EDITORIAL: 26th June 2011 One of the big changes this week, to continue this weekly record of changes to Rochford Life and its running, is to create a “Trade Directory” on the front page - it IS now there if you haven’t yet spotted it - you just need to scroll down the page. We hope this will act as a fast way of finding whatever service you are looking for in Rochford and Ashingdon. It also on the one page gives quite a good overview of the service provisions of our community. The searches by street are still there if you click on the main ‘Shops’ or ‘Businesses’ buttons on the left of the page. It is only when you start doing an overview that you realise the range of provision of businesses starting from individuals who work from home running a business at one end of the scale right through to the large chains such as Martins & Rochford Post Office and Abbotts and The Spa. But it’s not only the big chains; there are also those who are part of some other bigger organisation which they are serving, such as the RSPCA Charity Shop and the Havens Hospices Charity Shop . But then, in the middle, you have the smaller shops where it’s an individual in charge. The ladies of Miss Daisy win this week’s prize for being warm, welcoming and chatty. No wonder they do so well. Mind you we had good welcomes, as we always tend to, in the others as well. Home Plus 2 is probably one which has provided a lifeline over the years when we’ve run out of some hardware item. The Spa is a bit like that as well when it comes to general groceries, confectionary, drinks etc., always being there and open until eleven at night! How would we manage without them? We’ve often said that part of the fun of Rochford Life is finding out about places we’ve never really realised before were there. It’s been at the heart of the reason for being of Rochford Life from the beginning, this ‘bringing people into focus’ thing, that brings to our wider awareness, people or shops or businesses that are just there but we hardly notice in the busyness of everyday life. An invitation into the Conservative Club this week was a bit like that. There’s another facility just waiting to get greater use in our community. Then a follow up to Thipthorpe & Clarke down Back Lane with a warm welcome from Stephen and Mick. You didn’t know they were there? Well now look again. Finally a wander into John’s the Barbers down West Street. OK ladies, I don’t expect to find you there but what excellent service for men, we found when we dropped in. So add a couple of news items on the front page and it’s been a busy week. Again, it’s been pure delight meeting the amazing variety of people and businesses in town. OK people up in Ashingdon, we’re coming back soon and also hoping to pick up the ones and twos around the centre of Rochford that we’ve missed so far. Remember, it’s free and it’s to “reveal the community to the community”. Good meeting you! Have a really good week ahead.
EDITORIAL: 19th June 2011 Well here we are at Sunday again. Where do the weeks go???? A look at the front page says that we’ve added a good number of shops and business in the last few weeks. It has been a very rewarding exercise meeting people from all these different walks of life. Again, this week, virtually all of them were in Ashingdon. Some of them like Mr. Patel in the Nutan Pharmacy have been around serving the community a long time and are well known in the district. Furthest up the road, K.D.Stephens has been supplying paint and wallpaper long before the big stores arrived in the district. The Post Office is again at the heart of the community but possibly taken for granted, and then we come to some of the businesses that are probably less well known further afield: the well groomed ladies of Stephanie’s Hair and Beauty, the efficiency and dedication in Katie’s K9 Therapy Centre and the charming ladies of The Flower Basket. Perhaps we’re shown the good side of such businesses, but we couldn’t help feeling what a pleasant community this was at the ‘top end’ of this conurbation we seek to cover. Further afield we ran across the father and son business, R&S Roofing, and was able to talk to an elderly customer who said how kind and considerate they had been. Something we have been asked by someone who has viewed our last two week’s intake, is why we interview some people and not others. The simple answer is that some people have a story to tell and others prefer to say little. An example of a story to be told this last week was in Katie’s K9 Therapy Centre. Never having come across such therapy for pets, it was natural to ask all about it and Sarah was only too happy to tell us about her work and, with a little encouraging, about how it all started. In the Pharmacy, Mr. Patel gave us an excellent leaflet that they have produced and we were able to reproduce it to explain more fully their services. These are the sort of things we hope make pages interesting. The reality is that we don’t want to be just a directory, as useful as that may be. We have often said that we believe our role is to reveal the community to the community, and as the community comprises people, we are interested in people and we believe our readers are too, from what you’ve told us. We believe it is fascinating hearing all about how people came to be here, the years that led to them doing what they do, and the many facets of their jobs today. We respect people when they indicate that they either don’t want to be covered by us, or only want to provide basic information, but feel it is a real shame. As we have commented several times in the past in these editorials, and we are entirely genuine in saying this, we have appreciated every single person we have met and interviewed - and the more you have talked the more we have appreciated it. So, following up on our questioner and a subsequent comment he made, if we have met you and you wish you’d said some more for your page, please, just ring us up and we’ll come along and talk some more! The space is yours and we’d love to fill it with more about you, so give us a ring! Have a really good week ahead. EDITORIAL: 12th June 2011 Well this week has really been a mixed bag. Examining it reveals the breadth of what Rochford Life covers now. As we indicated last week, we have now introduced the “Tapestry” pages, which are are real hotch-potch of odds and ends for those who just like browsing. It’s more than ‘trivia’ really, it’s odds and ends of interesting quirks of life, stuff for browsing when you’ve nothing else to do! We’re also bulking up our Quiz page. If you’ve been following it recently you’ll have seen that we’re doing a word quiz - good for memory, good for general knowledge and good for vocabulary! We’ve now boosted it to 70 words each fortnight. Many of them are easy but if you can get 65 right you’re pretty good. Enjoy. Back at the basic level we’re still adding shops etc. And this week have added 1st Stop Cars at the bottom of West Street and the Golden Cross Cafe (and don’t you dare ask where it is!) We’ve also added on regular newsletters (which we’re quite happy to do if you have one), this week for the Friends of Cherry Orchard Jubilee Park and also Essex Wildlife Trust. Penny has also added her latest media rant - on whether there is such a thing as a perfect film. On a different tack we have been seeking to continue to educate oursevles and our readers on the activities of one of the biggest employers in Rochford, the District Council. The tough way to do it is lock yourself in a room for a week with the RDC website until you have mined every ounce of knowledge on that mini-encyclopaedia-Rochfordika! (We have spent quite some time this week rummaging in that site with a magnifying glass - I thought there a standard minimum size of print on web sites now???)The easy way is to try to get someone who works for the council to explain it to us and that is what we sought when we interviewed Janet Cox and Patrick John. Whether we have managed to shed light only you can tell us. On the wider news front we picked up an RDC report on the Wildwoods Day which sounds like it was fun (unfortunately we were away on holiday). But we also dropped in on the Continental Market in Rochford Square. Shame about the weather (moisty and grey mostly) and shame about the short warning about it. I still come across people who say, “What Continental Market?” Perhaps next time! Also there is an interesting news bulletin (if you are a driver) about parking charges in Rochford District. You haven’t read it yet??? Get a habit! So here we are at the end of the week - richer in knowledge and poorer in pocket (the market wasn’t cheap, but we did support it!). It’s been an enjoyable week scanning the panorama that is Rochford. Hope you enjoyed it too. Have a really good week ahead. EDITORIAL: 5th June 2011 Someone said to me over the phone this past week, “You’re always on holiday!” Note first of all that this was contacting me on my mobile phone. My caller was in Rochford and I was over a hundred miles away - technically on holiday! But Rochford Life seeks to always be available and so I answer my phone when I’m away and make appointments for when I’m back. As these editorials keep a record of the ongoing life of Rochford Life, I should perhaps record that yes, I am away quite often on school holiday times at some time or other, whether it be a day or a week. The reason is to get my teacher-wife away to recuperate So while she sleeps I carry on the activities of Rochford Life on my laptop and a dongle keeps me in touch with the site as is needed. One should add that pressing on with the constant development of Rochford Life on a weekly basis takes not only a lot of time but also a lot of energy - hence the occasional break is very welcome and keeps me upright. I obviously use these breaks to have a rest from persuading people that Rochford Life can help them get better known in the community if we provide a page or two for them which, I have just hinted, is a tiring process. Add on the various news things happening (and apologies for the couple of things that haven’t got on yet this week) and changing recreational pages, and life does get a little full some weeks! Thus in this holiday week no one in Rochford has seen me coming through their front door for the simple reason I’ve been over a hundred miles away (I’m back now). However, what we have taken the opportunity to do is continue to revamp the ‘recreational’ pages and so we have edited and reloaded materials from our “Seasonal Pages” and our “Growing Stuff” pages. We have taken key articles and resubmitted them so that they are now permanently on the site and accessible if you click the appropriate buttons on the front page. We did this recently with the “Computing Pages” and the “Life Coaching” pages and are glad to hear that they are proving useful. In the next week or so it is our intention to reintroduce the “Tapestry” pages in the same continuous format to provide some light hearted easy reading for Sunday afternoons or the middle of the night when you can’t sleep. We hope these ‘recreational’ pages will always be easy-read but useful-read pages and we will be adding to them as and when we can. In the meantime we continue to change the “Humour Page” and the “Quiz Page” and the “Silver Surfers Page” on a regular basis. Our growing objective, you may see, is not only to provide you with a directory of shops, businesses, clubs, groups organisations, etc. but also provide news and information about local activities and events, as well as a bit of light hearted reading. We hope that increasingly you will find it worthwhile to come back here on a weekly basis. Have a really good week.