EDITORIAL: 31st July 2011 There is a beautiful piece in Wind in the Willows where rat waxes eloquent over the joys of just pottering about in boats. It captures the sense of just pootling around (don’t know if that is just my wife’s expression or a more generally used one) with no aim, just enjoying ‘being’. For those who have entered into the ‘holidays’ that may be your experience or if you have a family, it may be far from that. Demands to “go and do” things are far from pootling or pottering.Whatever our experience the holiday season is here for many and no less so for us. We said last week that it had been our intention only add things as requested throughout this period, yet while down West Street (with camera in bag) we noted that Craft Cottage has now been replaced by Rags for Rascals and so we did a quick update. A few minutes later doing some shopping in the Co-Op we realised we hadn’t added them and so had a quick word with a manager who warmly encouraged us to go for it. Reflecting on the changeover in West Street we realised that Rochford Books has now also gone and rumour in the street is that yet another business at the other end is about to go. Watch this space in the days to come. We have also added Penny’s second part of her new big article on future technologies. If you want to see where we’re going, you need to be reading Penny’s latest additions. Councillor Keith Hudson, portfolio holder for Planning & Transportation, has also submitted a significant article to us on Planning Enforcement Notices. If you are in the building business it’s worth a read. Of course, in recent weeks there have also been a variety of news snippets from the District Council which (as we confessed last week, almost to our detriment) we think are well worth considering. So there is more art at the Windmill, there’s the Rayleigh Heritage Walk to put in your diary for September, and the Foulness Bike Ride, again in September, both for charity (the former one for the RDC Chairman’s charity. At the same time we’ve been in the process of working through the site cleaning up pages, which we’ll carry on doing in the weeks ahead, to improve this as a useful resource for the community. So as much as we’d intended to ‘potter and pootle’ it hasn’t completely worked out like that for this last week. We’re still here and around if you want us to include you, your business or club or organisation here on this community resource; it’s just that you’ll have to ring or mail us over these holiday weeks rather than us come knocking on your door. We will be back doing that in September but for the time being whether it’s in the garden, in boats, or in Rochford Life itself, it’s ‘potter and pootle’ time. Hope you have time to do the same in the week ahead. EDITORIAL: 24th July 2011 It’s time for a holiday! Running across someone I know the other day, they asked me, “Are you busy?” I explained that my wife was a teacher and that, along with her, I needed a holding, and was going to be slowing up in the school holiday period which has recently started. They seemed a bit surprised. Sorry folks, your editor needs some rest. The pace we’ve been going at recently has been taking its toll! So, starting from the beginning of this past week, we’re not going out looking for interviews. Finishing up from last weekend, you’ll see we went to investigate an advertisement we’d been carrying for a “Messy Church” and while we were there we came across two unusual buses that operate in the area, hence A Tale of Two Buses. Although one of them operates in Southend (and not Rochford) we felt that some of us might be comforted to know of their existence if our young people spend late evenings in Southend at the weekend. (We do carry articles or information about events, people etc. outside Rochford if we think they will be useful for Rochford residents.) Back at last weekend we also were referred to an interesting character, a man who has had national acclaim as a fund raiser -Len Denton. At the other end of the week, we almost accidentally followed up on another ‘advertisement’ but this time one from the Council and dropped in on the ‘exhibition’ at Rayleigh windmill which so impressed us we wrote, How a Windmill Came to Life. As well as these Penny has now written some Future Technology notes and Part 1 is now here on line and parts 2 and 3 will follow on a weekly basis. A new facility on the site from this week onwards will be our Information Pages. These are the sort of things than come through your letter box, you lose and then weeks later wish you could find. We’ve started off with five such pages - just click on the link above to see what is there - and we vhope to be adding more as we go along. If you think of such ‘reminder’ information pages that you’d find useful, please let us know and we’ll see what we can do about putting them on. One person has said that they’ve come to rely upon Rochford Life for checking opening times of shops. Well, we hope there will increasingly be a number of reasons why you might make Rochford Life one of the short-cut icons on the ‘desk-top’ of your computer that you refer to regularly to check information. Some interviews obviously create more interest than others. The interview with Keith Hudson and Shaun Scrutton recently has had a tremendous number of hits. If there are people or topics you’d be interested in, please let us know and we’ll see if we can make contact and cover them. We’d also appreciate your comments on any of the existing interviews on the site. If you want us to add you or your business, group or organisation here on site, do contact us. We will still be adding news and other odds and ends throughout the Summer holidays, but other than that it is our intention at least, to go into semi-hibernation for the holiday period and perhaps be ‘responsive’ rather than ‘pro-active’. Have a good summer holidays. EDITORIAL: 17th July 2011 The front page has been undergoing subtle changes over past weeks. Near the top, an odd little note on the right reminds you there’s a fun word quiz to wile away a few minutes. On the top left another one reminds you that if you now scroll down that page there is a Trade Directory where you can check the services available by trade and all the shops and businesses we’ve covered so far are on there. If you didn’t read us last week you might have missed the fact that we had added a series on Public Speaking to our online resources. Because we are rapidly running into the school summer holidays we now have three links (which will remain there during August) taking you to three different children or family programmes of summer activities as well as one or two other notices of up-and-coming events as well as the notices of other thing happening (mostly from RDC). We hope you will find these quick and easy access links to all this information helpful, and we hope this will become THE primary source of such quick-access information for the residents of Rochford. While on the subject of information, during the school summer holidays we will only be adding material about shops, businesses etc. if you specifically request it. If you’ve only recently heard of us and are not here yet, do ring or mail us and we’ll have you on as quickly as possible (and remember it’s free!). We’re going to focus on adding a number of ‘information pages’ of those things that come through your letter box, that you lose and then wish you could find - odds and ends of useful information that make life easier. It will be here! Watch this space! As far as adding interviews or business information is concerned this past week, you’ll see we popped in on the Haven Art Group to see how they’re doing and similarly on the Rochford Allotment Association. To round off the academic year we went and talked to Waterman head, Rachel Welch, about the year that has just gone. Out and about we ran across Illustrator Amy Adele who is an interesting person. We’ve also added the third part of Penny’s series on New Technologies Finding we hadn’t much to do (I joke!) we collected up for you the shops and businesses about Leecon Way, just off Ashingdon Road. What a lot of resources we have there: MT Auto Ltd., a recently opened garage for servicing, MOTs etc., Majer Windows Ltd, another PVC doors, windows and conservatory company, Rochford Heating & Plumbing Supplies with a couple of young guys who made me think, “Why haven’t I ever been in here for stuff before?” Round the back of a small estate that I suspect most of us don’t know about is Recycle Print, a serious printer that makes High Street copying shops look mere beginners. Back out on the main road (well not quite) is Rochford Tyres who has probably kept many of us on the road over the years. Just along from them is Ylliricon’s Hand Car Wash to help keep your motor new and shiny (even if it’s not) and then of course out on the forecourt frontage of Ashingdon Road is Londis & the Jet Garage. This again, is one of those places that seems to sell everything and is open all hours - amazing! The week has continued to emphasise what we’ve so often said before - how many shops, businesses, people etc. are there around us that we’ve just never really realised were there? What an eye-opener of a week! Well, that’s it for now. Have a good week ahead. See you in a week’s time.. EDITORIAL: 10th July 2011 If you are a new reader of Rochford Life, or you’ve only just clicked for the first time on the editorial link, it might be helpful for you to know that we use these weekly editorials as a record (for the long term) of what has been happening in this past week or so. We also use it to note specific changes taking place to the magazine. We have, a number of times, noted how the experience of Rochford Life is like a kaleidoscope that changes all the time, every week being different. Three weeks back we were adding news shops etc. as fast as we could go. Two weeks ago we were focusing on major interviews within the District Council. With other things happening all the time, it sometimes means that interviews of one week don’t manage to appear until the following week. That was the case last week with the interview of Cllr Mike Steptoe & Richard Evans, head of Environment. We have really appreciated the access and insights we’ve been given to the Council’s activities, and if you haven’t read it yet, it’s worth a read. Find out all about the plans for the Cherry Orchard Country Park.. There have been news items added, which includes the forthcoming Parish Council’s Childrens Summer Activities @ St. Marks Hall. Also online now is Penny Glen’ssecond article on New Technologies. Getting out and about we’ve also visited again the Haven Art Group as well as the Rochford Allotment Association Produce Sale. It is really good getting out and about and seeing the things that are going on in the community. If you want us to report what you’re involved in, simply give us a ring or e-mail us with the contacts at the top of the page. A large part of this week has been adding another complete series of help pages to our ‘recreational pages’. Again, if you are a newcomer to Rochford Life, we don’t only act as a directory of local shops, businesses, clubs, organisations etc. (all free) but we also try and provide a variety of ‘recreational’ pages that may be either for light reading and fun, or for help. Thus fortnightly the fun pages being changed are our Humour Page and our Quiz Page. Our primary help pages that come in the form of a series that is always there on line so you can reference them, have been our Computing Pages and our Life Coaching pages. If we have the expertise available to us, we’re very happy to put online anything you think would be useful. It was as the result of some comments made that this last week we have spent some time adding a brand new series on Public Speaking. Just click on this link and see the eight ‘papers’ that we have added to help those who, at various times in their lives, find themselves called to stand in front of others and speak. Just bear in mind that it is there when one of those times comes to you. We hope you’ll find them useful. If things have been happening and we didn’t turn up it was either because we didn’t know about it (tell us!) or we didn’t manage to squeeze in the time (we’re sorry). Otherwise, as always, we here to ‘reveal the community to the community’. Have a good week. EDITORIAL: 3rd July 2011 Back in the beginning of February I likened the working of Rochford Life and Rochford itself to a kaleidoscope where the patterns constantly change. No two weeks are ever alike. For the last couple of weeks we’ve been adding shops as if there were no tomorrow but this last week we’ve only added on St. Mary’s Horse Refuge Charity Shopand theRochford Convenience Store both in North Street. I marvel at the differences in the different charity shops in Rochford and Ashingdon and even more at the grocery shops both in Rochford and at Golden Cross. One of these days, we’re going to do an article on the different grocery chains that provide the shops we have here in this community. JJW Designs are back on the front page yet again as they have a Summer Sale that started yesterday. Without doubt they win the prize for marketing and variety of activity! Lessons to be learned folks if you want to keep appearing on the front page! On Wednesday we had a triple Council Burger. The day started with the Business Breakfast that we’ve been advertising for a number of weeks, and we hope to report on it early next week. In the afternoon we had an interview with Cllr Keith Hudson & Shaun Scrutton, who is the Chief Planning Officer, followed by an interview with with Richard Evans, head of Environment and his counterpart, Portfolio Holder, Mike Steptoe, which we hope to have on line early in the week ahead. Yet again we were almost overwhelmed by the grace and openness of these Council officials and these Councillors and, again, their knowledge of Rochford and their commitment to it. On our own home grown pages Penny Glen starts in on New Technologies. Penny breathes a breath of fresh air into an otherwise somewhat staid magazine-cum-directory. She’s a young person and she brings a young person’s gripes about the technology of the world in which we live. You may not agree with her but at least she’ll set you thinking. We’ve also have, sitting in the pipeline, a whole range of photos from the Roche Art Group’s final evening before their break for their summer recess which now have on line. Sitting at my computer the other day I rather felt like one of the old time guys out West, running the local paper single handed, on a shoestring and with machinery that sometimes took on a life of its own. This past week has been a packed rush and if you think the outcome is a bit limited this week, I can assure you that what with e-mail contacts and follow-ups and a load of other bits and pieces on top of what we’ve referred to above, it’s been a hectic week and it’s going to yet take a couple of days to catch up. Such is the life on this fun enterprise and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We hope you enjoy what you find on the site - let us know if there are other things you’d find helpful here. We do have a number of new ideas; it’s just a matter of time to squeeze them in. Please be patient.