EDITORIAL: July 15th 2012 Every now and then Rochford Life seems to take on a life of its own; sometimes it seems that it imposes its life on your friendly editor and stuff just happens. So maybe it was a case of getting out on sunny days and maybe it was chasing up various shops to check out this month’s review page but this past fortnight in the midst of all else we’ve found ourselves five shops we hadn’t covered before. Stevens at the top end of Ashingdon changed a while back to Sanders Food & Wine another of those well stocked stores that are also off-licences (do you remember the days when a town had jut one off-licence in it?) Down Rectory Road (and if you don’t live in that area you probably drive by without noticing it) is the Rectory Road Londis, another of those apparently small stores (and off-licence!!!!) but which seems to have everything from cards, newspapers, tinned food, packet food and frozen food. Down at Golden Cross we found that several months back the barber’s shop has changed hands and the name and is now, very simply Barber Shop. Checking to see what else we have missed in the past we came across Visage at the back of Hedingham Place which, you’ll see, fitted our July Review - Health & Wellbeing. Checking (for the Review) to make sure previous beauty salons were still operating we found that Stephany’s up the top end of Ashingdon is now Bliss (again see the Review). Being the first part of the month you’ll also find the July Thought for the Month here as well now, with a focus on the coming Olympics. Perhaps coincidences also work in Rochford Life sometimes, which may be why in the last two weeks we have three things to do with the Essex Wildlife Trust. The first of them is the usual update, the EWT July Activities. Then we found ourselves in the Colchester direction and so covered the new EWT Abberton Visitor Centre. This was followed by a visit from Grant Maton, Essex Wild Life’s Corporate Communications Officer, who gave us an Investors in Wildlife Update (Actually in the conversation we covered a lot more wild-life topics and these will appear next week and possibly the week after.) With her continuing ‘Generations’ series Penny also adds her next part on Alien v Prometheus. Also during the week we received a news item we’ve called A Nostalgic Visit to King Edmunds which has already raised comment from past pupils of King Edmunds. However, possibly the greatest area of activity in Rochford Life over these past two weeks has been in respect of the number of events that have been, or are about to be happening soon which you’ll find either on the front page listing or on the Events Contents Page that we now have. For those with young or older children you will no doubt be especially interested in the Summer Programme from the Wishing Well Children’s Centre or the major Programme of Summer Events on the Council’s web-site (don’t forget you may need to book early), and there is also a programme running throughout August at St. Marks Hall. On top of all those things, right at the end of the week we had an enlightening conversation with Sue Murray, the District Manager of the Citizen’s Advice Bureau; well worth a read! So, it’s been a busy two weeks, Next week is the last week before the school holidays and we will still be fully operational in this week but thereafter for the remainder of July and August we will only be doing a limited amount. We will still add events that you tell us about and if you contact us to add something on, we’ll certainly do that, but for most of the time of the school summer holidays, we’re moving into semi-hibernation mode. So may we wish you a good Summer and we’ll be writing again here at the beginning of September. Happy Hols! EDITORIAL: July 1st 2012 It may be having Penny Glen writing for us, having a weekly rant, but I find myself in a similar mode this week! It’s not so much about the weather, but about how most of us seem to perceive the weather. I noticed recently a report that came out about how many depressed people there are in the country today, and it may be something to do with that, but why have we as a people sagged emotionally? Was it the football or is it ongoing banking scandals or Government back-pedaling? We are in a time, I acknowledge, where the news is so often depressing, but I have found myself in several almost identical conversations in this pat week or so where other people have started out, “Oh dear, isn’t this weather terrible!” Well actually here in Essex, no it hasn’t been terrible all the time; we’ve had a lot of really sunny days. Yes, we’ve had intermittent showers even on those sunny days, but as a gardener, I’m all for that! Even when it’s been grey recently, it hasn’t actually been cold! Having just mentioned Penny, I should note that now we’re writing this editorials on a fortnightly basis, we’ve had two articles from Penny, the first on the quirks of the generations, and then the second one on Smart Phones. Be prepared to have your age revealed! In terms of new people or businesses appearing here on Rochford Life, the two empty shops at the top of Rochford Square have now been occupied, No.3 being the Crossroads Care Charity Shop, and No.1 being originally named, Number One - which is not a charity shop but a children’s books and gifts shop, and we were able to be there for it’s opening with a local children’s author reading from his recently published book. Another relatively new business we encountered in this past fortnight is Nick’s Mobile Mechanics which Nick has ben running for about 6 months. Noteworthy up and coming events include, of course, the Olympic Torch passing through Rayleigh and Len Denton is about to launch his new book, ‘Friend of the Poor’ about his travels among the slums of Kenya. Out and about this past fortnight we dropped in to the June Plant Sale on the Allotments and attended a charity Coffee Morning and a Three Eighties Celebration, all of which make for a varied life here at Rochford Life. Also we have had contact again with Neighbourhood Watch who invite you to think about joining them. Have a look at their pages. Well there we are, that’s it again a good fortnight. EDITORIAL: June 17th 2012 So it’s Father’s Day! Have my children remembered???? What’s even more worrying is that it’s almost half way through the year and next Wednesday is the longest day! Will we notice it with the rain! What a negative remark; I mean it hasn’t been raining every day - well, yes it has mostly! But it hasn’t been raining hard every day. True, but not exactly ‘flaming June’! Look on the bright side, we haven’t got a hosepipe ban - but then who needs to use a hosepipe with this weather! When it comes to doing these fortnightly ‘editorials’, accounts or records of what has been happening in Rochford Life, as I browse back over the fortnight I’m often caught off guard by the sheer variety of what we’ve put on and this fortnight has been no different. At what some might regard as the mundane level, we cover and post most of the press releases sent to us from the District Council. The last one was about the third runner with the Olympic torch on July 6th which is less than three weeks off. As Charley, the third runner commented, “it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” For those who collect experiences, this indeed will probably be the only time in your life that you’ll see this. Meanwhile we continue to provide advertising space for local events and there’s a new one in the beginning of July, called ‘Rock your Frock’, a charity fundraiser at Hawkwell Baptist Church.Just a reminder, this coming Sunday, there’s a Classic Car Show locally. Another new service we’ve started in recent days is providing pages for young people who are looking for work, to possibly build bridges to employers. We currently have two young men with pages here. It’s free if you want to put your CV here, whatever age. Back on our usual track we followed up what we said two weeks ago, and after having a week off for half-term, we interviewed accountant Graham Stapleton who gave us some simple and straight forward advice for those setting up in business on their own. Being early on in the month we’ve also now posted our June Review page, entitled “Windows on Rochford”, and this month we’re looking at classy web-sites by people on our pages, and there are some good ones around! We’ve also posted the Christian ‘Thought for the Month’ which this month is based on the relationship of the Queen and Prince Philip. Finally, just because we enjoy the fun of creating them (and hopefully providing a fun page to stretch the ‘little grey cells’) we have added another Quiz page, this one on films, TV, DVDs etc. Enjoy. Well that’s it again for the time being, have a good fortnight. EDITORIAL: June 3rd 2012 So ‘Flaming June’ has arrived with an immediate forecast of falling temperatures and drizzle or even heavy rain! For enough, we did have a week of glorious sunshine and high temperatures to see May out, but was that Summer? Some are saying June well be a glorious month. Time will tell. This weekend all the focus is on the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations with the Thames Pageant today, the Concert on Monday and the Service on Tuesday. It’s all happening. Being half term week, yesterday kicked off with with the Wild Woods Day at Hockley Woods and in the week ahead are a variety of activities planned for children and young people - see The Programme on the Council’s Site. As far as Rochford Life goes, we’ve been following up on the garden and ground works at Waterman School, as they develop their existing growing patches, and create a new garden area and a new wildlife pond. The Government have been encouraging schools to grow fruit and vegetables (http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2011/05/23/veg-out-in-school/) and there is actually a ‘Food Growing in Schools Task Force’ in operation. The Defra site declares, “Research shows that more than 96 per cent of children are not eating enough fruit and vegetables and that children in schools which grow food eat more than one and a half more of their five-a-day than other school children.” Well done Waterman’s! While at Waterman’s we interviewed Alan Sparks, Waterman’s new Chair of Governors and got a further fresh insight into the school. Over the past eighteen months we have done seventeen articles on this school, not because they are a favourite school or anything like that, but simply because they are open and transparent and welcome us in. It has been great to have insights into school life through them. It’s a shame others don’t follow their example. Also while covering the work at Waterman’s we encountered DK Surfacing Contractors Ltd a ground works firm giving their time and energy to help this school. Adding to the food providing businesses in Rochford, we welcome The Reef Seafood & Art Gallery and if you haven’t been in yet and wonder at the name, you can not only go in and buy at the counter, but you can, if you wish, eat in and admire (and buy?) the various paintings that adorn the walls of the dining rooms. As we have recently been asked about it, we’ve now added on Purple Rose Bridal & Prom Boutique in North Street and also Howard & Stapleton, Accountants whose offices are over the NatWest Bank in Rochford Square. We’re hoping to add an interview with Graham Stapleton shortly after half term. On our Neighbourhood Watch pages we’ve added a further Latest Neighbourhood Watch Scam Alert. It is amazing the things people will do to try and relieve the rest of us of our money! If you don’t want to become prey to this sort of thing, then this page ought to be essential regular reading. Well that’s it for the time being, have a good fortnight.