EDITORIAL: Nov 27th 2011 Hobbling around on a new knee is a sure but slow business so magazine development continues to be limited, but that doesn’t mean nothing has been changing this week; far from it. I’m going to start the week’s review with reference to Penny’s articles about films and technology. When she submitted her last article it was sixteen A4 pages. This woman is a glutton for work!!!! More than that she is a glutton for films. So the first part of her article you’ll find here on line, three pages worth about pre-Christmas films. I never realised how many new films came out until Penny started educating us! A superb coverage. The second part of her article is all about ‘consoles’ for those of us who are about to go out and buy one for a Christmas present. Well we’re holding it back until next week so you don’t have too much to read in one go. It’s due out on Friday but to give you more shopping time, we might release it a couple of days early, so be on the watch! Grant Maton of the Essex Wildlife Trust continues to keep us informed of the things the Trust puts on around the area. If you’re not aware of it, check out his Nov/Dec events page and keep a watch as the days go by. There is always something going on in the ‘nature watch’ realm. Do you bother to check the Council’s information links on the front page? If you do you’ll have seen that in the weeks running up to Christmas parking in the Council’s Car Parks on Saturdays is free. You’ll also note from the front page that the Christmas lights will be turned on next Sunday afternoon. In terms of Group activities this week, we received the details of the recent art exhibition by the Roche Art group (artists, you may note there are now three art groups operating Rochford every week) which appears to have been a good event. In previous weeks we’ve commented that we are using these weeks of limited mobility to overhaul all the ‘recreational pages’ of the site and this week it was the turn of the ‘Tapestry’ pages. When we started up we had this idea of a regular page of miscellaneous odds and ends of snippets from all over the place, a bit like a sample box or tray that you might find in shops or stores that reflect on the wider world out there. We’ll we’ve taken the pages from the past year and edited them and added to them so if you go to the new Tapestry Contents page, you’ll find we’ve categorised them so if you’d like to spend a literal two minutes sampling the world, it’s there for you. Finally we have added to the Health Pages Contents page in our general information section and hope to continue doing this in days to come. The space is there; what can we use it for? Answers on a postcard to.... Have a good week, EDITORIAL: Nov 20th 2011 The weeks rush by and the end of the year appears on the horizon! For the record your editor is now off his crutches but still hobbling but increasingly wanting to get out and about! Our aim, unashamedly, is to continue to raise community consciousness here in Rochford Life, which is why this week we’ve added a new monthly ‘Review’ which is about the ebbing and flowing tide that is Rochford. People, life and movement are the signs of a community existing; the things the community do, work to make it a community in more than word. This week, still being somewhat limited in mobility, we have added no new shops, businesses, etc. but have been focusing on our general information side. We live in a day of information. The Internet is awash with information that it truly mind blowing. With all this information available to us, the next focus comes on how easy it is to access it all. Why not have some of the basic information easily on tap, we’ve thought, which is why, a while back, we added the ‘buttons’ on the right of the front page, stuff we described as “things through the door you wish you hadn’t thrown away!” and we started out with our bin collection days, reminders of what goes in the weekly bins and other things like that. Why stop at that, we pondered, why not have useful telephone numbers and why not calendar information for the coming year? So, now we’ve added some of those useful telephone numbers, general calendar dates, general calendar events and sports events, all for 2012 which we hope you’ll find useful. If you’ve ever sat around in the doctor’s surgery or stood around in a pharmacy, you’ll be aware that there are many information leaflets available that give health guidance, but they’re only available when you visit the surgery or the pharmacy - until now. We are adding more and more of these leaflets on the odd chance that someone, somewhere will want to know about one of these things and seeing them here on Rochford Life, will find answers to their concerns. We’re happy to use as much space as is needed to provide a bank of this sort of information, easily available; it’s just a case if what to include. If you’re a doctor or pharmacist in town, you might like to advice us. Most of the time most of us won’t need this information, but it is there if you do, starting on our Health Contents Page. We have also added in this week, pages that we’re calling, “Far and Wide”. During the summer we came across a restaurant with amazing food and thought, why don’t we include restaurants outside Rochford, in fact any where in Essex where either we or other people have had good experiences, so we’ve posted the first one. We’ll see what else we can add in the months to come. Well there it is. For another week or two we anticipate cleaning up more of the recreational pages and then after that we’re hoping to be more mobile and get out and about and pick up various restaurants, shops, businesses etc. that we’re aware we’ve missed so far. We’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to those of you who have made such encouraging noises over this past year. Thank you so much. EDITORIAL: Nov 13th 2011 There are occasions when we are asked, “Why are you doing this? Why are you running Rochford Life?” It’s an intriguing question because when you search around, there are a variety of other sites and blogs around that pick up on local news items, and I wonder why THEY do it. Usually it costs time and money to run such things and one assumes other people either have a political or financial motivation. Rochford Life comes free, courtesy of a son in the business who gives us free space, for which we are very grateful, and we have a current policy of not carrying revenue-producing advertisements, because ultimately every shop, club, business etc. that appear on Rochford Life is getting free advertising and we’re not out to make money from them. Being retired your friendly editor also doesn’t need to have another income. No, at the end of the day Rochford Life is all about building community awareness and a community resource. We’d love to be doing this far more but it is, of course, down to you the public to let us know what is going on so we can advertise it for you (free). That in itself is all about public awareness of our existence (and effectiveness) and we only operate by word of mouth and don’t advertise ourselves. We really want to keep it as simple as possible, but of course that then imposes limitations and growth in public awareness is slow - but steady, and we’re content with that. We do get a steady feedback of increased usage of the materials that are here. Sometimes the things we carry are just items that get brought to our attention and over this past week, as a result of a flyer through the letter box we are now covering the introduction again of the proposals for the development on the east side of Rochford known as Coombes Farm. You’ll see there was a recent exhibition looking for public response. On the showing of last year, I suspect they’ll get it in a big way again and we hope to bring you information as we pick it up. If you want to comment on it, just use the e-mail contact at the top of each page, and we’ll add a ‘public comment page’. Other times we cover things because we’re invited to and this week it was a delight to visit some old friends who have just started up a new art group, the Rochford Hundred Art Group. They want to keep the group relatively small so that it remains close and friendly but there is a contact number if you’d like to join them. Ever wanting to make Rochford Life a resource for as many as possible, this past week we have taken all the articles from the past year for the ‘Silver Surfers’ and have developed and freshly presented them so they are now all available here on line for relaxed, easy reading, not so much an archive as a resource you can dip into if you are in the retired bracket of society. We hope you find them useful, enjoyable and perhaps even sometimes challenging. As we use this editorial as a record of the development of Rochford Life, it might be worth mentioning that this week we passed the 500 page mark. There now are over 500 pages of resources for Rochford and Ashingdon, here on Rochford Life. Do make use of them and if you can see ways we can improve them, please do let us know. Have a good week, EDITORIAL: Nov 6th 2011 “These are the Voyages of the Starship Enterprise.” I wonder how many of us can remember that phrase that started off each episode of that well-known sci-fi series that now looks a little dated? We watched that each week???? The sense being conveyed was that we were being let into the records of that particular spaceship. That phrase and that series came to memory as I pondered an editorial this week with little added content to Rochford Life. When we kicked off a little over a year ago now, we determined to keep this weekly log as a record of where we have been. Note quite in the manner of “Captain’s Log, Star date 2011” but nevertheless a simple record of what has happened. So why? Again not quite the “To go where no one has gone before,” but actually yes, we’ve never heard of anyone quite doing what we have been doing this past year. Yes, if you want basic address information of most shops, for instance, you’ll be able to find it on more than one or two other sites, but Rochford Life is unique in two ways. First, it groups all of Rochford and Ashingdon (and no one else) and, second, wherever possible we have sought to bring people to the fore. That has been easy as we’ve worked with the local Councils and with Waterman School and the local churches, and with various groups or organisations, but not always so easy when it comes to local shops and businesses. Some people either haven’t got so much of a story to tell, or they simply lack the confidence to talk about themselves. I know we’ve commented on it before but it bears repeating: getting to meet with and listen to people in all sorts of businesses or activities, has been THE highlight of working on Rochford Life this year. What has slightly frustrated us sometimes is being too busy to go back and talk more to people about their businesses or expertise. It is something we hope to do in the coming twelve months. Having got together most of the basic information of Rochford and Ashingdon (aware of some particular gaps to be filled) we anticipate asking many of you for some more detail about You. One of the crucial things we’ve learnt as we’ve listened to people, is that when it comes to shops or businesses, cafes or restaurants, YOU, the person running it, are more important than the very business itself. YOU are the business and we have valued so many of you sharing with us this year. We anticipate being somewhat immobile for about six weeks or so, which will take us up towards Christmas, so it may be the New Year before we really get back under way with this task of opening up the community. This past week we’ve been sorting out some of the material on the recreational pages although they aren’t on line yet - but watch for that next week. We’ve added Penny’s final part of her incredible article on her views on what films are worth watching and which ones aren’t. Having also received a flyer through the letter box we have succumbed to the temptation to comment on the coming out into the open next Wednesday of the Coombes Farm development that was turned down a year ago. There have also been several news bulletins from RDC which are also online. And that is it for the week that has just gone.