Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Monday, March 14, 2011

LIZ CLANCY: Mole Madness

I'm a bit late with this one, but apparently back in February Durham County Council insisted upon a risk assessment before pest control experts could rid two cemeteries of moles. Rookhope and Cowshill had been plagued by the little blighters for some time but when Councillor John Shuttleworth asked for something to be done he was told via email that the traps had been ordered but he would have to wait a week for a health and safety officer to assess the area before the trapping could be done.

The risk assessment will cost £47 before any moles have even been trapped, whereas before the area was taken over by Durham County Council, a local mole-catcher would usually charge £30 maximum, without the need for any fannying about and form-filling beforehand. But the council reckon that the previous chap wasn't qualified enough. In the meantime, the problem got worse.


Dan said...

This sort of thing is common with councils, you know. A friend of mine runs a web development company, and once replied to a Council advert for some webdev work. It was pretty basic stuff; develop web pages according to a house style, with links in between pages and so on; nothing a decent content management system can't manage, and certainly not a big job for semi-automated web development.

The kicker was that the Council required proof that the company doing the work didn't discriminate against assorted ethnic groups (it didn't), used green energy whatever that is, was eco-friendly and so on and on for several pages. Proving all of these things would have cost several thousand pounds, on a contract worth only a few hundred.

So, the web developer simply replied with the words "I cannot and will not prove any of that; I'm a web developer not a bloody performing seal! I'll do the work for that agreed cost, and if you want any more you can damn well pay for it in advance!"

The council wibbled at him for a while, then disappeared back in the direction of their normal contractors who then overcharged them several times over for a lamentably simple job. The council likely didn't much mind; after all it wasn't their money that was being wasted but that of their council tax payers.

Syd said...

Bloody council "jobsworths". It is idiotic monkeys like that, who are causing Britain to slide down the drain at an ever increasing rate.