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Review Article of the Month - January 2012
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Wondering about 2012

Instead of a ‘January review’ this month, being the beginning of the year, it seemed a sensible idea to gaze into the twelve months ahead and wonder about what will happen to us as a community and how we will respond to the things going on. The three obvious areas for consideration are 1) Coping with the Economic Climate, 2) The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and 3) The Olympics.

1. Coping with the Economic Climate
Depending on who we are, we might ignore the latter two areas above but whether we like it or not the economic climate is likely to impinge on the vast majority of our lives in some negative way or other. Any comments I may make here are in direct response to the things the media have been reporting over recent months. Again there are certain areas of thought I find rising to the surface of my consciousness as a result, nothing of any great depth, but just some light ponderings!

1A. Shops & Businesses
As a Rochford Watcher, I think you would have to be blind to have failed to observe the number of shops that have either completely closed down or simply moved out of the town. I confess I would like to hear more about the ‘Shop at my Local’ campaign which, rumour has it, is still in operation. As a price watcher, I would say, over the years, generally our impression is that supermarket prices are lower than local shop prices but as the nearest large superstore is 3 miles away, if you drive you should bear in mind that it costs you about £2.50 in petrol and other running costs to shop there. So, comes the big question, do they live up to their advertising about constantly cutting prices? Well, as a modern male shopper I watch the price juggling of this particular outfit and although there are without doubt ‘offers’ and cut prices, there also seem to be a considerable number of prices that have rocketed up over the past year. They will claim that increasing oil and petrol prices have made them do that, but I still note massive annual profits. Is there anyone out there who would like to embark on some ‘name and shame’ investigation of prices to identify a) prices of key shopping basket items a year ago, those prices now and the percentage increase, b) in any one month the balance of prices that have gone down and the ones that have gone up? (and that includes observing the clever changes in package sizing so you get less for the same price!) I joke, for I guess that would be a sure-fire recipe for a nervous breakdown! So much more could be said, but there are few who would contest the declaration that it’s more expensive living today than a year ago.  For the sake of our community though, let’s think some more about shopping locally and, local shops, if you want us to respond to you in these tough times, how about a 5% across the board discount – ah, but that is exactly what you do get with some shops (and more  - Ernest Doe’s for instance have got a 10% discount offer on at the moment!) – check out and sign up on . Sadly I don’t see any food shops giving discounts on that site and the only restaurants or tea shops are in Rayleigh. Come on Rochford!
1B. Young Unemployed
The media tell us again and again that unemployment is rising and especially so among young people. The media also delight to tell us that more and more people are taking anti-depressants. The two things are not linked but it would not be surprising if they were; the only time in his life your editor has been depressed, was during a nine-month period of unemployment many years ago. We have commented on these pages before that Rochford also has a high retired population and so we ask the question again, is it not possible to bring these two groups together, the older to encourage the younger and to bring their years of experience to bear for the benefit of the younger community. Let us know your thoughts.

And so...
And so you might think that with these couple of gloomy observations, talk of the Jubilee and the Olympic Games might be a slap in the face for the less well-off in our community. Well let’s see, is there anything positive we can say?  First and foremost, have a positive outlook on these things. I’m aware that not all of us may be either royalists or athletics enthusiasts and our tendency may be to turn off the TV for the next six months! But are there alternatives?

2. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations
Well, scanning the Internet indicates it is still quite early days yet to know what is going on, especially in this part of the country. Just in case you’re not sure what it is, let’s quote a Government press release: “To mark 60 years of the Queen’s reign the Diamond Jubilee will take place in 2012. The celebrations will centre around an extended weekend in 2012 on 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th June.” So there you are.
Two things emerge online. First, did you know  that there will be a Thames Regatta (free on the embankment!) for a nice day out in Town on Sunday 3rd June (go to:
Second, did you know that there is a suggestion of Garden or Street Parties on that same Sunday (go to so with a little help from your friends, there’s an excuse for a fun get-together. Anyone interested? For other things that may be announced watch our General Events page.  

3. The Olympics
Well it is a once in a lifetime opportunity, to have the world’s leading sports and athletics event just 40 miles from our doorstep. If you’re looking for part time work, I’m told they are recruiting. Google it and see what opportunities are there. The media also say there are still more seats coming up for sale, probably somewhere about March or April time, if you can afford this one-off chance. If not, then get supplies in and be prepared for square eyes as TV will no doubt saturate us with it. Don’t take it for granted. Four years ago I was in the USA throughout the period of the China Olympics and what with the massive time difference and inferior TV it was impossible to keep tabs on what was happening. That, I suggest for us, will be the last thing we will say afterwards.
Hey, here’s an idea. Is it possible that community minded local sports providers could provide free packages for unemployed young people to build up that side of their lives while waiting for work and who knows, possibly become future Olympic contestants? Is it possible to have some out-of-the-box thinking this year?

And so...
In a Winter of economic gloom we could allow the world to by-pass us and we’ll arrive in the Autumn having missed the possible highlights. Bear in mind some things have got be planned in advance – buying tickets, applying for part-time jobs, arranging for streets to be closed (usually a 12 week application is required). Let’s not give way to the gloom, let’s grab the day!  Well, it was only a suggestion!

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