Ideas for Australian Country Living in Drought Times

The Drought

The drought across Australia is certainly giving us all concerns.  Our farmers are really doing it tough and we are all praying and hoping that rain will come and make life easier for them.    We live in such a vast country – the distances are amazing, as is the landscape.  I have driven in my car (Mitsubishi Lancer) around Australia.  I can’t remember now how many kilometres I clocked up – but it was significant.  It was back in 2012/13 that I did that.  In some ways, I long to do it again, though I doubt I will.

Our towns are very far apart, and a good number of them are finding that their populations are decreasing making life difficult for those businesses that need good numbers of people to keep going.

Moving to the City

It is not surprising that many folk choose to move closer to the cities or big towns, where more modern facilities can be found.  Young people often choose not to work the land as their parents and grandparents have done, and choose to go to university in the cities to get qualifications that mostly don’t equate to employment in the bush.  Sad but true.  I love reading stories about the folk who chose to go to the city to study and eventually return to the country.

I often wonder if some city people would consider moving to the country to live for a  few years – perhaps artists or others who can work independently, but whose presence can assist the small country businesses.  Maybe they could work for short periods too – but they could become customers of local businesses.

Parched earth by Dan Gold

Dry land in drought. Photo by Dan Gold –


Drought Affecting Education

It is sad that some children are being pulled out of boarding schools because their parents can no longer afford the fees.  Read here.

I would hope that something could be done to help them to continue their education – would it be government subsidies, or the schools (some of which make huge profits) can assist here.  Perhaps they could arrange to continue their education in other ways.  I know a lot of country areas don’t have good enough internet to conduct quality education programs, but that should be a priority for many reasons.

Chinese Education Programs On-line

I watched this video – more interested in the data re the internet usage in China.  Awesome figures.  But towards the end of the video there is information about how the education of children in remote areas of China is proceeding with online classes.  I know we do a bit of this in Oz, but we should do more.

What do you think?

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Women Helping Women

Shebah – Women Helping Women Get Home Safely

I am not a regular taxi or Uber passenger, as I use my own car for most journeys I wish to take, and I did know about Shebah, a ride-sharing program that helps women get home safely.

Today ( July 21st, ’18) there is a huge article about Shebah in the QWeekend magazine within Brisbane’s Courier Mail.

One day I might get to ride in one, as I am sure my car driving days are numbered (though I don’t think it’s going to be soon), and I shall use this service.  I found the article someone alarming to read – but in a way, there are no surprises for me.

Men being Men

Sadly, there are too many men who don’t understand that sometimes their behaviour is often very offensive to women.  So many women are the victims of men, who don’t understand that harassing women, such as trying to indulge in unwanted sex, kissing or touching inappropriately, is illegal!!   Some don’t even see rape as illegal.  so many women are affected by this behaviour, and when they are alone, such as in a taxi or Uber, they are at greater risk.  The stories in the article do not surprise me.  I have been on the receiving end of this sort of abuse on more than one occasion.

Even with the #MeToo movement has highlighted the issue and this website details so many stories.

Continued Domestic Violence

There is so much domestic violence occurring – and I think we only hear about the tip of the iceberg.  The number of women killed by their husband or partners continues – there are so many reported.

Women are becoming more empowered to speak up, but as I have found, sometimes even family members don’t believe your story.  And going to the police is often hard, especially if there is no hard evidence.  It’s your word against his without a witness or evidence.

Women Helping Women

We are good at it.  In so many ways.  I love it that Shebah sees its role in helping women – not only getting them home safe but offering them an opportunity to earn good money as well.

Women help women

From T Chick McClure













I am working with a group of women helping women get into secure, safe, comfortable, permanent housing.  I know women help women and look forward to one day having a ride in a Shebah.

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Committees – Committed

When you are on a committee of an organisation, there can be lots to do.

It’s my fault.  I should learn to say “No” more often – but I don’t and get myself heavily involved in an organisation.  Currently, I am president of two, and on a couple of other committees too.  Actually, generally, I enjoy it, but there are times…..

Sometimes things do not go according to plan. And “life” gets in the way too.  Sometimes I feel blessed that I am on my own, as I can work when I please.  Early morning starts don’t bother me, and there is no one living with me to worry about.  Sure, being on my own can be lonely, but my social life is pretty busy.  I don’t think I could manage a busier lifestyle.

Two of my “projects” are very time-consuming.  The Writing organisation has a few events on, but all is going pretty well, but the housing for Senior Solo Women is keeping me extremely busy.

Another Committee – Housing for Senior Solo Women

As someone who is technically homeless, I find it all consuming sometimes as I fight to get justice for women and lobby for better affordable housing.  It’s a topic that gets a lot of media, but not a lot of action by governments.  In fact, despite all the publicity, I find politicians seem to have no knowledge of the situation at all.

The statistics about homelessness are pretty raw.

  • Over 40,000 women over the age of 65 are “doing it tough” and are at risk of becoming homeless.  This figure is predicted to double by 2036

(These figures are from this website – Mangrove Housing –  but I am not sure of their source.)

They are pretty stark statistics anyway, but I suspect the real figure is much higher than that.  I don’t know the source of these figures.

I doubt that I would be included in that number as I am not registered with any organisation other than SoSeW, and we don’t collect statistics at this point.

Old lady

Photo by Christian Langballe –

As most of the politicians are male, there appears to be little interest in helping the cohort that I am working with. The fight continues.

All this work does connect me with other committees too – though I have enough to do already.

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Movie – The Book Shop

The Book Shop – the story written by Penelope Fitzgerald

Now I am on Bribie Island house sitting, I am close to the Movie Theatre and last night went to see the movie The Book Shop, based on the novel by Penelope Fitzgerald.  I must say that I had not seen the trailer, but any movie with “book” or “writing” in the title entices me to see it.

It was a 5 pm session, which worked well for me last night.   There were maybe 20 in the small theatre (I didn’t count, so that’s a guess).  Many reacted through the theatre as funny bits occurred and the movie ended when we all thought there would be more to the story.

Penelope Fitzgerald.jpg

Penelope Fitzgerald – Courtesy of Wikipedia

The book is one of many written by Penelope Fitgzerald, who was born in 1916, and died in 2000. She “was an English Booker Prize-winning novelist, poet, essayist and biographer.In 2008, The Times included her in a list of “the 50 greatest British writers since 1945”.[2] In 2012, The Observer named her final novel, The Blue Flower one of “the ten best historical novels“.[3]

I didn’t do any research beforehand, but you can if you wish, as Wikipedia has a short article about the story – click here.

I confess I hadn’t heard of her before – but will now see if I can find one of her books in the library or a book shop.

Watch the trailer here.

The movie didn’t end the way the audience clearly wanted it to – and there were gasps at the end.

What’s Coming? More Mamma Mia.

Mamma Mia Here We Go Again is due to start at the local theatre in the next few weeks.  I loved the original Mamma Mia movie and love ABBA songs, so this is another one I must go to.

I felt the audience last night were tapping to the amazing music and it does look like a great movie.

The next must see movie is The Book Club.

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More House Sitting

Travelling and House Sitting

That’s what I do.  I love Travelling and House Sitting.  I have been house sitting for most of the year – mainly in the Moreton Bay Region of Queensland.  This week I moved into a lovely house on Bribie Island.  The island is one of many off the Queensland Coast – but this is the only one with a bridge between the island and the mainland.

It is a magic place, just north of Brisbane.  It is surrounded by great beaches, with plenty of places to fish, and plenty of places to buy your favourite fish.  There are interesting historical remnants of World War II on the ocean side – much of it lost, but still some survive.

Bribie was always the holiday island.  In the early days people arrived at Bongaree by boat, and it was in 1963 that the bridge was completed.  When we first visited the island, there was a toll to go on the bridge and the little building remains.

House Sitting on Bribie

This is my first house sit on Bribie – and it is right at the edge of the suburb of Bongaree.  From the backyard there is a large park with grassed area  and beyond is acres of bushland where kangaroos live.  They often come out onto the grassed area.  Sometimes they only come out at night – and always leave their “calling cards” – roo poo.

It’s a lovely house – quite peaceful and I am hoping I can get a lot of writing work done. This house sit is for just over two months, and after that, I will be at another house on a canal.  There are many canal estates on the island, and I look forward to staying there – and I plan to do some fishing in the canal.

Looking towards the bridge.

Great for Photography.

It is a wonderful place for photography too.  Dawn and dusk, on any of the seaside spots.  One place I like is at Banksia Beach or White Patch, watching the sun set behind the Glasshouse Mountains on the mainland.

Towards the Glasshouse Mountains.

The Glasshouse Mountains at dusk

Three months on the island.  I am a lucky house sitter.

#dihill, #housesitting


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Writing Obituaries


Photo by Forrest Smith from

Writing Obits

Have you thought about writing or preparing obituaries?

I have a passion for “life stories” – and I believe that obituaries fit into that genre.  I like writing obits – sometimes.

Why sometimes?  It is a matter of time available for me to do it.  I have been asked to write them – but usually, it is when I am already time poor.  It adds to my life’s challenges.  I’d rather encourage people to write their own.  Write your own?  “I’m not dead yet” or “I don’t plan to die soon” is the response I often get.

I’d rather encourage others to create an “advanced obituary” – in preparation for when they will die. Everyone will, eventually.  It will happen.  We just don’t know when.  And like most things, it is good to be prepared.

What’s the Difference between an Obituary and a Eulogy?

A Eulogy is something that is spoken or read at a funeral or service after someone has died.  It is often a family member or close friend, or indeed a group of people (e.g. three sons), who present it.

The online dictionary says: a speech or piece of writing that praises someone or something highly, especially a tribute to someone who has just died.

An Obituary is generally a short life story of the deceased person, which may be published after the person has died.  Often these are published in local or regional newspapers or other publications.  (e.g. online).

The online dictionary says: An obituary is a news article that reports the recent death of a person, typically along with an account of the person’s life and information about the upcoming funeral.

In Australia, we generally have the obituary published some time AFTER the funeral – and our papers have “classified ads” (paid) giving details of the death and funeral service.  (Death Notices and Funeral Notices)

Prepare the Obit in Advance

An Advanced Obituary

You probably know that most media outlets have obituaries planned for key people from around the world.  What if a member of the royal family were to die suddenly?  What about famous people?  Most media outlets have a library of obituaries that they keep updated – ready to be about to publish the obit when the time comes.

Have you thought about a family member – perhaps one in his/her senior years?  You could put pen to paper, or start on your computer to write down the information you know about this person or these people.

What about preparing your own?  Do you realise that often family members tasked with the job of preparing a eulogy or obituary may have little knowledge of your earlier years.

Help them out.  Write notes.  Talk with family members.

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Chinese Ceremony

Do you like ceremony?

Chinese Ceremony of any sort impresses me.  They have many ceremonies in their culture. As some of my readers will know, I lived and taught in China way back in 2008  and 2010.  I just so loved the experiences I had.  I was fortunate enough to visit Beijing and X’ian, as well as regular visits to Shanghai and Hangzhou as well as many places in the region.

It is very difficult to explain my love of many aspects of Chinese life.  I had good times and not so good times, as I endeavoured to comprehend the quite complex culture of the Chinese.

I was fortunate to visit Tiananmen Square in Beijing and would love to have had the experience of attending one of the major military events there.  Because I love ceremony.

Occasionally I spend time watching Youtube videos of the amazing Chinese military ceremonies.  The precision always impresses me.

Watch the Female Soldiers March in a Chinese Ceremony

If I watch other military events, including Australian, it is hard to find any other country whose military marches with such precision. I always find it mesmerising.

The above video I found on Youtube.

It is incredible.  I could spend a lot of time watching it.

Do you like watching goose-stepping?

I love watching the goose-stepping marching. I think you have to be very fit to do it for long periods.  I know that all participants are measured so that they are almost identical in size (and shape) as the person next to him/her.

Korea (both North and South) also train their military to be precise.

The following video is a bit cheeky – but the marching is worth watching.  At least or me.

In the major events in China and I think the Korea’s,  the audience get involved too — not marching but with precision coloured items that help create an amazing scene.

Oh, how I would love to be in Tiananmen Square for one of these events, but I suspect there is a lot of waiting and with such huge crowds it would be a challenge even to get there – and they probably wouldn’t let me in.

Enjoy the videos.

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Who does Window Cleaning?

Old Habits

I am a senior, and I do have some “old habits” – some of which relate to domestic chores. One is window cleaning!  I was one of the young women who were trained to be “wives and mothers” many years ago, and many feminists and others don’t rate it well.  As one who grew up to be a wife and mother, and with many other careers, I rate it highly.  Perhaps I would also suggest that males also receive some of the training that we women had – for I have no doubts it would benefit all families.

We learned how to do housework, how to manage dirty clothes in the laundry and how to cook.  In amongst these were a range of other skills that I am sure helped me during my life.

Today I did some window cleaning at a house where I am house sitting.  One window, in particular, had mould and dust stuck onto the glass.  As the family are very environmentally friendly, I used an environmentally kind window cleaner and paper towel to clean it.

Every Three Months

It brought back memories of my childhood in Adelaide.  My father, with friends and relatives, helped build our families first house.  I was four years old when we moved into it.  It was a small brick house with only two bedrooms.  Dad added a third some years later.

It was post-war – no refrigerators so the “iceman” delivered huge blocks of ice several days a week for the ice chest.  The milkman delivered milk to our milk can at the front gate, his cart pulled along by a well-trained horse.  Both my parents came from large families and they were rather regimented and strict.  My parents were churchgoers, though Dad was not as full-on as our mother.

But he was obsessed about the window cleaning of the house.  It was done, inside the house and outside, every three months.

Window Cleaning in Times Gone By

It was a family affair.  Dad did the outside, sometimes assisted by my sister or me, and at the same time, Mum would be doing the cleaning inside.  They worked as a team – at the same time Dad did the outside, Mum did the inside.  Dad had a small timber step ladder, and he would climb it to reach the highest point of the window, and when finished, would move onto the next window.

Modern Window Cleaning

The new norm appears to leave the windows as long as you can, until you can barely see through them, and then get a “professional” to do so.  My husband was never an obsessive window cleaner like my father, and I suspect his father was not either.

We lived in a high-set (two levels) house for most of our married life, so doing the outside of the upstairs window was not easy or safe to do.  Hence, when we could afford it, we’d hire a professional who would have higher stepladders and a pressure hose, as well as a range of other implements that were not invented when my father was window cleaning.

The pressure hose, in my experience is risky, as it often forces water into the house.  I’d rather not have them use it.  Still, these days, I can still do the inside of the windows and often do, I’d rather get a professional – and negotiate my preferences on how it should be done.  I do get it that many people rarely have their windows cleaned.  Sad, but true.

This is apparently what was used to clean windows years ago – I have no idea what Dad used – a bucket of soapy water and a few old rags I think.  This according to the article Granny knew best is what was recommended.

Brave window cleaner

Photo by Ronaldo Santos, at

“Mix 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 2 cups warm water in a spray bottle and shake well to dissolve cornstarch. Spray generously onto glass surface then wipe dry with a clean cloth or old newspapers, buffing to a streak-free shine.”

I don’t think many men these days participate in the housework.  Only few would clean the windows like my father did!

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Driving through the Glass House Mountains

I went to the Glass House Mountains yesterday to visit a friend. It was a great day, for several reasons, which I will explain.  There were 7 of us at a lovely property, right next door to a big pineapple plantation.

It’s a Small World After All

While having coffee and wonderful food, I asked one of the ladies some questions.  I found that she had been a nurse and quite coincidentally did her training at Mt Gambier Hospital, where I did mine.  She started around the time I left, so there were quite a few people that we both knew.

Then she said that she came from Bordertown – a South Australian town on the border of Victoria.  So I asked that her about someone I knew, who had lived at Bordertown, and quite amazingly they knew each other.  Small world, isn’t it.  We all live in Queensland now.

I Remember Vecchio’s at Glass House Mountains

Afterwards, I called in at a new Cafe, with a camera, and took quite a few photos, with the intent of writing an article for  It is a delightful place in the Glass House Mountain area.

Pineapple Farm

The Cafe was formerly Vecchio’s – one of the popular produce places along the Steve Irwin Way – not called Fresca, and along with all the cafe products, also sell fruit and veggies, but nowhere as many as they once did.

The Highway, was once the main road from Brisbane to all parts north before the new highway was created.  Some of the businesses that were there way back in the 1960’s and 70’s still exist.  One of them, of course, was Vecchio’s, and another was a huge chicken place called Mountain View.  In all the years of going back and forth along the road, I had never visited before.  I learned that one has to order fresh chicken meat at least the day before.  I could have, would have, bought a frozen chicken – if I had room in the freezer at the house at Sandstone Point.  There’s barely room for an egg!  But one day, I will order first.


The drive also brought to mind the fact that when we arrived in Queensland, there were many tobacco farms in the Glass House Mountain area.  I found an interesting article about the history of tobacco growing in the area.  It’s worth reading – check it out here.

Some of the farms I recognise, as being a tobacco farm all those years ago.  The industry closed down in 2006/7.

Other farms along the way were big pineapple farms – there are still some around, but many less than years ago, as much of our pineapples are imported now.  There are other fruits etc grown in the area, but nowhere near as much as it used to be.

Tourist Spots

These days the area is a popular tourist spot, with the amazing Glass House Mountains, and of course Australia Zoo, where Steve Irwin’s family continue to run the zoo following his death in 2006.  There is a lot of history around the area too, and I do enjoy visiting this part of Queensland.

Local Produce


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End of Autumn

The End of Autumn 2018.

It’s the end of Autumn. Winter is coming.  It’s days away.  I love it that I live in Queensland.  Cold weather does not impress me!  I was born in Adelaide and spent the first 18 years of my life there before going to Mt Gambier to do my nursing.  That was COLD! However, living in the Nurses Home, we had good heating in our rooms.  Going out – well, that was a different matter, especially at night.

It was another few years before I discovered winter in Brisbane.  Why would I want to leave this warm weather?  Our winter is warmer than summer in some places.  I have over the years travelled to Melbourne and Adelaide for family visits and events.  I am always pleased to return to Brisbane.

China and Electric Blanket

When I was in China, I experienced severe cold there.  It was often hard to keep warm as our “heaters” were not as good as we would l have liked.  Electric blankets worked well!! In fact I have been known to stay all day in bed when it was severely cold.

I wish I had an electric blanket when I was in London recently when they had the coldest winter in 35 years.  “The Beast from the East” came down and made my life, and that of many others, miserable.  I did get a cold and was quite ill for a few days.  I really was miserable!

My Chinese friend gave me two winter coats.  They rarely get worn in Australia.

No Public Transport in London

Will ever forget the last day in London? Probably not.  There was no public transport working and I had to get to a motel near Heathrow as I was flying out early the next morning.  No taxi’s either, but my friend just happened to phone the taxi company for me at the same time as a man phoned in offering to work.  I was so pleased, as I managed to get to the motel in plenty of time, and safely too.

The roads were awash with snow and mud from the stuff the council put on the roads to reduce sliding/accidents.  It was a miserable place to be, with sirens almost non stop. Police, Ambulance and Fire Brigades.

A Church in Barnet, London, February 2018

Winter in Brisbane

It’s not like other states.  Winter is usually dry, with plenty of sunshine.  Cooler, yes, but really a magic time.  You can learn more about our winter here.

There won’t be any snow in Brisbane, but to the west of the city there usually is.  I have had a jumper on in the last few days of autumn, but not all day.  Sometimes there is a cool breeze and it gets a bit nippy.

That’s why I like to stay here in winter.





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