Women Welcome Women World Wide

UBC – Day 22

How I found Women Welcome Women World Wide

As many of my readers know, I am a solo traveller.  Even when I was married, I generally travelled alone.  I was lucky to get interstate and overseas travel on business and taught English in China and South Korea.





Making Friends in Ireland.

I embarked on my very first major overseas trip to Ireland in 2005.  It’s a long story – but here I was embarking on an incredible journey on my own.  It was while researching the trip that I read an article in a magazine about 5W. Women Welcome Women World Wide.   I was quite freaked out about doing the journey on my own – but it was that trip, once I was safely home again, that gave me the confidence to so other solo trips.  Knowing that in many places around the world, there would be members to connect with is very comforting.

One can often stay with a member, but it was more about meeting other women.  I joined and made arrangements to meet and stay with two women in Ireland.  One was near Waterford and I did stay with her, though we had quite a hiccup getting together initially.  Her phone was out of order and I couldn’t contact her as planned.  Anyway, I did stay with her and we had a lovely time.  She showed me around the countryside.

Join 5W

I belong to the group in Brisbane, Australia, and have had members stay with me.  I regularly attend events with local members and have a great group of wonderful friends through the group.  There’s an annual fee/donation to be a member.

I have just renewed my membership, (have been a member since 2005) as I am off to London in a couple of weeks, so it will be good to meet some other members.  Two members live in the UK, in the same complex that I am researching.  A women’s co-housing project.

It is part of the procedure that one contacts them beforehand to see if they are available.  I hope to make some new friends in the UK, and some will be receiving an email from me in the next few days.

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A Visit to the Brothel

UNC Day 21

Visiting Questa Casa Brothel

Yes, I did visit a famous brothel in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, the famous mining city in Western Australia. It is called Questa Casa, but often referred to as The Pink House.

It was like this.  I set out in 2012 to circumnavigate Australia in my Mitsubishi Lancer, alone.  I did have many folk warning me against doing such a “dangerous drive”, but as it turns out I survived and had many adventures along the way.

When I arrived in Kalgoorlie, I had to wait a few days before I could do any mining tours – they were booked out.   But I found one tour that wasn’t.  The tour of the Pink House Brothel, just around the corner from the motel where I was staying.

I was the only single person on the tour – something that the madam wasn’t comfortable with, but I travelled alone, and really had no choice.  Anyway, it was interesting and I was fascinated by the stories.  About 10 minutes from the end of the tour, my mobile phone rang.  It was my daughter from the other side of Australia.  I told her I’d phone her back.  She asked where I was.  I replied something like “I’m in a brothel in Kalgoorlie.”

Did I apply for a job there?  NO!

When I phoned her back about 10 minutes later,  she suggested  I check Facebook.  She’d posted that her mother was in a brothel, and within minutes there was an array of comments – mostly funny about me.  Was I applying for a job? And so on.

Kalgoorlie's Famous Brothel

The Pink House – taken by me in 2013.

In the big mining days, there were several of these “houses” in Kalgoorlie, but only one remains I think.

They made a documentary about it.  You can see the trailer tomorrow.  (Please be aware there is some very colourful language.)

History in Documentary

I’ve yet to see the documentary, and perhaps will one day.  It is an amazing story.

Every now and then someone will ask me about it.  But, no, I didn’t work there, and I didn’t see anything exciting but heard the amazing history of the place, and the story of Carmel the Madam, who has been there for over 20 years.

Kalgoorlie is an amazing place – I’ve passed through several times on the Indian Pacific Train.  The first time was back in 1958!!!

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Australia Day Celebrations

UBC Day 20

Australia Day

We’ve just celebrated Australia Day – a day that is fun for all the supporters of this event, and sadness for our Indigenous people.  The native aboriginal people call it “Invasion Day” as it was supposedly on January 26th, 1788, that the First Fleet of British ships arrived in Port Jackson.

Australia Day has been celebrated on various dates.  In 1994, it was declared that January 26th be the day that we celebrate.  Our Indigenous people have not been happy with that – or celebrating the day the way most of us do.

Red, White and Blue and BBQ

These days people wear crazy clothes – often with the Aussie flag, or the colours red, white and blue on them.  It is common to have a BBQ – so families and communities get together for the usual “Sausage Sizzle”.  There’s a lot of beer drinking and other crazy antics, like cane toad races, cockroach races, dunny races and lots more.  It’s a day of fun, family and friends.  Except that many of our Indigenous people choose to hold events to complain about the way they have been treated since 1788.


There’s no doubt that there is no unity on the Australia Day event.  It is mostly about the date.  Many of us suspect that whatever alternate day is chosen, there will continue to be the protests.  Many of us like the date at the end of January – it marks the end of the summer school holidays, and it is usually hot enough to enjoy the outdoor activities that are many.

BBQ, Beer and Cricket

Cricket is a common game played on this day. Many folk go to the sandy beaches because, being mid-summer, it is usually very hot.  They swim and cool off in the water.

Australia Day is meant to be a celebration of our country and the folk from many countries of the world that have now made Australia their home.

At this time of the year, other topics come up for discussion.  When are we going to become independent of Great Britain?  The Republican movement is still active. There are many issues around our native people that have not been resolved and it rears its “ugly head” at this time.

Well, Australia Day is over.  So we will probably go about our usual activities until next January and the arguments will start all over again.

Aussie Day

Ready for our Australia Day BBQ

We have been celebrating with the same folk for 17 years – since the births of our grandchildren and friends. The girls have been at school together too – and the senior girls are going to university this year!

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Men and Courting

UBC – Day 19

Men Behaving Badly

As a result of the Harvey Weinstein issue, and the way other men have treated women, there has been much discussion among us, both in the media and face to face.

Women have been, and still are in some places, been treated rather badly. They were like “second class citizens”. I could write pages and pages of stories about the way I have been treated in the workplace. And in the home.

In the past,  men were considered “head of the household” and the marriage vows were that women “would love, honour and obey” their husbands. Some women, usually if they had a lot of money, were able to take control, but most had to put up and shut up. That’s in the home, but the work place is a different issue.

I started nursing when I was around 19 years of age. I left home and went to a country town, 400 kms from my family. There, I learned for the first time, how many nurses were treated. The local lads saw us as ‘sex tools’ no doubt, and there are many stories from those days. But it wasn’t just the local lads. It was older men too.

Unfaithful men

I went to church regularly, but one Sunday, after the service ended, we came out to find heavy rain. With others, I stood in the doorway pondering my walk back to the nurses home. It wasn’t far, but I would be drenched. Would I wait for the rain to stop? One of the elders of the church offered to drive me back, and I gladly accepted his offer of a drive in his car. But a short way along, he turned off into another street and told me he was taking me home to his place, as his wife was away. I was terrified. I yelled at him to turn back and take me to the nurses home. Luckily he did so. It was a shattering experience and I was too scared to return to the church.

Men Behaving Badly

Over the years, I have been sexually abused by my bosses and other men. I won’t go into detail, but I know it is a common experience for women. The current discussion is rather uncomfortable for many men, as they know that their behaviour has often been unacceptable.

What are the new rules?

One man recently expressed concern. How will a woman know I am interested in her if I can’t touch her boobs or pinch her bum? Seriously? Can’t you just speak nicely to the woman – pleasantly ask her out, or say something nice?
Let’s hope the “outing” of these powerful men can ensure that the discussion continues and that in the end, women are no longer on the receiving end of this terrible behaviour. Sadly, I think there is a long way to go.

Women need to set the new rules so that we can feel safer.

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Exercise for Seniors

UBC – Day 18

Getting Older

I don’t exercise much these days. How I wish I could be more agile, like I was many years ago.  Getting old has its challenges and while I have been quite fit for most of my life, I do have some issues.

These days my enemy is arthritis.  It is in the family, and I suffer from its activity in many parts of my body.  Joints in my hand are swollen and painful, my back (original injury during nursing career), my feet and so on.  Was it that I played tennis until my 60’s?  Was it that I failed at gym?  (I joined several gyms, but each time, except for the one that went broke and closed, I had to submit the doctor’s letter to cease my membership.)  Surely, exercise can be dangerous!

I like walking but have to do it alone (all my friends walk faster than I can)  so leave me behind!  My slow walking is not the best exercise anyway.


Photo by Jacob Postuma – Unsplash.com

Swimming is good for me – but it’s a matter of accessing a pool and in winter I avoid my pool time, except for one of my house sits who has a heated pool!  We had our own pool some years ago, and it was challenging keeping it maintained, and I don’t miss that.  I am house sitting at the moment where there is a pool.  I just have to “keep an eye on it.”  It is mid-summer, so I enjoy my regular swim to cool down, and I do exercise in it.  A small pool especially for seniors would be great.

The point of this post was really to make comment about “seniors accommodation” and how they make little effort to offer their residents much in the way of exercise.

Ballroom Dancing

What about ballroom dancing for exercise?  It is big time in China – groups of seniors meet in parks or under bridges for their regular dance activity.  Many of our young folk would not have any idea about this sort of dancing, but it is fun, you have company and can do as much or as little as you like.

Even in the main shopping mall in Shanghai, you will find people dancing to some of the familiar western music.

Safe Walking

In Australia, there is little use of rubberised walking tracks.  There was one in Adelaide that my mother used.  The benefit is that it is softer to walk on and if you fall you will do less damage to your body than a cement track.  Here in Queensland, I’ve not found a rubberised track – and I have lobbied council in the past about the benefits.

Tai Chi in the early morning

Visit almost any park in China in the early morning, and you will see groups of men and women going through their paces.  Usually to music, and they take it seriously too.  In Australia, despite having wonderful parks, we tend not to use the facilities like the Chinese do.   (Sometimes there is an orchestra or music group practicing too – I think all our musicians practice indoors!)

#blogboost #aussidi


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Look out London, Here I Come

UBC – Day 17

Co-housing in London

In the last 18 months, I have been busy on a project for affordable safe housing for solo senior women – regarded as one of the most poverty-stricken cohorts in Australia and no doubt other countries too.  My focus is on my own country, Australia.  Well over a year ago, I found out about a co-housing project in London, and have been communicating with them since mid-2017.

I am collecting a following of women who are seeking housing in a safe and friendly environment here.  Private rental properties are too expensive unless you are working, and there is limited public housing and issues with it anyway.  Mostly the women are on their own, though some of our supporters are married.  I have also been interviewed on two major television programs too.

The London project, New Ground (www.owch.org.uk), had many challenges getting off the ground, as we might say, but in the end, the 25 units were completed and late last year the women moved in.  There has been much publicity about them – and many of us here in Australia have learned about it.

I decided that I should go and visit them. Initially, I expected that I could spend a few hours there, but it looks like I may be able to stay at the complex for a few days and I am so excited.

A visit to Dubai

Today I have been organising my travel.  I am going to go via Dubai and spend a couple of days there.  Probably go on the Hop-On, Hop-Off bus.  I usually like to do a day or more tour of a Hop On Hop off bus, which I will, of course, do in London too.

From bus website

Hop on Hop Off Bus in Dubai

I have been to London before – but only for a couple of days.  This time I will be there for over a week.  Have several places to visit.  Let’s see what I can do!

So, I am all excited.  So much planning to do in just over two weeks.  Bring it on.



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Seaweed Scones

UBC – Day 16

Eating Seaweed

I know, it is a bit odd for someone like me to like eating seaweed. It started when I was in China, and discovered tasty seaweed snacks at the supermarket. A lot of things were unfamiliar to me during that period. I loved the seaweed snacks and was delighted to find that I could purchase a similar product in Australia.  It is often referred to as ‘nori”.

Buying Seaweed in Australia

In fact, one of our major supermarkets, Woolworths, has a product from Korea, that I can usually find in the Asian section of the stores. For one dollar, I can find this healthy snack and quickly devour a packet. There are about 12 small (slightly bigger than business cards) sheets in a pack, with a little packet to keep them dry and crisp. My grandchildren like them too – though I doubt I introduced them to the tasty treat. I just know that I can “win brownie points” if I have a supply on hand when they visit.

Recipe for Seaweed and Brie Scones

Recently, at my son’s place for a few hours, I found he had started going to a library. Not this nearly 50-year-old has not been a big reader. He confessed that he has “discovered” libraries, and had not been in one since his school days! He had a cookbook and I can’t recall the name. I flicked through the pages and accidentally came to a recipe for Seaweed and Brie scones. I took a photo of the recipe with my phone.
When I knew I had all the ingredients, I set to work to make some. When I looked at the photo, I found it impossible to read the details! Darn. So I guessed and kept on keeping on.
To me, the uncooked scone mixture was tastier than the cooked item, but I managed to cook up around 18 scones. I was a little disappointed with them, as they did not rise as I had expected and were crisper than I imaged them to be. Still, I am enjoying eating them.

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Shen Yun – Chinese Traditional Dancing

UBC Day – 15

I love most Chinese culture – especially dancing and so wanted to see Shen Yun. My friends and family know that I taught in China for just under two years, some time ago.  I found it a fascinating country.

Cover of Shen Yun Program








Where to see Shen Yun?

There were no performances in Brisbane, so I pondered going to the Gold Coast or Toowoomba to see the show.  Tickets were expensive (for me), and I procrastinated for quite a while.  Eventually, though, I bought a ticket for the matinee (January 20th) at the Gold Coast Art Centre.

It was really only a 1 hour drive for me – easily done, but somehow I usually manage to pick a day when there is an accident on the freeway.  As there was of course, yesterday.  However, I plan so that I have plenty of time, and despite a slow journey for quite a few kilometres I made it in time.

The Gold Coast Arts Centre is a special place, surrounded by parklands, the Council Chambers and other venues for entertainment.  There is the big theatre for performances, as well as movie theatres.


I had read a little about Shen Yun.  Check it out here. The dance company is based in New York, and there are a number of groups that regularly tour the world, though not in China, as they support Fulong Dafa which is outlawed there.

Dance Company from New York

There were almost 20 dances, all introduced by two MC’s, with some explanation in English and Mandarin.  They were all spectacular ad I was fascinated how they used items in their dances, e.g. chopsticks, handkerchiefs, and bows and arrows for a start.

The show is going to travel around Australia, so I hope many folk go to see it.  It really is a spectacular event.



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Decline of Spelling

UBC – Day 15

I am quite sure that those of us who are over 50 years of age, especially those involved in education or writing, will talk of the decline of spelling.  What is happening to our language?

Learning to Spell

We who were educated the “old” way, learned to spell, often by rote, and had continual spelling tests along the way.  In fact, I can recall that every morning of school, in the primary grades, we would start the day with “mental arithmetic” and a “spelling test”.

Our teacher would speak slowly and give us 10 mathematic calculations to do.  No calculators in those days, we just had to work it out ourselves.  We got used to it – and did our best to get high marks.  Our results were marked by the student who sat beside us.  It was quick and simple and one in only a few minutes.  Then the 10 words of the spelling exercise.  The teacher would say the words, and we would write them as best we could in our little exercise book.  No dictionary.  No time to use the dictionary anyway.

These teaching methods are not well regarded in education these days, and I often wonder if our “old” methods were much better.  Most older folk can do quick calculations – and shopping we can usually work out how much we have to pay for our purchases, and/or how much change we should get.  We are usually faster than the fancy machines they use in the shops too!  But I guess soon we will be a cashless society and it won’t matter.

You need to know how to spell to effectively use a Spellcheck

Once upon a time, you would barely see a spelling error in a newspaper – but these days, despite the sophisticated spellcheck programs, there are many errors.  You see errors everywhere – in shops, on signage, etc.  One that annoys me is “dinning”  –  “fine dinning”.  Would you go there to eat?

I had a row with a rower

Twice recently I have heard “row” used incorrectly.   You can “row” a boat with oars.  Or you can have a row or an argument with someone.  Sadly, once on television and once on radio, different presenters and different stories, where the reader spoke about two people having a “row” over something – in one case leading to a stabbing.  But it was the pronunciation of the “row” a boat that was used.  Not having a row or argument.

Spelling and Writing

Not only do young people not know how to spell, they can’t use a pen to write and can not read handwriting.

I could go on but won’t right now.  I need a drink.  It makes me angry!
#blogboost, #aussidi




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Do You go to Movies Alone?

UBC – Day 14

It started a long time ago, when doing shift work, that I learned to enjoy my own company when going to the movies alone.

Why go to the movies alone?

When I look back, it has been some 50 years that I have been doing it, though there have been a dozen or two occasions when I went with someone.  For a start, I am very choosy about the movies I see. I avoid violent films, see few animated ones.  When I went with my husband it was always difficult choosing a film that we both liked!!

As well as doing shift work (I was a registered nurse), in fact, did full-time night duty often. Also,  my husband was often away on business, and in the last 8 years, I have been on my own anyway.

Have you ever tried to get a friend or family member to go to the movies with you?  Date/time and choice of a movie can be tricky.  It is just easier to do it when I want to.

These days as I am house sitting, I am moving around and living in different regions, so not many friends are local to me.  I usually go during the daytime, especially as I don’t enjoy being out at night on my own.  I set myself a program of work to do and can reward myself, by going to the movies alone.   Food and drink are usually not on my agenda for the movies, am just happy to take myself and tissues (I often cry during a movie).

The best movie I have seen recently on the big screen is The Greatest Showman, with Hugh Jackman, and I am likely to go and see it again.  Queen of the Desert I watched on my laptop.  The latter is good as I can pause when I need to.  In fact, I watched it in two “sittings”.

Do you like going to the movies on your own?


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