Cashing in with the rise of the machines
There was a time that when you wanted money you went into a bank, wrote a cheque, handed it to the cashier and, in return, they gave you a wad of cash (yes, we know that’s a long time ago). How times have changed. An interesting little snippet of information reached us last week from LINK, the UK’s cash machine network, revealing that the number of ATMs in the UK reached 70,180 in July, surpassing 70,000 for the first time.
That means there are now a ridiculous number of hole-inthe-wall machines across the country.
And the total amount withdrawn from these in July 2015 increased by 4% compared with July 2014 (£11.3 billion up from £10.9bn).
During 2014 (January to December), these ATMs, of which more than 50,000 are free to use, were used 2.8 billion times to withdraw £189bn.
John Howells, chief executive of LINK, said: “Despite cards, contactless payments and digital payments becoming ever more popular, our latest figures show that cash still has a very important place in our purses and wallets.
“In fact, 47 million UK adults, or 92% of us, used a cash machine in the UK last year.”
Yet while the national figure seems enormous if you actually think about it there are a fair number of ATMs in and around Ashford town centre.
We can think of at least half a dozen in the High Street and Lower High Street and then if you add in those inside banks and those situated at out of town supermarkets we must have around 20.
Beware wasps! The Wyevale Garden Centre bases in Willesborough and Hamstreet are warning that swarms of wasps will be besieging the UK this month.
Wasp control products peaked last week, they say, with increased sales of 180% year-on-year.
The high number of wasps is to do with this year’s weather apparently.
With temperatures rising again this week, the stripped little critters are set to be hovering about over the next few days.
And Kentish Express news editor, Alastair Irvine, was himself a wasp victim last month.
He was driving up the M20 to London, minding his own business with the window down because it was a hot day (one of the few we have had this summer).
His arm was resting on the car door when suddenly he felt a sharp prick on his forearm.
He looked down to see a wasp smugly sitting there.
His arm started to swell. So when he arrived in Charlton, his destination, he found a helpful chemist who sold him some antihistamine cream and within minutes the swelling receded.
Now this was the third time in his long life that he’s suffered a wasp sting.
The worst was when he was mowing the lawn with an old-fashioned cylinder mower and one was flung towards him, went into his mouth and stung inside his lower lip (stop laughing at the back please). The wasp died, he survived. Please see next week’s Nuts and Bolts for Alastair Irvine’s riveting dog bite stories!
Our news editor is also pleased to hear that The Pheonix pub in Tufton Street is reopening after a two-year closure.
He used to frequent this establishment occasionally to watch televised football games and was always guaranteed a warm welcome.
Since The Phoenix closed down he’s been going to The John Wallis in the High Street to see the odd game but soon will have a choice – and as we all know, life is all about choices.
A while back we mentioned the Kentish Express’ annual in-house sunflower growing contest, where our editorial and advertising staff were competing to grow the first sunflower that actually flowered.
Well this year’s contest turned into a bit of a disaster.
The seeds all sprouted soon after planting and the sunflowers grew well, initially.
But then it all went wrong and we ended up with straggly stalks with tiny buds, none of which flowered.
So if anyone knows the secret for growing indoor sunflowers in pots, please let us know so next year’s battle is more productive.
And talking of competitions, it’s hard to believe the KE Big Quiz at the Stour Centre in Ashford is just over a month away.
Apart from raising a lot of money for charity, the event – this year celebrating its 10th anniversary – is also a lot of fun for the teams who take part, many of whom turn up year after year to compete.
The Kentish Express will, as usual, have a team taking part, so if you want to take us on then get together a team of up to eight brains and enter.
To do that visit www. kmbigquiz.co.uk
There are now more than 70,000 ATMs in the UK according to LINK, the cash machine network; be prepared for an increase in wasps this month