BITS ‘N’ PIECES
At 1,200 years of age, the British pound is the world’s oldest currency still in use. Dating back to Anglo-Saxon times, the pound has gone through many changes before evolving into the currency we recognise today.
Sterling silver pennies have been around since 775AD, with King Offa of Mercia generally credited with being responsible for the widespread adoption of the coins. The first fully printed banknotes were introduced in 1853. Before that, following its establishment in 1694, the Bank of England only issued partially printed notes with the ‘£’ sign as well as the first digit. The numbers had to be added by hand and each note had to be signed by one of the bank’s cashiers. Today’s banknotes developed out of these original handwritten notes.
The pound is currently the fourth most traded currency in the foreign exchange market, after the US dollar, the euro and the Japanese yen. Each bank note (£5, £10, £20, £50) has its own colour and size – the greater the value, the larger the note. All coins (1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2) carry the profile of Queen Elizabeth II, facing right. Traditionally, monarchs alternate the direction they face on pound coins. The first banknote featuring the Queen’s portrait was a £1 note issued in 1960.
Thin metal threads were embedded in banknotes in 1940. This acted as protection against forgery during the Second World War, when the Nazis launched ‘Operation Bernhard’ with the aim of ruining the British economy.
The pound is not only used in the UK. It also circulates in Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Falkland Islands, Saint Helena, Ascension, Tristan da Cunha, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
A tea stall in Mumbai, now offers you tea in biscuit teacup. This is not only an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic cups but also a great way to enjoy tea and biscuits, all in one.
Biscuit teacups can hold hot tea for approximately eight to 10 minutes, and will not melt before it. You can sip on your chai, and once you are done, eat the biscuit cup. Each cup is made with wheat, starch, and vegetable oil.
Edible teacups are not new in India. A tea joint in Madurai has also been selling tea in this eco-friendly way. Another cafe in Guwahati named ‘Aromica Just Tea’ is also pouring chai in edible cups.
The cup tastes like a cross between an ice cream cone and a chocolate biscuit and holds 60ml of hot tea for about 10 minutes. That is roughly the average time people take to finish the tea before turning to the cup, which turns soggy on the inside and has that very familiar taste of a biscuit dipped in tea.