Lisa's week

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Lisa's week: Can you change a fiver?

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Last week the Bank of England released the “New Fiver” – a fiver being our everyday name for a five pound note – into circulation in Britain. Of course, I haven’t got my hands on one yet and looking through my little supply of pound sterling (the official name for British currency), I don’t even have an old one to show you. But I’ve included a photo of just a slice of some of the coins and notes I have in stock for when I head over the water back home, which are only shown in part for obvious reasons!

The New Fiver has been released with much fanfare and has its own website which is full of interesting facts as well as a 360° photo of the new note and even an introductory video, so I recommend you go and check that out. (Link at the end!)

What’s all the fuss about, I hear you ask?

For one thing, it’s now made out of polymer, which means that it’s really durable, cleaner, and water-proof (for all those people who leave them in jeans pockets), as well as having a much longer life span than the previous paper notes. They’ll need replacing less often meaning fewer notes will need to be produced, that in turn means lower energy for manufacturing and transportation.

Did you know that almost 22,000 notes had to be replaced in 2015, which included over 5,000 damaged by chewing? Yuk – although I used to have a dog who was partial to a few notes! The new polymer notes are expected to last 2 ½ times longer and apparently are far less chewable.

There are several new anti-counterfeit features on the notes as the Bank of England tries to stay one step ahead of the criminals, even though only 0.0075% of notes were found to be counterfeit in 2015. See-through windows, Elizabeth Tower in two different foil colours and even a raised part of the note will all make it more difficult for forgers to copy.

Of course, the Queen features on the note but there will be famous Britons featured on the reverse of each of the new notes. The New Fiver features Winston Churchill, the author Jane Austen will be on the new £10 (2017) and artist JMW Turner will be shown on the new £20 (2020).

Making sure I pack my pounds and pence when I travel back home is definitely one of the rituals that makes me realise that I don’t live in the UK any more and it gives me that holiday feeling of needing a different currency other than the Euro. So for now, with no immediate plans to go back, I’m looking forward to getting that first New Fiver.


What is Lisa's week?

"We’ve (hopefully) been entertaining you so far with the meaning and background of a weekly English idiom and now we’ve decided to expand that a little to give me the chance to share some details that come my way in my daily life as a Business English teacher. I hope to find weekly tidbits of information and experience to tell you about such as British traditions that I (or we) celebrate, or typical mistakes made when speaking English, or even some of the funny things I come across in my daily life. We hope that you’ll enjoy the insight into the life of a Brit in Germany!"


Episode 1: The Queen's 90th birthday

Episode 2: What did you do last Sunday?

Episode 3: What's the best way to answer?

Episode 4: The sound of London

Episode 5: Not just a last resort

Episode 6: Quick tip of the week: advice vs. advise

Episode 7: Title talk

Episode 8: The Union Jack

Episode 9: Why Thursday?

Episode 10: Quick tip of the week - Are you watching or just looking?

Episode 11: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Episode 12: Don't forget to take you handy to the public viewing!

Episode 13: Up in the Highlands

Episode 14: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends

Episode 15: Pie in the sky 

Episode 16: Through the tunnel

Episode 17: Keep left!

Episode 18: Quick tip of the week - Rise vs. raise vs. arise

Episode 19: How do you say that?

Episode 20: Back to School!

Episode 21: Sweet cravings