On Friday, users of the English Five Pound Note will wave a final farewell to these mostly tatty slips of blue paper when their validity expires. Do you recall the old ones? Obviously, not those white jobs that could have doubled as a tablecloth-for-one but that splendid statement which yodelled status as a teenager of substance. Ah me; long gone them days.
The last time I went into the Bank of England (BoE) was … the last time notes had to be exchanged. On that occasion, it seemed to me as though tumble weed and Sergio Leone were the last ones through.
This week, however, people were sitting and talking earnestly; there was a rope barrier indicating which way to queue; cheerful paint pinged from the walls in brightness, all suggesting times had indeed changed. The extremely personable, efficient teller who took my grubby note smiled cheerily and said ‘ooh, yes. That was a long time ago’ when trying to pinpoint the approximate date of my last visit.
Polymer bank notes have been around for years: Australia, Mexico, Canada and Papua New Guinea to name four national users. I would think BoE’s Canadian Governor, Mr Carney wanted to bring a little bit of home with him were it not for the notion that this is the way things are headed. Extending life at all costs. … but that’s another story and I so wanted to end on a high note.