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Archive: April & May 2012  EDITORIALS
EDITORIAL: May 20th 2012    
May rushes on and the world seems to be changing. Greece continues to appear to be in chaos, France takes a new path, Spanish banks look bad, and so it goes on. Here the weather remains largely grey with the occasional breakthrough of sunshine.  And on our home territory - Rochford and Ashingdon - much caries on as usual. I sometimes wonder if we had no TV, no computers, no Twitter, if we would be any the worse off as far as absence of news and its real effect. Some of us may wonder why we got letters telling us our mortgage rates were going up and we may wonder at rising prices, but beyond that,I wonder if most of us would be much affected by absence of news?
Here at Rochford Life, following the recent Council elections we checked out one of the recent winning candidates Jill Lucas-Gill and asked her what it was like having to go through elections. Very interesting. With a nudge from the Allotment Association we did an update check on Waterman school. If you wonder what the link was between the two you’ll need to read the article about Waterman under the heading  Three Projects @ Waterman’s. But it didn’t stop there because one of the projects involved creating a large new wildlife pond and we  thought it would be interesting to follow this up and see how you go about this, so we watched the happenings at the school a week ago and you can see what happened in the article The Making of a Pool at Waterman’s.  While we were at Waterman’s talking to the head, we asked her about her experience of running in the recent London Marathon. We’d never talked to anyone who had run in the marathon before and so you can see the result in the article Running Blind (Rachel was running for the charity Guide Dogs for the Blind.)
Shops in Rochford seem to be changing again and we hope to bring you an update soon, but in the meantime we have an update from JJW Designs.  Yesterday was the Allotment Association’s Plant and Produce sale which was followed by a Barbecue and a question time with two experts. It was worth a visit.  While there we came across Sharpening Solutions, a local firm who will sharpen your knives, scissors, shears, axes etc. and got them to sharpen a pair of old shears for us. Wow, how the grass fell! Amazing!
During the fortnight we’ve been revisiting some of our recreational pages and so have added to the Quiz pages (there are now 29 quiz pages to stretch the little grey cells) the Silver Surfer pages (there are now 30 articles for those of us in the older age bracket) and also to the Tapestry pages (there are now 22 pages of odds and ends to browse on) and continued to add events to our recently added “Local Events” pages.
During the fortnight we received an enterprising e-mail from a young man and as a result we are trying something new. If you are looking for a job and would like us  advertise you and you live in Rochford or Ashingdon, let us know and we’ll put you on line here on what we’re calling “Personal Stuff” pages, at no expense. Feel free to drop us a line by using the e-mail link at the top of every page.
Have a good fortnight

EDITORIAL: May 6th 2012    
April into May has meant more grey skies and even more rain. What a bizarre year when we’ve had a dry Winter but April and May have seen rain and more rain and familiar pictures of floods elsewhere in the country have appeared on our TV screens - but we’re still in a drought!
Looking back over the fortnight, it has been an interesting spread of things appearing on Rochford Life. Being a month that crossed over from April to May meant we were thinking about the next monthly review which we decided would be in respect of Eating Out. This was largely prompted by recent comments about the “night-time economy” of Rochford which has taken a leap forward with the recent arrival of two Italian restaurants. It was while we were preparing this that we realised that Rochford town only had one class English restaurant (and that only recently arrived) but then realised that within a short distance we have two good restaurants in the form of The Royal Oak at Stambridge and The Cherry Tree out on the Stambridge Road,  both of which provide quality food.
Now over the months we have been fairly strict in keeping to our stated boundaries - the conurbation of Rochford, Ashingdon and East Hawkwell - but thinking about the service we seek to provide, primarily for the residents of this area, we concluded that perhaps it was time to review our boundary policy.
This was also suggested when we were recently asked if we advertised events occurring more widely in the area. As we took a fresh look at this we have decided that we will, from now on, carry information about events outside that designated area that perhaps our residents might want to go to anyway for a day or afternoon out. To that end we have created a completely new section of longer-term EVENTS PAGES, covering things that are often further in the future and so not yet appearing on our front page advertising space.  So if you know of such events that would like the publicity please do let us know and we’ll add them to that section of the magazine.  Perhaps it was in this vein, as we were picking up on the Wild Woods Day in Hockley Woods, coming up next month, that we found ourselves visiting a knitting session at Rayleigh Windmill. If you want to know what that’s all about and how the two things are linked, then go to our article “Calling all Knitters”.
Adding to the Review pages, and creating local Events pages etc. has again raised our awareness of the need to maintain an easy form of navigation around the site - we have over 750 pages live here on Rochford Life now - and are just mindful that we want it to be as easily accessible as possible. To that end you will see we have redesigned the access ‘buttons’ on the right hand side of the front page and each button takes you to a section Contents page which in turn takes you to the individual pages of that section. We hope it works and we hope it makes it easier for you to use the various ‘services’ that there are here on Rochford Life.  For shops and businesses we still have the trade directory as you scroll down the front page or, if you wish, use the specific buttons on the left of that page. Have a good fortnight

EDITORIAL: April 22nd 2012
Well April has been well and truly living up to its reputation and April ‘showers’ have certainly been the name of the game over the last week or so. For gardeners among us it’s possibly been a slightly frustrating time. Without doubt we all need the rain to stave off the doom mongers who keep telling us we are in official drought times, but gardeners especially peer forlornly into their rain collection barrels and mutter. “Showers” don’t fill barrels  and never being quite sure whether we are suffering a hosepipe ban or not, one does not wish to appear a pariah appearing a lone figure of rebellion holding the end of a hosepipe while neighbours mutter angrily behind their net curtains. Watering cans filled from the rain barrel(s) is the only way.
With water being a slightly touchy subject at the present, allotment holders on Rochford’s allotments are sitting pretty. Now, they say, we don’t use hose-pipes, we use our dip tanks. If you are not sure what that is have a look on our page covering the Allotments Spring Plant Sale and you’ll what they are. What a good idea! I wonder if I attached one to the end of a long hose pipe in my garden I would be breaking the law and would I need to pay a supplement to the Water Board? Anyone gt any advice?
Rochford has taken on a new lease of life when it comes to eating out and we hope to make the next month’s review page all about where you can eat. Our latest addition  to our pages is Alessandro’s Italian Restaurant and so suddenly within a space of weeks we find ourselves with TWO Italian restaurants (although they are quite different). How good is that!
In the past fortnight we have taken on quite a “Law and Order” emphasis. First we managed to get an interview with Inspector Chris Higgins of Essex Police  who gives us a real insight into both policing provision in these days of cutbacks, and what it means to be a policeman. It also happens to be the time of the year when the Neighbourhood Watch Spring Newsletter comes out. Not only that but we have added a page on “Beat the Burglar” which is advice from the Police, and this supplements the pages we already have on Home Security Tips, which is found using the General Information Contents Page of our newly revamped Information and Health pages. For the newly revamped Health pages use the button on the right side of the front page to go to the Health Information Contents Page.
Again this week, Grant Maton has provided us with an update of the county-wide Essex Wild Life Trust April-May Activities, activities for the whole family to get you out and about appreciating the countryside around us.  So, have a good couple of weeks, see you in a fortnight.

EDITORIAL: April 8th 2012
Having moved to writing our editorials fortnightly instead of weekly, the larger time gap makes one more aware of changes taking place around us.  Over this past fortnight Spring has burst out in a big way. Suddenly the blossom has spread from trees to bushes and hedges and all around us there is a strong green growth that may still have a long way to go before fullness, but nevertheless is a big step on from the bareness of Winter. Yes, Spring has definitely arrived in a big way over these past two weeks.  Two weeks back we were still very much in the bud part of the season, but today those buds have pushed out to transform the look of the world around us. Isn’t Spring good!
One of the things that running Rochford Life has done for us in make us more aware of some of the ‘big issues’ affecting Rochford. A little while back we reported on the comings and goings of the Hall Road housing development (and will seek to keep in touch with it as it goes on). Just recently we’ve been keeping tabs on the Coombes Farm development, which received a refusal of Outline Planning Approval by a large majority at the recent Council Development Committee meeting. Whether that is the end of it, only time will tell.
Meanwhile as we’ve been checking out the community and getting checked out by the community, we have added on another of those little businesses we find in Rochford, tucked away out of sight but still providing a service for whoever comes - Phoenix Motors who  are another of those little businesses tucked away on the Riverside Estate behind Rochford Fire Station. New life has come to North Street in the form of Antica Roma, a warm and friendly Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria that looks like it is worth a visit. Their opening times, we believe, are aimed specifically for families.  Once again we received an invitation from the Roche Art Group, this time to watch teacher, Judy Goring guide an evening using oil pastels.  It’s a joy, here at Rochford Life, to have the privilege of seeing some of the things that go on ‘behind the scenes’  that most miss. This was a good evening.
As we are now into a new month - and this month contains Easter (today being Easter Sunday) - we have a new Thought for Month which is simply an Easter story which we hope you’;ll enjoy and find thought provoking. Similarly, you will also find our new April Review - Being Aware of History which, as it’s name implies, steers us towards thinking about the history and, more specifically, the historical buildings of Rochford. Now before you turn there, if you haven’t already checked it out, be warned - it is ‘a taster’ to rouse interest and not a fully documented article. It continues to seek to raise our awareness of the town that is Rochford, which is so easy to take for granted.  For the film buffs among us, we’ve now fully loaded up Penny’s massive 6 page coverage of New Films for 2012. Sorry, it’s not in alphabetical order, so you’ll have to wade through it all if there is a particular film you want to see that she reports on. Happy reading  
So, have a good Easter, see you in a couple of weeks,