

  43. mary spring says:

    P.S. …a colon and a capitol D did it !!!!!!..(wow…simple pleasures ! )

  44. Debbie Selam says:

    Loved the tour of Jane Austen’s home; particularly the lovely garden. I liked your souvenir tea towel and how it was edged with flowers. I’m a sucker for dish towels too, as they’re very affordable and useful too. Glad to see you’re happy at home after all your adventures. Debbie S.

  45. Kathy says:

    **Sigh** Beautiful photos, beautiful cottage, beautiful experience. Definitely putting a visit to this cottage on my must-see list.

  46. Toni Carey from North Carolina says:

    Oh Susan, Thank You so much for sharing your trips with us. To me, I like to picture myself right there along with you and with your great photography, it almost feels like I am. On another note though, When are you coming down to North Carolina? I so badly want to meet you one day. Thanks again for sharing your stories with us. Keep them Coming :)

  47. Mary McCatherine says:

    I LOVE Beatrix Potter and I LOVE your blog. I also enjoyed visiting Martha’s Vineyard last week…your blogs inspired my husband and I to visit and we absolutely enjoyed ourselves! Thank you! Love, Mary

  48. Mary Ann says:

    Such a lovely last day! And the reminder about Hot Milk cake…yum, I haven’t made that in a while!

  49. Simone Dextraze says:

    I just love reading your blogs. They are a mini vacation. Thank you.

  50. Kathleen Smith says:

    Okay…this does it. We were in London for 2 days last fall…now we must return to visit all the beautiful places you have described! The beauty of the landscape and the peacefulness entices one to move there right this very minute! Your wonderful descriptions, your excitement, just everything….takes you to another time and place–out of the hustle and bustle of our busy everyday lives, for sure. Thank you once again for taking all the time to share this with us!

  51. oh I do so love these pictures!! Thank you so much for sharing with us, Susan :) I love them … esp the quill pen :) I’ve written with it and loved it :)

    Loved the gardens and everything *sigh*

    what a nice walk with you :)

  52. Janine from California says:

    Loved it! Don’t make your posts shorter on our account!

    I just watched “The Enchanted Cottage” that you recommended. My dear brother gave it to me for a birthday gift. Wonderful movie! How true that people become more beautiful to us the more we serve them…

  53. mary spring says:

    Dear Susan..(I’m writing here since I already commented on “bees in lavender”..) ..I love how you said how you “write children’s books for grown-ups”..by the way..can’t believe near 1,500 comments now..it really humbles me in ways I’m trying to understand…with love..

  54. Mary Ouellette says:

    Susan — glad your trip was all that you had hoped for ! I love your lil’ lambie illustration in the Beatrix Potter book. I hope I win ! Love everything about your style, and comfy way of life. Sincerely, Mary

  55. Gumbo Lily says:

    I wonder if the roses on Jane’s house are the same as those on Beatrix’s?
    Just lovely.

  56. veronica/Sumerduck says:

    Welcome
    home ‘Sweet Susan’ and Joe. Thank you for taking me along on such a
    blessed trip to an enchanted land of simple grace and beauty. I know I
    shall never get there,but through your eyes and hearts I have indeed
    touched a bit of heaven. I am in Awe!. My words fail me in expression.
    So please except my gratitude of elated thanks. Veronica

  57. Marcia in Brazil says:

    Jane Austen is one very special lady. Her writing is flawless and timeless. We just got back from a 3 week vacation in Portugal (so much beauty everywhere), and I read Emma while I was there. It made me smile, it made me cry, it made me sigh… Thank you for letting me visit Austen’s house with you!

  58. Raenell Cannady says:

    Dearest Susan….
    What a lovely time you had away; I was so jealous every step of the way. You chose the type of travel I so hope to do very soon. I can’t beleive how much of God’s beauty you were surrounded with ~ just awesome. Glad you are home safe and that you had a most wonderful time.
    Now the book :) lol, oh my, how adorable is that? I want it ! I want it! You find the most incredible things….just precious. My fingers are crossed to be that lucky gal. Enjoy your days….xo Raenell

  59. barbzie says:

    Loved every photo, every line, every glimpse into the loveliness that you experienced, Susan. And I love the fact that Joe isn’t put off by your dedication to keeping your girlfriends “in the loop.” He seems like a perfect match for you, and someone who really cherishes his wife’s wonderment at life itself. You’re just a doll, Susan, and such a warm-hearted and open person. I’m really blessed to have found this blog and joined in the fun. Welcome home, and enjoy your lovely summertime on the Island! Barbzie

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Barbzie! Yes, Joe is my guy alright . . . I’m including the story of how we met in this Diary … thought I should tell it and where better.

  60. Valorie Veld says:

    Congratulations Betsy and Happy Birthday!! What a great treasure you have coming your way. Think of us as you turn each page!!! Have a great day!!

  61. Patricia Cash says:

    Thank you, thank you, for the trip to England especially to the Beatrix Potter home, and all of the other beautiful places I have seen, thanks to you.
    The flowers in your garden are so very lovely. especially the foxglove. I think
    they are my very favorite.
    Blessings for a wonderful day.

  62. LADYHEARTWELL aka Karen Lighthall says:

    DearHeart,

    Am so thrilled the person who won the SPECIAL book was able to get it on her birthday, of all things!! That must have been providential!! The thought you had to do this drawing was ever so special and clever. You have such a “Sharing Heart”! How would you draw a sharing heart?

    Just an idea for a future book: With the ideas from the current diary you are writing, please write a NEW “DAYS” book with some of your drawings from this trip. It would be “loverly” per Eliza Doolittle and me. I’ve used the current “DAYS” books faithfully, but it would REALLY, REALLY be fun to have a new one with these new drawings that I KNEW will be so-o-o-o sweet.

    Thank you once again for making our days so full of love and humor. Would you ever like to know how I got the name “Ladyheartwell”? I’m a retired RN of 42 years; it was given to me many long years ago and I’ve cherished it all this time.

    With a thankful heart,
    Karen

    • sbranch says:

      Nurses are some of my very favorite people, miracle workers! Nice to hear from you Karen!! I’ll keep that in mind for Days!

  63. Candice from Ohio says:

    Hi Susan,
    I have just finished enjoying your post, Many Thanks for the July Birthday Wishes, I celebrated mine on the 17th. I have been without a computer for several weeks as we were hit with the land hurricane (Derecho) in our area of Ohio and were without electricity and running water for seven days, as we live in the country and have a well, no power, no well, no water and the temps in the triple digits! …Then my computer crashed and had to go to the repair shop to be brought back to life and I just got it back yesterday. Those seven days were definitely a challenge, I will never take for granted how lucky we are to live in the US of A and have the luxuries of just turning a tap for clean hot and cold water or flipping a switch to have light to see at night and to use our appliances! I feel for all the impoverished and war torn countries in the world that have so many more hardships to deal with besides water and electricity!
    We count our blessings daily! I was not able to enter your give-away, the Beatrix Potter book is truly a one of a kind treasure! Lucky, Lucky winner!! I cannot wait for your English diary to come out in print. It is definitely a must have for me no doubt about it!
    We finally received rain here in the last two days that at least amounted to more than a 5 minute shower with 1 drop to 10 acres!! Not enough for the poor corn fields, but will definitely help the lawns, gardens, wildlife and bean fields. It is a lovely cool morning so far with a few peeps of sun. My sort of weather! I even went out and did a bit of gardening in the misty coolness.
    Have a wonderful weekend!!
    Blissfully yours,
    Candice

  64. Linda Sue says:

    How can I thank you for your beautiful pictures of Jane Austen’s home. I was so touched it brought tears to my eyes. I have loved Jane Austen and all her books forever. I always dream of going there, but do not know if my “bucket list” will make that trip. You have given me a beautiful glimpse of what I always wondered what it would look like. You made a 60 year old woman weep. I printed the pictures and will make me my “special” Jane scrapbook. You truly have blessed me this day and I appreciate you sharing your special moments. It gladdens my heart and I hope you realize you make life beautiful for so many of us.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Linda Sue, I’m just so happy you enjoyed it, it was such a special place, but it’s a long way away from us! I loved being able to share it.

      • Candy says:

        Hi Susan, from Winchester, Hampshire, England!
        I just read your blog on the trip to Jane Austen’s home! Beautiful pictures. I did not know about that home. Here in Winchester, we have another home with a plaque of Jane Austen but it is not allowed to be looked into so I am delighted to see your pics of the other house. I wish I had know that you were here, in Hampshire..I would have invited you for an afternoon tea!

  65. Thank you so much for this lovely post on my favorite author! I may never get to England to see Austen’s house, but this made me feel like I was right there!

  66. What a wonderful post, you couldn’t have described Chawton and the Jane Austen Museum better. With the 200th anniversary of Pride & Prejudice next year, we are already getting enquiries from the media about visiting the Museum. Would you object to us sending them the link to their post for their research? And could we possibly link to it from our website? We are the former tourist board for SE England and now act as tourism advisers to the region.

    Thanks again for an inspiring post!
    Kind regards
    Carol

    • sbranch says:

      That would be great … I’m writing a book about our trip right now, including our visit to Chawton — and to Beatrix Potter’s house, just to name two. We had a WONDERFUL time!! What an amazing country you live in! xoxo

  67. Susan in Maryland says:

    a lovely post, Susan. I’m rereading it in preparation for visiting Chawton in a few weeks. The weather forecast is on the rainy side (showers every day :( ) but maybe it’ll clear off by the time we get there. I can’t wait to get my copy of A.F.R. I’ll have some recent England memories, too! Take care, Susan

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