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  • We’re bugged by a hotel chain’s response to our complaint

    Posted 2019-11-12 07:00:33 by: bossgate

    It offered budget deals but my daughter got more than she bargained forIn August my daughter and a friend stayed at an OYO hotel in Belgravia. On the second day they noticed bites and saw little bugs on the floor, wall and on their pillow, which appeared to be bed bugs. They went to the front desk to notify them and get a different room. The staff member said they couldn’t do anything and gave them a clean set of sheets. My daughter said the sheets would not change the issue as the bugs were in the room. They got no help and the person did not go upstairs to see the bugs.We have been trying to get a refund, and even have pictures of the bugs and bites, with time and location stamps to prove they were at the Belgravia hotel. They say they would only give us a 30% refund. They boast that they are the fastest growing hotel chain in the world. What a farce! Continue ...

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  • Cider, cheese and cool scenery: a car-free adventure in Somerset

    Posted 2019-11-12 06:30:31 by: bossgate

    Buses and trains make it easy to explore the coast and countryside around Weston-super-Mare and Taunton, and the only way to go to indulge in the West Country’s famous ciderThe train glides west. Uncompromising-looking grey clouds are shedding icy raindrops on to Bath’s spires and crescents and Bristol’s colourful terraces. But I’m hoping at least three things will warm this wintry West Country jaunt: cheese, cider and the scenery of Sanditon. Several scenes in ITV’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s unfinished “beaches-and-ballgowns” novel were filmed in Somerset and, arriving on the sandy seafront in Weston-super-Mare, I recognise the green slopes of Brean Down, a regular backdrop.Brean beach, one of Sanditon’s star locations, is a few miles south, and a cycle route from Weston opened in 2017. Given the weather, I opt to hop on the X5 bus (£7 Avonrider ticket), heading north to Clevedon, an elegant coastal town whose sea wall and marine lake also featured in the series. As I stroll by the sea, past the 150-year-old pier, rays of late-afternoon sunlight spill out of a rift in the clouds above Steep Holm, one of the distinctive islands in the Bristol Channel. Continue ...

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  • 10 cosy B&Bs, hotels and pubs for winter: readers’ travel tips

    Posted 2019-11-11 06:31:58 by: bossgate

    From sea lochs to gorgeous old villages, our tipsters recall magical stays, bracing walks and fine food accompanied by roaring fires and a comfortable bedThe Angel Hotel in Abergavenny is a former coaching inn on the edge of the Brecon Beacons national park, with the Black Mountains close by. We found the bar’s old-world feel of warm lighting and wood-panelled walls a welcome hiding place when the weather took a turn for the worse. To fully enjoy the wonderful colours of the local foliage at this time of year I’d recommend joining one of the leaf peeping trips the hotel runs. Last year we also took part in a foraging expedition, identifying wild plants and coming up with dishes using ingredients found a short walk from the hotel.• Doubles from £109 B&B, angelabergavenny.comKeith Continue ...

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  • 40 great cosy hotels, B&Bs and pubs with rooms for winter

    Posted 2019-11-09 07:01:00 by: bossgate

    Snuggle up and tuck in at one of these cosy places to stay around the UK that we’ve selected to warm the cockles of your heart Continue ...

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  • 'Greta Thunberg effect' driving growth in carbon offsetting

    Posted 2019-11-08 10:02:10 by: bossgate

    NGOs report fourfold increases in investments in carbon-reducing projects in developing countriesGrowing concern about the climate crisis and the “Greta Thunberg effect” are driving huge increases in individuals and businesses choosing to offset their emissions by investing in carbon-reducing projects in developing countries.NGOs and organisations involved in carbon offsetting have seen as much as a fourfold increase in investment from people who want to try to mitigate their carbon footprints. Continue ...

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  • Healthy break: an escape to Devon for a stay in a restored cottage hospital

    Posted 2019-11-08 06:30:21 by: bossgate

    The tranquillity of the Landmark Trust’s latest renovation, Winsford Cottage Hospital, has a healing effect on our writerPleurisy, fracture at elbow, scalded buttocks, horse bite – who knew that a list of ailments on a hospital’s patient register could be so gripping? The one I found in my holiday accommodation (newly renovated Winsford Cottage Hospital in Devon) told the stories of people from a dozen local parishes. Within its handwritten pages I read of first world war soldiers with trench fever, second world war evacuees with asthma, plus farmers, labourers, cooks and teachers who had contrived to injure themselves in all manner of ways – and scores upon scores of women giving birth. Encouragingly, the patients whose discharge date is followed by the remarks “Cured”, “Much benefited” or “Satisfactory” far outnumber those with the more solemn “Died”. Continue ...

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  • Hotels to offer free stays to guests in exchange for their skills

    Posted 2019-11-07 06:30:45 by: bossgate

    International Barter Week initiative sees B&B and hotel owners provide accommodation in return for DIY and tech knowhowMore than 600 B&Bs, hotels and self-catering businesses across the world have signed up to take part in the second international Barter Week. The initiative runs for a week in November (18-24) and invites accommodation owners to offer free stays to guests in exchange for sharing skills or goods.Hosts register their “wishes”, which range from carpentry and decorating skills to social media knowhow or website expertise and invite potential guests to make an offer. Continue ...

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  • Jordan attack: foreign tourists among eight stabbed in Jerash

    Posted 2019-11-06 14:15:40 by: bossgate

    Victims at popular destination reported to include people from Mexico and Switzerland Eight people including four foreign tourists were stabbed on Wednesday inside the ancient Roman city of Jerash, one of Jordan’s most popular sites for visitors.Authorities said the victims included tourists from Mexico and Switzerland. Police sources told the Guardian that three of those stabbed were Mexican and one was Swiss. The others included two Jordanian police officers, a tour guide and a driver. Continue ...

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  • ‘I was sleeping when the Wall fell’: Berlin stories, 30 years on

    Posted 2019-11-06 06:30:14 by: bossgate

    The years leading up to – and just after – the fall of the Berlin Wall are filled with vivid and poignant memories for these locals from both East and WestBorn in Radebeul, eastern Germany. His retrospective will be published by Siedl in 2020, with an accompanying exhibition at C/O BerlinI moved to East Berlin, from Dresden, at the end of the 1970s. I lived in Prenzlauer Berg for most of my time there, on different streets – Kastanienallee, Winsstrasse, Choriner-Strasse. It was one of the most interesting places to be for an artist, because all the activists and dissidents were there, too. We could squat the houses, or at least not pay much rent, because they were all in such bad condition and the landlords were (mostly) happy just to have someone in there who could maintain them. Those in power, including the Stasi, were confused by our scene as they couldn’t access it, or at least not completely. There were lots of small groups rather than one big scene. Continue ...

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  • Country diary: magical mushrooms spark the children’s imagination

    Posted 2019-11-06 05:30:13 by: bossgate

    Durham University Botanic Garden: Curious fungi open a gate to the mysteries of mycologyBefore I retired from university teaching, I brought undergraduates to this valley at the bottom of the botanic garden to demonstrate the rudiments of mycology. It’s a perfect location for a fungal foray: deciduous beech and oak woodland on one side of a small stream, a conifer plantation on the other, with plentiful fallen timber.The site is managed for mycological diversity, allowing dead branches to decay where they fall, entering an afterlife where wave after wave of fungal hyphae slowly reduce them to humus. As that great woodsman Oliver Rackham once said: “A horizontal tree – alive or dead – is at least as good a habitat as an upright one.” Continue ...

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