Why are we doing this …? April 24, 2019

I have a feeling that the reasons for the treatment of Japanese knotweed have somehow been forgotten over the last few years.

Treatment specialist firms are not ‘environmentally’ qualified and have no background in landscape or horticulture and are in fact more likely to be salesmen from the car industry, damp proofing contractors or double-glazing salesmen.

Everybody has jumped on the old ‘bandwagon’ and call themselves experts when the reality is, they are nothing more than gold diggers trying to make a few quid.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not naive, I know how the world works…. but I am just getting a bit jaded as to how these people get away with what they do.

Their only skill set appears to be sales – and they have ZERO concern for the environment.

My website gets copied, my company name gets copied, my ‘tag lines’ get copied, my name gets used by other companies as a search engine tool and nobody seems to notice. I’ve given up suing people as it’s a waste of money. It doesn’t change anything and one small victory in one week is soon overshadowed by somebody copying something else the following week.

This I could cope with – but what really gets me riled is knowing that these types of contractors are causing environmental damage simply because they have no concern for anything other than killing one particular plant. Yes, they know what knotweed looks like, and yes some of them know how to kill it. What they never seem to get though is that Japanese knotweed is simply one element of a changing landscape that is far more complex than just getting one intruder.

Why is the knotweed there? Where has it come from? What plants have been pushed out to allow it to thrive? What other species are nearby? What will replace the knotweed after it has been eradicated…?

All of these questions should be answered by your knotweed ‘specialist’ …yet 90% of them wouldn’t have a clue.

My whole ‘raison d’etre’ when I first started dealing with invasive species was ‘to improve the environment’…

I was a keen fisherman and felt that the rivers which I knew and loved were being overrun by plants which simply shouldn’t be there. I wanted to restore the balance of a natural environment with native species and benefit the wildlife and the indigenous plants were being pushed out.

I am 100% convinced that if you asked many of these so-called ‘specialists’ in the field of invasive weed management why they were doing their job… their response would be something along the lines of … ‘I was looking for a new opportunity as I felt I’d gone as far as I could with selling Skodas’…

Maybe ask a few more questions of your chosen contractor rather than just looking at lowest price?

It will pay you dividends in the longer term.

Mike C

Brexit woes… April 17, 2019

Is it just me or is everything kind of grinding to a halt?

Up until a few months ago we could hardly keep up with the demand for our services. Order books were full, cashflow was manageable…and the future appeared positive.

Of late, the order books are looking a little sparse, the teams are working at half speed and the cashflow is a little awkward with one or two points of concern in the near future.

I’m not suggesting an ‘end of the world’ scenario yet…. but I am concerned.

You can look at various reasons for the downturn in workload but the one factor which keeps coming up is lack of certainty in the future.

Everybody is just sick to death of the whole Brexit fiasco.

No… surprisingly… I don’t have an answer other than to say I voted ‘remain’.

Developers are not sure whether to do their next project whilst housing and land values may well change over coming months. Home owners are deciding to stay put because they are unsure of where house and property values might change.

Businesses are not sure whether to:

buy that new van or
the new piece of kit they’ve wanted
take on that new surveyor/receptionist/admin person

….because of the uncertain market conditions…

Money doesn’t get spent, the housing market stalls, nobody gets a pay rise, everyone cuts back on spending…

…and lo …we’re in a recession…

Mike C

Fight back – sign up here. April 11, 2019

I have a growing suspicion that earth is fucked.

What you need to realise is that we are all being bled dry so that ELON MUSK can then bugger off to Mars with all his billionaire buddies and a shit load of hot models and everyone on earth can go to hell as far as they are concerned.

This is creeping up on us as follows.

1. Shit internet – this is because all the rich folk are using it.
2. Brexit – this is just so we are occupied whilst Elon builds his spaceships.
3. Internet shopping – this is simply to block the roads with vans so when we realise that Elon is fucking off with all the money we can’t chase him coz the roads are blocked.
4. Driverless cars – see point 3
5. Crap on TV – this is just to make sure all our brains are turned to soup.
6. The ‘MeToo’ movement – this is just so nobody does anything about anything because they don’t want to be accused of anything.
7. Sexual intercourse – this has been bad mouthed to the extent that nobodies doing it anymore thus life ceases – (Note: unless you are a billionaire with a hot model girl/boyfriend when its ok to produce one asexual offspring)
8. My wife – she has the power of hindsight – so whatever happens she will be saying …’I told you that would happen…’
15. Fill in your own

Mike C

Bank says ‘yes’… April 10, 2019

Shock, horror, hold the press, retract that blog.

A couple of weeks ago I put a blog out that ridiculed various groups – bank managers, teachers, armed forces, policemen etc. were all included in this generally rude and offensive typical diatribe that I have become noted for.

Imagine my horror when I realised that I actually needed my bank managers assistance – at the same time I also remembered that not only did he read the short weekly rant but that he had also commented on my offensive writings.

Hmmm…. some carefully chosen words were needed.

My rant had been based on previous experiences with banks based on their ability to say ‘no’ without taking any account your trading history, workload or cash flow.

In this instance Stephen Wilkinson Relationship Manager Business Banking Nat West simply said ‘looking at your trading history and the information we have… this won’t be a problem …how much do you need?’.

Soooo officially ….

I AM SORRY TO ALL THE BANK MANAGERS I OFFENDED….in particular the relationship manager at NatWest Nw Se Lancashire called Steve Wilkinson.

Mike C

NB. Police and armed forces and firemen and teachers – I stand by what I said unless I meet any of you or need you …. in which case I didn’t mean you I meant the other one… 😉

Money or Safety…? April 3, 2019

Which is more important to a business owner, the safety of his employees or making money?

The answer is of course obvious…or is it?

The answer you all shouted was of course…. ‘safety’ …but what is the point of being the ‘safest contractor’ …if…you never get any work?

I could have teams of superbly trained operatives sitting in a protected environment all wearing bubble wrap and drinking lukewarm drinks from cups carefully designed to minimise risk of a ‘hot spill incident’ – but the costs of keeping them in this continued state of training and safety costs me so much that when pricing for works my costs are prohibitively expensive.

On the other hand, I could have lads recently imported from some foreign shore with little grasp of English – let alone health and safety – who are prepared to work for peanuts on the most dangerous of demolition sites with no personal protective equipment. These guys are so bloody cheap that my prices beat everybody else and I win all the work.

Ok one or two of them lose a limb or maybe die – but there’s plenty more willing to take these jobs so I’m not that bothered.

In all seriousness here at Japanese Knotweed Solutions Ltd, we do verge toward the ‘safety’ side of things – I have always had an absolute fear of somebody working for me being injured in an accident that could easily have been prevented by training.

I do however also find myself looking back fondly on previous practice when jobs got done quicker. The site lads adapted to site situations and did what needed to be done. OK they had a more cavalier attitude to ‘getting things done’ and tended to think on their feet. Occasionally in the past people used machinery they hadn’t been trained on – they learned quickly about chainsaws and found the best way to use a rotovator by using one – not just reading about the theory.

There were a few bruises but nobody got seriously hurt.

Nowadays I’m surprised we ever even get on site and actually get the job done. So much paperwork and so much training to be done before we ever get near any real site conditions.

Health and safety costs go up …. whilst our prices are forced down by competition.

This is when ‘other companies’ cut corners….

…. now where’s that bubble wrap?

Mike C