Simon in customary bare feet!Maybe I’m nosy but I really quite like knowing a little about the people running a business so it seems only fair to tell you a little about us.

I was a shy little girl who wasn’t very good at the sort of art we did at school in the 70s (painting) but was quite good at maths and sciences. I loved history but sadly it didn’t fit with 3 sciences in the O Level timetable and so I found myself with 3 not very good A Levels in maths, physics and biology and subsequently going on to The London Hospital School of Physiotherapy. It provided a training which has stood me in good stead and I continue to have a keen interest in health issues and am a firm believer in taking responsibility for ourselves, however I always felt that I’d missed more creative opportunities. Over the last 20 something years I’ve organised charity concerts in Hertfordshire and have renovated and re-designed 3 houses from the top down (or bottom up) and various smaller projects for friends. I just relish the chance to get my hands dirty and finally learnt that you can be creative without needing to be talented with an artist’s paintbrush!

Simon was a choir boy from the age of 7 at Worcester Cathedral and went on to Trinity College of Music in London to study voice and violin. Somehow by 24 he had also travelled in Australia for 18 months, returning overland via the Trans-Siberian Railway, repaired classic car engines, worked in a tyre fitters (worth its weight in gold, that skill – we never seem to stop rescuing people as it’s so much quicker to get someone going again than leave a narrow lane blocked by a stationary vehicle!), built entire extensions, worked as Kurt Hahn’s (founder of Gordonstoun) nephew’s chauffeur ¬†and picked mushrooms! However by the time he had completed his Licentiate Music Diploma, he had decided that he would never be the next Yehudi Menuhin and 2nd rate wasn’t good enough to justify him keeping his violin……I’ve never heard him play therefore! I’m glad to say that his love of singing will never fade, particularly performing in small groups, although preferably only music from pre 1650 and post 1850 which safely eliminates Mozart, Beethoven and Bach – whom he believes should never be sung! Simon continues to sing as a tenor lay clerk in the Cathedral Choir of St Albans and Vox Musica in London.

Outside music he has also worked in financial and IT administration and project management.

Between us we have 5 children (although I’m still reeling from the shock of realising that they are all grown up now!), Charlie, 24 (she’s a girl!) who works in Marketing and Development, Tori, Gemma and Katie who are all 20 and at university (work that one out!) and Sam, 18 and errr …. resting!

We absolutely love food and quirky but comfortable design and make it our duty to ‘test’ every place before we recommend it to our guests! Luckily Shaftesbury is serendipitously placed at the meeting point of 3 counties, all of which have attracted some of the most talented names in the foodie world. Our subconscious minds must have lead us to Updown Cottage for more than just the views!

Updown Cottage luxury 5* Gold Award self catering holiday cottage on Gold Hill, Shaftesbury, Dorset, England

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