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Brief pause. “You know we used to have a pram race years ago between pubs. (7) Why can’t we have what I call a ‘Scoffers’ Race’ that goes between all the eating places in Rochford of which there are now many? I think it would be a really fun to do and perhaps a lot of young people might get involved, and a lot of people would turn out to watch, and you could have the finish in the Square. I’m sure the restaurant owners would love to join in. They don’t have to have people come into the restaurant or cafe, they could have small table outside where contestants would have to eat and drink something. What they’d be like by the time they ended up in the square I don’t know! It would bring people into Rochford for the fun of it. We need to have publicity for what is here, as well as reviving some of the old things that happen here.”
The conversation roamed far and wide but we’ll stop it here with these questions fresh in our minds. We’ll try and get some answers and if any of our readers can help, please e-mail us using the e-mail link at the top of the page. So, anybody up for organising a raft race next Summer or a Scoffers Race??????
So often in the life and activities of Rochford Life, we come across people and think, “Wow, what how great to meet these people!” We started these particular pages off as just ‘People’ pages but the more we’ve gone on with them, the more we feel it should have been ‘Interesting People’ pages. The truth is probably that we’ve all stories to tell and the more we hear them, the more we are fascinated by them. George, at the time of this article (November 2012) tells us he is eighty one - which is hard to believe! We’re going to vary from our usual practice of doing a verbatim interview because his resources come to us wider than simply the discussion we had. So here is a glimpse of George & his wife, Sheila
“There are lots of things about this town that I still don’t know. There is one that has puzzled me. On the corner of the old Post Office building, set in the pavement, there is the barrel of a cannon. (1) Where has that cannon come from?”
“There are lots of things around her that puzzle me. For instance, (2) why haven’t we got a museum? We’re one of the oldest market towns in the country, so why don’t we have a museum?”
He pauses. (3) “Did you know this town isn’t named after the River Roach? In the days of the Normans the river was much wider than it is today and the only place the hunting dogs could cross was here. It’s thought it takes takes its name from Rochefort, Old English for Ford of the Hunting Dogs. If you dig into the ancient history of Rochford you find this area was settled much earlier than when the Normans came.”
Another pause.“On the side of a building in central Rochford, there used to be a plaque on the wall commemorating the Peculiar People, but it was stolen. (4) Why hasn’t that plaque about the PP’s been replaced?” No pause. (5) “A point of history. Who is the Lord of our manor?”
I have no answers! “Er... I’ll ask around.”
The conversation meanders round local buildings and then there is a pause.
“You know we used to have a raft race here, every year on the Bobbin. People in the town used to make their own raft and they had to get from one side of the Bobbin to the other. I’ve got photos of it. (6) Why can’t we have another raft race?” I speculate that crossing the Roach from ‘Rochford Beach’ could be fun.