Friday, October 17, 2008

Mowing Fun

I saw this in one of the papers on the way to work, not that in any way would I ever advocate or encourage the reading of the Daily Mail, but I thought that this was interesting in that it has similarities to my football field mowing (See banner as you open my blog).

I guess the link will disappear in time so in the event of that the premise of the article is that this bloke's got a patch of grass outside the front of his house - a verge. He's obviously a bloke who appreciates a tidy lawn and no doubts thinks that the state of your front garden and no doubt your local area is a reflection of the you and the people who live in the street? Something I can relate to entirely. If my street looks untidy (especially just after the bin men have been round and left a bit of a mess) I go outside with a bin bag and tidy the place up. Partly because if the place looks like ****hole other people will be more inclined to treat it like a ****hole.

Because the council leave the cutting of this verge too long and it looks unkempt, this bloke simply cuts the grass himself making it look nice and tidy. There's several points I could make about this relating to what the government want us as individuals to do -

  • We're supposed to be trying to be greener - this bloke uses a Old Skool push mower so is using no electricity blah blah..
  • People are supposed to look after their health - this geezers getting some exercise doing it himself.

So all in all this blokes doing okay I'd say? But the council are saying that he's not allowed to do this.... "His reward? A warning from the council accusing him of 'encroaching' on its property.
The letter from Herefordshire's parks, countryside and leisure development service ordered the grandfather to put down his shears and return the land 'to its original state within 28 days' - or the work will be carried out by contractors and charged to him.
On Thursday, Mr Hubbard, 72, of Belmont, Hereford, accused the council of 'heavy-handedness' and vowed to ignore the order.
He said that when he queried the letter, a council official told him that if the grass was too tidy 'people might not feel they could walk over it'. "

For the most part people are saying that this bloke is being public spirited and doing something good for the benefit of others. Similarly I'd argue that my maintenance of a cricket wicket on Valence Ways field is done in the same spirit - I encourage kids that would otherwise be walking around trashing the estate and being a nuisance to play sport. But in a similar way when I posted what I was doing on a ground maintenance website it caused a reaction similar to the reaction of the council in this story. They went barmy - but they were arguing that what I was doing was a massive H&S issue and that I should severely reprimanded. But look at the reaction of normal people to this story below, so maybe normal people would see my wicket mowing as a good thing?

Mr. Hubbards disgraceful act of showing up the council is appalling. How must the council feel as they have been exposed and revealed to not be performing up to their full potential. They should pursue this through the Human Rights act as I am sure their delicate little sensibilities have been irretreivably damaged by this revelation. Then again why not properly do the job your supposed to and stop hounding a decent man. In case you havent noticed the people in the UK are now alert to how stupid and maverick councils are with other peoples money. Time for a rebellion..
- Gordon, Manchester, 16/10/2008 13:25

Oh my goodness, encroaching on council grass... oh yes i can imagine the distress, after all the grass is endagered isn't it??!!
- Ken Smith, Swindon, Wilts, 16/10/2008 13:32

He's fooling nobody this guy because the council know full well (as does this fella) that he is actually trying to lay legal claim to that piece of land by showing continued use and upkeep of it for a period of years in order to boost his property value. The council have done the right thing in protecting him from laying claim to public land.
- Dave Jones, Manchester, 16/10/2008 13:35

Sounds like a U turn from the council, but lets be fair to them .Their contracters will feel humiliated and their uman rights violated if they are shown to be overpaid slovenly cronies of some counciller? The fact that this "civilian pensioner" is doing a good job and for free kind of shows up what they spend the council tax on doesn't it? Where will it all end, maybe the council could microchip his lawnmower.
- Bert Hastings, UK, 16/10/2008 13:39

Somebody takes a pride in their surroundings and good old jobsworth is there. Well done Mr Hubbard. How long before day glow jackets, 3 road warning assistants and full protective suits are required. Grow up council and be pleased your verge is being looked after. A tidy bit of grass has never stopped any body walking on it before unless it is in a Council run Park. I am lucky in that my Council encourage home owners to keep the grass tidy, even though they provide grass cutting every two weeks. It all helps make the community a better place to live.
- Deerwatcher, Fareham Hants, 16/10/2008 13:44

Maybe the council should cut the grass and tidy up more often that what they do then? Surely if this man wants the grass outside his house short and tidy, then he is doing the council a favour! If I had a mower then I would cut mine, as the council here only cut it when it starts looking like a overgrown meadow.
- SP, Surrey, 16/10/2008 13:45

How much, then, do this ultra-sensitive council pay to their contractors for what appears to be a pretty mediocre job?? All Mr Hubbard has done is show that the 'public spaces' could be better maintained, &, instead of annoying him, Herefordshire should be sending their snoopers out to check on their own workforce.
- Tony K, Oxford, UK, 16/10/2008 13:45

"A spokesman" why not just print their names so the fools can be known by all.
- Karen, ex pat USA, 16/10/2008 13:45

I've been waiting for the punch line! Is this a joke? The council is certainly a joke - why punish someone for trying to make the area look nice? Bunch of utter morons!
- Diana, Edinburgh, 16/10/2008 13:47

Dave Jones, Manchester, 16/10/2008 13:35 - So cynical! This is the type of response one expects from councils these days, little stasi brigade. All they like to do is waste money (because us mugs will keep paying) and cause trouble for law abiding citizens. Time we retook this country and it great again!
- Mr Black, London, England, 16/10/2008 13:53

No such thing as "council grass", anything that comes under the council remit is the property of the public, paid for with ratepayers money! So tell them to go hang, he has every right to keep it as it should be, not leave it, as the council does.
- Nigel, Somerset, 16/10/2008 14:03

All part of the "services" Brown proclaimed at Labour's conference that he's still spending our money on, I'll tell you what Gordy, old chum, I think we'll manage without. You keep your jobsworths, we'll keep our money.
- Pinkie, London UK, 16/10/2008 14:04

I think the council need to not have maintained the grass, never mind what he does, then he can lay claim to it, which would be fair enough He should charge them for maintenance, a nice job Mr Hubbard in the credit crunch, start a gardening firm? I think the council should find better things to do with council tax than penalise people who help them. Why dont they get a life and give the residents better value for money?
- Ann, England, 16/10/2008 14:09

Never mind Council grass or Council property, it's PUBLIC property, managed by the council on behalf of the people. Councils' employees are not dictators and they should be reminded of this, particularly by the elected representatives. Our councillors dictate policy on our behalf, not the other way round as many council officials seem to think.
- NH Storbeck, Barnsley, UK, 16/10/2008 14:11

To Dave from Manchester. What a cynical outlook you have. Good on ya. Unfortunately its back to law school for you. He could tend the verge from her to armageddon and still not acquire a legal claim
- m Browne, Cumbria, 16/10/2008 14:14

Well done Mr Hubbard for ignoring the council and also going public. Home dwellers and businesses should tidy up outside their immeadiate properties as it makes areas look nice, clean, tidy. As a result there is less vandalism, less mess and less litter dropping. As for contractors being told to do their jobs right by the council - its for the council to police not the public!
- bella, sheffield, 16/10/2008 14:20

Are the contractors still being paid out of the public purse - of course they are. Has the jobsworth who sent this ridiculous letter to the public spirited council tax payer been disciplined - of course not. It is so heartening to know how our taxes are spent.
- Ann, Hyde, England, 16/10/2008 14:33

"'We apologise if Mr Hubbard feels the letter he received from us is heavy-handed" Newspeak for "it's not us, it's you". It's not an apology, these high handed councils are way above apologising, they just hate being shown up by the press.
- keith, Beziers, France, 16/10/2008 14:35

The contractors are paid out of the purse! Isn't that purse taxpayers money! So not only is Brian Hubbard paying into the pot - he's working for free - he should be congratulated and given a refund!
- carol elsworthy, s anta cruz, california, usa., 16/10/2008 14:36

My brother lives in a council house in Swansea - he is disabled and therefore the council have agreed to cut the grass in his front and back garden for him. However they only do this once a year - even though he phones and asks them to tend it more frequently. The house directly next door to him is used as a house for refugees and has it's gardens cut every month. As my brothers garden is cut so infrequently it gets very untidy and the very council which is supposed to cut his grass has sent him a letter telling him it is untidy and to get it sorted!!! The point I'm making is that this chap is doing a fine job and it is just typical of a council to act stupidly and embarrass themsleves by complaining. Please print this letter and shame Swansea City council.
- Andrew, Swansea, Sout Wales, 16/10/2008 14:37

What about the Human Rights of this poor grass then? The man's doing society a bloody favour, who cares if he makes claim for the land, he deserves it after looking after it for so long. Another Labour Council I suspect with nothing else worth doing, like say, running the area.
- Alan Bull, North Tyneside, 16/10/2008 14:45

I can see where this man is coming from.. the verges the Council used to cut near my house.. have now been turned into a nature reserve.. in other words they cant be bothered to cut it. Cost Cutting comes to mind..
- Jacqui Weems, Southampton, 16/10/2008 14:48

Our local council, Worcester, has sent letters out to 'the occupier' instructing people in our cul-de-sac to cut back 'creepers' ie ivy, from the walls because it must not hang lower than 2.4mtres over the wall. However it looks very pretty and green and we have no trouble with graffiti - so - has the world gone mad?
- Diana, Worcester, 16/10/2008 14:50

Hertfordshire is known for its heavy-handed, ridiculous stances. Instead of deal with real issues and problems, they do things like this to make it appear that they are doing something. They refuse to admit they can make a mistake and instead spend more money to try to make it seem as if they were right all along. A complete disgrace and I'm so happy to be gone from there.
- Lynn, expat in USA, 16/10/2008 14:57

the council should be grateful. In my experience, the pondlife they employ to do gardening simply do not have a single clue about the subject, they hack plants to death and about the only thing they can manage, with any degree of competence, is to chop a bit off the grass.
- Tracey, Paisley, Scotland, 16/10/2008 14:58

I would like to have him for a neighbour.
- marianne, london, 16/10/2008 15:01

I pay a commercial contractor to cut the council owned grass verge outside my business because the council will not guarantee doing it. Citing of course budget restrictions. I cannot present an unkempt business premises to my customers so, I ensure it done. Perhaps this gentlemen has the same problem. None of us want to live in, or work in, an untidy environment. Fortunately no jobsworth has attacked me...... yet.
- Mal, Vale of Glamorgan, 16/10/2008 15:05

In France I and a few neighbours strim our ditches and the French councils just love it! Pleased I don't have to put up with any of that nonense anymore and petty minded local officias.
- Graham Richards, Nerac, South of France, 16/10/2008 15:06

During last summer a lady who lives near my mother in the Salisbury area complained to Salisbury District Council because their contracted grass cutters had not been around to cut the grass in front of her disabled home for over two months and the grass had grown very high. They ignored all her letters. So in the end she paid somebody to cut her area of grass to improve its appearance but the council simply sent somebody around to reprimand her severely for cutting the grass and warned her that they would take action against her if she had the grass cut again. The contracted grass cutters were sent around about a week later and they made a real mess of the grass areas.
- Angus Peters, Bournemouth England, 16/10/2008 15:18

If the Council are responsible for the up keep of the grass outside this mans house them why does he cut it?? He pays Council Taxes for this and he spoils it for others that pay Council Tax What is the matter with people today There is also another point Does he know that if anybody slips up on the grass HE has cut HE is libel to be prosecuted That is the law
- Alan Hammond, Egham Surrey, 16/10/2008 15:21

This is me commenting here - Look at this twat above - this is the kind of crap that I had to put up with. If you slip over you get up and say "Whoops I've just fallen over and I think I've broken my wrist" You don't then go looking for someone to sue. What is the matter with these people?

This is an example of a council who has people working for them, and who, sadly, have no brains to work on their own initiative, but have to rely on a piece of paper to tell them what to do. They have lost the brainpower of using common sense and sadly this is what we have allowed in today’s society. We are now just one step from employing brainless morons that have been brainwashed to believe that political correctness is to be worshipped and common sense is now the devil.
- J.S., Devon, 16/10/2008 15:32

I am beginning to worry now. last Tuesday afternoon I mowed & edged my grass verge & it really looks quite nice. The problem is I also commited the same 'offence' on THREE of my neighbours verges so now we have FOUR attractive looking verges.....I can even see a prison sentence looming because the rest of the road is disgusting due to car parking reducing grass to a muddy mess and our verges are so damned obviously being cared for. I am now about to remove the 'evidence' from my compost bin & 'fly tip' it somewhere!! What really bothers me is that we are all paying their wages until they retire AND their pensions for ever more. No doubt one can find a job with the council entitled...'Grass Verge Comparison Testing Officer' on about £35k!and a very nice final salary pension. I remember when these people were referred to as 'Public Servants' times have changed.
- Brian., Birmingham, England, 16/10/2008 16:27

I am 70yrs old and live in a council owned bungalow , the council used to cut our " lawns " supposed to be every two weeks more like every six weeks if they could remember, and with double cutter mini tractors we got so fed up we got together and hired our own man who cuts the grass and trim`s the edges every two weeks, and he takes the grass cuttings away
- ann ridley, United Kingdom, 16/10/2008 16:27

- Dave Jones, Manchester, 16/10/2008 13:35 That's what's wrong with this country - we have idiots like you finding conspiracies where there are none and defending the indefensible. Has it ever occurred to you that he's just a good citizen? His former status as a parish councillor would be a strong indicator to anyone with half a brain. Not everyone in the world is scum on the make you know - maybe you should open your eyes and not judge everyone by your own standards!
- Alex, London, 16/10/2008 16:47

People should not be surprised by this kind of thing.Always rememember that council types are not the brightest of folks so allowances need to be made.
- Dave, Hinckley UK, 16/10/2008 16:59

you have got to be kidding right i mean telling someone there lawn is to tidy and to stop tending it is the stupidest thing i have ever heard now i could understand them saying something if he was not maintaining his lawn or something but he is so just leave him be
- jennifer, greenwood, mississippi, usa, 16/10/2008 17:07

There are two kinds of people running this country: useless, incompetent idiots and nasty, bullying scum. Some, of course, fall into both camps.
- Churchill Tank, Staffs., 16/10/2008 17:13

NO NO NO ! There are no spokeman ! Can we have a name? Or NAMES? Someone the be held accountable? Very simple ! Ignore the letter, or better still, treat it as it is, a form of criminal intent against you. And sue them prior to them fining you. Or after. Imagine it in court. These scum are public servents, SERVENTS, demand service. Demand that they work for every pound they take in their salaries. Demand to see their worksheets and work load. You know what, my boss demands this from me as he pays me, we pay these scumbags. And for what?
- Simon T., Bucks, UK, 16/10/2008 17:17

IDIOTS!!! Time for a few high profile SACKINGS to remind our "public servants" that it is THEY who serve the public and not the other way around. Virtually every day there is some unspeakable jobsworth tosspot who drags this country and any notion of common sense through the mud.
- Cllr Jeremy Zeid (Conservative), Harrow, England, 16/10/2008 17:50

"Herefordshire Council is comprised of socially maladjusted imbeciles who forget, or won't accept, that they are public servants elected by the people" Well said, Sir!!
- Philip, Middlesbrough, 16/10/2008 17:53

Where I live, we all mow the six feet of Council owned land in front of our houses; the council cut it once a year if we are lucky, and left in their hands it would be a terrible mess. I suspect someone elsewhere, nearby, has asked the council to tidy the land outside their house like they have assumed the council has tidied the land outside Mr Hubbard's house, and this has caused some embarrassment! Every one must be reduced to the lowest level.
- Brian E, Buckinghamshire, England, 16/10/2008 17:55

You are having a laugh!!!
- Rachel, London, 16/10/2008 17:56

You have got the wrong idea Brian. Just try to fit in with some of the lesser intelligences of your neighbourhood. Cover your grass verge with dog excrement, dismantle a couple of broken down bangers on your front lawn and leave them there in a state of rotting decay for years, liberate a few shopping trolleys from your local superstores and allow them to rust away next to the decaying cars in your front garden, light a bonfire in your front garden with old car tyres even, though you live in a smokeless zone, and leave it to burn unattended for days and you will be accepted with open arms by your local council as a pillar of the community and an exemplary example of true neighbourly behaviour.
- Michael Cooke, Nuneaton,Warwickshire., 16/10/2008 18:07

Last week in Switzeland I saw a woman sweeping up leaves from the gutter outside a shop - at about 08:00. I somehow doubt that the relevant Swiss local authority would threaten her with the cost of replacing the leaves - but hey, this is Britain!
- Paul Revere, Boston, Lincs, 16/10/2008 18:25

If the council employees have time to write letters like that and go round snooping, there are obviously too many staff with too little proper work to do. Sack them or make them redundant. Councils and there idiotic employees get sicker by the day.
- GOW, England, 16/10/2008 18:27