to top

Taking the long way home


We had a location shoot today out on the Yarra Valley fringe, so I used the opportunity to take myself and my bad mood on a bit of a drive. The two of us went out through Warrandyte, where a dozen squat old shops sit proud along part of the Yarra that is quite narrow. We drove along a narrow, winding road out to Kangaroo Ground, and at some point I was overwhelmed by anxiety and turned around so I could pretend I was going home, and after that I was okay again. I find that the anxious brain is easily fooled in to and out of anxiety.

Without giving any storyline away, because I know you are all avid Neighbours watchers and would be devastated, I spent the morning in a tiny country chapel that was exactly the way you would imagine a tiny country chapel might be, with creeping roses that fell about the front doors in a sullen fringe. Inside, rows of ancient pews with wood polished by years of sitting and standing and kneeling and sitting again, and knots that told stories about the trees from which they came.

Once I’d done some real work, I drove back the long way, and by the long way I mean about 45km in the wrong direction. I drove through all the outer Melbourne landscapes – wineries, hills, farmland – and each time I thought I might turn right and head toward my house, I turned left and headed somewhere else. I saw gum trees on hilltops as though painted into the sky and marching lines of young vines and black cows asleep in the shade.

Everywhere I turned, something else reminded me of home, which is to say Adelaide. The Barossa. McLaren Vale. Happy Valley. Norton Summit, where everything is always blackened by fire in one way or another. The sad part of my brain said, “This is all so much like home. I’m so homesick.” but then the rational part said, “It reminds you of home because ‘home’ is not that different or special. It’s all part of the same landscape.” So although there are things about home that cannot be replicated – like nannas and favourite old Italian restaurants – sometimes you can find them again somewhere else.

I came home and wrote some emails and put some organic beef and local red wine on the stove to make a pie.


Want to be notified when THE PAPER HOUSE is available to buy?

Pop in your email address below. I'll only use it for this purpose and maybe Christmas cards.

(Or pre-order it from Readings right now!)

Anna Spargo-Ryan

I’m Anna, a digital strategist and writer who likes to drink 'Ice Tea' but doesn't understand why it's not called 'Iced Tea'. By night and occasionally morning, I eat things, write things, berate my children, walk my dogs and hug my chocolate.

  • Kelly Exeter

    xx :)

    How’s your bad mood now?

    November 19, 2012 at 6:48 pm Reply
      • Kelly Exeter

        MOST excellent news :) Bad moods bite the big one :)

        November 19, 2012 at 6:55 pm Reply
  • Angela

    After 10 years, I am FINALLY starting to love Melbourne. As a Sydney girl, there are fewer similarities between the two towns, unlike Melbourne & Adelaide. It really is a spectacular place, isn’t it?

    November 19, 2012 at 8:32 pm Reply
  • Angela

    Oh, and how much do the roses rock this year? Extraordinary.

    November 19, 2012 at 8:35 pm Reply
  • Sara

    Sometimes the best thing to do with a bad mood is to take it for a drive :). I love what you did with your anxiety – and you’re right, it is easy to trick your mind in and out of states of consciousness. Good luck.

    November 20, 2012 at 11:33 am Reply
  • mumabulous

    Life cant be all bad if you have organic beef and local red wine for a pie ;-). I loved seeing your beautiful photos. They made me just a touch jealous. I’m in Sydney’s east and I have to drive a very, very long way to feel as though I’ve escaped suburbia.

    November 20, 2012 at 8:08 pm Reply

Leave a Comment