A wonderful new book by my friend Susan Branch. WIN YOUR OWN SIGNED COPY. Just leave a comment on this blog posting. After our drawing, we will contact you and ask for your home address and exactly how you want the book signed by Sue. Thank you Sue for your generosity.
Her glorious hand-lettering fills each page with joy, wisdom, history, and travel hints.
Jeff and I loved turning the pages and finding the bookstore, Much Ado Books, of our friends Cate and Nash (formerly of Marblehead, Massachusetts), but now in Alfriston in East Sussex, England. Their bookstore won the award of Best Independent Bookstores in the U.K. You MUST stop by their shop and visit them. You'll be amazed by their knowledge, their philanthropy, their artistry, and to boot, they're great people and great cooks!
Anyone traveling to England would be well-served to take along a copy of this book. It gives an intimate peek at so many things it would be hard to find on a typical, fast moving holiday. Sue and Joe's ramblings have served us all well. I'm ready to go again!
LATE AT NIGHT
Late at night, and I'm talking midnight when others sleep, Jeff reads aloud to me. By night time, my eyes are tired, and it just feels so good to be read to. I look forward to this part of my life. Don't like to admit it, but sometimes I am lulled to sleep, but not when Jeff started reading Sue's new book.
Snap, my eyes opened. I laughed, nodded my head, clucked my tongue. Lots and lots of the beginning of the book was familiar territory to me because of the voluminous letters Sue and I used to write back and forth (internet changes it all, right? I vow to write more real letters!).
Jeff read on and on until I couldn't stay awake. We did not want to stop the adventure, but we knew that we would be sharing the journey again the next night.
The book is more than a travel book or memoir, but you have to read it and experience it to totally appreciate the depth, humor ,and joy Sue shares. I promise, you won't regret a second of your time.
A desktop full of memories. Sue and I used to correspond by actual mail! She would often do little watercolors for me and include them in the envelope. I always snipped herbs and stuffed them into my notes. We wrote voluminous letters to each other.
Sue, Joe, and Jeff doing the "kitchen dance" in my teensy Cambria kitchen (which I loved).
Joe Hall, Jeff, and me in the dining room on the Vineyard. Great place to sit and talk for hours. Oh, and did I mention that it is a great place to eat for hours?
Girlfriends all dreseed up and celebrating as Sue's guests at the Madonna Inn. This was in 1994. I remember that there were little gold boxes at each place. The boxes were filled with Godiva chocolates. I am on the far right and sitting down. Sue is behind me, second from the right end. Her dear sister Shelly, who I adore, sits on my far left. Her close friend Diana (mentioned in the book) is sitting to my left.
Sue dancing with a silent partner on Martha's Vineyard. She won't be stepping on any toes here.
CALIFORNIA HOMECOMING THIS WEEK
Making more sweet memories
Two Sues. Two of my favorites in the world. Sue Branch and Susie Bassetti hugging in my kitchen. I'm lucky! Um, Sue Eiler, don't want you to think that I forgot YOU. Of course, you're one of my favs too.
Mr. Adorable. Joe Hall is pondering a table laden with food.
So dear, but where is his black beret??
The girls talk and paw through my coffee table basket filled with photos (which is where I found some of the old ones pictured above).
The best part of a meal. Friends. We had so much catching up to do, but first, we all held hands in thanks for the food and friendship and told what we are grateful for. Friends, family, health...who could ask for more? Isn't it funny how you can be separated from beloved friends, but when you join together the conversation just flows, like it had never stopped. True friends are a comfort. No artifice, no excuses, just friendship.
Ellis Bassetti gets his just desserts from Sue. She said, "If you knew Ellis, then you'd know that he deserves this!" I must agree. He is the worst tease in the world, but we still love him.
I think we were singing. Not the best photo of me, but hey, it is about the moment!
So my friends, I'll end this posting with an invitation for you to leave a comment to win one of Sue's signed books. You'll love it. Contest ends October 20th.
...but it is NOT THE END!
Sending love across the miles,