BUT I BLAME THE WEATHER

Rosamund: What do you think makes the English the way we are?

Violet: Opinions differ. Some say our history, but I blame the weather.

MUSICA

good morning

tea timeA two hour Downty means you will need a cup of tea to go with this recap of the very last episode . . . and wasn’t it wonderful!?  Run, go get your tea, I’ll wait!Spring songI had a scientific revelation during Downty last night.  I realized just how important good news is to the human psyche. ♥  Each time something wonderful happened I had a physical reaction, I could almost feel my endorphins popping, my heart warming. We need to include more of this in our daily diet.  I think we would live longer with big helpings of good news in our lives.sweetnessTwo hours of it. Thank you Julian. I could barely see through the camera because of the laughing or the tears.

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Did you love the chemistry between these two? What a difference now that they are an old, committed, married couple. Oh dear, I already have a lump in my throat and this is only the first photo! But they were so sweet!IMG_6351Him wanting to find something better to do than race car driving, and her, SO supportive and sweet.IMG_6347And jokey and mooshey and cute!IMG_6353

The other thing, there must have been a hundred kisses in last night’s episode, did you notice? Everyone was kissing everyone!IMG_6222I loved her outfit here, in the beginning when he was so worried about his future.IMG_6227

And this gorgeous cocktail party on the lawn, must be cocktails before dinner because look what they are wearing. I don’t think they would do black tie for a barbecue. For that matter,  they probably wouldn’t do a barbecue.IMG_6229Where will we go for this kind of elegance in the future without Downton? Could someone please tell me? IMG_6251

I loved how Henry had become one of the family.  Mary let him just drive off with her previously reviled sister, alone across the English Countryside, under the wild sky, past the sun-splashed lamb-filled meadow to take her for her rendezvous with her lovely Aunt Rosamund for din-din at the Ritz.

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In London. And despite the perched hat, how kind he was to her. Like a brother. For a moment I thought perhaps Julian would make something shocking happen between these two.  But then I thought, maybe if it was Season Two, but never here, never.

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She shares with her new brother that pretty much for sure Marigold’s father, Michael Gregson, is NOT coming back. Which surprised me, because I had pretty much figured out he WAS. But no, Spinster Edith will be putting Marigold in school in London and live out her life alone forever. While Henry was fretting all the time, what would he do in the future. Note: Edith’s dress sort of goes interestingly with the drapes, circularly speaking.

IMG_6490But there was never anything to worry about, because the three best friends, young and alive in 1925, could do anything.

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Making a life for themselves in a time that really, for people like them, there were no lives except taking care of huge houses. So they are the mother of invention. I would definitely drive to York to buy a car from them. Just for the conversation alone!

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Henry was worried Mary might not like it, it might be beneath her.

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But ARE YOU KIDDING? Heck no, she LOVES it, loves him, loves everything! And P.S. for a little frosting on the cake, she whispers to him that she is going to have a baby!!!

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Could she have been any better last night? She was personally responsible for several of my endorphin pops . . . she’s visiting her “spiky” Granny when she gets an idea! Very mysterious.

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And then later, when Edith shows up at the Ritz with her Aunt Rosamund . . .

IMG_6288wearing a lovely outfit with sexy arm bracelet, delicate beads, interesting filmy dress piece around her neck, which is a good thing because . . .

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She discovers there’s been a set-up and that instead of her Aunt, she will be dining with Bertie, richest man in the world who recently dumped her and who has the mother we fear.

IMG_6294He declares his undying love for her and says he canNOT live without her and wants her to marry him immediately, with Marigold and all, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. With only a slight hesitation in the name of self-respect, she goes for it, and moments later . . .

IMG_6300Robert is telling Cora that they are going to Brancaster Castle to meet Bertie’s scary mother and have a party to announce the engagement. And everyone is thrilled!

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And off we go . . . because wherever they go, we go!

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And that dinner at the Ritz was all Lady Mary’s idea. Total redemption. And there’s that new puppy.

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And there’s Edith’s new home. (Brancastor aka Alnwick Castle)

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Despite the fact that the scary mother has already said that she wants her son to rebuild Brancaster as a Moral Center (frightening thing) to which Robert rolls his eyes and says the immortal word we all love to hear, “Golly.” Edith makes short work of that by telling the mother the truth about Marigold. Which the mother is not happy about and calls Edith Used Goods. Gasp.

IMG_6383But Bertie is having none of it, and will walk over his mother’s body to get to Edith. So far so good. We are proud of Bertie’s backbone.

IMG_6402But we don’t know what might happen at the announcement dinner, to which the entire world had evidently been invited, because the mother seems bound to ruin things.  (Who are these people? I always wonder if Julian’s niece is there, all the sisters and brothers of the actors, because it does look like a nice party and it would be good to get some double duty out of it).

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And for instance, who are those two women? I don’t recognize them. I think maybe Julian’s entire family, and the family of his friends wanted to make history by being on the last episode of Downton Abbey.

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Anyway, Robert comes to the rescue of Bertie and Edith with a whispered last minute threat to his mother, “If you want to keep your son, you better do what he wants.”

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And so she bites the bullet and announces the marriage of her son to Lady Edith who then becomes the future Marchioness of Hexham.

IMG_6412It’s a done deal!!!!!  Perfection. Based on honesty, which the scary mother truly comes to respect Edith for. Well-done Edith!!!

IMG_6409And mummy is thrilled just like the rest of us.  Love the crown.

IMG_6420And more kissing occurs. And Marigold will grow up in Brancaster not in London. Hopefully Edith gets to keep her magazine, but it didn’t come up.

IMG_6323Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Carson is spilling wine and feeling bad  because he’s developed shaky hands and everyone is worried.

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See? Worried.

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And if they’re worried

IMG_6331We’re worried

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Meanwhile the evil butler Barrow, turned child-adoring wonderful man is leaving Downton for a new position. Having been more or less shoved out the door for this entire season by Carson.

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Miss Baxter kisses him goodbye and he tells her, “You believed in me before I believed in myself.”  That’s the truth! And off he goes to his new job . . .

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As one of only three servants in this dead-quiet house of mirthlessness that really ought to be instantly turned into an antique store so I can go shop there immediately.

IMG_6401First thing I would buy is A. all the small lamps, B. the horse boxes, and C. the candle snuffer.  Poor Barrow. His life has just narrowed down to nothing. Talk about lonely.

And while he’s trying to adapt. . .

IMG_6304Isobel is telling Violet (in a room filled with delicate softly-worn furniture) that Lord Merton (Dickie) has a dread disease and that she is now crying all the time and wishes she had married him, but his hideous daughter-in-law Amelia, slams the door in her face, and she and his rotten son Larry seemed to have kidnapped him and won’t let her see him.

IMG_6389Violet is having none of that. Lightening flashes in her eyes. Because, “It’s good to be in love whatever age.”

IMG_6394And advises her shocked best girlfriend, let’s do what my father always said, “If reason fails, try force!”

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So off they go, right making might, to break down the door to rescue Dickie, which they literally almost have to do because that woman is so nasty . . .

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And Isobel tells him, get your things, you are moving in with me. And Dickie gives these creatures the house and sets himself free . . . even though he is still dying from pernicious anemia, at least, we think, his last moments will be happy.

IMG_6544So Lord Merton and Isobel get married because they are in love and need each other. But still more joy to come, because they are told by the doctor he doesn’t have pernicious anemia after all, only plain sensible handleable anemia! The regular kind!!!  Hooray! And he was smart enough to marry a nurse!

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And then there is Anna, big with child that she is clearly carrying a little low, and feeling a bit achy.

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And who is there to once more save the day?

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Mary of course.  “Don’t be ridiculous,” she says, “I’ll give you one of my nightgowns, get into my bed.”  Carson’s reply when he hears Anna is having her baby in Lady Mary’s bedroom? “Surely not.”  He was already upset by having a pregnant ladies maid in the first place, but this, in his estimation, took the cake. Poor Carson. Nothing is going right.

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But darling Henry is all aflutter when he runs to tell Bates!

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And Anna and Bates have a son! Not twins, like I hoped, which would have been over the top Julian-wise, I’m sure, more American than English. I’m perfectly happy with this bouncing baby boy. More endorphins of joy.

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And there they are, celebrators in chief, with the champagne for the new mummy and daddy. Aren’t they sweet?

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More kissing. And their baby will be brought up in the nursery with Mary and Henry’s baby.  Could anything be better????

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And all the while, women are growing in power.  Denker puts on nail polish. “Nude.” So racy.  Still a holy terror, this woman.

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Mary gets a hair dryer.  Hey! I didn’t have a hair dryer like that until the 70s or something! We had a box, with a big plastic hood!  But here it is in 1925 in England!

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Daisy has a love interest we’ve all hoped for for a long time, Andy. He likes her.

IMG_6312Despite her disapproval . . .

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. . . and great advice from Mrs. Patmore. Daisy isn’t in to Andy at first, because, as Groucho Marx (and Mrs. Patmore) said, “She won’t belong to a club that would have her as a member.”

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Until one day, she sees this, and we see the endorphins visibly racing across her face. Women love men who can fix things. It’s a common truth.

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She’s “never changed her hairstyle in her whole life” but now, because of Andy, she wants to look cute at Edith’s wedding, so she borrows the hair dryer and gets the scissors and decides to take matters into her own hands.

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But when we see her next we realize there’s been a problem . . .

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It didn’t work out quite the way she hoped.

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And Andy, not having the brains he was born with, laughs.

IMG_6531And, Anna, hairdresser to the star, takes over and fixes everything. Because there can never be too much kindness in the last episode of Downton Abbey.  IMG_6653And Andy loves it and loves her, and they go to live happily ever after on Mr. Mason’s pig farm, along with of course, Mrs. Patmore, because Mr. Mason makes it clear he wants her there. Sigh. Joy. Exploding Endorphins.

IMG_6483All the while Robert is irritated because his wife Cora has an interest that isn’t about him. He complains that she spends too much time at the “wretched” hospital.

IMG_6487But then the adorable Rose returns, a new mother herself, and wiser than ever before . . . and in the nick of time . . .

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Because after her welcome-home dinner where Mary looks incredible in red

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And Rose shines in pink . . .

IMG_6466And Edith sparkles in silver . . .IMG_6501Rose takes Robert to watch his wife in action at a meeting for the hospital.

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And he is impressed to see her

IMG_6502being so important to so many others, and instead of being jealous anymore,

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Robert realizes that not only is Cora good, kind, and beautiful with excellent taste in hats, beads, nightgowns, and glassware . . .

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That she is a whole person with needs of her own and he is proud, PROUD of her, and loves her very much. Tears.

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And Granny forgives Cora for taking her job . . .

IMG_6645And there is still another kiss. I mean could it get any better?

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Well, yes, it is lovely when Edith thanks Mary for giving her her life back and Mary says they are blood and they have to try harder to be nicer to each other in the future. OH MY. Did you ever imagine this day would come. . . .?

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 And Mary continues her streak of kindness, she won’t announce the baby until later (she whispers in the church) because she doesn’t want to steal the moment from Edith. The ultimate sacrifice has been made. It is official!

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It just didn’t end. Edith was radiant in her wedding gown, the woodwork was gorgeous, and the flowers were wonderful.

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Lots of guests to witness her aura of light, and her dad is so proud of her.

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And she marries for love while her mother looks on sobbing from inside, like me.

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She was a beautiful bride . . . his ascot is lovely. Her headband is tickety boo, too.

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After Edith changes her clothes to go on her honeymoon, she says goodbye to her new mother-in-law . . .

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. . . who turns out to be a doll and they kiss of course.

IMG_6619And Edith’s editor, Laura catches the bouquet, which is perfect because Tom needs a wife and he already made it clear to Laura how much he likes strong women.

IMG_6584But at the reception that is also a New Year’s Eve party, complete with toasting and a beautiful Christmas tree, Carson has a terrible time with the shaking. Something clearly must be done.

IMG_6585And who happens to be there to help out?  Our boy. The sad one who misses all his friends at Downton terribly but is resigned to his sad new life.

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And the deal is made that Carson will retire, and Barrow will take over as Butler, but Carson will be in their lives forever and the two most important men at Downton Abbey shake hands and express deep gratitude to each other. This is killer.

AND THEN, just when you think you can’t take it anymore

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   Mrs. Hughes begins to sing Auld Lang Syne and it echoes all over the house

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And joyous Barrow pours wine for Mr. Moseley who now has his own cottage and a permanent teaching job, and I would have to say, the future MRS. Baxter Moseley . . . if he ever has the nerve to ask her.

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And the singing echoes out into the snow, and across the land, “should auld acquaintance be forgot . . .”

musicAnd with that, every T is crossed, every i is dotted . . .

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And just like Gone with the Wind, Downton Abbey is a story with history and characters that we will never forget. Well, done Julian Fellowes and everyone who put this wonderful thing together! We enjoyed every fragment of it!
Spring songAnd now, what can I do to take your mind off the pain? How about some new  FREE STUFF? Springtime computer wallpaper, stationery, a Mother’s Day crown, things you can print out for you and your friends? Just click there, and it’s yours! From me to you with love.DoctorOrderedIMG_6112

And remember these little darlings? The dancing cupcake toppers?

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The easiest do-it-yourself project in the world?

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We have them, in time for Easter, which comes early this year, on March 27th!
IMG_7058And don’t forget these wonderful Springtime Recipe Cards (you could also use them as postcards or even cocktail invitations for your next lawn party, or Easter egg hunt).

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And the recipe cards would be a great gift along with our Lamb Cake Pan, perfect for Easter, Mother’s Day, Earth Day, or a new baby. See the tricky way we figured out how to keep the head on the cake? Here’s the How-To along with the RECIPE for the most delicious cake . . .

Spring songAnd here’s what is cheering me up . . .

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These are what’s called “the signatures” for the new book. Like little pamphlets of 16 pages each, this is the way it looks before the book is bound.

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But they are the real thing . . . Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams, in full color on the same paper that will be in the actual book . . . SO exciting . . . they did a wonderful job, all printed in the USA!

Martha's Vineyard, Isle of DreamsHere’s the way they look if I start spreading them out . . . They will ship from the printer in about 3 weeks, and you will have yours as soon as we receive them.  Kellee and Sheri are gearing up at the Studio, getting lots of extra help so you won’t wait any time at all. And all of the information is up on GoodReads.dancing chicken And here is one last thing to cheer your day. It’s a video one of our Girlfriends sent me, a darling interview with Maggie Smith I know you will love . . .

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Bye for now Girlfriends. Don’t forget, a new WILLARD is coming April 19th, be sure you’re signed up because this one will be a doozy including a wonderful Giveaway I’ve been planning since last fall! By then if everything goes right, you should all have your books!

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614 Responses to BUT I BLAME THE WEATHER

  1. Pamela says:

    Your recaps are even better than the show! Julian needs to come here and read your blogs. I even cried at your update on it.
    There was something about Downton. . . so very special.
    Auld Lang Syne brings tears to my eyes every New Year, but Mrs. Hughes voice and the scenes as they joined in singing with her – pure waterworks.
    The last shot of the castle in snow was MAGICAL as all get out. A very satisfying end. . . .for now.
    Spring cupcakes are the perfect thing to put our minds on as we come back to earth.
    Thank you for your glorious post!

  2. Colette says:

    We are in London until the end of the month so I did not get to see the grand finale on Sunday night but last night we watched it on PBS.com which is available on line the day after the broadcast. Isn’t the Internet wonderful? There was a comment on the morning show here yesterday morning about a tweet that was posted when the show was getting to the end here last year that said: “Edith better be happy by the time Christmas comes along or Julian Fellowes should sleep with an eye open.” Yes, he let us off easy as the critics said. And why not give us a happy ending? There is a rumor of a movie going on around here. How I will miss them all.

    • sbranch says:

      Wouldn’t a movie be fun? IF it was written by Julian. None of this “like” Downton Abbey stuff. Say hello to London for us!

  3. Stephanie C. says:

    Oh Susan, tears were flowing at my house Sunday night as I watched the beloved last Downton …but for an incurable romantic (or Fairy Tale Girl) like me, it could not have been more perfect!!! And now, I want to start over and watch from the very beginning because I wasn’t introduced to DA until season 3!

    I am thrilled to hear the book is almost ready!!! My wonderful mother knows how very much I adore you and always buys my ‘Susan Branch’ books for me.

    I am making your bunny face cake for Easter this year. Last time I made it my daughter was 10 and now I have a 19 month old granddaughter who will love it too. She loves the pictures of Jack and Girl Kitty on the wall calendar; she calls them, “meow meow” and points to the calendar to see them every time she comes to visit.

    Love you Susan and as always, thank you for sharing your life!

    • sbranch says:

      Time goes so quickly, but we’re so lucky to get to share with the generations . . . it’s those wonderful traditions that glue our families together. xoxo Thank you Stephanie!

  4. Denise from Spring Island says:

    We stream all our programs, so Monday was our Downton Abbey night. Here it is Tuesday morning and I’m crying all over again just reading your wonderful recap. As I watched the last episode, the thought that occured to me was how much joy these wonderful actors and everyone involved with Downton brought us. For a too brief hour each week we were transported to a gentler more civilized time that I could only dream will one day return. I suppose each of us can recreate that special kindness towards each other in our own space in this world – it would be wonderful if it was contagious. With my heartfelt thanks to you Susan for your contribution to that dream of a gentler time.

    • sbranch says:

      Where there were manners! Yes, we can do our part, like my dad has always said, Be an elf. Leave bits of joy wherever you go . . . and never look for a return on it. xoxo Denise, thank you!

      • Rhonda D. says:

        I hope your dad is keeping well. I love his comment. As they say, “the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.” You have ‘good trees.’ So sad to have to say good-bye to Downton Abbey. But now we’ll have your great re-cap of the final episode to look back on. I’ve been listening to a lovely Scottish tune sung by John McDermott called Wild Mountain Thyme. It makes me think about “our” upcoming trip to Scotland. This is the chorus. Have a listen if you get a chance…very nice.
        And we’ll all go together
        To pull wild mountain thyme
        All around the bloomin’ heather
        Will ye go lassie go?
        Congratulations on “the signatures.” It’s getting exciting. Take care of you. xo

        • sbranch says:

          Beautiful song Rhonda!

          • Rhonda D. says:

            It reminded me so much of you. A very beautiful song indeed. It could easily be our theme song for the trip. I know it will be playing in my heart as you head out to the UK.

  5. Yvonne says:

    Dear Susan

    Thank you so much for the Downty recap; I always love reading them; your enthusiasm for all things Downty is infectious.

    I confess my favourite part from the last episode was a scene just a few seconds long and very subtly done, when, during the leave taking after the wedding, at the bottom right corner of the screen, you can just see Bertie’s mother bending down and chatting to little Marigold..perfect!

    I also felt a great sense of satisfaction in seeing poor downtrodden, unlucky in love Edith ending up a Marchioness, whilst snobby, aloof and superior Mary ends up being married to…..a second hand car salesman, again…perfect! The fact that she is perfectly happy being married to a second hand car salesman makes it even more so.

    If you and Joe are suffering from Downty withdrawal, you might try the following excellent TV dramas to take the edge off:

    Foyle’s War
    Granchester
    North & South ( not the American Civil War series but an adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel, which has an excellent performance by Brendan Coyle ( Mr Bates)
    The Pallisers (BBC 1974)
    Endevour
    Mr Selfridge ( gorgeous clothes )
    Monarch of The Glen Series 1-7 (which has Jullian Fellows showing off his acting chops as the hapless Killwillie. A charming quirky series set in the breathtakingly beautiful Scottish Highlands )
    The Doctor Blake Mysteries ( an excellent Australian series )
    The Bletchley Circle
    You Rang M’Lord Series 1-4 (a very funny spoof of Upstairs Downstairs and well worth watching)
    Our Zoo ( a true story of how Chester Zoo came into being )

    I think that’s enough to get you both started on the rehab trail!

    All the best to you, Joe and the Kitties

    Yvonne

    • sbranch says:

      Great List!

      • Lynda Van Wyk says:

        Have you watched Monarch of the Glen? Julian Fellows plays Killwillie, in Scotland, and Susan Hampshire is mistress of Glenbogle, (remember her, she was the witch Laurie in Thomasina) thank you for sharing your thoughts and art and recipes and everything ♡

        • sbranch says:

          I watched a little of it, way back a long time ago. Probably not enough! Have you seen the movie The Englishman Who Went up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain?

          • Deb W says:

            The scenery was always the ‘star of the show’ when it came to Monarch of the Glen. The plotlines became more and more outlandish, and departing cast members meant the ending cast was almost completely different than the beginning one! However, if you ever get the chance (Netflix or whatever) do watch the episode where the Laird and Kilwillie (Julian Fellowes) try to hide a barrel of 30-year old Scotch to keep it from being sold off. A great example of Fellowes’ comedic talents – and I saw an interview once where he said it was his favorite! Even more than woo-ing the still beautiful Susan Hampshire!

          • sbranch says:

            I only saw a couple of episodes and I think they must have been part of the outlandish ones because it didn’t hit me like I wanted to see more. This was quite a while ago, maybe I’ve grown up since then!

    • Charissa says:

      yvonne, thanks for the great suggestions. A true Girlfriend;)

  6. Cynthia McDonald says:

    I loved your recap of the Downton finale. The episode tied up every loose end so perfectly! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on your blog. It’s always so uplifting and fun.

  7. Susan Roubal says:

    What a perfect evening- good Earl Grey tea and Downton Abbey’s wrap-up. What could be better? Only Susan’s synopsis and illustration of our favorite moments. I think a fun book is forthcoming would be one with all of the Dowager’s zingers! Maybe like a kind of Downton Willard??? Happy Spring!

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, love that idea! I did include one Downton quote in my new blotter calendar (January!).

  8. Renee says:

    I watched Sunday night and was transported in time. It was wonderful! I knew I could read your recap on Monday which I was so looking forward to. You didn’t disappoint! P.S. I just ordered your new book, Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams. I already have the other two in the series and truly enjoyed them.

  9. Bonnie Porro says:

    This was probably the best series finale I can ever remember. Everything was wrapped up in such a positive way. Happiness abounds! What I am going to miss in addition to Downton itsself are the Monday recaps on this blog after the Sunday evening Downton episodes. You have spoiled us with this fun and interesting look back at each of these final episodes and I am sure I am not the only one to feel this way. Sunday evening Downton, Monday, Susan’s blog and then only 5 days until the next Downton. How we will miss them.

  10. I sure will miss your wonderful Monday-morning-recaps of our weekly trips back in time, Susan. My sentiments, and many of us girls’ sentiments, echoed the ones that you described in your posts, week by week.
    Thank you so much for taking your time to do that, Susan. I know you thoroughly enjoyed sharing with us, but not as much as we loved having you as the instigator of this wonderful community of friends, sharing something we love, with someone we love so much. God bless your generous heart, Susan.

    Much love, and thoughts of springtime,
    Barbzie

  11. Clare says:

    Thank you, Susan, again, for a perfect wrap-up on our beloved show. But I realized as I was reading your witty and spot-on summary, that’s it’s not just Downton I’ll truly truly miss – It’s our Day-After gatherings that you put together for us all. How I hate to have it all end. All I can say again is Thank You for being you!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you back Clare, we’ll just have to go back to real life until Julian does something new for us!

  12. Lynn Marie says:

    Loved every moment of the season finale and every word of your recap. And now on to looking forward to a new book coming in the mail! For anyone interested, here is a link to the interview with Julian Fellowes where he talks about the possibility of a movie.
    nytimes.com/2016/03/07/arts/television/downton-abbey-finale-julian-fellowes-interview.html?_r=1

  13. Jenny Page says:

    I loved the scene change between Barrow’s serving in the miserable, lonely dining room at his new job, and then shift to the elaborate, extravagant party at Edith’s new castle. Powerful filming, that.

  14. Marie Knight (Long Beach, California) says:

    The series finale was P E R F E C T I O N ! ! ! I too, laughed and cried through the whole two hours. You did such a splendid job summarizing this final episode, it was like watching all over it again. And, I can’t wait to get my hands on “Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams”. It’s so much fun to have things to look forward to. Life is crazy good! ♥

  15. Debbie MacKenzie on Cape Cod says:

    I’m so glad to have your recaps to revisit for a dose of the elegance Downton gave us. The shot of the house at the end is magical and will live in my heart always. Funny to feel so nostalgic about a TV show, one can’t say that very often these days. So happy we have you in our lives to brighten our days, give us warm and cosy feelings and make our endorphins pop. Nostalgia Forever I say!

  16. Carol from CT says:

    Susan I’m not sure if it’s you or Julian Fellows who has the greater sense of humor in their writing. You always turn everyone’s thoughts about the episode into words! What funniness. You’ve become ‘Seussical’! The skilled writer summarizing the other skilled writer. Such a treat for your readers.
    The ending of Downty will most likely start a movement to purchase the series on DVD. I am hoping that those who are able to will turn to PBS for that purchase. By making a donation (or monthly payments) the series can be acquired as a premium . It’s a way of giving back a bit. I am so grateful for public television’s support of this series and for making sure it was broadcast in the USA. pbs.org “Tickety boo, too”!
    Love, Carol … tra la

    • sbranch says:

      That’s how I got my boxed set, from PBS, it was free with a donation. Excellent advice Carol!

  17. Carol from CT says:

    Btw … While having our candlelight-only ‘Downton Dinner’ last night, we played in the background the CD of the original series music borrowed for free from my local public library. What a delight!
    amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_2_7?url=search-alias%3Dpopular&field-keywords=downton+abbey+cd&sprefix=Downton%2Caps%2C167
    … triple tra la …

  18. Rose Dwight says:

    We all agree your recaps are terrific. It helped me land a bit softer after the Sunday Show. I knew I would be able to count on you to let Downton last a bit longer. You are so fine.

  19. Oooh, so lovely. Every word. I’m going to read this post again, slowly and savor every word and photo. I’ll miss Downton Abbey and your recaps and comments.

  20. Judy C in NC says:

    Once again girlfriend you have given the most unique recap -I truly do look forward to them. I was amazed at how often they changed scenes – I guess, after all, they had a lot of kissing to take care of and a lot of destinies to determine and certainly did not want to linger. Did you happen to see the hour special before hand where they had all the cast on stage and were presented an award? When you put them all together – they are truly a wonderful and mighty force. Now for the Downton withdrawals. Is there a cure? Judy c

  21. I enjoyed sharing the Downton journey with you as you shared your morning recaps with us. It was always fun to see what you noticed and pointed out, to see if we grimaced and laughed and nodded in the ‘right’ places. Yes, your morning after chats were as entertaining and delightful as the episodes themselves. I shall miss both indeed.

    And, now to catch glimpses of your book in those early stages of printing. Be still my heart — I can almost smell the ink. I’m so glad you are pleased with how it’s turning out. And soon we can begin the postbox vigilante as we wait for our books to arrive. Yum!

    Now here’s wishing you a beautiful day, Susan!
    Brenda
    xox

  22. Merci says:

    Oh, Susan!
    As always, you are totally awesome! I so enjoyed all your recaps of Downton! Now what to do, I believe write another book – ok, in a year or two!!!! I know the Queen Mary and England awaits, perhaps a book?! What a gifted writer you are. I try my hand for my own personal reasons and a few poems, but never like you, you’re the best! Thank you, thank you, for bringing me such joy, laughter and inspiration! Just gotta luv ya! Thank you!

  23. Connie T. says:

    Thanks, as always, Susan, for your lovely recap of Downton. I only wish three things: 1) That Denker would be fired, 2) That we knew the name of Anna & Bates’ baby, and 3) That we knew the sex of Mary’s and Henry’s baby. Otherwise, all was wrapped up nice and neat as you said. I laughed out loud at so many of the witty lines! We will all definitely miss Downton. I will watch Call the Midwife when it comes on again and Mr. Selfridge. Thanks for the free stuff! I already have the singing birdie set up as my desktop background. Excited to get my Isle of Dreams book! Have a lovely day!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Connie! Love your questions! Maybe someday we’ll get lucky and find out!!!

  24. Jane Franks says:

    Hi Susan: I’m late getting to post my thoughts. I’ve been in considerable pain with a strained or torn muscle in my back and I’m currently in PT! My most un-favorite thing, but necessary! Ugh! Anyway, on to something more pleasant:

    Early Monday morning before you even posted your blog I wrote in my journal, and think we are pretty much on the same page about Downton! Here is what I wrote: “Downton ended! Sob! Julian let us down gently. It was a true fairy tale ending! Mary and Henry are going to have a baby! Edith did marry Bertie and will live happily ever after in Brancaster Castle. Anna and Bates have a baby boy! In Mary’s bedroom!! (much to Carson’s chagrin!). Thomas is the new butler! How wonderful! Carson is again and retiring and has dear Mrs. Hughes-Carson to look after him. Isobel took the bull by the horns and got Dickie away from his wicked children and they discovered he does not have pernicious anemia — just regular anemia and won’t die — “not from that, anyway!” says Dr. Clarkson! Tom looks like he might marry Edith’s editor who no doubt will take over the publication in Edith’s absence. Tom and Henry have become partners in a car dealership! Violet’s conniving lady’s maid was outdone by Spratt’s humorous “second career” as a journalist which laid Violet in the aisles and won her admiration, not her scorn! Daisy and the footman will get together alone with Mrs. Patmore and Mr. Mason and all four will live happily every after on the farm! Robert, through Rose’s wise counsel and resourcefulness has discovered first hand by observance that Cora is a real asset to the village and the hospital, and they will walk hand in hand into the future enjoying their children and grandchildren! And so life will roll on for the wonderful people of Downton Abbey!

    “I LOVE Julian Fellowes!! He has proved to the world that happily ever after stories do resonate . . . are popular still . . . the human spirit does down deep still long for goodness . . . so important to my own writing in a world where so much awful gross drama and violence seems to be the order of the day. What an encouragement to go forward to continue to write my stories — good stories . . . Stories of hope — all is well that ends well! Thank you Julian Fellowes!”

    I will so enjoy re-watching these episodes. so much to mull over and learn. Truly a gift.

    Thanks for sharing, Susan, and so exciting to see the progress on the book!! Looking forward to it! I’ll see you in KC — already have reserved my ticket!! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Jane, I hope your back is feeling better. I’m so sorry you’re having to go through it . . . get well soon! You covered it in your diary! Perfect 🙂

    • Charissa says:

      So sorry about your back. Pain affects so much sending smiles your way and hoping you get can get better soon. xoxo

      • Jane Franks says:

        Thank you, Charissa. That’s very kind! And thank you, Susan, too! Thankfully I am improving, they tell me!! I’ll be glad when I can sleep longer at a stretch, but it could be a lot worse, so I’m not complaining!! I’ll behave and do my exercises!! Good wishes from good friends is the best medicine of all!! xoxo

  25. Susie (Rocky Point, NY) says:

    Perfect, oh so perfect. Finally someone heard me and did it my way. (Smile). The last show was over the top wonderful and yes, so happy. Even Carson’s health issue was handled lovingly. It was a three tissue night for me. It was so action packed and everything tied up in a bow. Viola! Brava! At Edith’s wedding when the priest said “if anyone has anything to say….speak now…” I could not breathe! Bertie’s Mom is a force to be reckoned with but I have to hand it to Edith, she is also a force to be reckoned with. Her Marigold is her cherished child and no one will set her aside. I was so proud of her and Bertie for speaking up. Whew! I loved how Edith was set up to meet Bertie at the Ritz. I am going to watch this show over and over and over again as I cannot get my fill. Your recap was so good! My happy meter went off the scales. It was indeed the way to end this for everyone. Especially Mr. Barrows. Good job! Good job indeed! Tea anyone?

  26. Donna Wheeler says:

    Your own reviews of Downton should be in print to store with any CDs people may own of the series. Pure delight, and so much in line with all of us who are DA fans. See what you can do to have the series replayed on PBS in a few years (probably during a fund raising week). Thank you for all the fun and good news you send us!!!

  27. Valerie says:

    Loved your recap! I sit here at my office desk all teary again after reading it and looking at the photos. One of my favorite parts of your recap was reading something I never thought you would write but I always felt…”darling Henry.” Yay, he finally won you over too 🙂 We couldn’t have asked for a better ending to our beloved Downty. I hope that years from now Julian films a Downton movie to catch us op on everyone’s lives!

    • sbranch says:

      Totally, he was just plain wonderful. And when he came down all excited wiggling his hands about the baby, that sealed the deal. Loved how the two of them began that sort of inside marriage talk. So much chemistry!

  28. Susan P. says:

    Susan,
    I have read most of the other comments and I have been given this great feeling and maybe a way to make our World Better……Believe me this has been said many, many, many times…..But if WE ALL show more kindness…. understanding….respect… and be responsible for our mistakes….and look where we can help others…LOVE will come naturally ….and of course allot of kisses will follow!!! Downton was wonderful….. it showed how easy it is to have peace and love in your life and how it can spread. I will now step off my soap box.
    So looking forward to the new book..I have gone back and read the last two books again….and really have examined all the art work you have done. Brings allot of joy into my life and I share it… and YOU with all my friends. They have been included on the mailing list for Willard..and over the years gifts from your store. So once again thank you for all the “KINDNESS” and “LOVE” you share with so many…so naturally comes the XOXOXO Love, Susan P.

  29. Julie says:

    So lovely! I had to wait a day again, as I dvr the show and have an almost full dvr right now so MUST watch several hours a day to make room for new recordings. Reminds me of when I used to have three (yes, that’s right, three) VCR’s recording all the time, and keeping track of all the tapes and what was on which, and being sure not to run out of tape. As you can see, I love tv, hahahahaha. With On Demand, I don’t have to be quite so manic, but there are some things that I want to KEEP… this episode is certainly one of them.

    The clothes just kept getting better and better, didn’t they? I was so pleased to see the sisters finally understand each other a bit and SO relieved that Edith got her happy ending. Was there ever a more transcendent bride? I love how you are able to capture those images from your television set.

    The only other show I love like this for the clothes is the Miss Fisher mysteries from Australia – if you haven’t seen them, you should – Netflix streams them. Gorgeous lady and gorgeous clothes! Makes me want to go back to the 1920’s and be an early adopter of Art Deco design! (One of the things I loved about the Poirot series was their dedication to Art Deco.)

    So excited for you now to be getting on with the book tour and then another dream trip across the pond… We’ll all be holding our breath here until the book comes out.

  30. Cindy Tuning says:

    When Barrow was asked to stay on at Downton, I had such an inexplicable feeling of relief and the tears came. So odd isn’t it that those characters are so real to us that’s it’s really just magical! In the scene at the dining room table with the “announcement guests”,I noticed one of the producers sitting a few people away from Edith. She was speaking at the BAFTA ceremony that aired just previous to the episode and I’m pretty sure that was her. Your recap was just as perfect as the final. If it had to end, at least it ended happy. I went back to watch season 1 from the beginning but it was almost too sad a feeling. Kind of like going back to your first apartment or the house you raised your children in after they are grown and gone.

  31. Sally says:

    That’s it?
    How sad! The interview was hilarious, but too short! Maggie Smithnis a hoot!

  32. Penny Harrison from Oceanside, CA says:

    Did anyone else see the Parade Magazine article / interview with Julian Fellows in the Sunday paper? Not to take away from the greatness of the final episode of Downton, and your wonderful recap Susan – but in the interview Julian said he is already started work on his next series – for NBC – that will be “The Gilded Age” – about the period following the civil war when the “robber barons” in America made their fortunes on oil, the railroads, and shipping – “. . .there was a sense of America taking its place in the world. . .”
    Looking forward to more gorgeous clothes, spectacular mansions, and intrigue!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve heard this, but it was a while back . . .it thrills me to hear there has been a recent reference to it! Did he mention whether or not it was a definite?

      • Penny Harrison from Oceanside, CA says:

        he said it would be in the fall on NBC – there is no release date yet, but one web site said filming is due to begin at the end of 2016 – with release in 2017.

  33. Amy Warren says:

    Loved every letter of your recap as usual..I cried when Downton was over. This show started when my daughter Grace was a colicky baby. During her naptimes, blessed relief for me, I would escape to Downton Abbey and it got me through those long, long days. I feel like these characters are a part of my life! And when the song ended the show, I just couldn’t help it, I burst into tears. My 5 year old son, home sick on Monday (I always watch it the next day), came over to comfort me,”Why don’t you call Daddy, he’ll make you feel better!”

  34. Carolyn says:

    Bravo for an excellent Downton recap and BRAVO for your book! Enjoy celebrating, with spring hovering on the doorstep! Congratulations!

  35. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    Golly! Julian gifted us with the happiest of happy endings, everyone in a good place, a new baby, the promise of another, and a gorgeous wedding! It doesn’t get any better than that. The gowns! I have to say it again – golly! Now we can look forward to your new book, and springtime!

  36. Carol from PA says:

    I love how you notice the tiniest of details! Example: Edith’s dress matching the curtains! Your eye for detail is a talent indeed and so grateful for it. Certainly makes it more fun when I watch a show over and over as I can focus on “what Susan saw that I didn’t” the first time…and second and third time! Yes, Sunday’s early in the year will miss the magic of Downton. So nice to know that you are going no where and when you do you’ll take us along! I think I will reread “Fairy Tale Girl” with the anticipation of what is to arrive in my mailbox very soon! My heart can barely contain the excitement!

  37. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Golly, thanks so much for the recap, it’s wonderful!!! I’ll have to watch the episode later! It was a busy Sacramento Camellia Show weekend plus bronchitis, & I was all settled in my chair & woke up for the wedding, doze, baby birth, doze, &…..oh dang, I couldn’t believe I dozed with all the kissing, happiness, and end tying!!!!! And, now excitement galore with those new book pages, I can hardly, barely wait! XOXOXOXO!!!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Sometimes there is no choice but to doze! Yes, all day I am working on new pages for Heart of the Home and it’s so fun! It’s like going back in time and being there 30 years ago when I was working on this book! XOXOXO to you too!

  38. Patricia says:

    *SIGH!* This is always SO much fun! Except now I want to go back and start all over again from the beginning even though I know how it all ends, not that that’s a hardship or anything. 😉

    Thank you, Ms Susan! I do love your blog and your books and all. You’re a gem and a blessing, and a ray of sunshine when it’s most needed!

    • sbranch says:

      This time it would be all about the details for me, more clothes, more furniture! 🙂 More hedgerows! Thank you for being here Patricia!

  39. Ann in Albany says:

    Thank you for another wonderful recap! It’s a crazy 78 degrees in Albany, NY today, but I’m still dreaming of the New Year’s wedding. I actually got chills when the scene went from Bertie’s castle to Downton with the snow falling. All I could think was “another wedding!!!” Everything was just so beautiful. I recorded it so I could study the details. The Monday recaps and comments will be missed.

    • sbranch says:

      Every year at this time we’ve had to deal with withdrawals . . . and live with it for a year, but always before, sooner or later, it began again. This time is different! Me too, getting chills at all the wonderful snowy scenes, so romantic!

  40. Dianne Gersbeck says:

    Dear Susan, I LOVE everything that comes from your creative hands, heart and mind, but I especially loved your Downton Abbey recaps. Thank you taking the time to write such observant, witty and loving commentary while reviewing each episode. If you have any connections (and we all know how valuable those are!), please encourage someone to publish a book with all the gorgeous eye-candy fashions from the six seasons of DA. I would be forever in your debt!

    • sbranch says:

      I have to imagine that that must be in the works somewhere . . . such a no-brainer! 🙂

  41. The excitement continues, dear Susan! It’s so thrilling to see the signatures for Isle of Dreams. While waiting, it will be so nice to reread The Fairy Tale Girl. Just two months from today, we will celebrate all of your inspiration at our Afternoon Tea!! Can you believe it?
    Warm hugs!
    Dawn (in Illinois)
    ♡♡

  42. Deb W says:

    Have you read any of the Downton Abbey companion books by Jessica Fellowes? I have two. I just got ‘A Year at Downton Abbey.’ It’s supposed to be the companion to Season 5, but since the couldn’t give away any of the storylines, it isn’t, really. It’s good in explaining the year of an aristocratic family though. Like you, I’m all about the details, and I enjoyed pouring over all the still pictures to pick up on things that were missed in the fast-paced live-action, especially the clothes and room interiors.

  43. Gill Smith says:

    Dear Susan, well what a treat!!!
    Last night I went to a local gardening club, to hear a talk on Stourhead, by the head gardener Alan Power. Wow ….I cannot wait now, for our picnic in September. What a fabulous place!
    I can visualise us all sitting by the lake, cream teas and cucumber sandwiches…. What a great idea of yours Susan. Alan was very interested too, I said he would be more than welcome to join us….beautiful day here in North Devon today. Sunshine, blue sky, lambs jumping in the field, blue sea,…heaven
    Gill x

    • sbranch says:

      Heaven! Lucky you! Lambs jumping! Also, lucky you, Alan Power. What a treat. He certainly has his work cut out for him! Can’t wait to get there!

  44. Lovely post, Dear Susan!
    A class act was my thoughts on the way Downton ended. It was just wonderful!
    Loved your recaps!!
    I will miss Downton and our recap posts. We will just have to watch them again and talk about all that we missed the first time we watched. 😉
    Have a blessed weekend…Granny saying “What is a weekend?” remember that.
    xx oo
    Carla

  45. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Hope you and Joe are having a terrific Thursday! I got so excited when I saw those little pamphlets of 16 pages…….I had to pick up the telephone and order your new book!!!!!! (Sheri is so sweet and a pleasure to talk to!) So, I’ve promised myself to get most of my Spring cleaning done before the book arrives, that way, I can just sit and read and enjoy!!!! Our weather in Michigan has been so mild lately (50’s/60’s plus) that my Daffodils are up a good 4-5 inches! Have you seen many sproutings on your island? Spring is just around the corner!!! Take care of yourself Susan and thank you so much for all of the sunshine and cheer you bring to all of us Girlfriends!!!!!!!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      TONS of sproutings! Lovely weather out there. Sounds wonderful where you are too Carilyn! xoxox

  46. Tawni urrutia says:

    Dear Sweet Susan,
    I have all of your books. And I love all of your books. BUT, the Heart of the Home is just a whisker on the top of my love list. It was my first Susan Branch book, I was 20, newly married and it just became my immediate companion on how to construct my own Heart of the Home. The thought of the anniversary edition makes me over the moon excited! My current edition is full of smudges and smears, tiny tears, and even a few baby bottle ring stains, all love filled memories in and on so many pages. Blessings and thanks heaped upon you. You are such a gem!
    ❌⭕️❌⭕️,
    Tawni Urrutia, in Lodi, Ca

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve been kind of quiet lately because I’ve been immersed in Heart of the Home in a way that I haven’t been since I wrote it the first time. I’m adding recipes and quotes and all kinds of things ~ it’s bring back all sorts of memories and good feelings. It’s like my first born! We will have lots of fun with it . . . it’s going to be my Christmas present to everyone!

  47. marty from New York City says:

    Hello Susan:
    I recently saw the 1949 version of “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” with Bing Crosby and Rhonda Fleming among many other good actors.
    One of the songs in it is about reaching for the sky and not being discouraged even if there are obstacles.
    The Song is “If you Stub your Toe on the Moon” written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke.
    The main lyric sung by Bing and a children’s chorus is:
    “OH THERE’S NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF
    IF YOU STUB YOUR TOE ON THE MOON
    WHEN A DREAM’S AT THE TOP OF THE SKY
    WE-ELL YOU JUST HAVE TO JUMP PRETTY HIGH
    BUT DON’T GIVE UP TOO SOON
    IF YOU STUB YOUR TOE ON THE MOON”

    Obviously, you did just that-sometimes fairy tales take a while to come true or follow an unexpected path–doesn’t mean we should not aspire to the top.
    All the best to you, your family and all the friends who are inspired by you. Marty

  48. Cecelia says:

    Great summary of the show! I enjoyed it as much as the show itself! Made me smile and chuckle too. Downton will be soooooo missed. I guess time to start watching reruns. Unless another good series comes out on PBS. A period piece hopefully. I’m going to miss the outfits and décor.
    But there is….your book! something for me to look forward to! Cannot wait! I won’t gobble it up like I did the last two. I am going to force myself to take my time. Sitting on outside on the porch or deck, tea, scone and my doggie next to me! Can you start writing your next book? 🙂

  49. Nicoline says:

    Dear Susan,
    Here I am again….My husband and I are planning to come to the UK in September to meet you, and we are so excited and happy! We are already looking for places to stay etc, and pretty soon we’ll need to make reservations, get the okay at (my husbands) work etc.
    So please, if you don’t mind, can you let us know if the date you are having the picnic is certain? You mentioned sunday the 18th september, at Stourhead in Wiltshire, but I’d rather ask another time than make plans and find out we got the dates and the place wrong….
    Thank you!
    Nicoline

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, that’s definitely the date! I think noon sounds like a good time to start . . . lunch! Or anytime anyone wants to show up actually, it’s a big beautiful place! See you there!

  50. Roger says:

    Just letting you know that there are men that are fans of DA. And, Susan, you write a great column!! Love it!!

  51. Vicki says:

    I like the idea of using your recipe cards as postcards!

    Didn’t go back thru 500-plus comments (!) but I was delighted to see that you can preorder ISLE OF DREAMS on Amazon. (I’m thinking you or a reader here must have mentioned that, but my brain missed it. My copy is coming from your store. Can’t wait…) It’s a lovely write-up, too (Amazon).

    Someday, when I can ever catch up to all the Downton Abbey episodes, I will come back to your blog as a detailed reference.

    Where I am, south of Arroyo, it POURED at 1pm. Sideways rain; torrents! Just lov’in it (and so are my tulips)!

    Best regards to you as always. Looking forward to your upcoming travels as I know you’ll share with us on the blog. Thanks so much for that, BTW!

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t know how Amazon gets hold of the books, we haven’t quite figured it out yet, we’re guessing they get it when we apply for the ISBN number. I’m so glad there are torrents of rain in California. I would be so happy to see the lakes fill up again!

  52. Peggy Cooper says:

    Sigh. Sunday night just won’t be the same. But what a wonderful ending. I found it interesting that Carson had the shaky hands, and said it ran in the family, because I have that too. It’s called Essential Tremor. My dad had it, and my sister has it. When I first mentioned it to the doctor, she said she was glad I told here other family members had it or she would have been testing me for Parkinsons. It’s the same thing Katherine Hepburn had, but she had it in her head. I’ve recently started taking something for it because it was getting worse. It’s helped quite a bit, but it does make me a little tired.

    I haven’t written in the comments for a while because so far 2016 hasn’t been the best. It’s sucked actually. Sorry if I’ve written any of this before, but in January our wonderful 11 year old Springer Spaniel Abby was attacked by a pit bull while my husband was walking her. She’s okay now thank goodness, but we go to court on Monday to testify about the attack – a nasty business. In February our sweet second feral kitty Sadie Jane (we also have feral number 1 – Katniss Everdeen) died from an incurable virus. She was so sweet even the vet was crying when we had to put her down. Then my husband was told the aortic valve he had replaced with a pig valve 7 years ago needed to be replaced again – and then he had a stroke, though he’s recovered nicely from that. And now we just have a series of doctor visits over the next few months, and ultimately another surgery. He’s only 66. I’m sorry to be so negative here, but I’m telling you this because I want you to know how much your wonderful posts are to help make for brighter days. I hadn’t purchased your Fairytale book yet because I’ve been on a mission to get all holiday debts paid off before buying anything else, and now that I’ve done that, I finally placed my order and received it yesterday. We’ve had beautiful weather here in Southern Colorado, so I’ll be sitting on the porch enjoying it. If nothing else, all these negative things helps me to realize that life really is short, and we’re going to make the most of enjoying it while we can.

    Susan, thank you for all you do . Happy Spring!

    • sbranch says:

      You have had a very tough time Peggy, I’m so sorry to hear it. Sending prayers for little rays of happiness to pierce through all of this gray matter and cheer your sweet heart. Blessings xoxoxoxoxoxo

    • Charissa says:

      Peggy, Bless your heart. You really have had a time of it. You don’t need to apologize for telling what is going on in your life. That’s why we are here. Susan is the best Girlfriend a Girlfriend could have. I am so sorry to hear about Abby, but happy to hear she is recovered. Sorry about court too. It just brings everything up again, which is difficult. I am sorry for your loss of sweet Sadie Jane. It is so very hard to lose a pet. And I am so glad that your husband has recovered from the stroke. How stressful for both of you, though. Sending hugs. Just wanted you to know another Girlfriend was thinking of you and wishing good things for you 🙂

  53. Sue Stites says:

    Good morning, fellow Susan!

    I wanted to send you a quick message to tell you about a magazine I am sure you would LOVE. It’s a British one called “Simple Things”. My BFF gave me a subscription for Christmas and we share each issue. Lovely, lovely…I make a ” date” with myself for reading it and my husband may NOT interrupt me and my cuppa!

    Here’s how this March issue begins: “If you like your spring weekends bright and breezy, fresh and clean, full of fun and flowers, then you’re in the right place. First, let’s start the day right with eggs – fresh, baked or chocolate? We’ll peg out the laundry, pop on a pair of loafers or some cool trainers and take the dog for a walk, stopping to admire the blossom as we explore the neighborhood. There’ll be time for tea, with something from the biscuit tin, and to find a quiet spot with a crossword before a long family lunch and Easter games. Share the moment with us, share the simple things.”

    The photos are so transporting…you must see it. Their website us thesimplethings.com. I found my first issue at a Barnes & Noble but they are a month behind as it is coming from Britain.

    Happy Spring!
    Sue

    • sbranch says:

      Very interesting! We are going over in the fall, and I think I’ll save it to “discover” while I’m there! Thank you Sue!

    • Charissa says:

      Sue Stites, Thanks for the tip. I went to the website. What a darling magazine. They will deliver to your house. I put it on my birthday list:)

  54. nellie says:

    Wow! I’m very late making my comments on this wonderful blog post you have given us about Downton Abbey! Loved every minute of it! Our local PBS station, in the midst of a fund drive, is repeating the final episode on this very evening, at the very same time!

    Do you suppose Julian became so fond of his characters that he didn’t want to come up with any more drama for them to endure? There were some great strides taken with relationships in this last season, and it’s good to catch a glimpse of happiness on the horizon for all of them.

    Spring is with us here, it would seem, and all its loveliness is beginning to appear! Yet the loveliest of all will be the new book – and issuing of charm(s)! Can hardly wait!!

    xo Nellie

  55. KarenP. (Wisconsin) says:

    Well, here it is….Sunday evening and no Downton. I am so glad that I recorded the wonderful finale! I may have to relive it every Sunday for awhile! Love seeing Isle of Dreams come to life! Soon it will be here! I watched the Brian Wilson story tonight, Love and Mercy. Tragic stor in many ways. But, saw someone in one of the beach scenes that reminded me of you in your California teenage days! 😉

  56. Mary Smith says:

    Susan,

    Thank you for the wonderful recaps! I just reread this one because there is nothing to watch tonight! Boo hoo! But I’m piping in here to ask if you have heard about the new Beatrix Potter book soon to be released? (Sorry if someone else mentioned it in the comments – haven’t had time to read them yet, and I’m thinking I might just save them for next Sunday when there is no Downton on again. Ditto on the boo hoos.) I know I’m going to love the new tale, “Kitty in Boots” (as I’m sure you will. Maybe Jack could apply for the lead when they make the movie.) BUT not sure the illustrator is right. Why didn’t they ask you to do it?

    bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-35407846

    Happy Easter coming soon!

    Mary Frances

  57. Betty says:

    Dear Susan I have so enjoyed your weekly Downton round up! Better than the episodes themselves. Whatever will we do without Downton – well there is Mr Selfridge, it’s just finished here but I bet it’s coming your way – the costumes, décor, all very lovely. I am so enjoying your blog and am just waiting for your second book, Fairytale Girl to arrive. Your first book and trip to England has made me appreciate what we have here even more – in fact I have booked up to visit Hilltop later this year as I feel ashamed that I only need to get myself from one side of England to the other and I am there! I do wish you could visit the UK in the Spring so you can walk in the bluebell woods and smell the bluebells – it’s spectacular – I will post some pictures on my blog when the are out, not as good as being here but at least a little snifter… Betty

    • sbranch says:

      I have walked through the bluebells at Stourhead in Wiltshire and there is nothing in the world quite like it. Gorgeous. You are so lucky!

  58. Steph D says:

    Ooh this was SO good! I couldn’t find time to watch the finale until last night so today I immediately popped over to read your recap! 😀

  59. Sherrie Collins says:

    Oh, Susan, I have to tell you how I watched the finale. The Tennessee Theatre is a gorgeous theatre from the 1920’s in Knoxville that is still grand and beautiful after recent renovations. They had a screening on Sunday afternoon which was FREE to attend. My tee girlfriends and I decided we had to go – once Ina lifetime opportunity and all. So, we wore our hats and had a nice lunch and then went to stand in line (which wrapped around the building). There were many people in costume: most wore 1920’s outfits, some were dressed in the servanta’ outfits, men wore suits…it was so wonderful! They raffled off a clock from Lord G’s library. The guy who won it was dressed as a footman! He had the whole outfit going on! Anyway, there were hundreds of people watching the very last episode of their favorite show, and it was fabulous! Everyone laughed and cheered and clapped all at the same time. There were lots of sniffles, which were happy ones, except maybe at the end when we realized it was all over for good! And the best was the collective “Whoooooooo!” When Mr. Mason flirted with Mrs. P! It was perfect!
    So, even though I’m sad that it’s over, I’m so glad it happened. I’ll miss your recaps as much as our trips to the glorious English countryside.

    Xoxo,
    Sherrie

    • sbranch says:

      HOW FUN!!!! You are so lucky Sherrie! The whole world should have done that! Thank you for the lovely retelling!

  60. Janice Nelson says:

    Loved your Downton recap.
    When you come to Salt Lake City on your book tour, be sure to have tea at the Grand America. You will love it.
    I look forward to having you sign your new book!

  61. Frances Fowler says:

    I have just read this because, being a 2 hour special on a school night with no two hours available during the week, I just watched it this weekend. I knew it was all going to end happily and I was in no way disappointed! In no other episode were three future relationships sealed with “knowing looks” and heavy insinuations. Barrow — a reformed bully; Mary, all soft and expecting, having renounced Sibling Malice; Violet in her last hilarious take down of that horrible son and his wife who looks as if she’s always sucking on a lemon, and at last the conniving Denker was silenced. I read that production on THE MOVIE should start in the not too distant future, though without Dame Maggie. Oh, I will watch every episode and season a million times. I have so enjoyed your episode summaries, so happy that we all got to share in the Crawley’s lives 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      “Always sucking on a lemon” — Perfect! She looked just like that! I think that actress added pretty well to her resume for her short time on the show. She did a great job at being hideous. Nice to hear from you Frances!

  62. Sally Deitz says:

    I just LOVE the blog, so grateful that my friend told me about it! Please tell me if we need to reserve places for the July 2 book signing. Also, wasn’t there a delightfully inviting message somewhere about a bookstore having a tea for Beatrix Potter’s birthday?

    This blog helps me live without DA —- no an easy task! Thank you!!!

    Sally

    • sbranch says:

      Love having you here Sally! I don’t think (at this time) you will need tickets for the event in Sandwich, but it is always a good idea to give them a call and make sure . . . sometimes they change things without mentioning it to me! 🙂 Here is the link for all of the bookstore/signing information . . . scroll to the bottom and you’ll get the info for the Beatrix Potter event. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

  63. Sammy Pineau says:

    I have a question, not a comment. Does Annie Hall’s cookie recipe lend itself to stamped cookies? If not, is there something I can add or subtract to make it suitable? I just bought some adorable bee, honeycomb and flower stamps from Nordic Ware and can’t wait to use. Happy Spring!
    Thanks,
    Sammy
    San Luis Obispo

    • sbranch says:

      Oh, Hi Sammy! Nice to hear from you. Yes, I think that recipe would be perfect . . . there are no leaveners in it, meaning the cookies won’t rise and ruin the stamping. See you in SLO the end of May!

  64. Sue hay says:

    Dear Susan and Joe
    While in the UK
    You may have already
    found some Andy Goldsworthy sculpture
    I’m happily immersed in his books and film
    The British sculptor has an ongoing dialogue between himself and the natural world
    I think Joe would enjoy his work

  65. Dana says:

    Thank you for your beautiful blog. Soon after I discovered what a treasure it is, and inspired by your writing, I was convinced that I would watch DA on DVD (from our public library). The winter passed more quickly, since hubby and I spent many evenings watching. He liked it as much as I did. How much did I like it? Words fail me, but it must be the best drama ever, something oh so special. The finale: conversion and forgiveness… incredible… perfect… everything I wanted and more. Thomas’ change of heart reminds me of A Christmas Carol. So happy for Edith and everyone. The only downside is that I had to stay away from your blog. I actually had no spoilers at all. Last night, we watched the finale, and right after that, I went to your blog. So glad to be back!

    • sbranch says:

      How smart. I really don’t like spoilers and will do anything to avoid them. I’m so happy you and your husband enjoyed it Dana, lovely when it all comes as a big surprise to you. It was a great thing . . .

  66. Melissa Myers says:

    Oh my! I just got around to reading this entry and I must say “well done”! I laughed and cried while reading the Downton recap. It was perfect! Thanks Susan. Also, I am loving every wonderful page of Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams. I wanted to move there now it has become a need. Truly wonderful.

  67. Laura S. says:

    Haha on the hair dryer! I thought the exact same thing when I saw that. Hey! I never saw one of those until the mid 70s!

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