SONG for the AGES

When I was in England I found a song ~ MUSICA (don’t worry, it takes a moment to start) a song for the ages, I kept hearing it, and as the beauty of it slowly seeped 🎵 into my consciousness, I began to pay more attention to it, and finally I was in a castle somewhere where it was playing, 🎵and I thought, “What IS that? I’ve heard it somewhere before!” So, I bought the cd, put it in our car, and as we drove hill and dale, along the narrow roads,🎵 between hedgerows, past fairytale cottages and wild gardens, through England, the “green and pleasant land,” this is what was playing.

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. . . as lovely old stone walls rushed past . . .

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And views of small handmade villages . . .

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where stones were laid, and cottages built, and no two chimneys are alike . . . get-attachment-aspx

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with farms and sheep . . . and not just any sheep …

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sheep with personality

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and everywhere, reminders of what came before . . .englandwithitshistoryimg_7736

clues of ancient people and ancient times, our predecessors as they struggled to make a life, to become stronger, smarter, better . . .

stone walls line the roads

Your heart is soaring anyway when you’re doing that, from the history and the beauty, but if you have a sound track for your heart to soar to, it’s even better. It turns out img_2267 this song is the unofficial ‘anthem’ of England, taken from a poem (“And Did Those Feet in Ancient Time”) written by William Blake in 1808 and put to music by Sir Hubert Parry in 1916, as a positively heart-stopping tribute to the industrious generations that came before.  Learning about this song, brought me to something that has been going on in England since 1895 which was shocking to me since I was just finding out about it.  Especially since it’s been happening get-attachment-aspx in London for eight weeks every summer for over a hundred years (all you more well-educated Anglophiles will say this is very old news) ~ daily classical music concerts at the Royal Albert Hall (and other places) called img_7708“Proms.”And in particular, I wanted to mention the “last night of the proms” when the music they play, like this song, is wonderfully British, old and traditional, and touchingly patriotic ~ people dress up for it, and there’s a chorus and everyone sings along and cheers and waves flags.  I love tradition, and the quirkier, the more people-ish, the better. The Promenade Concert (Proms) has an interesting history, conceived by Robert Newman (a musical impresario) who said, “I am going to run nightly concerts and train the public in easy stages. Popular music at first, gradually raising the standard until I have created a public for classical and modern music.” And that’s exactly what he did.  Newman dreamed of generating img_4729a wider audience for concert hall classical music and he did it by offering low ticket prices,  in an informal atmosphere where eating and drinking were permitted as they listened to the music. And now all these years later, it’s everything just as he envisioned it, even more so, hundreds of thousands of people all singing together, the music of forever. Makes me proud to be human. Because people do these things. And here, for you, the last night of the Proms, a little taste. First song is the one that brought us here, Jerusalem, I’ve put the lyrics underneath the video…

And did those feet in ancient time,
Walk upon England’s mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On England’s pleasant pastures seen!

England

And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among those dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England’s green & pleasant Land.

And now because it’s a tradition of the heart, God Save the Queen 🎵. There are so many videos of the Proms on Youtube, you can Google and enjoy. Here’s a bit more MUSICA.

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Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think on these things. Philippians 4:8

Where we went in England

If you’d like a very short but fabulously-done history lesson, look at THIS, the opening ceremonies at the London 2012 Olympics. These people are amazing.

Hope you enjoyed that! I’m off to put some Musica on and wrap packages. Have a wonderful day! Love you! About the recipe for those yummy short ribs: had to get the butcher at the supermarket to order them! Live on an Island. Recipe coming soon! ❌⭕️

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325 Responses to SONG for the AGES

  1. Patty in Redlands says:

    Just beautiful, Susan! I didn’t know the song or about the Proms, and I’m not only thrilled to learn new things but enjoyed the inspiring music. I feel a bit British now since we’ve started watching The Royals so indeed, God Save the Queen!! And God bless us everyone!

    Merry Christmas to you and Joe, Susan, and to all of the girlfriends YOU connect and inspire around the world. 🎄❤️

  2. Rosemary Monk--Near Boston says:

    Hi Susan, loved the pictures and film clips and your wonderful thoughts, it was like visiting England with you! Some day I’d like to visit at the holidays, think that would be a fun adventure. There is a book that I don’t know if you’ve read, but it’s lovely. It’s by Bill Bryson, called, “The Road to Little Dribbling, Adventures of an American in Britain.” He’s a native Iowan, moved to and lived/worked (wrote mostly) in England, moved back to New Hampshire, and then back to England a few years ago, where he now lives I think permanently (he recently became a British citizen–keeping American citizenship also). A wonderful read; Mr. B is an archetypical Curmudgeon, but his book, while spotted with the occasional rant/gripe, is really a love letter to Britain, the country and it’s people. Anyhow, I hope we will get a Christmas Blog from you; and whether yes or no, I wish you and Joe and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year–And God Bless Us Every One! Rosemary

    • sbranch says:

      Love Bill Bryson, especially his book, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. Laughed myself silly at that. Merry Christmas Rosemary!

      • Rosemary Monk--Near Boston says:

        Loved that one also. I’ve read or listened to almost all his books. He can make me laugh out loud, and also learn “lotsa good stuff” too. His book on Shakespeare was fascinating. I just finished a lovely batch of your Cranberry Marmalade which I give to friends and family every year–so festive, and yummy to boot! And now, I’m settling in for a long winter’s night to watch “White Christmas” with my 18-yr. old daughter, home from college–our Christmas tradition. I already watched Holiday Inn and Christmas in Connecticut myself last week. Have gone a bit Christmas Crazy this year, pulling out decorations that haven’t seen the light of Holiday in a while, so we are definitely ready. My 27 yr-old son (my Christmas baby, Dec. 14 b-day–Gads! the years have flown!!) comes home from DC where he works tomorrow night, and our two older kids will be able to join us on the 26th, so I’ll get to have everyone under one roof for at least one night–happy, happy, happy.

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      Rosemary, Read all of Bryson’s books. You’ll love them. Agree that he is a bit curmudgeon who does like the occasional rant, but a lovable one! I once listened to “I’m a Stranger Here Myself”, on a long drive up to Maine. Had to actually pull over as I was laughing so hard. Debbie

      • Rosemary Monk--Near Boston says:

        Hi Debbie, I have read or listened to most of Mr. B’s great books, just love him, curmudgeon and all (and don’t we all get that way sometimes!). Now I’m looking for lots of good books for Jan. as I go in for a new hip on the 9th and will need to keep occupied. Had the first one done in 2015, and that summer was my English Summer–all books about England. Hope to bring my laptop up from basement office and stick it by my couch so I can keep in touch with everyone. Wish me luck, and I wish everyone a Joyous Holiday season–a Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah or whatever Faith is followed–and a Happy, Healthy New Year!

  3. chris consentino says:

    oh, wow! well, i’m glad to know i’m not the only one crying. all my grandparents came from England…so I am truly an anglophile of the highest order. Jerusalem….city of peace….one wonders, with the day it has been in the world today….wow….can there BE such a thing as a city of peace?? Jerusalem was used at weekly “chapel”, and other occasions at the prep-school my son went to, last 2 yrs of high school. it was truly amazing to hear these young people, from all over the world, sing this very robustly. very moving. all heartfelt thanks to you, dear Susan. for being you. a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy new year as well. take care, be cozy and keeeep well !!!!! all love. xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      All love to you too Chris.💖 “Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.” (Rabindranath Tagore) Keep singing! xoxox

      • chris consentino says:

        oh, my goodness! my middle name is Faith. how did you know? I LOVE that quote as well. but…I don’t sing…because i can’t..and, the music makes me cry so much…i’d NEVER get the words out. sooooo blessed by you. thank you! oh! thank you!!

  4. This music certainly helps one to “Keep Calm and Carry On”. I have heard this hymn and even seen the the title “Jerusalem” written so many times, but I have never read or known the beautiful words. I did hear it once in person at Royal Albert Hall one November and I think I may have even heard it sung during a Royal Wedding or two on television. Thank you for such a beautiful post and for sharing the words. Philippians 4:8 is also one of my favorite two scripture verses. I have a plaque above my desk with these words that I try to keep in my heart. Merry Christmas to you and Joe!

  5. Toni says:

    Your post brought back an amazing evening at the “battle prom” at Blenheim palace grounds last summer. Horses, there were horses, and hundreds with picnic baskets and union jacks and babes, wee babes. Thank you for for the flashback. That same summer we enjoyed the national polo championships, the Americas cup practice, and the Henley regatta. Of course…pear cider and a small wonderful village church with a floral evensong, .. must return, must return. In this the season of giving; thank you for the gifts. They are many. Toni

  6. Karen says:

    Dear Susan—My English Grand-mum is smiling down from Heaven as I smile up at her. Blessings and peace to you and warmest wishes for the joys of the season! Karen

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Karen! Some of the best people I know are in heaven!

      • Doris Doody says:

        Just lost a ‘best person’lastTuesday…Monday he was alive and well; Tuesday he died quietly at home.

        Doris Doody, Worcester, MA

        • sbranch says:

          Aw, Doris, that’s sad, I’m so sorry. Yes, we know heaven is good, but I like my people to stay home. xoxoxoxo

  7. Candice says:

    Dear Susan, This is so moving, I too was moved to joyous tears, I love this song, isn’t it also considered a hymn? I believe my God-daughter had the congregaton sing this at her wedding. So wonderful that all those thousands of people of all ages join their voices together to pay tribute to their heritage! Thank you so much for sharing! Absolutely wonderful! Merry Christmas to you, Joe and kitties!!
    Hugs,
    Candice

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, it is a hymn. Makes me wish for the time, at least I believe it was true, when Brits sang in the pubs. I’ve seen it in movies, and I would have LOVED that. Merry Christmas Candice!

  8. sylvia in seattle says:

    Calendar Girls, the movie, was when the Jerusalem Anthem first registered in my consciousness because they sang it so many times in their WI meetings. So I began to notice it more. Who knew it was a William Blake poem! Well, probably lots of people, just not me. Anyhow I LOVE getting to the bottom of things 🙂
    Thanks for all the interesting source material.

  9. Another beautiful post Susan. I am so proud of this wonderful country that I live in. From the day I looked down on its beautiful green patchwork of fields as I was landing here on my very first visit, to my making it my new home, and living my happily ever after here I have been inspired. There is no other word for it. This country has a heartbeat that speaks and drums in harmony with my own. It speaks my language. This has always felt like home to me, from day one. I hope you and Joe have a beautiful Christmas. Would so love to see Christmas in your home. I am sure it is beautiful. I am so cheeky I know! God bless you both.

    “The light of the Christmas star to you,
    The warmth of home and hearth to you,
    The cheer and good will of friends to you,
    The hope of a childlike heart to you,
    The joy of a thousand angels to you,
    The love of the Son,
    And God’s peace to you.”

  10. Nancy Guarino says:

    What a wonderful Christmas gift! The gift that keeps on giving.
    Thank you so much, Susan.

  11. Linda Metcalf says:

    Yes…love Jerusalem, It is sung at WI meetings across the land and beautiful it is!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve heard that. Now I need to go to a WI meeting. Another wonderful thing! To others who aren’t familiar with the Women’s Institute go HERE

  12. Susiej says:

    Susan, I am so grateful that you have shared this lovely piece with us today. It has truly moved my heart and made me glad – inspires me to believe that hope does spring eternal. I would never have found this on my own – again, many thanks for such beautiful inspiration. God’s blessings and peace to you and Joe this Christmas and as we begin a new year.

  13. Sonya says:

    Gosh i thought every Anglophile knew about the Proms!

  14. Marty from NYC says:

    Just so beautiful and so needed as the perfect moment of peace and joy in this holiday season.
    The Philippians quote struck right to the heart of things and I have adopted it as my holiday inspiration.

  15. Jacki G. says:

    Susan, this is one of your best posts EVER! So touching, moving, inspiring. I think you kind of “left us” for a little while immediately following the election, but now you are back, the Susan that we know and love. Your blog is one of my few must-reads and has been for a long time. I will continue to look forward to reading each and every post you send out. Love to you and Joe, and Merry Christmas!

    • sbranch says:

      So glad you liked it … I never left you, btw, would not do that. 💗 Merry Christmas to you and yours. xoxoxo

      • Doris Doody says:

        I knew you hadn’t left us after the election…you were just helping our hearts to heal. Thank you for being special and true to your values. ‘Keep on keeping on’ and affirming us through thick and thin.

        Doris Doody

  16. Terrie Trebilcock says:

    Just lovely!
    I teach a high school elective class called History Through Sports. The first thing we cover is the development of the modern Olympics, and we watch Chariots of Fire as part of that unit. I give my students the words to “Jerusalem,” and they have to connect it to the film and to the goal of Harold Abrahams, as he tries to prove that he is as worthy an Englishman as anyone else. I love it!

  17. Marianne in Mo. says:

    Thank you for photographing your journey. I know I will never experience England, or anywhere outside the states anymore, as we have decided no more flying for us, ( and ships are out too!) I love the houses, land, critters and sky! The traditions are awesome, and yes, the 2012 Olympic Ceremony was a quick history lesson and I was totally absorbed in it. “Proms” must be amazing to attend!
    My only negative – some of your words got lost in the darker photos. I was able to get the gist, but just thought I would mention.
    Hoping you and Joe have a lovely Christmas! Looks like we are in for a rainy one here!

    • sbranch says:

      Lost in darker photos? Were you seeing words ON photos?

      • Marianne in Mo. says:

        Yes, some of the sentences went over photos (British flags on a building and whatever photo is below that, I can’t make out the photo) just above your video of the entire audience at last night of the Prom. This also happened in your last post, but I was able to discern the sentence.

        • sbranch says:

          There shouldn’t be any words at all, or anything else for that matter, on the photos. Try refreshing the page, and see if that goes away. Words are normally under the pictures, and totally separate. That’s how you should be seeing them, otherwise something isn’t right. Hope that will work!

  18. Jennifer Bonynge says:

    What an awesome posting! The 2012 opening ceremony, Pandemonium, was SO, SO very cool!!! I long for those pastoral scenes…and wonder where we have really gotten to along this progressive path…A girlfriend and I will be traveling to the UK this May (3rd time!) and will hit the Lake District this go ’round. Eager I am!

    • sbranch says:

      You have asked THE question! Somebody is happy, but not so much the regular guy! May in England! Lucky lucky you!

  19. Becky Maxwell from Central Coast of CA. says:

    Thank you for the music and the history. I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  20. Barbara says:

    I’m weeping. That feeling of connectedness of the people seems to be missing in our country right now. I know that they are struggling politically in the UK now, too. The heartbeat of We the People goes on, but such a song, a Voice, a Tradition amplifies it for all to feel embraced. The beauty of your journal is that it reminds us that the small encounters are the ones that bind us. God bless you and your family!

    • sbranch says:

      I hate to be negative, but our connectedness isn’t just missing, it’s been stolen from us. I pray we can get it back! Your lovely words “the heartbeat of We the People goes on” — and yes, I think I’m hearing it louder all the time. Blessings to you and yours dear Barbara. xoxo

      • Doris Doody says:

        Be vigilant for ‘thieves’ who want to take your peace away because they don’t have it and only enjoy ‘war’ and ‘fighting’ to increase their power to make themselves ‘cool’…let’s show them how mighty peace and connectedness can be.

  21. Lindy munday says:

    I have a Canadian mother and American father, so we were lucky to have some of English instilled in us by my grandfather anytime something would happen in Canada or England he always made sure we knew, he was a great man. We we lucky to have grand parents that show us a different way of live we would travel to Toronto almost every summer and spend special time with them. One year my parents went on extend trip and us kids, 15,12 and 9 were sent to Toronto for 3 months nov. dec. Jan. So everyday in school we sang God save the Queen.
    Was also luck in 2004 to travel to England and Scotland, when to the Lake District and would be one place I would love to go back and just be there for a month or so and wall the lakes like Beatrix Potter did.

  22. Diane profy says:

    Beautiful, thank you so so much! I remember the song from “Chariots
    Of Fire,” I think.

  23. Anne in Maine says:

    Thank you so much Susan for sharing the Proms with us. I’d never heard of them. Another wonderful British tradition. It was all so beautiful and very touching. A very Merry Christmas to you and Joe!

  24. Mary says:

    Wow, Susan…I really enjoyed Philippians 4:8, music, poem and pictures…a Very Merry Christmas to you and yours! Thank you so much for sharing with us! Love you!

  25. Kathie says:

    Jerusalem. One of my most favorite hymns since I first heard it in the movie, “Good Night Mr. Tom”, a story told about the child evacuations in England during WWII….tender and wonderful, starring John Thaw. The scene where they sing this is magical, in a surprising way, since the main focus is a lady with her hair in pincurls, hanging out her washing. On Youtube, Cicel (sp?) sings it beautifully, as does dear Susan Boyle. Thank you for the lovely journey. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    • sbranch says:

      I went looking for Susan Boyle and Jerusalem, and couldn’t find her…any chance you would have a link? I think she would be wonderful with that song. Thank you Kathie!

  26. Christine from CA says:

    Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!! Love the English and their love of country!!
    I listen to the Vangeles Chariots of Fire CD frequently!!!

    A Very Merry Christmas to you and Joe and All!!!

  27. K says:

    !Thank you for the food for the soul, it was savory!
    Thank you for your time, effort and these snippets of the world, you are appreciated!

  28. Karen from CT says:

    WOW! Just WOW!

  29. Linda in Pennsylvania says:

    Oh my, I had goose bumps and head tingles listening to the throng of people singing Jerusalem (a little choked up, too)! Thank you for sharing. The song was familiar to me; I realized that I heard it in the movie Calendar Girls, starring Helen Mirren and Julie Walters. In the movie, they attended WI meetings, which would open with the singing of Jerusalem accompanied by piano. What a stirring song!
    Here’s wishing a very Merry Christmas to you and Joe. 🎄💜🎄💜

  30. Susu S. says:

    Lovely to read your post. As an American living in the U.K. I love the Proms which goes on for weeks and often showcases new music, young artists, etc. as well as established music/musicians. So it is very much a ‘living thing’. The Last Night of The Proms is a fun filled tradition – patriotic in a really British sort of way. The connection you made between the Last Night of the Proms with the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremonies is spot on: both are smart, clever, loaded with history, appropriately proud, but slightly bonkers too (in the best, self effacing way!) I always stay up to watch the Last Night .
    On another topic…you might be interested to know that this Christmas our little family raised money for another great British institution, The Battersea Dog and Cat home. We used your fabulous dog treat recipe to make dog biscuits and gave them out as we collected donations for this very worthy cause. Thank you and best wishes for a wonderful Christmas and hopeful New Year.

    • sbranch says:

      “Slightly bonkers” is the very thing I love the best about the Brits (and something tells me, you too). I’ve been TRYING to come up with the right words forever! AND, the other thing, I’m honored that my dog biscuits were used in this way. Thank you, Susu!!

  31. Gill says:

    I sat and watched Love Actually last night, and it is so very British, it made me homesick!

    • Gill says:

      May I also recommend Kate Rusby’s version of The Village Preservation Society, which is available on YouTube and was used as the title song for the BBC series about the WI, Jam and Jerusalem 🙂

  32. Karina says:

    This song puts me in mind of the night we had one of our friends from England over for dinner. We were enjoying coffee and dessert when a couple of our children started playing the piano and then singing.. I was not paying attention when our friend stood and went over to them and started humming along, then singing aloud. The song was “Jerusalem” and our friend went on to tell how that song holds a special place in the hearts of many Englishmen. He thanked them and stated that it had lifted his spirit to hear it and sing with them as he had been homesick lately for the UK! Music is so important to us all and can lift and sooth our souls.
    Thank you for Susan for sharing this song and the beautiful photos. It has brought peace to my day!
    Merry Christmas!

  33. Chick Voice says:

    It occurs to me Susan that you might really appreciate a unique “Christmas” album…………Sting’s “If On A Winter’s Night”. It’s full of old Christmas songs, many ancient, from England. I particularly love “Soul Cake”.

  34. Sally Jenks Roth says:

    Thank you, Susan, for another lovely post. I adore the Proms, Jerusalem and God Save the Queen. My Queen… I love the quotes you chose, especially Michelangelo’s one about releasing the angel from the marble he’s carving. You are so clever with words; handmade villages, no two chimneys alike, all very evocative and perfect. Your illustrations are a delight!
    Healing tears of joy and nostalgia for me. Reading the comments is also a happy part of your blog, seeing there are so many anglophies who enjoy your uplifting blog posts. Again, thank you! xoxo

  35. Debbie says:

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful music! I love Jerusalem and haven’t heard it in a long time. Another one I like is “I Vow To Thee My Country”.

  36. Deborah In The Fields says:

    What a moving national hymn for the Brits! It reminds me of our own American set of patriotic hymns, like America The Beautiful, The Battle Hymn, and The Star-Spangled Banner. Actually, our national anthem, in all of its gorgeous stanzas, is filled with beauty and profound meaning. I have heard “Jerusalem” many times before, but I didn’t know all the lyrics, so thank you so much for sharing them with us. They are so moving and lovely … and yes, pondering such an outstanding piece of music, is to truly act in accordance with Philippians 4:8 (one of my very favorite Scriptures).
    May your Christmas be filled with every good and precious blessing as you celebrate the birth of Jesus, Susan. May God abundantly bless you, as you have blessed all of us.

  37. Sharon, back in my quaint little hometown of Chesterfield, South Carolina says:

    and not just any sheep . . . sheep with personality and everywhere, reminders of what came before . . . Love this post and your words and photographs Susan!

  38. Elizabeth says:

    WOW, WOW, WOW…oh thank you for sharing this one too!! Makes a person with British blood want to stand and shout!!

  39. Stephanie says:

    Thank you for this post. My English bits are bursting with joy! Merry Christmas!

  40. Laura Brookes says:

    Thank you Susan, I’m English born and bred but it sometimes takes someone else to show quite how lovely some of our traditions are.

    • sbranch says:

      Same here. I always love to give Island tours when our friends and family come to visit because it reminds me, hey, this place is wonderful too!

  41. Barbara from Wolverine Lake MI says:

    I’ve never heard that song before, Jerusalem, wow, how amazing hearing them all sing as one! Thank you for posting this. Susan, you always know how to fill our hearts. xoxo

  42. I just finished reading a biography of Eric Liddel, a Scottish athlete made even more famous in Chariots of Fire. William Blake has always been a favorite and his unofficial national anthem is stellar! Blake wrote the poem, in part, based upon the legend Jesus visited England…”…and did those feet in ancient time…”.
    I have more joy, peace and hope now than I’ve had in almost a decade. Merry Christmas to you, yours and everyone everywhere who cherish HiStory.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Sandra! Yes, perfect word, stellar! The holy lamb of God, is Jesus! And Jerusalem is Blake’s word for Heaven on Earth. I loved learning all the meanings of the words. Merry Christmas!

  43. Rose Dwight says:

    You dear woman. Thank you for this piece of music, photos and comments. Takes the edge off the ups and downs of Christmas. Plus I’m just off to the dentist to get a tooth pulled and I will hum your music all the way. The beef ribs in today’s NY Times sounds like it would be delicious.

    • sbranch says:

      I have my short ribs in the oven! But you probably aren’t even in the mood for food right now. Hope it went fast and easy and you are cuddled up and resting.

  44. CO Carol says:

    Dear Susan,
    After listening to that beautiful and majestic choir sing “Jerusalem,” I had to dig out my Charlotte Church CDs, and listen to her rendition on the “Voice of an Angel” CD. One voice or many, the words and melody touch my soul. Thank you for this wonderful prelude to when “Auld Lang Syne” will be doing the same. Wishing you all the best in the New Year!

  45. Cara M from West Chester PA says:

    Merry Christmas Susan!
    I never received Williard!- I signed up three times in the last few weeks and it’s not in spam. Anyway you could email it to me?
    I just love your blog and especially receiving Williard!
    Many blessings and good health to you and Joe in the New Year!

    • sbranch says:

      Hmm, I don’t know what’s going on, but thank you for checking, and HERE’S a link to Willard! Thank you Cara!

      • Cara M from West Chester PA says:

        Thank you thank you Susan for sending me the link to your wonderful Williard!! I would never want to miss it!!! It’s filled with joy and great wisdom! You’re so inspiring!
        I would LOVE to win that Williard giveaway!
        Happy New Year!

  46. sondra fox says:

    I’m glad you still have a following. Just checking in to see how your blog is going after the tirade you posted on the election. See, the world hasn’t fallen apart Susan. God is the one in control, no matter where he leads us. (Sandy of Chihuahua Flats)

    • sbranch says:

      So happy to see you here Sondra! Thank you for not giving up on me. I think if you had read the whole post, you would see it was not really a tirade. I think there must be a misunderstanding. And I try not to make God do all the work … I follow the proverb “Pray to God, but continue to row toward shore.” For instance, I don’t think I could steal something and blame it on God. And what my mom said so often ~ about “knowing the difference between right and wrong.” So I do think we have some choices over things. Anyway, all my best to you and yours.

      • chris consentino says:

        oh, yes!! do keep on rowing. I find it quite funny that folks aren’t truly comprehending what has happened here, and what will come of it. wow. hope they wake up soooooon. we are in for a world of hurt. sorry…..but, i’m quite afraid I may fall out-of-the-boat before we can get to a safe shore!!!! anyway….thank you, Susan….for continuing to stand up and stand tall. have you heard of the “safety-pin” thing?? a gesture of importance and comfort. ALL LOVE to you. xo

        • sbranch says:

          I’m with you, we’ve got some rocky waters ahead. Perhaps they will a. recall the rowboat, or b. foreclose on the rowboat, or c. tax the rowboat out of existence. MY problem is I feel little allegiance for either side at this point. Slowly, over time, inch by inch, more and more noticeable since the late 80s, now blatant: money and the corporate world, their media and their lobbyists, have taken over our elected officials, I think I would wear the safety pin for “money out of politics.” ➡️💞⬅️ (PS I should say many of our elected officials, not all, not fair to bunch them all together, there are a few who speak for the people, but when they do, the hammer comes down on them so hard, it’s difficult for them to survive.)

          • chris consentino says:

            yes. and…TERM LIMITS for members of congress….and, WHY do they have BIG, LIFELONG benefits and HEALTH CARE and ALL, while they have NO problem trying to DENY these things for “the people”……what HYPOCRITES and SELFISH< GREEEEEDY folks. oh, yes….MONEY out….TERM LIMITS in!!!!! xoox AND…when the "good ones" do speak and TRY to act FOR the people….WE should finds ways to SUPPORT them….vocally!!!!!

          • sbranch says:

            Think of this: if there’s no money, there would be no lobbyists, and no corporate backing of any political person ever, no corporate backing of issues that hurt us, so they would have to be responsive to no one but us. Then it wouldn’t matter so much if there were term limits (I think experience is not such a bad thing as long as the person works for the people). Taking the money away would change everything. And if they reinstated the FCC Fairness Doctrine, a lot of the fake broadcast news would stop. They wouldn’t be able to vote themselves pay raises so easily, and maybe they would quit calling our tax money “government money” and start working the same sorts of hours we do, and rely on Social Security the way we have to. Now, all we have to do is force our elected officials to change the laws and get the money out. Piece of cake!😜

      • chris consentino says:

        prayers for Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip. seems they both are recuperating from a “heavy cold”…and, at their ages…we pray they recuperate fully and carry on in best of health!! xoxo

    • chris consentino says:

      um…..what Susan said was in NO way a “tirade”. the only one in the business of “tirades” is mr trump. and….the world IS falling apart…lil piece by lil piece. watch and be aware. wow. what we are in for will truly be dangerous and hell-ish. God has kind of let us down. sadly.

      • sbranch says:

        We’ve let Him down. God created all of us, “Red and Yellow, Black and White, they are precious in His sight. . .” I don’t think He would approve of this situation we’ve allowed to happen. I don’t think he would approve of us allowing this beautiful earth, this paradise He gave us, to be unprotected, and used as a war zone. To have His people hungry and impoverished. I just have so much more faith in Him than that. God is love.

        • chris consentino says:

          yes. all of that is very true. xo

        • HveHope says:

          O Susan-
          You NAILED it: “We’ve let Him down. God created all of us, “Red and Yellow, Black and White, they are precious in His sight. . .” . Thank you for this post and for your faith. Both have encouraged me greatly this day!
          sending warm hopes for a LOVEly CHRISTmas for you & Joe this year and much love,

  47. Elske Olijnsma says:

    Hi Susan!

    I love this song! It was also played at William & Kate’s wedding: youtube.com/watch?v=4yIWBO_7nio. It is also featured in the movie “Four Weddings and a Funeral”. I believe it was also played at Charles’and Diana’s wedding, but I’m not completely sure about that. You have brought many happy memories from England and Scotland back to Martha’s. Will you have a white Christmas? We definitely won’t, it will be 50 F on Christmas Day. Anyway, I want to wish you and Joe a very merry Christmas!! Love Elske

    • sbranch says:

      I think they play it a lot!!! And it’s easy to see why! Looks like, weatherwise we have just about what you have, sunny and 45F on Christmas Day, cool enough for a fire, but no snow! I’m sure it will come though, it always does! Merry Christmas Elske!

  48. Jackie says:

    I LOVED the opening to the 2012 London Olympics! I still think about it now and then.

    • sbranch says:

      I know, remember the geese and the shepherdess? Amazing how they put the countryside in the middle of London. They should be proud. A bit bonkers, as one of our girlfriends said, but we could use lots more of that kind of bonkers in this world!

  49. Peggy S says:

    That whole thing was just wonderful! I admit, I had to sing ‘My Country tis of Thee’ on the 2nd chorus!

    Speaking of calendars, I SO wish that you would do a page-a-day cube calendar.
    (Like you don’t have enough to do!) I’m getting tired of Maxine – she is TOO true to life !!

    • sbranch says:

      LOL! I’d like to, just have SO much to do in calendars already, hate to add more when I could do other things.

  50. Janeen says:

    Susan, what was the name of the cd you purchased?

    • sbranch says:

      We bought two, Music for a Great House which we got at Blenheim Palace (maybe check their online gift shop) and Last Night of the Proms, BBC Music (Malcolm Sargent conducts BBC Symphony Orchestra, 1961).

  51. Catherine Wegner says:

    Your pictures are beautiful and transports us to the English countryside. So peaceful and lovely! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  52. Marilyn Young says:

    Merry Christmas to both of you!!!!
    Love the Proms and all the music you give us. I’m writing my cousin in Ely, Cambridgeshire, today to ask her why she never told me about this. I am still hopeful I can visit dear old England once more and go to some of the places you have written about, especially the Lake District! I went to Cambridge and all the little villages, farms and churches of my ancestors. I met all my cousins and had such a grand time. I love England. Thank you Susan for all of your messages.
    Marilyn

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Marilyn, I love hearing about England from you! Yes, ask Ely why she never told us!!! 💞

  53. Sue says:

    Dear Susan and Joe
    Thank you once again for a wonderful blog. It amazes me that even though you were lucky enough to spend two and a half months in Great Britain, you still barely scraped the surface of all there is to see. Thank you also for helping us all to open our eyes and see the beauty around us. Sometimes we get so involved in what is going on around us to stop and notice they many small things of beauty around us. And yes … the best things in life are free. I have been so enjoying following you on your journey, and hope to one day return to see all of the British Isles. My son is a classical musician and I was lucky enough to hear him play in two concerts at the Royal Albert Hall at the Proms in 2015. It is an experience I will never forget. From there we spent some time in the Cotswalds. Thank you for all the joy you bring to so many. Merry Christmas
    Love Sue

    • sbranch says:

      WHAT an honor, for your son, and for you, and how amazing that night must have been. Did you ever stop crying?

  54. HveHope says:

    Susan-
    Have you read “Don’t fret, do good and stitch” by Sarah (nee’ Clarkson) by chance: (thoroughlyalive.com/2015/11/dont-fret-do-good-and-stitch/)?
    Your post (Song for the Ages) reminded me of Sarah’s comments (in part, about the British ‘keep calm and carry on’ spirit). I found Sarah’s words quite uplifting and encouraging.
    A quote in particular reminds me of what YOU do (here and with your many creative ventures):

    “I smile now, though my heart aches with all that needs to be set right. I lightly stroke the flowers stitched in the night shadows of a war-time hospital. I pick up my pen because I’ve left my journal open. But not to fill the pages with fretting. There’s good to be done, and I need to scratch into that welcoming whiteness just how I plan to begin. I need to continue the story told forward by the woman whose faithful stitches reach down through the years with a hope that only gathers in brightness…” ( thoroughlyalive.com/2015/11/dont-fret-do-good-and-stitch/ ).
    sending much love to you….

    • sbranch says:

      Beautiful! That was so sweet. xoxo The older I get, the more I realize how important it is to have a vision. 😊

  55. Amylisa says:

    That’s really something, for some reason that old English hymn you posted about here was running through my mind yesterday! 🙂
    Merry Christmas to you Susan and Joe and Jack too <3

  56. Sandra Barton says:

    Thank you Susan for the yummy rib recipe. I am going to make that during the holidays. Love the photos of the step by step. I have a newly remodeled (brag) kitchen to cook it in, a gift from my hubby who has done all the work. I am very new to your website and blog, but wanted you to know I really enjoyed my first Willard. Very fun! The best part of your blog for this read was the darling photo of the squirrel! Too cute! How lucky you were to be able to snap that photo! A very Merry Christmas to you and Joe and to all your family! Thank You for your new book, “Isle Of Dreams”, I read it in one weekend! Loved It!!

  57. Elizabeth says:

    Dear Susan,
    I’m so pleased you enjoy England so much – please come back again soon. I do have your first book so I’m hoping that you will write another book with all the lovely photos you take about this trip. I just love seeing England from your point of view. It makes me realise I should explore more of this wonderful country. Have a peaceful Christmas, a wonderful 2017 and thank you for your inspirational blog. xxx

    • sbranch says:

      It is an amazing place, chock full of wonders and charm and history, around every corner. Magical, but all real!!! That’s the amazing part. Happy Christmas to you Elizabeth, peace for us all in 2017. xoxo

  58. Suzette Shoulders says:

    Susan, I am a true Anglophile, and have been lucky enough to go there 7 times, will go with my favorite friend, Jenny, in May and June to the North! BUT I had NOT known about the “Proms”, and was fascinated, and brought to tears listening to ‘Jerusalem” and “God Save Our Queen”… I want the lyrics, so I can sing the British words! My English ancestry thrills to the music and the traditions! What a fun thing to read this blog today, the day before Christmas! And many happy thoughts to you and Joe, and dear little Jack!

    • sbranch says:

      “Thrills to the music and the traditions” ~ me too, we all need more of that in our lives. We had the music in the car while driving around, it’s a very good soundtrack to the views of the green and pleasant land.💖 Have fun!

  59. Rhea says:

    MERRY CHRISTMAS SUSAN, JOE AND JACK!!!!! Have a lovely day!!

  60. Love traditions….we have them too! Loved reading your post and all the with all the excitement of this special time of the year “CHRISTMAS”!

    The spicy short ribs look yummy…printed off the recipe…and will make them for New Years day…”Thank you”!

    God Bless you both!

    Carolyn

  61. Rhea Foley says:

    Yep. Made our Christmas feast from your Christmas cookbook! Perfect.

  62. barbara lassiter says:

    I missed this before Christmas, but YES, YES, YES there will always be an England! I love America, but I love the British Isles, too! And who wouldn’t and why not?

  63. Sharon in my hometown in South Carolina says:

    Jerusalem and God Save The Queen . . . chilling . . . goose bumps!

  64. Saartje says:

    There is a very beautiful version of this song by coopeboyesandsimpson.co.uk/ on their CD “What we sing is what we are”.

    the YouTube video: youtube.com/watch?v=8bbKer-Cs8Q , but you should buy the CD, it’s full of goose pimple moments!

    • sbranch says:

      Well, now you’ve done it. I’m sitting here with tears going down my cheeks. Thank you Saartje. They sang it right to my heart. xoxo

  65. Susan, I finally got my hands on my own copy of your book, The Fairy Tale Girl, at Indigo in Vancouver, B.C. The timing is perfect as the snow keeps falling here so I can settle in for a long (I hope not too long) winter’s read.

  66. Sue says:

    Dear Sue,

    The teapot with what looks like recipes on your twitter page looks fabulous, it reminds me of an ornament that you posted once that you could click on and get the recipes. Should the teapot do that, mine doesn’t, or would you have to post it on this blog for it to work? If so I hope you will. I ‘m glad that you had a wonderful Christmas and have a Happy 2016. Thanks again for all you do… Love Sue

  67. Donna Kazmercyk says:

    Magical!

  68. mrspao says:

    It is such a beautiful post. I am so glad you made it to England. Next time, you’ve got to come to Canterbury!

  69. Diana H. says:

    HAPPY NEW YEAR SUSAN AND JOE! This post, oh my heart!!! It is my full-on dream that may even come true to visit the UK with the purpose of hearing such awe-inspiring music in the great halls/churches. I especially would love to hear someone go full out on one of those huge organs in one of those beautiful churches and I just know it would be a religious experience in itself. Thank you for posting this. I had no idea of this tradition and really love it! Music speaks to the soul when nothing else can… I am a little late in the game and catching up on posts from December. The holidays were a little crazy for us but am ready to settle in for the time of coziness and cheer! All good things wished to you, Joe, family and Girlfriends!!

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