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Archive: February 2011  EDITORIALS

EDITORIAL: 27th February 2011


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 Life.


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 Authority?”


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.

Have a good week.