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 68, 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 11 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 14-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 - 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.
3 - 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!
4 - 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!
5 - 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!
- 6 - 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.
- 7 - Can You Recommend A Good Printer And/Or Bookbinder?
Providing you live in Mainland UK, the answer will almost certainly be "Yes".
- 8 - 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).
- 9 - 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!"
- 6 - What happens If A Client Dies Before The Book Is Finished?