Cash is King, or is it?

I spent a couple of days in a cold and wet U.K. at the beginning of the week. Mind you it hasn’t been much better here this week either! One thing I did notice is the huge increase in the use of contactless credit cards. I’m old school and much prefer the cash in my pocket, so how safe are they? Well after a bit of research I found out that two key protections with contactless cards are the £30-per-transaction spending limit and the need to enter a PIN after a certain number of transactions. However, there’s evidence that not all banks are upholding this safety check. Which? “stole” 12 contactless cards from volunteers in the autumn of 2016 and made repeated purchases on the high street until asked for a PIN. Three banks, Barclays, the Co-Operative Bank and TSB allowed the volunteers to spend more than £200 in 10 consecutive transactions in just a few hours without prompting them to enter a PIN. Of course, banks and building societies do refund fraudulent transactions; however, there have been occasions where victims of fraud have waited many weeks to have their money returned.  On a more positive note about this, a Big Issue vendor is selling 200 more copies a week since investing in a contactless card machine. Robin Fabian, 50, was struggling to offload the magazine, which supports homeless people, because so few potential customers had cash. So he bought a contactless bank card reader and it paid for itself on the first day. Robin said: “I’ve sold about 200 extra a week. I hold it on top of my Issues so people can see it. I think I’m the only one in the area with one, which gives me an edge.” I much prefer cash but it looks like that is on its way out. 

Talking of cash with less than a fortnight to go until they are no longer accepted in UK shops, more than £2 billion worth of old-style £10 notes remain in circulation. The Bank of England said the withdrawal rate is ‘broadly as expected’ ahead of the March 1st deadline, at which point the paper £10 note will cease to be legal tender replaced completely by the polymer version. Anyone with the old notes beyond this point will still be able to exchange them for the new equivalent at the Bank of England. According to the latest figures, the value of paper £10 notes in circulation is around £2.182 billion, the equivalent of around 218 million paper £10 notes. Currently, weekly returns of paper tenners are averaging a value £85 million. So have good look around especially down the back of the sofa! 

10 years ago I interviewed the actress Pauline Quirke on the radio. She started by telling me about her acting life. She discovered acting at the age of 9 when a couple of after-school clubs were formed by local teachers. One was Country Dancing, the other was a Drama club. Not fancying Country Dancing, Pauline joined the Drama Club and that’s where it all began. From this start, professional work followed almost by accident. In that year, still aged 9, she was cast in her first professional role as a child arsonist in ‘Dixon of Dock Green’, with her career evolving from there. Pauline appeared in numerous TV programmes including her own chat show at the age of 15 entitled ‘Pauline’s People’ and ‘Pauline’s Quirkes’. Subsequent productions included ‘The Further Adventures of Oliver Twist’, 1980’s hospital drama, ‘Angels’, and TV series ‘Shine on Harvey Moon’. Her many TV roles include ‘Our Boy’, ‘Last Christmas’ (with Ray Winstone), ‘Real Women’, ‘Maisie Raine’, ‘David Copperfield’ (with Daniel Radcliffe), ‘North & South’, ‘Emmerdale’, not forgetting her BAFTA-nominated performance in ‘The Sculptress’ and her portrayal of Susan Wright in ITV’s award-winning drama, ‘Broadchurch’ with David Tennant and Olivia Coleman. Pauline is most famous for her role as Sharon Theodopolopodous in ‘Birds of a Feather’ running 127 episodes from 1986 to 2016. She has won the Royal Television Society’s Award for ‘Best Comedy Newcomer’, the coveted Fipa D’Or Biarritz Award at the Cannes Television Awards and a BAFTA nomination. She is an honorary member of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, a patron of the Rennie Grove Hospice, a supporter of Children with Leukaemia, Children in Crisis, and Children’s Hospices UK and has just launched her own Charity ‘PQA Trust’ to help deprived children get performing arts training to build confidence and learn skills for life. At the time of the interview In 2007 Pauline had just opened her very first Pauline Quirke Academy of Performing Arts in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. She told me that she wanted to roll them out across the country. 10 years later there are now approximately 150 academies across the country, with more planned, teaching over 10,000 children aged between 4 and 18 the delights and disciplines of Comedy & Drama, Musical Theatre, and Film & Television. Also coming up in September they are launching a Full time Academy of performing Arts in London. After the interview I went home and told my Wife that I believed she could open the first overseas PQA here in Mallorca. Having come from a musical theatre and dance background and a former Captain Scarlett at Pirates it was perfect for her. After loads of meetings between us the first overseas PQ Academy opened here in January 2009 and is still going strong. Following up from that in October 2016 she expanded into Ibiza too. Last weekend they did their latest production of Annie Jr for al their families and friends to great acclaim. So congratulations to all the students and teachers who I know put a huge amount of work and effort into the production. If you’d like more information about the academy please go to www.pqacademy.com and search for Mallorca. 

A battling 1-0 home victory for Real Mallorca last weekend against Alcoyano to maintain their 10 point lead over Villarreal B. A testing away game on Sunday against 4th placed Cornelia awaits. As I left the ground last weekend I noticed a game of American Football taking place opposite the stadium. It was really weird to see but this was full on and there was a good crowd watching too. The game was between Mallorca Volters and Pioners de L’Hospitalet. The Volters won by 39 – 13. 

And finally a couple of news stories that brought a smile to my face this week. London chicken-lovers have been calling the police asking them to sort out the KFC closure crisis. So many people contacted The Met about the chicken shortage officers had to use Twitter to tell them their favourite restaurant closing is not an emergency. Frustrated police officers in Tower Hamlets tweeted: ‘Please do not contact us about the #KFCCrisis – it is not a police matter if your favourite eatery is not serving the menu that you desire.’ There’s been stories of chicken smuggling and someone even put a bargain bucket on EBay! Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky has been stripped of his Winter Olympics bronze medal after being found guilty of doping. Now not a news story that should bring a smile to your face but this guy was competing in the mixed doubles curling competition! What help do they need? 

Enjoy your weekend.

I present the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show with Ayesha Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca, online at www.radioonemallorca.com and on mobile through their free App for IPhone, Android, The Tunein Radio App and now on the Spanish TDT TV service. If you can’t hear me on the radio then you’ll find me working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again i make an understudy appearance! 

Feel free to email me at rprior@globobalear.com

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