I read these from True Pleasures by Lucinda Holdforth:
"The old bloke gets bullied by his wife into taking up appointments and running inquiries and going on boards. The women get the whip out."
What does "go on boards" mean in this context? Being a member of a committee or of a company's board of directors.
"I have sometimes thought that a woman's nature is like a great house full of rooms:there is ... the sitting room, where members of the family come and go as they list;..."
What does "list" mean in this context? as they wish - it is an old word and not much used today.
" 'Darling,' she said to me, with her ruined smile, 'I have seen so many of you Australian women. You are all the same."
What does "ruined" mean in this context? Difficult to answer without having read the book, but implies that the woman concerned has either poor dental hygiene or that her face has been damaged in some way or that she has overdone things.
"...she repeated smugly, spreading her moist ringed hands,..."
What does "moist ringed" mean? moist, ringed, hands - her hands have rings on the fingers and are also damp to the touch.