The American Connection

A client of mine asked this week if I could resolve an IT issue at his property. Now this is not unusual as I tend to fix minor issues for people all the time. The location was quite hard to find as you can’t see it from the country lanes but was surprisingly close to where I live being all of 23 minutes drive away. The property was however a little different to the normal houses I attend as it is part of a manor house.

General Robert E. Lee
General Robert E. Lee

 In the parish of Alveley, Shropshire stands Coton Hall Manor. Now this alone sounds fairly grand and I wouldn’t have looked up the history if I hadn’t had a difficult time locating it on Google Maps. What surprised me was that it has an American connection to a famous family. May be the family name of de la lee rings a bell with anyone in the USA, especially from the South. It was in fact General Robert E. Lee’s ancestral family home. The family has connections with the land dating back almost 1000 years although the current manor only dates back 200 years the original manor went by the same name.

There is a 13th century chapel on the grounds, one of the few remaining buildings that General Robert E. Lee’s ancestors would recognise today and a secret underground tunnel (now blocked off for safety) that runs from the two storey cellar to Alveley village two miles away.

In a twist General Robert E. Lee’s father fought the British in the American War of Independence against the Soldiers of the Shropshire wiping out most of the British regiment in 1777 in the Battle of Saratoga.

Now I don’t know a great deal about General Robert E. Lee but I have read he was an American hero to some and a traitor to others due to his allegiance to the Confederate army but is now perceived as an American Hero to most being pardoned of any wrongs committed by ex-president Jimmy Carter. I’m sure someone will correct me if this is incorrect.

Coton Hall Manor, Shropshire
Coton Hall Manor, Shropshire

Coton Hall Manor has long since passed ownership from the Lee family in 1821 but the existing family has visited the manor in recent years according to reports.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to tour the manor being privately owned and as my client resides in the extension of the manor known as the Bishops tower but you can view images on the internet of the interior of the manor or visit Alveley parish church for remnants of monuments to the Lee family.

It’s interesting though that the local history of a small village in Shropshire had such an impact in American history.





From the moment Kate announced she was pregnant I’ve been rushing around decorating, cleaning, buying in baby supplies and repairing my car. This as well as two of my children’s birthday’s and Christmas to contend with. You see, there is a thing called nesting that women go through when they fall pregnant. They clean, tidy and replace items in preparation of the new arrival. Kate’s nesting was to replace two-thirds of the house. Let me re-phrase that. Kate’s nesting was for me to replace two-thirds of the house however, I’m sure this was more an excuse to get new furniture.

Over Christmas and after I had already completed decorating three rooms, Kate and I were sleeping on an airbed as I had gutted our bedroom to decorate and furnish it.  Christmas was alcohol free as was New Years as I refused any urge to partake a tipple of the golden amber in solidarity to Kate’s abstinence. The day before Kate was due to give birth I had just finished having new carpets installed, and the bedroom suite delivered. The living room furniture was still on order. I was exhausted and wouldn’t have completed the bedroom if I hadn’t recruited my father, father-in-law and my daughter Ellie-Mae to chip in with the work.


On the 16th January we went into the delivery room at the Hospital and went through an amazing birth experience. It’s something that is hard to describe as each birth experience brings its own unique and very personal memory. My son, George Daniel was born at 10:26 am and what a little ray of sunshine he is!

It’s been 10 years since my son Reece was born and some things you remember and some things you need to be reminded about on how to look after a baby. The do’s and don’ts have changed in ten years. It’s like we are new parents all over again but it’s a joy to relive this experience with my other three children who adore George dearly.

I now have a family of two girls and two boys. Now that is perfect!





APEMAN 4K Ultra HD Action Camera

I recently purchased the APEMAN 4k Ultra HD Action Camera to use while hiking but thought I would test it out as a dash cam first. The quality doesn’t reflect well in this video due to the restriction on my editing software but I assure you it is very good.

The Apeman comes in a semi hard case with all the attachments you need to attach to a trekking pole, bag, dashboard etc with Velcro, sticky pads, clips and brackets. It comes with different cases which can attach to tripods including a waterproof case if you like to film underwater. It comes with two batteries lasting around 60 minutes each if you use the 4k Ultra HD or 120 minutes each on 1080p.

The downside to this camera is the audio quality. It’s not great but if you are like me this wont deter you too much as I intend to use it with a music score. The Apeman so far proves to capture great images with its  170 degree wide-angle lens. You can use the WiFi to control it from your mobile as well.

It retails at £160.00 but currently reduced to £80 on Amazon. Lucky me, I had a £50 voucher from the Three store to reduce the price further. Apart from sound it is a good option if you don’t want to shell out for a Go Pro Hero.

I thought it would be a great share if anyone is looking for an affordable action camera without the cost of a Go Pro Hero.