I harvest 70 million daffodils a year but £1 a bunch cant last

“We’re producing about 70 million stems in our own business but harvesting north of a 100 million,” says Matthew Naylor, farmer and managing director of Naylor Flowers in Lincolnshire.

His family has farmed in South Lincolnshire since the 1600s and has been producing flowers since the 1940s.

“Daffodils are probably the cheapest flower you can buy in a supermarket, at less than £1 in some retailers,” he told BBC 5 Live’s Wake Up To Money.

But, he warns, that price can’t last.

“We’re constantly held to this £1 retail price that just seems locked in everybody’s head, everybody knows that that a bunch of daffodils is £1 – but our costs go up and up.

“The shortage of skilled labour means wages are rising. And there’s pressure on all costs; labour, refrigeration and transport costs are all rising. But there’s this sort of deadlock over price, shoppers expect them to be £1.”

Matthew says he is glad to pay his field workers good wages. “There aren’t many daffodil growers left. Field workers are skilled, they require good wages and they are in demand.

“We have fewer migrants workers coming in and when there’s a shortage of labour that means the people who are good will end up working for the best employers with the best money.

“So it’s not bad news for a good business operator because it creates more barriers for the competition. But it pushes up the cost.”

2021 is shaping up to be a good year for demand, he says. “Sales are surprisingly better than they have been [in previous years]. I think that’s because more people are at home and are looking for things to treat themselves to.”

The UK may be the main grower but daffodils are enjoyed across northern Europe and even the US, with demand peaking at Easter.

Yet they are still picked by hand rather than harvested by machines.

“We produce a range of different flowers all through the year, about 20 different crops and everything’s harvested by hand,” explains Matthew.

“There’s a big drive now, a lot of people see mechanisation as the solution, but people who live in rural communities will see that it’s really important to keep money in rural areas and there’s no better way of doing that than paying it into wages.

“I’m not in a hurry to mechanise the jobs that we have while we’ve got willing workers.”

The UK is the world’s biggest daffodil grower, harvesting an astonishing 90% of the total global production, according to the National Farmers’ Union.

And they might be cheap and cheerful to buy but they are big business too, with a retail product value of £71.5m.

An army of around 3,000 pickers nationally are needed to harvest the stems and each field is picked many times to select the flowers at exactly the right time.

Like many farmers, flower growers have faced a variety of challenges over the last year: “2020 was very volatile,” says Matthew.

“People tend to think that working in a flower field would be some sort of rural idyll but we rubbed up against all of the changes around our trading relationship with Europe, with eastern European workers and with weather. We’ve just had the wettest winter for 100 years so it was a bit of a rollercoaster.

The changes to how the UK trades with Europe has also added to the work involved in selling his daffodils into northern Europe. “There’s a lot more friction, going back to having to issue plant health passports has created a lot of hold-ups and headaches, and we’re still getting to grips with that as an industry.”

At £1 a bunch, daffodils are the cheapest cut flower on the market so they’re an affordable treat and splash of colour for many UK homes.

But it’s not a treat that the farmers themselves get to enjoy in their fields.

“People imagine these beautiful flower fields,” says Matthew. “But we’re actually harvesting them just before they’ve opened so that people get to enjoy the full beauty of them in their homes rather than my field.”

You can hear an interview with Matthew and more in Wake Up To Money on BBC Radio 5 live, available now on BBC Sounds.

Christopher Plummers career highlights – Sound of Music, Shakespeare and Star Trek

The Sound of Music star Christopher Plummer, who has died at the age of 91, was a distinguished star of stage and screen whose career spanned seven decades, winning him worldwide acclaim and numerous awards.

Born in Toronto in 1929, Plummer made his Broadway debut in 1953. By the time he made his first film appearance five years later, he had established himself as a leading Shakespearean actor thanks to his work at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario.

In 1964, Plummer played the title role in a production of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet that was filmed at Elsinore Castle in Denmark, the setting for much of the play’s action.

Sir Michael Caine, who played Horatio in the televised production, recalled in his autobiography how Plummer had to race through his soliloquies lest they be interrupted by a persistent nearby foghorn.

The 1965 film version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical The Sound of Music remains Plummer’s best-known and best-loved film.

Set in Austria in the late 1930s, it saw him play a widowed former naval officer who falls in love with the guardian who comes to look after his seven children.

In 1975’s The Return of the Pink Panther, Plummer played Sir Charles Litton, an urbane aristocrat suspected of being a jewel thief, opposite Peter Sellers’ bumbling Inspector Clouseau.

Catherine Schell played his wife in the film, which Blake Edwards – the husband of Plummer’s Sound of Music co-star Julie Andrews – co-wrote and directed.

Plummer did his own sleuthing in 1979’s Murder By Decree, which saw him play Sherlock Holmes opposite James Mason’s Doctor Watson.

The film saw the fictional detective investigate the real-life murders perpetrated by the notorious killer nicknamed Jack the Ripper.

In 1991’s Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Plummer donned an eye patch and extensive make-up to play the sinister Klingon general Chang.

The film took its subtitle from Hamlet and saw Plummer’s character quote extensively from the Bard’s works.

In the 2002 BBC film Night Flight, Plummer and Edward Woodward played World War Two comrades who reunited 50 years after their wartime service.

From playing Field Marshal Rommel in The Night of the Generals to his role as Squadron Leader Colin Harvey in Battle of Britain, the 1939-1945 conflict was a recurring theme in Plummer’s work.

In 2012, Plummer was named best supporting actor at the Academy Awards for his performance as an elderly man who announces he is gay in the film Beginners.

The award saw the then 82-year-old become the oldest person ever to win a competitive Oscar in an acting category.

Plummer received another Oscar nomination, his third, for playing billionaire John Paul Getty in 2017 drama All the Money in the World.

The actor was brought in at the last minute to replace Kevin Spacey, whose entire performance was excised from Sir Ridley Scott’s film after Spacey was accused of sexual misconduct.

One of Plummer’s last screen appearances came in 2019 comedy Knives Out, in which he played a mystery novelist who dies under curious circumstances.

Don Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, K Callan, Ana de Armas, Michael Shannon, Jaeden Martell, Riki Lindhome, Toni Collette and Katherine Langford also starred in Rian Johnson’s hit whodunnit.

Fishing crew rescued in treacherous conditions off Peterhead

Rescuers braved treacherous conditions to save the crew of a fishing boat “dangerously close” to hitting rocks off the north-east of Scotland.

The vessel was being towed by another fishing boat into Peterhead harbour but the tow broke several times in the stormy weather.

The alarm was raised at 16:30 on Friday and Peterhead RNLI lifeboat was on the scene in minutes.

Coxswain Patrick Davidson said they narrowly avoided a tragedy.

“If we had arrived seconds later the boat would have hit the rocks and it would have been a different outcome,” he said.

“As soon as I saw how close she was to the rocks I immediately requested the helicopter – due to the perilous situation I realised we only had one attempt to get this right.

“The crew and the skipper of the boat could not thank the lifeboat enough and said they’d be forever grateful which makes all the effort worthwhile.”

The RNLI said the boat was close to crashing into rocks at Peterhead south breakwater and the lifeboat crew faced “extremely challenging conditions” due to an easterly gale and a significant swell.

However, the rescuers established a tow at first attempt and brought the crew to safety, saving the five lives on board.

It was Mr Davidson’s first shout as coxswain.

He said his volunteer crew put in a “tremendous effort” and showed great seamanship in “really difficult conditions”.

“There have been weather and flood warnings in place across Aberdeenshire today – the conditions were very dangerous but everyone worked together to ensure the safest outcome,” he said.

Lifeboat operations manager Jurgen Wahle described the rescue as a “phenomenal performance” of the lifeboat team.

“This was a critical incident and the effort from everyone on shore and at sea has resulted in five lives being saved. It is a tremendous outcome, and I’d like to commend the bravery displayed by the crew,” he added.

UK expelled Chinese journalists working as spies

Three journalists who were allegedly working as spies for China were asked to leave the UK last year.

Their departure, first reported by the Daily Telegraph, came because they had arrived under journalism visas but were believed to be working for the Ministry of State Security, part of China’s intelligence apparatus.

Their departure was low-key and did not come in the past few months.

The Home Office declined to comment on the reports.

It is not clear which media organisations they worked for. The Chinese Embassy in London has been contacted for comment.

The revelation came after Ofcom on Thursday revoked the licence of the Chinese state broadcaster CGTN to operate in the UK.

The broadcasting regulator said the company that had the licence did not have day-to-day control over the channel which was against the rules.

The decision was not linked to the reports about the three Chinese journalists.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was “firmly opposed” to Ofcom’s ruling.

Meanwhile, the US government has said it was “deeply disturbed” by a BBC report detailing allegations of systematic rape of Uighur women in Chinese camps.

“These atrocities shock the conscience and must be met with serious consequences,” a spokesperson said.

UK government minister, Nigel Adams, told parliament on Thursday that the report showed “clearly evil acts”.

According to estimates, more than a million Uighurs and other minorities have been detained in camps in China.

An investigation published by the BBC on Wednesday contained first-hand testimony of systematic rape, sexual abuse and torture of women detainees by police and guards.

Met officer who tasered man nine times given warning

A Met Police officer has been given a final warning after tasering a man with mental health problems nine times.

PC Rodney Chiweshe used the weapon, which delivers a high-voltage electric shock , during an arrest of the man who was damaging property and assaulting members of the public.

The man was later sectioned under the Mental Health Act for his own safety.

The warning means PC Chiweshe could be dismissed if he is found guilty of further misconduct.

After reviewing the incident, which took place on 4 June, 2019, an Independent Office for Police Conduct spokesperson said: “The officer breached police professional standards of behaviour by his excessive use of the Taser.

“The Taser is an important tool for police in helping officers respond to often dangerous and challenging situations.

“It is important that officers are held accountable for their use of the Taser where it is used inappropriately.”

A Met Police disciplinary panel concluded five of PC Chiweshe’s uses of the Taser during the arrest were not “necessary, proportionate or reasonable”.

It decided PC Chiweshe had further breached his duty by using the weapon to make the man comply.Tasers are only meant to be used when officers feel at risk of severe violence and not for “pain compliance” to make someone submit to an arrest.

The man who was tasered nine times suffered no long-term injuries and was not charged with any offence.

Nottinghams Joker jailed for attacking man with bowling ball

A “prolific” criminal has been jailed for dropping a bowling ball on a council worker’s head and giving him a brain injury.

Damien Hammond, known for walking around Nottingham dressed as Batman’s nemesis the Joker, had previously been convicted of 110 offences.

In December 2019, he attacked a man who was collecting a television Hammond had left on the pavement outside his flat.

The bowling ball fractured the man’s skull and caused a brain haemorrhage.

Hammond, 31, of Strelley Road in Nottingham, was found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent following a trial at Nottingham Crown Court.

The judge, James Sampson, gave him what is known as an extended sentence, in order to protect the public. The 16-year sentence comprises 12 years in custody and an extended licence period of four years.

The judge told Hammond: “You are a volatile individual who will almost certainly offend again and it would be short-sighted of me if I were not to protect the public.

“You are dangerous and you need to be released only when the danger has subsided.”

The bowling ball was wrapped in a pair of jeans when Hammond launched it out of the window of his flat, which was on the first floor.

The court heard he then had a two-hour stand-off with police, in which he threatened to kill anyone who approached him.

After setting fire to himself, he jumped out of the window. He pleaded guilty to affray in relation to this.

Prosecutors said Hammond had been committing offences since he was 12. Stuart Lody, prosecuting, described his offending as “prolific” and listed offences including theft, violence, damage to property and public disorder.

In 2016 he was given a 12-month prison sentence for wounding. He was also jailed in 2018 for carrying out a series of offences over a three-month period, including obstructing a police officer, criminal damage and disorderly conduct.

Hammond has a long history of mental health problems and had been prescribed antipsychotic medication, but the court heard he did not always take this.

He also had a long history of drug abuse and the court heard he was under the influence of Mamba when he attacked the council worker on 30 December 2019.

Mr Lody said the victim, Mark Poyser, had undergone a change in personality since the attack and now has to wear a card explaining why “his behaviour appears to members of the public to be odd”.

“At home, my injuries continue to affect me and my family,” Mr Poyser said in a statement read to the court.

“I’m still living with the actions of the person who assaulted me. Because of my brain injury, I’m not the same person I was and I’m still coming to terms with this.

“I live with this every day and so do those close to me.”

Encrochat: Secret network messages can be used in court, judges rule

An attempt to stop prosecutors using messages from hundreds of phones that were part of the Encrochat secret communications network in court has been rejected by the Appeal Court.

Judges ruled the messages, obtained by French police by hacking the phones, were not gained by “interception”.

Under British law, evidence from interception cannot be used in court.

The National Crime Agency believes Encrochat was mainly used by criminals, often to trade drugs and guns.

The judgement will have major implications for cases against suspected organised criminals around the country.

Due to legal restrictions, it is the first time the BBC can report the detail of arguments surrounding Encrochat, which was penetrated by police last summer resulting in more than 1,000 arrests.

The NCA, which obtained the evidence from France, said it was the biggest breakthrough ever in the fight against organised crime.

Senior officers described it “as akin to cracking the enigma code”.

The messages, sent by suspects who did not know they were being monitored, detail alleged drug dealing and murder plots, and include images and videos.

Many of the cases based on “Encro” evidence are now going to court, and if this judgement had ruled the messages couldn’t be used, some trials may have been abandoned.

Under long-standing British law, designed to protect intelligence techniques from scrutiny and make criminal trials manageable, intercepted evidence can’t be used in court.

In 2016, Parliament passed the Investigatory Powers Act in a massive overhaul of surveillance law. The act introduced a “double lock” that requires interception warrants to be authorised by a secretary of state and approved by a judge.

In a 2015 factsheet on the bill before it became law, the Home Office defined interception as “making available the content of a communication to someone other than the sender or intended recipient during the course of its transmission. In practice that means listening to a phone call or reading an email”.

But the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon, Lord Justice Edis, and Mrs Justice Whipple dismissed an appeal by lawyers for Encrochat defendants.

The key legal argument centred on a piece of “malware” placed by French experts on Encrochat phones worldwide. It sent copies of every message to a police server.

France has refused to say how, what it called “the implant”, worked, creating legal uncertainty in British courts.

Encrochat was a private messaging service that promised its users secure and secretive communications.

As well as the Encrochat messaging app, the company developed a modified version of the Android operating system and sold altered smartphones known as “carbon units” to run its software.

Switched on by pressing just the power button, the phones would load a “dummy” Android homescreen.

But activated another way they would boot into Encrochat mode.

Getting hold of an Encrochat phone was not cheap, and the subscription charges were more than £200 a month.

Messages sent between handsets were end-to-end encrypted: scrambled as they travelled across the internet, making them hard to intercept.

But in June 2020, the company warned its users that an attack had comprised its handsets and advised them to “physically dispose of your device immediately”.

If the implant had collected the messages as they were being transmitted, this would amount to interception of the communications.

The defence lawyers claimed the implant was taking messages from the phones’ memory, milliseconds before being sent to their wifi or mobile data transmitters and therefore the data was “in transmission”.

But the judges decided the data was in fact being stored temporarily on the devices as it was processed, before being transmitted.

They said this was evident because during the actual transmission the message were encrypted, and therefore couldn’t have been read, as they were by the police.

The data collected also included crucial username information from the phone’s storage memory, which is not sent as part of the transmission.

In Friday’s judgement they compared the process with that of sending a letter: “The process involves the letter being written, put in an envelope, a stamp being attached and then the letter being placed in the post box.

“Only the last act involves the letter being transmitted by a system, but all the acts are essential to that transmission.”

Families of those arrested during the fall-out from the Encrochat penetration have been arguing online that the NCA broke the law by accessing and reading messages “in real time”, as they were being sent.

They say British law enforcement agencies effectively allowed a foreign power, France, to hack the phones of 9,000 UK Encrochat users.

Police claimed that in general, using an Encrochat phone, which cost thousands of pounds to own and operate, demonstrated a likely involvement in criminal activity.

But suspects’ supporters say innocent family members were caught up in a race to make use of the Encro messages, because police feared they would be criticised if they were not seen to take action.

However the decision of the Appeal Court was that the evidence was collected lawfully.

Brexit: Council staff resume inspections at Larne port

Workers withdrawn from doing Brexit checks at the Port of Larne amid allegations of intimidation are to return to duty immediately.

Mid and East Antrim Council took the decision after receiving a threat assessment from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

It involved 12 environmental health officers and a number of other staff.

The council said it had carried out its own risk assessment and staff safety was its priority.

Physical checks were also temporarily suspended on most goods by the Agriculture Department at both Larne and Belfast.

It is now assessing PSNI advice before deciding on its next move.

The checks were stopped on Monday after both the council workers and departmental staff withdrew.

It followed the appearance of graffiti in Larne on 21 January which referred to those involved in the work as targets.

There were also claims that staff car registrations had been recorded.

The PSNI have said there was nothing to indicate loyalist paramilitary involvement or that registrations had been taken.

On Thursday a Stormont scrutiny committee heard the former Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots had pushed for his departmental staff to be withdrawn.

He told his senior civil servant there was a duty to protect them and council workers had already been withdrawn.

Officials decided it would be “proportionate and precautionary” to follow suit, even though the police had not provided a threat assessment.

That PSNI assessment has now been delivered to the Agriculture Department.

A spokesperson said it was “currently considering it alongside its own internal risk assessment”.

“Any decision to recommence full checks will be informed by both documents.”

Christopher Plummers career highlights – Sound of Music, Sherlock and Star Trek

The Sound of Music star Christopher Plummer, who has died at the age of 91, was a distinguished star of stage and screen whose career spanned seven decades, winning him worldwide acclaim and numerous awards.

Born in Toronto in 1929, Plummer made his Broadway debut in 1953. By the time he made his first film appearance five years later, he had established himself as a leading Shakespearean actor thanks to his work at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario.

In 1964, Plummer played the title role in a production of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet that was filmed at Elsinore Castle in Denmark, the setting for much of the play’s action.

Sir Michael Caine, who played Horatio in the televised production, recalled in his autobiography how Plummer had to race through his soliloquies lest they be interrupted by a persistent nearby foghorn.

The 1965 film version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical The Sound of Music remains Plummer’s best-known and best-loved film.

Set in Austria in the late 1930s, it saw him play a widowed former naval officer who falls in love with the guardian who comes to look after his seven children.

In 1975’s The Return of the Pink Panther, Plummer played Sir Charles Litton, an urbane aristocrat suspected of being a jewel thief, opposite Peter Sellers’ bumbling Inspector Clouseau.

Catherine Schell played his wife in the film, which Blake Edwards – the husband of Plummer’s Sound of Music co-star Julie Andrews – co-wrote and directed.

Plummer did his own sleuthing in 1979’s Murder By Decree, which saw him play Sherlock Holmes opposite James Mason’s Doctor Watson.

The film saw the fictional detective investigate the real-life murders perpetrated by the notorious killer nicknamed Jack the Ripper.

In 1991’s Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Plummer donned an eye patch and extensive make-up to play the sinister Klingon general Chang.

The film took its subtitle from Hamlet and saw Plummer’s character quote extensively from the Bard’s works.

In the 2002 BBC film Night Flight, Plummer and Edward Woodward played World War Two comrades who reunited 50 years after their wartime service.

From playing Field Marshal Rommel in The Night of the Generals to his role as Squadron Leader Colin Harvey in Battle of Britain, the 1939-1945 conflict was a recurring theme in Plummer’s work.

In 2012, Plummer was named best supporting actor at the Academy Awards for his performance as an elderly man who announces he is gay in the film Beginners.

The award saw the then 82-year-old become the oldest person ever to win a competitive Oscar in an acting category.

Plummer received another Oscar nomination, his third, for playing billionaire John Paul Getty in 2017 drama All the Money in the World.

The actor was brought in at the last minute to replace Kevin Spacey, whose entire performance was excised from Sir Ridley Scott’s film after Spacey was accused of sexual misconduct.

One of Plummer’s last screen appearances came in 2019 comedy Knives Out, in which he played a mystery novelist who dies under curious circumstances.

Don Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, K Callan, Ana de Armas, Michael Shannon, Jaeden Martell, Riki Lindhome, Toni Collette and Katherine Langford also starred in Rian Johnson’s hit whodunnit.

Christopher Plummer: Star of The Sound of Music dies at 91

Christopher Plummer, the distinguished Canadian actor best known for his role as Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music, has died at the age of 91.

He won an Oscar in 2012 for the film Beginners and was also nominated for The Last Station in 2010 and All the Money in the World in 2018.

In the latter film he replaced Kevin Spacey, whose complete performance as billionaire J Paul Getty was removed.

His many other films included The Man Who Would Be King and Knives Out.

According to reports, Plummer passed away peacefully at his home in Connecticut with his wife Elaine Taylor at his side.

Lou Pitt, his long-time friend and manager of 46 years, remembered him as “an extraordinary man who deeply loved and respected his profession”.

“He was a national treasure who deeply relished his Canadian roots,” he continued. “Through his art and humanity, he touched all of our hearts and his legendary life will endure for all generations to come.

“He will forever be with us.”

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, which awards the Oscars, said he “beguiled audiences across generations”, adding: “He will be missed.” Bafta added their condolences, praising his “amazing work since the 50s”.

The official Twitter account for The Sound of Music added they were “saddened” to hear of his death.

Actor Eddie Marsan worked with Plummer on 2016 film The Exception, and said: “It was like watching a master class. He had nothing to prove anymore so he was completely free, kind, funny mischievous and beautiful to watch. RIP.”

Plummer had a varied career across film, television and theatre, starring in productions on Broadway and with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Yet he will be forever known and loved for The Sound of Music, adapted from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, in which he appeared alongside Dame Julie Andrews.

Plummer had ambivalent feelings towards his best-known film, which he famously renamed The Sound of Mucus in interviews.

He also likened working with Andrews to “being hit over the head with a big Valentine’s Day card, every day”, though they later became great friends.

Born Arthur Christopher Orme Plummer in Toronto in December 1929, Plummer grew up in Montreal as an only child and was exposed to the arts by his mother at an early age.

He first studied the piano before devoting himself to acting, having decided that playing the piano professionally “was very lonely and very hard work”.

He made his debut on the New York stage role in 1954’s The Starcross Story alongside the actress Mary Astor, a show that only ran for one performance.

Yet he soon landed more stage work and later played leading roles at the National Theatre and for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Plummer made his film debut in 1958’s Stage Struck, directed by Sidney Lumet. He was nominated for a Tony the following year and eventually won the award in 1974 for playing Cyrano de Bergerac.

He won his second in 1997 for playing fellow actor John Barrymore in Barrymore.

Plummer was married three times. He and his first wife Tammy Grimes, are the parents of actress Amanda Plummer.

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