Bad Endings…. October 30, 2019

Have you noticed how all the films on Netflix have really bad e …..

Mike C

Happiness October 23, 2019

As an employer I have a variety of people that work for me, all are good – otherwise they wouldn’t still be working for me.

I feel we are lucky to have a great team at JKSL…. but they all still have their strengths and weaknesses.

Some of the team work long hours and never complain, others would rather be at home playing on their Play Stations or whatever it is they do. Some people finish late and never mention it, others when they have the opportunity to finish early grab it with both hands and just go home.

Some people when asked to do something extra at work – just do it. Others find they have weddings or funerals or whatever reason they can come up with to avoid the additional work.

Some people when asked to ‘jump’ say ‘how high’…. others say…. ‘why do I have to jump when he’s not jumping’.

As a business owner it is incredibly difficult to keep everyone happy – and occasionally there are situations that nobody likes – but the work just has to get done.

The team member that helps and just gets stuck in – is a great asset.

The team member that complains and writes long e-mails explaining why they can’t help – is a pain in the ass.

There is always room for different people within a company and not everybody can be a team leader. However, I strive for a company where everyone is trying to improve their ‘lot’.

People that just sit in their job waiting for the clock to strike five…. don’t really fit into my long-term plan.

Mike C

Superweed October 21, 2019

Japanese knotweed is the poster child for invasive weeds in the UK. The tabloids and clickbait news will feed off any report, study or scare story. It is the scourge of property buyers and vendors, with mortgage lenders and surveyors flagging it as a serious issue and the government’s Science and Technology Committee has recently undertaken an inquiry into Japanese knotweed – although the report was somewhat inconclusive, and in my opinion, doesn’t fully seem to take on board the reasons why Japanese knotweed is such a problem.

The Committee quite rightly highlighted that Japanese knotweed is not particularly more damaging to buildings than other plant species – and in fact is somewhat less damaging than trees like sycamore. However, in my opinion, this fact was given excessive weight within the Committee’s lines of questioning and its report.

One point which was well-made to the Committee in response to their question of whether surveyors are under-valuing properties was that it is the market which values properties, and surveyors whose valuation should reflect the market.

If you were offered a choice of a house with Japanese knotweed, or an identical house which did not have a Japanese knotweed problem, you would choose the one without the problem – or there would be a significant difference in the price you were willing to pay, as a reflection of the cost of remediation and loss of use of those areas of your property that were affected, over the course of the treatment.

This loss of “usability” or “amenity” in the property is one reason why Japanese knotweed causes more problems than other plants. This impact on your “quiet enjoyment” of the property exists in potentia in any property where Japanese knotweed is close to the boundaries – which is also highlighted in many survey reports.

One of the other main reasons Japanese knotweed is a problem (which was highlighted to the Committee) is how difficult it is to control. Treatments can last up to five years (as opposed to a day for most works to remove a single tree); contaminated areas should be segregated and what’s more, they are likely to lose other plant species within the area, requiring re-planting to prevent further infestation by undesirable plant species. The whole process is time consuming and expensive.

So, while the fact that it can cause damage, spread quickly and easily and impact on the enjoyment of a property, Japanese knotweed is a problem principally because it is effectively the superbug of the plant world.

Staphylococcus aureus is a commonly-found bacterium, present on the skin and in the nose and throat. A large proportion of us (as many at one in every three people) carry this bug at any time, usually without any ill effects. Occasionally, this bacterium affects humans, causing infections of the skin, infecting cuts or wounds or occasionally causing food poisoning.

While it can cause problems, these problems are generally dealt with quickly by a course of antibiotics, and the problem is gone. This is analogous to something like our sycamore tree – where if a it is causing a problem on your land, you get in a tree surgeon and the problem can be quickly removed at relatively small cost.

However, some forms of Staphylococcus aureus have developed antibiotic resistance – particularly the well-known “superbug” MRSA. When MRSA causes an infection, it often doesn’t go away, even when antibiotics are used. MRSA requires targeted treatment, with “antibiotics of last resort” which can have more negative side-effects, can require hospital admission and unfortunately delay in treatment can, in some cases, result in the need for amputation of the affected area.

Japanese knotweed is to other plants what MRSA is to Staphylococcus aureus – it is a superweed. When you get an infestation, it needs to be managed promptly and properly by a professional in order to minimise the risk of damage and disruption. Although remediation is normally possible, it’s more expensive, long-winded and restrictive than getting rid of any other plant and it’s likely to significantly inconvenience you in the long term.

Talk to us about how we can help.

Chris Oliver
Operations Manager, Japanese Knotweed Solutions Ltd

Mike Clough – quick review. October 16, 2019

I’ve worked all my life.

Never really had a period when I haven’t worked and I can’t even remember a time when I didn’t work for myself.

I’m competitive.

I think the reason I’ve been successful is that I’ve always wanted to be better than other people.

Be the best at what you do.

If you’re going to do something, do it well.

I’ve had a fantastic family, I’ve lived in nice houses, had nice cars, nice holidays…all paid for by having a great business and a great team to work with me … I haven’t really ‘wanted’ for anything.

I’m arrogant.

I’m always right.

Some people hate me.

Some people love me.

Some people would say I’ve been… ‘very lucky’ – but I don’t believe luck comes into it. It’s about hard work, commitment and believing in yourself. It’s about being fully immersed in what you’re doing.

I’ve often said that I hold the business together by sheer willpower – and if I were ever to relax…the whole thing would just crumble.

That’s why I’m always on my phone and always on the back of the team at JKSL.

I don’t accept second best.

I don’t suffer fools lightly ….and woe betide anyone who thinks they can pull the wool over my eyes.

Mediocre I am not.

To learn more – invite me for lunch.

Mike C

Infestation Rebellion October 15, 2019

The Truth:

We are facing an unprecedented global emergency.

Life on Earth is in crisis: scientists agree we have entered a period of landowner breakdown, and we are in the midst of a mass infestation of our own making.





Land owners must tell the truth by declaring a knotweed an ecological emergency, working with JKSL to communicate the urgency for action.


Act Now

Land owners must act now to halt the spread and reduce the problem immediately.

No – I’m not working weekends… October 9, 2019

The world has changed so much in the time that I have been working.

My first job was working at Liptons Supermarket in Glossop over 40 ago. I was still at school, I was young, I was naive but I was enthusiastic to earn some money.

But …let me put it out there people, I was… SEXUALLY abused. The story is a little more complicated because I actually enjoyed the experience. Sorry – I know this is off the politically correct path which we all now follow – but what happened was not life changing or the stuff of nightmares – but it was abuse.

The storeroom ladies basically put any new employee through a ‘hazing’ process where they each snogged the new boy. Now a couple of the storeroom ladies were a little on the old side and maybe pushing the limit on age difference – but a couple of them were seriously ‘hot’ – so I’ve got to tell you ….I was ok with it…

It didn’t ruin my life and I didn’t feel particularly violated.

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not advocating this type of thing – but what I am saying is – it didn’t need a court case or anyone getting arrested to sort it out – it was a bit of a laugh … and the store girls were famous for it.

My next job was in ‘Walls Meat Factory’ – in this role I was recognised for having a degree…. so the team made me ‘head man’ due to my intelligence (or that’s what they said). They made me a hat with ‘head man’ written on in felt pen.

My role in case you hadn’t twigged – was removing all the severed pigs heads and putting them in a separate container (head man – get it)…it was a gross disgusting job which also came with health and safety risk of getting cut by the pigs sharp teeth – often resulting in bleeding fingers and multiple plasters.

I didn’t sue anybody, I didn’t complain I just got on with the job and put up with the joking and ribbing that went along with it.

I then had a job as a plumber’s mate.

We had hours of driving around – leering at young ladies shouting obscenities out of the window and trying to attract their attention. Nobody complained, nobody got sued and generally the girls laughed and leered back at us.

All I did was brew up…all day long… every day… ‘get us a brew lad’.

This often involved tip toeing along ladders and climbing walls, going beneath floorboards or in attics – carrying a scolding hot cup of tea – which if it went cold was rejected – no safety equipment provided of course.

I didn’t complain, I didn’t sue anybody I just got on with the job and looked forward to my pay packet at the end of the week.

I then moved on to working as a landscape labourer.

Now in my day the boss would tell you where they were working then you had to make your own way there….and your own way back. You started work at 7am and finished at 5.30pm with 30 minutes for lunch. You wore your own clothes and no safety equipment was provided. Your hands would get shredded with blisters and cuts but you just got on with it.

You worked in the sun, you worked in the rain, and you worked in the snow. The job had to be done so you just got on with it.

Nobody got sued, nobody got arrested – the job got done.

However nowadays you simply ask somebody to work on a weekend – which it clearly states in their contract that they must do if asked…

…and they produce a solicitor’s letter telling you why they aren’t going to follow their contract.

Can I suggest that some people just don’t know when they’ve got it good.

Mike C

Main ‘Con’-tractors… October 2, 2019

More and more times we are finding main contractors trying to screw us over on contract details.

They are becoming con-artists not con-tractors.

They try to find ‘legal’ ways to make the sub-contractor take ‘all risks’ on a project – and then try and wriggle out of paying the bill by quoting terms and clauses within their contract that are dubious to say the least.

Recently we have had pre-start minutes described as being ‘non-contractual’ and ‘not part of the contract’.

So why have the meeting in the first place then?

Pre-start minutes are a way of ensuring all elements of the works are agreed to everyone’s satisfaction. Any grievances are aired and agreement made as to how the project should proceed.

If these are not ‘contractual’ then surely there is no point having the meeting in the first place?

You say – that’s not what we agreed in the pre-start…. and they say…. ‘pre-start minutes are not contractual’ ….duuuuuh

We’ve also had contract documents sent over for signing that have no copy of our quotation or the agreed details of what has been included. They just try and say ‘lump sum agreed price’ when in our priced document it clearly states ‘classification of waste and any additional tax due at higher rate is the client’s risk’ ….

Why on earth would we take the risk of discovering asbestos or high organic content or any other number of contamination problems when we have no idea what’s beneath the ground when we start to excavate ….?

Yes, we can do trial holes – but this does not remove all risk of finding pockets of contaminated material – this is the risk when working on brownfield sites.

It is unreasonable to expect a sub-contractor to absorb all these risks within what is already a tightly priced project.

Main con-tractors know this – but still try and push it into your package of works.

We at JKSL are NOT out to ‘con’ anybody – we just want to do a good job at the right price and make a profit.

Far too many main ‘con-tractors’ work to little or no margin and rely on battering their subbies into lower and lower prices.

This I why we get these large companies (like Carillion) failing and causing huge financial losses to their small sub-contract team, resulting in job losses and failed businesses.

Let’s all try working in a more honest manner with an honest profit at the end of the project.

Nobody wins when we work for nothing.

Mike C