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Detailing the life of a 'Cracker Packer'

The term 'cracker packer' will be familiar to anyone who grew up in Carlisle. It is the name long given in the city to workers at Carrs Biscuit factory.

A new book by Cumbrian author Hunter Davies explores the lives of six women who spent their lives on the production lines over a period of fifty years. Ryan Dollard reports.

  1. National

John Lewis: Independent Scotland could see price rises

John Lewis has warned shoppers in Scotland they could face higher prices in an independent Scotland.

Partnership chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield said the company had no intention of reducing its presence north of the border, where it has nine shops, a contact centre and employs more than 3,000 people.

But he cautioned firms were unlikely to continue sharing the burden of the higher operating costs incurred in Scotland across UK customers in the event of the break up of the Union.

John Lewis. Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA

Sir Charlie told BBC Radio 4's Today programme:

The debate has clearly become very, very fractious. As a businessman it is not my place to tell Scottish voters how to vote in next week's referendum.

But I will say two things. From a business perspective there will be economic consequences to a Yes vote, not just in uncertainty but some of the turmoil we are hearing about.

And it is also the case that it does cost more money to trade in parts of Scotland and therefore those hard costs, in the event of a Yes vote, are more likely to be passed on.

– Sir Charlie Mayfield, John Lewis Partnership chairman


Farmers face lower grain profits

Despite high yields in the South of Scotland, the National Farmers Union says producers are struggling to make a profit due to a fall in market prices.

Our Borders reporter Jenny Longden has been at a farm near Duns to find out, what it may mean to farmers, and ultimately consumers.

Well earlier Ian Payne spoke to Andy Hindhaugh, who sells crops for a living. He began by asking him to explain why, if it has been a good harvest, can it be a bad year for farmers?

Grain prices are 'disappointing'

Farmers say that despite a bumper yield during harvesting time this year, they are being paid much less for the grain they produce.

Farmers across the region are being paid up to £100 less per tonne on last year, for grains including wheat, oats and barley.

The approximate grain prices for 2013 to 2014 are:

  • Winter Barley: -£50 per tonne
  • Oil Seed Rape: -£100 per tonne
  • Malting Barley: -£100 per tonne

Eden Valley tap water blended for quality

When water engineers in the Eden Valley noticed increasing nitrate levels in the untreated water they were collecting, they had to come up with a solution.

Rather than building an expensive and complicated treatment plant, they decided to test a technique more commonly used in the mineral water industry.

Katie Hunter's been to find out more:


Water blending maintains quality in Eden Valley

This borehole retrieves water from 300 metres underground. Credit: ITV Border

Engineers in the Eden Valley have found an original way to purify water before it reaches people's taps.

When United Utilities noticed increased nitrate levels in some of its raw water, it built two new boreholes both 300 metres deep.

Engineers now blend water from deep underground with water closer to the surface. The company says its helped to improve the quality of its product for people in Cumbria.

A similar technique is used by the mineral water industry.

Hop onboard the only engineless cargo ship

The Tres Hombres cargo sailing ship Credit: Fairtransport/Eyemouth Harbour Trust

Visitors will be able to get onboard the world's only engineless sailing cargo ship when it visits Eyemouth Harbour on the 28th August.

The ship, the 'SV Tres Hombres' will stop en route from Copenhagen to Great Yarmouth as part of a European journey. The owners of the ship 'Fairtransport', based in the Netherlands, are said to be the world's first 'emission free' shipping company.

It will stay at the port until the 31st August.

  • The Tres Hombres was originally built in 1943 and has been restored before joining Fairtransport's fleet
  • The overall length of it is 32 metres
  • It's Gross Tonnage is 128 tons

Calls for cross-border train fares to be simplified

Rail campaigners and a Cumbrian MP are calling for cross-border train fares to be simplified.

Lookaround has discovered that you can save more than £80 on journeys between Carlisle and the north of Scotland by breaking the journey down, and buying two tickets instead of one.

It's a process known as split-ticketing. Campaigners say it's unfair for people who don't know how to work the system.

Katie Hunter reports: