Is Ubon Ratchathani about to be ‘discovered’?

Way back in 2009 I blogged about a writer coming and visiting me in my little village. He writes for the Sydney Morning Herald and is often seen on TV travel shows and heard on the wireless.

You can read about that here.

As a result he wrote a book called 5 ways to carry a goat where he dedicated a chapter to his visit with me.

You can read about the book and my thoughts back in 2010 here.

Last night I saw a link to a story about Ubon Ratchathani. Being interested in all things Ubon I clicked on it and was surprised to see the same Journalist (Ben Groundwater) had written an article called “Ubon Ratchathani province: The part of Thailand tourists haven’t discovered” a rehash about his time all those years ago.

It is a short but nice read and so, wanting to blow my own trumpet a little bit, thought I would share it with you all. Enjoy.

Ubon Ratchathani province: The part of Thailand tourists haven’t discovered

Here is the writer, Ben Groundwater wondering if he should believe me how nice and smooth the local Rice Whisky is.

Here is the writer, Ben Groundwater, wondering if he should believe me how nice and smooth the local rice whisky is.

Down the hatch

Down the hatch


The aftermath!

The aftermath!

Ariya turns 10

Double figures. *Sigh*

While I love watching my kids growing up – learning, experiencing and living life – it sure is a reality check when the first one hits 10 years old. I feel like I only started this blog a few years ago – yet upon reflection she was two when I wrote my first post!

Ariya turns three.
Ariya turns four.
Ariya turns six.
Ariya turns eight.
Ariya turns nine.

Ariya is a sensitive soul who really looks out for others. However, during the last year she has really started to step out of her comfort zone which is great to see. She has made some new and solid friends yet is still so super close with her sister and loves her little brother to the moon and back.

I can’t wait to see what this next year will bring – plenty of goodness I am sure.

We made a bigger deal then normal for this birthday and Ariya had a group of friends over for a play after school with three of them staying for a sleep over and more fun the following day (Saturday). Here are a few photos and a video.

Marisah stayed up late the night before helping Mum decorate the cake.

Marisah stayed up late the night before helping Mum decorate the cake.

After school I picked up and brought home the three friends who were staying on for a sleep over.

After school I picked up and brought home the three friends who were staying on for a sleep over.

Getting ready for bed.... yeah right!

Getting ready for bed…. yeah right!

More friends arrived in time to help eat the cake.

More friends arrived in time to help eat the cake.

The trampoline makes a great table - Thai style!

The trampoline makes a great table – Thai style!


Ariya is really starting to enjoy cooking. Basic stuff at the moment but she can do some mean eggs and pancakes etc (great for when she cooks for her siblings allowing Mum and Dad a sleep in!) so this book was a very welcomed present.

Ariya is really starting to enjoy cooking. Basic stuff at the moment but she can do some mean eggs and pancakes etc (great for when she cooks for her siblings allowing Mum and Dad a sleep in!) so this book was a very welcomed present.

Jewellery is always welcomed!

Jewellery is always welcomed!

As is money! She bought a how to train your dragon lego box set with it.

As is money! She bought a how to train your dragon lego box set with it.

Jacob turns four

It was a quiet affair for Jacob for his fourth birthday. If presents had not arrived in the mail from family in the previous days it may well have been completely forgotten!

It was a school day and Jacob also had his once a week 2 hour session at Kindy so in the morning he opened up his presents and in the afternoon we took him out for a babychinno and some sugar.

He really seems to understand birthdays now and is already asking about how long to go until his next one so this year we might make a bit more of an effort!

Jacobs Birth.
Jacob turns one.
Jacob turns two.
Jacob turns three.

Still waking up with a bowl of porridge showing me with his fingers how old he now is.

Still waking up with a bowl of porridge showing me with his fingers how old he now is.

Opening presents before school. Cars and books were happily received.

Opening presents before school. Cars and books were happily received.

A West Coast Eagles car from his cousins.

A West Coast Eagles car from his cousins.

All three off to school on a cool winters morning.

All three off to school on a cool winters morning.


Coffee time!

Coffee time!

Marisah turns eight

Marisah turns two
Marisah turns three
Marisah turns five
Marisah turns six
Marisah turns seven

Marisah’s eighth birthday was one of highs and lows.

The highs of course was that it was her birthday! She had five friends come over on the Saturday (her actual birthday) and they had a lot of fun playing outside as well as completing the treasure hunt I had arranged. During the hunt I noticed Marisah was a little slow and within an hour she had her head in a bowl vomiting and feeling very sorry for herself. We were all sorry for her as she was out for the count for the rest of the afternoon and evening.

We continued on though with a very sombre girl blowing out her birthday candles and watching a movie with her friends. Three friends stayed over for a sleep over and thankfully by the morning she was back to her normal self and enjoyed their company until they were picked up.

Later that evening over dinner Marisah enjoyed opening cards and gifts from her cousins while her sister and brother helped / played up.

Apart from the sickness it was a nice time with family and friends. With her 9th birthday only a few months away though I feel like time is spinning out of control.

Happy birthday Marisah, I still love you to the moon and back. xxx

Sick, but not sick enough not to be able to watch a movie.

Sick, but not sick enough not to be able to watch a movie.

Mustering enough energy to blow out the candles.

Mustering enough energy to blow out the candles.

Present time.

Present time.

Reading cards from the cousins.

Reading cards from the cousins.


Show me the money!

Show me the money!

Bling bling!

Bling bling!

Pfffft, siblings!

Pfffft, siblings!

Ariya turns nine

The final birthday for the year was Ariya who turned nine in November.

Ariya turns eight.
Ariya turns six.
Ariya turns four.
Ariya turns three.

Ariya was very happy that this year her birthday would be held in cooler weather as by now we had made the move to the Gippsland region in Victoria (the south east corner of Australia and 4,000 kms away from Kununurra.)

We had only been here for three weeks when her birthday arrived but thankfully we already knew a family here who also had recently just relocated from Kununurra so Ariya and Marisah’s friend, Nikita was able to join us for a day at the beach.

Our new location has us a one hour drive east from the city of Melbourne, one hour south of the snow and one hour north of Phillip Island. Ariya was given the choice and she decided on Phillip Island.

That morning Nikita arrived with her Mum and younger sister. They opened some gifts before enjoying a cupcake birthday 'cake'.

That morning Nikita arrived with her Mum and younger sister. They opened some gifts before enjoying a cupcake birthday ‘cake’.

Ariya turns 9

One hour later we were at Phillip Island. We headed to the southern tip to have a walk around and try and find some Fairy Penguins.

One hour later we were at Phillip Island. We headed to the southern tip to have a walk around and try and find some Fairy Penguins.

It was blowing an absolute gail which the kids found a lot of fun. Eventually we did spot two baby penguins hiding from the wind.

It was blowing an absolute gail which the kids found a lot of fun. Eventually we did spot two baby penguins hiding from the wind.

Afterwards we drove a few kms to the town of Cowes where we were told was a good swimming beach. After a picnic lunch of sushi all four kids were ready to get wet.

Afterwards we drove a few kms to the town of Cowes where we were told was a good swimming beach. After a picnic lunch of sushi all four kids were ready to get wet.

Well, the girls were while Jacob played it safe.

Well, the girls were while Jacob played it safe.

I was suffering from some severe back pain so took it easy laying on the grass keeping an eye on the kids and a game of cricket while Seerung went to find some coffee.

I was suffering from some severe back pain so took it easy laying on the grass keeping an eye on the kids and a game of cricket while Seerung went to find some coffee.

The water was really cold and they did not last all that long in it, preferring to get warm by laying in the sand....

The water was really cold and they did not last all that long in it, preferring to get warm by laying in the sand….


.... or with a towel and some hugs.

…. or with a towel and some hugs.

Jacob did it just for fun!

Jacob did it just for fun!

Ariya had a great day and apart from my back, so did I. It was so nice to be able to go for a drive and see such different country side and experience new things. I think I just might like it around here.

Jacob turns three

Next birthday to occur was Jacob who turned three in July.

His short life has been well documented at www.memock.com and his three previous birthday (yes, including his birth) can be found here.

Jacobs Birth.
Jacob turns one.
Jacob turns two.

This morning as I type this blog I have no recollection of this day and it is only by looking at photographs that I can remember – that basically we didn’t do anything!

In the morning he opened a present from his Grandma and Grumpy in New Zealand and in the afternoon his Uncle, Aunty and four cousins came over from across the lake to give him a present. The rest of the day was just a typical day in the life of a three year old. Lots and lots of fun and excitement. I don’t think we even bought him a present – such is my indifference for birthday recognition when kids are so young!

Here are some photos from the day.

Upon waking as a three year old it was cuddle time on the sofa with his sisters before opening his present from my parents.

Upon waking as a three year old it was cuddle time on the sofa with his sisters before opening his present from my parents.

Very excited about having a present. It was a toy car.

Very excited about having a present. It was a toy car.

Later on there was plenty of fun to be had outside blowing bubbles.

Later on there was plenty of fun to be had outside blowing bubbles.

Ariya 'helping' out.

Ariya ‘helping’ out.

Later in the day we had a visit from the 'cousins' and a big present was delivered.

Later in the day we had a visit from the ‘cousins’ and a big present was delivered.

Many hands make light work.

Many hands make light work.

This present was the bomb! Even now - 9 months later he still plays with it almost every day. He wants to fly helicopters - just like his Uncle Paul!

This present was the bomb! Even now – 9 months later he still plays with it almost every day. He wants to fly helicopters – just like his Uncle Paul!