EDITORIAL: 24th April 2011
I have wondered once or twice what it was like to have the name Marshall McLuhan. It’s not very English, but then as he was Canadian that probably didn’t matter to him. Before he died at the end of 1980 I wonder what it felt like to be world famous for “the medium is the message” and “the global village.” I gather he was quite an expert in a number of other things but for most people those two phrases stand out from this communications guru. Over the six months that Rochford Life has existed, I have pondered (and occasionally commented on) this matter of communication. Ultimately, I suppose, it is what this site is dedicated to, and yet that holds its frustrations.
I first really noticed it back in October when I accidentally came across mention of the Rochford Art Trail, just three days before it happened. Enquiring around before and after it, I concluded apart from shopkeepers and businesses hosting artists and the artist groups themselves, very few people had heard of it despite the Council producing an excellent leaflet for it. So please note, readers, the Rochford Art Trail is happening again in the last week of October and applications for it need to be in soon.
Somebody commented to me only a day or so ago that we seem to be displaying a lot of RDC news.The simple answer to that comment, is that we delight to do it and encourage readers to tell their friends about this site so they can easily get regular updates of the excellent things that the Council regularly put on. As I noted above and have commented before, for some reason so many people just don’t hear about these things. Let’s change that! Read Rochford Life! Tell your friends!
The other great ‘mystery’ of Rochford which gets occasional mentions around the place is the Cherry Orchard Country Park, a park located a mile and a half out of Rochford, presumably mostly for the benefit of people to the east and south of it. It came up in discussion with Grant Maton of Essex Wildlife in the second part of his interview recently. Grant is in the communication business so we may hear some more of it in days to come. The car park was opened recently on the west (Rochford) side but as yet there are no footpath signs or anything else around the car park to tell you where to go and what to see. Obviously a project still very much under construction.
While we’re on the subject of communication, have a look at Penny Glen’s latest writing about film rental. Penny is an enthusiast and we delight to give her space on these pages and look forward to seeing how her pages open up in the months to come. As we’ve said before, if there any others of you who would like to write for us, just for the fun of it, let us know. Have a good week.
EDITORIAL: 17th April 2011
Life is strange; it just keeps on and the same things happen, week in and week out and then suddenly it changes. Most of the time we are people of routine and we pretty much know what is coming next. Sometimes there are gradual changes. The Seasons change and the weather with it. The sun that we’ve had over recent weeks has been so welcome, even if there was a cold edge to the wind. The sign of pink and glowing bodies were an indicator that people were hungrily grabbing for the sunshine and those of us who hadn’t had the opportunity to lie out in the sun looked enviously at those who clearly had! The change of the clocks last month was another of those things that brought change as for a few days some of us struggled to adjust our bodies’ sleeping habits.
But this past week has been for many a complete change in routine. For why? Because it was the first week of the two week ‘Easter’ holiday break and suddenly families all over the district will have moved into a completely different routine in life. For working parents - and modern culture demands that many are - this means major adjustments. While teachers breath a great sigh of relief, parents sigh a completely different sigh. That’s just modern life. However since running Rochford Life, we have become aware as never before, of the incredible holiday programme that is laid on by Rochford Extended Services and Rochford District Council. Such an excellent programme is truly a sign of our times. When I was a child? Go away, you’ve got to be joking!
Because we’re into holiday mode this particular week we’ve only actually added two interviews, both of them, it struck us, with humble people. The first was with John Ashton who is a Parish Councillor. John is another one of those who exhibits that “if there’s something to do, I’ll do it” attitude that you often find in public service. Again and again we encounter this outlook as we have the privilege of interviewing Councillors (we have noted two who are fighting shy of us but they’re not Parish Councillors, and when it comes to elections we’ll tell you about them). The other person we interviewed for a second time was Jackie Pope. We’ve known Jackie for a long time and so I’m sure she won’t mind us saying it, but Jackie scares the living daylights out of some people. She is not your ‘nice’ lady looking to do good in the community; she just does it. She scares some of the kids and is loved by some of the kids and she has some interesting things to say about the community and deserves a hearing, because she also happens to be the Citizen of the Year.
Have a good week.
EDITORIAL: 10th April 2011
Spring is a time when something different is happening all the time, and Spring certainly is with us. Is it my imagination or is there even more blossom around this year than usual? I have found myself this year watching for the onset of buds and blossom with an excitement I haven’t had before. I have pondered the cause of this and wonder if it is to do with the fact that this year I am just more aware of people and the workings of Rochford because of Rochford Life. Trying to pick up constantly on the life of Rochford (and eventually Ashingdon) has made me hyper-aware in a way that I could never have foreseen. Now I find that stretches to Nature as well as to people.
Last week on this page, I spoke of having to stretch our rules not to go beyond the boundaries of Rochford, Ashingdon and East Hawkwell, when there are people coming into the area for the benefit of the local community. This week, that rule was stretched just a bit further when we spoke to Grant Maton who works for Essex Wildlife Trust. Although Grant neither lives nor technically works in Rochford, his activities and those of Essex Wildlife do benefit all of us. Who of us today would unwisely say that the environment should not concern us. For that reason we have taken the opportunity of giving Essex Wildlife regular space on Rochford Life.
Another expansion of Rochford Life has been to cover people activities that include numbers of people, in Rochford and out of it, in the form of the two Farmers’ Markets that are now running in the town. As the one at the Primary School was a new venture and the one at the W.I. Hall was a fresh start for the Parish Council, we covered both in some detail. It was an interesting comparison: different traders, different wares, and different customers. Fascinating! Having picked up the link of the School Farmers’ Market we have been invited by Rochford Primary Head, Andy Howe, to do a series of articles on the school as we are still doing for Waterman School. Along the way we heard that the school are creating vegetable plots with the help of Rawal Pindi Nursery and the local Allotment Association (but more of that in weeks to come). Yet that prompted a reminder that the Allotment Association were having an Inspection Day yesterday so we went to find out why. News items about Easters activities generally and for a messy play group, together with reminders from the Council about voting, helped build out the community package that is this week’s Rochford Life. We also note that Rochford Archive have now got their web-site online. There is a lot going on in this town of ours, but you do have to go looking for it to find out about it - and that’s why we’re here. Have a good week and good reading!
EDITORIAL: 3rd April 2011
From the outset of Rochford Life we determined that ‘simplicity’ would be a guiding word for us, a simple approach and a simple web site with no commercial advertising as such and, because the site came free to us, courtesy of a firm of web-site designers in Southend (who didn’t do the design for it) we wouldn’t have commercial advertising and we wouldn’t spend money on publicising ourselves - we would simply rely on word of mouth.
The good news of that is that we have countless stories of how one person has contacted another who has contacted another who has contacted us. It has worked well. The bad news is there there are still people who, when we introduce ourselves look blankly as if to say, “Who?” That we can cope with because our readership is growing and the number of people who return to the site is a very good percentage of our hits. I felt the brunt of this the other day, when talking with a Mum of a reasonable size family and was talking about this and casually asked her, “Did you hear of the free ice skating there had been last half term?” No, came the astonished reply. “How about the free sports activities to recognise the 500 day countdown to the Olympics?” Again an astonished “No!”
My answer was somewhat predictably, “Well I really do think you need to become a regular reader of Rochford Life because such things now appear on the front page.” I haven’t been surprised that such people don’t read the RDC web-site pages because it is almost too good with too much information on which is scary for many people - but we have perhaps gone overboard the other way and have tried to be ultra simple in our presentation. If you’re a parent have you picked up the fact that we have listings for the Easter Activities for the children as a backup if you don’t get or lose your Brochure for the holiday activities?
Looking at the ‘additions’ of the past week it has, possibly, been the greatest variety of things being added in any ten-day period so far. The back end of the week then saw another three things yet to be added but which simply, haven’t been typed up yet but which should be here online within the next couple of days. We’ve just covered a second Farmers’ Market in eight days and because of the nature of them have extended our area of concern to cover people or businesses that are outside Rochford & Ashingdon. Perhaps here’s a new guideline: if they come into Rochford to serve the Community here, we’ll include them. It’s been a good week!
Enjoy the week ahead and keep[ an eye on our pages to see what the next new things will be appearing on these pages.