Saturday, July 30, 2011

Electronica kit for sale

In what was perhaps a moment of miss-guided enthusiasm I managed to amass a bit of electronic music kit.  The fever has passed, and I have an M.O.T to pay for, so grab yourself a bargain.  This equipment has hardly been used, and has never left my study.  I have the boxes/ instructions for everything.

If you'd like to buy something please contact me through

Korg Kaossilator SOLD

Korg Monotron - SOLD

Beringer Xenyx 1002fx (mixer)£55 SOLD

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I'm selling ALL my photography equipment - do you want any of it?

As of the end of July 2011 Web Care Takers (my 'sole-trader' trading name) will close for good.  This means that (among other things) I will no longer be a professional photographer.  I did consider keeping my photography equipment but HRMC seems to be getting quite aggressive with me so it's time to say goodbye to all my lovely Nikon equipment.

Everything here has been well looked after, if you need your camera and lenses to make money you certainly make sure you take good care of them!

If you are interested in buying any of this equipment please contact me through  I'll pay for special delivery on anything you buy (assuming you live in the UK, if not then let's talk).

Nikon D90 body SOLD
Includes box, manual and everything else that arrived with the camera.
I only bought this on the 27th May this year!  I've taken less than two hundred photos on it and have only made one video.  The D90 has just been superseded, which means you get a bargain of a camera at a very good price indeed.  Actually there's a little pro-hint for you; you can always get a bargain if you buy a camera just after its replacement has been launched!  I'm looking for £475 for this practically unused camera.
Here's what an expert says about the Nikon D90...

Nikon D300 body SOLD
Includes box, manual and everything else that arrived with the camera.
This was the camera that changed everything - suddenly us pauper photographers could afford a metal bodied, weather-sealed professional camera without loosing a kidney.  I've taken nearly 30,000 photos on this camera, and it's designed to take 150,000 between services!  I've kept this camera in really great condition, but the rubber 'foot' on it is a little worn where I've had a tripod shoe permanently fixed to it.  I want at least £675 for this camera.
Here's what an expert says about the Nikon D300...

Nikon Nikkor AF D 50 mm F/1.4 Lens SOLD

With box, and even with the little baggy the lens was in inside the box!
I have to import this lens from the USA because I couldn't find one in this country.  This is without a doubt the sharpest lens I have ever seen in my life.  Every other Nikon professional I know proclaims this lens to be the very best there is, especially portraits. It's quite simply breathtaking.  I fitted a UV filter on this lens the day it arrived (after I paid the hefty import bill - ouch!) so it's perfect.  These lenses appear to have gone up in value since I bought mine, but I'm being modest and only asking £150.  If you do a bit of research you'll find out that you can buy a F/1.8 version for about £125 brand new, but believe me, it's worth spending the extra to get this F/1.4 version.
Here's what an expert says about this lens...

Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8 SOLD
Comes with a sun hood that took me a while to track down
This is the daddy of my kit of lenses - it's pretty much the best lens Nikon have ever made (no really!) and has been the lens I have used the most over the last few years.  It's big, it's strong, and it's very clever.  What a chunk of glass!  Brand new these lenses cost a whopping $1,400!  Forget getting in a tizzy over which Nikon camera body to buy, just buy anything and put this lens on the front; you pretty much can't go wrong.  This is one sexy big chunk of glass!  I'm sad about selling all my gear, but this is the lens that I'll miss the most. In fact I'm lovingly stroking it with my right hand as I clumsily type with my left.  This is the god of lenses, and I've seen them go for astounding amounts of money on ebay, which is why I'm asking for £750.
Don't take my word for it, here's what an expert has to say about this lens...

Nikon 12-24mm f/4 AF-S DX SOLD
Comes with a polarising filter that has always lived on this lens.
A spot-on landscape/ archietecture/ massive wedding group photo lens.  To be honest I haven't used it much, but when I have I've always been impressed with the results.  I bought this lens after using a Tokina for a year or so, and I couldn't believe how much better this lens was!  Costs anything up to £1000 brand new, and I'm asking a paltry £450.
Find out more...

Nikon Speedlight SB-600 flash SOLD
Comes with padded case and a funky little stand.
It's 'almost' impossible to take a bad photo using this flash, and because it can also act as a remote flash you can get some pretty special results.  Takes four batteries and cycles/ charges really very fast.  It's not the top of the range Nikon flash, but it's not far off, which why I'm asking £140.
Here's that expert's view again...

Please do get in touch if you have any questions...

Friday, July 08, 2011

Why do I have to pay for domain registration, domain renewals AND hosting?

This post is a little redundant because I am no longer working in the Web/ IT field, but the question of why people who have personalised email addresses (like, rather than or have their own websites need to pay for domains AND hosts/ hosting popped up so frequently over the years that I ran Web Care Takers I thought it warranted a blog post.

For these examples I'm going to use a fictitious man called Samuel who runs a company called 'Ice Cube Collectors'.

So who do I pay for my domain name and why?
Domain names have to be registered with a central registrar (E.G. ICANN in the USA or Nominet in the UK), but it can be either extremely costly (or impossible) to register directly with registrars so you need to register with an agent company.  For example: we use Easily for UK domains and Dotster for International domains.  Domain registrations don't last forever, so have to be renewed every few years (depending on how long you have them registered for).

Samuel owns the domain name '' and pays Dotster for domain registration and renewals.  Samuel's website is at and his email address is  Sam pays a host called Better Web Space for hosting.

So why do I have to pay for a host?  What the dickens is a host anyway?
In order for Samuel's website to be seen by the world it has to be on a web-server, and in order for Samuel to receive emails at his address all the computers in the world need to know which web-server is the right place to send his emails to.  Samuel picks up his emails from the web-server using his iPhone and Microsoft Outlook on his laptop.  Both the emails and websites of this world tend to live on the same web-servers, and these web-servers are operated and managed by hosts.  They are expensive machines - both to run and to buy - and require very specialist technical knowledge to run safely and securely.

So... what?
So you have to pay a registrar to keep your domain name current and properly registered, and that domain name is 'pointed' at a web-server, which means that you have to pay a web-host to provide that service for you.

Domain names and hosts are two separate things, but one cannot operate without the other: If you own a domain name but do not employ the services of a host you cannot have a website or email addresses set up on that domain.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Why the death of the music industry will make you a better musician.

Picture is unrelated
Originally published in 'Lights Go Out' zine.

A while back I was having a cheery chat with a friend (Edd from the 'Last Hours' anarchist collective) and he jokingly told me that life was a lot simpler when he was a fifteen year consumer focussed only on winning the national lottery.  I laughed, he laughed, we both laughed; you get the picture.  While ethics wholly enrich your life in a tangibly (and measurably) holistic way they have a nasty knack of complicating everything.

The laughter turned to thoughtful stubble stroking when I realised that life was also far simpler for the fifteen year old version of me - when I was fifteen I was putting on gigs in village halls and playing in some really cack bands, and the only thing that appeared to matter in my life (apart from the underwear section in Kays catalogue) was getting a big fat record deal.  As far as I was concerned (and as far as I knew) getting signed to a major label was all any musician ever needed to get ahead in life and to consider himself/ herself a success.  Oh boy has my opinion changed since then, but this isn't about me, it's about why anyone who is serious about music should start preparations for the biggest party ever - the party we'll have when the last major label goes belly up.

If you started playing music to get rich and famous and (to quote Catlin Moran) die on the shitter covered in whatever sticky substance you're addicted to then don't feel bad; it's the reason most of us first picked up an instrument in anger; I know it was my motivation, well that and to try and get a snog.  But if you're still adhering to that monetary motivation all these years later than I'm afraid you've got a problem.

Focussing all your musical energies on making pots of cash is like buying cooking ingredients in the hope that owning them will make you a famous chef - you can still create some fantastic food and make a significant contribution to the development of your culinary world, but the chances of you becoming rich and famous doing so are very slim.  And nobody seems to like famous chefs much anyway so why bother.  Which brings me to my final point...

The self destruction of the major label led music industry has the potential to make you a better musician because it (over time) will remove the money focussed blinkers from your eyes, and without the pressure to be commercially successful (which ALWAYS involves artistic compromise) you're free to create something truly new, something exciting, and something that genuinely contributes to the world of music.

Create music for music's sake, not for the shareholders of a global corporation.  Remove the desperate pressure to be a global sensation from your ambition and your creativity will flourish.

Kay Barrett | Memories of Shrubland Hall

An archived post from the (now-defunct) Shrubland Revisited website... 

Contributed on 10th October 2008
It was a cold and foggy November night in 1997 when I arrived at Shrubland Hall for my very first treatment. I went in through the back entrance; everything was quiet, no-one there but me. There was a smell and warmth when you entered – it was lovely after the cold outside. This I came to realise later was the fragrance of the Shrubland products used in all the treatment rooms, and the massive boilers that kept the place so warm even in the winter.
My patient, as they were referred to then, duly appeared and I did the treatment in the cosy little ‘Aroma Room’ with its wallpaper of roses all over the walls and ceiling. There were drapes at the far end and a pretty ruched curtain at the tiny window. This was to become my favourite room to work in.
After the treatment I left, again by the back door, it was still very foggy and it felt like a scene from ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ but fortunately there were no hounds – just the sheep!
A few months later, having moved into a cottage in the grounds, I took over Kay Oxford’s two days a week when she left to start her own business. The girls I worked with were all friendly and helpful. At first there was Georgina, Gail and Kelly – it was Georgina who kindly showed me all around the house and made me feel very welcome. Then as they left, along came Natasha, Andrea and Lucy, and latterly it was Laura, Sharon and Leanne.
I loved working there. During the day it was manic – a hive of activity – especially during the mornings when all the water treatments took place with people screaming as they were blitzed with cold water after their underwater massage and everyone rushing around
from room to room doing various treatments. In the afternoons, it was quieter with lots of facials, manicures and pedicures taking place. Other treatments were given by talented people like Michael Hardy who did shiatsu, Peter Stevens with his Tai Chi, Michael Mann, Pilates and the masseurs, Norman, Olaf, Chris and Tony Simpson who was always leaving and coming back.
I met Lady de Saumarez several times and gave her underwater massage and she had a Caci treatment before a TV crew arrived the following day – she was amazing and the whole inspiration behind Shrubland.
Christine Harris was Treatment Secretary during the early years – she was a dragon! – but I liked her and she had a wicked sense of humour. Lyn Mann eventually took over from Christine and did a brilliant job of organising chaos. Always calm and diplomatic
with staff and guests, she was perfect in that position – it would have driven me balmy!
Chef, Robert was the hero in the kitchen, producing wonderful fruit and vegetable dishes but it was Val who kept us going with cakes for our birthdays and mince pies at Christmas.
I worked with so many lovely people and met some amazing guests, so I was stunned along with everyone else when it was announced that Shrubland was to close. It was quite unbelievable for such a thing to happen. It meant so much to so many people and is irreplaceable.
However, when it did finally close, I purchased the Caci machine and the Phytomer stock and although I still work part time at Hintlesham Hall, where I’ve been for the past 10 years, I now also work from my home in Bramford giving Caci Face & Body treatments, Phytomer treatments, manicures & pedicures.
Finally, thank you to Andrew for maintaining this website; it is a fitting tribute to such a wonderful place.

Kay Barrett

Andy Markham | Memories of Shrubland Hall

Contributed on 4th April 2008
I worked at Shrubland Hall as a Sports Massage Therapist for over three years and although I occasionally complained about the work load, I miss working there, mainly because of the other staff. They really were great.
The saying ,”you never know what you have got until you have lost it” comes to mind.
I will of course write on the site again.
Best wishes,
Andy Markham

Vanda Wright | Memories of Shrubland Hall

An archived post from the (now-defunct) Shrubland Revisited website... 

Contributed on 3rd January 2008
The “Hall” actually was not the most memorable part of my recollection, but the history and grandure of that elegant house will always be with me. Sandra’s father was a truly amazing gardener and the produce from his garden must have impressed even the most worldly gourmand. The treasures that were mine to see were from a day long past, even then. These fabulous treasures, that were kept in the stables, were mementos of a time when Lord de Saumarez was ambassador to China. It was a different world when gifts of the most unusual and exotic kind were given at great receptions. The only place to put such fabulous treasures, at home, was the stables! These were no longer home to the faithful horses but to the cars.
There was no “garage” joining the house but stables, away from the house of course so that no offending odour could be detected from “the drawing room”! And one of the most vivid memories, going to Srubland Hall from Ipswich, was the fog. It was so thick that I had to walk with one hand on the headlight and one foot on the road in order to find the path. What a house! I think of Sandra’s Dad changing a light bulb over a Constable, or dusting the great masters. To think that Admiral Lord Nelson’s lover saw and was impressed by the same things that I saw just had me in a tail-spin!
Vanda Wright

Sara J Szczepanski | Memories of Shrubland Hall

An archived post from the (now-defunct) Shrubland Revisited website... 

Contributed on 28th February 2008
I am really pleased that this website is available and there is a facility to talk about dear Shrublands. How I miss the gardens, the house, the sheep and the beautiful trees! I miss a lot of the staff and guests too.
I have been lucky in that I have been able to join forces with Shrublands staff and create the “Osalo Detox Health Retreats”. These small residential stays are our version of what worked so well for so many people and for so many years at Shrubland Hall.
Osalo is also found in Ipswich, a beautiful clinic especially for colon hydrotherapy, “Circaroma” organic skin care products and organic face and body treatments.
I hope this website flourishes and lots of ex Shrublanders, both staff and guests/patients will get in touch with one another to share fond memories and past experiences.
More about Sara’s new business

Sandra Chapman | Memories of Shrubland Hall

An archived post from the (now-defunct) Shrubland Revisited website... 

Contributed on 28th November 2007
I accidentally discovered today that Shrubland Park had been sold, and I was so saddened by the news. I lived on the estate from about 1953 until 1962. My Father worked there as Maintenance Engineer, and was very much involved in transforming the Hall into the Clinic which it became. I remember often “babysitting” Louisa and the boys when they were about 2-3yrs old, impossible to believe they are now 50, and to discover that Louisa had died.
I noticed that the farewell party had assembled at the Sorrell Horse – in my time a “spit and sawdust” local frequented mainly by farm labourers but also by the cartoonist, Giles, who was a friend of my father. When we first moved to Shrubland, there was an out building behind the stable block where we lived, called the Studio, and it was full of paintings which I believe were done by the old Lords sister ( the old Lord lived in South Africa). There was also a skating rink there too! Now all long gone. At that time too, there was an old horse at the farm, related to the famous Foxhunter. I wonder if anyone remembers that. I also recall the time when a tractor was brought into the orchard to pull down some old trees, and it practically disappeared down a hole, which turned out to be an ice house that everyone had forgotten about.
There used to be a doctor who lived in the Russian Lodge – he was a Consutant at Ipswich Hospital I used to baby-sit for him too! What happened to the Forsdykes who had the Kitchen Gardens for so long, and the Goodings who practically ran the Hall? So many memories, and now it’s all gone.
When I left Shrubland, it was to train as a nurse, and when I went to say goodbye to “Madam” as she liked to be called, she offered me a job on the completion of my training in the clinic if I wanted it. However, things don’t always pan out as you expect them to, and other horizons opened up so of course it never happened. My father though, continued to work there until his death in 1968.
Sandra Chapman (nee Roadknight)

Sandra Chapman’s Photographs 
Click on a photo for a larger version

The view from the main hall at Shrubland Hall down towards the garden, also known as the One Hundred Steps, taken in 1978

Shrubland Hall conservatory, taken from a postcard published when the clinic first opened in the 1960s

Sandra Chapman, and Vanda Wright‘s mother Mary

Sandra Chapman in the courtyard at Shrubland Hall

A pre world war one (1909) postcard of Shrubland Hall

Roderick Prime | Memories of Shrubland Hall

An archived post from the (now-defunct) Shrubland Revisited website... 

Contributed on 10th July 2009
I used to visit Shrubland Park as a young boy in the 50s. My Grandfather was born in one of the row of cottages. His father used to work on the estate, I do not know as what but I used to go there for holidays with my grandparents and remember the water pump outside the cottages and the lovely peace. I used to lie in bed and hear the wood pigeons calling and to this day (I am 60 now) every time I hear a wood pigeon I think of there. I to remember sitting outside the Sorrel Horse with my bottle of Vimto and a packet of crisps. My grandfather and I used to play cricket in the park and I remember the wooden roundhouse that I think at the time was rented to two doctors. At the back of the cottages there were some conifers and the smell when they were damp stays with me to this day. Another thing that takes me back. I remember visiting there a few years ago and the cottages I think had been knocked into one, but still looked the same outside. I loved it there and was my introduction to the beauty of the countryside and all its life. I think I will have to find somewhere I can get Vimto again. I now live in Devon.

Roddy Llewellyn | Memories of Shrubland Hall

An archived post from the (now-defunct) Shrubland Revisited website... 

(alias Sir Roderic Llewellyn, Bt).
Contributed on 26th January 2009
I remember so well staying at Shrubland – no ‘s’ – when I was about five when the house was lived in by my grandparents. There was swimming in the round pond at the bottom of the 100 steps under Nanny’s watchful eye (Nanny will be 100 this June) and Coggins, the butler, much in evidence in his tail coat. Coggins laughed very easily. My grandfather used to tell funny stories in the dining room and Coggins, in the middle of serving, had to go behind the leather screen in order to subdue his giggles.
My grandparents used to live at broke hall during the summer and Saumarez Park in Guernsey during the winter. Apart from Broke Hall on the Orwell, my grandfather also inherited Livermere Park (now demolished), Nacton and other properties. These estates came into the family via my great grandmother, Jane Broke, who married the 4th Lord de Saumarez. My grandfather bought an enormous house in Grosvenor Square in the early 1930′s for about £8,000 for a 55 year lease so that my mother and my Aunt Vicky could do the debutante season. That end of Grosvenor was flattened during WW11 and I well remember as a little boy seeing the huge spiral staircase stopping short of the vanished ballroom. My grandparents moved to South Africa in the 60′s because of my grandfather’s poor health. He had to have a wounded arm amputated, and his stomach was full of shrapnel, injuries from trench warfare during WW1.
During the War (WW 11) my mother used to have a boyfriend in the Canadian Air force (called Stan, I think) stationed nearby. They arranged a rendezvous one summer’s day. As my mother waved a white handkerchief from the tower he flew around far too low blowing kisses. Unfortunately his plane, that he had ‘borrowed’ without permission from his commander, crashed into one of the Cedars of Lebanon close to the house. Estate workers (the few that were left) rushed out with saucepans, etc, to catch the precious drips of petrol. Stan was killed on a mission shortly after wards. I own a silk handkerchief he gave to my mother, with North Africa printed on one side, and the Mediterranean on the other.
I also well remember my mother telling me of how, during WW11, my mother (then a WREN lorry driver in Portsmouth) was made by my grandmother to weed the garden before breakfast when she was on leave at home! During the war they used to mow the lawns with the help of Suffolk Punch horses pulling an antequated mowing device, with their hooves wrapped in leather, because petrol was so difficult to acquire.
Also I remember her telling me of how she and her sister, my aunt Vicky (the late The Hon. Mrs Llewellen Palmer) used to work regularly in the soup kitchens in a tent in the drive of the Sorrel Horse pub at the bottom of the main drive.
For members of the family, Shrubland lost its soul once it had been turned into a clinic although, as patients, we all marvelled at its beauty. My brother David was recently buried next to my mother in the family plot close to Coddenham church. There, there is a large pink, rough-hewn column of pink granite that my grandmother had imported from Sweden (she was Swedish) for a very sad reason. My Uncle Philip had died after slipping off a rope he was climbing upside down while still at Eton and my grandmother erected this stone in his memory. He is buried there with my mother and several other members of the family. So, we will always be at Shrubland in spirit, and that is a very nice feeling.

Peter Bowler | Memories of Shrubland Hall

An archived post from the (now-defunct) Shrubland Revisited website... 

My years at Shrubland Park
In late 1938 my father Sidney Bowler (a professional Wisley-trained gardener) secured a position as head gardener at Shrubland Park in Suffolk.

Although in later life he had equally prestigious positions at Luton Hoo, Castle Hill, and Winfield House in Regents Park, I think he always considered this his most rewarding job.

In the sometimes complex hierarchy of the large private estate the Head Gardener was considered equal to the Head Butler in status, but below him in actual prestige, and at the age of 36 my dad was still considered a trifle young for such a position.

I was aged four and a half when we moved into the garden house with dad, mum and two Sisters, Mary and Joan.

My dad headed a staff of (from memory) 10, there would have been a foreman-under –glass, a kitchen garden foreman and a pleasure ground foreman, and the remaining staff would move between departments as required.

Each morning it was my dad’s responsibility to take the day’s produce up to the “Big house”, vegetables, and fruit and, when the owners were in residence—flowers.

He and the cook would then discuss the next day’s menu and requirements.
It was his proud boast that he supplied new potatoes on Christmas day, (there were a few left for us as well!)

The kitchen gardens ran like a well oiled machine, there were hot-houses, warm ones, and cool ones, one had nothing but grapevines, another just melons, all warmed from large coke-fired boilers which never went out, summer or winter.

As the garden round the “Big house” was very formally landscaped I don’t recall that there were herbaceous borders as such, but the parkland being very extensive needed constant attention and tree management, I believe there was separate staff members for this.

In May 1939 I was five, so I started School at Barham, just at the end of a very long drive, almost opposite the Barham Lodge gate, my mother took me there every morning on the carrier of her bicycle, and collected me in the afternoon, people like us didn’t have cars then, but my dad bought an old BSA motor-cycle with a two seater sidecar, and managed to knock down a petrol pump at Rouse’s garage on the Norwich road on his first day out!.

Sometimes on summer evenings we would all walk down to the Sorrel Horse Inn, and us kids would sit outside on the wooden benches and eat the large biscuits that in those days were sold in pubs before bags of crisps replaced them.

Every summer before the war Lord and Lady de Saumarez organised a grand FĂȘte,
The gardens were opened to the general public, and, on the enormous terrace at the rear of the house, from which the grand stone staircase descended, a highland pipe band would march up and down, wearing full ceremonial uniform despite the heat of the midsummer’s day.
In the evening there were fairy lights, music and dancing on the terrace, I remember my friend Frankie (Mayhew) and I thought it all a bit sissy, but then we were quite young!

In September 1939 my family went to Eastbourne for a holiday, and when we were at Eastbourne station to catch the train back to London we saw hundreds of evacuees disembarking from the train from London, war had been declared on the 3rd.

Back in Suffolk dad joined the home guard at Barham, every window in our house was taped up and blackout curtains installed, the “phoney war” had started.

In January 1940 a new sister arrived during a very cold night, named Margaret, we were now five.
Summer came at last and the battle of Britain was raging in the south-east, but we saw little of it where we were, except for a German bomber going over trailing smoke,
We watched it disappear over the treetops, but never knew what happened.

Lord and Lady de Saumarez often entertained groups of tired RAF pilots on short leave from the battle, a little rest, relaxation and a good meal, one of these groups included Douglas Bader, and probably other well known pilots as well, they all looked incredibly young.

Sometime during that year a light aircraft crashed into a tree right in front of the “Big house”, soon the place was swarming with RAF rescue vehicles, we boys were not allowed anywhere near, so again, to this day I don’t know what happened to the crew.

One morning we woke up to see hundreds of soldiers putting up tents in the parkland, The Border regiment had arrived (I think it was the Borders, but I may be wrong),
And we had to get used to sharing Shrubland Park with the army; they were mostly young men first time away from home.
A shooting and hand- grenade range was established in “The Dentlings”, and we lads used to go and pick up bits of shrapnel and cartridge cases when there was no firing.

That Christmas my mother baked a mince pie for every single soldier, and served tea and coffee as well, plus some extras provided by the men’s mess, in a long room in a building behind our house. (I don’t remember what the building was, but I remember that evening), my mother received a lovely letter of thanks from the C/O, I only wish it had survived. (google-earth shows the house and that building still there!)

Due to military call-up, staff levels diminished gradually, both in and out of “the big house”, and I think in the end just caretaking staff remained.

And so in early 1942 my dad’s job came to an end, and we were forced to leave this idyllic place and move to a rented house in Debden Green, where dad found a job at Castle Camps airfield, this was quite a low point in our lives, but things eventually got better!

Comments from the Shrubland Revisited website
Sandra Chapman - 2nd September 2008

Peters’ memories stirred up one or two of mine.I knew about the plane crash, someone gave my Father a ring made out of the perspex windscreen from the wreck. I don’t know what happened to it.
I remember too sitting outside the Sorrel Horse eating those big white biscuits and drinking Vimto. We had a dog which my Father used to shut in a shed opposite the bench we sat on whilst we were there, this dog had a tendency to bite the tyres of cars or bicycles, so was quite a menace. I too went to Barham school,there were about 20 pupils, aged from 5 to 11, and only one teacher. In spite of its limitations, I managed to pass my 11+ there.

I remember the walk to the lodge and main road.It was exactly a mile from our house. When I was about 14 my Father bought me a car that had broken down and been left at the pub (he paid £2.10s for it, it was a Morris 8, series E), he replaced the broken clutch, and I used to drive round the Estate on it, being private property I didn’t need a licence, and there wasn’t much other traffic to hit, so no insurance either. I eventually sold it to a friend for £10 – and they sold it onto an American serviceman based at Bentwaters, and it was eventually shipped to the U.S.A.

Lyn Mann | Memories of Shrubland Hall

An archived post from the (now-defunct) Shrubland Revisited website... 

Contributed on 10th March 2008
I worked at Shrublands for 29 years in the treatment rooms. I joined the staff straight after finishing my training as a beauty therapist and by the time the Clinic closed I was running the Treatment Rooms and arranging the guests treatment schedules . I really did enjoy my job but I have to say I love my life now. I don’t work as such anymore , I help Sara Szczepanski with her Detox weekends and I look after my husband Michaels accounts (Michael used to teach the exercises at Shrublands and now has his own studio teaching Pilates within the Gilmour Pipers practice in Ipswich.)
I think the thing I miss most is all the people both guests and staff. We are lucky enough to keep up with several members of staff and Michael has some of the guests still coming to his studio .
I hope this site is really successful so we will all be able to keep in touch with each others news .

K Piotrowska | Memories of Shrubland Hall

An archived post from the (now-defunct) Shrubland Revisited website... 

Contributed on 19th January 2008
I first visited Shrubland Hall in 1987 when I was in desperate need of true relaxation and de-stressing. I had no idea what to expect, having booked sight unseen. The word clinic had connotations of plastic and Formica – a ‘clinical’ atmosphere. What a surprise greeted me after driving up that wonderful drive and having the door opened onto that wonderful staircase. My stay then and in subsequent years was magical. Wonderful staff and treatments, lack of pretention (not having to get dressed up or do anything-wonderful!) Twenty years later I am looking for that magic again, but I doubt whether it can be replicated. If you know of anywhere, please let me know!

Janice Whittle | Memories of Shrubland Hall

An archived post from the (now-defunct) Shrubland Revisited website... 

Contributed on 28th January 2008
My mother was Elsie Waspe, the fourth of eight children of Frank and Elizabeth Waspe. She married Albert Bone from Witham in 1936. My grandfather, Frank, was woodman on the Shrubland Estate and my mother went into service at the Hall at 14 years old as a scullery maid. She later worked for the Rector of Coddenham Church (Mr Purcel?) and went to Cressage in Shropshire with the family. My aunt, Joan Stockley, was housekeeper to the de Saumarez family for several years.
My grandparents lived in several different places on the estate. During the war my mother was evacuated to her parents’ home with her two sons (David & Eric) and I was born in the front bedroom of the left hand cottage opposite Rouse’s garage (now gone). Later they moved to Honeymoon Cottages. I lived in London but spent most of my school holidays at my grandparents. I would welcome any information about the Waspe family as I am attempting to trace my family tree. I remember Shrubland as a beautiful place but I had never been inside the Hall until the viewing prior to the Sotherby’s sale in September 2006.
I remember Sandra Roadnight!

George Forsdike | Memories of Shrubland Hall

An archived post from the (now-defunct) Shrubland Revisited website... 

Contributed on 3rd March 2008
My wife and I moved to Shrubland in November 1950. This was the start of a very happy period of our lives. My job was in the glasshouses of the market garden department.
A couple of years on the head gardener left and I was given the sole charge of the market garden, the pleasure gardens were to looked after as a seperate unit, this was in the days of Eric’s (Lord de Saumarez ) grandmother.
Soon after the title passed to Eric’s father Victor. When the Hall was to become a Health Clinic the market garden became redundant as the glasshouses were becoming delapidated and a sale was arranged to sell them along with the market garden equipment. This of course left me without a job but I was offered the chance to restore the pleasure gardens to their former glory as they had been badly neglected and needed to be pulled into shape before the opening of the Clinic. This was a job that I enjoyed but I didn’t wan’t to do it long term. Meanwhile the walled garden was being neglected and I suggested to my wife that if we could rent the walled garden we could maybe achieve our secret dream of running our own chrysanthemum nursery. This was an exciting prospect for us when an agreement to rent was reached although my landlord at that time, now Victor ( Lord de Saumarez ) had doubts as to whether we would succeed. To prove all the pundits wrong we were determined to succeed and our venture lasted 41 years uuntil we retired in 1999.
Sandra, who lived in the garage flat when she was a schoolgirl will now know what happened to the Forsdike’s.
Cats and Chrysanthemums
To record my very happy memories of our almost 50 years at Shrubland I wrote an account of our time there. Eric who was now the present ( Lord de Saumarez ) very kindly wrote the foreword for the book which is called ‘Cats & Chrysanthemums’ ISBN 1-898-85-5 available to order at all GOOD bookshops on the print on demand system or from myself at Flat 4, Rosemount, 11 Hamilton Gardens, Felixstowe, IP11 7ET
We were lucky enough to meet many well known people who used to visit us when they came to stay at the clinic. One man in particular, Bryan Izzard, a TV producer used to visit us twice a year, he urged me to write this book, don’t just talk about he said, get on and do it. I lost touch with him before the book was published. Anyone know where he is now?
Mr Brookman and the man who knew all
After reading Janice Whittle’s memories, more names have come to mind.
I remember the Waspe family. Frank worked in the forestry department where a Mr Mackenzie was head forester. Harry Waspe and Bill Smith worked in the market garden when I first went to Shrubland. When I took charge of the market garden I don’t think those two old timers took to kindly to taking orders from a comparative youngster. Ernie Waspe was the village postman, so punctual on his round that you could tell the time by him. About that time there was a Charlie Mayhew who worked with a horse and cart keeping the estate clear of rubbish and who remembers Fred Puncher, the chauffeur. The butler’s name I think was Brookman and the cook whose name for the moment escapes me, she died three or four years ago aged 100. The farm manager around that time was a Mr Geater.
The Sorrel Horse pub opposite the main entrance to the park was a favourite place with the employees of Shrubland, a real spit and sawdust pub as Sandra described it.
Old Tom was the landlord, he was a mine of information, what he didn’t know wasn’t worth knowing. How things have changed over the last 50 Years.
I hope this will jog the memories of some of the people who knew us and the pictures will remind people of what went on within the walled garden
George Forsdike
Update 7th March 2008
I have now remembered the name of the cook, she was a Mrs Horton I have also discovered that Bryan Izzard, the TV Producer who used to visit us when he stayed at the clinic, died on the 27th April 2006.

George Forsdike’s Photographs
Click on a photo for a larger version

Deborah Priest & Joan Johnson (sisters) | Memories of Shrubland Hall

An archived post from the (now-defunct) Shrubland Revisited website... 

Our great aunt Alice Horton was married to Alfred Horton who was a game keeper on the Shrubland Estate and we believe she was a house keeper there also.  She lived in one of the lodges until she died age 106 years. We visited her there as children around the mid 60s to 70s with our father Russell Clark her nephew.  We have some pictures of the lodge and grounds although we never went into the Hall.  Would be interested if anyone remembers her?

Comments from the Shrubland Revisted website:
George Forsdike says:
August 14, 2010 at 6:08 pm
Hi Deborah and Joan
When my wife and I moved to Shrubland in 1950 I remember a Mrs Horton who was the cook, maybe cook/housekeeper. She was a widow and I remember a man named Horton being mentioned in conversation, I thought he was a previous head gardener, I can’t get in touch at the moment with the person who maybe able to tell me. The Mrs Horton I knew, I believe she died at the age of 100+ in a nursing home in Stowmarket.
George Forsdike

Deborah says:
August 15, 2010 at 11:34 am
Hello George, thank you so much for your response re our great aunt Alice. I’m sure this is probably the same Mr and Mrs Horton, we only have vague info regards their jobs etc as we were only young adults when visiting The Lodge where Alice lived. We will check out the extra info supplied by you and try and add an update shortly. We will also upload a photo or two once we find them too. Thank you once again, so very interesting.

Colin says:
May 16, 2011 at 12:24 pm
I used to visit my Great Aunt Alice in the 70s with my Parents. Of which my mum Hilda Simmonds was her niece. Daisy Simmonds being a sister to Alice and Hilda’s mother.

Shrubland Hall Revisited | April 2006 to July 2011

Shrubland Revisited was a website that I set up for my wife and other ex-employees of the Shrublands estate near Ipswich in Suffolk after Lord de Saumarez announced the closure of the clinic on April 2nd 2006.  Several past members of staff and residents sent me their 'memories' of Shrubland Hall, and I have archived these on this blog. To read Shrubland memories please click the links at the foot of this post.

Shrubland Hall Revisited
Shrubland Hall in Suffolk was open for nearly 40 years as a high class Health Clinic but sadly closed on the 2nd April 2006 due to the owner Lord de Saumarez being forced to sell his estate to settle death duties (tax) as a result of the death of his mother.

A staggering 60,000 guests have stayed at Shrubland Hall Clinic over the last forty years and around 2000 members of staff have worked there.

Shrubland Revisited was a website for all guests and staff that have known and loved this unique estate. We were collecting ‘memories’ and photographs of Shrubland Estate.

This site was not in any way connected to the Shrubland Hall Clinic or the de Saumarez family, we have no contact with the the de Saumarez family. We are unable to answer questions about the clinic or his Lordship’s family, bar any information provided by our visitors that is already on this blog. Sorry!

We are also not connected in any way with the current (new) owners of of Shrubland Hall and can’t answer any questions about the future of the hall or gardens!

Shrubland Hall Memories
Andy Markham
Deborah Priest & Joan Johnson (sisters)
George Forsdike
Janice Whittle
K Piotrowska
Kay Barrett
Lyn Mann
Peter Bowler
Roddy Llewellyn
Roderick Prime
Sandra Chapman
Sara J Szczepanski
Stephanie Thomas 
Vanda Wright

Please feel free to submit your own memories by posted them in the comments area below.

Thanks to everyone who contributed over the years!


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Stephanie Thomas's memories of Shrubland Hall

An archived post from the (now-defunct) Shrubland Revisited website...

I started work at Shrubland Hall as a Receptionist in approx 1981.

Mrs Smith was the Manager and other staff in the reception were Molly Kerry (who I am still in contact with),Mrs /Fayers, Margaret Peacock.  Shifts 9 – 3  and 3  – 10 Reception days – Mon & wed
Lord de Saumarez had his office in the Reception Office which was also the library. It was interesting being on the evening shift as the guests would come into the library and spend time talking to us.
Mrs Betty Bacon was secretary to Lady Julia de Saumarez

Mrs Gooding was the Housekeeper

Jane Blackburn was manager of Light Diet & was also cataloguing the Archives

Sister Waters was the resident nurse and Dr Boag was a manipulative physician.

Dr Boag lived in the Russian Lodge halfway down the drive, later it was used as an additional room for guests.

Joan Stone – Treatment Secretary

Most of these staff lived on the estate, I lived in Bramford.

We met a lot of interest and distinguished guests, however he highlight of our employment was the occasion on Louisa de Saumarez’s wedding. The house looked magnificent and the wedding took place in Coddenham church, the reception was held afterwards in Shrublands. We (the staff) lined up with the family to greet family members and staff and were then assigned the task of looking after guests and serving food and drinks. It was a fabulous wedding and was featured in Bride’s magazine ( I still have a copy)

The Sorrel Horse at the bottom of the drive was a popular place for patients to disappear off to for forbidden drinks etc ?!

Victor and Eric were latterly involved in the running of the estate.

I remember the Turkish baths being installed after Lord & Lady de Saumarez had purchased a Turkish gilet for holidays and brought back Turkish tiles for the baths.

I was at Shrublands for approx 4 years. During this time my son was very ill with asthma and Lady de Saumarez very kindly arranged for him to visit her homeopathic doctor in Harley Street. This was a very generous gesture and much appreciated.

I enjoyed my time at Shrublands, I made a lot of friends and met many interesting guests.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Web Care Takers - February 2002 to July 2011


We have re-branded and re-launched!  Please visit


In 2002 (after a couple of years working as a network admin/ general IT consultant followed by two years working in London as a website controller) I decided to go it alone and started working for myself using Web Care Takers as my trading name.

Nearly ten years (and almost exactly 1000 invoices) later I have decided to take my career in an entirely new direction, and from 31st July 2011 Web Care Takers will cease operating.  I will no longer be working in the field of web/ IT/ photography.

I've had a great time running and have (mostly) relished the incredibly hard work that Web Care Takers represented.  Some challenges have been harder to overcome than others (like being hacked, the government's ludicrous habit of charging sole-traders in advance for tax, and not least a railway system that made being on time for anything a frustratingly expensive impossibility), but on the whole I've got to admit that everyone I've dealt with has been wonderful.

So finally I'd like to say an incredibly large THANKS to those who matter, and you know who you are!

October 2002
September 2003
January 2006

February 2008
So long, and thanks for all the fish!

P.S My new role will be Sales and Marketing Manager for Universal Converting Equipment LTD, who make (among other things) very cool slitter rewinder machines.