While Cathy Ranson enjoys a well-earned break, news editor Chris Longhurst takes the opportunity to write his own column
Normally at this time you would be reading about the latest goings-on in the world of Cathy Ranson, mum extraordinaire and the font of all knowledge when it comes to family matters.
However, the multi-talented Mrs Ranson is currently off on holiday for a week and so I have taken advantage of the unguarded space to have a rant of my own!
I have a different viewpoint, as I'm neither married nor do I have children. I have lived in the borough for 29 years and have been working here at Gazette House for exactly seven years today (November 5).
My time has given me an in-depth sense of how life works here in the second biggest of all the London boroughs and, through my network of family and friends, I like to think I generally have my finger on the pulse.
Things have certainly changed dramatically since I first picked up pad and pen as an eager young hack on Bonfire Night 2001 and set out to establish myself in the mystical world of journalism.
I wonder how many of today's readers remember names such as Peter Krinks, Neil Dhot, Richard Nadal, Jo Francis, Mike Foster and Liz Bellchambers? These were the people I worked with back then and now only Barbara Fisher and sports editor Scott Newman remain when it comes to current staff putting their bylines on stories.
The paper certainly looked different in those days. The type face was blockier, the pictures were all black-and-white, and the section this column appears in was known as Relax.
I didn't even have my own area to cover as in those days there were more reporters and as the newest member of the team I was required to perform a more floating role - think Wayne Rooney of the newsroom!
My early stories were entertainment-based and it is with a sense of nostalgia that I prepare to take over running The Guide (as Relax is now known) from Jerry Lyons, with the help of Siba Matti.
I well remember going to The Chimes shopping centre, which had only been open a year, for its first ever Christmas celebration and the switching on of its lights by The Beck Theatre's pantomime cast.
Now I am preparing to experience the latest switch-on and The Chimes is so well established now it makes you wonder who can accurately remember what the area looked like without it?
I have neither the space, nor the memory capacity, to detail my entire career progression (Hooray! you no doubt say) but the main reason I wanted to have a bash at writing my own column was to place on record the following statement:
I have met some wonderful people in seven years and unfortunately had to say goodbye to far too many of them as either they switched jobs or passed away.
Notable people I could not have come this far without include all the Gazette staff I've just mentioned, as they showed me the ropes and helped make me who I am today.
Also I must pay tribute to my contacts who are no longer with us, including John Waylett of Harefield and Councillors Solveig Stone, Jim O'Neill and Norman Nunn-Price, who made me so welcome in the local communities when I first joined the Gazette.
There are many, many others and I wish I could name them all; but they know who they are and I want to say a big thank you.
Marriage guidance counsellors talk about the phenomenon known as 'the seven year itch' as being the time in a couple's life where one or the other (or both!) feel restless and have the desire to break-up and move on to someone else.
I am pleased to say that as I celebrate my seventh anniversary and look back over all I have achieved, I feel no such desire to jump ship. The fire is still burning bright, as they say.
Enjoy your fireworks night safely and responsibly.
* Cathy Ranson's column will be back as usual next week