Are you Important? July 29, 2020

I’ve always said to my kids…. ‘make yourself noticed at work’ – be that person that jumps up and says… ‘I’ll do it…’ – don’t be a wallflower.

With the current situation that we are in, this philosophy still stands good. If you’ve been off on furlough and nobodies noticed ….then really …are you actually doing anything of value for the world…?

Are you actually making any difference to anything?

You’re all in a panic now, aren’t you?

However, do not despair it’s not just you I’m getting at…

It is a theory of mine that certain sectors of the world could be just lived without …or at least certain jobs?

Accountants –

The Royal Family –

Traffic police –

Tax inspectors –

The VAT guys –

Business gurus who think they can transform your company –

The mother in law –

Anybody from British Telecom –

That woman from a call centre in India who says… ‘tell me your last 27 transactions on your account in order starting with 11.30 last Friday …’ … ‘you have failed …. your account is blocked’.

That bloke that cuts you up when three lanes goes into two on the motorway.

Add your own personal gripes here folks …

However, I must add, in my darker moments ….I do think ….if I stopped dealing with invasive species ….

Would anybody notice?


Mike C

Dandelion and Burdock …. July 21, 2020

It’s a drink, right? Well actually yes, it is…but also…. both dandelion and burdock are both plants. Shock horror – the drink that you’re familiar with actually used to have fermented roots of both of these plants as part of the list of ingredients.

So….would you know what burdock looks like? I’m guessing most people know a dandelion when they see one …but have you ever seen Arctium (burdock) growing in the wild?

The new ‘Plant identification’ apps that you can get for your phone are a real godsend for plant identification and it’s not as complicated as you might think. The congested beds that you will come across on road verges or beneath hedgerows look like an indecipherable mess of plants – but once you begin to understand how the dynamic works …then these beds will become interesting and informative…and dare I say precious.

Start by identifying one plant and you will then begin to notice that it often grows beside another plant. Then begin to identify groups of plants and you will see these groups repeated as you walk around. Note the flowering times and the time that seed heads that are produced. Note what eats the plant and maybe how the seeds are dispersed. See what insects thrive on the plant, are the insects eating the plant or pollinating the flowers? It’s a real eye opener to see how the relationships work.

As you take your daily walk, you will be passing a variety of vegetation. This is true whether you are based in an inner-city area, an urban area or out in the countryside. Obviously, what you see in these differing areas will vary depending upon a variety of factors – climate, soil conditions and the maintenance program of your local authority.

Many of the plants that you subconsciously dismiss as just ‘weeds’ have interesting histories that need to be understood and cherished. Their names often give clue to what they’ve been used for like ‘fireweed’ or ‘pestilence wort’ maybe you’ve got some ‘boneset’ (Eupatorium cannabinum) at the bottom of your garden. Plants have been used by apothecaries for years in the treatment of disease and to cure infections. Many are them are now recognised as being poisonous and actually harmful if used as the doctors of the past prescribed – claims for curing disease are not founded on medical evidence and have just been passed down by word of mouth.

Hemp and campion and St John’s wort – all thrive around where I live in the Peak District. Plants that have been used to ward off evil spirits and to encourage good luck or a bountiful harvest of presented to the ‘gods’ of fertility. Again, probably very little evidence to support the claims for increased crop yield – but I love the historical context that these plants have.

Many of these plants are under stress from overzealous herbicide application from farmers keen to maximalist grass yields and reduce contamination from species not useful to their crops or animals. Local authorities often strim, cut and spray areas of what they consider ‘waste ground’. Then there is the added danger of attack from ‘invasive species’. Plants like Himalayan balsam, Giant hogweed and Japanese knotweed will grow to the preclusion of all our native species. This is not a ‘natural’ event, these plants were introduced by man into areas where they have no natural enemies making it easier for them to dominate.

We need to fight back. We need to protect our native plant heritage. Once they are gone, it will be very difficult to replace the complex plant associations that have taken thousands of years to establish.


Open your eyes.


Look what’s going on in your neighbourhood.


Take action.



Mike C

Should I Stay or Should I Go July 15, 2020

Being a big fan of The Clash, I’ve always wanted to use one of their song titles in a blog, so this one came to mind straight away.

What I’m getting at in this one, is the lack of confidence I’m feeling…. with just about everything.

I think my basic moral compass has been messed with.

My principles are pretty simple, I feel if you work hard, you put the hours in… then… you should reap the reward.

However, with bloody pandemics to deal with, it appears that hard work and a bit of entrepreneurial spirit don’t always result in a happy ending.

I cannot begin to imagine how people in the hospitality sector must be feeling.

They’ve come up with an idea. They’ve worked out the logistics of opening a new restaurant, they’ve found the ideal spot, they’ve sunk all their money into it …then wham …COVID.

As we go forward, who in their right mind would open up anything new in this sector of the market?

I’ve also always felt that if you tell the truth…then you should be ok.

Lying will always catch you out – thus if you tell the truth –

  1. Nobody can ever catch you out.
  2. Life is far more relaxing because you don’t have to try sticking to a story that you’ve made up.

However, with the current government I would suggest that lies have been told from the start of the COVID situation and we continue to be fed a load of bollox as it continues.

I feel quietly confident that we have not been told vital information about the transmission of the virus and I’m convinced that there is something going on right now – that they’re not telling us.

I believe that the government believes either that we’re stupid or we’re too ignorant to understand the complex issues that are in play.

I just wish they would be more open and give us a chance to grasp what it is they’re not telling us?

Is it that they know that COVID is airborne and therefore nothing we can do will stop its transmission?

Is it that a particular age group are actually unknowingly spreading the disease but nobody is telling us because it’s too politically sensitive to even suggest?

Is it in the water supply?

Are they going for herd immunity?

Is it as simple as the economy cannot stand us not working…. and without a return to normality we’re all screwed anyway?

How can anyone make decisions about the future without a full set of facts to back up their decision process?

As a business owner, I am being hit daily with questions about investment in future products and future marketing strategies. All I can hear in my head is The Clash singing … ‘should I stay or should I go..’

It’s an impossible situation.

My heart wants to expand and move forward positively – whilst my brain is saying … ‘hang on, this isn’t over yet…’

Can somebody please tell me what the future holds….or …should I just hole up in my house with toilet rolls and corned beef and wait till next year to show my head?


Mike C

Happy July 8, 2020

I’m fed up with being grumpy.

This is the dawn of a new me.

No longer watching the news and throwing things at Boris, I’m going to embrace this new world and make the most of the time I’ve got left.

There are some things that you can do something about ….and there is a load of stuff that is completely out of your control. So, I’m no longer going to worry about things that I cannot change and just get on with the things that I can enjoy.

I will endeavour to make small changes where I can – but I am no longer going to sit and sweat about things that I cannot do anything about. .

I think maybe I try too hard.

I overthink things and worry about the potential issues that will occur if this happens …or if that happens.

I’m now thinking that I should just enjoy the moment.

The whole COVID situation has left me feeling an overwhelming sense of impotence. A feeling of being unable to do anything positive, to do anything valuable.

Yes, I run a business. Yes, I’m my own boss.

But what impact do I have during a time of pandemic? What difference would it make if I no longer existed …?

I was definitely feeling I should be packing it all in and going to help the NHS.

Maybe I should re train and become the world’s worst nurse?


Mike C

Webinar: Giant Hogweed July 7, 2020

Following on from our Japanese knotweed webinar in early July, we are delighted to invite you to our next event, ‘Giant Hogweed: The Facts’ which is taking place on Wednesday 19th  August, 2pm.

Kate Hilton, one of the Surveyors here at JKSL is hosting the 40 minute event, updating your knowledge on:

This event is suited to anyone who might come across invasive plants sites on a regular basis – developers, construction companies, land managers, surveyors, utility companies, architects, local authorities etc.

To register, please send your name, company, email and phone number to [email protected]. The webinar will be broadcast live through Microsoft Teams, which can be downloaded as an App or via the link You will need to sign up if you haven’t already used it. Please ensure you have done this in advance of the day and we will send you an invitation to the webinar.

We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday 5th August, not just to watch and listen but to take part with the Q & A session at the end too.  Please feel free to email in any questions in advance of the event.

Time Travel July 1, 2020

So, if we could all travel back in time to before the pandemic…. what would we do differently?

Maybe we’d buy more toilet rolls?

Maybe we’d stock up on tinned tomatoes and corned beef?

Would we maybe travel to China and say .. ‘Stop eating that bat …’

Maybe we’d try and stop some of the big sporting events that we now know have been ‘hot spots’ of infection – like the races at Cheltenham?

Maybe we’d travel back at bit further in time and try and stop the rot setting in with the NHS. Maybe we’d campaign for greater funding for health care and better wages for the nurses and staff within the hospital system?

Perhaps we would go back in time and say to Boris when he was watching the Three Nations rugby instead of attending the Cobra meeting where COVID was discussed – get off your fat ass Boris and listen to what’s about to happen?…

However, we know that time travel isn’t an option at present – and if it ever will be invented why hasn’t somebody already travelled back and sorted the entire world order out already……?

But …. with your invasive plant problems, we can actually do a bit of time correction ….

If you have a river frontage or piece of ground with invasive species that have taken over …we can restore this to its original condition. We pretty much know that ‘nature’ did not intend for invasive plants to take over these pieces of land and we know what plants would typically be growing on these areas.

So …why not remove the aliens…. and restore some order.

Let’s have burdock and field campion, let’s have wild garlic and mustard, let’s have hemp and bull thistle, let’s have lilac and elder, let’s have goose grey and cranes bill ….


Take control.


Become a time lord.


Talk to JKSL about time travel.


Mike C