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…
Hello young gramblers, whoever you are,
I hope your grambles are few.
All my good gramblings go with you tonight,
I've been grambled like you.
I hope your grambles are few.
All my good gramblings go with you tonight,
I've been grambled like you.
[Ooer, missus. - Ed.]
Yes, I know they’re not the right lyrics, but I couldn’t come up with another way to start the Saint Valentine week’s (g)ramble.
So, have you all sent your valentine cards to your loved ones and those hoped-to-be loved ones?
Tell me, did you ever receive cards when you were at school? There was always some guy who would brag that he got half a dozen cards. Always the cynic, I reckon those he got, he had bought and posted to himself.
Don’t get me wrong, I did get cards... well, a card... and it was always from the same person... someone who had unmistakable handwriting. It’s a bit bloody embarrassing getting a card from your auntie, I can tell you.
She probably thought she was doing the right thing.
I recall a teacher at primary school thought it would be a good idea to get everyone in the class to make a valentine card and ‘post’ it inside the desk of their favourite girl/boy. As can happen, all the boys fancied the same girl and the lid of her desk wouldn’t shut because of all the cardboard it contained. The girls seemed to have more varied tastes and I have to admit to receiving a couple of cards. However well-intentioned, the teacher’s idea backfired somewhat as it didn’t do much for those who had a fragile ego and there were some tears shed on the 14th of February in that classroom. Some of the girls were crying too.
Anyway, time to concentrate on the present. Have you noticed something about St. Val’s day cards? The colour. They all seem to share the same colour scheme.
Of course, it happens with all the card-heavy festivals: Easter tends to be celebrated with cards of mainly yellow, probably in deference to newly blooming daffodils or Easter chicks... I can’t remember many narcissi or newly hatched chickens being mentioned in the Bible’s portrayal of the Easter story, but perhaps I’ve missed something.
It is the same at Christmas. Red and green are the predominant colours associated with Crimbo. It’s probably all to do with the holly and the ivy... Possibly... I could be wrong, but can you come up with anything more plausible?
Even Hallowe’en, a festival where no cards are exchanged, has its own colour scheme. Orange and black are the hues of choice. I’m guessing that the black is there because Hallowe’en is a night time thing so it is all to do with the darkness. [Ooh, they were good... I believe in a fing called love, just listen to the rhythm of my heart... That’s not The Darkness you mean, is it? - Ed.] No. [Just ignore me. - Ed.] I always do... And the orange relates to pumpkins, obviously.
Valentine’s day? Red and black. Sorry pardon excuse me? Where in the handbook does it say that anything relating to St. Valentine’s day should be red and black? For some reason, red roses are synonymous (That’s a good word. Wonder what it means.) with St. Val’s day so that could explain the red, but where does black come into it? Maybe it’s because the giver of the card would like be in the dark with... Let’s not go there.
Did you know that Saint Valentine is also the patron saint of leprosy? No? Well, he is. He succeeded in converting many individuals to Christianity. He overstepped the mark though, when he tried to get Roman Emperor Claudius Gothicus to change. Claudius decided that Val should renounce his faith or be executed. Naturally, Val decided he wanted to be a martyr and so was sentenced to death by clubbing [I quite like clubbing. - Ed.] Shh... This is serious... and by stoning [I quite like getting stoned too; especially when I’m clubbing - Ed.]. Quiet. Please...When that didn’t kill him, he was beheaded. [Ooh, I don’t like that idea. - Ed.] He was later made a saint because he is said to have restored the sight of a blind girl. So, now you know. Today has not been wasted.
I’d better pack in now... I’ve still to get Mrs G’s card.
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or notorious individuals born on the 15th of February? Of course there were; here are some I’ve actually heard of. Henry Steinway 1797 (Made joannas.), Charles Tiffany 1812 (Sold jewellery.), Robert Fuchs [How do you pronounce that? - Ed.] 1847 (Composer. Have a clip. Here is Timid Little Heart. Note who made the joanna.), Ernest Shackleton 1874 (Explorer. On his failed expedition to the South Pole in 1914 his ship became embedded in the ice so Shackleton famously managed to get back to civilisation without losing a single member of his crew. Sadly, they returned to Britain in 1917 with the war at its height and most were immediately conscripted to the army and sent to the ‘trenches’. After the three year struggle of the Antarctic expedition, it is a sad irony that several died within weeks of joining up.), Henry ‘H.M’ Bateman 1887 (Cartoonist. The man who...), Gale Sondergaard 1899 (Actress.), Cesar Romero 1907 (Actor. A bit of a joker.), Sidney Gilliat 1908 (Film maker.), Max Aitken 1910 (Politician.), Charlie Cairoli 1910 (Circus clown.), Sam Kydd 1915 (Actor. You silly c-c-c-clot.), Ronnie Aldrich 1916 (Musician. Have some easy listening.), Allan Arbus 1918 (Large aeroplane.), Harvey Korman 1927 (Hedley Lamarr.), Graham Hill 1929 (Posh racey car bloke.), Gerald Harper 1929 (Ector. Adam Adamant. Leave this man alone.), Claire Bloom 1931 (Ectress.), Troy Kennedy Martin 1932 (Screenwriter. The Italian Job, that was one of his.), Jimmy Bloomfield 1934 (Footy bloke.), Glyn Johns 1942 (Musician, recording engineer and record producer to the stars. Here’s his cover of the Paul McCartney song I'll Follow The Sun. I thought I should check details on his Wikipedia page. First line? ‘Not to be confused with Glynis Johns’. Well, it made me smile.), Mick Avory 1944 (A Kink. Here he is battering away Till the end of the day.), John Helliwell 1945 (Saxophonist... They can’t touch you for it. Here’s Babaji.), Clare Short (Small politician.), John Adams 1947 (Composer. Let’s go for a short ride in a fast machine.), Billy Nicholls 1949 (Singer/songwriter. Here he is singing Would You Believe. [Why wouldn’t I believe he was singing? - Ed.] Aye, right. You might recognise the backing vocalist.), Markku Alén 1951 (Rallyförare.), Jane Seymour 1951 (Actress, it says here.), Tony Adams 1953 (Film producer.), Matt Groening 1954 (Creator of The Simpsons.), Desmond Haynes 1956 (Crickety bloke.), Adam Boulton 1959 (Newsreader.), Ali Campbell 1959 (UB40 vocalist. Here’s Maybe Tomorrow.), Martin Rowson 1959 (Satirical cartoonist.), Mikey Craig 1960 (A bit of Culture Club. Have a clip. This is a post-Culture Club toon, I'm a Believer. No, not that one.), Syed Kamall 1967 (Politician.), Scott Severin 1979 (Footy bloke.), Don Cowie 1983 (Footie bloke.), Jadey Duffield 1991 (Actress.) and Ben Foakes 1993 (Crickety bloke.).
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Mr Nash-Hudson,
How wonderful that you acknowledged the accomplished songwriter Billy Nicholls. He wrote a few hits, but his biggest was a song recorded by Leo Sayer, Phil Collins, The Outlaws, Keith Urban, The Quireboys and it has even been sung by Taylor Swift. The problem is, we can’t remember the title. Can you help.
Let’s move on to grambling matters. How did our little bet go last time? Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Not a ha’penny back. What happened? Read on.
Exeter vs Stevenage - Prediction Home win
Result - Exeter 2 Stevenage 1
Substitute Matt Jay was the hero, scoring the winner with nine minutes remaining in a match where the result was far more comfortable than the scoreline suggests.
It took until the 37th minute for the deadlock to be broken as Randell Williams planted a bullet header past Paul Farman from Pierce Sweeney's excellent cross.
Nicky Ajose came close to making it 2-0 when he latched onto Williams' ball over the top, but his attempted lob went just the wrong side of the upright.
Stevenage responded with a shot from Canice Carroll that flew wide of goal - their first effort of note coming on the hour-mark - while (ex-Motherwell man) Ryan Bowman struck the post for Exeter after a superb move.
The Grecians got stronger as the game went on, but could not finish the opportunities they were creating and were made to pay with 10 minutes remaining when Sweeney was robbed of the ball and it was played to Daniel Kemp to lash home.
Exeter hit straight back, though, as Nicky Ajose poked the ball back to Jay and he picked his spot to make it 2-1 from close range for the winner in the 81st-minute.
Forest Green vs Walsall - Prediction Home win
Result - Forest Green 1 Walsall 2
Josh Gordon's 50th-minute penalty and a sumptuous strike from substitute Wes McDonald in the 72nd minute put Walsall in control.
Forest Green made the game interesting when Aaron Collins flicked home with four minutes to go but the Saddlers hung on.
Orient vs Macclesfield - Prediction Home win
Result - Orient 1 Macclesfield 1
Ooh! ’It the bar.
James Brophy put Orient ahead in the 75th minute when he raced down the left side before angling a superb drive into the net.
It seemed that Orient would be on course for the three points in a tightly-contested duel, but substitute Jacob Blyth had the final word after being setup by another substitute and new signing Donovan Wilson, who produced a sublime pass and the former Motherwell forward finished off the move with a powerful effort.
Curse you Blyth!
Newport vs Cambridge - Prediction Home win
Result - Newport 0 Cambridge 1
Liam O'Neil's goal was the difference as Cambridge United secured all three points against Newport County.
Jamille Matt had two opportunities in first-half stoppage-time to put County ahead but Cambridge goalkeeper Callum Burton was up to the task.
The deadlock was finally broken when Paul Mullin's shot was parried by Tom King and O'Neil reacted quickest to put Cambridge ahead after 68 minutes.
Northampton vs Port Vale - Prediction Home win
Result - Northampton 0 Port Vale 1
Vale’s David Worrall shot wide in the first few minutes, while Scott Brown made two comfortable stops at the other end, keeping out Mark Marshall and Nicky Adams.
Lloyd Jones also had a shot blocked, but a dour first half was otherwise short on clear-cut chances.
Callum Morton found the side-netting moments after the resumption and Adams then missed a golden opportunity, side-footing wide when left unmarked.
Brown tipped over Sam Hoskins' volley and reacted superbly to thwart Vadaine Oliver as the Cobblers cranked it up.
But it was the visitors who took a shock lead with 18 minutes to go, when Tom Conlon's cross was headed home by Worrall at the back post.
Northampton piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser, but Brown continued to frustrate them, saving excellently from Adams late on.
Rubbish or what? [Definitely rubbish. - Ed.] Can The Grambler make amends this week? [Don’t hold your breath. - Ed.]
Game - Result - Odds
Birmingham vs Brentford - Prediction Away win - 10/11
Sheffield Wed vs Reading - Prediction Home win - 19/20
Ipswich vs Burton Albion - Prediction Home win - 10/11
Southend vs Coventry - Prediction Home win - 3/4
Maclesfield vs Exeter - Prediction Away win - 10/11
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, the Bobby Moore Fund stands to receive a whopping...
Did anything interesting happen in the year 1186? Hmm... Not much. John the Chanter became Bishop of Exeter. I can imagine the scene some days after his installation...
‘Gonnae f****** shut the f*** up! You huvnae stopped that f****** chanting since ye f****** well got here!’
... but in Latin, of course.
Teaser time. Yay! Last time I asked you what team did Alf Garnett support and what was the character of Alf Garnett’s name changed from after the pilot edition was shown as part of the Beeb’s Comedy Playhouse series of 1965. I also asked you why it was changed. His team was West Ham and that first show featured the character as Alf Ramsey. I’m not sure if that was deliberate on writer Johnny Speight’s part. Perhaps he didn’t much like the England manager. I’m guessing that it wasn’t picked up by Beeb Beeb Ceeb top brass (probably because they knew nothing about football) until that first episode had been made. Once it was broadcast, I am sure there were plenty of complaints and so, one of Britain’s most famous comedy characters was born.
One for this week? Here is one for those of you who know your Premier League players; specifically French players. Which Frenchman has made the most Premier League appearances? Simple question. Try it out down the pub.
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
Please, also take the time to click on this link, an informative little video from Mersh (a great friend of Stewart’s).
And finally Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr. M. Rowson, one of this week’s birthday celebrants, who is a cartoonist specialising in political satire. He has worked for The Daily Mirror, The Times, The New Statesman, The Spectator, The Morning Star, The Scotsman, The Irish Times, Time Out and many other publications. This week we finish with his take on the current state of world politics (which probably infringes copyright laws, but it really is too good to not share with you).
Donald and Boris and the special relationship
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