Who actually runs the business?? April 27, 2016

Think about all the places you go, all the places you eat, shop, buy a car, hotels that you stay in etc etc

Then think about the people that you actually touch base with – who is it that you actually think of…?

I bet it’s not the business owner  that you’re picturing…?


If I go to Stratstone in Wilmslow I see Alan….

The Lowry Hotel in Manchester its Billy….

River Restaurant its Husein…

Royal Park Hotel in London its Ronnie….

Aston Martin service its Keith….

The Peacock in Rowsley its Laura….

Jones Opticians its Kathryn….

RR in London its Giulio…


None of these people ‘own’ the establishments that they work in – yet they are the heart and soul of the business and the main reason that I go back to these places.

Yet….dear reader…they all have one thing in common – they are all undervalued…and generally all underpaid…

Each of the people above has in their own way gone above and beyond any service level required by their employer – and each one has gained my trust and friendship – yet their employers seem oblivious to the quality of their in house staff…?

What’s going on in the world?

Is it the demon …profit?

The dark and dangerous world of …’margin’…

Surely to goodness somebody should appreciate the skills of people who have grown up with a product?

Car dealerships should realise that the old guy in service who knows e very problem that a particular car has…is actually worth his weight in gold? No ‘wet behind the ears’ graduate will know that the knocking sound in a 911 is actually the ash tray that comes loose above 96mph.

Having somebody young and inexperienced on the service counter at Audi telling you to … ‘not press too hard on the brakes …in case they warp’ – is not going to do much for car sales.

Keeping the old guy on the front door of a hotel who knows your name and carries your bag – again worth his weight in gold.

The restaurant that knows what food you like, the barman that says ‘the usual sir’, the guy that rings you when the XXL shirts are in stock ….TOTALLY IN-F**KING-VALUABLE…

So this is a shout out for the little guys, the people that slip under the radar ….yet hold our world together.

Let’s just pay everybody more….sod the expense.


Mike C

Deceitful behaviour April 21, 2016

I have a new theory about how to be successful – if you can’t do it honestly then it appears to be acceptable to lie. 

I’m thinking about the Volkswagen fiasco or maybe David Cameron’s recent bleating about his finances.
Things are looking complicated; things are looking a bit tough…I know…let’s just…lie…
I’m wondering if it’s a generational thing?

…are the ‘young folk’ more predisposed to telling the odd ‘porky pie’ ….or is it just the society we live in?
I’m getting to a situation where I just don’t believe anybody anymore.

My car has recently had problems with its brakes – with the discs warping due to the high temperature – the garage, when challenged were all … ‘ooo that’s never happened before?’ …senior staff claimed they had …’never heard of this’…yet …with only a little ‘Google-ing’ one can find forums and discussions where this is a well-known phenomenon.

So Mr Audi dealership you’re either lying or stupid? Which is it?

I ordered some books from Amazon recently which I needed to complete a presentation that I was working on. I only mention the presentation because the requirement for these journals was time dependent. On the Saturday on which I was due to receive the delivery I waited patiently for the slot of between 11 and 12 – then at 11.55 I got a text that said… ‘you have now received your delivery in your letter box’ …

I chased up the delivery and eventually was told that the driver was nearby and I would have my delivery…‘soon’…
He also explained that often the drivers say deliveries had been… ‘made’… when they were actually only … ‘nearby or in the vicinity’.
So…lying then…?

My daughter’s ex-boyfriend couldn’t string two sentences together without lying. He had a life which was totally dependent on nobody ever trying to check any of the crap that fell out of his mouth. Walter Mitty eat your heart out this d**k couldn’t tell the truth if his life depended on it….

So …lying again…

Ex members of my site staff telling me they couldn’t come in on a Friday as their child was poorly or grandma died, or they have a cancer scare or have been kicked out of home by their wives/girlfriend/boyfriend/drug dealer…

Lies all of it.

Child wasn’t poorly, grandma was off skiing, cancer scare was a boil on their arse …and they get kicked out of home every Friday for being pissed – none of which gives them a decent reason for not being in work…hence they no-longer work for us.

Nothing pisses me off more than lying – and nothing diffuses a situation quicker than an honest answer accepting the error and apologising.
So can we please stand up for truth and integrity?

It works on so many levels… and is far less complex to keep up…

Mike C

Sleep like a baby…. April 16, 2016

It has been pointed out to me on many occasions – that in eradicating Japanese Knotweed – I am in fact destroying the very thing that keeps my business making money. So I am in fact busy putting myself out of business. …or I would be if…everyone in the UK had got their act together…BUT THEY WON’T…

I recently had some information sent through to me about an award winning project involving Sustainable Drainage Systems (or SuDS) – for which the project had won the Queens medal – even though the scheme had been planted with…. Crassula helmsii

Crassula helmsii one of the most invasive aquatic species… IN THE WORLD…

Crassula helmsii which wetland and waterway owners spend countless hours trying to destroy…

Crassula helmsii which is an absolute nightmare to eradicate once it has established…

So not only had somebody cocked up big time in planting Crassula… but then somebody else thought this was so good… it should receive an award. You really couldn’t write this sort of story – nobody would believe that anyone could be so stupid. This is up there with planting Japanese Knotweed on a new housing development which then receives an award for landscape work…

Yet every week I come across situations which convince me that we will never get on top of our UK invasive non-native problem species.

In and around Manchester we have lots of invasive non-native species on our waterways and wetlands. The River Irwell is particularly bad, with long stretches which are swathed in Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan balsam and Giant Hogweed. I would actually say that even given the raised profile of these species – the areas covered with these plants has increased….

I have written to the various landowners and had no response. I have reported these areas to the various statutory bodies and had no response. I have tried to get public opinion on my side and have spoken to local newspapers in an effort to raise the profile and bring these problems to public attention… all to no avail.

Given that we already had huge problems – this has been followed by flooding and vast areas of land covered in water. Water, it should be noted, that is full of knotweed stems and rhizome material, vast quantities of Giant Hogweed seed and literally tonnes of viable Himalayan balsam.

There were one or two articles about Giant hogweed last year due to a young child being badly burnt by the plant’s toxic sap – yet we now have huge areas of land that have been covered in viable plant material which will result in these plants being more prolific.

Why doesn’t anybody get a handle on this?

I live in Glossop – some fifteen years ago I pointed out to the Local Authority that the town had a problem with Invasive Non-Native Species. I even offered to deal with the problem free of charge. Nobody even had the courtesy of responding to my letter.

There are blocks of Japanese Knotweed at every major road coming in to the town. The large chemical plant in the centre of the town has a huge stand at its main entrance – and a vast area of the plant covers both sides of the river.

In the centre of the town – within eyesight of the local planning department – there is a new housing development. Where the new houses were to be built there was a large infestation of Japanese Knotweed. When construction notices were erected I contacted the house-builder and offered to deal with the knotweed infestation – and yet again had no response.

When works started on the new houses the area of JK disappeared over night. I called in to see the site manager and asked – ‘what did you do with the Japanese Knotweed?’ ….

…his response

‘oh… it wasn’t Japanese Knotweed mate – you must have been mistaken…’

This means that the knotweed contaminated material will have been taken off site to a facility not licensed to receive Japanese Knotweed. It will mean that the tip will not bury the plant beneath a capping layer to ensure that it does not spread. It may even mean that the knotweed contaminated material could have been sold as ‘topsoil’ to some unsuspecting development that didn’t have any invasive species.

So whilst I may be acting to destroy my own business I don’t see any evidence that we as a society have got our act together with regards the spread of these problem plants. So I can probably continue to keep busy and not endure any sleepless nights worrying about running out of work.


Mike C.

Number ‘1’. The First. Numero Uno… April 13, 2016

I was ‘told off’ this week for ‘claiming’ to be the first company to deal with Japanese Knotweed. Actually – I have never in fact said we were the ‘first’ company to deal with Japanese Knotweed – what I have said is that we were the first company to recognise the volume and impact of this invasive species and were the first ‘stand-alone’ company dealing with… NOTHING BUT… JAPANESE… KNOTWEED.


There are companies out there (idiots) who say that they have been ‘experts’ in Japanese Knotweed since 1996. This always amuses me as the 1996 date is the date they set the company up – now correct me if I’m wrong but becoming an ‘expert’ isn’t just about setting up a company – it’s about experience and time served skills.

So setting up a business and on day one saying – ‘we are the UK EXPERTS’…is a little bit of a stretch.

This statement is up there with … ‘200 years of experience’… meaning they’ve got four guys aged fifty working for them. So if you had 200 guys who had worked for a year that would be the same …or 400 guys who had worked six months for the company…. you get my point.

I digress.

People have been dealing with Japanese Knotweed since it was first introduced in 1840 so any company claiming to be the first to deal with the plant would have to go a long way back to validate their claim.

I still stand by my statement that Japanese Knotweed Solutions Ltd were the first company just dealing with JK – anybody that wants to argue their case please drop me a line.

Other companies rapidly came into the market – including the one that told me off this week – but only after we had shown the way. Pretty much all of them use derivatives of our name and pretty much all of them claim to be the UK number 1 or the number one service provider – half of them even use my name as one of their key words for marketing on Google….and half of them copied the content of my website.

There are companies out there who have huge experience of dealing with invasive species and landscape works and all manner of other landscape works that have dealt with JK prior to me setting up JKSL in 2002. In fact – I myself – with another ‘hat on’ dealt with invasive species with my company Landmark Landscape Management as early as 1988.

So f*** you and your telling off – kiss my flaky ass.

Japanese Knotweed Solutions Ltd – the one and only, first, numero uno, el grande….


Mike C

Keep Britain Tidy!? April 11, 2016

…Drinks cans, plastic bags, beer bottles, crisp packets, polystyrene cups, cardboard boxes, plastic spoons, take away boxes, wine bottles, a knife, chocolate bar wrappers, knackered old BBQ, mouldy mattress and an exercise bike….

Just some of the litter and rubbish I came across last week whilst walking the few minutes from my apartment to Cornbrook Metro Station, Manchester. Unfortunately this list, or one very similar, can be replicated across many towns and cities in the UK.

The message of Keep Britain Tidy has sadly faded to the point where some find it acceptable to discard litter and rubbish wherever they choose fit, usually with little to no consideration of the impacts that the accumulation of rubbish has on an area and its people.

Why not just throw your rubbish wherever you like? Once that bottle/ drinks can/ crisp packet is hastily freed from your hand it’s no longer your problem, right? It’s someone else’s responsibility. But whose responsibility actually is it? And while we are waiting on that answer the rubbish continues to pile up, layer on layer, as it is thrown by those who have decided the responsibility isn’t theirs.

Rubbish attracts rubbish, and for me enough was enough. Armed with a litter picker (on loan from JKSL) and some refuse bags, I went on a one man early morning mission to clear up just a small part of my local area (much to the dismay of my friends, some of whom thought I’d lost the plot). Two hours and 8 bags of rubbish later the area is looking a little better. I say a little better as it’s no AONB, or pristine vista across a Country Park, it is Manchester city let’s not forget, which has its own distinct charm.

So apart from the funny looks from passers-by and the blistered hands from the litter picker, what lessons have I learnt from this? 1) People consume way too much extra strength lager, cheap wine, junk food and takeaway to be good for them; 2) I am becoming more like my Dad who you’ll find litter picking around Little Baddow in Essex; 3) and this is the most important lesson… If everyone just took a little more responsibility and care for their surroundings and rubbish, our streets would be free from litter, and everyone would be that *little* happier.


….larger can, drinks bottle, takeaway coffee cup, sweets wrappers, dog sh*t in a plastic bag….

I’d like to think my efforts weren’t entirely wasted, but one has to wonder….

Please…Keep Britain Tidy!


Stuart Morris

Japanese Knotweed and …Chickens April 11, 2016

I have been reading the latest articles regarding chicken production with great interest. Liz Truss the Environment Secretary has tasked the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs to make legislation less onerous on chicken farmers to allow increased food production.

This has angered animal welfare groups who feel that the progress made in reducing pain and suffering to animals will be put back decades allowing the return of animals being badly treated prior to a painful death. This case has been argued by farmers who argue that advances in veterinary services and improved conditions will ensure this doesn’t happen.

How does this relate to Japanese Knotweed I hear you ask?

Well – exactly the same thing is happening with the government’s stance on Japanese knotweed (ok not exactly the same…but similar). The industry has to date been ‘governed’ by the ‘Code of Practice’ produced by the Environment Agency and until recently easily accessed on the EA website. The Environment Secretary has asked that the industry take on more responsibility via the Trade Bodies that have sway over their members – and that to a certain extent the industry becomes self-governing.

Why, oh why, do these ministers not see what they are doing?

Legislation has been put in place for a reason.

Cutting something to save money may look good on paper but generally the rules have been produced – in simplistic terms – to stop something bad from happening. If you remove the rules – the ‘bad thing’ will start again!

Generally it’s because an industry has been behaving in a ‘cavalier’ manner. If you allow industry to self-govern the likelihood is that these cavalier operators will return and happily ignore any letters or requests for them to manage their business in a more prescribed fashion. Without the power of government legislative procedure this threat is unlikely to have any impact.

I know the theory is that DEFRA’s position is still clear and that with Japanese knotweed the Environment Agency could still enforce any serious breach of practice guidelines – but to send the message that industry should self-govern will be a disaster.

There are already TWO trade bodies – so you already have a split in the way guidance is given. INNSA (The Invasive Non Native Specialists Association) takes the stance that these types of works should be carried out under strict codes with clearly set out standards. The ‘other’ trade body has been asking for a ‘relaxation’ of the codes so that their members can work to ‘appropriate’ standards …as suits any particular project (…or more likely any particular budget).

How can this not be anything other than an environmental disaster?

Many improvements have been made in the last decade to empower developers and land owners to manage their resources in a manner that benefits us all. If we allow a weakening of this environmental policing the less scrupulous developers will simply run rough shod over guidance and return to the days of making money at the expense of our native countryside.

Aaaarrrrgggghhh…at times – I just feel like giving up.


Mike C

Pay it Forward… April 11, 2016

We live in a s**t world…

Come on – you know it’s true.

It has its moments – little glimmers of light in the endless smog of the daily grind….

Maybe it’s your dog being pleased to see you when you get home? Maybe your children’s happy laughter as they bounce on your bed in the morning…? Maybe it’s a sport that you enjoy – (though not many Manchester United fans will be feeling particularly happy with this season’s performance?)

Whatever the little moments are…you still have to admit… most of life is just hard work – and at the end of it you die… without ever having made much of an impact.

Now what I’m suggesting here is that maybe we just try and get one back on the ‘man’ – get one back on ‘the establishment’…

Let’s upset the world order…

Let’s upset…… Google?

Every week I pay a fee to the Google ‘beast’ for it to push me up the ‘rankings’ to help me advertise my business. The more I pay the higher up the rankings I go…in theory. However due to the excessive d**k shaking that goes on in the Japanese Knotweed market everybody and their mate have set up a knotweed eradication company and everybody and their mate are paying Google a fee to be number one as well…

Hence when I try to regain pole position by increasing my budget…so does everybody else.

Now it occurs to me that the ONLY people benefitting from this are …GOO (F***ING) GLE….

Thousands and thousands of pounds daily, weekly, monthly for some pie in the sky idea of increased revenue…

How’s about…


How’s about we all take the money we would have spent on Google and put it in to a charity?

How’s about we put the money into a worthwhile project? …maybe a local community project that can’t afford to deal with an invasive species?

On a ‘minimum’ week I spend £500 – so £2000 a month.

If ALL the knotweed companies stopped this nonsense for a month I bet we’d have a kitty of £50 thousand quid …

Wouldn’t you rather give that to charity than B L O O D Y   G O O G L E…

….and wouldn’t that make the world seem just a little less sh***y?


I will if you will…

Mike C