To maintain the tradition of these pages we need to take note of some things about
this past week. In court room dramas on TV, I believe it is, you come across the
phrase, “Let the record show...” Well, for the record this week we need to record
that Rochford Life “went international”!!! Your editor is on the far side of the
USA, in California to be precise, for a couple of weeks. This has meant some innovations.
First of all, very obviously as the front page has stated, for a little over two
weeks we have not and will not be doing any interviews. But, to make a point, Rochford
Life is actually more than just the Interviews which, we acknowledge, form the bulk
of the magazine. Because out technology is not over-sophisticated it isn’t always
easy to make some changes to the pages from the opposite side of the world - BUT
we have been able, for instance, to join in JJW Design’s excitement over their new
room and we have been able to add a Council public announcement on the front page,
so some changes have been managed from afar. We did have to decline one fairly substantial
page change because it only applied to things later in the week and would have required
quite a lot of struggle to achieve - but mostly we have continued with changes and
of course on Monday our four ‘recreational’ pages will change without difficulty.
But what has been good has been the flow of e-mails we have continued to receive
and have been able to reply to in respect of forthcoming additions to the magazine
as well, so when we get back there are an increasing number of items to be followed
up on, and that is really good. What has really excited us though, is that we have
a young lady thinking about doing some writing for us for when we get back - general
and local interest material which we’re very much looking forward to seeing. In
our ‘front’ pages we do comment about wanting to provide opportunities for people
who, just for the fun of it (‘cos we don’t have money!) might like to write for us,
so this seems like the right opportunity to reiterate that offer. If you would like
to risk venturing out and write something (one-off or regular) for a community magazine
- here it is - come and talk to us!
This is also a time when we are reviewing design and approach. Over the next month
or so we hope to be bringing some design innovations, especially to the front and
other ‘content’ pages. Being away and having a break from the usual run of the mill
stuff, also provides opportunity to reflect on what we have achieved and areas of
the community we need to reach out to next in the overall goal of reaching to the
entire community of Rochford and Ashingdon and so, if you live between Warner’s Bridge
and Ashingdon Hill, that includes you, your group, organisation or business. We’re
here to serve you. Give us a shout!
Have a good week.
EDITORIAL: 20th February 2011
A couple of weeks ago I compared working on Rochford Life, and indeed the life of
Rochford itself, to a Kaleidoscope. As I ponder on the week that has just gone,
I think I would revert back to using the word ‘spectrum’ to describe the range of
people we have talked to. A quick Google search throws up the definition, “A broad
sequence or range of related qualities, ideas, or activities,” to which I would add,
“or people.” Limiting ourselves to the people left on the front page we have three
women and three men.
Councillor Stansby is an elderly gentleman who meets dozens if not hundreds of people
in his role as Council Chairman. Reverend Clay meets dozens if not hundreds of people
in his role as minister of four parishes and Chaplain to the Chairman of the Council.
Will Taylor meets literally hundreds of people over the Internet. The three ladies
of Yeo’s probably meet dozens of people who come into the shop each week. None of
these people could be an introvert for all of them live their lives meeting people.
These are community people. It may be the local community or, in Will’s case a worldwide
community, but nevertheless it is a community and one thing members of a community
do is talk to each other.
Councillor Stansby spends much of his life, this year at least, talking to many and
varied individuals and groups within Rochford District. Reverend Clay spends much
of his life talking to his parishioners and, one week a year, people in Westminster
Abbey. Will Taylor spends much of his time chatting to people in Rochford District,
people across the UK and even further afield. The ladies of Yeo’s converse with their
customers. Councillor Stansby travels around the District. Reverend Clay travels
around his four parishes, while the ladies of Yeo’s hardly step out of the shop to
talk to their customers and, here’s the strange thing, Will Taylor doesn’t need to
leave his armchair, if he wants, to communicate with the world.
What a fascinating world we live in today. How different it would have been two hundred
years ago! The Chairman (if there was an equivalent - the Squire?) would have ridden
a horse, the reverend would probably have walked around his one parish, and the Yeo’s
equivalent would have operated out of a trader’s front living room (so Ken tells
me), while Will - well Will wouldn’t know that even a tenth of his present contacts
even existed! And what about fifty years time? What would each of these people
in their differing roles be doing? Will we have a more spread out community or closer
community? Will we be talking ,more to each other or less? The only thing we can
be fairly sure of is that it will almost certainly be very different from today!
Have a good week.
EDITORIAL: 13th February 2011
My dad, in the last World War, drove a Bren-gun Carrier, so I was told. I never enquired
what a Brengun Carrier was, I just assumed it was a vehicle used in the army. He
used to say that the fun of driving was in a long convoy when you were at the back
end of it. Because of the delay between each vehicle moving off, by the time it was
time for him to start off, they actually had to drive at high speed to catch up.
In the past couple of weeks somehow, a similar experience has occurred with Rochford
We have commented before that one of the purposes of these editorials is to provide
an historical record of what has happened in these early months in the life of this
magazine. As the editor of Rochford Life, I have concluded that the progress of
the magazine is dependent on two things: first my own energy and drive levels to
go out there and make contacts and interview people and, second, the availability
of people to be interviewed. The latter is what causes the problems. When I started
this off I never realised how this would work. So here, for instance is a shop, and
it constantly seems to have customers in and so you don’t want to get in the way
of their trade. That’s how it’s been so far with Gleadell Meats. Every time I had
passed by there were customers and so it seemed an unusual moment last week that
I passed by to see not a customer in sight. I grabbed the opportunity. But then you
get told, “I’m sorry the owner’s not here at the moment,” - and this happens often.
So you have to come back at a later date and try again.
Ringing people up to book an appointment is often as equally frustrating when they
are not in and you have to leave a message and rely on them ringing back (and most
people don’t) or you just get the ring tone and have to determine to ring and ring
until answers come. When they do you gladly take whatever date and time they give
you. When those appointments stack up in the beginning of the week, that seems fine
and the back of the week is given to writing them up, but when suddenly they stockpile
at the end of the week, the weekend screams at you, “You need a rest!” and so suddenly
at the beginning of the next week - as has happened this week - you are confronted
with a pile of ‘catch-ups’ which takes on the feel of a desperate attempt to catch
up the back of the convoy, except not so much fun. But there it is, and that is what
life is like when you set yourself goals for growth and development, self-inflicted
pressure! How crazy! But thank you for those who have talked to us this past week;
you will appear here soon; it’s just that I don’t know how fast I can drive this
‘Brengun carrier’ unless I rest up over the weekend!
Have a good week.
EDITORIAL: 6th February 2011
Kaleidoscope: n. Tube through which are seen symmetrical figures produced, caused
by reflections of pieces of coloured glass and varied by rotation of the tube.
I’m not sure whether that describes Rochford Life or Rochford itself. Replace the
coloured glass by people, groups, organisations or whatever and when you turn it
round you see a completely different picture. At the back end of last week we were
commenting on the ‘Old House’ and the Holocaust Memorial service, both having strong
links with the District Council. Give the tube (diary) a little twist and we find
ourselves talking with representatives of the minorities on the Council, Chris Black
who leads the Lib-Dem group, and Michael Hoy who represents the Green Party on the
Council. Whereas all the previous Councillors we have interviewed happened to be
Conservatives, suddenly there is a change of picture, suddenly there are those expressing
a different view, with different ways of seeing things emerging. Fascinating! Even
between these two Councillors there is an amazing difference: one has been on the
Council less than a year, the other is the longest standing Councillor, having been
around for twenty six years!
But then someone asks why we are including on the site Council documents or even
just documents pertaining to Council activities, and we realise the kaleidoscope
has been twisted just a bit more and we are seeing something else. The answer to
their question is that where we come across odds and ends, whether they be the Holocaust
Memorial Service Sheet, a Press Release about free Ice Skating at half term, and
another about accreditation of the Revenue and Benefits Team of the Council, or the
Report accompanying the Agenda for next week’s Review Committee, these are all things
that reveal the activity that goes on at the heart of the Community, things, we are
convinced, most of us don’t know about - we get by very well without them thank you!
Now there is a divide in the community! We’re sure there are those of you who serve
the community - paid and unpaid - who would consider the Local Authority absolutely
vital so that without it life would grind to a halt and other of us who say, “Local
Twist the kaleidoscope a little more and suddenly there is another picture - faith
people represented by Malcolm Jones and art people represented by the Roche Art Group
- different groups of people, mostly unseen by the rest. The more we turn this kaleidoscope,
the more we see the rich varieties of life that make up this community. Already there
are at least two other expression of this life that we spoke to at the end of the
week but haven’t had time to write up yet. Watch for them in the week ahead.