by Tilly Smith Dix

Lockdown level 4 has been a grind and people, especially kids, are struggling with the strict confines and home schooling. Melbourne is now known as the city with the longest lockdown restrictions in the world.

Fortunately, when one is moving home, it is regarded as an essential activity and it was during this time I changed my address, moving from the verdant Yarra Valley on the city’s outer East to the Mornington Peninsula, similar in distance from the city but located closer to the bay.

Again, I declared the next time I move house, it will be in a box to my permanent home of the spirit world, chuckle. I said that once before and ended up moving to another country. Never say never…another chuckle.

So, I had the move planned with precision. One needs to do that to maintain some level of sanity as it is a task not to be sneezed at, moving house. I was systematically, meticulously, moving items after thoroughly cleaning the new house, so as to have as little disruption as possible in the process.

Keep the bare essentials at the old house until the day of the final move, and cart the lighter stuff in unsealed boxes to the new address, unpacking where it would be utilised, then returning to the old home with the now empty containers. This was the plan.

I felt in total control. Then something bizarre happened and I realised I needed to hightail it faster to my new abode. If I’d known this would happen, I’d have had time to arrange a nervous breakdown. However, I had no time nor the resources to allow such frivolity, so I could hardly afford dropping the basket. I switched into energiser-bunny mode and packed like a demon to speed up the process.

My incredible family and a friend who is now like family, pitched in, which was allowed under the circumstances, loading their vehicles with me as the project manager and chief packer. Apparently, they were astounded at my energy, strength, and determination. I had no time to ponder this, as I just needed the job done! Woman on a mission, beware!

On the final day, the removalists arrived to pack up the heavy items, and fridge, bed, washing machine, furniture and garden furniture were relocated without a glitch.

Still, I remained in that highly charged, altered state of unpacking in, and organising my new space. Until an injury to a big-toe nail slowed me down. I guess I needed that, alas, could have done without the agony, as I needed to slow down after a month of energiser madness.

I slept for 10 hours, unaided by champagne. This is when I realised whilst the spirit is willing and the body keen, there is only so much one body can take before it needs to be recharged. Well, Rome, as the saying goes, was not built in a day and I became kinder to me.

Having always prided myself on having an excellent memory, which served me well as a journalist and then as a publicist, I haven’t the foggiest clue how I managed this great trek so fast.

It has to be said though, without the emotional support of said loved ones, not to mention my special tribe around the globe, I’d have cracked like Humpty Dumpty. So, cheers to never being too old to make yet another big move and never forgetting how lucky I am to have these special, caring souls in my life. Thank you from my heart’s bottom, said whilst blowing kisses of gratitude. Namaste.

To crown my joy, living in this new tranquil space, a loving couple of spotted doves built a nest in my small private garden, from where I have taken enormous pleasure observing the dedication and care with which the male and female are tending to the nest. I feel privileged they chose my tree from which to launch their new family.

Of course, I miss my sweet Cathy as she’d have loved this quiet space but for now, I have the doves cooing their contentment. She was way past her hunting days and would have simply moaned at the doves and complained to me about allowing these feathered beasts to nest within spitting distance of her favourite throne at the foot-end of the bed, from which she would observe them through the window…


My freeloading tenants, spotted doves nesting.

Living mere minutes from the sea is a bonus. I grew up near the sea and loved sailing on an estuary with friends as a teen. Whilst the Mornington Peninsula does not have the majestic mountains of the Western Cape of South African, there are aspects of the region that trigger happy memories of my years on that glorious coastline and making new memories in my beautiful surrounds is sheer bliss.

I’ve managed to meet my friends for walks in Frankston, where a stroll along the long white beach and along scenic Kananook Creek, a takeout coffee and toasty seemed like a glorious holiday. Lockdown has given us all a new appreciation for the little things that bring plenty joy.

I’ve also had to visit scenic Mt Eliza nearby to attend to essential business and savoured every moment of the 20-minute drive along the beachfront, return. Grabbing yet another takeout coffee and gazing at the moody ocean, with Melbourne depicted as some faraway Gotham City, again felt like a gorgeous escape from lockdown. Yep, silver linings abound…

For those feeling adrift during a pandemic, reach out to others. Often, we discover our problems are miniscule compared to those of others. In the quaint words of my beautiful friend of so many years, living faraway in Florida, we must embrace our lives as being, “tickity-boo.” Thanks for the smiles from so far away, Angie.

Sofa spud binges in lockdown

Harry’s Law is not just another law series.  Kathy Bates gets my vote as a middle-aged lawyer who gets fired from a big law firm and starts up her own practice with a diverse legal team, in a shoe store in a Cincinnati ghetto. Created by David E. Kelly, I’m disappointed the series was cancelled by NBC after Season Two, even though it was the most watched series on the network, according to the entertainment media! Something to do with Paramount owning the rights. Politics, sigh.

Having had plenty legal matters to deal with in the past almost two years, watching this series made me realise my problems were small! I love quirk and some of the unusual cases, not to mention befriending seemingly dangerous gang members who often tend to have a soft side, the often-unorthodox situations proved thoroughly entertaining. I’d gladly give this series 4.5 stars.

Pan Am is not just about pretty flight stewardesses and handsome pilots. Well, there is that but far be it from me to say I don’t enjoy looking at beautiful people, especially captains in uniform, wink-wink. The stellar cast includes the gorgeous Aussie, Margot Robbie, feisty Christina Ricci, lovely Karine Vanasse, enigmatic Kelli Garner, and handsome Mike Vogel. The layered web of romance, espionage, and stunning locations for great story lines, proved a delightful diversion.

This series takes place in the early Sixties and the war was still raw in many minds. Jack Kennedy built political bridges, declaring, “Ich Bin Ein Berliner,” which did not resonate with everybody. Five stars for the fun of this series.

Somehow, watching Pan Am reminded me of the late Seventies when I fancied myself as a flight attendant. Instead, I got bamboozled into a film test. Couch casting was offered after my two small movie parts.  I refused. No regrets. But I missed my chance to fly. However, I got to travel on my own terms eventually.

Travel back in the day seemed so much more glam. Sadly, 9/11 and Covid-19 diminished the gloss of travel but, once the world is back on a more normal track, all will be forgotten, and dreamy destinations will lure us to distant shores again. For now, I’m happily ensconced in armchair travel and savouring magical memories of travels of old…

On a more serious note, a movie gem I came across on Amazon Prime, based on true events during WWII, is A Call to Spy. Director Lydia Dean Pilcher and a stellar cast, including Stana Katic, of Castle fame, Sarah Megan Thomas, Radhika Apte and Linus Roache, tell the story of how Winston Churchill ordered his spy agency to train women to undermine the Nazi regime in France.

Not always comfortable to see these events unfolding, but we must never forget. Directed with sensitivity and style. I highly recommend this movie and gladly give it 4.5 stars.

The Only Living Boy in New York. Take Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan, Callum Turner, Kate Beckinsale and Cynthia Nixon, add a nuance story, laden with intrigue and surprises, and you get a sophisticated hidden gem on Amazon Prime. The soundtrack is so New York, I could smell that city of many layers. Watch it. This one deserves five stars.

Summertime, and the living is easy… and travel choices abound in South Africa

Luxe safari at Tau Game Lodge

Getting away from it all, to a place where the living is easy, the ambience understated luxe, the food is wholesome, and the spa overlooks the verdant bush…

Add lazing around two pools, one with infinity features, both overlooking a waterhole always frequented by game, or sipping cocktails in the privacy of one’s room deck, or reclining on the main hospitality deck, all with too-close-for-comfort vistas of the waterhole. No stress, visitors are safely surrounded by security fences to keep the predators at bay, while game roam free as they own the location.

This is just some of the magical safari aspects at Tau Game Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve of the North-West, bordering Botswana.

Early morning safaris are spectacular, offering magical light for photography, with a pitstop for tea, coffee or hot chocolate, and delicious buttermilk rusks in the bush, whilst game rangers always keep a vigilant eye on game – got to keep the paying guests safe…


Tau Game Lodge, five-star understated luxe…great memories.

Current rates:

Special daily rates start at R 4,800 per person sharing, valid until 20 December 2021. After 20 December rates will be R6435.00 per person sharing – contact reservations for weekly and monthly special offers and packages at  +27-11–4668715 or check specials at

The Cherry Steam Train Festival at Sandstone Estates

In celebration of newly relaxed Covid-19 restrictions, narrow gauge steam trains, restored heritage transport and farming equipment, magnificent vistas of mountains, and simply in celebration of life and the tradition of the age-old cherry harvest, just north of Ficksburg…

This getaway is set to put the ‘wow’ back in life on 19 and 20 November. The Cherry Steam Train Festival at Sandstone Heritage Trust Estate in the Free State of South Africa is designed to thrill all ages – a magical, fun getaway for the entire family.

Steam fun for all ages at Sandstone on 19 and 20 November 2021.

One of the many highlights of the event will include Sandstone’s latest restored steam locomotive, the 1968 Johannesburg built NGG16A number 155, which will haul trains for the first time in 21 years!

Call Mariette on 064 752 3852 or 051 933 2235 or visit for further details.

Fashion therapy

Spring has shown her true colours, albeit sporadically but how one appreciates her when she bedazzles the senses!

Layers just work during this trans-seasonal time and frankly, I like it, as we simply have to get creative. Wearing a silky camisole, layered with a linen shirt and perhaps a cashmere wrap, or cardigan, styled with loafers or heels, whatever the mood happens to be, creates a sophisticated, yet versatile style for any body shape.

I believe in investing in good basics for any season, which will transcend trends over many years.

Feeling overweight or just not comfortable with the body shape at present? Use a basic dark colour. Black or navy always works. Now style it up with perhaps a slightly lighter colour and finish the outfit with a pop of bright colour, perhaps around the neck, to highlight your face and detract they eye from body parts you wish to keep hidden for now…


I’ve always loved white. For any season. It works with layering and will do the job every time as a basic palette.

I’m loving the boho vibe for summer and have hauled out my scarves and kaftans to update any basic dress, pants, or skirt. If I can’t travel to the Riviera for now, I’m going to do my best to create the vibe in my own back yard!

Cheers to the good life, it’s not always perfect but we simply have to create colour and shine. The rest will follow…take care of you!

2 thoughts on “Life’s a beach

  1. Love your blogs Tills. Always like to hear what you are watching in these days of home entertainment. We enjoyed Doc, an Italian medical series. Good looking Italian men and women and good storyline’s plus glimpse of beautiful Milan…


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