Friday, 6 September 2019

Week 6 - The Grambler asks for cash back


Welcome to The Grambler, the most ill-informed blog you are ever likely to see.

Stewart was an amazing person - A wonderful husband, a fantastic brother, a loving son and an adored uncle. He was also a brilliant friend and colleague and is missed by so many people. His family are determined that his death will never be in vain and are doing their part to beat bowel cancer for good. We are fundraising for the Bobby Moore Fund which is part of Cancer Research UK and specialises in research into bowel cancer. If you wish to donate to the fund, you can via https://www.justgiving.com/Geraldine-Smith3 .

If you haven’t already done so, please read the article which appeared in the Daily Record and learn from Stewart’s story that you must never be complacent. It makes grim reading for us, his family, even though we were beside him throughout his ordeal, or battle; call it what you will. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/heartbroken-widow-geraldine-smith-raises-3452997

Similarly, if you haven’t heard it, please listen to Geraldine’s moving radio interview which was on Radio Scotland recently.


Stewart began writing The Grambler when he was between procedures and hoping for some form of recovery. He loved all aspects of football and was a lifelong Motherwell supporter. His wish was that The Grambler should continue after his death and I have been happy to oblige. Read on and enjoy

 

I often revisit topics which I have covered in the past and I apologise in advance, because I’m going to do it again.

You may remember a blog from way back where I had a pop at Bri... UK Gas (Do you see what I did there?) for their odd pricing methods where you sign up to various ways of paying your bill rather than everybody paying the same amount for the same product.

Sadly, the practice continues and I was advised that I was paying too much for my gas and electricity. [Surely, that’s a given. - Ed.] Don’t call me Shirley. So, just over a year ago I signed up for a fixed payment deal over a period of time that was also fixed. Having recently checked my payments of the last few months I can announce that I now understand how the scheme works. In their favour, is my conclusion. [That is also a given. - Ed.]

I was told that the amount of energy I used added up to 90 quids a month. Thus I would have 90 quids extracted from my bank account each month. Okay so far. That makes sense.

All went well until February when, without my knowledge, the amount that was being swiped out of my bank account rocketed to almost 120 quids... that’s an increase of... um... lots. Not right, thinks I.

So what had happened to warrant this massive increase? Well, around the time of the increase, Bri... sorry, UK Gas, make ‘adjustments’ based on the amount of energy used over the previous three months. It just happens to coincide with the winter period when the Grambler household uses a lot of energy on trivial things like keeping warm and being able to see when it gets dark. So, instead of the expected three-monthly payment totalling £270, I ended up with bills totalling £450. Hang on a minute, I signed up for £90 a month, not £150.

The odd thing is that, six months later when another ‘adjustment’ figure is made (in my case, less than half the winter total), they don’t automatically take the price down to compensate. No, it stays at the higher figure. They can’t do that without my permission, it would seem; I have to ask for it to be reduced.

Odd that they don’t need my permission to take more, but do when they are to take less.

Do they keep the excess money, I hear you ask. Yes, if I don’t ask for it back, they do. Until I do that, it accumulates and my energy account shows that I am in credit.

By the time I realised what was happening, I had accrued quite a sum. When I asked for it back, it was willingly given; it is my money, after all.

What, then, is the purpose of this odd method of accounting? Well, while my dosh was in their hands, it would have been accruing interest. Not much; maybe just a few pounds. However, is this same way of gathering money used for every customer?  Given that they supply 21.8 million customers in the UK, that would mean that they are raking in 21.8 million times a few quids. A nice little earner, as Arfur Daley would have said. It is an even better earner for UK Gas if the customers don’t bother to ask for their money back. How many people actually take the time to track the payments they are making? Less than half? Probably.

Last year UK Gas profits were 1.39 billion quid... That’s billion, not million. To my socialist mind, that profit ought to be a big round zero. Why should some fat-cat shareholders be profiting from something that is a necessity? Don’t get me started... Anyway, they shouldn’t be raking in even more than they already do by ‘looking after’ our money.

Come on gramblerinis, do what politicians are always telling us to do, take back control... Well, at least take back your own money.

Fixed price billing? You’re telling me it’s fixed!
 
Money money money
Must be funny
In an energy provider's world
 

 
.....oooOooo.....
 

Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or notorious individuals born on the 7th of September? Of course there were. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Elizabeth I aka Good Queen Bess aka the Virgin Queen 1533 (The well-known queen.), William Friese-Greene 1855 (Cinematographer.), Anna Moses aka Grandma Moses 1860 (Artist who only began a career in art when she was 78 years old.), J.P. Morgan Jr. 1867 (Banker... I said banker.), Edith Sitwell 1887 (Posh poet.), Leslie Hore-Belisha 1893 (Politician with an illuminated orange head.), Anthony Quayle 1913 (Actor.), Peter Lawford 1923 (A member of a pack of rats.), Laura Ashley 1925 (Needle pusher.), Eric Hill 1927 (Author and illustrator. The Spot man.), Malcolm Bradbury 1932 (Orfer.), Buddy Holly 1936 (Singer. Time for a clip. Yay! Introduced by a typically creepy-looking Ed Sullivan, here’s Oh Boy.), John Phillip Law 1937 (Actor), Alan Oakes 1942 (Footy bloke. Factoid: Holds the record for the most appearances for Manchester City - 564.), Peter ‘Hatchet-man’ Storey 1945 (Footy bloke.), Gloria Gaynor 1949 (Singer. A clip? Right, all you blackbelts in karaoke, all together now... First I was afraid, I was petrified...), Julie Kavner 1950 (Actress. The voice of Marge Simpson.), Chrissie Hynde 1951 (Musician. Here’s Chrissie in best Emma Peel impression mode... except Mrs Peel drove a decent car. A Reliant? I ask you!), Morris Albert 1951 (Singer. Have a clip. How are you feeling? [I’ve heard of the Morris Minor and Morris Oxford, but what’s a Morris Albert when it’s at home? - Ed.]), Corbin Bernsen 1954 (Actor.), Diane Warren 1956 (Songwriter. Factoid: she is the third most successful female artist in the UK. Here’s a song wot she wrote. Those 80s' fashions are just... awful.), Jermaine Stewart 1957 (Singer. Here he is fully dressed.), Andreas Thom 1965 (Fußball-Typ.), Toby Jones 1966 (Ector.), Marcel Desailly 1968 (Footballeur.), Tom Everett Scott 1970 (Actor.), Vera Zvonareva 1984 (теннисный парень Ha! That threw you. Apparently, it’s Russian for Tennisy bloke.), Adam Eckersley 1985 (Footy bloke.) and Charlie Daniels 1986 (Footy bloke.).

 
 
 

I’ve received a letter...

 

Dear Mr. Gargler,

We thought it was fantastic to hear a song from the great Buddy Holly. It is amazing just how many of his great songs were hits for other artists. There was Not Fade Away by the Rolling Stones, Oh Boy by Mud, Everyday by Don McLean, True Love Ways by Peter and Gordon and many others. One, we believe, was a hit for Leo Sayer, but neither of us can remember which. Can you help?

Yours with love and kisses,

Ray Ning, Ian Mahart.

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

There were no predictions from The Grambler last week, but he/she/it is back this week with five surefire winners [Believe that and you’ll believe anything. - Ed.]. Because of qualifiers for some piddling little competition... the Eurovision Championship or something, there are very few Saturday games available for The Grambler to choose from. Basically, League Two plus a few from League One...

Game - Result - Odds

Colchester vs Walsall - Prediction Home win - 21/20

Orient vs Swindon - Prediction Home win - 21/10

Mansfield vs Scunthorpe - Prediction Home win - 10/11

Plymouth vs Oldham - Prediction Home win - 3/4

Forfar vs East Fife - Prediction Home win - 17/20

...oh, and one Scottish League One game.

Leyton Orient to beat Swindon? You are having a laugh, Grambler.

Any road up, the bets have been placed (10 x 20 pee doubles plus 1 x 20 pee accumulator) and if they all go according to The Grambler’s Predictions (Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!), the Bobby Moore Fund stands to receive a whopping....

 

£16.80

 
 
That is whoppingness of the highest order, if you ask me... which you haven’t done.

It is, though.
 
 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Teaser time. Yay! Last time I asked you to name the three clubs which, as of September the 3rd, had a 100% points tally. I thought you would easily get two, but wasn’t so sure of the third. The answers are Liverpool (top of the Premier League), Celtic (top of the Scottish Premiership) and Dundee United (top of the Scottish Championship).

One for this week? Here’s a cracker. Which top club was originally known as Dial Square F.C.?

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

As usual (at the risk of repeating myself), I remind you of the main reason for continuing to publish this blog – to raise awareness about bowel cancer. If you have any bowel problems, don’t be fobbed off with the line that you are too young for bowel cancer to be a consideration. Just point your doctor in the direction of http://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/campaigns-policy/latest-campaigns/never-too-young-campaign

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Please, also take the time to click on this link, an informative little video from Mersh (a great friend of Stewart’s).

 

…..oooOooo…..

 

 

And finally Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to various individuals for this week’s finishing items which are political. Sort of. Unless you have spent the past few weeks in a jungle retreat without a decent wi-fi signal, you are probably aware that the Yuk has a new PM. Sadly, Bullying Bojo is not getting things going quite the way he had hoped. He lost his first vote in the House of Commons and, in that typically understated British way, there was an immediate shout of ‘Not going too well, Boris’ from the gallery. Boris’ main reason for reaching Number 10 was his determination to get Britain out of Europe while doing his Noel Edmonds impersonation... Deal or no deal.  Geddit?  No?  Please yourselves. The difference is that Noel carries a big mug, whereas Boris is a... No.  Perish the thought.  Anyway, with that in mind, let’s finish with a few (not necessarily new) Brexit gags...

“A lot of Leave voters say ‘Stop complaining, it’s democracy!’ Well democracy doesn’t always work. If five people democratically elect to take your iPhone, it’s a mugging.” - Dane Baptiste

An Englishman, a Scotsman and an Welshman walk into a bar.
The Englishman wanted to go so they all had to leave.

“I voted Remain, not just for political reasons but because my mum’s moved to Spain and I want her to stay there.” - Leo Kearse

Have we tried unplugging 2016 waiting ten seconds and plugging it back in?

In and out’, it’s a very hard decision. It’s like the other day, my flatmate was making me a peppermint tea, and he said ‘would you like bag leaving in, or taken out?’ If you leave the bag in, on the whole the cup of tea itself will get stronger, and it might appear that the bag is getting weaker, but it’s now part of a stronger cup of tea. Whereas if you take the bag out, the tea’s now quite weak, but the bag itself goes directly in the bin.” - James Acaster

“I was surprised when people kept voting to keep Wagner on X Factor, and ever since then it’s never surprised me, our ability to mess up a vote.” - Alex Brooker

“We have no negotiating position. The EU has a negotiating position, it’s this: “Well, f*** off then!” - Jonathan Pie

“A Brexit deal could take ten years. That’s not fair. Most of the people who voted for it could be dead by then.” - Gary Lineker

“Let’s get one thing clear, personally I in no way believe that all those who voted for Brexit are racist or stupid. People voted based on the information (albeit limited and misleading) put before them by politicians. We could just as easily have arrived at a result by counting belly buttons. Innies Vs Outies. Turns out we are a nation of outies. - Sajeela Kershi

Hello, I am from Britain, you know, the one that got tricked by a bus. - Ahir Shah

“What’s driving Brexit? From here it looks like it’s probably the Duke of Edinburgh”Milton Jones

 

 

That’s all for this week folks, but remember you can read the musings of The Grambler every week (well... most weeks) by going to the blog at www.thegrambler.com

 

Happy grambling.

 

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Week 4/5 - The intolerant Grambler


Welcome to The Grambler, the most ill-informed blog you are ever likely to see.

Stewart was an amazing person - A wonderful husband, a fantastic brother, a loving son and an adored uncle. He was also a brilliant friend and colleague and is missed by so many people. His family are determined that his death will never be in vain and are doing their part to beat bowel cancer for good. We are fundraising for the Bobby Moore Fund which is part of Cancer Research UK and specialises in research into bowel cancer. If you wish to donate to the fund, you can via https://www.justgiving.com/Geraldine-Smith3 .

If you haven’t already done so, please read the article which appeared in the Daily Record and learn from Stewart’s story that you must never be complacent. It makes grim reading for us, his family, even though we were beside him throughout his ordeal, or battle; call it what you will. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/heartbroken-widow-geraldine-smith-raises-3452997

Similarly, if you haven’t heard it, please listen to Geraldine’s moving radio interview which was on Radio Scotland recently.


Stewart began writing The Grambler when he was between procedures and hoping for some form of recovery. He loved all aspects of football and was a lifelong Motherwell supporter. His wish was that The Grambler should continue after his death and I have been happy to oblige. Read on and enjoy

 

Apologies for this week’s blog being a little bit... erm... late. Blame tinternet. No, blame the lack of tinternet. Anyway, better late than never, [You reckon? - Ed.] let us begin...

A sad start to this week’s blog as it marks six years since Stewart died. Sometimes it seems like only yesterday when we, his family, were gathered round his hospital bed feeling helpless that we couldn’t help this young man whose life was being taken away. He had endured so much suffering in the months... years... leading to this moment.

Other times it all seems a lifetime ago.

Although we think of him every day, this week he is in our thoughts even more as we curse bowel cancer for taking Stewart from us. Please, take the time to read some of the important links highlighted in this blog. Being able to spot the early signs of bowel cancer is important.

Nobody deserves to suffer the way Stewart did.

 

.....oooOooo.....
 

And now, on with the usual drivel...

I wonder if, like me, you have an acquaintance who you must never greet with the words ‘how are you’; the reason being that he or she would be only too willing to tell you... at length. Let’s face it, when we ask how someone is, the answer should be ‘I’m fine’. We don’t want to know of any coughs/sniffles/operations. It’s a silly question to ask, really; far more sensible to just say hello.

It is odd that some people just love being unwell and telling everyone about it. My own dear departed mother was very much someone who ‘enjoyed poor health’. I lived a distance away from her so would ring each week and the conversation would always begin the same way. I would ask her how she was and these are some of the responses...

‘I’m no better,’ or ‘They’ve changed my prescription,’ or ‘I can’t get an appointment til a week on Tuesday.’ These were her opening remarks. There was never any lead in. Thus, I was unaware what she was no better than or what her prescription consisted of or who she couldn’t get an appointment with (although, I always suspected she was talking of doctor rather than hairdresser).

Other people love to ‘big up’ whatever is wrong with them. How often have you heard somebody announce that their ailment is ‘the worst case of (insert ailment of choice here) the doctor has ever seen’? Why should that make your illness special?

Another example is saying that the doctor told them that they had got to see him just in time. They never add anything to that; you are left to infer that if they hadn’t seen him when they did, they would be dead. It’s more likely that the doctor said they had got to him just in time because he was about to leave the surgery to play golf.

Any road up, where is all this leading, I hear you ask. There is another type... the type with a condition. It might not be anything life threatening; instead it is probably something that can be contained by drugs or sensible eating. Many people have what is known as type 2 diabetes which can be kept under control by improvements to diet and lifestyle. Most people just get on with it, realising that it is of no consequence to anyone else. Others have to tell everyone they meet. To be honest, bloke standing next to me at the checkout in Tesco, I really wasn’t in the least bit interested that your shopping basket contained very few sweet things because you are diabetic. I felt like announcing that my basket had only sausage rolls and cola in it because I’m a lazy lard-arse. I didn’t though, because it didn’t and I’m not. [Mrs G might disagree. - Ed.]

I remember a business meeting taking place at work many moons ago. There must have been twenty or so individuals sat around a large table discussing some important topic. I knew it was important because several senior managers were present. As is the norm with such meetings, this one dragged on a bit and, after a couple of hours, one individual (not a manager) reached down into a bag he had with him. He then placed on the table his lunch-box [Steady on. - Ed.] from which he removed a sandwich. As the rest of those present looked on incredulously, he began to eat. After a while, he explained that he was diabetic and had to eat at regular times.

Fair enough, but did he have to make such a show of the fact? The only thing missing was a checked napkin tucked into his collar in the style of Oliver Hardy sitting down to a meal. He could surely have brought some less ostentatious food with him to keep him going until his proper meal time; something he could have eaten without drawing attention to himself. But then, that was the point... ‘Look at me. I’m diabetic.’

Then there is Tom. Who is Tom, I hear you ask. Tom is intolerant. That’s what he keeps telling anyone who might be around when there is food about. ‘I can’t eat that; I’m gluten intolerant,’ he will announce to no-one in particular. The simple answer for most people who must eat a gluten-free diet is to seek out those foods which they can eat. If they are in a restaurant, they will look for the gluten-free options. Not Tom. He has to go through the menu, item by item, telling those about him that he can’t eat it. He’s gluten intolerant, you see.

Do the get the impression that his behaviour annoys me? Yes? Well, you’d be right. I mean, I can’t sleep on those low Japanese settee type beds. Do I tell the world that I’m futon intolerant? Of course I don’t. I really don’t like a town in Bedfordshire, famous for car manufacturing. Do you care that I’m Luton intolerant? [Okay, I think we’ve spotted the trend. - Ed.] Of course not. I’m not enamoured of the people who lived in Jutland in the 4th century BC, but I don’t tell everyone that I’m Teuton intolerant. [Yes, all right, we get the picture. - Ed.] And I can’t stand those crunchy bits of bread you get floating around in soup. [Crouton intolerant? - Ed.] Exactly. And don’t talk to me about gravity. [Sorry? - Ed.] Don’t stop me now; I’m on a roll. An apple falling out of a tree proves gravity? Do me a favour. I am definitely Newton intolerant. [Groan... - Ed.]. Russian politics? No thank you. I want my politics totally Putin free. [All right! I give in! Please stop. - Ed.]

And as for Tom... Do you know what? I’m you, Tom, intolerant!

I can’t stand burnt toast either. [Pardon? - Ed.] I’m black toast intolerant.

 

.....oooOooo.....
 

Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or notorious individuals born on the 24th of August? Of course there were. Here are some I’ve even heard of. William Wilberforce 1759 (Politician. Slave trade abolitionist.), Max Beerbohm 1872 (Writer don’t cha know.), Jean Rhys 1890 (Writer don’t cha know.), Alyn Ainsworth 1924 (Musician.), Yasser Arafat 1929 (Politician.), Kenny Baker 1934 (Actor. R2-D2.), Antonia Duffy 1936 (Orfer A.S. Byatt.), Mason Williams 1938 (Guitarist, composer, writer, comedian, and poet... in fact, a right old smarty boots. Here’s his most famous guitar piece.), Jean Michel Jarre 1948 (Musician. Have a clip.), Carlo Curley 1952 (Organist. Have a bit of cult'yur.), Linton Kwesi Johnson 1952 (Poet. Here’s Englan is a Bitch.), Sam Torrance 1953 (Golfy bloke.), Jeffrey Daniel 1957 (A bit of Shalamar. Another clip?  Here's A Night to Remember.), Stephen Fry 1957 (Writer, actor, comedian end netional treasure don’t cha know.), Steve Guttenberg 1958 (Actor.), Mark de Vries 1975 (Voetbal kerel.), Denílson de Oliveira Araújo 1977 (Cara de futebol.) and Rupert Grint 1988 (Actor.).

And now...

August the 31st. Caligula 12AD (The well-known emperor. Who would have thought a complete nutjob could be in charge of a country. Looked nothing like John Hurt.), Fredric March 1897 (Actor.), Bernard Lovell 1913 (Astronomer.), Richard Basehart 1914 (Actor.), Alan Jay Lerner 1918 (Librettist... They can’t touch you for it. Here is a selection of his work from Julie Endrews.), Buddy Hackett 1924 (Comedian. It says here.), Herbert Wise 1924 (Television producer... I mean he produced TV programmes... not... actual... tellies. I Clavdivs was one of his. You know, the one with John Hurt as Caligula, the well-known loony.), James Coburn 1928 (Actor.), Roy Castle 1932 (Dancer, singer, comedian, actor, television presenter and musician... yeah... right.), Martin Bell 1938 (Journalist. Aka The Man in the White Suit.), Jerry Allison 1939 (A Cricket. Played the drums. Have a clip. He co-wrote this.), Roger Dean 1944 (Artist famous for his album covers for certain prog rock bands.), Clive Lloyd 1944 (Crickety bloke.), Van Morrison 1945 (A charming singer. Have a clip. Here’s Les Them with Gloria.), Itzhak Perlman 1945 (Fiddler. Here’s a wee bit cult'yur.), Bob Welch 1945 (Musician. Another clip? Here’s Sentimental Lady.), Richard Gere 1949 (Actor. Don’t mention the hamster.), Edwin Moses 1955 (Runny jumpy bloke.), Glenn Tilbrook 1957 (A bit of Squeeze. Have a clip. Here’s Pulling Mussels (From the Shell). Don’t ask what the lyrics mean... You really don’t want to know.), Debbie Gibson 1970 (Chanter. Time to shake your love. Just do it when no one’s watching.), Greg Mulholland 1970 (Politicky bloke.), Kirstie Allsop 1971 (Presenter presenter presenter.), Ian Harte 1977 (Footy bloke.), Simon Neil 1979 (A bit of Biffy Clyro. Have a clip. Here is the band’s highest-placed single - Mountains.), Pepe Reina 1982 (Portero de fútbol.) and Cédric Soares 1991 (Cara de futebol.).
 
An example of Roger Dean's work -
a gentle, giant octopus
 

Do you also need reminding that a certain Princess died in a car crash 22 years ago? No? Okay.

 

 

 

 

I’ve received a letter...

 

Dear Mr. Tangler,

Thanks for giving us a link to a song from one of my favourite bands, Squeeze. Listening to music is something I enjoy doing as I travel the canals of England in my large work boat.

Here is a question you might be able to answer for me. What Squeeze album included Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)?

Yours with love,

R. Gee (bargee).

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Now it’s time to look at the last bets we had based on The Grambler’s predictions. Did we win? Did we fu... No we didn’t. Well, that’s not quite true. We actually had a return of 62 pees from our £2.20 bet. Does that count as a win? Nah. What happened? Read on.

Bradford vs Oldham - Prediction Home win

Result - Bradford 3 Oldham 0

Yay!

Goals from skipper James Vaughan, Clayton Donaldson and Sean Scannell gave Bradford a comfortable win as they swept aside Oldham 3-0 at Valley Parade.

They took the lead in the fifth minute when Connor Wood crossed from the left and Vaughan scored at the far post from close range.

Oldham had most of the possession after that setback, with some neat, constructive play causing some anxious moments in the Bradford defence.

And captain Mohamed Maouche was unlucky to see his shot from the edge of penalty area rebound off a post in the 21st minute.

However, it was the home side who went further ahead in the 32nd minute when right-back Kelvin Mellor's lofted pass found Donaldson unmarked and he lobbed the ball over the head of advancing goalkeeper Gary Woods for Bradford's second goal.

The second half was an evenly fought affair before the Bantams put the result beyond doubt. Donaldson held the ball up on the right before laying it into the path of the onrushing Scannell to score with a superb shot into the far corner.

 

Colchester vs Cambridge - Prediction Home win

Result - Colchester 1 Cambridge 2

Boo!

Substitute Harry Darling's goal was a late winner as Cambridge came from behind to secure a 2-1 victory at Colchester.

The hosts had made a fast start, taking a ninth-minute lead following a confident penalty by Luke Norris.

But they failed to add a second despite dominating the first half, with Luke Prosser heading against the crossbar from Jevani Brown's corner late in the opening period.

Cambridge were on level terms 10 minutes into the second half as Marc Richards headed home from a Leon Davies cross.

And their winner came four minutes from time when goalkeeper Dean Gerken was unable to keep out an acrobatic effort from Darling.

 

Northampton vs Macclesfield - Prediction Home win

Result - Northampton 1 Macclesfield 2

Boo!

Theo Archibald scored a last-minute winner as Macclesfield secured a dramatic 2-1 victory over Northampton.

Macclesfield led at half-time through Ben Stephens' strike.

Jordan Turnbull equalised, only for Archibald to win it at the death.

Joe Ironside headed an early chance wide for the visitors but Northampton pressed for the opening goal with Matty Warburton off-target from long range and Scott Wharton heading over.

Macclesfield struck against the run of play six minutes before half-time when Archibald's perfect through ball was swept into the bottom corner by Stephens.

Jak McCourt smashed a post with a free-kick in first-half stoppage-time and David Cornell was at full stretch to deny Stephens a second after half-time.

Northampton levelled with 18 minutes to go when Charlie Goode flicked on a corner and Turnbull poked in at the back post.

Andy Williams missed an open goal three minutes later and that proved costly when Archibald found the bottom corner in the last minute.

 

Scunthorpe vs Crawley - Prediction Home win

Result - Scunthorpe United 2 Crawley Town 2

Ooh! ’It the bar!

Crawley squandered an opening inside the first 20 seconds as Rory Watson saved from Ashley Nadesan, but went in front when Bez Lubala drilled home from inside the box in the 20th minute.

Scunthorpe levelled not long after the half-hour mark as Rory McArdle headed in from a corner and 10 minutes into the second half they led after Matthew Lund rifled home from 20 yards.

Crawley hit back with Nathan Ferguson's equaliser in the 73rd minute - and would have won it but for Watson's acrobatics - a series of fine late saves - one of which kept out a Bez Lubala penalty - denying them. He got down well to his right to push away Lubala's 79th-minute spot-kick and later tipped a long-range strike from the same player onto a post.

 

Annan vs Albion - Prediction Home win

Result - Annan Athletic 3 Albion 2

Yay!

No match report... this being a lower Scottish league and therefore non-existent to the English-based Beeb Beeb Ceeb... so here are the scorers for you.

For Annan - Swinglehurst, Nade, Lynas (og)

For Albion - Wilson, East.

 

There is no bet for this week as the blog is being published so late. Rest assured, The Grambler’s predictions will be back next week. [Is that a promise... or a threat? - Ed.]

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Teaser time. Yay! Last time I asked you which companies sponsored various English Premiershit teams. The answers were...

M88 - Bournemouth

W88 - Aston Villa

American Express - Brighton and Hove Albion

Lovebet - Burnley

Chevrolet - Manchester United

Yokohama Tyres - Chelsea

SportPesa - Everton

Union Standard Group - Sheffield United

Etihad Airways - Manchester City

AXA - Liverpool

Incidentally, it is sad that, despite all the noises being made about the evils of gambling, ten teams in the Premiershit are still sponsored by betting firms.

Any road up, how about a teaser for this week? Here’s one that is current, but might change very soon. Without referring to the senior league tables (English and Scottish) can you name the three clubs which, as of today (September the 3rd), have a 100% points tally? You will get two, but the third? Hmm...

 

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

As usual (at the risk of repeating myself), I remind you of the main reason for continuing to publish this blog – to raise awareness about bowel cancer. If you have any bowel problems, don’t be fobbed off with the line that you are too young for bowel cancer to be a consideration. Just point your doctor in the direction of http://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/campaigns-policy/latest-campaigns/never-too-young-campaign

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Please, also take the time to click on this link, an informative little video from Mersh (a great friend of Stewart’s).

 

…..oooOooo…..

 

 

And finally Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am not known for serious thoughts on political matters, but I am indebted to a Mr S. Fry who gave us some wise words regarding the recent machinations from Bozo Bojo to force the Brexit decision to go his way...

Weep for Britain. A sick, cynical brutal and horribly dangerous coup d’état. Children playing with matches, but spitefully not accidentally: gleefully torching an ancient democracy and any tattered shreds of reputation or standing our poor country had left.

 

 

That’s all for this week folks, but remember you can read the musings of The Grambler every week by going to the blog at www.thegrambler.com

 

Happy grambling.

 

Friday, 16 August 2019

Week 2/3 - Grambling and juggling


Welcome to The Grambler, the most ill-informed blog you are ever likely to see.

Stewart was an amazing person - A wonderful husband, a fantastic brother, a loving son and an adored uncle. He was also a brilliant friend and colleague and is missed by so many people. His family are determined that his death will never be in vain and are doing their part to beat bowel cancer for good. We are fundraising for the Bobby Moore Fund which is part of Cancer Research UK and specialises in research into bowel cancer. If you wish to donate to the fund, you can via https://www.justgiving.com/Geraldine-Smith3 .

If you haven’t already done so, please read the article which appeared in the Daily Record and learn from Stewart’s story that you must never be complacent. It makes grim reading for us, his family, even though we were beside him throughout his ordeal, or battle; call it what you will. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/heartbroken-widow-geraldine-smith-raises-3452997

Similarly, if you haven’t heard it, please listen to Geraldine’s moving radio interview which was on Radio Scotland recently.


Stewart began writing The Grambler when he was between procedures and hoping for some form of recovery. He loved all aspects of football and was a lifelong Motherwell supporter. His wish was that The Grambler should continue after his death and I have been happy to oblige. Read on and enjoy

 

Well, the new football season is well underway now and I attended my first game last Saturday: the Mighty ’Well against Celtic. I would love to tell you that the Steelmen came out on top, but the 5-2 scoreline suggests otherwise.

The pundits who spoke after the game used expressions such as ‘Celtic blew Motherwell away’. That wasn’t the game I watched. Motherwell were well on top for the first part of the match and scored the first goal. Sadly for the ’Well, the players in the Celtic team are quicker and stronger and it wasn’t long before those qualities began to show.

I won’t say we should have won the game; Celtic are a better side and deserved the win. However, I will say that they should only have won by, say, one goal rather than the three. Why? The referee, that’s why.  He made many decisions that helped Celtic on their way to what looked as if it was an easy win. For example, a Celtic player went to ground just outside the box and the ref immediately awarded a free kick. I'm not saying it was a dive...  Anyway, Leigh Griffiths took the free kick and scored an absolute belter, but he really shouldn’t have been given the opportunity.

Later in the game, a Celtic winger received the ball and it was obvious that he handled the ball to bring it under control. I say handled, juggled more like. It was pretty blatant, but the ref turned a blind eye and a goal was scored from the move that followed.

The Celtic support weren’t very sporting either. Just before the goal, there was an incident where the ball went into the crowd and they refused to give it back. A new ball was sent on. As soon as our goalkeeper received it, the original ball was thrown at him. Not funny, Celtic fans. He was just clearing away the extra ball when another was thrown onto the pitch. Come on, a joke’s a joke and all that...

It was while he was retrieving that ball that the move that resulted in the goal began. The officials really should have stopped play until everything had been cleared away. But they didn’t. The goal stood.

Again, the referee chose not to intervene while all these shenanigans were going on. There were many other incidents of... cheating... there I’ve said it... from Celtic players that the ref either didn’t see or thought it better to ignore. One such saw a Motherwell player tackled to the ground in a move that was more suited to all-in wrestling than football.

All this must seem like sour grapes from a disgruntled Motherwell fan. I’m not disgruntled, although I’m not exactly gruntled. (Thanks to P.G. Wodehouse for that one.) My old gripe about Scottish football referees hasn’t changed since the last time I had a right old grumble about them. The problem with many referees is that they grew up with the Rangers vs Celtic mentality. Every kid growing up in Scotland, with an interest in football, will be asked this same question... Who do you support, Rangers or Celtic? That is the choice. Such is the ‘us and them’ mentality in Scotland (certainly west central Scotland) that, from an early age, children have it drummed into them that they must be firmly in one camp or the other.

Am I suggesting that referees are biased? There is a retired referee called Bobby Tait who has made quite a career out of after-dinner speaking at masonic clubs and the like. When he was a ref, he had a reputation for favouring Rangers. Whether it was the case or not, his after-dinner routine now plays up to the fact totally. It is, incidentally, hilarious.

That is (allegedly) one reason for the predominance (That’s a good word; wonder what it means.) of Rangers and Celtic winning a lot of games by the odd penalty or three being given in extra time.

Another, more sinister, reason for favouring the big teams is fear. Sadly, many football fans take losing a game very seriously indeed. Fan is short for fanatic, after all. Do you remember the cup final incident of 20 years ago when referee Hugh Dallas was treated for a head wound after being hit with a missile (possibly a coin) thrown by an angry fan? Other incidents have included referees having their house windows smashed or their cars damaged.

Would you want to upset a mob of thousands of angry supporters by making decisions against their beloved team?

I still hold with my assertion that the way to deal with such matters, which would keep both sides happy, would be to import referees from England and elsewhere to take charge of matches involving Rangers or Celtic.

Further ammunition for my views was provided on Tuesday when Celtic were bundled out of the Champions League qualifiers. I would suggest that having a neutral referee, favouring neither side, meant that at least the result was a fair one. I really wanted Celtic to succeed... when it comes to European competitions, I want my local team to win... but had to concede that they were beaten by the better team.

Without any dodgy decision-making from the ref.
 
A lot of balls
[You said it. - Ed.]

 
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Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or notorious individuals born on the 10th of August? Of course there were. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Henri Nestlé 1814 (Founder of what is now the world’s largest food company.), Aleksandr Glazunov 1865 (Composer. A clip?  Why not?), Laurence Binyon 1869 (Poet. Here is his most famous work, For the Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,

England mourns for her dead across the sea.

Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,

Fallen in the cause of the free.

 

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal

Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,

There is music in the midst of desolation

And a glory that shines upon our tears.

 

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,

Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.

They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;

They fell with their faces to the foe.

 

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

 

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;

They sit no more at familiar tables of home;

They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;

They sleep beyond England's foam.

 

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,

Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,

To the innermost heart of their own land they are known

As the stars are known to the Night;

 

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,

Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;

As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,

To the end, to the end, they remain.

Wise words there Larry mate.), Herbert Hoover 1874 (The well-known president.), Charles Darrow 1899 (Inventor of the bored game Monopoly... Did I tell you I don’t enjoy playing it?), Jack Haley 1897 (Actor. Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz.), Norma Shearer 1902 (Actress.), Leo Fender 1909 (Guitar designer and manufacturer. Factoid: Leo Fender couldn’t play the guitar.), Noah Beery Jr. 1913 (Actor. Played James Garner’s dad in The Rockford Files although he was only 15 years older than him.), Rhonda Fleming 1923 (Actress.), Eddie Fisher 1928 (Chanter. Have a clip.), Keith Duckworth 1933 (Engineer. Founded Cosworth.), Tony Ross 1938 (Author and illustrator of children’s books.), Kate O’Mara 1939 (Ectress, luvvie.), Bobby Hatfield 1940 (A Righteous Brother. Have another clip. Nice suit, Bob.), Sid Waddell 1940 (Sports commentator. Suff’rin’!), Anita Lonsbrough 1941 (Swimmy bloke.), Jimmy Griffin 1943 (Musician.  Co-wrote this.), Ronnie Spector 1943 (A Ronette. Have another clip.  All together now... The night we met...), Ian Anderson 1947 (Musician.), Alan Ward 1947 (Crickety bloke.), Dianne Fromholtz 1956 (Tennisy bloke.), Rosanna Arquette 1959 (Actress.), Antonio Banderas 1960 (Actor. El gato con batos.), Julia Fordham 1962 (Singer-songwriter. Here’s her biggest UK hit.), Charlie Dimmock 1966 (Gardener.), Riddick Bowe 1967 (Boxy bloke.), Roy Keane 1971 (Grumpy footy bloke.), Lawrence Dallaglio 1972 (Ruggery bloke.) and Bernardo Silva 1994 (Cara de futebol.).

And now... August the 17th... Davy Crockett 1786 (King of the wild frontier according to the song.), Monty Woolley 1888 (Actor.), Mae West 1893 (Actress. First to use the line, ‘Is that a gun in your pocket?...’), William Rootes 1894 (Businessman. Founded the Rootes Group. [There’s a surprise. - Ed.]), Maureen O’Hara 1920 (Actress.), Ted Hughes 1930 (Poet.), Robert De Niro 1943 (Actor. Are you looking at him?), John Humphrys 1943 (Broadcaster.), Hugh Baiocchi 1946 (Golfy blake.), Gary Talley 1947 (A Box Top. A clip? Here is their biggest hit.), Julian Fellowes 1949 (Writer and English milord don’t cha know.), Nelson Piquet 1952 (Racey car bloke. [Didn’t he invent chewing gum? - Ed.]), Guillermo Vilas 1952 (Tennisy bloke.), Kevin Rowland 1953 (A midnight runner for Dexy. Another clip?  Geno Geno Geno Geno Geno Geno Geno...), Robin Cousins 1957 (Skatey bloke.), Belinda Carlisle 1958 (Chanter. Have a clip.), Fred Goodwin 1958 (Banker... I said banker. Known as Fred the Shred.), Sean Penn 1960 (Actor.), Maria McKee 1964 (Chanter. Another clip? Go on... show her heaven.), Donnie Wahlberg 1969 (An old new kid on the block. Let’s have a clip. This is Hangin' Tough or looking like a right tw*t, if you prefer.), Jim Courier 1970 (Tennisy bloke.), William Gallas 1977 (Footballeur.), Thierry Henry 1977 (Footballeur aussi.) and Phil Jagielka 1982 (Footy bloke.).

 

 

I’ve received a letter...

 

Dear Mr Drambuie,

Thank you for giving a link to a New Kids on the Block song. I wasn’t a fan, but I am writing on behalf of someone who was. They want me to ask you, what was NKOTB’s top ten hit immediately prior to Hanging Tough?

Yours,

Albie Luff-Ingyu (for F. Verr).

 

.....oooOooo.....
 

Let’s move onto grambling matters. What happened two weeks ago? We lost. Big time. Not a pee back. How did that happen, I hear you ask. Read on.

 

Blackburn vs Charlton - Prediction Home win

Result - Blackburn Rovers 1 Charlton Athletic 2

Boo!

Lyle Taylor's improvised finish earned Championship newcomers Charlton Athletic a battling victory over Blackburn Rovers.

Taylor flicked the ball in for the winner, from Jason Pearce's powerful header following a corner, with just over 10 minutes remaining.

The Addicks had to withstand strong Rovers pressure before then, but led just before the break thanks to Ben Purrington's close-range finish.

Rovers continued to dominate possession in the second half and equalised when debutant Bradley Johnson's header was cleared off the line but rebounded off goalkeeper Dillon Phillips for an unfortunate own goal.

 

Brentford vs Birmingham - Prediction Home win

Result - Brentford 0 Birmingham 1

Again I say... Boo!

Blues defender Kristian Pedersen powerfully headed in the winner against the run of play in the first half, with Birmingham's only notable effort on goal.

Brentford struck the woodwork three times in the first period and controlled possession throughout the game, but could not beat Blues keeper Lee Camp.

 

Stoke vs QPR - Prediction Home win

Result - Stoke City 1 Queens Park Rangers 2

And again... Boo!

Jordan Hugill's debut strike and Eberechi Eze's fine solo goal gave QPR a win against Stoke.

Hugill steered QPR ahead from close range early on after goalkeeper Jack Butland's decision to rush out and challenge Bright Osayi-Samuel went awry.

Eze sauntered through a static Stoke defence to double Rangers' lead after the interval.

Stoke later managed to pull one back when Sam Clucas fired home from close range.

 

Doncaster vs Gillingham - Prediction Home win

Result - Doncaster Rovers 1 Gillingham 1

Almost another boo, though definitely not a yay.

The visitors made the better start against a disjointed Rovers outfit, with Regan Charles-Cook and Brandon Hanlan both twice going close to breaking the deadlock.

But Gillingham finally got the breakthrough on the half hour when Hanlan's flick-on put Mikael Ndjoli through on the right and he squared to Alex Jakubiak to slam home.

Doncaster had struggled for opportunities throughout the first half but changed the mood at the Keepmoat in stoppage time.

James Coppinger clipped an excellent ball forward which Kieran Sadlier caught sweetly on the volley and rifled past Jack Bonham.

Rovers were the brighter side in the second half with Alfie May going close on several occasions but deadlock remained.

 

Lincoln vs Accrington - Prediction Home win

Result - Lincoln City 2 Acrington Stanley 0

A belated yay.

Accrington almost took the lead just past the half-hour mark when Sean McConville's free-kick skimmed the top of the bar.

The Imps responded by taking the lead when Jorge Grant's corner was met by Michael O'Connor, whose header looped over the defender on the line.

City almost scored early in the second half when Harry Anderson's cross was met by Tyler Walker, who was denied by an incredible save from Dimitar Evtimov.

Evtimov made another stunning stop to deny Michael Bostwick as the Imps pressed for a game-clinching second goal.

That finally arrived when substitutes Bruno Andrade and John Akinde combined. After Andrade was bundled over in the box, last season's top scorer Akinde sent Evtimov the wrong way with a typically cool spot-kick.

 

Oh well, not a very good start to the new footy season. Things ought to have picked up with last week’s predictions which were...

Game - Result - Odds

Bournemouth vs Sheff. Utd. - Prediction Home win - Evens

Watford vs Brighton - Prediction Home win - Evens

Fulham vs Blackburn - Prediction Home win - 4/5

West Brom vs Millwall - Prediction Home win - 17/20

Swindon vs Carlisle - Prediction Home win - 10/11

If they had all gone as The Grambler predicted, the Bobby Moore Fund was due to receive a whopping...

 

£11.38

 

Unfortunately, The Grambler got things slightly wrong [There’s a surprise. - Ed.] and the return from our £2.20 bet was a mere 70 pees. What happened? Read on...

Bournemouth vs Sheffield United - Prediction home win

Result - Bournemouth 1 Sheffield United 1

Ooh! ’It the bar!

The visitors nearly took the lead inside the opening 30 seconds when David McGoldrick's powerful strike was well saved by 21-year-old Bournemouth goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

Ramsdale again did well to deny Callum Robinson a goal for the Blades, before McGoldrick shot another chance narrowly wide.

Those missed opportunities looked to be costly when Chris Mepham put the hosts ahead. Sheffield brought on Oliver McBurnie and then, with eight minutes left, Billy Sharp.

The Blades were rewarded with 33-year-old Sharp's first ever Premier League goal.

Watford vs Brighton - Prediction Home win

Result - Watford 0 Brighton 3

Wowee! That is bad.

Abdoulaye Doucoure's first-half own goal gave the visitors the lead.

Then, substitute Florin Andone, with virtually his first touch of the game, doubled their lead.

Just minutes later, Neal Maupay scored, calmly finishing after rounding Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster.

Not much else to say about that one.

Fulham vs Blackburn - Prediction Home win

Result - Fulham 2 Blackburn 0

Yay!

Tom Cairney spectacularly opened the scoring as his left-footed effort from 25 yards nestled into the top corner.

Adam Armstrong almost levelled early in the second half, but his low, long-distance effort flashed past the post.

But Aleksandar Mitrovic sealed the win when he tapped in from close range late on after great work by Joe Bryan.

West Brom vs Millwall - Prediction Home win

Result - West Bromwich Albion 1 Millwall 1

Ooh! ’It the bar

After dominating possession during a goalless first half, Albion made the breakthrough when Alex Pearce headed a Matt Phillips free-kick into his own net under pressure from home defender Kyle Bartley.

But Matt Smith, having headed wide moments before, slid the ball home from close range to level when the Baggies failed to deal with Jed Wallace's cross.

Towering striker Smith then went close with an ambitious volley and Ben Thompson fired wide from 25 yards as the Lions went in search of a winner.

Albion nearly then won it themselves deep in stoppage time but keeper Bartosz Bialkowski was equal to Nathan Ferguson's curling effort.

Swindon vs Carlisle - Prediction Home win

Result - Swindon 3 Carlisle 2

Yay!

Olufela Olomola (Got to be ‘Cracking name of the week’) slotted Carlisle into a 52nd-minute lead after a Harry McKirdy cutback, but Jerry Yates bundled home to level the score four minutes later.

Swindon’s Zeki Fryers headed in a Michael Doughy corner in the 70th minute.

Carlisle had substitute Canice Carroll sent off five minutes before the end. The midfielder, on loan at Swindon last season, was dismissed for a two-footed lunge on Jordan Lyden.

And Swindon took advantage when Kaiyne Woolery tucked home a third in the final minute of normal time following a lovely Keshi Anderson through ball.

Mohammed Ali Sagaf scored in stoppage time to set up a nervy finish for the home fans, but Swindon held on for their second win in as many games.

 

Ho hum. Not too good from The Grambler; let us hope he/she/it can improve things this week. What have we got?

Game - Result - Odds

Bradford vs Oldham - Prediction Home win - 17/20

Colchester vs Cambridge - Prediction Home win - 19/20

Northampton vs Macclesfield - Prediction Home win - 10/11

Scunthorpe vs Crawley - Prediction Home win - Evens

Annan vs Albion - Prediction Home win - 13/20

 

The bets have been placed (10 x 20 pee doubles plus 1 x 20 pee accumulator) and if they all go according to The Grambler’s Prediction, the Bobby Moore Fund stands to receive a whopping....

 

£11.54

 

As whoppingness goes, that is fairly whopping.

 

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Teaser time. Yay! Last time I asked you, prior to Harry Maguire’s record-breaking transfer fee, what was the previous transfer record between two UK clubs. The answer was Riyad Mahrez who, in July 2018, was transferred from Leicester City to Manchester City for £60 million. Not bad, Leicester; £145 million for two players.

One for this week? We saw the first games of the Premier League 2019-20 season last weekend. See if you can guess the teams from the following sponsorship deals.

M88

W88

American Express

Lovebet

Chevrolet

Yokohama Tyres

SportPesa

Union Standard Group

Etihad Airways

AXA

 

 

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As usual (at the risk of repeating myself), I remind you of the main reason for continuing to publish this blog – to raise awareness about bowel cancer. If you have any bowel problems, don’t be fobbed off with the line that you are too young for bowel cancer to be a consideration. Just point your doctor in the direction of http://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/campaigns-policy/latest-campaigns/never-too-young-campaign

 

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Please, also take the time to click on this link, an informative little video from Mersh (a great friend of Stewart’s).

 

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And finally Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr I. Anderson who is the musician a lot of people know simply as the guy who can play the flute while standing on one leg. To those of us who call ourselves fans, he is the founder, songwriter, vocalist, guitarist and, yes, flautist with the band known as Jethro Tull. To finish this week, how would you like to see the band as it was when I first went to see them playing live? It was at the Glasgow Apollo on the 2nd of February 1977 and it still rates as one of my favourite concert performances?

Footage of that show doesn’t exist, but eight days later, Tull recorded a concert for the BBC’s Sight and Sound In Concert series. An hour-long edit was broadcast in stereo on BBC2 on the 19th of February.

Hang on a mo, I hear you protest, stereo television didn’t begin until the mid 1980s, how the blibbing flip did they get stereo telly back in 1977? Well, it was a simple solution really. The Beeb broadcast the show simultaneously on TV (BBC2) and on BBC Radio 1 in stereo sound. Clever, eh?

I arranged my newly acquired stereo system speakers either side of the sarcophagus sized rented colour TV, which dominated the corner of my parents’ living room, to get the best stereophonic effect. Actually, comic effect was more accurate. The whole ensemble, with cables leading here there and everywhere looked faintly ridiculous. Still, this was the first opportunity to watch Jethro Tull while listening in stereo.

Any road up, here is what the fuss was all about... Good evening ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls.  It is nice to be here.

 

 

That’s all for this week folks, but remember you can read the musings of The Grambler every week by going to the blog at www.thegrambler.com

 

Happy grambling.