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Not a very successful morning with friends a few weeks ago.  Sadly for us, it's dog-walker paradise and when you have 3 children in your party of 7 children who are very scared of dogs, having them running around everywhere off leads and barking is not ideal.  We had to give up after 3 caches as there were just too many of them around and my 9 year old ended up in tears.

It was a shame as the children were terrific at finding the caches.  At least we managed to drop off one of our travel bugs.


Think we'll go back to semi-urban caching. You know, the sort of places you may find a dog or two down a footpath but not 20 around you chasing each other.  
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We've been really shocked lately by the attitude of TUI.  We booked last year to go to a hotel in Cape Verde - the Melia Tortuga Beach Resort and Spa.  According to TUI, this is a "5* Platinum" hotel.  Wow!  That is amazing right? Good price for all inclusive, 2 room apartment and right on the beach.  How could you not be excited by this?

From the TUI website.  Perhaps the logo should be "We're smiling with your money"?
Well, you can be UNTIL you start to read the latest Trip Advisor reviews.  Yes, they are "subjective" as TUI told me when I complained but really, can all those people be wrong?  The hotel has deteriorated significantly since we booked it but TUI are determined to still market it as a 5* hotel, despite the comments of nearly every visitor.  What is going on?

It seems that TUI refuse to accept that a hotel is not up to the standard it should be.  Consequentially, we decided not to waste another penny beyond our deposit on this place and cancelled.  Or course, TUI held on to our £800 as a hotel that has declined so far is no reason to refund passengers is it.  Money-grabbing springs to mind.  

I'm utterly disgusted with TUI.  They need to re-assess this hotel.  I have contacted a number of reviewers before cancelling the holiday. I'm pretty easy going on holiday and fully realise a 5* hotel in Cape Verde is unlikely to be the same as one in Dubai for example. However, I expect a certain level of service and quality of food.  Hearing from these people about luke-warm food (and yes, many were TUI/Thompson visitors!), hardly any glasses/plates/cutlery, etc, etc should ring alarm bells with TUI. But they don't care. Some other mug will buy our place at the hotel and they've made £800 out of us.

I swore before never to use TUI again but it looks like they are taking over almost all package holiday companies now.  My error in giving them the benefit of the doubt for our family summer holiday.  Never again. 

Be interested to hear from other TUI visitors who have experienced an equally sub-standard service from this organisation.
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Our annual outing to Mizens Miniature Railway took place last weekend.  I have to say that we all really enjoy a ride on these trains and our friend J always comes along too (well, why not when your own children are too old for this *grin*).


As always, a lovely, happy environment and the volunteers there make so much effort to decorate the trees and tunnels for the children.


We'll be back next year!
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Even better than previous years.  We had a lovely walk around.  Definitely worth going if you get the chance.



 




 






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We met up with two lots of friends today to have a wander around Eli's Walk cache series.  We managed to park in the two separate car parks and wait for each other.  Fortunately hubby said "do you think they're here yet" which prompted a phone call to find we were opposite sides of the field *grin*.

Eli's Walk 1 was our first cache.  A good spot for the children.  We spent quite a while here waiting for them to decide what to swap!


Eli's Walk 2 we missed at first and then was spotted by one of the 9 year olds. Why didn't we see that?


Eli's Walk 3 was another quick spot.  This is a lovely walk around the woods.  The colours of the leaves are stunning.


Farewell Ottershaw was my 900th geocache!  Yay!  These caches are all child friendly and they are enjoying them.  Eli's Walk 4 was a fantastic cache. Have seen this type before but this was incredibly well hidden!  We were all searching when I heard something hit the ground. One of the youngest ones had knocked it off.  A bit of a search in the leaves and it was spotted.  Fantastic!  Definitely a favourite point here.


Eli's Walk 5 was a bit difficult. Our GPS's were all pointing in different directions!  How weird. We'd spotted something immediately as we got to this area but dismissed it due to the GPS keeping us walking forward.  We now investigated that again.  Yes, cache was there.  Eli's Walk 6 was a fabulous ammo tin. You don't see too many of those now so a nice find.  It's just starting to rain a bit harder so we're heading back to the car now.


Eli's Walk 8 was our last one of the day.  Awful here as it is dog poo city. 3 poos around the normal rubbish bin alone :(  Why can't people pick it up.  2 of us stepped in it.  Finally found the cache.  Seen lots of these but never one this colour.  How weird.  Great spot by one of the adults though.

It was lovely to get out for a nice walk together.  Fortunately the weather held off until the end.  Definitely a great set for children.
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