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Archive: February 2012  EDITORIALS
EDITORIAL: Feb  26th 2012

Last week, commenting on how life goes on week by week, I put a rather negative spin on it and so to balance the things that go on in the life of Rochford (as elsewhere), no doubt in the past week in Rochford and Ashingdon, babies have been born, the all-clear has been given to previous serious diagnoses, people have got married, and some have passed their driving tests! Yes, it will have been a mixed experience in the life of the community over these past seven days, but that is what life is like, life of which we mostly take little notice.
And that’s how it’s been here at Rochford Life this week, a mixed bag. As promised last week the remaining pages of our latest learning package, “Learning to be a Learner” are now on line, for all those who struggle with the message that has been passed to them in the past: “You can’t learn!”  Not true! If that’s you, may we recommend these pages to you. All you need to be able to do it read, and you can surely do that because you’ve read this far!
Also in this last week Penny has handed in her next ‘rant’ and as it was a large piece we’re spreading it over the next couple of weeks. The first part is about ‘Hates of last year’. Also in the week we’ve received the latest update of the activities in the area of the Essex Wildlife Trust, things you can take the family along to.
But to get to the real variety of life in the area you have to see the things we’ve added this week in respect of activities, shops etc. Down in Rocheway, at the Disability Centre, there is a  Zumba Class starting. (You don’t know what Zumba is???? Google it!) Meanwhile the Roche Art Group is still going strong in the hall behind St. Teresa’s, and invited us to go and see some of their work. Passing by we realised we had never covered Jacko’s Fish & Chips, without doubt the fish and chip shop that’s been around the longest in Rochford, serving us for many a long year!
One of the things we like to do is call back in and revisit people and catch up on what they are doing a year on, so  this week we dropped in at Sunshack Tanning to see if Amber was still doing baby-sitting for pets. Is she? Well if you want someone who now knows all about Dog Grooming, Amber is the person you want.  We also dropped in on Annette at Rochford Archery and the result is a short article entitled, “You are thinking of starting up archery?”
Finding that we have a lot of talent in our midst has always been one of the surprises and pleasures of running Rochford Life and so this week when we heard that  Mia Elizabeth Designs is now a part of JJW Designs, and popped along to find out more, we found Maria a charming and highly qualified addition to the warm and friendly reception you always find in this beautiful gem of a shop tucked away here in Rochford.
One of our certainties from the outset of running Rochford Life, is that mostly we don’t appreciate the wonder of the communities that we call Rochford and Ashingdon and our aim, week by week, has continued to be to “reveal the community to the community”. We hope with these various additions this week, we’ve done that just a bit more for you. Thank you for reading us - tell your friends about us.
Have a good week

EDITORIAL: Feb  19th 2012
It seems impossible sometimes to believe what is happening to the weather. After a week of minus degrees we’ve now just had a week of days fluctuating between eight and ten degrees. Amazing! In the wider world the first sounds of events heralding the Queen’s Jubilee appear in the media. In this weekly record of what happens to Rochford Life it is sometimes difficult to know quite what to record.
Here in Rochford, life carried on as normal. What a statement of generalisation, for trying to capture the community is like trying to capture a cloud. The reality will be that in this week, some people in Rochford and Ashingdon will have died, some will have been diagnosed with serious illnesses, some with have serious accidents and some will have become unemployed. That is not being negative or depressing, merely stating what happens in any reasonable size community over a period of time. For these people life did not go in as normal.
You editor is particularly aware of these things having, in these past four months, gone through a knee replacement operation and a torn retina repair operation, both of which have had serious limiting consequences throughout these months. It is only as life begins to return to normal that you realise just what an upheaval it has been. Throughout the District there will have been many people who have been through similar times. Yet, as we return to normality, how grateful we are to be living in these times when such amazing operations are possible.
Working o n a fairly substantial project this week, I was made aware of just how much I am returning to normality when I received a phone call asking for a business to be put on Rochford Life, and I was able to grab my camera and Dictaphone and leap in the car and go and pick up the information. As a result Miss Cilicious uni-sex hair salon can now be found on the pages of Rochford Life.  
However, the bulk of the week has been taken up working on our latest teaching series addition - “Becoming a Learner”. It is still not quite complete but the bulk of it is now here on line. We have often said that we wish to use the pages of Rochford Life (which can be added to ad infinitum) in whatever way possible to be a resource for the community. We not only have the basic information sheets that we describe as “things that came through the front door and which you threw away and wished you hadn’t”, but we now have four series of teaching or help sheets for specific topics. Having been involved with the community for many years, we are aware of common thoughts, feelings and fears that people so often have and where we have experience and some expertise from the past, we hope to make use of that in whatever way we can for the benefit of those who might wish to avail themselves of it. One of the previous series was about ‘Life Coaching’ which is all about raising self-esteem. Almost as a spin-off from that, having received various comments of appreciation for that series, we are aware that there are many who, with some regret, almost fear education or learning.  This latest series seeks to provide help for anyone who feels that way. It is a very basic and (hopefully) straight forward series and we hope there will be those who, from the comfort of their own homes can work through these sheets and be encouraged. There are still three pages to go and we hope to have them online later this week.  Have a good week.

EDITORIAL: Feb  12th 2012
Minus six degrees C???? In Rochford? You may have heard of the idea of “six degrees of separation”, that everyone is on average approximately six steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person on Earth, so that a chain of, "a friend of a friend" statements can be made, on average, to connect any two people in six steps or fewer. Well I think this minus six degrees also separates people, not brings them together. There have been times when I’ve been out and about this past week and there has been a distinct shortage of people! We’re not very good with the cold are we? I dread to think what it must be like to be in Russia with minus 25!
During this week the Council have been struggling a bit to know what to do to cope with the snow  but have managed to keep us informed about bin collections, playing field lack of availability etc,  with their SEVERE WEATHER UPDATES. Unfortunately, looking at the number of green bins that had been put out in our road this week, there are a lot of people either without computers or without the thought of checking either Rochford Life or the Council’s web-site.
Despite having been out more than a couple of times this week, we concluded it was not a good week for collecting contacts and so it’s been a week of background activity. Often this is simply responding to people’s enquiring e-mails. One person mailed in to ask about half-term children’s activities which reminded us we hadn’t put this information on Rochford Life as we normally do before each holiday by means of a direct link to the Brochure on the Council’s web-site.  Now I’m a reasonably savvy Internet user but after ten minutes scrabbling all over the Council’s site, I gave up looking. I next decided to try Extended Schools via the link on their page on Rochford Life, only to find that their site wasn’t responding. A couple of e-mails later I was told that their site was being renewed. Fair enough, so back to the RDC site for a further ten minutes of scrabbling. Surely in the weeks before half term this should be patently obvious, but 20 minutes of search says no it wasn’t!!!! Eventually we found it so the link is now on our front page if you want the Half Term Programme.
Again, the Essex Wildlife fortnightly programme of events around the county came through this week. It never ceases to amaze me the number of things for nature lovers that are going on all the time. Not quite in the same field (sorry for the pun) but we also got an interesting request to advertise WASTE-BUSTERS which is a county wide initiative looking for volunteers to promote green waste wisdom. You may have heard it mentioned on local radio this week. If you are a keen ‘composter’ with a little bit of spare time, have a look.
The biggest amount of our time this week has been taken up writing a series of help sheets to encourage learning but, rather like Topsy, it grew and so is not yet complete, so we’ll hold off saying anything more about it until next weekend by which time it should be completed.
So, whether or not we get the promised warmer weather, have a good week.

EDITORIAL: Feb  5th 2012
SNOW!  A light flurry earlier in the week, a light covering yesterday morning, and now a real 4 inch covering this morning - and cold!  Not the sort of weather for getting out and about really, and so this last week has involved a quick sortie out to check that the world is as we thought it was, and then some developmental work at the keyboard.
Being at the beginning of a new month we determined to get on top of our plans and get the February ‘Review’ page online before the week was out. We started the review pages a number of months ago with the idea that these pages would give a wider picture of the life of Rochford and Ashingdon. One of the things we had originally wanted to do was bring together like forms of business or group activities and so this month we had decided that we would review the computer repair businesses of Rochford and Ashingdon, of which there are three. Of course to do this it means checking that the businesses we’ve already covered are still in business (which can’t be guaranteed in these times). I suppose we could just make a series of phone calls but we’ve always preferred the personal touch and were planning to do this when, as you’ll see from the February Review Page, we were forced into it when one of our computers (we run one for backup for just such eventualities) told us that Windows had just gone corrupt. Thus we visited all three, Argon Computing, Riverside Computers, and Discount Computing Repairs, and confirmed they were still all well and truly in business and, if anything, business seems to be thriving!  
Also, being the beginning of the month we have added the second of the “Thought for the Month” pages. These are pages for the faith community and others who may be interested in spiritual matters, (seeking to broaden even more our provision for the community)and so the second of these is now there available for those interested in these things.
Another significant change has taken place this week; not something of major proportions but something we believe should be helpful. You may not have noticed but a few months back we started incorporating material from the Neighbourhood Watch. We had posted over a week back their letter from Essex Police, speaking amongst other things about the likely selling off of Rochford Police station. We also have a page, largely resourced by them, of scams appearing on the Internet. Because we consider this later item of sufficient importance to all computer users, we have now put a link to that ‘Scam Alerts’ page on the top right hand side of the front page where it is clearly visible,  and we would recommend readers click on this link regularly to see the things that might be turning up on your screen that you definitely want to stay away from. There are people out there who are after your money!
Although these alerts are for the Internet, it is worth a reminder that some of these characters also appear on the other end of your phone line, so watch out. I don’t know if this is just us, but these (often foreign sounding) calls seem to be increasing. The general rule is don’t give out ANY personal information over the phone. If you think they might be genuine, ask for their number and say you’ll ring back in ten minutes. We have one other development under way but we’ll hold that for next week because we’re still working on it. All the time we want to provide more and more things for you that could be of help to our readers. In the meantime we continue to provide update news bulletins from the Council and the one about their 2012/13 Budget is here on line if you want to see how they are spending your money! In the meantime, have a good week.