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Archive: December 2011  EDITORIALS
EDITORIAL: Dec 25th 2011

Well, despite the fact that last week I said we would not have an editorial this week, life has moved on at such a pace as to suggest to keep the record complete an editorial was necessary. Regular readers would know that we use this weekly page not only to identify new additions to Rochford Life over the past week, but also to maintain a record of just what goes on in the production of this magazine. From the outset we aimed for transparency otherwise there’s not much point us keeping this record. It’s just a fun idea really to look back, in years to come, to see how the thing developed. Regrettably this has to be a bit personal  because the personnel on Rochford Life are strictly limited.
Well, you will know that your editor struggled with an arthritic knee last Autumn, and then having a knee replacement operation. Just as we were rejoicing is getting over that and beginning to plan new things for the New Year, I started getting a shadow cutting off the bottom half of vision in my right eye. Those who know about these things shudder at the words, ‘detached retina’. Now the poor old NHS often gets bad press so I think I ought to take this opportunity to balance up things a bit. Last Friday morning my wife instructed me to ring the doctor. Three quarters of an hour later I was being checked out and a 2.30pm appointment being made in the Eye Clinic of the Hospital. By 4.30 I was lying in an operating theatre having an hour operation to reattach the partially detached retina. 6.30pm I was back home with a bandaged eye. For the day before Christmas Eve, at the end of the week, we were impressed and I am grateful not to have lost the sight of one eye so a special thank you to those cheery nurses, doctor and two surgeons who sorted me out.
But of course these things aren’t that simple and I’m told that I will just have blurred vision through that one eye for between 4 to 6 weeks, which slows up life and makes working on a computer a slow and tedious process running on one eye. Being the season that it is, I have felt a slight sympathy for Joseph who must have made his way to Bethlehem with a very pregnant Mary, wondering, “Whatever is this all about? Yes I know what I’ve been told but I’m still struggling with it. How did all this happen and where is it going to lead us?”
So if this Christmas your circumstances are all over the place and you’re wondering, “Why me, why should this be happening to me?” you’re in good company; we’re with you! One of my favourite TV and now video series was The West Wing and if you were a watcher you’ll know that at the end of every set of circumstances dealt with, the President would turn to his aide and said, “Right, what’s next?” I feel a bit like that, and if you’ve been through tough stuff too, you may also be feeling that. Answer: I haven’t a clue but somehow we’ll make it through. Joseph did with Mary, with a little help from above, so I expect we can as well. We may need to ask for that help but on the other hand, when I read the Christmas story, I note that Joseph was just on the receiving end and didn’t do any asking. So let’s just crack on with it. 2012 is going to be a good year, a better year - it had better be! Have a Happy New Year!

EDITORIAL: Dec 18th 2011

Christmas is just one week away! If you’re a Mum you’re probably very much aware of that, counting down to that all-important day (why do we make it like that?) checking off lists of presents and food. If you’re a teacher you’ve just breathed a sigh of relief as you made it to the end of term. Shop owner and restaurateurs have no doubt been going all out providing the things we want for the festive season. Yet I’ve been aware in this past week, as I’ve been visiting various businesses, that for many life just goes on and Christmas has little to do with our activities; we have a crust to earn, with or without Christmas!
The knee continues to improve but warnings from the hospital not to overdo it makes me wonder what ‘overdo’ means.  A morning of visiting businesses leaves the knee painful and I think, “So that’s overdoing it!” But that was the second part of the week. In the first part we collated the various humour pages from the past year, so now if you want your spirits lifting, a few minutes on one of the pages in the Humour Archive should do the trick!
Also earlier in the week Talking Newspapers for the Blind asked us to put them on our pages and we’re hoping to add more to their page in the days to come.  Aware that we still had places on the Southend Road to cover, we focused on that end of town this week. As an example of chalk and cheese you perhaps couldn’t do better than compare The Boleyn Cafe and a hundred yards away The Anne Boleyn Hungry Horse Restaurant, but both providing good value food.
Closer up into Rochford, many of us tend not to notice the Riverside Industrial Estate behind the fire station and so, starting on that estate at least, we have now included The Rochford Garage which specialises in working for pensioners, and next door to them  Riverside Computers who maintain and repair computers and upgrade and sell secondhand computers. If you’re happy with secondhand, you can’t beat some of the incredibly low price laptops they have on offer. Across the way is The Print Studio producing flyers, leaflets, etc. and who share their premises with Essex Publications Ltd who produce the excellent monthly free magazine “This is Your Essex”, that goes out around Southend etc. Tucked way behind the Fire Station it’s too easy to forget that we have these resources here in Rochford.
As we are rushing towards Christmas we have invited local churches to give us details of their services both this weekend and next, so check out the Christmas Carol Services page here.
Well, this past term has been a physical struggle for reasons we’ve given previously, but activity on Rochford Life has continued apace and its been a joy finding out about more and more shops, businesses and organisations that are here serving Rochford. We’re probably going to move into holiday more for the next two weeks so it’s likely we won’t be going out and about much,  but we are still here to receive your requests for additions etc. As next Sunday will be Christmas Day we won’t be adding an editorial, so we’ll take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy and enjoyable Christmas.
Enjoy and have a good week!

EDITORIAL: Dec 11th 2011

Well, this has been one of those weeks that has almost taken on a life of its own. The end result is not what was expected at the beginning!  Still being somewhat restricted in terms of mobility (whatever they tell you, don’t believe them - new knees do take a while to settle down!) we focused in the early part of the week on continuing to upload old (and some new) quizzes into the archive so if you go to the Quiz Contents page you will find we now have over 20 quizzes here online to tickle the little grey cells.
But as I look at our front page, I think, where did the idea come from of making buying Christmas Presents the basis of this month’s Review Page and linking it to six of the most likely shops and their Christmas wares, to help you overcome your Christmas present-buying dilemmas? Anyway we hope you’ll find them useful. Either use the links on the front page or go to the Review page and use the links in the article to the six shops we’ve featured. If we haven’t covered your shop - our apologies - but you’ll see the criteria for inclusion in the article. If you have lots of Christmas items, let us know and we’ll very happily add you in.
While we were out and about we also dropped in on Rochford’s brand new restaurant in North Street, The Grey Goose,  which is beautiful inside and already gaining a reputation for good food. A great addition to the resources of Rochford.
Being out and about also meant a visit to the Ashingdon Parish Council’s Christmas Buffet at the Memorial Hall, which was a good event and, we believe, a really good means of building bridges between residents and the Council. Perhaps Rochford Parish might do something similar one of these days?
While there we met volunteers from the Neighbourhood Watch Scheme which we will, from now on being including on Rochford Life as a regular feature.  May we recommend their Newsletter as essential reading - you’ll be surprised at the scams that are going on around us and which, of course, may involve us. They provide a good warning service for us. We’ve only got their Summer one at the moment but will post their new one as soon as we get it.
From time to time we quietly get on and just add recreational pages without saying anything and so each archive is getting slowly bigger all the time, but this week we’ve added to the Computing section an article, “Welcome to the Cloud” as we are aware that in some quarters there are increasing references to “The Cloud” and so we hope this article will explain it in as simple terms as possible. We’ve also just added a further light-hearted article to the Silver Surfer’s archive entitled “Get out of my Kitchen!”  Remember there are lots of articles now in the various recreational archives for easy reading.
Enjoy and have a good week!

EDITORIAL: Dec 4th 2011

Well, with the arrival of December, we must officially be in Winter now after what must have been one of the mildest Autumns on record. It seem impossible that in three week’s time it will be Christmas. Where has this year gone????  Still in low-key hobbling mode the activities of Rochford Life have nevertheless continued though at a very different pace than say back in the heady days of say July when we were adding large numbers of shops and businesses at a furious rate. This week has seen the addition of just one, 2’s Company Social Care Services. Although we do not normally cover businesses based outside Rochford and Ashingdon, as this one serves our area we decided to make an exception of it. JJW Designs have also added an update on two late night Christmas shopping evenings. Remember, if you have anything special that you’re doing as a business, to let us know, and we’ll happily post it for you.
General Council news updates continue to be added and residents of Ashingdon would do well to note this week the Ashingdon Parish Council is laying on a Christmas Buffet at the Memorial Hall THIS Thursday at lunchtime, so do go along if you can.
Without doubt, the biggest article added this week has been Penny’s Pre-Christmas major article on Games Consoles and Games. If you have wondered what the differences are between the different Games Consoles and may even be buying one this Christmas, then this comprehensive article from Penny this week is a must-read for you. Warning: there is a lot of it, but if you can work your way through it all you’ll find it a real eye-opener of an article that is very worth while reading.
As we have continued to work our way through the ‘recreational pages’ this week it was the turn of the Quiz pages to receive an overhaul. There are still more to be added, but essentially what we have done is to take the fortnightly quizzes from the past year and provide them all as an online archive that is permanently available. Our objective with the recreational pages has always been to provide light reading that is either entertaining or even educational and we hope that the permanent supply of these quizzes will certainly fit that latter description.  We’ve often encouraged the Silver Surfers to exercise their minds and this resource is now here for all and sundry to drop in and exercise the brain cells in a mild way. Do it enough times and you may find both your general knowledge and your vocabulary increasing greatly. Well, they’re there if you’d like to play.
Just to remind you, over these past weeks of limited activity we have completely overhauled, upgraded and created archives for the Silver Surfers pages from the past year and the Tapestry pages from the past year, as well as adding in a series of Parenting Helps. The information pages have also been added to significantly. Please do make use of these resources and let us know if there are any others that you would find useful here. Again and again it is our desire to provide these useful resources for the community as easy access resources that people can easily find here on Rochford Life.
As we run up up to Christmas, may we wish you a stress free Advent. Have a good week,