Had a look at a few options including PICAXE. Not a great deal to choose between them. Liking the philosophy behind Arduino I decided to bet on that as I only want to learn one platform. Initially found that the A. Ethernet Shield was not available in the UK. Ordered it directly from Italy.
In my travels, spoke to a very helpful guy at www.robosavvy.com – a site worth a visit, inter alia for robots playing soccer. It’s nice when people publish their phone numbers so you can speak to them instead of sending emails into the void.
Next step: get all the software and mount the learning curve.