The Clue’s in the Name November 26, 2019

I often visit a great pub near Ashbourne in Derbyshire called The George – it nestles in a little village called Alstonefield.

I was in there one night when I overheard a conversation between two men about some works that were being done on a property. The first guy said “…but everywhere I dug was full of rocks, it was something I couldn’t have allowed for in my price”.

The second guy said “…which part of the name Alstonefield did you not understand – ALL STONE FIELD – the clue’s in the name”.

Bakewell – Bake …well – famous for its baked tarts.
Stoke-on-Trent – obvious.
Upper Slaughter – probably to be avoided.
Grange-over-sands – probably sandy.
Hayfield – probably farming country.
Newcastle – is there a ‘new’ castle??

It makes me wonder why the residents of… ‘Fishlake’ …were so surprised by the recent flooding …?

Mike C

Public services… November 20, 2019

I was round at my mum’s this morning and had to wade towards her front door. The drain was blocked (again) – I’ve cleared it a few times but all the crap from her road seems to end up in her driveway.

I asked her if the drain was ever cleared by the council and she laughed – ‘I’ve been trying to get them to clean it for the last two years.’

Last week when she was poorly, we tried to get an ambulance to take her into hospital – it never turned up. The doctor eventually did a house call and was brilliant – but it was 12 hours or so after mum (92) was taken ill.

The street light outside her house doesn’t work and leans at a ridiculous angle – I’m sure it’s dangerous. Again, I asked whether mum had chased up getting this repaired – and again I got the same answer – ‘two years I’ve been asking for them to sort this out.’

I’m sure there’s as an obvious answer to this …and it will be along the lines of some monetary based factor that I haven’t considered.

But can someone explain why all the services that we used to take for granted are now disappearing.

I’m thinking;

Public toilets
Street lighting
Road sweeping
Litter picking
Fire service
Drain clearance

Surely, if there’s more people in the country, then therefore there should be more money going into the public coffers. If there’s more money in the public coffers …. then where on earth is it going?

Surely ‘progress’ is about providing ‘more’ services not less?

I suppose it could be that we have an ageing population and they require additional care? But from what I read this isn’t happening either?


Mike C

Rumours…. November 13, 2019

Don’t you just love rumours? Years ago, I went into a new barbers in Glossop and parked my Aston Martin opposite in front of the pub. I queued for my haircut then when eventually I sat down the barber said – ‘see that car over there? Pointing at the AM – ‘…apparently the bloke that drives it won the lottery – he got 5 million quid…’

I didn’t tell him it was mine and I didn’t correct his lottery assumption – I just smiled and went along with the story.

I’ve never won the lottery because I’ve never played the lottery ….but it was interesting to note how the rumours factory was working. Whoever owned the Aston Martin couldn’t have worked hard all his life and finally got the car of his no no ….he must have won it or been gifted the money to be able to buy it.

At the weekend I was told that I had…. ‘sold Japanese Knotweed Solutions’ for ‘several million’ pounds and was heading for a comfy retirement.

Unfortunately, this is also a false rumour.

Truth be told…. ten years ago, I was offered a huge amount of money to sell the company… and in my wisdom… I turned it down.


I could be living on the Costa del Sol drinking a pina colada and working on my tan.

Obviously ….I’m not quite as clever as I think I am ….

Mike C

Sex is Dangerous November 6, 2019

Did you know that every year people die whilst making love?

Increased heart rate, over excitement all contribute to this being a very dangerous pastime.

Drinking whilst having sex is also considered very dangerous and may lead to accidents, some of them with life changing results.

So, the government have decided that this is no longer something that they can allow to happen.

They have decided that procreation should be carried out by machine as this is far safer and nobody will be at risk.

Ok, ok, ok, ….so you’re all now up in arms saying how ridiculous they can’t stop us having sex.

So why are you letting them stop you driving….??

This is what’s happening folks – driverless cars, electric cars – all designed to take the pleasure out of something that you enjoy doing ….and replacing it with a machine.

Make a stand.

Just say no.

Just think …. ‘I’m having a sh*g whilst drunk and I don’t care about what happens*.’

 Mike C


* ok maybe re think this – Safety first.

New Invasive Species Legislation November 4, 2019

The Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order 2019 (“The Order”), which came into force on December 1st 2019 and applies in England and Wales, is part of the UK’s implementation of EU Regulation 1143/2014. The core of these regulations is the EU’s list of Invasive Alien Species of Union Concern (the Union List).

The Union List currently includes thirty-six plant species, including Giant hogweed and Himalayan balsam (listed as “Indian balsam”) as well as aquatic invasives: Water hyacinth, Curly waterweed, Nuttall’s waterweed, Floating pennywort, Water primrose and Parrot’s feather, amongst others.

This legislation has been on the cards for several years, with the EU Regulation having come into force in 2015; the Union List has been in force since August 2016, with its most recent update in August 2019, as discussed on Invasive Weed Solutions.

The provisions of the Order are fairly simple, and have commonalities with the existing Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (WCA), which prohibits causing or allowing listed species to grow or spread in the wild. The Order specifically states that “A person who plants or otherwise causes to grow in the wild [any plant on the Union List] is guilty of an offence.”

It is interesting to note that one of the provisions of the order is to add all species on the Union List to Schedule 9 of the WCA. This brings some new species, including tree of heaven and American skunk cabbage onto Schedule 9, with the consequence that waste containing material from these plants could be considered “controlled waste” under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. In addition, the Order makes it an offence to sell any species on the Union List – a provision which already applies to plants on Schedule 9 of the WCA.

The Order also makes it an offence for any species on the Union List to be “intentionally grown, cultivated or permitted to reproduce”. It is not clear to me how you define “intentionally permitting a plant to reproduce” – or whether this particular provision is intended to apply to animals, rather than plants. It remains to be seen how much enthusiasm there is for bringing prosecutions under this Order and how strictly it will be interpreted – especially given the number of prosecutions made under WAC.

The Order allows for permits to carry out research or other specific purposes, and (on a more obscure note), you will be happy to know that you can’t be strip searched even if officers suspect that you are in breach of the Order (but you can be rub-down searched by a member of the same sex, presumably in search of illicit propagules).

Finally (and bearing in mind that the Union list also includes animals), it is also a defence to argue that you kept your Chinese mitten crab because it was already registered as a companion animal before October 1st 2019 and you took reasonably measures to prevent it from reproducing or escaping. Good to know.

Chris Oliver
Operations Manager