Sharing our adventures

2009 - 2012



Our sense of laughter and fun were still obvious when we met again in 2010 at the Music in the Podium on a balmy evening  in February. Our table setting notably advanced, thanks to the most organized M’Lady Kath DiVinci who came armed with everything – but the kitchen sink!! Her picnic basket was truly amazing! She was given an extra title, “Picnic Organiser Extraordinaire”.   We were also entertained by Silver Gypsy - Pauline with her usual stories.


March events included Mahjong at Madam  Zelda’s (Robin) was an interesting and enjoyable day. Novices: Vicki, Maureen and Annette were thrilled to pick up the procedure of the game and a trip to the Maitland Art Gallery was another pleasant activity.  The 2009 Archibald Exhibition was an interesting collection of works and all very different. 


Kath hosted a Easter activity which included an interesting Multi cultural Quiz that matched the traditions with the country.  The scores were not too high but we were educated on some traditions from around the world. 

Our dining activities at Awaba house are always guaranteed to be nice affairs and the April dinner was no exception. 


June arrived and with it some cool weather. We gathered at Deck 56 at Belmont for morning tea/early lunch and it was most pleasant looking over a rather hazy lake on the windy day while we were snug inside. We enjoyed a couple of simple quizzes and it is amazing just what some ladies keep in their handbags.  When we played the Handbag Scavenge, M’Lady Pelicano, Vicki not only had the hanky but also the theatre ticket stub from the Phantom performance that we attended in May 2008!!


Our dinner at Glendale TAFE Hospitality section was another lively affair.  In the company of 10 M’Ladies we chatted and exchanged talk around the table and enjoyed the fare on offer and expressed our appreciation to M’Lady Diana’s  for organising of this activity. Lexi – our Honorary M’Lady was able to join us.  

We met up with other groups and attended the Muswellbrook Races .



Our TRIP TO NOWHERE was indeed a rewarding event. To set the scene:


There were travel posters and lots of cardboard daisy flowers adorned with pictures of different parts of the world decorating the venue.  Everyone bought a little gift for some Duty Free Shopping exchanges.  The mood was light and welcoming.  Everyone joined in the fun of the day.

After gathering for morning tea in the Garden Boarding Lounge, where the birthday gals Vicki and Robyn were serenaded “Happy birthday”, the (suitably attired) Security madam made the “last boarding call”.  Armed with their Boarding Passes, the passengers past through the security check and found their seats.  Only two passengers where cautioned for flowers in their headgear.  No quarantine items were confiscated!! 


After a quick change of hats, Hostess Queenie, decked in her look-a-like Emirates hat and scarf  explained the travel procedures and quiz processes that featured famous places, flags of the country and the disguised passport destinations. Captain Matilda Rose took control of the vessel.

Everyone had prepared their Passports with their usual flair, or last minute construction with a little indication on the front of places unknown. The In-House Entertainment commenced and we learnt a lot more about the travel tales of the M’Ladies and also about different parts of the world, and the recommendations to visit various places should we get the chance.


For lunch we stopped over at Colbybean Island which was decorated in the hula skirts and island posters, where we availed ourselves of the hospitality of the Island Maiden (Queenie in another quick  wardrobe change), and partook of the selection of yummy treats.

In-House Entertainment included:


Precious Purple Purl - Kerry - showed her creative skills with her CD photo and music presentation made on her computer (in between hick-ups) of her New Zealand tour.  It was amazing she could pronounce so many places.  The photos showed the magnificent scenery of both islands.


Kath DaVinci also had a CD with an extensive coverage of her photos.  Her selection was of her tour around the France and Spain areas.  The architecture and scenes were truly amazing, and together with Kath’s explanation of scenes, one was transported to the faraway places. She too pronounced all the places with flair.


Deep Purple Lover – Maureen – told of her saga in obtaining a hire care and getting lost, as there were few signs (they could understand) on her trip around Costa Brava in Spain. There were many good times and the meals remembered, plus the missed opportunity of taking a peak at the famous El Bulli restaurant at Roses owned and run by chef Ferran Adria.


M’Lady Carol’s talk was on her trip to New York. She recommended the pre booked/paid New York Pass that gets you into many places without having to queue.Some of the many places Carol mentioned were: Fashion Week and MTV Awards, Time Square, Broadway, Staten Island, Madam Tussauds, Empire State Building Observatory, American Museum of Natural history and Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim Museum, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  Carol recalls the huge Leggo displays and the shopping at Century 20 where they had great assistants compared to those at up-market Bloomindales, who offered lousy service. She told of attending a performance by Aretha Franklin where the artist only sang for about 1 an hour all up!  Central Park, a Harlem Church Service and Russian High Tea were other highlights.  And of the unique performance of the Blue Man Group who are 3 men who beat drums and. while pouring paint on the drums, create art works!!  (You can view their many different performances on You Tube if you Google them.  There is also a show using marshmallows and gumballs where they throw them at each other!!)


Madam Zelda – Robin – presented a slide show of her Famous Gardens tour.  There were the old-world structured 18th century gardens, some structured and others like the rambling Monet. All gardens featured beautiful splashes of colour and floral displays and the designs quite fascinating as to how they are maintained.  The shots were spectacular considering many photos were taken during rainy periods of the trip. 


M’Lady Pelicano – Vicki kept us entertained with her “funny things that happened” on her tour of Italy.  Armed with her U3A Italian language skills she was able to impress various proprietors with her ordering of meals.  At one time she and husband, Neil, got lost finding their accommodation due to a misunderstanding in booking, which resulted in staying in a most memorable place as an alternative plan. Vicki spoke of the hospitality of the locals and of meeting with one couple that resulted in a “home visit” invitation for Sunday lunch where the Italian family gathered. Coincidentally it was Neil’s birthday – one they will always remember as there was an abundance of food, champagne with great music and a party atmosphere.  There were some hilarious tales of how the local fire fighters started the BBQ with the aid of a hair dryer!!  These Italian have remained friends.


M’Lady Tom Cat – Margaret bought her scrapbooks of her many trips around Australia and gave an interesting talk about her Dick Smith Tour to Innamincka and the Coopers Creek area in SA. This tour was held on the occasion of the re-opening, after renovations, of the John Flynn bush hospital at Innamincka. The tour told of the nurses of the Inland Mission who were some of the unsung heroes of the bush. Many ventured into a completely alien environment to provide health care in the most isolated of places. Reverend John Flynn, a Presbyterian Minister established the AIM, back in 1912. He saw the need for medical help for sick outback people. The Innamincka hospital was run by Sisters Currey and Burchill. They had to master the pedal radio, which was often their only link to the outside world. Later, it became the link to the Royal Flying Doctor Service which ultimately spelt the end for the Australian Inland Mission.  Margaret told of the tent accommodation that she shared… “With another man, other than her husband!!”


The most hilarious talk was (of course) Pauline’s. Dressed in her beautiful kimono, which was her actual outfit for her granddaughter’s christening in Japan some 14 years ago, she entered the room sporting also a long black wig, HUGE false, buck teeth and glasses!  She carried a travel clock and supported her presentation with a photo of herself and the mother in law, taken under a cherry blossom tree. 

Her tale (of woe) was about her missing her connection flight during a stop-over at Korea.  She checked in her bag and got her boarding pass but she mistook 14.20 hours as 4.20pm. She put her travel clock on the alarm for 3pm and promptly fell asleep in the waiting area.  She consequently had a sleep-over instead as when she woke her plane had long gone. There was much concern and worry in trying to communicate with the Korean staff about her missed flight and more so about  pre planning arrangements with Megan (her daughter) to meet Pauline at the airport at Osaka. With the outfit and the wig, but minus the big teeth, Pauline relayed the attempts to get the Japanese mother in law to understand her predicament when she made a phone call to japan from the Korean airport.  The mother in law spoke very little English, but did know Pauline as “Coky”, but very little else was able to be relayed.  But thank goodness for the “forward information” one usually gives on your airline details, as a message was finally relayed by the airline to Megan, Pauline got another flight and the christening ceremony did take place without further problems.  Although Pauline did indicate that the wearing of the kimono was another story in itself!!


We started off 2011 in January when we defied the stormy weather that usually occurs on those evenings and met on the foreshore at Warners Bay.  We enjoyed the balmy evening, a beautiful sunset, the music and some chatter, while sampling all the food and wine on offer. We welcomed new member, Rosalyn and created our usual interest from the public.


For our first regular Thursday we headed to Hughzies at Toronto and during March had dinner at Caves Beach. During the lunch at Lena’s for the “Getting to Know You”  theme we learnt a little more about each other and discussed how fortunate we were to have something to attend regularly that offers fun and companionship which can be uplifting during the daily grind of life and in times of stress.


Over the next few weeks we supported Kath at her Art exhibition held at the Botanic gardens, while the Easter luncheon at Ducks Crossing was also a lovely affair. We all looked rather regal with some adding touches to our hats for the occasion. Precious Purple Purl, Kerry had us all working hard to answer her Easter related quiz. 


Lynn hosted a Morning Tea at Gardinia Café at Lee Rowans Nursery where Princess Pauline kept us laughing with her stories of “hatch, match and dispatch” (relating to a christening, a marriage and a burial) and her aim to somehow produce a Pricilla theme for her planned journey across the “desert” in Belle (mobile home). The M’Ladies therefore got together and after an afternoon tea at Jessie’s in June, we bid farewell to Pauline as she set off on her journey to Broome, together with her Pricilla Queen of the Desert style flutters.  It was also a day of celebrations for the Big “0” Birthdays for both Pauline (70th) and Rosalynd (60th).


A secret Birthday Sister activity was introduced for this year whereby each M’Lady picked a name out of the hat and offered a personal individual Birthday greeting upon that M’Lady on behalf of us all.


M’Lady of Memories – Diana was hosted to a dinner and overnight stay in Bell at Blacksmiths.  Pauline cooked a lovely BBQ and the couple had a beach walk, drinks at sunset, and lots of girlie talk before lights out.


Madam  May – Rhonda was quite enthralled with her transport, a Red Ferrari, that took her to Awaba House where M’Lady Pelicano – Vicki waited for her and hosted an afternoon tea.


Madame Lash – Lyn took  Kath DaVinci  to Cafe 56 for her celebration where they enjoyed their soirée, while Kerry managed to meet for a movie for Deep Purle Lover – Maureen’s birthday treat and on her actual birthdate, Kerry  got soaked delivering flowers and a goodie bag.  At the end of the exercise Maureen got 2 cupcakes!


As Madame Lash and Precious Purple Purl’s birthdays were on the same day it was arranged that the birthday hosts would meet up together.  Thus Kath DaVinci and Queenie took Lynn and Kerry for lunch to Fort Sctratchley and enjoyed the sunshine and a light meal, amply protected on the day from the wind that whips off the ocean. 


Queenie’A took M’Lady Pelicano to Brown Sugar and enjoyed a one-on-one chat which is what the Birthday treat exercise was all about. Vicki shared her news of her trip to Broome where she met up with Pauline.


Xmas in July at the Lakeside Cafe was a pleasant afternoon, the food was lovely and the service commendable.  We had our annual dinner at Tafe, organised by Diana and always great value and so looked forward to each year.


And then WHOOSH! Another month was gone and August was upon us. Over our lunch at the Heights on Regent we discussed how, as one M’Lady returned home from travelling another left and this time around we wished Lexie continuing enjoyable travels while in Europe, and to Kerry a safe and happy trip to England and Ireland.


Another Trivia Night at Club Macquarie, organised by Madame Lash and in aid of Camp Quality was another opportunity to share fellowship amongst friends.  A couple of M’Ladies won some prizes; a massage, wine and other goodies.


An afternoon chat at Double Take Café” was hosted by M’Lady Sew’n’Sew, Rosalynd. Her “Spring/Flower” quiz showed how the M’Ladies still liked to be creative, adventurous, or just got involved for the fun of it.


For our Friday Movie at Boolaroo we enjoyed Beautiful Lies and followed up with coffee/snack at Club Macquarie.


To complete the final months of the year we roamed through the Newcastle Museum and lunched at the new Honeysuckle Hotel and had a scavenger hunt at the local shopping centre in October.  During November we travelled to Sydney for a Games Cruise from Star City wharf in the company of members of Queen Denise’s Gosford Redhatters and Queen Annette (Redbacks of Sydney). It was a perfect day with a light breeze and the 3½ hours spent traversing around the harbour was most enjoyable. There was lots of chatter, the food tasty and the games lots of fun.  M’Lady Roamalot, Carol won on the Bingo and Kath DaVinci, Madame Lash and Queenie manage to scoop the pools on the Trivia and Name that Tune winning wine, drinks and lots (and lots) of lollies!!  All in all, another fun experience.  We were tired souls that reached our destinations by 6.30pm.


That bought us to our final activity for 2011, Xmas lunch at Jonah’s on the Beach at Noah’s Motel.  It was our 5th Anniversary.  M’Lady Sew’n’Sew, Rosalynd was most generous in creating unique designed bags for us all.  Those bags were to become a special part of each M’Ladies’ red hat wardrobe and continue to be used at gatherings.

Come January 2012 and the new program was formulated again incorporating the theme idea, as most agreed it added interest and a great way to show everyone’s individual creativity and interesting in seeing the different ways the theme is interpreted. The first event was the gathering at Patchwork on Main where we welcomed Ann and Gwenda to the chapter. The Australiana theme allowed ladies to wear something suitable.  Madame Lash (Lynne) and Precious Purple Purl (Kerry) were contenders for the prize, both decorating their hats yellow and green.  Kerry had an edge with her collection of Ozzie notables – Vegemite, Koalas and flags.


We had another good representation when we attended Miss Porter’s cottage in King Street. This was a very interesting tour of the free standing Edwardian terrace built by Herbert Porter in 1909 and was the home of Miss Hazel Porter who lived there all her life until her death in 1997, aged 83. There is some fascinating contents on display.  Old kitchen items, furniture, nic-nacs, bedding, furniture etc and the outfits and accessories that the Porter sisters wore.  It was reported by the tour guides that a lot of original documentation was found following the handover of the home to the National Trust to which Miss Porter had bequeathed the property. We followed up with a coffee at Snows in the Wollies shopping complex at Market Town.


Then came May and the “Hippys on Tour” which was such a memorable activity for so many reasons. This outing has become something of a folklore for the M’Ladies.


The showers at the beginning of the day did not dampen our spirits when 11 Hippie M’Ladies arrived on time for the start of the Car Rally to Medowie.  After some instructions the designated drivers – Kerry, Maureen and Annette collected their questions, teamed up and set off.  Some of the ladies were hard to recognise in their wigs and outfits and there were lots of laughs to begin with that continued each time we met up at different points for morning tea and later for lunch. 

M’Lady Tom Cat (Margaret) was a picture of innocence with her long curls, but that changed after she stated in conversation that she did indeed skinny-dip back in the 60’s.  Kath DaVinci (being our artistic talented M’Lady) completed her outfit with some last minute flowers attached to her jeans, worn with her flower power shirt and beads, plus her very authentic long flowing hair. M’Lady Pelican (Vicki) thought she was safe from anyone knowing her in her flowing caftan and long black wig, only to find a distinguished gentleman greeted her instantly, by name, outside Cento Centre – there was much laughter about that.   Throughout the day we found the public were fascinated with our outfits and at times bemused with the smiles and obvious fun that we were having.


Each team was given a set of questions about landmarks and places they would pass on the routes.  Maps were not allowed so each carload needed to be vigilant along the way. We made our first stop for morning tea at Lexies at Stockton after which time more questions were handed out. 

We then headed off along Nelson Bay Road detouring into The Cove to answer some more questions and completed that section of the journey at the Medowie Shopping Village, where you needed to complete another selection of answers.  Then it was a short drive for our lunch stop at the Macadamia Cafe. It is always amazing to see how Red hat ladies can get into the spirit of an event and as I know you all to be fun-loving ladies it was no surprise to me to find you all playing up whenever you could.

M’Lady Pinky Darling  (Gwenda) wore her Peace & Love tee shirt and during the day and showed off her true colours, that matched her red and purple hair.  She ate dessert only for lunch being the biggest Banoffe Pancake dessert one could ever imagine and thus went home with a new title – M’Lady Decadent

 M’Lady Sew’n Sew (Rosalynd) had created her caftan out of a sarong turned on its side – she is so creative!!  M’Lady Roamalot (Carol) and Princess Puppy Love (Maureen) were a little safer in their outfits with jeans and butterfly top, or flowing skit and over-blouse, respectively, but were no less involved with the frivolity of the occasion. M’Lady Nellie Melba, sometimes considered as our quiet one, was forever giving the peace sign and it appears she kept some passing motorists entertained!!  Precious Purple Purl (Kerry) kept her team amused (or frustrated) with her Cat Stevens and other repertoire of 60’s music.  I too enjoyed going incognito with my black wig (which was actually purchased back in the 60’s) and my 2012 oversized glasses, and  was kept smiling with the sights I witnessed as you all got into the “swing of things”.

But the best laugh of all came when Jazzie Annie (Ann) produced her little bag of “grass” and ladies proceeded to roll it in strips of the question papers and posed as smoker.  The look on the face of the waitress serving the lunches at the Macadamia Cafe was a classic and this is sure to be a tale retold many times at future M’Ladies gatherings.  Over lunch we viewed the collection of scrapbooks that M’Lady of Memories (Diana) had created over the previous 6 years. 


We then set off from the cafe and had one final drive through at Fighter World and headed home completing the questionnaire at the Stockton Bridge.


The winning team with 60 points was the Pink team with driver Precious Purple Purl (Kerry), M’Lady Nellie Melba, M’Lady Sew’n Sew (Rosalynd) and newly named M’Lady Decadent (Gwenda).

The Duke Hotel was a great venue for the Easter celebrations and ladies took up the challenge for the “Black Chocolat’ Delight” theme. Deep Purple Lover sportd her Ferrero Collection stickers and M’Lady Decadent with Bunny Ears and Easter eggs on her hat, that slowly started to lose their shape – if you were watching them!  Madame Lashe came with her whip - a dark chocolate coloured one, that was incorporated as  part of the theme as “whipped ... chocs!”.  She too wore her bunny ears. Birthday gals, Kath DaVinci and Madam May were radiant in red, Princess Pauline had on her new Easter bonnet and the rest of the M’Ladies all looked the part with their brilliant splash of assorted colours. M’Lady Pelicano added her dark chocolate mints to the basket of eggs, there to be shared by all.


It was a change of colour for the Black Friday concert in April at Cardiff Panthas and there was a good roundup at the movies at Boolaroo to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.


M’Lady Kerry (PPP) was Hostess for the Feathers Fur and Fins for the regular Thursday gathering in May with a venue change from Blackbutt to The Grind Café at the Homemaker Centre, Kotara due to weather conditions.  It seems there were lots of “tales” and pictures to support the stories of a number of “creatures”.


Madame Lash hosted the Wyong Races with Ann, Diana, Lexie and Lynn catching the train to Wyong where we met with Maureen Two. A great day was had with much laughter and high stakes ($1 bets) gambling.


There was an added essence of frivolity for our Mad Hatter - High Tea activity where everyone got into the spirit of things and bought along some of the most interesting, quaint, creative, or just “over the top” table settings.


The selection of the place settings all together made for a great show with the tables laden with goodies and some sinful delights, especially the contribution from M’Lady Decadent who’s “Glimmer and Glam” theme was completely sinful and colourful in both her place setting and the food that went with it!!  Brandy snaps and cream, freckles, smarties, purple orchids and spotted crockery.  And amongst that was the beautiful handmade musk candle in a teacup and the Recharge teabags, just to add her sense of serenity to the mix.  And if that was not enough sinful food, she added a selection of chocolate bars to her hat, just in case we run out of lollies, I guess!!


M’Lady Sew’n’Sew had created the most interesting hat and was toting the most a glam bag, again made by herself.  She completed her outfit with large bloom of flowers and a special ‘nail job” that was admired by all.
Princess Pauline and Princess Puppy Love also looked beautiful in their au’ contraire outfits.


Deep Purple Lover had decorated her fire(woman’s) hat with feathers, M’Lady Tom Cat had masses of feathers, M’Lady Lexie had a collection of tea bags (most simple, but so appropriate), while Madame Lash sparkled.  M’Lady Pelicano and Madam May wore a red chapeaux and beret, respectively.  There were two noted “Queen of Hearts” with M’Lady Roamalot in her colourful - Jesters hat and Precious Purple Purl in her outfit and crown, accompanied by her white rabbit, with Queenie in her ? hat and rabbit ears, wearing a vest and toting a gold fob watch and, yippee… she was not late for this very important date!!


During July 7 M’Ladies headed off to Sydney to see Nutcracker on Ice which was determined a “great day”.  The coach ride down was comfy, the day was sunny and pleasant, the show quite inspiring and generally classed as a great theatre presentation. During the day we chatted on the trip, over lunch and again on the homeward journey.  There was lots of laugher and some great photo opportunities.  Pauline could not let the chance go by to do some mopping at Central Station, and Queenie could not resist the change to capture the shot!!


For the Masked Affair month of August ladies looked fab at Pippys as well as those who attended dinner at the BNE Asian where we were most impressed with the meal and so enjoyed our chit-chat and laughter.


The very large contingent of members that gathered at the Wickham Motorcycle Café, together with a number of guests enjoyed catching up with everyone and the time passed very quickly. A number of M’Ladies took the opportunity to have a photo taken with the “vintage” bikes on display.

Another most memorable day was the absolute HOOT that we had at M’Lady Decadent’s lovely home for our Op-Shop Exchange. We were greeted with the warm embrace of Gwenda and all her furry kids. If the wine and nibbles and fresh prawns was not enough there was also an offering of a great selection of coffees or teas, plus sweets and cakes galore and chocolates!! It was a rather hap-hazard selection process decided upon, thanks to Madam Decadent’s name tags issued on arrival of each guest that set the pace of the numbering system for the afternoon activities.   Without that means we would never have gotten past first base! And the LAUGHTER!! Well that was infectious. 

For November Jazzann organised a Putt Golf function to complete November which was so enjoyable.


For our lunch at Pippys we were seated around a round table that accommodated our chatter exchange and it was also easier to distribute the minties, which were the prizes awarded for correct answers to M’Lady Sew’n Sew, Rosalyn’s quiz questions. M’Lady Roamalot Carol was the overall winner of the most lollies.  Then it was onto impromptu sing a song which really had us chuckling.

The year was completed with our Xmas luncheon and celebration of our 6th Birthday at Murrays Beach. M’Lady Sue made the table so inviting and organized the Secret Santa exchange and our champagne cocktails on arrival.  What a lot of fun we had trying to acquire that elusive gift, or taking it from others, and for one little Princess, finding it when it was hidden!!