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Archive: October 2011  EDITORIALS
EDITORIAL: Oct 30th 2011

This would be a good week to simply restate the goals of Rochford Life, just for anyone who has only just cottoned on to the fact that we are here (where have you been for these twelve months???) Well, put as simply as possible we’re here to give every shop, business, club, group or organisation publicity FREE. As the tag at the top of every pages says, it’s a Community Internet Magazine that seeks to “bring people into focus”. Putting it the other way we often say it, it is bringing the community to the community.  It’s a magazine-cum-directory of all that makes up Rochford and Ashingdon, but we can only do it with your help. Over the past year we have visited over 95% of the shops, restaurants, cafes etc. and they are here online with addresses, contact numbers, opening times, products etc., web-sites and, if they are restaurants, their menus.
Now the reason we are making this statement is that, if you read this editorial on a regular weekly basis, we use it to highlight the places etc. that we’ve added in the past week, except in this past week your editor has been otherwise engaged in getting a complete new knee. So thank you to the amazing NHS and the wonderful nurses, doctors and surgeons of Southend Hospital who took me in at Wednesday lunchtime and had me out walking again (OK, on crutches) by Friday afternoon.  As one who has been hobbling round all your premises in increasing pain over this past year, I for one am glad I live in this society where, for nothing, I have been able to have this amazing surgery and care.  ‘Nurses’ was an inadequate description just now, and I need to give a special mention to the Physios who had me hobbling on a Zimmer frame within fifteen hours of the operation and then on crutches some five hours later(that may say a lot about the surgeons as well!). Don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s not painful because it is, but already it’s getting better. Walking down my garden on crutches, within three days of the operation says we live in a world that is incredibly better in many ways that even thirty years ago. I, for one, am very grateful!
My optimism is based on the testimonies of loads of people I have talked to over recent months together with what has happened so far this week. But there we are, poor old Rochford Life is almost like an empty spinning capsule out in space, doing very little. But it is still here available for you with all the information we have collated in the past year, and yes, Penny is still writing film stuff for us, and Grant is still sending us update information from Essex Wildlife Trust - and we’re still putting out RDC news bulletins as they come to us, so we’re not quite a heap of scrap metal in the sky; it’s just that we’re not going out and about for a bit (probably this side of Christmas), but if you aren’t here and want to be, just send us your information and we’ll put it on. My computer chair is particularly comfortable and so I’m happy to add whatever you would liked to send us in the weeks to come
Have a good week,

EDITORIAL: Oct 23rd 2011
Well, as a record of the life and changes in Rochford Life this week, this page is going to appear a little different to usual. This editorial itself is a little late as we’ve been away for a half-term family celebration and decided to stay work-free. But we’re back, temporarily, because your editor has to go and have his knee replaced which will slow us up even more. He’s been hobbling around for the last year and now the time has come for it to be dealt with, hopefully done and dusted by the time next weekend is over. Still, it has meant we have been slowing up and so last week, apart from catching up on an interview with District Councillor James Cottis the youngest Councillor, we decided instead of pounding the streets we would work on a project that we have been thinking about for some time.
If you have clicked on all the buttons on the front page, you will know that not only do we cover all the shops, businesses, clubs, groups, organisations etc. of Rochford and Ashingdon, but we also have a number of what we call ‘recreational pages’, some of which are actually ‘help’ series. Over the months we have received comments of appreciation, for example for the Life Coaching series. Our desire is to use the facility of Rochford Life to provide anything that local people might find useful  and the whole subject of ‘Parenting’ is always something that gets a lot of media attention and so, having the expertise available to us, we have been thinking for some time of giving space to it. Well, it is now here, a quite substantial (but not exhaustive) ‘course’ on parenting to help anyone with children who wants to think through the issues today. We hope you will find it helpful. It’s there and will remain there.
Penny Glen’s  articles on good or bad films continue to be added and we will continue after the next few days to update or add anything you send us (e.g. JJW Designs have asked us to remind you of the things they are doing and are being announced on their page). Hopefully, therefore, life will continue as (limited) normal!  Although we may not be very mobile for a little while, sitting at a computer should still be feasible and we hope to update and add to a variety of the other recreational pages in the weeks to come while we are recovering.
We also attended the Council’s Rochford Forum evening last Tuesday and can recommend the next one when it comes up next year.
So, if there is anything we can add for you, in our somewhat limited mobility state, please continue to let us know - e-mail is probably best.
Have a good remaining week,

EDITORIAL: Oct 16th 2011
For those who can’t keep away from these pages, you’ll know that we never tire of declaring the purpose of this page (for the sake of newcomers of course), that it is to act as a long-term record of the life of Rochford Life web-site/magazine. As we’ve had to remind questioners recently, Rochford Life is a completely amateur operation with no funds and a declared purpose of “bringing people into focus” or “revealing the community to the community”. To achieve that end we seek to provide space on Rochford Life for every shop, business, club, group or organisation on the site, completely free. In terms of shops, at least, this means we have therefore now approached and included over 95% of those in Rochford and Ashingdon, our target area. One or two have (strangely - because it is free) asked not to be included, and for a small number we either haven’t managed to make contact with the owner, or they have been too busy when we’ve passed by. But, at the start of this our second year, we have the vast majority of shops covered and we hope it’s a useful resource here for you. In the year ahead, if they are willing, we’d like shops to tell us more about themselves - some have done so this year and we’d like to extend that so that you, the public, know more about those and the services they are providing for you in our community.
A number of times we’ve also commented how it seems impossible to gauge how any week will go. Sometimes we plan to interview or simply gather information and approval of shops etc. and for a variety of reasons, plans are thwarted. On another week we may have low expectations and again, for a variety of reasons, suddenly we find the front page ‘new listings’ is extensive. This past week has been one of those weeks.  
Looking round for shops we’ve not previously covered, we now have been able to include two hair dressers (not easy to make contact because they are so often busy) - Headmasters and Salon 65,  and then Ashingdon Stores and Lily Cards both up the top end of Ashingdon, and the Co-Op Pharmacy (again difficult to make contact as we’ve concluded it must be THE busiest shop in town). We then realised that ‘shops’ should include Ernest Doe & Sons  (what a wonderland of tools and gardening stuff on our doorstep!) and NatWest Bank which we tend to take for granted. We hope to include Barclay’s soon. In our “Eating Out” section we’ve included the excellent  Great Wall Chinese Restaurant and for Pub Food with an extensive menu, The Victory Inn  in Ashingdon.
On the wider front, Penny has started a new series about films, the Roche Art Group have announced an exhibition to tie in with the Rochford Art Trail which starts next weekend, and we had the pleasure of attending and reporting on the Rochford District Sports Awards. As  half-term is just round the corner we’ve also provided a link on the front page to the Council’s web-site where you’ll find the holiday activities programme. We’re told that bookings are going rapidly. We also attended the poorly attended surgery for those (few) wanting to ask questions of their Rochford Councillors, and would remind you that this Tuesday evening will be the local Forum for hearing and questioning the Council and other Service-providing leaders. Why not come along. Whether we see you there or not, have a good week.

EDITORIAL: Oct 9th 2011
It is incredible to think that a week ago much of Britain was basking in Autumn sunshine that came right out of mid-summer - with temperatures to match! A week later and we’re checking the temperature on the thermostat and adding at least one layer of clothing. What did we say recently about varied weeks and never being quite sure what was coming next!
In one sense, this past week we’ve allowed the pressures of life to slow down our pace of growth but the variety has been there just the same. One of the cries that we so often hear from shopkeepers is, “People don’t notice we’re here” and this week we realised we were as guilty as anyone for missing people. How come we didn’t pick up Ellis’ Hair much earlier. It’s not as if they are tucked away in a cul-de-sac somewhere! And as for the Fresh Fruit Company Rochford’s number one fruit and veg shop, why not them before?   Home Plus 2 has just recently changed hands so we dropped in there during the week to hear the plans for the future from the new owner. The big interview of the week came from District Councillor Keith Gordon  who is more entertaining than cold print reveals. Nevertheless we obtained an interesting insight into some of the goings on within the Council. It’s not always smooth and easy going!
We always especially like it when we get invited by groups to go and see them and that happened twice in this past week. Last Sunday morning in bright sunshine we went and watched and talked with the archers of Clements Bowmen, a friendly and welcoming group of enthusiasts with a variety of bows.... And it was in bright, warm sunshine!  At the other end of the week it was a return to St. Teresa’s hall (yes, we’ve there three weeks in a row now) to meet the young lady who runs  the Ella Sheppard School of Dance and to see her put some of her pupils through their paces. No, this is one group we wouldn’t want to join; it looks a little energetic, but they looked like they were enjoying it!
Three very different shops with different people running very different sorts of business. One very busy Councillor who spends most of his evenings out on behalf of the community. A bunch of mostly young men and a couple of girls who place arrows in small gold circles from a long way away. Serious skills!  A bunch of young people allowing another young person to stretch their muscles and teach them poise. What a variety of people and activities but just a tiny microcosm of this community.
This is part of the aims of Rochford Life when we say it is “to reveal the community to the community”. It is so easy to take for granted our community, or perhaps be ignorant of all else that goes on, and thus we fail to be ‘a community’.  In the difficult days in which we live - and which some say are going to get worse - perhaps it will be a sense of community that will help us through. At the end of the interview this week with Keith Gordon, we speculated on one area of the possibilities of this community. Do let us know if you have any thoughts on this subject. In the meantime, have a good week.

EDITORIAL: Oct 2nd 2011 - it’s our Birthday!
On October 4th 2010 I wrote our first ‘official’ editorial (I had written a ‘try-out’ one a week earlier). It is therefore our first birthday and worthy of comment. Perhaps the easiest thing is just to take off-the-top-of-the-head impressions, things that seem to stand out from this year. Perhaps the first thing, which has come as a complete surprise, is that having started out in this venture, I have found a complete enjoyment of people. There has been no person that I have met or interviewed that I felt negative about. Obviously we are all different but it has been a privilege to be in a place where people have opened up and shared their lives or their work.
The second thing, which has obviously flowed from that is that I have learnt so much - and it’s all still there for you too! In the earliest days I learnt about Archery - thank you Annette. Then there was learning all about gold and diamonds and gemstones as Ken graciously gave me my own personal course on the precious stuff! Thank you Ken, that was brilliant! Half way through this year I found there was such a thing as pet hydrotherapy - thank you Sarah. Just recently I’ve been learning about how you judge at a flower and fruit show (thanks to Robert at the allotment guys who opened that up for me) and how you judge paintings (thanks to Pauline and Gill who opened that up for me). I’m sure there was so much more but those were highlights that floated to the surface first!
Possibly the biggest mind-challenge has been learning about how the District Council works and trying to keep on top of all that. The openness that has been given me from Councillors and Officers alike has been excellent - thank you all. Along the way, of course, there have been glimmers of the life that goes on in a whole variety of groups - the two W.I.s, the Historical Society, the Fuchsia Society, two Art groups and a number of others. The guys on the allotment have plied me with tea or coffee whenever I turn up and being out in the open air with them has been a particular joy.
While all that was happening we sought to keep on top of the many news bulletins coming out of the Council, and news letters from the Essex Wildlife Trust, while also providing some recreational reading in the background of the magazine. One way and another, it’s been a very full life.
In this last week, in the centre of Rochford we have added Rochford Dress Agency and the Diamond Beauty Salon and Danielle’s of Rochford, and also covered a visit to the Roche Art Group Summer Competition Evening. If that has seemed a rather light week, it’s been partly because we’ve been trying to catch up on some of the recreational pages which have suffered recently from the pressure of other things.  In a few weeks time, we’re going to have to take a week out for personal reasons, but in the meantime, if you’ve not received a visit from us and you run a shop or business in Rochford or Ashingdon, we’ll try to get to you. Apologies if you are  in the remaining 5-10% of shops we haven’t got to yet. If you are a group we haven’t included, please do ring us and we’ll be around.
It’s been a good year and we anticipate continuing and enlarging in the year to come. Again our thanks to all who have welcomed us so warmly and opened their lives, businesses and groups to us.   Thank you, and have a good week.

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