Knotweed Spread September 30, 2020

Do you ever wonder how Knotweed continues to spread around the UK?

Surely, everyone must be aware of the issues, surely nobody would knowingly spread this troublesome weed?

Well….let me tell you a little story.

I live in Glossop. I have done pretty much all my life, apart from college and a short period of living in Oldham. I know the town pretty well and have documented the spread of Japanese knotweed and other invasive species around the periphery of the built-up area and occasional hotspots along the river.

In the time since I set up Japanese Knotweed Solutions Ltd (JKSL) I have picked up quite a few projects in the local area and have spray regimes on some of the larger waterside infestations.

A few years ago, I noticed a house builder putting up signs adjacent to the river in the centre of the town, next to an open park area. The river side had a large infestation of JK on the side which was within the development boundary.

Seeing that site cabins were in place, I called in to see the site manager and introduced myself, saying that I had noticed the large area of JK within his site boundary. The site manager was very helpful and advised he would pass my card on to the development team.

A few weeks later, I called past and noticed that all the Knotweed had disappeared.

I parked up and called in to see the site manager.

He advised me that …. ‘it wasn’t Japanese knotweed mate …you were mistaken…’

…and that, dear reader, is why Japanese knotweed will continue to be spread around the UK by unscrupulous developers who flout the law and dispose of the plant illegally ….

I rest my case.


Mike C


Note: ‘yes’ I did report this to the EA …and ‘no’ they didn’t do anything about it.

Fragile September 23, 2020

It occurs to me that the world is a fairly fragile place. All the more so, with the recent lockdown and COVID outbreak.

People are fairly basic in their requirements and much of what we do is down to habit and routine.

Once we break those habits and start to look closer as to why we were doing them in the first place, leads to imbalance and stress.

I’ve lost track of the number of friends and family who when asked ‘how are you?’ have responded with ‘mwuuh – feeling a bit ‘off’ to be honest’ ….

It does make you question everything you’ve been doing.

Sitting in the bloody traffic every morning for two hours then repeating it at the end of the day vs. working from home.

Heading out to the shops for interminable queuing and grumpy sales staff vs. on line shopping

Going through crowded airports and passport control vs. staycations in the wonderful UK.

Crappy supermarket bread vs. homemade sourdough.

Going out and eating mediocre food vs. wonderful home cooking.

Seeing the mother in law vs. being unable to see the mother in law ????

Going out and socialising vs. being locked in with my wonderful wife ????

All of the above leave you feeling a bit ‘off’ ….it’s like we’re part of a social experiment where we are pushed into trying new things …then we all begin to prefer the new normal…then it occurs to people that the old system had its strengths ….and now it’s all been screwed up ….

I think that the human race likes being constrained and forced into routines. Without ‘routine’ we are all a bit …’whoah … we could do anything …we could work from the Maldives …we don’t have to conform to any set standards …we can write our own rules…’

Downside is, that government needs an electorate that conform. They need people that do what they say and pay the required taxes…

I’m seeing a future where the newly released populace start to question absolutely everything.

Tax – me ? Naaah …fuck that for a lark.


Mike mwuhhh C

Modern life is crap … September 16, 2020

Sat in my new Audi – which is brand new and hasn’t moved much during lockdown – I finally have need to use the sat nav system. It takes a little bit of time to work it out, as even though I’ve had this model of car before – Audi have seen fit to change everything. This comes as a surprise to me as it is a well-known fact that drivers of a certain age buy the same model of car …. mainly because they know how the buttons work.

Back to the point.

I type into the keyboard ‘G’ – the voice system says ‘R’ ….I laugh jovially thinking …’silly me, I’ve miss typed’ – so I re hit the ‘G’ (harder this time obviously) – the voice system says ‘R’.

The car offers to let me use the scribble pad where you can free hand write the letters rather than typing. So being a ‘modern man’ I go for it. I artistically scribe ‘G’….you guessed it the voice system says ‘R’ – ‘destination approved – Royton, Oldham is your destination …..

Aaaarrrrgggghhhhhh noooooo, fucking Royton is the centre of the latest COVID outbreak, you stupid bloody car.

I then noticed that the approved speed limit shown on my heads up display is ‘70mph’, which given that I am in the centre of `Glossop in a pedestrian area seems a little excessive….however, I hit the approved speed in about 3.6 seconds then spent the next half hour explaining to the police officer that it was my cars fault not me.

By this time, I’ve realised that something is amiss with the brand-new car….so I ring Audi.

After being passed from recorded message to recorded message, I finally get through to service, who tell me that the earliest they can see my car is…. in six weeks.

Now, I’m pretty sure I can get by without sat nav for six weeks – and given that I will be going at 70mph everywhere I go… it will fly by….but ….dear reader….where has customer service gone in today’s world?

Yes, I know about bloody COVID but this isn’t COVID related – this is just a big car manufacturer keen to ‘sell sell sell’ and not having the wherewithal to offer a decent aftercare service.

Anyway, it occurred to me that I do actually have another car (swanky eh?) – so I decide to use the alternate vehicle for my next journey. I jump in, start the car, set off …within five minutes I’m sweating profusely as warm air is being wafted onto me from every angle.

I stopped and rang up the dealer telling them that the air conditioning seems to have failed. Their first offer of a solution was… ‘have you tried turning the air conditioning on sir…’

After explaining that I wasn’t a moron, they offered me a service date in ….six weeks’ time. Now I may be wrong here, but I’m pretty sure in six weeks’ time we will be in the middle of winter and I won’t need the air con…

Is it too much to ask to have a car that just works, goes from 0-60 in less than 3 seconds, has a top speed of over 200mph and corners like it’s on rails?

Or it just me …. being picky …being a grumpy old bastard.


Mike C

Fight for your right … September 9, 2020

I occasionally liken myself to a boxer.

Pre-fight – I’m bouncing around, full of energy, the music’s blasting out ‘eye of the tiger’ ….

Round one – I’m punched, I’m battered, I’m on the ropes, then the bell rings ….and I make it to my corner and collapse.

Round two – I make it out of the corner but the opposition guy is all over me. Uppercut, gut punch, maybe one slightly below the belt… then I’m on the ropes facing a barrage of head shots…. but still I make it to the next round.

This goes on and on until the final round.

Final round, I’m bloodied, I’m cut, I’m broken …. but I’m still standing…the bell rings and the referee has to decide.

Have I won, have I lost …or is it a draw?

So – take the above – but make it…


Round one – trying to win a tender

Round two – agreeing a price

Round three – winning the job

Round four – start on site

Round five – unexpected problems

Round six – finishing the job

Round seven – agreeing completion

Round eight – completion report

Round nine – application for payment

Round ten – waiting for payment

Round eleven – chasing the payment

Round twelve – finally getting paid.


Honestly, Sylvester Stallone had it so easy.

Adrianne …Adriiiiiaaaannnnne….

Mike C

Knotweed Calling … September 2, 2020

Invasive plant problems, will it ever end?

It’s an interesting question.

I am actually a qualified landscape architect. I set up Japanese Knotweed Solutions Ltd (JKSL) as a response to the increasing number of enquiries that I was getting with regards this troublesome plant.

I did not expect that twenty odd years later I would still be dealing with the same issues. I had imagined that people would get the hang of dealing with problem plants and that Japanese knotweed would have been banished from our shores.

I imagined that JKSL would be a short lived business – I was also well aware that in eradicating the plant that provided me with a business I was actually kind of shooting myself in the foot. I didn’t over think the situation, it never occurred to me that I’d still be doing the same thing years and years later ….

So…do we see an end to the situation?

A certain individual – who shall remain nameless – mainly because he’s a dick – has suggested that our invasive plant problems will all be over by 2040.

I’m guessing he’s got that date by thinking – ‘hmmm – when do I want to retire ….2040 sounds a good date…’

He has suggested that, because house builders are more savvy to dealing with Knotweed and the majority of new housing developments will all have been cleared of the plant prior to development, then lo…the days of Japanese knotweed are numbered.

However, he misses one key element in his thought process. Actually, he misses loads of key points but I’m being generous here …

The major Japanese knotweed growth in the UK is not on development land. The majority of Knotweed growth is on poor undeveloped land, contaminated brown field industrial sites and river frontages.

These sites will not be improved without huge tracts of money being spent – huge tracts of money that are simply not available.

With flooding now being a regular event, the risk of spreading of these plants is also hugely increased. The reduced funding of the Environment Agency also ensures that the chance of massive linked efforts to deal with catchment wide problems of invasive plants is unlikely to happen.

People will also only spend money when there is a reward at the end of the investment. This leaves it highly unlikely that land that cannot be developed, will ever have funds spent on it to clear invasive plants.

So, yes, developed housing estates may well see a fall in problem plants …but I do not as yet see a world where Japanese knotweed doesn’t continue to cause issues.

I’m also afraid that many of the ‘so called’ eradication companies dealing with Japanese knotweed …are not very good at what they do. Certain patented systems just don’t work and I’m sure the future will see claims and counterclaims as the plant resurfaces in areas where it’s supposed to have been removed.

So, even though I will have retired – I’m not seeing an end to the invasive weed control industry any time soon.

Mind you – if everybody just used JKSL for their weed control issues …maybe the UK could become Knotweed free ….????


Mike C