Alyssa Joy Spackman was the six year old daughter of good friends of mine. A bright and beautiful girl with wonderful friends and the most amazing loving family.
A little over a year ago she was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. She fought and fought and her parents did everything (and seriously, I mean everything) they could to beat it. She lasted longer then any Doctor predicted and that was because of the sheer will power of Alyssa, the love and support from her family and the prayers of an entire community.
She went to heaven early this morning while surrounded by her Mum and Dad, her sisters, brothers and Grandparents who I feel devastated for. I pray for strength for you all and complete peace for the beautiful and precious angel, Alyssa.
The Comfort & Sweetness of Peace
By Helen Steiner Rice
After the clouds, the sunshine,
After the winter, the spring,
After the showers, the rainbow-
For life is a changeable thing.
After the night, the morning,
bidding all darkness cease.
After life’s cares and sorrows,
the comfort and sweetness of peace.
A service for Alyssa will be held at Pinnaroo Valley Memorial Park (Crematorium) East Chappel, Whitfords Avenue Padbury in Perth on Thursday the 9th May at 3:30pm.
Please wear colours or purple and feel free to bring a single flower or paper crane to place on the casket if you wish. There will be stickers available for those who wish to place them on the casket for our little “sticker queen” and there will be purple ribbons to tie around your wrist in honour of our beautiful Alyssa.
Please join us after for tea/coffee/refreshments/light snacks at a venue to be advised.
There will be a special service held for Alyssa in Kununurra at a later date.
Sorry for the long delay between posts but ligament damage to my left shoulder has slowed me up considerably these last few weeks especially on the typing front. I am not as young as I once was and cliff jumping into waterfalls while exhilarating can also have painful consequences! Anyway – it will make for an interesting blog post very soon. In the mean time I need to catch up on my last few remaining posts from our time in Thailand.
Time for my last Ubon hotel review for a while. This time it is the Pen-ta-hug hotel (เป็นตาฮัก). My other Ubon hotel reviews can be found here.
I know the owner of this new hotel and he runs some other very successful businesses in the area so I was really looking forward to seeing how his first attempt at building and running a hotel from scratch was going for him.
First impressions of the place were good. Nice new building, good car park, clean lobby and friendly check in service.
A nice new building with a decent sized carpark out the front.
The lobby was spacious and had some interesting artwork to ponder while checking in and out. The small breakfast area is also located here.
Unfortunately it went down hill after that but mainly because of just one thing – the bed! I like firm beds and have slept on some pretty bad mattresses all over SE Asia but the one in room 214 was a doozy! Yes it was hard but also as flat as a pot holed road making sleep basically impossible. If there was a Thai Massage place on site I would have been their first customer the next morning. I was still sore 24 hours after checking out.
The bed from hell!
It wasn’t all bad though. The bathroom water pressure was nice and strong and hot. The wide selection of TV channels was welcomed. The place was very quiet.
Breakfast was included but the selection was very small (to be expected for such a small hotel) and the internet while not super fast was reliable.
The location is a little out of the way and I was glad to have my car with me.
The bathroom was clean and had good hot water.
The rest of the room was basic but practical.
At 800 baht I will not be staying here again. Much better sleep to be had at places like Phadaeng, Nartsiri, T3 and Pan House for a cheaper price.
Pen ta hug Hotel เป็นตาฮัก
A few days ago I blogged about getting ready to replace our wooden balcony railing with a steel one. You can read about that here.
We got everything ready a week before we returned to Australia with the hope that the builder would be able to complete the job before we left. He came and removed the old wood and measured everything up but then seemed to disappear. Lots of excuses were made before we stopped hassling him as we were too busy getting ready for our immediate departure.
I actually think that is what he was waiting for as he more then likely did not want us watching his every move on a job that he had never done before. Sure enough within a few days we got word that he had started and had the job finished a few days later. As none of my family in the village have a camera (or even a phone camera) I expected that I would have to wait until my next visit to see how it ended up looking so imagine my surprise when just recently I got an email from my niece. She lives in a neighbouring village but is currently studying at University in Ubon Ratchathani. It turned out that she paid my village a visit and happened to have her new digital camera with her so she took some snaps and emailed them to me when she got back to Uni.
Of course it is always hard to tell just from photos but from what I can see I think he has done an excellent job. What do you think?
When we built our house in Thailand five years ago we were actually living in New Zealand. Apart from two trips of three weeks each by my wife while I stayed home to look after the kids the house was built basically by correspondence and her family whose experience at building a house was about as much as mine – none! You would think that it the whole event would have been a catastrophe from start to finish but surprisingly enough apart from a few stuff ups we were happy with the end result.
One of those stuff ups only became apparent during our last visit when I leaned up against the balcony railing and almost fell right through it! A quick look later and we had quickly come to the conclusion that untreated cheap wood had been used for the entire railing and most of it was rotten inside. Perhaps termites had also been at work, I am not sure.
We could have replaced it with more wood but seeing as our house in Australia had just been finished with a large balcony complete with steel poles and wire thread which we love we thought we would have a shot at trying to replicate that.
I printed off a photo of our Australian balcony and Seerung set off to talk to a neighbour who is half decent with a welder and steel building products. He said he had never done something like that before but would have a crack so our next port of call was the hardware store an hours drive away. We bought what we needed and as some of the poles were too long for the car we left them there for the local bus to pick up and deliver to us for 50 baht ($1.75) the following day.
A few days after everything had arrived the neighbour turned up with a side kick and they started demolishing the balcony.
All he needed was a hammer because as you can see there was not much strength left in that wood!
Some other parts were a little harder going.
After that was done he measured up and set to work cutting all the steel poles into the right sizes. I always get a little nervous when we get this man to come and do some welding as he has to hook his welder directly into the power pole on the corner of our property. Unprotected wires being directly applied to power poles give me heart palpitations!
After every thing had been cut to size we were keen to see him get to work putting it all together as time was fast running out before our return trip to Australia. We waited…. and waited but he never showed.
Part 2 coming soon!
In my attempt to review every middle to high class accommodation option in Ubon Ratchathani I recently found myself booking a stay at the Nartsiri Masion using Agoda. My other hotel reviews for Ubon can be found here.
I remember taking some photos at the time but for some reason seemed to have misplaced them so my apologies for this photograph free blog entry.
The taxi driver from the airport told me he knew the place but didn’t and took a bit of offence when I had to convince him he was going the wrong way and to follow my instructions. Eventually we made it and I was immediately struck by how clean it was. It had good under cover parking but be warned it can get very full late in the evenings and can be quite an effort getting out in the morning.
There is a little coffee shop that does the basics that is part of the property. (The breakfast soup was pretty good.)
The beds were very comfortable. The flat screen tv was nice but only one English channel which is a shame as all the other hotels in Ubon have the Australia network which is always welcome when the football is on! The staff were efficient and very flexible with booking and checking in/out etc. Not really any view to talk of and a small window meant there was not much natural light. The Air con was a little noisy but seemed to work well.
I think it was about 720 baht with Agoda and included a small plate of breakfast at the coffee shop but a week later I found myself back there again and paid 650 baht as a walk in rate with no breakfast. I had a quick look at their big room which might suit a small family. Basically it was two rooms together with the second room having the bed and bathroom removed and replaced with a small kitchen and lounge area. That was 1,500 baht a night.
Overall it is a nice place to stay and the location is not all that bad really but if I had to choice between the Nartsiri and other similar priced hotels I think I would end up back at T3 House, Phadaeng Mansion or Pan House.
Nartsiri Mansion: 171 Jong Gon Ni Than Rd. A. Muang, Ubon Ratchathani 34000, Thailand
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