By Tilly Smith Dix


Walk this way


I have tried many forms of exercise in my life, with a superficial understanding of maintaining a certain level of fitness, paying it forward, so to speak. Must strengthen bones and preserve pesky joints as well as vital organs to try smoothen the inevitable ageing process.

Finally, I have reached the conclusion that a brisk walk, tapered to a leisurely stroll after 20 minutes, is my preferred choice of constitutional.

It is, however, rather off-putting when my walking partner husband gets all cracked up when I, in earnest, do Pilates stretches and twists after the brisk walk as a prelude to my leisurely stroll. My meander is usually interrupted by frequent stops to snap pictures of the verdant gardens and wildlife along our trails. After all, what’s the use of walking in this garden of Eden in our magical Yarra Valley in the outer-east of Melbourne if one can’t stop and smell the roses, or, at least take an iPhoto to preserve yet another beautiful memory.

In Andrew’s defence, he does take his walking seriously and tends to keep up a steady march in whatever time we have designated for our early morning walks. My little arrows of revenge do hit home, though, when, after my frequent photographic pauses, I catch up and outwalk him every time – during the cooler days, anyway. I know this is a family blog, so, I won’t share his remarks when I purposefully march right past him to gain time for my next Kodak (photographic, to you youngsters), moment. I must also add that I am almost a foot shorter than him, ha.

Walking in Lilydale.

The beauty of the region resonates with me on so many levels and those who know me, or even those who don’t, have heard my thoughts on the pain of renovating one’s own home and while himself is doing a sterling job, I do wish we could have at least another 5 of him to speed up the process so I can finally nest and unpack the rest of our many boxes still stored below stairs.

The walks offer vistas and close-ups of sublime landscapes, flora and fauna – as well as superb therapy for my yet to be identified emotional condition.

Sightseeing in our valley and around the magnificent Dandenongs is a joy and we have become so countrified, we hop on the train when we need to go into the city, finding the trams, busses and train services a civilised convenience. No stress of traffic or parking in a world-class city.

Scenic walking trails of the Yarra Valley.

One of our recent sojourns into the city comprised a visit to the Sun Theatre in Yarraville, a less than five-minute stroll from the train station. During the Inaugural Australian 70mm Film Festival held early November 2017, we saw Laurence of Arabia, luxuriating in the spacious, comfortable seats, conveniently kitted out with drink stands for a tipple and freshly popped popcorn.

Watching this epic movie, directed by David Lean in 1962 in the Jordanian Desert in dynamic proportions, was mind-blowing and it brought back a memory of my first visit to Wiltshire, where I drove along the very narrow country lane where T.E. Laurence’s love of speed on his motorcycle resulted in his final turn.

Marlon Brando and Albert Finney both declined the lead role which made Peter O’Toole, up to then a Shakespearean actor, a household movie-star name, teamed with a young Omar Sharif, and luminaries such as Sir Alec Guinness and Anthony Quinn. Maurice-Alexis Jarre was the composer of the award-winning, and at times spine-chilling, soundtrack and it is to film history’s advantage this engineering student from Lyon in France switched to music, against his father’s wishes. His son Jean-Michel Jarre needs no introduction as a musician either.

King Hussein of Jordan lent an entire brigade of his Arab Legion as extras, securing authenticity of the soldiers in the movie. In fact, the King fell in love with a young British production assistant, who became his second wife in 1962 – their eldest son became King Abdullah of Jordan in 1999 and remains king to this day.

A most liveable city, Melbourne.

Sir Winston Churchill deemed T.E. Laurence one of the greatest beings alive and predicted his name would live on in history. I think Sir Winston would have loved this movie. We were lost in the extravagant visuals, music and history, and did not want it to end.

Keep an eye on the Sun Theatre, where the Right Stuff, Pink Floyd – The Wall, The Hateful Eight, Hamlet, Dunkirk, and the newly released Murder on the Orient Express were on offer last time I looked –

Come fly with me

“Many people believe you need to be wealthy to learn to fly, and lease or own an aircraft at some expense. If the passion for flying is within us, we make a plan,” says Bob Boyd, MD of the Yarra Valley Flight Training centre in Coldstream.

Whilst an electronics technician, every opportunity to fly was seized with open arms. It could be a city orbit or a fishing trip to Sweers Island, Bob flew around the length and breadth of Australia in myriad aircraft with mates and chartered passengers to gather flight hours, absorb knowledge about different aircraft, conditions and terrain.

Bob Boyd at the Yarra Valley Flight Training centre in Coldstream.

Today, the established flight school provides GA (General Aviation) and RA (Recreational Aviation), including CPL (Commercial Pilots Licence), training.

Many flyers opt for aircraft rental by the hour from the YVFT fleet.

Some aviators realise their love of aviation in their teens, when presented with a bucket-list gift of a flying lesson. CASA has a minimum age requirement of 16 years to qualify for a RPL (Recreational Pilots Licence), and a minimum age of 15 years to fly solo, with the required supervision and training. Bucket-list gifts, ‘tis the Season and all…

Bob and his team have trained many pilots. His students vary. Some are on a tight budget and still at college or university, some are captains of industry wishing to fly their own planes, while some folks take on a second job to pursue their love of flying. All you need is the passion to fly a plane. Call Bob at 03 9739 1406 –

Cheers to the good life – come visit spectacular Victoria…

2 thoughts on “Ordinary pleasures and bucket list pursuits in our valley

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s