Ok, enough reading.
I’ve ordered the Vera Lite from Vera Controls as an entry level home automation system, along with a wireless light switch. This will give me that chance to play with the thing (undoubtedly turning the front hall light on and off endlessly and annoying Lisa) and see what it can do.
Going to experiment with this a bit and see if it gives me the features and flexibility to do the stuff I’m after, then we can get into more advanced functionality (and add more of the rather expensive devices).
New gizmo to play with, coming through.