Frequently Asked Questions
Please click on any or all of the questions below, or on the "Expand All" link, to take you on to some additional comments and information that I hope
you will find both interesting and informative.
1 - Why Trust *Me* With Your Personal & Family Information?
I used to be an International Bank Manager, working for a British Bank in London, Brazil and Dubai for a total of ten years before I moved, with the same Bank, to become an International Private Banker based in Zurich, Switzerland, where I also worked for ten years.
Ten years of Swiss Banking Secrecy, which I have never ever broken and which still binds me under Swiss Law for all the work I did back then, has left an indelible mark on me. If I am told something, well, I really do my level best to keep it all to myself.
I also always do my level best in every aspect of my life to first earn people's trust and then retain it.
In the olden days, we used to bestow our trust on our priests, doctors, solicitors, accountants and - remember those halcyon days?! - even our Bank Managers, who, back then, knew us all so well and who were so experienced that they were even trusted by their superiors to make decisions about how much they could lend us!
Now we have to really rush through our conversations with our solicitors and accountants just as fast as we possibly can in order to keep their horrendous bills down. Even kindly asking after their health could set you back "twenty guineas" or more! Sometimes, in moments of extreme bad conscience about how much they are charging us, they speak to us "at a hundred miles an hour", making us even more flustered and flummoxed!
And it was on the news the other day that our GPs normally only give us, on average, thirteen minutes of their precious time each time we visit them.
Our poor so-called bank managers (spelt now without capital letters, given their almost complete lack of any managerial discretion to dispense credit or stray from what they are told to do) are pressurised to breaking-point to flog us their most profitable products in order to meet their targets.
So ... not much succour for us anywhere there then!
That leaves us pretty much with just the priests to confide in but there are fewer and fewer of them around so their time is terribly limited, too.
At 66, I have travelled a lot and "seen a fair bit of life". I am married with two very fine boys, the younger of whom was left profoundly brain-damaged by a famous UK hospital just a few months after he was born. At ten years of age now, he still cannot walk or talk (beyond five words) but he really is my greatest hero for constantly singing and laughing and revealing his wicked sense of humour despite all that has been so very cruelly taken from him. My thirteen-year-old, able-bodied, son is ... well ... "just perfect"!
I also really like getting to know people, and seeing what makes us all so different and what makes us live such different lives. I like hearing about the people, the stories, and the "events, dear Boy, events" that have acted as railways points, sending us down such wildly different life-paths.
And, yes, I have also read a fair bit and I love books and words in general. I have an MA degree from the University of Cambridge in "Modern & Medieval languages" (German and Spanish, the latter as a brand new language for me, just to act as a bit of a challenge) but that was all rather a long time ago now.
And, finally, I am a Taurean and so very loyal to people who treat me kindly and I try never to lie, cheat or steal ... and I always pay my bills very promptly!
2 - Do You Have Any Testimonials?
Yes I do and I am very grateful for them.
(1) - Mrs McKinney, a practising psychotherapist in Suffolk, writes:
"Every one of us has their own unique life story to tell. It is one thing to compile a chronology of memories but quite another to assemble them in an interesting way, which can enrich our lives and subsequently those of our family and friends.
Clive, with whom I have worked since 26.07.19, is, I believe, the perfect person to help you accomplish this task. He is a gifted writer, whose input will help bring your story to life.
He is personable with a great sense of humour and a deep interest in what makes people tick.
Administratively, he is quick, efficient and well-organised, thus providing good value for money.
Above all, Clive is totally trustworthy, honest, ethical and reliable."
"And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time."
(2) - Mr Feast a qualified, working professional in Cambridgeshire with an Honours Degree in Photography & a Foundation Degree in Professional Photography writes:
"I have known and worked with Clive on a mostly weekly basis since our first session together on Friday, 28.02.14.
I can most certainly vouch for his honesty, trustworthiness and efficiency. Clive is a man of his word, and always pays his bills on time. All of our tuition sessions have been very different, and great fun for both of us.
I started off advising Clive on how best to build up and use all of his now very extensive range of hardware including cameras, lenses, tripods and other digitising equipment. In addition to this, Clive has two A3 scanners, one high resolution A4 photo-scanner, and more specialist back-lit negative-scanning equipment with all of the professional software to go with it.
From the very start, Clive, previously a keen "analogue" photographer, who developed his own negatives and made his own prints, has concentrated on learning as much as he possibly can about taking "professional" digital photos and then using the very latest software for post-capture editing. He has a huge library of books on the subject of photography and book-design and does his very best to keep up with the latest developments in kit, software and techniques by reading right across the field on the Web.
Myself and Clive are continuing to work together on how best to create the final, print-ready PDFs that will show off all of the resulting digital images of both photos and documents in printed books to their very best effect.
One of the things that distinguishes Clive from all of the very many other people I have coached is his great interest in preserving old photos and documents in the most professional and archivally-correct way. I am very confident that he will handle and "process" any documents and photos that you entrust to him very carefully indeed – one example of this being that he will be using special nitrile gloves or "finger-cots" to handle anything you give him – and, if you choose to ask him to organise some or all of your old documents and photos, I am sure that you will be very happy indeed with the professional format that you will receive them back from him. The archivally-correct enclosures will help preserve your original documents and photos for very much longer.
We are also setting up a whole series of "Manuals" together that will cover every single aspect of how he works (kit, software and work-flow) so that I or someone else can then always take over in case that is ever needed to finish any of the books.
Clive is someone who often prefers to do things his own way so as to have much greater freedom from other people's (software and other) constraints. The best example of this is his website and his own first class software, which were all created over many years with the help of a professional database developer and coder. Once logged in, you can now add, gather and organise all of the information you could possibly want to include in any printed autobiography or memoir.
I can most certainly recommend Clive for the very great care he takes in everything he does, and his insistence on doing everything just as well as he possible can. He and I are both perfectionists!
I am sure that you will have lots of fun together and end up with really wonderful books that you and your family and friends can cherish and be immensely proud of. I am also sure that his honesty and ethics would never allow him to overcharge you or charge for any unnecessary work."
(3) - I.T. Consultant and neighbour in Suffolk, Mr Emerton, writes:
"I have known Clive since he moved in next door in April 2015 and I have always found him to be cheerful, helpful and very friendly. I regard him as completely trustworthy, a clear sign of that being that I have left him my house-key and my alarm security code when my family and I have travelled abroad for several weeks at a time. He checked the property from the outside once a day and only went in to move the accumulated mail away from sight and then reset the alarm.
I gave him a box of old photos and an album of photos to digitise against a receipt and I received them all back in exactly the same condition that they were in when I had left them with him. The digital images taken were excellent.
Clive gave me a clear break-down of how he had spent his time and I was very happy that it was slightly below what I had expected to pay.
I also know that he has been constantly improving his photographic and I.T. hardware, software and general skill-set during all of this time, as I have often been to his house and seen his overall set-up and his great "library" of specialist books myself.
I would have no hesitation in recommending him, as I know him to be very careful and conscientious in all that he does."
(4) - Mr Hardy, Database Developer and Coder living and working in Cambridgeshire, writes
"I first started working for Clive in January 2016, when I was tasked with teaching Clive programming and database design so he could develop his "Memories" application plus a few other minor applications.
We worked together every week for many months at his home and then changed to working remotely, sometimes more than once a week.
Over the next 3 years we worked on his application and, over time, my work with Clive changed from solely training and mentoring him to developing major features on his application.
After 3 years of working with Clive, I had to stop working for him due to other commitments but, by this time, Clive had become proficient at supporting his own application and my 20 years of secure application development was no longer needed.
During my time with Clive, I found him a perfect client. He was always very professional and paid my invoices on the same day I sent them to him (many clients are a lot more problematic to work with). He was always keen to learn, and would spend many hours between our sessions reading up on areas of development. I was always impressed by his work ethic and his attention to his clients' security and personal data, going above and beyond what even banks I have worked with would do!
The application code is stored at a private offsite GitHub repository.
I have no doubt that Clive would do everything he can for all his clients and that their personal data would be 100% secure with his application. I have worked for over 20 years writing secure applications, including handling credit card details. Clive was adamant that everything that could be done to keep his client photos, documents and other data secure was taken.
I have recommended Clive to people I know and would do so again without hesitation to anyone I speak to."
(5) - I.T. Consultant living and working in Cambridgeshire, Mr Chivers, writes:
"I have known Clive since 2007 and have been helping him with his I.T. hardware and software since 10.03.08.
During all of this time, Clive has asked me to build up, maintain and update what is now a complex but very solid system of various PCs and a web server that I have personally built for him from the most appropriate, individually-chosen and purchased brand new components.
Clive is constantly adding to, and strengthening, his I.T. system along with its very many peripherals and both he and I regularly ensure that all appropriate software and anti-malware are installed and regularly updated.
Clive has automated daily backups and he has also impressed me greatly with how regularly and professionally he manually backs up all of his data, using encryption for all three of his separate and differently-located off-site backups. Many of the medium-sized companies I work with professionally don't do half as good a job as Clive does as an individual.
His last job was in Zurich working for a British Bank and he has told me that he had no less than ten years of training and experience in Swiss Banking Secrecy there. He consequently takes confidentiality extremely seriously – and he certainly has the best paper-shredder I have ever seen!
For this reason, he insisted on building and hosting his own web server just in order to add in an extra layer of confidentiality for all of his clients.
During all of these very many years of working together, Clive has always paid me extremely promptly and he has always been very organised and administratively efficient.
I know that Clive has also worked for many years with his photographic coach and with another professional database developer and coder in order to build up his skills and also to create his own self-designed website and proprietary software.
I also know that he started working with a practising psychotherapist as of July 2019. This was to ensure that he improves all of his "people skills" and becomes as attentive and empathetic a listener as possible.
All in all, I believe Clive to be a very "safe" and friendly person to deal with and, after all of the immense amount of both time and money that he has invested in preparation over the years, I am very confident that he will do an excellent job for all of his clients.
Finally, I would add that I have found him to be completely trustworthy and I know that he always tries to "do the right thing by everyone" and he is also a pleasure to work with."
3 - Is This Website "Secure"?
As of 20.08.18, all traffic to and from the website is encrypted via HTTPS.
The "S" in HTTPS stands for "Secure" and you will now see this word, or a locked padlock symbol instead of it, to confirm this to you every time you access the website.
This means that whatever you write and whatever you read will be encrypted, and then remain encrypted, for the whole time it travels over the Internet to and from your device and to and from my web server.
I also "self-host" my website on my own web server and I do this on purpose.
This means that I, and not some third party hosting company, control access to both all of your data and all of the underlying code.
4 - What Steps Are You Taking To Back Up All Of My
Text & Files & Keep Them All As Safely As You Possibly Can?
As you may have already read elsewhere on this website, 10 years of Swiss Banking Secrecy have marked me very deeply: everyone's privacy and confidentiality became very much more important to me there than they had ever been before.
In order to help reduce the possibility of any "prying eyes" accessing either your or my data and in order to foster even greater trust, I decided to set up and run my own private web server here on the premises so that I could then host my website myself rather than "farm it out", as most companies and individuals do, to a public hosting company, where I would have no control whatsoever over who could see what.
This means that the only other people apart from myself, who may (and then only very occasionally) catch a glimpse of what you have written or uploaded in the way of photos and scans, are my three main consultants, with whom I have worked very closely for many years and who are all sworn to secrecy.
I take as many sensible steps as I possibly can to password and back up all of my data. I regularly make and send copies of as much as I can in the way of code, text and files, and in fully encrypted format, to a private backup site that I have set up some 23 miles away just to try and protect everything that is vital from the usual threats of fire, flood and theft.
In the considered view of all three of my consultants, my backup and security strategy goes well beyond what is normal or strictly necessary.
Please also draw great comfort from the fact that I entrust my own personal and confidential text, photos and scans to the software that I have developed and there is no way that I would do this if I didn't feel that it was as secure as it could be.
Ultimately, as we all know from the media, there is no such thing as "perfect security". Banks and major multinational corporations around the world are regularly hacked into and some, but by no means all, of these breaches are then well publicised. If the Pentagon's security defences can be breached, well then the rest of us can only do the very best that we possibly can and hope that the bad guys will go after the biggest names out there and not us!
5 - How Carefully Will You Look After Anything That I
Lend To You To Work On?
I am very careful with my own things and even more careful with things that belong to other people so ... you should be OK!
6 - Will You Make Sure That All Redundant Paperwork Will Be Properly & Securely Destroyed?
I am pretty certain that I have the very best shredder in the County of Suffolk, if not in the whole of East Anglia!
It is an HSM 390.3 with "HS Level 6". This means that the cross-cut particles are only 3mm x 0.5mm large, which is as near to producing *dust* as shredders go.
I can't believe some of the unbeleivably wide strips that I have seen from time to time, including in bank branches of all places, that then pass as being shredded! They look just like fettuccine and it would only take a few minutes to stick it all back together again!
- 7 - What happens If A Client Dies Before The Book Is Finished?
Sorry to bring this up but it is always best to face up to our fears.
I will do my very best to bring the book to a proper close wherever it has got to, probably by means of an Epilogue, but I will have to have either a prior or a subsequent written agreement in place to charge for my time to do that.
- 8 - Can You Recommend A Good Printer And/Or Bookbinder?
Providing you live in Mainland UK, the answer will almost certainly be "Yes".
- 9 - How Much Free Storage Space Do I Get And When Do I Have To Pay For It?
The quick answer is "a reasonable amount" will be free of charge!
That then immediately begs the question: "What is a reasonable amount"?!
Disk space is cheaper than it was but it is by no means "free".
In essence, therefore, the amount of storage space required for all of your text will normally never be a problem but the amount of storage space required for all of your other files (i.e. your photos, scans and audio tapes) may be where problems will arise. The space used to hold these files will have to be "commensurate" with the amount you are paying me. I will define this from time to time after I have assessed the actual costs to me of storing all your files (but this will normally only be an issue if the total size of your storage requirements really is excessive).
- 10 - Would You Like Me To Pass On Your Name To Other People?
Oh yes, please do!
I hope to keep my hourly charges as low as possible by not spending anything at all on advertising so this would be very helpful to me indeed, as I will be relying almost entirely on "word of mouth".
I would be very happy to credit you with 2 hours of my time free of charge providing that someone you have recommended to me has both (a) signed up to a package of 10 hours or more with me and also (b) made their first payment to me.
Once I have advised you of that credit to your "Time Account" with me, I will not be able to tell you any more about what I am doing with that client in order to preserve their confidentiality. Likewise, I will not pass on anything to do with your affairs to the person you have recommended to me unless you and they sign a letter addressed to me to say that you and they are more than happy for me to do so.
"We All Have At Least One Book In Us!"
- 7 - What happens If A Client Dies Before The Book Is Finished?