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British Expat Newsletter: July 2019

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In this issue

This month

OMG. It’s Boris.

Right, that’s the politics out of the way. And if Parliament reckon it’s OK to go on holiday with under 100 days to go until we commit national hara-kiri embark on our great buccaneering adventure, who are we to argue? Let’s talk about something more pleasant instead, like…cash.

It’s hardly a secret that there’s a good deal of talk about the cashless society. It’s been going on for several decades, as other means of payment have been adopted to make it easier for you to part with your readies.

Remember cheques? They started off as being suitable for slow transactions, where you had to wait until the vendor’s bank had cleared the cheque before you received your goods. Then in came the cheque guarantee card, allowing you to spend up to £50 (or, later, £100) with instant gratification. (Of course, unless you kept your balance well in the black there was always the risk that you might get a nasty letter and a hefty charge from your bank a few days later.) And about 15 years after that the supermarkets made it really easy for you by introducing machines that would print your cheque for you, so all you had to do was sign it.

Credit and debit cards have evolved too. Some of us are still old enough to remember the penurious days when we’d visit smaller, less tech-savvy grocery shops rather than the supermarkets. OK, they were more expensive. But they didn’t have electronic fund transfer (“swipe”) machines. Instead, they’d scrunch your card with a piece of carbon paper laid over the top of it, pushing your payment back a couple of extra days and thus meaning it would fall into the following month’s repayment. Then came chip-and-PIN cards – though for some reason it seemed to take the UK about ten years longer to introduce them than it did the French or Belgians. Now of course we’ve got contactless, where you don’t need to enter your PIN at all if you’re paying less than £30. And if you’ve got your smartphone set up right, you don’t even need your card…

So with all that convenience, is there still a place for coins and notes at all? In some countries, there seems to be. In our own particular corner of Europe, for example, they are just about introducing Oyster-type cards on the trolleybuses – but the norm is still to thrust a small handful of notes at the conductress, get a paper ticket and then cancel it in one of the punches up and down the bus. And although there are coins, they’re very low value by Western European standards – the largest in widespread circulation is worth about 3p. The smallest, just about to be withdrawn from legal tender, is worth a hundredth of that!

Puts the debate about withdrawing the penny into a different light, doesn’t it?

The subject of our latest Pic of the Week is currently in Honolulu, but was originally from Clydeside – the full-rigged four-master the Falls of ClydeFalls of Clyde, the world’s last remaining iron-hulled ship of that design. Sadly, her glory’s fading, and an attempt to bring her back to Scotland looks to be on the rocks.

And we’ve decided to have a break from our country-themed Quick Quizzes and have gone for something rather broader, more in the pub quiz linemore in the pub quiz line. Everything from ring-pulls on drinks cans to Donald Trump’s early film career. Have a go!

Are you ever flummoxed by fancy foodie words, mystified by menus, or confused by culinary terms? Then head on over to and become enlightened by our quirky A-Z of food. And it’s got cartoons in it! Don’t forget to tell all your friends about it too.

Write for British Expat

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British Corner Shop

British Corner Shop is the award-winning online grocery store for British expats around the world. Whether you miss Marmite or crave Warburtons crumpets, they can deliver your British favourites straight to your door.

Their website stocks over 10,000 products from Britain’s most loved brands, meaning you can enjoy the British food you miss, wherever you are in the world.

And if you sign up to their newsletter, you can save 15% off your first order. What’s not to like?
British Corner Shop

So there’s a round-up of all that’s been going on. Come on over and see for yourself! Don’t forget…
Visit the BE website and join in with our lively community!

Till next time…

Happy surfing!

British Expat—the definitive home for British expats

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