THE BBC informs us that although 24 million old-style £1 coins have been returned to the Royal Mint in the last year, that still leaves 145 million outstanding.  This is despite the fact that people have been unable to spend them in shops since October 2017.

The round coin was replaced  in March 2017 by a 12-sided version, to help crack down on counterfeiting. Millions of the round £1 coins have been melted down to help create some of the new ones at the Royal Mint, based in Llantrisant near Cardiff.

“I have come from the city. I bring you a welcome gift with a sharp point that you may remember me. I ask, if fortune allowed, that I might be able [to give] as generously as the way is long [and] as my purse is empty.”

So reads an inscription, dating back around 2,000 years, deciphered on a iron stylus found during excavations in London, reports The Guardian.

The implement was discovered by the Museum of London Archaeology department during excavations for Bloomberg’s European headquarters next to Cannon Street station.

Michael Marshall, a senior Roman finds specialist, said: “It’s one of the most human objects from Roman London. It’s very unpretentious and witty. It gives you a real sense of the person who wrote it.”

The dig, which took place between 2010 and 2014,  uncovered some 14,000 artefacts, which archaeologists are still working through.



The MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, who has just been named as the new Leader of the House of Commons, seems to be a bit of a stickler when it comes to the English language.

The Independent says that Rees-Moog has issued a set of rules for staff in his office to follow, including a list of banned words and a requirement to use imperial measurements.

He insists that all non-titled males are given the suffix Esq and words including “ongoing” and “hopefully” are banned.

Other instructions include a call for a double space after full stops and no comma after the word “and”.

Words and phrases not to be used by his staff include: very, due to, unacceptable, equal, yourself, lot, got, speculate, meet with, ascertain and disappointment.

Many more trees need to be planted in the UK if other targets to cut carbon are not met, according to government advisers.

The BBC says the Committee on Climate change (CCC) recommends 30,000 hectares of woodland should be planted annually, more than double the new trees planted last year.

And it said this may have to rise to 50,000 hectares if other carbon reduction targets are not achieved.

The committee is made up of experts in science, economics, and business.

A spokesperson commented: “The government needs to develop a strategy to meet the 30,000-hectare target and it needs to happen quickly.”


Returning to its home city of Manchester is a painting by the artist LS Lowry which was commissioned to promote Britain’s Second World War effort on the home front.

An article in The Guardian says that the 1943 painting, Going To Work, shows a mass of workers trudging through a white industrial haze to the Mather & Platt engineering works in Newton Heath, Manchester.

It was commissioned by the War Artists Advisory Committee and is the only Lowry painting in the collection of the Imperial War Museum but has never been on permanent display in the London museum or on any display at the Manchester outpost, IWM North, which opened in 2002.

Given how important Lowry is to Manchester and Salford, that was something of a ‘crazy’ oversight said IWM curator Claire Brenard.

“It just seems the ideal place to hang it. It is incredibly exciting that it will finally be going on permanent display in its home city.”

Speaking of “going on show”; Hanwell Zoo in West London has a life-sized elephant which has been created using nearly 30,000 used batteries to highlight the thousands of tonnes of cells that end up in landfill each year.

The Independent says that more than one million schoolchildren collected the batteries used to create the 10ft-tall structure, which weighs two tonnes.

Artist Tony Diaz who created the sculpture, said: “It has taken 400 hours and in excess of 29,000 recycled batteries, but every moment has been worth it. Creating this elephant has been a humbling reminder that powering change can come from anywhere.”

Reference list:

  • The Guardian (
  • The BBC (