15 Jul 2020

The “At-Home” Diaries: Not At Home

The At Home Diaries:Not At Home on vickiarcher.com

This week I am not “at-home”.

As much as I am a homebody and have taken travel for granted it is a luxury to have a change of scenery. We haven’t gone far but even 90 minutes out of London into the countryside feels like a grand voyage. Most of our family are with us and that’s all I need. As our family grows with partners and babies included a new dynamic emerges and one I am so delighted to be a part of. Watching the next generation make their memories is a wonderful gift and one I feel so fortunate to be the recipient of.

We are staying near Bath in Wiltshire and a prettier more quintessentially English area there isn’t. Imagine Jane Austen’s every word and the film sets created around her sentiments and you have the feel. Villages, while modern in the day-to-day practicalities, still retain their originality and charm. The buildings, mostly stone are golden in colour and the gardens and wildflower meadows in their prime. The home we are staying in has an extensive kitchen garden. Who thought there is so much pleasure to be had picking salad greens and turning up carrots for an evening meal? Small pleasures feel like overwhelming joys after the last few months. To race around the garden flower snipping and making posies for the dining table is something I have missed. I really am a “city mouse” but a dose of the countryside is well received.

What did I pack?

Everything wrong is the answer.

The “lockdown” life has impaired my packing skills and I have arrived with a couple of sweatpants and comfortable tees and one or two blouses to wear with the cargo pants but no dresses. I feel like floating around in a longer style dress with a pretty print or a textured fabric. My summer favourites are hanging quietly in London with no gig to go to. My dress sense has been dusted with a sort of drab film that is hard to shake. Packing made sense at home but here, with the long twilight evenings and an opportunity to dress, I am sorry I will miss the moment.

Dresses have been missed but the break has been a delight. xv

Wish I Had Packed These

all in favor floral midi  ||  jonathan simkhai linen midi  ||  normal kamali scoop neck  ||  thierry colson vera

divine inspiration

cecilie bahnsen floral jaquard midi   ||  erdem rosemont wallpaper silk print  || erdem tired floral  || erdem willow ditsy print

image the belfast telegraph

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Oh Vicki….the photo alone drew me in, then your prose tied up the package with a pretty pink satin bow. My husband and I are dreaming of traveling to England and to rent a little cottage somewhere in the country and live the life on holiday. Everything you describe here, I want to do before I move on to the “next life.”

I love watching how you take each phase of your handling of this lockdown. You go with the flow of what your lifestyle and family dynamic is able to do, as we are navigating ours. The outcome I hope, will be peace of mind and the health and strength to make the future a better version of the “normal” we once knew.


I love Bath and your beautiful photos allow me to visit in my head even though my body is stuck in Pennsylvania. I am boring – I have lists made up after years of making notes on packing of what worked and what didn’t. I have lists for places I travel for business, for visiting family in Florida (won’t be going there any time soon!), and for Europe city and country. When it comes time to pack I use the list no matter what whims I might be entertaining at the time. I’ve had to get ready for a trip while feeling ill and having the list meant I took everything I needed. Without the list I would have taken hours of indecision to get ready and probably ended up with pajamas.

Linda B

Sweet Vicki, I am so very happy to know you are enjoying this lovely holiday in the country! We are all getting vicarious pleasure from it, I am sure. It is just delicious to imagine you there, with your children and grandbabies. Long ago, when I was pregnant with my eldest child, my husband, sister and I traveled in that area. It was gorgeous. It was a thrill to be in “Austen country.”

I can totally imagine that you wish you had brought garden-inspired dresses. Actually, I am grateful for this insight as I pack for an upcoming sojourn; I was only planning a simple jersey dress but a flowered midi or two need to come along too.

My husband and I will be traveling in a few weeks. Our house sale has almost gone through. . . we are packing up and storing nearly everything for now, to head up to Oregon for three months with our daughter, son-in-law, and 13 month old granddaughter. I can’t wait to be living adjacent to the beautiful forest, and harvesting from their abundant garden. But the best will be the time with wee Lucy!


Oh Vicki
Well written, and the honesty of your dusted down drab style, for comfort and ease are what we nod our heads at whilst we read your words, sitting in our kitchens or desk reading this, and sipping tea and trying to glean a wondrous scene from this, the picture you chose has us, drugged into daydreaming, either a future visit or guests coming over, or a redo of the furniture…again, put the lounge there etc. love this nod again to realising where we are, why and how we are to get up, close the screen and get ready. Love it. Thankyou .


“It’s such a happiness when good people get together.” Jane Austin – Emma


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