The Fair and Pleasant Land

Rabbit-Rabbit girlfriends! Hello from this Fair and Pleasant Land.  With MUSICA we were listening to last night (because I brought a playlist on my phone, a minor miracle it seems to me ~ you can now carry around the soundtrack to your life! 🎵 How can you not be happy with this playing as you unpack and dance around strange new surroundings?) . . . Missing you, missing me?helloOctober

Ah yes, it’s time once more for Vagabonds on Parade!

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I almost don’t know where to begin, we’ve been so hill and dale since last we met! Sorry it’s been so long, I promise, I have tried daily, futilely, hopelessly, to upload photos for the last two weeks, to no avail!!! But we are in a new place, and although quite squirrelly (as one would say in America), due to extreme foreignocity, it is surprisingly working this morning and I am making hay while the sun is shining!  SO, HELLO Girlfriends!!! What a trip we are on, what an amazing sojourn! So let me show you a bit of it, because, as you knowa picture

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The sky has been outstanding, day and night!  The short version so far, is that we left Stourhead, still on wings because of our amazing picnic which I wrote about in the last post . . . and drove, oh where, oh where did we drive, it is going way too fast already! SO, consult trusty diary:  Ah yes, its all coming back now . . . we found a luv-lee cottage in the Cotswolds for a few days, and relearned how to turn on bath water and how to work washing machine, as we do wherever we go, because, it seems, no two plumbing units are teathe same.  On our daily walks, we’ve traversed mud flats, gotten up close to lots of pheasants and discovered an abandoned WWII air strip. We visited farm stores for award winning butter, and have gone to pubs for Scotch egg with crispy strips of pancetta, and poached trout with Marie Rose Sauce (a lot like 1000 Island), we’ve had tea and Lemon Cake, and scones with British marmalade, and in Stratford-on-Avon, at the birthplace of William Shakespeare, we learned that putting bells on the toes of your shoes was a popular women’s fashion of the 15th century. Luv it. Not often, but often enough, it’s poured rain so Joe bought wellies (I brought mine), but we’ve had plenty of sun, and always massive clouds, like these above, and that sky up there, my girls, is over Scotland!!! Oh yeah, that’s where we are this fine bright sunny morning! In Scotland, contemplating the true meaning of plaid and grateful to be doing it.

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But more than anything, this is what we came for, these long walks in the English Countryside and this is why we’ve been Falling in Loveall over again! Not just any old love, no, mad love! That’s Joe ⬆️ outside the little hotel (that’s not the hotel in this photo!) we found by happenstance called the Devonshire Arms Hotel, on a 30,000 acre property owned by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire (please tell me, who owns 30,000 acres? But VERY grateful to the Devonshires, because they share!). ‘Course we didn’t know all this when we checked in . . . and here we are, straight out the front door of the hotel, not even unpacked yet, going for our first walk, even though it was getting late, but the grass smelled so green, the air was so fresh and clean, the path was calling our names. The walk started out rather normal, despite the fabulous rushing river alongside us the whole way, then we rounded a bend and waaaay off in the distance, we saw what appeared to be castle ruins, and immediately kissed our 6:30 dinner reservation goodbye because nothing could stop us from going there that very moment!englandwithitshistory

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As we got closer and closer, we became more and more curious, what IS IT?  And then, castlewhile walking around and through it, we found out it’s called Bolton Abbey. Owned, yes, it too, by the Duke and Duchess. AMAZING place. Half of it is ruins, the other half is a church, we went inside and lit candles, and wandered through the lovely old graveyard. This place had all the accouterments a person could wish for. Besides the story of people and history, there was a charming tea shop, and walks that went on forever, over bridges, past waterfalls, through fields of cows and lambs, on stones across the river, skirting places so narrow you would think they wouldn’t allow the public to go there. All ours, we could just go till our hearts content.justrightimg_0939

Crisp breeze, fast moving clouds . . . (isn’t he just asking for a tea bag to get caught on those glasses???)

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YOU walk through them, no YOU do it, no YOU do it . . . Okay, we’ll both do it . . . and so we did … not one thing happened. No biting, no stampeding. Getting to know our farm animals. We have been too cut off from the farm!

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Nature!yes

Oh boy!

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Only the tiniest bit of fall was beginning to be visible, but there was a sweet chill in the air, and the roar of the river, and we were cozy in jackets and boots . . . birds sang and skittered in the trees, mallard ducks flew right across in front of us, quacking the whole way . . .tea time!img_0995

We walked it, every day, a different trail. We’d planned to spend one night at that hotel and then head north, but each day, we just could not leave, so we added another night, until we had stayed four. We slid in mud, we got drenched, and we were so happy we tried to take a selfie to record the joy. Let me say first that we are not selfie-takers. This was our first stab at it. One out of three ain’t bad.

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Realizing my head would not fit in picture, Joe says, “Here, let me hold the camera…”

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“Okay, but let me get my glasses off . . .”

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Third time is charm… we don’t wear makeup or dye our hair but we are happy in the English Countryside!luckyinloveimg_7739

Still showing signs of being caught in the rain, we came back from a four-mile trek feeling birdravenous . . . to, of course, a tea room, which they have so charmingly and strategically placed everywhere we go. We are so grateful! While sitting there, the sun shone on us AND it rained. We fed a little brown bird scone crumbs and took about a hundred pictures of him. Nice that we don’t have to buy film anymore, because we’d be in big trouble.😜

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This was the hotel … You wouldn’t believe the breakfast that comes with the room. Silver tea things for starters. Lovely in every way.having tea

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Even Petey was sorry to have to say goodbye.  (Come on Petey, get in the car . . . nooo, don’t make me . . .)

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girl and dogBack-tracking a bit . . . to talk about dogs!!!!! They are everywhere. 💖  Everyone has a dog. They are on our walks, on the streets, in all the pubs.  I feel lost without one. When we walk, we are the only people who don’t have dogs.  We love meeting the owners, stopping and saying hello  . . . This was a guy named Peter and his adorable Airedale, George.

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This is Rex . . . a beautiful border collie . . .  he is standing next to a “fairy ring” we’d just found (we weren’t sure what it was), built by

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this wonderful English gentleman named Mike, who’d just come around the corner on that path . . . we visited with him for a long time. He told us the circle was a fairy ring he’d made from tree stumps ~ the idea of his recently deceased dear wife named Hazel . . .

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And there it was. Ready to be found in the woods by just anyone (like us), who would take balloonspictures of it and forever wonder how it got there. When I first saw it, I thought it would be great to take my girlfriends here, make a bonfire in the middle, and do that thing I’m always wanting to do . . . toss in certain silly or incriminating pages from my diaries saying prayers for wisdom as they go up in smoke . . . but Mike said that recently there had been a children’s birthday party here ~ which was just what Hazel had hoped for. 💖 And so, the things of her heart (no doubt there were many more than this) will last forever.If you do it with heartdog

And now, back to dogs, they are always in pubs, we love them, and we love a country that allows this . . .  we go and take pictures of them . . .tea time

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We have tea or dinner (like this delicious risotto) in front of a cozy fire watching dogs and people, listening in on conversations we can barely understand, while Joe looks at maps and I write in my diary or read about what we did that day . . .

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Or we read local magazines to learn about what’s going on  . . . (that’s our Bolton Abbey on the cover of this magazine!)  “Our” Bolton Abbey! Ha! Newly claimed! Don’t tell the Duke and Duchess! We’d like to stay on their good side!

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The food has been beyond wonderful. These are roasted vegetables, parsnips, carrots and tomatoes, poured over mixed greens that could not have been more healthy and delicious. Seven pounds by the way, at the Devonshire Arms Hotel Brasserie. Go there! 👏cake

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Cakes! This was a tea shop in Sedbergh. But this scene is everywhere. Thank goodness for the walking.

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Sedbergh also had the winning bunting of the trip so far.  In a country filled with charm, that is saying something. But I’m sure you have to agree, lamb bunting wins!

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The lambs went all the way down the street, criss-crossing back and forth across the amazingly narrow roadway built for horses (that car is making it’s way down the street)! I think maybe the kids at a local school made it.  BTW, the cake shop is just behind where I was standing to take this photo. I got the lemon cake.yumimg_4694

Here’s the other thing I’m thankful for. Map man. Electricity guru, Cool-Hand-Luke wrong-side-road-driver, and heavy-lifter extraordinaire, not to mention Pear-Cider toaster like nobody’s business.💞

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Our Sat-Nav in the car (better known in America as GPS) is trying to tell us how to get out of this town!  Joe does it with élan.

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There is so much more to show and tell in this wonderful place with constantly thought-provoking images like this one, but it’s time to go outside and see what’s going on around here, we arrived just after dark and we’re not sure where we are yet . . . on our first full day in Scotland . . . We are staying at a little cottage in Laggan, so far from the madding crowd it is almost scary ~ two hours north of Edinburgh, at the base of the Cairngorms National Park for the next two weeks, and interestingly, just down the street from the Dalwhinnie Whisky Distillery ~ I think there are distilleries everywhere, whisky being a major cash-crop for Scotland ~ we saw it on our way in. There is a fireplace here! And my iPhone plugs into their stereo! And it’s so quiet, we slept like lambs last night. Who could ask for more?  So lucky. How did this ever happen? Must have been Joe.Lucky us

img_4682I’ll keep taking pictures for you . . . I love having you along. Watch Twitter if you can, because so far it’s been much easier to send pictures to Twitter than it has to get them to go from my iPhoto onto the blog!  I know some of you don’t use Twitter, and that’s okay, I don’t think you have to really join, but if you go here you can just look at the photos. Off to mess with the washing machine! Wish me luck!  Love you Girls. Have a wonderful day! ❌⭕️

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509 Responses to The Fair and Pleasant Land

  1. Diane from Poulsbo says:

    I was uber excited to see this newest blog!! I am now sitting here toasting you and Joe with my own cup of tea….which seems to be mostly honey and cream…lol. i feel I am right there with you both because of how beautifully you tell about your travels, and of course, all of these glorious pictures! Keep having fun…keep staying those extra days and nights! It is another wonderful trip for The Girlfriends, and I would definitely buy another book….if it is meant to be! Xoxo

  2. Kay says:

    So many beautiful pictures! And what lovely memories to keep you warm all winter. I was last in that part of England the year Prince William was born! I was quite young at the time, naturally. Would love to go back with my husband someday. Very jealous you spent a night in Skipton, according to your Twitter. That’s where Lucy of the Attic24 crochet blog lives. I’ve been following her for years and she often takes walks and posts gorgeous pictures of the countryside there in all seasons, including Bolton Abbey. Thank you so much for sharing your adventures.

    • sbranch says:

      Lucy helps with YarnDale in Skipton ..something we came within one hair of going to (missed it by 4 days), but could not drag ourselves from the beauty we were experiencing at that moment! This is the trouble, it’s all gorgeous!

  3. Wendi U says:

    Oh what joy to read your entry!! I’m an Airedale fan and that blessed me! I can so relate with your selfie attempt, I’m still giggling as I’ve been there! And I’m so glad you chose to wander to that Abbey! Isn’t it a shame that they couldn’t have rebuilt it as I’m sure it was beautiful! It so so fun to see you so happy Susan! You are so in your element! I am reading your English book at the same time and it’s given me such an intimate version of England! I hope the Lord blesses your trip adventures and blog freedom!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Wendi! It’s interesting that half of that “Priory” as they call it, is ruins, but the other half is still all there. And all around it are rocks, which were actually foundations for other buildings … and then a drawing of what it all looked like originally, way back in 1200 or so! Totally amazing.

  4. Stacey says:

    Oh my goodness, such glorious countryside! Can you even imagine being the Duchess of anything??? For Real?! I love England. Oh, and the sheep bunting is just adorable!!

    • sbranch says:

      I think I’d like to be a Duchess who moved to America! Because being a Duchess in England means they write about you in the Sun ~ a newspaper I’ve just discovered (while balling it up to make a wood fire) that I would not wish to be mentioned in! The luck of the draw . . . you’re born and suddenly you find out that you’re Prince Charles. What a shock!

  5. Stacey says:

    PS- enjoy Scotland! See if you can find any standing stone circles…they just might propel you back into the 18th century 😉. If this sounds bizzare, just google “Outlander” novels 👍🏻

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve read Outlander and have no intention of getting anywhere near any standing stones! 😃 Loving this life way too much to mess with time travel other than the one in my imagination!

  6. Kathy says:

    Hi Susan,
    So thrilled to have unexpectedly happened upon your calendars while out shopping. WOWEE…they are beyond awesome! Bought 2 blotters (1 for each desk), the mini calendar, which we always post on our family’s memo board, along with the family planner & a pocket planner. Thank you for all the beautiful, hard work that you put into these calendars, every page is like a gift to cherish!

    • sbranch says:

      Sweet of you to take the time to tell me. I try hard to make them special every year…don’t want to take up a chunk of precious wall, purse, or desk space with something mundane! xoxo

  7. Erin Middlebrooks says:

    Just asking for a tea bag to get caught on his glasses…..snort snort giggle.

  8. Sheila says:

    I have just discovered your blog and am delighted to read of your adventures. It makes me happy to hear how much you are enjoying your UK travels. I live in South West Scotland and love it when our beautiful country is so truly appreciated.

    • sbranch says:

      I think you will find here that MANY people love your beautiful country!!! It’s a dream for most of us to get a chance to experience it. So nice to hear from you Sheila!

  9. Stephanie Burnett says:

    Thank you so much for posting the a photo of Rex! What a gorgeous border collie. Love the bunting and all the beautiful walks too. Keep having fun!

    • sbranch says:

      That dog was more alive than 90% of anything I’ve ever met! Pure purkiness, ready for action at the drop of his masters hand!

  10. So excited to find your post and see all your pictures!!!! Can’t wait to see how you love Scotland!! LOVED the sky picture from Scotland. 🙂 It’s so fun to be along on your adventure!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Every day we seem to scratch deeper into what is Scotland. . . a little more a little more . . . loving it.

  11. winnie Nielsen says:

    Ohh Susan, your photos make me yearn to be back in the fabulous country of Great Britain. We are now back home but what a 3 week journey we had. In the Cotswolds, we visited the village of Bampton which was the location of the village scenes in Downton Abby. When I saw the church where all the weddings, Matthew’s funeral, Cybie’s Baptism took place, it was like being transformed into a place I felt like I had been so many times. Our guide was a wonderful sweet local who had much to share about the filming of the 6 seasons. As you would say, it was Luvvvleee!!

    Then on up to Yorkshire and the Lake District we went for more visits to old castles, beautiful pubs, and miles of sheep grazing on green slopes. One evening, we had a talk from a young man who actually makes all of those rock walls. Did you know it is quite the craft and a techniques passed down from generations? He said that when customers ask him how long the wall will last, he can honestly guarantee 500 years!!!! LOL!!!!

    In the Lake District , we saw the farmhouse for the filming location of the Beatrix Potter movie. But better than that was having lunch in one of the Farmhouses down the road that was all part of the land that Beatrix purchased in her life and turned over to the National Trust upon her death. She wanted to make sure that nobody could ever tear down the farmhouses or sell the land for development. Apparently, she purchased hundreds of farms and acreage that has all been preserved by the Trust. Now, when a farm becomes available, a national notice goes out for people to apply to live there. They rent from the National Trust and all renovations and changes must be approved in order to protect the integrity of the farmlands and houses. Anyway, this place where we stopped was so charming and our hostess had prepared a delicious carrot soup ( perhaps from Farmer McGregor’s garden?????) homemade bread, and several cakes for dessert with tea. It was a rainy and chilly day which made the inside of the farmhouse so welcoming and fun. I couldn’t stop thinking of you the entire time!!! Oh, I wish you could have been there at my table soaking it all in and passing out fantastic book marks with your Beatrix Potter paintings.

    We ended up our trip in Edinburgh and what a lovely country and city!! Everyone was so friendly. There was lots of history to see and explore and more great pubs to stop at for tea and scones. I am also in love with the tradition of Sunday Roast where the meal reminds me of my growing up on Sunday lunches at home. Roast beef, potatoes, carrots, yorkshire pudding and gravy. It was divine and a fantastic tradition to maintain!!

    Glad to hear that you and Joe are having wonderful adventures and enjoying all of the great spots that England has to offer. It is good to see and hear what you two have been enjoying the past few weeks. It is also fun for me to keep my experiences alive as I can “ride along” with all the other GFs in the back.

    Tally-Ho and away we go!!

    • sbranch says:

      Wonderful Winnie, enjoyed every word. It’s the life around here! Yes, Beatrix Potter bought up and saved 4,000 acres of Lakeland to be forever preserved, including fourteen working farms, and shone a light on the National Trust that it hadn’t had before. It’s why I love her so much. How fun you stayed at Yew Tree Farm! SO charming. Welcome home, glad you had such a fabulous time, memories to last a lifetime, and Tally-Ho right back at ya! xoxoxo

  12. Jody says:

    Beautiful, beautiful land! Love those Hereford cows (our kind). they look very happy in the green, green pastures. Have fun!

    • sbranch says:

      And you know what they say about happy cows!

      • Mary in Phoenix says:

        Yes … They make the BEST clotted cream for tea and scones!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Can’t call it Devonshire cream unless the cows are from Devon … and those cows make the best cream ever! Different than any I’ve tasted. Even went on a tour of England searching for the best Devonshire cream with best friend Mary and our husbands in tow. It’s what tea lovers do you know 🙂 Thanks for the great posts and twitter pics ♥ xoxo

  13. Cynde says:

    Took so much needed time to sit back and really enjoy reading & looking at your letter Sue, have the tea, & a bit of a dreary day, just missing the cozy pub, so I popped my fireplace dvd into the tv…lol, I most certainly did. Thank you again for sharing & then the time it takes to send it to all us GF’s. I am so loving & longing for the English & Scottish countryside now….even more so than before. Adore plaid, wellies, quilted jackets, sweaters, sheep, cows, dogs, stone cottages, etc..I could go on & on but I’m sure you get the picture….Listening to the musica too…(thinking I’ll be pulling out one of my old movie dvd’s or cd’s today, you dear girl set the tone for that today.) So “Craving” the quaintness & simple elegance of it all….Thank You again for sharing all this. Now I must see about seeing if I can talk my hub into letting me get a few sheep…lol Looking forward to seeing & reading more!

    • sbranch says:

      Brilliant! Love the fireplace DVD. Making your own “quaintness and simple elegance!” That quote “Reality is something we rise above” — is truly it, isn’t it?! Love you Cynde, that was great!

  14. Luv-lee post!
    I’ve had dreams of England every night since we returned. I guess that means I need more of it. Fun to be along with you and Joe. The picnic at Stourhead seems ages ago and yet just yesterday. What a luv-lee day it was. You’re getting the weather we expected but never got- it was so hot. I think you look beautiful- rain and all- don’t change a thing! xoxoxo
    Enjoy Scotland and eat some cake for me.
    xoxoxoxoxox
    Gabi

    • sbranch says:

      I’ll never get over that day Gabi. I just want to keep it alive in my memory. So glad we have cameras. That it happened at all, in one of the most wonderful places I’ve ever been, with so many kindred spirits, I bubbled with joy the whole time. I’ll eat PLENTY o cake for you Gabi! It’s the least I can do!

  15. Diana H. says:

    Lovely, just lovely is all I can say, except…. I… Must….Go….To….Scotland!!!! 🙂

  16. Dear Susan,
    Thank you so much for taking us along! I went through your twitter postings too, all the while your “musica” was a perfect reflection of the sights. Bless you for sharing your trips with us. My fingers are crossed for a book too. 😉
    May your journey continue to be safe and fabulous.
    Melin
    xoxo
    PS~ LOVED the dishes!!!

  17. Kat Fry on Rose Creek Farm says:

    Oh Me Oh My! How absolutely delicious this Adventure continues to be! All these wonderful sights & sounds & smells! Takes ones breath away it does! Loved the tweets from Loch Ness! in 1998 when we were on our Grand Adventure (5 weeks in Europe by train & backpacking…well, actually we schlepped a few bits of luggage along too. 🙂 ) we loved Scotland so much! Didn’t make it up to Loch Ness, so love getting to tag along with y’all! I knew Nessie was in there! Some of our favorite memory keepsakes were little bits & pieces we picked up along the way. A few tiny pebbles from under the Eiffel Tower, chocolate wrappers from Belgium, Wallace and Gromitt cheese labels from the UK, Heather we’d picked on a walk in Scotland. Of course Pub coasters from all over. And we were careful to not pick anything forbidden. Or to pick up rocks & sticks from places we weren’t supposed to. Imagine millions of travelers doing that! Yikes! But a pebble or two from the edge of Loch Ness! That’d be amazing! Its those little things that spark the imagination & take you back. I adore penguins so a highlight for me was the Edinburgh Zoo & the walk with the penguins. I was beside myself with happiness! And seeing the statute of Greyfriar’s Bobby. So sweet. The whole city is enchanting. The floral clock that’s been there outside of the train station forever. Scotland gets into your being & never leaves! And I love how all of us love hearing about y’all’s Adventures! Sometimes that’s hard to find ‘outside’. And I agree with everyone that y’all look so splendidly happy & relaxed. Makes us laugh with joy our own selves! Back in 98′ we weren’t able to carry along our own musical accompanimets, you’re right, that’s fantastic! So all over Europe we sang The Happy Wanderer song. Outloud! Ok, mostly I sang it. Music also makes it more like your own personal movie starring You & your best friend Ever! So, continued Happy Wanderings! Fal de Ree Fal de Rah! Thanks for letting us tag along…We are having a Blast! Love to you n Fun Joe!

  18. Cindy Brosh says:

    Susan,

    I am enchanted with your blog! My husband and I and 2 dear friends just spent 6 weeks in the UK this July for our 30 year anniversary. We started in Scotland and then traveled to London, Brighton and then back up to the Lake District for a walking tour. We ended our stay at Chatsworth based on your lovely description in “A Fine Romance,” and it exceeded our expectations (which were high I must say!) in every way. The Cavendish hotel was sublime, and we simply wouldn’t have found these without your book! Though we both had been to London previously, we were inspired by your lengthy visit and are so happy we had the extra time to linger in unexpected places. Thank you for your blog, your inspiring words and your own delightful, winsome self! Have a wonderful trip. Cindy

    • sbranch says:

      Isn’t it wonderful when high expectations are met??? 👏 I’m so glad you enjoyed yourself. It’s a very magical place! Thank you Cindy, loved hearing from you!

  19. Audrianne Hill says:

    Thank you for sharing! It was worth the wait.

  20. Jo says:

    Hooray for Susan and Joe! Keep up the good work, I’ll follow you anywhere (well, almost anywhere) Love the trip so far, thanks.

  21. Mary S. says:

    Susan, your friend Jane who owns The Beach House told me to tell you hello, and that her daughter is in Scotland, too, going to the University of Edinburgh for six months! Love from Mary S. In Fresno, CA (in Cape Cod at the moment!)

    • sbranch says:

      How fun! Lucky Jane’s daughter! Thank you Mary!

      • Mary S. says:

        My pleasure! Did you get the picture of me standing in front of your house? Sometimes I still can’t figure out Twitter!

        • sbranch says:

          On Twitter? No, I don’t think so. It’s okay, you’ll figure it out. If so many others can do Twitter (even morons, as you will see when you are there longer) you can too.

  22. Gwen says:

    Lovely photos! Can’t wait to see where you travels take you next!

  23. Deborah in Odessa says:

    Aye. ’tis a bonnie trip. Thanks for sharing. I love every bit of it.

  24. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Selfie shots are superb….! Waiting for selfie of you and Joe in kilts! Wonderful pictures of “our” travels, and story telling! Twitter twavel tales between blogs are amazing! This trip, another one of my dreams come true, a trillion thanks to you & Joe & God Bless!

    • sbranch says:

      I thought, maybe we could just go try them on and then take selfies while still in store, but I can’t tell you how embarrassed we would be to come out of dressing room dressed in kilts!!!! xoxo

  25. Dolores' Cottage says:

    As always just magic! I am always so thankful that you let us ride around with you and Joe in your suitcase (or rather maybe laptop case) to all of these wonderful places! Meet all of these lovely people. I may be sitting at my desk in a small southern town but I am seeing the world thru your eyes, eyes that see delight everywhere you go!
    Thank you so much!
    I cannot wait to see where we go next!
    ❤️

  26. Debbie Boerger says:

    So Happy this morning! Tom had made a fire (33 F) and started the coffee when I got downstairs from our loft bedroom. Brilliant day. First things first…go traveling with Susan and Joe. Your latest tweets got my heart going, exactly the trail we covered last fall, but we took many days. You guys are amazing. I have a picture of the exact same man piping outside Blair Castle, just checked. Isn’t the River Tay wonderful? We did a loop around Loch Tay as well. The Crannogh Center, ancient village site, wonderful docents in costume. And lovely Dunkeld. On and on and on. You are a hoot, Susan. Thank you for being you, but most of all, sharing with the world, which needs a shot of Happy.

    • sbranch says:

      Couldn’t agree more, all of it is wonderful. Just loving our time here. On Sunday we go see Edinburgh!

  27. Anne in Maine says:

    So happy to hear from you and seeing that you are having a fabulous time. Oh, my, the lamb bunting….now that’s just the cherry on top of the sundae!

    • sbranch says:

      I know. What’s amazing, they didn’t even know we were coming! They just DO things like that!!!

  28. RobinfromCA says:

    Oh, please do another book about your journey’s through England (and Scotland) as I loved the first one so much I keep giving it as gifts to others! England and Scotland are my favorite vacation destinations. Love the dogs and the sheep bunting is the best! I’m thinking a variation on that may need to live in my house around Easter!

  29. Ikwig says:

    I have to say that I think your selfies are marvelous and I had to smile right back at all of them; one of the things I love the most is seeing people being truly happy! Thank you for continuing to make the effort to share your journey with us; finding a new blog post is like finding a bright lucky penny – the rest of my day is made!

    • sbranch says:

      How nice Ikwig! Thank you! I’ll try to keep leaving those bright lucky pennies around for you!

  30. Sharon in So. Calif. says:

    Well I have finally gotten to catch up on your beautiful amazing adventure! Lost my computer just after you left, I was beside myself to say the least. Have tried to catch up on all of your gorgeous pictures, oh my! Thank you so much for sharing them with all of us. I can just see the joy glowing on your faces! Can’t wait for a picture of Joe in a kilt! Please say Happiest of Birthdays to Rachel from me. Holding my breath for your next post. Much love to you both ~ ♥ ~

    • sbranch says:

      Lost your entire computer? Not just access, but the computer is GONE? That, I think, would be my worst nightmare!!!! xoxo Glad you are back … I’ll give Rachel your message!

  31. How lovely to open my iPad and find you and Joe having so much fun and doing all these fabulous things. It is the most beautiful country side and all the doggies are so sweet. I want to hug them all. Loved seeing the pictures of Bolton Abbey. My mother was a Bolton so maybe we have some long ago ancestor laid to rest there. I missed seeing it on my trips to England so I thank you. Enjoy your time on Scotland and let us join you when possible. Safe travels. love, Charlene

  32. Barbara A Case says:

    It must make you feel elated when you realize how many peoples day you just make so much better just by being you….what a gift ! Reading any of your writings (books, blog, whatever) leaves me smiling long after I have stopped reading. I have dreamed of visiting Scotland for years, you have definitely re-enforced the desire. Thank you for all that you do for the rest of us ! There must be someone who could put together a “Susan Branch Tour” of Scotland and England !? Awaiting the next post with great anticipation . Take care ‘ Barbara in Rockville IN.

    • sbranch says:

      Barbara you are so sweet. I always wanted to think I could help people in my own way, and you and our girlfriends make me think that I do. That’s a dream come true. XOXOXO Thank you. I’m glad you’re enjoying everything!

  33. Amy says:

    Fabulous photos of you, Joe and all the places! I enjoy listening to your music as I read. Thanks for sharing with us!

  34. Pam says:

    Hello, dear Susan — thank you for taking us along on your trip! Thanks, too, for the pics of dogs AND Petey! I smile whenever I see him!! I HAVE A GREAT IDEA that I wanted to share with you!!! As you know, coloring books for adults are sweeping the nation. For me, the ones out there are too indepth, too much to color and overwhelming. I don’t know where to start and there’s a part of me that feels like I have to color the picture exactly so it will look “accurate” when completed. I want/need a Susan Branch coloring book! Your drawings could be colored in and I know that I would sit for hours just relaxing and being in touch with my creative side! I know that you have a million things to do but PLEASE won’t you consider this? HUGE THANKS and sending love to you and the Mr. as you sojourn on.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s a wonderful idea Pam! I’ve actually done a few pages, but just haven’t had time to finish it . . . and I agree, I think some coloring books are much too complicated, I thought I could do something halfway between those and a children’s coloring book!

      • Judy Young says:

        A Susan Branch coloring book would be fabulous plus some decent coloring “pens” or really good colored crayons. I agree that there are way too many coloring books offered at book stores and none of them “tickle my fancy” if you know what I mean. They are all too exotic, too detailed and too complicated. I pick them up and put them down again. We need Susan’s designs to color. That would really be great, hope you get to do one Susan! I am loving your trip through England and Scotland by the way, bringing back so many memories. Makes me happy!!!!

  35. Donna Klein says:

    Hi Susan,
    I can’t tell you how much joy I get while exploring England and Scotland with you and Joe. Thank you for posting these great photos and stories!
    I am on my 3rd time going through head radiation and each time I lose hair, But since I can’t dye it, I have red and brunette wigs and a blonde on order!
    Thanks again for getting me out of my element, I am so enjoying it.
    Cheers!

    • sbranch says:

      I would do anything to get you out of your element Donna! Thank you for writing, and all my very best for what you are going through. Only way to it is through it, and I guess that’s what you’re doing. Proud of you . . . saying little prayer of healing for you. 💞

  36. Troy Louise says:

    Thanks for sharing your amazing trip so far. Are you sure you aren’t in heaven?

  37. Gayle Hall says:

    Oh Susan, bless your heart! Had an unexpected hospital stay. Will not bore you with the details. I just want you to know coming home to your e-mail, and all the wonderful photos and your art work was better than anything the doctor could have ordered up for me. Thank you once again for bringing all of us along for the best vacation any of us will ever experience. Your the greatest!!!! The two of you continue to have the greatest of times. Love to you both Gayle Hall

  38. Cyndee from Kalamazoo says:

    Okay, I don’t do Twitter, but you said I could go and have a look, so I did. Today I went back and I wished I was on Twitter because I was laughing and talking to my tablet…Don’t you all see…Susan’s feet don’t hurt…Wood Pigeon is on the menu !!!

  39. Victoria Miller says:

    WOW! I cannot be without my very strong coffee with milk and a gently rounded teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of cinnamon in the morning; however, I forgot to get milk yesterday, and cannot drink it black, so I made tea this morning — very unusual for me to have tea for breakfast (but at teatime, of course!). And then I look and here is this post from you from England! The Universe moves in mysterious ways. And what a delightful visit with my tea….truly, if I went there, I’m not sure I would be able to return. Soooooo beautiful. I was reading Bill Bryson recently (The Road to Little Dribbling). He commented on the fact that England is such a small country and yet has managed to preserve so much land and nature and open space. And the National Trust, too. So much to treasure there! Perhaps small countries don’t take so much for granted…. Thank you so much for sharing, so delightful. My cockles are warmed!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, about the size of Louisiana, but more to see around every corner, than we could do in our lifetime! And surprises. You go for a walk, you think nothing, just a walk, and suddenly something amazing pops up, totally unexpected. Happens so often!

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      Hi, Victoria,

      Next, try Bill Bryson’s English Icons…you too Susan. Filled with short comments from all sorts of well known English, even the occasional rock star. I had tears in my eyes seeing the places and feeling those feelings all over again. It certainly informed some of the places we explored last year. Debbie from Maine

  40. Marilyn says:

    I never caught it! So glad someone brighter than me did. I was wondering how Susan Hurt herself! Too much hiking? I love it!

  41. Cyndee from Kalamazoo says:

    I think Marilyn is talking about the “Lament of the Wood Pigeon”. Time for Askohan Farwell…which although totally USA, was written to sound like a Scottish lament.

  42. Debbie Boerger says:

    Afternoon, Susan. Hope you are still having good weather, even if there is a bit of Scottish Mist. Especially hoping that you have lots of sunshine in Edinburgh. I’ve been there in rain and in sunshine. It’s a beautiful city, but more so in the sun. If you have time, get a double decker hop on, hop off tour bus. This time we took the Castle tour. Loved it. Mostly, follow where your hearts take you. But you are the best at doing that!!

    Debbie from Maine

    • sbranch says:

      We walked it … end to end I think, but still not enough AT ALL. More more more Edinburgh is my battle cry! WHAT a magical fairy tale of a place!

  43. Sally Gainer says:

    Thank you for all the photos. Ill never get to go but they make me feel like I have been there. Lovely country. Lucky girl!

  44. Lois Riggs says:

    Susan, I am so glad to see that you and Joe were able to visit England again. I re-read your incredible book Romancing the English Countryside every time I get homesick for England. I hope that you will be writing a sequel to it when you get home. We were on the QM2 this summer (isn’t the re-furbishing wonderful? It was a great ship before, but even nicer now.) You indicated that you were a guest Insights speaker. I wish I would have been on that voyage. However, did I read that you are returning to Brooklyn on the QM2/ Nov. 19-26th Transatlantic from Southampton? My husband and I are doing a roundtrip from Brooklyn to Southampton and back Nov. 12 to Nov.26th. If you are on that voyage will you be an Insights speaker again? That would be so WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!! Enjoy the rest of your trip abroad.

    • sbranch says:

      We’ll be there, but I don’t think I will be speaking. We really haven’t had time to set it up … it was a wonderful thing the first time though, and you just never know. Yes, the ship looked wonderful!

  45. Margaret Naluai, Honolulu, HI says:

    Susan, you are amazing….posting such wonderful & fun experiences to share with us. I’m wondering if anyone else is not able to see the videos that you’re posting on Twitter. A message shows on the video “square” that says “The media could not be played.” I have an IT that came to help me work it out but nothing happened. Google had some other people commenting on not being able to see Videos on Twitter (not on your site). Apparently, they can’t figure it out either….& it’s a “Twitter” glitch??? Well….who knows. I’m just sorry to be missing out on your videos….they’re always so good. But…I’m grateful that you’re sharing as much as you are….& I’m enjoying it to no end!!

    • sbranch says:

      Try again and see if it’s better. You’re right, there are rare glitches, but they usually get fixed after a while. Try again, because I just put up some very fun ones! xoxo Glad to have you here!

  46. Marilyn says:

    The thread that was dropped was from Cyndee from Kalamazoo who told us why your toe hurt….Betee…because they served wood pigeon for lunch! I didn’t catch what you were getting at…but Cyndee did!

  47. Lori B says:

    We don’t wear makeup or dye our hair either, but we’re always told we look much younger than we are. Happiness, maybe? 😀

  48. Lynn Hamilton says:

    hi Susan,
    ….and your grand adventures continue! I have so enjoyed your books…especially your fabulous trilogy….you are so open about your challenges and overcoming the large and small bumps in your road of life….I love these blogs about England and now Scotland~ your enthusiasm about all things great and small is contagious. And the photos you have posted on this blog…the green grass, the trees, the moors, the sheep and dogs, the kind people, the wonderfulness of the food and wine and scones, jam and clotted cream and tea! I appreciate the way you share all of your experiences in such delightful narrative~you and Joe are truly of the joie de vivre school and are inspirational to me who occasionally needs to be reminded that around every corner is a new joy to be appreciated! I am thankful to be along on your wonderful journey. Thanks so much for sharing part of you with me xo

  49. kate jones says:

    Dear Susan,
    I so enjoy your books! I was sorry to miss the event that you had near New Hope , Pennsylvania this past Spring. Alas, the event was filled before I heard about it from friends. Please do add my name to your email list so that I may receive updates. Thanks so much!

    kate

  50. ann w says:

    I love reading your ‘take’ on my homeland, you make me see things through your eyes, Airdales – my favourite dog, hope the weather stays kind to you, enjoy your time in UK ( I know you will )

    • sbranch says:

      It’s heaven. We’ve had amazing weather. Last time we were here it rained a lot…but this time, hardly any. Wouldn’t really matter, we’d love it just the same!

  51. Crystal says:

    Dear Sue,
    On your next book tour you will have to come visit us in Minneapolis-St. Paul, the twin cities. We have lots of great independent bookstores here.

  52. Sue says:

    Good afternoon Susan,
    Here’s hoping your cold is short lived. I’m so glad you sent pictures of chimneys today. I was particularly taken with them on my trips to Great Britain. I found them to be very charming. Edinbrough reminded me of what London would have looked like before world war II. It was like going back in time. I read a post about the Sunday roasts, they too were my favorites. My grandparents were from Wales, and they always had a roast of some kind on Sundays, followed later by tea and pie and homemade yeast breads , some studded with fruit ( bara brith) and butter at fourish. Oh how I would love to spend another Sunday with them. Get well and keep us informed on all your magical adventures.
    LoveSue

    • sbranch says:

      I’m in love with those chimneys! All so different, and each hooked to a cozy fireplace, making some room feel wonderful on the dreary days! I still have this dratted cold, this is my 4th day, it’s moving around. But I’m going out today. Stayed home and slept yesterday, but enough is enough! Thank you Sue!

  53. Debbie Boerger says:

    Maybe a shot of whisky and honey? So sorry you have the code in da node. Get well soon, Susan. Always frustrating to be down and out when your days in a wonderful place are ticking down.
    I adore your phrasing of the chimneys, each being hooked to a cozy fireplace.
    Take care,
    Debbie in beautiful Maine

    • sbranch says:

      I did it, shot of whisky and honey, with boiling water and lemon. Oh yes. That was a huge help. I’m on the up-side of the cold now, much better, thank you! Maine must be GORGEOUS right about now!!! Happy day to you Debbie!

  54. Tara S Baker says:

    Oh Susan, this is all so lovely to see. Thank you for taking us all along with you. I read sloooooowly to enjoy each picture and your musings.

    Can I ask you a question? Do you plan on selling your Calendar “days” (hardcover book) again? I see that it’s not in the shoppe… so sad, I’ve used it year after year.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m really not sure … I sent your comment to Kellee, she’ll get back to you. I thought we still had them, but they may have gone out of print.

  55. Pat Rossiter says:

    Hi Sue, been tweeting’ ya but just read your most interesting blog this minute. I LOVED it!! Scotland is on my bucket list along with England. You are so lucky to have a soul mate who loves to walk; such a beautiful place! I could just smell the dampness and fresh air and hear the river running. Will you writing a travelog about this trip, or are you going to take a break from authorship for a while?
    Hope your sniffles fade away, keep yourself wrapped up!!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m keeping a diary, but not putting myself under any pressure, we’ll see what happens with it. We left Scotland yesterday, lamenting the whole way, because there was so much more to see. But someday, we’ll just have to go back! At least we got the lay of the land, and that’s how it starts. One thing for sure, it’s an amazing place, filled with the NICEST people.

  56. Vida Howard says:

    I don’t know how Im not jealous of you, but I am not. Ha Ha! So happy you are there and in love with Joe and the countryside. Sweet tears ran down my cheeks for the Mike and Hazel fairy circle story. What a beautiful legacy and you know she smiled in her soul when she foresaw these little things happening out there in the woods. I want to be a woman just like that. Planting trees under whose shade I will never sit.
    Well, just be safe and stay as dry and warm as you can in Scotland. Oh Strike that! Get out there and revel in it! Love from Oklahoma Vida

    • sbranch says:

      We have reveled to the nth degree Vida, thank you! Go HERE and see photos and videos of the sheep herding dogs we saw a couple of days ago. Just wonderful, made us cry! Freezing and wet out there, but that was just part of the wonderfulness.

  57. Karen Williams says:

    Hi Susan and Joe!
    I talked to Joe at the picnic about Bonfire Nights here in Britain and mentioned a fab evening we had at Chiddingfold, Surrey. Here is a ‘brief’ to let you know what will be going on!

    There will be Road Closures, Diversions, Park & Ride and an Events programme but here is a snippet of what should be occurring!

    3:00pm South side of Village Green (by the Spar and the Chemist) road closes. The bus
    slip -road closes.
    5:00pm Stalls open for business.
    5:00pm Park & Ride shuttle buses start operating. Please note that once the car parks are full we have no further availability.
    5:30pm A283 Petworth Road from the junction with Woodside Road to the Crown closes, traffic diverted along Coxcombe Lane
    5:30pm North side of the Village Green from Petworth Road to Pockford Road closes, traffic diverted via Pockford Road / Skinner’s Lane
    6:30pm Torches go on sale at St Mary’s School.
    **** 7:00pm Procession of 400 torches departs St Mary’s School.****
    7:30pm (approx) Bonfire set alight.
    8:00pm (approx) Fireworks
    8:30pm (approx) Grand Draw
    9.30pm (approx) Last shuttle bus back to car parks
    10:00pm (approx) Roads re-open.
    So you can see,…there’s a lot happening!
    We went years ago when our daughter was young and stayed with sister in law. The Swan does lovely food and I am sure you can find somewhere lovely to stay in or nearby.
    Btw…it’s usually n the Saturday nearest November 5!!! And this year….dumdum duuuum….5th November IS on the Saturday!!!

    Oh and I must tell you….OH and I went down to Oxford on the 7th October and after a meal we were paying up…and who should be sitting at a table nearby? Only
    Rach and Paul and your friend Elizabeth and her husband!!!!!
    I was chuffed to liddle mint balls!
    All for now…let me know if you are going to
    Chiddingfold ☄️✨💥🔥☄️💫🌜🎃🎃🎃
    Hope you are having a wonderful time on your ‘holiday’!!
    Love
    Karen xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Karen!! So nice to hear from you. Ray and Elizabeth told me they’d seen you! What are the chances of THAT in this very small world!? I took your ideas for the bonfire to heart and found us something already . . . we got tickets for us and Ray and Paul for the display at Bolton Abbey! Couldn’t miss that! Pray for no rain! Thank you for all that “figuring out” you did! Girlfriends forever! xoxoxo

      • Karen Williams says:

        Oh so sorry you’re not going to Chiddingfold, but you will have the most splendiferous time with Ray and Paul and Bolton Abbey!!!
        Keep in touch with us all…we love seeing our beautiful world through your eyes 👀
        Love and 🤗 to all
        Karen xx

  58. Isabel says:

    Hi Susan,

    Your pictures are unbelievable. Thank you so much for sharing. Have not seen a post in over 10 days. Hope everything is going just as you planned.

    I always wanted to visit England, Ireland and Scotland. This is a great way to see it if you might not ever get there. Thanks to you and Joe again for taking us along.

    • sbranch says:

      Everything is good. Just difficult to get connection to get the photos onto the blog from my computer … although they go from my phone to Twitter just fine ~ click HERE and you can see some of them. We’ve been traveling yesterday and today, back down south, are in hotels for one night each, so time is another thing in short supply just now!

  59. Jennie Lou says:

    Hello from super-windy Western Washington! I have been so busy between work and battening down the hatches that I was afraid I was missing all the news from your jaunt across the pond, but there you are, only one new post and lots of lovely messages from the girlfriends to catch me up! My sweetie has been on vacation two weeks and reveling in having the kitchen under his command. It’s a vacation for me and he gets to try all the recipes he’s been getting off the Food Network. After 34 years, he said now he knows how satisfying it is to cook for someone you love. In the mean time, I am huddled over the laptop drinking in the Scottish countryside (and missing the days when I, too, walked in fields full of cattle), sipping a big mug of Earl Grey Tea and nibbling a Lemon-Poppyseed Muffin. So looking forward to your next post. Where will you be for Halloween?

    • sbranch says:

      We’ll be down by our friends Rachel and Paul and celebrating Halloween and Guy Fawkes with them! It is always a lovely thing to have a cooking husband! Lucky YOU, Jennie Lou!

  60. Katy says:

    I loved your Twitter post of the sheep dogs. I saw the same shepherd last year when I was in Scotland. His dogs are wonderful!

    • sbranch says:

      What a treat! He’s been doing this for years … amazing, such a small group, so informal and wonderful and REAL.

  61. Suzy B. says:

    LOVE seeing your photos. Looks like such a marvelous time and what gorgeous country! Enjoy every minute. 😊 Thanks for sharing with all of us. We’re hunkered down in Washington state tonight braving our first windstorm of the season. Fall is here! –Suzy😊

  62. Vicki says:

    I already commented once on this post a week or more ago but, have to tell you HOW MUCH I AM LOVING YOUR TWITTER. I don’t twitter myself but was so happy to learn that I can still peek in. Thank you, thank you for taking the time; for taking us along. Big smile on my face this Sunday afternoon: I could watch the puppy video another one hundred times. Sheep dogs … are they those active, intelligent, hardworking border collies? (We had one once; they LOVE a job to do!) ADORABLE. PRECIOUS. Uplifting video! (What a wonderful diversion from our tawdry election season; be SO glad you’re gone right now and away from American TV.) And I’m so sorry you have a cold! Drink buckets of that hot tea! You’ve still got a lot of traveling to do over this next four weeks or so, right? Get well soon and maybe take a couple of days now and hole up, rest, keep warm. Mend! Sending healing wishes from Vicki in SoCalif.

  63. Martha says:

    Looks like your having a wonderful trip! More photos, please!!
    Martha from CT

  64. Jeannie says:

    Oh Susan! I would have chosen the lemon cake as well! But then I would have wanted to sample a little of all the rest!!! Love the countryside and all the lovely places you are taking us! I do hope you are feeling better! Safe and wonderful travels to you both!

    Jeannie from NC
    Chirp chirp!

  65. sylvia in seattle says:

    Just had to comment on the adorable picture of Joe taking tea at Highclere on the Twitter today! Made me giggle. Very fun to think of you being there and such beautiful weather! I’m looking forward to seeing those sketches you made showing up somewhere.
    The Big Storm kind of fizzled, compared to all the warnings we got. Of course the folks with trees landing on their houses won’t agree 🙁

  66. Hi Susan and Joe! I loved reading about your trip so far and especially LOVED seeing your beautiful photos while listening to the wonderful musica! Thanks for sharing your trip with all of us. I really need to get to Twitter more often!!! Hugs to you for a safe and amazing rest of your trip!!!

  67. Sue Reynolds says:

    Susan,
    I realize I’m missing you. It has been so long since you’ve posted your English adventures… Too long.
    So… I decided I would get my Susan Branch fix another way. I’ve gone back to your old posts, and I’ve read backwards all the way to October of 2010, Just the Octobers. Now I’m starting to read the Novembers forward from 2010. I didn’t know about your blog back then, so it’s all new to me. I’m loving this.
    Not to say I don’t want to hear your newest adventures. Hope the computer is working for you and that you are painting and taking pics everywhere.
    love,
    sue

  68. Penny says:

    Lovely to know you are safely in Bonnie Scotland, hope my fellow scots are being hospitable, and friendly! Derek (husband) and I stayed in the Deconshire Arms last year for a weekend. It was so gorgeous. That big huge log fire in the hall! All the wellies to borrow in the front porch, the food, everything, just gorgeous. X

  69. Claudia Cole says:

    Hi Susan. I am intrigued by the “coal, coke, cake Miller (my maiden name), forage and agriculture” building in Scotland. Does “cake” mean eating cake or soap cakes or something else altogether? What a neat place to visit–lucky you!!

    Your adventures and photos are so wonderful that I wonder if you ever stop smiling! I would also like to see Scotland, Wales and England for a whole summer to visit Emma Bridgewater, and maybe the Dalwhinney Whiskey Distillery,too. Chocolate–yum!

    I received my new issue of Victoria magazine today and there was the ad for your 30th Anniversary “HEART of the Home Notes from a Vineyard Kitchen” book. It truly looked beautiful with pumpkin pie, sweet potato sliced and shaved brussels sprouts salad with maple vinaigrette on the opposite page (p. 39-40). But the best part was a quote by Thornton Wilder:

    “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our HEARTS are conscious of our treasures.”

    Safe journey and be toasty warm,
    Claudia

  70. Terri Brewster says:

    Thank you for taking us along. Love the photos and stories of you and Joe’s adventure. Would love to sit and enjoy a cup of tea, scones, jam and Devonshire cream about now. Enjoy!

  71. Debbie Boerger says:

    Is there such a thing as an Overload of Bliss? Nah!!! I do so look forward to opening your Twitter and Blog every morning and taking my “Susan, Joe and friends” medicine….the very best medicine, no spoonful of sugar needed. And welcome to The 50’s, Rachel. It will only get better as you ripen to perfection.

    All the brilliant foliage is fluttering down. (is there such a thing as too much alliteration?) Walking on our road feels like being inside of a kaleidescope with a brilliant, blue background. When you arrive home, you’ll have lots of leaves to rake and pile up for compost….or not 😉

  72. Amy Marie says:

    Oh my. Just so lovely!!! <3 I was got to visit England in June, so having been there just makes this all the more real as I look at your photos and read your memories. Thank you.

  73. Debbie Boerger says:

    Huge cyber attack, including Twitter, in the North Eastern part of the US. Supposed to be back in service by this morning, but it isn’t. 🙁 I miss my dose of Happy. We are going to take a sharp turn toward winter here in Beautiful New England. High winds and Snow for the weekend. Very cold into first of next week. You enjoy that delightful, moderate English climate, and have a ball on bonfire night!!!
    Debbie in beautiful Maine

  74. Donna says:

    Loving the photos, and hearing about all the fun you are both having. What a dream vacation, thank you for sharing it with all of us.

  75. Margie from Texas says:

    A big hug to you and a big darn for us back home. Without the normal blog set-up for this trip I feel kind of lost and wanting to know when you are coming back home. Will you please write a long blog for us when you get back? We all need a big dose of cheerfulness ;)) ! I am not advertising for anybody, I promise, but there is an artist who paints and sells the most beautiful note cards with pictures ……. mostly scenes from Jane Austin’s books and all the ***** wonderful English authors we love so much. I am so taken with her work that I now use only her note cards. Please let me know if you want more info.. Miss you!

  76. DENA says:

    Looks like y’all having such fun ! Susan you don’t know how lucky you are to have a husband that is up to doing what you love. My husband doesn’t , i usually do trips alone , if i bring him , i feel bad, cause i have to drag him with me , so id rather go alone. loving all the up dates . makes me want to go there, even though i love italy and want to go back there if i can.

    • sbranch says:

      My ex-husband didn’t love it either . . . so I know how it feels when you’re dying to share something you love . . . at least you haven’t given up!

  77. Helen says:

    Enjoy traveling with you and Joe. Wishing you continued enjoyment 💓

  78. Catie says:

    Susan? Are you okay? You haven’t posted anything since the first week in October…? Hope all is okay and it just means that you are not experiencing any reasonable internet connection!! Looking forward to hearing more and more about your wonderful trip! xo Catie

    • sbranch says:

      Oh yes, we’re fine. We have been on the move so much, 4 days here, 3 days there, overnight there, that it’s been difficult to take a day to do a blog…but soon, maybe today, because we have finally lighted where we will spend the next 3 weeks. AND, so far anyway, we have computer connection!!!

  79. Denny & Martha Wozniczka says:

    I, Denny, enjoyed reading “Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dream” where you journaled your living, love, and entertaining of your visitors there. I thought I wouldn’t like the ending when I came to the next to last chapter where Cliff got “in the way” till you told him “no” to his second venture with you. Are you still living there.

    We visited Martha’s Vineyard on our honeymoon early September for four nights. We were married on Saturday the 3rd in Colorado, our home state, after both being widowed. We flew Denver to Boston on the 4th and stayed overnight there. On the next day we weathered out Hurricane Hermine flying to the Vineyard. We were cleared to take off from Boston after being delayed about an hour, and some of the ladies cheered enthusiastically at the announcement. When we landed at MVY in the storm, ladies’ cheers rang out again with applause.

    We rented a car and had an adventure driving to our lodging at Island Inn, Oak Bluffs. Barnes, Wing, Naushon, and Nantucket roads were not properly identified along the drive. After inquiring at a resident home, being in the west side of Oak Bluffs, a gentlemen led us with his car to Island Inn; and we checked in late in the evening.

    On the 6th we toured around Oak Bluffs, Circuit Avenue. The storm had passed, and the weather was cloudy and dry. The next day took us driving to Edgartown; and on the 8th we toured around the island, including stops at the South Beach, Aquinnah, Chilmark, and Vineyard Haven. The weather had improved. On the 9th before flying out, we went back to Vineyard Haven for lunch. We had a wonderful time in that charming island, my newlywed wife’s namesake place; and then it was “bye bye Martha’s Vineyard.”

    • sbranch says:

      Sounds wonderful. Yes, I still live there. . . since 1982. And yes, they do a terrible job of labeling the roads, but they are about a hundred times better than they used to be! 😃 Glad you had fun!

  80. Debbie Boerger says:

    My friends in England are sending clips saying much the same as the one you posted. My best friend here and I begin our desperate work to drive folks to the polls tomorrow. So close here, and so much depends on the results in Florida. Memories of the 2000 race.
    We got back here to The Big Guava, Tampa, yesterday. The Lovely Tom is dripping in perspiration, AKA sweat, from clearing debris from our decks. We live 6 months in a small townhouse, so yards were cared for by lawn service. Saw storm damage on the way back, but we also saw glorious Fall in the Shenandoah and the mountains.
    I’ve so missed your tweets and blogs while on the road. Had trouble getting on from the motels.
    Enjoy your settled time for the last days of your fabulous visit to old Blighty….and may there be more for you and Joe. Aren’t we lucky we found our soul mates on our second time around? If I had not ended up here via my first marriage, I would have missed my amazing second act of Life. Now almost 30 lovely years.
    Debbie in Tampa, AKA The Big Guava

  81. Georgie Bonsanto says:

    Dear Susan,

    How WONDERFUL to be immersed in your pictures and words. XO I’m right there in your pocket loving the walks, celebrating Rachel’s 50th milestone birthday, seeing the buntings, watching men in kilts, and loving every second of it!

    Things are busy here with Mom and her house so I can’t pop in as often as I would like, but I’m comfy cozy right there in your pocket! (My Joe is doing GREAT! Doctors are so pleased with his progress… I’m so HAPPY))

    XOXO Georgie from NJ
    P.S. You and Map Man look WONDERFUL!

    • sbranch says:

      I think of you often Georgie, and happy to know everything is on an upward trajectory! Hugs to your Joe!

  82. Joan Mangnall says:

    Trust you trip provided new experieces on which to draw upon – if quirky and inspirational helps influence your creativity – the old Kings School Shop [circa 1647] in Cambridge UK has a very interesting architectural feature that boggles the practical mind….

    • sbranch says:

      I just googled it! WOW! We’ve seen crooked buildings wherever we go, but that wins for the most mind boggling. I was talking to an English friend last night, asking if that crookedness is because of oldness and settling, but he said he thinks that in many cases, that’s just the way they built it!

  83. Katy says:

    I always enjoy your posts. I saw Neil and his sheep dogs last year. They are a treat. I know you are having fun.

    • sbranch says:

      Seems so remote,far far away from the real world, sitting up there watching those dogs working, and amazing and wonderful to see so many have been there!

  84. shelly says:

    Your blog is perfect happiness on a computer screen!!

  85. Lia says:

    Hello Susan! I am delighted to have found your little corner of the world, via Instagram of all places! The darling @bonjourmoon mentioned your cookbook in a post and it sent me on a trail to your charming blog, where I just spent the better part of an hour (that I maybe should have been working 🙂 I’m a complete Anglophile and I’ve long dreamed of visiting Scotland. Its such a treat to share your experience. Sending love and good energy from California! xo

  86. Lia says:

    I also meant to note that I’m from Massachusetts myself and spent many happy hours on the Vineyard! My mother and I have a tradition of visiting in the fall, when tourists head home and the island is less crowded. I love your photos!

  87. Cindy says:

    Oh Susan, thank you so much for sharing your trip with us. I love the sheep bunting. I am currently making some bunting for my kitchen. I think I’ll add a sheep or two to mine. (I have sheep so sheep are near and dear to me.). What time of year do you love visiting England the most? My husband and I are hoping to visit someday and are carefully planning.

    Cindy the shepherdess from California B-)

    • sbranch says:

      Fall has been totally amazing. The bright leaves hanging over ancient walls in front of charming chocolate box cottages have been wonderful. BUT, it’s dark now by 4:30 … which means your hours for rambling are cut short unless you jump out of bed at dawn and get going, which, while on vacation, is hard to do. In the spring it gets dark as late as 10 pm… PLUS, in the spring, there are baby animals, ducklings, frolicking lambs, and mother swans with their broods swimming along behind, pretty much everywhere! So I say spring.

  88. Deb W says:

    I’m not on twitter, so I can’t comment there, only read. I don’t know if you will see this since the post is old. You mentioned this morning you are working on a blog post about the election……….PLEEEEEEASE DON’T DO IT!

    I come to to this site to get away from that sort of thing. That’s one of the downsides of having running commentary mostly on twitter this trip instead of blog posts – some tweets take us out of the lovely, cheerful world of SB, and into a place we might not want to go. I mean it’s your VACATION, and you shouldn’t have to spend it composing blog entries, but twitter gets into …..well….. perhaps a bit more of your personal life, and maintaining a bit of privacy can be a good thing. You said in one tweet something about half your readers being elated over the election, and half despondent. Oh how true. So, doing a post on the election risks alienating half of your readers. It’s your blog, your books, your voice, you can do what you want but………..

    • sbranch says:

      I hear you Deb, I thought all of those exact same things, struggled with it, and then I decided I just could not ignore something like this, and did what I did, shedding tears as I wrote, and whatever happens I will live with. Maybe my blogging days will be over. I don’t know, but I don’t intend to get into any sort of argumentative thing about what I think or don’t think, it really isn’t even about me. Sending love . . .

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